Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Thursday, April 5, 2018

* * *

RAIN STARTING this morning. Moderate to heavy rain will continue through Saturday. Heaviest precipitation will occur Friday into Friday night. This will lead to rapid rises in area rivers into Saturday. Dry weather Sunday into Monday, before wet weather returns on Tuesday. (National Weather Service)

* * *

THE HART CASE [online comment]

I've had to take a break from this case for a few days because it was getting confusing as to what the actual facts were vs what posters were speculating. I'm also a little uncomfortable at some of the conclusions that are being drawn in regards to to race. (Non-Caucasian, older children are traditionally the most difficult to find adoptive parents for. While it is certainly possible that the mothers had some kind of "white savior" complex, it is JUST as likely that they adopted African American children because they simply wanted to provide a home for children that might have otherwise not found a permanent home. I've been through the adoption process. In the very beginning we were told that if we wanted an "caucasian infant" then we'd have to wait several years. If we were willing to adopt an African American toddler, especially if there was a developmental issue or physical impairment present, then the process would be much quicker. Although we ultimately did not go through the process, we were definitely leaning towards an African American toddler because we were interested in providing a home for someone who'd been waiting longer.)

Where I live, there are many families who live off the grid and are almost "clannish." People actually move to my part of the state to set up farms and go offline. My household doesn't have a telephone, although we have internet because I do a lot of online work. We're also a little "crunchy" and we do the protests, family events, festivals, etc. with our kids. (Someone a few pages back referred to this as being "new age" and used that phrase in a negative manner.) So none of that is weird to me.

I'm not real big on calling this "another Turpin family" case. There are big differences between the families. For starters, the Hart children were adopted and their small statures/sizes could very well stem from problems they faced in utero or as infants. (Young children diagnosed with "failure to thrive" often have trouble catching up with other children their age in terms of development.)

Re: the burning of the cross in the yard. Posters were saying that it probably didn't happen because it would have made the news. Not necessarily. There was a Klan meeting about an hour away from me last year and a cross was burned in a yard of an African American family. Although the family took video footage of it and shared it on their social media, not even the local paper reported.

The Turpins went out of their way, it seems, to ensure that their children were cut off from the world. They were isolated from just about everyone. The Harts, however, were very sociable. Although we have no way of knowing what went on behind closed doors with the Harts, there were people in their lives who spent time with the children and the mothers.

I understand the comparisons between the two families but I think it serves neither in reducing them to simply being the same. There are nuances, important ones, that set them apart.

The fact is, we don't have a lot of facts about this case. A good portion of the information has come from the next door neighbors. All we have, for instance, are the neighbors saying that the children were malnourished. Unlike in the Turpin case, we haven't heard any of the children's doctors, or even a coroner's report, to corroborate this.

Something terrible clearly happened here. I don't believe it was accidental; I do think it was intentional. I think it's important not to let speculation become facts, however. We don't know that either parent had a narcissistic personality disorder, we don't know that there was anything nefarious in their adopting of ethnic children, we don't really even know to what extent they were "isolating" the children. I'm just trying to gather more information from official sources before I reach any firm conclusions.

* * *


* * *


* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Jeez, the YouTube shooter was kinda all over the place — animal rights demonstrator, vegan, fitness coach, gun girl, dancer, free speech advocate! If she'd limited herself to animal rights she probably wouldn't have gone off like she did.”

* * *


Dear community members,

Albion River Bridge Musical Benefit May 6 at Albion River Inn

Everyone is invited to celebrate the Albion River Bridge, one of our  community's most emblematic -- and threatened -- historic treasures, at  a musical benefit sponsored by the Albion Bridge Stewards on Sunday, May 6, from 12:30p.m. to 3:30p.m. at the Albion River Inn.

Featured local musicians extraordinaire include Steven Bates (voice,  guitar & mandolin) and Butch Kwan (voice, guitar, violin). Poet ruth weiss will be accompanied by Pilar Duran (guitar) and Hal Davis  (percussion).

Award-winning local filmmakers Laurie York and Carmen Goodyear's short  film called "Bridging the Gap" will be shown at the Albion River Inn.

