- Rain Ahead
- Gualala Conservancy
- Open Arthouse
- Fair Board
- Moonlit Night
- Spookworld Politics
- Ed Notes
- Little Dog
- Power Grid
- CEO Apologies
- Yesterday's Catch
- Mayan Decline
- Ocean Symposium
- Drunken Man
- Our Yovanovitch
- Aster Films
- Criminal Fraud
- Lost Hat
- Free Hugs
- Horsewhip Dream
- Trump Chat
- Marco Radio
- Senator Cliche
- Pumpkin Patch
MILD AND DRY conditions will persist through Tuesday, with period of coastal clouds and fog and interior valley low temperatures expected. Waves of rain showers are expected in many areas from Wednesday through the end of the week. (National Weather Service)
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Great News from Jeanne Jackson: Mill Bend closed escrow yesterday! 100+ acres at the mouth of the Gualala River and upstream to Gualala Arts has been purchased by a conservation buyer. Access to the river, hiking trails and who knows what else might happen here. It's the first puzzle piece for a Gualala River Park. Celebrating this afternoon with a reception for the conservation buyers and others involved. So happy! Redwood Coast Land Conservancy is involved - they will be fundraising and grant writing to pay back the conservation buyer. Kathleen Chasey is a miracle worker! Many moving parts!
LAST DAY: Open Art House / Open Studio - This Weekend in Philo
Off the beaten path, in the middle of a redwood forest, we have built a beautiful off-grid straw bale house, full of our hand made furniture and paintings. Finally finished and open for viewing. Nancy MacLeod and William Allen collaborate on functional and fun "folk art" furniture, mostly cupboards and small tables. Nancy paints colorful and playful acrylic works on canvas, as well.
Our greatest collaboration has been building this wonderful big house, in which we have our studio and home. 15 years in the making, we are celebrating the completion with an Open House and Studio Oct 11-13, 10am-5pm.
We are in the hills above Anderson Valley, 30 min. from Boonville, off Philo-Greenwood Rd, on the way to Elk and the Mendocino coast.
21921 Panorama Way, off Signal Ridge Rd. Follow the signs.
More info at folkartfantasyfurniture.com, or 895-3134
NOT JUST ANY OLD BODY….
Hi Fair Fans,
We had a great fair this year and here is another opportunity to support it and share your feedback and ideas!
The annual meeting and potluck dinner of the fair board with elections for the current open board position is November 11 at 6:00. In order to vote, you need to sign the fair book in the fairground office before the meeting. In order to run for the fair board, you must have signed the book 2 years before and lived in Anderson Valley for three years.
Hope to see you at the November meeting!
Donna Pierson-Pugh for The Fair Boosters
NORTH COAST NIGHT LIGHTS: The Night the Night Light Went Out
by David Wilson
I grew up in a home off the grid. We moved there when I was a kid, starting with no electricity at all and using kerosene lamps for light. We built on that continually, and long before I went off to college we had set up solar power and hydro power, and if we had to, we had a generator. It wasn’t smooth sailing all the time, but it was all under our control. With the three sources of power we almost always had some, and at no time did it feel cozier than when heavy storms would knock out the power in town while we sat around in warmth and light watching movies on our big color TV — which was small and heavy for these days and even had a tube.
When I grew up I moved to the big city to attend Humboldt State University. Ever since then I’ve been a slave to the power grid. Now when the power goes out I huddle in the darkness with everyone else. And I think of my folks and friends out there off the grid watching movies, using the microwave, editing photos… while I sit in the dark of a blackout and remember when we held the power in our own hands.
Those were the days.
And these are the new days, when power outages might be planned events, although the few hours’ notice I received didn’t allow for much planning. Nevertheless, the scheduled outage created a buzz of anticipation and even excitement for many. The power went out too late the first night of the outage and I slept through it, but on the second night my son and I did venture into the darkened cityscape of Arcata to find not a sleeping city, but a world alive.
It felt like a festival in Arcata. People seemed animated. Where there might have been roving miscreants taking advantage of the outage to break things, there were instead people socializing and enjoying a strange evening where the city was dark and the waxing moon held the night at bay as the dominant light source in the sky.
We walked for about an hour taking photographs. Not often does one have a chance to enjoy a city in the moonlight beneath the stars. City lights ordinarily turn the night sky black, eliminating all but the brightest stars and reducing the moon to an ornament; but that night the moon cast its magic upon both Nature’s landscape and the concrete jungles of humanity alike. It gave the city an unusual look. I will let the photographs tell the rest of the visual story.
Meanwhile, folks off the grid went about their lives as normal, some missing the event entirely. My dad didn’t realize the power was out until he stopped in Garberville to get coffee at Flavors and they were closed. For him it boiled down to having no coffee to go. Oh, the humanity.
Moonlight and passing cars illuminated the Arcata Plaza on the night of October, 9, 2019 during a PG&E-initiated public safety power shutoff, which lasted for approximately 24 hours and left Humboldt County’s cities bathed in moonlight. Humboldt County, California.
