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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018

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A NEW FIRE broke out east of Covelo in Mendocino County about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. An evacuation order for the area was issued almost immediately.

The Eel fire, as it's called, is burning near Mendocino National Forest and was estimated to have burned 650 acres by 5pm, threatening 10 structures and a campground. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents along Mendocino Pass Road, from the Eel River Guard Station east to the Mendocino County line, and north from the guard station along County Route M1, also known as Indian Dick Road, for one mile. CalFire spokesperson David Clark said the fire started in the Black Butte River Ranch area, but the cause is currently unknown. Some engines and aircraft from the Mendocino Complex fire roughly 60 miles to the south were diverted to the Eel River Fire, which is apparently not connected to either the Ranch or River fires.

Evacuation Map (click to enlarge)

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WHAT SEEMED to be a routine albeit emergency meeting of the Supervisors Tuesday morning turned rhetorically fiery when Sheriff Allman took the podium. After praising the stellar performances of his deputies "in a situation they have unfortunately become familiar with," the Sheriff said he wanted to give a "shout out to County employees who know that they are emergency services workers and came in to answer the phones and help out." The Sheriff then denounced "the approximately 90 percent of County employees who either don't answer their phones or return phone calls. They may not understand they are emergency services workers. That we have people who are avoiding their responsibilities as public servants irritates me." The Sheriff added that "the supervisors should be fully aware, and the CEO provide a list of employees who stepped up."

SUPERVISOR BROWN said she was disappointed and thought "it was important to have a list of the County employees who did come in. We all do trainings for emergencies and should be available."

CEO ANGELO began by praising the work of Heidi Dunham of Human Resources for her efficient organizing of the County's Office of Emergency Services, then seconded Sheriff Allman's frustration with the County workers who had not shown up to do their secondary duty as emergency services workers. The CEO, as always speaking in the calmly dulcet tones of the experienced hatchet person she is, clouded up and stormed all over the no-shows. "My plan is to send letters to all the employees we contacted who did answer the phone — it is July and August and some employees are on vacation — but those employees who refused to come in will be getting a letter in their personnel file because this is a very serious issue… We have 1205 employees; every single one of them should be aware when there is a fire in our county or near our county and should be ready to come in."

MORE STARTLINGLY, CEO ANGELO declared, "We had two department heads who refused to allow their staffs to come in and respond. Any department head who says no, I really take exception with." The names of the two refuse-nik department heads were unnamed as we went to press, but if they are unelected, at will employees, their heads should say goodbye to their lower anatomies as Angelo ominously concluded, "They will be dealt with." (Supervisors Croskey and Hamburg did not attend Tuesday's meeting "by pre-arrangement," which seems to mean they phoned to say they wouldn't be present. One wonders how many of the Supervisors "responded" to the weekend fire emergency.)

SLACKERS. The Sheriff's statement this morning that some 90 percent of County workers failed to show up to man the County's Emergency Services Office needs clarification. Of the employees called, about ten percent appeared to do their mandated duty. There are 1205 County employees, and that figure includes deputies and other persons whose work assumes disasters. It remains true, however, that the large majority of County workers were no-shows, many turning off their phones, some promising to appear but not, some legitimately on vacation like Supervisor Hamburg who said he was in "the midwest visiting relatives," and Supervisor Croskey, also out of state when the fires broke out, who said she would return immediately. We haven't heard from supervisors McCowen, Gjerde and Brown, but it is a safe bet they reported for emergency service.

CEO CARMEL ANGELO, on the advice of her attorney, presumably County Counsel Kit Elliot, said she could not identify the two non-cooperating County offices, but we are reliably informed that they were the County Clerk's Office and the Retirement Office.

SHERIFF ALLMAN said late Tuesday afternoon that he's throwing a post-fire barbecue for the County people who showed up to work the emergency. He cited the County's Department of Transportation for special mention. "They've just been great," the Sheriff said. "They've done everything they've been asked to do and then some." Asked how the Lake County Jail evacuation went, the Sheriff commented that it was uneventful and uniquely touching. "When the inmates came out of the Jail to board the buses, they seemed awed at the huge plumes of smoke rising over the Mendocino County hills. Like everyone else, they knew it was bad." The trip south to the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County was uneventful.

3rd District supervisor candidate John Haschak and campaign worker at Tuesday's supervisor's meeting.

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The report tonight shows the Mendocino Complex has grown to 80,408 acres with 12 percent contained. The Ranch fire is 51,539 acres and the River fire is 28,869 acres. An estimated 30,000 acres have burned on the Mendocino National Forest. Around 12,000 residences are threatened and 14,000 people are evacuated. The fires continue to spread to the east and remain very active with running and spotting. The forecast is for dry and hot conditions with the high temperature 90-100 degrees and wind from 10-15 mph. There are 2,677 personnel now assigned to the incident.

Punky Moore, Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service, Mendocino National Forest

Calfire's Wednesday Morning (7am) Mendocino Complex Update: 90,912 acres, 24% containment.

Last night firefighters made good progress on increasing containment on the River and Ranch fires. Today fire personnel will continue to work on containment lines, fighting the fire directly when access and conditions permit along with building contingency lines ahead of the fire front. Low humidity, heat, and wind will continue to challenge firefighters throughout the day today. Today we joined in Unified Command with the U.S. Forest Service Northern California Team 2.

LATE AFTERNOON TUESDAY, a strong wind had kicked up not far from the fire lines and there was an unspoken fear from fire officials that the two Mendocino Complex blazes would join north and east of Upper Lake.

AT TUESDAY DAWN, both fires continued to burn but, as CalFire reported, the lines approximately a thousand firefighters had drawn around populated areas of Lake County had held. The lines protecting the hill dwellers of the ridges east of Potter Valley had also held. Both fires, as of this Tuesday morning, seemed to have lost the vitality seen Friday and Saturday when many evacuation orders had been recommended, then made mandatory.

