Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021

Warm Front | 20 New Cases | Pet Tessa | Health Chat | Kingfisher | Senate Acquits | Loading Ship | Veggie Starts | Girl Fig Mask | Sinking | Talk & Pump | Loaded Ship | Navarro Ferry | Second Chance | Lost Creek | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Best Shot | Helmet Test | Freethinkers | Assassinated | Cancel Culture | Frazier House | Miss You | Heron | Capitol Rioters | Fearless Slugger | Congressional Pay | Author Reading | Marco Radio | Redemption Song

* * *

AS A WARM FRONT APPROACHES, light rain will commence along the Redwood Coast this morning, and overspread the rest of our area this afternoon. Steadier and locally heavy rain will pass through tonight, particularly around Humboldt and Del Norte. Showers on Monday will give way to drier and milder weather Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by periods of rain Thursday through the weekend. (NWS)

* * *

20 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Friday bringing the total to 3701. 

* * *


Meet delightful canine mini-tank, Tessa. Tessa is a mellow dog who is easy to take out for walks and has great indoor manners. This cheerful, enjoyable girl appreciates a good game of toss and catch—tennis balls being her personal favorite toy! Tessa is a sweet, good natured dog who is very social with people. Tessa is 2 years old and a solid 69 pounds. For more about Tessa, go to 

While you’re there, read about our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19, as it impacts Mendocino County Shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg and check out our adoptable dogs and cats! Visit us on Facebook at:

For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.

* * *


AV Village Monthly Zoom Gathering: Sunday, February 14th, 4 to 5 pm

Join us for a chat with Dr. Andy Coren, Mendocino County Health Officer, on COVID, Seniors and Vaccine timeline. Please RSVP with the coordinator ( so we can get an idea of attendance, thank you. Looking forward to seeing you soon! BYOB for a more enjoyable event!

* * *

Belted Kingfisher (photo by Judy Valadao)

* * *


Senate minority leader says Trump ‘practically and morally responsible’ for Capitol riot, but votes not guilty regardless

by Amanda Holpuch

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday that Donald Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 Jan – minutes after voting to acquit the former president in his impeachment trial for that very same act.

McConnell, like the Senators who voted in favor of impeachment, was deeply critical of Trump’s conduct leading up to the attack. “They [the mob] did this because they’d been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth because he was angry he lost an election,” McConnell said.

But McConnell argued the Senate could not convict Trump because he had left office before the Senate trial began – a timeline McConnell orchestrated as Senate majority leader after refusing Democrats’ requests to call the Senate into an emergency session in January.

The House impeached Trump for a second time in his final days in office, but McConnell delayed starting the Senate trial until after Joe Biden was sworn in.

McConnell said the Senate was not meant to serve as a “moral tribunal” and said Trump could still be open to criminal prosecution.

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he’s in office,” McConnell said. “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”

House majority leader Nancy Pelosi criticized McConnell’s remarks in a press conference on Saturday and said the issue of timing “was not the reason that he voted the way he did; it was the excuse that he used.”

“For Mitch McConnell – who created the situation where it could not have been heard before the 20th, or even begun before the 20th in the Senate – to say all the things he said, oh my gosh, about Donald Trump and how horrible he was and is, and then say, ‘But that’s the time that the House chose to bring it over’ — Oh, no. We didn’t choose. You chose not to receive it,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi was also critical of the “cowardly” Republicans who voted against impeachment after the attack.

“I salute the Republican Senators who voted their conscience and for our Country,” Pelosi said. “Other Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold Trump accountable for igniting a violent insurrection to cling to power will go down as one of the darkest days and most dishonorable acts in our nation’s history.”

She repeated that members of the mob chanted “hang Mike Pence,” referring to the vice president’s role in overseeing the electoral count.

“And they just dismissed that.” Pelosi said. “Why? Because maybe they can’t get another job. What is so important about any of one of us? What is so important about the political survival of any of one of us than our constitution that we take an oath to protect and defend?”


* * *

Loading Ship on the Coast

* * *


Lots of new veggie starts in today! New veggies include:

  • Lettuce 
  • Spinach
  • Pac Choi
  • Swiss Chard
  • Celery and much much more!

Oh and they’re all ORGANIC!!!

* * *


by C.W. Nevius

This has been a year of debate about social justice. From Black Lives Matter marches to Donald Trump rallies, hundreds of thousands have gathered to express their views. It’s been a national story.

But when it gets personal, it gets ugly.

You’ve probably heard about the controversy at the highly regarded Sonoma restaurant The Girl & the Fig.

On Jan. 1, Kimi Stout, a former server, posted an Instagram video. It showed her peeling off her Girl & the Fig T-shirt, throwing it in a trash can and finishing with a double-barreled middle finger salute.