Aglow in moonlight and the warmth of a passing car, a figure stands in front of the darkened historic Minor Theater during the PG&E-initiated public safety power shutoff on October 9, 2019. Arcata, Humboldt County, California.
My son and I contemplated the strange night on the Arcata Plaza. I’m the one you can’t see. Though no one else is in this photograph, many people were out exploring the unusual phenomenon of a moonlit Arcata with a starry sky overhead. Humboldt County, California on October 9, 2019.
H Street and the historic Arcata Minor Theater in the moonlight beneath the Milky Way. All power was out on the night of October, 9, 2019 due to the PG&E public safety power shutoff, leaving Humboldt County’s cities bathed in moonlight. Arcata, Humboldt County, California.
With the rest of the city dark during a PG&E-initiated public safety power shutoff on the night of October, 9, 2019, the Arcata Theater Lounge seemed to be the exception. I didn’t explore the cause as the call to continue photographing took me in another direction. Humboldt County, California.
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx.)
I DON’T BELIEVE most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.
CIA/FBI-backed impeachment could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Donald Trump thinks he’s going to be jailed upon leaving office, he’ll sooner or later figure out that his only real move is to start acting like the “dictator” MSNBC and CNN keep insisting he is. Why give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker? That would be the endgame in a third world country, and it’s where we’re headed, unless someone calls off this craziness. Welcome to the Permanent Power Struggle.
— Matt Taibbi
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "Chernobyl" on HBO, which I joined just so I could watch it because so many people recommended it. I'm glad I joined because this dramatized version of the '86 event is so well done it's like being there, not that the poor devils consumed by the nuclear explosion would have wished it on the rest of the world which, save the sacrificial heroism of a couple of thousand Russians, might have happened. Gorbachev said the event finished off the Soviet Union, revealing the USSR's thorough corruption at every level of its government. Apart from being the gripping drama it is, those of us who didn't quite make it through high school physics, the film offers the clearest explanation of nuclear fission we're likely to get. The Putin government is said to be so annoyed by ‘Chernobyl’ they're going to make their own version. It's apparently true that the filmmakers took some creative liberties especially with the effects of radioactivity on humans. The movie shows a technician who starts bleeding all over his body as he's directly exposed to the burning reactor in the immediate aftermath of it exploding. Radioactivity kills internally. But in broad outline "Chernobyl" is accurate.
MATT TAIBBI'S essay posted last night is the truest picture yet of what's happening in our own flailing state — that the dozen or so intelligence agencies allegedly keeping our restive population safe from externally-imposed disasters are working full-time to depose Trump, the implications of which are much worse than Trump especially, as Taibbi points out, the possibility that Trump unleashes force on them before they can unleash it on him.
BIG PICTURE SPECULATION is way beyond my level of understanding, but I think it's obvious that there are titanic struggles underway between Trump and the security agencies and the big time media and the DNC that serve as the propaganda arms of the security agencies. The middle-of-the-road extremists really are extremists and they seem to feel they can't beat Trump in the 2020 election, sooooooo. Also as Taibbi points out if Trump won't go even if he is defeated in 2020 because his enemies are going to put him and his in jail, the USofA might go all the way Third World, complete with the civil war Trump has publicly mused about. We may find out the hard way what the armed forces stand for in the crunch, and who's loyal to who and what.
MEANWHILE, Trump busily solidifies the majority public opinion of his unfitness, raging to the wahoos that the attempt to purge him is all "bullshit" (yeah, it is, but not all of it) and further destabilizing the Middle East as he betrays his own policy with the Kurds. (Of course as he said, they didn't help us at Normandy.) He even found the time to take a swipe at Warrior's coach Steve Kerr! A national hysteria is being created, and not all of it is coming from Trump. It's been a slo-mo coup against him right from the day he was elected.
MEANWHILE, in Boonville, the wine coup that captured Mendocino County years ago flaunts its untouchable self with early morning frost fans. They roared full on Friday night right around midnight disrupting the sleep of much of the Anderson Valley.
LOCAL GROWERS of the outlaw type tell me that pot prices are back up to about $1200 a pound, probably because storefront dope is (1) much more expensive than outlaw; and (2) lots of stoners resent the corporate move into weed. One guy told me that he knew pot prices were again on the rise when he noticed that the Ukiah Co-Op was out of cashews. "Hey, only people making money again can afford the things!"
HI, EVERYBODY! Just thought I'd pop in to thank all of you for your cards and letters. Things here are the same — outta control cats and me getting no credit for trying to keep some basic order. Skrag's moved his whole family of deadbeats in here, and these guys have the nerve to complain about crazy cat ladies. Had a little run in the other morning with a fox who took a nip at me as he ran past. Said he'd be back "to finish me off." There's never been a fox born who could handle me. I mean, why do you think Jack Russels are called Fox Terrors?
