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MCT: Sunday, April 26, 2020

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WHILE ANOTHER WEAK FRONT or two will clip northwest California over the next several days, any spotty light showers will be restricted to Del Norte and northern Humboldt Counties. Coastal areas will continue to see periods of clouds and fog through the middle of the upcoming week, with seasonably cool onshore flow. Interior temperatures will take a step back for Sunday and Monday, followed by a very warm and sunny day on Tuesday. (NWS)

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by Malcolm Macdonald

Covid-19 is scary, but have you ever dealt with Lynelle Johnson, Carole White, and Hospitality Center?

I was asked that question today and I will leave it somewhat to you readers to judge what is the scariest proposition. All I can do is lay out what's been happening recently at ye olde Hospitality Center based at 101 North Franklin Street in Fort Bragg, our county's second largest municipality. Hospitality Center (HC) is supposed to be a subcontractor providing mental health services on the coast. Lynelle Johnson and Carole White are the President and Vice-President of HC's Board of Directors. Carla Harris is the executive director of HC.

When the Covid-19 pandemic precipitated the shelter in place order from the public health officer, Hospitality Center staff looked for a place to house the homeless after scheduled funding and sites for the winter shelter ran out. They found that in Fort Bragg's Motel 6. A goodly number of folks, down on their luck, found a place to shelter at that motel. Ms. Harris, the executive director at HC, possessed a list of a handful or so of other people who had worn out their welcome multiple times with HC and its subsidiary, Hospitality House (which provides a roof over the heads and meals to as many as twenty-four homeless people each night). Due to misdeeds, this same handful of people were banned from staying at Motel 6.

Along came Lynelle Johnson and Carole White, the leaders of HC's governing board, to contradict the ruling of their executive director. Johnson and White made their own deal to house the otherwise banned people at the Ebb Tide Motel in Fort Bragg. Of course, this didn't sit well with the executive director, who is paid to make such decisions on her own. It didn't sit well because Johnson and White's actions violated HC's own rules established in a document called “Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center Covid-19 Shelter Protocols.” Quoting from those protocols, under a section labeled "Intake":

The Wellness Center Coordinator screens for eligibility and if the person is deemed eligible by the Wellness Coordinator, the Executive Director is contacted to make the final approval.

If the Executive Director approves of the referral, the Wellness Center Coordinator contacts the Motel staff to ensure the person is not on the banned list.

A little background for HC Board President Lynelle Johnson. Let's briefly look at a November 20, 2019, AVA piece about a meeting of that board. “You didn't hear about it before hand, you say? No surprise. The leadership at Hospitality Center, specifically the Board of Directors leadership under the eye of one Lynelle Johnson, doesn't like to expose decisions that effect the public to… Well, let's just say, the public.”

The gist of that November, 2019, article was about the failure of HC to get the winter shelter going in time. It did not open until December 15th and only then through last minute financial backing from the City of Fort Bragg and the county despite the fact that HC had been offered adequate funding in July. The delay from the July funding offer to HC going begging for money in December was mostly due to Ms. Johnson's desire to locate the winter shelter at a single spot on Main Street despite the willingness of the faith based communities to house it on a rotating basis. Ms. Johnson's desire for a single location apparently derived from the fact that said locale would not be subject to the city's permit process. No permit process meant no public input needed.

The November, 2019, piece went on. “Ms. Johnson lives on an isolated road south of Little River, a protected enclave far removed from the [day to day life of Fort Bragg's central business district]…"

Ms. Johnson is out of touch and has been for some time. She has repeatedly told falsehoods to city officials and business owners as well as inquisitive souls like yours truly. Readers familiar with the AVA's online archive should check a November 16, 2016 piece in which Ms. Johnson features somewhat prominently.

“More information on Ms. Johnson's failings at Hospitality Center and Hospitality House can be found in a February 1, 2017, AVA piece and perhaps most tellingly in a February 22, 2017, article, which concluded that 'the truth is not in Ms. Johnson…'"

That November, 2019, article alluded to worries about there being no homeless winter shelter growing so widespread that at least one Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) board member discussed the matter at an August, 2019, MCDH Board of Directors meeting. Indeed, the idea of the hospital exploring the possibility eventually landed on the agenda of MCDH's Planning Committee on the next to last day of the year. HC Vice-President Carole White is a member of that committee. When the agenda item came up, including how it might change HC's role in the winter shelter process, did Ms. White recuse herself from the discussion? Simple answer: Carole White did not.

Supervisor Ted Williams and Fort Bragg City Council member Bernie Norvell participated in the discussion about the city and county's potential expanded roles in running the winter shelter. Fort Bragg's City Manager, Tabatha Miller, was present in the audience and added a couple of comments. Remember, the agenda item concerned the seemingly innocent process of the hospital, or hospital district, merely exploring the possibility of taking on some role in the winter sheltering of homeless people.

Apparently, Carole White felt so threatened by the potential concept that before most people had returned home after the Planning Committee meeting adjourned she was raging, according to a reliable source. Reportedly, White told staff at Hospitality Center not to speak to Supervisor Williams, Councilman Norvell, nor City Manager Tabatha Miller under any circumstance.

That pretty much gives you the idea who we are dealing with here. This pair of HC Board members decided they knew better than their paid staff, ignored directives to not house certain persons deemed unmanageable, yet went ahead and put those same people into the Ebb Tide Motel during the Covid-19 crisis. In their world view, they know better than the HC staff, they know better than the motel business owners who would be effected, they know better than the entire community.

It only took a matter of a few days before reports popped up about multiple methamphetamine deals going down in those Ebb Tide Motel rooms as well as other problems. The problems were mentioned by the city manager and police chief at the next city council meeting. They also showed up in police logs of April 8, 9, and 13, citing individuals who were on the Motel 6 banned list.

In mid-April HC held a board meeting (you can bet the general public was not made aware of it). According to further sourcing, the executive director wasn't provided an agenda. At the time the Ebb Tide problem was ongoing. The management of the motel wanted the troublemakers out. Supposedly, around this time, county Health and Human Services officials as well as leadership at Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC) were made aware of the Ebb Tide situation. Folks like Tammy Moss Chandler, at Health and Human Services, and Camille Schraeder of RQMC, who essentially control the funding stream that goes to Hospitality Center for mental health services, have not made public statements on the matter. However, logic and common sense tells us they can't be too happy with HC board members who contravened their own paid staff's orders, especially when that override turned into the fiasco at Ebb Tide.

On April 15, having learned something about the Ebb Tide situation, I sent an email to Lynelle Johnson, which read, “Can you explain what is going on at Ebb Tide Motel, keeping in mind that I am getting multiple reports about it from multiple sources who are all at least fairly reliable to impeccably reliable. Part of that includes multiple meth dealings at the motel, managers/staff asleep at the wheel while other shenanigans occur, belying the 24/7 watchdog staffing claim of HC - not to mention that some of placements at motels were made at yours and/or Carole’s insistence, overriding decisions made elsewhere.”

