- Coastal Clouds
- BOS Responses
- Missing Cop
- Seafood Harborfest
- Hebrew Hollerer
- GG 1935
- Tweaker Testimony
- Family Circus
- Emergency Services
- Lion Attack
- Farm Report
- 1959 Class
- Yesterday's Catch
- Little Italy
- Blowhard Fixation
- Great Love
- Golden Light
- Paper Delivery
- Sans Swing
- Moral Cantatas
- Anxiety Bingo
- Pabst Spray
- Danish Relief
- Inheritance Question
- Damn Dems
- Marco Radio
- Found Object
HOT INLAND conditions can be expected through Wednesday, particularly on Monday and Tuesday, with warmer than normal temperatures on the coast as well. Coastal clouds will be more prevalent today than yesterday, but most will clear Monday and Tuesday before returning Tuesday night. Isolated but mostly dry thunderstorms will be possible Wednesday or Thursday. (National Weather Service)
LAST TUESDAY the Supervisors approved their responses to the Grand Jury about both the management of the county and Measure B, the mental health initiative stalled since it was passed two years ago.
The upshot of the Supes’ response to criticism of the non-progress on Measure B was nicely summarized in the Independent Coast Observer last week as "County Supes, Citizens Oversight Committee Point Fingers at Each Other."
While acknowledging that the project has been moving forward at a pace that couldn't outrun a dedicated snail, the Supervisors blamed the Oversight Committee for not producing recommendations and, as pointed out by ICO reporter William Keller, Sheriff Allman, the Soul of Measure B, insisted that his Committee is "getting more traction and moving forward." The Supervisors thought that more attention should be paid to last year’s Kemper report which recommended that some service upgrades could be done sooner without having to wait for the long-drawn-out facilities construction process.
In a related info-bit, CEO Carmel Angelo told the Board on Tuesday that their top two applicants for Measure B project manager had declined the position for financial reasons in one case and a better paying position in the other case. The CEO is re-posting the position and starting over. Angelo mentioned that the Project Manager should be a long term hire that could last for up to five years or more, casually confirming the Grand Jury's observation that the project was basically stalled.
The Supervisors also approved their vague response to the Grand Jury’s suggestion that they do a better job of managing the county. The Supe’s response? They acknowledged some performance deficits and griping about the Grand Jury’s failure to see how good they’re actually doing, but promised to pick up their game a bit, responding in general terms but with no follow-up or commitments just as the Grand Jury had observed is wrong with them in the first place. They even promised to assemble a grand strategic plan from the various topical plans laying around collecting dust.
Then, just when we were about to give up on Mendo’s long-standing giant management reporting gap that has somehow allowed the CEO to avoid any kind of monthly departmental reporting, Supervisor Ted Williams interrupted his Supervisor’s report to note that, “If it wouldn't be too much effort — I like reviewing the vacancy recruitment and update list. But it's hard to get a sense over time looking at the numerical data and vacancy reports — is it possible to generate a chart for each department’s funded positions with an overlay of filled positions so that we can look at say the last few years, whatever could be a few mouse clicks for you? I think it would be useful for the public as well. And I would extend that to the budget. I have been asked by the public about county spending relative to its budget. Some departments go over from time to time and I don't know as a Supervisor if I would have much awareness about that until it comes forward. Would it be possible to include a chart of that in the CEO report showing where we are in the budget year to date?”
Board Chair Carre Brown seemed downright frightened by the prospect of monthly budget and staffing reports: “Why don't you go over our budget process. We usually do have quarterly —“
CEO Angelo, realizing that this might be a debate she would lose in open session, moved quickly to change the subject: “I can work with Supervisor Williams if you like on this. If that's what you're asking Chair Brown?”
Brown continued trying her best to swat down the radical idea of monthly departmental reporting: “Yes. We do have a process for when departments go over budget in the quarterly updates and their responsibility to come forward in open session to the board. I don't know if you are aware of that Supervisor Williams.”
Williams: “I am aware of that. And I know that the public would like to see more of a chart that is updated regularly about how we are doing on filling positions and how we are doing on spending. Because once we notice that we've gone over just looking at the numerical data it’s pretty late. There's always a justification but it's hard for us to say today if we are on track with our budget. I get asked this question and I don't have a good way to answer it because I don't have a chart to pull up. I think that would be useful for all five of us.”
Supervisor McCowen agreed: “We all sit on a number of boards and commissions both as part of our duties here and out of our own interest and just about every other board and commission has a monthly financial report that includes the budget and year to date so you could track it very readily. We have a lot of county departments but if each department is not already tracking expenditures to budget they probably ought to be. I would welcome that information. I don't think it should be that difficult to develop. Again virtually every special district we've ever been on or attended —”
Chair Brown had heard enough about this: “I think you've made your point.”
McCowen: “Thank you.”
CEO Angelo: “I will work with Supervisor Williams and I appreciate Supervisor McCowen’s comments and we will do what we can to get as much information to this board so that you can go public with regard to our budget and our positions. Thank you.”
