- Dry & Mild
- Season's Greetings
- Hospital Tales
- Bernie Resisting
- Comptche Bingo
- Religion Creep
- Christmas Stories
- We Lost
- Placing Homeless
- China First
- Expensive Mayhem
- Under Control
- Play Lookouts
- Working Class
- Chip Shot
- Post-Office Burglar
- Missing Reindeer
- Yesterday's Catch
- Conquering Mars
- Cold Facts
- Christmas Cheer
LIGHT RAIN AND MOUNTAIN SNOW will quickly taper off this morning. Mostly dry and mild conditions are expected from Thursday through most of Saturday. (NWS)
A TALE OF TWO HOSPITALS
by George Dorner
Some years ago, I found myself in the Sutter Lakeside Emergency Room on Christmas Day. I was not injured or ill, having arrived via ambulance with a patient.
By late afternoon, my mutinous belly growled a reminder that it had last seen calories the previous night. Prowling the hospital for sustenance, I could find no vending machines. The cafeteria was closed; it was posted as being open solely for breakfasts.
By now, I was awfully disconsolate. As I stood brooding, a female voice startled me, speaking through the closed service window next to me. “May I help you?”
I blurted out my situation to the sympathetic female. “I'll give you a sandwich,” she said, “if you can get a nurse to phone up here and approve it.”
I trotted off to the e-room, and explained to a nurse what the culinary worker had said. “I don't have time to fetch that sandwich,” was the reply. “Oh, she said she would hand it to me if you just called to authorize it,” I told her. “I don't have time. I've got to catch up on my paperwork,” she announced before hustling off to commit prodigies of bureaucracy with her saved ninety seconds.
Well, that was that. There were no eateries near the hospital, and no chow for George.
Time to find a way home. I had ridden with an ambulance, so no car. Being somewhat of a loner, I couldn't think of anyone to call for help. There were no buses—holiday schedule, natch. I would have tried begging a ride if there had been anyone else in the e-room, but I was on my own. So I found a pay phone and began feeding it change. Every taxi company in the book was ignoring its phones. So, no ride to summon.
At this point, I realized I would have to hitchhike home to Lucerne. I launched myself from the hospital doors, stomach snarling, and set forth on Lakeshore Boulevard in the gloom. Within the first half mile, I began to feel the bite of post-sundown cold. The evening dew had crystallized into a vast glittering field of frost under a moon the size of a washtub. It was a beautiful utterly calm night, but damned chilly.
I figured I would walk until a ride was offered. I estimated it was only five miles home if I had to walk it. I hadn't done any long hikes since I retired, but I did my daily mile from my house to the post office to snaffle my mail, so this seemed no big deal.
By the time I got to the stretch where Lakeshore Boulevard borders and overlooks the 29 freeway, I hadn't seen a car. As I hiked the long curve to the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff, I kept glancing over at Route 29. I didn't notice any cars moving over there, either.
By the time I reached the Cutoff, I had exceeded my usual daily mail mile. As I turned towards Nice on the cutoff, I realized that not only had the temperature sunk further, but a clammy miasma was arising from Rodman Slough. Now there was a death chill in the air. I was grateful for the lack of wind; the simple act of cutting the air with my body created my own bitter breeze against my cheeks and legs. Fortunately, I had a warm jacket.
I trudged on. Still no cars, no chance to hitchhike.
By the time I came near the Sentry Market on Route 20, I needed a break. I sat on the roadside and assessed myself. My legs were beginning to feel stretched. My feet were numb, but I could still wiggle my toes. My major difficulty was that when I stopped, I began to rapidly cool down.
So, up and onto Route 20. Someone was sure to come along, and they were bound to offer a wayfaring straggler a Christmas ride. I hoped.
As I walked through Nice, admiring the Christmas lights in the warm little roadside houses, my legs began to ache. I took a short break in Keeling Park.