I also included an inquiry about a meeting Ms. Johnson reportedly had with city officials several weeks earlier. “Topping that off is the rumor that multiple weeks ago you were requested to resign by city officials, yet no such action has taken place. Part of that rumor included you removing Carole [White] from [the HC] board as well as yourself and possibly [another board member] too. If there is even some truth to that then you are essentially defying a City edict. I would think that would have far ranging ramifications regarding HC and/or HH [Hospitality House] funding from county as well as making all deals with City problematic.”

The next day, Lynelle Johnson responded via email, “I have forwarded your email on to Tabatha and to Carla so that they can address these issues for you.”

Perhaps Carla Harris could add some insight, I considered contacting her, but held off awhile. I needn't worry, Ms. Harris contacted me. She sent a text on Wednesday, April 22nd, time stamped at 11:12 pm. “Do you want a real interview? Based on real facts?”

I considered the possibilities, yet texted back the next morning, “When would you like to speak?”

The Harris response, a little while later, “Maybe tomorrow. I'm exhausted today.”

I replied, “Tomorrow is good. Pick a time and let me know.”

Friday morning, Harris texted, “I'm going to have to hold off on that talk for today.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Harris was texting someone else. As you read her communication it will become apparent how and why this is available for the public to peruse. Here's the HC executive director's recent communication referencing the interference of HC board leaders Johnson and White. “[P]lease talk to Camille [Schraeder of RQMC]. I need her to talk to my board and get Lynelle and Carole and Jerry [HC board treasurer – not the other HC board member referenced earlier] to resign.”

At this point I have to interject to point out that Harris' communication contains many typos and errors of all sorts. Where needed I have omitted confusing wording. Harris goes on, “Our rqmc contract [is] on the line… I need a replacement board… otherwise I can't do this job.

“Okay, I am going to be transparent here and feel free to put this out publicly [emphasis added]. I have worked [in] nonprofits and social services for over 30 years. As a result I have determined that enabling folks is not the way to help people. The mchc [Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center – 'HC'] is a culture of enabling due to the current leadership… meaning Lynelle Johnson and carole white whom reside in little river. I as the current executive director will not move forward with this organization in good faith knowing that these leaders are not cognizant of the fort bragg business community and the fact that people are continuously being enabled in their addictions as well as their mental health issues. Based on my 30* years of experience I am absolutely opposed to how things are being handled in behalf of MCHC leadership and staff. I have tried continuously to make solid recommendations and directives to mchc staff in an attempt to clean things u[p] and ensure an end to homelessness in fort bragg and only been met with retaliation by this board and to be faved [sic] with constant undermining techniques.

“Has left me no choice…

“This is why I think we have a high percentage of homeless in fort bragg and I personally held the mchc board of directors responsible for that. They fail and have failed miserably in holding folks accountable…

“And this makes me mad and frustrated as the executive director… The mchc board fails miserably.”

As of April 26th, the miscreants had been removed from the Ebb Tide and reportedly behaviors there have returned to normalcy. As of this writing, Lynelle Johnson and Carole White remain in their positions atop the Hospitality Center Board of Directors.

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(photo by Larry Wagner)

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Six Round Valley residents have now tested positive for the coronavirus, representing more than half the confirmed cases in Mendocino County, public health officials said Friday night.

None of the six cases — five from the same household, plus a person in a separate home who had contact with them — is considered serious and all are self-isolating safely at home, said county spokeswoman Sarah Dukett. County public health officials and the Round Valley Indian Health Center in Covelo are working together to trace people who may have had contact with the infected patients and test them for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The six Round Valley cases, three of which were announced Friday, bring Mendocino County’s total to 11 in a population of 89,000.

In a livestreamed message, Mendocino County’s Interim Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan expressed “great gratitude” to the Round Valley clinic and Round Valley Indian Tribal Council for their collaboration with county health officials.

Jim Russ, who is president of the council and executive director of the clinic, appeared on the livestream with Doohan and said the tribal leaders “took (the pandemic) seriously from the beginning,” declaring a state of emergency in the reservation on March 18.

The tribal clinic has been testing members for the infection and providing staffers with protective equipment, he said.

Also on Friday, Doohan said Mendocino County residents soon will be required to wear masks in public to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, as some regulations were eased Friday in anticipation of a broader relaxation of social limits early next month.

Doohan said that “in early May we will be working toward limited reopening” in step with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s initiatives to revive the state’s crippled economy.

“We need to make sure that we keep our county safe” by limiting transmission of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, and by “supporting social distancing,” Doohan said in a livestreamed message.

Doohan said the mask mandate, which she said she was considering on Monday, requires people to wear facial covering in any building or any enclosed space, except their home, and in any place outdoors where they cannot keep 6 feet away from other people at all times.

It exempts children under 2 and says masks are “recommended but optional” for children ages 2 to 12.

While the other rule changes were effective immediately, the mask requirement was set to take effect May 1 “to allow time for the general public and employers to procure appropriate facial coverings,” a county press release said.

The order also allows business owners and operators to refuse admission or service to any customer who refuses to wear a facial covering.

Friday’s orders, the fourth version of the county’s stay-in-place mandate, also relaxed two regulations, a move Doohan said was “meant to give us a bit of freedom until early May.”

Residents may now drive up to 20  miles from their homes for recreation, instead of the previous limit to go by foot or bicycle or “the shortest distance possible.”

“This is because we know the weather is becoming beautiful and we really want people to recreate outside and be able to safely,” Doohan said.

The social restrictions “may be very inconvenient,” Russ acknowledged.

“I’ve already heard the rumblings that everybody’s going stir crazy with cabin fever,” he said.

The other change permitted singing during livestreamed events with precautions to avoid virus transmission, such as singing behind a Plexiglas screen. The previous order, which limited singing to four people, was based on an episode in Washington state in which 40 chorus members got sick and two died despite practicing social distancing, Doohan said.

Staff Writers Julie Johnson and Chantelle Lee contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writers Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or or Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or

(courtesy The Press Democrat)

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WHILE MENDOCINO COUNTY'S COVID-19 ORDER IS IN PLACE, our shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg are closed to the public. BUT! — you can still adopt and foster a dog or cat! 

Please visit our webpage at to see all of our dog and cat guests along with information about fostering and adopting during this temporary closing. Thanks, from the Shelters.

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One-hundred years ago logging was big industry in Anderson Valley. Redwood and Douglas fir trees were plentiful. Also found here was tan oak, also known as tanbark-oak trees. They were also valuable. The name tanoak refers to its tannin-rich bark, a type of tanbark, used in the past for tanning leather before the use of modern synthetic tannins. By 1907, the use of tanoak for tannin was subsiding due to the scarcity of large tanoak trees. Yet in Anderson Valley they were still plentiful.

Harvested trees were cut to length, put on train cars, and eventually shipped a central storage location waiting shipment from the valley. One such rail line went from the town of Navarro up Mill Creek, and then a spur ran up Hungry Hollow Creek. This creek has a very steep ravine. Yet by traveling up, over, and at times traveling on an elevated series of train trestles, railroad tracks were laid some ten to fifteen miles to the upper reaches of Hungry Hollow Creek.

