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AT A TIME our government — any government, I suppose — can spy on citizens through their television sets and telephones, we want to assure our on-line readers that at least their logins are secure at our site (https). No longer will you all be pestered by those "insecure" warnings some of you complained about. Insecurity itself.... Nothing we can do about that.
A FORT BRAGG READER WRITES:
Subject: I've been thinking of a way to get down to the glass at Glass Beach without a stairway. Of course getting back up the bluff could be a problem. LOL
LUNCH AT THE FORT BRAGG SENIOR CENTER
(MCN listserve comment)
Seniors and street people—
As I do 3x a week during tax season, today I spent the whole day volunteering at the Redwood Coast Senior Center. While having lunch in the cafeteria (a good, inexpensive meal with fresh, tasty, safe, plentiful food), I was thinking about our new President and his efforts to shut down Senior Centers and Meals on Wheels among the many valuable services we provide to many vulnerable members of our community. While looking at the many faces I know, I wanted to cry. If you want to know a place to put your energies while we organize to change the political map of this country, you might try going by the Center between 11:30 and 12:30, Monday through Friday. While donating less than $10 for the meal (you get to chose the size, if any, of your donation) you can eat a fine lunch, see some wonderful people of the coast for whom this is probably their only meal of the day, and remind yourself of the goodness in our community. The Senior Center was full of joy this afternoon, as many people celebrated the life of someone who recently died. The Senior Center is more than a "senior" center and it's a good place to give of your energy and get far, far more back while giving of your energy. You should probably be over 4 years old if you want to attend. Actually, the age of attendees can be a young as new borns and you will probably find people you will enjoy sharing your lunch with. You will most certainly be reminded of your own humanity and be rewarded, in your heart, of your own generosity. Oh, by the way, the distinction between you and our President couldn't be made more clear than by making this a place where you spend some of your time. And, at least once a day, you can experience a good, healthy meal for an extremely reasonable price among many fine people.
CO-OP COMPLAINTS UNFAIR
To the Editor:
Recently, someone named Savon Faire laid out an argument for voting “carefully” in the board election at Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op. That writer claims to speak for small farmers, and has quite a tale to tell. I’m here to tell the tale from a different perspective.
Full disclosure: I have been on the staff of the Ukiah co-op for nearly 14 years. I work closely with the rest of the managers, and feel sure that I have attended more board meetings than Savon Faire has. In writing this letter, however, I represent only myself as a co-op member. I am not representing the co-op. I’m just tired of seeing a small group of flame-throwers attack the co-op unfairly.
Every year, the co-op holds an election for three of its nine board seats. Being a board member is a big commitment of time, and I’m thankful to everyone who has made that commitment. Sometimes, there are fewer candidates than seats, and existing board members end up having to cajole someone into taking on the task. Sometimes, only three candidates run, and there is no need for an election — all three candidates get a seat.
It is rare that there is any real competition for those three seats. So this year, when three people declared their intention to run as a team, it piqued my interest. Why the sudden desire to pack the board with what can only be described as a special-interest clique?
Two of the three candidates on Team Small Farmer neglected to perform their first duty as a prospective board member: Find out whether they were qualified to run.
One could argue that they skipped an even more elementary step: Try attending a few board meetings. Or volunteer on a board committee. You know: Participate. Help out. Be constructive.
Upon learning that they were not qualified, how did they respond? They launched an online petition, accusing the co-op of scurrilous behavior. One of them, Ben Wolff, wrote a passionate but ill-informed piece and posted it online — again, accusing the co-op of shameful behavior. They wrote a letter to the editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal, again accusing the co-op of outrageous behavior. They pushed and pushed, causing management to consult the corporate lawyer, an unnecessary expense that comes right off the bottom line. Their tone was angry, and disrespectful toward both management and the elected representatives on the board.
As for the corporate attorney’s opinion that the board had no option to override the bylaws, well, Team Small Farmer had a response for that. They enlisted a local attorney to suggest three ways the board could get around the bylaws: 1) Ignore them, because the state enforcers of corporate governance are unlikely to pay any attention to the doings of a tiny rural co-op, or 2) Pay $300/hour to a succession of other corporate lawyers until we found one willing to tell us what Team Small Farmer wanted to hear, or 3) Put the unqualified candidates on the ballot anyway, just in case some way could be found of legitimizing them later. Do any of those three options sound like responsible governance?
A few hundred people signed their petition, by the way, and traffic in the store took a hit for a few days. The co-op, they were told, was run and governed unfairly. Boo! Hiss!
Are these the actions of three people who intend to be responsible and supportive board members? They appear to be more aligned with the interests of the co-op’s suppliers than its members. They show little concern for the reckless harm they are causing to the co-op’s reputation.
And why hog all three of the open seats? Can’t one board member from this group fairly represent the interests of small farmers? Do they want a voice on the board, or control of the board? Isn’t the pursuit of control while damning the institution the very definition of a hostile takeover?
We’ve all seen the damage that can be done by a loud and hostile minority. I’m tired of it.
I started this letter by saying my interest was piqued when three people decided to run on a common platform of support for local farmers. I think I finally figured out why they had to pack the board, and why it had to be now, not next year. This is just a theory. See what you think.
The co-op has long been searching for an opportunity to expand. Our members have amassed a tidy hope chest toward that end. The board is currently considering options for using a chunk of that money. It’s like a full honeypot, and a pile of hot, steaming pancakes has just been placed beside it. If you’re a special-interest sort of person, next year could be too late to siphon some of that honey toward your favored group. You need to pack the board now.
So, please do vote carefully, if you are a co-op member. Please vote for any candidate who seeks to represent the members of the co-op, not its suppliers. Please vote for anyone other than Gina Covina.
Brian Alexander, Redwood Valley
SCAMMED BY SFE
Letter to the Editor:
I foolishly signed a contract with a door-to-door salesperson in the spring of 2016. Added to my PG&E bill was SFE California's charge of $40.97 every month claiming this was to average my PG&E billing for the high winter cost of heating my mobile home in a senior park in Ukiah. As my gas usage increased with the cold weather my PG&E bill increased as usual plus the extra charge caused by the contract. My bill with PG&E included a gas procurement charge by the Core Transport Agency, SFE energy and was based on misrepresentation. I knew then I had been scammed.
These are the steps I've taken:
11/14/2016. PG&E states it was my choice to sign a contract, warning me to pay attention to public service announcements warning the public about misrepresentation.
11/15/2016. SFE Energy canceled three-year contract per customer’s request, waived cancellation fee (due to financial hardship).
11/18/16. The California Public Utilities Commission kindly said they could do nothing because the company is out of state.
11/19/2016. Better Business Bureau taking my complaint, ID number 11855368, directed me to seek the advice of an attorney or file a claim in small claims court.
Please note: In checking on who to contact with SFE California Inc. it is a Delaware corporation service company, the business, CSC lawyers incorporating service (process servers).
My concern is: I do nothing and another person may be misled by the sales pitch and suffer from a loss of faith and peace of mind as I have.
Thank you for your time. Please pass this information on.
Name withheld, Ukiah
A FINE RESPONSE
To Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila and crew,
What an amazing crew you lead! After my call to emergency I was so surprised at the speed of the response. First you came, then Tina arrived and Mary and Tyler and then Peter and Martha and everyone was working so smoothly together that all I could think about was the hours that all had invested in learning what to do. It was like nothing I had ever witnessed.