Below the video she wrote that she had been “forced out” of her job for refusing to stop wearing her Black Lives Matter face mask while working.

The post was picked up by SFGate. Their story said that a server lost her job because she refused to stop wearing a BLM mask. To the surprise of no one, many people heard that she was “fired” for wearing the mask.

And we had ourselves a viral controversy. As The Press Democrat has pointed out, media outlets from Newsweek to the London Daily Mail picked it up. Sondra Bernstein, the restaurant owner, and John Toulze, the president, were besieged.

Exasperated, they posted a statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “We did not fire her,” they wrote. “She made her own decision to quit because she did not want to follow the rules.”

If they were hoping this would tamp down the controversy, it was a swing and a miss. That post has over 1,600 comments and growing. Bernstein and Toulze (and Stout by the way) have been targeted with hateful attacks. A demonstration is planned Sunday in Sonoma.

So now I would like to ask. Has this made anyone happy? Has any progress been made here for the good of anyone or any cause?

Because I am not seeing it.

Let’s unpack this a little.

First, it doesn’t take much time on Stout’s Instagram account to see that she is passionate about BLM. Among her fashion shots — she’s a former Miss Sonoma County — and pictures of her dog are photos of her wearing a BLM mask and T-shirt with the caption “Making racists uncomfortable since 1986 (the year she was born.)”

Nothing wrong with that. Those are her views. I can even give you a scenario where this all happens and it is no big deal.

This began in September, when Toulze and Bernstein decided to change the restaurant’s dress code, requiring servers to wear either a restaurant-themed mask or a plain blue one.

Stout pushed back. She was told she could not work at Girl & the Fig if she insisted on the BLM mask. She quit and posted an Instagram video to show how angry she was.

Still no big deal. It happens in the workplace.

The game-changer was when she said she was “forced out of my position” for refusing to remove the BLM mask.

Now we bring in the whole “cancel culture” argument. The people who think she was fired are furious at Toulze and Bernstein, claiming they are demanding she disavow her beliefs.

But how would she feel if the server next to her was wearing a “Stop the Steal” mask? Just because you believe passionately in your cause doesn’t mean you can push your views at the workplace.

Also, it turns out that none of this is recent. As she says in her post, Stout made the trash can video on Sept. 3. She didn’t post it until four months later, on Jan. 1. Why now?

All of this has left Toulze and Bernstein shellshocked. One minute they were running a restaurant that has been a rousing success on the Sonoma Plaza for 23 years. The next they were embroiled in a debate on social justice.

They’ve made a couple attempts to explain themselves. The first, on Facebook, began defensively, “We have been silent for too long,” which isn’t exactly the right tone. But they go on to voice their support for Black Lives Matter. In a follow-up post they commit to several efforts to foster diversity and combat racism. Bernstein even says Stout “was a very good server and we were sorry to lose her.”

In a commentary in the Sonoma Index-Tribune, Bernstein pointed out that they’ve had a dress policy since 1997 — bluejeans, a long-sleeve white shirt and a green apron. In September, they changed the policy to include generic masks.

They cited the Amazon/Whole Foods policy that workers cannot wear “visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising.”

None of this seems to have helped. In her commentary, Bernstein said “our restaurant and personal reputations have come under assault.” She accuses “social media influencers” of “attacking our character and integrity without facts.”

Meanwhile, Stout has reappeared on Instagram. On Thursday, she posted another video. She looks into the camera and says, “If they allowed her to wear the mask they would be alienating some of their customers … (adding sarcastically) yeah, racists.”

It has been viewed nearly 6,500 times. This isn’t going away.

So here’s where things stand now. Stout is presumably out of a job. Bernstein and Toulz are getting death threats. BLM got some lip service, but the core issue — violence against unarmed people of color — wasn’t mentioned. And a protest is scheduled for Sunday at the restaurant … which is already closed “for the foreseeable future” because of fears of violence.

Help me out. Which of those is a win?

(Courtesy, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.)

* * *

Taking On Water

* * *


by Mark Scaramella

"California's rainfall is at historic lows. That spells trouble for wildfires and farms. “Northern California remains stuck in one of the worst two-year rainfall deficits seen since the 1849 Gold Rush, increasing the risk of water restrictions and potentially setting up dangerous wildfire conditions next summer. The current precipitation is only 30% to 70% of what the state would expect to have seen during a normal year — with no more big rainfall events on the horizon for February."

Last week, KZYX’s environmental reporter, Lana Cohen, began her report with a true statement: “In the past, there was no ground water regulation in the Ukiah Valley.”


The Grand Jury has made several tentative attempts to draw attention to the Ukiah Valley's ominously unaddressed and unregulated water situation, suggesting, among other things, that gages be installed on pipes and pumps, mostly for vineyards, and that the Ukiah Valley’s many competing little water districts be consolidated. 

