- Neutral Asher
- Village Newsletter
- Cloud Shot
- Arnautoff's Murals
- Solar System
- Quality Weed
- Coke Truck
- Ukiah Depot
- Labor Day
- Ed Notes
- Cafe Closing
- 1976 Diners
- Silent Dan
- Yesterday's Catch
- Coca Guac
- Stupid Thinkers
- No Redress
- Emotional Violence
- White Water
- Catch Fans
- Peace Officer
- Head Ride
- Enough Eggplant
- Found Object
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
(The adoption coordinator is doing cat pets of the week once a month only beginning tomorrow. Sooooo, here's our canine Pet of the Week.)
This uber handsome, freckled-nose gent is Asher—a shy dog who has been under the TLC of our teen volunteers. During his photo session, we found Asher to be a VERY lovable, pleasant and sweet dog. Asher went on a Fido Field Trip and visited a park, Lake Mendocino, and his Field Trip partner’s home. Asher is 4 years old, mixed breed, and weighs a trim and fit 50 pounds. He’s neutered, and ready to start his life with you ASAP! Visit Asher’s webpage for more information: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com/dogblog/asher
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah. Our dog and cat kennel hours have changed. Please visit our website for the new hours, and information about our guests, services, programs and events: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE NEWSLETTER September 2019
Welcome to Anderson Valley Village. We are a locally inspired and managed non-profit organization. Our mission is to help older adults remain active, connected, and independent in the place they call home while enhancing the quality of life in our community. See what's new in the valley.
Looking forward to the fall as we are holding steady with 53 members and 41 trained volunteers! Thank you for the support!
Note from AV Village President Stephanie Gold: Greetings to all, It feels like summer in Anderson Valley, with tomatoes and blackberries in abundance and the afternoon sun still a force to be reckoned with. But autumn is most definitely around the corner, and as summer fades my mind turns to winter prep tasks. What fun! Luckily for all of us, David Jackness, our fellow Village member and volunteer, is offering free home safety checks that couldn’t be more timely. He’ll see if faucets and pipes are protected for winter freezes, he’ll check outside lights and rails and stairs, he’ll look at your electrical panel and well pump and your stove flues and dryer vents, too. David can assess emergency exits and safety routes in your home, and how best to avoid falls. And, since we’re not yet out of the woods in terms of fire season, he has a wealth of experience in assessing for fire safety as well. Perhaps not as much fun as peach cobbler on a summer day, but David’s generous offer and expertise can help keep you safe through autumn and winter and looking towards the following summer. Contact Anica if you’d like her to put you in touch with David, and in the meantime, have fun at the Mendocino Apple Fair! And we hope you can attend our next monthly gathering, it is going to be a good one and we would love to get your input! It is Sept 8^th 4 to 5:30 pm at Lauren’s—see below for more details.
Very best, Stephanie Gold, AVV President
Monthly Gatherings, Training & Activates:
See AV Village and other local events listed on the Events Calendar on our website: https://gmail.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cea1e601922fa82e47579cc80&id=11b9fa3d0a&e=358077c1c9
Note: let us know if you would like us to email you a list of upcoming local events on our calendar—the email will go out every Sunday morning and cover 2 weeks of events.
Monthly Gatherings: Please join us for “The Village Movement: Understanding How Our Village Stacks Up & Understanding Your Membership,” Sunday September 8th (4—5:30 p.m.) at Lauren’s Restaurant. This gathering is intended to help members understand their membership and/or is an introduction to prospective members. We will provide copies of our new (slightly revised) membership handbook and entertain a lively discussion about what your AV Village membership means and/or can mean to you and our community. Bring your questions, comments and enthusiasm—refreshments provided!
Next month’s gathering will be October 13th and will be food/ nutrition related, yum!
Note: if you missed our Aug gathering where Dr Mark Apfel covered end-of-life issues and options - including POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) and Advanced Health Care Directives—don’t worry we recorded it and can send you the notes and YouTube links—just email us.
Volunteer Training: We also have a volunteer training Sunday September 8th 3 to 4 pm (right before our monthly gathering) at Lauren’s—we ask each volunteer to complete a short training, please RSVP with our coordinator (contact info below) if you can attend, thank you!
Activities: Book conversation - The new book is Mary Pipher’s “Women Rowing North”—read the book and come prepared to discuss it on Wednesday September 18th at 11 am at Lauren’s Restaurant. Contact Lauren for questions firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com)
The Hamilton Trip Report! On Wednesday (8/28) 20 Anderson Valley residents successfully adventured down to San Francisco to view the famous Hamilton musical. Attendees were a mix of Village members, volunteers, board members and none of the above but all were the wiser of the abilities of our little Village to make it happen! At the helm was the wonderful Mary O'Brien—thank you again for taking this on and navigating a successful outing! To get aboard another one of these wonderful outings contact Mary for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
If there are activities you would like to see offered and/or you would like to lead, please let us know and we will help make it happen.
Anderson Valley Village
P.O. Box 576 Boonville, CA 95415
CLOUDS AT SUNSET
BARRED FROM VIEWING CONTROVERSIAL SF MURALS
by Jonah Raskin
Sometimes San Francisco really sucks. It sucked one cold, foggy day last week when I tried to get into George Washington High School to see the controversial murals painted in the 1930s, under the aegis of the New Deal, by a commie named Victor Arnautoff. The friendly Samoan security guard told me “No Way. No entrance.” When I asked him what he thought of the murals he told me, “It's history. History sucks. You can’t cover it up.” Those are my sentiments, exactly.
History doesn’t always offer pretty pictures. You can't cover them up, though some San Franciscans want to do just that. They want to paint over the past and hide what’s real. Critics of the murals say that they “traumatize” young people because they depict a dead Indian and enslaved African-Americans. My San Francisco pals say, “Life traumatizes young people.” One pal, an ex-school teacher, told me about a former student of his who was raped and shot on a street in Oakland. “That’s real trauma,” he said. “Stuff like that happens almost everyday.”
