- Sub Freezing
- Hunnicutt Case
- Gjerde Statement
- Aluminum Softop
- B Questions
- By Limo
- Abandoned Vehicles
- Panthers Tamed
- Historical Luncheon
- Sloppy Joes
- Directives Directive
- Brains Required
- Senior Scuffle
- Saying Grace
- No Quiz
- Holiday Plot
- Crown Not
- Crafts Fair
- Yesterday's Catch
- Moral Priorities
- Terrorist Nations
- Moral Responsibility
- Dad TV
- Performance Anxiety
- Voter Suppression
- Hard Lord
- Homeless Bank
- Oppression Delusion
- Humboldt Thanksgiving
- Found Object
QUIET BUT COLD conditions will continue through Friday, with sub freezing temperatures expected throughout the area the next few mornings. Additional rain, mountain snow, and gusty southerly winds are expected on Saturday, with periodic rain continuing Sunday through early next week. (National Weather Service)
WORD OUT OF THE UKIAH COURTHOUSE has it that Gina Bean, aka Gina Delfiorentino, 41, of Fort Bragg, has been charged after an extensive, months-long investigation for the tragic hit-and-run death of Calum Hunnicutt back in July. Ricky Santos, 35, also of Fort Bragg has been charged with assisting her to hide from investigators after the incident. Coast residents recall that Mr. Santos was himself charged with hit and run a couple years ago when he ran over a horse and rider during the Fort Bragg Christmas parade. An official announcement is expected soon.
UPDATE (Thanksgiving morning): Gina On The Run?
SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE WRITES: Even though we live in a time when people are divided on many things, here’s one thing everyone can agree on: I am one of the most steady and even-keeled chaps you have ever met. An anonymous quote, unfortunately re-published in the November 6, 2019 Off the Record, is not describing an incident involving me, if the anonymous quote is indeed referencing a real person at all. Let me be crystal clear: never in my entire life have I ever been pulled over, picked up or dropped off by law enforcement. Anyone who knows me would know this to be true. In the future, please feel free to contact me before re-publishing an anonymous quote that is on its face clearly inaccurate. After all, Mark and Bruce at the AVA both have my public email, my private email and my private cell phone number. I’m readily accessible.
Thank you, Dan Gjerde
MEASURE B QUESTIONS FOR SUPERVISORS
Open Letter to Board of Supervisors
Measure B Questions:
Why would you spend Measure B money to build a money-losing Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU)? As the Kemper Report tells you, CSUs lose money in Napa County and Nevada County, and the one in Sonoma County has lost millions of dollars. Do you remember we had one here for a year after the PHF closed in 2000? It also was not cost effective because a CSU has to have 3 shifts of medical people and can only help someone for less than 24 hours.
Isn’t a Crisis Residential Treatment (CRT) facility a better choice because they can do all that a CSU can do, are cost effective, and can provide crisis care early, thus preventing expensive hospitalization or law enforcement involvement?
Why don’t you buy an existing building in Fort Bragg that is big enough for a CRT and all the Adult Services including the Healing Center that can be the Day Program with expanded support?
What is the logic behind giving $3.3M to Sacramento architects when we have local architects? Why are you asking them to build 3 buildings when existing buildings can be used? Why don’t you purchase a ready-to-go hospital modular unit, that can be pulled onto land at an Adventist Health Hospital?
Don’t you know some local nurses, counselors, experienced family members, and recovered clients who would want to work in a CRT, especially one that offered life transforming healing classes plus support to overcome addictions? Many people will choose that to improve their own health and wellbeing, and to avoid the trauma of hospitalization and incarceration.
There were 85% of us who voted for Measure B and mental health services that would support people to become healthier. I don’t think any of us expected you to change that to build 3 buildings.