BOTH FIRES remain under investigation. Predictably, rumors of arson are prevalent but no information as to the origins of the fires has been released. The Ranch Fire started near the landmark Buffalo Ranch on Highway 20, not far from the junction of 20 and the Potter Valley Road. It was called in on Friday (27 July) at 12:03pm.

THE RIVER FIRE near Hopland was called in an hour later at 1:01pm Friday.

FIREFIGHTERS from as far away as the state of Maine are among the agencies on the fire lines in Mendocino County.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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Smoke from the local Ranch and River Fires, together called the Mendocino Complex Fire; continue to impact local air quality. Mendocino County is also located between other large wildfires, the Carr Wildfire in Redding and the Ferguson Wildfire in Mariposa. Smoke and haze from wildfires in northern California are degrading the air quality and reducing visibility. Current active fires are within, to the north, east, and southeast of Mendocino County.

Weather forecast models are for triple digit temperatures until midweek and variable northwesterly winds with patchy smoke. All inland communities downwind from the wildfires are most likely to be impacted: Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Calpella, Ukiah, Hopland, Willits, Covelo, as well as western Lake County, including the city of Lakeport and small communities along Highway 20 and the western Clearlake shore. While surrounding wildfires are active, expect unpredictable smoke impacts to air quality followed by multiple periods of some relief.

Currently air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the 'Moderate' range for most of Mendocino County. Inland areas of Mendocino County may experience episodes of ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups' air quality. In the vicinity of, and downwind of the fires, “Unhealthy” ranges may occur. This may continue the rest of the week until the fires are out and cooler weather returns.

Smoke in heavy concentrations can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. People who are at greatest risk of experiencing symptoms due to smoke include: those with respiratory disease (such as asthma), those with heart disease, young children, and older adults. These sensitive populations should stay indoors and avoid prolonged activity. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke. When air conditions are 'Unhealthy,' everyone should limit prolonged or heavy exertion activities outdoors.

Persons experiencing any of the following symptoms should contact a health care provider: Headache; Repeated Coughing; Chest Tightness Or Pain; Difficulty In Breathing; or Nausea.

New fire activity, wind directions and wind speeds can change at any time. It is advised to be prepared and stay informed. Impacts to the air quality will be most noticeable in the evening to early morning hours.

Mendocino County Air Quality Management District has particulate monitors running continuously measuring our air quality. These monitors report particulate matter concentrations hourly to the air District’s website. To get the latest air quality information for Mendocino County visit:

While visiting our website, look at the sidebar to the right, or scroll down if using a mobile device to the section titled “Air Quality for Mendocino”. The air quality index ranges from ‘Good’ (green) to ‘Hazardous’ (maroon).

For additional information, click an air quality index range.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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THE EVACUATION ORDER HAS BEEN LIFTED FOR THE POTTER VALLEY COMMUNITY and residents may return home. Please see the attached notice.

July 31, 2018 at 12:00 P.M.

Evacuation orders have been lifted and residents may return to the following areas:

  • Potter Valley Community

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has reduced the Evacuation Order to an Evacuation Warning in the following areas:

  • Potter Valley Community; All areas north of Highway CA - 20, east of East Side Potter Valley Road, south of Burris Lane, and west of the fire perimeter, including Burris Lane and MeWhinney Creek.

The Evacuation Order for Potter Valley including Pine Avenue and Mid Mountain remains in effect.

Punky Moore, Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service, Mendocino National Forest

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by Rong-Gong Lin II & Ruben Vives

The northern Sacramento Valley was well on its way to recording the hottest July on record when the Carr fire swept into town Thursday.

It was 113 degrees, and months of above-average temperatures had left the land bone-dry and ready to explode. Within a few hours,hundreds of structures were lost and six people killed.

The destruction adds to California’s worst wildfire year on record — dozens dead since October, with more than 10,000 structures lost from San Diego to Redding.

There are many reasons for the grim totals, but experts say one common denominator connects the disastrous fires: California is facing extreme heat, the likes of which it has never seen in the modern historical record.

“The temperatures have just been almost inexorably warmer all the time,” said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, and fires “burn more intensely if the fuels are extremely dry.”

In the past, there has been some reluctance among scientists to cite climate change as a major factor in California’s worsening wildfires. Human-caused ignitions and homes being built ever closer to forests have played a large role. But the connection between rising temperatures in California and tinder-dry vegetation is becoming impossible to ignore, according to experts who study climate and wildfires.

“The regional temperatures in the western U.S. have increased by 2 degrees since the 1970s,” said Jennifer Balch, director of Earth Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “You’re seeing the effect of climate change.”

Neil Lareau, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, said unusual warmth is now routine, and that heat “leads to drying things out quicker.”

Vegetation can have various degrees of dryness — a wet log in the woods could smolder before puttering out, while tinder-dry chaparral on a 110-degree day could explode when ignited, Swain said. Extremely flammable vegetation can create a particularly intense fire with the potential to grow much faster — leaving less time for firefighters to get a handle on a blaze and for people to escape.

“What that means is the fire has to do less work to ignite the vegetation right next to it. And it can spread faster, and it releases energy more quickly,” Lareau said.

The Carr fire is the most destructive of 17 major blazes burning amid the current hot conditions. Fires in Mendocino County, in the San Jacinto Mountains and near Yosemite National Park exploded in the last few days, eating through dry wildlands. Authorities said they hope to gain more control over the Carr fire as temperatures gradually cool this week.

Swain said California is seeing more fires spreading much faster than what was customary. “It’s just that much easier for fires to escape initial control,” he said.

According to Swain, an ominous warning sign before each of the major fires of the last year — including last fall’s catastrophic Santa Rosa blaze — was alerts about record or near-record dryness in the vegetation.

