- Cool & Breezy
- OB Gone
- Daffodil Vibes
- Superbowl Notes
- Jennie Matthews
- Allman Party
- Gjerde V
- Trail Scam
- Inland Dems
- Trade Schooling
- Escape Routes
- Coastal Clouds
- Blackout Liability
- Connecting Measles
- Yesterday's Catch
- Trans Hour
- Troop Support
- Weighty Soul
- Dharma Dude
- Republican Pride
- Anyone Care
- Marginal Stuff
- Found Object
COOL, BREEZY WEATHER will prevail through Tuesday as strong high pressure building offshore provides increasing amounts of sunshine. Clouds may increase on Wednesday, but otherwise expect dry weather to continue through Friday with moderating temperatures. (NWS)
COAST HOSPITAL BOARD CUTS OBSTETRIC SERVICES
by Malcolm Macdonald
At its Thursday, January 30th meeting the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District's Board of Directors voted to transition the Labor & Delivery (OB) Department at Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) to a “stabilize and transfer” model. Board Vice-President Steve Lund made the motion “to transition from [the] existing Labor and Delivery model no later than June 30, 2020. The transition plan shall include all necessary policies and strategies needed to ensure patient safety, essential staffing to handle emergency C-section requirements, and a robust support system to meet the needs of all OB patients in our care to the best of our ability.
“Staff is hereby directed by the Board to work internally to develop such strategies and systems necessary to support this change as soon as practical. We ask that regular monthly updates be provided to the Board to ensure that all requirements and resources needed to complete this transition by the designated deadline or sooner are in place.”
The Lund motion passed on a 3-1-1 vote, with Lund, Board President Jessica Grinberg, and past Board President Karen Arnold in favor. Director Amy McColley voted, “No,” and Board Finance Chair John Redding abstained. Redding had earlier offered a motion that would have delayed a vote until a complete written plan from a medical staff task force (referenced in last week's AVA) was presented to the board. That motion died for lack of a second. McColley opposed the Lund motion because she wanted more detailed protections for coastal women who are currently pregnant before those expectant mothers are transitioned into the “stabilization and transfer” model.
What this all means is no more births at MCDH except in the rare case of one in the emergency department. Whenever possible expectant mothers on the Mendocino Coast will be transferred to the Adventist Health (AH) Labor and Delivery Department in Ukiah. Howard Memorial Hospital, the AH owned facility in Willits has been without Labor and Delivery for decades.
According to figures released by the hospital, Labor & Delivery lost $2.1 million dollars over the last year. Given the hospital's precarious financial situation, something had to give. The only comparable money loser at MCDH is its North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC), which sees tens of thousands of patient visits per year. Last year there were fifty-six births in the L&D department. Approximately one hundred eighty coastal women chose to give birth somewhere else (most in Ukiah) last year. Thus, three out of four mothers-to-be have already been choosing to go over the hill to give birth.
Yes, those rare cases of births in the ER will inherently be more risky, especially C-sections. Traveling an hour and a half to Ukiah Valley Medical Center creates a certain amount of added risk. Presumably, most traveling mothers-to-be will not arrive at the last minute, the final hour, possibly not even the day of giving birth. Some will, though, and that will add an element of uncertainty.
This is the new normal in rural areas across the state and the country. More than a hundred small American hospitals in low population centers have closed in the 2010s. Administrators and board members all over have had to make tough decisions like the one made by the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District. Those hundred other rural hospitals made their hard financial decisions too late.
MCDH's financial problems go back well over a decade. Required repairs were ignored because the money wasn't there for them. The same has been generally true for equipment upgrades. The hospital's OR was shut down for nearly five full days recently due to not following guidelines that should have been upgraded two to three years ago.
MCDH could be shut down by Medicare or the state department of public health if more violations of that sort occur again in the near future. In addition, statewide and nationally, the cost of providing health care steadily rises while reimbursements to the hospitals arrive in fewer and fewer dollars. Among other reasons to affiliate with a larger hospital system is the advantage of better negotiating power with insurance companies.
To be sure, the last few MCDH Board meetings have seen a fairly organized group of die hard speakers in favor of retaining Labor and Delivery (OB). Their appeals come from almost all angles. Some seem to only cite the truths or partial truths that they want heard. Some say one thing last week then pretend it wasn't said this week. Some of them are speaking from heartfelt personal experience. As with any major issue of any given time, the potential for divisiveness can rear its head. One example occurred near the end of the community input on the OB matter when a man rose to speak. Before he'd even reached the microphone a woman in the row behind me said to her neighbor, “Oh, these men just want to close OB.”
Not that it truly matters, but two of the three Board of Directors votes to switch to the “stabilization and transfer” method, effectively shutting down L&D, were cast by women.
As stated earlier, Director John Redding abstained on the OB vote. There have been other abstentions on fairly crucial MCDH Board votes in recent months. Maybe it's time to clarify when a vote to abstain is appropriate. In general, the following concepts hold forth concerning the right to abstain from voting on a board agenda action item. If the board member feels ambivalence about the matter at hand or a sense of disapproval that doesn't rise to active opposition, she/he may abstain.
An abstention may be invoked if the board member holds a position about an issue, but popular sentiment appears to overwhelmingly support the other side, the board member can refrain from voting his or her conscience. A board member can, and probably should, abstain when she/he feels he/she isn't adequately informed about the issue. In other words, a board member can more or less cite any number of reasons for abstaining, or simply abstain without stating a reason publicly.
One elephant in the room during the coast hospital board meeting concerns Adventist Health's unspoken, yet relatively clear desire to get the L&D decision over and done with. AH doesn't want that public relations stain on their operations, but more importantly they don't want the financial losses to continue any longer than possible. Though it will not sit well with those who have hoped Labor & Delivery services would continue at MCDH, Thursday night's board decision may help assuage some of the uncertainties in the affiliation process.
BOONVILLE’S VERY FIRST DAFFODILS of 2020, nurtured by the beneficent vibes of the AVA’s headquarters.
SUPER BOWL NOTES
Exciting game right down to the last although our side lost. Poor clock management by Niners as Shanahan seemed to lose control of himself at crucial moments. Pre-game Orange Man delivered an unhinged rant about Democrats with Pelosi described as the extreme left. Bernie left his own Super Bowl party during the pre-game blah-blah, and that there's another reason to vote for him. Terrible call on Kittle probably cost Niners the game. Half-time show was the usual feminist tribute to the young women of America. Look-alikes? Paul McCarthy and Kansas City coach Andy Reid; Patrick Mahomes and Sheriff Allman, minus thirty years. All-in-all, a great game but everything else a prolonged mega-moronic insult.
