- Coast Cool
- 2 ICU
- Holiday Spike
- Toxic Algae
- Evacuation Warning
- Still Missing
- Flu Shots
- Fair Fundraiser
- AVUSD Refi
- Drive-in Movie
- Velma's Farmstand
- Farmers Market
- B Plans
- Thesaurus Accident
- Javier Sentenced
- Alfresco Grandslam
- Ed Notes
- 1797 Baptism
- Missing Catch
- Census Halt
- Tom Seaver
- Facebook Friends
- Political Despair
- Victor Jara
- Mystery Strikes
- Covid Experiment
- Insatiable Greed
- Genius Plan
- NFL Dancing
- Caspar Logging
- Memory Things
- Found Object
HOT AND DRY weather will continue across inland northwest California through next week, with near record heat possible Sunday and Monday. Along the coast, marine clouds will be persistent into Saturday, particularly north of Cape Mendocino, keeping daytime temperatures relatively cool.
EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM SATURDAY TO 6 PM PDT TUESDAY...
* WHAT...Dangerously hot conditions with high temperatures from 100 to 110.
* WHERE...Northern Trinity, Southern Trinity, Northwestern Mendocino Interior, Northeastern Mendocino Interior, Southeastern Mendocino Interior, Northern Lake County and Southern Lake County.
* WHEN...From 11 AM Saturday to 6 PM PDT Tuesday.
* IMPACTS...Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.
Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.
Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9 1 1.
(National Weather Service)
COVID DAILY UPDATE: Eight additional cases of Covid-19 identified in Mendo on Thursday, bringing total to 724.
COVID-19 CASE SPIKE From Social Gatherings and Apartment Settings Before Holiday Weekend
Mendocino County Public Health is reporting a troubling spike in COVID-19 cases stemming from social gatherings and close living quarters, such as apartment complexes. Spikes in these settings are dangerous, as they often allow for quicker spread of the virus.
Public Health has been preparing for the upcoming holiday weekend, but urges all county residents to remember the unfortunate lessons learned from previous holidays that caused dangerous virus spikes within our community.
“This news is extremely concerning, especially before Labor Day,” said Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren. “While we have seen that our case count is beginning to decrease, we could suffer a setback from a holiday spike in cases from extended family gatherings, parties, or among those living in close quarters, and we as a community would not be able to open up more activities as we hope to.”
What You Can Do to Slow the Spread of COVID-19:
● Health Orders for Mendocino County ban social gatherings. Do not engage with any kind of social gathering outside of permitted units (Household Support Units have a maximum of 6 unchanging individuals, Childcare and Children’s Extracurricular Activity Units have a maximum of 14 children and 2 adults, Work Groups have a maximum of 6 individuals), no matter the occasion. Gatherings in backyards, beaches and parks can still spread the virus if social distancing is not maintained.
● If you live in close living quarters, such as an apartment complex, avoid close contact with neighbors, and avoid high-touch surfaces. If you must touch a high-touch surface, such as door handles, countertops, laundry, coin or vending machines, wash or sanitize your hands immediately.
● Wear a facial covering if you must be in a setting where proper social distancing is difficult to maintain. This includes wearing a mask in common areas such as hallways, walkways, laundry rooms, in indoor and outdoor public spaces, etc.
● Stay home if you feel sick.
“This situation can get out of hand easily if we do not work quickly to solve it,” said Dr. Coren. “I urge you, do not be tempted by typical Labor Day festivities this weekend. It isn’t worth it. We as a county have lost 17 lives to this virus. Your family, your loved ones are not immune to COVID-19. Neither are you.”
If you are aware of a social gathering that is occurring against local Health Orders, please report it by calling the Call Center line (707) 234-6052. While inquiry and information calls are deferred to regular hours of operation, reports of Health Order violations are investigated and responded to promptly.
STAY OUT OF THE NAVARRO!
HERE'S WHAT I WROTE when we got home from our canoe trip that day:
The Navarro River is a travesty of algae. Nearly choked off completely, thick mats cover the edges, and the middle, which from a distance looks clear, is actually clogged with growth, barely submerged. This looks like a dying river.
As we canoed through the green stuff a constant and steady parade of vehicles motored along Highway 128, burning fuel like there's no tomorrow.
On the way home we see numerous stands of dead trees lining the creeks and rivers, casualties of Sudden Oak Death. Everywhere you look you see the unmistakable signs, we are shitty stewards of this planet. Humans have become pestilent, and if we don't course correct soon, Mother Nature is going to wipe us off.
SHERIFF ISSUES EVACUATION WARNING FOR NORTH COUNTY
Evacuation Warning issued for all Mendocino County areas within the Mendocino National Forest north of Hull Mountain. Be prepared to leave. If you feel unsafe, do not wait, leave immediately. Monitor media and Nixle. Do not call 911 for information. Call 911 for life-threatening emergency only. Use safest evacuation route possible.
INCIDENT OVERVIEW: The August Complex was initially 37 different fires on the Mendocino National Forest that started on August 17, 2020. Many have been contained or have merged. The Hopkins fire was the most recently added (9,402 acres) is located approx. 25 miles NE of Covelo in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness and the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Currently, the complex is 287,106 acres and 23 percent contained burning in five counties, Glenn County, Mendocino County, Lake County, Tehama County and Trinity County. Actual acreage is subject to change as fire activity progresses throughout the day.
FLU SHOTS AT THE SENIOR CENTER ON OCT. 6
Flu Shots sponsored by Rite Aide.
Free flu shots
Time: 11:30-approximately to 1 pm
Place: AV Senior Center, Boonville
People don’t have to be seniors to get the shots.
Flu shots are free with most insurance.
Although walk ins will be accepted, please sign up by September 24th by calling 895-3609 so technicians know how many doses to bring.
AV UNIFIED’S $600k REFI
On May 5, 2020, Anderson Valley Unified School District successfully completed the ‘refunding’ (or refinancing) of $3.9 million of its outstanding Measure “A” bonds, which were approved by more than 65% of voters in 2010. Similar to replacing a 30-year home mortgage after a number of years with a 15-year mortgage, refunding school district General Obligation bonds reduces tax rates by replacing existing 25-year bonds with new, lower interest rate, shorter term bonds. This refunding will save local taxpayers over $600,000 in total through 2035.
“Given our relationship with the greater Anderson Valley community and the economic challenges that lay ahead due to COVID, of course we’ll do everything we can to be good stewards of our local taxpayers' investment,” said Board President, Dick Browning. “When we saw the opportunity to reduce tax bills, we acted immediately to decrease the cost of Measure ‘A’ – and our Administration and the entire team did a great job getting it done, despite everything that’s been going on this year.”