One very early morning not long after the turn of the 20th century, One of these trains were loaded and ready to make the trip to Navarro. It was a freezing cold morning and the engineer called the Navarro terminus informing them that the tracks were frozen, and too cold to travel on. “Stoke up the furnace,” was the reply. “By the time you are making steam, the tracks will no longer be frozen.” So although the brakeman and engineer felt it was still too cold, they fired up the furnace. The brakeman on that train was the grandfather of Ernie and Tony Pardini. Don Pardini’s dad. Cold as it was, as soon as the boiler was hot they got the orders to move out. That was a big mistake.

They had not gone 1/4 of a mile when the train would no longer respond to the brakes. While the wheels stopped turning the train slid over the tracks and quickly gained speed. All the men could do was jump train. Both did and survived the jump. The train did not fair as well. After another 1/4 of a mile on a sharp turn the engine and all of the cars fell off the track and tumbled down about 75 feel to the creek below it. Even today one can see the remains of one of the cars in Mill Creek.

A year or so later the running gear or wheels were lifted back up to the tracks and removed from the valley. A few years after that the boiler was also removed. I believe it is today in Anderson Valley and is used to dry apples. The line was then abandoned and left to decay for a few decades. Then the owner of the line decided to sell the valuable, unused tracks. Workman started at very end of the line and removed each of the two rails for the whole of the 10-15 miles of track.

The removal of the tracks took place in 1938. The value of the metal was huge and the owners sold every bit of it to one buyer. They sold the rails to Japan, soon to be our foe in WW2.

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by Mark Scaramella

On Monday, April 20, Mendo presented its long-awaited (two years in the making) “Strategic Plan To Address Homelessness In Mendocino County.” The recipients were everyone, aka, the Continuum of Care Committee, aka co-conspirators for those of you of a skeptical perspective.

Supervisor John McCowen said time and again in open Board meetings that the plan would incorporate the Marbut recommendations as directed by the Supervisors two years ago. But besides a few grudging passing references to the Marbut report, there’s no list of recommendations or objectives deriving from Marbut, much less how his phantom recommendations might be implemented.

Instead we get page after page after page of the usual generic homeless agency pablum, including a laughable (unless you’re homeless) four-page chart showing each of the many local continuum of care members and how much funding they get from each grant source and what it’s supposed to be spent on. 

Surprise! The bulk of the money goes to various County Health and Human Services Agency programs along with Redwood Community Services and their many local affiliates and subsidiaries. 

$925k goes to the Continuum of Care itself for “Rental assistance/rapid rehousing, operating subsidies and reserves, landlord incentives, outreach and coordination (including employment), prevention and shelter diversion to permanent housing.”

Our favorite is $121k to Redwood Community Services for “Housing navigation expertise to develop and secure transitional and permanent housing solutions.”

There’s $1.7 million for “Permanent supportive rental housing for people living with a serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.” 

HHSA itself got $75k for “Assistance in the coordination and implementation of local homelessness plans.”

One line item for almost $1.7 million goes to “Redwood Quality Management Company and their subcontracting agencies” which allegedly “Benefits individuals with severe mental illness in need of case management and housing support.”

A quick summation of the total is over $20 million just for this fiscal year, depending on how you spread some of the larger multi-year grants.

If you use their own grossly inflated and obviously self-interested “Point In Time Counts,” there were just over 1200 sheltered and unsheltered people in 2016 which came down to around 800 in 2019 (but much of that was re-housing for people displaced by the 2017 Redwood Complex Fire). There were 123 chronically homeless persons, some of whom were sheltered.

Just for the sake of mathematics: 800 persons divided by $20 million = $25,000 per homeless person (on the high end of the count), and $20 million divided by 123 = about $160k per chronically homeless person on the low end.

For that money, the homeless continuum of care collective’s “Strategic Plan” concludes “The goals, strategies, action steps delineated in this section were derived over the course of approximately four months by the Strategic Planning Committee (Strategic Planning Committee) of the CoC governing board. Many of the recommendations from the Homeless Assessment are included as strategies here. In addition, the Strategic Planning Committee benefitted from technical assistance provided by the Technical Assistance Collaborative through a grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development to improve the delivery of homelessness programs. The Strategic Planning Committee was inspired by the All Home collaborative of Kings County, Washington in deciding on its overarching goals.”

And what are those overarching goals?

Goal 1: Making Homelessness Rare [(a list of items beginning with the words, “promote,” “identify,” “review,” and “source”].

How We Will Know It Worked? 

We will see a 5% annual decrease in the total number of homeless as measured by HUD’s Longitudinal Systems Analysis (LSA). 

Goal 2: Making Homelessness Brief and One-Time [a similar list of non-specific “strategies”]

How We Will Know It Worked?

We will see a 5% annual decrease per year in the length of time that people are homeless as measured by HUD’s LSA. 

Goal 3: Improve community and policy maker engagement around homelessness 

How We Will Know It Worked?

We will see increased engagement of residents as measured by increased attendance at CoC board and committee meetings.… We will see increased engagement and leadership of business and faith leaders increased attendance at and/or joining the CoC board.… We will see homeless services expanded to the outlying regions of the County, such as the South Coast and North County, including Covelo. 

Goal 4: Improve the CoC’s capacity to govern itself. 

How We Will Know It Worked?

We will have effective and efficient governance at the CoC and within the homeless system infrastructure as measured by surveys conducted before and after listening sessions by whomever conducts listening session. 

HHSA and CoC contracts all include measurable performance measures.

Which they clearly don’t. Marbut might laugh, but he would not approve.

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by Daniel Mintz

Humboldt County health officials have said that if all shelter place order restrictions are lifted on May 1, a late July peak would see almost 1,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital care and 188 people would be dead. 

But the economic effects of the order are also severe and the plan is to begin lifting some restrictions as testing, case investigation and health care capacities expand. 

Various COVID-19 scenarios were presented during an April 23 livestreamed forum titled “The Economy, The Surge and What’s Next for Humboldt County.” 

And what’s next for Humboldt County, said the officials, is a phased easing of restrictions. 

Moderated by Lost Coast Outpost Editor Hank Sims, the forum included presentations of locally-developed models. 

In the model based on keeping current shelter in place conditions in place for nine months, caseload would peak in December, with 145 people hospitalized, 64 of them in intensive care and 38 on ventilators. 

And by that time, there would be 28 deaths. 

Sims noted that the model seems “counter-intuitive” because in the week leading up to the forum, the county saw no new cases. 

But testing is limited and people are mingling in some ways even as sheltering in place continues. “We don’t have the ability to test everyone we want to test and there’s low level circulation out there in the community right now,” said Deputy Health Officer Josh Ennis. 

As of press time, Humboldt County had logged 53 cases. 

Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said that to get a thorough understanding of the scale of COVID-19 incidence, “surveillance testing” has to be done. 

“We have to be able to test everyone who is symptomatic and we have to be able to test a lot of people who are not,” she continued. 