The buccaneers of the wine industry said no, and the over-lawyered water districts would not agree to consolidation.

But then Ms. Cohen’s report abruptly veered off into optimism unsupported by fact.

“That is about to change. Regulation is on its way.”

Uh, Ms. Cohen, the Water Board’s 2010 order for the grape growers allows them to prepare their own plans for pumping frost protection water. But that was too much “regulation.” The grape growers even sued to stop self-monitoring! And Judge Moorman ruled for the growers, of course. The state appellate court overturned Moorman, the upshot being that the poor beleaguered grape growers were forced (allowed) to simply document what they were already doing and try not to turn on all their frost water pumps at the same time.

That “regulation”?

You might think that since NorCal is in what Ms. Cohen conceded was an “historic drought” that some kind of sane “regulation” might indeed be worth considering.

But what kind of “regulation”? 

The latest, according to Ms. Cohen, is California’s “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act” passed back in 2015. (And if it seems like that particular “regulation” is only now, more than six years later, finally even being considered, you get an A in Mendo Timeframes 101.)

Ms. Cohen said that “Ukiah was one of 94 basins at risk of overdraft,” and that the 2015 Act required Ukiah “to create a plan for the Ukiah Basin. For four years they’ve been gathering information, getting organized and trying to figure out what Ukiah Valley needs.”

Four years “trying,” but apparently not there yet.

In the wake of the 2015 law, Mendo set up a Groundwater Management Agency which, as we have noted previously, is dominated by wine people and their gofers.

That “Agency,” Ms. Cohen said, is “working with local politicians, stakeholders, interested parties and engineers to answer important questions about how much water can be used without overdrafting the basin, how much irrigation can be done, how much water can be supplied to urban areas, how many people and communities can be supported? And how to maximize the water availability with water supply and demand management.” 

“Local politicians, stakeholders, interested parties and engineers…” translates as the local Cheap Water Mafia. No skeptics, no neutrals, no members of the public need apply to answer these critical water questions.

Years ago the Cheap Water Mafia led by then-UC Extension advisor and now-Supervisor Glenn McGourty did what they called a “study” of the Navarro River basin. That “study” involved simply asking a few grape growers what they thought of their own water usage, then putting the growers' self-serving answers into a few charts and graphs and concluding, voila! No Problem! Plenty of water! And we’re really really good stewards of the land and water and how could anybody think otherwise?: "Grape Growers Congratulate Each Other" (August 13, 2014)

FAST FORWARD: Newly elected Supervisor Glenn McGourty has replaced Cheap Water enforcer, Carre Brown, and is in now charge of the Ukiah Valley Ground Water Sustainability Agency.

McGourty knows that in Mendo there’s no history and the grape growers can claim whatever they want to claim without fear of contradiction. McGourty invoked a version of Big Timber’s tried and true “talk & cut” tactic back in the 90s when the timber companies agreed to go to endless meetings with self-important enviros and talk and talk and talk about logging reform while continuing to clearcut as fast as they could. 

With McGourty’s Cheap Water Mafia the tactic can be called “talk & pump.”

McGourty told Ms. Cohen that despite the evidence to the contrary, there’s no real water problem in the Ukiah Valley. 

McGourty: “The Agency is developing a plan and the first part of that is determining where the boundary is and the condition of the aquifer beneth the Ukiah Valley. Our initial results indicate that it’s a pretty good basin, there’s a fair amount of water down there. We don’t know for sure, but we think there’s about 200,000 acre feet which is about double the size of Lake Mendocino. The water levels appear to be very stable and they don’t seem to be differing much as we go from season to season. So we’re trying to understand how the system works. We are supposed to monitor water levels and understand what makes the water levels go up and down and how much water is being extracted and how to monitor that.”

Of course, “how to monitor that” is already well known and well documented: Gages on every commerical and ag pump and pipe would do it. In fact, the Supervisors once asked their then-Water Agency Chief Roland Sanford to draft a gaging ordinance in the wake of one of several Grand Jury inland water recommendations since the Board of Supervisors is also the County Water Agency (not that they act that way). 

Sanford ignored that request for a couple of years, citing higher priority tasks, and then the year after Carmel Angelo became CEO Sanford and his tiny “water agency” was eliminated — budgets were tight, you see. 

No gaging ordinance ever saw the light of day.

Now we’re apparently supposed to believe that “regulation is on its way”? Not if Mendo can help it. Drought or no drought. The only question is, How soon will Ms. Cohen return to the subject and report again that McGourty and Co. are still talking about the problem and “trying to understand how the system works”?

* * *

* * *

HISTORY NOTE: 107 Years Ago Feb. 6, 1914, Fort Bragg Advocate: “A ferry is now in operation across the Navarro River and it’s taking the place of the former bridge which was carried out to sea by the recent storm until another structure can be built.” 

