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MAINLY DRY WEATHER is expected across the region today, but will be followed by another round of light rain during Tuesday. Heavier rainfall is probable Wednesday and Thursday, and possibly again next Sunday and Monday. (NWS)
38 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday, bringing the total to 1991.
SOLID WASTE MATTERS of a sort were discussed at last Tuesday’s Supervisors meeting, but because of a crowded agenda and lots of covid and pot talk the leadership didn’t get to the subject until well after 6pm, toward the end of a ten-hour meeting. The good news: Apparently the “Taj McSweeney,” a new transfer station on Highway 20 east of Fort Bragg, has been abandoned. Long-time readers may recall that before he departed for New Zealand exile, Mendo’s trash czar and likely car-bomber of his wife Judi Bari, Mike Sweeney had hornswaggled the then-Supes and the then-Fort Bragg City Council — Gjerde running point — to approve an EIR and possible funding stream for a completely unnecessary multi-million dollar trash/recycle operation on Highway 20, complete with a thick, bogus and costly Environmental Impact Report. At the time Supervisor Gjerde defended the boondoggle because it saved a couple of northbound garbage trucks from — gasp! — driving through town to the existing transfer station north of Fort Bragg.
Gjerde is the only elected solon left who defended Taj McSweeney, so apparently the County is now going back to the drawing board. The subject arose because County Transportation Director Howard Dashiell, who handles Solid Waste matters in the absence of anybody else, needed to send a letter to Solid Waste of Willits telling them that he intended to extend SWOW’s contract for hauling trash outta Caspar for at least another six months. SWOW owner Jerry Ward joined the discussion to say that he was losing money on every pick up at Caspar because the Caspar Transfer Station is not designed to be compatible with his trucks and the pickup process is time consuming and inefficient. Ward said he wouldn’t accept an extension unless he got upwards of $1 more per cubic yard. Supervisor McCowen noted that he understood that roofing trash was no longer being accepted at the Caspar station and such high volume trash had to be self-hauled to Willits, another a lousy situation.
This then lead to a broader discussion of what’s going to be done for trash pickup on the Coast now that Taj McSweeney is off the table. Perhaps the Caspar Transfer Station could be upgraded to handle modern trucks, but the locals in Caspar are expected to oppose that option, and there’s nowhere near enough money in the Taj McSweeney fund, and Ward says he won’t do it out of pocket. There was also a good bit of grumbling about Waste Management, which has the contract for the Fort Bragg city trash. There was interest in putting that contract out for bid, but to do that would require a short-term extension of WMI’s existing contract. Or a six month short term add-on contract. WMI has said they wouldn’t consider anything but a five-year extension.
Upshot: Rates are going up, of course. And the problem(s) will be put to the Coast Trash Coordinating Committee (or whatever it’s called) made up of Fort Bragg City Council reps and the two Coastal Supervisors, Gjerde and Ted Williams. Meanwhile Dashiell said he’d proceed with the letter to SWOW and a request for a contract extension to WMI, long-shot though it may be.
HOOKERS IN WILLITS
Re: Prostitution in Willits…?
When I arrived in Willits in the early ’70s, timber and lumber were King. There were more bars than churches, and if you wanted a job, you could find one by noon. Hunter’s Inn and the Van Hotel had working girls. I knew one of them a little. She went by Mama Linda, I never had sex with her, but I did buy her a drink now and then at Al’s or John’s. Then AIDS hit. I heard Linda caught it and died in Eureka.
As to this tale of sex and drugs on the so-called “Miracle Mile”? That area is the current business district of Willits. They’re open and busy, retail, food, and the better motels. But there are a couple of sketchy old motels still out there. Willits’s old downtown has gone the way of many small towns. It’s dried or drying up, similar to Ukiah. I would expect that stuff there, if anywhere in Willits.
But back to the Hookers, recently I have not heard anything about that kind of stuff. Then again, I’m past the age and stage of pay to play, but I’ll ask around. Some of my younger friends might know something.
Like they say, “You find your comfort where you can”…
Laz (On line comment, theava.com)
CHILDREN NEED CLASSROOMS
To the Editor:
I just left a Board of Supervisor’s Board meeting listening to a very lengthy COVID update. The County “COVID TEAM” was there along with the County Health Officer, Mask Mendocino, etc. There was a long discussion and praise about how outstanding our hospitals and healthcare providers are doing, how groups are reaching out to homeless shelters and cannibus farmers providing PPE and testing. Eight guests in a homeless shelter tested positive for COVID, yet not a single employee/worker there tested positive! Outstanding! So, PPE works, eh? Well, apparently it doesn’t work if it’s in a public school because our public school students have not been in a classroom since March of last year. Remarkably, this population of our society, our future, wasn’t give one minute of discussion in the presentations.