Built during World War II, the Albion River Bridge is the only remaining timber trestle bridge along California's scenic Highway 1. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.

Tickets for this afternoon of entertainment, refreshments, and beautiful views of the historic timber bridge from the restaurant and grounds of the Albion River Inn can be purchased in advance at for $20 or at the door for $25. There will be a no-host bar.

The Albion River Inn is located at 3790 Hwy 1 in Albion on the north  west side of Albion River Bridge. For more information visit or e-mail <>.

* * *

* * *


The Mental Health Treatment Act Citizen's Oversight Committee (Measure B) meeting meets monthly, the last Wednesday of the month, 1pm to 3pm at the County Administration Building (501 Low Gap Rd. Ukiah) in Conference Room C.

The committee is an advisory committee to the Board of Supervisors regarding Ordinance #4387, Measure B, which adopted a County transactions sales and use tax for the specific purpose of funding improved services, treatment and facilities for persons with mental health conditions. See for further information.

The public and media are welcome to attend the monthly meetings.  This should run for all of 2018.

Thank you

Dora Briley
Measure B Committee Clerk

* * *


Meg Courtney Declares "Appropriateness Won"

Anderson Supporters Claim Russian Interference

Mendocino County Public Broadcasting 2018 Board of Directors Election Results

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the 2018 board election and the new board members who will fill the six available seats on the nine-member board—

Two at-large seats were up for election” with seats going to the top two vote-getters—

  • Bob Bushansky -- elected to board with 439 votes
  • Renee Vinyard -- elected to board with 430 votes
  • Bob Vaughan -- 263 votes
  • Bruce Anderson -- 116 votes

Supervisorial District 2 “Ukiah” had one candidate running uncontested—

  • Dina Polkinghorne -- elected to board with 591 votes

Supervisorial District 3 “Willits” Laytonville— had two candidates—

  • David Hulse-Stephens -- elected to board with 500 votes
  • Pat Kovner -- 171 votes

Supervisorial District 5 “Anderson Valley” Mid- and South Coast” Hopland— had two candidates—

  • Tom Dow -- elected to board with 319 votes
  • Len Tischler -- 287 votes

The Programmer seat "elected from among KZYX programmers” had one candidate running uncontested—

  • Jerry Karp -- elected to board

The newly elected board members will be seated at the board meeting and the annual festive celebration of the past year’s many accomplishments to be held at 6 pm on Monday May 14, 2018, at the RedwoodCoast Senior Center in Fort Bragg home of the new KZYX coast studio. The new board will elect the executive committee and appoint committee chairpersons at that meeting.

Voting took place by mail during March and the results were tabulated and certified by an independent accountant, PJ Nielsen Notary Public in Boonville. The election featured each of the candidates’ statements on the website as well as an archived broadcast of the candidates’ forum attended by all of the candidates which was aired live on March 5, 2018, over the KZYX airwaves and can be heard at We thank all of the candidates and the many members who participated and voted in this important exercise of station democracy and board governance.

Once the newly elected members are seated, the full board will comprise the following:

  • John Azzaro - at-large member and current acting president
  • Jonathan Middlebrook - District 1 member “Redwood Valley” Potter Valley
  • Dina Polkinghorne - District 2 member “Ukiah
  • David Hulse-Stephens - District 3 member “Willits” Laytonville
  • Aspen Logan - District 4 member “Fort Bragg” North Coast
  • Tom Dow - District 5 member “Anderson Valley” Mid- and South Coast” Hopland
  • Bob Bushansky - at-large member
  • Renee Vinyard - at-large member
  • Jerry Karp - programmer member

Congratulations to all. Promoting Community Through Public Radio.

Ed Keller, board election coordinator

Jeffrey Parker, general manager

* * *

FORMER KZYX TRUSTEE, Larry Minson, writes: "When I was on the board, there were 4 employees assigned to local news as their only duties, which produces less than 5 minutes a day in on-air news, most of which are Caltrans alerts about traffic and weather which anyone could read off of press releases. The general manager and programming director should be combined into one position, and maintaining a full-time employee whose only duty is to secure underwriters is insanely wasteful, considering that he has failed to secure any new underwriters in many, many years. This position needs to be eliminated, or at least replaced by a private contractor on commission. While these and other examples of malfeasance and bad habits eat up the CPB funding, the station has ignored upgrading a very dilapidated broadcasting network, resulting in down time and poor reception, if there's any reception at all. Money properly managed and spent should have enabled KZYX to maintain a state of the art broadcasting network throughout the county. Once the station becomes compliant, this upgrade can happen quickly.