Another model is based on the county lifting all restrictions on May 1. Ennis said it shows “a situation that would overwhelm our hospital capacity severalfold, potentially.” 

In it, the peak of cases would hit in late July, with 976 people hospitalized, 408 of them in intensive care and 251 on ventilators. 

At that point, there would be 188 deaths, according to the model. 

The county’s strategy is to allow the local economy to reopen in stages in the near future. That will result in more cases but care capacity is being built up and the situation will be monitored with improved testing. 

The plan will be done in tandem with gradual easing of the state’s shelter in place order. The state has outlined six prerequisites for re-openings, including expansion of testing and increasing case investigations and hospital capacity. 

Sheriff Billy Honsal said he supports allowing counties that have met the conditions to proceed with lifting some restrictions.

“Dr. Ennis is working tirelessly to really increase (hospital) capacity to prepare for that surge that potentially could be coming sometime this summer,” he continued. “We can continue to prepare for that but also have these things in place to start easing some of those restrictions.” 

Keeping all the restrictions will continue the destruction of the county’s economy. 

Honsal reported that since the shelter in place order was issued, 2,100 local jobs have been lost, there have been 15 permanent business closures and an overall revenue loss of over $28 million. 

Part of the plan is to allow businesses like restaurants and shops to open under a program that certifies their readiness and ability to operate safely. 

“Maybe restaurants can open and do all the social distancing and things we want in place – and then we wait,” said Frankovich. “An incubation period is two weeks so maybe we wait a couple incubation periods and then we open the faucet a bit more … and the more robust our testing and monitoring and tracing, the easier it will be to sort of slowly open things up.” 

She noted that one of the state’s prerequisites is the ability to gauge when re-openings need to be scaled back. 

“It does strike me that it’s difficult to go out to dinner with friends when you’re wearing masks, I’m not quite sure how that’s going to work,” said Sims. 

Frankovich said measures like spacing of tables, having wait staff wear masks, using disposable paper menus and cleaning surfaces in between customers’ meals could make restaurant re-openings doable. 

“We’re really coming close to that time when we’re going to be able to start moving on this,” she said at the close of the forum. “We really recognize the need for that and we know there are consequences no matter which way we go.” 

She added that the goal is to “keep the community safe and healthy as much as possible – knowing there’s going to be a little trade-off there and people are going to get sick – but trying to balance that against what we know has to happen in the community for us all to come through recovery.” 

Preparation for loosening restrictions was seen at the end of last week. On April 24, facial coverings became mandatory instead of voluntary and the county announced that a new state-sponsored “community testing site” will open in Eureka within two weeks. It will enable the testing of 96 people a day. 

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To escape the lockdown blahs and return to better times, I urge all shut-ins to visit Bill Retalick’s "Over the Rainbow" doo-wop show on KZYX radio the first Sunday of each month from 9-11pm featuring black vocal harmony with roots in early American gospel music.

Harmonized vocal groups have been part of every stage of rock's development. They were especially prominent in the 50s when a few dozen major vocal groups and thousands of obscure ones comprised chiefly of black singers created the music that rock 'n roll connoissours still regard as the creme de la creme.

No particular name was given to this form of R&B music by the people who made and enjoyed it in the 50s. Today we call it "doo-wop" after two of the characteristic nonsense syllables invented early in the game by fellows who didn't get to sing lead.

Doo-wop is a soothing sing-along music that immediately transports you back in time to a simple, hopeful past.

"Over the Rainbow" is a treasure trove of nostalgia. Where else in Mendopia can you tune into: Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels, the Do Droppers, Otis Day and the Knights, Billy Ward and His Dominoes, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, the Five Satins, and numerous others in the deep doo-wop pantheon.

Let's return to the roots of rock 'n roll. Goodbye hip hop/hello doo-wop.

Don Morris

Willits/Ghost Town

PS. The harmonic wave of howling protests against coronavirus will soon give way to the "Silent Scream."

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(photo by Chris Calder)

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WAVES of bikers passed though Boonville today, not that I begrudge the simple souls their fresh air outings, but what I don't get is their blaring music, a lot of it that deep base pounding sound that must somehow soothe the primitive soul. They make a lot of racket, for sure, but it's the much younger daredevils on those smaller bikes who are into the truly life-threatening behavior. I've been passed by three in succession on the Ukiah Road, all three nearly horizontal with the pavement. Startled hell out of me. A local guy commented on the passing parade, "Maybe the tattoo parlors are open in Fort Bragg today."

BIG SHOTS taking advantage of powerless people has been a daily tip-of-a-huge-berg ever since the first king convinced his neighbors that God wanted him in charge. "See this crown? You all work for me now, and I make the rules. The fat guy over there in the brown cassock? He's God's vicar on earth, and I got his ok, too. You send me the harvest and I'll portion it back out to you. And I'll help myself to your daughters. Complaints about me will make God real unhappy, so just get with the program and you'll be safe from the other kings." That program lasted until the 18th century, but the modern version of it expresses itself in people like Biden and the Clintons.

A 1993 CLIP has emerged of the mother of Vice President Joe Biden's sexual assault accuser speaking to CNN's Larry King about her daughter's assault. Sad that a mom has to go to Larry King for justice, but it's either Lar or Doctor Phil. The video backs former Biden staffer Tara Reade's claims that she told her mother about the harassment related to her boss 27 years ago. Reade filed an official criminal complaint against the now presumptive Democratic presidential frontrunner on April 9, accusing Biden of shoving his hand under her skirt and "penetrating her with his fingers" while they stood in a senate corridor, an accusation he of course has denied. That it's almost thirty years later means that her violation by Creepy Joe traumatized her and has stayed with her all these years.

THIS LATEST EVIDENCE to emerge shows Reade's mother, Jeanette Altimus, calling into the Larry King Show in August 1993, the same month that Reade left Biden's staff. Mom anonymously asks a panel's advice on her daughter's "problems" with a "prominent senator." There is no mention of sexual assault in the clip. Reade, who was in her 20s at the time of the assault, had previously revealed that her mother had called into the show when she told her about the sexual assault 27 years ago. 

GOVERNOR NEWSOM says struggling restaurants — a dozen in the Anderson Valley if you include deli counters — will soon begin providing millions of subsidized meals to senior citizens who need some help. Called “Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors” program, Newsom didn't say when it would kick off but “will be available soon.” He said decisions on the specifics will be made by local officials, which means for Mendo it may never get off the ground.

ON THE OFF CHANCE it does, and it would work if the capable managers who run this county's senior citizens are put in charge but would be drowned in blah-blah if left to county government, those 65 or older or otherwise high-risk because they have the coronavirus; were exposed to the coronavirus as documented by a public health official or medical professional; or have an underlying health condition would qualify.

Participants must live alone or with one other eligible adult. They can't be receiving assistance from other federal nutrition programs and can have income of no more than $74,940 for an individual or $101,460 for two. That is 600% of the federal poverty level.

They must state they are unable to prepare or obtain their own meals.

What Will Be Provided?