The real school problem in the city isn’t the murals, but the fact that public education in San Francisco is in many ways a travesty of real learning. One member of my family, who was for years a school principal, and who still works for the SF school district, told me that some schools are in such horrible shape that they ought to be closed down, or else thoroughly repaired. She also said that inexperienced and under-qualified teachers are often sent to schools where the majority of the students are brown and black. White kids get the experienced, qualified instructors.
What’s more, the public school system doesn’t have a social studies text for kids because the authorities can’t agree on what ought to be in the text. Those are some of the real issues in San Francisco, not Arnautoff’s murals.
On the day I went to George Washington and was barred from entering, a longtime official of the teachers’ union joined me. He told me that the union has not taken a stand on the murals because the membership is divided down the middle. He also said that some union members would like to throw paint on the controversial murals. Joe Hill must be turning in his grave, along with Harry Bridges and Victor Arnautoff.
San Francisco has a reputation as a city that welcomes and endorses freedom of expression. Citizens point to the murals in Coit Tower and to the many murals on walls in the Mission and other neighborhoods. True enough, artists are encouraged to express themselves. But San Francisco also has a long and dishonorable history of censorship and intolerance. City Light’s Lawrence Ferlinghetti was arrested and put on trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl.” For a time, Coit Tower was closed down; the public couldn’t see the murals because, in the words of a banker, they “might be interpreted as communistic propaganda.”
After public pressure, Coit Tower was reopened and the public allowed inside, but not before an image of a banner that read “Western Worker,” and another image of a hammer and sickle, associated with communism, was removed. The Coit Tower muralists protested the destruction of Diego Rivera’s mural in Rockefeller Center because it included an image of Lenin. One can understand why Rockefeller’s gang wouldn't want Lenin staring them in the face, but the decision by the San Francisco Board of Education to destroy the images at George Washington is incomprehensible, immoral and reactionary.
It’s true that the school board changed its mind. The murals won’t be destroyed. Still, the offensive images will be covered-up. Kids won’t be traumatized by art. Just by the violence and the obscenity of life in the Bay Area.
Public art has never been widely accepted in San Francisco. It still isn’t. And that sucks. The only reasonable thing to do is to go on defending freedom of expression and to go on making art, whether it’s controversial or not.
SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM FOR SALE
Dear AVA: Do you happen to know anyone that would be interested in a COMPLETE closed loop solar water heater system? I actually have enough to have 2 complete and seperate systems. I acquired most of it thru Eric Glassey of DripWorks in Willits. I intended on using it when I found the right house to install it into. Then I found another solar water tank and added it to the collection. And now, unfortunately, I must sell in order to survive. In total I have, 2 water tanks, one 100-120 gallon, other 40-60 gallon (possible 80), 2 larger water heater solar water panels, 1 medium sized water heater solar panel, One water heater tank is fully outfitted. The other tank, pump, thermo sensor smd control box are brand new. Everything was working and functioned perfectly when it was dismantled a few months ago. I do not know how to price things like this, but I know that these hold their value nicely; the used panels alone are $1,200+ each. The tanks are $800-$1,200, or roughly $10/gallon. I would be extremely pleased to get $3,000 for ALL of it. Please let me know if u happen to come across anyone .
(If interested, reply in care of AVA: email@example.com.)
SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS on the subject of the legal cannabis market in Mendocino County at last Tuesday's board meeting:
“Trying to control the supply of marijuana in this county to keep prices up just won’t pan out. You are competing against other counties and other states. Not everybody needs to scale up. If quality is really the deciding factor on consumer purchases, there are other ways to attack that problem. A standard rating system to show the consumer that it is a quality product. I have been asking the cannabis community to put together a double-blind consumer test. Take ten samples from the Wal-Mart of weed, Santa Barbara, and ten samples from the finest of small cultivators in this county and mix them all up and show that you can differentiate. If that's the case, maybe we have something to go on with branding and marketing. But if it's not the case and distributors are paying the same price to everyone, we have a problem. Small farms need to think about at what price they can break even today. I don't know what that number is. Is it $200 a pound? $125? $500? There's a price where you are at breakeven. Imagine that price falling below breakeven. You say, Now I need to scale up, you need an economy of scale. The competition around the state and country has lowered the price. It will take local government two years to catch up. For two years you're out of business. Everybody's out of business. I do want to protect the small cultivator and I see us leveraging the larger players to subsidize the program as one way to keep the fees down. We talked about the co-op model in the grows. But we don't know as an [economic development] ad hoc committee if it's ten acres all in one place or is it 10 acres with small cultivators coming in so they can have shared processing? Maybe. Is it a 10 acre farm all by itself on 200 acres? They could do that also. The idea is to keep it open ended and continue the discussion on what we can do in the board chambers and bring ideas back. We don't want to come up with a plan that is not feasible.”
Mark Scaramella Notes: While you’re at it, do a double-blind taste test of any Mendo 100-point pinot compared to Gallo’s nicest Carlo Rossi jug wine. Funny, nobody’s ever done that to prove much the same thing as Williams suggests for pot. I wonder why?
LAST TUESDAY Supervisor John McCowen updated his colleagues on the status of the sale of the North Coast Railroad Authority Ukiah depot to the State Court system for construction of a completely unnecessary new Ukiah courthouse project that will disrupt all the County’s supporting offices — District Attorney, Sheriff, Probation, Public Defender, support services… and cost Mendo who knows how much to adapt. But nobody in Mendo is talking about how much that will cost.