JOHN BURKS, who runs Mendocino County’s Abandoned Vehicle Abatement program out of the Code enforcement section of the Planning Department called back on Wednesday to report that their contract with Ukiah Auto Dismantlers had expired and that due to budget problems the County has been slow to get a new contract in place. Apparently, the lower salvage value of wrecked cars these days translated to higher cost program bids from the few salvage yards in the County which then created a budget problem. They are working on arranging a new contract, but Burks wouldn’t speculate on how long it’ll take. He did say that when the new contract(s) is/are in place, there’ll be a sizable backlog of abandoned cars to deal with. Burks also said that the Abandoned Camaro on Highway 253 — colloquially known as “Bob” because somebody scribbed that name on the side in spray paint — has been on their list of cars to be picked up for several weeks now.
TOMALES TAMES PANTHERS. Visiting Tomales High School took both ends of a varsity hoops doubleheader in the Boonville gym Tuesday afternoon. The girls lost 28 to 25, the boys lost 46 to 29, and then it rained.
THE MENDOCINO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY will have their December Luncheon meeting on Sunday, Dec. 1 at noon, at the Grace Hudson Museum, 431 S. Main St., Ukiah. The guest speaker will be local author and AVA contributor Katy Tahja talking about her new book “An Eclectic History of Mendocino County.”
BACK IN JUNE the Grand Jury criticized the Supervisors and the CEO for various management deficiencies reported here at the time. We also covered the Board’s wounded, grudging non-response, which was released in August.
ONE of the Grand Jury’s recommendations had to do with improving the CEO’s poor tracking system for Board Directives: “The BOS needs to include expectations for completion at the time directives are given to the CEO,” and “Directives should include goal, proposed action, funding status and responsible agency.”
IN THEIR RESPONSE, the Board said that they “agree with this recommendation [to include expectations for completion] which will be implemented upon the issuance of new directives and formation of new ad hoc committtees.” The Board also agreed that “the status of directives will be updated to better describe actions to date as well as those that have been completed.” But they disagreed that goals or funding status is necessary.
GUESS WHAT HAS HAPPENED concerning the things the CEO and Supes agreed to do? That’s right, it’s now December and there’s still no estimated or actual completion dates on any of the Board directives — they do not routinely set such dates when they give directives as they said they’d do — and there’s nothing about “actions to date” regarding individual directives. Angelo and Co. could teach Gandhi a few things about passive resistance.
SO MUCH for the directives. They can’t even keep track of their own self-directive to do what they said they’d do about directives. Nor do they inquire about the directives when the CEO lists them in her CEO report.
AND YOU WONDER why so little gets done in Mendocino County?
CAN THIS MARRIAGE BE SAVED?
On November 25, 2019 at 6:32 P.M., a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a reported disturbance between a male and female in the 15000 block of South Highway 101 in Hopland. Upon arrival the Deputy contacted a 68-year old female adult and learned of an incident of domestic violence involving Rick Caporgno, 72, of Hopland.
An argument between Caporgno and the female lasted several minutes, and Caporgno grabbed the female by the wrist and threatened to kill her while holding a pocket knife. Caporgno had left the residence prior to the Deputy arriving on scene. Deputies contacted Caporgno at his residence in Hopland on November 26, 2019 where he was placed under arrest without incident. Caporgno was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $20,000 bail on charges of felony criminal threats and misdemeanor domestic violence battery.
NO THANKSGIVING QUIZ
Even though it’s the fourth Thursday of the month there will NOT be a General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz at Lauren’s Restaurant today. Most folks will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day by excessively eating, drinking, and making merry with family and friends — a splendid idea and 'well done' to those who started this wonderful tradition — The Pilgrims (English Dissenters), who wanted to give thanks for their new-found homeland and recent harvest. We shall be having two Quizzes in December. On Thursday, December 12th and a special Christmas Quiz on Boxing Day: Thursday, December 26th.
Hope to see you there. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
Gobble gobble, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master.
THE CROWN: STOP WATCHING
by Thom Elkjer
The first two seasons of “The Crown,” the Netflix series about Queen Elizabeth of England, were intriguing. A young princess gets accelerated onto the throne years before she expects, while her family struggles to catch up alongside her. Claire Foy playing a plucky young woman rising to an immense occasion. TV worth watching!
Then the third season arrived, like a Public Safety Power Outage from PG&E. Makes no sense, and pisses you off.