The effect of temperature — and how dry the vegetation is — can matter more than how much rain or snow fell the previous winter.

Northern California saw its wettest winter on record in 2016-17, followed by its warmest summer. That led to extremely dry vegetation by the fall — just before the devastating Santa Rosa fire hit, Swain said.

“Temperature can clearly out-influence the precipitation,” he said.

Hot, dry conditions and aridity of vegetation are translating to increased wildfire risk worldwide, said John Abatzoglou, associate professor of geography at the University of Idaho.

Abatzoglou was the lead author of a recent study that concluded human-caused climate change was responsible for more than half of the increase in dry vegetation in the western United States since the 1970s — which doubled the area of forest charred since 1984. The influence of human-caused climate change on the extreme dryness of vegetation “is projected to increasingly promote wildfire potential across western U.S. forests in the coming decades, and pose threats to ecosystems, the carbon budget, human health and fire suppression budgets,” Abatzoglou wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Making matters worse, nighttime temperatures generally are not dropping as low as they once did, meaning the chance of a blaze weakening overnight is reduced. California’s average summer minimum temperature was at a record high last year at 61.9 degrees, up from 56.5 degrees from the first year on record in 1895.

“Some of these fires burn into the overnight hours — that’s typically the time of day fires calm down and firefighters get a better handle on these things,” Abatzoglou said.

By many measures, literally and figuratively, California has been burning up.

As the Carr fire rapidly expanded, the Redding area was experiencing record-tying temperatures. In Southern California in October and November — in the middle of a punishing spate of wildfires — the average temperature was the hottest in more than 120 years of record keeping. San Francisco hit its all-time heat record in September, with a downtown reading of 106; in July, all-time temperature records shattered throughout Southern California, with Burbank hitting 114 and Van Nuys 117.

Redding’s temperature of 113 on Thursday wasn’t unheard of for that time of year, but Swain said it was the accumulation of intense heat over the previous weeks and months that added to the problem.

The resulting dry vegetation was a key factor in the Carr fire, Swain said. There was no wind preceding the blaze in Redding — no Santa Anas or Diablos whipping it up. Instead, the exceptionally dry vegetation produced intense heat that shot hot air up to 39,000 feet into the sky at speeds of up to 130 mph, Lareau said. That air was replaced by air moving in at the base of the fire, in a movement that appeared like a tornado.

“This fire vortex, this pretty terrifying tornado-like feature, and I don’t say that lightly … was made possible by the extreme heat produced by this fire,” Swain said. “To see that in the brush- and mixed-forest region immediately adjacent to a city of 100,000 people in California was pretty extraordinary.”

Such “fire whirls,” also known as plume-dominated fires, are particularly dangerous because the direction of the blaze is far more difficult to predict and embers can spread far away. It’s believed to be a factor in the number of lives lost in the fire, including firefighters. The Carr fire jumped the Sacramento River, which in a typical blaze would be seen as a natural barrier.

“The fire has much more of a mind of its own when it has more of these dynamics,” Lareau said.

It’s virtually unheard of for a fire whirl to last as long as the one in Redding did — it started about 7 p.m. Thursday and lasted for about an hour and a half. “It’s remarkable in size, strength, duration and depth,” he said.

The fire whirl was so intense that it appeared to blow down large trees and strip tiles off roofs in areas that were untouched by fire damage.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the state’s wildfire season is now 78 days longer than it was more than a generation ago.

“You don’t get a record hot July by accident right now. It’s just the whole background state of the climate is hotter. The entire Earth is hotter than it used to be,” Lareau said.

(Courtesy, the LA Times)

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There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Climate change is here, and we are living in its burning embers.

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As California burns, many fear the future of extreme fire has arrived…

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KATY TAHJA CHECKS IN: Back from a whirlwind 4 day, thousand mile train chasing vacation through the smoky skies of California with a very excited 4 year old grandson and his Mama...rode trains at Railtown Park in Jamestown, Yosemite Mountain & Sugar Pine Railroad in Fish Camp and Sonoma's Traintown. With Yosemite N.P. closed due to fires nearby tourist crowds of summertime had vanished. Smoky skies. Came back through Sonoma County literally watching live flames on the east side of Russian River near Hopland and miles of burnt woodlands. Happy to be home and happy the fires are on the east side of the county though my heart aches for folks who have lost everything — both in our county and north in Shasta County.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “It's kinda embarrassing, but I've been meaning to ask Ted Williams, the kid running for 5th District Supervisor, how often does some wacky old guy like the wacky old guys I work for here in Boonville, connect him with the ballplayer, Ted Williams, the Splendid Splinter?”

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Bails Reduced From $100K To $50K

The fires have had our attention so we failed to report that the Fort Bragg kidnapping suspect arrested last Wednesday (July 25th) had his bail reduced from $100,000 to $50,000 and was released from the Mendocino County Jail last Friday @ 5:42 pm.

Original Press Release

As always, subjects named in the releases should be presumed innocent unless/until found guilty in a court of law:

“On Wednesday, July 25, at approximately 7:00 pm, the 15-year-old victim was standing outside the back entrance of the Mendocino Cookie Company, located at 303 N. Main Street.

The suspect (Frederic Pere, age 56 of Fort Bragg) contacted the victim while she was on the phone.

He placed his hand on her shoulder and asked her if she wanted a ride. The victim told him no and turned away from him. Pere then grabbed the victim by the arm and started to pull the victim towards a white panel van that was parked nearby.

The victim was able to pull away from Pere and struck him in the process. Pere then entered the white van, a 1998 Ford E350 panel van CA Lic# 5T76883, and left the area southbound on N. Main Street.

The victim was transported to the Police Department where she filed a report. A description of the vehicle and Pere were given to other Fort Bragg Police Officers who began to immediately check the area.