There's a whole other area of malfeasance that I haven't previously touched upon with you: The board maintains no records at all, other than minutes that show how nothing is accomplished from month to month. The KZYX Board of Directors has no file cabinet, locked or otherwise, at the station and maintains no records off-site either. When you meet with the board, you will find that they don't know what their duties are, and that they ignore all requirements concerning record keeping.  Board members have no knowledge of how many employees there are, what their salaries are, and they never conduct reviews of the staff, including General Manager Parker who is their direct employee, as required. Neither are they given any access to records that would determine these facts. When a question arose concerning the general manager's contract with the station, it was learned that the board had no record of this employment contract or the hiring protocol followed or anything else for that matter. Mr. Parker was asked to give the board a copy of his employee agreement / contract, but he refused to comply. When I asked what records were maintained, the answer was none. When I asked, as a member of the board, to review payroll records and job descriptions and regular performance reviews, I was told to mind my own business.

* * *


Today the Redwood Valley Calpella Fire Dept. responded to an escaped control burn.

Please remember to follow the regulations when burning and always have a permit.

* * *

DAVID RODERICK INTERVIEW - Mendocino County 5th district supervisor candidate

* * *


(Click to enlarge)

* * *


William Jesus Zubia Is Wanted

$110,000 Bail

  • * Hs 11379(A) Transport Cont Substance
  • * Pc 12022( C) Sa-Personal Arming
  • * Hs 11378 Possession For Sale
  • * Pc 1320(B) Fta Felony Or Agree X2
  • * Pc 1320.5 Fta On Felony Charge While On Bail
  • * Pc 12022.1 Comm Crime While Released
  • * Vc 14601.2(A) Drivew/Suspen Dui
  • * Vc 14601.2(D)(2) Driving Dui W Priors
  • * Vc 40508a Failure To Appear X7
  • * Fg Loaded Gun In Vehicle
  • * Vc 14601.2(A) Drivew/Suspen Dui
  • * Vc 14601.2(D)(2) Driving Dui W Priors
  • * Vc 4000(A) Expired Registration
  • * Vc 16028(A) No Proof Of Insurance
  • * Vc 40508(A) Failure To Appear X3
  • * Vc 1320(A) Fta On Misd Or Agree X2
  • Age: 45 years old
  • Weight: 155 lbs
  • Heights: 5' 10"
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Hair: Brown
  • Last known town/city: Covelo

If you recognize this individual or have information which could lead to their arrest, please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at (707) 463-4086

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, April 4, 2018

Duwe, Globe, Harju

ROBERT DUWE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MICHAEL GLOBE, Willits. Domestic battery, criminal threats.

FRANK HARJU, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, under influence, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Johnson, Lebarre, Martinez, Maxfield


JOSHUA LEBARRE, Hollister/Leggett. Vehicle theft.

JOSE MARTINEZ, Willits.  Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

JUSTIN MAXFIELD, Willits. Concealed weapon paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Nelson-Dean, Parmely, Sanchez

JOSHUA NELSON-DEAN, Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation, probation revocation.

JACOB PARMELY, Ukiah. Parole violation.

RAYMOND SANCHEZ, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, criminal threats, failure to appear.

West, Wilson, Woodville

CHAYTON WEST, Sacramento/Ukiah. Hit&run with injury or death, burglary, county parole violation.

MICHAEL WILSON JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

CURTIS WOODVILLE, Albion. Fugitive from justice.

* * *


Nebraska Lawmakers Pass Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood

* * *


* * *



I reviewed Donald Trump’s claim that the US Postal Service is Amazon’s “Delivery Boy” by analyzing the latest quarterly “Revenue, Pieces & Weight” financial report from the USPS.