When Clay came with the helicopter crew Tina told me that the "A-Team" had arrived. I am quite sure I already had the A Team assembled in my living room. I am grateful that they were there to share their expertise and strength and thankful to all of you and to Colin and Sarah and all of the others who I did not see or hear of.
I have read a great deal of letters in the Anderson Valley Advertiser over the years thanking the fire department and the ambulance staff for their inestimable help. But really, until one sees it in their own home there is no earthly way it can be truly appreciated. Thank you all so very much.
NOTE TO FICTION EDITOR, The New Yorker magazine:
I have a suggestion for you snowflakes: fire your literary editors for starters, and I'll bet there's at least a dozen of them, and instead of the provocatively awful poetry and fiction selected by these caponized feebs, stick to the masters of yesteryear, like the F. Scott Fitzgerald story you ran a couple of issues ago. Congratulations on at least having the sense to dip into the archive for good writing. I may be premature here, but it's certainly a welcome change from the Swarthmore creative lit you seem partial to. So, how about permanently confining yourselves to short fiction written before 1970 except, of course, Richard Ford, Thomas McGuane, Sherman Alexie and a few others I'd be happy to name for you.
CASE IN POINT, The New Yorker of 27 March contains a poem so resoundingly un-poetic it makes Ashbery read like Wordsworth. This thing made me so angry I had to go for a walk before I was calm enough to watch COPS:
Nature that wants to fill in
the gap the Falls
falls in and the eye falls
extends a bewildering
eye & in its in
less a widen
ing makes than what my
mind made too much
of when you
planted a tree in it.
IF THIS is a poem for your boyfriend, Michele, you're lucky he didn't plant an axe in your head. I think I copied it exactly as it was preciously arrayed on the page, but crimenently, this kind of anti-poetry shouldn't be encouraged. Assuming this is a love poem, and I'll have to check my perception with Mendo's arbiter of the finer things, Gordy Black, but here's a love poem by Robert Creeley that's accessible and affecting:
Love comes quietly,
about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
ASSUMING Ms. Glazer's poem is more or less inspired by ee cummings, here's the master of eccentric poetics, also on the subject of love:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
THIS ISN'T roses are red violets are blue, and it takes a couple of run throughs to get it, but the getting is good and worth the effort.
THE SHORT STORY is unreadable, but I dropped out after the pretentious title, "Herman Melville, Volume I" and the first few lines: "She's carrying two skateboards, two backpacks, the banjo in its scratched-up case…"
* * *
THE MARCH 27TH ISSUE did contain a terrific pieced by Jane Mayer (she's always good) called, "Trump's Money Man — How Robert Mercer, a reclusive hedge-fund tycoon, exploited America's populist insurgency."
THIS GUY MERCER, and his crazed daughters, think the Koch Brothers are too soft and ineffective with the placement of their money in various neo-fascist causes and candidates. The Mercers are investing directly in evil and, Mayer informs us, basically bought Trump the White House. Must read for anyone counting down The Last Days.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “The boss comes charging out the door and throws a New Yorker at me. I say, ‘Hey! What the hell did I do?’ ‘Sorry, Little Dog,’ he says, ‘I didn't see you. A poem in that mag got me all riled up.’ You people out there see what I have to deal with here?”
MIKE KOEPF WRITES: "I hardly ever listen to KZYX, but last night driving home from the coast, I happened to tune in to a debate of prospective board members. Thinking that this would put me asleep at the wheel, I started to tune out, when some guy by the name of John Sackowick (?) running for the board, commented that the station needed to expand its local listening base. He suggested that you, Mark, and KC Meadows know more than anyone else about what is really going on in the county and that all of you should have your own programs on KZYX. The suggestion did not go over well with the other candidates, but I was amazed that he made it
ED NOTE: Invoking us was a kind of audio Hail Mary. Sako's obviously the only candidate who would at least try to put the public into Mendocino Public Radio but, as a former trustee of that most untrustworthy organization when he functioned as the board's fiscal guy, and couldn't ever get access to the station's books, which may be a first in American organizational politics, the smiley faces have their long knives out for him. The guy's candidacy is doomed for Only In Mendo zoological reasons, which we'll get to. Anyway, during his futile romp as trustee, Sako's insistence that the station play by its own rules naturally estranged the cringing Mendo muffins who dominate station affairs, especially a pair of castrati called John Coate and Stuart Campbell. (There's some question as to whether Coate and Campbell arrived in Philo with their nuts shrink-wrapped but still more or less functional, or were immediately de-balled by a fiercely unhappy woman named Aigner, who ran the place for years before leaving to take full-time employment in the dope industry. Sako's mention by name of only three non-personed persons out of fifty or so banned persons doubly dooms his candidacy. He can't possibly be elected because, as I often say, and here's the zoology, Mendolib is like one of those hermaphroditic sea creatures, endlessly re-creating itself. Replace every single person at KZYX and you still get Meg Courtney.
ARE BEES NATURE'S BITCHES?
The recording of Friday night's (2017-03-24) KNYO and KMEC Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and enjoy via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
Major Mark Scaramella of the Anderson Valley Advertiser phoned and talked about his brief pre-military career as a theater organist in a theater with a motorized elevator to raise the majestic organ console, with him playing it, up out of the floor.
Also, Paul Modic sent in a series of poetic stories.
And Rich Alcott's Attention Deficit News installment, this time from Lexington, Kentucky; he's on his way to New Mexico to begin yet another chapter in his remarkable life.
And the infamous White God episode of The Shadow, the one about a magnetic machine that can pull aeroplanes right out of the aer.
Jeff Wright stopped by just after I signed off. He'll be back in two weeks to tell you the details of his recent encounter with the dim, if not the dark, side of the U.S. postal system. I'm looking forward to that.
Anyway, also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find directions to many non-radio though worthwhile goods that I found while putting radio shows together. Items such as:
Eluvium, Regenerative Being. (A true story.)
By the end of this short Black-Mirror-like film it's meant to feel creepy and sad but I think it's sweet. The man is happy, and what's the harm?
Snail sex. Like Klingon sex it involves knives, honor and determination.
And better alternatives to first-past-the-post voting.
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 25, 2017
BASILIO ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.
JASON GILSTRAP, Willits. Burglary, tear gas possession, probation revocation.
TIMOTHY HALE, Ukiah. DUI.
ROSS KOSKI, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
JORDAN LUNA, Covelo. Drunk in public, receiving stolen property, paraphernalia.
MICHAEL MCGEE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
STEPHANIE MILBERGER, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
NICHOLAS PARRY, Rohnert Park. Grand theft.
GREGORY PIKE, Albion. Smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail.
SEAN RAYMOND, San Francisco/Willits. Drunk in public.
WALTER VANSANT, Ukiah. Domestic assault, probation revocation.
LUIS VILLALOBOS, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ANTHONY WALKER, Ukiah. DUI.
JAMES WALKER, Willits. DUI.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS cornerback Richard Sherman believes Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by NFL teams for his political protest last season:
Kaepernick opted out of his 49ers contract earlier this month, but is still a free agent, having garnered little interest from teams around the league. Sherman told ESPN First Take on Friday that Kaepernick’s remaining unsigned has little to do with the quality of his play and everything to do with his national anthem protest of last year. “It has nothing to do with football. You can see that,” Sherman said.
