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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. There is no doubt that “Cat Heaven” is an even better place following the arrival of O.J., the 19-year old “Top Cat,” who was welcomed there last week. This huge-hearted fellow was the leader of cats and kittens; the friend of dogs and puppies; and a cherished family member. RIP, buddy, you were the Coolest of the Cool.

Regular readers will be aware that my diet is not always the healthiest and I can no doubt fascinate you even more when I reveal that I do not eat any “junk” food or candy of any kind, and never have a dessert, unless it’s got chocolate in it of course! However, I could certainly do better in terms of healthier eating, but not to the degree that some folks go. For example, what is it with this current obsession with “gluten-free” food? For the past six months or so, this “movement” has been the leading new food trend in this country. Obviously, those with wheat, barley and rye allergies should follow suit but, as for the rest of us, is it just another fad or a topic to bore your friends with?

It sounds like an unfolding epidemic: A decade ago, virtually no one in the US seemed to have a problem eating gluten in bread and other foods. Now, millions do. Gluten-free products are flying off grocery shelves, and restaurants are boasting of meals with no gluten. Celebrities on TV talk shows chat about the digestive discomfort they blame on the wheat protein they now shun. Some churches even offer gluten-free Communion wafers. Faddishness is a big part of it. The best estimates are that more than half the consumers buying these products don’t have any clear-cut reaction to gluten. They buy gluten-free because they think it will help them lose weight or because they mistakenly believe they are sensitive to gluten.

Foods to avoid according to the “G-Free” folks are: beer, breads, cakes and pies, candies, carrion deer, carrion sheep, cereals, cookies and crackers, croutons, French fries, gravies, pastas. processed lunch meats, salad dressings, seasoned rice mixes, seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips, self-basting poultry, skunks, soups and soup bases, squirrels, and vegetables in sauce.

I guess if I eat any of this stuff regularly, some of which I do, then instead of dying at 93.5 I will leave this mortal coil at 93 from skin cancer as a result of bicycling in the sun too often without a hat on!. Just a few days ago I heard two neighborhood six-year olds talking and one offered the other her potato chips. The kid’s first question was “Are they gluten-free?” I mentioned this to her Dad who says he thinks the kid might be sensitive to gluten. She has stomach aches. Nothing to do with the gallons of Coca-Cola she drinks I’m sure. Dear, oh dear, it was all I could do to stop myself from saying to the Dad, “Shove yer gluten-free up your gluteus maximus!” Enough already. I’m off for a skunk sandwich on rye and a few beers.

Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #376. Next visit to the Valley by the vets from Mendocino Animal Hospital will be Thursday, August 8, their only visit that month. #377. As The Pot Shop in Philo celebrates 25 years, ceramic artist Alexis Moyer invites everyone to stop in for a special Anniversary Party on Saturday, July 27 11am-4pm. Light refreshments will be served. For more information call 707/895-2810. #378. The “Really-Quite-Difficult Living Fair” as it is known to many of us, but officially it’s the “Not-So-Simple Living Fair,” returns over the weekend of July 26-28. This event, one celebrating and sharing rural skills with various workshops, demonstrations, discussions, and food, takes place at the Fairgrounds and the website with all the details and schedule is at #379. Remember when the movie crews came to the Valley last summer? Well the “fruits of their labors” are now complete and we get the chance to see the “world premier” of “Goodbye World,” presented as a fundraiser for the AV Education Foundation. This event is on Friday, August 2 at The Grange on Hwy 128. Doors open at 5.30pm for a social hour featuring a variety of small plates along with beer, wine, and soft drinks. The movie is shown at 7pm with a Q&A afterwards (about 8.30pm) with the film’s director, Denis Henley. Tickets are $15 per adult and $7 for children 17 and under and are available at Laughing Dog Bookstore, All That Good Stuff, and Lemon's Market. Funds raised from the event will help support the Education Foundation's three primary activities: Summer Internships, Scholarships and Grants. #380. The monthly Barn Sale returns on Sat/Sun, Aug 3 and 4, at The Big Barn on AV Way just north of Boonville, and runs from 10am to 3pm each day.