In season 3, the queen is a dud. Her family is a dud. The writing (mostly by series creator Peter Morgan) is a dud. I found myself imagining a different royal family, one with its ears to the ground, eyes in the community, and ready to smack sense into any government that was out of touch. Instead I was watching a royal family that had no sense of the population, no motivation to engage with it, no interest even in its own progenitors. Useless duds. All of them.
I have written many scripts for stage and screen, and directed a good number of them. The main lesson? It’s nearly impossible to make talented, experienced actors such as Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter come across as annoying. But “The Crown” achieves this in Season 3. The actors appear robotic, unsympathetic, and clearly uninspired.
Like the real people they are playing!
When I objected to my better half that “The Crown” shows aristocratic stiffs being useless to their country – at great cost – she said “That’s the point of the show.” To which I replied, “Then why should I watch that?”
Why should I watch low-wattage, disengaged people being out of touch with their times and community? Just because they happen to be born into a family that Britain fetishizes as “royalty”? Sorry, no. The royalty in Holland and Denmark are culturally engaged, politically savvy, and advocating for progressive causes both in their countries and in the wider world.
The royals in “The Crown” are advocating for more money, for themselves. If a national disaster strikes, one of them might put in an appearance a week later. Might even fake some emotion for the TV cameras – but only if someone tells them to.
This is why it feels like there is no lesson I can learn from the Windsor family in “The Crown”: they are relentlessly, culturally tone-deaf. Official biographers always say Elizabeth is “above politics” and “on an even keel,” but we could say the same about the average horse. (Elizabeth likes horses.) No, the Windsors are not “above politics,” they are way below them. They rise mainly to petty family matters. We got to see that in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Windsors did not find Prince Charles the “wrong” wife in Diana Spencer; they lured her into marrying a man whose only interest was producing a couple of viable pregnancies as a matter of duty. All the requirements were on their side: she had to be aristocratic, virgin, pretty, inexperienced, gullible. All the nastiness was on their side, too: isolation for her, infidelity for Charles, and placing the blame for her needless death squarely on her – even though it was due to the royal-mania they cultivated for decades in order to ensure that British taxpayers would continue to fund their extravagant, pointless lives.
So I am not blaming the actors who took over the main roles in season 3 of “The Crown.” The characters they play are flavorless cardboard, impossible to render sympathetically. But I am urging you to boycott the rest of this super-expensive, totally irrelevant series. Elizabeth and her family mean nothing to us. They teach us nothing. They are not even interesting to watch while they teach us nothing.
Now, there are those who will say that boycotting “The Crown” means missing Prince Charles courting Camilla Bowles and Princess Anne doing equestrian events in the Olympics. Thank goodness. There’s nothing I want to learn from royals and their, um, horses.
So if you’re not watching “The Crown,” don’t start. If you are watching, stop. We hear all the time that this is the era of “Peak TV.” Let’s support the shows that actually reach for the pinnacle, and avoid the ones that could have come from PG&E.
HOLIDAY CRAFTS FAIR AT GRACE HUDSON
On Friday, December 6, from 5 to 8 p.m., the Grace Hudson Museum will have its First Friday Art Walk and annual Holiday Crafts Fair and Open House. The work of local artists and artisans will be displayed, including holiday wreaths and swag. Before or after holiday shopping, visitors are invited to walk or bike the "Caminata de Luces," a trail lit for the season that extends from the Museum to the Rail Trail. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.
On Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Grace Hudson Museum will hold its annual Holiday Crafts Fair and Open House. The event will feature local vendors of arts and crafts, food treats, wreaths, and other holiday decorations, along with carolers and a special visit from Santa. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 27, 2019
LUCIA BARAJAS, Calpella. Protective order violation.
KELLY CLARK, Ukiah. Robbery, controlled substance, probation revocation.
ANDRES FUENTES-LUCERO, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), fourth or more conviction within ten years.
KENNETH HANOVER JR., Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JESSIE JOHNSTON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
PATRICIA MOORE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
LATOYA REYES-CAMPOS, Ukiah. Refuse disposal in state waters, probation revocation.
