- Bonni Davi
- Blattner Service
- Retardant Kill
- Dixie Lamentation
- Little Dog
- Complex Update
- Water Policy
- Driver Dolly
- Bush Again
- Watershed Blues
- McCowen Patrol
- B Agenda
- Yesterday's Catch
- Ukiah Elks
- Umpire Pay
- Dark Matter
- BYO Bong
- Scrabble Tournament
- Plant Sale
- Unique Experience
- Horndog Kavanaugh
- Cold War
- Blood Bros
- Dem Contract
- Marco Radio
WE'VE RECEIVED the sad news that long-time Valley resident and retired teacher, Bonni Davi, has died. A formal obituary to follow.
SERVICES for Ernie Blattner will be held on Saturday, September 29th, 11am, at the First Baptist Church, Ukiah, Henry and Oak Streets.
FIREFIGHTER DEATH IN MENDO COMPLEX FIRE CAUSED BY RETARDANT DROP
by Don Thompson
A firefighter battling the largest wildfire in California history was killed last month when thousands of gallons of flame-suppressing liquid were dropped from a Boeing 747 mistakenly flying only 100 feet (30 meters) above the treetops, according to an official report Friday.
The pilot and a supervisor flying ahead in a small guide plane led the giant modified jetliner nearly into the trees on Aug. 13 because the pilots failed to recognize that there was a hill in the flight path, according to the Green Sheet report by the state's firefighting agency.
Because of the near ground-level release, the retardant struck with such force it uprooted an 87-foot (27-meter) tree that fell on Matthew Burchett, a 42-year-old battalion chief from Utah helping with the Mendocino Complex fires battling flames downstream of Lake Pillsbury’s Scott Dam.
Another large tree was snapped by the force of nearly 20,000 gallons (75,700 liters) of liquid and three firefighters were injured, one seriously.
The guide pilot "made a 'show me' run" for the 747 pilot over the intended path for the retardant drop, and marked the path for the jet with a smoke trail, according to the report.
"Obscured by heavy vegetation and unknown to the (747) pilot, a rise in elevation occurred along the flight path." The ground sloped up about 170 feet (50 meters) so quickly that the 747 cleared the hilltop in just two seconds, according to the report.
The guide planes have two people aboard, a pilot and an "air tactical supervisor." California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Mohler could not immediately say if either would face investigation or discipline for not identifying the hill.
The retardant drops were intended to help secure a fire break cut through the trees by a bulldozer to stop advancing flames. Burchett and the other three firefighters were working on the hill next to the firebreak when the drop was announced over a radio and firefighters were told to "Clear the area out."
The four did not respond to the warning, though the report says that "when personnel are working under a tree canopy, supervisors must ensure the drop path is cleared."
It is not uncommon to have firefighters under retardant drops, Mohler said, though he could not say if the four firefighters knew they were in the flight path or why they didn't acknowledge or act on the radioed warning.
"We have ground troops under aircraft, it's not unusual at all. It's part of what we teach," he said.
A firefighter who can't move out of the way is trained to lie spread-eagled, face down, toward the oncoming aircraft, one hand holding the top of the helmet as it takes the brunt of the impact from the falling slurry and air turbulence that can threaten to lift a firefighter off the ground.
Burchett, a suburban Salt Lake City firefighter, was crushed by the uprooted tree, while the others were stuck by falling tree debris. Two had deep muscle contusions and ligament damage. One also suffered broken ribs, while the fourth firefighter had scratches and abrasions.
The report warns that some firefighters have used their cellphones to record retardant drops, which can be distracting and harm their ability to recognize the danger and take evasive action. But it does not say if any of the four injured firefighters was taking video at the time. (AP)
by James Kunstler
An awful lot of sheetrock is going to be permanently ruined over the next few days down along the coast of Dixieland. Following the spectacle of hurricane reportage on TV reveals very little while the event is in progress. The cheapo building materials of the stereotypical strip malls flap around in the gale and the valiant cable news storm-chasers lean into the horizontal deluge in the empty parking lots, but their reportage doesn’t tell much of the real story, which only emerges when the roaring blob of weather moves on and the sun finally comes out.
More than a decade of punishing storms along the US coastline must be wrecking the insurance industry as much as the stuff on the landscape. They’ve been pummeled from another direction for ten years by the supernaturally low interest rates that make it so hard to refurbish their coffers after whole regions like the Houston metro area and the entire island of Puerto Rico get blasted and they have to pay out billions in claims.
This time around, all those vinyl and chip-board McHouses along the Atlantic beaches will not be replaced. But farther inland, far from the roaring surf, along all the overflowing estuaries that drain the coastal plain, the damage will be widespread and epic. It may create a whole new social class of de-housed, displaced Sunbelters who will never again have a decent place of their own to live in. Since many are retirees, the event may even lead to a stealth die-off of people who are just too far along to start over.
The lamentation for the northern part of “flyover” America is an old story now. Nobody is surprised anymore by the desolation of de-industrialized places like Youngstown, Ohio, or Gary, Indiana, where American wealth was once minted the hard way by men toiling around blast furnaces. But the southeast states enjoyed a strange interlude of artificial dynamism since the 1950s, which is about three generations, and there is little cultural memory for what the region was like before: an agricultural backwater with few cities of consequence and widespread Third Worldish poverty, barefoot children with hookworm, and scrawny field laborers in ragged straw hats leaning on their hoes in the stifling heat.