CALIFORNIA’S HUGE, HUMILIATING POWER OUTAGES EXPOSE THE VULNERABILITIES OF PG&E’S POWER GRID
by Joseph Serna & James Rainey
California has always prided itself on being a high-tech pioneer. One exception? Power distribution.
With Pacific Gas & Electric Co. cutting electricity to 800,000 customers this week, the state is confronting its reliance on a transmission network that predates climate change, solar panels and lithium-ion batteries, depending instead on electric lines strung over thousands of miles on vulnerable wooden poles.
Until that changes, experts say, utility executives are sure to cut electrical service to large sections of the state during high winds, rather than risk downed lines and transformers like those that sparked deadly wildfires over the last two years.
Utility operators historically built power grids — with massive electrical plants fired by fossil fuels and transmission lines that stretched for hundreds of miles — to provide the cheapest possible electricity. They weren’t concerned about air pollution and global warming, or the more immediate threat from wildfires, said Michael Wara, director of Stanford University’s climate and energy policy program.
“Society has been delivering electricity the same way for 130 years — exposed lines on wood poles over dry grass,” said David Rabbitt, a county supervisor in Sonoma County, one of the areas hit by the massive blackout. “I think we know more now, certainly, and it’s time to actually move on with making the investments going forward.”
Will the current outages be a pivotal moment in transforming California’s power grid? If so, the transition will likely include Californians generating power closer to their homes via solar panels and wind generators. It will also include communities building microgrids, distinct power systems that can operate independent of massive utilities like PG&E, a behemoth that serves 16 million people spread across 70,000 square miles of Central and Northern California.
In the meantime, utilities will continue to practice what is known as “de-energization,” otherwise known as blacking out customers.
The California Public Utilities Commission issued a resolution in July 2018 supporting the use of this “last resort” tactic to mitigate the risk of wildfires. PG&E last year set out its list of criteria for the so-called public safety power shutoffs. Among the potential triggers: a National Weather Service’s declaration of a red-flag fire warning, humidity levels of below 20% percent, wind forecasts of 25 miles an hour, or gusts of 45 miles an hour.
PG&E cited “gusty winds and dry conditions combined with a heightened fire risk” in cutting power in the first minutes of Wednesday morning to 513,000 customers in the Sacramento area. The shutdowns spread in all directions and as far south as Santa Clara County by Wednesday evening.
The power-downs have become necessary because the utility cannot guarantee the safety of its electric stations and lines. PG&E submitted a plan to regulators in February for pole repairs, assessment of its grid and other fixes, but by April acknowledged that it wasn’t going to meet its goals. It cited a variety of reasons, ranging from inclement winter to a lack of personnel. In some cases, only 25% of the work had been completed.
Elizaveta Malashenko, deputy executive director for safety policy at the PUC, said there is an “elevated level of concern” about PG&E because of the age and condition of much of its equipment and its inability to control trees and vegetation.
The utility recently told a federal judge it had completed only about 31% of the ambitious tree-trimming work it planned for 2019. The company said it had finished 760 miles out of the 2,455 miles of power lines that have vegetation around them. To finish the job, PG&E said it would need significantly more than the 4,500 workers it has dedicated to the work.
And that’s only for stopgap measures. In a court filing, PG&E said a clear-cutting of all trees and plants around its power lines would cost somewhere between $75 billion and $150 billion and require hiring 650,000 workers. The utility filed for bankruptcy protection because of the massive payout it anticipates because its equipment caused several fires, including the one that destroyed most of the town of Paradise and killed 85 people in November.
Public safety experts say it’s not necessary for utilities to make all-or-nothing choices.
Severin Borenstein, a professor of business administration and public policy at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, said he can see a future in which utilities install concrete poles in the areas most exposed to wind. Alternately, if the state permits, they could refuse to deliver power to new developments altogether, instead requiring that they provide their own electricity.
Up until now, utilities sought to balance the cost of preventing wildfires with the need to sell power at the lowest possible rates.
“It used to be that balance was viewed as pretty reasonable,” Borenstein said. “With climate change, I think it’s not anymore.”
PG&E could have dodged some current challenges by implementing the best practices modeled by San Diego Gas & Electric following its own 2007 fire disaster, said Stanford’s Wara.
That fire tore through north San Diego, destroying more than 1,000 homes and killing two people, after sparking power lines ignited chaparral-covered hillsides. The San Diego utility responded by pumping more than $1 billion into improvements. It buried some power lines and insulated others, and broke its power network into smaller microgrids that can be shut off in smaller segments when there is a need to isolate neighborhoods with the highest risk of fire.
The Northern California utility “needs to do the things San Diego has done in the last 12 years since the Witch fire,” Wara said.
With federal and state funding, SDG&E started building a microgrid in 2012 in the desert community of Borrego Springs, several years after a wildfire took down the town’s single transmission line and cut off power for two days.
The system today uses a complex array of diesel generators, a solar farm, rooftop solar on many homes and lithium-ion batteries to allow the community to be “islanded” during systemwide outages. That means the microgrid can provide all the power the town of 3,500 needs for several hours at a time.