In Mendo Supes/CEO usage “thank you” usually means “shut up and go away.”
BETS ARE BEING TAKEN ON THIS ONE, TOO. Very long odds will be given but no reasonable offer will be refused. For example, what are the odds that this subject will arise in open session again this year in even an oblique way? 10-1?
UKIAH POLICEMAN ARRESTED - BUT JAIL BOOKING INFO ‘MISSING’ FROM JAIL WEB SITE - HUH?
Fair is fair - if a “normal” citizen is arrested and booked at the Mendocino County Jail (especially for domestic violence) their information is public.
It seems like there is a double standard working here when law enforcement is arrested & booked - MSP checked the Mendocino Jail site Wednesday, August 21st - Saturday, August 24th (see screen-grab below) and NO booking photo/info appears for this Mr. Ross Lunceford.
And yes, as always, people arrested should be presumed innocent unless/until proven guilty in a court of law - but WHERE someone is employed should not determine whether or not their booking information appears at the jail web site.
Here is the story as it was posted Saturday by the Ukiah Daily Journal:
“Ross C. Lunceford, who is employed as a Ukiah police officer, was arrested Thursday by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence and violating his probation.
MCSO spokesman Capt. Greg Van Patten said deputies responded to a residence on Zinfandel Drive around 7 p.m. Aug. 22 after being notified by the UPD of an incident involving one of its officers and the suspect’s girlfriend. Van Patten said Lunceford was booked into Mendocino County Jail and later released on bail.
UPD Chief Justin Wyatt said Friday that Lunceford has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Wyatt confirmed that Lunceford had been placed on probation following a DUI arrest in July of 2017, and that being on probation does not automatically preclude an individual from serving as a police officer.”
One would think the Mendocino County Sheriff Jail web site would be the LAST place to extend a "professional courtesy."
You'll note from the Jail web site screen-grab - the names listed in the log begins with "K" and goes through "M." There is no " Lunceford" listed two days after the incident.
THE 20TH ANNUAL HARBOR & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Sunday September 1, 2019 ~ Noon to 6pm
Point Arena Cove & Pier
This is an event that you don't want to miss! A stunning coastal setting with local seafood, local bands and local brews, all for a great cause - raising money to keep our local pier operating for the public all year long!
This year's menu features BBQ Oysters, Point Arena Salmon Cakes, Baja Fish Tacos, Island Albacore Kebabs, New England Clam Chowder and Gulf Coast Shrimp Cocktail along with BBQ corn-on-the-cob, fresh salad and fries, hot dogs and burgers, and a variety of soft drinks and locally-made desserts.
Libations include local craft beer courtesy of North Coast Brewery, local assorted wines, hard cider from OZ Farm, and non-alcoholic beverages including homemade lemonade and mineral water.
This 20th Annual Harborfest hosts live performances by local and regional acts The Casuals, JJ Mulekat, Burnside, and Middle Children.
A kid's area will host a bouncy house and gaming center as well as fun activities by ACTION Network and ACORN Partners in Education.
There is no entrance fee for the event. Purchase $1 tickets at the entrance gate for food, drink and activities. This is a cash-only event.
Parking is available in the adjacent Rock Wall park and along the north side of Port Road only.
Please bring your kids, but please leave your dogs at home.
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Piper is a petite, 1 year old, spayed female silver tabby cat. Piper is very social and a bit of a talker. She seems to like other cats, so a home with a feline friend would be a bonus for her. Piper loves to meet new people—so come down and introduce yourself and let her tell you her tail tale.
Need a weight loss partner? Murray is up for the task! He’d like to join you in learning about healthy eating and exercise. You and Murray will enjoy watching the pounds come off. Murray is a 9 year old, neutered male, Queensland Heeler, who currently weighs 82 pounds and is eligible for the shelter's SENIOR DOG DISCOUNT.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah; adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, and the shelter's programs, services and events, please visit us online at http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
THE HEBREW HOLLERER
You wouldn't believe the letters I have received since writing to the AVA. It's almost like I've got someone out there who loves me. I can't see how though. I'm such a predator out there on the streets.
Speaking of predators, have I told you about the four or is it five lawsuits I have going on against the good old boys down here at the Mendocino County Sheriff's office detention center? I mean how else can I stretch those pennies into copper wires? I have to get some dollars out of this place somehow. I am the victim here. They have damaged my wrists probably to the point of me having to get surgery. (Really, it's carpal tunnel, but if I can if I can get the Sheriff to pay for it, kudos to my smooth kike-ish ways.) Correction Officer Stone has been a real pain in my ass here in Ad Seg, always coming back with smart ass comments every time I scream at the top of my lungs about the "white poodle" in A-mod or when I'm bad mouthing "Grizz."
Honestly if those fools over in A-Mod would quit biting every time I yell at them then I would probably stop yelling their way.