The fact that package services accounted for almost 10% of the total weight delivered but less than 2 percent of total revenue implies that the Postal Service does undercharge for package delivery.

What makes matters worse is the fact that US Postal Service’s bread and butter, first-class mail, currently bringing in 58% of its revenue, typically declines around 5% a year. Because the USPS still has to visit every residence six days a week, its fixed costs don’t change, so the cost per item can only go up.

Putting all that together, and knowing the USPS operates at a loss, leads to the inevitable conclusion the benefit Amazon enjoys is both subsidized and unsustainable.

James Miller

Santa Rosa

* * *


Immigrants from Central America work harder than native-born citizens. They start their own businesses doing work that citizens don’t want to do. They earn money. They pay taxes. They pay their own way, just like the Irish, Polish, English, German, and Chinese immigrants before them did.

Nobody has to “invite” them into their home. They have their own families to raise. They want their own homes… and eventually they get them. They create jobs for others, for citizens.

It’s called the American dream and it has worked for millions and will continue to do so. Trump cannot kill the American dream. Trump cannot stop immigrants by sending the military to the border.

* * *

* * *

RAJNEESHEES: I’ll tell you in briefest terms the plot of Wild Wild Country: a two-bit sex-guru from India who commands a following of thousands of rich bourgeois dupes and who fetishizes diamond watches, Rolls-Royces, and weird shiny clothing buys a ranch in eastern Oregon and comes into conflict with the sub-cretin rancher bigot culture there. Eastern capitalist Buddha-fake meets repressed dickless cowboys in the Western outback. The local Oregonians, neighbors to the sex guru’s commune, freak out when people within a hundred miles have multiple orgasms, while the climaxing invaders at the commune dress all in red and do whatever the guru says. One groupthink against the other’s.

— Christopher Ketcham

* * *

TRACY HACKMAN sends along the following photo for reasons that remain as unclear as the photo itself:

* * *


If King were alive today, his words would threaten most of those who now sing his praises

by Cornell West

The major threat of Martin Luther King Jr to us is a spiritual and moral one. King’s courageous and compassionate example shatters the dominant neoliberal soul-craft of smartness, money and bombs. His grand fight against poverty, militarism, materialism and racism undercuts the superficial lip service and pretentious posturing of so-called progressives as well as the candid contempt and proud prejudices of genuine reactionaries. King was neither perfect nor pure in his prophetic witness – but he was the real thing in sharp contrast to the market-driven semblances and simulacra of our day.

In this brief celebratory moment of King’s life and death we should be highly suspicious of those who sing his praises yet refuse to pay the cost of embodying King’s strong indictment of the US empire, capitalism and racism in their own lives.

We now expect the depressing spectacle every January of King’s “fans” giving us the sanitized versions of his life. We now come to the 50th anniversary of his assassination, and we once again are met with sterilized versions of his legacy. A radical man deeply hated and held in contempt is recast as if he was a universally loved moderate.

These neoliberal revisionists thrive on the spectacle of their smartness and the visibility of their mainstream status – yet rarely, if ever, have they said a mumbling word about what would have concerned King, such as US drone strikes, house raids, and torture sites, or raised their voices about escalating inequality, poverty or Wall Street domination under neoliberal administrations – be the president white or black.

The police killing of Stephon Clark in Sacramento may stir them but the imperial massacres in Yemen, Libya or Gaza leave them cold. Why? Because so many of King’s “fans” are afraid. Yet one of King’s favorite sayings was “I would rather be dead than afraid.” Why are they afraid? Because they fear for their careers in and acceptance by the neoliberal establishment. Yet King said angrily: “What you’re saying may get you a foundation grant, but it won’t get you into the Kingdom of Truth.”

The neoliberal soul craft of our day shuns integrity, honesty and courage, and rewards venality, hypocrisy and cowardice. To be successful is to forge a non-threatening image, sustain one’s brand, expand one’s pecuniary network – and maintain a distance from critiques of Wall Street, neoliberal leaders and especially the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and peoples.

Martin Luther King Jr turned away from popularity in his quest for spiritual and moral greatness – a greatness measured by what he was willing to give up and sacrifice due to his deep love of everyday people, especially vulnerable and precious black people. Neoliberal soul craft avoids risk and evades the cost of prophetic witness, even as it poses as “progressive”.