The system is “not trivial” and could be a model for other communities, said the PUC’s Malashenko. But the regulator noted that the Borrego Springs system took 10 years to bring fully online. The state is not ready to recreate such systems on a widespread basis, she said.
Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley, said that the utilities will have to find ways to more precisely pinpoint the planned outages.
“This is going to be what we do for a while,” he said, “but it’s going to have to be refined, instead of just relying on this one very blunt instrument.”
PG&E CEO APOLOGIZES FOR FAULTY WEBSITE, FANCY DINNER, BASICALLY EVERYTHING ELSE
CATCH OF THE DAY, OCTOBER 12, 2019
MICHA ALLEN, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. Fighting/challenging to fight, trespassing, resisting.
ENRIQUE BARRUETA-CRUZ, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
TIMOTHY GOGGANS, Point Arena. DUI.
BENJAMIN HAWKINS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.
JEFFREY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
ADAM LAFLIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
LUIS LOPEZ-GARCIA, Oakland/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property.
MANUEL MUNOZ, Willits. Under influence with weapon, stolen property, concealed weapon, paraphernalia, stolen loaded weapon.
SHANA NUNES, Willits. Under influence, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
JASON RAY III, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, false ID.
CECILY VALENTE, Potter Valley. Domestic abuse.
HARRY WINELANDER, Willits. Trespassing, probation revocation.
THE MANY GRAVES unearthed in the ruins of Copan, in western Honduras, showed that after A.D. 650 the health and nutrition of the common people appeared to decline. This happened even as the ruling classes apparently swelled in size over succeeding generations with each generation larger than the last. Archaeologists call this "The increasingly parasitic role of the elites." We see the same process today in the gross expansion of royal families and the wealthy. The proliferation of noble lineages may have triggered vicious internecine warfare and killing among the elites. In his book "Collapse," Jared Diamond argues that the destruction of Copan was caused by environmental degradation combined with royal neglect and incompetence. Beginning around A.D. 650 the rulers of Copan engaged in a building spree erecting gorgeous temples and monuments that glorified themselves and their deeds.
As is typical of Maya inscriptions, not a single one at Copan mentions a commoner. Working folk had to build all those buildings. Farmers had to feed all those laborers along with the holy lords and nobles. This type of class division works more or less when everyone believes they are part of a system with each person occupying a valued place in society and contributing to the vital ceremonies that maintain the cosmic order. In Mayan culture the Mayan lords had a responsibility to keep the cosmos in order and appease the gods through ceremonies and rituals. The commoners were willing to support this privileged class as long as they kept up their end of the bargain with effective rituals. But after 650, deforestation, erosion and soil exhaustion began to reduce crop yields. The working classes, the farmers and monument builders seem to have suffered increasing hunger and disease even as the rulers demanded an ever larger share of resources. The society was heading for a crisis.
We have to wonder why the kings and nobles failed to recognize these seemingly obvious problems undermining their society. Their attention was evidently focused on their short-term goal of enriching themselves, waging wars, and erecting monuments, competing with each other and extracting enough food from the peasants to support all those activities. If this sounds familiar, it is easy to find in archaeology numerous cautionary tales that speak directly to the 21st century.
Some archaeologists believe that the holy lords and nobles did indeed see the obvious problems and tried to solve them with methods they had used in the past — increased building projects, a jobs program, and more raiding of other cultures for resource acquisition, which involved moving workers from outlying farms into the city. But the old solutions failed around A.D. 650. These accelerated building projects speeded up the deforestation that was already reducing rainfall and accelerated soil loss, erosion and the silting of precious farmland and rivers. A series of droughts between A.D. 750 and 800 seem to have been the trigger for famine that hit the common people disproportionately hard.
It was the last straw for a society teetering on the edge of alienation and conflict. The famine was proof that the holy lords were not delivering on their promises. Building projects halted. The last inscription found in the city of Copan was around 822 and around 850 the royal palace burned. The city never recovered. Some people died of disease and starvation. But the majority of the peasants and artisan classes appear to have simply walked away. Some remnants remained for a time, but by 1250 the Copan Valley had returned to jungle wilderness.
— Douglas Preston, “The Lost City Of The Monkey God”
FIRST ANNUAL OCEAN SYMPOSIUM
A team of local scientists and ocean advocates are organizing The First Annual Ocean Life Symposium 2019 on the Mendocino Coast October 25th — 26th, at the Mattheson Theater in Mendocino. This symposium will host scientists from around the country presenting on and discussing current stressors, possible solutions, and the vision for a healthy ocean. Friday evening from 6- 9pm will be a screening of the new documentary “Sonic Sea” and a short talk and Q&A with Michael Stocker, ocean bio-acoustic specialist and the executive director of Ocean Conservation Research. Saturday from 10am-4pm will be a full day of speakers and panels who will share information about marine life systems — Discuss the ocean crisis — what are the problems and what are the stressors — Propose and share current solutions/course of actions/protection Saturday evening from 6-8pm will be a “Meet and Greet” reception with the scientists at the Noyo Center for Marine Research Downtown Discovery Center in Fort Bragg.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Presidential now means something different. No longer will we be fooled by the slick shysters in suits or the Harvard grad hustlers. Or the hand shakers holding a hidden dagger. Or the smooth talking backslappers or those phony politicians who, “when they’re not out kissing babies, they’re stealing their lollipops.”
