- Dry Weather
- Book Signing
- Armed Robbery
- Successful Fundraiser
- Homeless Industry
- Drunk Goldilocks
- CAMP Numbers
- Planners Planning
- Food Spoilage
- Homeless Solutions
- Ruel Day
- Outage Planning
- RCMS Meetings
- Smoke Special
- Roadside Ecology
- Logging Protest
- Early Sunset
- Mo Memo
- Community Guild
- Yesterday's Catch
- He-Man Salad
- Old Sac
- Student Interest
- Public Outrage
- Student Debt
- Previous Drought
- Offended Millenial
- Fire Season
- Wildfire Poll
- Great Booing
- Poor Kids
- Movie Music
- Secret Bailout
- Ants Say
- Seeking Succor
- Deregulated Boeing
- Some Cheering
- Scientists Warn
MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES will prevail across the interior, while periods of marine stratus impact the coast. Otherwise, dry weather is expected during the next seven days. (National Weather Service)
A BOOK SIGNING of Katy Tahja’s new Mendo history book “An Eclectic History of Mendocino County” is this Saturday Nov. 9th at 6:30 p.m. Everyone's invited. Come hear and see the County history tidbits I found!
MOVIE THEATER ROBBERY IN FORT BRAGG
On November 4, 2019 at 7:18 p.m., Officers were dispatched to Coast Cinemas for the report of an armed robbery which had just occurred. Multiple Officers from the Fort Bragg Police Department and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office responded “Code Three” (Lights and Sirens) and arrived on scene within one minute.
Once on scene, Officers determined that a suspect entered the business at approximately 7:10 p.m., brandished a semi-automatic handgun, and demanded money from an employee at the cash register. The suspect then fled the location with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was physically injured during the robbery.
Witnesses describe the suspect as a white male adult in his forties, possibly with a goatee. The suspect had a “deep voice”, and was described as approximately 6’0 tall. During the robbery the suspect was wearing a black and yellow/orange beanie with a California flag on the front, large “puffy” jacket, and blue jeans with a hammer loop.
The Police Department is currently processing surveillance video from the scene and hope to have higher quality photos and video available for the public to review later today.
Investigating Officers are pursuing multiple leads and will attempt to release more information as it becomes available.
If you have information related to the case please contact Officer Ferris at (707) 961-2800 ext. 126 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tips may be left on the Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049. Questions regarding this press release may be forwarded to Sergeant O’Neal at (707) 961-2800 ext. 120 or e-mailed to email@example.com.
THANK YOU EVERYONE! AN UPDATE ON THE AV FIRE DEPT. NEW TRUCK FUNDRAISER
About a month ago I was approached by Olie Erickson of the Anderson Valley Fire Department asking if I would be interested in hosting a benefit BBQ at my home. I immediately said Yes! Thus began a few hectic weeks of planning and organizing what turned out to be an amazing and very successful event.
Our first challenge was getting a license to sell alcohol at the event. With a ton of help from a variety of sources we were able to accomplish this in enough time to collect the wine and beer donations ahead of the event. It took several people more than one trip to Ukiah to get his done!
I set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $20,000. We had a matching grant of $3,000 that we reached in the first week. We attempted to raise $15,000 to get another match, but that didn’t happen. However, at the time the fundraiser was over we had raised over $8,000, still quite an impressive amount for such a small community.
On the 26th we had the actual benefit BBQ out in our vineyard. The Fire Department along with the Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association (AVVFA) handled the food and collecting the money; Olie ran the Que with help from Robin Bird and Judy Long. Patty Liddy was our cashier. We were given an incredible amount of beer and wine and sales of that were brisk. Fal Allen and Jen Peters were our bartenders. Sean Mullen brought out his DJ expertise and entertained everyone for the whole event.
We did not solicit silent auction items but we were given quite a few out of the blue - including wine, a stay at the Madrones or Brambles, an afternoon at High Rock Ranch, sessions with an acupressurist and a nutritionist, two picnic table made for the event by Olie Erickson, plus a truck load of firewood from Olie, and a load of rock from Greenwood Aggregates. There were other items as well that I’m not remembering. We raised a significant amount with this unplanned for aspect of the event.
We were also given several cakes to auction off - including two too-pretty-to-eat masterpieces from Julie Winchester. One of her cakes was sold twice! That cake alone brought in $1,000! Thanks for W. Dan for being our live auctioneer.