The killing of Martin Luther King Jr was the ultimate result of the fusion of ugly white supremacist elites in the US government and citizenry and cowardly liberal careerists who feared King’s radical moves against empire, capitalism and white supremacy. If King were alive today, his words and witness against drone strikes, invasions, occupations, police murders, caste in Asia, Roma oppression in Europe, as well as capitalist wealth inequality and poverty, would threaten most of those who now sing his praises. As he rightly predicted: “I am nevertheless greatly saddened … that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling.”

If we really want to know King in all of his fallible prophetic witness, we must shed any neoliberal soul craft and take seriously – in our words and deeds – his critiques and resistances to US empire, capitalism and xenophobia. Needless to say, his relentless condemnation of Trump’s escalating neo-fascist rule would be unequivocal – but not to be viewed as an excuse to downplay some of the repressive continuities of the two Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations.

In fact, in a low moment, when the American nightmare crushed his dream, King noted: “I don’t have any faith in the whites in power responding in the right way … they’ll treat us like they did our Japanese brothers and sisters in World War II. They’ll throw us into concentration camps. The Wallaces and the Birchites will take over. The sick people and the fascists will be strengthened. They’ll cordon off the ghetto and issue passes for us to get in and out.”

These words may sound like those of Malcolm X, but they are those of Martin Luther King Jr – with undeniable relevance to the neo-fascist stirrings in our day.

King’s last sermon was entitled Why America May Go to Hell. His personal loneliness and political isolation loomed large. J Edgar Hoover said he was “the most dangerous man in America”. President Johnson called him “a nigger preacher”. Fellow Christian ministers, white and black, closed their pulpits to him. Young revolutionaries dismissed and tried to humiliate him with walkouts, booing and heckling. Life magazine – echoing Time magazine, the New York Times, and the Washington Post (all bastions of the liberal establishment) – trashed King’s anti-war stance as “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi”.

And the leading black journalist of the day, Carl Rowan, wrote in the Reader’s Digest that King’s “exaggerated appraisal of his own self-importance” and the communist influence on his thinking made King “persona non-grata to Lyndon Johnson” and “has alienated many of the Negro’s friends and armed the Negro’s foes”.

One of the last and true friends of King, the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel prophetically said: “The whole future of America will depend upon the impact and influence of Dr King.” When King was murdered something died in many of us. The bullets sucked some of the free and democratic spirit out of the US experiment. The next day over 100 American cities and towns were in flames – the fire this time had arrived again!

Today, 50 years later the US imperial meltdown deepens. And King’s radical legacy remains primarily among the awakening youth and militant citizens who choose to be extremists of love, justice, courage and freedom, even if our chances to win are that of a snowball in hell! This kind of unstoppable King-like extremism is a threat to every status quo!

* * *

TO BE A WOMAN (for J. Marmon)

by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)

Very soon, the centers of masculine power will end up permanently on the outside of the male chauvinist canon sanctified in our culture by the Old Testament, and the struggle for equality between men and women will be fought everywhere — even in the terrain of genetics.

The moment will arrive when the ovum will be able to choose the most suitable sperm among the the thousands of useless ones that besiege the great factory of life. Ultimately, the two cells will look each other in the face, on an equal footing, and the little sperm will be obliged to accept a “No is no” from that single ovum, sparkling, dynamic, and full of future.

If Zipporah, the wife of the macho Moses, had written Genesis, we would have read,

—On the sixth day, God created Eve and from her entrails, sprung Adam.

It would be a more consistent story because all of us come to this world by passing through a woman, whose body, glorified and demonized, has converted into a masculine neurosis in art and religion.

The voluptuous female nude constitutes the aesthetic horizon of painting — as does the figure of the Virgin — without entrails, but dressed in celestial clothing and surrounded by angels. For a radical feminist, which is more demeaning: The Venus of Botticelli, emerging naked from the sea perched upon a seashell and propelled by the exhalations of winged gods? Or the blessed virgins of Murillo — who at times employed Sevillian prostitutes as models and painted them with the serpent and the moon at their feet?