* * *


Michelle Morris, with her dog Lucy, knits blankets for Second Chance to distribute to the pets of people in need in Fort Bragg. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Fort Bragg residents Steve Sapontzis and Jeanne Gocker know better than most the bond that exists between dog owners and their beloved canines. Through their nonprofit, Second Chance, which assists low-income dog owners along the Mendocino coast, they’ve encountered numerous people who adore their dogs and would do most anything for their welfare.

* * *

King Range, Lost Coast (Photo by Tom Allman)

* * *


WE'RE HEARING that another woman has come forward to say that Sgt. Murray of the Ukiah PD behaved toward her in a hands-on lewd and lascivious manner. Murray will be arraigned on March 5 on charges that just seem to keep on coming. 

POSTMASTER GENERAL joyless DeJoy wants to eliminate first-class mail designated for delivery in two days, and instead make all first-class mail targeted for a three- to five-day delivery window. Boonville's beloved weekly pays mightily for second class postal “privileges” that still manages to get our newspapers where they're going in a more or less timely manner that's never more than three weeks outta Boonville.

NOW that they won't have Trump to impeach, will the Democrats finally start to do a few things that might begin to rescue the millions of Americans buried in the rubble of a still collapsing economy? Doubt it. Take the “systemic racism” the Democrats constantly brandish with BLM banners and kente shawls while they do nothing to adjust the system to take some of the sting out of it for the many millions that the system doesn't work for. The pathetic and infinitely hypocritical Democrat leadership won't even allow single payer up for a vote.

HOUSEKEEPING: We've got a literal ton of old newspapers free to anyone who cares to simply drive up to our little greenhouse where they're stored and help yourself. Suitable as fire starters, bird cage liners, exorcisms, insulation, summer suits, and retroactive instruction in The True History of Mendocino County.

Q-ANON. Speculating with a friend on the Q-Anon phenomenon, additional evidence that we're deep in The End Times, she said she was surprised that so many millions buy into it. But from the get sages ranging from PT Barnum to HL Mencken have stated versions of Barnum's “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Mencken, circa 1925, with President Coolidge probably in mind, predicted that it wouldn't be long before we elected a straight-up “moron” as president. We've elected several, all Republicans of course, them being the party of the learning disabled, but the Democrats don't seem exactly teeming with whiz kids either. The system is not only systemically racist it's degraded to where only deeply flawed people occupy its elected slots at the higher levels.

MENDO'S FAR-FLUNG school districts are gearing up to kinda re-open, and rare is the report that some young people prefer distance learning to rushing out early in the morning to catch the yellow bus for the edu-factory, typically, most places, a cluster of spirit-murdering structures no less spirit-murdering inside. In Mendo, like everywhere else, schools, courts, government are organized for the ease and comfort of the people who man and woman them.

SUPERINTENDENT WARYCH, imo, has done a good job restoring order in the Boonville schools, especially among some of the snarling hags who comprise the elementary staff, all of them lucky to be employed anywhere doing anything, least of all left alone in a room with children. But then we've always had a vivid cast of characters staffing Boonville's edu-processing centers all the way back to Boom-Boom Baker, Superintendent Wobbling Eagle, Fifth-A-Day Peterson, Mr. Burble Gurble, and, my fave, Bible Bill, the school bus driver who, one memorable afternoon, called headquarters to say the devil had occupied his bus and he feared for the safety of the children if he drove on. A replacement driver hustled out to the Holmes Ranch stop to take command while Bill chanted, "Get thee hence, Satan!"

HERE'S THE SCHOOL PLAN for the Anderson Valley, courtesy of our interim superintendent, Michael Warych: 

The Board set a target date to partially reopen Preschool, Kindergarten, and Grade 1 on March 15, 2021, in addition to providing targeted instruction to a few small cohorts of very high risk students at other grade levels for the time being. It's important to note that there are several tasks to be completed before the District is authorized to reopen any grade levels. For that reason, they did not (really could not) take definitive action to reopen on March 15. It's officially a target date at this time. The Board will receive progress reports on March 2 and March 9, with the hope of taking final action on March 9.

Consistent with state and local guidelines, this would be partial, gradual reopening. Students in grades P, K, and 1 would attend school on-site for in-person instruction for three hours two days per week. The rest of the week, they would continue with distance learning. If we are approved for reopening in P-1 and it goes well, we would move toward reopening Grades 2-6 as quickly as possible. Because the COVID adjusted case rate (average daily rate of new infections) is still so high in Mendocino County, we're not yet allowed to generally reopen Grades 7-12.

