- Record Highs
- Little Dog
- Sanitation Sphinx
- Powerline Fires
- Ed Notes
- Helping Out
- Yesterday's Catch
- Justice Paradox
- Officer Friendly
- Whitewater Cads
- FBI History
- Crisis Mode
- Jane Russell
- Colon Tour
- Democrats Bad
UPDATE: "Andrew Crowningshield was taken into custody around 7am this morning in the town of Elk Creek in Glenn County by Glenn County Sheriff's Office. The vehicle was also located and Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detectives are en route to Glenn County as they continue their investigation." (Mendocino Sheriff's Office)
* * *
ANDREW CROWNINGSHIELD WANTED FOR MURDER OF EX-GIRLFRIEND
Wanted Homicide Suspect: Andrew Crowningshield
If you have any information on his whereabouts, contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center (707) 463-4086. Report but DO NOT APPROACH HIM! He is considered armed and dangerous and may be armed with a handgun.
The Mendocino Sheriff Office said, "We are looking for Andrew Crowningshield in connection with a homicide. He was seen fleeing the area of Little River on Highway 1 this morning. Andrew is a white male adult, 27 years old, thought to be driving a light blue or white over teal Ford F-350 long bed quad cab diesel pickup with California plate #70658N1. It has running lights on cab, a spotlight on the rear bumper and 4"-6" lift kit."
(Sheriff’s Press Release)
Sheriff’s Lieutenant Shannon Barney told the Press Democrat that they suspect Crowningshield shot and killed his former girlfriend, Autumn Smith, 22, of Fort Bragg. Ms. Smith also goes by the name Autumn Johnson. According to the PD, Smith and Crowningshield have a pre-school age son who was not present during the shooting which was said to have occurred about 9:10am Sunday morning. The shooting occurred when Smith and Crowningshield, traveling in separate vehicles, pulled into a turnout on Highway 1 south of Little River. After they got out of their vehicles, Crowningshield is suspected of shooting Smith with a hangun after some kind of dispute, after which Crowningshield got in his pickup and left in an unknown direction. Crowningshield is from the Coast and reportedly knows the area well enough to elude authorities better than your average suspect, coming from a long-time Mendocino coast family. Crowningshield has also served as a firefighter.
ANOTHER RECORD HIGH FOR UKIAH. The temperature reached 78 degrees yesterday, breaking the old record of 74 set in 2001. It's the fourth day in a row of record highs for the county seat.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag saunters by. ‘Kinda warm in the old igloo, Little Dog? Ever hear a cat complain about the heat?’ It was too hot to argue. Just go away, you mangy libertine, I said. But he was already walking away, chuckling to himself. Every day a new provocation. This is what I live with.”
SAN DISTRICT BOARD MEMBERS URGED NOT TO SPEAK TO MEDIA
by Justine Frederiksen
Expressing frustration with what they described as biased and inflammatory newspaper coverage, a majority of the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District board of directors Wednesday agreed they should not speak individually to media representatives regarding official district policies and positions.
“I would recommend that we don’t make any individual comments to the newspaper,” said Ernie Wipf, one of three new board members elected last November. “Instead, we should make a report out as a board that we are working toward a resolution (to the lawsuit filed by the district against the city of Ukiah in 2014).”
“We should present a unified message as a board to the media,” said Chair Theresa McNerlin, who read out loud the Jan. 28 Ukiah Daily Journal editorial: “In Our Opinion: Time for Transparency” that urged the board to make its discussions regarding a potential settlement agreement public.
“If the discussions are done in public, the progress will grind to a halt,” said Wipf, who also expressed frustration with the notion that he and the other two new members, Julie Bawcom and Andrea Reed, were not doing what the voters had expected them to when they chose the challengers over three incumbents.
“I’m tired of hearing about how little we care about the community with the time I’ve been putting in,” he said. “Hopefully everybody has a little compassion for the new guys. There was an incredible amount of information for us to absorb that wasn’t available online.”