We raised all together over our $20,000 goal, which is just amazing. I cannot thank this community enough for it’s support. These funds will go toward the purchase of a new fire truck for the Greenwood Ridge substation of the AVFD. The need for this was proved that evening - it actually broke down at one point while it was being parked. So many people made this event happen and I’m going to try to list them but if I missed you, please forgive me!
Olie Erickson; Fire Chief Andres Avila; Colin Wilson; Van Williamson; Robin and Anne-Marie Bird; Angela DeWitt; Judy Long; Kyle Clark; Fred and Autumn Ehnow; Fal Allan; Jen Peters; Julie Winchester; W. Dan; Wynne Nord; Dawn Ballantine; Letitia Whitely; Sean Mullen; Roy Laird; Jeff & Sally-Anne Jindra; Chris Weiss; Deana Apfel; David Norfleet
JAMES MARMON WRITES: Leave the homeless be, do you have any idea how much money they bring into the county for the Schraeders to distribute among themselves and other bottom feeders (non-profits)? Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.
MARCUS DAVIS CATCHES A BREAK AFTER ACCIDENTAL HOME INVASION
Marcus D’Angelo Davis, 38, of Oakland, was staying at the Talmage home of Rachael Martin where he one day, November 21st, 2018, got into a verbal disagreement with another houseguest, and left to go seek solace in a barroom. Having found more in the way of alcoholic “solace” for his wounded sensibilities, he returned to the Talmage neighborhood somewhat intoxicated and, not only so disoriented directionally that he went to the house of Ms. Martin’s neighbor, Mr. Naumann, but also his moral compass seems to have been thrown out of calibration as well, because he, Davis, a man with no criminal record to speak of, went into some kind of feral trance and started smashing windows on the neighbor’s car and house and ended up passing out on the neighbor’s couch.
When the neighbor, Daniel Naumann, 51, of Talmage, came home and found his car and home trashed, and a stranger sleeping on his couch, he, Mr. Naumann very judiciously armed himself with a handgun before waking the intruder. Once awakened, Davis waited until Naumann turned his back, then picked up a heavy (seven pounds) book, perhaps one of those hefty coffee table tomes, and hit Naumann over the head with it. Naumann weathered the blow, turned round and shot Davis “multiple” times with the handgun.
When the police arrived and asked Davis what he was doing – he was lying on the floor bleeding from “multiple” gunshot wounds, Davis replied that he had been shot with rubber bullets as part of his role in a film he was making.
This statement to the police, along with Davis’s lack of any criminal record – he had had a DUI many years ago – led the prosecution to drop the major charges, such as First Degree Burglary, Assault with a deadly weapon, not a gun (the seven pound book), and vandalism – the only charge remaining was simple assault, so there would be no prison time, only a jail sentence and the option of some residential rehab to get off the booze, for which he had to blame this bizarre act of criminality.
Davis’s lawyer, Daniel Moss, asked the court to reduce the jail time to 180 days, but Judge Keith Faulder imposed the 360 the Probation Department had recommended, and a stay-away order was put in place to keep Davis away from Mr. Naumann.
"THIS YEAR, CAMP ERADICATED 953,459 MARIJUANA PLANTS FROM 345 RAIDED GROW SITES ACROSS THE STATE."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arrest of 148 individuals as part of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) Program, the nation’s largest illegal marijuana eradication program. This year, CAMP eradicated 953,459 marijuana plants from 345 raided grow sites across the state. A total of 168 weapons were seized throughout the raids.
“Illegal cannabis grows are devastating our communities. Criminals who disregard life, poison our waters, damage our public lands, and weaponize the illegal cannabis black market will be brought to justice,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “This year, our CAMP teams worked tirelessly across the state to vigorously enforce California’s laws against illegal cannabis activity. The California Department of Justice is extremely proud of our partnership with federal, state, and local agencies and we look forward to continuing this necessary work.”
“Combating illegal marijuana cultivation takes dedication, teamwork, perseverance and courage,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“I’m immensely proud of the work we accomplished during the year with our county, state and federal partners. Together, we are protecting California’s natural resources and providing another measure of public safety.”
“USDA Forest Service law enforcement in California commend the collaboration and continuing efforts of our task force of partners in the yearly fight against illegal marijuana grows on public lands. This multi-faceted team approach is how we stay successful in mitigating these trespassers and the harmful destruction they intend on our land, water, wildlife and communities,” said Don Hoang, Special Agent in Charge of United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region.
