WITTIEST CREATIVE WRITING OF THE YEAR from Holly Tannen, as posted on the Coast Listserve Sunday:
For those of you who were unable to read every post on the 2013 Repercussion-list, here is a recap of the major conversations.
POSTER # 1. Blah blah blah blah government blah blah blah blah assholes.
POSTER # 2. R U CRAZY?! U don't know what ur talking about.
POSTER # 1. Blah blah blah Obama blah blah Bush blah blah.
POSTER # 2. Go back to Rhode Island, ur an idiot.
POSTER # 3. Your conversation doesn't belong on this list.
POSTER # 2. Mind ur own business, troll face.
POSTER # 4. Anyone got any good seaweed recipes?
POSTER # 5. Blah blah blah blah Julian blah.
POSTER # 6. All the seaweed is radioactive from Baja to the San Juans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
POSTER # 3. WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
POSTER # 6. STOP SCREAMING!!!
POSTER # 1. Blah blah blah blah government blah blah them blah Cheney blah blah.
POSTER # 6. Can't we just love each other? We're all One in the sight of God.
POSTER # 2. I'm not.
POSTER # 3. SOMEONE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THESE F*CKING TROLLS!
POSTER # 7. Macerated seal brains?
POSTER # 6. The Universe is perfect and everything is evolving towards the Greater Good.
POSTER # 2. I'm going to puke. (Pukes)
POSTER # 4. Blah blah blah blah blah Fukishima blah blah tunafish.
POSTER # 2. I'm posting a video of what u did to those parakeets.
POSTER # 1. Blah blah Constitution blah blah blah patriot blah deluded.
POSTER # 6. Hummingbirds! Migrating whales! All One!
PHILOLOGIST Adam Jacot de Boinod has released his annual list of words creeping into newspapers, broadcasts and on electronic and social media over the past 12 months, which include phubbing, facekini and on the bubble.
Here are just some of the dozens of additions to the English language he identified, a legacy for which future generations may or may not be grateful...
Push ring: A ring that a man presents to his partner after she has given birth.
Underbrag: Admitting failings in a way that proves you are confident enough not to care.
Brass ceiling: The difficulty that women face in rising to high positions in the military.
Faitheist: An atheist who is tolerant of religions.
Bankster: A banker whose actions are illegal.
@Pontifex: The Twitter name of Pope Francis.
Prancercise: A form of exercise that mimics horse moves.
Listicle: An article based on a list of points.
Caxirola: Instrument created for the World Cup in Brazil.
Phubbing: The act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.
Doorer: A person who causes a cyclist to fall by opening a car door.
Boil the ocean: To undertake something over-ambitious.
Buffling: Speaking off-the-point in a business context.
Facekini: A facemask worn on the beach to avoid tanning.
On the bubble: At a point where success or failure will be decided.
(Courtesy, the London Daily Mail)
MY GRANDFATHER is supposed to have died, alone, unknown, a stranger to his wife and his sons, in a furnished room on Charles Street. My own father spent two or three years in his late 70s alone at the farm in Hanover. The only heat was a fireplace; his only companion a halfwit who lived up the road. I lived as a young man in cold, ugly and forsaken places yearning for a house, a wife, the voices of my sons, and having all of this I find myself, when I am engorged with petulance, thinking that after all, after the Easter egg hunts and the merry singing at Christmas, after the loving and the surprises and the summer afternoons, after the laughter and the open fires, I will end up cold, alone, dishonored, forgotten by my children, an old man approaching death without a companion. — John Cheever
FROM GRANT AVENUE and its tributary alleys, San Francisco Chinese streamed by the hundreds to march along the Embarcadero and sing the song Chinese soldiers sing as they march to war. They stood in drizzling rain, old men and women of the East and boys and girls born in the Occident — cheered announcements that picketing of ships loading scrap iron for Japan would be discontinued in favor of a Nationwide campaign for the declaration of an embargo against the enemy of China. The great demonstration, novel yet somehow typical of San Francisco, was primarily to thank the longshoremen for their support for the Chinese in their initial attempt to stop shipments. From piers 45 and 45A the Chinese marched far down to the foot of Clay Street, past the ILWU hall, cheering and singing, and then up Sansome past the offices of the Waterfront Employers’ Association, where boos were sounded. In the lead was a huge banner saying “Thank You Longshoremen.”
“Arise, arise — forward to the fire of the enemy — arise, arise,” they sang in Chinese. “Use our blood and flesh to build a new Great Wall. Arise.” It was a song of the volunteers. Then the schoolboys and girls shouted “Rah, rah, rah, longshoremen.”