In the process of issuing the refunding bonds, Standard & Poor’s also affirmed AVUSD’s strong “A+” credit rating, which allowed the District to successfully conduct the sale of the 2020 GO Refunding Bonds this spring. Indeed, even with considerable financial market volatility resulting from COVID, the District was fortunate to execute the refunding at a time of historically favorable market conditions.
“The Board, Superintendent Warych and I are incredibly excited to save local taxpayers this money, especially when it matters the most,” said Business Manager, Leigh Kreienhop. “And we’ll continue to do all that we can for our students and our community, whatever difficulties we all face in the coming months and years.”
For Questions, please Call Business Manager, Leigh Kreienhop, at (707) 895-3774.
DRIVE-IN NIGHT AT THE AV GRANGE: ‘Black Panther.’ Saturday, September 12, 2020. Parking lot opens at 7:30pm; show starts at dark. Snack Bar, Compliant with social distancing guidelines. Donations to the Grange suggested.
VELMA'S FARMSTAND AT FILIGREEN FARM
The farm stand is open Friday 1pm-5pm and Saturday 8:30am-1pm. We will be offering an array of vegetables and fruit including tomatoes (early girls, heirlooms, cherry tomatoes), raspberries, multiple heirloom varieties of apples, Hosui Asian pears, table grapes, French prune plums, potatoes, fennel, lettuce, arugula, watermelons, turnips, celery, squash, carrots, ground cherries, tomatillos, onions, leeks, herbs, beets, cucumbers, hot & sweet peppers, eggplant, and more.
There will be fresh flower bouquets and 2019 olive oil for sale as well (available in half gallon, 1 liter, and 500 ml). We also have a limited amount of dried prune plums and raisins!
All products are certified biodynamic and grown by Filigreen Farm.
BOONVILLE FARMERS MARKET!
September is here and summer is almost over! There are only a few markets left! Join us for the Boonville Farmers' Market, Friday from 4-6 at Disco Ranch. Were a small group but have a lot of fresh, local goodies! See you there! Please wear a mask and social distance.
EBT market match available - double your EBT up to $30!
No cash, no worries! Run your card for BFM Bucks- they spend like cash at the market.
WE READ Malcolm Macdonald’s item about the Supervisors’ putting a hold on Measure B spending with great interest. The complaints from Fort Bragg about being ignored in Measure B planning are important and, unfortunately, typical, of the Ukiah-centric drivers of the B bus.
The Supervisors’ unanimous vote to hold off on Measure B spending until a “business plan” is developed, assumes that there is the basic competence to develop a sensible business plan with reasonable assumptions for the “business” to be done. As we have noted before Mental Health Director Dr. Jenine Miller is focused almost exclusively on reimbursable services and clients, a strategy that leaves out many of the free range psychotics the police alone deal with everyday. As a result, Dr. Miller and the rest of the mental health posse never talk about providing services beyond their business as usual. So there’s never any estimate, much less cost estimate, of the street crazies, or the deranged homeless or the substance abusers which most of us who voted for Measure B expected to be removed from the streets or, at a minimum, restored to unobtrusive functioning.
Neither does the “Behavioral Health Advisory Board” ever get into that subject because, again, not reimbursable — off the table. If the “business plan” is, as expected, same old reimburseable same old but with an in-county facility, then there’s plenty of money in Measure B’s coffers because much of the existing services rendered are already reimbursable and do not need more money from Measure B. If, on the other hand, the “business plan” is to follow the spirit of Measure B, then it should be simple: Provide a Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) and deal to whatever extent possible with the doomed people presently causing so much upset from the everyday population whose public spaces have been made into No Go Zones by the volatile mentally ill.
BUT NOBODY has asked for a plan in the original spirit of Measure B or even asked about it.
AS TO THE PHF, which the Supes seem so worried about having enough Measure B money to pay for, that also should not require a business plan. If the Board accepts the preposterous cost estimate for a PHF provided by CEO Angelo and her Measure B Project Manager Alyson Bailey, the Mendo PHF would cost a preposterous $20 million.
More than two years ago consultant Lee Kemper said a new PHF would cost $8 million, and he backed it up with comparisons to similar facilities in other counties.
But it doesn’t even need to cost $8 million. Adventist Health is already on record as offering to remodel their old emergency room in Ukiah into a PHF — a facility already built to hospital standards. The Adventists’ proposal was brought forward by Supervisor Williams; the Measure B Committee discussed it and somebody was supposed to have been asking the Adventists for a formal cost estimate. Williams even noted, without contradiction from anyone else, that having a PHF at or near a hospital has several other obvious advantages. But, as usual, it has foundered in the usual Measure B incompetence on top of CEO Angelo’s grossly overpriced $50,000-kitchen approach to everything involving Measure B.
SO IF THE BOARD continues to base its Measure B decisions on these Angelo-skewed assumptions about only dealing with the reimbursable “severely mentally ill” while proposing grossly overpriced gold-plated new facilities, Mendo runs the risk of ending up exactly where it’s headed: no services for the people Measure B was supposed to help and an overpriced and unnecessary new PHF that, if it’s ever even built, will soak up every penny of Measure B money that may be left over after the economic downturn and the already approved $5 million dollar price tag for Camille Schraeder’s Crisis Residential Treatment Center which should have cost less than $1 million.
A TRUCK LOADED with thousands of copies of Roget's Thesaurus crashed yesterday losing its entire load. Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied, confused, shocked, rattled, paralyzed, dazed, bewildered, mixed up, surprised, awed, dumbfounded, nonplussed, flabbergasted, astounded, amazed, confounded, astonished, overwhelmed, horrified, numbed, speechless, and perplexed.
(via Bill Kimberlin)
ADIOS, MACHO MAN
Fort Bragg Abuser Booked For Southbound Bus Ride.
Defendant Francisco Javier Martinez Rodriguez, age 19, formerly of Fort Bragg, was sentenced Wednesday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court to 224 months (18 years, 8 months) in state prison.
As previously reported, the defendant was convicted by guilty pleas on July 13th of the following crimes:
- Furnishing methamphetamine to a minor, said conduct occurring on and between November 15, 2019 and December 3, 2019, along with an admission that said conduct occurred in a city park;
- Attempting to dissuade the victim by means of intimidation and threats of violence from reporting her victimization to law enforcement, said offense occurring on December 3, 2019 outside the Purity Market;
- Assault with a knife (three separate acts aggregated into one count), said offenses occurring on December 3, 2019;
- Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm, said offense occurring on or about December 3, 2019;
- Assault with a knife (three separate acts aggregated into one count), said offenses occurring on December 2, 2019;
- Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm, said offense occurring on or about November 29, 2019;
- Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm, said offense occurring on or about November 28, 2019; and
- Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm (two separate acts aggregated into one count), said offenses occurring on November 28, 2019.