“CAMP’s joint law enforcement efforts provide an opportunity for a stronger state-federal partnership against the illegal cultivation of marijuana. Together, we share a common goal – to improve public safety and protect our nation’s important natural and cultural resources on public lands,” said Joe Stout, Acting California State Director, Bureau of Land Management.
“We are proud to partner with our local, state, and federal partners in the CAMP program, which not only helps disrupt illegal activity, but assists in safeguarding natural resources and the environment,” said William D. Bodner, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration. “CAMP provides rotary wing assets and personnel to assist DEA in the eradication of illegal marijuana grows on federal lands.”
“Although cannabis has been legalized for use in California, there is still a large unlicensed black market,” said Robert Paoletti, Coordinator Colonel, California National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. “Our participation works to prevent this illegal market in order to promote a fair market place for those growers, producers, and vendors who choose to operate within the system that the voters approved.”
The CAMP operations were led by the California Department of Justice and included local, state, and federal agencies.
Agents were divided into three teams that encompass the Northern, Central and Southern California regions, with teams covering 35 counties in the state.
Throughout the course of this year’s operations, CAMP teams protected public resources against misuse and safeguarded public land and water from illegal pesticides. This year, agents assisted in serving over 120 search warrants in the growing black market of illegal cannabis cultivation on public lands. The sites, loaded with trash, banned pesticides such as carbofuran, methyl parathion, aluminum phosphate, and illegal fertilizers, discharge large quantities of these harmful products into the waterways of California. Agents shut down these illegal grow sites, shielded the public from harmful chemicals, and disrupted dangerous criminal activity.
The 2019 CAMP operations count on multi-agency collaboration between the California Department of Justice, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Forest Service, the United States Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the United States Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration, the California National Guard, the California Bureau of Land Management, and the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, and other local law enforcement departments.
Footage, photos, and graphics of the 2019 CAMP operations are available for use at the following links: Footage, Photos, Video and Photo Descriptions, and Graphic.
(Attorney General Presser)
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
(— Mark Scaramella)
FOOD STAMPS COVER OUTAGE LOSSES
Are you a CalFresh recipient whose food spoiled due to the power outages?
You can request a replacement of your CalFresh Food benefits if your food spoiled due to a power outage. For the lengthy Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS) power outages that occurred in late October 2019, you have until Thursday, November 7, 2019 to request the replacement. Contact your local county office or make an appointment with one of our Patient Advocates at (707) 964-1251 for help. You will be asked to complete a simple one page form describing the amount and type of the loss, noting that it was caused by the PSPS.
Supervisor John McCowen and I carpooled to Sacramento for a joint counties and cities homeless solutions forum, joining CEO Carmel Angelo, HHSA Director Tammy Moss-Chandler, Jessica Morsell-Haye (Fort Bragg) and Bernie Norvell (Fort Bragg). The session focused on new funding streams and highlighted success stories from other regions. Translating the advertised models to fit the constraints of our rural environment will take further effort. It was a relief to see the overwhelming interest in the topic.
— at Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel
WORLD WAR I, AND A LOCAL CASUALTY
Marshall Newman Writes
The stuff one finds online….
He died near the end of World War I – September 12, 1918.
The photo is from an e-bay listing.
ED NOTE: RUEL WILLIAM DAY, died in combat at age 31 near the end of World War One. He was descended from the pioneer Day family of the former Day Ranch in Philo.
ANNA STOCKEL on preparation:
I started a new Facebook group for planning, acquisition and implementation of systems for when the government can't help and the utilities upon which many people depend aren't available.
Target audience is individuals, businesses of any size, and government (in terms of maybe we can help you, not what we need from you) in Mendocino County who want to prepare both short and long-term. So no topics on the government or tax payer funded entities, PD, FD (except volunteer departments), CERT, providing anything when the lights go out.
Topics include all manner of self, family, extended family, and micro-community preparedness including energy, food, water, and protection.
Benefits might include bulk, discounted purchasing.
WITH THE FIRES INLAND largely under control, but some smoke still in the air in the Bay Area and beyond, hotel partners in the county have come together to offer weary people the opportunity to rejuvenate and breathe the clear air of the Mendocino Coast. Until November 17, lodging properties are offering discounts to travelers.