49ERS’ SUPER BOWL COLLAPSE VS. CHIEFS WON’T FALL SQUARELY ON KYLE SHANAHAN
by Ann Killion
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The door to the 49ers’ locker room opened, and there was silence.
The joy, the fun, the lightness and the laughter that had surrounded this team all season, and especially in recent weeks during its surprising run to the Super Bowl, had vanished. Drained away.
Just as what seemed to be a sure Super Bowl victory leaked away from the 49ers in the final six minutes of the game.
“I thought the momentum was going our way,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “To be right there and not be able to get the job done. It definitely hurts.”
The 49ers had it. They could almost feel the heft and smoothness of that sixth Lombardi trophy.
They had a 10-point lead midway through the final quarter. Their amazing defense was on the field, but they could not get the critical stop. Their offense could not get another score when necessary.
On a cool, breezy Florida night, the 49ers lost a heartbreaker Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs, whose quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, was, indeed, the difference-maker so many had predicted.
The final score of Super Bowl LIV was 31-20.
“They’re just hurting,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said of his team.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not turn into Joe Montana, who in Super Bowl XXIII found wide receiver John Taylor for the winning touchdown in the end zone at the same Miami stadium.
“We missed some shots tonight,” Garoppolo said. “We didn’t make some plays we normally make.”
The turning point may have been early in the fourth quarter when the defense had Mahomes on the run. He looked rattled, under pressure. He had thrown his second interception of the second half. A scoring drive by the 49ers could have brought them close to sealing a victory.
But the 49ers couldn’t convert that turnover into points. They ended up punting, and then Mahomes turned on his magic.
“The defense put us in position to win the game and we didn’t get it done,” 49ers tight end George Kittle said.
Then the defense, in turn, didn’t get it done.
Mahomes, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, led two touchdown drives in the final 6:13 of the game to give the Chiefs a four-point lead, and then Damien Williams went around the left end for a 38-yard touchdown run that was just frosting on the cake.
It was an explosion that occurred within just a few minutes. The Raiders are familiar with the experience. The Titans became familiar with it. And now the 49ers have had the Mahomes Experience. It’s not fun to try to contain.
“They can score very fast,” Shanahan said.
Yes, indeed. They can.
There were a few controversial moments. Shanahan will be second-guessed for not calling timeout before the Chiefs punted near the end of the first half. He let about 40 seconds run off the clock — time that could have been spent on a drive to break the 10-10 tie. But he explained his thought process.
“The last thing we’re going to do there is allow them to get the ball with three timeouts left and go down and score before the half,” he said.
The 49ers did try to score, but Kittle was called for offensive pass interference, a ticky-tack call.
“The ref made the call, I’ve got to live with it,” Kittle said.
Less questionable was the pass interference penalty on defensive back Tarvarius Moore that set up the Chiefs’ fourth quarter touchdown that drew them to within three points of the 49ers. Overall, the outcome wasn’t really about blown calls or bad decisions. It was about execution in the critical moments of the game.
The final score delighted the thousands of Chiefs fans on hand. Though it was hard to tell because everyone in the stadium was wearing red, judging by volume, there were more Chiefs fans in Hard Rock Stadium than 49ers Faithful.
Whereas the 49ers franchise once took pride in never having lost in a Super Bowl appearance, they have now lost in their last two. Their record in the stadium where the Dolphins play is now 2-1 in the NFL’s biggest game.
To a man, the 49ers knew they had missed an opportunity. They are young. Most of them have never been here, never even been close. But they know enough to know these moments are rare.
“These are the moments you dream of,” Garoppolo said. “We just couldn’t finish it off.”
With a win the 49ers would have tied the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl victories. Instead, they remain stuck at five.
A quarter-century drought and counting.
(courtesy San Francisco Chronicle)
KATY TAHJA, Mendocino County historian, asks: "Ever heard anything about Jennie Matthews, the first woman on the Mendocino County board of supervisors? In A.O. Carpenter’s massive history tome on page 406 it says she filled in and finished her husband’s term after he died, more than 100 years ago. No wonder we’ve never heard of her."
(WE FOUND Mrs. Mathews when she was Miss Mathews in 1890, and one of four Mendo reps to the Wioman's (sic) Christian Temperance Union. — Ed.)
DA EYSTER reports on Sheriff Allman's retirement party: "The Sheriff Tom Retirement Gala was something very special never before seen in these parts. A lot of hard-working volunteers made Carl Purdy Hall shine and helped feed up to 700 attendees. Bravo to one and all. Then, before an energetic, packed house of supporters, Sheriff Tom and Senator Mike 'Foot Stomping' McGuire acted as the evening's primary auctioneers and helped raise ~ $35K for the Mendocino Search and Rescue from very generous bidders. Thank you to those who generously donated the auction items. In addition, a large number of Sheriffs from across the state, a group that included Sheriffs Downey and Honsal from Humboldt County and Sheriff Martin from Lake County, came to honor Tom. If you weren't there, just let me say that this show of support and respect was downright impressive! Finally, while some may have been of the belief that I was shamelessly sending Sunday victory vibes to the 49ers via my gala attire, the real message was much simpler than that and relates to the number on the front of the Garoppolo jersey I was wearing. Tom has been a great law enforcement partner. In my book, Sheriff Tom is a 10!
IF YOU THOUGHT BOALT WAS BAD…
by Bruce Anderson
Boalt Hall is named in honor of a prime mover of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The present dean of the venerable law factory said he was only recently aware that the "prestigious" school was named in honor of a man who held common 19th century views odious to 21st century sensibilities. Not to plunge into invidious comparisons, but Boalt's racism ran a distant second to that of Serranus Hastings, also the patronymic of another prestigious Bay Area law school. Boalt didn't go out and kill Chinese, Hastings was personally responsible for a California law that paid psychopaths per head to murder Mendocino and Humboldt County Indians.
Hastings, through his term as a congressman and founding legal father of the state of Iowa, was already a nationally-connected Democrat when he arrived in California in 1849 looking to add to the small fortune he’d amassed in Iowa real estate. He knew the Gold Rush also meant a land rush as thousands of Americans made their way into the under-populated state to make their fortunes. But Hastings preferred to look around for likely real estate and legal sinecures rather than pan for gold; and as he prospected for free land he also got himself a seat on California’s early supreme court as its chief justice.
The Mendocino Indians soon had the judge sitting on them in Eden Valley, near Covelo, which the judge had appropriated for himself as a horse and cattle ranch, remarking that he’d found the place “uninhabited except for some Uka Indians.”