A van matching the description was located parked in the parking lot of the A-Frame Coffee House. Officers contacted the lone occupant in the vehicle who was Pere. Pere was detained by Officers while the victim was transported to the location and was able to conduct an infield show up. The victim positively identified Pere as the suspect. Pere was taken into custody, booked and then transported to the Mendocino County Jail.

The Fort Bragg Police Department is requesting anyone who has had any similar contact with Pere to contact the Fort Bragg Police Department immediately.

Questions regarding this press release may be directed to the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707) 961-2800 or the crime tip hotline at (707) 961-3049.”


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ON THIS DAY in 1909 in the early morning the steam schooner Winnebago struck Wash Rock off Point Arena in a dense fog.

(Click to enlarge)

She was a total loss, but there were no casualties. Captain William Treanor, his wife and four children, and the crew of 23 men escaped the wreck in two boats. They landed safely near the Point Arena lighthouse and were later picked up by the steamer Sea Foam.

The schooner, owned by Coast Steamship Co., was loaded with 1,600,000 feet of lumber which she was carrying from Everett, WA to San Pedro, CA.

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum.

(Kelley House Museum)

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THE OLD TIME 4TH of July festivities raked in a cool $8 grand this year. Donna Pierson Pugh, former Elementary School principal, routes that money to the school's healthy food program, ably presided over by Terri Rhodes.

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HEALTH CENTER DIRECTOR CHLOE GUAZZONE told me the other day that the Anderson Valley Health Center "is fully staffed on the medical side," especially since adding the services of Nurse Practitioner Luiza Savin." Ms. G said the search for an MD "who could work a few days a week to let Mark Apfel reduce his clinical time and who could share in the duties of clinical supervision of our two nurse practitioners" continues. She said "space is our biggest challenge in bringing in additional providers. With four exam rooms (plus the urgent care room) we can only have two medical providers on any given day."

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DAVE SEVERN reports on what's left of the Navarro: "The river has been all spring and early summer below average and below median mark. There are some nice swimming holes still but in between a lot of scuzzy algae. Walking in the water stirs up an unpleasant turbid murk."

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 31, 2018

Alvarez, Barry, Bobus

GABRIEL ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Witness intimidation.

WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

CARA BOBUS, Lower Lake/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

Charlesworth, Derbigny, Guevara

KELLY CHARLESWORTH, Willits. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

DEVANTA DERBIGNY, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

JOSHUA GUEVARA, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Guyette, Holm, Hurd

THOMAS GUYETTE, Nice/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, receiving stolen property.

ELIZABETH HOLM, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

JOSHUA HURD, Fort Bragg. Petty theft.

Lane, Lee, Mullins

SHAWN LANE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

PATRICK LEE, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, shoplifting.

JAMES MILES*, Ukiah. (*Booked on July 28, but no charges and no booking photo so far.)

MIRANDA MULLINS, Willits. Harboring a wanted felon, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Novoa, Roy, Sparkman, Spitsen

JESSE NOVOA, Gerber/Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, probation revocation.

BRIAN ROY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ERIC SPARKMAN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MARK SPITSEN, Incline Village, Nevada/ccc

Tribble, White, Wooten


STEVEN WHITE, Potter Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DAVID WOOTEN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

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I’ve been disgusted and contemptuous with our obviously “fixed” political machinery since the era of Clinton trade deals. Some very good propagandists were “working hard” and “looking forward to” bamboozling an easily gulled populace. The me-me-me, exceptional American meme had already been branded onto the American soul, so it wasn’t all that difficult.

I predict that in a couple generations, when the “new dark age” and some truly biblical, catastrophic weather patterns become commonplace, the only “growth” industry will be constructing underground living and figuring out how best to grow crops in covered trenches where they won’t be handily destroyed by heavy weather. The only slightly dependable energy is going to come from that yellow ball that we spin toward each day.

Can we prepare our kiddies to be *mentally* flexible and curious about work-arounds that happen to be anathema to the current status quo? I don’t know, but it certainly would be worth a tiny bit of effort, even though the political structure will [self-protectively] do what it can to prevent this. (The first thing that’s got to go is this worship of celebrity and money; that’s just the epitome of counter-productive. Get their faces out of those screens and engage in some dangerous investigation of nature and alone-with-my-thoughts-and-wonderings time. Plunking your sprats in front of “Dora the Explorer” ain’t gonna get it done, peeps.)

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by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)

(Still from The Gorilla with Edward Norris and Anita Louise)

In autumn of 1944, they began to build a movie theater in the village. In mid morning, our school teacher took us to the outskirts of the village for recess. We were arranged in two lines and I walked hand in hand with my best friend. Together we saw the workers lifted up on a scaffold and afterwards saw the painters putting a cream colored layer of paint on the facade.

We followed the slow process of construction as if they were building a dream. We saw the mezzanine where the projector would go; the orchestra section; the stage beneath the screen; everything becoming real even beyond our imagination. And although the priest said that movies were the invention of the devil, that did nothing but excite me more.

By Christmas, the name of the movie theater had finally appeared in huge Roman letters enclosed in a frame. The theater would be called Cine Rialto and, quite soon, the heroes we saw in wall posters and hand brochures would begin to ride, shoot, dance, and kiss on its screen.

As in the first sequence of the film Cinema Paradiso of Giuseppe Tornatore, a few days ago I received a phone call from a relative in that village informing me that the child with whom I had walked hand in hand in that double line when we went by the Cine Rialto; the child, who would later become a baker, whom I would help kneed bread in the mornings during vacation time; the child with whom, when we were adolescents, I went to the beach or to summer dances in the villages on his Lambretta motor scooter; that child who was always loyal to me with an unconditional friendship, whose name was Sebastianito Ballestar, had died.

During one’s life, when it has been many years since one left the village, there are phone calls that break your heart. One day you are told,

—Do you remember Toto who ran the projector in the booth of the movie theater? He has died.