The demographic shifts of recent decades turned a lot of it into an endless theme park of All-You-Can-Eat buffets, drive-in beer emporia, hamburger palaces, gated retirement subdivisions, evangelical churches built like giant muffler shops, vast wastelands of free parking, and all the other trappings of the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. Like many of history’s prankish proceedings, it seemed like a good idea at the time. As survivors slosh around in the plastic debris in the weeks ahead, and the news media spins out its heartwarming vignettes of rescue and heroism, will there be any awareness of what has actually happened: the very sudden end of a whole regional economy that was a tragic blunder from the get-go?
It is probably hard to imagine Dixieland struggling into whatever its next economy might be. In some places, it’s not even possible to return to a prior economy based on agriculture. A lot of the landscape was farmed so ruinously for two hundred years that the soil has turned into a kind of natural cement, called hardpan or caliche. The climate prospects for the region are not favorable either, not to mention the certain cessation of universal air-conditioning and “happy motoring” that made the unwise mega-developments of recent decades possible.
The one salutary effect of Hurricane Florence may be that news of the after-effects will supersede the incoherent manufactured political blather welling up around the coming midterm elections — especially if the financial damage is powerful enough to disturb the debt-fueled occult economic “boom” attributed to the magic powers of our deal-wielding POTUS.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Contrary to what Skrag and his feline friends are saying, No, I am not ‘faking it to get sympathy.’ And I am going to the Fair in a wheel chair, for their information.”
MENDOCINO FIRE COMPLEX UPDATE — September 14, 2018
(US Forest Service)
WILLOWS, Calif. — An infrared overflight Wednesday night showed fire activity well within containment lines on the Ranch Fire with heat scattered primarily across the northern part of the fire. On Friday, crews will monitor fire activity and repair firelines on the Ranch Fire. Crews have completed suppression repair work on 78 percent of the 672 miles of fireline that were constructed. Fire suppression repair work consists of cutting hazard trees to ensure firefighters are working in safe areas, reducing dirt berms, spreading cut vegetation and building water bars to minimize soil erosion. Additional suppression repair needs are being discovered as crews continue to work around the perimeter of the fire.
Fire Closure Area: The Ranch Fire area is closed as described in Forest Order 08-18-15. The purpose of the closure is to provide for public safety, and for the firefighters who are engaged in fire suppression and repair efforts within the Ranch Fire closure area. The closure area applies to all public use, including hunting, the use of firearms and off-highway vehicles. The northern half of the forest is open for outdoor activities.
The B-Zone deer hunting season opens Saturday, Sept. 15 and continues until Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Forest visitors need to exercise extreme caution and be alert to heavy equipment and firefighting vehicles utilizing roads surrounding the Ranch Fire area. Visitors can contact the ranger station nearest their destination for current information. For a high-resolution closure map, please use the following link: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/6073/0/88371
The Ranch Fire is 98 percent contained. The remaining two percent is located on the east side of the fire in extremely steep, rocky terrain and is far too dangerous for firefighters to construct direct fireline. The uncontained section will likely remain that way until a season ending weather event occurs. A season ending weather event typically includes substantial rain across a two or three-day period, with no hot and dry weather conditions in the long-term weather forecast. The River Fire, west of Lakeport is 100 percent contained.
For detailed Mendocino Complex information visit: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6073/
THREE SMALL FIRES on 101 between Hopland and Ukiah today, all extinguished and the vehicle responsible for accidentally starting them suppressed on the Willits Grade.
PAUL ANDERSEN neatly sums up the inland water situation: "Mendocino County has never been able to get a grip on water policy, so I don’t see how this is going to be very viable. The county water agency is, well, a joke really. I remember the early 2000’s when there was an effort to give the water agency more powers. It died on the vine. Too many little water districts with their own fiefdoms. Look at the situation between the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District as a prime example. More power to our leaders trying to effectuate change but there are some powerful interests opposed to it. No one has been successful as yet."
ICING THE HOLD
WRONG AGAIN, and we regret the error. A reader notes: “Unless she is going by a different name now, a not unheard of situation as your Slaughter story shows, the Senior bus driver is Dolly [Pacella]. I just spoke with her a few weeks ago at a party. When we started fooling around at Hendy Woods back in 2011 she was running the kiosk. One of life's very decent people!"
CHUCK BUSH, the gift that keeps on giving: An 80-page complaint filed with the Riverside County Superior Court has brought several allegations to the forefront of Palo Verde Unified School District (PVUSD), with former Palo Verde High School (PVHS) Principal Brandy Cox and former Yellow Jacket football coach George Dagnino named as two of seven plaintiffs (et al) charging the school district and Superintendent Dr. Charles Bush, among others, with accusations of institutional harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. (Bush is the former edu-leader of the Fort Bragg schools where his tenure was, to say the least, rocky.) The complaint also details instances of retaliation against those charged with protecting the District’s most vulnerable children after they raised concerns about whether the District’s Individual Education Program (‘IEP’) complied with applicable federal and state laws. The complaint further alleges that both the District and the County of Riverside were negligent in hiring Dr. Bush,” stated Donald R. Holben & Associates law firm, who represents the plaintiffs in the case. “Specifically, the complaint alleges that while conducting the search for a new Superintendent of Schools, the District and the County failed to properly investigate Dr. Bush’s June 2016 resignation as Superintendent of the Ft. Bragg Unified School District after he was named in a Petition of No Confidence that was signed by 95% of the District’s rank-and-file teachers.”
