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Bird’s Eye View (Dec 30, 2014)

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. It’s the amateur party-go’ers Big Night Out of the Year: New Year’s Eve! That’s fine of course, but I encourage others to try and enjoy the festivities too, and wherever and with whomever you may find yourselves. If someone is behaving badly, then just smile and walk away. You know it makes sense. Meanwhile, may I wish you much happiness and good health for 2015 and thank you for your continued support.

In a week with little news to report on up here at The Nest, or from my travels out and about in the Valley that were somewhat restricted by the holidays, I thought that I’d do something a little different. So, for your Quote of the Week, what about some quips, comments, and downright abuse of newspapers? I’m sure none of these would be aimed at a newspaper as high-minded as The AVA, but knowing the machinations of some lesser principled organs of the press, the following words would appear to be very wise indeed. First let’s go with Charles Dickens’ vicious comment that newspapers are “so filthy and bestial that no honest man would admit one into his house for a water-closet doormat.” And almost as damning are the words of author Norman Mailer who said, “Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.” Then there is George Orwell who adds to the abuse with the comment, “Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.” On the other side of the discussion, whilst “newspapers should have no friends” (Joseph Pulitzer), in the defense of such rare newspapers such as the AVA. “America’s Last Newspaper,” I offer you the comment by somebody you would perhaps not particularly wish to see on your side in any discussion about ethics and morals: former Chicago Mayor (1955-1976), Richard J. Daly, who commented, “A newspaper is the lowest thing there is!” I think newspapers would generally take that as a compliment considering the source. But perhaps the most positive comment about newspapers is that by Thomas Jefferson, probably an avid AVA reader in his day, who said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Thanks for your support Thomas; I think that might have guaranteed you a free subscription.

Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #366. Useful numbers at this time of year. For road conditions and closures call 1-800-gas-road (427-7623) and for power problems and outages call 1-800-PGE (743)-5000. #367. At Lauren’s, Wednesday, December 31 at 9pm, you will be able to dance in the New Year with Los Piratas featuring Michael and Leslie Hubbert, Chris Bing, Jim Dooley, and David Lipkind. There is a cover for this star-studded line-up of $12 and prior to the show the regular dinner menu will be served from 5-8.30pm. #368. The Valley’s country-French-style Coq au Vin restaurant at the Floodgate is also open Wednesday evening as is The Buckhorn pub where, in the words of owner Tom Towey, “We’ll be here serving food and drinks and if a party breaks out all the better.” #369. Another reminder of the Valley’s two annual Crab Feeds that will take place early in the New Year. First it’s the event that benefits the Senior Center, organized by the hard-working Board, and held on Saturday, January 17. Then, three weeks later, on Saturday, February 7, it will be Gloria Ross and her Crew presenting their event, “The Original Crab Feed” on behalf of the Catholic Church. Tickets for the first event ($30) are on sale at the Senior Center (895-3609), AV Market, Rossi’s Hardware, or Lemons Market; and those for the Feb 7 feed ($40) can be obtained from Gloria at 895- 3071. Both events will sell out so you are advised to not leave it to the last minute! #370. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital have confirmed two dates in January when they will be in the Valley. Thursdays, January 15 and 29. The Senior Center remains closed this week but will re-open next Tuesday, January 6 for lunch. The Center asks for a $6 donation from seniors and charges $7 for Non-seniors. The menu for the first lunch of 2015, served at 12.15pm prompt, is Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Carrots, Rolls, Tabbouleh Salad, and Birthday Cup Cakes for dessert. Remember, all ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.

The Three-Dot Lounge is closed this week and that gives me the opportunity to praise the Valley! I am not usually one of those pollyannish folks who lavishes praise everywhere he or she goes, but in the past couple of weeks I have enjoyed the company of so many Valley folk at various holiday parties and gatherings that I feel I must give several very big “claws up” to our community, and in particular to the stimulating level of its conversation and, even more importantly, the quality of its food and drink! Delicious cheeses, homemade biscotti and breads; succulent hams, turkeys, hot chicken wings, and rib roasts; unique and zesty guacamole and bean dips, potato salads, garlic mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped asparagus, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention the wonderful local wines, homemade beers, and shots of the splendid Jameson’s Irish Whiskey. It has been a veritable Mother-of-all Feasts and Binges. We Turkey Vultures love to eat, drink, and make merry, and many thanks go out to all of you responsible for my general well-being and enjoyment of these important tasks at this time of year. Talking of Turkey Vultures and our habits, it’s about time once again to share with you a little “interesting and informative” (well I like to think it is) “Jive Turkey’. Here we go. Did you know that along with all the goodies mentioned above we also like our “veggies.” Yes, folks, a recent study of almost 400 of our pellets collected in the Castro Valley and Livermore areas in California showed that plant material was the single most common ingredient of the Turkey Vulture's diet. The material consisted primarily of grass and leaves. Animal food items in the pellets included: shrew, mole, squirrel, gopher, mouse, rat, rabbit, bird, reptile, insect, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk, badger, sheep, and coyote. If not consumed and sterilized by the TVs, these carcasses would have rotted on the ground and could have spread disease. We truly are nature’s garbage collectors and proud of it. As I’ve said many times before, “We’re not in it for the glamour.”

Time to take my leave. I’ve got see a man about a sheep. 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; 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. Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. We Turkey Vultures are monogamous and mate for life. In fact sometimes, to prove our loyalty, we like to indulge in an “erotic” display dance on our nesting grounds. PPS. On the sheep, Grace. Keep on wagging that tail, Fred. Everything cool with you, OJ? Of course it is. Keep on humming, Hummingbird. (Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at

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