When it was open to public comment I expressed my concern for our children and how the current data does not support keeping children out of the classroom; math test scores are declining while depression, anxiety, and child abuse are on the rise. There are no playgrounds to play on, no sports happening, so children are also suffering physically. (Taking a walk around the neighborhood just isn’t the same as school PE or running and climbing around the playground.) Was there any concern at all from the Board of Supervisor’s or the Public Health Officer regarding these children? Any personal accountability? No. The overall response was that the schools were to blame for not opening up while we were in the red tier (Wasn’t that a two week window?) and it had nothing to do with them.
Meanwhile, the most recent communication from the Ukiah Unified School District states, “On Nov. 12, 2020, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Coren put out Reopening K-12 Schools for In-Person, On-Site instruction Preliminary Guidance for School Year 2020-2021. The document provides new guidance on health and safety practices needed to safely resume in-person on-site instruction at K-12 schools. I wanted to alert you that this guidance has created significant roadblocks to eventually reopening our secondary schools (6th—12th Grade) with the previously communicated hybrid model.”
In addition, I have been informed by at least one UUSD Board member that in regards to opening public schools “We have a couple of hurdles. We are using our local public health director, Dr. Coren, as our source of the best science. We will follow his direction on what is safe and what isn’t. It is important to make a science-based decision as opposed to politically motivated decisions. When he gives the all-clear, we will push forward with reopening schools.” Where is the science Dr. Coren? What studies are you using to derive data to support your guidelines? According to our County website roughly .003 percent of children in our county age 0-18 have tested positive. The County lists no outbreaks from schools, preschools, and daycares are that currently open.
So, this seems to be quite contradicting. The County blames the School Board, the School Board blames the County Health Officer… and then you have the Teacher’s Union who puts a grinding halt to any progress given to getting kids back in the classroom. Per the same UUSD board member, “The California Teachers Association has opposed any form of reopening schools from the beginning. They do not care about the health and welfare of our kids or community. Their only goal is to protect the worst members of their union. This poses a problem. When the District says that it’s time to go to school, there are a variety of ways teachers can opt-out. We simply do not have enough substitutes to weather the storm.” So, the Teacher’s Union is dictating whether our children get a classroom education. Meanwhile, teachers are getting a three percent pay raise, half of them are refusing (aka “opting out”) to go back to the classroom, and they can’t be fired.
When is ANYONE going to recognize that our children are suffering emotionally, physically, socially, and educationally. (But only the public school children; private schools have been in the classroom for months.) Does any of this seem fair or rational? Right now the only thing that seems rational is school choice with vouchers.
I am not just disappointed, but I am disgusted by the ease at which these people in our community have disregarded the importance of the education of our children; the influence this has on their futures. Will we have a generation of welfare recipients or successful tax paying citizens?
People at risk should protect themselves. Healthy people should be able to live, work, and be educated. As citizens we are entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which includes a classroom education. Those seem like important words that may be written somewhere important.
May God bless us and have mercy on us.
Theresa M. McNerlin
‘HAPPY TO BE HERE’ (an autopsy)
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
This is a story of the favorite book I ever wrote that was also the worst failure of anything I’ve ever done, with the possible exception of when I quit my job at The Plain Dealer to take a job at the Cleveland Press and then quit that job so I could be a hippie and live in California and wound up in Ukiah.
But the failure of ‘Happy to Be Here’ is a flop instantly recognized, unlike the never-ending, decades-long disaster of the rest of my life. The book sank like a rock in a bucket of hot urine.
If ‘Happy to Be Here’ was a movie it would be ‘Ishtar.’
If it was a political candidate it would be George McGovern 1972, who virtually got killed in 49 of the 50 states, or else RFK ’68, who got killed, period.
If it was a car it would be a Yugo and if a food it would be New Coke. Had it been a marriage it would have been any of the first several, and if it had been employment I might have been elected Mayor of Cleveland.
This is a book that tanked magnificently and thoroughly. Nobody bought it.
But it was just a flop on a teeny-weeny local Mendo-mini-scale, unlike the above-mentioned products like Yugos and Ishtar that went into a flaming dumpster big-time, nation-wide and for all to see, including bosses, co-workers, parents, children and the stock market.
The only witness to my book collapse was me. No one else even knew it was published, and that’s why it sold like 12 copies, six of which I gave to friends who never said Thank You and probably didn’t read it. They certainly didn’t offer to write a review. That might have been a good thing.
We’re talking Bomb with a capital F, dear readers.
And luckily I laugh because it really didn’t matter. I never had a single fevered dream the book might sell more than a few hundred copies, which is what its predecessor (‘Teach Your Dog to Shoplift’) sold.
