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Letters (Jan 8, 2014)


Hello Editor and Readers,

Oaky Joe here. I am happy to report that I have not had any legal stuff going on since I moved my family out of Mendocino County. I am fine and my wife and children are also fine. My father died this year. We are all very sad.

I am still running the collective, the one that I got into so much trouble over. This year there were 21 collective members, including an AIDS support group from San Jose. One of my collective members is an ex-military man who has lost his sight. He used to be a photojournalist. I can't imagine what that must feel like. My friend has had a lot of support from the Veterans Administration. They helped him get a dog and training. Patrick in turn has used his computer skills to run a Veterans group down in Redwood City. He helps other veterans find housing, get into treatment programs, etc..

I'm still working with patients from Lake and Mendocino Counties. One day I was going to drop off some medications to a group of senior citizens in Lakeport when I was pulled over by a Lake County sheriff's deputy. The deputy I spoke with at first did not know exactly what to do with me and the van full of pot. I asked her to please ask her supervisor what to do. She called the boss and he showed up at the Lakeport Safeway momentarily. Frank Walsh of the Lake County Narcotics Task Force asked me where I was taking the pot. I told him it was going to my friend Charlie Marsh and he said, “Bicycle Charlie?” I told the sergeant that was correct, and the reason I had so much medicine was that I was also taking pot to a couple of other seniors besides Charlie. Sgt. Walsh gave me his business card, told me that Charlie was a good guy and I was free to go. He also told me that if I was ever interviewed by law enforcement to have them call him with any questions. Then I got a two-car police escort to the Seniors Mobile Home Park in Lakeport.

As it turns out, Charlie has been working with the Sheriff's department to help kids get bicycles. If the cops catch catch an asshole with a stolen bike they try to find the owner and if they can't they turn the bicycle over to Charlie and he does any necessary repairs and then gives the bicycle to the Boys and Girls Club or to a low income family. Charlie has had two strokes and heart attack. He couldn't walk or talk for five years, then he had his heart attack and everything came back. So now he fixes bicycles for kids.

I go to a lot of the ASA (Americans for Safe Access) meetings in San Francisco. The meetings there are discussions about marijuana laws, current cases, legalization, regulations and benefits and drawbacks involved with using medical marijuana. The man who runs the meetings is David Goldman. David is the head volunteer for San Francisco chapter of ASA. He is a retired high school mathematics teacher. For 34 years my friend Dave taught kids mathematics. For six years he has been volunteering at ASA. This guy is not retired, he just changed gears. Now he helps sick people inform themselves about the laws and the different options available to them. If you want to remind yourself about marijuana, this, in my opinion, is one of the very best ways to do it. Bring a joint for after the meeting.

Since I finished my last two cases in June of 2009 I have slowly been able to pay off my debts to my lawyer, mechanic, and dentist, plus friends and all the other people who stepped up and help me and my family when we needed it most. I especially want to give a shout out to lawyer Keith Faulder for successfully defending my wife and I through three separate cases involving 18 felonies. Without a successful defense against all those charges we would not have been able to pay him back. I would have gone to prison, my wife would have been deported to Japan, and my children would have had to go to grandma and grandpa's in Japan. We all know what is going on in Japan.

I have learned a lot about life and people over the last seven years. I thank all the kind people who have helped me and I forgive all the people who try to take my freedom and family from me. I've also have the health and skills to help people who are seriously ill and need me. I can't say enough about the people at the Anderson Valley Advertiser. I was born at West Point — the US military academy — and I have great respect for military men and women who dedicate themselves to all of our freedoms.

I made another calendar for 2014 to raise more money for veterans. We even got all the dates right this year. You can get your copy at Taylor's Tavern in Redwood Valley. Once again, I want to say thanks to the AVA for supporting me over the years and publishing information about my situation. You are totally boffo.

Do some good,

Oaky Joe Munson

San Francisco



Hello AVA,

I've appreciated the lists of books you've published in the last several issues of the paper.

The lists have included a few I've never even heard of, but will be sure to check out.

You invited your readers to contribute lists of their own, so here's mine.