“Supervisor Haschak and I attended the NCRA meeting in Novato. Senator McGuire's office continues to work with NCRA and the Judicial Council of California to be able to move forward to get the remaining work needed to be done for the infrastructure improvements at the Ukiah Depot out to bid so those can be completed. Unfortunately, based on the threat of litigation the NCRA withdrew its previous valid exception to bid which was the only way the project would have got done this year with the available funds. So that will go over till next year. The project will be delayed. It will ultimately require more money. So we solve one problem and now we have several others to deal with. But I'm optimistic that with Senator McGuire’s help we will be able to complete that project next year.”
Mark Scaramella notes: We smell another strong whiff of Oil Can Bosco hovering over this brief status summary. Also note that McCowen mysteriously didn’t name the company that the NCRA (whose general counsel is Doug Bosco) wanted to give the work to without competitive bids.
AS ONE of the many millions at the mercy of the new technology, I had no idea where these dating ads came from or how to erase them from our serious-people-only website. "Want to meet available women in Boonville?" Uh, no. Be it known, serious-people-who-read-our-website that we're opposed to harlotry in all its manifestations. Better yet, we think we've figured out how to keep them off our serious-people-only site.
THE MOST FAMOUS opioid OD recently was Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs who died suffocating in his own vomit from a mix of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol. Skaggs' family has said they believe someone in the Angels organization got the young ballplayer the drugs, someone with legal access to drugs.
SHERIFF ALLMAN told us the other day that opioids are "all over the county," a statement confirmed by statewide stats that claim only Lake County has more people, per capita, prescribed opioids than Mendo.
WHICH, according to a report cited in the Advocate-Beacon, each of us Mendo-groovies, as of 2012, downed sixty-three pills each, including children. But the DEA and Disease Control studies from which this stat is extracted run from 2006-2012, prior to contemporary media saturation emphasizing the extent of yet one more sad indicator that contrary to Good Morning America, many of our fellow citizens need chemical support to negotiate their days. And the Sheriff says these especially pernicious drugs are as prevalent now as when the studies were done, although doctors are now much less likely to write wholesale prescriptions for downers as they were ten years ago. The neo-wave of the oxy-fenatyl drugs come from the South, but without the huge, despairing market for them presented by Gringolandia…
I COULDN'T get all the way through The New Yorker's profile of the thoroughly repellant Mike Pompeo, Trump's bumbling Secretary of State, but I did read that Pompeo's favorite book is Atlas Shrugged, and his fave author is Ayn Rand. Speaking of course from my own experience, I wonder if you out there share it: I have never met a smart person from Mensa or a Randian who wasn't, fundamentally, a fascist. And a dummy. Pompeo's both. And he's America's face to the world. On second thought, yes, I will have an oxy.
IS IT SEXIST to observe what several local motorists have observed, to wit that the flag ladies at the highway projects on the Ukiah Road and the work near Yorkville are unusually attractive?
THIS NOTE from the charity, Willits Daily Bread: "We are in the process of turning the dining room at St. Francis in the Redwoods Episcopal Church into a real dining room for the hungry. We are raising money and we appreciate all the help you can give us; please contact me at 707-367-5669."
THE COUNTY OF MENDO, which is you and me brothers and sisters, paid a consultant named Marbut fifty grand to figure out a practical strategy for dealing with the homeless, flexibly defined by the helping professionals whose funding depends on them to include transients unwilling or unable to care for themselves. Marbut advised us to sort out the Mendo-natives from the passers-through, making the small number of hard working local people temporarily down on their luck the housing priority. Help the native Mendo people get a place to live even if they're drunk, drugged and nuts, but give the transients a sandwich, if that, and boot them in the ass outtahere. Marbut pointed out the obvious; Mendo is subsidizing drunks and dope heads who rotate up and down the West Coast, and making these bums extra comfy in Ukiah and Fort Bragg. Willits is unwise in encouraging the Episcopalians to subsidize undeserving people.
MENDOCINO’S SUNRISE CAFE CLOSING
MendocinoSportsPlus saw this posted to the Mendocino Cafe page Saturday @ 11:30 am. Too bad - we really enjoyed the food & service when we ate there:
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that we are closing our doors.
When we opened in January, we had high hopes and heads filled with visions of all the things we wanted to do with the Sunrise Café. We wanted to fill the need for an affordable place for locals to eat, try and bring back a good burger joint to Mendocino, and fill the niche for the missing breakfast element in town. We also had plans to add a soft-serve ice cream machine and implement house-made BBQ and smoked meats.
Unfortunately, our investor was diagnosed with cancer shortly after we opened and understandably had to divert the funds set aside for the restaurant towards treatment.
This forced us to try and become self-sufficient in the winter months, and with a brand-new business and no money for advertising we started to drown in our expenses. There were logistic issues that we needed to work out, and equipment that we needed, but without the funds to bring our plans into fruition our service suffered, and we weren’t able to fully provide the experiences we wanted to bring to the community.
We did have a decent run this summer, however, it wasn’t enough to cover our growing mountain of debt and carry us through this coming winter.
Which is sad because I wholeheartedly believe that with a little fine-tuning this restaurant could become a landmark, it has so much potential!
The good news is that the majority of the work has been done. We’re listing the business for sale (contact Big River Realty if interested!), and whoever takes it over has very little work to do to continue making into something great. Our dream may be coming to an end, but someone else will have the opportunity to make theirs come true!
This roller-coaster ride has had many ups and downs, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Having a business in this community is such a rewarding experience. Our locals are so warm and welcoming, and supportive. We’ve enjoyed getting to know many of our regulars, and hearing about the good ol days from some of our old-timers; and 'tourist season' brings with it a whole new set of stories, with lives and memories shared from across the globe.
So, even though we are closing this chapter in our lives, we look forward to what the next chapter brings. We are thankful to have met each and every one of you, and are truly sorry that we couldn’t make this work long term.