Asked why Kaepernick has not yet been picked up by a new team – on a day that Mark Sanchez was taken by the Bears – Sherman said: “It’s difficult to see because he’s played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it’s difficult to understand.
“Obviously he’s going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off years before.”
Brian Hoyer, Nick Foles and Josh McCown have all found work this offseason, and Sherman said it was surprising Kaepernick hadn’t been taken considering the dearth of top talent at quarterback.
Sherman said: “You don’t have 32 starting-level quarterbacks in this league. You have about eight elites, and then you have the rest of the league. You have about eight, nine elite quarterbacks. You have two or three who have the potential to be elite. And then you have the rest of the teams.
“So he could play and start on a ton of teams in this league. He would be a starter on probably 20 of the teams in this league. But you’re telling me that you’re going to let other guys, you’re going to pick up some of these other guys and tell me that they’re starters?”
Kaepernick led San Francisco to Super Bowl XLVII, and to the NFC championship game the following season, where they lost to Sherman’s Seahawks.
Earlier this month Kaepernick announced that he would drop his protest next season and stand for the national anthem.
NEIL GORSUCH AND THE CASE OF THE FROZEN TRUCKER
Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch cast a cold, solitary vote against a worker who was fighting for his life.
by Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan
(March 24, 2017)
The Senate confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, have often been obscured by one controversy after another, from the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act to revelations that the FBI is actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Add to that the unprecedented decision last year by the Senate Republican majority to deny President Barack Obama a hearing on Merrick Garland, his constitutionally nominated successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, after Scalia’s death. The magnitude of a Supreme Court nomination should not be underestimated; it comes with a lifetime appointment to the bench, with far-reaching, sometimes life-or-death implications. No one understands that better than Alphonse Maddin.
On a freezing-cold night in January 2009, Alphonse Maddin was driving a truck, employed by TransAm Trucking of Olathe, Kansas. In a statement before the press last week, Maddin recalled his ordeal:
“I was hauling a load of meat through the state of Illinois. After stopping to resolve a discrepancy in the location to refuel, the brakes on the trailer froze. I contacted my employer, and they arranged for a repair unit to come to my location.”
Waiting in the freezing cold, Maddin fell asleep.
The African-American trucker went on: “I awoke three hours later to discover that I could not feel my feet, my skin was burning and cracking, my speech was slurred, and I was having trouble breathing. The temperature that night was roughly 27 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The heater in the cabin was not producing heat, and the temperature gauge in the truck was reading minus 7 degrees below zero. After informing my employer of my physical condition, they responded by telling me to simply hang in there. … I started having thoughts that I was going to die. My physical condition was fading rapidly. I decided to try to detach the trailer from the truck and drive to safety.”
He did so, and for taking that action to save his own life, he was fired.
Maddin sued, and the Department of Labor ordered his reinstatement, with back pay.
TransAm Trucking appealed, and the case was argued before the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Among the three judges hearing the case was Neil Gorsuch.
Maddin’s attorney, labor lawyer Robert Fetter, recalled:
“There were five or six cases before that court that morning, and we were the last. Judge Gorsuch was neutral, or even affable, as the cases proceeded. Then, when our case came up, he became noticeably hostile. … He was not folksy or oh goshy,” Fetter said, comparing Gorsuch that day with the nominee’s demeanor at this week’s hearings. “It was like night and day.”
Maddin summed up the ordeal and the legal battle that followed, saying: “I disputed my termination from TransAm Trucking and ultimately won. This was a seven-year battle. Seven different judges heard my case. One of those judges found against me. That judge was Neil Gorsuch.”
As Fetter put it, “the business community loved it.”
Why is this relevant? Candidate Donald Trump publicized a list of prospective Supreme Court nominees in May 2016. Gorsuch was not on it. Gorsuch’s dissent came out on Aug. 8, extolling what Fetter called Maddin’s “legal right to stay in the truck and freeze to death.” In late September, Trump, by then the Republican presidential nominee, published a second list of Supreme Court nominees, this one included Gorsuch.
Elliot Mincberg, senior fellow at People for the American Way, said on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, “[Gorsuch] did what he does in so many cases, siding with the corporation.”
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., during his questioning of Gorsuch Tuesday, said, “I think everybody here would have done exactly what he [Alphonse Maddin] did. … It is absurd to say this company is within its rights to fire him because he made the choice of possibly dying from freezing to death or causing other people to die possibly by driving an unsafe vehicle. That’s absurd.” Franken, formerly a comedian, added, “Now, I had a career in identifying absurdity, and I know it when I see it. And it makes me question your judgment.”
Yes, Neil Gorsuch stands out. Seven judges heard Alphonse Maddin’s case. Six sided with the frozen trucker. Supreme Court decisions are not theoretical; they can have real-world, life-and-death impacts. They reflect our collective values. Neil Gorsuch cast a cold, solitary vote against a worker who was fighting for his life. That should weigh heavily on the senators as they consider Gorsuch’s lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.
— Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan
When I was in India in the summer of 1994, I got up at 4 A.M. (Brahma Muhurta) and heard an unidentifiable sound. Proceeding out of the front gate of my guest house at Sivananda Ashram in Muni-ki-Reti, I walked down to the Ganges River, and discovered yogis waist deep in the water performing pranayama breathing exercises, prior to everyone gathering at 5 A.M. in the Samadhi Hall for morning meditation. The Indian yogis possess the kind of dedication that is required for success on the spiritual path of the Sanatana Dharma...AS OPPOSED TO seeing how much weight one might lose in a "hot box" hatha yoga class dressed in zebra patterned leotards in headstand, simultaneously chanting OM plus concentrating on the third eye chakra, gazing out the front window to make certain that the anarchists don't steal the mauve-colored Bentley automobile full of purchases from the earlier stroll down Rodeo Drive, enjoyed whilst sucking on a peppermint latte to remove the hangover from the Oscar party that lasted until 4 A.M. (Brahma Muhurta).
Craig Louis Stehr
RECRUITING FOR 2017-18 MENDOCINO COUNTY GRAND JURY MEMBERS
The Mendocino Superior court is currently recruiting jurors for next year's term. If you are interested, and at least 18 and a US Citizen and resident of this county, (who is not an elected official), you are eligible. Meeting times and places vary widely as needed and occur all over the county (not just in Ukiah). I'm posting to the coast list as it is vitally important to have continuing coastal representation on the Grand Jury. Applications may be obtained at: www.mendocino.courts.ca.gov/genreal_info/operations/grand jury.asp or in person at the Superior Court, 100 North State Street, Ukiah, Room 303. I echo the sentiments of the Letter-to-the-editor below. Previous local Grand Jury reports and responses may be read at:
Foreman, 2016-17 Mendocino County Grand Jury
ATTENTION BAY AREA READERS!
It’s a great day for San Rafael Pacifics Baseball!
I am reaching out to you because you or your child participated in our “In between inning promotions” in the 2016 Pacifics Baseball season and thought you might be interested in supporting the team in a different way this year.
I am the host family coordinator for the 2017 Season and I am looking for 15 families to house our players from Spring Training on May 22 through the end of the season on August 31.