Because of infection control issues at the state-level, defendants sentenced by the Mendocino County Superior Court to state prison continue to remain in a temporary holding pattern at the Low Gap Jail Facility awaiting the reopening of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reception/intake centers.
In pertinent part, the following is a summary of investigative information prepared by the Adult Probation Department for Wednesday's sentencing hearing. Some names are redacted to protect the privacy of the victim, her family, and others. Please note that this summary also is not for the faint of heart:
On December 3, 2019, Fort Bragg Police Officer Smith was dispatched to Purity Market regarding a domestic assault. Dispatch advised the suspect was Francisco Martinez Rodriguez, and he was still in front of the store. Upon his arrival, Officer Smith observed Officer Melendez had already detained the suspect and was informed the victim was inside the store’s office.
Officer Smith contacted the victim, a minor female, and noticed her face was swollen and both of her eyes were bruised and nearly swollen shut. He also observed her left eye had blood extending from the left side of the sclera to the edge of the iris, indicating there had been significant trauma to that portion of the victim’s face or she had possibly been strangled.
The victim identified herself by her high school identification card and Officer Smith noticed she did not look anything like the photograph due to her face being so bruised and swollen. The victim expressed being in fear of Martinez Rodriguez and disclosed the abuse had been happening all over town and this was her first chance to call for help.
The victim stated earlier that day, after leaving Wiggly Giggly Park, the defendant thought the victim was moving too “sensually” and told her “Every time you do things like that, you’ll have to pay.” He then took his knife and cut her hand. Officer Smith photographed the victim’s injuries and requested the paramedics transport her to the hospital. Additionally, he requested [the CSO] follow the ambulance to the hospital and take additional photographs of the victim and her injuries.
Officer Smith contacted the defendant in the parking lot and asked him if he would like to provide a statement. The defendant stated he was not sure why the police were there and he had not been told anything. Officer Smith did not ask him any further questions and placed him under arrest.
As he was being escorted to the patrol vehicle, the defendant spontaneously stated, “She has heroin and meth on her. She’s under the influence, how are you going to believe her? How are you not going to believe me over someone who does drugs?”
Once at the FBPD booking facility, the defendant was read the Miranda advisements. He advised Office Smith that his girlfriend (the victim) had a drug problem and that he did not want to answer questions.
The CSO provided photographs of the victim to Officer Smith. Officer Smith observed a puncture wound on her shin, consistent with being stabbed by a knife. Additionally, there were bruises around her forearm the size of a handprint, consistent with being forcefully grabbed. FBPD officers responded to the hospital to further talk with the victim and her mother.
The victim’s mother … advised her daughter used to live with her but had left the night of the first big power outage (October 27, 2019) because she “wanted to be an adult.” The victim advised there were additional injuries that the CSO did not photograph: one was a four-inch cut to her upper thigh and the other were cuts to her pelvic area caused by a knife.
The victim explained that the defendant made her cut herself so that it would be known that she was his, if anyone were to look at her pelvic area. The victim explained that the abuse started approximately one year prior, but initially the defendant would not leave any marks on her and the abuse was less consistent. However, approximately two weeks ago, the victim stated the defendant had begun abusing her almost every day and would leave marks on her.
The victim stated after the incident at and near Wiggly Giggly Park, the defendant sent her inside Purity Market to get some food. The victim believed this would be her only opportunity to get help and approached several people in an attempt to use their cell phone. Eventually, a Purity Market employee assisted the victim in calling law enforcement.
FBPD officers located puddles of blood near Wiggly Giggly Park, which corroborated the victim’s statements regarding a cut to her right hand. Additionally, video footage from the park and Purity Market … also supported what the victim had reported.
On December 7, 2019, a FBPD officer met with the victim and her mother … and took additional photographs of the victim’s injuries. The officer observed both eyes had petechial hemorrhaging, and the swelling on her face had reduced. The officer requested the victim travel with him around the Fort Bragg area and provide a detailed account of each incident of abuse at the location where it had occurred. She agreed to this.
The first incident of abuse occurred a few days before Thanksgiving  at the Footlighters Little Theater. The defendant was upset with the victim…. He pulled her inside the entrance of the theater and backhanded her in the face because he thought she had signaled someone for help. The defendant warned the victim, “Our business stays our business.” They then listened to the police scanner for a while and then walked to Motel 6, where they stayed the night.
Next, on November 28, 2019 at the Glass Beach parking lot bathroom in the early afternoon hours, the defendant was mad and wanted the victim to admit that she had been flirting with people. The victim reported that he hit her on the left side of her face with both an opened and closed fist three to four times. The defendant told her if she admitted it then it would all be over so the victim admitted she was flirting with others so the abuse would stop.
Afterwards, the couple discussed what had happened and the defendant apologized and stated he “didn’t want it to be that way, but she had to learn.” They ran into an employee of the Surf and Sand Motel and the victim put sunglasses on to hide her injuries. Later, the defendant accused her of trying to show the employee her injury to get the defendant in trouble. The victim reported that the defendant began hitting her in the head with an 18-inch glass bong until she told him what he wanted to hear. The defendant then hit her in the face with an open hand twice.
The next incident occurred at the defendant’s mother’s house on November 29, 2019. The couple had gone to that residence so the defendant could retrieve some of his clothes and other belongings. While inside a bedroom in the home, the defendant began arguing with the victim and hit her in the face five to six times with his hand. The victim attempted to leave but the defendant slammed her foot in the door as she was trying to exit, and she fell to the ground. The defendant then kicked her in the back of her head two to three times “to instill fear….”
When she was told what was happening, the defendant’s mother called the police to report her son’s misconduct, but the defendant and the victim, at the insistence of the defendant, left the mother’s home for the Glass Beach parking lot bathroom before the police could arrive.
While inside the parking lot bathroom, the defendant began yelling at the victim for getting his family involved. The couple had heard what they believed to be the sirens of responding police cars and the defendant told the victim to text the victim’s mother to retrieve their belongings from the defendant’s mother’s house. The defendant threatened to hurt the victim before the police could get into the bathroom so he would have no reason to go back to her mother’s house. The victim believed at that point that the defendant was going to kill her. The defendant hit her twice on the head with his hand, slammed her head on the concrete floor of the bathroom, and stomped on the back of her head with his foot.
During this attack, the defendant was trying to convince the victim that nobody would care that she was being abused. The couple eventually heard what they thought was the sound of keys and thought the police were coming, so they left the bathroom and went to the gas station, the Travelodge, and then to a friend’s house.
When asked why she had not tried to run away or get help up to this point, the victim stated the defendant would have caught her and she was afraid of the punishment (abuse) she would have received.