We’d love to see you one more time, so please stop by and grab some food or just say hi. Our last day will be this Sunday, 09/01/19.
With All Our Love,
Brian & Katie Smith"
MAYOR GEORGE MOSCONE & JIM JONES at a testimonial dinner in 1976, CHS. Both would die in 1978.
CAN SILENT DAN SURVIVE?
by Rex Gressett
In their goodbye report, the outgoing Mendocino County Grand Jury launched a fare thee well torpedo straight at the BOS (Board of Supervisors) nailing the ship of state just below the waterline.
For the constituents of Dan Gjerde’s 4th District, the report was so on point you have to wonder if it might end up being a terminal electoral liability.
The Grand Jury was concise, precise and on target.
They spoke for the people of the County with rare clarity and put into words the murmurings and wonderment of many people. It was not quite the declaration of independence, but for the local arena, it had that kind of eloquence and penetration.
For Supervisor Gjerde it raised issues that he simply may not be able to correct.
Quoting from the report,"The Mendocino County Grand Jury (GJ), based upon its investigation, finds that the BOS has failed to establish and publish strategic county-wide policies with effective long term goals that address county-wide issues.”
Often it appears that the CEO is providing leadership that has been abdicated by the BOS.”
The GJ found that the Board of Supervisors had systematically deferred to the boss lady — County CEO Carmel Angelo — and ducked public input with determined persistence.
Quoting again, "The GJ became aware of public concerns addressing the issue of whether the CEO was exceeding her authority in determining and implementing policies that govern the County." Maybe you noticed the Board tagging along behind the million-dollar consultants and letting the CEO do the heavy thinking.
The report decried the systemic failure of the BOS in “meeting the concerns of the public and establishing effective and easily accessed methods for constituents to contact individual board members.”
Easy peasy for the soft-spoken, well dressed well-paid Supes — just keep the public out of the loop. In austere understatement, the report noted that “In order for the individual Supervisors to be more responsive to their constituents, regularly scheduled meetings in each district would be beneficial.“
All that was too close to the bone for 4th District Supe Dan Gjerde who arose in indignant petulance and declared that for God sake he had many meetings with his constituents and a great many radio interactions. I have had six meetings with constituents, saith he.
When I contacted his office after the meeting, he was able to verify that he actually had four. He certainly was in attendance at the rather occult annual mutual admiration event hosted over dinner for the Fort Bragg Democratic Club. Can't miss that.
He was also sighted the big evening when state Senator Mike McGuire came to Fort Bragg on his annual press-the-flesh pilgrimage into the hinterlands. And Gjerde was careful to point out that once he spoke to a gathering of realtors — who are certainly his constituents.
The other meeting Supe Gjerde attended was with the housing action team, which is an appointed group of insiders. That makes four. The other two meetings were not specified. Possibly they were an important chat over coffee.
Even more surprising was the multitude of radio interviews through which our Fourth district rep was able to ascertain popular issues and sentiments. Those turned out to be one-way, one-on-one call-ins to Joe Regelski, the KOZT-FM comedy DJ, who massacres the national headlines with amusing accents and eschews local controversy on principle. He does not take listener calls. Gjerde calls in (off-air) and gives summations of the Supes meeting the day after they are held.
Supervisor Dan Gjerde understands the game as well as anybody. If they ever pay you the big bucks not to rock the boat, you’ll understand that too.
Mr. Gjerde was raised from infancy in a system that very nearly destroyed Fort Bragg. He served on the city council for 14 years almost all (all) of it in the regime of City Manager Linda Ruffing.
The former autocratic Fort Bragg city manager makes boss lady Carmel Angelo look like a boy scout.
Gjerde did, however, have a career-defining moment of glory when Dominic Affinito threw a memorable punch and knocked him down in Town Hall soon after he was elected.
Ms. Ruffing illegally borrowed $3 million from the sequestered water enterprise fund to beef up her options at city hall. They call it a "bookkeeping error" to this day. The City of Fort Bragg is still juggling the books to pay it back. She fired the most beloved police chief in Fort Bragg history out, Scott Mayberry, out of an excess of petty vindictiveness and got booted out of office in the wake of a dirty real estate deal that provoked a mayoral recall and a ballot issue.
Throughout the long years of the Ruffing regime, Dan Gjerde was professionally comatose unwavering in his obedience and always well dressed. When Linda Ruffing's supporters "got woke" and the people got mad, it took two election cycles (as fast as technically possible) to replace the entire city council and elect a new council — specifically mandated to fire the City Manager.
The new City Manager is a person of probity, honesty, and intelligence. It was a triumph of local democracy and Fort Bragg is clawing its way back. Dan Gjerde got kicked upstairs, just ahead of the mass executions. Insular Fort Bragg was so self-invested, so indifferent to the County and so glad to see him go, that Mr. Gjerde ran for the Board of Supervisors unopposed.
That was then…
In the "now," the 2019 Grand Jury looked at the County Board and noticed they were systematically flying by the seat of their pants.
"Reactive" was the way the GJ put it. Million-dollar consultants and an unelected CEO were working great for the sleepy, inert Board of Supervisors — not so much for the county.
Dan Gjerde (Silent Dan) could tell them how it works, but now he has a problem. Public interaction is not his strong point. He actually can't answer questions because he has been bred for decades to avoid them. Neither is he accustomed to that "vision thing" and strategic planning is way out his wheelhouse.
In a lifetime of public service, policy has always come before him prepackaged by unelected administrators. Public meetings are inconceivable and probably would be fatal, although one does like to imagine that what the Grand Jury is demanding is a democratic representation of popular interests.
We achieved that in Fort Bragg by our bootstraps no thanks to Dan Gjerde. Fort Bragg survived Dan Gjerde and prospered. The question is, will Gjerde survive the Grand Jury?