The foreman of Judge Hastings’ Eden Valley ranch was a giant Texan named H.L. Hall, “Texan Boy Hall” as he was known, and a giant at 6’9” and 280 pounds, a doubly intimidating presence to the Indians who were still trying to adjust to the lethal unpredictability of ordinary-size white men when they first encountered Texan Boy, a recreational Indian killer who showed up with the first wave of white settlers in the Round Valley area in the middle 1850s, and may have killed more Indians than any other single American, including Kit Carson, the generally recognized champ.
While Hall ran Judge Hastings’ ranch in Eden Valley, Hastings built himself a big house in Solano County, a remove which would later lend the judge what he seemed to think was plausible deniability when his foreman became a little too notorious for his free lance retaliatory rampages against the Indians on the judge’s behalf, and the judge reluctantly let Texan Boy go. A psychotic baby killer, after all, was an unseemly sort of employee for a state supreme court judge. Texan Boy, though, soon got a paid job killing Indians with Jarboe’s Eel River Rangers.
The Indians had been casually murdered in every part of Mendocino County since the Gold Rush. And every year saw new and larger expeditions of both settlers and Army units sent out to kill them. But Judge Hastings, Texan Boy Hall and Walter Jarboe, in California’s first public-private partnership, managed to convert dead Indians to cold cash in expeditions against them throughout the Eel River drainage, from Covelo to Hayfork, public funding arranged by Judge Hastings.
“A little more than a year ago, Hall of Eden Valley employed 13 Indians in place of pack mules to go and pack loads from Ukiah City to Eden Valley, and promised to give each one a shirt in payment; the distance, I think, is about 40 miles. The Indians commenced complaining at not receiving the shirts, and he, Hall, whipped two of them, to keep them quiet; he said he never gave them the shirts after he whipped them.”
(Indians War Files)
In retaliation for not getting their shirts from the judge and Texan Boy, the Indians, knowing exactly on whose behalf Texan Boy was acting, killed Judge Hasting’s $2,000 stallion.
At the time, no white man in Mendocino County was in danger of drowning in the milk of human kindness, but Judge Hastings and Texan Boy Hall were extreme even by the frontier standards of 1856.
In retaliation for the death of Judge Hasting’s stallion, neighboring rancher William T. Scott would testify, Texan Boy got up a gang of his friends and “commenced killing all the Indians they could find in the mountains; when Hall met Indians he would kill them. He did not want any man to go with him to hunt Indians who would not kill all he could find, because a knit (sic) would make a louse. Mr. Hall said he had run Indians out of their rancherias and put strychnine in their baskets of soup, or what they had to eat.”
Scott related another incident when Hall, having killed all the adult males among a group of Yuki Indians he’d encountered near Covelo, took some women and children into his custody with the apparent aim of taking them in to the reservation at Covelo. “I think all the squaws were killed because they refused to go further. We took one boy into the valley, and the infants were put out of their misery, and a girl ten years of age was killed for stubbornness.”
But Judge Hastings was still unhappy about the Indians killing his stallion, and he seemed to consider Texan Boy’s random revenges inadequate pay back for the loss of the horse. The judge wanted all the Indians of inland Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties permanently gone. On July 11, 1859, the judge called 16 Covelo-area settlers together who all signed a declaration selecting “Walter S. Jarboe as Captain of our Company of Volunteers against the Euka Indians.”
Of course Texan Boy Hall was first among Jarboe’s Rangers. Texan Boy would be paid to kill Indians, for him the best of all possible worlds, and Hastings, the state’s number one judge, had no trouble persuading the state legislature to pay Jarboe and his Rangers to empty inland Mendocino County of all the Indians Jarboe’s Eel River Rangers could find to kill.
The Indians didn’t have horses and they didn’t have guns. Jarboe and Hall and their Rangers would typically ride down on Indian rancherias at dawn, slaughtering men, women and children right down to infants. The only casualties the white warriors suffered was an occasional non-combat injury unrelated to their one-way war. Bows and arrows were no match for dragoons, and certainly no match for the Chief Justice of the California State Supreme Court.
The newspapers of Northern California regularly urged extermination of the Indians, so when news of large scale murder drifted out of the seemingly infinite recesses of an area larger than some states, an area which is today bordered by I-5 to the east and 101 on the west, Clearlake to the south, and the Trinity mountains to the north, they were blithely reported like this:
“Massacre of Indians in Mendocino — Captain Jarboe’s Rangers attacked an Indian ranch eight miles from Indian Valley, Mendocino County, lately, killing quite a number. Hall, the ‘Texan Boy,’ 6 feet 9 inches high, and weighing 278 pounds, who is the dread of all red skins, a week or two ago killed two Indians in a fair fight…” (The Napa Reporter, August 22, 1859)
By the end of the Civil War, and certainly by 1870, the Indians were finished. They’d fought back as best they could without the horses and guns their enemies possessed, but they’d been hit so hard and so fast all they could do was fight on the run, retreating on into virtual extinction.
Judge Hastings — attorney, jurist, rancher, real estate developer, and mass murderer — is memorialized as the Hastings School of Law, San Francisco.
Ukiah, as soon as it organized itself as a town, made Walter Jarboe its first law enforcement officer. A man named James Jarboe has served as contemporary America’s domestic terrorism section chief for the FBI, which may or may not be of historic-genetic significance, as may or may not be a very large Covelo horseman named Hall, as in Texan Boy Hall, who is presently confined to the state hospital at Napa.
A New Age impresario calling himself TimoThy tried to buy Eden Valley to convert it to an “Earth Village sustainable community” featuring “a straw bale roundhouse” and cabins for TimoThy’s followers who would be called “earth arks.” For $33,000 you could buy in.
Funny thing is, Eden Valley fully sustained people for 12,000 years before Judge Hastings and Texan Boy moved their horses and cows in on them and started killing them. Eden Valley was already an earth ark.
Hastings bequeathed several million dollars to the fledgling University of California. In gratitude, the University named its new law school after him.
MCN EXCHANGE ON MEASURE V
A Fourth District Resident Asked:
As your constituent, I urge you to work diligently to finally enforce Measure V, the measure passed by 62% of the county electorate. With wildfire being the clear and present danger, we don't need anymore dead stands of trees poisoned by lumber companies, as in this climate emergency, ALL trees are worth being left as green as possible. Please do the right thing, rather than the thing lumber companies are lobbying for you to do. It's good to remember there's another election shortly, and to also remember who got you voted in last time.
SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE REPLIED:
So this happened:
I'm doing what I can. Here's an update.
On December 17, I voted to appoint Supervisors John Haschak and Ted Williams to an ad hoc committee to work with County staff and stakeholders. The hope was they would bring back proposals to implement Measure V without costly litigation that the County is uncertain to win in court.
I’m ready and receptive to hearing the committee's suggestions at Tuesday’s meeting.
In the agenda item submitted for the full board and public to read, you can see the committee provided no options or specific details with their agenda summary. This leaves everyone left waiting for their verbal report on Tuesday.
PS: This is nearly the entire report written by the committee:
"On December 17, 2019 the BOS provided direction regarding Measure V by appointing an ad hoc committee composed of Supervisor Williams and Supervisor Haschak to look at alternatives and mitigations and also that code enforcement would investigate and gather data regarding the sole complaint to the County of a Measure V violation and report back within 30 days. The ad hoc met on January 29 with various stakeholders to discuss possible alternatives and mitigations to the Measure V ordinance."
"SUMMARY OF REQUEST: Code enforcement was directed to investigate the complaint and return and report to the Board their findings. The ad hoc committee will report on their findings from their January 29 meeting. The Board of Supervisors may provide additional direction or take action as appropriate."
Here is a direct link: https://mendocino.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4319922&GUID=F25A89E3-F7E6-4B36-BBA5-1EAE35C2DE05&Options=&Search=&fbclid=IwAR0HWI3YuC8K2Ib3GZL8P_DxQ-Bdma7Jbbi0JZfuqDuSNI6DC27jtTlyfoo
MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: Even with a strongly worded refutation of MRC’s “we’re exempt” argument (after more than two years of waiting for the Attorney General to do absolutely nothing), the Supes couldn’t even send a demand letter to MRC saying they’d enforce Measure V unless MRC comes up with a compliance plan.
BOS V Discussion (December 16, 2019)
THE BEAUTIFUL CITY BY THE BAY, where Tony Bennett famously left his heart and which poses as a beacon of progressiveness, has more billionaires per capita than any other on the planet. Not long ago, a seven-bedroom home here recently sold for $38 million (£29 million), while at the Michelin-starred Saison restaurant, the ‘kitchen menu’ starts at $298 a head and reservations require a $148 deposit.
SHADOW OF HIMSLEF, THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER
by David Wilson
You know that not everything you believe can be true, and not everything that’s true can be believed. And whether or not something written is true may depend on your point of view. Where this story falls, as I relate it to you here, is somewhere on the continuum. Were you to file it under tall tales in your own thinking, I would not be offended. It was an evening I’ll never forget; the night I began re-thinking my thinking on Bigfoot.
It was before the turn of the century that we encountered him, on a night back in, oh, ‘97, I think it was, when photography was about film, and normal folks didn’t have digital cameras. Even then I was into night photography, though it was harder to do with film than it is today with digital equipment.
That night I felt my creative self pulling me to go photograph beneath historic Fernbridge on the Eel River. I called my buddy and persuaded him to accompany me for a little photographic painting with light in the dark of the night. By “painting with light” I mean I would mount my camera on the tripod and compose a scene, then, with the shutter open for many seconds, I’d paint light with a flashlight to illuminate select areas in my composition. Only upon developing the film sometime later would I see whether I’d painted successfully.
For lighting I placed a small tripod off to the left maybe fifteen or twenty yards away and taped a couple of flashlights to it to illuminate part of the old bridge. I affixed a green filter to one light and a red filter to the other to produce a bold orange-yellow glow where they overlapped. With the flashlights set up I walked back to my camera.
No sooner had I composed my photograph than great splashing sounds from the river alerted us to something large in the water out beyond the mounted lights. We strained in vain to see into the blackness, but could discern nothing past the flashlights’ glare. Whatever it was, its giant size was beyond doubt, for not only was its splashing prodigious but it grunted and growled with fearsome intensity. It splashed and moaned so for perhaps a minute, then all was silence again.
Hearts pounding, we stared into the blackness, half wanting to run, half frozen still. We stayed frozen. Finally I saw it, its large form taking shape in the gloom. It stood in the dimness at the edge of the light circle, appearing transfixed by the light, frozen as a statue. Its figure was far larger than a man, standing, I estimate, fully eight feet tall. Sleek brown fur clung in its wetness to a muscular body that seemed of equal parts ape and man. The face was distinctly ape-like… except for the eyes, for looking out from the face of that giant creature I could not help but recognize the eyes of a human being.
Without acknowledging us in any way, it strode with the easy grace of a wild animal across the large river rocks and directly into the twin beams of red and green light. As it moved inside the two primary colors, it became a glistening silhouette rimmed with burning yellows and oranges, reds and greens as the colors mixed together with his motions and bounced off of his glistening hide. He paused there, facing into the lights. And then, very slowly, he raised his arms and face to stare in silence into the heavens. The creature stood thus for several moments.
I glanced at my friend and saw in his face the same incredulity I felt. Beyond him I noticed the fantastic shadow the creature was casting onto the bridge. It lay perfectly within my camera’s composition. I clicked the shutter open. The sound was startlingly loud in the quiet of the night.
But the creature paid no attention.
He remained silent and motionless in the light. For perhaps ten or fifteen seconds we held our breaths. Then the shutter closed suddenly with a loud click-zzhhht. Instantly the creature wheeled toward us, piercing our own stares with those human eyes. He bellowed a single, terrific blast of sound that might have been a word, though one I had never heard. His earlier vocalizations had been distinctly animal-sounding, but this sound was something human-like, an unknown word belted out as he cried, “Himslef!” Instantly his giant frame wheeled, and with a single bound and a splash he was gone.
I only came away with the one shot. It was enough for one night. And, yes, we could see he was male.
File this under Myths and Tall Tales. An image tells its own story when the author’s words aren’t present to describe it or warp a viewer’s perceptions around it. I’m afraid I might have supplied my own narrative here for this image, and I wonder, do you still have your own story for it, or does this one then become yours? Maybe your version tells where the creature went; I’d be interested to know.
Years ago I had this photograph hanging in a show. My title for it was “Shadow of Himself,” but someone kindly pointed out that the title I’d printed for it beneath the photograph read, “Shadow of Himslef.” Dang, I thought. But the word quickly grew on me, and since then I’ve thought of it as its title. Though it began as a typo, the new name also brought with it a new story for me, the one I’ve just shared.
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx.)
GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL SCAM
According to a report in Sunday’s Ukiah Daily Journal by Justine Frederiksen, State Sen. Mike McGuire was in Ukiah Friday to celebrate the first completed segment of the Great Redwood Trail, which McGuire said will be “the longest Rail Trail in America” once it stretches from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay. “This is going to be a ton of work over the next several years, but we’re on the right track,” said McGuire of the Great Redwood Trail which he imagines as transforming 320 miles of “decaying railway into a world-class destination for hikers, nature lovers and neighbors. The North Coast is ready for the Great Redwood Trail, and we’re looking forward to the next segment in Ukiah, which will be four miles long.”
Ukiah Public Works Director Tim Eriksen said “that segment will continue south to the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.”
The Democrats who completely screwed the taxpayer with their decades of “Little Train That Never Could” propaganda wasted millions on bogus track maintenance and administration used this same kind of overhyped rhetoric for the “North Coast Railroad Authority.” But soon they’ll be able to walk all the way to Ukiah’s wastewater treament plant where they can all take a nice dip in a soothing bath of sewage which is only exceeed by the bullshit coming out of their mouths.
“This trail greatly enhances our community, and with no immediate prospect of a train coming back, it will be possible to put the trail on the rail bed,” said McCowen, who in turn thanked Neil Davis, director of Walk and Bike Mendocino and the Ukiah Valley Trail Group, for his commitment to the project. “Davis and Mari Rodin helped write the grants to secure the funding for this trail.”
Ukiah City Council member Maureen Mulheren, who is running for McCowen’s seat on the county board of supervisors, (as is Rodin) was then introduced by Eriksen as “the biggest advocate for this trail.”
“I have become the trail cheerleader,” said Mulheren, who hosts monthly events on the trail, which she said is used by many residents for exercise, and by employees from nearby Adventist Health Ukiah Valley for “walking meetings. It truly is a great asset to the community and I encourage everyone to use it on a regular basis.”
No mention of how much this “great” trail would cost, of course. However, the day before the PD reported that “Together with the existing path, the whole [one-mile] project cost about $4.6 million, covered by state transportation and natural resource grants and other funds.”
Candidate Mulheren is on record saying, “Long term I would like to see dorm style housing or renovation of motels to housing. … We need new housing of all types so we can see this evolution.”
WE WONDER how much “new housing” $4.6 million dollars would finance? Not mention the nearly $1.5 billion the entire 320 miles of “trail” would cost at $4.6 mil per mile.
SPEAKING OF FRAUD, note that our big three reps — Huffman, Wood and McGuire — are playing it safe with presidential endorsements, not that they're permitted to make them on their own. They'll go with whomever the party endorses while praying that it isn't Bernie.
SLAM DUNK DEMS
(Improved) Inland Mendocino Democratic Club PSA
This is a shout out to all Democrats in the area. The Inland Mendocino Democratic Club is ramping up their efforts for the upcoming 2020 elections. Please join us in our next meeting at 5:30pm at Slam Dunk Pizza on Thursday, February 13th. See how you can get involved and also hear from our Democratic candidates running for the board of supervisors. There is no time like the present to participate in such an important campaign year. Again, come join the Inland Mendocino Democratic Club for their next meeting at 5:30pm on Thursday, February 13th at Slam Dunk Pizza. We look forward to seeing you!
COLLEGE CONSTRUCTION FUNDING WELCOME
We applaud the announcement last week from state Sen. Mike McGuire that the state will spend $1 million at Mendocino College for expanded construction worker training programs.
Over the past three years autumn wildfires have devastated the housing markets in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties. The city of Santa Rosa alone has lost more than 2,800 homes in that time. At this point there is little hope of reaching Governor Newsom’s goal of building 3.5 million new homes by the year 2025 — that’s 500,000 new homes per year.
Construction worker labor shortages is the primary reason replacing homes and increasing the housing supply has been almost impossible. A 2019 study from the non-profit Smart Cities Prevail, found that the state of California lost 200,000 construction workers since 2006.
It’s time to bring back the construction trades as good career opportunities.
The $1 million expansion dollars the college will get will be focused on recruiting additional students into the construction program in both Lake and Mendocino counties, which the college says it hopes will expand the construction workforce, grow business partnerships, hire additional faculty and purchase needed equipment.
Mendocino College is already working to expand its Sustainable Construction and Energy Technology program and with this money will be able to offer additional courses with specific training opportunities immediately. The $1 million investment will allow the college’s construction core program to expand by approximately 40 percent and the college has set a benchmark that 75 percent of the students who participate in the additional offerings will either gain employment or increase wages in the construction field within six months of participating in the program.
And while many of the graduates of the program will go to Sonoma and Napa counties where wages are higher, this much needed boost to the local employment picture is very welcome.
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
PRINCESS YVONNE AND PRINCE ALEXANDER of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Germany, enjoy some mid-day activities in 1955.
OUR ROADS GIVE US FEW OPTIONS
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Sufficient time having elapsed since our last PG&E related emergencies, I’ve devoted many hours meditating upon future blackouts and evacuations. The lessons:
A) We’re screwed
B) We’re really screwed
Dear daughter Emily lives in Santa Rosa and last fall was evacuated from her condo. Trips to Novato to stay with family members typically take 40 minutes; trapped in snarls and knots of mandatory traffic jams, the journey took 5 hours.
You live in Ukiah. If you and I and all our neighbors faced mandatory evacuations what do you think would happen, and how long do you think it would take for it to start not happening?
It’s because we have incompetent and/or dishonest people running things. They seize gasoline tax money and highway tax money meant for road construction and repairs and spend the money on bike lanes and rail trails. Bike lanes and rail trails are useless frivolities to 95 percent of the people 99 percent of the time.
Highway construction is a top priority for all the rest of us but you’d have to travel a long way to see a CalTrans crew doing anything to make your commute, or escape route, easier or faster. Mendocino County roads have hardly changed in 100 years.
When the next catastrophe is imposed (PG&E execs are already calling power shutoffs “the new normal”) and we are told to run (drive) for our lives, which one-lane roadway leading out of Ukiah is our best, safest route?
1) The one-way lane south (this side of Hopland) that leads to Santa Rosa and will be closed to southbound traffic?
2) The single lane east? Just remember that when you get where you’re going you’ll be in Lake County. To avoid the misery it’s best to turn around, go home, and set yourself on fire in the back yard.
3) You could try north, but I know Willits and there will be blockades guarded by armed Willipinos. Perhaps they’ll apologize for the inconvenience.