‘Teach Your Dog’ found about 400 readers willing to pay, I think, $17.00 a copy to be insulted about the town they lived in, the booze they drank, their spouses and their wardrobes. But this being the jolly world of self-published books, selling 400 meant I lost money on the enterprise. Who Cares? So What?
I knew the new book, full title of which was ’Happy to Be Here (Tall Tales of Fact & Fiction)’ would run a deficit. Big deal. Some people retire and build birdhouses or travel to exotic lands, and those people don’t turn a profit on their ventures either. I’d further guess that when they realized they lost a bunch of money on designer birdhouses and fancy trips to far-off Covelo, they said “So What?” It’s what hobbyists do.
So I spent a little money on ‘Happy to Be Here’ but when it was done I liked what I had. Stories that I’d fussed over for, in some cases, years, plus photos by Steve Caravello, with formatting from Torrey Douglass at Lemon Fresh Design in Boonville. It added up to a book that looked good and read good. So I turned it loose.
I dropped off a couple dozen copies at the Mendocino Book Company a year or so ago, and now when I walk past everyone ducks and turns off the lights because they’re afraid I might try to dump some more. I think J. at Village Books still has the three (autographed) copies I left him; they’re on a “25 cents” table on the sidewalk.
What went wrong? Well, leaving The Plain Dealer for starters, ha ha. But ‘Happy to Be Here’ is a tougher question. Thinking back, four or five stories were mistakes to include, but that means 30 or so weren’t mistakes. Another 10 or 12 were outstanding, said the author modestly, he being in position to grade his own papers.
Sales stalled at around 100, or perhaps have even reversed as people bring them back and demand a refund. The 100 includes precisely zero from Amazon books because although it’s listed there it can’t be purchased.
Screw Amazon. The book, thanks to my genius and Torrey Douglas’s careful nurturing, is good-looking with a terrific cover. So what did Amazon do with this lovely creation?
Amazon anti-nurtured it, squeezing all the back cover’s well-spaced and lively quotes into a single unreadable small-print paragraph. I called and talked to someone in Amazon’s anti-customer anti-service department who listened to my reasonable explanation of the problem, and said “Nothing we can do.” That was that.
So I discontinued online sales. Take that Amazon! We’ll see who blinks first.
Because who cares? Not me. It’s not like I’m 35 years old and this is my second book and if it doesn’t sell 40 million copies I won’t get that $500,000 advance for my next book and I’ll have to kill myself or, worse, go teach English at Ukiah High.
But we all know how this will turn out, don’t we? The brilliance of ‘Happy to Be Here’ will be discovered and celebrated in 20 years and critics will acknowledge it as an undiscovered masterpiece, a long-neglected work of genius. Scholars will weep.
I still have leftover copies in the trunk of my wife’s car which are, of course, first editions and will eventually land in the hands of my greedy children. By 2045 Sotheby’s will auction off the last few originals in existence, while publishers vie to print a second edition, which will have “Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture!” splashed across the cover. Starring Paris Hilton’s son as me, I hope.
And my kids, rich as Pashas, will retire to an exclusive gated community in Covelo.
By then Amazon will have gone out of business, climate change will have made Covelo a beachfront town and Tom Hine will have had a monument built in his honor that angry leftwing mobs tore down three weeks later. TWK will write the definitive biography of George McGovern.
NOT DOING YOUR JOB
by Jim Shields
As we near the end of this woefully dismal year, it’s informative to look at the departure of two Departmental heads who decided to call it quits, while leaving in their wakes troubled and dysfunctional citizen services, the seeming hallmark of governing in the County Seat as we have learned over these many years.
As a political scientist — I don’t have to tell you there’s nothing scientific about politics — I have always followed Mark Twain’s advice: I never let school interfere with my education.
I have spent my entire adult life in government and electoral politics at the federal level and most recently in local government here in Mendocino County. So I’ve acquired what I like to think of as practical experience in governing and politics.
I don’t claim to know everything, or even close to everything about the processes, but I do know and can recognize fairly quickly when things aren’t working right. And here in Mendocino County, more often than not things just don’t work right.
I’ve also learned over the years that most folks, the ones who define our government as being “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” nowadays don’t have very high expectations of those people we elect to represent us. It’s a fact that most people are happy if elected officials and their support staff of bureaucrats practice the physicians’ oath of “Do no harm.”
Anyway, this past week, the Board of Supervisors lauded retiring Director Tammy Moss Chandler, of the County’s Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA), with a proclamation extolling all of her alleged successes while “leading” that department. HHSA’s portfolio includes providing mental health services and dealing with the homeless issue. In Chandler’s tenure as HHSA Director, she essentially paid no attention to restoring adult mental health services on an in-county basis, nor can anyone argue that she took any meaningful actions to address the homeless crisis in this County. She likewise was AWOL as an advocate to re-establish a Psychiatric Health Facility (so-called “Puff Unit”) in-county, even though that was the number one priority buttressing the voter-approved Measure B Mental Health Tax measure three years ago.