— SF Chronicle, Dec. 22, 1938
ANDERSON VALLEY INC.?
by Mark Scaramella
Last Wednesday night, Community Services Board member Neil Darling proposed that the District and the Valley consider incorporating into a town of its own with its own City Council, perhaps along the lines of Point Arena, although, obviously much larger geographically.
Mr. Darling cites several examples of poor service from the County administrative apparatus in Ukiah and summarizes the results of his preliminary research regarding the incorporation process.
* * *
Proposal To The CSD Board
by Neil Darling
I propose that the CSD Board set up a special committee to evaluate the pros and cons of incorporating Anderson Valley as a self-governing municipality under California state law.
I believe that there is merit in such a move, but I also understand that there may not be the will within the Valley to undertake such a complex and difficult task. However, my preliminary thinking leads me to believe that it should at least be studied. I also believe that the CSD should lead this effort. As a legally empowered governing body for the Valley, the CSD has the authority to petition the Mendocino Local Area Formation COmmission (LAFCo) to approve such incorporation. The other route is to get either 25% of voters or 25% of landowners in the Valley to approve such a petition. I believe the CSD has the leadership and resources to better handle the challenge than through a grassroots petition drive. Obviously, the CSD would have to reach out to the entire community to ensure a thorough and credible evaluation.
The fundamental reason that communities incorporate is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of land-use policy and tax revenue usage. The following are just a few examples that I have experienced of inefficient and ineffective use of Valley resources under current county government:
1. For years a blighted property has stood on Boonville's main street with no effective County action.
2. Airport Manager Kirk Wilder has endured months of bullying by a county employee before he could build a simple latrine.
3. $15,000 was voluntarily contributed by Valley residents for a Sheriff’s canine unit but we must still beg the county for police coverage in the Valley.
4. The fairgrounds may closed due in part to inadequate funding from the county and the state.
5. The last straw for me is the County’s attempt to coerce the Senior Center into paying rent and a utility fee that would force the closure of the Center within one or two years. While the Supervisors will likely back down because of our protests, the attempt reflects a lack of sensitivity to Valley needs. And why should we have to beg for $7500 per year of our own tax money for the Center? What will be the next threat?
6. While Dan Hamburg attempts to look out for our interests, he does not live in the Valley and has to persuade other supervisors to support us.
A quick review of county documents suggests that the Valley may pay a disproportionate share of the county's tax revenue. We pay 5.3% of property taxes while we are only 3.3% of the population. A lot more study is needed, but I would bet that County revenue from the Valley far exceeds the value of services received. Incorporation is not a fiscal panacea for all our needs, but at least people who live in the Valley would make these resource allocation decisions. This will ensure more responsive, efficient and effective government.
And no, we are not too small to incorporate. The law requires a population of at least 500. The Valley has about 2800 residents. Out of 482 cities and towns in California, 37 (8%) have a population of under 3000. Point Arena is incorporated and has a population of 449.
Another important issue is the ability to efficiently provide services to residents of the Incorporated area. The location and continuity of Valley topography makes it far more efficient than from Ukiah. Consider the difficulty for Valley residents to attend Supervisor meetings or to get various permits in Ukiah. Many of our older citizens are unable to approach their government because of these travel requirements.
We need to think about the future. Much will change in the Valley over the next ten years — new bike path, more vineyards, senior housing, low income housing, Fairgrounds survival, changes in healthcare access and delivery, etc. Do we want County officials and employees making important decisions for the Valley — or ourselves?
* * *
After minimal discussion, including a few questions about which of the Valley’s four towns might be included in the Town of Anderson Valley, the Board voted 5-0 to form an ad-hoc exploratory committee.
Board Chair Valerie Hanelt worried that the AVA might put its own slant on the proposal.
Several people thought even if the proposal doesn’t go as far as incorporation, it would at least fire a shot across the Supervisors’ bow and perhaps get them to take Anderson Valley more seriously.
Directors Kathlenn McKenna and Neil Darling, along with fire Chief Andres Avila and local reporter Mark Scaramella volunteered on the spot to be on the committee. Other interested parties are invited to participate. Contact CSD manager Joy Andrews at 895-2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ¥¥
IMMIGRATION LAW: ITS CASUAL CRUELTIES
by Gerald F. Cox
This is the story of Rafael Morales, a Mixteca native of the State of Oaxaca, Mexico who “sneaked” into the United States, and eventually landed in Healdsburg, California, where after 8 years he brought his wife Conception (Concha) Rosas Hernandez and children, Candido, Hugo, and baby Evelia to California.
Rafael’s native village of Tequixtepec resides in the Mexican Oaxacan mountainous Valley of the Mixteca Baja, the center of the Mixteca nation. The arriving Spaniard colonizers were amazed to witness a highly developed political organization, a social class stratification, written manuscripts, a developed astronomy science, an advanced religious structure, delicate artistic expressions, agricultural technology, an economy of regional markets which also included long distance commerce.