Wipf then read a letter he drafted as a response to the UDJ and asked his fellow board members if they would support signing it.
“We shouldn’t be forced to have our name on a letter we don’t agree with. I don’t want my name on that letter,” said Bawcom, adding that as public officials, the board members needed to grow “thicker skin” and expect criticism about how they are performing in the role of representing the people who voted for them.
“This is what happens when you don’t tell the public what is going on,” Bawcom continued, adding that she did not think filing a lawsuit was the best course of action to begin with. “I think this could have been settled without a lawsuit.”
“This lawsuit was an act of desperation to get the city to respond,” said McNerlin, one of the board members who approved the lawsuit, explaining that an auditor found 44 parcels that “were clearly in the district’s boundaries” but the district was not receiving the revenue collected from them by the city. “We sent the city multiple requests and we were being ignored.”
“I do think the public has a right to know what is going on,” said Vice-Chair Andrea Reed. “If they don’t, stuff gets made up.”
“I urge you to take a vote so the voters know where you stand, because they need to know whether they made a mistake or not,” resident Don Crawford told the board. “For me, I have no idea whether any real progress is being made.”
“The progress is being made,” said board member Ken Marshall, describing the new board members as being “very conscientious.”
“My goal was to provide the best service I could to the benefit of the (district) ratepayers,” said Wipf, to which Reed later responded that she felt the board’s responsibility was to act on behalf of not just the district’s ratepayers, “but the residents of the entire Ukiah Valley.”
The board voted 3 to 2 to submit the response to the UDJ with Reed and Bawcom voting no. The letter will be printed in the Feb. 6 edition of the UDJ.
As the board’s official update on any progress toward a settlement agreement, McNerlin reported that the settlement ad-hoc committee, of which she and Wipf are members, met with the ad-hoc committee representing the city on Jan. 16 and Jan. 24, and the next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 5.
* * *
THE OFFENDING EDITORIAL
Time For Transparency
When the voters of the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District in November overwhelmingly supported a trio of candidates for the San District board that vowed to end the baseless lawsuit against the city of Ukiah which has cost district ratepayers more than $4 million and counting, they expected real change.
They expected that the trio, having the majority on the board, would see to it that the San District lawsuit would be dropped and the district and the city would come to agreement on how to proceed into the future.
Not only has that not happened, it’s beginning to look like it’s not going to.
Already the San District board has forced the city to miss a mid-January deadline for refinancing district debt that would have saved millions of dollars. And as of late this week, it did not appear that any real settlement is in the works.
What happened? We are hearing that the San District board chairwoman, one of the old guard, is strictly manipulating the meeting agendas, and that the attorney (for whom this lawsuit has been an incredible cash cow) is giving dire warnings about specific people in the community who will sue the district if the lawsuit is dropped. We have heard that the progress toward settling with the city is being deliberately dragged out despite the efforts of the three new members who are being stymied at every turn. We don’t know for sure what is happening, because it is all being done behind closed doors.
We believe it is well past time for the San District board to open all these closed sessions to the public. There are no secrets worth keeping at this point in the process. The public deserves to know what advice the board is getting from its attorney right now. The public deserves to know what exactly the San District’s plans are and what is actually being done to drop the lawsuit and move on with the city – which is, after all, clearly what the voters said they wanted when they elected to oust all the incumbents on the ballot from the board almost four months ago.
The Brown Act allows local elected bodies to use closed sessions to discuss litigation, but it does not require them to. The San District board – and the city of Ukiah for that matter – should be discussing this lawsuit out in the open where all the voters can see what progress is being made to stop the siphoning of tax dollars to attorneys and where the process is being stymied.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
* * *
ED NOTE: Wipf doesn't seem to have firm grasp on the obligations of public office, one of which is keeping the public informed. He called us up once quite indignant that we didn't have his permission to quote what he said in a public meeting. People at the mercy of the Sanitation District are fortunate to have Andrea Reed and Julie Bawcom on the board of directors.