Students in Grades P-1 would be allowed choose to attend classes on-site for two days per week or continue full-time distance learning. Our parent surveys indicate that about 50% of K-1 students (approximately 25 total) would attend on-site. That means one cohort of six Kindergarten students would attend on Monday and Tuesday and a second cohort of six students would attend on Thursday and Friday. The same would be true for First Grade. Preliminary plans are for 10 Preschool students to attend on Mondays and Tuesdays. The Kindergarten and First Grade teachers would provide in-person instruction for the students attending on-site and concurrently provide on-line instruction for their other students.

Bus transportation would be provided the same way it normally is. For safety reasons, we would not serve meals at school. We would send home a sack meal with students who attend on-site. Otherwise, on Wednesdays we would continue to distribute five days' worth of meals to all students who wish to receive them.

The following excerpt is from the February 9 Board meeting agenda. It provides more detail regarding the official action taken by the Board and the tasks to be completed by Administration. It may be way more than you need, but I thought it best to give you as complete a picture as possible.

The discussion of re-opening schools in Anderson Valley is a standing Board agenda item.

Current California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines would allow Anderson Valley Unified School District to reopen Grades TK-6 (with certain conditions), in addition to allowing in-person instruction provided to a limited number of very high risk students in Grades 7-12.

The Mendocino County daily rate of new COVID infections (also known as "case rate") is currently 20.14 per 100,000 residents. Elementary grades (TK - 6) are allowed to re-open when the case rate is less than 25/100,000. Secondary grades (7 - 12) are not allowed to re-open until the case rate is less than 7/100,000. Mendocino County is currently in the Deep Purple Tier.

The Board agreed at a regular meeting in November that schools in Anderson Valley would consider partial re-opening when:

1. Mendocino County has been in the Red Tier for some time,

2. There have been no new cases in Anderson Valley for at least two weeks,

3. AVUSD has a re-opening plan approved by Public Health, and

4. The District has protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

The Superintendent recommends reopening Preschool and Grades TK-1 with certain conditions on or about March 15, 2021. In addition, the Superintendent will recommend expansion of limited in-person instruction in Grades 2-12, as well as occasional in-person social/creative/physical activities for Grades 2-6.

The Superintendent has conferred with the District Re-Opening Committee (including representatives of CTA and CSEA), MCOE, and Public Health regarding the possibility of reopening certain grade levels for in-person instruction. The District's Reopening Committee includes four employees who are also parents of children currently attending District schools.

The Superintendent will recommend that the Board:

1. Eliminate the requirement of Mendocino County being in the Red Tier before reopening,

2. Eliminate the requirement of no new cases in Anderson Valley before reopening,

3. Direct Administration to:

a. Develop and submit for Public Health approval all components of a Covid Safety Plan (CSP),

b. Meet and confer with CTA and CSEA regarding the proposed CSP's effects on working conditions,

c. Post the CSP as required, and seek parent input as required,

d. Secure access to sufficient PPE and COVID-19 test kits,

e. Develop and implement cleaning and sanitizing protocols consistent with the Board-adopted reopening plan and the approved MOUs with CTA and CSEA,

f. Develop and implement transportation and food service schedules and protocols,

g. Provide the Board with a progress report on or about March 2, 2021,

h. Provide the Board with a progress report prior to final approval on or about March 9, 2021.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions if I can me of help.

Take care and be safe

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, February 12, 2021

Anderson, Bennett, Laflin, Madigan

AUSTIN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation, probation revocation.

ROBERT BENNETT, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

ADAM LAFLIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOHN MADIGAN IV, Oakland/Ukiah. DUI, pot transportation and for sale.

Nace, Shannon, Stearns

THOMMY NACE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation.

TASHEENA SHANNON JR., Redwood Valley. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.


* * *

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: I Get The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine…

by Jonah Raskin

It was a Pat Benatar kind of day, a day when I knew I would say, at least once, “Hit me with your best shot.” I was scheduled for a vaccination, my first, and I couldn’t get Benatar's lyrics out of my head. I’d played them over and over again and knew them by heart. Of course, the woman who gave me the shot, or the “jab,” as some call it, knew the Benatar song from 1980. When I said, “Hit me with your best shot,” she said. “Fire away.” Whatever the song was meant to be about, it definitely wasn’t meant to be about the diabolical pandemic and the vaccine that promises so much. I arrived early at the community center near my house and got in line. I expected the worst. I’d read the horror stories in the local papers and watched TV news about the vaccine. As Marilyn Davin noted in a recent AVA, “California has one of the worst Covid vaccine injection rates in the country.” LA had run out. So had Napa. Sonoma had made a mess. Mendo wasn’t much better. Accurate information was hard to come by.

So, there I was, in line, one of millions around the country going through an elaborate ritual to be healthy, and not to die, not just yet. 