Time to put the Hebrew Hammer down. Look for me next week and the exciting adventures here at the County Jail.
Jacob ‘Hebrew’ Silverman
FAIR PLAY FOR PAT
The corruption and unjust of the District Attorney's Office, Mendocino County —
I would like to bring to light the corrupt ways of Deputy District Attorney Scott McMenomey who is handling my full new resentencing hearing.
A little about me. My name is Patrick Noel. For the past 16 years I've been bouncing around the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation prison yards trying and succeeding to survive Level 4 yards they put me on. It's not an easy task.
At the same time I've been studying and learning new laws that have been passed that directly affect my case.
I've been fighting for my life since the day they accused me at the age of 19 in 2003 for attempted murder, kidnapping and assault which no one was even hurt. It's been an uphill battle because the only real evidence is the "tweaker testimony" they have from scrubs off the streets of Willits. It's crazy to think that District Attorney David Eyster would allow Deputy District Attorney Scott McMenomey to falsify charges and withhold exculpatory and exonerating evidence in my case.
I'm not here to bore you with all the court jargon that I've learned. But I will try to expose the wrongdoings of what Deputy DA Scott McMenomey has done to my case and what District Attorney David Eyster is allowing his office to let happen not only in my case but who knows about all the other cases that have been railroaded because of a corrupt and unjust district attorney office in Mendocino County?
What's up with Monica Vargas down at the Probation department here in Mendocino County? Are they in competition with the District Attorney's Office for who’s more corrupt?
I feel like I've got this target on my back. All I want is what is fair and right when it comes to a trial of this magnitude. I mean, this is my life we are talking about here. Why can't I at least have someone on my team who fights for me and who is willing to take on the District Attorney's Office? These are just some of the questions I have. I go back to court on August 28, 2019, if anyone is interested in the prosecution of the DA’s re-sentencing hearing. I am about to start on that date, so please come down and be a witness to what is to become the fate of my life.
Until next week.
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
Board Of Supervisors Agenda, August 27, 2019 - 9:00 AM
6b) Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction to County Counsel to Develop a Sales Tax Ordinance to Support County-Wide Ambulance Service (Sponsor: Supervisors McCowen and Williams (Fire and EMS Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee))
Direct County Counsel to develop a sales tax ordinance to support county-wide ambulance service and to work with partners on enabling Community Paramedicine.
Board Of Supervisors Agenda
August 27, 2019 - 9:00 AM
6c) Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction to County Counsel to Develop a Private Campground Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance with Funds Permanently Earmarked to Support Rural Fire Districts
(Sponsor: Fire and EMS Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee (Supervisors McCowen and Williams))
Direct County Counsel to develop a private campground Transient Occupancy Tax ordinance and allocation model with funds permanently earmarked to support rural fire districts.
FATAL FRIDAY MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK IN ALBION
Albion G road
This morning at around 10am Mountain lion killed my cat. He was less than 10 ft from my back doorway. I tried to scream and chased it as it dropped my baby boy. My baby Theo died about 10 minutes later as I tried to rush him to the vet.
I’m so devastated
LIFE ON A SMALL BOONVILLE FARM
Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - July 2019
Things are going well, albeit at hyper-speed, here on the farm. Everything seems to be ripening at once and the kitchen crew (that's all of us) is scrambling to keep up. Juan, Cam, Steve, and I bring in the harvests…apples, pears, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, sungolds, slicers, eggplant, okra, cucumbers, peppers, string beans, onions, hazelnuts…and sometimes every one of these in one day. Cam, Aaron, and I figure out what to do with the abundance, then Aaron gets to work canning. Some items are sold, but most are converted into a canned product of one kind or other. Before either of those can happen though, the fruits/veggies have to be sorted so the blems go either to a pot for cooking down (eg. tomatoes), or into a refrigerator away from the perfect, which are cleaned if needed then put in the walk-in for future use/sale if cold storage is required (eg. pears for a period of time); or processed for freezing if there is more than we need at the moment. Each item has its own requirement and there are only our hands (no machines) to do the sorting, prepping, lifting and toting. Our walk-in is no bigger than a closet so when 76lbs of pears come in at one time and there are already 6 boxes of other varieties in it, we have to do some juggling. So far everything is working more or less smoothly this season although just today the walk-in decided to act a bit strangely so we have a call in to the repair shop.
Life on a farm is repetitive…the seasons do come around similarly…but it is also frequently punctuated by unexpected events, some being more hair raising than others. There's a way around most obstacles, or at least that has been our belief, so if the walk-in stops working over the weekend and the pears start to melt, we can always make wine! Gotta stay on your toes out here!
Mama and papa swallow are feeding their third set of chicks. Our entry looks like…well, see the photos.
Hunting season began a few weeks ago and our hunters bagged their first handsome black tail buck last week. Venison is coming.