PG&E POWER LINES SPARKED TWO OCTOBER FIRES IN SANTA ROSA, CITY SAYS IN FIRST INVESTIGATION
The findings mark the first public reports by government authorities into what caused some of the dozens of blazes that erupted Oct. 8 and became the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California history.
THE LOCAL ANGLE: The Miner-Andersons are part-time residents of the Anderson Valley. Their ranch is in the hills about six miles east of Boonville.
* * *
ALAN RODIER, candidate for 5th District Supervisor, appeared Sunday afternoon. Mrs. Rodier sat in the shade behind the candidate's table and banner, but bounded forward to endorse her husband with unfeigned enthusiasm. "He's an honest man. That's why I married him," she laughed. The Rodiers, a couple in their early 70s, reminded me of the older Gowans. They look like the farm couple they are as grape and olive growers in the Alexander Valley but live in Russian River Estates south of Ukiah. They'd set up in front of the late Mike Shapiro's office complex directly across the street from our office. The candidate seemed surprised that Boonville had a newspaper. "Another plus," I thought, beating back an impulse to burden the poor man with my opinions on the functioning of County government. The Rodiers had arrived with a table, a banner, bumperstickers, and fliers outlining the candidate's ideas. (His statement follows.) "Mike Shapiro was a friend of mine," the candidate explained, and I got permission from the family to set up here." We chatted in the 78 degree February heat as the Sunday traffic rushed south. The candidate was born in Australia, raised in San Francisco. "When I saw that Hamburg was retiring I said, 'I want to do this, do something for Mendocino County.' Today? I wanted to get a feel for what it's like here and will be back after next Sunday's pancake breakfast at the Philo Grange." The candidate mentioned that he'd been invited by Val Muchowski to last week's presentation at the Unity Club by Anne Molgaard. He said we would be seeing a lot of him as the campaign grinds forward to the June elections.
My Mission: Common sense prosperity for Mendocino County — Economic Development
Mendocino County is a magnificent place to live and work. We are on a new horizon with development in our county. Not only are businesses becoming stronger and more demand for numerous new technical products, we have a doorway opening for common sense development. Jobs are needed and businesses are needed to add markets to our local economy. Housing is needed to provide the people to live. This picture looks favorable for the future.
How can Mendocino County prosper? We need forward thinking and imaginative planning. Our traditional businesses have flourished in the past. Why not have flourishing business now? Lumber, vineyard, pears, and cattle are businesses still viable. We can lure new business and give them reasons to be here, providing a strong economic environment. Mendocino County needs to look to businesses that might want to come here. We need to make it favorable for them.
We now have a new cannabis industry that is a perfect fit for our county. Let’s treat this new industry favorably, with room to grow and operate.
Many other factors for our economy include maintaining the coastal activities for fishing, crabbing, and other ocean production.
Also there is tourism. There are thousands of people that visit our county each year. As a community effort, we should make it a wonderful place to visit. We want them to come back.
Let’s move forward to allow Mendocino to prosper.
Candidate for 5th District, Mendocino County
* * *
A SAD STORY I’m unable to pursue because the people who know its particulars won’t talk about it. So far, anyway. I encountered a young woman from The Valley who suggested I look into “the murder of Robin Matheson.” I was unaware of any Mendocino County murders that I didn’t already know about. The young woman said this murder had happened in Humboldt County, and that Robin Matheson had lived with her family in Yorkville in the middle 1980s before moving north where she met a terrible end, but her death was apparently ruled a suicide. The local people who knew Robin don’t believe she killed herself. They all assume she was murdered. I checked the HumCo death records for Robin Matheson. There wasn’t one, but I don’t know her married name, and she must have been legally married or her death would have appeared under her maiden name. I asked around all last week. I discovered only more unhappiness. From all accounts Miss Matheson, as a student at Anderson Valley High School, was popular with her classmates and locally famous for her good natured personality. A woman who’d known her in high school said she remembered seeing an infant at the Matheson home in Yorkville, meaning that Robin had a much younger brother or sister. The Mathesons then lived almost directly opposite the Yorkville Market. I heard awful stories of Robin being sexually assaulted by several basketball players from the tony LA private school, Brentwood, whose team was in Boonville for the Redwood Classic Tournament of 1987. The episode was not reported to the Sheriff’s Department, but three different persons who were in high school at the time said it had occurred at a “party” on Anderson Valley Way. I haven’t found anyone who remembers the Matheson family. I did hear that Robin Matheson, desperate to escape the man she was involved with, may have been trying to get back to the Anderson Valley to the safety of a friend’s house the day before she died. If anyone out there can provide specific information regarding Robin Matheson I do want to write the rest of the story.