To hell with regal raiment, abhorrent, empty articulation, and pompous, pretentious prevarication.
Hail the Golden Gadfly of Gotham!! Hail the Mighty Trump!!
A DRUNKEN MAN clings to a lamp post in London in 1934 - by Bill Brandt
RIGHT WHEN WE NEED HER
Standing tall and straight
She oozes integrity.
— Jim Luther
AN UNSOLICITED REVIEW OF MIDSOMMAR & HEREDITARY
by Louis Bedrock
MIDSOMMAR is the second film I've seen by Ari Aster. HEREDITARY was the first. There will not be a third. Aster's films are awful. If he were a composer, I'd call him tone deaf. If he were a painter, colorblind. His plots are nonsensical and seem designed only to set up audiences for shocks. His characters behave inconsistently and illogically. Whether it's Toni Collette & company in HEREDITARY or the troupe of actors in MIDSOMMAR. I can't blame the actors. They're working with very bad material and ineptly drawn characters. Mark Twain writes of James Fenimore Cooper: "There are nineteen rules governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction -- some say twenty-two. In "Deerslayer," Cooper violated eighteen of them." For example: #1. That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the "Deerslayer" tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air. #3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others. But this detail has often been overlooked in the "Deerslayer" tale. http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/projects/rissetto/offense.html
Twain would have said the same about Aster's work. Maybe worse. Neither MIDSOMMAR nor HEREDITARY go anywhere and the characters are not alive.
IMPEACH. INDICT. INCARCERATE.
The reason most Americans haven't accepted the fact that Trump is an actual psychopathic criminal fraud is basic ignorance. No other president has been found guilty of criminal fraud, three separate times, like Trump.
The last time three years ago, Trump was fined $25 million for his fraudulent Trump University scam, but still hasn't paid the fine according to the last report. He was found guilty of this crime, but shows no remorse or admit to guilt. He ripped off hundreds of Americans, who believed his lies, then had to sue him to get their money back. And he shows zero accountability.
He thinks he is above the law. This is a perfect example of psychopathic criminal fraud. When a criminal is caught and found guilty, and their guilt is clear as day, but they still deny it and show no remorse. That's how psychopaths behave! They don't care about your feelings or that they ripped you off and lied about it. They smirk and laugh about getting away with it, just like Trump does!
But denial has its limits, and Trump is co-conspirator #1 in a fraud scheme for which his former attorney, Mr. Cohen is already in prison. That's what Trump deserves also, jail.
I shed no tears for Tyrant Trump getting his justice served to him, for he brought it on himself. Deep state? Ha ha ha! What does Trump expect when he verbally abuses, disrespects and obstructs justice with the very same intelligence agencies he swore an oath to protect! He creates his own problems, then wants everybody to feel sorry for him. Trump's a national disgrace!
Impeach. Indict. Incarcerate.
P.S. Jerry Philbrick, the domestic terrorist, is the cancerous anal wart of the AVA. He writes in every week wanting to kill "liberals," which is most of the AVA readers. Thus he would behave just like a cancer, killing off its host. Maybe it's time to see a doctor?
THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE who lose things: those who leave things in the place, go away and never know it -- instead of being sorry for these and ultimately assimilating or throwing away their leavings, I suppose I ought to report the loss to the police -- and those who say they have left things, and haven't. For those I can't be sorry. But the other day I mixed the two kinds myself. Coming in from a walk I met on the steps a nice woman who had called for a hat that a friend said he had left behind. Not seeing any on the hooks, and Bessie denying that any hat had been left in a bedroom, I was rather irritated by her certainty, evident even through her politeness, of its being here, and I sent her off. When she was out of sight I found the hat on my head. I could think of only one clue towards tracing her, or him. The man had a friend staying the week-end at Brill, in a house where he had told me there was no bathroom, so I telephoned to the post-mistress there, who, after laughing merrily at this anguish-making incident, told me that in Brill ALL the houses had no bathrooms!
—John Fothergill, 1931; from "An Innkeeper's Diary"
SNOWDEN IN THE LABYRINTH
by Jonathan Lethem
In Robert Sheckley’s 1978 short story “Is That What People Do?,” a man named Eddie Quintero buys himself a pair of binoculars from an army and navy surplus outlet, “because with them he hoped to see some things that he otherwise would never see. Specifically, he hoped to see girls undressing at the Chauvin Arms across the street from his furnished room”—but he was also “looking for that moment of vision, of total attention.” Since this is a science fiction story, Quintero accidentally ends up with a pair marked “Experimental. Not to Be Removed from the Testing Room.”