Her job performance, in these three areas anyway, would be evaluated as unacceptable in most organizations. Of course, most organizations are not Mendocino County.
Mark Scaramella, of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, hit the nail on the head this week with a succinct but insightful capsulation of the transitory career of the Director of Planning and Building Services:
“We were not surprised to hear that Planning & Building Services Director Brent Schultz resigned on Monday. Not only was he saddled with an impossible to administer pot ordinance, but most of his more than 30 years of experience was in urban planning for the city of Ontario in SoCal, nothing like Mendo’s outback ‘planning,’ which is mostly paperwork for projects that take way too long to process — if they ever get approved. Schultz, who only lasted a little over two years since coming to Mendo in the summer of 2018, was also saddled with a chronically understaffed department and what staff there is is not very experienced and the experienced ones complain about both Schultz and their own nearly untenable situations with a large backlog that gets bigger by the month. When he first arrived, Schultz robotically offered the usual sight-unseen uplift: “I’m excited to be working for the citizens of Mendocino County and look forward to meeting the Planning and Building team and the entire County organization. I’m ready to get new projects off the ground, from small projects like room additions, to brand new homes, to new housing for our growing community and for those who are rebuilding after devastating fires; I love every aspect of the job and hope I can be a helpful resource for my staff and the public.” There was some minor success at first with the 2017 fire recovery. But not much after that. Schultz gave the pot ordinance a well-meaning try at first, announcing early on that he was going to do a “deep dive” into the pot applications and figure out what to do. Predictably Schultz soon drowned in the quicksand of pot applications and the program. Not long after he was brought in, the then-pot program manager Sean Connell quit in frustration. Connell was replaced by Megan Dukett, a well-known CEO loyalist with zero pot program experience who has kept a low profile since being assigned to the pot program. (We half-suspected Ms. Dukett might even have been assigned to Schultz as a way for CEO Angelo to keep her micro-managing eye on Schultz, given the turbulent history of the pot program and its many administrators/victims.) No sympathy for Schultz from here though. He was well paid and, although we were told he “resigned,” we suspect he might be retiring with yet another fat pension, much of it to be provided by Mendo’s over-stressed pension fund.”
In the last analysis, the problem is people are being hired, at least in these two instances, who quite simply were not capable of doing their jobs, yet apparently are going to be rewarded for it.
That’s the very definition of dysfunctional, and that’s got to change. And the only people who can change it are the Board of Supervisors.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
On 12-11-2020 at 12:22 A.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol in the area of North State Street and Laughlin Way in Redwood Valley, California.
The Deputies observed a motorcycle traveling northbound on North State Street and noted traffic violations. The Deputies activated their emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop; however the motorcycle continued onto Laughlin Way.
The motorcycle failed to yield and continued to the 9800 block of Laughlin Way at a low rate of speed. The motorcycle eventually turned down a dirt driveway and shortly thereafter stopped.
The rider was contacted and identified as Andre Almeraz [49 year-old male from Riverside CA] who was detained and a probable cause pat search of Almeraz's person revealed a loaded handgun; which was not registered to him.
The Deputies continued their investigation and developed probable cause to believe Almeraz was a member of a criminal street gang while armed with a handgun.
Almeraz was arrested for the following charges: 25850(c)(6) PC (Carry Loaded handgun Not Registered Owner), 25850(c)(3) PC (Criminal Street Gang Member Carry Loaded Firearm), 25850(a) PC (Carry Loaded Firearm Person/Vehicle Public Place).
Almeraz was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000.00 bail.
IVEY'S TREASURE HUT
On 12-12-2020 at 9:15 A.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were requested by the Fort Bragg Police Department to assist with a probation search of Ryan Robert Ivey's residence in the 15000 block of Mitchell Creek Drive in Fort Bragg, California.
Ivey was arrested the previous evening by the Fort Bragg Police Department for trespassing, possession of burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance, and violation of probation.
During the search of Ivey's residence, Deputies recognized several items they believed to have been reported as stolen to the Sheriff's Office previously.
Deputies researched burglary cases in the area and suspected Ivey of being involved in those cases as well as being in possession of stolen property.
The victims in those cases were contacted and identified the items as being stolen during those burglaries.
Deputies contacted the Mendocino County Jail and had Ivey additionally booked pursuant to 496(a) PC [Possession of Stolen Property] and 1203.2 PC [Violation of Probation].
In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, Ivey's bail was set at zero dollars for these additional charges.
Deputies contacted a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge who authorized a bail increase.