Have a good end of summer, Nikki and Steve
1959 AV HIGH GRADUATING CLASS PHOTO
Norm Clow Writes: Here’s one for the 60 year anniversary file. First graduating class from the “new” high school. You’ll recognize a few last names and maybe a couple of male-type faces:
CATCH OF THE DAY, AUGUST 24, 2019
MICHAEL ELDREDGE, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
ERIC FRAZIER, Fort Bragg. DUI.
THOMAS GALINDO JR., Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
DAVID JOHNSON SR., Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)
RONALD KEYS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
JEFFREY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
MICHAEL LANGLEY, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, disobeying court order, probation revocation.
JOSEPH LITTLE, Fort Bragg. Vandalism.
FRANCISCO MORENO-PEREZ, Napa/Fort Bragg. DUI, resisting.
RACHELLE MUNOZ, Covelo. Battery.
DEVIN SMITH, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
AARON STONE, Ukiah. Parole violation, failure to register as transient.
LITTLE ITALY & THE ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS OF THE 1900s
Detective Sergeant Joseph Petrosino made his way through Little Italy in New York City in 1905 on a typical summer morning. The streets swarmed with life. Peddlers hawked prosciutto, fresh bananas in bright colors framed hand-drawn portraits of the king and queen of Italy. Delivery wagons trundled down the narrow streets scattering pedestrians and trailing small children waiting for scraps to fall from the back which they scooped up and took home to their mothers. He passed theaters featuring traditional Italian puppet shows. Some of the tenements had open windows which from which the hoots and squawks of monkeys emerged as if from the zoo because entire floors of some tenement buildings were given over to the raising of the animals for the organ grinders who roamed the city streets. He passed the offices of marriage brokers who promised honest virgins from the old country and undertakers whose signs advertised the cost of shipping bodies back to be buried in Italian soil. In the alleys as he strode past crap games were in progress and religious processions were forming up carrying the statues of saints and with dollar bills meant as offerings for deathly ill relatives or friends.
As the sergeant’s black derby moved through the crowd, above it the fire escapes were criss-cross with lines of laundry, while on the rooftops, big sheets were laid out covered with yard upon yard of crushed tomatoes drying in the sun before being turned into tomato sauce for the family's evening pasta.
Men's straw hats fluttered in the breeze, stolen from the heads of their owners by small boys and clothes-pinned to lines strung across the street from one building to the other.
Newcomers who had arrived days or even hours before on steamships from Genoa passed the detective on the street. Italian immigrants landed in New York and were often sped on their way into the heartland to jobs in Kentucky or Michigan or Pennsylvania to lend their backs to the Industrial Revolution which was transforming the country.
Sgt. Petrosino could have told you their histories with one glance whether they were from Milan or Genoa or Naples. They'd probably seen a billboard in their town squares that promised good jobs, high wages and cheap steamship tickets. There was even one poster which showed a textile mill with a bank across the street and laborers striding from one to the other carrying bags of money.
The men would have left their homes and boarded the ships with some of them carrying a ball of yarn in their luggage leaving a cousin or girlfriend on the pier holding the other end. When the horn sounded and the boat moved away from the dock the yarn would slowly unspool forming a line of thin wool floating in the air at the last turn of the ball. The strings, dozens of them, hung in the air kept aloft by the shore breeze trailing from the departing ship.
Once they landed in New York and were processed through Ellis Island the men flowed across the country in search of work. In Chicago Italians toiled in the foundries and factories. In the railyards spreading out into the Midwest Italians laid track. In Virginia they mined coal. Among the ones who stayed in New York, the men dynamited and dug the subway tunnels while peasant Italiam women sewed in the garment factories. In Brooklyn they welded ships. In upstate New York they dug out reservoirs and sealed the banks of the aquifers with concrete. In Michigan they mined iron ore. In New England they quarried stone and granite. In Kansas City they slaughtered cattle in the stockyards. In St. Louis they forged bricks in that city of 100 brick plants. In Delaware they picked peaches. In Florida it was cotton. In Louisiana, rice and sugar.
Everywhere they swayed beneath the sun building roads and canals. Italians were often hired for the most dangerous work and so they suffered 25% of all industrial accidents in the country. One in five men who came to America was maimed or killed on the job. "Your railroads, your public buildings, your coal are wet with Italian sweat and blood,” said the writer Enrico Senobrio.
They were sometimes beaten and enslaved. One Calabrian remembered trying to help a fellow Italian at a day labor camp on the run. “My attention was drawn to the other side of the creek where an Italian was shouting for help, appealing to us as fellow countrymen to aid him. He had been felled by the blow of a heavy stick put to him by one of the guards. My friend and I tried to cross over to help him but we were prevented by our boss who drove us back at the point of a pistol. All I dared do was to shout at him not to resist or he would be killed and to go back. The man who had struck him lifted him bodily by his coat and pushed him on, striking him every time he stumbled or fell from exhaustion.
"I am nailed to the cross," wrote one immigrant from some unidentified point in the American interior to an east coast newspaper. “Of the 100 paisani who have come here only 40 have survived. Who is here to protect us? We have neither preachers nor carbinieri to look after our safety.”