By now, I was thinking of this walk in stretches between rests. Just a few more stretches… then Lucerne. This particular stretch got me out of Nice, back into a relatively rural part of 20. No cars — the Good Samaritan was still on strike. My legs were beginning to charley-horse. I took a break. I laid down on my back, with my legs out-stretched and my heels chocked up on a guardrail post to drain the congestion from the lower limbs.
Ahhhhh! Instant relief flowed through my calves. I laid there, musing longingly of a hot tub… a sauna… an August beach… The first snort of my snore aroused me.
Holy crap! The earth's bone-chilling frigidity had soaked through me, luring me into blissful rest. Whoa! This is how folks freeze to death. I rolled onto my hands and knees, arose, and staggered onward. It took a while for the charley-horses to return. I didn't notice at first; I was too busy coping with knees that refused to straighten. I was shuffling along with bent knees when the leg cramps struck again. The pain below hip level drove hunger right out of my focus.
By the time I reached the Lucerne limits, between knees giving out and charley-horses kicking in, my walking style was that of an arthritic crab. And Lucerne was a mile long, with my house on the far end.
Somehow, taking long sitting breaks between, it took three more stretches to get home. I seriously contemplated covering the last one on hands and knees to tamp down the pain, only to realize scraped knees were a worse solution then.
Once in my house, I toppled onto my sofa. I was awakened sometime in the hour of the wolf by my howling dogs. My feet, that is.
I sat up, removed my shoes. I could see my feet puff up as the shoes came off.
I peeled off a bloody sock. The sole of my foot came with it, leaving it skinless. It looked as though my foot had been sandblasted.
Incredulously, I peeled the other sock. Same gruesome result. Both of my feet were completely raw on the bottoms, from heel cup to toenails. Surprisingly, the toenails remained, though they appeared varnished.
When I checked later, I found I had covered nine miles. And never seen a moving vehicle all night. Lake County sure does believe in Christmas at home.
I crawled upstairs to the bath tub to begin my recuperation. I convalesced on my own over the next couple of weeks.
I did not go to Sutter Lakeside for treatment.
Come down through the years until now. I have escaped my Lake County exile, and returned to Mendoland. Willits, to be exact.
Beginning a month ago, I've suffered low grade nausea, fatigue, the blahs. Occasional coughing spells would whoop me into popping eyes until I was nearly puking. I was unable to swallow much, and was losing a pound a day. Unlike my usual insomniac self, I was sleeping outrageous hours. Finally, when I slept 20 hours in one single long day, I figured enough was enough.
Given the Sutter Lakeside experience, I was somewhat reluctant to turn myself in to a rural emergency room. Nevertheless, with Christmas coming fast, I wanted to be able to recognize it, if not celebrate it. I had my daughter drive me to Howard Memorial. As I entered the waiting room, I mentally girded myself for some miserable hours of tedious waiting. Half a ream of multifold forms to fill and sign, numerous signatures, maybe even an inked thumb print… then processing time… finally, welcome treatment.
Zip. I was instantly in a treatment room. Vital signs were taken. A shot was given for the nausea. Someone gathered my pedigree stats, saving me some dreary paperwork. Then the treatment permissions quickly showed up on a clipboard carried by an administrator. A polite offer to let me read it, a quick explanation in ordinary language, I added three signatures, and treatment continued. The doctor diagnosed me with viral bronchitis.
Next came two liters of saline solution to rehydrate me. Anthony, the nurse, had the inspiration to put a pump on the line to spare me two hours of saline drainage. In the twenty minutes the saline bags took to empty, another medical technician showed up to insist I eat something; she brought me a ham sandwich to nibble. That was followed up by a cozy blanket swirled over me and tucked in, fresh from the warmer.
And by then, zing, if I wasn't a new man, at least I was feeling quite a bit like the old George. Shortly thereafter, they released me, with a recommendation that I see my own doctor, or return to Howard's Urgent Care. When I hit the Howard lobby, I was asked if I had a way home. I thanked the clerk and called my daughter for a ride home. Two days later, I was in the Veteran's Clinic in Santa Rosa for my followup.