This bail increase resulted in Ivey being held in lieu of $50,000.00 bail on the additional charges.
TRUMP'S about out of options, a fact leading to a lot of wild speculation that his congressional allies will try a 12th Amendment end around or some combination of rightwing militias and martial law. But the militias are camo-clad fantasists who, to put it gently, lack leadership, and there aren't that many of them given that their friends and neighbors rightly regard them as lunatics. The American military leadership, apart from a few General Flynns, don't like Trump and are committed to democratic principles as they romanticize them in the real context of the pay to play plutocracy run out of the White House. And the multi-ethnic rank and file military aren't about to support an all-white coup. Trump will shuffle off to his Florida golf course crying about how his second term was stolen until his cheeseburgers finish him off. Biden, weighed on the Comparative Crook Scale, is more corrupt than Trump, the latter being after all merely a real estate swindler and minor show biz figure prior to his miraculous elevation because the Democrats ran the only person in the country who could lose an election to him. Thanks to the New York Times and on down through CNN's Situation Room for withholding the Biden family's multi-million dollar deals with foreign governments until after the Biden election, Biden is president. All of this, plus the economic disaster unleashed by covid and its grotesque mishandling by government at all levels, including Mendo's dependably incompetent government, means civil chaos from here on.
ALEX JONES, who has parlayed fascist comedy into a fortune for himself, told the Trumper crowd massed yesterday in DC, “We will never back down to the Satanic pedophile, globalist New World Order and their walking-dead reanimated corpse Joe Biden, and we will never recognize him.” Which would be funny if so many millions of yobbos and yobb-ettes didn't believe it.
A COMMENTER on the essential Redheaded Black Belt, asks, “Does anyone know the history of the pink house in the Juan creek drainage that you can see from 101? Have always been curious about that house. Looks pretty old.”
David Heller: I personally don’t know about it, a quick google search found a real estate ad with some good photos, just said historic…. which might not mean that old, the last mill there burned down in 1944.
Ernie Branscomb: Yes, I can tell you all about it. It was the Juan Creek Inn. It was a bar and hotel. When I was a kid we would buy gas there for our trip home from Juan Creek. I remember the gas pump was one that had a pump handle on the side. There was a glass tank on the top where you could see the gas you pumped. You would pump as much gas as you wanted, then drain it by gravity into your tank.
Juan Creek was the most popular campground on the coast north of Fort Bragg. It was like a summer-long party there. I think that the convenience of the bar had something to do with it. It was a place that you could almost always catch surf fish.
The local Indians would catch surf fish there and you could buy salted smoked surf fish for next to nothing from them. My dad would always buy a big paper bag full. I would eat so many that I couldn’t eat dinner.
Then… there were the two cute little blond twin girls that were in my Grammar school class who would often be there… A lot of the people from Laytonville and Branscomb would go there on weekends to get away from the summer heat.
Highway 1 used to go to the east of the pink building. It was right on the side of the road. When the highway road department built the new Juan Creek bridge it ruined the surf fishing and destroyed the Campground and the access to the bar was lost to traffic. Now all that is left is some great memories of a carefree youth.
LOLITA, the novel. I was surprised and pleased to see Ian Frazier in the current New Yorker “Rereading Lolita.” I read it in my callow youth and thought it funny as hell. Then, in callow middleage, a female friend who teaches lit at the University of Chicago advised that I should give Nabokov's masterpiece another look because, in her opinion, the novel is creepy and obviously the work of a perv. I read it again. She was right. It is creepy and pervy to the max, but remains funny as hell which, I was pleased to see that is what Frazier also concludes.
SUPERVISOR McCOWEN: “Mendocino County works closely with Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood at the State level who have been very effective advocates on our behalf, and with Congressman Jared Huffman at the Federal level. Mendocino County also actively participates in the Rural County Representatives of California and California State Association of Counties and less so in the National Association of Counties.”
I'D SAY that Huffman, Wood and McGuire have been at least as effective on Mendo's behalf as McCowen and the Supervisors.
FROM FACEBOOK aimed at the Anderson Valley: " We're serving 550+ people in need in Anderson Valley and the surrounding area for Christmas. If you want to donate or have excess food/produce to contribute to our efforts, please reach out or donate at the link: lovetotable.org/donate. Call or text Caryn at (510) 541-9430."
PHILO'S "ORGASM CULT" has gone international, at least in the sense of media attention. Steven Hassan, a former Moonie and author of the “Cult of Trump,” and André Spicer, of the Cass Business School in London, spoke via a BBC podcast called “The Orgasm Cult.” The same pair speculated on the susceptibility of us all to cult-think, which they say is prevalent. You're right, boys, it is prevalent.