This is a list of books that have made big impressions on me, all in different ways, and not in any particular order:

1. The Divine Comedy — Dante Alighieri (many good translations; Robert and Jean Hollander did a good one recently, with excellent footnotes)

2. Vineland — Thomas Pynchon

3. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test — Tom Wolfe

4. America: A History in Verse — Edward Sanders

5. Steps to an Ecology of Mind — Gregory Bateson

6. Fear and Trembling — Soren Kierkegaard (Edna and Howard Hong translation)

7. The Torah (Five Books of Moses) — Robert Alter translation

8. The Americans — Robert Frank

9. Charles Olson: The Allegory of a Poet's Life and Edward Dorn: A World of Difference — Tom Clark

10. The Parker series of crime novels — Richard Stark (nom de plume of Donald E. Westlake)

Have a good 2014, and keep those lists coming.


Bruce Johnson

San Francisco




Letter To The Editor

The Internal Combustion Engine and the Culture of Impotent Juvenile Rage Out on the street civil society hasn't got a chance. The street being the place where all the extras parade their flimsy excuses for freedom and liberty.By street I don,t mean the road only but any public place. The road just being where civility is most obviously and rudely under assault. Thanks to the car cult and now the hand held devise cult, public space is little more than an industry driven free-for-all that promotes self aggrandizing rudeness while sacrificing meaningful social behavior.

Sociopaths abound! There is one especially deviant form of antisocial grandstanding that renders public space so ugly these days. That would be the rude-boy diesel pickup idiots with their illegal noise polluting off-road exhaust systems. With their loud illegal over sized rock throwing tires and their tendency to drive just as you'd expect a juvenile moron asshole to drive. Remember those rude little pricks in school who had to compensate for small minds or small stature or small what have you, by being loud, obnoxious and annoying? Now they have 9,000-pound trucks and no social skills to speak of. And tacit approval and guns. This is the really disturbing thing behind the diesel pickup truck craze. Apparently these macho chips have been given some kind of unwritten exemption from laws meant to protect society from noise pollution and unsafe vehicle code violations. The same kind of ear that allows Harley Davidson jerks to terrorize society with their all American rudeness. This is a very bad situation. Why this blatant complicity on the part of government and law enforcement? Has the average citizen really been so successfully over stimulated that they've effectively gone deaf? Well that is certainly a large part of the problem. It's all too obvious that all levels of government have become corrupt, inept and unresponsive. Also more than likely even if citizens and government gave a hoot about noise pollution or vehicle safety codes, law enforcement is itself over staffed with big truck little boys. No problem enforcing vehicle codes when it comes to little brown people in their loud lowered Hondas. Look the other way for that tobacco chewing redneck with his truck jacked up so high that his front axle would decapitate anyone in a frontal collision driving a non-deformed vehicle. I'm trying to get a full picture as to how a subculture of four-wheel drive enthusiast became an invasion by industry and it's faithful trend lackeys. Because clearly this fuel hog road hog aftermarket resource wasting idiot show is not sustainable or sane. It brings society nothing but the burdens of megalomania and the vagaries of vanity. All the while polluting eye, ear and lung. Why is main street being militarized by pop culture rude machine mania? How do these inane distortions become normal? Seriously. The corporate tyranny of the personal mobility factory, especially the junkyard dog shit fostered on hoodwinked Americans by Detroit was always bad enough. But now this after market meathead dipshit trendorama has gone right into the auto industry globally to give the morns what they want instead of what they need. Mediocrity co-opted. This could only be the last dying contortions of cheap oil distortions. No playwright in any state of mind could create a tragedy this deeply poignantly pathetic! The poor and the poorest for obvious reasons aren't part of the rude scene that dominates the motor vehicle saturated landscape. It's not the carless or the homeless shuffling along with their dogs. It's the car cult with it's own class strata actual or implied with absurd strutting pretense that makes a trip to town like enduring a really really bad movie. There is a tarnished silver lining to the growing numbers of Americans becoming too poor to operate big fuel hog diesel pickups and such. Less fuel burning and fewer idiot parade vehicles menacing our roads and clogging up parking space.