Or perhaps, the teacher that taught you how to write; or that beloved village idiot who loved you so much and who always greeted you with such excitement when he ran into you on the street.

I was nine years old when my father, after praying the rosary, allowed me to go to the movies theater with that boy. They were showing the movie The Gorilla with Bela Lugosi. The fright which that monster on the screen caused me has diminished in my memory; however, the intensity of the panic I felt when we left the theater at midnight and my friend began to run, shouting that the gorilla was following us, continues with all its original intensity. When he disappeared from sight, I found myself alone in a dark alleyway paralyzed beneath the full moon, which created a sinister shadow of a gorilla in back of me. I still vividly recall the terror of that winter night.

Since then, throughout my life, I’ve deconstructed that terror through my experiences with three gorillas of flesh and blood.

In 1964, in the zoo of San Diego, California, at the time the park closed, when all visitors had already left the zoo, I found myself alone with no zookeeper anywhere near me. I was next to the cage of a gorilla holding on to the bars. I remained several minutes with this animal whose expression startled me because it carried me to a thought I believed I understood. We looked into the depth of each other’s eyes and the gorilla appeared to say:

—I’ve known you since that winter night and I understand what happened to you. No Argentinian psychologist ever spoke to me like that.

Many years later, in 1994, the slaughter among the Hutus and the Tutsis of Ruanda had ended, leaving a million dead. In the airport of Kigali, a stuffed gorilla had remained standing: I counted more than twenty bullet holes in his body. However, the totem animal of the country remained upright, even among the debris of its display case that was destroyed by gunfire, serving as a symbol of human cruelty.

A short time ago, during a visit to the jungle of Virunga in Ruanda, our guide, after an hour of walking, took us to see a family of gorillas. There were 17 specimens under the authority of an alpha male who, upon seeing our small expedition, beat his chest in a proclamation of authority.

Afterwards, there occurred a strange incident—according to the guide. A female gorilla separated from the group and touched my crotch with the back of her hand. I spoke about this to an Argentinian psychologist who said to me,

—Perhaps you should write her a love letter. In some place within your subconscious, you will find an answer.

It all began when I was nine years old, on a winter night in the village, when, after seeing the movie The Gorilla in the Rialto movie theater, I watched with terror as my friend ran away in the darkness—that friend from my childhood, who has died.

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Saturday, August 4

11:00AM to 5:00PM

Join us in a celebration of creative expression, gorgeous gardens, music, beer, wine, and food. Over the past quarter of a century, Art in the Gardens has showcased extraordinary creations such as ceramics, glass, paintings, sculpture, textiles, and woodworking. Spend the day strolling through our beautiful garden, mingling with regional artists while viewing a multitude of art on display and for sale, sipping regional wines and craft beers, listening to wonderful music, and tasting the freshest culinary creations from around Mendocino County.

Tickets Available Now!

Advance tickets are available online now through Friday, August 3rd at 4:00PM. Tickets can also be purchased at the pre-sale price through August 3rd at The Garden Store at MCBG, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, and Out of This World in Mendocino. All tickets are non-refundable.

General admission tickets $20 in advance or $30 at the door ($5 children ages 6 to 16; Free for children ages 5 and under)

$25 additional for wine tasting (includes complimentary keepsake tasting glass)

Art in the Gardens will be held rain or shine. No refunds as all proceeds will be donated to the charity. No outside food or beverages allowed. No smoking anywhere in the Gardens. Parking is free but limited, please plan to carpool. We are sorry, no dogs are allowed at Art in the Gardens. General admission guest passes are not allowed for entry; an event ticket must be purchased as this is a fundraiser for the Gardens.

Full details on music, food, wine, beer, and artists:

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From: "Redwood Roofers" <>

Anyone interested in wood shingles for kindling in the area of Little River please e-mail us at and include your address as well as a phone number where you can be reached. Priority will be given to those willing to take a full dump truck load and proximity to the work site. Please have a truck accessible area marked out for us to drop it off. We will contact you if we are able to deliver to you. Please note we are unable to have people pick up shingles from the work site due to both privacy and safety concerns.


Dakota Murray, General Manager, Redwood Roofers

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In criminal courts, children are separated from their parent or parents when the parents are convicted of a felony or when the courts deem that children aren’t being cared for in the home were they reside. Where is the hue and cry?

In 1860, the US government started Indian boarding schools. The government took Native American children from their homes to these schools, where they were forced to have their hair cut, dressed in the style of the day, were forbidden to speak their native languages, separated from their parents and robbed of a family life and their own culture. This was continued until 1980. Where was the hue and cry?

With all of the hazards reportedly encountered during the migration through Mexico, every parent who brought a child with them would be guilty of child endangerment. Here is the hue and cry.

Considering the apathy given our own citizens’ children, where does all of the sympathy come from for the children of noncitizens who are breaking our laws? I have the utmost sympathy for any child in need, but where should sympathy begin? Perhaps at home.

Pete Johnson

Santa Rosa

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"Good news: I talked to Hitler and he said he didn’t do it." -Neville Chamberlain

The recording of last Friday night's (2018-07-27) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here:

IN OTHER NEWS: Also at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, things where just hearing it wouldn't be enough.

Such as:

Fire in Cardboard City. Cardboard City fire trucks spray cardboard water. A recipe for disaster. Whitey's frenetic Lindy hoppers. I know it sounds like some kind of fancy bar food, but it's people dancing.

How asteroid mining will save Earth. Good information. If it's distracting, the narrator's compulsive making a Hershey's kiss symbol with his fingers and thumbs to frame his crotch, just put a post-it there. They're in the top drawer with the rubber bands and paperclips.

And now the weather.

Marco McClean

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The NY Times story yesterday on the high-speed rail project hits the well-known high and low notes about the project, but it's much too short to do the subject justice.