An “unlimited number of meals,” Newsom said: three a day, seven days a week. Restaurants will be reimbursed up to $66 per day: $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch and $27 for dinner, and an additional $5 for “incidental expenses.”

But no junk food. The state will set nutritional guidelines, but leave it to local jurisdictions to decide which restaurants qualify. Although it's not clear how the guidelines will be enforced, Newsom said there will be an emphasis on locally produced produce, independent restaurants and a “diversity of options” and meals.

State guidance is that breakfast be low in sodium and with 100% fruit juices. Lunch and dinner must also must be low salt and include a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable on each dish.

Who pays?

The federal government will reimburse 75% of the cost and location governments will pick up the rest. The state will then reimburse three-quarters of the local cost. Newsom said local governments will benefit from the the sales taxes collected on the meals.

Newsom provided no estimate of an overall cost for the program but said he thought “millions" of the state's 5.7 million people 65 and older could qualify. If just one million sign up and get all $66 per day the cost would be about $2 billion per month.

Newsom said the program will continue as long as the virus crisis persists.

How can you sign up?

Stay tuned. The state's website says “as the local programs get established in the next few days, more information will be provided.” Newsom said seniors can call their local 2-1-1 information network call centers if they have one, or go to the state website. The state also plans an outreach program.

Officials say participants can apply with a phone call and provide “self-certification” on the eligibility requirements listed above, similar to the way they can assert that they are eligible for other disaster programs.

* * *

Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer.

* * *


by Jonah Raskin

On Friday April 24, soon after sunset I joined a backyard BBQ that came with Manhattans, and, on the next day, Saturday April 25, I went to a friend’s house for an outdoor, patio luncheon with lamb stew, asparagus and sparkling wine. 

Little by little, Sonoma County citizens are reconnecting with one another, processing information and telling personal stories about the pandemic. It’s not a total liberation from the lockdown, but rather a step in that direction. 

So far, there have only been two confirmed deaths from Corona in the county. Ninety-three people out of a total of 216 confirmed cases have recovered. Others are presumably on the way to wellness.

The relatively low rate of infection in Sonoma is due to several factors: not a lot of people traveling here from other parts of the country and from around the world; a lot of open space and not much population density; and a good public health system. Maybe luck is also involved.

I live on a farm with animals, open fields, flower gardens and raised beds with vegetables. Neighbors have horses and cows and have been planting seeds and starts, as I have been doing. One neighbor has been making and selling homeopathic remedies for months. Her thyme tincture clears up my sinuses. 

What’s happening here, in a largely rural county (total population about 500,000 people), suggests that liberations don’t take place all at once, but in stages. Indeed, you don’t go from a near-total loss of many freedoms, including the freedom to move about, to an all-encompassing state of liberty, though it might have felt that way when France was freed from the Nazis in 1945. American soldiers helped and so did the Resistance. Ernest Hemingway would boast that he liberated the Ritz Hotel, which German military officers had occupied during the war and made into a playground.

Nobody in local government has called for the liberation of Sonoma, and for the reopening of businesses, and no governing body has passed a resolution announcing the end of the stay at home order. No protesters, paid or unpaid, have called for a return to biz as usual. 

The liberation of Sonoma, if you can call it that, has been happening without declarations, demonstrations or fanfare. Traffic has increased over the last several days. On Friday there were more cars on the road than there had been for a couple of weeks. On the 101, going through Santa Rosa, there was even gridlock for a couple of miles before the pace picked up. I even saw a cop stop a motorist and write a ticket, which I had not seen since mid-March. More restaurants and cafes have opened up for take out and for delivery and the crisis state of mind has dissipated, though it hasn't totally evaporated. 

At the backyard BBQ, and also at the patio luncheon, no one, including me, wore a mask. We did observe social distancing without being fanatical about it. There was no kissing and no hugging, which would have happened before the pandemic. One man, a schoolteacher, said that he missed touching friends, and that many of his students, whom he has been meeting on Zoom, are out to lunch and learning little, except what it means to be in a pandemic. That might be more valuable than history, English and math. 

None of the friends who attended the Friday and Saturday get-togethers have had Corona-19; no one has suffered financial hardship, though two women, one of them a lawyer, filed for unemployment benefits online. The lawyer complained about the tedious process; the other woman didn’t. She’d already received a check from the government. Zeno, a former professor at Sonoma State University, brought me a present, though it was his birthday Saturday. I was happy to receive it: a roll of toilet paper.

On Friday when I stopped for gas at a 7/11 on Santa Rosa Avenue, a couple of homeless men in rags and without masks tried to hit me up for cash. I didn’t make eye contact and they backed off. I noticed that some of the people pumping gas tried not to touch anything at the 7/11, or else to wear gloves. Not touching is more challenging than it may seem, and I have heard more than one person say, "I hate masks." Yeah, but they work. 

My own life has not changed radically over the past two months. As a reporter and a journalist I can stay at home, conduct interviews by Zoom, email and phone, write articles and send them electronically to the AVA and other publications. Most writers that I know here in California and in New York have gone on writing during the crisis. One author emailed me the other day to say, “One good thing (for us anyway) about the pandemic is that we have time without outside obligations to focus on our projects!” That’s true, though I don’t boast about it. I’m one of the privileged. I know the situation is much worse in other parts of the country and the world. 

My friend, Anuradha, an Indian in India, and a college teacher, emailed from New Delhi to say, “Lock down here is hitting hard with millions without work and food. Quite a few human rights and democratic rights activists have been arrested in recent times with serious charges of anti-national activities. We have been trying to do some relief work these days. Basic ration is what we have been buying and giving it to families that are hard pressed. The times are trying.” People like her, her family members and friends are on the frontlines. I can’t not think about her, and about New Delhi, a city I visited not long ago, where poverty and homelessness might have sent me over the edge, and somehow didn't. If the beggars in the streets could survive and not lose it, surely I could, too. 

* * *

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, April 25, 2020

Guzman, Hill, Kidd, Stone

JORGE GUZMAN, Boonville. DUI with Blood-alcohol over 0.15%, misdemeanor hit&run, suspended license (for reckless driving).

BOBBY HILL, Ukiah. Controlled substance paraphernalia, probation revocation.

JARED KIDD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-intoxicating drug and alcohol, resisting, parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)

DOUGLAS STONE JR., Redwood Valley. First degree burglary, stolen property, burglary tools, loaded firearm in public, loaded handgun not registered owner, concealed firearm in vehicle (with prior), disorderly conduct-loitering on private property, armed with firearm in commission of felony.

* * *

* * *


It has been amazing to see the responses of “travel nurses” looking for $10,000/week plus OT salary in NY…

I sure wouldn’t do it for the money, and the incredibly predatory “recruiters” are all looking to cash in too!

All I can say, is dedication and commitment is far more important than the compensation! Making an extra $40,000 will just cost you increased taxes, when you work as an independent contractor, and these nurses, may also pay with their lives.