ODD OLD NEWS: AN 1884 LOOK AT DOGHOLES, LUMBER LOADING CHUTES, AND THE ROCKPORT SUSPENSION BRIDGE
The story of Rockport, that still has a highway sign, but no town to be seen:
“This Cottoneva/Rockport cove was first known to early settlers as Summer Cove, because in summer, shielded by the cove’s rock-lined northwest side, schooners could unload supplies and take on settlers’ goods. In 1876 W. R. Miller built a mill and the Pacific coast’s first steel wire suspension bridge, remarkable technology for the time. It extended 275 feet from the shore to a small island offshore. The mill operated until 1887, was sold to the Cottoneva Lumber Company, and burnt down in 1889. Once rebuilt, the Rockport mill became one of the larger mill operations in northern California. It burnt down again in 1900, and some 130 workers were thrown out of work. In 1925, the Mississippi based lumber giant Finkbane and Guild bought up 30,000 acres of timber rights and built an electric mill and company town at Rockport. Despite grandiose plans, and a large capital investment, the mill was unsuccessful. After a hiatus in operations, the Rockport Redwood Company was formed in 1938, and ran the mill until it burnt down once again in 1942. It was rebuilt, but only ran until 1957 when timber demand subsided, and 300 workers and locals were forced to move elsewhere for employment.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 13, 2020
WILLIAM BOATWRIGHT, Ukiah. Suspended license, resisting.
CHRISTOPHER GREWER, Mendocino. DUI.
MATTHEW HYATT, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Controlled substance, suspended license, county parole violation.
RONDA LAMB, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
VANCE LANGENDERFER, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
MELISSIA TURNEY, Clearlake/Ukiah. Protective order violation.
"Floyd Stone. People around here had trouble with the Stones since the town began. Fact, the Stones were the first settlers here, but nobody brags about it.
"They come up from New Hampshire or down from Quebec, one, I don't know which. A real old family, and a real bad family. Floyd was just like all his brothers and cousins, had a crazy streak in him when he was drunk; he’d do anything, just anything. Always had a deer rifle with ’em, all of ’em.
"This one time he was driving up the hill from town, drunker’n a skunk, real hot, but not so loaded he couldn't navigate that old truck. Gets to the train crossing, trains’ goin’ through. 73 boxcars. He counts ’em. Two automobiles come up behind him, one the Baptist minister. End of the train comes. There's that guy standin’ out on the little caboose porch. He waves to Floyd like them fellows do.
"Floyd picks up his 30-30 quick as a snake and shoots the guy right through the head just like you or me woulda waved back. Shot him dead for no reason. Never even saw him before. Then he took off for up here. Stone City."
Banger pried a rusted blade out of the knife’s body. "They come up to get him from all over. Had the state police, the sheriff, couple hundred men from down below, all had guns and anxious to use ’em. It was an army. The crowd was real ugly, had enough of Stones.
"Old man Stone came out on the porch. ‘Get off my property!’ he yells like he had a shotgun in his hands. But he didn't have no shotgun. Guess he would have if he hadn't been boiled himself. Holding a pitcher, one of them old tin pitchers, sloppin’ full of some kind of homemade jungle juice. Just stood there, swayin’ back and forth, Eyes all red, yelling ‘Get off my property!"
"State police yelled back, ‘We have a warrant here for the arrest of Floyd Stone for the willful murder of whoever he was,’ and so forth. ‘Come out, Floyd!"
"Course Floyd didn't come out. There was four or five houses here, could have been in any one of ’em, could have been in the woods. Then the state police says something to four of his guys and they run right up those porch steps and grab old man Stone and arrest him for obstructing justice. Right there was the porch." Banger pointed at the blue door.
"Fight, kick, scream, 70 years old, but that old man flashed out with his long fingernails and cut one of the state police right across the eyeball, fellow lost his eye and had to be pensioned off on full disability.
"Nobody wanted to go into them houses to look for Floyd. This was before they had Mace and stuff that they squirt under doors. Crowd’s ready for action, real savage. Somebody yells, ‘Tear them houses down! That'll uncover the murderin' little prick!" Like I said, there was a couple hundred people there.
"They swarm all over those houses, pulling rotten boards, kicking in windows. Somebody got a axe and pried up the ends of the clapboards and ten more would rip it off like it was paper. Stones come flying out of those houses, women, kids, drunk Stones, some old granny, all of them yelling and crying.
"Well, they got Floyd, too, in about 10 minutes. He was layin’ under the bed, hidin’, had his old killer deer rifle under there with him, pointing it at the bedroom door. He wasn't expecting to have the whole back wall riped off real sudden and a dozen guys grab his ankles and yank him out from under the bed. Police took him away — had some trouble to git him away, too — and left the rest of the Stones there with us. Somebody found some roofing tar and started getting’ it hot."
I wondered if Banger had been the one to find the tar.