The victim advised the next incident of abuse occurred behind Detrick’s Veterinary Hospital on the evening of November 29, 2019, after they had left the friend’s house. The defendant accused the victim of “making eyes” at the friend and hit her on the right side of her face with the back of his hand. He also hit her on the back of her head with the window-breaker portion of a knife that he had stolen from the friend. The defendant showed the knife to the victim and told her the next time he hit her the knife blade would not be closed. The victim reported that she feared the defendant would cut her and was convinced the abuse was her fault. She believed if she changed her behavior that the abuse would stop, so she admitted what he was accusing her of.
The victim reported that over the next two weeks the relationship became more and more abusive. She reported that most of the abuse occurred inside the bathrooms at Wiggly Giggly Park, as that is where they stayed most of the time. The victim reported that they would argue, smoke, and have consensual sex while in the bathroom. The defendant would think of things that upset him and every couple of hours he would hit the victim in the face.
As time progressed, the victim realized her behavior was changing per his demands, but his behavior was not changing. That is when she realized the abuse was not her fault. The defendant had talked about killing her and he told her that it would occur slowly, the same way, he said, that she had been emotionally hurting him. The defendant told the victim it was easier for her to die than for her to live and “learn morals, self-respect and integrity.” The victim recalled two occasions where the defendant told her she could leave but made her leaving unrealistic, like, for example, by conditioning the offer on “You have 10 seconds to get your stuff and leave.”
When recalling the events of December 2, 2019, the victim stated some Sureno criminal street gang members drove by and the defendant thought the victim was setting him up. The couple subsequently went into the Wiggly Giggly bathrooms where the defendant accused the victim of sleeping with gang members. He made her admit to sleeping with them and then produced a knife and cut her leg. The defendant stated, “That’s what you get for sleeping with scraps.” He then ordered the victim to take the knife and cut herself, just above her vagina, so people would understand that she was his. The victim pleaded with the defendant not to make her do it to no avail; she complied with his demands and cut her own pelvic area. The defendant was not happy with the cuts she had inflicted so she was forced to make multiple lacerations to satisfy him. Even though they were not deep, the victim said they still bled and stung. The defendant told her she could stop, but also told her she would have to do more later.
The victim believed the defendant was being satisfied by having the victim cut herself, as he would smirk while it was happening. While they remained in the bathroom and listening to the police scanner, the defendant stabbed the victim in her leg with his knife to get her attention. The victim reported that she did not feel any pain but was later told by the defendant that she had passed out. The defendant apologized for stabbing the victim and cleaned her wound with toilet paper. The couple then left and went to another bathroom on the other side of the park to stay the night.
On the morning of December 3, 2019, the twosome was walking behind the Lutheran Church and the defendant was reciting to the victim what he wanted her to do and how he expected her to act. If the victim forgot something that he wanted her to do, the defendant would hit her with a closed fist. Eventually, as they got to Wiggly Giggly Park, the defendant became so angry at the victim that he hit her multiple times in all areas of her head and body, and he kicked her in the ribs four or five times.
When they left the park, the defendant again became angry at the victim and now accused her of showing her butt and eyes to somebody in the park. While they stood near a residence on N. Harrison Street, the defendant ordered the victim to stick out her hand. When she complied, he sliced the inside of her palm with the knife. The victim told the police that the wound bled a lot as she stood there, before walking back into the park. Once back in the park, the defendant again became angry and ordered the victim to now cut her own left hand and forearm as deep as the cut on her right palm. The twosome then left the park and walked to Purity Market.
Before sending the victim into the store to get food, the defendant told the victim that nobody would help her if she tried to get help and that he would kill her before the police could arrive.
Of course, the defendant’s lies did not come to fruition. The Purity Market people did help the victim and the defendant went where he belonged -- to jail and now to prison.
The victim and her family were present Wednesday morning to watch the sentencing of the defendant. Acknowledging on the record the victim’s renewed healthy appearance, District Attorney Eyster also complimented the victim for mustering the courage to escape a very “evil man” and then assisting in his prosecution.
The DA encourages all battered and abused individuals to muster that same courage by calling 9-1-1 for help.
HAUTE CUISINE AMERICANA / DENNY'S AL FRESCO
AN INTERESTING LARRY BENSKY-DAVID HOROWITZ exchange, since redacted at Bensky's request, takes me back. Come, dear reader, take my hand as together we part the mists of time back to, say, '67-'68 when, inspired by the thugs comprising the leadership of the Black Panther Party, initially not known to be thugs and assumed by the rest of us young commies as the vanguard of the struggle to kill capitalism, there were a lot of white wusses stomping around in black leather jackets, pistols discreetly stuck in their belts to impress the bimbettes… Well, that's the image that pops up on my mind screen when names like Horowitz are mentioned. How a guy like Horowitz went from white panther to right-reactionary in an hour beats me. I do understand why people like myself, who recognized early that a lot of my comrades were murderously nuts, retreated to lives of lib-lab-ism, and went off to Candlestick for ball games, forever lamenting it wasn't our time.
BLUE THURSDAY, and I don't mean Democrats, although they're certainly depressing any way you consider them, and you're forced to consider them every time you turn on the tv news which, today, features Nancy Pelosi, for once without Chuck Schumer who looks like the night manager of a payday lending store. Pelosi always reminds me of Joan Didion's famous remark about Nancy Reagan — "a study in frozen insincerity" modified to a study in faux sincerity, not quite the same thing because in Pelosi's case she means it, she is sincere. And totally out of it. But really, walking unmasked from one beauty parlor room to another is a high crime of hypocrisy? Her and her fellow Democrats' hypocrisy is on the big issues like enjoying total health coverage while denying it to the rest of the country, or claiming to be the peace party while signing off on W. Bush's destabilization of the whole world and every other disaster of the last 60 years.
SO HERE'S the September 7th issue of The New Yorker delivered right on time by our maligned Post Office. Thumbing its pages for something to read, there is almost nothing between its trendo-groove-o covers, but several irritatingly la di da pull quotes catch my jaded eye: “In naming what we grow, we perform the act of possessing.” So, I can name my under-performing fuschia, slacker-flower? (I still have two fuschias I bought years ago at Fuschia Rama north of Fort Bragg, one of many gone Mendo small businesses I still miss that included mom and pop pet stores in FB and Ukiah.) I pause at “Drawn from the Diaspora” to wonder, Which diaspora? All of us come from one or another, and then “Grace Wales Bonner's alchemical sense of style” makes me stop to think for a while before I still probably don't get it. Like, you mean Grace makes clothes outta nothing but her imagination? Well gone on her. She is an alchemist of sorts. First line in the short story: “One thing I will always be grateful to your mother for — she taught you to swim.” Uh, nope. I'll pass on that one. Let's see what the effetes have in the way of poetry. Page 42 we've got a way too long anthropomorphic job about the lady author's horses and donkey. Page 63 a poem called “Basho & Mandela” and immediately the pretension alert alarm goes off. But not bad actually. Better than not bad. Cartoons are a loss except for the sandbox one on the caption contest page, and that's it for this week's New Yorker for this outback reader, starved for some intellectual-type feed.