The LA Times---not surprisingly, since it's a California paper---has long had the best coverage of the dumb project, with Ralph Vartabedian writing the stories.

I enjoy scanning the comments to his stories. A sampler from his latest about an unconvincing HSR Authority computer simulation that shows the system will, as promised, be able to travel between LA and SF in 2 hours and 40 minutes:

I calculate that I could drive from San Diego to Los Angeles in one hour. Of course, that assumes that there are no other cars on the road and no cops to stop me....

I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life. In all those years, I have never once heard anyone complain that they can't get to San Francisco fast enough. There are literally dozens of flights every single day between our regional airports and the Bay area; they are fast and inexpensive. In addition, if we need greater capacity, they can always add more planes. I am a big fan of Governor Brown, but this "high-speed-some-of-the-time" train, born of Europe-envy, shredding its way across our state is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money, period....

By the the time HSR is finished in the late 2030s (it will never meet the 2033 completion estimate of today) an entirely different technology will dominate the landscape--electric autonomous cars, which will be able to drive non-stop highway speeds of 100-150 mph utilizing inter-vehicle communication and smart infrastructure. The California voters of 2008 voted on technology that will be obsolete by the time it's completed. Nobody is going to spend $200 on a train ticket when they can get a private car at half the price to go the distance in the same time or faster....

This article, implies that the train is taking a direct route to S.F. It will actually go through cities like Bakersfield, Merced, Fresno and other highly desirable tourist destinations (tongue in cheek). Every stop, will add time to the trip. Loading and unloading passengers takes time. At the end of the day, the only happy people will be the terrorists, as they see the train as the best target one could dream for. The trains and the route will have to be patrolled and monitored, 24/7 at a very high cost…

Sure, people are going to get out of their autonomous cars (which we will have by the time this thing runs)? Not a chance. I can sleep the entire way in my car, and I don't have go to a train station hauling around luggage. Since I am in my car, it's not getting broken into by some Prop 47 loser at the train station. I don't have to worry about getting knifed to death by a Prop. 57 homeless person (five deaths in one week at BART). I don't have to sit next to some smelly slob. I can have the temperature of my car exactly the way I want it, and listen to music or talk radio without headphones. And when I get there, I have my car. I don't have to go to some other train or bus, or stand in line at a rental car counter…

Why is this "Browndoggle" still around? It is a waste of taxpayers money. They should use the money collected to repair roads, highways and bridges. If I want to get to San Francisco or anyplace north of here, I'll take a plane. I'll get there faster and with less hassle, since the plane won't be stopping every few miles to pick up passengers. BTW, if this thing was built, there would still be security screening like they have at airports!

Well, not only will it take longer, but the cost of each trip has to be supplemented by taxpayer funds. Why is it that government led projects never come in on budget or time? Stop wasting any more money on this boondoggle or train to nowhere and invest in something that will actually work....

Rob's comment: According to the authorizing legislation voters passed in 2008, Prop. 1A promised voters that there will be no taxpayer subsidy to operate the system if/when it's ever built. From the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail:

CHSRA could choose to meet the strictures of AB3034 and not require a subsidy. It’s a simple formula: charge passengers the fares that will fully cover realistic O&M[operation and maintenance] costs. That choice would violate the promise to 2008’s Prop1A voters to transport them one way between LA to San Francisco for “about $50,” and it would probably put the HSR train out of competition with airline fares. But it would avoid eternal subsidies.

What might an unsubsidized, one-way inter-metropolis fare be? Based on analyses in Section 2 and international HSR operators’ experience, a one-way LA-SF fare would be around $200, about 50¢ per passenger mile (PPM); more than double CHSRA’s present estimated PPM fare of 22¢ PPM. If CHSRA’s O&M expenses reflected Acela Express’s NY-Washington experience, the one-way fare would be nearly $340, at 90¢ per passenger mile, nearly that of Japan’s Shinkansen PPM charge.

More on the tunnel issue: To complete the LA to SF project, 15 miles of tunnel under the Pacheco Pass, and 30 miles of tunnel under the Tehacapi and San Gabriel Mountains have to be built! It's not going to happen and it shouldn't.

The unions love the dumb project, since it provides a lot of jobs, which is all they care about.

Best site for in-depth analyses of the project: The Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail.

Gavin Newsom will apparently be our next governor. He's flip-flopped on this issue, but we can only hope he'll be a statesman and kill this financially ruinous project like he was on the homeless issue in San Francisco in 2002/2003.

Or maybe the coming recession, described in a recent SF Weekly, will force the state to kill the project---or provide Governor Newsom with a good reason to do so.

(Rob Anderson, District5Diary

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“Collusion is not a crime! And, while I’m at it, let me list a few other things that are definitely not crimes, just in case they should come up.”

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Ribbon Cutting in Willits on August 17

Mendocino County is on the road to a cleaner and more sustainable future with the installation of thirteen new electric vehicle charging stations along the coast and in Willits. Thanks to a $498,040 grant from the California Energy Commission awarded to Mendocino Land Trust in 2014, a string of new electric vehicle charging stations in Mendocino County are up and running, with the final station completed in Willits in mid-July.

A ribbon cutting celebration will be held in Willits, 5:00 pm on Friday, August 17 at the City parking lot at West Mendocino Avenue and School Street, hosted by the Willits Chamber of Commerce, Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) and Mendocino Land Trust.

To bring these charging stations to the public, Mendocino Land Trust worked under the grant from the California Energy Commission in partnership with California State Parks and MCOG. MCOG contributed $34,500 in supplemental funds and ongoing staff support from the grant proposal through project completion. In kind matching assistance was provided by Visit Mendocino County, and matching funds were also provided by the Tarbell Family Foundation, Clipper Creek, Group II Commercial Real Estate and Harvest Market. The project culminated in an electric byway that provides incentive for visitors and locals alike to use plug-in hybrid-electric and all-electric vehicles.