The quick gentle efficient treatment at Howard wasn't the highlight of this visit, although it was incredibly welcome. The staff's attitude was. They could not have been more different from the Sutter Lakeside staff. Howard's staff showed warm concern instead of cold indifference. Smiles instead of frowns. Polite language full of courtesy words instead of curt gruff replies. And anyone, nay everyone, who passed my Howard treatment room peered in and genially inquired about my welfare. All my queries were carefully answered, my requests honored. In fact, this crew was the most pleasant assortment of medical people I've ever met—and I have had an unfortunately wide array of experiences for comparison.
Dear reader, I am now about to make a statement that combines two terms so seemingly incompatible that you may want to prepare your eye-rolls of disbelief.
This emergency room is delightful. So eye-roll me. I repeat, a delightful emergency room, delightful e-room crew. So there.
I am truly sorry that Anthony's was the only name I caught during this e-room sojourn. To all the other good folks who treated me, I apologize for not catching your names, but you have my hearty thanks.
So. Two hospitals in the Christmas season. One cold, uncaring, and brutal. The other warm, welcoming, nurturing.
I believe you, dear reader, will buy into my conclusions based on these experiences.
One, Willits and Mendocino County are so damned lucky to have Howard Memorial and its compassionate staff.
Two, pity poor pathetic Lake County, stuck with Sutter Lakeside and its cold-hearted trolls. Lake County needs something better. Like maybe a local branch of Howard Memorial.
Since I submitted "A Tale of Two Hospitals," I received a call that one of my close friends is in Howard Memorial's ICU. His wife told me that the staff offered her a menu today to choose their Christmas dinner together. In the moldy oldie times gone by, this would be referred to as, Pure class.
BERNIE SANDERS BEING ARRESTED in Chicago for protesting segregation in 1963. He was charged with resisting arrest and fined $25.
NEW YEAR'S EVE 'BINGO' IN COMPTCHE!
Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 7pm.
"Join us for the annual NYE Bingo! Please bring a snack to share."
—Comptche Community Organization · Comptche
Please keep in your thoughts those first responders who will be serving and keeping an eye on all of us tonight and into the New Year!
A DR. ZACK CHRISTMAS
by Zack Anderson
Dear Dr. Zack:
At my company Christmas dinner there's a tradition that everyone stand up and answer a question that the chairman poses. For example, last year it was: "Which of Santa's reindeer would you be, and why?" This year, it was: "What's the most magical, fun Christmas you ever had?" Sounds innocuous enough on the face of it, but talk about how looks can deceive!
The problem, I guess, started when I honestly described the best holiday season I'd ever experienced. It seems that my candor offended many of my co-workers, who assumed that I was lying, and therefore making a mockery of a pleasant, festive office dinner. But I don't think I did anything wrong, especially since I spoke the truth.
Keep in mind that speaking in public terrifies me, especially when the "public" is in reality a private party of people I am acquainted with. I don't mind admitting that I've always admired anyone who speaks well before a large audience. (Ronald Reagan, Ricardo Montalban, and ex-USC football coach and current TV commentator John Robinson come to mind.)
Anyway, I was a little nervous, sure, but I just took a big gulp of water, followed by an even bigger swig of blended scotch whiskey, and this was even before it was my turn to speak.
Eileen, the woman next to me, tapped the microphone a couple times, modulated her voice accordingly, and then went into a 10-minute speech that detailed the Christmas of 1977, when her father gave her tickets to see Bad Company at Winterland in San Mateo just of Highway 101 (don't look for it, as it's now a new age superstore). In the spirit of giving, she sold the tickets to a scalper, and then invested that $30 in a small start-up company called Apple Computer, founded by couple of hippie tech nerds who believed that peace, love and understanding could be spread throughout the world via personal computers and ergonomically correct keyboards. After ten years her modest investment had multiplied to the staggering amount of $151,000. She cashed in $67,000 worth for seed money to open a special school for seeing eye dogs for vision-impaired dogs. Did you know that glaucoma among labrador retrievers has reached epidemic proportions? Well, neither did eye!