ALL THIS WILD TALK from the libs about the election kicking off a civil war is probably leading us there. Bill Clinton said Wednesday that Trump would refuse to attend a Biden inauguration, and instead would be "stacking sandbags" around the White House in January 2021. When Trump was asked back in July if he would respect the election result he said: “I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time either.”
AT EVERY TRUMP provocation, the lib-fish rise to the bait. Trump threatens to “de-fund anarchist cities” and sure enough, right on cue, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, says, “He can't have enough body guards to walk through New York City.”
KELLYANNE CONWAY is one more grotesque in the parade of grotesques we get from the political leadership these days, but in her capacity as interpreter for the grandest grotesque of all when she predicted that Trump's “hidden undercover” supporters would get him another four years to finish his destruction job on the country, I think she's probably correct. “I've gotta tell you,” she said, “as the person who coined the term ‘hidden undercover Trump voter’ in 2016, there are even more of them and they are even more committed now and they are going to surprise you to who they are this time.” Fraid so. Even in Mendo, where libs never ever step out of their echo chamber, I'll bet Trump will get better than forty percent of the vote. Local Trumpers, except for Jerry Philbrick, are underground in Mendo, but there are lots of them unwilling, in the Mendo media context, to step out, intimidated, except for Philbrick, into silence.
SEPTEMBER 2, 1797 — A 24-YEAR-OLD WOMAN was the first Native American baptized at Mission San Jose. They baptized her Josefa but her name was first recorded as Gilpae de los Palos Colorados, probably meaning she was from the redwoods area around modern San Leandro.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 3, 2020
(Unavailable due to lack of photos and updates at the Sheriff’s Booking Log site.)
A CENTURY PICKING GRAPES - Why the Census Matters in Poplar
Family migration has kept the Filipino community in Tulare County alive. The American Community Survey, which is based on the U.S. Census, says there are 7,522 Filipinos in Tulare County -- an undercount, according to community organizers at Poplar's Larry Itliong Resource Center. Today the immigration policy that has made survival possible is under threat from the Trump administration, which has suspended all family visa applications until the end of the year. Trump advisors like Stephen Miller openly call for permanently ending family migration.
Just as threatened is the U.S. Census itself. President Trump has ordered an end to the census count three weeks ahead of time, making an accurate count in Poplar and Tulare County of Filipino and Mexican farmworkers much more difficult. "The Census is critical to us because it shows our desperate need for family unification, as well as the extent of the poverty here," explains Mari Perez, cofounder of the Larry Itliong center.
TOM SEAVER, Hall of Fame pitcher and Mets legend, dies at 75
NEXT UP: CALIFORNIANS BRACE FOR THE ‘TWINDEMIC’
In the border county of Imperial, health officials are sharing a promising progress report: After being branded a hot spot, coronavirus hospitalizations are down. Sick patients are no longer being transferred out of county. Businesses are reopening. But…
LARRY LIVERMORE, RE FACEBOOK
A note about Facebook friends:
I never imagined this day would come, but for some reason, there's been a sudden dramatic increase in Facebook friend requests. Like dozens every day. As someone who spent large parts of his life being unpopular, I find this flattering but also disconcerting.
But the real point of this post is to note that I'm getting dangerously close to Facebook's cutoff point of 5,000. I think I have 75 open slots remaining, and something like 870 people waiting for me to give the yes or no on.
Some of those people have been waiting years, granted, and probably don't want to be friends anymore, but for any of you who made a friend request, either recently or long ago, here's the deal:
Sometimes I keep up with these requests, other times I fail to deal with them for months at a time. Some days I automatically approve anyone who asks; other days nobody gets the nod. It's pretty random, so please don't take it personally, or assume it means anything at all if your request didn't get answered. One of these days - and it might be quite a few days, unless I'm looking for an excuse to procrastinate on my book writing and other projects - I'll go through my friend list, clear out the ones who are no longer active, and make room for some new ones. In the meantime, once again, don't take it personally. If Facebook would let me have 10,000 friends, I'd welcome you all, and if I haven't yet, your request might have totally slipped under my radar. Ok? Thanks!
VICTOR JARA'S LAST SONG written on September 16, 1973 in the Estadio Naçional, located in Santiago de Chile, one of Pinochet's numerous torture centers. Two hours later Victor was machine-gunned to death after being tortured. His last song was smuggled from the stadium of death by survivors:
There are five thousand of us here
in this small part of the city.
We are five thousand.
I wonder how many we are in all
in the cities and in the whole country?
are ten thousand hands which plant seeds
and make the factories run.
How much humanity
exposed to hunger, cold, panic, pain,
moral pressure, terror and insanity?
Six of us were lost
as if into starry space.
One dead, another beaten as I could never have believed
a human being could be beaten.
The other four wanted to end their terror
one jumping into nothingness,
another beating his head against a wall,
but all with the fixed stare of death.
What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
slaughter is an act of heroism.
Oh God, is this the world that you created,
for this your seven days of wonder and work?
Within these four walls only a number exists
which does not progress,
which slowly will wish more and more for death.
But suddenly my conscience awakes
and I see that this tide has no heartbeat,
only the pulse of machines
and the military showing their midwives' faces
full of sweetness.
Let Mexico, Cuba and the world
cry out against this atrocity!
We are ten thousand hands
which can produce nothing.
How many of us in the whole country?
The blood of our President, our compañero,
will strike with more strength than bombs and machine guns!
So will our fist strike again!
How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
horror which I am dying.
To see myself among so much
and so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment…
TWO WHOLE BRAIN CELLS
As a man serving time, I don’t often complain about my situation. In fact in my 30+ years spent in and out of prison from Southern, Central and Northern California, I have never one time filed a grievance or appeal. I've always been of the opinion that I am responsible for my own dismal placement in a cell. I believe everyone has the power to exercise self-control. There are those who do and there are those who do not. They wrap a disease, a diagnosis or a sickness around their behavior as an excuse for their actions and deficits. I'm not one of those folks. I make no excuses. I am a selfish bastard when it comes to appeasing my compulsions and reckless impulses even though I know the dire consequences in my wake. In short I’m an outlaw! I have approximately 2 brain cells which on more than one occasion have saved my life in a system filled with mostly one brain cell possessing men.