A woman looks at Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” (Getty Images)

For 3,500 years, the woman has been subjugated, exploited, and considered as an asset of the man: an object of pleasure or a pack animal. Slavery was abolished in the 19th century. Later, the worker movement began. And now that class struggle appears to have been neutralized, the final battle for female liberation has appeared on the scene, a war that has not stopped since the Neolithic period.

* * *

* * *


by Michael Wood

In his speech accepting this year’s Oscar for best director – The Shape of Water also won the Oscar for best picture – Guillermo del Toro offered a kind of parody of the mode of the film itself. He thanked the executives at Fox Searchlight for listening to “a mad pitch,” and for believing “that a fairy tale about an amphibian god and a mute woman done in the style of Douglas Sirk, and a musical and a thriller was a sure bet.” Actually it sounds mushy and whimsical and likely to flop, and the success of the film lies in its flirting with these qualities while having none of them. It didn’t seem quite so good to me on second viewing because I wasn’t surprised to like it, but it’s an impressive work, a violent romance rather than a fairy tale, and it’s both perky and gloomy. The name Sirk here signals melodrama and lush style, as well as, in a wonderful phrase of Sirk’s, “the weak and sly promise that the world is not rotten and out of joint but meaningful and ultimately in excellent condition.” It isn’t the work that’s weak and sly, just the promise.

We could start by looking at what we might call the film’s optical mood – not at all a bad context if your heroine can’t talk. Two lonely people live in neighbouring apartments above a cinema. No interior scene, as far as I could count, is without a television turned on and showing an old movie. Every set is like a dream of the 1950s – I’m taking that decade as lasting effectively until 1968 in the US – with the camera prowling around looking for shabby antiques. And the second major location, after the two apartments, is a research facility that looks like the abandoned storage space of an old museum, lovingly equipped with cupboards, surveillance cameras and inscrutable bits of equipment that signal their failed ambition to look modern. There’s an old-fashioned diner, there’s a bus, there are docks, there’s a Cadillac DeVille, which a salesman calls a Taj Mahal on wheels. Above all, there are male haircuts, plastered down and shiny, set above remarkably similar square faces, as if men were made in the same factory as the cars.

The place is notionally Baltimore, the year 1962. More important, this is the time of the Cold War, which drives the whole plot. That’s why the research facility is there, and that is where the amphibian god comes in. An American agent picked him up in the Amazonian jungle, and brought him home because he might have skills the Russians know nothing of. These skills are supposedly being probed in the facility, but all that seems to happen in this line is that the agent, Richard Strickland, played by Michael Shannon with fabulously nasty relish, tortures him with a cattle prod – and loses two fingers in the process. The creature is referred to as “the asset,” indeed “the most sensitive asset” the facility has entertained, but this is wishful political thinking. The Russians – already on the case: they have an agent working at the facility – are wiser. When their agent goes sentimental about science and knowledge, and talks about what can be learned from the creature, his boss is very clear. “We don’t have to learn. We just need the Americans not to learn.”

The asset is a more muscular replica of the monster in Jack Arnold’s Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), a fishy figure also meant to serve the interests of science. The recall is intentional, but doesn’t quite, at this late date, prevent the asset, played by Doug Jones, from looking slightly too much like just one more mutant super-hero. This effect matters only because it makes falling in love with him a touch more conventional than it’s supposed to be.

We can get away from the convention, though, because of the way the role of the mute woman is written and played. She is Elisa Esposito, an orphan found by a river with three mysterious scars on her neck, and she works nights at the facility as a cleaning lady. Near the end of the movie, when Strickland is hunting for the people who helped the creature to escape, he asks for their name, rank and number. The dying Russian, battered by this question and thinking of Elisa and her friend, stammers: “No rank and number. They just clean.” Sally Hawkins, in a truly mesmerizing performance, brings together qualities we might think simply cannot cohabit: loneliness and cheerfulness, a certain desperation along with a great calm. She makes friends with the creature, brings him food and music, teaches him sign language. We see her practicing a few steps of tap-dance on the way to work, but nothing prepares us for the dream vision when her relation with the creature has turned into a full-blown – I was going to say full-scale – romance. She simply transports herself and her friend into a black-and-white musical, where her dubbed voice sings “You’ll never know,” and the couple float around the stage in a plausible imitation of Fred and Ginger.