Every year, thousands of tourists hit the road in search of adventure in the sweeping landscapes of Mendocino County. Many drive for hundreds of miles in hope of reconnecting with the wild places of Northern California, which is why Mendocino Land Trust and its partners decided to spearhead this effort to build this series of new electric vehicle charging stations in Mendocino County, ten of which are placed within or very close to State Parks.

Until the end of December you may charge your car for free while you are outside exploring one of the beautiful trails at these parks:

  • Westport Union Landing State Beach
  • MacKerricher State Park
  • Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park
  • Russian Gulch State Park
  • Van Damme State Park
  • Greenwood State Beach
  • Hendy Woods State Park

If you are closer to town activities, or for a stop on the way, you will find new chargers conveniently located at:

  • City of Fort Bragg’s City Hall parking lot
  • City of Fort Bragg’s Laurel Street parking lot
  • Fort Bragg’s Boatyard Shopping Center
  • Caspar Community Center
  • City of Point Arena’s downtown public parking lot
  • City of Willits’ downtown parking at School Street and W. Mendocino Ave.

“We are proud to be providing a part of the solution to climate change in Mendocino County,” says Doug Kern, Director of Conservation at Mendocino Land Trust. “Building the infrastructure to reduce fossil fuels usage is an important step in keeping our water and air free of pollutants.”

“It’s been a pleasure working with the Land Trust’s dedicated staff on this vital project,” added Janet Orth, MCOG Deputy Director. “These installations are fulfilling several recommended public charging sites in our Mendocino County Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regional Readiness Plan along with the park locations.”

California State Parks is responding to the increasing challenges of climate change with the installation of EV charging stations as part of their “Cool Parks” initiative. Facilitating the expansion and use of plug-in cars not only encourages their use by environmentally conscious visitors, but also allows the general public to see this futuristic technology in action.

“This is a fantastic program for visitors to our coast to charge their electric vehicles while they adventure in our beautiful parks,” says Loren Rex, Mendocino Sector Superintendent. “We’re thrilled the charging stations are all in and excited to see them being used regularly. Thanks to Doug Kern at Mendocino Land Trust and all the partners, for completing this cutting edge project.”

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First Friday Featured Artist at Edgewater Gallery

Barbara Bonardi, Fused Glass and Mixed Media Paintings

Friday, August 3, 5-8 pm

Edgewater Gallery, 356 N. Main St., Fort Bragg

Admission is free. Light refreshments served.

Barbara will do a brief presentation about her art at 6pm. Barbara Bonardi is Mendocino County's newest diverse artist! Art lovers have commented that her paintings and jewelry designs complement each other. Many of her one-of-a-kind jewelry designs incorporate colorful fusible glass, fine silver, gold, and exotic pearls and beads from faraway places. Likewise, her paintings are rich in color but simple in design. Her mediums include oil, watercolor, fluid acrylics, and various mixed media incorporating pottery chards and sea glass on glass.


  1. George Hollister August 1, 2018

    “Climate change” as a cause for our fires is a silly diversion. We have catastrophic fires because we have vast landscapes with large fuel loads of dry grass and brush. It gets hot in the summer, and always has. When it gets hot, the dry grass and brush landscape burns catastrophically. These landscapes used to be grazed and burned which reduced the fuel for catastrophic fires. Now they aren’t, thus we see the difference.

    Come on folks, if we are serious about reducing catastrophic fires we need to deal with our high fuel load of dry grass and brush. “Climate change” is a cop-out.

    • Harvey Reading August 1, 2018

      Hogwash. Save it for your libertaryan buddies.

      • Lazarus August 1, 2018

        You sure know how to clear out a room Broomstick…
        As always,

        • Harvey Reading August 1, 2018

          You’re good at that, too, Lazzie Boy. I see the censor has been at work. Gotta protect the good sheriff who overstepped his bounds it seems.

    • Bill Pilgrim August 1, 2018

      The Fire Next Time.

      Your kinfolk are watching their town burn down…while denying decades of scientific research.

      It’s not about facts. It’s about the fear of change.

      Just which part of shifting the economy from fossil fuels to renewables frightens you so much?
      You can’t answer that that… because you don’t really know. That’s how ideology and propaganda operate.
      The “libruls” support the science indicating human causes of global warming, but you hate them, therefore the science is bogus too.

      Poor deluded fool.

  2. Eric Sunswheat August 1, 2018

    Re: I predict that in a couple generations, when the “new dark age” and some truly biblical, catastrophic weather patterns become commonplace, the only “growth” industry will be constructing underground living and figuring out how best to grow crops in covered trenches…

    —-> Crop Failure And Bankruptcy Threaten Farmers As Drought Grips Europe. Abnormally hot temperatures continue to wreak devastation across northern and central parts of the continent. Arthur Neslen
    The Guardian 07/24/2018 10:28 AM

    —->. FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2018 Disappearance of Arctic Sea Ice

  3. james marmon August 1, 2018

    Every since its creation, Earth has always been an unsafe environment for mankind. What God gave man is the ability to reason and hopefully evolve. The thought that man can control climate change is nuts. You first have to prove man caused it, and you can’t, you can only speculate its cause. While I believe it is in our best interest to be good stewards of our environment I don’t believe we should overreact to climate change and not let cooler heads prevail and prepare for any or all worst case scenario’s.

    James Marmon MSW
    Personal Growth Consultant

    ‘don’t just go through it, grow through it’

    • Harvey Reading August 1, 2018

      God who, James?

    • james marmon August 1, 2018

      The Problem With Climate Catastrophizing

      “The idea that humanity might prepare for and cope with climate change through adaptation is incompatible with catastrophists’ outlook. Yet if the damage from climate damage can be managed, anticipating challenges through research and then investing in smart responses offers a more sensible path than blocking the construction of pipelines or subsidizing the construction of wind turbines. Catastrophists countenance progress only if it can be fueled without carbon-dioxide emissions. Yet given the choice, bringing electricity to those who need it better insulates them from any climate threat than does preventing the accompanying emissions.”

