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Bird’s Eye View (July 27, 2016)

Greetings one and all. Are you are sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. Donald Trump received the nomination of the Republican Party last week. That development was virtually unthinkable a year ago when he was generally viewed as a loud-mouthed, crude and tactless television celebrity with a massive ego who had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In this column on 22 July, 2015, many months before the primaries got underway, I wrote “So, according to the latest Newsweek poll, Donald Trump leads the Republican pack for his party’s nomination?! Unbelievable! Come on, American citizens. behave yourselves!” Then on July 29, 2015, I followed up with, “The Republican Party Circus, err, sorry, Presidential Nomination Process, is a dreadful display of politics at its most crass, but even by normal standards Donald Trump is operating under rules of his own making that are perfectly suited to the voracious hunger of the modern media, and the hyperventilated-style of modern campaigning. The Donald has realized that the more outrageous his remarks, the more coverage and social media comment he generates. And the more coverage he receives, the better his polling numbers seemingly become. Increasingly, it appears that notoriety equals popularity amongst a large cohort of Republican voters. ” One year later, and look where we are.

A few days before Trump’s official nomination was announced last week, I watched a PBS documentary about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, perhaps the closest the world has ever come to nuclear destruction. With the location of Soviet nuclear missiles confirmed just 90 miles away from US shores, the crisis developed over 13 extremely tense days in October between the US on one side and Cuba and the Soviet Union on the other. President Kennedy had to make a number of decisions, particularly a final one, from an Oval office in which he was surrounded by hawkish advisors, both civilian and military, who almost unanimously wanted to bomb the missile sites and invade, and then deal with the consequences of a Soviet response. That response would have been nuclear war. Kennedy provided a cool head, possessing a strong sense that there was a diplomatic way out. There was. The US agreed to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s offer to remove the Cuban missiles in exchange for the US promising not to invade Cuba. Kennedy also secretly agreed to remove outdated US missiles from Turkey. The crisis was averted. Kennedy’s diplomatic abilities and capacity for critical thinking prevented a series of reactions of catastrophic proportions. I do not think for one instant that Trump would be able to get the same result were a similar set of circumstances to occur again. Or that he would deal well in any international crisis where judiciousness was required.

The damage to this country of a Trump presidency will be potentially widespread, a lack of diplomacy borne of his narcissistic bullying; the tearing up trade agreements; continuing vitriolic rhetoric against Muslims and political rivals; and his plans for the “Mexican wall” and deportation of 11 million immigrants. However, perhaps the most worrying aspect is that a person with his poor self-control and flawed temperament would have to make snap decisions on national security, with the world’s most powerful army, navy, and air force at his command and nuclear-launch codes at his disposal. A scary thought indeed. Onward.

During the recent “Battle of the Swap Sites” which was fought publicly, and at times unpleasantly, on Facebollocks between Boont Swap and Valley Hub (née Philo Swap), many Valley folks expressed the need to know about the many events/services in the Valley. Upon my urging, I now hope they have found their way here. where such information has been offered for over ten years. Of course it does mean making an investment of $1 in the AVA. So: Public Service Announcements. #543. The Damn Difficult Living Fair (sometimes referred to as the Not So Simple Living Fair) is this coming weekend, Friday-Sunday, July 29-31 at the Fairgrounds in Boonville, beginning with Corporal Raindrop hosting the first night’s “Open Mic” before the event gets fully underway on the Saturday. #544. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will make two visits next month to the AV Farm Supply on Highway 128, north of Philo on the first and third Thursdays: August 4 and 18. #545. The Boonville Farmers Market continues every Saturday in the parking lot of the Boonville Hotel, 9.30am-Noon. Cindy, 895-2949. #546. The AV Lending Library run by The Unity Club is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays at The Fairgrounds. Tuesday 1.30-4.30pm and Saturday 2-4pm. #547. The County Dump is open from 9am-4pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Remember, no dead animals! #548. Heads-Up #1. Bob Day and Nathan McMath are two members of the five-piece jazz combo to perform at The Buckhorn on Friday, August 5 at 7.30pm. There’s no cover charge to be entertained by this quality live music in the Valley — with their fine food and drink. #549. Heads-up #2. The 17th annual Boonville Aviation Knowledge and Folklore Convention, aka Airport Day, takes place on Friday and Saturday, August 12/13 featuring a Friday evening Happy Hour gathering at the AV Brewery Visitor Center with festivities on Saturday beginning at noon, culminating in a pot luck dinner (drinks provided) at 5pm. More info: Cindy or Kirk Wilder at 895-2949.