The creature does have gifts that the Cold Warriors will never see. For example, if he touches a wound, it heals. He can make a bald man’s hair grow. He does this for the film’s other main character, Elisa’s neighbor and friend Giles, who is also our storyteller. The actor is Richard Jenkins, whose voice opens the film, saying:

If I spoke about it – if I did – what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time … Or would I tell you about the place … Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you, about the truth of these facts. And the tale of love and loss. And the monster, who tried to destroy it all.

We know this kind of story: we think the monster is going to be the creature from the Brazilian lagoon, but the real monster is Strickland, who tortures the creature, and wants to kill the people who try to take it away from him – does kill almost all of them, including Elisa.

This is where the creature’s powers come in, along with a weak and sly promise borrowed from Sirk. The murderous Strickland is temporarily disabled by Giles, and the creature jumps into the water of the Baltimore docks, taking Elisa’s body with him. In one sense this is already a happy ending. Elisa dreamed of water at the beginning of the film, her whole apartment was submerged, chairs and tables drifting as if weightless, herself sleeping some two feet above her levitated sofa. Later she tried to consummate her relationship with the creature by stopping up the door of her bathroom and turning on all the taps – a sort of domestic Liebestod – and was rescued by Giles, tipped off because the spilling water was dripping into the cinema below. And now she finds her element. But del Toro offers us a more playful ending too, giving rise to the rather schmaltzy poster used to advertise the film, creature and woman embracing underwater. Elisa is dead until the creature breathes on her. Then she breathes too, in her element but no longer dreaming. Maybe. Or maybe del Toro is just asking us, as Sirk did, to imagine that the world is not entirely “rotten and out of joint.”

All of the closing sequence takes place in torrential rain, borrowed from the soggiest of films noirs, so that everyone, dead and alive, is drenched without tackling any sort of underwater adventure. Giles makes a comment in voiceover, intimating Elisa’s immortality. When he thinks of her, he says, what comes to mind is an old Persian poem that begins: “Unable to perceive the shape of You, / I find you all around me.” But it’s not enough, I think, to say that water doesn’t have any shape and to define this as its ineffable virtue. The hard question might be what sort of damage it could do, on land and off, to the dry shapes of habit and prejudice.

* * *

“… and, at this time, you may switch on your electronic devices
and see what he’s said now.”


  1. james marmon April 5, 2018


    Yeah, everyone but me! My restraining order prevents me from going because Carmel Angelo and other County employees are in attendance at this big circle jerk. According to my most resent restraining order I can’t even contact local cult leader Sheriff Allman if I wanted too, which really doesn’t break my heart. Get this, if I wanted to attend this meeting I am required to contact former County Counsel Tom Mitchell who has been gone for almost 5 years and ask him for his permission. 9 months left until my 6 year exile from the Asylum and I’ll be back “loaded for bear” (figure of speech). I have a ton of questions and will be demanding answers.

    Do yourself a favor, ask questions, think for yourself, and evolve.

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Mental Health Specialist
    Sacramento, Placer, and Lake Counties.

    • Lazarus April 5, 2018

      I saw a still of the Measure B meeting shot form the back of the room. The only audience was Marge Handley and her stooge Arnie Mello…I think that’s his name. I’m wondering where the money comes from to staff the 100 year old crumbling HMH behemoth…Lets be clear here, this Howard foundation bunch wants one thing…to unload the old building. Handley is cutting ties with Willits proper. She’s sold her fancy ass Haehl Creek house, which was gifted… She’s sold another property in the vicinity of HMH I hear, and everything else is on the block…She gett’n hat and getting out. When the lame committees, commissions and boards finally figure out how she f***ed them out of the money she’ll be hide’n out in India…or her estate east of Willits.
      Rumblings from the community have started, parents of kids attending neighboring schools have concerns, as do the police. And then there’s the neighborhood…Handley has made it clear she care’s not about anyone in the sphere of influence. To date folks I know near HMH have never been contacted or considered, Handley is in it for herself, the City knows it, the cops know it, and many in the community know it…Nevertheless the beat goes on…All this unfortunately will likely be piss’n into the wind for the folks of Willits. Handley’s last deal will probably kill what’s left of the Willits community, anyone who thinks different is either a liar or a fool.
      This is one of the biggest cons ever run in the Mendo…Shame to all of them!
      As always,