LAKE COUNTY NOTES: WATERSHED BLUES
The Ukiah office of the Bureau of Land Management will host a "Burned Area Emergency Response" team public meeting on the assessment of Ranch Fire damage in the US Forest Service territory within the Mendocino National Forest:
September 20, 2018, 6 to 8 pm, at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center, in the Cabernet Room No. 2, 200 South State Street, Ukiah.
From Lake County News this morning:
"The BLM has created a new webpage at https://www.blm.gov/california/mendocino-complex-fires to make it easier for the public to access information about the BAER team assessment and impacts from the Mendocino Complex fires on federal lands in one location.
"Maps, photos, presentations and information will be shared on this site and an interactive map is being developed allowing users to turn on and off different layers and zoom into specific locations.
"During the public meeting, BLM specialists and attendees will have a chance to review and discuss the maps and information generated by the BAER team.
"For more information, please contact the Ukiah Field Office at 707-468-4000."
Ongoing management of long-term restoration, fire suppression damage repair, and watershed protection efforts will be coordinated out of the FS headquarters at 825 N. Humboldt Avenue, Willows, CA 95988 (www.fs.fed.us), no doubt in further collaboration with the Ukiah BLM.
The KPFZ (88.1 fm) weekly broadcast on Sunday afternoons ("Long-Term Recovery" hour and second hour devoted to disaster response/relief/recovery and preparedness, called "What's Next?") will devote considerable time in the coming months to coverage of the Eel River watershed injuries, management efforts, and water supply consequences of the Ranch Fire in the Upper Cache Creek ecosystem.
Significant damage to both Middle Creek and Scotts Creek watersheds may produce catastrophic flood flows during stormwater "events" that could inflict a second FEMA disaster in this misbenighted vestige of the Old West.
Locally, denizens on the west side of the lake are long accustomed to the periodic engorgement of Scotts Creek that annoys Ukiah-bound commuters favoring Scotts Valley Road over Highway 29 (with a very slight difference between the duration and distances using either one).
Rodman Slough will debouch the debris and silt-choked nocturnal emissions (most recently experienced in the town of Upper Lake on New Year's Eve, 2005) of Middle and Scotts Creeks, but environmental upgrades — especially to critical basin-wide wastewater disposal systems — will protect most of the human habitat.
Most imperiled in this region are the failing agricultural levees encompassing 1,600 acres or so in the flood-prone Middle Creek Marsh (Army Corps of Engineers “reclaimed” taxable mudplain), the subject of a do-little “Middle Creek Marsh Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Damage Control” plan that will be implemented by default should our Public Works Department be outwitted or outmanned by freakish wind and rain storms. We in Northern California are well aware of the possibilities, but in Lake County you had better get out your rubber boots and mackinaws pretty soon, just in case.
Inhabitants of the central Burns Valley watershed are still awaiting implementation of the City of Clearlake's 1994 drainage system management plan. The City has the well-known burden of both rising lake levels and upstream fouling of the Burns Creek watershed, for which no priority has been voiced in the 3 years since LAFCo updated the City's Municipal Service Review and Sphere of Influence Report (https://www.lakelafco.org/uploads/1/1/4/5/11454087/adopted_5.20.2015_clearlake_msr_and_soi-_d3_no_append_c-g.pdf, Section 3.6). The subject never even came up in the hotly contested 2018 election for Lake County District 2 Supervisor.
There will be hell to pay, but County officials will shrug their shoulders and show you their empty pockets once again, since we still have a long way to go to produce effective emergency management systems. The County's administration is too busy "reimagining" the county (for the 21st consecutive year) as a tourist mecca and small business paradise. The County's newest long-term recovery team will be conducting "virtual" meetings (on the County’s Facebook page), to which members of the public are not invited or allowed in person.
(Reminds me of the County's water management "planning" seances — more than a decade ago — that produced absolutely not one useful plan for Lake County's integrated water management needs. We were present in the flesh, but were asked to “envision” what we wanted our watersheds to be, as the sole objective of the activity; the State shut that down and our major water resources are now part of the “Westside Integrated Regional Water Management Plan” — no longer visible even in published announcements of their quarterly meetings.)
Home, home on the range. See you on the radio!
Upper Lake, CA
o Essential Public Information Center:
o Lake County - Ready to Wing It:
o Lake County Community Radio:
SHOULD MCCOWEN BE PATROLLING THE RIVER?
(AVA on-line comments)
MikeJ: Or, his activities might be illegal, in violation of section 10 of the state constitution. Don’t know. It is his opinion that even walkers along the river there are “trespassing” if they go beyond 100 feet on each side of the bridge there.
This is not Reno, or Sacramento, or Marysville, or Healdsburg, or Napa….where the people enjoy walking along the river, sitting by it, etc. In Reno there is a massive encampment along the Truckee, close to Sparks. The police visit for purposes of welfare checks only.
He should limit himself to day time clean ups. This is not safe for him. It has been a long time since I have gone down to the river in ukiah but I used to see graffiti “news” posted about him down there. With one message encouraging he be slapped. PS. After that incident of being chased by the old man with a tree branch, he began carrying a wooden pole with metal overlay.