Soon enough, a long line snaked behind me. We waited. We were all over 75 (that was a requirement) and we were all masked. We tried to socially distance, but most of the people in line wanted to socialize and did. The medicinal crew was on lunch break when I arrived and wouldn’t be back until 2 p.m.. Right on the hour the doors opened. I was ushered inside and directed to table #2 where I met Natalie, who asked me a bunch of questions, before Mary, the phlebotomist, hit me with her best shot. 

Natalie wanted to know if I had recently had a fever, diarrhea, headaches, had come into contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, or already received a vaccination. I had no trouble replying “No,” “No,” “No, ” and “No” and no problem saying “No” when Natalie asked “Are you pregnant and or breast feeding?” I did not look pregnant nor in any way like a woman who was nursing a child. I paused for a few moments and shook my head. Natalie added, “I had to ask. You never know these days.” 

Natalie filled out a small card that read “COVID-19 Vaccination Record.” She added my name, DOB, the date the vaccine was administered and my eight-digit “patient number” that begins “659.” The card went into my wallet where it now lives all the time, along with my driver’s license, credit card and library card. 

Mary explained that I was getting “The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to prevent Coronavirus Disease.” I rolled up the sleeve of the turtleneck sweater, turned away and relaxed. I didn’t want to see the needle going into my arm. It was more like a prick than a hit and it was over in seconds. I didn’t feel a thing. Best shot I’ve ever had and I’ve had loads ever since boyhood. Natalie suggested that at home I take a hot bath and that I move my arms. Next, I had to sit and wait and be observed for about 30 minutes to see if I might have an adverse reaction. Others were seated in the room, all of us more than six-feet apart. I didn't have an allergic reaction. I drove home and followed Natalie’s suggestions. I soaked in the bathtub, plus I used a gummie with CBD and THC to relax. 

The following day, a Friday, my arm was sore. Nothing else was out of the ordinary. I realized on that Friday that I felt greatly relieved that I’d had my first shot. My anxiety level dropped. 

That day I roamed around the county asking people at random if they had already gotten a shot, or if they were planning to get one. People in the medical field had already received two shots. They were certain the vaccination would help. I was surprised that a large number of people said they had not yet decided to get the shot. One woman told me, “I haven’t made up my mind. I have five children. I have to think of them as well as me.” 

I can understand why many don’t want the shot. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is not guaranteed to protect everyone, nor is it approved by the FDA. The agency has not approved any vaccine. Still, it seems like a gamble worth taking to put COVID-19 back in its box, close the lid and listen to Pat Benatar sing, “Hit me with your best shot — fire away.” 

* * *

Testing the New Football Helmet

* * *

ON THIS DATE, the day before Valentine's Day in 1862, Robert Green Ingersoll and Eva Amelia Parker were married. Ingersoll, a Civil War officer, attorney and spell-binding orator, became the leading advocate of freethought in 19th-century America. The son of a minister credited his freethinking wife with his rejection of religion. Eva was the granddaughter of Sarah Buckman Parker, a noted infidel, and the daughter of firm rationalists. Robert was 29 and Eva was 21. "She is a good, natural, sweet woman. One that loves me and one that I love — that is enough," he wrote at the time. In dedicating his first book, Some Mistakes of Moses, to her, he called Eva "a woman without superstition." 

Ingersoll was famously devoted to his family. Rumor by critical religionists had it that Ingersoll's son was a drunkard who frequently had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll's famous response was: "It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!" The loving extended family household included daughters Maud and Eva, Eva's husband, Ingersoll's mother-in-law, his wife's sister and husband, and their child. 

Love is the magician, the enchanter,

That changes worthless things to joy,

And makes right royal kings and queens of common clay.

Love is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart;

And without that sacred passion,

That divine swoon, we are less than beasts;

But with love, earth is heaven, and we are gods.

—From Ingersoll's 1884 lecture "Orthodoxy," published in "The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll," Vol. 2 of 12 (the Dresden edition, 1900)

* * *

“I SEE MEN ASSASSINATED around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead; men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideas...”

— Charles Bukowski

* * *


I am old enough to remember when the term “political correctness” first entered the public dialog and can recall having lunch at work one day where we were entertaining ourselves by calling each other out for perceived offenses. At the time it all seemed like innocent fun, and of course we would humor the politically correct by playing along using the newly correct terminologies.

It is no longer innocent fun. Humor itself seems to have been banned. We now have cancel culture on steroids only too eager to destroy people and organizations for the most minor of offenses. This will not end well.

* * *

“OUR HOUSE — six rooms and a porch built by Daddy and my brothers and sisters — was set on oak blocks and had a wood roof reinforced by tin. But that still wasn't enough to keep the elements from fooling with us. I mean, I could look up and tell you what time of day it was from where the sunlight shot through. And when it rained hard, we'd spend half the night putting buckets out to keep it from flooding us. In those days, we had no telephone, no running water, no plumbing, and the outhouse was seventy five yards from the back door.”