This a little bit about what we do and the tradition of host families across professional baseball:
Throughout the history of baseball, Host Family Programs have been a vital part of the success for nearly every team, both on and off the field. As players become a part of a local family, it allows these young men stay grounded and comfortable in an unfamiliar new city. For many host families, their players become more than just a guest — they become part of the family. Experience memories that last a lifetime, become a Pacifics host family today!
This season, approximately 19 young men from the San Rafael Pacifics Baseball Club will be living in Marin County for the summer to play baseball, beginning — and in many cases continuing — their professional careers. From May through August, these aspiring ball players will continue to hone their baseball skills playing 78 regular season games in the Pacific Association.
What Do Our Players Need?
A player would need his own room (unless you host two, then they can share), preferably his own bathroom, and access to a laundry room and kitchen.
The host family is not required to cook for their player. The players will be provided dinner at the ballpark after each home game.
Most players will have their own car, but for players without a vehicle, it is not the responsibility of the host family to provide transportation. If your player is without a vehicle, he is responsible to arrange transportation with teammates or the Pacifics front office.
The San Rafael Pacifics need local fans and families to become a major part of our team for the 2017 baseball season. Would you and your family enjoy getting to personally know our players? If so, our Host Family program might be perfect for you. Hosting a professional baseball player is very much like hosting a foreign exchange student, but without the language or cultural barriers. Players will arrive at the end of May for our 10-day Spring Training camp. Players who make the team will be staying in San Rafael through the entire season, which ends in August. The Pacifics hope to have as many local players on our roster as possible, but as is tradition throughout minor league baseball, we rely on the generosity and support of quite a few host families.
Host Family Benefits:
NEW Guaranteed Giveaway Program: Receive every Pacifics giveaway whether you can attend the game or not, including celebrity autographs!
Season Tickets to all Pacifics home and away games. One ticket per family member.
Priority access to special events, including celebrity appearances and player events.
Gift package that includes host family tshirts and special host family items.
A welcome party with the team during Spring Training.
If there is any way to publish this in the club we would really appreciate it in order to get the word out. I have attached a document explaining more information if that would be easier for you to pass along. Unfortunately, my contact information is not on the flyer.
If you or one of the rotary club members is interested in housing one of our players, I would love to talk with them and give them more information. We have many players coming in from out of town and we are entirely grateful for all of the support our host families give us.
I have attached the host family information page as well as our schedule. Further information can also be found on our website:
If you cannot help us this year, please pass this email along to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks!
I hope to hear from you soon!
Kim Lofrano, San Rafael Pacifics Baseball Club
415/485-1563 / email@example.com
SWAMP DRAINS TRUMP
by James Kunstler
The Washington political scene is looking less like The Apprentice and more and more like the old Marlon Perkins Wild Kingdom show, with giant crocodiles slithering down the muddy banks to encircle Donald Trump paddling fecklessly in his leaky dugout while a chorus of angry birds shrieks in the surrounding treetops. Yes, it really looks that bad all of a sudden for Ol’ Number 45, the Golden Golem.
RussiaGate is flaring to a toxic shock level event. Everything that spun out of Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing made all parties look bad. The spooks are everywhere and nowhere. The spooks are leaking to the press. The president is tweeting instead of governing. The two parties are literally at war in congress, and the news media is playing it all like a Stockhausen cantata for kazoo and trashcan lid.
One can’t help marveling at the way the “Russian interference” motif has shifted the spotlight off the substance of what Wikileaks revealed about Clinton Foundation and DNC misdeeds onto Trump campaign officials “colluding” with Russians, supposedly to support their interference in the election. It’s true that the election is way over and the public is no longer concerned with Hillary or her foundation (which is closing shop anyway). But the switcheroo is impressive, and quite confusing, considering recently retired NSA James Clapper just two weeks ago said on NBC’s Meet the Press that there was “no evidence” of collusion Between Trump and Russia. Okay… uh, say what?
On Monday, FBI Director James Comey revealed that his agency had been investigating the Trump Campaign since at least last August. Is that so…? Investigating how? Some sort of electronic surveillance? Well, what else would they do nowadays? Send a gumshoe to a hotel room where he could press his ear on a drinking glass against the wall to eavesdrop on Paul Manafort? I don’t think so. Of course they were sifting through emails, phone calls, and every other sort of electronic communication.
Trump’s big blunder was to tweet that he’d been “wiretapped.” Like the FBI patched into a bunch of cables with alligator clips in the basement of Trump Tower … or planted a “bug” in the earpiece of his bedside phone. How quaint. We also don’t have ice boxes anymore, though plenty of struggling weight-watchers across the land speak guiltily of “raiding the icebox.” But if it’s true, as Mr. Comey said, that the FBI had been investigating Trump’s campaign, the people around him, and Trump himself, since August, how could they not have captured some of Trump’s conversations?
Anyway, the action on Monday shifted to the question of how General Michael Flynn was “unmasked” after the CIA recorded a phone conversation between him and the Russian ambassador. (The CIA is expressly forbidden from spying on US citizens, and anything overheard incidentally when bugging foreigners is supposed to remain suppressed or “masked.”) Somebody at the CIA just handed the info straight to The New York Times, The WashPo, and CNN. That story broke in back in January. How come the CIA has not rooted out the culprit and handed him/her/zhe over to the Department of Justice?
For the record, apart from the General Flynn matter, I have no idea what connections Trump & Co. may have had with Russia before, during, or after the election. But nobody has yet demonstrated that the allegations about Hillary, her email, her foundation, the DNCs treatment of Senator Sanders, or the John Podesta letters were anything but truthful, either, and that was why Hillary lost the election.
It is also worth considering that candidates for high office in all advanced nations have relationships with people in other countries. It’s not against the law per se to speak to people in Portugal, Singapore, Germany, Argentina, and a hundred other places, including, yes, Russia — which, by the way, is no longer a communist imperium bent on world domination, though Senator Chuck Schumer would like you to think so.
Then, on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-Cal) told the news media that an “unnamed source” in the Intel community informed him that Trump had indeed been surveilled during the transition period following the election. Was he just blowing smoke up America’s ass? I guess we’ll have to stand by on that one.
So, the long and the short of it is that the RussiaGate story is spinning out of control, and Trump’s adversaries — who go well beyond Congress into the Deep State — might be getting enough leverage to dump Trump. Either they will maneuver him and his people into some kind of perjury rap, or they will tie up the government in such a web of investigative procedural rigmarole that all the country lawyers who ever snapped their galluses will never be able to unravel it.
While the nation remains entertained by all this, the Potemkin financial system will wobble, crash, and burn and the humiliation of Donald Trump will be complete. Abandoned by the Republican Party, isolated and crazed in the White House, tweeting out mad appeals to heaven, he’ll either voluntarily pass the baton to Mike Pence or he will be declared unfit to serve and removed under the 25th amendment.
The after-effects of that will be something to behold: a “lose-lose” for both old-line political parties. The Trumpists will never forgive the Republican Party, and the Democrats will have gained nothing. Don’t let the door bang you on the butt on your way out.
CONSPIRACY THEORISTS BELIEVE AN SF AUTO MOGUL WAS THE ZODIAC KILLER
Kjell Qvale grew to fame and wealth in San Francisco decades ago, but some rather far out conspiracy theorists believe he may also have a more sinister background as the area's infamous… Zodiac Killer?