CATCH OF THE DAY, AUGUST 31, 2019
MORGAN AMMERMAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
ADRIANA CALDERON, Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury.
JENNIFER CRAM, Ukiah. Petty theft, probation revocation.
SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JESSE GIBSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. DUI alcohol-drugs, suspended license (for DUI), paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.
ROBERT HANOVER, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER IAKOVKIN, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ANGIE JOAQUIN, Covelo. Probation revocation.
ALEXANDER JOHNSON, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
SCOTT MAINGI, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
MARK NEWELL, Redwood Valley. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run, suspended license, failure to appear.
CLINTON SALLEE, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
JEREMIAH SANCHEZ, Hopland. Resisting.
MICHAEL SCHULER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, pot possession for sale, tear gas, paraphernalia, metal knuckles, ammo possession by prohibited person.
MARIAN SLIWA, Rocklin/Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats.
CHRISTOPHER THOMAS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
KATHRYN TYNES, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, failure to appear.
COCAINE IN YOUR GUAC
I fear for post-Brexit Great Britain — or the parts that will remain, that is. Severing financial and regulatory ties with the European Union will leave a dangerous vacuum. Who will fill it apart from the usual international suspects?
On a visit I discerned one such suspect: avocados. Not being flippant, but it is more sinister than one incredibly popular fruit ubiquitous over there. Another plant is behind it: cocaine. The connection appears more than coincidental.
The majority of avocados come from just a few Central and South American countries and some Mexican states. From news reports, Michoacan state is run by a drug cartel, and the avocado growers are under its control. Colombia, home of the drug cartels, is also a large producer of avocados.
Cheap supplies of cocaine are flooding into Europe from those sources, probably to avoid America’s disastrous war on drugs. Recently, $1 billion worth of cocaine was found in Germany. In May, cocaine was found in freshwater shrimp in England’s remote Suffolk, showing cocaine use has become epidemic in towns and villages there.
Britain’s already lax banking regulations with loopholes in the Channel Islands and the Caribbean will only enable such enterprises with no other oversight and a desperate government.
Enjoy your guacamole.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
There’s a lot of lower order thinking skills in evidence, especially among those who profess great intellect and enlightenment, those people choosing to not tackle the great issues of the day but rather to embark on a variety of fool’s errands as distraction from what actually matters.
One was the fantastical multi-year, multi-million dollar attempt to tar Trump as a collaborator with a mustache-twirling foreign despot.
And now, sez the premier disseminator of utter nonsense in the land and maybe in the world and maybe in history, the next thing they’ll tackle is Trump’s racism given the utter and complete flop of Mueller’s Inquisition and given that Trump refused to do the bidding of everyone that think they get to decide these things and resign.
These lower order thinking skills manifest themselves not only in large issues but also small, accusing Trump of treason one of the large, a small one being that preposterous contretemps between Oberlin College and Gibson’s Bakery over that shop-lifting incident, that fluffed a run-of-the-mill theft into accusations of racism against the bakery and that resulted in a law-suit against the college, which the college lost and which resulted in a multi-million dollar award to the bakery.
I wasn’t there and so all I know is what I read in the papers, but based on what I read, I have to wonder if the college-set has completely lost its marbles. A failure of the intellect among intellectuals seems to be characteristic of our age.
Oberlin sez it’s appealing the award. I dunno but given what I’ve read so far, maybe just paying up and shutting the fuck up is the best way forward just to get this mess out of the public eye. Because a mess is what this is, and one that didn’t remotely need to come to this.
Anyway, they say that Gibson’s Bakery has really good donuts. Anyone been there?
Interesting to see that the NFL quarterback Andrew Luck decided to retire at age 29 because he's sick and tired of the physical pain of pro football, although it sounds like the game has also taken an emotional toll on him.
I've been a fan of football, professional as a kid and college as an adult, since I was seven years old. When I first had the opportunity to play football with pads as a freshman in high school I did not waste a second considering going out for the freshman team since I had no need to "hit" (i.e., tackle and block) other males and I certainly had no interest in having other males "hit" me knowing that a lot of them either didn't give a crap about me or disliked me. (Even the ones who liked me would have felt compelled to "hit" me.)
As I followed college football from my 20s into middle age, I have become aware that for me the physical violence of football is a metaphor for the emotional violence I feel in almost every area of American life: work, school, family, social. But America in my opinion is rather backwards in its understanding of emotions, so it's not likely anytime soon that we will acknowledge or understand emotional violence.
Less than an hour ago I prematurely left Peet’s coffee house near my residence where I had hoped to read for a half-hour. I left after only five minutes because in addition to the music that was playing over the PA system which by itself was not annoying there was an additional irritating noise in the rather small seating area. After 20 seconds I realized the noise was coming from a 60-something man's tech device about 12 feet from me. As I got up to leave I looked over at his device which had a small screen and saw that the irritating noise was coming from a video he was watching of about a dozen marching band drummers lined up beating their drums.
I had no interest in politely confronting this man about the noise because based on my experience in our modern society I felt like the overwhelmingly likely response I would get from him would be hostility and an attempt to try to make me feel that it was my problem and not his that his device was offending me. In addition, I assume that he as white American male quite possibly might feel entitled to be offensive and not be challenged.
This would be an example of emotional violence, expecting to receive hostility from someone whose noise in a public place was offending me.
So my solution was to go home and read where I knew it was quiet but where I had no chance of engaging with anyone like I might be able to do at the cafe.
Oh well. Better to have no company than bad company.