I encourage nobody to think about being a nurse for the compensation, and I double encourage fortune-seekers to not go out and work these jobs just for the money…

Whatever the tourists in the “travel nurse” set get out of this, while seeking an exciting lifestyle, or whatever, “travelers” are another source of infection, for the populations they serve and for their families! The use of travelers must be investigated, and hospitals should staff adequately and compensate well, so that nurses, med-techs, pharmacists, x-ray techs and everyone else will just stay put in a permanent position, and not go looking for fortune and a sexy lifestyle on the road.

I salute anyone who worked and who is working in a crisis area, and I hope they are not exposing themself at this time, just for the money…

* * *

* * *


by J.W. Grimes

I love parks. City parks and small town parks. Don’t we all? 

Somebody smart said every great city has a great public park, or two.

Sometimes small towns have a great small park.

“Great” is a word, according to Merriam-Webster, that means not only large, substantial and expansive, but other synonyms are “appreciable, extraordinary, and special.” It is the second group of synonyms defining “great” that I happily apply to this small city and its pocket park.

Located in this small town in Marin County is a pocket park. It’s situated in the middle of a block on the main street brimming with boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, an independent pharmacy called Jack’s that looks caught in the Fifties, a store selling only California olive oils, and three book stores, including Town Books owned by the town’s library where I volunteer on Fridays to sell used books donated by citizens to walk-in shoppers. 

The park, no more than sixty feet wide and one hundred and twenty feet deep, displays two appreciable features: a perfectly trimmed grass lawn with five accompanying benches, and a tiered water fountain within which stand two bronze statutes sculpted specifically for the small park. 

The small town is San Anselmo, population 12, 800, a mile from the cottage where I live.

The small park is named Imagination Park.

Until 2013, five years ago, the Park was the site of an old furniture store which was languishing from competition from a new arrival in the next town and a nearby shopping mall. The store owner called it quits.

The property owner, a longtime resident of the town, decided to raze the building and donate the property to the town to create the small park. He hired a sculptor to create the two bronze statues which would be placed inside the fountain behind the lawn.

As the work commenced to create the park, the site was cordoned off to the public until the final touches were complete. Such touches included a dozen red, white, and pink rose bushes, several planted baby oak and maple trees, the fountain and the benches. The two statues, one over six feet tall and the other half that size, had been stealthily delivered the day before the gala opening of the park and placed on the two granite boulders inside the fountain.

The identity of the two statues was concealed by white sheets.

The town’s people had a good idea of what the images of the two statues would be. 

It was reported in the town’s weekly newspaper that there was quite a ceremony on that Sunday May afternoon of the park’s opening. The street was closed to vehicular traffic. Multi-colored balloons hung from the thin branches of the newly-planted trees. The American flag, fluttering with small town pride in the breeze, flew atop its pole near the door of the City Hall building next door. A small band played Stephen Foster songs. The scene, a citizen posted on Yelp, was reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover. The weekly newspaper reported that three hundred town residents crammed the sidewalk and the street that day to rejoice in the festivities and applaud the creator of the small park. A local guy made good.

The town’s manager released fifteen doves to begin the ceremony.

The creator, in dark glasses and checkered leisure shirt, stood in the center of the lawn and spoke to the crowd with microphone in hand. 

“The town needed a center,” he said with a friendly smile and a wave of a hand. “Something that would be the best way to make it hospitable, lovely, and relevant. I was asked to help and agreed immediately.”

At this point he pulled a string and the white canvass concealing the statues in the fountain fell. Inside the fountain’s circular enclosure two bronze statues sparkled in the sun’s delight. 

The crowd cheered. 

The man who pulled the string was George Lucas.

The larger bronze statue was that of Indiana Jones standing upon the large boulder in the middle of the fountain. His face, glittering in the sunlight, wore a fixed gaze of determination. His fedora was pulled down over his brow. He held a whip coiled in one hand. In the other his fist was clenched as if prepared for trouble. Water tinkled slowly over his feet. 

The other figure was the dwarf, Yoda, placed behind Jones facing the opposite way, at the benches at the rear of the park. His large protruding ears, shoeless feet with claw-like toes emerging from his Jedi robe, and his expression of solemn wisdom were his outstanding features. 

George Lucas said, “Both Star Wars and Indiana Jones were created right here in San Anselmo, just up the street,” pointing over his shoulder.

It was reported the citizens’ applause could be heard in the next town.

I discovered Imagination Park last year and found it a pleasant place to read and write. 

Yesterday I arrived there with notebook in one hand and a paper bag with a cup of black coffee and a oatmeal raison cookie from Hilda’s Coffee Shop across the street. It was around 4PM with the temperature flirting with 80 degrees.

There were maybe twenty others at the park. A couple of young women in whisper chat huddled on the lawn. A shirtless man, apparently asleep, was lying on the grass, face skyward, catching ray burn. Another dozen or so adults, settled in the five benches surrounding the lawn, were browsing publications, tapping their smart phones, or at leisure breathing in the clean air. Two women were pushing baby carriages along the cement path encircling the park. As usual, noise in Imagination Park was hushed, like it was inside the library next door.

I continued a few steps beyond the lawn and took a seat on one of the three benches that surround the fountain. Yoda, six feet away, was gazing benevolently and brightly into my eyes. I scribbled a few notes for this story until I heard the sound of birds nearby, angrily chirping away. Two black birds in squabble or mating dance circling each on the wet rock surface near the bottom of Yoda’s robe. I stood up for a closer look and the birds flitted off.

I took a seat on the cement edge that encases the fountain to watch the slow flow of falling water and listen to its sweet melody. I was struck by the beauty of the red, pink, and white rose petals floating within, calmly, leisurely, as if they grew there.

The water streamed from a small tube behind Indiana’s boots and descend into the foot-deep pool on the floor of the fountain. In addition to the two large boulders anchoring the two Lucas’ creations there were dozens of smaller rocks randomly lodged on the floor of the fountain’s base. A handful of pennies, a few nickels and dimes glimmered between the rocks.

I became mesmerized by the colors of the granite and quantize rocks within the fountain. Each was primarily earth tone tan and brown but all had additional distinctive colors: streaks of rust, strands of silver, and shades of forest green. Star gazing at rocks in a fountain.

A small metal sign was embedded on one of the boulders:

No Climbing in Fountain

I returned to the bench which was now protected from the sun by the leaves of a tree beyond the Park’s boundary. I took some notes, shot a couple of photos from my iPhone to best recall the details of what I’d observed, and began writing.

At some point I fell into a brief doze and awoke to the sight of a slender girl, maybe six or seven years old, with light brown hair suspended beneath her shoulders. She wore faded capris, an indistinguishable blouse, and frayed sneakers. She was leaning face downward over the fountain, her arms draped in the water. Next to her stacked on the rim of the fountain base were maybe fifteen coins, mostly pennies. I watched her body inching downward, further towards the water, the back of her head nearly out of sight, her hands reaching a greater depth in the pool of the fountain, striving to add to her coin collection. 

For a moment I thought she might tumble in. 