You can learn more at our Deals page here: https://visitmendocino.com/see-do/deals-and-special-offers/
LOGGING WORK CONTINUES TO BE DISRUPTED ON RAINBOW RIDGE WITH AERIAL ROAD BLOCKADE
(“CounterPunch News Service”)
Log trucks headed into Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) timberlands were stalled Monday morning when workers discovered a thirty foot tripod blocking the road with a forest defender perched at the apex. The forest defender called for HRC to stop cutting trees on Rainbow Ridge, saying that the forest contains some of the largest unprotected Douglas fir and hardwood stands in Northern California and logging creates a heightened risk of a forest fire.
This marks the second week of work stoppages in the Rainbow Ranch timber harvest plan, located west of Humboldt Redwood State Park.
The tripod blocked vehicle access to the worksite for two hours before logger Ed Lewis bulldozed a section of road through the steep hillside below the tripod. He let multiple trucks through before Humboldt County Sheriffs arrived and told him not to use this road due to safety concerns.
A forest defender stated, “These logging operations have local and global implications. HRC’s timber harvesting violates a unique watershed that has seen decades of restoration work. Meanwhile, in the face of climate change and mass extinction, we cannot afford to sacrifice carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots, of which Rainbow Ridge is both.”
Meanwhile, local residents rallied at the logging road access gate, expressing concerns over the conservation value of the area being logged and HRC’s lack of community accountability.
By mid-morning, the sheriffs were cutting the legs of the tripod, seriously endangering the life of the sitter, who is going by ‘Weaver’. Weaver explained to the sheriffs the danger of dismantling the tripod with them at the top, but the deputies proceeded, badly bruising Weaver, arresting them, and opening up road access to the machinery and log trucks.
Weaver, a nonviolent protester, is being held in the Humboldt County Jail. There will be a rally outside of the jail, located in Eureka, Wednesday, starting at 9 am.
Mary Starkweather, Earth First! Humboldt, (707) 502-6413
Meredith Dyer, Earth First! Humboldt, (802) 734-7134
MO MEMO MONDAY, NOV. 4, 2019
Hi there! Maybe you noticed that I missed a week with my update. In the midst of the PG&E PSPS I didn't have access to internet on my computer and wasn't able to get it out. I apologize for that inconsistency. On Friday the 25th of October the City was notified that it would in fact be a part of the de-engergization of the PG&E transmission lines. The City has been meeting regularly as an agency and with community partners to ensure that our community was prepared as possible. The City is in a unique situation as that it owns its own distribution system and for the previous PSPS we were not affected. During the PSPS the City was able to have back up power in order to run water and sewer services, which is great for our community. PG&E did set up a temporary charging station on the north end of town near the former Masonite site. Realizing that the site was far for some residents to get to the City Manager did authorize a charging station to be opened on the City Hall lobby. The first evening it filled up so the next day the doors to Council chambers were opened up and there was even more room for charging. I spent a few hours a day chatting with folks while they were charging their devices. It was great to see multiple generations sitting together and chatting about their devices and what was happening with their neighborhoods. I had a blast running through a mock City Council meeting with some teenagers. Of course the PSPS is serious business. At Wednesday's meeting the City Council will vote to send a letter to PG&E and will continue to work with the Northern California Power Agency to reduce the impacts of the PG&E decisions moving forward. In the mean time I encourage every resident to put the Power Hotline number in their phone 707-463-6288, please call this number to hear the most current information regarding power outages. Additionally please write to the CPUC about your experiences with the PSPS, let them know how much money you lost in wages, food and other costs.
Telephone: 1-866-849-8390 (toll free) or 415-703-2074
Public Advisor's Office - CPUC
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
WELCOME TO THE REDWOOD VALLEY COMMUNITY GUILD
We, the Redwood Valley Community Guild, are inviting you to the home of Robin Sunbeam, Tuesday November 26, 6:30 pm at 124 Ford St, Ukiah, for our regular monthly meeting. Join us at a fun get together, starting at 5:30pm with a Thanksgiving potluck and songs, to share our stories and build community. Bring a friend. Come join our celebration 6:30 pm, Tuesday, November 26th at 124 Ford St., Ukiah. For more information, please visit our Facebook page or call/text at 707-478-8557.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 5, 2019
ALANI AKHTAB, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
JESUS CHAVEZ-VERDUZCO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
DAVID CHURCHILL, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, battery on peace officer, resisting.
THOMAS GALINDO JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
ERIC KOOYERS, Willits. Community supervision violation.
MARIA LICEA, Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment.