Here is the menu for the Community lunches over the next week in the Senior Center at the Veterans Building in Boonville — $6 donation from seniors and $7 for Non-seniors. Tomorrow, Thursday, July 28, the lunch, served by Marti Titus and her crew at Noon, will be Spaghetti with meat sauce and Tiramisu for dessert. Then, next Tuesday, August 2, as always for the first lunch of the month, the menu will feature Meat Loaf and mashed potatoes with gravy, and Triple Chocolate dessert. All meals include vegetables, salad bar, and fruit, plus milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade. Maybe the best value for money you’ll get all week! As this is the 2nd Tuesday of the month, the dinner will be followed by Bingo/Bunco at 7pm. Tai Chi is available every Tuesday at 11am, and on Thursdays at 11am it is Easy-stretch Yoga, part of the Active Life Club from 10am to 2pm with games, crafts, and music. The Senior Center/Community Bus goes to Ukiah on Mondays and Santa Rosa on the first Wednesday of the month. These trips fill up fast so sign up early at 489-1175. Remember: ALL ages are welcome! Hope to see you there. Topics and Valley events this week at The Three-Dot Lounge: yes it’s “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (yet surprisingly reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…Up for debate: “Does the Valley Chamber of Commerce promote commerce in the Valley?” After lengthy discourse, it was agreed that the group’s website is much improved (the frustratingly inadequate monthly calendar with virtually no information has thankfully been removed) and now provides more information than ever before. The list of services and businesses is very thorough. Good job! However, if you are an out-of-towner considering a visit to the Valley, the need to know what is going on does not seem to be readily available. A number of significant events and functions are still not mentioned, have incorrect information, or are out of date. For example there is no mention of the “Not-So-Simple-Living Fair;” the County Fair is always the 3rd weekend in September (not the 2nd); and the last of the wonderful Woolgrowers Fairs, which is highlighted, was back in 2007! I understand that this takes time and effort and these oversights have been excused by the expectation that local businesses/organizations submit their own events etc, and also by the fact that the Chamber Board members are all volunteers. Therefore, a definitive answer to the question was still undecided and tabled for a later date.

From our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes another in his insightful series – “Signs that the Apocalypse is Approaching.” Buzzard reports, “What is going on?!? America’s store, Walmart, was out of America’s cereal, Kellogg's cornflakes, at their location in Ukiah on Thursday of last week. If this isn’t a sign that the Apocalypse is very close indeed, I don’t know what is. It’s even more egregious than the Valley’s general stores being out of chocolate chip vanilla ice cream or Lauren’s Restaurant’s superb fries being taken off the menu because the fryer broke down. Yes, it’s been a tough week.”

I feel your pain, Buzzard. Ok, I’m outtahere. I’ve got see a man about a sheep. Until we talk again. Be careful out there; if you break a leg don’t come running to me; stay out of the ditches; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; show love to your pets, they will be faithful and true to you to the last beat of their hearts, and please remember to keep your windows cracked if you leave them in your vehicle; think good thoughts; Keep the Faith; try to not let life get in the way of living; may your god go with you, and may your dog go with you too. A final request, “Let us prey.” Sometimes poking, often stroking, but almost always humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. Contact me through the Letters Page or at PS. Skylark: read any good books lately?. Hi, Silver Swan: behaving yourself? Hopefully not! Everything cool with you, O.J.? Of course it is.

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