  2. Stanley Kelley April 5, 2018

    The driver of the Hart family may have become distracted by the six kids and discovered the vehicle rolling toward the water, freaked and stepped on the wrong pedal. She may have paniced and kept pressing on what she thought was the brake. Wheels going 90 mph when the vehicle hit the water below. It happens. It happened in Mendocino last week

  3. George Hollister April 5, 2018

    “King’s last sermon was entitled Why America May Go to Hell. His personal loneliness and political isolation loomed large. J Edgar Hoover said he was “the most dangerous man in America”. President Johnson called him “a nigger preacher”. Fellow Christian ministers, white and black, closed their pulpits to him. Young revolutionaries dismissed and tried to humiliate him with walkouts, booing and heckling. Life magazine – echoing Time magazine, the New York Times, and the Washington Post (all bastions of the liberal establishment) – trashed King’s anti-war stance as “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi”.”

    I remember that MLK was abandoned by the Black Power Movement of his day, and criticized for being too soft, and behind the times. When he was assassinated, he instantly became everything for everybody, a man of myth. That is still the case to this day.

  4. Stephen Rosenthal April 5, 2018

    Well Little Dog, you’re exactly right about the nut job that went off the deep end at YouTube. It’s obvious to all of us loyal AVA readers that you’re wise beyond your years, so maybe you can convince your so called “boss” to stop throwing away his money at KZYX. Suggestion: if your solo act doesn’t work, I’m quite sure by teaming up with Skrag the two of you will git ‘er done. That dude won’t take no for an answer.

  5. james marmon April 5, 2018


    My 7 year old granddaughter called me three nights ago from Crescent City and informed me that she had become Vegan, she already dances, owns her own gun (kept in gun safe), and is an avid Trump supporter. Should I seek help for her now or wait to see if this Vegan thing passes?

    James Marmon
    Loving Grandfather.

  6. james marmon April 5, 2018

    RE: TO BE A WOMAN (for J. Marmon)

    Okay Men, let’s talk about toxic femininity, what’s fair is fair, it’s time for an honest conversation about this, too.

    J. Marmon

  7. Eric Sunswheat April 5, 2018

    RE: And now that class struggle appears to have been neutralized, the final battle for female liberation has appeared on the scene,

    REPLY: Big Pharma CDC antibiotics resistance scare tactics in healing wound infections.

    Traditional research that Big Pharma won’t fund, to validate wound sugar treatment alternative to obsolete patent antibiotics, and reducing use of currently effective antibiotics, to reserve their pharmaceutical value for specific circumstances other than wound infections.

  8. Jim Updegraff April 5, 2018

    Time flies by very fast: It was in April of 1953 that I returned from Korea (3rd Infantry Division) and reentered civilian life. I was the only Sgt in our unit that was not a WW 2 veteran. Also in 1952 I voted by absent ballot – have voted in every local and national election since that time.

  9. Alice Chouteau April 5, 2018

    For the best coverage of the Hart case, check out The Oregonian’s site, There is detailed timeline of child abuse, investigations from Minnesota to Oregon, and then Washington…every time a nieghbor, or the public school, reported the moms, they packed up and left.

  10. james marmon April 5, 2018

    Yep, you’re right Suzie, Thelma and Louise Hart should have stayed in Texas.

    Texas Tries (Again) to Reboot Its Troubled Child Welfare System

    JUNE 13, 2017

    “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a package of bills aimed at reforming the state’s broken foster care system. Since he took office in 2015, achieving zero child fatalities in the system has been a major priority of his administration.

    The changes, which seek to retain effective caseworkers, keep children in their communities and place children with relatives when they have to be separated from their parents, come after years of critical audits, newspaper investigations and high-profile tragedies involving children in the state’s care.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *