THE DEEP END
Our subscription nearly expired. We have enjoyed your writing/editing for a long time and were provoked to reminisce by one of your various retorts to a David Gurney letter. There was a time (around post-Judi Bari?) when we opened to the letters pages and determined a balance between the regular type of the letters and the bold/dark type of your replies. Heavy on dark type always guaranteed a great read with a high quota of invective and intelligent exaggeration, character assassination, truth and humor by Editor Anderson.
I am often inspired to contribute letters but I'm afraid that persona might take me over and I would do nothing but write letters. If you start seeing letters signed “bongos for social responsibility” you can know I've gone off the deep end.
Ed reply: Your kind words have won you an exemption, Ms. Smith. Go in peace, my child.
Dear Turkey Vulture,
In a recent column you passed on an interesting quote, namely, “Art teaches nothing except the significance of life.”
I was confused, however, by the attribution to “playwright Henry Miller.” Did Henry Miller ever write a play? I think it is possible you meant either “novelist Henry Miller” or perhaps, “playwright Arthur Miller.”
Just a thought. I find your column interesting.
I saw Keith Faulder the other day. I was walking home from Todd Grove when a group of young punks riding their bicycles came by. I've had the pleasure of conversing with them before. They yelled some profanities at me and, being the role model that I am, I helped them increase their vocabularies!
Keith was laughing away while his lady was breathlessly aghast!
Turns out Mr. Faulder is a real good guy. We shook hands exchanged was intrigued and then moved on!
Life is a mystery and sometimes a paradise!
To the editor,
The DDR toady front group, “Mendocino Tomorrow,” recently opened its massive disinformation campaign promoting Monster Mall Measure A with a deceptive, gross, glossy mailer featuring a photo of Mount Everest below a large text message whining that climbing Mount Everest is easier than enduring the Mendocino County planning process.
DDR blares this blarney from a squatting position atop Mount Avarice, the highest mountain in the land which they ascended and occupied many moons ago.
The slick mailer is packed with boilerplate bullshit including this whopper: “State law will ensure all required environmental studies be completed if Measure A passes.”
In fact, Measure A is a blatant attempt to bypass state and local environmental regulations and development standards.
A rezoning by ballot initiative is not subject to CEQA and therefore bypasses public comment and government review and cleverly avoids mitigation of significant impact, shifting the cost onto local districts and taxpayers.
And the DDR Monster Mall will drive local merchants out of business. Imagine the demise of Wal-Mart, Food4Less, Staples, Friedman Brothers, Home Depot — replaced by monster box stores. What will Ukiah do with those vacant, cavernous mom and pop mini-box stores? Will meth labs and marijuana dispensaries fill the voids?
DDR is a major player in a gangster state running on gangster economics. The ultimate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism is that in a society governed by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
No on Measure A!
H1N1: JUST THE FLU
Remember that even in the worst case (i.e., someone in the community actually contracts the “swine 'flu” this year) what we're talking about here is 'flu, influenza. It may be communicable, but it's not the bubonic plague. It's 'flu. If you get it, all you get is the 'flu.
Yes, there have been deaths reported as a result of H1N1, and from many places, but nobody seems to be counting the numbers of people who get it and then simply get over it. The vast majority of the fatalities are among patient groups who all too often die from contracting anything worse than the sniffles: the very young, the very old, the very malnourished or chronically poor, and those already very ill with something else; in other words, the extremely vulnerable. The vast majority of reasonably healthy, reasonably fit individuals who contract H1N1 spend a few unhappy days in bed drinking lots of fluids, etc., and a week or so later they're back at their regular lives.
Coughing or sneezing into one's elbow and washing one's hands are, of course, great ideas — and ought be the normal activities of everybody, every day, all the time, even when there's nothing “going around”! And the most reasonable “anti-viral” material for use on humans is ordinary soap. It's not necessary to annihilate the pathogens on contact with some kind of chemical poison; getting them off your hands and down the drain is perfectly adequate, and soap accomplishes this task nicely and with minimal environmental impact. Thus, keeping the soap dispensers in the bathrooms filled and working properly and constantly reminding people to use them seems better to me than buying and installing pricey “hand sanitizer” dispensers, the likes of which I'm seeing in supermarkets these days. I think these gizmos are ultimately counterproductive. First, they either stir up a kind of quiet anxiety with their very presence (and nobody thinks better when they're even slightly panicky) or worse, they lull the user into thinking that he needn't bother washing his hands to begin with since hey, all I have to do is rub this magic goop on me and, like, all my problems are over. Second, isopropyl alcohol is an excellent sterilizer, but it's harsh on human skin, especially with repeated use. And finally, I'm not convinced that whatever is used is 100% effective; the way nature works is that in trying to kill them off with one thing, all we will be doing is weeding out the 99.44% of the pathogens who are susceptible to that thing, eventually leaving the ones to flourish who are resistant to it.