But they kept coming anyway, secreted in the backs of railcars or any other conveyance they could find.
—Steven Talty, "The Black Hand"
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Keeping in mind that he talks out of his ass routinely, the press is willingly complicit in reporting every stupid utterance coming out of his mouth. You don’t encourage a blowhard by catering to his stupidity, you disempower or at least downplay him by ignoring him altogether. Trump is merely playing a part and he’s admittedly a master at it. He’s Lord Falstaff, the great fat buffoonish oaf, and he’s meant to be a caricature of the American working class he allegedly represents. Of course he actually does no such thing, although that just heightens the ironic comedic effect, much to his political masters’ delight. Trump represents the idea that not only can you (the American working class) have your cake, but you absolutely have to eat it too, no matter how violently sick it makes you. Just desserts indeed for those who should have known better!
ON THE LAST EVENING [Nazi Armament Minister Albert] Speer asked straight out why Hitler never gave him one of the potassium cyanide capsules that he so freely handed out on all sides. If he knew the reason, he said, he would have an answer to the question about “Hitler’s real feelings for me.” In any case, he is convinced that Hitler did not simply forget to give him one of the ampoules; such things never happened. So, what could the reason have been? We subsequently agreed that the question behind this question was why it was still important for Speer, a lifetime later, to require an explanation. With a hint of mockery, somewhat scornfully, we ended by saying that these were “the inexplicable mysteries of a great love.”
—Joachim Fest, "Albert Speer"
WHY THE DELAY?
It's Tuesday and I still have not received last Wednesday's AVA. It's interesting that when I subscribed to the independent Coast Observer last year the paper always arrived at my place on Saturday after having been mailed from Gualala on Friday. Interesting considering that Gualala is even more geographically remote than Boonville, yet it only took one day for the ICO to get to me.
by David Yearsley
Even deprived of the latest technological appurtenances, the earbudded slacker of today might have easily found her groove in eighteenth-century Hamburg. It was a thriving commercial and cultural center, the largest city in German-speaking Europe with a population rising steadily towards 100,000 by century’s end. Many social practices, institutions, and affectations flourished that historians would hasten to call “modern”: there were dozens of coffee houses where conversations, games, music, warming beverages, and even romance could be had; there were public concerts, many put on for the benefit of the local poor or for the victims of distant disasters (as in the musical initiatives in aid of the victims of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755). A capital of technology and trade, Hamburg was a place of luxury and leisure for those who could afford them. There was plenty of sugar for your coffee: the city was a leader of refining and consuming it. Then there was that new thing called free time that had to be made the most of with walks in town and out of it along the River Elbe. There was poetry to be read, music to be made.
The chief venue for this last activity was the opera house on the Gänsemarkt (Goose Market), the first public music theatre in northern Europe founded in 1678; in the eighteenth century it lavishly staged works of George Frideric Handel (for a few years in his late teens he’d lived in Hamburg) and his friend Georg Philipp Telemann (the city’s Director of Music from 1721 until his death 1767). With uncharacteristic pithiness, Johann Mattheson, the most prolific and cosmopolitan of writers among Hamburg’s many prolific cosmopolitans, laid bare the relationship between cash and culture in 1728: “Wherever the best banks are, there one will find the best opera.” Wealth nourished the arts, both public and private: money made sophisticated music possible for the successful, alone and amongst fellow burgers.
Like ours it was an age of entertainment by subscription—for operas, concerts, plays, newspapers, magazines, and music journals and printed pieces. Perhaps most modern of all were those services that helped enliven things at home with music, not just for passive enjoyment à la Sonos streaming, but through doing. You had to make your own fun, but in Hamburg you could get the help of the latest software—up-to-date sheet music—from the industry leader.
That leader was Telemann—the Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix) of his day when it came to music subscriptions. He vigorously marketed his chamber music and even engraved it himself for purchase and play by patricians, burgers, and fellow professionals in Hamburg, across Germany and beyond. From 1715 through the late 1730s Telemann issued forty-six new editions of his works. Even Handel, that pre-Napster pirate eager to snatch a few musical ideas from his friend, was a sometime subscriber from across the North Sea in London. These transactions made the musical merchant rich: Telemann’s publishing ventures brought in a few thousand Reichsthaler every year—two or three (or even four) times his music director’s salary that, even without his extra business income, equaled the salaries of Hamburg’s mayors.
To bring Telemann’s sounding pleasantries into the well-furnished home required the proper technology and training: not Apple TV or Xbox, but a harpsichord, and perhaps a cello, violin and flute, plus the ability to sing and read music. Musical leisure was not as cheap as it is now.
As always—but especially so in a church-going city where Christian values were literally trumpeted from organ loft and clocktower—affluence bred anxiety. How to feel good about—or, as Simon Schama put it, not be embarrassed by—having so much.