These extremely valued two brain cells once again proved most valuable here in Lake County Jail where I've been for four months awaiting trial, accused of pistol whipping some “schmuck” in Clearlake Oaks. Actually a serious situation considering I was facing 25 to life which is enough to make even an old seasoned convict like myself somewhat uncomfortable.
So off to court I went where at my arraignment my public defender told me that the district attorney was offering me 15 years! So back to my cell I went where I quickly fastened my seatbelt and prepared for what appeared to be my final ride to the abyss! Apparently two prior strikes are the priors the DA was using against me. The third strike I faced would be the blow that ends my life of freedom! For four long miserable months I sat here trying to accept my fate. Damn, I started considering the 15 year deal only because I do not question the legitimacy of the two strikes. After all, I have more felony convictions than most youngsters in here have years on Earth. But two strikes?
I sent for a copy of my rap sheet which arrived on a forklift four days later. As I attempted to digest each and every conviction, much to my surprise I have zero strikes! My public defender was able to clarify this and present it to the judge who was then quick to dismiss the two alleged prior strikes. So just like magic they disappeared as quickly as they had magically appeared. The district attorney almost killed me with a 15 year sentence but as I pointed out earlier I’m lucky to have two brain cells.
The really scary part of the story is how many one brain cell possessing poor bastards are behind bars who are innocent? If it almost happened to me surely there are plenty who it did happen to! That makes me sad.
What makes me mad is the fact that all of us no matter where we are employed must answer to a manager or a boss, some higher authority who dishes out consequences when we screw up. All of us can agree that if we were to accidentally almost destroy or kill a person we would be at the very least fired! But not this district attorney. Not Mr. Nicholas Rotow. No sanctions, no reprimands, not even a big WTF? from the judge! Complete BS when you consider the irony. After all this district attorney and his ilk are the ones who hold people accountable for their mistakes. But there is none for them! That's scary enough to make me sincerely consider a complete lifestyle change.
So remember if you only possess two brain cells you may want to preserve them. You may never know when you may need them. My jury trial begins in three days, the first one of my long history of court appearances. Please wish me luck! Remember folks, keep your chin straps on, your seatbelt fastened and stay in your own lane. Protect those precious brain cells and be kind to one another.
Love you all,
SAN QUENTIN’S COVID EXPERIMENT
San Quentin's experiment. To date 25 lives have been lost in a controlled experiment to achieve herd immunity at San Quentin State prison. Since May 30 when 121 exposed inmates were transferred from Chino prison where 700 men had already succumbed to infection. In an already overcrowded outdated prison the virus exploded. Since that questionable transfer over 2200 of the 3200 inmates had tested positive and become ill. San Quentin's death toll rate translates to 767 per 100,000 people dying. If this herd immunity experiment was let to occur in California it would translate into a staggering 300,000 deaths statewide in the first wave. That would be the equivalent of 2.5 million deaths nationwide. (Current mortality as I write this is at 160,000.).
San Quentin still hasn't learned. They continue to house two men in cells built in the 30s to house one man. The cell size of 9' x 4' actually is below the federally required square footage for one man. However the state simply pays a daily fine to the feds to continue the inhumane conditions. The air filtration systems were also built in the 30s and are far less efficient for germs than modern systems and they were built to filter half the inmate numbers presently living there – for dirt not germs!
Bottom lines, California prisons are cash cows. San Quentin used to be where death row inmates were taken to warehouse prior to execution. However now anyone residing here has a possible death sentence, covid-19 grim reaper's second wave could be worse than the first if things aren't changed.
The state needs to take another look at prevention and education. It doesn't make sense to pay correction officers $80,000 a year to be glorified security guards when our children's teachers only make half that. Our so-called justice system is very broken. The men and women imprisoned and isolated for decades need an opportunity to prove that they have changed. Society needs to not judge them for their past mistakes and what they did wrong, but consider what they have learned and who they have become. Everyone makes mistakes, some larger than others. But we all deserve a second chance. All lives matter!
Since my last letter I fell prey to covid-19 myself. It was the worst virus I've ever encountered. I was ill for about two weeks with fever, no taste or smell, no energy, achy all over, couldn't sleep and the worst headache ever. I'm still not 100%, but I'm getting there. At present I'm locked in my cell with my cellmate pretty much 24/7 only out one hour every other day. I hope things change before a second wave or I get released early. Our governor and county judges and prosecutors can help shape our lives. God willing they will help during these dire days we all face.
Public broadcasting system? Watching Judy Woodruff and her far left minded Yamicho Alsinder cut down every speaker at the Republican national committee convention totally sickened me. It wasn't reporting it was chastising. Public broadcasting is not public, it belongs to the evil left wing Socialist party.
Proud Christian conservative heterosexual Republican,
San Quentin State Prison
MENDO COAST RAIL HISTORY IN PICTURES
by Marilyn Davin
If you’re into politics you’ve probably experienced a moment after reading something that really resonated with you and you thought to yourself “That is so right, it’s exactly how I see things.” I had such a moment after reading a New York Times piece featuring University of Pennsylvania political science professor emeritus Dr. Adolph Leonard Reed, Jr., which I read when it was reprinted recently here in the AVA. Looking into his bona fides, I learned that Reed has specialized in issues of U.S. politics and racism and distilled all of his wisdom and disciplined academic thinking into what many libs these days would consider heresy. And being black himself, Reed has more freedom to express his views without fear of an avalanche of critical Tweets or yapping talking heads.
In a nutshell, Reed believes that single-issue politics have diffused our national ability to join together to effect real change. Politicians drone on and on about racism, sexism, same-sex equality, abortion, gun rights, and a host of other social ills that existed in this country before it was even a country and will doubtless persist even after we’re all dead and gone. In these intensely political days candidates and pundits alike are even reaching back into their own early lives to dredge up long-ago injustices they claim to have suffered, as if their personal sob stories can substitute for a real plan of action on how to fix what’s so wrong with this country. And, before you dash off to write a poison-pen comment to me it must be said of course that all of these issues are individually important. But focusing solely on one issue drains the energy and the power that could get to the true roots of our social ills, which are essentially income inequality and out-of-control capitalism, which together are the forces truly spelling our collective doom.
Bernie Sanders understood this, but couldn’t marshal the support he needed in the face of an obliterating wave of powerful and influential people who have grown fat, happy, and complacent from years of laissez-faire capitalism and our country’s fast-disappearing financial, environmental, and regulatory controls, promulgated years ago by cooler heads to protect us from our own capitalistic lesser angels. Greed is by its nature insatiable; for the truly greedy, no amount of lucre is ever enough to fill that unfillable chasm of desire.