"They killed all the chickens for the feathers and some geese and ducks too. And they stripped every one of them Stones except the women and the kids and they poured that hot old tar right to ’em, went for the privates, and then they dumped on the feathers."
The snow drifted and whirled in the rising wind like down, like the flying feathers tossed onto the tarred Stones. A snow devil twisted briefly near the fallen porch. Christ, I thought, what kind of people were these?
— Annie Proulx, "Heart Songs"
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
And what’s the evidence for your conspiracy, Trumpers? I have tried to chase down some of the evidence that gets cited here and elsewhere. It’s always some sketchy internet video and with some fact-checking it all melts away. It’s also easy – if you will look outside the echo chamber – to find some great explanations of why the accusations about Dominion machines are highly implausible given the way the machines function.
But hey, you don’t need to rely on internet sources. Look at the way the Trump legal challenges have gone. The first giveaway is his legal team. Do you think there aren’t fleets of good lawyers who’d run any even halfway plausible argument before courts? Why do you think none would act for Trump? Rudy and Sidney Powell are not the lawyers you get if you have a strong case. They are bottom of the barrel hucksters. (I am talking 2020 Giuliani here – clearly he once had some facility – long since departed).
His challenges have been met with defeat after defeat. The judgements have often been humiliating. The arguments have been nonsensical and the witnesses often blatantly crazy.
There’s not some conspiracy here. There’s just a petulant loser not accepting defeat and his GOP enablers muddying the waters. Which – given the enthusiasm being shown for military intervention by a lot you – takes you to very scary places.
Take a deep breath, get out of the echo chamber, and look around. This stolen election stuff is crazy.
I expected Donald Trump to use conspiracy theories and lies to try and steal the election. Apparently, I shouldn’t have expected the Republicans to stand up for the will of the voters.
They have undermined the results of the election by using lame excuses like Trump is within his rights to challenge the election results, and given support to claims of election fraud that should be investigated.
The result of the election was a clear and clean repudiation of Trump with no evidence of fraud that needed to be challenged or investigated. Republicans, by their silence, are complicit in this assault on our democracy and the attempt to subvert the will of the people.
Is it because they are cowards and consider party and fear of Trump more important than country, or is it that they are basically OK with his attempt to stage an electoral coup?
In the middle of all the serious stuff—prostitution, the election, disparagement of others on social media, on and on—take a little break. Here’s a wonderfully funny story—with a fitting coda—from the recent obituary for Phil Linz, dead at age 81, long ago baseball player for the Yankees and other teams:
“Phil Linz played on three World Series teams with the Yankees in the 1960s and spent seven seasons in the major leagues. But he was remembered mostly for playing the harmonica. Linz was usually a fill-in at shortstop, third base or second base, and occasionally in the outfield, bringing him the nickname Supersub. But in the summer of 1964 he briefly became a baseball celebrity of sorts.
On the afternoon of Aug. 20, the Yankees were on the team bus heading to O’Hare Airport in Chicago for a flight to Boston to play the Red Sox after losing four straight games to the White Sox while in a tight pennant race.
Linz was sitting at the rear of the bus practicing on a harmonica he had bought earlier in the road trip. It came with a learner’s sheet, and the first tune was ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ Manager Yogi Berra, seated up front, was hardly in the mood for frivolity in view of the Yankees’ slump and shouted toward the back of the bus, ‘Shove that harmonica up!’
‘I wasn’t sure what he said,’ Linz told USA Today in 2013. So he sought help from Mickey Mantle, who was sitting across from him. “I asked, ‘What did he say, Mickey?’ Mantle, quick to seize an opportunity for a practical joke, told him that Berra had said, ‘Play it louder.’
So Linz played on.
Berra charged toward Linz, who either flipped his harmonica toward him or had it swatted away by Berra; accounts differ. ‘I went in and apologized to Yogi the next day, told him it was disrespectful, shook hands and promised it would never happen again,’ Linz remembered. ‘Yogi said, I still got to fine you. He fined me $250. It was all right. I was making $14,000.’
By then, the New York sportswriters who were on the Yankee bus had filed stories describing the episode, and The Associated Press had spread its account to newspapers throughout the country. Two weeks later, Hohner, the company that had manufactured the offending harmonica, offered Linz $10,000 to endorse its brand. Linz gladly accepted…”
Phil Linz Obituary, by Richard Goldstein, New York Times, 12/10/20 (via Chuck Dunbar)
MARCO, THE EARLY YEARS
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I went to school for a short while at Central College in Pella, Iowa in the late 1970s. In Google Maps now you can see that it's changed a lot. They seem to have removed the giant dusty old brick theater that had stood since the Civil War and was like a maze of dim catacombs inside. And I don't see the train tracks anymore. There were tracks that ran diagonally across the campus, no safety signs and unremarked upon. You stepped over them between classes. Every once in awhile a freight train would honk and take a few minutes to complete barreling through the place, shaking windows of the dorms and classrooms. Just the library and the gym were giant brand-new modern-art marvels then, and they're still there. It seemed like everyone had blonde hair and blue eyes. There was one teacher, a chemistry teacher, a man, who wore earrings, and there was one proudly gay student, who fought for and maintained a gay information wall board in the student union building. He taught me to play the board game Go, and now that I'm recalling him, I see him as being a mirror image in mannerism and speech to Eliot character in the teevee show The Magicians, at least for its first two seasons, except without Eliot's alcoholism.