One form of music therapy for the well-to-do facing this conundrum of complacency was the curious genre of the moral cantata. Telemann issued two sets of six in 1725 and 1726 respectively; the first installment was for harpsichord, with optional cello, and voice (of any register—thus expanding the appeal); the second volume augmented the ensemble with an obbligato part to be played either by violin or flute. Like the best games, the music Telemann offered for sale was challenging but not so difficult as to be discouraging: it was meant to entertain amateurs and experts alike. The warning for this musical medication did not need to be printed on the title-page: everyone knew that individual results would vary.
The themes of the moral cantata were similarly unthreatening. Many were the paeans to rural activities like wayfaring, fishing, and animal husbandry. Eighteenth-century wellness activities like tobacco smoking and coffee drinking—though not yoga—were hymned. Music, too, could be praised in the very doing of it. The joys and pitfalls of love were always available to feed the imagination and the market.
Thus urban folk pined for fresh country air; busy merchants longed for a good pipe and the pleasures of indolence; the spurned thought of love. But it’s pretty impossible and very stupid to lug a sumptuously veneered two-manual harpsichord over rough roads and across green pastures. These pieces are often about precisely what you don’t have at the moment, as in country delights while ensconced in the city.
Such congenial contradictions are reflected most blithely in one of the genre’s favorite topics—the renunciation of worldly possessions. But worldly possessions are exactly what Telemann’s airing of this sentiment happens to require: a harpsichord for starters; then a flute, maybe a violin; chairs to sit on. Landscape paintings on the walls, a coffee service to enjoy the trendy drink during and after the music: these would be nice, too. And don’t forget the cost of the subscription for Telemann’s latest.
No one has chronicled Telemann’s compositional and capitalistic creativity as rigorously and gracefully as Steven Zohn, whose hefty, but ceaselessly engaging book, Music for a Mixed Taste: Style, Genre, and Meaning in Telemann’s Instrumental Works (Oxford, 2008; paperback edition 2015) rightly extols the genius and resourcefulness of this unique figure, one so vigorously involved in his own time, but whose musical legacy brightens our own. Telemann was proud not only of his marketplace savvy but also, as a university graduate, of his humanistic learning. Like Telemann, Zohn is a scholar and a practicing musician, a baroque flutist of taste and technique with whom I’ve been lucky enough to play on many occasions — even joining up for Die Tonkunst (The Art of Music) of 1726, also heard on this first complete recording of Telemann’s second set of moral cantatas. Zohn’s commentary in the booklet is elegant and illuminating, detailing the intellectual and social context for the genre and clearly describing the musical textures and forms the composer used to animate the moral texts supplied by the Hamburg teenager Johann Joachim Daniel Zimmermann. That this high-schooler could wax poetic on a life of noble poverty and kindred topics shows just how facile such philosophizing could be (perhaps had to be) when served up for bourgeois delight. But the reliance on rhetorical formula doesn’t sap the appealing verve of this music and the bright spontaneity of its performance by Zohn and his friends: the buoyant bass-line support of Eve Miller on baroque cello, and the imaginative but never intrusive continuo accompaniment from Leon Schelhase on harpsichord. (One might like to know what instruments they play, but this information is not supplied.)
The opening cantata covers ever-elusive contentment (Die Zufriedenheit) in just over ten minutes (the rest of the cantatas come in at just under ten). The central message expressed matter-of-factly in the recitative calls that man “happy, if he lives satisfied at his plow. / Who covets nothing can well be called rich.” That patronizing cant works rather against the advice of keyboard tutors of the day that recommended the avoidance of all manual labor. The pseudo-rustic cello drone of the cantata’s closing movement suggests that life is more fun without the encumbrance of things—with the exception of flute, cello, and harpsichord. This is music that breezes over idyllic fields, the flute line curling and eddying with gallant irregularity not the dogged straightness of the plow. Zohn’s shimmering ornamentation, unpredictable but always natural, captivates on the returns to the opening sections, as if to say there can be contentment in variety. It might event be better than eating the dust of oxen all day.
Telemann redeems such sanctimonious treatment of the rural poor with his light touch, as in the third cantata, “Moderate Happiness” (Das maßige Glück) where the contrast between the chic finery of the stylish and the dust-grubbing of the rabble is evoked with pairs of airy lines, the first in major, the second in minor, the music echoing into silences, captured artfully in this well-produced and well-engineered recording.
Each movement is introduced by an instrumental ritornello whose subtle meanings become clear only once the text is delivered, here by the great American soprano, Julianne Baird, lithe of voice, clear of diction, clever with her own ornaments, and operatic when the moment calls for it, as in the rage aria of the third cantata “Die Liebe” (Love):
“You are a great monster,
An arrow, a net, poison, a fire,
And yet, O love, I laugh at you”
(The excellent translations in the booklet are by Lawrence Rosenwald).
Baird cackles down the scale at the close leading to the cadence at the close of the first section after she has the clarity of her trill and brandished her coloratura with devastating accuracy and expression. The band spurs her fury on. The flamboyant mockery of Zohn and Baird seem as easy as swiping left.