The binoculars turn out to have a fabulous capacity not only for seeing through walls but also for diminishing the distance between Quintero and those he would spy on. When he peers through the experimental device just so—an effort of contorting his body into increasingly bizarre positions—Quintero is suddenly granted visions of other human beings, behind closed doors, doing “what people do.” Which turns out to be, well, weird shit.
The least disturbing of what Quintero surveils is what’s now called cosplay; the most extreme consists of giddy ritual murder, and of the deliberate calling-forth of a Satanic, sexually violent “smoke-demon.” On the last page, Sheckley’s parable attains an existentialist clarity: the binoculars grant a vision of a shabby, middle-aged man in a dreary room, standing on his head, with a pair of binoculars awkwardly wedged against his face. Quintero recognizes himself:
“He realized that he was only another performer in humanity’s great circus, and he had just done one of his acts, just like the others. But who was watching? Who was the real observer?
“He turned the binoculars around and looked through the object-lenses. He saw a pair of eyes, and he thought they were his own—until one of them slowly winked at him.”
Edward Snowden, late in the pages of his memoir, Permanent Record, describes his sensation at being personally introduced to XKEYSCORE, the NSA’s ultimate tool of intimate, individual electronic surveillance. Among the NSA’s technological tools (some of which Snowden aided in perfecting), XKEYSCORE was, according to Snowden, “the most invasive…if only because [the NSA agents are] closest to the user—that is, the closest to the person being surveilled.” For nearly 300 pages, the memoir has built to this scene, foreshadowed in the preface, in which the whistleblower-in-the-making sees behind the curtain:
“I sat at a terminal from which I had practically unlimited access to the communications of nearly every man, woman, and child on earth who’d ever dialed a phone or touched a computer. Among those people were about 320 million of my fellow American citizens, who in the regular conduct of their everyday lives were being surveilled in gross contravention of not just the Constitution of the United States, but the basic values of any free society.”
The steady approach to Snowden’s come-to-Jesus encounter with XKEYSCORE is as meticulous as the incremental unveiling of the terror of Cthulhu in an H.P. Lovecraft tale. Snowden himself alludes to this parallel:
“It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact: an interface that allows you to type in pretty much anyone’s address, telephone number, or IP address, and then basically go through the recent history of their online activity. In some cases you could even play back recordings of their online sessions, so that the screen you’d be looking at was their screen, whatever was on their desktop.”
And: “It was like watching an autocomplete, as letters and words flashed across the screen. But the intelligence behind that typing wasn’t artificial but human: this was a humancomplete.”
“One thing you come to understand very quickly while using XKEYSCORE is that nearly everyone in the world who’s online has at least two things in common: they have all watched porn at one time or another, and they all store photos and videos of their family. This was true for virtually everyone of every gender, ethnicity, race, and age—from the meanest terrorist to the nicest senior citizen.”
(New York Review of Books)
KURDS IN MY COFFEE
OH! Before you read about the Kurds, Eleanor Cooney has a new book out. It's a non-fiction telling of co-author and whistleblower Greg Ford's prescient experience in Iraq at the start of the war. See: midnightinsamarra.com. You'll be hooked and landed from page one.
Say what you want about a Kurd, the opposite will also be true: A Kurd is a medium-tan Arab in the Middle East.
Wrong. Bad start. Kurds are not Arabs. They’re, um, Indo-European, whatever that is. They come in many colors—hair, skin, eyes, makeup.
They’re mostly Muslim.
That’s either wrong or misleading. They hold membership in all major faiths and a bunch of minor ones. They speak Kurdish, which is a lot like Persian—except when they don’t. There is a recognized language called Kurdish, but lots of Kurds don’t speak a word of it.
They live in the mountains of Western Asia. True. They live there and everywhere else. Kurdistan is a borderless region sort of north and sort of east of what we call the Middle East. It tends to be cold and not dry. It is mountainous, except for the flat parts.
Lots of Kurds live in this Kurdish region, and lots of Kurds do not. You can’t pick a Kurd out in a crowd. Mommy may cover her head or she may not. You couldn’t pick out a Kurd in the Safeway. Don’t turn around. The person behind you at the checkstand might be a Kurd. But then, you won’t mind, will you, because Kurds are known to be peace-loving, progressive, civilized people (except when they’re not; the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK--"Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê”--is a fighting organization that will shoot you in the face as soon as look at you).
World War One redrew the boundaries in much of the world, including places like the Middle East, Turkey and Kurdistan. That’s always a formula for trouble. Look at poor Africa, chopped up by a bunch of money-mad white men into “nations” that had nothing to do with anything. It was the same in the East after WW1. At first, the winners took a slice out of several different countries and called it Kurdistan. Then, after a couple of years, the (forever enlightened) Europeans changed their minds, dissolved Kurdistan and made things more to some rich guys’ liking. The displaced, homeless-again Kurds have been making nuisances of themselves ever since, forever trying to establish themselves somewhere.