* * *
FROM THE SF CHRONICLE of 28 January: “Bud ’n’ breakfasts sprout up statewide, including “Leafstone Lodge, Ukiah.” The blurb is accompanied by a photo of a large swimming pool with cabana umbrellas at one end. “Go big and reserve an entire 40-acre private Mendocino County wine-and-weed country estate featuring manicured gardens, greenhouse, full-size pool and hot tub and open-air smoking lounge. Accommodates up to 20 people in nine bedrooms. Gift of cannabis included in $1,300 nightly rate.”
* * *
SUPER BOWL NOTE: Haven’t watched one since the Montana-Walsh Niners were in it, and don’t watch much football anymore anyway, and not for the reasons mostly stated, from concussions to the politicizing of the games into either protest venues or triumphal military celebrations. The protests are more often the only interesting thing that happens, and that’s only during the National Anthem, typically butchered by a person who can’t sing. The half-time shows are annual evidence that these are indeed The End Times. Call me geezer, but I still can’t believe people pay big money to watch Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce et al “perform.” No, sports fans, I stopped watching because of all the television time-outs. For ads. Screws up the tempo of the game, making the game just one more corporate sales venue. I watch some Warrior’s basketball, and I try to get to a couple of Giants games every year so I can sit up on top of the stadium and zone out on the beauty of the San Francisco Bay between pitches.
PLOWSHARES, one of the brighter jewels in Ukiah’s unlimited array of free trinkets to help lure out of towners with no money to the area, is reducing its services.
There are staffing problems at Plowshares, including a lack of volunteers to help prepare meals in the kitchen and do followup cleaning in the dining area. Volunteers?
Why doesn’t Plowshares suggest those who get free meals perform some sort of minimal service to the agency providing them? Why not ask diners to, say, stir the soup pot once a month in exchange for the dozens of meals he or she consumes? How about busing tables as a way to keep the facility open so you and your family can continue dining through the coming year?
My guess is that the people running the place believe it would be demeaning to require people to work. They think asking someone who gets a free meal to help out in the kitchen would be an assault on their dignity.
I think the opposite. I think having people assist is a boost to their feelings of self-worth and accomplishment. Having someone help out in the kitchen at Plowshares might lead to helping out in the kitchen at Crush Restaurant in a month or two, and maybe to being an assistant cook at Applebee’s in six months.
When we treat adults like infants we know exactly where they’ll be in six months.
(Tommy Wayne Kramer, Ukiah Daily Journal)
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 4, 2018
AARON ALARCON, Covelo. DUI-alcohol/drugs, controlled substance.
ALFREDO ARIAS, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
ARON BANKS, Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, paraphernalia, resisting.
TALON BRITTON, Willits. Brandishing, criminal threats, probation revocation.
CLORISSA DENNISON, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
DREW ERSLAND, Willits. Burglary, criminal attempt, probation revocation.
JOSHUA FREEMAN, Potter Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
JEREMY JENSEN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JESSIE LUCAS, Ukiah. Ukiah. Community supervision violation
CHRISTINA MCGREW, Ukiah. Ukiah. Probation revocation.
FREDY REYES-RUBIO, Ukiah. Vandalism.
SAMUEL SIERRA, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON, Willits. Concealed dirk-dagger.