Bill Pilgrim: RE: McCowen Rumor. Depending on one’s angle of vision, McCowen’s activities around homeless encampments is either noble or heartless. Several homeless persons interviewed by KZYX during the past few months told the same story: he shows up mainly to steal away what few belongings they have in order to push them out.
James Marmon: One would think that after that incident where McCowen accidentally “butt dialed” that marijuana lady while in the commission of dismantling a screaming homeless woman’s camp, (under the bridge) he would have learned his lesson.
Rumors immediately spread that he was physically molesting her. They don’t like him down there, he needs to be careful.
Then there was that other guy that chased him up out of there with a stick. McCowen had him arrested.
Bruce McEwen: It’s all too easy to look down on poor Mr. McCowen, but keep in mind it was none of his doing, he just happened to be born, through blind luck, into a great huge inheritance of rental properties – that’s quite a responsibility, I should imagine; and think of growing up like that, with all the nice things, the best clothes, the latest fashions, the best toys, the newest cars, scads of spending cash — think how awful that would have been: having to suspect every one of your friends of being nothing more than a sniveling little lickspittle, hoping to share in your privileges! What a horror to contemplate the all too likely probability that every gal you ever courted only wanted your money!
You can see the kind of suspicious, defensive personality that would emerge, having been raised under such grievous conditions; and how certain filters would naturally develop. I have seen Super McGowen at these Thursday morning coffee klatches sponsored by the Daily Journal at Schat’s Bakery, and it is a marvel to behold how McCowen can utterly block out and talk right over anyone whose opinion differs from his own.
And now, with all these nice rental properties beset with filthy homeless bums camped around the rentals – well, how can you expect nice people to pay such high rents when these foul slobs are ruining the neighborhood? No-no, it’s more than the privileged should have to countenance.
A few years back some of the police officers at Ukiah P.D. mentioned how they thought McCowen was out of line harassing the homeless, and constantly calling them to come down on the poor beggars. Those cops are no longer employed by Ukiah PD.
Mr. McCowen is really a wonderful, wonderful, awesome, awesome nicey-nice, super nice guy! A great humanitarian and environmentalist – even though his idea of humanity is limited to those who can afford to pay his exorbitant rents, and the price of dinner a Patrona, and his sense of the environment means only the ersatz environment of a Mayberry-type hometown where Sheriff Andy Griffith and Opie can go whistle and fish along the creeks and riverbanks without encountering people who won’t pay his outrageously high rents or work for his miserably stingy wages, but would rather sleep rough, take their meals at Plowshares, and panhandle his tenants for beer money.
Mike J: A question just occurred to me, not for piling on purposes as I wish Mr McCowen a more jazzier and fun passage in life going forward (than this dreary hobby in the dark of night):
What is the basis for his authority to go out and roust people?
From what Bruce reported, that local cops questioned this, it might be good to examine that question.
Bruce McEwen: Mike, don’t be shy about piling it on during this, what I call, “Hot-Foot The Supes Week.”
But here’s the nub, the veritable quintessence of the McCowen Question: What kind of a man is it that, having lived in the lap of luxury and privilege all his days, through no more than ordinary efforts of his own, can take such a vicious, persecutorial attitude toward the poorest wretches in the community?
The answer is not too complicated, however, for wasn’t it true of the settlers who came here in the footsteps of the Pathfinder Fremont and exterminated the people who were living here – isn’t it true that they too had a lethally contemptuous attitude towards any and all below their own station in life? An abominable egocentrism, lust for land, and utter lack of empathy?
Everybody howls at the egocentric lack of empathy shown by President Trump – and certainly it goes without saying that he is a brutally selfish and smug simpleton whose only merit, from making his fortune to winning the election, was pure dumb luck; and I would only add that the same is precisely the case with Supervisor McCowen – with the caveat that our local version is more of a cad because Trump donated his salary to the Park Service whereas McCowen voted himself a raise.
Have the idle rich ever needed any more authority than their money, and the charm it works on those around them, to take charge and run things for the rest of us — the message is clear to McCowen and anyone else born into money: “I’m special — God favors me above all others — I rule by the divine dispensation of my money; for all too many Americans believe that it is a tennent of virtue that a man who has money “must be doing something right,” and we use both connotations for the word “right” because wealth in the American psyche is made from the real golden rule, which measures intelligence by one’s bank account, not his test scores, and if Bruce McEwen thinks he’s so smart, where’s all his goddamn money?
“MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT ACT”
Measure B Citizens Oversight Committee
September 19, 2018; 1:00-3:00pm
Mendocino County Administration Center
Conference Room C
501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, California
Order Of Agenda
- Call to Order and Roll Call. Establish a quorum. (2 mins) Chair Allman presiding
- Approval of August 29, 2018 Minutes. (2 mins)
- Communications Received and Filed:
- Public Expression. The Committee welcomes participation in Committee meetings. This item is limited to matters under the jurisdiction of the Committee that are not on the posted agenda and items which have not already been considered by the Committee. No action will be taken. (15 mins)
- Discussion and Possible Action Items. Public expression on agenda topics will occur.