When she finally sat down to thunderous applause, I felt like Al Gore marching up to the Rose Garden podium Saturday right after the history-making congressional Clinton impeachment vote: in front of him were Bill and Hillary, casting a dark shadow on his own presidential aspirations, and he had to smile and wave and stick to their asinine story even though he knew it was a bunch of egotistical, power-hungry B.S. with the ultimate effect being to turn Clinton into a lib-lab defender of the truth and honesty and Hillary the best wife this side of Martha Stewart's chicken pot pie. It was amazing how Gore stood straight and tall, no doubt wondering how to knock off Gephardt in the primaries of 2000? It's enough to turn a grown man off of politics altogether and onto something real and profound, like homemade macaroni and cheese, made with bonafide sharp cheddar aged from milk extracted from sacred cows by nimble-fingered nymphets in the rolling picture-postcard terrain of Alsace-Lorraine.
Anyway, so here I am at the Xmas dinner with all the big shots with their valiumed out significant others drooling into the cranberry sauce and with that tough act to follow. So I feinted left then dove under the table to hoover a couple grams of Hillybilly methamphetamine, then I emerged to the crowd only to tumble into a crank-infused monologue that basically went like this:
Kerouac, you know, did lots of benzedrine. His buddies like Allen Ginsburg and William Burroughs and a couple of Vassar girls who liked to crash at Jack's pad listening to bop and smoking reefer would bring back tubes of the speed from their cash-happy decadent orgies down the way of Old Mexico. Did you know that Kerouac at his general time of demise was writing a book about the erotic power of punctuation in post-modern lit called "The Comma Sutra"? Not just words, Dr. Anderson, but the spaces and links between words, a daisychain of ideas, revolutions, phlegmy curses. Just as it's the pregnant pauses in a Mingus riff that are meaningful, that represent humankind's eternal struggle with dark and light pudding, I too stepped into the glare of the Corporate Christmas Fest and rendered the disbelieving crowd of usurers and Republican boy toys silent.
My weapon? A brief description of my all-time favorite holiday, the memory of which yet burns on the cheek of my consciousness like the searing lattice iron of a waffle maker on the gooey batter of my being. I remember that fateful Christmas Eve as if it were only 10 years ago: My parents called me into the den, sat me down and said they could hide the truth no longer. They told me I wasn't their child, that I had been found in the recycling bin outside the junior high school. They hadn't adopted me, hoping that my real parents would some day step forth (probably after finishing shooting a movie in Hollywood or vacationing on the Isle of Capri) and claim me as the rightful heir to their fragrant millions. Now, five years after taking me in, they were debating whether or not to kick me out for financial reasons.
I was devastated, as only a six year old can be. "What about Santa Claus?" I said softly, my eyes brimming with tears. "He crashed, and broke his neck," said my mother.
"It'll be a closed casket, very sad. But don't be selfish, because there are lots of kids in your situation," said my father.
"Okay," I said, "If that's the way it is. But let me make you an offer: I'll pay you room and board, and if I have a dollar or two left over from the paper route or from washing dishes at the doughnut store, I'll give it all to you, and maybe you'll be my parents, and love me and pretend that I am good enough to be your own."
"How much were you thinking you could come up with a month?" asked my father.
"$350 in a cashier's check on the first."
Now it was my parents' turn be get misty-eyed. They wiped away an awkward tear or two, and rushed towards me with outstretched arms.
"It's a deal, son!" boomed my father.
"Merry Christmas, Sammy, I love you," cried my mom.
It was a great Christmas, even though that night the house caught on fire and everything in it including my parents were destroyed in the hellish blaze. Luckily for me there was an insurance policy, and I sent myself away to school on the $500,000 a year I was left as the only child.
