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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. The annual Men’s Tug ‘o War Championship, held at the Olde Time 4th July Celebration lat Sunday, was won for the second year in succession by The Horde of High Rollers & Boonters (residents of Yorkville and Boonville), although in the Women’s event it was The Rabble of Poleekos & Deep Enders (residents of Philo and Navarro) who were victorious. Following seven successive wins for The Rabble Men, two defeats in a row have come as something of a shock to them and so, while the victors celebrated into the night, led by unofficial team Captain Lauren Keating (of Lauren’s Restaurant, where the winner’s trophy will now reside for another year), I have no doubt The Horde’s downfall is already being plotted by the disappointed Rabble in Philo and The Deep End.

Now that’s something everyone should be wary of: a plotting rabble in the Deep End. It’s almost as scary as a wake of hungry Turkey Vultures! Yes, a “wake.” With its association with a death ceremony, and given our preference for devouring dead animals, a wake is a very appropriate collective noun for Turkey Vultures, yet it’s just one of several words that can be used when a group of us gather, others being “committee,” “vortex,” ‘cast,” and my personal favorite, a “Meal of Turkey Vultures” — excellent! Anyway, now you know.

Moving on to another group. Valley dwellers who are celebrating birthdays this month. This includes Mary Darling, Marriann Kinion, Joanne Clark, and Sylvia Carsey. Many happy returns one and all!

This week’s clue that we are fast approaching Armageddon (forget The Rapture, folks, it’s not going to be anything like that), would have to be the situation at the Philo Post Office last Saturday afternoon when the parking lot was impregnable for a time. Both entrances were completely blocked off by three huge RV’s and their crews of Brightlighters, ignorant of the inconvenience they were causing. Selfish bastards! I was seriously outnumbered otherwise they would have been dealt with in the usual “Valley way” and then fed to the sounder of hungry pigs at the top of the Yorkville Ranch Road. (Yes, “a sounder of wild pigs” — another collective noun for you.)

Public Service Announcements. #83. The Pop Warner Football Benefit takes place this coming Saturday, July 16th at The Apple Hall in Boonville. There will be a tri-tip dinner at 6pm, followed by music from the always-excellent Dean Titus and the Coyote Cowboys. It’s $20 adults, $15 kids and tickets are available at Lemons’ Market in Philo or on the door. #84. The vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will be in the Valley on two occasions this month; each time at the usual venue — The Farm Supply, north of Philo on Hwy 128, from 2pm until 3:30pm. The first of these visits is next Thursday — July 21st, and they will return once more on the 28th. And while you’re there why not support our local Farm Supply with a purchase or two. Without them there’s no vet visit. #85. Heads-up on the Not-So-Simple Living Fair celebrating and sharing rural skills with various workshops, demonstrations, discussions, and food. It’s at The Fairgrounds over the weekend of July 22nd-24th. Hopefully the website with all the details is now complete at .

Topics under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge. Yes it’s “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…According to a few regulars at The Three-Dot, the Olde Time 4th July Celebration to benefit the Anderson Valley Education Foundation (AVEF), and ultimately high school students going on to college, was a big success once again, with bigger numbers in attendance than in the previous couple of years. I personally would like to think that all those benefiting from the proceeds of this event contributed to either the day’s festivities or to the continuing fundraising efforts of the AVEF in some other way.

…Talking of high school students, several regulars sitting at the bar were wondering if these kids were given various academic and/or home or community-based projects to occupy some of their time during the long summer break. Read a book or two; cook a dinner for their family; mow the grass/fix the fences; clean-up the highway… Something of more use to them and others than simply tuning the World out by listening to their iPods, playing mindless computer games, or standing on street corners trying to look menacing. What? You don’t you think they were set such tasks by the school? Surely they were. I think we should be told.

…If the high school students did receive academic assignments for the summer hopefully some of these will be useful in the future — after they have graduated college and return to the Valley to attend the weekly General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz at Lauren’s Restaurant (Thursdays at 7pm). This might mean that Brightlighters cannot come here and win — like they did last week! Yes, folks, I am reliably informed that for the first time in living memory, a non-Valley team, from Washington DC, by way of Stanford in this case, won the Quiz — by half-a-point over two local teams — ‘Bob’ featuring The Major, Alan Thomas, and assorted Boonville Hotel/Apple Farm dignitaries, and the ironically named ‘No Chokers’ featuring Quiz veterans from Signal Ridge, Rancho Navarro, and Holmes Ranch. It was obviously a very close run thing but the Outsiders won and this must not be allowed to happen again!

…Talking of Lauren’s. Is there a better Pulled Pork sandwich in the Valley, or anywhere else in the County for that matter? I thought not, and many regulars agree.

…With good food on my mind, I really cannot think of a better way to spend a Saturday (or Sunday) brunch-time than sipping mimosas in the beer garden after devouring the delicious chicken fried steak and eggs at The Buckhorn. And while I’m in full food-talk mode, why don’t I mention the Sunday afternoon oyster and sangria/champagne event at the Boonville Hotel — very nice indeed, and a most civilized way to wind down the weekend, I must say.

I almost wasn’t going to bother with a Quote of the Week this time around and thought nobody would really miss its absence. But then I had a brainwave — what about a quote about absence? Brilliant, eh? Interestingly, I came up with two contrasting comments about that very thing. First it’s the English proverb “Those who are absent are always wrong.” On the other hand, according to the Roman Historian, Tacitus, “Greater things are believed of those who are absent.” Take your pick.

Time to take my leave. With the hot weather here, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; children too, I suppose. Otherwise, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. One final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at

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