DANIEL PACHECO, Ukiah. No license, failure to appear.
CASEY ROBINSON, Fort Bragg. Interfering with police communications, disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
SAMUEL SIERRA, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
THOMAS WILLIAMS, Willits. Stalking, failure to appear.
I get to return awhile
Stay on the River
On the moored old riverboat
Delta King. Funky.
They call downtown here
“Old Sacramento.” Meaning
Restored but no longer real,
Hawking tourist schlock.
To me though, Old Sac
Is a century less old.
Old Sac way back then.
I social worked here.
From 2 Street to 6th,
Capitol to I, here’s where
My clients hung on.
Beer and breakfast joints.
Nailed-up stores. Genuine bums.
Real flop houses too.
The Enterprise: Hell
Swarming with swilling, hacking
The Travelers: Safer.
Drab men, some few women here.
Most broken, all broke.
The Ramona: Tops.
Faded tiles of past romance.
Two-star dole hotel.
The old Ramona.
Here Old McV dwelt and drank.
He should see it now.
Sushi bar and restaurant.
Not a bum in sight.
Dapper old McV.
Aging welfare raconteur.
Down. Out. Distinguished.
“Drinking? My dear boy,
What’d you expect me to do?
‘Course I’ve been drinking.”
Last night at Henry’s,
Amidst the grit and ghosts there,
Dad and Uncle Fig.
Mornings in boat’s lounge
Drinking coffee while outside
A pile driver drives.
Tonight from on deck.
The moon reflects like a fish.
Right there! Where just then
Tower Bridge stood firm and shining,
Now there is just fog.
I am outraged and exhausted by the completely unacceptable actions of PG&E as a public utility. This isn’t going to be our “new normal.” The company has been responsible for people dying, entire neighborhoods destroyed and hundreds of thousands evacuated from their homes by ongoing reckless operation of its power equipment and power line failures. Period. Who are they kidding? Not me; not you.
Regarding the Kincade fire, it is inexcusable that so many people were evacuated and that coastal communities in Sonoma and Mendocino counties had their power and/or gas shut off for nearly a week. All the spin doctors in the world can’t hide their responsibility.
FROM GEORGE HOLLISTER: The weather we are currently experiencing in Comptche is similar, or the same as what we experienced during the 1977 drought year. That would have been the Fall of 1976. The nights were clear and freezing. The days were warm and dry. That year the grass did not turn green. Most people in 1977, with range land, had livestock so there wasn’t much of a fire hazard, and there weren’t any notable fires, either. Water was short, so there was a push to provide government money for people to develop water, including farm ponds. Imagine that. Our total rainfall for that year was 16 inches with a significant amount of rain coming in August of 1976. Much of the native vegetation suffered, including the redwoods. Marin County ran out of water and a pipe was placed on the Richmond Bridge coming from the East Bay to provide water to Marin.
CALIFORNIA FIRE SEASON LIKELY TO LAST THROUGH DECEMBER, WITH NO RAIN IN SIGHT
CALIFORNIANS UNWILLING TO SUBSIDIZE WILDFIRE PREVENTION
THE GREAT BOOING AT NATIONALS PARK
This week Dave Zirin speaks to former Edge of Sports podcast producer Dan Bloom about his experience sitting in Nationals Park as the thousands rose up last Sunday to boo Donald Trump. A longtime Nationals fan, he also reflects on their historic World Series triumph. We have ‘Choice Words’ about the demise of Deadspin. We also have ‘Just Stand Up’ and ‘Just Sit Down’ awards to Sean Doolittle, the Washington National who has already turned down Trump, and Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. All this and more on this week’s episode!
THERE WILL BE FLAMES: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME AT CORNELL
by David Yearsley
Movie music is motion: Jimmy Stewart behind the big white steering wheel of his Desoto as he tails Kim Novak through San Francisco to Bernard Hermann’s worried ostinatos; Max Steiner’s woodwinds inexorably ascending with King Kong up the Empire State Building; the surging surf of the salty Kerr-Lancaster kiss in From Here To Eternity to the palpitating strings of George Duning’s score.
The soundtrack keeps the action going, whether it’s fast or faltering, whether it’s the beating of hearts or of hooves.
Music was thought especially necessary before the advent of the talkies. “Silent movie” is a misnomer, since the accompaniments, though live rather than captured by the cinematic technology itself, yielded continuous sound. There is precious little silence in silent movies.
