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Bird’s Eye View (Mar 2, 2016)

Greetings one and all. Are you are sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. Welcome to the 500th Turkey Vulture column! You’re welcome! Ha! Ha! There have actually been 432 of these compilations of “wise words, good thoughts and curmudgeonly moans and groans” since July 2007, which saw the beginning of the current “reign” of AVA Supremo, Bruce Anderson, who had previously owned and edited “America’s Last Newspaper” from January 1984 until the summer of 2004. The very first Turkey Vulture column was published in the AVA. on November 24th, 2004. That was the beginning of it all, and was the initial one of 68 columns published during the eminently forgettable “editorial leadership” of the previous regime, making for a grand total of 500, including the one before your very eyes, a collector’s item no doubt. Many thanks for your support past, present, and hopefully moving forward.

So some comments about newspapers. James Fenimore Cooper: “If newspapers are useful in overthrowing tyrants, it is only to establish a tyranny of their own.” Napoleon: “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.” George Orwell: “Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.” Charles Dickens: “They are so filthy and bestial that no honest man would admit one into his house even for a water-closet doormat.” Some redemption can be found if one believes that abuse from a disreputable source is a good thing. Former Chicago mayor Richard J Daley: “A newspaper is the lowest thing there is.” Coming from him, that is a good thing. And finally, Thomas Jefferson: “Were it left up 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.”

Public Service Announcements. #544. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital have just one visit this month to the AV Farm Supply on Highway 128, north of Philo: Thursday, March 24. #545. The Mendocino Bookmobile returns to the Valley on Tuesday, March 8. They are here on alternate Tuesdays for 45 minutes at each of these places and times: Navarro Store 9am (for just 30 minutes before heading out to Comptche); the Floodgate 12.30pm; Philo 1.30pm; Boonville (Apple Hall) 2.30pm. Phone 463-4694 for further details. #546. The AV Museum is open every Saturday and Sunday, from 1pm-4pm in The Little Red Schoolhouse next to the Elementary School on AV Way a perfect thing to do when you have a couple of hours spare on a weekend afternoon. “The Best Little Museum in the West.” #547. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser for the AV Senior Center is Saturday, March 12th at The Fairgrounds in Boonville — 5.30pm Happy Hour and a dinner to follow at 6.30pm featuring Corned Beef and cabbage plus “Green” Beer, Irish Coffee, Margaritas, local wine, and soft drinks. As always, the ever-popular cake/dessert auction will be after the dinner. Tickets at the Senior Center, AV Market, and Lemons’ in Philo: $15; $10 for Kids 10 and Under.

Community Lunch and Dinner menu at the Senior Center at the Veterans Building in Boonville. $6 for seniors for both lunches and dinners and $7 for Non-seniors for lunches; $8 for dinner. Tomorrow, Thursday, March 3rd, the lunch, served by Marti Titus and her crew at Noon, will be Chicken with Winter Vegetables, and Mano Cake for dessert. Next Tuesday, March 8 at 6pm, the dinner will feature Chicken Enchiladas, and Lime-Berry Cake for dessert. This is the 2nd Tuesday of the month, so Bingo follows at 7pm. All meals include vegetables, salad bar, and fruit, plus milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade. What a deal, the best $7 you’ll spend all week! Tai Chi is now available every Tuesday from 10-11am. And, same time, the water color painting class Thursdays leads into yoga at 11am. Hopefully you will be able to attend some of these events and certainly the lunches and dinners. Remember: ALL ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.  Topics and Valley events at The Three-Dot Lounge — “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (yet surprisingly reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…The Valley’s inquiring minds want to know: Will there be more applicants for the vacant School Board slot? With a construction crew hard at work, what is the Valley’s landmark Live Oak Building going to be used for? Will we have more or less than the current 29 winery tasting rooms (plus 7 by appointment) at this time next year? When will we get a bank of some sort in the Valley? When was the last time four local school sports teams reached their respective postseason Championship games?

…Many regulars are are following the AV Panthers high school boys basketball team, seeded #2. They have progressed to the semi-finals of the postseason play-offs in Division 6 (small schools) of the North Coast Section. They play at home tonight, Wednesday, March 2nd against #3 Archbishop Hanna (Sonoma). Your support would be greatly appreciated, and possibly vital to further success! If they win, the final will be on Saturday, either away at #1 Emery (Emeryville) or at home against #4 St Bernard’s (Eureka). Go Panthers!

…Restaurant Update. Stone and Embers at The Madrones has been up and running for two weekends since their reopening and, as a result of my own visit, I would say the wide acclaim so far received has been completely justified. The Bewildered Pig down in the Deep End has started a Thursday locals night at which a $17 “stick to your ribs, homestyle dish” for $17 or less is available, along with free corkage. Meanwhile, following a number of unforeseen delays, Aquarelle will re-open this Friday, March 4. I have their word of honor! And let’s not forget the Valley’s other dinner venues: The Buckhorn, Boonville; Libby’s in Philo; The Boonville Hotel; and The Redwood Drive-In. All are open and each is adding their own flavor to the Valley’s culinary delights.

…Of course, no Valley restaurant talk would be complete without a mention of Lauren’s Restaurant. Last Saturday was their 20th Anniversary Party. With Dean Titus, Susan Clark, and The Boot Jack 5 providing the high-spirited live music, accompanied by a very special three-song performance by Lauren herself, along with a rousing rendition of CCR/Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” by former Lauren staff member Patty Liddy. The crowd danced, imbibed, and enjoyed the wonderful hors d’oevres laid on by Lauren and her crew. Lauren took time to express her thanks to many folks who have helped in the success of the restaurant over the years but the evening’s biggest expression of gratitude was saved for Lauren herself when the multitude of about 170 people gave her a resounding three cheers in their appreciation of her providing the Valley with two decades of “Good Food. Good Times” at Lauren’s Restaurant.

…A number of regulars plan to attend this weekend’s 25th annual Variety Show at the Grange. They are a curmudgeonly bunch however and always stand at the back so that they can nip out to the parking lot for an alcoholic beverage during the “less entertaining” acts. Even if some folks see it as a variety rather than a talent show, that is fine of course, and nobody can say it isn’t almost all very entertaining. As host/compere Corporal Rainbow has said, “The audience is great and the acts, whether they are good or not-so-good, are our acts, Valley acts, and that’s what it’s all about.”

I’m outtahere. Got see a man about a sheep. So “take me drunk, I’m home.” Until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; if you break a leg don’t come running to me; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; show love to your pets, and may your god go with you. A final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. Contact me through the Letters Page or at PS. Missing the Venerable Pheasant everyday. Keep on humming, Hummingbird. On the sheep, Grace.

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