On the bench fifteen feet to my left a heavy-set Hispanic woman with a baby carriage next to her, was engaged with her phone. I thought she was doing a poor job of sitting for the slender girl who had now squealed with delight. I assumed she’d grabbed another coin or two.

The Hispanic woman oblivious, never glanced her way.

The slender young girl was now sitting on the edge of the fountain facing me, moving the coins around, maybe counting them. 

I heard her cry out. “ I have a lot of coins.” 

The Hispanic woman looked up at the girl. No expression of interest. Not a word. Noticing my gaze, she sent me a brief smile and returned to her life on the phone. 

Suddenly I heard a new voice, that of another young girl, from the other side of the fountain. My view of her had been initially blocked by Indiana Jones. In an instant I saw the source of the voice: a plump young girl about the same age of my slender girl but with coal black hair in braids. She wore a bright red and yellow dress and was skipping our way. I say “Our” because I felt somehow aligned with the slender girl, that we shared this moment of her coin collection triumph and glee in the small park. 

The Hispanic woman with the baby carriage wasn’t there. Not in my mind.

It was only the slender girl and me and now the new girl of similar age in full-face smile. 

She was now standing next to my girl, the coin collector. Her hands were clutched together, hanging on, hiding something of importance. 

She jubilantly cried, “I have a lot of coins too.”

The slender girl, now on her feet and smiling at her visitor, replied, “Oh, good. We both have a lot of coins.”

The Hispanic woman on the bench next to me rose up and said, “It’s time for us to go, Maria.” She pushed the baby carriage past me and took the hand of the plump dark-skinned girl in the red and yellow dress as they exited the Park. 

The slender girl walked to the lawn and sat down next to the shirtless man who was now sitting up reading a book. He put his arm around her and they huddled with father/daughter intimacy.

I stood up and walked to the fountain. The rose petals looked limp, from the sun, I suspected. I could see no coins. The girls had done well.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out a dime and a penny. I dropped the penny first. It hit the water and tumbled off a rock and in slow motion descended to the bottom. It sat there magnified by the water, Lincoln looking up at me. I then dropped the dime. As it fell through the water it also glanced off a rock, then another and landed somewhere between them, somewhere secret, hidden between the rocks. 

I returned to the bench and thought about what I had witnessed. I was moved by the slender girl’s reply. “Oh, good. We both have a lot of coins.” I could see her sincere smile, her happiness that another girl had what she had. 

“Oh, good. We both have a lot of coins.” 

I wondered if it had been two boys instead of the two girls, would the one with the stack of coins say to the other who claimed to have his own stack of coins, “Oh, good. We both have a lot of coins.”

Maybe but I thought the male response would more likely have been. “I’ve got twelve coins. How many do you have?” Hoping the answer would be fewer.

Then I realized I was projecting my own possible competitive response to the question.

In my mind this was an example of why the world needs more women in positions of power and influence. 

I thought about this during my walk back to the cottage. The sun sinking below the hills. Another memory going nowhere.

* * *


(photo by Larry Wagner)

* * *


My fellow Isolates: 

So our Chosen One lets loose the four horsemen, slams the barn doors behind them and now expects us to reward him with adulation? After personally taking charge of the pandemic he had absolutely no advance knowledge of, and takes absolutely no personal responsibility for, he now gets to act like our Moses leading us freed slaves into the Promised Land? He the stable genius and his robo-mouths kicking back on the deck of their titanic ship of fools so lame they can’t even be on time for their own Daily Strategic Showcases of lies, damned lies, false accusations, self-congratulations and pomposity?

For years I’ve watched the News Network’s inexhaustible platoons of mercenary soldiers shutting out the world while hanging onto every word of this vainglorious pathological liar, and that fact alone says something about how far we’ve strayed from our American Ideals, our 4th Estate as watchdog now reduced to the toy-sized lap dogs of couch potatoes. I mean, if we’re going to acquiesce to living under a nihilistic Cult of Personality masquerading as a political party, we could at least pick somebody who’s half-assed worthy of one. And virtually anybody on earth is better if she or he offers something more than just the “real time” monomania of a sniveling little kleptomaniacal penthouse rich boy crybaby. 

Ever wonder why the 1st Cults of Personality arose with the 1st God Kings? It’s because kings impose their vision of reality (mumbo-jumbo) on their humble and benighted followers. And that’s made possible by in-group/out-group psychology: our dictator may be a bloody bastard, but he’s our bastard and that makes all the difference. 

Besides, whenever bold social action is required, most everybody loves playing dumb. Since it’s convenient to see, hear and speak no evil, we assume it’s a wise personal lifestyle choice. Wise as in feeling just fine as our world burns all around us. We who habitually follow our Pied Pipers blowing their magic flutes while leading us to our doom with their take-your-pick dystopian offerings: in the market for some Land and Blood? Wish to join us the world’s most powerful, exceptional and indispensable people on our expressway to Eternal Bliss? Then come and join us at our gunfight at the Okey-Dokie Corral.

Now this daily interrupting of nationwide TV to bring us a 19th Century traveling carnival’s freak and geek show being staged in the “White House” I find unconscionable. Don’t we have enough troubles without getting buried in constantly recycling floods of bullshit? It’s 2020, not 1780: are we crazy to see what’s going on right before our eyes? Or are we crazy not to?

We the people are being told we brought this pandemic down upon ourselves; we with our cradle-to-grave “shiftiness” and laziness, our welfare scams and love of “free lunches.” And so, if we have a problem with getting TKOed by this latest “act of god,” we’re told, we should complain to our mayors and governors. The federal government isn’t in the business of putting food into the mouths of hungry children, and medical care is absolutely not a human right but Big Business: the more money, the better the care, just as it should be in our Social Darwinian Holy Land. It’s not the business of the Imperial State to do what the individual states would have done had they been doing their jobs. So, if you’ve got any complaints about us dying by the tens of thousands, take it to them and not us. Our Great Wartime President is Mr. Clean with a big brain and the Midas touch, and everybody knows it, and is talking about it, and shaking their heads in envy and wonder at how he does it that wonderfully majestic nasty animal. 

At the moment we’re reduced to couch potatoes with electronic mind bracelets. But that doesn’t mean we should forget we’re still, us men anyway, the Masters of our Remotes. We’re the kings of our castles getting victimized by televised lies of omission, slanders, tantrums, red herrings, myths, alibis, the shaggy dog sermons of numbskulls, the right to steal with absolute plausible deniability plus federal immunity, fixed courts, pervert judges, cooked books, burned books, mass vacancies, musical chairs, Free Market Planning offered with Free Shipping and no money down and, as an extra added bonus, the best young minds wedded to old money on the job 24/7 and so we needn’t worry none—or butt in if we know what’s good for us. 

For you we’ve got bogeymen galore: heartless single mothers, high school sluts, back alley abortionists, ghetto queens, enemies in closets and under our fingernails, the resulting petty conflicts here, there and everywhere now S O P so long as it’s being made up by our great Maestro playing our Napoleon Gloriously Ascending while blowing smoke in our eyes. 