Failing human voices and ambient sounds from within world of the film, the accompaniment, whether emanating from a full orchestra or a dilapidated piano, was charged with animating the auditory imagination. The motor of motion pictures was—and is—music.
The renowned American cinema organist, Dennis James is a master of kinetic, cinematic sound. I heard him for the first time twenty-five years ago at the magnificent Wurlitzer of Palo Alto’s Stanford Theatre in downtown Palo Alto back when that movie palace and its organ had been recently restored to their original 1925 glory. The film was James Buster Keaton’s The General, which is all about movement—that of the locomotive commandeered by the unlikely confederate hero and Keaton’s ceaseless motion in every direction in, on, behind and ahead of the train. James didn’t simply follow the action, as if he too were casually watching the proceedings from the organ bench, reacting to what he saw, as is often the case for lesser cinema accompanists. So intensely alive and joyously exacting was James score, that his music seemed to generate the action, from the steam whistle’s blast, to the roar of cannon and musket, to the bracing shower of a cooling tank pipe to—at last and most spectacularly—the collapse of a railway bridge.
In the quarter century since that unforgettable General, I’ve heard James perform many other meticulously constructed, and exhilaratingly executed scores. James now makes his home in Upstate New York State, though he is frequently travelling the world in order to share his unsurpassed talents at the cinema organ. In recent years he has come to Cornell University, often at Halloween time, to perform his scores for a series of fascinating exercises in the macabre: The Hands of Orlac (1924), Faust (1926), and Hamlet (1927). James’s music makes even these great movies still more compelling.
The latest edition of James’s exploits amongst Cornell’s spires, the clock-face of the campus’s Campanile made to glow orange this time of year like a jack-o-lantern, came on Tuesday evening just past with his score for The Hunchback of Notre Dame of 1923 with Lon Chaney in the title role. Fittingly, the screening took place in the college’s nineteenth-century chapel, whose architectural details evoke, if in a vague way, those of the on-screen cathedral. It was as if the chapel’s interior became an extension of the film’s famous set, one the most expensive in the then-short history of Hollywood. In this sacred cinema, one steps into a kind of labyrinth of history whose reimagining and repurposing makes such a setting even more fun and disorienting: a church within a church, the Hollywood one magically fitting onto a screen erected at the front of a college chapel that is itself a reinvention of the gothic past and would amount to nothing more than a doll’s house if the entire edifice were dropped into the cavernous interior of the real Notre Dame.
The fire that devastated the great Parisian cathedral last April has re-ignited interest in the 1923 film, presented at Cornell in beautifully restored print. James continues a busy year with his Hunchback score. He flew back into New York a few hours before the screening, raced up to Ithaca get a couple of hours of practice on Cornell’s Aeolian-Skinner organ of 1940. James is as adept in church as he is in the cinema—even better when those two places blasphemously become one. Directly after Tuesday night’s screening he dashed off to get a flight for a performance of the same score the next evening in Edmonton, Alberta.
The movie is never still. Even the moments of relative repose seem barely able to keep from lurching ahead. The film bolts out of the gate, the rabble frolicking and fighting at the Feast of Fools, a bacchanal of misrule that sprawls and menaces the square in front of the cathedral. The fair Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth Miller) dances her “Gypsy” dance, ogled at close range by the masses and also by Captain of the Guard Phoebus de Chateaupers (Norman Kerry) from a more distant casement. (He will soon get his hands on her in a tavern late at night, but moral qualms stop the advances of his greedy fingers over her body.) Horses charge through the streets. An assassin springs from behind a hedge in the cathedral close. James’ score, based on the original Universal Pictures cue sheet but replete with his own resourceful substitutions, is pure restive power, the opening stretch of the film a breathless dance-till-you-drop tour-de-force under the organist’s antic hands and feet. The ceaseless motion of sight and sound seems all the more urgent and threatening against the implacable stillness of the cathedral.
The most unforgettable movements are Chaney’s. First comes his spectacular descent down the cathedral façade amongst gargoyles and niches, his parkour-avant-la-lettre virtuosity traced and tethered by James’s nimble filigree. The most euphoric choreography comes when he rings the mighty bells and is lofted by the rope in ecstatic arcs. Here James’s deployed a canned recording of tolling bells, a rare literal translation from this expert in musical suggestion and metaphor. Later, Quasimodo saves Esmeralda from the executioner by abseiling down the façade and spiriting her into the cathedral. To express his rapture at bringing her to safety, he jumps directly on the biggest bell and rides it like a child in his private playground.
