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Bird’s Eye View (July 16, 2014)

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. This just in before going to print. Dr. Mark Apfel is out as the medical director/chief medical officer at the AV Health Center. Out as in relieved of his duties/fired/sacked/booted out, or as they might say with an insincere smile on their face in Texas, “Doc, we’re gonna to have to let you go.” However, as usual the news from the Health Center is blurred and/or cryptic, or both. What many of us simply wish to know is whether Apfel is still the doctor who treats us or not? Those other titles may or may not include that position. Meanwhile, the plot thickens around the goings-on at the beleaguered Health Center and the rumors are spreading like measles in a country school without a doctor to cure them.

Onward. So another movie is about to be made featuring the Valley. This time it's an historical drama purportedly about life here in the time following the 1906 earthquake. According to producer/writer Judy Belshe-Toernblom, they started filming “Boonville Redemption” a few days ago and while most of the film is being shot elsewhere there might be some second unit shooting in Boonville at some point. The cast apparently includes such well-known performers as Ed Asner, Dianne Ladd, and, in an amazing coincidence, Pat Boone! Having visited the website, I’m still not sure what kind of message the film is sending, certainly Faith and God’s forgiveness play a part, but for a synopsis and other details go to


Whatever that message may be, for your Quotes of the Week, let’s turn to the conflicting yet obviously connected subjects of faith and atheism. George Bernard Shaw: “We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession.” Henry David Thoreau: “The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.” As for atheism, Clarence Darrow: “I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.” American journalist Heywood Broun: “Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist there is no God.” Novelist Beatrice Potter: “All outward forms of religion are almost useless, as are the causes of endless strife. Believe that there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself, and never mind the rest.” I go along with some of what Miss Potter says but overall, I am an atheist, thank God!

Public Service Announcements; calendars and pens at the ready. #485. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will be visiting the Valley tomorrow, Thursday, July 17. As always the venue is the AV Farm Supply but their new hours have been extended to 2-4pm. New customers are always welcome and for those who have been before you can call 462-8833 and the vets will bring your pet’s charts. After that they are coming over the hill just once next month, on Thursday, August 7. #486. Saturday, July 19 is Open “Mic” night at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. It’s always on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 9pm. #487. Known to many of us as “The Very-Difficult-at-Times Living Fair,” but officially “The Not-So-Simple Living Fair,” returns over the weekend of July 25-27.

Here’s the menu for the Community lunches over the next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans” Building in Boonville. The Center asks for a $6 donation from seniors and charges $7 for Non-seniors. Tomorrow, Thursday, July 17 the lunch, always served by Marti Titus and her crew at 12.15pm, will be Parmesan Cod, Broccoli, Brown Rice, and Arugula Salad, with Orange Cream Dessert. Then next Tuesday, July 22, the menu will feature BBQ Ribs, Garlic Pasta, Corn on the Cob, Quinoa Salad, with Brownies & Ice Cream. Remember, all ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.

Topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge — yes “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (and surprisingly reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…One regular echoed the sentiments of many others with a mini-rant about the parking of visitors in downtown Boonville. Through the summer months it is true that we have many people pulling in and parking at 90 degrees to the sidewalk, not parallel, as is the custom around here outside our stores and businesses. Along with many others he has even seen locals commit this “crime”! Come on folks, we can’t be doing that — we have our ways, they work, let’s not forget where we are.

…A few regulars have informed me that the recently released book, “Then and Now: an Anderson Valley Journey,” by Wes Smoot and my friend Steve Sparks, has sold out here in the Valley apart from at the AV Brewery Visitor Center, where they are selling fast. More copies have been ordered and will be back at the AV Museum (order on line through the website or better still stop by on Saturday or Sunday afternoons), on the shelves at Lemons’ Market in Philo and the AV Market in Boonville, and also at The Buckhorn restaurant and bar and “Fish Rock Girls” merchandise store in the Farrer Building. All proceeds go to the AV Historical Society and Museum.

…As we enter the heart of the summer, we at The Three-Dot counted 30 winery tasting rooms currently operating in the Valley, with Witching Stick soon to make it 31 when they open in downtown Philo, following Lula’s move from there to the end/beginning of Guntly Road around the 17-mile marker or so. In the past two years or so, six have closed, not to re-open somewhere else.

…The World Cup Final was the most watched televised sporting event in the world, watched last Sunday by over a billion people, beating the previous final and the Olympics opening ceremony, both watched by about 900 million. In comparison the most watched Super Bowl was seen by around 112 million. The Germans won for the fourth time, deservedly beating Argentina 1-0 in a fairly uninspiring match, but with a relatively young team they may well start as favorites in four years time when the tournament will be held in Russia. As for the failure of host Brazil’s “beautiful game” and “samba futbol,” don’t make me laugh. OK then I will. Ha, ha, ha!

…From our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes another in his insightful series — “Signs that the Apocalypse is Approaching.” Buzzard reports, “It has come to my attention that the local ‘Gentlemen’s Military History Book Club,’ aka the ‘Gentlemen Only Book Reading Organization’ (GOBRO) — Military History Section,” has been criticized in some quarters for not allowing women members. The group apparently consists of ten women-admiring gentlemen, with membership closed at this point. So let me understand this: we have the Independent Career Women for women only despite my efforts to join; the Sassy Ladies — for ladies only; the Women’s Dinner Group — for women only; the Unity Club — not officially for women only, but when I last checked a few months ago there were no men involved; the ‘Girls Night Out’ evening at Lauren's Restaurant. for ‘girls’ only; and two very successful, long-standing book clubs that to my knowledge have only women as members. These are no doubt all very enjoyable gatherings. I think it's great to have these women's fellowships with shared interests and aims, and long may every one of them continue. So why is there criticism of this men’s group on grounds of sexism? (I should add that the comments have not come from anyone in these aforementioned women’s groups.) This book-reading men’s group is not sexist; it’s simply a group of men getting together to discuss military history with other men. A healthy thing for one and all, I would venture to suggest. Nothing more, nothing less. It seems to me that once again political correctness is being taken to its narrow-minded extreme. Such a stance is frequently a restriction on truth, free speech, and thought, and many of its adherents are part of a vigilante force that imposes its views while accusing others of intolerance if you don’t agree with everything they say. If the continuing influence of these folks is not a sign that the ‘Apocalypse’ is very near, I don’t know what is.”

Oh, dear, has The Old Buzzard upset somebody? I guess he and I should get our coats and make a humble departure out the back door. So, until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; and may your god go with you. A final request, “Let us prey.” Poking and stroking but humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. and thinking you should now that we Turkey Vultures are monogamous and mate for life and sometimes, to prove our loyalty, we like to indulge in an “erotic” display dance on our nesting grounds. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at PPS. On the sheep, Grace. … Hi, George — hope you and Sheila are well. … Hi, Silver Swan — behaving yourself? Hopefully not!

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