I’m old enough to remember when we wondered how the “highly educated” Germans could fall for a militaristic lower class cult centered on a lunatic ex-corporal in an ex-Grand Army who had shamefully surrendered unconditionally to the enemy and who is now up on soap boxes promising, with great fervor and endless repetitions, Hell for Germany’s imaginary “enemies” and Heaven for “our” Glorious Fatherland’s imaginary “friends.” 

To which I say: back off, Hoss. If this guy’s your spokesman, ya’ll be crazy to me. 

Pat Patterson, 

Prineville, Oregon

* * *

* * *


by William J. Hughes

Every year for years I’ve headed for Oscar weekend in Los Angeles with new versions of Los Angeles each year. This year the Oscar goes to Cannabis Cafe in North Hollywood on La Brea near the Tar Pits, the first legal marijuana and food service in the same place in the country. A must visit.

I read about it somewhere, all about it being the first in what and how it offers the customer. I've been smokin’ since 1968, never even thinking marijuana was going to be legal (wishing for it of course), no less in a restaurant setting.

Cannabis Cafe is set behind some hedges and wood walls, sort of a hidden Marin meets Santa Cruz on an LA street that blares with stores, cars and more stores.

They have valet parking. Now, legal is one thing, but valet parking for legal smoking is completely off the roach clip.

Just show ID to security and walk-in. Reservations can be had. The place, like an English pub on the Russian River, is packed, dining room, patio, and bar.

I take a padded barstool at the bar, a guy with a clear glass bong on the barstool next to me. I'm trippin’, for lack of a better word.

My server, a young lady of Asian and Native Americans mix, makeup shining, runs down my budget choices: $14 for a pre-rolled, $9 for a fruit drink. All around is marijuana, Smokey Joe's, sunshine patio, brick walls, wood, nothing sleek about it. Comfortable. Civilized.

My server returns with my pre-rolled, ashtray and stick matches. What could be better? She opens the plastic tube with the pre-rolled. She tell me about all the doob’s possibilities, but as long as it is today’s weed I’ll get from it what I always get from it — the leveling off on the playing field of life.

The fruit drink is way too herbal, farm to forky for my tastes of Minute Maid orange juice. But the combo of cold drink, beautiful blunt, indoors in a public setting is not a dream come true, more like "the truth becomes a dream," if I may coin my phrase, passing through the phase of years from Mexican seeds weed, to hash, to hash oil, to today's legality. Good for me. Good for us. Civility.

I spot what looks like two manager types out on an empty patio space talking together. I ask them and they are. I tell them the "truth becomes a dream" and 1968, etc., now along with a young woman, another one of the owners. They surely appreciate my "trippin’" exuberance. I leave them with:

"If You Like Legal Cannabis"

Like a / First kiss

On a / First date

Even if / You've known

Each other / since 


Feelin’ leveled off, off to Inglewood to pay my respects to Curt Flood’s grave. Trippin’.

* * *

* * *


What happens when an individual who spent 12 years as a baseball catcher and around 40 years as a landscape tech (specializing in irrigation that last 20 years) can no longer get up once down?

Well it's pretty embarrassing. That's what aging is--a series of embarrassing moments. So I just passed a geezer birthday. Like a lot of you, certain parts don't work as well as they did some years back. I was chainsawing logs a week before bypass surgery. Probably why my father passed so soon. They didn't have bypass surgery yet.

But after being lifted up a couple times, the embarrassment fades. You're old and on the downslope. Woo hoo! Enjoy the ride? Or continue being embarrassed. You notice the word encompasses bare ass? That's more what it's like. The bad dream where you are pantless in public.

It helps to have a cane. It is consistently falling, giving you an idea how limber as you bend to pick it up. It's impossible to do irrigation in a standing position. You lose the ability to wrestle in the dirt with tubing and instead look at timers and valves.

So what's a geezer to do? First and most important don't fall. How many elders have broken their hips? And we know that leads to dying early. Don't fall down. Keep your phone in your pocket (carry I.D. with you whenever you walk anywhere). Go slower. Why do you think all those older folks are looking at the ground in front of them?

But if you insist on gardening, start with an elevated box. It's easier to protect from gophers, dogs, children, deer, almost anything. I once saw a "raised bed" that was built with a gap of one foot between cement and the bottom of the planting bed. You can do that, without the cement, by adding some legs to a box of soil. You will be able to stand straight.

Don't fall and don't spend your time bent. Gardening is good exercise for youngsters. Don't try to stop them from bending. But if you see them doing that, make sure you ask them to help. Stay home and wash your hands is good practice for every age, any time.

G.York 2020

Free advice, $50/hr.

707.472.6164 (txt first)


* * *

Wyland Stanley - Mt. Tamalpais Gravity Train

* * *

I LAY ILL through several weeks, and the usual tenor of my life became like an old remembrance. But this was not the effect of time, so much as of the change in all my habits, made by the helplessness and inaction of a sick-room. Before I had been confined to it many days, everything else seemed to have retired into a remote distance, where there was little or no separation between the various stages of my life which had been really divided by years. In falling ill, I seemed to have crossed a dark lake, and to have left all my experiences, mingled together by the great distance, on the healthy shore… I had never known before how short life really was, and into how small a space the mind could put it. 

(Charles Dickens, Bleak House)

* * *

* * *


"When they are finished, Macavity returns disguised as Old Deuteronomy, but his cover is blown by Demeter and he ends up in a fight with Munkustrap and Alonzo. Macavity holds his own for a time, but as the rest of the tribe begin to gang up and surround him, he shorts out the stage lights and escapes in the resulting confusion."

The recording of Friday night's (2020-04-24) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is right here:

Furthermore, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:

Rumeynye! Rumeynye!

"Race is a flawed and fundamentally stupid concept."

And why did they?

— Marco McClean,,

* * *



  1. Craig Stehr April 26, 2020

    With one stroke,
    All precious knowledge is forgotten.
    No cultivation is needed for this.
    This occurrence reveals the ancient way
    And is free from the track of quiescence.
    No trace is left anywhere.
    Whatever I hear and see does not conform to rules.
    All those who are enlightened
    Proclaim this to be the greatest action.
    – Hsiang-yen Chih-hsien (d.898)

  2. Lazarus April 26, 2020

    RE: Doctor Smoke

    “Have a Real Cigarette, have a Camel”

    Be Well,

    • Harvey Reading April 26, 2020

      Will be interesting to see how this plays out. These guys do NOT appear to be cranks. I still believe that much of what we have been fed by the ruling class is con art.

  3. michael turner April 26, 2020

    These “experts” are a joke. One is no longer licensed to practice medicine, the other is an urgent care doctor who went to an Adventist medical school. If readers want to get some real information The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet are publishing loads of great stuff on the COVID pandemic.

    • Harvey Reading April 27, 2020

      As long as medicine (including development and peddling of drugs) in this country remains in the private, for-profit sector, my faith in it and its edicts will be limited.

  4. James Marmon April 27, 2020


    So the woman that called me a “menace to society” and tried to lock me up forever has now become a mask maker, how precious.

    James Marmon
    The Original Mask Maker

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