That was my story, Dr. Zack, and every word true. What do you think I should do now?
Do it all, while you can, and don't look back not because something's gaining on you, but because it's already passed you by.
If we really wanted to end the homeless situation, we’d approve homeless encampments close to the most affluent and expensive parts of the county. Let the most fortunate spend some time with the least fortunate and see where it goes from there.
WAY TO GO, TRAV
On December 22, 2019 at approximately 7:30 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a suspicious person in the rear of a business in the 18000 block of North Highway 1 in Fort Bragg. Deputies arrived and located Travis Moore, 29, of Fort Bragg, who they knew from prior contacts, and were aware that he had an active Felony Warrant issued for a County Parole Violation.
Deputies began to take Moore into custody and he immediately began to physically resist the arrest. Deputies were able to quickly overpower Moore and arrest him without further incident. Moore was then transported to the Mendocino County Jail. A short time later, Deputies were dispatched back to the same general area regarding a utility pole that had been vandalized with a chainsaw. Deputies arrived and located the completely severed pole, which had shifted and settled from being cut and caused the chainsaw to become pinched under its weight. Pacific Gas and Electric Company employees arrived and had to replace the utility pole. Initial estimates from Pacific Gas and Electric Company valued the utility pole at approximately $60,000 for replacement costs. Damage was also caused to an AT&T communication line that was on the same utility pole; the amount of this damage is unknown at this time. Deputies located a vehicle that was associated with Moore, parked across the highway at the dental office of Dr. Kenneth Baumgartner. Moore's vehicle and clothing had items in it that directly linked him to the vandalism of the utility pole. Deputies also found vandalism to the business of Dr. Kenneth Baumgartner, DDS, that was believed to be caused by Moore. Based on the total dollar amount of loss and multiple victims, Deputies contacted a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge and sought a bail enhancement. The Superior Court Judge ordered that Moore's bond amount for the vandalism be set at $100,000 bail. Moore was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Violation of County Parole, Felony Vandalism and Resisting Arrest. Moore ultimately was to be held on a No-Bail status, due to his parole violation.
LARRY LIVERMORE: I was cheesed off at Alexa for being useless, so I told her to play the Lookouts, figuring she'd never heard of us. She immediately played The Green Hills of England and 10 more of my favorite songs. It was like she could read my…oh wait, they can do that now, can't they?
DR. GORDON’S HOLIDAY NOTE
For the 2020 New Year let us continue to build solidarity among the world's working classes so we can defeat the looming dark forces of division, exploitation and war.
The future must be in the hands of the 99%!!
PHOTO OF MAN SUSPECTED OF BURGLARIZING HOPLAND POST OFFICE RELEASED
Reward offered for information
by Justine Frederiksen
The US Postal Inspection Service released a photo of the man suspected of burglarizing the Hopland Post Office earlier this month.
Matt Norfleet, a public information officer with the US Postal Inspection Service, said footage of the suspect and his car, described as a dark gray Nissan Altima, was captured by a surveillance camera located across the street from the post office at 13400 S. Highway 101.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian male, in his mid-20s to early 30s, 5-10 in height with a “skinny build.” He was wearing a red, hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Van Patten of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said the burglary occurred around 7:45 a.m. on Dec. 8, and witnesses reported seeing a gray sedan outside the building at 13400 S. Hwy 101 that was “associated with two male adults.”
Van Patten said that “possibly some packages and postal process equipment was taken,” and that the investigation was being continued by US Postal Inspectors.
“We are offering the standard reward for information,” Norfleet added, explaining that “up to $10,000 would be provided to anyone offering information that leads to the arrest and conviction” of the burglar(s). Anyone with information is urged to contact the USPIS at 1-877-876-2455 (say “law enforcement”).