But the mob wants Esmeralda back. The masses believe she is one of theirs and not to be stolen by the rich, by the church, by the powerful. Hunchback is a movie about the 99% oppressed by unseen king and cronies. James’s score seethes with their discontent. There is ugliness and anger in it: James’s lashes at the keyboards, like Quasimodo being whipped in the square. This is not the time for the vaunted precision of The General.
The fury builds as the mob tries to storm the cathedral. Chaney is possessed, racing around the parapet, thrilled by his aerial bombardment of stone blocks and molten lead down on the angry poor far below. With a beam dropped from above that has just crushed five people, the besiegers batter down the great wooden door and with it the law of sanctuary. Quasimodo continues to mete out death from above and it thrills him more than love. James’s score erupts with the dark fury of nineteenth-century Parisian organist Léon Böellmann’s Toccata, its minor melody churning up and down. There will be flames.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
WHAT THE ANTS ARE SAYING
by Don Marquis (in “archy does his part,” 1935)
dear boss i was talking with an ant the other day
and he handed me a lot of
gossip which ants the world around are chewing over among themselves
i pass it on to you
in the hope that you may relay it to other human beings and hurt their feelings with it
no insect likes human beings
and if you think you can see why
the only reason i tolerate you is because
you seem less human to me than most of them here is what the ants are saying
it wont be long now it wont be long man is making deserts of the earth it wont be long now
before man will have used it up
so that nothing but ants
and centipedes and scorpions
can find a living on it
man has oppressed us for a million years but he goes on steadily
cutting the ground from under
his own feet making deserts deserts deserts
we ants remember
and have it all recorded
in our tribal lore
when gobi was a paradise swarming with men and rich
in human prosperity
it is a desert now and the home of scorpions ants and centipedes
what man calls civilization
always results in deserts
man is never on the square
he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth each generation wastes a little more
of the future with greed and lust for riches
north africa was once a garden spot and then came carthage and rome and despoiled the storehouse
and now you have sahara
sahara ants and centipedes
toltecs and aztecs had a mighty
civilization on this continent
but they robbed the soil and wasted nature
and now you have deserts scorpions ants and centipedes and the deserts of the near east
followed egypt and babylon and assyria
and persia and rome and the turk
the ant is the inheritor of tamerlane
and the scorpion succeeds the caesars
america was once a paradise
of timberland and stream
but it is dying because of the greed
and money lust of a thousand little kings who slashed the timber all to hell
and would not be controlled
and changed the climate
and stole the rainfall from posterity
and it wont be long now
it wont be long
till everything is desert
from the alleghenies to the rockies
the deserts are coming
the deserts are spreading
the springs and streams are drying up one day the mississippi itself
will be a bed of sand
ants and scorpions and centipedes shall inherit the earth
men talk of money and industry
of hard times and recoveries
of finance and economics
but the ants wait and the scorpions wait
for while men talk they are making deserts all the time getting the world ready for the conquering ant drought and erosion and desert
because men cannot learn
rainfall passing off in flood and freshet and carrying good soil with it
because there are no longer forests
to withhold the water in the
billion meticulations of the roots
it wont be long now It won't be long till earth is barren as the moon
and sapless as a mumbled bone
dear boss i relay this information without any fear that humanity will take warning and reform
BUFFETING BOEING CEO’S ROPE-A-DOPE IN CONGRESS
by Ralph Nader
This past week, Boeing’s deadly 737 MAX crashes were the focus of two back-to-back hearings — one in the Senate and one in the House. In the House Transportation Committee hearing, at least 50 Democrats and Republicans criticized Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s mismanagement and implied criminal negligence. Muilenburg’s actions allowed Boeing’s marketeers to overrule Boeing’s engineers so that Boeing could circumvent FAA’s safety oversight, which had already been diminished by the Congress.
These hearings were held because of efforts by the families of the victim’s aboard preventable airplane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Family members attended the hearings, holding up large signs with photos of their lost loved relatives. There were 346 fatalities in two crashes driven down by stealthy, faulty software installed to address, what Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger called, the reduction of the “aircraft’s natural aerodynamic stability in certain conditions.”