“Just look around at America itself: a wasteland of futile motoring and discount shopping populated by depressed overfed clowns bedizened with sinister tattoos, pretending to be Star Warriors. No nation ever seen in human history ever laid such a disappointing egg. Only to have it fry on the sidewalk.” — James Kunstler

Based on the idiocy of the 4-wheel drive SUV craze that what's left of the middle class has so gullibly embraced, I'd say we should be very thankful to all the masters of Greed Inc. for so effectively destroying the upwardly mobile middle class. Clearly upwardly mobile given so many fuel hog morons is nothing but a race to the downwardly immobile bottom. An American middle class that is so brainwashed as to equate self aggrandizing gas guzzling with patriotism and or jingoistic entailment is a middle class unworthy of its affluence. So all said and done, the more Americans in poverty the better. The world and the earth never could support a growing all consuming American middle class to say nothing of all the wanna be clones in other lands copying rapacious dead end. The car cult urban shopping spree is over except in affluent fantasy bubbles like Santa Rosa California where more and ugly and rude are in high gear. Going there is like visiting a movie set with no budget constraints. A movie set in 2029 to depict for all the nostalgia dupes America at its peak. Grand follies based the shere momentum of this slow motion train wreck called capitalism. The conductors name is Immaculate Misconception. The tracks are made of an alloy of wishful thinking, computer generated pie-in-the-sky 3-D models and accounting fraud. “When nations grow old, the Arts grow cold, and commerce settles on every tree.” — William Blake 1800 “ When a nation grows stale, the Arts land in a garbage pail and commerce settles in every living cell.”

Marvin Blake


PS. Happy 2014 and don't forget to look up where even the clouds are a lie!




AVA Jan 1, 2014, page 6: “I haven't listened to KZYX in years.” Well, Bruce, that never need limit your ability to comment, eh? You could do theater reviews, sports events, several simultaneously, without having to see anything.


Gordy Black,


Ed Reply: The Major keeps me abreast, if “abreast” isn't one of those naughty words that gets people fired at Free Speech Radio Mendocino County. But you caught me just in time. I was about to say something about the Civil War when, thanks to you, I remembered I wasn't there. 





(I am sending you excerpts from a letter I recently received from prisoner Mark Hunter. — Dorotheya Dorman, Redwood Valley)

* * *

I believe that all medicine heals, even homeopathic. Some treatments work. I have to keep an open mind to all doctors and their medications who heal the sick. The doctors you wrote about in your letter are not approved vendors for me to receive vitamins from. Walkow Horsts in the Napa Valley is an approved vendor. So if you want to order me some vitamins you will have to be through Walkow Horsts.

Everything here is good. I am just trying to stay out of trouble. I'm sick of these pieces of bleep I have to look at in the hall. I'm surprised I have stayed out of the hole for this long. But I have, so I will just keep on doing it, whatever it is.

I am still working out. This evening I did six sets of back arms than 25 sets of squads. I'm still at it. I lost my yard privileges last week for 30 days for missing a week of school. So I have not been able to work out on the dip and pull up bars. So it's back to exercising in the cell and I am not liking it. I would rather breathe in some fresh air and be able to BS with the other guys in between sets. I know who to strike up a conversation with and who not to. I don't like to talk a lot when I exercise but light conversation is okay. I am back to the cell routine workouts. I'm going to order a pair of glasses. As soon as I get those I will be reading again. My new TV works great so I'm happy with it.

I recently finished washing some laundry and cleaning up my cell. It's been a crazy day today. The power went out at 5am and stayed out until 11. I usually get up at 5am. But I was up drinking coffee late last night so I stayed up later than usual. Then when I went to bed at 2am I got up at five, only a couple of hours of sleep. I got up again and had a cup of coffee and watched some Bakersfield news. Then the power went out. So I stayed up until breakfast and went back to sleep for four more hours. I got plenty of sleep all in all. I drank so much coffee I had to work out so I did six sets of back arms and 23 sets of squats then I curled up with seven hours of sleep. Since the power has been back on I have been washing laundry and cleaning the cell. We have been locked in our cells all day. To think I have six years and seven months left. This morning we had oranges at breakfast, the first orange I've had since 2004, ten years ago. I was so excited to see an orange I bribed a cell block porter and bought another orange for a sausage meatloaf. I had to have it and it was delicious. After I ate the oranges, I went to sleep for five more hours.

