LOCAL AUTHOR PEG KINGMAN’S LATEST NOVEL is in the offing, and should be out later this year. It’s the third and final installment in her contract with W.W.Norton for a trilogy set in the 19th Century. Her first book in the series, Not Yet Drown’d, follows the plight of an abruptly widowed Scottswoman and her stepdaughter who, together with a runaway American slave girl, flee Scotland and sail to India to search for the protagonist’s lost brother — purportedly drowned in the Punjab. The story is filled with narrow escapes — by coach out of Glasgow, a desperate race between sailboat and steamship across the Firth of Fourth, and winds up on a caravan of elephants in the exotic reaches of Northern India.
Her second novel, Original Sin, takes up the lives of the stepdaughter and slave girl, both subsequently grown adults, and is set in New York — where the onetime slave is now a rich freewoman with a silkworm business — and where Virginia, the stepdaughter — now the protagonist — has inherited a tobacco plantation. This second novel is subtitled A Novel of Slavery and Freedom and both books are remarkably engrossing.
Ms. Kingman comes from a family of chemical engineers and she has a background in technical writing. This vast body of experience and knowledge informs her literary work — she even has diagrams of the steamship the protagonists escape on, and as the plot advances we meet characters from shipyards in the Clyde, and learn how the technology evolved and did away with the use of sails in commercial and military seafaring. Coincidentally, Kingman’s editor at W.W.Norton is the same fellow who edited Patrick O’Brien’s popular historical novels about the Royal Navy and the tall ships back at the turn of the 18th century.
For those who haven’t read Patrick O’Brien, it’s Jane Austin for boys; think of Austin’s Persuasion from the groom’s point of view, a sea captain who blows into Portsmouth only to find that the most accomplished virgin in the British Isles has her net set for him. There you have it! The Romance of the sea, and sex, too. Mr. O’Brien was married to the novelist and historian Mary Renault, whose masterpiece, The Nature of Alexander, filmmaker Oliver Stone made into such a brilliant flop. A pity, because Renault’s study was thoroughly excellent, and her historical novels of Alexander were as inspired as her countryman Robert Graves’ I, Claudius. They were all of the same generation and experimenting with the form, innovating a fresh style of historical fiction. O’Brien sat in the Admiralty’s library for years studying ship’s logs and letters home, and said, “Authenticity is a jewel.”
Peg Kingman’s novels pick up, with the advent of steamships, where O’Brien left off, in a sense, and she is advancing the bar up a peg from where O’Brien and Renault and Graves left it, as they’ve all been dead and buried these many years. It is Kingman’s genius, as was the case with Renault, that she can write historical fiction from a woman’s perspective and not have her work dismissed as Romance Novels; or chick-lit, as the current vernacular would style it.
Back in my days at Ranch & Coast Magazine in Rancho Santa Fe, Peg Kingman wrote regularly remarkable full-length feature articles in San Diego Magazine. In 1984, as Dennis Connor was famously losing the America’s Cup trophy to the wicked old Aussies, I went out on the tender with my photographer, John Dickinson, where we were fed dried-up sandwiches, flat champagne, warmed-over coffee and stale press releases; meanwhile, the correspondent from San Diego Magazine — probably Peg Kingman, though I don’t recall for certain — went aboard Connor’s Spirit Of America for a sumptuous dinner and personal interview. The point is Kingman’s background is not entirely in technical manuals. In fact, her literary talent is considerable; her prose style elegant, her plot turns entertaining; and her dialogue between characters eminently educational. If you haven’t read her first two novels, you have just enough time to get them read and be up-to-date when her next one comes out later this year.
Peg Kingman divides her time — when not traveling to research novels — between her home in Point Arena and her tea plantation in Potter Valley. She travels through Anderson Valley on the MTA bus, generally, twice a week. Her novels are available at local bookstores and the County library in Ukiah.