From turbulence the sequence of cantatas turns back toward the calm land: another drone sets the scene for “Die Landlust” (Rural Pleasures) and the set closes with a not uncynical account of “Freundschaft” (Friendship), its stylish morality might be right at home in our own immoral times.
To close the CD the instrumentalists must make their own meanings in a bravura Telemann sonata—full of shadowy pathos and sparkling panache—from 1734.
Enlightened metropolitans of today would surely condemn the aesthetic exploitation of peasants and proto-proles heard on this wonderful disc. Still, such guilty pleasures might make any harpsichord-playing hipster and his hipster friends yearn for that century when the culture industry was in its infancy and the likes of Telemann set the algorithms of taste.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at email@example.com)
COMING TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL NEAR YOU?
For the longest time, whenever I’d raise the alarm about the impact of campus extremism, I’d be told I was hallucinating, that it was only a fringe issue, and that it had no salience beyond a few Ivy League bastions of lefty intent. Critical race, queer, and gender theory were just academic fads — without any real impact on the broader population. The fact that major corporations had adopted these theories as the basis for their employment practices, that the mainstream media presents this ideology as self-evident, and that an entire elite generation has been told that the United States was founded on and is defined by brutal racism, did not seem to count.
Now comes a proposed K-12 curriculum in California that would enforce these new orthodoxies on the high-school population. It would teach kids in an ethnic studies course how to “critique [sic] empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism and other forms of power and oppression.” The aim is to “connect ourselves to past and contemporary resistance movements that struggle for social justice.” Children will learn to spell women as “womxn,” and be versed in what critical race theorists call “misgynoir.”
Now, one might expect New York Times reporters to believe that “racism and white supremacy [are] the foundation of all of the systems in the country,” but you can choose not to buy the Times. Public schools? Mandatory. This is where the real action is in “reframing” the entire idea of America.
And so kids in high school in the biggest state in the country would no longer be learning history, but “hxrstory.” They would be instructed in the reality of “cisheteropatriarchy.” They would be told that there is no debate about race or gender or sexuality, just a choice between siding with oppression or liberation. They would be instructed that capitalism is a function of racism. Since California has mandated that, as of 2024, all kids will have to endure a semester of these “ethnic studies” to graduate, the possibility of mass indoctrination is real.
The good news is that the response to this monstrosity of grievance studies has been overwhelmingly negative. Even the Los Angeles Times found it to be agitprop masquerading as scholarship. The classic hard-left view of Israel and full-on endorsement of BDS enraged some Jewish opponents. Other minorities complained. The governor has opined that it needs major revision. But the closed circle that wrote the report — the 20-member Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Advisory Group — was simply reflecting what is now the received wisdom in American higher education. Hence the need to include a study of “borders, borderlands, mixtures, hybridities, nepantlas, double consciousness and reconfigured articulations, even within and beyond the various names and categories associated with our identities.”
Perhaps I will be proven wrong and when this kind of ideological discourse gets exposed more fully, opposition will grow, and it will become more marginalized. This California example gives me some hope for more strenuous resistance. Studies of the ethnic histories and cultures that make up America — including those lumped together as “white” — are not unworthy parts of a curriculum. It’s just that it is close to impossible to discuss them today without importing an ideology that is as totalist as it is intolerant of dissent.
—Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine
TRUMP & DENMARK
I served at the U.S. embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark for four years. It was a dream assignment for many reasons. Among them was the Danish sense of humor, which I witnessed almost daily; often in dealing with my country and its leaders.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s cancellation of his visit to Denmark, I’m sure the Danes are gritting their teeth, rolling their eyes and breathing a national sigh of relief. After all, who wants to host a state visit for a pathological narcissist?
They may also be enjoying a superb irony: In about 800 A.D., the great Viking chieftain, Erik the Red (no, Republicans, it was his hair, not his politics) decided to lure settlers to the frozen island — Greenland — rather than the relatively “green” island of Iceland by switching the names. Little could he imagine that a semiliterate inhabitant of North America — a self-professed real estate mogul — would fall for the ploy 1,200 years later.
LOOK WHAT THE LIBS HAVE DONE
Seattle is one of the biggest disasters in the country and it is a Democrat run city. Portland, Oregon, another disaster, the worst thing that could happen to the Oregon people because of a Democrat governor. Seattle has a Democratic mayor and Democratic governor. Gavin Newsom country, California, is the biggest disaster in the United States starting with Sacramento itself, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco. Los Angeles is out of control, and is another major disaster run by Democrats. And New York with Deblasio and Cuomo is beyond comprehension.
Gavin Newsom is the worst liberal in the country. The whole state is run by Democrats and look at the filthy rotten things that have happened here and the stupid rules in the stupid regulations and the stupid asinine democrat liberal anti-American Communist ideas we've got in California. Yeah! That's Gavin Newsom and the governor of Oregon and the governor of Washington and the governor of California and the governor and the mayor of New York — beyond description of being filthy dirty rotten people.