ASHLEY SCHUCKER, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
COREY SQUIRES, Willits. Disorderly conduct-loitering.
SAMUEL TODD, Ukiah. DUI.
JESSICA TOMINIA, Clearlake Oaks/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
Chris Cuomo asked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez how we pay for Medicare for All, tuition free college, and the green new deal. It gives people sticker shock. Her answer:
People talk about the sticker shock of Medicare for All, but they do not talk about the sticker shock of our existing system. In a Koch brothers funded study, it shows that Medicare for All is actually much cheaper than the current system.
Let's not forget that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act because they ruled that each of these monthly payments that everyday Americans make is a tax. We pay it every single month. (Or we pay at tax season if we don't buy plans off of the exchange.)
Americans have the sticker shock of healthcare as it is. Why aren't we incorporating the cost of funeral expenses of those who die because they can't afford access to healthcare? That is part of the cost of our system. Or the cost of reduced productivity because of people who need to go on disability or are not able to participate in our economy because they don't have access to the healthcare that they need?
At the end of the day, we see that this is not a pipe dream. Every other developed nation in the world has this. Why can't America? And that is the question we need to ask.
We write blank checks for war. We just wrote a $2 trillion check for the GOP tax cut. And nobody asks how are we going to pay for it.
So my question is why are our pockets only empty when it comes to education and healthcare for our kids? Why are our pockets only empty when we talk about 100% renewable energy that is going to save this planet and allow our children to thrive?
We only have empty pockets when it comes to the morally right things to do. But when it comes to tax cuts for billionaires or unlimited war, we seem to be able to invent that money very easily. To me it belies a lack of moral priorities that people have right now, especially the Republican Party.
HANNAH ARENDT EXPLAINS WHY DEMOCRACIES NEED TO SAFEGUARD THE FREE PRESS & TRUTH … to Defend Themselves Against Dictators and Their Lies
Two of the most trenchant and enduring critics of authoritarianism, Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno, were also both German Jews who emigrated to the U.S. to escape the Nazis. The Marxist Adorno saw fascist tendencies everywhere in his new country. Decades before Noam Chomsky coined the concept, he argued that all mass media under advanced capitalism served one particular purpose: manufacturing consent. Arendt landed on a different part of the political spectrum, drawing her philosophy from Aristotle and St. Augustine. Classical democratic ideals and an ethics of moral responsibility informed her belief in the central importance of shared reality in a functioning civil society—of a press that is free not only to publish what it wishes, but to take responsibility for telling the truth, without which democracy becomes impossible.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #1
My 93 year old father can’t work a DVD player, much less a computer. He gets his news from network TV and falls for most of their bullshit. Fortunately, he forgets it all 10 minutes later.
by David Yearsley
How did I get into this? As a kid that was the inevitable question of concert day. I still ask it now and again. One of my colleagues, to be heard on violin with your Musical Patriot at the organ on All Your Cares Beguile: Songs and Sonatas from Baroque London will often acknowledge his own anxiety before a gig by reminding himself that being nervous is better than being bored. But I’m not always so sure.
Growing up you practiced for weeks on the piece or program you had to play. Countless hours were spent building up fundamentals of technique. Your teacher assured you that your (or perhaps her) interpretations were finely tuned. You ran the repertoire countless times at performance tempo. You then slowed things down to glacial pace so that the fingers had time to doubt their next step. Wherever they faltered, you drilled the spot again ten times. You played the piece in sections out of order so that in case of momentary setback the forces could be regrouped quickly rather than routed.
These and many more training exercises helped one to resist the natural inclination to throw down the flag in the heat of battle and run for your life, leaving Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms face down in the mud behind you.
On concert day things were—and are—always worse before the performance than during it.