The hearings were held in a packed room, full of media members, staffers, lobbyists, and citizen activists. House lawmakers questioned Muilenburg and his chief engineer, John Hamilton, for over five hours, during which the hugely compensated CEO made over $75,000 for pretending to be humble and respectful. The Committee members demanded to know what the top brass knew about the plane’s hazards and when they knew it. Lower-level Boeing engineers, technicians, and test pilots had already told Boeing executives about the plane’s problems, but the warnings were ignored in the rush to market.
There were table thumping questions and demands (e.g., for Muilenburg’s resignation) by both Democrats and Republicans. However, no legislative proposals were on the table. One year after the Lion airlines plane crashed into the Java Sea, there is still no tangible effort to provide the FAA with the stronger authority, a larger budget, and the staff needed to properly oversee the aircraft/airline industry. The FAA must be able to enforce meaningful laws with civil fines and, when necessary, referrals to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. The lack of proper regulation has allowed for continued unsafe aircraft manufacturing, corner-cutting, and cover-ups.
Ever since the Congress, under Boeing pressure, ordered the FAA to delegate more self-certifying power to Boeing and other aircraft makers, hearings with the FAA, Boeing, and airlines have been theater. Nothing results except giving in to aircraft manufacturers and carriers’ demands, rubber-stamped by the toady FAA and an indentured Congress.
Given all the freebies the airlines give to the U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives (See the survey sent to every member of Congress, which has yet to receive a response) the Congress has never passed the comprehensive passenger bill of rights championed by Flyers’ Rights (https://flyersrights.org/) and numerous aviation columnists.
Given the formidable organization of the knowledgeable families and consistent, thorough media coverage, will Congress do its job? So far, the answer is — not likely. Not one member of Congress has yet returned Boeing’s campaign contributions — over 300 members take the cash regularly. No Congressional Committee has demanded resignations of Dan Elwell or Ali Bahrami, the FAA officials responsible for enabling Boeing’s “regulatory capture” of the FAA. This failure of regulation was even condemned by the likes of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
No Congressional Committee has even pressed for repealing the notorious provisions, inserted by Boeing, into the 2018 FAA Authorization Act that pushed the FAA further under Boeing’s giant thumb.
On the other hand, the families of the crash victims and Flyers’ Right’s Paul Hudson are advancing critical findings by the National Safety Transportation Board (See their report) and the Joint Authorities Technical Review (See their report), along with the serious findings of a long-neglected 2017 airline union sponsored report (See Aircraft Certification “Transformation” Pre-Decisional Involvement Report). With increasing numbers of aerospace safety specialists and inspectors who have been coming forward, maybe Congress can end its indentured status. Maybe the national legislature can stand tall for airline safety regulation and a reformed Boeing corporation, shorn of its presently complicit executives and trophy Board of Directors.
To make action on Capitol Hill more likely, the Congressional Committees must schedule hearings now for consumer groups, families, the airline industry unions, and very importantly, the experienced technical critics of the 737 MAX and Boeing’s handling of that aircraft — past, present, and future. All these parties have been waiting with rising impatience to be called.
In public releases, October 23 and 29, 2019, the families of Boeing’s MAX victims laid out what Boeing and the FAA need to do before the hundreds of MAX planes are allowed in the air.
Summarizing their demands: 1. If the MCAS (software) fix is not publically disclosed, the 737 MAX should not fly; 2. If the purpose of the MCAS system is not determined, the 737 MAX should not fly; 3. If there is no recertification of the whole plane as an integrated system, the 737 MAX should not fly; 4. Until Boeing fixes its culture to eliminate undue pressure on engineers, the 737 MAX should not fly; and 5. Until Boeing identifies and removes those who made the decision to conceal the MCAS from the FAA, pilots, and the public, the 737 MAX should not fly.
Paul Hudson, the longtime director of Flyers’ Rights, who is on an FAA Advisory Committee, has put forth numerous MAX-related demands, as well as a detailed series of recommendations to reform the FAA from top to bottom (https://flyersrights.org/).
Airline passengers, please note that Boeing intends to put 5,000 flawed 737 MAX airplanes into operation. Already about 400 of them have been grounded since March by U.S. and foreign airlines.
With Boeing already in trouble with its big pentagon and NASA contracts, don’t bet on its full-page ads and other propaganda. Boeing’s P.R. spin will not protect you. Rely on your own vigilance and “Axe the MAX” from your future travel plans.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
CLIMATE CRISIS: 11,000 SCIENTISTS WARN OF “UNTOLD SUFFERING”
“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.” There is no time to lose, the scientists say: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”