ZAPPA MONTAG LETTER FEEDBACK VIA KYM KEMP'S REDHEADED BLACKBELT
Comment  (Mendocino Mamma) — Zappa I hear you I feel for you totally 100% empathetic here! Not to deflect the subject onto myself but my son had a similar incident he was pulled over by Mendocino County Sheriff accused of being under the influence he denied and refused their statements and kept telling them no he was not high and he did not know what they were talking about. They never tested him he offered to test never did a blood test held him over the weekend. As a result he lost his job, his vehicle was impounded which he could not afford to get out of impound. The charges were dropped on Monday by the judge for lack of evidence go figure. Does a person in this type of situation get their car back NO! When it should be released without any fees. His mugshot and booking photo for being under the influence was released and never retracted. It’s nothing new. Mendocino County has a habit of praying on people that have little way to defend themselves In the heat of the situation. The snowballs tend to pick up speed real fast. Before you know it you’re in a legal avalanche and it’s going to take you years to get out of it if ever. Many of the local legal decisions are decided in chambers. Long before you are actually ever standing in front of the judge. A lot of the local lawyers like to tell the judges what to do and the judges defer and ask the lawyers to write up the orders when the judges clerk should be doing it right then and there as the judgment is expressed, not to be interpreted later by some lawyer making little changes to it and then the judge just signs it off. There is a lot of travesty of Justice going on in Mendocino County because we actually don’t follow the written laws. If you talk to any lawyers from out of the area that handle appellate courts, other lawsuits trying to make things happen, that’s where a lot of these bigger judgments come down because those outside lawyers say what the hell is going on up there and how do they get away with that? Mendo they damn follow their own Mendocino County law… pretty shady but nobody is able to do anything about it in spite of years of complaints.
Comment  (Zappa Montag) — It is messed up indeed that people have their reputations and ability to make a living destroyed by unethical people with power. I loved growing up in Mendo, but there is a scary underbelly of old timer culture that seems to continue to have their run of the place.
Comment 3 — Doesn’t help that the AVA publishes all those mug shots with glee and delight.
Bruce A. just loves those ‘crime’ reports…and worships at the feet of ‘law enforcement’.
Ex marine, don’tchaknow?
Comment  (Zappa Montag) —I did not know that about Bruce A. I always wondered why a paper that professes to be radical has such an ugly column as the “Catch of the Day”. They love to delight in people’s misfortune. I don’t know what purpose publishing people’s mugshots serves, and what purpose archiving every arrest in the county serves. This is why I say the media is complicit. For some cheap news they are willing to permanently damage people’s reputations and ability to make a living, and they don’t seem to take this responsibility very seriously. Perhaps they could record for a month or so, but for life? It is wrong. If they want to keep the public safe, then keep records of people’s actual convictions, not the distorted arrest reports from the booking log.
Comment 5 — The AVA is a mixed bag. Actually does some good reporting on local issues, but there is a lot of strident opinion and a bit of yellow journalism on the side. Still way beyond the Daily Journal or Willits News. ’Catch of the Day’ serves the same purpose as the weekly crank letter from Jerry Philbrick. It garners eyeballs.
Comment  (Anon Forest) — Whatever sells the paper, flies…
FEELING LUCKY, PUNK?
FAVORITE RIDE: The Head Ride (Part 2 of 4)
The Head Ride II
When we last left you we said we think Paul’s going to be fine. We were right. He’s recovering nicely from his wife of sixteen years leaving him abruptly the same period his father died, from “throwing him under a bus” as he puts it, and then she moving into his dead father’s house located way up north in that little farm town on the vast golden plains of Saskatchewan where Paul and the little woman visited often during their time together, a place she loved so well, Paul has said, that she hated to return home to Redding. Knowing the contemporary civic hell of Redding as your writer does, he empathizes with her fully in that regard. For some caustic detail about Redding you may wish to recall, see “The Head Ride I” above.
Anyway, another ride seemed in order. The grand mountainous wilderness that stretches west of Redding all the way to the Pacific Ocean, coursing the drainages of great rivers like the Trinity and the Klamath that eventually spill into the sea, this seemed like a reasonable venue for “The Head Ride II”. The roads are some of Paul’s favorites, like the twisty devil that hides under the oaks and soars atop the ridges between Redding and Platina known as County Road 16, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Another rider accompanying Paul and your writer on this “another ride” requires mention at the outset. Call him Lance. That’s not his real name. He has requested anonymity because he labors arduously for a major bank in Southern California managing investment portfolios for people who have way too much money, and much of the foregoing would perhaps not be fruitful insofar as his career path with an obdurately conservative institution is concerned. But hey. This is a motorcycle ride, hardly a pivot point of western civilization, and in any endeavor worth its salt, writing especially, isn’t honesty rather important? If you disagree with that I suggest you return to your TV or your morning newspaper website. Lance’s involvement here seemed relevant on a number of fronts, the main one being he is the most positive, optimistic human being I’ve ever met. He would find fruit in an armed robbery. So such a person, I reasoned, would provide counter balance to Paul’s cynical negativity which has let us say been exacerbated by his wife’s flying the coop in the manner in which she did. Lance (who is of interesting Mexican/Irish descent that would have fascinated James Joyce) is well into his second marriage with two children resultant from his current union about which he speaks ebulliently. His first marriage involved a Latina woman that he characterizes in so many words as having been too hot to last. Does he speak negatively about her? Never. Does he speak ruefully about her? Always, and as the French say, vive le difference. In any event I figured Lance would provide thoughtful conversation with thrice-married Paul on the subject of women folk, and perhaps palliate his harsh attitudes on this and other matters, and the two of them share overriding passion about motorcycling, and both are superb riders, and both are mechanically expert enough to restore an old machine into showroom perfection. Ah, these are ties that bind the most disparate souls.