God bless Donald Trump and God bless him for the next four or five years or more.
PS. I have heard from a reliable source that Mr. Gruesome Newsom is working on a bill to take firearms away from all the law enforcement including undercover people and everybody and arming them only with tasers and billy clubs including sheriffs, Highway Patrol, police — everybody. Tasers and billy clubs. He is inviting all the illegal felons into California for safe haven to deploy them out into the public and arming our law enforcement with tasers only and the only thing that holds this country together from turning into a hopeless disaster is law enforcement. They have kept the public safe for years and years. There are so many felons who would like to commit a crime but they don't because they they know better, they know they will get caught. Thanks a lot Mr. Newsom. Get a bunch of people killed including our law enforcement.
PPS. Listen, Gruesome Newsom. About your background check on ammunition and powder and lead bullets and the rest in the last 10 or 15 years ever since Moonbeam Brown got in office there's already enough stuff in people's hands around the country to arm every highway patrolman and policeman and deputy with 1000 rounds apiece if they want to.
PPPS. Bernie Sanders is the sorriest resemblance of a human being I've ever seen. Now he says that he can spend $16 trillion for climate change. Are you kidding me? He can spend $100 trillion and all you idiots who believe that there is some way to change the climate, you better change your mind because there is no way. Global warming and climate change is bullshit. You can't stop the world from getting closer to the sun. You can't stop what mother nature decides to do. You can spend $16 trillion on climate change and the next day mother nature will shove it right up your ass. All those tax dollars taken away from the American people being spent on crap like climate change and global warming and the Air Resources Board is one of the biggest fucking jokes and hoaxes in the history of California! The Democrats don't care. They just come up with these wild ideas and then they vote on it and they have the voting power so they get it or they convince a bunch of dangling Republicans to go along with it.
PPPPS. I don't think all Democrats are bad. There are a lot of good people who are Democrats as long as they are not liberal. The Liberal Democrats are trying to destroy the country. Most Democrats are so disgusted and horrified by the way the Liberals are acting, especially those women who call themselves the Squad and Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters. Normal regular Democrat people are so sick of what's going on that they might change over and vote Republican. President Trump will win his reelection by no less than 85%. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
PPPPPS. I can't stand an anti-Americans like John Arnoldt and that hippie from Prineville and this other one from Elk and the other one from Navarro. They will be targets when the time comes. Everyone will know who talks bad about the United States. Thousands of men and women have lost their lives keeping this country free so people like Obama and Clinton can be president. It's almost unbelievable. People who talk bad about President Bush, people who talk bad about our army, our military, our law enforcement. You will be targets, believe me, in due time. God bless our military. God bless law enforcement. God bless first responders and firemen and our volunteer fire departments and most of all God bless Donald Trump may he live forever.
PPPPPPS. To Mr. Prender or Prendener or something like that, you liberal communist Democrat whatever you are. I don't intend to take my guns out and start killing people, you idiot! When the time comes when law enforcement gets overwhelmed with you liberal idiots then I will bring my gun out to help them. But you liberals keep doing what you're doing and it won't be long. You understand that, Mr. Prenter? You liberals are on the verge of committing suicide if you keep it up. And, if you think I want to do bad things to people — the only people who need to have bad things done to them are the people who commit heinous crimes and those people get set free by the liberal judges and that's why they should be disposed of because they will sit in jail for a few years and some liberal judge will let them go back in society. That's the way you people are. And you are admitting your guilt by complaining about what I'm saying because you know it's true. So you ought to just shut your mouth. You people make me sick.
A CHARMING DEBACLE. WOULD GO AGAIN.
"Oh! Sorry! I didn't see you sitting there! Sorry! Sorry— Jeez, ya know, if the Invisible Girl is gonna go to the bathroom, she should lock the door."
—John Belushi as The Hulk
The recording of Friday night's (2019-08-23) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0347
Show features a visit from spiritual harmonicist Herb Garfield (Herb with an H). Also Kay and her chewy dog Wally Ballou. A regular health situation update from Alex Bosworth. And David Koch is dead, which is nice, but there is another, so, tch. Not to mention, several very different versions of Boys Of Summer by Don Henley, from note-for-note covers to poignant, exotic, ethereal experiments in sonic sculpture.
Besides all that, at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you can find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
Beatus of Facundus.
And the 180 h.p. Chrysler air-raid siren that you could hear from 40 miles away. That’s what we need, for fire season. Just two or three for all of Mendocino County, and pay high-school kids to polish them up and check the oil and battery every once in awhile and stand ready. It would be a branch of service with a cool uniform, with fedora hats, and inflated electrical insulator shapes for epaulets and around the elbows and knees. Steel-toed Doc Martins, of course. And refurb Google Glass headsets to communicate. And the whole program would cost peanuts. Peanuts.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com