It's a far-fetched hypothesis, and one based almost entirely on two things: a vague facial similarity, and the fact that Qvale happened to be walking his dog right nearby around the time that the killer murdered a taxi driver in the Presidio Heights neighborhood.
Qvale, to be clear, was a widely successful man. As the San Francisco Chronicle wrote when he died in 2013, Qvale "introduced California motorists to 'foreign' cars at time when American-made cars reigned supreme in the United States." He founded the British Motor Car Distributors and the San Francisco International Auto Show, and was the first to sell Volkswagens in the West.
Now, onto the Zodiac. Here's the history we do know:
On October 12, 1969, a taxi driver named Paul Stine was shot at pointblank range and killed in the Presidio Heights neighborhood. Three witnesses saw it happen, but because of a miscommunication involving the police radio, police at the scene were looking for a black man rather than a white man. While looking for the wrong suspect, one of the cops happened to pass a white man who fit the description that the witnesses had actually described. Together, the police officer and the witnesses helped cobble together the now-famous composite sketch of the killer.
Here's where it gets weird, as reported by Jalopnik.
In the late 1960s, Qvale lived in Presidio Heights and was at a nearby intersection with his pup as police, including one named Armond Pelissetti, were searching for the suspect on foot. This is the working theory, as presented by one theorist:
Pelissetti arrives at scene. He talks to the kids. He calls it in. In the meantime Fouke has been en route to the scene, driving along Jackson, where he encounters Zodiac. Shortly after this encounter Fouke meets Pelissetti somewhere on Cherry where the two of them have a brief conservation.
If this is indeed the sequence, Zodiac could have made it to 3636 from 3712 Jackson St. He could have changed his clothes and picked up his dog and moved outside before Pelissetti managed to reach the point where he accosted KQ.
The time allows for this. I'm not saying this is what happened. But the time does allow for it, as I see it. 3712 is the proverbial stone's throw from 3636. And Zodiac could have bolted as soon as Fouke was out of sight.
The key red flag in this theory, as Jalopnik notes, is that upon returning home, Qvale could have just stayed there. That would have easily allowed him to avoid the whole ordeal, that is, if he actually was the Zodiac, which he is most definitely not.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Honestly, I think getting cashiered would probably be the best thing for Trump himself. I don’t think he ever really wanted to be president, he just said some things that resonated with a very angry and disaffected faction of the electorate, and his vain, shallow, narcissistic ego caused him to be swept away on the tide. If he’s forced out, of course he’ll be very butthurt about it, but I think being in the Oval Office for all four years would ultimately be much worse for him. Whether or not it would be worse for the country I can’t really say, but I sure wouldn’t be surprised if it were so.
MARCH FOR SCIENCE UPDATES & CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Saturday April 22 at 10 am
Gather at Town Hall and march through downtown to Bainbridge Park for a short rally featuring student speakers, activist information, and limited-edition Earth Day posters by Janet Ashford for sale. Continue on foot or by vehicle to the Earth Day Festival at Noyo Food Forest. Some shuttle service will be provided. More information is coming soon! Want to help put on this event? The next planning & volunteer meeting is Friday March 31 at 6pm at the Fort Bragg Library community room. Mission: The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.
For more information about the international March for Science: https://www.marchforscience.com/
For more information about the Earth Day Festival at Noyo Food Forest: http://noyofoodforest.org/earth-day/
Accessibility: The route will be chosen to minimize inclines and use curb cuts, and will be flexible for those who need a shorter route. Restrooms at Town Hall and Bainbridge Park are ADA compliant. More information to come.
CREEPY AND UNDER-REPORTED
THE FIRST DAUGHTER
Under cover of a big news day (FBI Director James Comey’s testimony), the administration moved Ivanka Trump into her very own office at the White House. It worked. This decidedly non-fake news hasn’t gone completely unnoticed, but neither is it getting the attention it deserves.
Call me paranoid, but what seems to be happening here is that President Donald Trump’s handlers have recognized their inability to confine the increasingly unhinged commander-in-chief to safely reading from a Teleprompter what they have written for him, so they have called for the one person who might still be able to control him.
The ethical issues alone are staggering, but there are myriad additional questions. Is an unelected, unappointed 35-year-old with no political experience, but with the president’s ear, going to be given a security clearance? What documents will she have access to? What exactly is her brief?
This is eventually going to be a very big story and it bears watching. Stay tuned and pass it on.
(You'll never hear the words 'single payer' out of this hack)
From the office of Rep. Jared Huffman:
Today, Speaker Paul Ryan canceled the vote on President Trump’s disastrous health care repeal plan, the American Health Care Act. Rep. Huffman (D-San Rafael) celebrated the victory, which protects the availability and quality of health insurance for tens of thousands of his constituents, and stressed the importance of improving the Affordable Care Act — which remains the law of the land.
“The failure of the Republican TrumpCare bill today represents a tremendous victory for our families and neighbors whose health insurance would have been taken away, or made completely meaningless, by the proposal,” said Rep. Huffman. “This bill’s failure means that the thousands upon thousands of phone calls that poured into the Capitol this month made a real difference. That’s an important lesson.
“The Republican-led House voted literally dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood while President Obama was still in office, knowing that they would not be held responsible for the consequences. Similarly, President Trump ran for office claiming that he would quickly repeal the health care law. Today we learned that all of that rhetoric was empty: the Republican House finally had the opportunity to enact their draconian vision for health care, and within just a few days all they had to offer was politics and blame-shifting spin.
“Nearly every Republican in the House voted to fast-track the approval process this week without knowing what the final bill would do to their constituents. They went along with Speaker Ryan’s effort to jam this repeal bill without conducting public hearings, without any guarantee of an updated analysis from the Congressional Budget Office on how many Americans would lose health insurance, and without once talking to those of us on the other side of the aisle about how we’d like to see the Affordable Care Act improved. And in the end, they pulled the TrumpCare bill from the House floor without a final vote.
“The Affordable Care Act, like any major piece of legislation, is not perfect. But we should be working together to improve it, just as we did over the years with other safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security, instead of going backward as we would have with this health care bill. The groundswell of civic engagement we saw this month should demonstrate to President Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress that they must move beyond the rhetoric, and begin working with us to improve our nation’s health care system on behalf of our constituents. Let’s work together to provide affordable and accessible health care to all Americans.”
Rep. Huffman’s office received over 2,300 constituent calls in support of the Affordable Care Act and against the Republican plan, compared to fewer than 20 calls in support of the Republican health care plan. His office received over 5,000 emails on the topic as well.
The bill that was pulled from the schedule today would have undermined the health care improvements that the Affordable Care Act has provided to the second congressional district of California, including:
The uninsured rate in CA-02 dropped by 7.3% since the 2010 passage of the law;
The law’s Medicaid expansion covers 53,900 people in CA-02;
There are almost 32,000 people in CA-02 enrolled in Covered CA health plans; and
Since 2010, the number of insured American Indians and Native Alaskans has increased nationally by nearly 250,000, many in CA-02.
The Republican health care bill was opposed by several leading health groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics, AARP, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and many others.