When I was a teenager my teacher enrolled me several times in an annual piano competition for a small scholarship sponsored by the leading Seattle piano dealer. The event was always held on a Saturday afternoon. My organ lessons happened on Saturday mornings, so that when the day of the piano contest rolled around I always had several hours to kill. I would wander around downtown Seattle for a what seemed like unbridgeable expanses of time, then at least seek refuge in the old public library where I would sit miserably in a carrel, imagining I was at a piano and running my pieces through in my mind. I don’t know if that mental exercise, which could as easily sew doubt as build up confidence, helped me in performance, though I can’t recall now any major crashes. Perhaps that rosy picture is itself a service that the brain provides, letting all, or at least most, of the botched bits, embarrassments, and disappointments slip from memory.
During the seemingly endless hours of waiting before the performance, time slowed down so much it seemed not to be moving forward at all. Aside from these agonizing stretches in the library, the nerve-racked me liked to keep moving. Even though I’ve stopped getting too nervous, if only because I’m usually too busy for it, I still prefer to walk to a concert that I’m playing. If the venue is too far to reach on foot, I always try to take the air just beforehand, rain or shine.
After accepting my fate and going ahead with the performance rather than taking to my heels, I usually experience a hugely heightened sense of awareness—stand and fight, rather than fright and flight. I seem to hover outside myself, watching and listening as the music unfolds as if in slow motion. It is exhilarating and dangerous to cling for too long to that feeling because you risk drifting too far from yourself. When that happens, things can go badly wrong very quickly. For me, it’s best to be slightly detached but still crisply engaged, focused in a way I’ve experienced only in musical performance.
As of yet I have not died in performance, either figuratively or literally. But waiting for, and playing in, my own concerts seems increasingly with the passing years ever more like a kind of rehearsal for death. After being mired in the thick, gooey, immovable time leading up to the program you suddenly find that you are making music. The event—the feared and yearned-for thing—is actually happening. You are both in the experience and outside of it. And then, almost miraculously, it is over.
The so-called responsibilities of adulthood have cut massively into the undisturbed hours of youthful practicing. It is that formative experience that now gets me through the still occasionally terrifying test of a concert.
A concert is nothing to die over. The world will go on even if you flounder and fail. But rational thought can never truly allay these elemental fears. Yet in some of the best moments of live music atavistic panic is coupled with intense concentration. There must be something chemically addictive about being in that state, otherwise why would one find oneself asking yet again just before taking the plunge into performance: How did I get into this?
Having been introduced to music by my parents, I told myself that my own children should have the same opportunities. Lessons were begun. Practice was encouraged, then enforced until the kids seemed to enjoy it without too much cajoling.
You then make your children suffer the awful nervousness of concert day. You visit the ordeal on them even though you know it is a form of torture. You watch them go pale, turn away their food. They wonder out loud why it has to be this way. Yet they accept their lot.
You convince yourself that it is good “life experience”—excellent training for the school presentation, public speaking, standardized tests. But in the end the only thing that keeps them from revolting from this bizarre ritual is that after the concert is over they claim to have enjoyed it. The memory tested in the performance has already forgotten the preceding agony, overwritten by the euphoria of riding the knife edge between disaster and what might be called a kind of momentary glory—and living to tell the tale.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at email@example.com.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
The Lord is not good. He allows babies to die by the millions, chuckles at the suffering of cancer victims, has enabled countless forms of human suffering to occur, sits idly watching species die, has an ego problem beyond all measure, and is a hypocrite in extreme. Asking you to forgive your neighbor for raping your daughter or killing your dog but will watch you writhe in hell for all eternity for dis’ing him. He is a bad ass mean mother fu**er you don’t want to cross, even if you catch him in a good mood which judging from the hell he imposes on earth he is never in.
SELF DESTRUCTION BY DELUSION ON CAMPUS
Why Are College Students So Afraid of Me?
Because adults at places like Bucknell and Holy Cross have convinced them they are oppressed.
by Heather MacDonald
Nov. 26, 2019 6:47 pm ET
Few things upset American college students more than being told they aren’t oppressed. I recently spoke at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. I argued that American undergraduates are among the most privileged individuals in history by virtue of their unfettered access to knowledge. Far from being discriminated against, students are surrounded by well-meaning faculty who want all of them to succeed.