ANDREA WRIGHT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
THE PARADOX OF EQUAL JUSTICE
by Ralph Nader
Almost every day, entertainment, sports, media, political and even some business organizations are jettisoning their top officials and incumbents after reported accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assaults of their subordinates. They’re not waiting for prosecutors, courts or regulators to take action. “Get out now” is the first punishing order. Then the work product of these asserted offenders—whether music, comedy shows, etc.—are often scrubbed, and recipients of political contributions are under pressure to give these sums to charity. In addition a wider arc of resignations by the heads and Boards of Directors, accused of lax monitoring is emerging.
The speed of punishment is unprecedented. One day millions of people watched Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and others. The next day they were vanished. Although this is only the tip of the iceberg—and there is more to come—the velocity of expulsions coming from these accusations—even when they are denied—is unprecedented. (A major exception, however, are the escapades of Donald Trump over the years.)
What do the expellers know that spurs them to make these instant decisions often to the detriment of their own economic interest, such as Fox, PBS, NBC or NPR evicting their four, lucrative star performers?
Could it be that the media was quick to report these abuses and that more was coming to produce even more damaging publicity to their brand? Could it be that they wanted to avoid their companies being stigmatized as a perilous or toxic workplace for future talent considering careers there? Were they trying to avoid potential lawsuits? Could it be that some of these executives wanted to get rid of the spotlight that might reach their own transgressions, even though they think they were of lesser seriousness?
To all of these the answer is probably, “partly.” But it is also important for the media outlets, political parties, and Hollywood studios to react in the most responsible manner: that is, when abuses come to light, they may not need to wait for due process; they should react in order to protect their employees, who could become victims, as well as their reputation and their sizeable audience/constituency. While many of these organizations waited far too long to remove abusers, as in the case of Michigan State University and the United States Olympic Committee, the act of removing serial predators from their powerful positions signals a degree of belated resolve and compassion, and is in line with their responsibility to protect their workplace.
So why is it that when corporations and financial institutions commit broad-scale crimes that endanger or take the lives of millions of people, they receive absolute impunity? Indeed, their executives are rewarded for their own chronic, dangerous lawlessness. When their numerous crimes or criminogenic actions come to light, why are these bosses not immediately removed from their positions, in the manner of the many powerful men who have fallen as the #MeToo movement gains momentum?
Who knows? Time will tell perhaps. What is known is that corporations get away with very serious crimes—deaths, lifetime injuries, massive assaults on the economic necessities of millions of innocent people, the sickening of children and loss of their lives, the poisoning of water, air, land, food, perilous workplaces—all while paying off the political system that would have exacted punishment—and without appropriate sanctions.
None of the bailed-out Wall Street bosses who crashed the economy in 2008-2009 were prosecuted. These repeat-offenders took 8 million jobs away from the American people with their crimes, deceptions, cover-ups and rampant speculation with the very pensions and mutual funds that had been entrusted to them by their clients. Some Wall Street predators retired with huge severance packages—worth many millions of dollars—while others stayed put and resumed their roles as people of influential status and approbation.
Look at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who together initiated a criminal war of aggression that sent tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers to death, illness and permanent disability while destroying the lives of over a million Iraqis and leaving the country and its impoverished survivors devastated. They left public office in January 2009, above the laws they broke, and the Constitution they violated, to the accolades of Republicans and some Democrats. Lucrative speeches, book advances and other goodies flooded into their “retirements.”
People like Bill Clinton helped rehabilitate Mr. Bush with collaborative projects and joint appearances. The Bush Presidential library is thriving without mention of his and Mr. Cheney’s war crimes.
Over and over again, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CBS’s Sixty Minutes, corporate crime, violence and fraud do not result in punishment. All too often the rewards and luxuries accorded to these powerful executives continue unabated.
Even when the Justice Department occasionally nails a big drug company for crimes costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars, “deferred prosecution agreements” let the bosses off and allow the companies themselves to get away with fines that appear large but are far less than the ill-gotten gains that finally caught the attention of the underfunded Department’s prosecutors.