—Joe Frazier

* * *

KNOW FULL WELL that I miss you. Here are warm days and convivial nights, but I am spoiled for having lived in four dimensions; for having seen the invisible rhapsodic colors at either end of the spectrum; for having heard the thunder and the shake of the octaves below and above the range of the human ear. Then again, that might strike you as drowning in fruit salad.

— Kurt Vonnegut, ~1942; from a letter to his girlfriend Jane Cox

* * *

Great Blue Heron (photo by Judy Valadao)

* * *

"…THE DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE of the suspected Capitol rioters is different from that of past right-wing extremists. The average age of the arrestees we studied is 40. Two-thirds are 35 or older, and 40 percent are business owners or hold white-collar jobs.

"Unlike the stereotypical extremist, many of the alleged participants in the Capitol riot have a lot to lose. They work as CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and accountants.

"Strikingly, court documents indicate that only 9 percent are unemployed. Of the earlier far-right-extremist suspects we studied, 61 percent were under 35, 25 percent were unemployed, and almost none worked in white-collar occupations.

"Fourth, most of the insurrectionists do not come from deep-red strongholds. People familiar with America’s political geography might imagine the Capitol rioters as having marinated in places where they are unlikely to encounter anyone from the opposite side of the political spectrum.

"Yet of those arrested for their role in the Capitol riot, more than half came from counties that Biden won; one-sixth came from counties that Trump won with less than 60 percent of the vote."

(The Atlantic)

* * *

“IT'S NOT SMART TO GET HIT. Every time you do, it shortens your career. The public likes a fearless slugger, but that won't pay your hospital bills.”

— Willie Pep

* * *



How long will it take to negotiate across the aisle? Our representatives and senators delay and delay. Many of us are out of work — some of us more than 10 months. We are in food lines and unemployment lines, but both are running out. We can’t pay our mortgages. We will be on the streets as soon as the bankers and the landlords are able to kick us out.

Here is a suggestion: Cut the pay for our legislators. Let us start with three months. If a deal to help us cannot be accomplished in a month, then slash their pay another three months. Some of us will soon be out of work for a full year. Maybe with three to six months of no pay, they will feel our pain. Why should we pay them to do nothing?

Do they not care about their voters, our children and even those of us who are undocumented? What is the price of a little humanity?

Tom Cochrane

Sea Ranch

* * *

* * *


The recording of last night's (2021-02-12) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here:

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

Chinese Church of Almighty God (Eastern Lightning) Riverdance group. "The group’s core tenet is that Jesus Christ has returned to earth and is presently a Chinese woman."

I never saw most of these movies, so I have only an idea, from reading, of what the characters might be singing and dancing about, and almost all them came out since the 1980s, but this video is pretty close to what my ten-year-old self in 1968 imagined the drug experience might be like. Now that everyone including children is on drugs all the time anymore, no-one has to wonder that. They’ve taken all the guesswork out of it. 

  • The birds. There are birds the size and weight of a refrigerator all the way down to birds as small as a bee.
  • Speaking of which, I love this, though I want him to stop poking at it with his gargantuan doom asteroid of a finger. I know it's love and care, but the baby bird is so fragile.

* * *


  1. Eric Sunswheat February 14, 2021

    Mini blow torches are portable, affordable, and both easy and safe to operate.

    RE: HOUSEKEEPING: We’ve got a literal ton of old newspapers free to anyone who cares to simply drive up to our little greenhouse where they’re stored and help yourself. Suitable as fire starters…

    ->. If your fire needs a boost getting started, you may use a couple of sheets (not more) of plain black-and-white newspaper, rolled tightly and placed beneath small bits of wood kindling, but don’t toss magazines, gift wrap, or coupon inserts into the fireplace.

    • Bruce McEwen February 14, 2021

      How about a good old Florentine-style Bonfire of the Vanities? A tower of newspapers, and everyone come and offer some vanity to sacrifice, some frippery or other, something no longer needed due to social distancing and the “new normal”…?

      • Bob A. February 14, 2021

        Does that make Savonarola the “man” of Burning Man?

        • Bruce McEwen February 14, 2021

          If memory serves, he did burn; so yes, I do believe the pious old man would serve the purpose well enough.

  2. Douglas Coulter February 14, 2021

    Political correct speech?
    Imagine plugging the safety valve on any pressure vessel!
    This is what banning racial jokes does. A racial joke lowers tension by allowing a light hearted view of painful experience. Dark humor is one of the best trauma responses humans have discovered.
    Yes there is a “too far too soon” and snide remarks at graveside won’t gain many friends but to ban words, to ban hurt feelings makes zero sense and cannot be expected to yield good results.
    United we stand, divided we fall!