At different times, they’ve been everybody’s friends and allies and everybody’s ferocious adversaries and perpetrators of unrest. They were America’s friends and allies in the struggle over Syria. They helped us in Iraq. They were indispensable in stopping Isis, who were scaring the hell out of us and cutting off our heads. Without the help from the Kurds, they’d still be doing that, and now that we’ve crapped on the Kurds in Turkey and Syria, by order of the President, Isis will cut some more western heads. (They should mail them to Trump.)
Kurds supposedly had a haven in northern Iraq, but in 1988, one of Saddam’s generals gassed four or five thousand of them to death in the Halabja Massacre—lots of people dead in the streets; mothers and kids in bright clothing with flies on them and dead pets nearby. "Chemical Ali" used American helicopters to do it, choppers we gave Iraq during its war with Iran for (wink-wink) “agricultural purposes.”
But there’s no Trump Tower planned for Kurdistan, so there’s no reason not to throw them under the bus. Our media are up in arms. Never has the United States betrayed a friend like this.
Let me tell you about that. I quit college and joined the army early in 1957. The previous fall, the people of Hungary revolted against the U.S.S.R. America had promoted this uprising. Our overseas propaganda voices, Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America (CIA all), had promised weapons and support to Hungary. When they hit the streets to eject the Soviet Union, we were no-shows. The Russians waited a few days to see if the Big Dog (us) was going to make good on its promises and, seeing it was a “no,” rolled in with tanks, killed 2,500 and wounded another 20,000.
I and my college buddies, young men with more testosterone than brains, listened to this on the radio. I left Haverford College and joined the paratroopers. I can’t remember my reasoning. I was furious with my country for betraying Hungary. How joining the army would help fix that betrayal I’m damned if I recall, but that was my intention.
Anyway, don’t tell anybody in Budapest that our betrayal of the Kurds is a first. Eisenhower was President when Hungary rose briefly and fell. The U.S. and Russia believed our own propaganda. We were scared to death of each other. The U.S.S.R., still broken from WW2, was big enough to pinch off Hungary’s attempt at self-determination, but they couldn’t hurt a fly, here. That didn’t stop us from building backyard bomb shelters. Sometimes it amazes me that such bullies as we can be so timid.
So, anyway, if I’ve confused you worse than when you started, I guess that’s appropriate. The Kurds are a sticky wicket, and there’s very little sense in American policy. How could there be? The world’s overheated in more ways than one. That blessed, shining thing called "Democracy" is not looking too good. The world has no place to rest its eyes, to take comfort from. We were the City On The Hill. Now we look like Dogpatch.
Below: Women serve in the PKK just like men. The other pretty picture is from a Kurdistan tourism site.
RALPH NADER: WHY ISN'T THE 99% REVOLTING?
California's death row is now called Newsom's Penthouse Row. That's what that idiot did to the victims of these murderers, felons, child molesters and whatever. Gavin Newsom is responsible for these people living their lives out on Gavin Newsom Row. They will probably be released early like all the rest of the first-step felons.
Now the miserable bastard Newsom is taking our gas tax money for climate change agencies when most of us know that scientists have said there is no climate change. What will happen to this guy? He is a maniac, footloose power-hungry tyrannical dictator liberal idiot.
Mary Nichols, the woman in charge of the CARB air resources and Gavin Newsom should be tied together and laid across the truck lane on I-5. Pelosi and Schiff and Schumer and Nadler and all the rest of the sons of bitches that are trying to impeach President Trump should get the same treatment. Makes me sick what the Democrats are doing. Unbelievable. I hope Donald Trump runs over them, beats them, kicks them in the ass, humiliates them -- I know he will do that. Then in the next four years: Oh boy! You'll see what will happen!
Newsom checklist: death row reprieve, insurance for illegals, open borders, sanctuary state, trying to keep President Trump off the ballot in California, using gas tax money for climate change, stupid gun and ammunition laws that don't make any sense. How long will the California people allow this son of a bitch to run this state? It's unbelievable.
What about the homeless people? Gavin Newsom takes gas tax money for climate change? Why not help homeless people? I wish thousands of homeless people would swarm the Capitol building in Sacramento, That could make a good impression. Then they should grab Newsom and drag him out of the Capitol building and horsewhip him until there's no skin left on his body and then let him live like a homeless person for a while. That would make me laugh.
All the liberal left wackos behind the impeachment thing are going to have to get on an airplane to Siberia because they won't be able to show their faces in America anymore. Their children either. That's how rotten these people are. The only safe place for them is Siberia.
God bless Donald Trump.
FROM DONALD TRUMP’S SPEECH in Minneapolis on Thursday.
Whatever happened to Hunter? Where the hell is he? Where’s Hunter? Hey fellows, I have an idea for a new t-shirt. I love the cops, but let’s do another t-shirt. Where’s Hunter? Where is he? Here’s Hunter, being examined by sleepy eyes Chuck Todd or some of these people. Hunter, it’s so great that you’re here, sir. Hunter, I know they’re giving you approximately $168,000 a month. I hear they paid you a big check of $3 million. I just want to speak on behalf of NBC who’s absolutely one of the worst. I just want to tell you, Hunter, Hunter I just want to tell you I couldn’t be happier for you and your family and I know you don’t know anything about energy and I know it’s an energy company, but I think they made a great deal, Hunter. And then they fly to China, and I’m dealing with people right now. They’re tough as hell, those Chinese negotiators, and Hunter, who’s not too smart, Hunter. He goes in, he has a meeting, he walks out in his fund with $1.5 billion, with a B, one point five billion dollars. These aren’t the same Chinese negotiators that I’m dealing with, I can tell you. These are not the same ones, but we are doing very well in that negotiation. Now, think of it, where’s Hunter? Where is Hunter? I want to see Hunter. Hunter, you know nothing about energy, you know nothing about China, you know nothing about anything, frankly. Hunter, you’re a loser. Why did you get one point five billion dollars, Hunter? And your father was never considered smart. He was never considered a good Senator. He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass. True. Thank you. Thank you. It’s true. It’s true. And they’re always saying the same thing. Yeah, he got a billion five, we admit it, they admit it, it’s nothing, but oh, it’s not that same thing, president Trump made a totally unsubstantiated claim about Hunter Biden and his father. It’s not unsubstantiated, you crooked son of a guns, it’s 100% true. 100%. Even the smart guys on Wall Street, and I know all of them, they are smart. They’ve never seen anything like that one before. I’ve called them. Does that ever happen? Never happens. Guy walks in, no experience, no nothing. Walks out with a billion five. Gee. Flies in on Air Force Two with his father, the vice president. Don’t forget, that’s when he was vice president. So China gives his son $1.5 billion. How would you like to have Joe Biden take over negotiations right now with China? I don’t think so.
Do you remember that? Just 19 minutes after I raised my hand and took the oath of office, The Washington Post, a terrible newspaper that doesn’t know how to write the truth, published a story, and in this case, they might’ve gotten it pretty correct. They said, “The Campaign To Impeach President Trump Has Begun.” That was the headline. Little did we know they weren’t playing games. Think of that. That was 19 minutes after the oath of office. Months earlier, Peter Strzok, remember, he and his lover, Lisa Page? What a group. “She’s going to win 10 million to one. She’s going to win. I’m telling you, Peter. I’m telling you, Peter, she’s going to win. Peter. Oh, I love you so much. I love you, Peter. I love you too, Lisa. Lisa, I love you. Lisa, Lisa. Oh God, I love you, Lisa. And if she doesn’t win, Lisa, we’ve got an insurance policy, Lisa. We’ll get that son of a bitch out. We got an insurance policy.” And we’re living through the insurance policy. That’s what it is. The phony Russia hoax. “Lisa, I love you.” Now the do-nothing Democrat con artists and scammers are getting desperate. Thirteen months, they got to move fast, because they’re not beating us at the polls and they know it, despite the phony polls that you see all the time, their phony polls. You know, polls are no different. Remember I always used to talk about polls, I know polls very well. Polls are no different than crooked writers. They’re crooked polls. They’re crooked polls. No different.
(Full two-hour transcript at: rev.com/blog/donald-trump-minnesota-rally-speech-transcript-minneapolis-mn-rally-october-10-2019)
"Every machine is a smoke machine if you operate it wrong enough." -George Takei
The recording of last night's (2019-10-11) 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:
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:
This is what they used to do before they had pole dancing. Pole dancing is the lazy person's sex dance.
The hotel of the mysteries.
”Lad, I don't know where you've been, but I see you won first prize.”
And card dealing in stop-O-mation with excellent use of sound.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
CLICHES THAT LIGHT UP BRAINS
Noon in a three star restaurant
by Marge Piercy
He eats a good lunch, the senator
who hates women, especially
those who don’t smile enough
don’t polish his ego or prick.
Pain is good for their souls.
He has a classic dry martini,
the senator who votes to strip
food stamps from children,
health care from old ladies,
clean water from everyone.
He enjoys a hearts of palm salad
while a stream runs through his brain
white, pure as new ice. He knows
who his real friends are, donors.
People with darker skin: can’t
you see how dirty they are? A kobi
steak, death by chocolate. Money
from oil, big pharma, insurance,
utilities, the extremely rich. We’re
superfluous. Nothing to offer
except our lives, our health,
taxes, bodies for endless wars.
He does not represent us
although he spouts the right
cliches that light up brains.
— Marge Piercy
PIRATE PETE’S PUMPKIN PATCH on the South end of Ukiah near the Highway 101/253 intersection had sold 5,000 pumpkins by noon Saturday and expects to sell some 15,000 more by Halloween. (Photos by Marilyn Davin)