That's a summary of my crazy boring day.

When the power goes off our lights, toilets, electric power does not work at all. No air either. Its a straight up dungeon in his cell unlike Lanchester, the cell walls are not painted here so the walls are dark and gloomy. They are basically depressing dungeons. That's why so many of us take anti-depression medication. We are stuck in these little box cells 24/7. It will drive any man insane. That's why I always clean my cell so much.

I am about to take another nap so I'm sending this out in the mail.

Mark Hunter




Dear Editor,

Here are some of the books I've found memorable:

Green Mansions, W.H. Hudson.

Crime and Punishment, T. Dostoyevsky.

The Once and Future King, T.H. White.

West With the Night, Beryl Markham.

Catch-22, Joseph Heller.

Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns.

Joan of Arc, Mark Twain.

Follow the River, James A. Thom.

John Paul Jones, Samuel E. Morrison.

Kabloona, G. de Poncins.

I wish everyone good health and spirits were all this coming year!

Lucille Estes





I just have to share my reactions to the Hopland reindeer massacre. I was so moved that I took my nephews to church to pray for the misguided souls who missed the point and we had a telling experience.

Inside the church there was a graphic human sacrifice hanging on the front wall — blood gushing from extremities and a few wires showing where the red nose had been ripped off. A chiller, for sure. My nephews and I had a short conference and deduced that we had gotten in over our heads. These people are not to be trifled with. We beat a stealthy retreat and did not speak of the events.

In the coming days the participants in this very unfortunate incident will make public nuisances of themselves far beyond my abilities to ridicule or lampoon. If you want to chew it over congenially, show up at my wallow and have a venison sandwich.

I want to see how they handle Easter.

Ignatzio Hephalumpe!

Belingham, Washington

Way up north of San Narcisco



Dear Editor:

If you feel like you are about to go bonkers the next time you're stuck in a traffic jam and want someone to blame, look no further: the culprits are hidden in plain sight. Blame it on the heterosexuals!

Gays and lesbians aren't to blame for all those people right outside your window. If you think there's a place to go to get away from them all, remember what the great philosopher Yogi Berra said: “Nobody ever goes there anymore — it's too crowded.” When deep ecologists say “Earth First!” they mean “Earth first!,” if the future is isn't to turn into a horror show. As our friend The Wag likes to say: “Anybody around here who's smiling obviously doesn't realize the gravity of the situation.”


Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii






Re: William Hughes’ “Detroit.” Great story so far, but Ty Cobb didn’t actually play in Tiger Stadium. His years were spent in Bennett Park and then Navin Field, which replaced it. My dad saw him play at Navin. Babe Ruth, too.

Then came Briggs Stadium, which is where I attended games in my youth. Saw Ted Williams bounce a homer off but not over the roof and Mickey Mantle knock one off the upper deck just above where I was sitting. Don Larsen, the year after he pitched his perfect World Series game (the Tigers beat him anyway, despite Mantle’s homer), and Tiger greats like Al Kaline, Charlie Maxwell, and Jim Bunning, who’d go on to become an extreme right wing US senator (he was a lot more likable as a pitcher).

I watched the Tigers all through the 50s and early 60s but they never won anything. I finally gave up on them, and sure enough, a year later they won their first world series since 1945. Tiger Stadium never resonated with me the same way Briggs Stadium did, although they were essentially the same thing under different names. It was a travesty of urban mis-planning to tear the old place down; it was one of the last sources of life and energy in a once-thriving but now nearly dead neighborhood. I still remember walking up Trumbull from the bus stop on Fort Street on game days, the stadium looming ever larger ahead of us and the air virtually crackling with excitement.

The newspapers (there were three back then, the News, the Free Press and the Times) would sometimes print up a special front page for big games and newsboys would be hawking them up and down the streets, selling a ton even though everything else in the paper was exactly the same as the one you’d already read over breakfast.