Here is next week’s menu at the Senior Center at the Veterans Hall in Boonville. The Center asks for a $5 donation from seniors and charges $7 for non-seniors for lunches; $6 and $8 respectively for dinner. Tomorrow, Thursday, July 25, the lunch, served at 12.15pm, will be cheeseburgers, tabbouleh salad, macaroni salad, peanut butter/chocolate bars. Next Tuesday, June 25 at 6pm, the dinner served by Marti Titus and her crew will be BBQ ribs, garlic pasta, cauliflower, barley salad, broccoli salad, lemon pineapple pie. This is also Game Night so bring your favorite game to play or hang out and visit with friends. Remember, all ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.

Moving quickly on to a few of the topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge — “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (and often Reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley. This week we go out to the back of the Lounge and visit the Three-Dot’s Dog Garden to get a different perspective.

…Heartworms can be a definite problem among our four-legged friends around here so I urge you save lots of pain and anguish, not to mention vet bills, by getting a very good preventative. Heartgard is a chewable treat that will cost you about 20¢ a day for a medium-sized dog and might very well save your dog’s life. Furthermore, I would suggest K9 Advantix II for flea and tick control. This is about 35¢ a day. The five dogs here at The Nest have never had a problem with any of these nasty little bastards ever since they were put on a regular, once-a-month treatment several years ago. Both of these medications are available at 1-800-PetMeds.

…Just wondering: is there any more mournful look than that of a dog, who loves his/her owner unconditionally with all of his heart, after being scolded by that owner and not knowing the reason? He could not possibly be any more sad and confused. Just something to think about when disciplining our four-legged friends. something they often need but which will only be effective if done in a correct and timely fashion.

…More missing dogs in the Valley this past week. So once again I want to pass on my belief in the need to get tags for your dogs, or better still have them micro-chipped. The tags are easy and cheap at and all those hard working volunteers at the Animal Rescue, plus the many other animal lovers in The Valley, will certainly appreciate it.

…And finally, from our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes another in his insightful series, “The Approach of the Apocalypse.” Buzzard reports, “The ‘dog days’ of summer are here and that means it’s time to reiterate my Five Rules of the Road for these parts, the breaking of any of which surely goes to show that the Apocalypse is fast approaching. #1. California Vehicle Code # 21656: ‘Slower vehicles must pull over to allow others to pass.’ Furthermore, we shall have no driving over 60mph anywhere and no driving under 40mph in the 55mph limit without pulling over in the Valley’s many turnouts to let others pass. Of course driving at 30mph or less in town is to be strictly enforced, with very grave consequences for those who do not follow these guidelines. Do I hear ‘feed ’em to the pigs’ from anyone? #2. All drivers parking at 90 degrees to the sidewalk outside businesses and stores will have their vehicles egged. Eggs will be paid for (upon proof of receipt and photograph of the eggs on the windscreen) by Captain Rainbow, as failing to park parallel to the sidewalk is his pet peeve and he wants to see the practice brought to an end more than any of us. #3. Residents will be asked to ‘verbally confront’ the ‘biker hordes’ when those weekend visitors (mostly accountants, bankers, and lawyers posing in their rarely worn, stiff and shiny leathers, pretending to be ‘rebels’) arrive this summer and annoyingly begin revving up their very noisy Harley motorbikes. From now on hopefully they will be pointed at and told, ‘Don’t be late at the office on Monday morning.’ What are they going to do? Throw their man-purses at us? #4. Caltrans workers who are standing around doing nothing will not be allowed to scowl menacingly at drivers as they pass. It’s not clever, funny, or even that menacing, but it does seem to keep many of them from their work for long periods of time. And #5. Try to remember that when driving you are surrounded by many members of the public with whom you would not dream of interacting in any other situation. While most are considerate, aware of their surroundings and follow driving etiquette, some are aggressive, some are rude, and some are just plain stupid. It is what it is, and I would suggest a policy of ‘smile and drive-on’ is the only way to deal with this. As my friend, the self-proclaimed wise Turkey Vulture, likes to say, ‘Trust me on this; you can thank me later’.”

Until we talk again. Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; and may your god go with you. One final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at PPS. Hi, Silver Swan, behaving yourself? Hopefully not! PPPS. On the sheep, Grace.

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