MIGUEL LANIGAN WRITES: A picture is worth a thousands words, and now Southern California is eyeballing our water and Governor Brown is thinking about signing off on water intensive fracking which poisons the water it uses to extract gas and spoils aquifers for human and animal use. "Water is the staff of life" — frack gas is not. We are sowing the seeds of our own destruction on land, air and sea.
‘FURTHUR’ GOES FURTHER: the psychedelic bus of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters lives again!
by Michael Taylor
Ken Kesey and former student Jeff Forester in front of the bus "Further II." Ken Kesey bought another old school bus in the 1990s and, with other original Merry Pranksters, prepared the new incarnation of Further.
It was one of the glorious symbols of the freewheeling, acid-laced Sixties: Ken Kesey’s psychedelic bus, with its quixotic name “Furthur” slapped on its front, a whimsical nod to its perennially unreachable destination. Furthur started life as a mundane 1939 International school bus, doggedly plying a route somewhere in Northern California. An Atherton man bought it and outfitted it as a camper for his family, and in 1964 he put it up for sale.
Kesey, the author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” bought the bus for, maybe, $1,500, and the Pranksters set to work painting it. And it was not going to be school bus yellow. As Tom Wolfe put it in his chronicle of that age, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” the bus ended up “glowing orange, green, magenta, lavender, chlorine blue, every fluorescent pastel imaginable in thousands of designs, large and small, like a cross between Fernand Leger and Dr. Strange, roaring together and vibrating off each other as if somebody had given Hieronymous Bosch fifty buckets of Day-Glo paint and a 1939 International Harvester school bus and told him to go to it.”
We’re finding out about all this from a lovely piece by Daniel Strohl on the Hemmings Daily site. Strohl goes on to report that the bus, which became one of the lumbering vehicular (some might say metaphorical) symbols of that age, ended up forlorn and abandoned in a swampy section of Kesey’s Oregon farm after it blew its engine en route to Woodstock in 1969.
Kesey died in 2001 and about four years later, his family rescued the bus from the swamp.
Now there’s a move afoot to restore the bus — there’s no precise estimate, but it could cost $1 million to get the bus back to that heady, funky shape in which it dreamed its way through the Sixties. The effort to restore the bus is being made by the non-profit Furthur Down the Road Foundation and there’s more information at FurthurDowntheRoad.org.
I thought I'd send along my list of fave reads. I started out young with a penchant for reading about people who impressed the hell out of me for one reason or another. The first book I ever bought (at a garage sale at age 15) was de Mille's and Curie's came off my mom's shelf (very inspirational — what a phenomenal mind). I read all these several times from then till now (age 71 next month), and freely recommend all of them to anyone.
Dance to the Piper by Agnes DeMille
Madame Curie by Eve Curie
Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg
Black Spring by Henry Miller
The Magus by John Fowles
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
The Joker's Wild by Joe E. Lewis
The Proud Tower by Barbara W. Tuchman
Oh! Reading! One of life's most greatest of pleasures!
Carol Pankovits, Fort Bragg
JAYNE THOMAS'S FAVES
Here are some of my very favorites, in no special order, except for the one I just finished and recommend everyone read for a hilarious examination of why our country is such a mess:
1) Better Off Without ‘em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession by Chuck Thompson. The rest are:
2) The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan (because people are not taught critical thinking)
3) Never Coming to a Theater Near You by Kenneth Turan (movie buffs will find many gems you don’t know)
4) The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way by Bill Bryson
5) Dracula by Bram Stoker (THIS is a vampire! No wishy washy cozy feelings for us mere mortals)
6) Baseball and Lesser Sports by Wilfrid Sheed (an Englishman, no less!)
7) A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (Why, oh why has this not been made into a film?)