In 2011 I filled a book titled Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism with dozens of documented corporate crimes that ultimately resulted in a little bad publicity, some fines and infrequent enforcement actions, but no real justice. But in all of the many egregious accounts detailed in Getting Steamed, did the business bosses lose their jobs, their retirement, even the esteem of their colleagues, as a result of their chronic predation? Very rarely.
With over 450,000 Americans dying every year from tobacco-related diseases and with documentation piling up on how these tobacco titans deliberately marketed cigarettes to youngsters to hook them for life, none of these company officials went to jail or were even personally fined. Remember the celebrated Congressional hearings when about a dozen tobacco executives, under oath, said they didn’t believe there was a connection between their heavily promoted products and disease? There was no prosecution for perjury then or later when it became abundantly clear these executives knew all about the health impacts from evidence inside the companies.
The same impunity and immunity attached to the asbestos and lead manufacturers whose bosses knew for decades of the lethal impacts on millions of their long suffering victims.
So why the difference? The sexual harassment reactions came because the perpetrators had done demonstrable damage—to their victims, to the cultures of their workplaces, to productivity, and, of course, to the public relations of the organizations writ large. Weren’t the companies that brought about the recession or criminally destroyed lives also afraid of losing sales and talent if they didn’t rid themselves of the culpable perpetrators?
One difference may be that the evicted sexual assaulters did their deeds personally and directly, unlike the more remote corporate bosses or even middle management, their crimes more abstract within the enormity of the bureaucratic machines that they’ve rigged to avoid accountability. The other difference is that the public outrage was more personal and intense over the high-profile victims in the Hollywood episodes, which set the level of high media visibility. But what are the other factors at work?
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
A JUDGE is just a law student who marks his own examination papers.
— H.L. Mencken
THE FIRST TIME Bridget Crocker was sexually harassed while on the job was in July of 1991. It happened on a typical summer day in the mountains of Wyoming—the sky a brilliant blue, towering cumulus clouds gathering on the horizon, tourists posing for pictures in front of local landmarks. The weather was unusually hot, and the rafting company where Crocker worked was doing brisk business.
Crocker, then 20, was the only female guide in that day’s group of five, and after a busy morning leading clients down a stretch of Class III whitewater, she had to pee. There was no time to find a bathroom, so she dashed over to some bushes behind the guide van.
Crocker had just squatted to relieve herself when she realized that someone was standing over her. It was a male guide. From her position—slightly off-balance, vulnerable, shorts around her ankles—the man loomed large. She had been raped as a teenager less than three miles upstream from this same spot. Now alarm bells went off.
“It’s been puzzling me,” the guy said, looking down at her. “Are your nipples pink or brown? I know you’re a B cup, but what color are your nipples?”
“You’ve got some nerve,” Crocker hissed. She pulled up her shorts and stormed away. The guide was fired, but others were aware that Crocker had lodged a complaint, and that soon caused problems for her.
In the weeks that followed, she was bullied for ratting out a peer. Male coworkers taped up porn in the guide van and flung insults—one called her a “dirty, hairy feminist.” One evening, on the way back from the river at the end of a long day, the guide driving the van swerved onto a dirt road and pulled over. “Kiss me,” he said, tapping his mouth. “Show me you’re not a bitch feminist dyke.”
But Crocker had learned an important lesson: never tell. The river community is small and tightly knit, and she knew that if she wanted to fulfill her dream of working as an international guide, she couldn’t develop a reputation for being difficult.
Even as she became one of the best guides in the business, progressing from running the Snake to the Colorado to Class V rivers like Africa’s Zambezi and Chile’s Biobío, sexual harassment tainted nearly every trip she worked. “Like my PFD and ability to read maps,” she later wrote, “harassment-coping skills were necessary for my survival.”
As one of a relatively small number of female Class V river guides, Crocker sometimes felt alone. She wasn’t. Over the past year, I corresponded with two dozen current and former river guides, both female and male, who acknowledged that sexual harassment, discrimination, and even assault are all too common on commercial river trips…
ARCHBISHOP: a Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.