THE KLAMATH IS DYING
Yurok Tribe braces for worst fisheries disaster in Klamath River history
by Dan Bacher
As a journalist who has reported extensively on the September 2002 fish kill on the Klamath River and the struggle to restore the river and its fish by the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes, fishing groups and environmental organizations, I find this year's collapse of the Klamath River fall-run Chinook salmon population very alarming.
To put the 2017 prediction in context, consider that this year’s projected fish run is substantially smaller than the actual number of Chinook salmon that made it to the spawning grounds in 2002, when up to 60,000 fish died from disease spurred by warm, low water conditions.
The collapse is going to have dramatic implications for the region’s recreational and commercial salmon industries and even worse implications for the Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Karuk tribes.
“The Yurok Tribe will have to cancel its commercial fishing season for the second year in a row. This scope of this fisheries collapse is unprecedented in Tribe’s long history on the Klamath River,” according to the Tribe.
"This is a nightmare. I have never in my life dreamed that it could get this bad," said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. "This is devastating to our people, not only physically but emotionally. It’s saddening and hard to believe."
The collapse of the Klamath and Trinity salmon populations takes place at the same time that Governor Jerry Brown continues to promote his environmentally destructive and enormously expensive Delta Tunnels plan, the California WaterFix.
This project would not only hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, but would further imperil the struggling salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. This is because a significant portion of water destined for export to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley through the Delta Tunnels, is diverted to Clear Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River, through the Trinity River Division (TRD) of the Central Valley Project.
The TRD is composed of Trinity Dam (a large storage reservoir), Lewiston Dam (which controls the water released into Trinity River) and Clear Creek Tunnel (which transports water from Lewiston Dam into Whiskeytown Lake in the Sacramento River Basin.)
For more information about the forecasts for this year’s Klamath and Sacramento River salmon runs, read: www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/…
Below is the text of the press release from the Tribe:
Collapse of Klamath River salmon is a looming disaster for Yurok people — Salmon collapse threatens to undermine tribal economy, community, and culture
“The Yurok Tribe is bracing for the far-reaching economic, cultural, and social challenges created by what is expected to be the most catastrophic fisheries collapse in the Klamath River’s history.
The number of fall Chinook salmon predicted to return to the river in 2017 — approximately 11,000 fish — is the lowest on record, a result of two consecutive, juvenile fish disease outbreaks and other contributing factors. The Tribe’s 2017 allocation, set by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, will likely be about 650 fish or one fish for every 10 Tribal members. In response to the all-time low forecast, the Yurok Tribe will not have a commercial fishery for a second year in row to protect salmon stocks. This unprecedented fisheries crash will have real consequences for the Yurok people whose traditions, lives, and livelihoods are intimately connected to the Klamath River and its salmon.
‘This is a nightmare. I have never in my life dreamed that it could get this bad,’ said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This is devastating to our people, not only physically but emotionally. It’s saddening and hard to believe.’
The bleak 2017 forecast is linked to a three-punch combination, comprised of two straight years of extremely elevated juvenile fish disease levels, diminished river conditions and poor ocean health. In 2014 and 2015, when juveniles from this year’s projected return of adult salmon were rearing in the river, 81 percent and 91 percent of sampled juvenile salmon were infected by the pathogen Ceratonova shasta, a parasite that is often fatal for fish and favors warm, slow-moving water.
In 2016, the Yurok Tribe had no commercial salmon season because there were not enough fish to meet subsistence and ceremonial needs. Selling fish, when there are so few, is antithetical to the Yurok Constitution, which mandates that the Tribe ‘manage and prudently harvest’ salmon from the Klamath River. In January 2017, the US Department of Commerce officially declared the 2016 Yurok fishery a“commercial fishery failure”.
Back-to-back years’ of extremely small salmon runs negatively affects the Yurok economy, community, and culture. For many Tribal families, the fall commercial fishery typically means having dependable food and financial security. Chinook salmon is a staple on the Yurok Reservation, where there are no grocery stores and many tribal members continue to subsist on fish and other traditionally harvested foods. The lack of salmon undermines the Tribe’s ability to pass on cultural and religious traditions to the next generation.
The loss of salmon also harms Tribal member and tribal-owned tourism businesses, which provide numerous jobs on the reservation.
‘In Yurok Country, two years without a commercial fishing season has an impact that is similar to a plant shutting down in a one-company town,’ Chairman O’Rourke said. ‘We are doing everything in our power to find ways to help our people to supplement their lost income. We have people who haven’t been able to catch up on bills for two years.’
Last week, the Yurok Tribal Council held a special work session to begin developing a strategy to make up for the loss of fish and fishing income.
‘We are in crisis mode. The Klamath is our grocery store, our church and our main highway. It’s our lifeline. We will leave no stone unturned in search of additional short-term and long-term solutions to address the most terrible fisheries disaster in the Tribe’s history,’ said Chairman O’Rourke.
Tribe takes additional actions to protect Klamath River salmon
In the past few months, the Tribe has won two lawsuits, both of which produced new protections for Klamath salmon. In one of the cases, the Tribe, in collaboration with other tribes and conservation groups, brought and Endangered Species Act challenge against the Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine
Fisheries Service over the extremely high C. shasta infection rates in 2014 and 2015. On February 8, 2017 a federal district court judge agreed with the Tribe’s claim and ordered BOR to develop a strategic water release plan to combat the fish disease. Using the Tribe’s scientific recommendations, the judge granted a tactical increase in winter and spring flows designed to markedly reduce infection rates among young salmon.
The second fish friendly decision came out of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District challenged BOR’s ability to release water from the Trinity River Division to combat fish disease — and prevent another fish kill — in the lower Klamath River.
On February, 21, 2017, a panel of three judges, in agreement with the Tribe, determined that the BOR ‘had the authority to implement the…release of Trinity River water’ to avert another fish kill.
While these victories will have real benefits for fish, the salmon runs will continue to struggle until the lower four Klamath dams, which are a primary driver of the juvenile disease problem and water quality issues, are removed. A March 2016 agreement between the Tribe, States of California and Oregon, as well as dam owner PacifiCorp and other stakeholders, planned the removal of the dams by 2020. The Tribe is working hard to ensure the dam removal process continues as planned and salmon can finally return to the upper reaches of the river. If the dams are removed it will be a major step toward the restoration of the Klamath River, however it does little to address the direct social consequences attached to the looming salmon disaster.”
Oregon State Police Press Release:
On March 20, 2017, an OSP Fish and Wildlife Division Trooper responded to a report of a Bald Eagle that had been killed and dumped at the mouth of the Winchuck River near Brookings.
The Bald Eagle’s talons had been cut off and illegally taken. An examination of the Bald Eagle showed no sign of visible injuries that would have led to the death of the bird.
The taking of the Eagle’s talons without a permit is a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940. Penalties under the Act can include jail time and a fine of $100,000 or more, depending on the circumstances. Bald Eagles are also protected under Oregon’s Wildlife Laws.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Senior Trooper Paul Rushton at the number listed below. It should be noted that this incident is unrelated to another press release where an OSP Trooper helped rescue two injured Bald Eagles in the Brookings Area.
— Senior Trooper Paul Rushton: 541-531-5896
Wups. I was mistaken about the Lubyanka. That was the Cheka, not the Lubyanka. The Lubyanka was a huge building in Moscow, the former offices of the All-Russia Insurance Company. So if the Cheka hauled you into the Lubyanka, the first question they would as to what is, "Do you have any insurance?" If you answered, "If I say yes can I leave?" they would answer, "No. You are guilty as sin!" So you would say, "No, I'm not," and they would say, "Yes you are." "No I'm not." "Yes you are." Etc. etc.. I hope you will publish this addition to my last letter because I don't want anyone to know that I didn't know what I was talking about, a fault which I find rampant in others.
Scott Croghan, Mendocino
KZYX COMMUNITY NEWS WATCH
March 20-24, 2017
March 20: (Briefs/Headlines): Ukiah Homeless Shelter closure, Supes pot discussion (From Mendocino Voice), Hopland Pomo pot raid claim (from PD). Rebroadcast of KMUD report on GP mill site planning.
March 21: (Briefs/Headlines): Sonoma Clean Power program (per UDJ report). State Assembly water report (California report).
March 22: (Briefs/Headlines): Hopland Pomo Pot raid claim (again/brief from PD); Sonoma Clean Power (again, this time from UDJ coverage); Clearlake City Council anti-dumpster diving ordinance. Affordable Care Act status. State Juvenile justice report.
March 23: (Briefs/Headlines): PD story about Hopland tribal land purchase. Mendocino Voice version of Sheriff’s press release about Mr. Joaquin. Groundwater in Ukiah Valley with clip from Supervisor Carre Brown (who’s only interest is in water for grapes). Senator McGuire’s bill for borrowing $1.5 billion for “affordable housing” in rural counties. Assemblyman Wood’s opposition to Governor Brown’s proposal to charge fisheries to fill Fish & Wildlife budget deficit. HBO feature film casting call for Redwood Valley filming ($84 per day plus food). State level bar closing time extension proposal from 2am to 4am. Wet winter impact on San Joaquin Valley.
March 24: (Briefs/Headlines): Fort Bragg press release about water line maintenance. Supes special pot meeting on Prop 64 on Tuesday. Lake county tree planting (per Lake County News. Closed-toed shoes recommended). Sonoma Clean Power in Mendo. Clearlake Anti-Dumpster Diving Ordinance (per Lake County News). Immigration news.
A MENDOCINO MYSTERY IN THREE PARTS
Wanda, the Fort Bragg Bag Lady
by Professor Donald Foster
And although I met Thomas Pynchon one evening in Berkeley in June of 1967, I cannot say I really know him.
— ANDREW GORDON, “SMOKING DOPE WITH THOMAS PYNCHON” (1994)
Little, really, is known about the life, looks, or immortal soul of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon Jr. Born on Long Island in 1937, he shares a May 8 birthday with such notables as Harry Truman, president; Sonny Liston, boxer; Ricky Nelson, one-time teen idol; and Beat poet Gary Snyder. Scion of an old New England family, the novelist is believed to be a great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the William Pynchon whose religious tract, The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption (1650), was condemned for its heretical opinions and burned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Literary historians and cult followers say that Thomas Pynchon attended Cornell, left school to serve in the Navy, returned to college, changed his major from engineering to English, and completed his degree in 1959. Pynchon has since been credited with the authorship of, among other works, five mostly great novels — V (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity's Rainbow, (1973), Vineland (1990), and Mason & Dixon (1997) — an oeuvre that has become grist for a cottage industry in professional literary studies, including a scholarly journal called Pynchon Notes. He does not like having his space invaded.
Everyone who has ever made it through Vineland, or read The Crying of Lot 49 for a college English class, knows the Pancho Villa story. The year was 1963. When Time's book editor dispatched a photographer to Mexico City to take Pynchon's picture to accompany the magazine's glowing review of V, the novelist fled to the hills, taking refuge behind an enormous mustache that inspired the locals to call their shy Yanqui guest “Pancho Villa.” V’s author has been missing in action ever since. The last known (or supposed) photograph of Pynchon is from l955, or rather that was the last, until 1995, when editors for New York magazine published a reputed shot of Pynchon's backside as the novelist walked down a Manhattan sidewalk with his only begotten son. But the New York photograph only added to Pynchon's reputation for ineffable divinity (cf. God to Moses: “After I have passed by … I will take away Mine hand and thou shalt see My back parts, but My face shall not be seen” Exod. 33:22-23). A year later, the London Sunday Times Magazine published a full Monty of Pynchon & Son's violated privacy, an Instamatic point-and-shoot, taken by the aspiring paparazzo James Bone. Not everyone believed it was Pynchon. Some Pynchonophiles (as they call themselves) say that Thomas Pynchon is not even real. Some say that his novels were written by J. D. Salinger, or by the Unabomber, or by an extraterrestrial sapience, or by a secret organization. Or that Thomas Pynchon is really Wanda Tinasky. Or vice versa.
“Along with some lesser Counts,” the Rev is replying, “'twas one of the least tolerable of Offenses in that era… the Crime they styl'd 'Anonymity.' That is, I left messages posted publicly, but did not sign them.”
— THOMAS PYNCHON, MASON & DlXON (1997)
An age is darkened when truth lies not in what is said, but in who says it.
— WANDA TINASKY, MENDOCINO COMMENTARY (28 JULY 1983)
In the 1980s, a seemingly insoluble mystery perplexed the denizens of Mendocino County in Northern California: Who is Wanda Tinasky, and who in hell does she think she is? Wanda wrote scathingly funny critiques of local artistes and politicians, publishing her observations in the same periodicals in which community activists, left and right, agitated, and in which local poets contributed their musings on the eternal verities. Ms. Tinasky described herself as an elderly Jewish bag lady, a White Russian émigré living outside the Fort Bragg limits, under a bridge (Fort Bragg is a foggy coastal hamlet inhabited by bohemians, loggers, fishermen, and hemp farmers, not to be confused with Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the U.S. Army's Airborne Division and Special Ops). Ms. Tinasky confessed to being “old and poor and funny-looking” with “gaposis and halitosis and B.O.” She admitted to eating out of garbage cans and to dressing out of the free box. But after eighty-some years her mental faculties were still sharp. “It is a bas canard,” wrote Wanda, “or in the Queen's English, a duck fart, that I am an alcoholic escapee from a mental institution.” In 1984, soon after getting started in this epistolary vein, Wanda was booted from the Mendocino Commentary for her biting assessment of the local Literature Industry, and for remarking, urgently, that the Commentary's poetry editor “wouldn't know a poem if it bit her in the ass in broad daylight.” Wanda promised to continue exercising her critical rod with welt-raising vigilance: “'Whom the Lord loveth, He chastiseth.' (The Lord, c'est moi).” Banished from the Commentary, she found a new home in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, an upstart leftist weekly published out of Boonville (an actual town in the Anderson Valley), a paper whose “old-fashioned masochistic horsewhippable editor,” Bruce Anderson (no relation to the Valley), promised to print anything, any time, and did. While professing herself devoted as always to Reader's Digest and to the mystical writings of Nicholas of Cusa, Wanda penned a testimonial saying that the AVA was absolutely the best paper in Northern California. In fact, after her underwear gave out (she said), she sometimes used the AVA for that purpose and was quite satisfied.