8) 1491 (& 1493) by Charles C. Mann
9) The Case Against Israel by Michael Neumann
10) The Portable Dorothy Parker by Viking (so you can laugh wherever you go)
Jayne Thomas, Richmond
LUKE GUTMANN'S Top Ten Books:
1. Political Warfare by John J. Putny.
2. The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin
3. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
4. The Butcher by Philip Carlo
5. On War by Carl von Clausewitz
6. Emperor (four book series) by Conn Iggluden
7. Gates of Fire by Steve Pressfield
8. I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max.
9. Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon
10. Murder Machine by Gary Cappiello.
Mr. Luke Gutmann, Soledad
CALL FOR ANDERSON VALLEY AUTHORS AND THEATER GOERS, by Lanny Parker
In preparation for their upcoming show, Rene Auberjonois and Howard Hesseman have requested that local residents submit their own short stories and/or poems to : email@example.com. Please submit before February 1st, so they can try to work them into their show entitled, "HEADS UP-back by peculiar demand". The performance is on Sat. Feb. 15th at the Philo Grange. No-host snacks and drinks at 7 PM and curtain is at 8 PM. This is an AV Education Foundation benefit. Tickets are $25 ( under 18, $10 ).....Tickets available at All That Good Stuff, Laughing Dog, Lemon's and Laurens. Get your "stories " in soon, please. What a thrill it would be to have your work read by these two pros. Info: 895-2644 (lanny)
HOW TO OBJECT to the Renewal of the FCC license for KZYX (90.7 FM)
by John Sakowicz
I am writing to advise the members of the public on how they may comment on the renewal of the FCC license for KZYX (90.7 FM). By following the directions below, you may file a Petition to Deny, an Informal Objection, or a Comment.
The deadline is coming soon. It is coming very soon.
So write to the FCC now.
I have written my own letter. I have what lawyers call "standing" in the matter of the FCC license renewal. What do I mean by standing? First, I am a publicly elected Board member. I am also Board Treasurer. And I've hosted a popular show on business and finance on KZYX for the last six years. My guests have included members of Congress, C-level executives, Pulitzer Prize recipients, retired senior military and intelligence officers, professor, authors, leading progressives and activists, and leading think tank researchers and advocates in economics, social policy, political strategy, law, military, technology, and culture.
Also, my blog entries at the KZYX website average 600-700 hits, more than any other programmer at KZYX. A few blog posts are approaching 2,000 hits.
I even had former FCC Commissioner, Nicholas Johnson, as a guest on my radio show (833 hits).
Astonishingly, I also broke a national story on my blog. I beat The New York Times to the story by several hours. The story was the crisis of leadership at our nation's nuclear missile launch facilities. I reported the firing of USSTRATCOM Deputy Commander, Vice Admiral Tim Giardina.
No one can argue I do not have standing in objecting to the renewal of KZYX's FCC license.
I am writing my own letter to the FCC for many reasons. Chief among them, the station's current General Manager, John Coate, does not share key information with me, i.e. FCC license renewal updates, reasons why Board meetings have been canceled, reasons why job openings at the station are not posted, and draw-downs on the station's line of credit and other bank borrowings.
Concerning bank borrowings, the immediate-past General Manager, Belinda Rawlings, almost bankrupted the station six years ago when she maxed-out the station's line of credit without fully disclosing her actions to the Board. When the bank refused to lend Ms. Rawlings any more money, she quit her job and moved to Boston.
I have also been troubled by other things. The integrity of Board elections concerns me. In the past, General Manager John Coate interfered with the elections process by recruiting some people to run for the Board — with his endorsement — while strongly discouraging other people from running for the Board.
Also, I have been troubled by the cancellations of a formerly very popular show on KZYX, "Open Lines,” which was the public's only opportunity for unrestricted public comment. Canceling "Open Lines" is an important First Amendment issue at KZYX. Members of the public may comment on any subject for three minutes. Despite what the General Manager John Coate says, the real reason I believe the show was canceled is because callers were becoming increasingly critical of station management. The show's equally popular host, Doug McKenty, was also suspended by Coate...apparently for not shutting up disaffected listeners.
Finally, I have written my own letter because I believe many programming decisions are made without public input. Worse, some decisions have been punitive. (I fully expected to be "punished" by management at KZYX for exercising my First Amendment rights by writing this editorial and speaking out to the FCC. There is a real meanness at KZYX.)
Concerning bad programming decisions made without any public input, I'll cite a few examples.
The Ukiah Daily Journal's editor, KC Meadows, once had a show on KZYX. It was a popular show. Ms. Meadows knows more about Mendocino County than just about anyone. She loves our county and its people. But she was summarily dismissed by management at KZYX for reasons that are still not clear.
Another popular host, Ells Cooperrider, was also fired. Ms. Cooperrider led the way in the fight against GMOs. Again, it is not clear why she was fired. It took years for Ms. Cooperrider's appeal to be resolved. She finally returned to the air, but only after a long fight.
Shows by other popular hosts, notably Beth Bosk and Mitch Clogg, were also yanked.
Meanwhile, folks who should have been given the opportunity to host shows — like national, raw cannabis juicing expert, William Courtney, MD — were never given shows. Dr. Courtney had to go to neighboring Humboldt County's KMUD to host his show, even though he lives in Mendocino County.
Perhaps worst of all, popular KZYX reporter, Christina Aanestad, was fired without cause. Ms. Aanestad had been groomed by the long-time KZYX news director, Annie Esposito, to be Ms. Esposito's successor when she retired.
Ms. Aanestad's California-wide reputation as an outstanding independent investigative journalist is well-deserved. Her work has aired on KQED's "The California Report,” Free Speech Radio News, Public Radio Exchange, and other media outlets. Ms. Aanestad is a regular reporter and substitute news anchor at KMUD. Her "Stories from Ecuador" about the degradation of sacred lands from oil drilling, gold mining, and hydroelectric dams have put Ms. Aanestad in the league of first-rate independent investigative reporters.
Ms. Aanestad's firing by General Manager John Coate is still a disgrace.
Another thing that bothers me is that for a public station, KZYX does a pitiful job in covering local news. Over the years, "Community News" which airs Monday - Friday, on KZYX, was cut from 60 minutes, to 30 minutes, and finally to 5 minutes. The station claimed they didn't have the money for a news department, yet General Manager Coate was given a 10 per cent raise in 2013.
After much public outcry, "Community News" was recently expanded to 10 minutes.
However, one of the recent new hires for reporter, — a job that was never posted or advertised — is a woman named Sheri Quinn. I do not know Ms. Quinn personally, but I do know she worked as a correspondent for Voice of America (VOA).
VOA is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. Many critics say the VOA is the mouthpiece of the CIA, and it is a propaganda tool. Several countries in the developing world have also said the VOA violates their national sovereignty by broadcasting and operating in their countries. VOA may even jam local broadcasts.
Is this who we want reporting our news in Mendocino County?
In sum, I wrote my letter to the FCC because I believe the following about the station's management at KZYX:
management is too entrenched;
management cares only about keeping their jobs;
management interferes with Board elections;
management often acts independently of the Board;
management does not encourage Board oversight
management does not share information with all Board members;
management does not encourage public input;
management fires radio show programmers without cause;
management fired popular news reporter without cause;
management may violate EEOC laws by not posting or advertising jobs;
management hoards financial information about staff salaries;
management hoards information about bank borrowings; and
management does seek Board authorization for all bank borrowings.
PETITIONS TO DENY/Informal Objections
A Petition to Deny or an informal objection to a radio license renewal application may be filed AFTER the filing of the license renewal application. Notices of thePetitions to Deny are considered to be timely filed with the Commission only upon receipt by the Commission at the address listed below, NOT when they are mailed or postmarked. Petitions to Deny may not be sent via e-mail.
The last day for filing Petitions to Deny is ONE MONTH PRIOR to the license expiration date. GET YOUR LETTER IN IMMEDIATELY.
PETITION TO DENY Requirements.
First, to file a Petition to Deny, a person must be a "party in interest" and have "standing." That means, generally, that the person must have more than a passing interest in the station. He or she must be a regular listener or have some other contact with the station that gives the petitioner a real stake in the outcome of the renewal process. A petition must be supported by an affidavit of a person or persons with personal knowledge of the allegations of fact contained in the petition. Additionally, a Petition to Deny a license renewal must be "timely" filed at least one month prior to the license expiration date, as explained in the previous paragraph. Finally, the petition must contain a certification that a copy of the petition was mailed to the station. Failure to include the certification that a copy was mailed to the station and the affidavit of personal knowledge will result in dismissal of the Petition to Deny.
PROCEDURE FOR FILING Informal Objections.
A person or entity opposing the grant of a station's license renewal application may file an informal objection against the license renewal application at any time prior to staff action on the license renewal application. An informal objection is less formal than a Petition to Deny, but some requirements still apply. It may take the form of a letter signed by the objector and mailed or delivered to one of the FCC addresses above. An informal objection need not contain the affidavit required for a Petition to Deny. It should, however, contain sufficient information to establish any violation alleged. Additionally, an informal objection not received by the time the station's license renewal is granted will not be considered.
MAILING ADDRESS for Petitions to Deny, Informal Objections, and Comments.
Send the petitions to deny, informal objections, or comments to the following address: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20554
You may also want to serve (or mail to) an additional copy of any filing the station licensee (Mendocino County Public Broadcasting) via a separate mailing.
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS for Filers of Petitions to Deny, Informal Objections, or Comments.
To help the staff expeditiously associate a Petition to Deny, informal objection, or positive comment with the proper license renewal application, the pleading should prominently identify:
The station's call sign: KZYX
The station's facility ID number: 41157
The license renewal application file number: BRED20130724AAG
This information, which is available on CDBS through the Commission's Web site, should be listed on the first page of the submission. The filing must also state whether it is a Petition to Deny, Informal Objection, or a Comment. If a cover sheet is used, it should be attached to each copy of the pleading. Failure to include this information may cause delays in associating a pleading with a license renewal application.
For the CDBS, see: http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/cdbs_pa.htm
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION about Radio Broadcast Station License Renewals.
For more information about this issue, please call Mr. Konrad Herling at: (202) 418-2769.
Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide sufficient information so that your inquiry can be answered promptly.
Join Us. Please join me, and past Board members Doug McKenty and King Collins, and the 91 members of "KZYX Members for Change" ( see Facebook page) in advocating for a meaningful change of management at KZYX.
Remember: The FCC will listen to your objections. Remember, too: There is strength in numbers.
KZYX is public radio, not a private clubhouse.
CALIFORNIA DROUGHT: Three more months of dry weather likely, National Weather Service announces
by Paul Rogers
In a new dose of bad news for a state growing increasingly concerned about lack of rain, California's historically dry weather is expected to last for at least another three months, federal scientists said Thursday.
The dire forecast for the rest of the state's winter rain season came as federal officials classified much of California as being in "extreme drought." And the Obama administration declared 27 California counties, including most of the Bay Area, as "natural disaster areas," eligible for emergency federal loans for farmers.
Computer models based on data from satellites, buoys in the Pacific Ocean and other sources favor below-normal levels of rainfall for California, much of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas until April, according to a new report from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center.
"There will be a few precipitation events, but we're looking at drier-than-normal conditions in February, March and April," said Matthew Rosencrans, a meteorologist with the agency, which is based in College Park, Md. "Right now we are saying the odds do not indicate a Miracle March, which is not a good thing." To be sure, long-range forecasts are not as accurate as short-term weather forecasts. The 90-day precipitation outlook for the West has turned out to be right about 60 percent of the time over the last 20 years.
Gov. Jerry Brown was expected Friday in San Francisco to declare a drought emergency, which would make it easier to transfer water between different regions of the state, and raise awareness for conservation.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly update of drought conditions by federal agencies and researchers at the University of Nebraska, classified large sections of Northern California, including the Bay Area, as the fourth most severe of five drought categories: "extreme drought."