The bathroom/shower room on my floor of my dorm was rarely used during the day and it was terrifically echoey/reverby. You could go in there and play guitar and wail. One boy in my dorm had a guitar that I coveted: it was a little bigger than a normal acoustic guitar, and it had the fully adjustable complicated metal bridge of a Fender Stratocaster on it -- that's the only guitar I've ever seen that was like that. He probably modified it himself.
The chemistry and science labs looked like black and white pictures you see of a lab from a hundred years before. The school was study in contrast: very old, bleak and haunted-seeming, and space-age new (the library, for example, which was several floors fitted into each other like a creative jenga stack, lots of glass, and the whole building was up in the air on cylindrical pylons, no ground floor. You rode the elevator or took the wide stairs to get up to the first floor.
I remember I had a green sweatsuit I'd go everywhere in, and I got giggled at a lot. There was a pond with ducks. Lots of grass, and paved footpaths.
The cafeteria had musical concert quality speakers bolted up high on the kitchen wall. They blasted Heart music at top volume for all meals. Other people's music, too, but Barracuda, Magic Man and Dog And Butterfly stand out in my memory.
The Halloween festivities included a pumpkin-carving room with a stack of ready pumpkins and plenty of long knives just lying around. A couple of older students chaperoned this. At one point several loud out-of-control boys came in and had a fit, laughing and crazily stabbing and shredding and throwing pumpkins around, a miracle no-one was hurt, then they left. The chaperone boy turned to the chaperone girl and said, deadpan, "Some people should not take drugs."
I don't know what the drinking age was, but I was seventeen and you could walk into town and buy a pitcher of beer and play pool while old farm-looking men sat on stools at the bar and smoked cigarets and chortled about things. Country music on the jukebox. The town was completely dead at night, even in mild weather. You could walk up and down all the streets and everything was quiet, blue teevee light flickering on the curtains of one room of each house. I don't think there was a movie theater. I think there might have been a tractor showroom, and there must have been a gas station.
I had kind of a crush on one of the teachers. Eileen Something. She seemed no older than the students, she was the poet-in-residence, she had long straight brown hair, a sharp, narrow face, and she never told me not to sit near her in the cafeteria. The dorms were not co-ed. There were boys' dorms and girls' dorms, and if you wanted to talk to somebody on the phone in a dorm, there was one phone. You'd call, the dorm mother would answer, and she'd go upstairs and get the person to come down to the phone. I half-remember there being a phone on one of the upper floors, where just whoever was near it would answer. There was just a single phone, a payphone, in my building.
My work-exchange job was in A.V., and I videotaped sports on half-inch Sony reel-to-reel decks, zooming in and out stupidly on girls' butts and boobs and filing the videos for apparently nobody to ever look at, and I delivered and set up and projected movies and slides for teachers. One time I set up so a teacher could show art and architecture slides and talk about them, but I didn't know the power cord for that particular projector was hidden in a secret panel underneath. I went all the way back to the library, got a cord from another projector, got back halfway through the class, that cord almost but didn't quite fit (!), so I shaved some plastic off the connector and made it fit, and when I turned on the projector the teacher, who had been increasingly boiling, over my shoulder, this whole time, exploded at my utter incompetence and how I was a waste of breath and why can't anybody ever get anything right around here, god dammit, and so on. The boss woman in the A.V. department of the library was small and round and just lovely in every respect. When I came back with the equipment cart from that guy I said to her, "You're gonna get a call." She said, "He already called. He always calls. He's an asshole. Forget it." Now I think she might have set me up for that, to twit him. I don't know why that never occurred to me before now.
They had a pretty good selection of science and astronomy filmstrips (and the accompanying records and tapes). That's a really good way to learn; I still think so.
My entire experience of everything in Iowa, except for the p.a. system in the cafeteria, the filmstrip situation and the everyone-has-blue-eyes-and-blonde-hair thing, struck me as: Iowa must be like California twenty years ago.
I bailed early, came back, got my motorcycle out of my mother's garage, and I just on a whim went to Fort Bragg, because Julie was here, staying with friends.