We are an unusual triumvirate: Paul leads on his surgically immaculate seventy horsepower ultra-au courant Suzuki SV 650, a midsize V-twin crotch rocket that’s like, say, Gail Sayers negotiating a defensive backfield compared to how Larry Csonka would do it, which is to say bigger isn’t always better. If Paul were riding his other bike, a superbike, a GSXR 750, I believe he wouldn’t have been as adroit on the snakers as he was on the SV. There’s a life lesson here somewhere. Lance follows Paul unerringly, always, right on Paul’s rear tire, atop his borrowed retro 1989 Honda NT 650 Hawk, a V-twin like Paul’s SV but much less au courant with twenty less horsepower and not nearly the suspension sophistication, but no matter, he always followed Paul through the corners, so many of them disturbingly blind, always close enough to Paul’s rear tire, to elicit comment eventually from Paul that “Lance can ride”. This from Paul is equivalent to The Medal of Moto-Honor, the Iron Cross of Motodom. The last time he complimented me he said, “You look healthy. Are you?” I am always coming in third, me on my Teutonic BMW GS 1200, a dual purpose machine that’s great off the pavement, and a damn fine road bike as well that could easily keep up with the rice burners in the corners if being negotiated by a less chronologically challenged and fearful rider than your writer who has paid the price in the past trying to keep Mike Hailwood wannabe friends of his in sight. At an overlook at a summit on Highway 36 with a sweeping staggering coastal range view of purple mountains’ majesty, I see Paul and Lance have paused, waiting for me. Kind and sensitive Paul, in compassionate attempt to alleviate any discomfort he thinks I might feel that I’m lagging behind, says “Hey, we just got here, really”. What was his wife thinking when she left? That she’s going to find a better man? Got news for you, you little Canadian cheerleader, lots a luck. As we bs at the overlook in pulls a Hyundai beater with a father and his young son and his son’s friend. They’re from Vermont. His shirtless son’s pants are down around the crack of his ass and he’s got a winged tattoo between his shoulder blades that looks, well, gay, but overall, they seem ok. They’ve been road tripping around the north state, we converse amiably; father offers something like “Wow, California’s really changed”. I think but don’t say, Very astute of you to notice brah, I was just thinking the same thing myself.
Hayfork, California — As we’re fueling up and anticipating breakfast in this old historic Trinity County logging and mining community where marijuana cultivation is apparently now the driving enterprise, the three of us are aware of some very weird vibes extant. A young woman gassing up a truck in the next bay in the station is an attractive pubescent lady, maybe she was even the Hayfork High prom queen I think as I observe her tanned clean-cut loveliness. Then I look at the sullen hirsute young man waiting at the wheel of the truck she’s fueling and I think, whoa, dear, do your parents know you’re enjoined with an untidy suspiciously gaunt gentleman tatted up to his chin who could double for Charlie Manson in a biopic on the subject of mind fucking impressionable young people? But of course this question would be highly inappropriate. A better one might be articulated loudly by Reverend Billy in the Hayfork Community Park, “Do you good citizens realize what the hypocrisy relative to marijuana legalization, regulation and taxing effort is costing this violence-prone country of ours that is teetering as we speak on the precipice of fascism? No. Well then I suggest re-reading certain texts by George Santayana wherein he observed that ignorance of history dooms the ignorant to repeating it. “What’s the big fuss about? I’m just giving people what they want”. — Al Capone. Here’s John Prine on the pot debate: “When I woke up this morning things were looking bad. Seemed like total silence was the only friend I had. A bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down, and won. It was about twelve o’clock before I realized I was having no fun. Now but fortunately I have the key to escape reality, and you may see me tonight with an illegal smile. It don’t cost very much but it lasts a long while. Won’t you please tell the man I didn’t kill anyone, I’m just trying to have me some fun”. Me, I’m not going to weigh in on it. I think the appalling burgeoning state-wide sprawl of environmentally destructive vineyard monoculture being lorded over by nice people with way too much money is a much more pernicious problem.
One of the great things about a motorcycle ride is that the task at hand of keeping the rubber side down when aggressively negotiating a seductive stretch of road requires so much focus that the rider’s mind simply must not wander into any attention at all on other matters, especially the negative ones aforementioned. A pragmatic ex-cop friend with whom I’ve ridden many miles in the past, who told me once he thought trying to police human vice was a colossal waste of time and money, used to refer to a good motorcycle trip as a cerebral douche. Such is certainly the case on the series of high speed sweepers that grace an extended particularly exhilarating section of Highway 36 between Forest Glen and Bridgeville, the latter an abbreviated little hamlet on a bank of the Van Duzen River where we pause for an added benefit, the solace and bounty of nature providing fresh sugar pill blackberries we pick and pop into our mouth from a huge tangle of vines growing here. Bridgeville (pop 25) is notable for being the first town to be put up for auction on eBay. It sold originally for $1.7 million, a price that included three cows, eight houses and a post office. Not far down the road as it makes its way down to the sea, to Humboldt Bay where we plan to lodge for the night, is another venue that always for me makes the woes of the world seem far away because particularly from the seat of a motorcycle the stunning arboreal corridor of Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, the ancient towering trees, the haunting light and shadow, the suddenly cool damp fecund organic scent of a great forest, of great life that has endured all the tumult of a half of a millennium of white mans’ time here without a scratch, fills me with a kind of hope. Due thanks here of course are owed to Owen R. Cheatham, the founder of Georgia-Pacific Corporation who had the values and the prescience to protect this magnificent grove of giants in perpetuity which I hope means forever in these situationally ethical times in which we live.