As with the “avian 'flu,” the terrible worst case scenarios need a lot of factors to fall into place in very particular ways in order to happen. Luckily for us, the daily use of common sense and ordinary presence of mind are excellent ways to thwart these scenarios.
Instead of a Monster Mall—
I’m continually baffled by a few of the locals who are promoting the Masonite Monster Mall. When I hear them speak, in one breath they talk about how much they love living in our rural small town, and in their next breath they talk about how great it will be to have a Monster Mall here so they don’t “have to drive to Santa Rosa to shop.”
Yet, they never bridge the gap between what we have, and what we would become. They never say “I’m looking forward to the sprawl and traffic and pollution and sirens and hubbub just like they have in Santa Rosa.” Or, “I want our town to look just like all the other towns and cities south of us. Wouldn’t that be just too cool?”
Instead, I want something else entirely. And Wendell Berry says it better than I can:
“In this difficult time of failed public expectations, when thoughtful people wonder where to look for hope, I keep returning in my own mind to the thought of the renewal of the rural communities. I know that one resurrected rural community would be more convincing and more encouraging than all the government and university programs of the last fifty years, and I think that it could be the beginning of the renewal of our country, for the renewal of rural communities ultimately implies the renewal of urban ones.
“But to be authentic, a true encouragement and a true beginning, this would have to be a resurrection accomplished mainly by the community itself. It would have to be done, not from the outside by the instruction of visiting experts, but from the inside by the ancient rule of neighborliness, by the love of precious things, and by the wish to be at home.“
Is it either/or? Yes, I think it is. Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.
NAKED LADY UPDATE
Ah Editor BA,
Years ago, when the Albion Village was drought-stricken, the Naked Ladies bloomed on Christmas Day. And I painted them.
Then, in 1998, our wettest year in recorded history, the Ladies bloomed on the Third of June.
However, these past four drought years, the reluctant Ladies did not begin to open their petals until the end of September. The later the bloom, the lighter the rain.
But when it rains, it pours. This year the Ladies began to undress on Cedar Street on the 27th of July. And then they took off all their clothes at the Fort Bragg High School on the second of August.
My, what a profusion of Naked Ladies we have this year — a pink plethora against the high white clouds! In the gentle wind the Ladies bow and cry: Rain, in the redwood rainforest, rain.
FREE FOR THE TAKING?
After a lengthy and costly grocery shopping excursion last Thursday evening, I took my cart with the least amount of items to the car to unload.
I left my other, very full cart inside the store at the end of checkout counter and informed the clerks that I'd be right back to get it.
I was almost back at the entrance when the clerk met me and asked me if I needed help unloading. I told her I would do it and just needed to go in for the cart.
She looked at me with a confused expression on her face. She thought I already had my groceries. I thought she knew they were still where I had left them inside door.
We then discovered that the groceries and cart had managed to disappear!
This message is for the disrespectful dirtbag who decided that my groceries were free for the taking. What goes around comes around. Ever heard of karma, or Murphy?!
Too bad your species isn't facing immediate extinction!
VIGILIZE WORLD HEALTH
A vigil for real health care reform at the Boonville Post Office will be held Wednesday, Septemebr 2nd from 4:306 with signs, stories, songs, and ideas in support of the public option of your choice.
Come for all or part of the time. But please come and be counted.
I chose this time because MoveOn.org is organizing Vigils in support of the real public option all over the country the evening of September 2nd. So it is a good time to be counted.
If you don’t live in Anderson Valley, please find or organize a vigil in your community and either sign in at MoveOn.org to be counted by them or email me with the number of people who attended your vigil and I’ll include you in my count.
The way I see it, the legislative process is like a tug of war and right now the big insurance companies are using a lot of money to pull really hard on their side of the rope, while most of us are sitting and watching a few people pull on our side. If we aren’t going to get pulled right along into a “reform” that only benefits the for-profit healthcare industry, we have to get up and start pulling back now.
History shows that street protests work when enough people are out in the streets. They have to start somewhere sometime. Here and now are the place and time to start this one.
Mendocino County has a great history of activism that seems to have been defeated by Bush’s lack of response to our anti-war protests. We have to get over that now. Obama and the Democratic Congress don’t have much spine of their own. They need us in the streets where we are visible in order to stand up to the money and power of the health industry lobby.
See you Wednesday evening!