- Report on Measure B Tax Funds; Expenditure Report with Discussion and Possible Action. Member Weer. (5 mins)
- Tracking and Monitoring Measure B Tax Funds with Discussion and Possible Action. Member Angelo (10 mins)
- Discussion of the Kemper Report with Possible Action. Chair Allman (45 mins)
- Presentation on current funding streams spent on in-patient facilities and how they could support an in county in-patient facility. Member Miller (10 mins)
Discussion on the Redwood Quality Management Company’s 631 S. Orchard Avenue Ukiah proposed location for a Crisis Stabilization Unit. Member Barash (25 mins)
- Monthly Committee Update to the Board of Supervisors at their First Meeting Each Month, Who will Present and What will be Shared; with Discussion and Possible Action. Chair Allman (5 mins)
- Committee Member Reports. Each committee member will have the opportunity to report out on any actions they have performed since the previous meeting. (5 mins)
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 14, 2018
ABEL AGUADO, Ukiah. Burglary, controlled substance, conspiracy, probation revocation.
AUSTIN BRUTUS, Valrico, Florida/Ukiah. Marijuana sales, transportation.
KATHERINE ELLSWORTH, Caspar. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
GLORIA HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DOUGLAS HIGGINBOTHAM, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
KENDAL HOLZMAN, Denver/Hopland. Resisting.
MICHEAL VORIS, Sacramento/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, battery with serious injury, battery, resisting.
ERIC WARD, Laytonville. Marijuana possession for sale, sale, cultivation, paraphernalia, ammo possession by prohibited person, smuggling drugs or alcohol into jail.
LANCE YAZZIE, San Luis Obispo/Fort Bragg. DUI with priors, driving without a license, probation revocation.
PURPLE PIG DINNER
Please join us on 9/29/18 at the Ukiah Elks Lodge for our annual fundraising dinner, live auction, silent auction and raffle to benefit disabled children – the Purple Pig. We will also be having a golf tournament beginning at 9:00 am. The cost for the prime rib dinner is $25. The cost for the golf tournament is $100, which includes green fees, cart, dinner and a donation to the Purple Pig. No host cocktails will be served beginning at 5:00; dinner at 6:00; silent auction will close at 6:00; live auction to follow dinner. Anyone wishing to provide a tax deductible donation for the auction or raffle or sponsor a hole at the golf tournament can contact Sandi at 485-7517. Reservations for dinner can be made by contacting the Ukiah Elks Lodge at 462-1728. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Ukiah Elks Lodge, 1728 Hastings Road, Ukiah.
Yes, there is now equal pay for the genders in tennis. There is, however a disparity in some of the pay rates in the center court. The umpire, Carlos Ramos, received $633 for the whole game, Serena Williams received $548 per second on the court and lost $24,000 off the court (“Standards on coaching, umpiring needed,” Monday). The grand message is that workers don’t get paid enough, and sports people get paid too much.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Assuming the world doesn’t go to hell in the next few years (but which could happen), I see us finally learning if dark matter really exists, and if so, what it is exactly; supposedly it makes up over 80% of all the matter in the universe. The same goes for dark energy, which makes up around 70% of the matter and energy of the universe.
We are going to explore the four big moons of Jupiter which probably have oceans of water under their surfaces, and then we’ll see if life has evolved there. The philosophic implications would be absolutely mind-blowing.
With bigger and more powerful optical telescopes we may find strange anomalies that are now unknown, and we may find evidence for intelligence life elsewhere. Gravitational-wave astronomy will open a whole new layer of phenomena we don’t even know about (we currently have a gravitational wave observatory under the ice in Antarctica).
I could go on, but these are the biggies that immediately come to mind.
“And by the way, you’re fired.”
It was eight o’clock. Another episode of “Seinfeld” was just getting under way, the back-to-back shows courtesy of NBC, the interweaving story lines being established in that first minute: someone determined, someone displeased, the fatal flaw introduced, followed, 30 minutes later, by the abrupt resolution, and all of it funny, until all of it suddenly was NOT funny.
Suddenly I was in possession of that thing called clarity. I was watching the most vapid show in the history of television — it had always been vapid and we, the viewers had always been duped. I could see straight through it now — solipsistic, narcissistic, false reality, easy tropes, barely amusing. The clarity that I had thought I’d had moments earlier had not been clarity at all but, rather, its opposite, delusion, which was now being usurped by an all-encompassing awareness, horrible and heavy, through which I understood at once that I was not talented, had never been talented, that my life as a general laborer was proof of this lack of talent, and that being cast in a role with zero lines was not a step toward fame but a step into obscurity in a midsized city. Who but a fool agrees to move through space for three acts without saying a word?
BRING YOUR OWN BONG
Registration Now Open to Participate in New Cannabis Facilities Working Group
In August 2017, the County developed Cannabis Working Groups. The working groups are designed to address specific issues around the County’s cannabis programs and provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.
On August 21, 2018, the Board approved the creation of a new non-cultivation working group to address cannabis facilities. The new working group will be charged with providing recommendations on amendments to Chapter 20.242 – Cannabis Facilities and Chapter 6.36 – Cannabis Facilities Businesses.
Individuals interested in participating in this new working group should contact Cassandra Borgna with the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 or email@example.com by September 30, 2018. The first meeting for this group is scheduled for October 4, 2018, at 3:30pm at the County Executive Office. Working groups meet the first Thursday of each month.
For more information, please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
Carmel J. Angelo
Chief Executive Officer
FREE SCRABBLE TOURNAMENT AT THE MANCHESTER COMMUNITY CENTER ON SATURDAY (9/15) AT 5 PM
The is a FREE Scrabble Tournament at the Manchester Community Center this Saturday starting at 5 pm. All levels are welcome. The Manchester Community Center is at 43970 Crispin Road just east of Highway 1.
FALL PLANT SALE
September 15 - 23, 9:00AM to 7:00PM - Thur, Fri, Sat; 9:00AM to 5:00PM - Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed 10% to 50% off all plants and select store items during our Fall Plant Sale! It is time to stock up on plants for winter and early spring bloom and start your holiday shopping. Proceeds from this annual sale help to support our organization.
MEMBERS-ONLY PREVIEW TONIGHT!
5:30PM to 7:30PM, On this lovely autumn evening, members of the Gardens enjoy first choice of the sale items while sipping wine (or beer) and enjoying a light smattering of hors-d’oeuvres. It is not too late to become a member: gardenbythesea.org/about-the-gardens/membership/
DEMS GO LOW, REAL LOW
A woman from Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh's teenage past claims he once held her down in a locked room, covered her mouth, and tried to force himself on her sexually. The bombshell charge, which Kavanaugh flatly denied on Friday, follows 24 hours of speculation about what Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein vaguely called “information” that she had handed to the FBI. The alleged high-school party incident was described in a letter from the unnamed woman to Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, her California congresswoman. Eshoo passed it to Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the rancorous Senate Judiciary Committee that is weighing Kavanaugh's nomination. In a statement, Kavanaugh told The New Yorker: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.'
DID BACH LOSE THE COLD WAR?
by David Yearsley
Can the credits wreck a film? I’m not talking about choking on a popcorn kernel when you see that the best boy happens to be the same guy who ran off with your wife. The problem can be far more serious than that: after the story has been told in image and sound, some directors (or, probably more often, producers) cannot resist the urge to indulge in one final bit of manipulation. They do this through sound, at last freed from the demands put on the score by the moving images themselves.
It is not the last thing we see, but the last thing we hear that can crucially mold—and distort—our reaction to a movie, and that something is often the musical overlay to the catalog of “creatives,” technicians, production companies, copyrighted songs, locations, and film boards.
In action flicks and comedies, visual snippets and surprises are sometimes worked into the credits, as in the bonus bits in Brad Bird’s Incredibles diptych or in the outtakes of Jackie Chan’s stunts gone wrong. But these value-added novelties do not skew the effect of what has previously happened onscreen. They’re just plain fun, and fully in keeping with what we’ve seen and heard in the movie proper, even when, for example, an actor or martial arts master breaks a bone and/or character.
In the greatest of all credit sequence codas, Peter Sellars’ brilliant bout with the giggles in Being There is not a self-indulgent demonstration of how difficult it must have been to remain in character as the idiot prophet, Chauncey Gardiner: the succession of “unsuccessful” attempts culminating in a masterful, partly improvised complete take does not puncture the illusion of the film. In lifting the veil on Sellars’s comic craft, these life-affirming flubs do not mock our own suspension of disbelief or that of the credulous characters in the film’s story, but simultaneously question and celebrate both.
The credit sequence of Cold War, which brought Pawel Pawlikowski the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, takes itself far too seriously to provide such an epiphany. Instead Pawlikowski, one of our time’s greatest filmmakers, plunges his tempestuous Iron Curtain romance into bathos. The crystalline notes played all-too-carefully on an unseen Steinway undermine much of the compelling authenticity that his eighty-five-minute epic had admirably accrued. These credits kill. That they do is ironic, given that the film is not just about love but about music. It’s doubly ironic that the fatal strains are the work of Johann Sebastian Bach—the Aria from his Goldberg Variations in the unmistakable anti-interpretation of Glenn Gould.
Until this last lethal incursion, all the music in Cold War comes from within the world of the film—it is recorded, played, transcribed, arranged, and/or performed by the characters on screen, and therefore heard by them, too. Pawlikowski adopted the same approach to cinematic sound in Ida, which rightly garnered the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Set in 1962, that movie follows a young woman, who, as she is about to become a Catholic nun, discovers she is Jewish, orphaned as a baby in the Holocaust. The film is about silence informed by music. In the final scene of Ida, just before the credits, Pawlikowski displaces the score from the characters’ space when he introduces an arrangement of Bach’s plaintive chorale prelude for organ, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ / I pray, hear my lamentation). It is only the audience who hears this cry from the depths. This musical shift makes for a bold and obvious rupture in the continuity of the soundtrack, and while the performance of the famous piece by Alfred Brendel is too precious, the film’s profundity is not sapped. Yet it does risk cliché.
As if reflexively reverting to the same trick in his latest film, Pawlikowski’s kindred use of Bach in the Cold War credits might be heard at first to be appropriate enough to his latest film’s content, since the protagonist is himself a pianist of enviable and unlikely range and resourcefulness. The movie sprawls across two post-War-World-II decades and their musical styles, from rural Poland to Berlin to Paris to Dubrovnik, and from ethnic song and dance, to Chopin, to jazz, finally fleeing its own milieu to the transcendence of Bach.
The story begins in the winter of 1947. It is not only the war that is cold, but the elements too. Snow is heavy on the ground, the surroundings portrayed with bleak beauty by the stark and static black-and-white cinematography set in the narrower “academy” frame—the aspect ratio that is closer to a square than the widescreen format of modern cinema. In this more classical proportion it is if there is not room enough on the margins of the image for an added soundtrack of non-contemporaneous, omniscient musical commentary.