Candido Morales Ruiz, Rafael’s father, married to Paula Mendoza, acted as the towns butcher, serving his customers out of his house or on Sundays in the town Plaza. He did not want Rafael to get involved with a group of basketball players in the Plaza. So he enrolled him instead with a music teacher who taught him the violin. Rafael’s entry into music was the beginning of his musical career which spanned his entire life on violin, guitar, base, and mandolin. At 5’3 Rafael would not have been able to leap very high anyway.
Although his Mexican rural school education ended at the third grade, his passion for reading and learning ran throughout his entire life. He even named one of his sons “Hugo” in honor of Victor Hugo.
As a young man he opened a small grocery store in the nearby village of Miltepec. A mysterious fire destroyed the store, but not the flame in his heart for the young Concepcion Rosa Hernandez, whom he first met as a Padrino (Godfather) at a local Baptism. An attractive Mixteca, Rafael had had his eyes previously on a certain Linda whose mother planned to send her to school in Puebla. Rafael protested the move and explained his intentions of marrying Linda in the future. The mother insulted Rafael for his dark skin and sent the daughter off to school. Sometime later returned pregnant, pleaded with Rafael to marry her, but his response “no soap.” Rafael became a butcher like his father, a baker with a huge oven next to his house, a barber, and finally the local mailman delivering posts on foot or on horseback to surrounding villages, sometimes leaving at 3AM to complete his rounds.
Disaster had struck the Morales family with the murder of Candido Sr. Friends later informed Rafael of the whereabouts of the assassin, but he refused any revenge, saying “Let God forgive him.” Mother Paula was left with five children to support. Along with Rafael’s sometime support, she wove and sold sombreros to support her growing family. She died at 93 years of age.
The emerging courtship of Rafael and Concha outdid the romantic approaches of Romeo and Juliet. It started off with Concha's mother's dislike of Rafael and her refusal to have him involved with her daughter in any way. However, Mama didn’t realize what a creative opponent she faced In Rafael. He first organized a chorus of young girls from Tequixtepec who serenaded Concha’s home at night. Mama thought that the serenades were a lovely expression, not realizing that Rafael was the organizer. He also composed long and beautiful love letters and poems, delivered by a friend, and placed under a secret rock. Concha would read them and then burn them. Her mother had previously told her that she would have to wait four years before she would allow her to marry as she did not know how to cook, keep house, or read and write. However, four years shrank to two and she and Rafael were married in the Miltepec parish church on July 23, 1945, where Rafael had organized two mariachi bands to play. The marriage produced two male sons, Candido and Hugo, and later daughter Evelia. Rafael left his family to travel north to Mexicali where he could stay with a cousin and seek work. As there was only a yellow line separating the two countries, Rafael crossed the border every day to pick fruit in California and send some money back to his family.
According to Candido Jr. Rafael made an appointment with the Tijuana American Consulate where he requested a two-week visa to travel to Fresno to purchase musical instruments for his band in Mexicali. The whole request was a creative fabrication that helped him get into the United States. With the visa he set out for Fresno and kept going all the way to Stockton, California. There as part of a group of workers on the street corner Rafael heard a voice from a truck “ Hey! Anybody want to go to Sonoma County?” and the Morales family history began on this 1953 day. The invitation was to pick hops on the Santa Rosa Grace Brothers Brewing Company’s ranch. The adjoining property belonged to a McClinsh family who eventually hired Rafael as their ranch foreman and provided him a house for his estranged family. The ranch was later sold but the sale included the position of Rafael Morales as foreman.
Rafael had been absent for eight years from his family. He kept in touch with Concha by mail and by money orders when he could. There were weeks when she received no income and was forced to feed her children only beans and tortillas. As the local schools only went to the third grade, she moved her children to the larger city of Huayuapan so that her sons, Candido and Hugo could continue their education at the local Catholic school “Escuela Particular de Pio XI (Pope Pius XI). Concha related that she had placed the boys there “por la disciplina,” for the discipline. In order to support her family she rose at 5AM, wove three palm sombreros, and sold them in the plaza. Finally she obtained a full time job selling bread. Meanwhile, Rafael in California was not happy with Concha’s move and did not write to her for three months. Candido Jr. related that Rafael wanted her to move in with his mother. Added to her two sons now was a daughter, Evelia with whom Concha was pregnant at the time of Rafael’s departure.
After the family’s five year stay in Huajuapan, Rafael was finally able to bring them all to Healdsburg, California, June 1945. He introduced his wife to the owner of the ranch “ I’d like you to meet my esposa.” The owner smiled and said “ Nice to meet you Esposa. ” Candido Jr. was 13, Hugo 9, and Evelia 7. The family was later blessed with the birth of daughter, Connie. In 1978 Rafael bought a one-acre parcel in Windsor, California from John Narduzzi of the Santa Rosa Shoe Company for $28,000, on which he later built the present Morales hone.