After a fine seafood dinner at Café Waterfront located in Old Town, Eureka, in a 19th century wooden building that once, according to a brass plaque on the wall, housed a brothel upstairs, we find our trio strolling back to our sumptuous lodgings for the night at Motel 6. Along the way I glance up a side street at an evening view of the impressively towering spire of a church piercing the fading sky, Saint Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church it is, I suggest we take a closer look, including inside if the doors aren’t locked, and it turns out they’re not so we enter and gaze at the rows of vacant pews and at the altar beyond and at the vastness of the stone silent interior of a house of worship lit low, bathed in spectral amber light, a faint scent of incense, not another soul present. The three of us fill a spiritual spectrum: Lance is a devout Catholic, says he’s a believer because “I’ve been blessed so much”. Paul is a confirmed atheist he says because “if I believe in a Creator it cancels everything else I believe devoutly about science and reason”. Me, I suppose I’m an agnostic Jew, my bar mitzvah was a personal tragedy from which I’m still not fully recovered but you’re going to have to wait for my novel for that event to be told in detail. Don’t hold your breath.
Morning brings its blessings, a bracing thirty mile ride up the serpentine course of Highway 299W to the beautiful mountain hamlet of Willow Creek where, believe it or not, in an unlikely location within the store of the Chevron Station is a Mexican food establishment, the Aztec Grill, where everything is made from scratch. The salsa, the tortillas, the refritos, the ladies make everything like they prepare it at home, and the aroma of carne asada sizzling there drives a man wild. Order from a huge menu bannered above the counter and then take your piled high plate outside to a comfortable patio and marvel what you’re inhaling at a Humboldt County gas station in the wilds rivals the best street fare you’ve ever had in Mexico City, the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives guy would freak. Sadly though here, fifty percent Mexican Lance’s tummy is a bit on the blink, so while Paul and I gorge ourselves he busies himself over at a mechanic’s shop on a street behind the station seeking to borrow a multi meter to diagnose why his Honda battery is dying a slow death. The proprietor of the shop trusts Lance to leave with the instrument. He utilizes it to diagnose and correct a faulty connection and returns it to the man along with several dead presidents to accentuate his gratitude for being trusted, trust apparently not being a quality to which he is accustomed where he lives and works in Southern California’s teeming (shudder) Orange County. On this subject Paul refers to as “looking after” the bikes, Lance has not failed to notice that Paul is constantly checking the critical areas of his Suzuki; the tires, potential leaks, the chain especially get his regular attention, and there was a hint of chiding from Lance when Paul went for a wrench earlier this morning to adjust his chain tension. While Paul was absent, Lance nudged the chain on Paul’s bike with the toe of his boot, looked at me with a mildly wry smile and said something to the effect “the man’s obsessed the chain’s fine”. Next time we’re together I’m going to ask Paul to clue in Lance about his experiences as a commercial pilot and master airplane mechanic, about how his probity “looking after” airplanes has saved many lives including on an occasion or two his own.
From Willow Creek Highway 97 plunges north through the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation and traces the sinuous course of the Trinity and then the Klamath River for more than a hundred miles. Like all great river roads it affords an exhilarating motorcycle ride but a challenging one because one’s eyes must not stray from the road despite the pull of the surrounding dramatic beauty; of the roaring whitewater rushing in the gorges and cascading around huge boulders, of the deep pools and swirling eddies glinting silver under the summer sun, of the sandy bars and beaches that seem to beg to park one’s machine and remove one’s helmet and leathers, and boldly immerse one’s hot sweaty body into the cold freshet for instant and rather wonderful relief. This we do at last in the Scott River after we make the right turn at Hamburg on our southward route to the small farming and ranching burg of Etna in a gorgeous green valley sheltered by the Siskiyou’s and named after that river. Turns out to be a terrific evening quartered at the cozy clean Etna Motel in a town that feels more like a hideaway from the frenzy of these crazy times, where one wouldn’t be surprised to see Mayberry’s Sheriff Andy, Deputy Barney and Floyd the barber strolling down the boardwalk. Accentuating that feeling is a “big problem” we overhear here, that Mary’s goat has wandered off and needs to be rounded up. Right next door to the motel is Bob’s Ranch House where I can report to you first hand that the fried chicken rivals the best my grandmother used to turn out, and the waitress there, Sarah is her name, is an efficient, friendly statuesque beauty who has dealt blackjack at a casino in her past employment so it’s useless to try to bs her even a little bit, even though we tried our best in that regard.
Riding south on Highway 3 through the mountain majesty of the Trinity Alps Wilderness, coursing the river and the shorelines of the cobalt blue gems known collectively as the Trinity and Lewiston Lakes, it becomes clear Paul knew of what he spoke when he said he was saving the most beautiful segment of this moto tour for the last. When we pull into the historic once gold-fevered mining town of Lewiston for a final breakfast at the Mountain Valley Grill, Paul enters the restaurant ahead of Lance and I who are finishing fueling up at a nearby station. When we arrive Paul says disappointingly that he’s been told we’re too late for breakfast, but with that barely out of his mouth the waitress comes bounding out the door of the place and says good naturedly “Come on in boys, I’ll make you breakfast if that fool of a cook won’t.” Needless to say, it was a fine one. A great world it is up here, great country, great people who haven’t forgotten that to be kind is to be human, to be alive in the best true sense of the word. Late that afternoon Lance and I say our goodbye and our thanks to Paul at his house in Redding for his leadership and camaraderie on a memorable scoot. Then Lance follows me east on Highway 299 through a riverine canyon and over two mountain ranges to overnight with me here at home in Big Valley for a short course in alfalfa farming and for a restful respite before heading south back to the fray.
ANY SPIRITUAL OPS OUT THERE?
Available for Spiritual Work Now
Good morning, I have finished the creative writing begun in Pinole, CA and am now seeking any spiritual opportunity which is pleasing to God. I need to move on from where I am staying, can get to where you are, am healthy, and feeling just fine. I ask you to offer me a situation so that I may remain active and productive ongoing. I am praying continuously to be provided for, and to be engaged in selfless service. Thank you very much.
Craig Louis Stehr