ED NOTE: The Matt Norfleet referred to in the story above is the son of David Norfleet and Linda Filer of the Anderson Valley. Born and raised in the Anderson Valley, Matt is married to Maya Durrett, formerly of Yorkville. David Norfleet is co-founder of the Boonville Brewery with Ken Allen.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 24, 2019
MICHELE GRAY, Lucerne/Willits. Arson.
LISA GUMMS, Albuquerque, New Mexico/Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment.
WILLIAM KING, Mendocino. Failure to appear.
MASON MCGEE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSE MEJIA, Ukiah. Transportation of controlled substance for sale while armed. Ammo possession by prohibited person, felon-addict with firearm, probation revocation.
BILLY NELSON, Vacaville/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MONICA NEWELL, Ukiah. Driving without license.
ARTURO VARGAS, Ukiah. DUI.
RAFAEL VILLALOBOS, Ukiah. DUI over 0.15%, suspended license (for DUI-refusing chem test), probation revocation.
WHY EVERYTHING SUCKS
Everything seems so upside down and crazy. Yesterday, waiting to see the dentist, I was obliged to spend an hour in the waiting room with the tv blaring. Oh the horror, the horror.
The afternoon quiz show with its audience from THE STEPFORD WIVES, the “news” programs which were little more than banalities and propaganda, and the advertisements.
When did this country become a halfway house?
Anyway, the comment column will be a little less mean spirited without me. So be it. Hopefully Harvey will keep it from becoming too pollyannaish.
1. Russia isn't interfering with the machinery of the United States: it's the other way around; the United States has been interfering with Russia since the revolution and continues to do so today. (Look up "Project Hammer".) It has propelled the advance of NATO to almost all the countries that border Russia, imposed sanctions upon that country, and demonized its leader.
The country that does interfere with American politics is Israel. Soon it will against the law to say this.
2. The United States has more than 1,000 military bases around the earth to assure that every country in the world follows the "Washington Consensus"—which means access to the country by the U.S. military and Wall Street. Countries that resist are punished by sanctions, boycotts, and other economic penalties.
Continued resistance may result in a coup or invasion.
3. There is virtually no difference between the two American political parties. Peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world is not an option. Nor is public education from K through graduate school, publicly owned hospitals and clinics, free medical care, decent shelters for the homeless, laws that would protect labor unions, labor organizers, and workers. Nor are laws that would strengthen regulatory agencies that might protect citizens from gluttonous bankers, brokers, and business people who steal from us, contaminate the environment, and privatize public property,
4. The wall of separation between church and state is being torn down as the country moves toward becoming a Christian theocracy.
5. The media have been converted into propaganda mills. Alternative media have been slandered as agents of Russia or peddlers of false news. Honest journalists like Chris Hedges, Glenn Ford, Abby Martin, Aaron Maté and Paul Street–to mention merely a few, have been marginalized and have to depend upon donations of readers to survive.
6. America is not great and it never has been. When I taught English as a second language, I lived in Spain for two years. I was much happier there than I am here. If I had not been obliged to return because my father suffered a stroke, I would never have returned to this sad, angry country.
Many friends and colleagues decided to stay and live in Spain, Germany, and France. While these countries have the horrors of their own colonial pasts to deal with, as well as other problems similar to ours, they are dealing with these things in a more adult manner. And they offer a much higher quality of life than the United States.
I also have many friends who lived in Europe for a while but who were compelled to return here. Like me, many rue their decision.
On the other hand, I've had friends from Spain, France, and Germany stay at my house while they visited the United States. While they enjoyed their visits, none wanted to stay here. They were all eager to return to the relative sanity of their own countries.
7. I see no hope. Climate change is real and there are no enlightened, courageous leaders to deal with it. Greta is a diversionary tactic by some very rich and powerful people. Another economic disaster spawned by our criminal banksters is inevitable
As Kenneth Patchen observed,
"I smell heartbreak up there, Jack, a heartbreak at the center of things, and in which we don't figure at all.”
So God bless America, damn the torpedos and full speed ahead to Armageddon. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200. There will be no Rapture and there is no escape.