  3. Marmon February 14, 2021

    RE: Q-ANON.

    I find it interesting that liberals know more about Q than most conservatives. I also doubt that Q has millions of followers, unless you’re counting the liberals who are following it. For myself, I haven’t even ever googled it.


    • Harvey Reading February 14, 2021

      Just what IS this q-thing? If it’s like f-book or the bird thing with its tweets, it’s trash.

      • Marmon February 14, 2021

        Your guess is as good as mine Harv, I’ve only met one person that knows anything about it. I guess we need to ask a liberal.


    • George Hollister February 14, 2021

      And who are the Proud Boys? I never heard of them until about a month ago. According to Wikipedia they are a Neo-fascist, extreme right wing organization made up of only white men. Their leader, Enrique Tarrio Jr., is mixed race being of Cuban of and African decent. Figure that one out.

      • Marmon February 14, 2021

        I knew nothing about the Proud Boys until Biden mentioned them in a debate against Trump. I looked in on them on Parler and saw nothing wrong. Of course there are a lot of different Proud Boys chapters and I didn’t care to research them all.


        • Betsy Cawn February 15, 2021

          A self-proclaimed member of the Proud Boys briefly ran for office in the competition for District 5 Supervisory seat, Kevin Ahajanian.* He was endorsed by the Lake County Republican Party, as was Republican Matt Nelson, who competed with Ceclia Aguiar-Curry for the state Assembly District 4. Neither won.


          A very vocal minority of right-wing anti-maskers in Lake County managed to get the support of at least two elected Supervisors last year (District 5’s Rob Brown and District 2’s Bruno Sabatier). Both supervisors kept the rest of them and the designated Incident Command center (the Public Health Department) from developing a unified command structure, which in any case was not helped by the position taken openly early in the state’s declared emergency by the elected County Sheriff.

          Hard to imagine how you missed that, Mr. Marmon. But Chris Hedges sets it straight, and Dave Chapelle nails it.”

          • Marmon February 15, 2021

            From what I can gather, the “Proud Boys” may be a fringe group like BLM and Antifa.


          • Bruce McEwen February 15, 2021

            You bet your boots, Betsy!

            And you no doubt recall, as I do, our dear old Mr. Marmon singing the praises of his Proud Boys in earlier posts, back before our once-exalted (in his estimation) ex-President shit and fell in it.

            And so I think we may all enjoy a round of chuckles and clucks at the cautious little yard droppings our jimmy ducks responded w/, eh?

      • Harvey Reading February 14, 2021

        Figure out what? Lots of people of Cuban ancestry, many of them still Castro haters and supporters of the “good ol’ days” of Batista’s dictatorship, in this country–particularly in Florida. Lots of people who aren’t concerned with the race of the person they choose for their partner, too.

  4. mendoblather February 14, 2021

    “….especially among some of the snarling hags who comprise the elementary staff, all of them lucky to be employed anywhere doing anything, least of all left alone in a room with children. ”

    “Snarling hags?” Come on, Bruce, would you say that standing next to one of them in line at the store?

  5. Harvey Reading February 14, 2021


    Pore ol’ Sonoma. Infested and taken over by yuppies and the super wealthy. Back in the 70s it was a relatively quiet, medium-sized town, and its wealthy rulers, the wine and cheese crowd, some livestock farmers, mostly kept to the background. One of ’em even got kicked off the county board of supervisors, by voters, for nefarious dealings. Last time I saw the place, in the late 90s, it had turned into a giant strip mall. Sad.

  6. Harvey Reading February 14, 2021


    Just more evidence that fascists are found everywhere.

  7. Lazarus February 14, 2021

    “Natalie asked “Are you pregnant and or breast feeding?” I did not look pregnant nor in any way like a woman who was nursing a child. I paused for a few moments and shook my head. Natalie added, “I had to ask. You never know these days.”

    In today’s woke, social destructiveness world, that is a reason enough to CANCEL that woman and everyone near to her…
    As Gina Davis, (Veronica Quaife) said in, (The Fly, 1986), “Be afraid. Be very afraid.
    As always,

  8. David Gurney February 14, 2021

    So, what happened to Justin Timberlake?

  9. Stephen Rosenthal February 14, 2021

    Smoking’ Joe Frazier. Brings back memories of three of the greatest sporting events I’ve ever witnessed, the Ali vs. Frazier trilogy. Saw all three broadcast live in a movie theater. I think I paid $5.00 for each fight. Joe could take a punch and relentlessly kept on coming, but Ali was the better boxer. Those were the days, my friends. Unfortunately they did end.

    • George Hollister February 14, 2021

      But who paid the bigger price; Ali, or Frazer?

      • Craig Stehr February 14, 2021

        Ali paid a far greater price, because he had everything to lose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *