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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Well, it’s time again for me to leave these parts for the Annual Turkey Vultures and Lesser Birds of Prey Convention at a secret location many miles from here. You will no doubt be pleased to hear that I shall be receiving a Special Vulturanitarian Award for lifetime services to the Birds of Prey Community of Northern California to go along with yet another Carrion-Eater of the Year Title (Anderson Valley Region). Thanks to everyone who has made these awards possible, particularly of course Hummingbird, my fellow Vultures, and the noble carrion-providers. I shall return in a few weeks and look forward to resuming Bird’s Eye View in the March 12 edition. Meanwhile, think lucky and you’ll be lucky; and don’t forget to prey.

Those who thought it not very amusing to refer to this year’s Super Bowl as the Stoner Bowl, owing to the two teams competing in the game being from the only two states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, are probably wishing they were stoned themselves after sitting through what was one of the least competitive games in recent years. It seemed that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the Denver Broncos, while Seattle piled up the points at will in their lopsided victory. Denver’s tackling was dreadful, their special teams woeful, and the performance of “the world’s greatest ever quarterback” (surely not), Peyton Manning, eminently forgetful. The commercials were as weak as I could remember too, and watching the game at The Buckhorn, with my wagers on Denver out of the window by half-time, it was the least I could do to wallow in excessive amounts of spicy wings and drown my sorrows in Guinness. When does spring training start?

I am indebted to the musings of Chuck Becker (AVHS 1968) for his comments on the healthcare issue in his response to my rhetorical question in a recent column, “Why was it not done in an efficient, comprehensive, and orderly manner?” Chuck’s remarks are too lengthy to reproduce here, but one point that stood out to me, for reasons that will become apparent, was his comment that the healthcare system is taking so long to fix “because of numerous defects in government, the first of which is money in government and politics. More prey attracts more predators (you now have my attention, Chuck). Whether it’s defense, which it used to be almost completely limited to, or healthcare or education, they’re drawn by the scent and they shower money on whichever candidate gives them what they want. So money begets money begets career politicians begets gougery and the Left and the Right scream at each other while the people in the middle turn away in disgust.” Chuck is clearly not happy and it’s hard to disagree.

Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #563. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will be in town at the AV Farm Supply on two occasions this month: tomorrow, Thursday February 6 and then again on Thursday, February 20. Call 462-8833 for further details. They set up from 2pm to 3.30pm and to avoid a line perhaps go around 3pm; you will definitely be seen. New customers and their pets are always welcome. #564. The AV Alsace Varietals Festival takes place at The Fairgrounds on Saturday/Sunday, February 8/9, featuring open houses and seminars, winemaker dinners, and local foods. Call 895-9463 for further details. #565. Saturday, February 8 is movie night at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. At 8.30pm, the AV Film Club will present “20 Feet from Stardom.” “Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.” Dinner and a movie? Why not? #566. The Grange Pancake and Egg Breakfast returns in February. It is always on the 2nd Sunday which means on this occasion it’s this Sunday, February 9 from 8.30am-11am; $10 per head. There is an “open mic,” which may add or detract from your dining experience. #567. For those so inclined, the monthly Community Drum Session will return next Wednesday, February 12 at The Grange. Contact Rob 3897 or Andy 3020 for further details. #568. On Saturday, February 15 at The Grange in Philo, the AV Education Foundation will present their 2014 marquee event. “Heads-Up. Back by Peculiar Demand” featuring stars of film, television, and stage, Valley resident René Auberjonois and his good friend Howard Hesseman. These two appeared here a couple of years ago in what was a wonderful evening of entertainment and they now have a new “set” that they will be presenting exclusively for the Valley. The profits from the event will go to high school student scholarships, summer internships, and student and classroom grants, and the evening will feature a Happy Hour with drinks and appetizers at 7pm with the show following at 8pm. For advanced tickets ($25 adults; $10 Under 18), call Lanny at 895-2644, Dick at 895-2561, or Laughing Dog Books in Boonville. Meanwhile check out the column in this week’s newspaper by Steve Sparks in reference to this event and its two stars. #569. The Boonville Winter Market keeps chugging along every Saturday from 11am. 1pm at The General Store in Boonville.

Here is the Community Lunch menu for next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans Hall in Boonville. The Center asks for a $6 donation from Seniors for both lunches and dinners and charges $7 for Non-Seniors for lunches and $8 for the dinners. Tomorrow, Thursday, February 6, the lunch, always served by Marti Titus and her crew at 12.15pm, will be Tostadas, Beef, Beans Cheese, Avocados, Corn, Tomato Salas, Barley Salad, and Mixed Berry Nachos for dessert. Then next Tuesday evening, February 11 at 6pm, the dinner will feature Buttermilk Chicken Thighs, Carrots, Brown Rice, Strawberry Gelatin, Bulgur Salad, and a dessert of Carmel Apple Cake. As this is the 2nd Tuesday of the month, dinner will be followed by Bingo at 7pm. Hopefully you will be able to attend, and remember. All ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.

Topics and Valley events from The Three-Dot Lounge. Yes, “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (and often Reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…The Buckhorn, Boonville, is now operating as a full service restaurant and bar. Yes, the margaritas, martinis, and single malts are back in the Valley. Well done to owner, Tom Towey.

…Many folks continue to wonder. “Ultimately, why did our local bookstore Laughing Dog Books close?” Loretta Houck worked very hard and efficiently to make the operation work and one has to hope it was not another greedy landlord situation; a scenario that has seen too many local businesses affected one way or another, sometimes terminally?

…Hopefully, the “online urban guide and business review site” is not that influential on people’s decision-making when it comes to dining around the Valley. Throughout much of its history there have been allegations that Yelp Inc. has manipulated their website's user reviews based on participation in its advertising programs and, based on some reviews of local establishments, those who do not advertise, one can see why. As every successful restaurateur knows, for every poor review tendered, there are many more unwritten positive reviews. Furthermore, to complain, one has to visit the establishment more than once surely? Unfortunately, it is the nature of certain folks to complain, Turkey Vultures excepted, many of who wouldn’t know a shrimp from a prawn.

…Last Saturday evening’s “Original” Crab Feed was a “full-on” sold out event with an attendance of over 350 predominantly local folks determined to have a great night and “crab-out” like it was the last crab on earth. (Given the amount that was eaten, 1400 pounds, it might possibly have been). Another great job by organizer Gloria Ross and her team, including the “better-than-ever” serving crew from the high school. We’ll do it again next year.

Time to take my leave. Until we talk again. Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; 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. On the sheep, Grace. … Hi, Silver Swan. behaving yourself? Hopefully not! … Bobwhite Quail, keep up the knitting!

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