About 15 minutes into my talk, as I was discussing Renaissance humanism, a majority of the audience in the packed auditorium stood up and started chanting: “My oppression is not a delusion!” The chanters then declared that my sexism, racism and homophobia weren’t welcome on campus. “You are not welcome,” they added, as if I didn’t know.
The protesters drowned out my response before filing slowly out of the room, still loudly announcing their victimhood and leaving dozens of seats empty that could have been filled by students who had been turned away for lack of space. (The protesters had hoped to occupy the entire auditorium before vacating it, so no one else could hear me speak.)
In a subsequent open letter, a senior claimed that I came to Holy Cross to “discredit, humiliate, and deny the existence of minority students.” In fact, I came to urge the entire student body to seize their boundless opportunities for learning with joy and gratitude.
The maudlin self-pity on display at Holy Cross doesn’t arise spontaneously. It is actively cultivated by adults on campus. A few days before the Holy Cross protest, faculty and administrators at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., convened a therapeutic “scholars” panel to take place during another talk of mine. The goal was to inoculate the university against the violence that I allegedly represented.
Bucknell’s interpersonal violence prevention coordinator; the director of its Women’s Resource Center; the interim associate provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion; a women’s and gender studies professor; and an economics professor discussed rape culture, trauma and racism. Students and faculty were then invited to join in painting “self-care” rocks.
This craft activity, in which participants write feel-good messages on stones, was originally designed for K-5 classrooms. It may not be what parents paying Bucknell’s $72,000 annual tuition and fees had in mind. No matter. According to Bucknell’s interpersonal violence prevention coordinator, it was “especially important” for students who had attended my talk to come to the scholars “space” afterward and practice self-care. The interim associate provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion said that the administration’s willingness to let my talk proceed shows that it values free speech more than the community’s trauma.
In anticipation of my Bucknell talk, student journalists had claimed that “free speech’” merely amplifies “hate speech,” and that hate speech such as mine was intended to “attack students of color” and “survivors of sexual assault.” An English professor cheered them on. The Bucknell Faculty and Staff of Color Working Group urged colleagues to support those whose “first-hand experiences with injustice” at Bucknell were “invalidated and perpetuated” by my arguments.
Bucknell’s Democratic Socialists of America organized a protest at which participants—in between chants of “Hey hey! Ho Ho! Heather Mac has got to go!” and “No justice! No peace!”—were encouraged to share their personal experiences of injustice at Bucknell. Sadly, there is no available record of what the protesters came up with.
Students who can be persuaded to see oppression on an American college campus—where traits that still lead to ostracism and even death outside the West are not just tolerated but celebrated—can be persuaded to see oppression anywhere. The claim that American universities, and the U.S. in general, are defined by white supremacy is the one unifying idea on college campuses today, in the absence of a shared curriculum dedicated to civilization’s greatest works. And that idea is spreading. School systems across the country are training teachers and administrators that colorblind standards and the work ethic are instruments of white privilege. Any private institution without proportional representation of minorities and females is vulnerable to attack, since bigotry is the only allowable explanation for the lack of sex and race “diversity.”
The promiscuous labeling of disagreement as hate speech and the equation of such speech with violence will gain traction in the public arena, as college graduates take more positions of power. The former managing editor of Time has already advocated in the Washington Post for allowing states to define and penalize hate speech; potential censors wait in the wings.
Certain ideas are now taboo in the academy—above all, the idea that behavior and culture better explain socioeconomic disparities in the U.S. than bigotry. A Bucknell student protester claimed that my sin is to force “this elementary conversation about whether structural racism even exists.”
Most Americans are eager and ready for a post-racial country. The perpetual invocation of racial oppression on college campuses and beyond, however, keeps race relations fraught.
After the Holy Cross protest, the co-president of the Black Student Union, which organized the walkout with an assist from the student government, told the campus newspaper: “The fact that we pulled this off is actually amazing. I feel so empowered now, and this is just the beginning. This is the start of something more.”
About that, she is undoubtedly right.
(Ms. MacDonald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.)