"It means that things are not getting better. They are getting drier," said David Simeral, a meteorologist with the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, who is part of the Drought Monitor team.
"We're starting to see a lot more impacts showing up around the state," he said. "Groundwater issues, low snowpack, less forage available for cattle grazing, more fire risk."
Farmers in 27 California counties -- including Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey and San Benito -- declared "natural disaster areas" and in eight adjacent counties -- including San Mateo and Santa Cruz -- can now receive low-interest federal loans.
"Our hearts go out to those California farmers and ranchers affected," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
Last week, 27 percent of California's land area was listed as being in "extreme drought." This week it is it is 63 percent -- the most since the Drought Monitor began 14 years ago.
California is a historically arid place. Los Angeles and San Jose, for example, each get about 15 inches of rain in an average year. That's the same amount as Casablanca, Morocco. The state has periodic droughts but has not suffered a sustained one since 1987-92. Increasingly, political leaders and scientists are concerned that California is entering another such period. Sierra Nevada snowpack on Thursday was 17 percent of normal. Last year, most cities in the state received the lowest amount of rain in any living person's lifetime -- with records going back to 1850.
Although smaller water agencies, such as in Willits, in Mendocino County, where there is just a 100-day supply of water left, are struggling, most large Bay Area water districts have not called for rationing and don't plan to make a decision until March or April. Years of rebates for conservation and increased storage -- both underground at places like the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and in reservoirs, like the recently expanded Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County -- have put them in better positions than during previous dry spells, they say.
"We are in fair shape and examining our options. But we've been planning for this for a generation," said Abby Figueroa, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
For the past 13 months, a huge ridge of high-pressure in the atmosphere has sat off the West Coast, blocking storms that normally would bring rain during winter months.
Such high-pressure zones normally rise and break down as temperatures change and the jet stream shifts every winter, but this one has been different. Some scientists say it may be linked to climate change, which has melted polar ice and warmed the oceans. Others, including many who strongly support the broad scientific consensus that the Earth is warming due to human burning of fossil fuels, say it is too early to know. It may be related to other factors, such as naturally occurring temperature fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean, similar to El Niño and La Niña, or simply random bad luck.
Part of the National Weather Service's 90-day dry outlook, however, is based on the fact that there is a large section of the North Pacific Ocean where water temperatures now are 4-5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the historic average, Rosencrans said. And water along the California coast is about 1 degree cooler than average -- a condition known as a negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which historically has been linked to more high pressure, and drier weather in years past.
(Courtesy, the San Jose Mercury News)
“FREE MARKET WARRIOR” AUTHOR TO SPEAK IN FORT BRAGG. The Fort Bragg Area Republican Women invite you to hear Loren Spivack author of “Free Market Warrior” on Monday, February 3rd, at The Cliff House Restaurant, 1101 S. Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA. He will speak at 1:00 pm. His theme is educating people about economics, markets, and freedom (as opposed to socialism). If you wish to come for lunch the price is $20.00 and arrive by noon. Loren Spivack — “The Free Market Warrior” — was born and raised in Massachusetts and spent most of his adult life in New York City. Before becoming active in politics, Spivack worked as a management consultant for several profit and non-profit companies. He founded “Free Market Warrior” in 2009 in an effort to make a positive difference in American politics and economics. His background includes the readings of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Misses, and Thomas Sowell, of whose thoughts he states: “I learned from these scholars the old fashioned way, I read their books. None of them (not one!) were taught where I went to school.” He was expelled from Concord Mills Mall in North Carolina in July of 2009 for selling material critical of the Obama Administration. Since then, Spivack has devoted his time to teaching conservative groups about free market economics. He conducts “Economic Literacy” seminars across the United States. So far, Spivack has delivered his famous seminar on “Economic Literacy” to over 100 groups in 14 states. For further information contact Marcia Waters, 707-964-5027