Rafael continued to play his violin as well as guitar, mandolin, base, and other string instruments. In 1964 he organized a band of nine musicians who played his arrangements until 1978. He always carried pen and paper in his pocket on which he created songs and poems. He also had a passion for reading books and Spanish language newspapers. Back in Teqixtepec he had served as President of the town Council. In Healdsburg he became the first chairman of the United Latins of Sonoma County, a community organization dedicated to the interests of the Spanish Speaking community. He also became active with fund raising activities for his Catholic parish of St John.
All of the Morales children arrived from Mexico speaking only Spanish. Connie also entered school also speaking Spanish, as it was the family’s language. Candido, Hugo, Evelia, and Connie all attended local public elementary schools, Healdsburg High School, and later college and universities such as Sonoma State University (Candido), Harvard Undergraduate University and Harvard Law School (Hugo) all on scholarship, San Francisco State University and San Jose University where Evelia acquired her Masters Degree in Education and Connie her Masters in Speech Therapy. Both sisters are employed by the Gilroy, California School District.
Candido spent 30 years as the Vice President and Program Manager for the North Bay Human Development Corporation, later named the California Human Development Corporation, Santa Rosa, California. The non-profit agency which at one time served the States of Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, serves low income people in job development, low cost housing, senior housing, alternatives to jail for first time offenders, and advocacy for farm workers. Based on his skill and experience at CHDC, Candido was chosen out of 300 candidates for the position as Director of the “Instituto de los Mexicanos En El Exterior,” a program within the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaugurated by the former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox. The INE office, as it is called, offers social and educational programs to Mexican nationals living in the USA and Canada such as books in Spanish, adult education/ESL via the internet, health referral offices in all 50 Consular offices, as well as seminars in Mexico City for community leaders, teachers, school board members and health board members. Candido recently retired from this position with the election of a new Mexican President, and now divides his time between his Oaxacan village, Mexico City, and his home in Windsor, California.
Son Hugo could have had a very successful career as a lawyer at the prestigious Healdsburg law firm of Passalaqua and Mazzoni when he graduated from Harvard Law School. However, he announced to his father that he would rater devote his efforts to poor peoples causes. He serves presently as Founder and President of Radio Bi-Lingue, a 33 year old radio network with a satellite system, reaching scores of affiliates throughout the USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, along with 7 owned stations in California, 3 in New Mexico, and 1 in Arizona. It is the only producer of national Spanish language programs in the public radio system.
The remarkable accomplishments of this Morales family ought not to be categorized as unusually notable for they are Mexican Mixtecas, proud heirs of the Mixteca people of Oaxaca, Mexico, a rich and profound culture that endured for 3000 years. ”Certainly the near future will place the Mixteca a place corresponding to the most known civilizations of Mesoamerica and the ancient world. Furthermore one should note that the Mixtec culture did not disappear during the colonial period nor in the radical national changes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Wherever there are Mixtecs, in all parts of Mexico or whatever part of the world, they have adapted to their diaspora. Many have abandoned the Mixteca but their hearts, their sentiments, and thoughts penetrate their land and tradition. As the song “Cancion Mixteca” illustrates, among the many ethnic groups that form the Mixtec Republic, perhaps the most sentimental, most nostalgic, and faithful to its roots is the “nu savi,” the Mixteca nation. ” Back in Healdsburg, California Rafael Morales certainly echoed these sentiments with the composition of his song “Tequixtepec Tierra Linda” (“Tequixtepec Beautiful Land”) “Tequixtepec, my heart adores you. Little nook where I rested and which gave me great inspiration. I remember your mountains where we children picked iris in the month of April. The murmurs of your waters singing in the dark. Your early morning women singing their songs which took the sorrows from their hearts. For this, one should name you Tequixtepec The Beautiful, your song which rises and falls in my heart.” Gratefully we honor the memory of Rafael Morales, the linchpin strength of his wife Concha, and the remarkable accomplishments of heir children. Lucky for us in the USA that there was no fence and no stifling immigration laws preventing the rich contribution of this family to our communities. Yet, there exist thousands of other type Morales with the same work ethic, intelligence, and creativity as shown by this one family. Indeed, there is a Red, White, and Blue Border Thief who’s robbing us of greatness.
*Ronald Spores. “La Mixteca Y Los Mixtecos.” Page 3, Arqueologia Mexicana, Vol. XV Numero 90.
(Gerald F. Cox is a resident of Navarro, California, presently living in Guanajuato, Mexico with his wife, Kathleen. He can be reached at KCox@mcn.org.)