In Cold War Wiktor (the rather phlegmatic Tomasz Kot) is the musical director for a pseudo-ethnographic initiative, one closely curated towards political ends by the Polish state. Wiktor and a female colleague Irena (portrayed with straight-backed rigor by Agata Kulesza) tour the frozen countryside recording and auditioning musicians for an elite ensemble that will represent the new national spirit in traditional medleys performed in Wiktor’s artistic arrangements—that is, plucked from their roots and made to serve the prevailing ideology. Some of these tunes are heard in their raw, unprettified, and immensely powerful form in the riveting opening minutes of the film. In this stretch of quasi-documentary material we see and hear peasants with nasal, sometimes cracking voices performing melodies as twisted and wise as the faces of the singers. The cataclysm of war has not stamped out native song.
Whereas Wiktor seems indifferent to politics and even artistic integrity, Irena is firmly committed to authentic Polish music and resists communist distortions and theatricality. She soon disappears from the film.
Even packaged for the concert hall and for tours across Poland and to other Soviet-bloc states, the music retains its gristly texture and salty truth. Yet the ensemble members must match the fair-haired, pigtailed image favored by the regime, whose machinations are represented by the calmly officious and ruthless Lech (Borsy Syzc).
Among those trying for a place in the ensemble is the gorgeous and troubled Zula, played by Joanna Kulig, a seductively volatile and disarming screen presence and a gripping singer with a hollow, haunting voice. Her blond hair and round face accord with the required stereotype, unlike the features of another woman who is too dark. But Zula is not a rustic; she’s a louche modern with uncanny musical gifts and preternatural powers of performance: the honesty of sorrow of her singing is devastating. Just before the audition she’s not even sure what she’ll sing; while waiting in the corridor, she latches onto a fellow aspirant’s authentic folk tune by singing in harmony with it. For her solo when asked to do more by Wiktor, Zula tosses off something she picked from a movie she’s seen. Wiktor falls for her immediately, both her sound and image. The fiery romance is ignited and can’t be quelled by the cold.
Zula is a musical chameleon and so is Wiktor. Her talents for camouflage and adaptation extend from gussied-up ethnic choruses and high-stepping dance numbers to a mournful French version of a traditional Polish ballad. Equally as adept, Wiktor can accompany and conduct the state-sponsored nationalistic fodder, but also fly with his fingers through the realms of high art (Chopin), and play American jazz standards like Night and Day in Paris clubs. Where the celluloid surface is all black the music chromatic in every sense.
The central song, Dwa Serduszka (Two Hearts) serves as more than simply leitmotiv but is an organizing principle around which the story coheres: it’s done solo, in elaborate choral garlands, and in French translation as a smoky 50s jazz version laid down on shellac. The folksy lyrics are laden with doom: “My mother warned me not to fall in love with the boy / But I will hold him tight and love him till I die.” The tune is minor and mournful, with a restive refrain that evokes the geographic sweep of the lover’s tale.
In its last minutes, the film retreats from song and dance: the film and its figures seek stillness in the landscape. Out of this silence comes the Goldberg aria.
These variations, as one-offs and in aggregate, have been deployed in soundtracks over the last couple of decades with a frequency surpassing even that of the infamous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. They have served as the musical embodiment of Hannibal Lecter’s perversely rational sadism in Silence of the Lambs. In Hoover (2011) the Goldberg voices doggedly follow one another in exact canonic imitation, like the unhinged F.B.I. director tailing his enemies. Bach surveils Hoover’s romantic life, too, as when another variation is heard while the malevolent crimefighter G-mansplains the efficient, bureaucratic beauty of the Dewey Decimal System to the object of his desire on a sort of date to the Library of Congress. Conceived as an encyclopedic collection of virtuosic trickery, exuberant erudition and searching excursions into the shadows of melancholy, the Goldberg Variations have become cinema’s sonic sign of artful cruelty—play turned to pathology.
Surprisingly, the excessively delicate pianism heard at the close of Cold War seems even more heavy-handed than when glossing the moods of maniacs in these other movies. Gould’s performance is so careful and calculating that the gracious Goldberg aria is dissected and, once our lovers have exited the frame, reformed into something it is not and cannot be. Bach’s musical miniature is distorted into a vessel that the filmmakers of Cold War hope will be large enough to hold all the tears in the world—or at least those shed in the movie theatre as the credits continue to roll. In the retrospect of those rolling names—in hind-sound, as it were—Cold War collapses into melodrama.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His recording of J. S. Bach’s organ trio sonatas is available from Musica Omnia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
WHERE IS THE DEMS’ CONTRACT WITH AMERICA?
by Ralph Nader
What does the Democratic Party stand for? The big question persists! Typical of the Democrats, they delegated this question to political consultants who came up with the vapid slogan, “A Better Deal.” The specifics under that moniker are too general and, as a result, too easily dismissed by the public.
The Democratic operatives need to take a page out of Newt Gingrich’s playbook when he toppled an anemic Democratic House of Representatives in the stunning 2004 elections and became Speaker of the House.