4) The one-way lanes west? You can take the one-lane road through Boonville to the coast except it’s clogged with cars from Cloverdale, Healdsburg and Geyserville. You could try the one-lane Low Gap Road or the one-lane Masonite Road, but either way you’ll die of starvation before you arrive in Comptche. And if you do make it to Comptche you’ll die of smoke inhalation.
Also, in an emergency how will 18-wheelers hauling food make it to Ukiah? How about fire trucks? Ambulances?
And no matter which ridiculous route you take to satisfy calls for “mandatory evacuation” of Ukiah, you will be silently cursing the leaders who spent all our highway money on the Rail Trail and bicycle lanes and “urban pathways” which you didn’t know existed because they’d always been called sidewalks.
So maybe Jairhead Huffman, Grand Commanding Cheerleader for transforming the train tracks that run through Ukiah into a walkway that runs through Calgary, will step up and explain how these expenditures of public money on feel-good goo-goo projects will make things better for citizens as we we embark on The New Normal.
Alarming! News! Update!
From the Feb. 21, 2004 London Observer:
A recently obtained report contains “… news that will prove humiliating to the Bush administration and make unsettling reading for a President who has denied climate change exists.”
The story goes on:
“A secret report, suppressed by U.S. officials, warns that ‘… as early as next year widespread flooding caused by a rise in sea levels will create major upheavals for millions’.”
By 2020, it says “major European cities will sink beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate. Nuclear Conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.”
And more: “The document predicts abrupt climate change will bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop nuclear threats to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies, threats that vastly eclipse global instability from terrorism.
“Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life. Once again, warfare would define human life.”
All this, say climate experts, by the year 2020.
I intend no undue anxiety but thought you should know. Perhaps you’ll be able to hike Huffman’s Pedestrian Express to Canada to avoid the worst of the flooding. Wear galoshes.
(If you’re still in a cheerful mood, Tom Hine would like to point out that the Christmas holiday season starts in a scant nine months. TWK wants Santa to bring him a pony and a new John R. Tunis book.)
WIRES CAUSE FIRES
by Jim Shields
This past Monday, the state Senate approved proposed legislation to hold PG&E accountable for mass blackouts and their impacts. The bill now moves to the state Assembly for consideration.
The proposed law has been brought forward because of one simple reason I’m fond of saying: “Wires cause fires.”
Senate Bill 378 will hold PG&E and other utilities (Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric) responsible for the damage of so-called “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” the companies implemented throughout the state last fall to reduce the chance of high winds sparking and spreading wildfires, by requiring the companies to compensate customers and local governments who suffered damages. Those decisions were met with suspicion, derision and anger by millions of Californians with outages lasting from two days up to 11 days in October and early November.
PG&E’s equipment has been the cause of past wildfires — resulting in several hundred deaths and at least $30 billion in property damage—because for a decade it failed to properly maintain its overhead infrastructure by keeping its lines, transformers, poles, and towers free of too-close trees, overhanging limbs, and vegetative growth.
Rather than focusing on its required fire-safety maintenance program, PG&E planned widespread blackouts to limit its liability and protect its financial interests.
According to Senator Scott Wiener, sponsor of SB 378, despite claiming that they would take a “surgical” approach to the blackouts, PG&E power shut-offs were ultimately so widespread that they wreaked havoc on communities all over the state. Lifesaving medical equipment such as respirators and refrigerated medication was rendered useless, and food stamp recipients went hungry as food spoiled without refrigeration. Additionally, many small businesses, due to the high costs of lost productivity, were pushed to consider moving out of California.
SB 378 is part of a larger package of legislation that Wiener is introducing to hold PG&E and other utilities accountable for the consequences of their behavior. He plans to introduce a bill later this legislative session to turn PG&E into a public utility.
In addition to requiring compensation for victims of the blackouts, SB 378 also mandates better data collection on utility equipment risks and create clear, consistent standards for reporting about the impacts of planned blackouts. It will also help limit blackouts to only those that are absolutely necessary, by assessing hourly fees on utilities for not providing power. The bill also ensures that customers cannot be billed during planned blackouts, and prevents utilities using ratepayer funds to oppose new energy choices.
Additionally, it requires that the California Public Utilities Commission create a process by which businesses, individuals, and local governments can recover costs accrued during a planned blackout (for example, by damaging equipment turned off too quickly) from the utility within two weeks, and require that utility shareholders — not ratepayers — are responsible for these costs.
“It’s far past time we hold PG&E accountable for the harm it has caused the people of California. Rather than deal with its faulty equipment, PG&E levied mass blackouts on our state, which had serious consequences for millions, and especially for our most vulnerable communities — many of whom lived without power for days, with little or no warning,” Wiener explained. “SB 378 will fine PG&E and other utilities for these blackouts, forcing them to take into account the costs of the shut-offs. While some blackouts are necessary, PG&E must be much more careful and sparing in implementing them. SB 378 will help keep our communities safer.”
According to the state Legislative Analyst Office, if this bill had been in effect last fall when PG&E imposed Public Safety Power Shutoffs, it would have faced fines of more than $1 billion.
Wiener said, “It’s about giving utilities an incentive to use planned blackouts as a scapel and not as a sledgehammer.”
However, fellow Democrats such as Bill Dodd, of Napa, fear that electric companies would be too slow on the draw with power shutoffs which may increase the occurrence of wildfires.
“I believe it gives perverse incentives that could harm people,” Dodd said.
PG&E echoed Dodd’s concerns when its Chief of State Government Relations DaVina Flemings said ”PG&E shuts off power for one reason only and that is keeping customers and communities safe.”
She went on to say the bill “would put customers and communities in a very dangerous position by penalizing the utilities for deploying a public safety power shutoff.”
Some of the most widely discussed ways to prevent these catastrophic wildfires may also be the most expensive, according to BloombergNEF, a research organization that helps energy professionals generate opportunities.
For instance, burying all 81,000 miles of PG&E’s electrical distribution lines so they won’t ignite blazes during high wind events could cost more than $240 billion, a BNEF study found. That’s based on a PG&E “estimate” that moving existing lines underground costs $3 million per mile, which I’ve said previously is a vastly inflated number.
With the bill now in the state Assembly, final action can be expected most likely in the late spring or early summer.