Despite his failure to run for the presidency, Bernie has at least indirectly pushed, pulled, and dragged Democrats to the left, the direction the tide is turning. I dare to hope, in my disappointed heart, that Joe Biden gets this. His recent acceptance speech supplied the outlines of what this country should be, as a whole. He didn’t directly attack Trump: no individual president is the problem. He didn’t devote his time disproportionately to racism, sexism, or any other current social issues: these issues are the byproducts of an uncontrolled for-profit society that pushes everyone to the margins to more generously feed itself. And he mercifully did not wallow in the deaths of his first wife and infant daughter and his adult son. Who among us at this age has not suffered devastating personal loss, and how does this public self-indulgence in one’s private grief propel us toward a more economically equal society? It doesn’t.
But mention shortfalls to either Medicare or Social Security and we might finally have a revolution on our hands. These enormously popular programs are so enmeshed in our collective DNA that it’s easy to forget that they passed into law amid enormous opposition from big-money interests at the time. “Communism!” many prophesized, as they railed against so-called coddling by the federal government. The opposition was fierce. Yet the need was so great that these programs did become laws of the land, and to suggest their dissolution today is the kiss of death for any politician. Just ask George W. Bush, who quickly dropped the idea of privatizing Social Security. But they have become so important because virtually everyone benefits from them. You do have to be older to access their benefits, but these days most of us grow old enough to receive them, regardless of our color, sex, or our sexual or any other kind of orientation. Social Security’s inequities gave way to the greater good. My grandmother, for example, never received a penny after working harder all her life than any of us can imagine as a poor farm wife. The agricultural exemption was a necessary casualty to secure the South’s buy-in, and of course it was wrong. But it didn’t stop the train. There’s a lesson here that voters will hopefully remember come Election Day.
THE NFL IS DESPERATELY TRYING TO AVOID A PLAYERS’ STRIKE
by Dave Zirin
I can’t say it’s not a satisfying sight. Roger Goodell and the National Football League are tap-dancing as fast as they can, desperate to avoid a players’ strike against racism one week out from the start of the season. The league has seen every major sports federation—the NBA, the WNBA, MLB, MLS, even the NHL—cancel games because of player outrage after yet another police shooting, this time of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. Goodell and his fraternity of NFL owners are working overtime to show that they understand players’ concerns and want the league to be a force for racial justice.
This is the same league, of course, that exiled Colin Kaepernick after the 2016 season because he dared take a knee during the national anthem to demonstrate against police impunity. The same league whose franchise owners provided Donald Trump with millions of dollars during the 2016 campaign. The same league that brought in Jay-Z to tell the world—and particularly the players—that “we’ve moved past kneeling.”
Amazing how the balance of power has changed almost overnight. All it took was a combination of the largest national demonstrations in the history of the United States and, more critically, the very real threat that the players—even with their short playing careers and non-guaranteed contracts—might sit out the games.
Just take a look at what the NFL is currently doing to demonstrate its sincerity to players, even if it upsets Trump and a section of its fan base. Goodell has announced that “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us” will be stenciled in the end zones of all stadiums. Week one games will begin with, in addition to the national anthem, the song that is known as the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Decals with political slogans will be allowed on helmets. Voting drives will be a part of the league’s initiatives. Goodell has even said that he wishes “we had listened earlier” to what Kaepernick was trying to bring attention to when he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 and that he wants to “encourage” a team to sign the exiled quarterback. In addition, teams are putting out their own statements that call for police accountability, voting drives, and even legislation to deal with the reality that police exist above the law. Anti-racist authors are being brought in to speak to team executives. Everything short of Jerry Jones coming out in a Dashiki and leading a team study group in “Go Tell It On The Mountain.”
The question, of course, is whether this will achieve the goal of making sure that no games have to be canceled. NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent has said that players “have the choice” to sit out games and can do so without threat of reprisals. This is likely a way to prevent entire teams from acting in unison and instead present protest as the symbolic action of an individual player—making sure that the games get played, even if a couple of players take Sunday off.
Excuse my cynicism, but the overwhelming majority of the league’s revenue doesn’t flow from fans’ buying nine-dollar bears and big foam fingers. It comes from multibillion-dollar television deals with the networks and ESPN. The NFL is by far the most popular sport in the land, and if its players, 70 percent of whom are Black, decide that the money will stop flowing, then that’s exactly what is going to happen. It’s not just the players who are realizing their power, but Goodell and friends are realizing that the players are realizing their power.
Where this goes is anyone’s guess. Much of it, tragically, depends less on the league’s efforts at window dressing than on whether the police, or their extrajudicial militia arm that Trump is empowering in the streets, commit another atrocity, create another hashtag, and demonstrate yet again the depths of the violent crisis gripping the country. If that happens, Dan Snyder wearing a Kente cloth just isn’t going to cut it.
One thing is certain: Roger Goodell is absolutely right when he said that they should’ve listened to Colin Kaepernick. If only their biggest worry was the specter of a player taking a knee.
EARLY CASPAR LOGGING
MARCO'S MEMORY CHEST
I was just thinking about that, and not just about people who are gone that we have stuff from, but places and things too. I went back to Albion to work for a few days last week, and I never clean there; over the years things just eventually reappear to my attention. For example: the cards and papers sort of pinned up against the bathroom mirror, in the crack of the metal medicine shelf by the pressure of themselves, and, incorporated into the pile of work-ruined clothes on the counter next to the bathroom door, all the folded up papers and business cards and notes to myself from my pockets that I just took out and shoved there when I changed pants, eventually slip loose little by little and appear on the floor or in the sink, like a sign from the gods. This time, Sunday night when I got there, it was just the envelope of a letter from J.P. Donohoe from twenty years ago or more, something he sent me from San Diego, where he used to winter, to read on KMFB.
There's an old driver's license from way before my beard turned gray. I look trustable.
Madeline's father's wooden toolbox on a shelf of photo albums I haven't opened for at least 25 years.
A Ray Rice painting of a skeleton face wreathed in cacti on a masonite disk that he gave me in 1987 when I put his 16mm films on teevee in Fort Bragg, when the people who ran the public-access channel had made it so incredibly difficult for the public to actually use it that pretty much the only ones doing that were me and Kay Rudin.