In dozens of letters published in the AVA from 1984 to 1988, Wanda reviewed American television (“TV is no worse than smack and coke, the slobs just don't know how to handle it, that's all”); media stars (“I admire Phil Donahue for calling himself a 'workaholic.' Phil's idea of work is sitting under a hair dryer”); and politicians (“Ronzo [Reagan] claims he doesn't wear makeup on TV — the likeliest story since Linda Lovelace claimed she thought she was getting a tonsillectomy”). Most of Wanda's commentary, however, concerned the lamentable state of the arts in Mendocino County. Week after week, Wanda detailed the vers libre crimes of such artsy-fartsy coteries as the Ten Mile River Poets, the Albion Ridge Poets, and even Wanda's own secret society of one member, the Pudden Crick Poets. In her original verse for the AVA, Wanda roasted the canonical authors along with the local hempen homespuns (on Ezra Pound's Pisan Cantos: “He brought out Joyce & Eliot— / There must be something in this s*** — Wanda Tinasky”). Wanda's sharpest barbs were reserved for the doyennes of local culture, such as Beth Bosk, host of Eve in the Afternoon, a controversial radio talk show. (Bosk's advice to listeners included such locally famous advice as “When a woman is bleeding, she should go into the garden and squat. It's good for the plants.”) Wanda wrote tolerantly to the AVA of being “amused or stimulated” by Ms. Bosk's radio show, “never infuriated or bewildered.” (“It is true that once, in trying to say 'fecund,' she spoke a word not commonly met in family broadcasting or publications, but I was not outraged by it.”) Despite their differences, Wanda hoped Ms. Bosk would continue to think of her as a comrade, although not in arms.'
In September 1988 Wanda's letters abruptly stopped. The AVA carried on without her. But in 1990, while reading Vineland, Bruce Anderson felt a shock of recognition. Lights went on. Bells rang. “Wanda Tinasky” was Thomas Pynchon! In a 1986 letter, Wanda had professed to be writing a “thinly veiled novel of life in romantic Mendocino County” — and eureka! here it was: Vineland. Pynchon, while researching the novel, had resided somewhere in Northern California, no one knew just where, but Vineland was populated with aging hippies like those evidently known to Wanda Tinasky from her wanderings in Mendocino County and from her pit stops at Fort Bragg's Tip Top Lounge. On March 21, 1990, after running the Pynchon-Tinasky attribution past the noses of a few Pynchonophiles, Bruce Anderson announced his discovery: “SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED. The justly famous American novelist, Thomas Pynchon, is almost certainly the pseudonymous comic letter writer, Wanda Tinasky…” The announcement was greeted with a flurry of letters, also published in the AVA, one signed “T. Pynchon,” another, “T. Pinch,” still another, “Wanda Tinasky-Pynchon,” each one hinting that Bruce Anderson could be right, or he could be wrong.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
— THOMAS PYNCHON, “PROVERBS FOR PARANOIDS” (1973)
Personally, whenever I see one of those bumperstickers that say, “Question Authority,” I always write “Why?” on it.
— WANDA TINASKY, LETTER, MENDOCINO COMMENTARY (28 JULY 1983)
It was in June 1996, a few weeks before Joe Klein fessed up to Primary Colors (but half a dozen years after Bruce Anderson first looked into Vineland and saw the spittin' image of a Fort Bragg bag lady), that reporters and book editors began calling me about The Letters of Wanda Tinasky. Edited by TR Factor, fully annotated in semi-scholarly fashion, the Letters were now on sale and believed by many, including Ms. Factor, especially Ms. Factor, to have been written by Thomas Ruggles Pynchon. Though interested, I had not yet seen the letters and could not comment.
Following Joe Klein's July 17 Primary Colors confession, the calls resumed, on the Literary Influence theory that if Joe Klein or his agent lied about Anonymous, then Pynchon and his agent may have lied about Wanda. In October, after a “Who's Wanda?” call from the Washington Post I finally gave in to my curiosity and wrote to Bruce Anderson, editor of the AVA, to inquire how I might obtain a copy of the Tinasky Letters, if only to speak in a more informed way when reporters or reviewers phoned. A few days later, I received a package mailed from Oregon, the first of several, from a person who introduced herself to me as “TR [no periods] Factor.” (I never did learn what the “TR” stands for. “Thomas Ruggles,” perhaps.) The goodwill parcels from Ms. Factor included a digital and hard copy of the Letters, plus back issues of the AVA, plus reams of material about Pynchon, plus contact information for a dozen Pynchon scholars, all free of charge, and with no strings attached except an obligation to demonstrate, the sooner, the better, that Thomas Pynchon really was Wanda Tinasky, the bag lady of Fort Bragg.
Taking me under her wing, TR for the next three years advised me to get off my academic duff and deliver the inevitable verdict. From Ms. Factor's point of view, Pynchon's authorship of the Tinasky letters was transparently obvious. A firm denial by Pynchon's wife and literary agent, Melanie Jackson, had forced upon TR, and upon the whole Pynchon Establishment, a rhetorical posture of agnosticism (“The Literary Mystery of the Decade” TR called it in her advertising); but TR felt the proofs were as strong as Holy Writ. Stronger, even. The Wanda Tinasky Research Group had discovered beaucoup evidence that Wanda was Tom, and Tom, Wanda. There was the internal evidence: Ms. Tinasky had employed a highly unusual word, a slang term used also by Pynchon: Wanda, like Tom, wrote “86d” to mean evicted. Wanda, like Tom, constructed elaborate puns, tossed off obscure literary allusions, and peppered her work with wacky original limericks and song lyrics. Like Tom, Wanda spoke irreverently of literary book awards & exhibited an unkillable fondness for the ampersand. The two writers employed similarly eccentric symbolism. In one of her earliest letters to the AVA, Wanda had suggested that Bruce Anderson rename his paper “The Boonville Bugle.” In Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 a muted bugle is a central if meaningless symbol, the emblem of “Tristero,” a secret postal system. Lot 49's protagonist, Oedipa Maas, finds the bugle emblazoned, among other places, on the walls of a women's latrine. Wanda Tinasky professed to have been a former employee of the U.S. Postal Service, during which time, she said, she had entertained herself by “writing on the walls of unobservable places such as the women’s can.” How much evidence did one need, for god's sake?
Then, too, there was a world of biographical and ideological coincidence. Like Wanda, Pynchon had an ancient interest in the Beat poets and in obscure rock and roll (but in the '50s, I reasoned, among aspiring American writers, who didn’t?). Both Wanda and Pynchon waxed nostalgic for the counterculture of the '60s; both were skeptical of modern technology. Pynchon was believed to have composed Vineland on a manual typewriter, an Underwood — the same make as Wanda’s! (But that was bad information: Pynchon's typewriter was an Olivetti.) TR's smoking gun was a 1985 letter in which Wanda mentions having worked for Boeing Aircraft “about thirty-five years ago.” Pynchonophiles knew that while writing V the novelist was employed by Boeing Aircraft — from February 1960 to September 1962. (Go ahead, do the math!) For TR Factor and fellow members of the Wanda Tinasky Research Group, you didn't have to be a genius: those little Pynchonian clues added up.
There are some irregularities, Miz Maas.
— THOMAS PYNCHON, THE CRYING OF LOT 49 (1966)
(From Chapter Five of “Author Unknown” by Professor Donald Foster. Holt/Reinhart, October 2000.)