You can bet that the three electrical monopolies will spend and spread record wads of cash in Sacramento to deep-six this fully loaded, pro-ratepayer proposed legislation.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
DR. MICHAEL TURNER RESPONDED to Dr. Miller’s letter from yesterday about the desirability of Coast Hospital’s affiliation with Adventist Health:
If Dr. Miller continues practicing in the community he will come to rue some of his unqualified assertions, as the reality of working in an Adventist system is quite different from that which is promised. Several of the “advantages” he cites are simply untrue. The Adventist hegemony in Ukiah has not resulted in better physician retainment and recruitment, in fact it’s much the opposite. The quality of specialty care was far better fifteen years ago than it is today. And there’s no basis to predict that the “patient and visitor experience” will improve. Dr. Miller seems to accept these corporate talking points uncritically. And the reader should be on guard any time a writer extols the benefits of “economies of scale,” one of the more pernicious euphemisms of our time. Furthermore, real concerns about the ill-effects a faith-based organization can have on a community (particularly this faith-based organization) should not be so easily dismissed. Ultimately, Dr Miller’s letter advances the inevitability of a complete Adventist takeover of health care in Mendocino County; he owes us a follow-up report after he’s worked for them for a few years.
Michael Turner MD
A READER WRITES:
I completely agree with Michael Turner in regard to the Adventist “Health” system. There are now almost no private doctors in practice, a real pity. (I am looking into the Laws Avenue Clinic, which has no affiliation with Adventist.) And so many doctors have opted out of Adventist and retired, or have been given the heave-ho, etc. My doctor was recently fired by Adventist, and in her place was the newest iteration of Adventist “Health” doctors: the traveling physician. I have never felt less like an actual human person than I do now as a patient in the AH system. I am an electronic money unit, and that’s about it. I don’t know what the answer is, but I am no longer a fan of the Adventists. The only positive thing I can say is, thankfully, they seem to have discontinued their on-hold God and Jesus messages. And also, their accounting system is the devil’s spawn.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 2, 2020
JAMES ANDEREGG, Fort Bragg. Public nuisance, animal neglect.
ROBERT BELL, Saps/similar weapons, probation revocation.
ROBERT CAMPBELL II, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
WILLIAM GOFORTH, Willits. DUI.
JOSEPH HOLLIS, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
ANDREW HOPPER, Willits. Contempt of court.
CLINT JACKSON, Ukiah. DUI.
ADAM LAFLIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, trespassing, probation revocation.
GEORGE MANSFIELD, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
MATTHIAS MARSH, Laytonville. Assault weapon, probation revocation.
DAVID MCCARTY, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, child neglect.
RICKEY PATEREAU, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
LATOYA RENICK, Ukiah. DUI.
STEVEN RICH, Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation, resisiting.
JOHN ROLEN, Caspar. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
PETER ROSE, Point Arena. Contempt of court, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The Transgender Reading Hours are not civilization ending in and of themselves per se….maybe. However, they are a sign that our civilization is ending. Make of it what you wish but the cold, hard reality of demographics agrees. Sorry. If not Tranny Story Hour, then what? What will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? The whole of the West is sinking. Some of it may stay afloat. Most of it won’t. Rome in its latter days can’t have looked as ridiculous as this.
NO OTHER 2020 candidate for president, including Donald Trump, can come close to matching Bernie Sanders’ level of support among members of the U.S. military, to go by the most recent campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission.
Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have donated a total of $185,625 to Sen. Sanders’ 2020 campaign. By comparison, they have given $113,012 to Trump, $80,250 to Pete Buttigieg, $64,604 to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and a relatively paltry $33,045 to former Vice President Joe Biden, according to Doug Weber, a senior researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics.
HAVE YOU SEEN HIM? (asketh Craig Stehr)
Free Old Man
His original way
Is plain and simple
Not caught up in things
He preaches the Dharma
At liquor stores
And fish shops
He pays no attention
To sacred rituals
Or secular conversations
Thick white eyebrows
In his old age
Signs of enlightenment.
— Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
UPS & DOWNS
Jimmy Carter was a disgrace to the American people. I don't know how we stood the time he was in office. But we did. When Ronald Reagan came along my interest in the United States government returned and I had some pride in America. George HW Bush was a good president and he kept my feelings up. Then Bill Clinton made my pride take a dive.
What happened to the courage and pride of the American people? When George W. Bush came into office it was so-so. America was coming back but not all the way. Then, oh my God, here comes Obama and it got so bad I didn't even want to hear the words, the United States. I was depressed and sorry for that we'd lost the courage in the United States like we used to have.
Then Mr. Trump and my feelings for the United States reached an all-time high. I'm proud to be an American again. I can look around and see people feeling good about the United States. He is the best thing that ever happened to the United States.
But these stupid rotten Democrats trying to lynch him and get him impeached are so rotten there's no words to explain it. He will not get impeached. He will be taken off the impeachment list on Wednesday free and clear. He can continue his good work for the United States.
God bless Donald Trump.
PS. I can't count all the great things President Trump has done for us. He has more to do. But he has to crush and stamp out the New York administration and how they treat law enforcement. And California and sanctuary cities and Gavin Newsom? Get rid of them. I don't know how but Trump has to do it. We can't go on with people like that and what they're doing to us.
PPS. Something has to be done about the way the Democrats are treating law enforcement without respect. They are stopping them from doing their job. If law enforcement keeps getting shot and killed and people being let go for murdering innocent people then the people must take the law into their own hands and get rid of these rotten bastards who are creating this unlawfulness like the district attorney in San Francisco. He should be brought out to the middle of the street and tied to a large car and burned right there and let the people watch. We don't need people like him.
PPPS. Democrats don't care about law enforcement, don't give a hoot. It's really bad. Each state should be allowed to handle these bad situations themselves. Let the citizens take care of business, vote them out of office or shove them out of office.
PPPPS. Michael Bloomberg, the multimillionaire from New York, is taking money out of his presidential campaign and putting it behind the impeachment to get rid of President Trump. I just found out that Mr. Bloomberg got castrated at the age of 12 and he never forgot it so he hates the American people and he has billions of dollars to spend on hating the American people. I guess things like that happen. But President Trump will never be impeached and he has this year and four more years to perform his wonderful duties.
PPPPPS. When we get attacked by some other country the civilians of California and other states will be the first line of defense. And we are being attacked by the Liberal Democrats under cover of law, sometimes blatantly. When you are attacked you must vote them out of office or get rid of them physically, one way or the other. The next time a law enforcement officer is shot dead for performing his duty, I think it's time for civilians to do something about it.
PPPPPPPS. Liberals are taking away our First Amendment rights and our Second Amendment rights and they are interfering with the Constitution. They don't respect the Star-Spangled Banner or our infantry or law enforcement or the military. They don't respect nuthin'.
DOES ANYONE CARE
Does anyone care
That Senators blocked the truth
That stared right through them?