During the 1994 Congressional campaign, Gingrich’s party released a “Contract with America.” It was so anti-American that comedians called it a “Contract on America.” For example, the “Contract with America” attacked the fundamental right of having your full day in court, based on falsely asserting there was an “endless tide of litigation.” That was only one of the ways Gingrich pleased the big corporations.
House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and her deputy, Steny Hoyer, just can’t put forward a compelling agenda. They seem unable to speak assuredly and concretely about how their agenda will improve peoples’ lives.
Congressman Hoyer returned from a listening tour of the U.S. where he only listened to himself. In his summation speech, Hoyer declined to put numbers and specifics about raising the minimum wage or expanding healthcare. Moreover, his tour seemed to ignore the multiple devastations that unaccountable global corporations are having on this country.
Fortunately there are a few dozen insurgents in the Democratic Party who are winning Congressional primaries and are addressing progressive specifics. But their numbers need to grow.
Unfortunately, the “Old Guard” still dominates the Democratic Party. Maybe this November election will change this. If the Democrats wish finally to prevail over the worst, cruelest, most corrupt, war-mongering, Wall Street toady Republican Party in history, they need to be clear in their convictions. The Democrats need a resounding declaration of what they stand for with major news conferences, political ads, get-out-the-vote materials, and speeches before large audiences.
A Democratic Party “Contract with America” should include a $15 per hour federal minimum wage—up from the present frozen $7.25 an hour. It should endorse a Medicare–for-all system that emphasizes preventive care, cost controls on drug companies, and prevention of criminal or immoral overcharging. Serious attention should be paid to saving lives and preventing injuries and diseases. Preventable problems in hospitals are taking at least 5,000 lives per week (see Johns Hopkins May 2016 report).
A Democratic “Contract with America” should commit to what over 85 percent of the American people want—tough law enforcement on corporate crime, fraud, and abuse. Consumers, workers, and small taxpayers would understand such a pledge. Many anxieties, dread, and fear in peoples’ hassled daily lives come from lawless or abusive companies. Taxpayers would relish cracking down on businesses that defraud Medicare, Medicaid, military contracts, and almost always get away with it.
The Contract should include an empowering agenda and also a commitment to democracy — shifting power from the few to the many workers, consumers, and voters. The Democrats know how to overcome Republican voter suppression and how to make it easier for Americans to band together to defend themselves, through open access to the courts, forming labor unions, consumer cooperatives, and taxpayer watchdog associations.
It is also time to launch a long overdue dedication to major public works and infrastructure projects that will produce millions of good-paying jobs—paid for by restoring corporate and super-rich taxes, along with decreasing the bloated, wasteful military budget that exceeds half of the entire federal government’s operating expenditures.
The Democratic Party should reverse course and tell taxpayers they will oppose all those massive corporate welfare (crony capitalism) subsidies, hand-outs, and bailouts that embody the hypocrisy of so-called corporate capitalists right down to those stadiums and ballparks taxpayers pay for without even getting naming rights!
Democrats, frantically dialing for corporate campaign dollars, have become anemic, fuzzing their campaigns with weak rhetoric and losing so much of the peoples’ trust. They have joined with the Republicans on waging boomeranging wars instead of waging peace and engaging in treaties protecting workers, consumers, and the environment.
The Party requires crisp clarity, repeated again and again in believable ways and means in the coming weeks. So when the words “Democratic Party” are spoken, millions of voters would know what it stands for so they can hold candidates specifically accountable should there be any post-election betrayals.
So, Democratic National Chairman, Tom Perez, where is the Party’s Contract with America? Send him a message at https://www.tomperez.org/contact-1/.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO FRIDAY NIGHT!
MOTA tonight! Starts strong. Good heater. Fair tires. And the windows all work, but the driver's door window motor makes a grinding noise, full disclosure.
Tonight, Friday, 9pm to 5am, I'm reading Memo of the Air by live remote from the typing table next to the bed in Juanita's apartment, not from the back room of the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar, so make plans to show-and-tell there next week, the 21st of September, when and where I'll be there if the world doesn't end again, or rather if it ends again the way it ended all the last times.
(The ancient prophecy of the red heifer has been fulfilled, and also there's all the so-called gas explosions leveling neighborhoods on the East Coast way north of the storm. Whenever a character in a superhero story gets surprised by the adolescent onset of his meta-power and it gets loose, uncontrolled, and there's damage, the on-site guy from the secret agency that captures/rescues/recruits such a person tells subordinates to "just say it's another gas explosion." Also, this comes a week after the reception of artificial radio signals from the direction of the constellation Ophiuchus, mere days after the feds mysteriously raided and evacuated and quarantined that solar observatory in, I think, New Mexico or Arizona. And the holes found deliberately drilled in the International Space Station. So you connect the dots, or holes. Or don't. It won't make a bit of difference now.)
Deadline to get your writing on the air tonight is in the past, alas. That's my fault. Just email it anyway and I'll read it on the show next time. Or save it and come in and read it (or sing and dance or otherwise express it) next week yourself in person, see above.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org and click on Listen Live.
Also you can always go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's show, and shows before that, and read and watch and fiddle with all sorts of other quirkily educational materials. By Saturday night, tonight's show becomes last week's show, so if you wait till then you'll find that too.
Meanwhile, lessons for other news channels:
Luca Stricagnoli again.
Stairways in Budapest.
And time-lapse night skies.
— Marco McClean, email@example.com