A HUMBOLDT THANKSGIVING
by Alexander Cockburn
It’s Thanksgiving here in America, a day of infamy for turkeys. At my place in Humboldt County, northern California, turkeys learned their lesson a few years ago, when five fine specimens of Meleagris gallopavo—wild turkey to you—wandered onto my property. I assume they forgot to check the calendar. Under California fish and game regulations, you can shoot them legally for two weeks around Thanksgiving.
Out came my 12-gauge, and I loosed off a shot that at some 100 feet did no discernible damage, and after a brief bout of what-the-hell-was-that the turkeys continued to forage. A fusillade of two more shots finally brought down a 14-pounder. I hung him for four days, plucked him and by Thanksgiving’s end he was history.
Wild turkeys hadn’t been seen in California since earlier in the Cenozoic era, but in recent years two ranchers in my valley imported a few and now they’ve begun to appear in our neighborhood in substantial numbers. I’ve heard reports of flocks of up to 100 wild turkeys 15 miles up the Mattole River around Honeydew, an impressive quantity though still far short of the thousand birds counted in one day by two hunters in New England in the 1630s. The taste of wild turkey? Between you, me, the drumstick, and my dog Jasper, it was markedly similar to farm-raised turkeys, though of course superior to the flanges of blotting paper consequent upon the familiar overroasting of store-bought turkey at low temperatures for 10 hours. I’m for high heat and about three-and-a-half hours for a turkey of average size, though not for the dirigibles they use to raise on a farm in Loleta, near here, which turned the scales at 40 pounds.
Globalism has its alluring sides. It was good that turkeys, potatoes, and peppers got to Europe (though I have my doubts about the squashes, which evoke the bland horrors of pumpkin pie). That was early globalism. It was much more rapid in those days. The speed with which New World foods spread across Europe and Asia is astounding. The first Indian housewife got the basics for what we regard as part of the eternal Indian diet — curry — in about 1550, and within five years it was on every household menu in India.
The Spanish brought turkeys back to Europe from Mexico, and by the 1530s they were well-known in Germany and England, hailed at the festive board as part of tradition immemorial. The Puritans had domestic turkeys with them in New England, gazing out at their wild relatives, offered by the Indians who regarded them as somewhat second-rate as food. Of course, wild turkeys have many enemies aside from the Beast called Man. There are swaths of Humboldt and Mendocino counties where coyotes and mountain lions now hold near-exclusive sway.
Ranchers running sheep used to hold off the coyotes with M-80 poison-gas canisters that exploded at muzzle touch, but these are now illegal, and the alternatives are either trapping, which is a difficult and time-consuming job, or getting Great Pyrenees dogs to guard the flock. But the coyotes are crafty and wait till the sheep have scattered, then prey on the unguarded half.
And not all Great Pyrenees have that essential sense of “vocation.” My neighbors down the river, the Smiths, who raise sheep, had a fine Great Pyrenees, Esme, partnered with the idle Tofu. Esme would rush about protecting sheep while Tofu lounged under the trees near the homestead, reading the paper and barking importantly whenever cars drove up.
Before she died in childbirth, Esme produced Baxter, taken by my neighbors up the river, the Weaver-Wrens. Baxter grew bored at the Weaver-Wrens. I would see him trotting down the road, then up every driveway to gossip with the locals. Jasper would run him off, and Baxter would never make a fight of it but collapse instantly like a vast white eiderdown, paws in the air and throat exposed.
It’s ended well for Baxter. He rapidly ingratiated himself with a new couple on the road, implanting in their minds the notion that he would be a good match for another vast white dog, Grendel, already in their possession. He correctly perceived they were from Berkeley, where he knew that at last he would be able to get a decent shampoo. They commute to the Bay Area and I hear that Baxter is now a familiar flâneur on Shattuck, pausing to review the menu outside Chez Panisse before crossing the road to greet the pizza crowd next to the Cheese Board.
I’ll have to check with Baxter, but doubtless turkey is on the menu at Chez Panisse for Thanksgiving. Most Americans, even the stylish crowd at that fabled restaurant, won’t eat anything else on the big day.