A giant real authentic oil-painted circus poster of magician Marko the Magnificent! rolled up like a rug and stuffed in a corner, so long there that it might as well be invisible; I never look at it or think about it; it jumps back into the world as I think about it now. A little Mervin Gilbert painting of War of the Worlds. Not his big blacklight cartoon painting of a young Antonia Lamb "Dislodging a Fletis from the Speedpath" that Kay gave me. That would never fit in the door; when we had to move away from Caspar in 1992 and I put it in Joe's Garage; he got it back from them later. Joe's Garage is still there but it's a store now, after being an art gallery, after Ishvi's father Hal first made it an art gallery and Don Erwin Eiber filled the building with truckloads of sand for his pottery show. Speaking of Kay, I'm still using the Korean War era vacuum cleaner she gave me. I have that with me in Cotati. I just used it just now. But in Albion, on the bed is another thing Kay gave me in the middle 1980s: an ancient hair dryer with a hose on it, that I still use to fill the blankets with hot air before I get in when it's cold. I have repaired it and reset the bearings three times.
Electronic things I made at the old Community School. Big mixing board. Parts from the pirate radio station, but not the transmitter, nor the transmitter from the radio station project at the Whale School; those went to Strange Bob, or Weird Bob, I always get those two mixed up.
The giant light table from Memo, just a table now, piled high with old books and musical instruments. In the back, almost every old computer I ever had. (Not the ones I gave to others: Jamie Carr became frustrated and smashed his, but the Corona I typeset the Mendocino Commentary on for a couple of years, and made an art project out of the guts of). Crate of VHS tapes of the Radio Free Earth variety teevee show, see above (over a hundred; two hours each). A suitcase and a shelf full of cassette tapes of the first four years of Memo of the Air, the first two or three hours of each of them, anyway. Cassettes of the radio show project from the old Community School, from 1983. A box of 10-inch reel-to-reel tapes.
My old hopelessly broken Micromoog and possibly-still-working-but-might-need-new-electrolytic-capacitors Oberheim.
My good computer that I still use there is built into the computer case of one Eduardo Smissen gave me for fricking ever ago, when I made him a microphone for his home studio, that I think he might have used to record shows for KZYX. And he gave me an odd little mixing board that I still use. Among other work, he digitally colored comic books for a comic book company. I have a set of Star Trek comix he gave me, that he colored. Old Kirk, still saving the galaxy by, incidentally, romancing a beautiful young alien woman.
Just the VU meter rack from Cecil's four-channel-output mixing board from his mobile-home studio. (Oh, right, the big studio mixing board, see above, I made partly of parts from the old Horse Badorties board, that had been disassembled into boxes at the Community School, in Bob Blick's electronics lab trailer.) The little black ten-channel sub-board I made for KMFB in the early 00's that we used for years before the move to the Boatyard. That old sociopathic salesman piece of shit Claude Hooten who bought it and fired everybody and changed the call letters and then turned around and sold it again right after; that's one of the things that even now I can't even drive past in my mind without gritting my teeth.
There's the wadded up paisley pattern hippie sheet from the ceiling of my college dorm room when my stepbrother Craig came to visit in 1978 and stayed overnight a couple of days, just after he left the marines by falling off a motorcycle and ruining his leg and just before he went to Reno, got a job driving a taxi, borrowed a pistol, drove up onto a hill overlooking the city, drank half a bottle of liquor and blew his own brains out the window, possibly by accident just from being drunk and having a gun within reach.
Commentary and Memo: A box of folders of all the waxed reusable layout art from all the walls from when I took the Memo office apart. Three little hard nut-like tree-seed things that Saki gave me one Halloween night in the street by the Community school, telling me, "These are special. These are for you."
Between the toilet and the shower, the bulbless light rack from the teevee studio from the pink house in Caspar.
An unopened but rusty and probably ruined can of Bob's Big Boy coffee, from when Juanita and I went to L.A. to get married. All of Juanitas and my LP records from when we moved from Caspar and ran against the deadline, and I rented a dumpster to clean out the house, and I was carrying the records out to dump in the dumpster and Juanita was going around behind me and carrying them back in.
The basket of tea dishes Sylvia Kozak Budd gave us for a wedding gift. Stacks of scripts and paperwork from making sound for theater shows.
The humane rat trap Matthew made.
Ribbons of Juanita's Ren Faire buttons. Her didgeridoo made of melted and twisted PVC pipe from the guy, whose name escapes me, who gave me my first computer sound editing program -- or was that Pat who did that? Pat of Innocents Abroad with Stan Barr, Pat who did my taxes for years for free to support my paper. Yeah, that was Pat; she gave me a copy of Samplitude; the whole program fit on a floppy disk. Speaking of which: boxes of floppy disks, including The Sword (pronounced "the S-word") from Larry Salmon, a shortcut program for CPM and then early DOS that, with practice, let you type three hundred words per minute, if you didn't care too much that it ended up not really saying all that close to what you thought you were writing.
The guitar I traded a dot-matrix printer to Paul Kish for, in the slot between piles of books next to the bed, that I still play every once in awhile, but often used to fall asleep playing and wake up with it on top of me. The neck on that guitar is the best guitar neck ever.
Oh, and the rest of the Whale School stuff. I'm not even gonna start with that; we'd be here all day. The modified dial phone that we used to put Chuck Frank, Private Op and Cleveland Ohio, 37th Century on KKUP in Cupertino from the art trailer...
Boxes of laser things. The Tesla coil project is in a back room of the Larry Spring museum now. Joseph and Odin are still alive, and Kay is, of course. Odin's father just died last month. Joseph Huckaby's father, dead, edited A&E magazine for awhile. He was one of the Air Force jet pilots, back in the 1960s, who claimed to have seen a UFO. And Walt Schneider flew saber jets in the '50s; he saw a a UFO or two, or a reflection off the perspex, which is just as good. I asked him once what it was like flying jets. "Very smooth," he said.
Things and people lying around in our lives or houses or in our heads, gradually settling into archeological sediment and not too long after that disappearing into the strata of the past, that started out detailed, sharp, granular, numerous, important to somebody or even many somebodies but after all eventually just a line in a sample core -- this was all of that then, this single line, apparently identical to all the other lines.
It always baffles me when I'm in someone else's house and all they have to show for themselves and to live in, basically, is chairs and dressers and a teevee. Dishes, pots and pans, toaster. Where are their books? Where is what they did and who they are?
When Juanita and I went to visit her father dying of old age in a horrible old-folks hospital in Pasadena -- the same level of horrible as all old-folks hospitals everywhere -- I talked to the man dying of old age in the next bed who for a surprising moment was lucid, present, a person, there. I said something to him, I don't remember what, and he smiled and told me he liked going fishing in the mountains; he had a camper on his truck. He said, "Do you wanta go with me?"
"Okay," I said.
Speaking of Tall Carl, it's different from the hippie names and white-person Indian names to have a descriptive term for part of your real given name. Tall Carl, Dress-up Carl, Verbal Kent, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Allison Feets (Barefoot Allison). Odd Bob, Weird Bob, Strange Bob, Banjo Bob, Bongo Bill, Loquacious Rollo, Dory Dan, Late Night Liz…