Does anyone care
That they didn’t even try
To act as jurors?
That they let the President
Run their Senate trial.
Instead with the President.
Does anyone care?
To let him solicit bribes
Dangling our money?
To let him sell us all out
For his own plain gain?
To let him use our money
To feather his nest?
Does anyone care
That he sat on our money
To stay in office?
That it was money
We meant to help our ally?
That he wasn’t confronted
With all he has done?
That clear proof of what he did
Wasn’t listened to?
Wasn’t called for? Wasn’t heard?
Does anyone care?
Do Senators care?
Does anyone care
About any or all this?
Well damn it, I do.
—Jim Luther, Mendocino
FOREWORD - The real: Here’s a Super-Bowl advertisement, costliest and most creative in the biz:
A man wonders what he would tell his boyhood self if he could. Guess what race. He tells his boyhood self growing up homeless is tough. “You gotta be tougher than the world around you”--this after we see the boy running like a hare through allies and over a chain-link fence.
His older self now says, pulling up in his car beside an athletic field, “This is your proving ground.” Soon we see the boy, now a man in football uniform, walking down the players’ tunnel toward a brilliantly lit big-league football game.
He’s black, of course, and the ad tells us this is the redeeming dream for homeless young black boys with the right stuff.
So now tell me how many black, cream-colored and chartreuse boys want to be pro footballers versus how many actually do, even with extravagant talent and unnatural drive. Statistically (the deviation is too small to change this calculus) zero. More precisely, the ratio of U.S. citizens to NFL players is 1 to 200,000. There's no separate accounting for homeless black boys. It bumps the ratio up to 1 in ?millions.
Now tell me what’s the real message here about opportunity, wishful thinking and statistical chances. No cribbing.
The kid needs to straighten up and learn to strive. He won’t play in the NFL, but he’ll own a decent car, maybe, and he won’t be a drag on the “system.”
Interesting face-off in Miami today, SF and KC. Kansas City is heartland America, Trump country, where they know what's real and what's right. Everybody knows San Francisco is Land of queer communist niggers and white fairy wusses. Inneresting. It's not just about athletes.
And the medium that brings this all to us is FOX! Their announcers favor the Chiefs over the Niners, naturally, and Fox--well, you can guess. Just before the pre-game we saw none other than Donald Trump, one on one with Sean Hannity. It's a Big Day.
I was twenty-seven for Super Bowl One. My friends, more dedicated to sports than I, grumbled that the Super Bowl was nothing but naked greed, a grab by the already insanely rich team owners to rip off a few million more post season. A gimmick!
I had been a fan of the hometown team, the (then) Baltimore Colts, named for Triple-Crown racehorse Man O' War and the long tradition of making fast horses in Maryland and running them at the Preakness, in a part of Baltimore called Pimlico.
Mitch & Linda Clogg, she great with child, watched Johnny Unitas do the impossible at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.
Also-ran city that it is, some hazy where between Washington and New York, Baltimore has always been over the top about its sports. We were the epicenter for lacrosse in the world--for the ivy leaguers--and the Colts and Orioles made us insanely proud. Linda, with her swollen belly, carrying my firstborn, who would become Mitchell Clogg III, clutched my arm as we made our was down the stadium steps to our seats.
Unitas had a thing he called the Two-Minute Drill, where he'd move the Colts from yard zero to the enemy's goal in two minutes or less, with his combination of rushing and passing the football like it was a cruise missile. He trained with his principal receivers, Lennie Moore and Ray Berry, by throwing a brick at them--made his arm strong and their hands tougher than tough so they could catch the damn thing when he drilled it at them. We "Baltimorons" would go ape when the time was down to two minutes, the Colts trailed and John began The Drill.
It was on one of those occasions--home game against the Detroit Lions--when I saw one of the strangest mass-psychology events I ever personally witnessed.
Lions ahead, two minutes, important game, Colts behind, John did his thing. With every completed play, the crowd got crazier. The officials sometimes halted games to tell them to pipe down; players couldn't hear the quarterback.
So, downfield they go, all the way, and win, with a second or two on the clock. Even the Colts themselves were jumping up and down like lunatics, it had been such a showcase performance. The crowd mobbed the field and the players--it was purest joy in Muddville.
But there were still those couple of seconds. It took a fair time to get the goddamn fans off the gridiron, get the celebrating Colts back in formation and finish the game. The Colts only half attended to business. They were ready for the after-game adulation, the locker room, and more after-game adulation.
So they didn't notice when Detroit was in possession after the Colt's post-TD kickoff, and the Detroit receiver was serious. Everybody was still jumping around and screaming when they scored a touchdown in the last seconds. The game was so over at that point the clock had run out, but the rules said you don't end a game mid-play, so Detroit won.
Memorial Stadium, sixty thousand fans and the entire cosmos went absolutely silent.
I have a lifelong habit of shifting my attention to the margins when things go bad, noticing things beside the main event so my mind can work quietly. So I remember what followed vividly. Sixty thousand Baltimoreans walked out of that stadium without speaking. The handful of Detroiters wisely kept it zipped. You could only hear the shuffling of feet, a memorable noise when there are so many. Sixty thousand people had gone from indescribable jubilation to blackest depression in a fraction of an instant.
I am not a loyal sports fan. Today's Super Bowl is already underway, and here I am. Such perversity is sometimes rewarded, and that Colts-Chiefs game was an example. I'm reminded of a friend who called Eleanor and me on 9/11. He's an adrenaline junkie. He called us up that morning and said, of the unprecedented events still, at that moment, thunderously happening in New York City, "Isn't it GREAT?!"
Walking in the silent, stop-and-go, zombie crowd with slim-again Linda out of Memorial Stadium that Sunday, I whispered in her ear: "Is this amazing or what?"
(P.S.: I was wrong. They still haven't bloody kicked off. What a giant load of hogwash! Too many cars to sell first, flags to worship, brass tubas to blow. Too much propaganda to do.
Notice how much padding goes on around one single hour of play. Months of it! I beg--I IMPLORE YOU--notice the bullshit. This is the perennial red-hat shit, the chance for the Establishment to inject you with fatal doses of jingoism, of Yankee hubris, of mindlessness, of love for the hidden people who take your enthusiasm to the bank. The Main Event is the soft, sinister, disastrous enslavement of 320 million people.
Amazing athletes are on display. Enjoy them with me, but don't fail yourself. While you're pigging out on high-profit, center-aisle junk food, give a moment to the marginal stuff, to where we are as a nation, a people, a republic, a civilization. It's not on the field in Miami.)