— H.L. Mencken
FOG OF WAR
Sonoma County’s emergency notification system doesn’t call out what is probably the most challenging concern of all.
On its first night, the Tubbs fire created the equivalent of the “fog of war.” So much happened so fast, exposing so many people over such a large area to such intense peril at such a difficult time of night, that even the best systems designed with more ordinary circumstances in mind would have been overwhelmed.
Talk and thought about technology and processes are necessary, but it is all too easy in more comfortable times to design our systems for normalcy. We must never forget to stay intensely focused on the almost inconceivable demands of a full-on crisis.
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
—The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.
This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.
And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.
— Philip Larkin
STARLET MAKES STUNNING LIVE DEBUT
1943 Feb. 2: Jane Russell, the “pin-up girl” of America, arrived here yesterday. She’s the mystery star of Hollywood, the Cinderella girl, and the first since Jean Harlow to leap from obscurity to top billing in a million-dollar production. Tomorrow she’ll make her first appearance before the world in the premiere of Howard Hughes’ “The Outlaw” at the Geary Theater. Yesterday she was presented for the first time to the press to enable reporters to get acclimated slowly. She instantly became the chief bulwark to the city’s wartime morale. She is completely unbelievable. Cold, calmly, scientifically, there is no explanation for her. You can consider Miss Russell from any viewpoint — and many viewpoints are desirable — and it is still impossible. Yet there she is. She is exactly like her photographs which are pinned on walls of college dormitories and military barracks from Peoria to Guadalcanal — only more so. When they designed her, they weren’t rationing anything. Fifteen minutes after you meet her, you’re ready to lay your last gasoline ration coupon at her feet. After four hours of looking at her, talking to her about Hollywood (and looking at her), asking questions (and looking at her) suddenly discovering she’s a real girl, nervous at the thought of the premiere (and looking at her) you go quite decently insane. You keep telling yourself to cling to the scientific spirit. It’s nothing but anatomy, physiology, estradiol and similar sex hormones. You keep telling yourself. But you don’t listen. “I’m not very good in a kitchen,” she said. “In fact, I’m a terrible cook.” So what.
— Milton Silverman, SF Chronicle
IT'S OUTTA HERE!
I think President Trump hit a home run on every issue he mentioned in his State of the Union address. He covered everything really well. I loved every bit of it. The Democrats sat on their hands and never got up once for anything, even when he applauded heroes, black and white. A sick bunch of people, those Democrats. I can't find words to describe how sick the Democrats are. They want open borders. They want all these illegal aliens, criminals, felons, dope dealers coming into California and the United States because California is a sanctuary state. They can move right in next door to you right there in Boonville, move right into your community and settle down and nobody can do a single thing about it. That's what the Democrats want. It makes me sick to think how these people got here. I think they came from another planet. They weren't born here. They were deposited on a rock by a crow and hatched by the sun. I was for Donald Trump six months or more before he was elected. I knew he was the guy who can do the job. He is doing the job. In another year or two he will have this place straightened out and running on all four wheels. As far as you Democrats are concerned you better run for a hole because the entire United States is going to come down on you pretty soon if you keep acting the way you do. I advise every red-blooded American who does not have a felony to get a concealed weapons permit immediately or as soon as you can because we are going to have to defend ourselves against the criminals who are pouring across the border. Eventually, California citizens will become the first line of defense. The Democrats are making sure that all these illegal aliens can vote. That's one of the reasons they want them to flood in here illegally so they can vote Democratic. And Kim Jong Un Jerry Brown, that liberal communist, wants all felons in jail to be able to vote. He is the one who is responsible for the sanctuary state. Now Sonoma County people are going to sue PG&E for all the trouble they've had with the fires. But PG&E should sue Jerry Brown! He is responsible for it all. He is the one who shut down PG&E from clearing around the transformers and the lines. He vetoed it. He's a bad man. I don't have words to say how bad he is.
God bless Donald Trump.