Detroit was a pretty hot town in those days, even if I spent most of my childhood and youth complaining about it. I look forward to reading more about Mr. Hughes’s visit.

Larry Livermore

Brooklyn, New York




Dear Mr. President,

Today's New York Times ("For Toledo, Cash To Grow; for Chinese, Closer Ties,” Page A12) tells how this Rust Belt town of 280,000, once the glass capital of the world, had to buy glass panels for the new wing of the museum from the Chinese because the glass industry has been offshored and what's left of it no longer has the capacity to fill the order. A pretty sad commentary on the state of America, what's happened to our industrial capacity and why we've got so many people unemployed. We can't even make the glass for our own windows! But here's a grabber: because of that glass order, the Chinese discovered Toledo, its key location — a major port on the great lakes, a regional rail and highway hub — and its depressed real estate market and decided to invest in the city — they bought hotels, restaurants, riverfront property and abandoned factories that could be refurbished and made them functional again. Things are looking up for Toledo, thanks to the Chinese. The article also talks about other Chinese investments in the United States — $12.2 billion in the first nine months of 2013: “Chinese investors have been buying commercial and residential real estate in Detroit inexpensively because of the city's financial troubles and have agreed to finance a $1.5 billion waterfront development in Oakland, California. This year, on a trade trip to China, Governor Jerry Brown of California discussed Chinese investment in the state's troubled $91 billion bullet train project. Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee have also increased their push for Chinese investment.”

What's absent is any mention of United States investment, underwriting or loans to resuscitate our ailing cities. When you think about it, it's pretty clear why. Unlike the Chinese, we spend our money on war, not infrastructure, not loans to develop waterfront property or refurbish hotels, factories and restaurants, or bailout pensioners or bankrupt cities. That's the price of war: selling America to foreigners — in this case the Chinese who know a good deal when they see one. Meanwhile, we give billions in military aid to dictators in military regimes, spend tens of billions on useless spying and give subsidies to corporate farmers while ending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed — like the folks who used to work in the glass factories of Toledo — and cutting food stamps and child health programs — a litany of outrage.

What's wrong with this picture, Mr. President? To those of us out here on the hustings, the answer is pretty obvious.

Robert Yoder

San Francisco



Editor and Fellow AVAers,

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?

I learned that war is not so bad, I learned about the great ones we have had.

We fought in Germany and in France, and I am someday to get my chance.

That's what I learned in school today. That's what I learned in school.

— A song by Tom Paxton.

Japanese hibakisha (survivor of the atomic bomb) was a 19-year-old soldier passing through town the day it fell on Hiroshima. “The children were screaming, 'please take these maggots off our bodies.' The doctor said, 'sterilize their wounds with saltwater.' He took a broom, dipped into saltwater, and painted over the bodies.” Most American blacks don't believe the atom bomb would have been dropped on Hiroshima had it been a white city. The fire bombings of Dresden dispute the point.


Diana Without Rain Vance


PS. World War II? It's a war I would go to. What's wrong with the world is that money is devoted to killing people.




Good riddance to Candlestick Park. Enough of the feel-good, warm and fuzzy Candlestick memories. Best credit anyone can think of is that it didn't fall down in the quake. Wonderful. No mentions of: the vomit on the concourses and in the bathrooms, people falling down, fights, drunken “fans” because regular ticket holders gave up their tickets, bathrooms with feces and urine on the floor, awful vendors, poor sight lines, a can't-see scoreboard, seagull poop on the seats, freezing, fires and floods in the parking lot, ridiculous traffic, nasty security. Otherwise, sorry to see it go.

Thomas Bonk

San Francisco

One Comment

  1. Taylor Ellis January 14, 2014

    Sometimes I wish I could edit letters before people send them to the paper. Not for content, just for clarity and readability. No, I’m not talking about you… but there are other folks who have great things to say but take waaay too long to say it. You’re not wrong dude, but breaking your rant into several shorter paragraphs can make it easier for the reader to understand. Maybe I just have a short attention span and should switch to USA today instead of the AVA (sarcasm).

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