      • Harvey Reading August 1, 2018

        When I read fiction, I prefer GOOD fiction, not brainwashing nostrums.

      • George Hollister August 1, 2018

        The problem is, no one knows what will happen. Everything is after the fact. So whatever happens is due to “climate change”. California is dry, California is wet; California weather is mild, California weather is severe. It’s all “Climate Change, even if California ends up the same. Then there is the increase in certain deaths due to “Climate Change”. Or maybe people are more lazy. The decrease in salmon, the decrease in deer, the decrease in owls, the increase in wild land fire intensity. Etc, Etc. Always a catastrophe. It ends up, “If everything is “Climate Change”, then nothing is “Climate Change”.”

        Where is the science here? We might just as well say, “God did it. “God did all of it.” It would be more honest. ” And God is punishing us for our sins.”

        Of course no one ever says, hey “Climate Change”, for me, is pretty good. It has to be good for some people, in some places. Right? But no.

        • Harvey Reading August 1, 2018

          Nice try (I’m being facetious), George, but no cigar. You just sound silly.

  4. Eric Sunswheat August 1, 2018

    July 31st, 2018

    People with depression have low blood levels of a substance called acetyl-L-carnitine, according to a new study.

    Naturally produced in the body, acetyl-L-carnitine is also widely available in drugstores, supermarkets, and health food catalogs as a nutritional supplement…

    The findings, which appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, build on extensive animal research. They mark the first rigorous indication that the link between acetyl-L-carnitine levels and depression may apply to people, too…

    Depression, also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is the most prevalent mood disorder in the United States and the world, affecting 8-10 percent of the general population at any given time, with every fourth person likely to experience the condition over the course of a lifetime.

    “It’s the No. 1 reason for absenteeism at work, and one of the leading causes of suicide,” Rasgon says. “Worse, current pharmacological treatments are effective for only about 50 percent of the people for whom they’re prescribed. And they have numerous side effects, often decreasing long term compliance.”

    “In rodent experiments… a deficiency of acetyl-L-carnitine was associated with depression-like behavior,” McEwen says. Oral or intravenous administration of acetyl-L-carnitine reversed the animals’ symptoms and restored their normal behavior, he says.

    In those studies, the animals responded to acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation within a few days. Current antidepressants, in contrast, typically take two to four weeks to kick in—in animal experiments as well as among patients.

    • Eric Sunswheat August 1, 2018

      Carnitine is present in almost every cell in the body. It plays a crucial role in energy production, as it is responsible for transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria.

      Mitochondria exist inside every cell in the body. They produce the energy that cells need to function.

      The body creates carnitine from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Scientists first isolated it from meat…

      Skeletal and cardiac muscles that use fatty acids as a dietary fuel have high concentrations of carnitine.There are three different forms…

      The liver and kidney usually produce enough carnitine in the human body, so topping up with food or supplements is not necessary. There is no recommended daily intake.

      However, genetic or medical reasons can cause some people produce too little…

      People who lack carnitine may need to take supplements or eat specially enriched foods.

      Food sources
      Foods that provide carnitine are mainly animal products, dairy, poultry, and meat. Red meat has one of the highest concentrations…

      Non-animal sources include whole-wheat bread and asparagus.

      Adults whose diets are rich in red meat consume on average around 60 to 180mg of carnitine per day. A vegan diet normally provides between 10 and 12mg per day.

      Studies suggest that the body absorbs 54 to 86 per cent of dietary carnitine into the bloodstream, but only 14 to 18 percent when it is taken as a supplement.

      Last updated Wed 29 Mar 2017

  5. Bruce McEwen August 1, 2018

    To Our Fire-Bomber Pilots (With apologies to Gerard Manley Hopkins)

    I caught this morning
    morning’s minion,
    daylight’s white
    and red-stripe-winged-
    with-chevrons on a fuselage
    of vermillion retardant,
    rolling level on the smoke
    plumes rising underneath
    and striding high there,
    Oh how he roared
    up to cruising speed,
    on his errand to the Carr fire,
    the River fire, the Ranch fire,
    the Eel fire,
    my heart in hiding
    stirred for the big bird,
    the technology of,
    the mastery of the thing!

    Brute beauty and valor,
    Oh, air, pride, plume,
    here the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion dollars more expensive, more dangerous,
    O my Cavalier!

    No wonder of it: if prisoners are cutting a fire-break next to the inferno, and embers falling ‘round their ears, ah, my dear, fall, gash and gall themselves!

  6. Bruce McEwen August 1, 2018

    Windhover Cont. (’cause I didn’t get my line breaks done in time):

    Brute beauty and valor.
    On the air ride the plume,
    where the fires break,
    from there a billion
    dollars more expensive,
    more dangerous,
    O my Cavalier!

    The wonder of it:
    prisoners down there cutting
    a fire-break next to the inferno,
    and embers falling ’round their ears,
    ah, my dears, they fall,
    gash and burn themselves!

    • Bruce McEwen August 1, 2018

      I was no combat marine, thank my lucky stars, but all marines must train for combat with the infantry, down on the firing line, even Marine Corps pilots, and I remember digging in with a squadron of F-4 Phantom pilots, in training, when their trainers brought in a series of bombing and strafing runs, featuring high explosives (Hotel Echos), “willie-peter” (white phosphorous) and napalm (no explanation needed) right in front of our noses… so I appreciate that these guys up in the sky are in some kind of, shall we say “communion,” with the guys down in the trenches…?

  7. Eric Wilcox August 1, 2018

    Hey, its French Fred, you old antisocial son of a bitch!
    What were you trying to do to her?

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