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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. So here we are once again — the holi­day season and the end of yet another year just around the corner. What happened to 2010? It was just begin­ning and now it’s about to end. It would appear that, just like many others, I was just too busy living it to really enjoy it. That’s too bad and a lesson to be learned.

First up it’s Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzai or what­ever, and all of the razzamatazz, hype, and pressure that this event smothers so many with. Every year it seems to get more frantic. However, up here at The Nest we plan to have a relatively calm and very relaxing few days. In fact, let’s be honest, ultimately this is only really for a couple of groups of people. As a result of spending many Christmas holidays in San Francisco as the only straight fellow on a construction crew of five, I feel that I can state with a degree of authority that Christmas is primar­ily for the enjoyment of gay men (they have the best Xmas parties) and children (for all the obvious reasons). Not that there is anything wrong with this of course. Meanwhile, if you’re out Xmas shopping try to remem­ber that I’m an XXL; otherwise fresh carrion is always good.

Searching for a last minute Christmas gift idea? Look no further. Crab Feed tickets are now available. The first of these will benefit the Senior Center and takes place on Saturday, January 15th. Call Gina Pardini for tickets at 895-3609. Then it is the ‘Original’ Crab Feed on Satur­day, February 5th for which you can get tickets by call­ing Gloria Ross at 895-3071 or Eva Holcomb at 895-3307. Both events are at The Apple Hall in Boonville and are two of the best Valley gatherings of the year; trust me on this, thank me later.

And for an appropriate Quote of the Week, let me refer you to this observation by one of the greatest of all Americans, Benjamin Franklin, who said, “How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! Oh! ‘Tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.” Yes, Ben, it would appear that it certainly is, but, as you uttered those words back in the 1700s, it would seem things were the same back then as they are today. That’s surprising. After all, in matters of piety and social behavior, I always assume things were so much more ‘civilized’ back then. I don’t feel so bad knowing that maybe they weren’t.

Public Service Announcements. #21: Useful numbers at this time of year. For road conditions and closures call 1-800-gas-road (427-7623) and for power problems and outages call 1-800-PGE (743)-5000. I just thought you should know. #22. The Quiz at Lauren’s Restaurant will take place tomorrow, December 23rd at 7pm. Yes, it is near Christmas, but if you’re going to be hunkered down at home with loved ones for two or three days then per­haps a night out in the Valley, sipping beer and wine, enjoying a tasty meal, and exercising the mind, would be ideal preparation. #23. An early ‘heads-up’ for the 5th Annual AV Film Festival that will take place at The Grange over the weekend of January 28th-30th. The pro­gram is as eclectic as ever and will include films in trib­ute to the late Tony Curtis (‘Some like it Hot’) and Dennis Hopper (‘Easy Rider’), some excellent docu­mentaries, romance-with-a-twist movies, and the usual assortment of socially aware and environmental films, plus the recent work of the AVHS Film Class. More details can be found on the website which will be updated soon, I am reliable informed, and when that happens I shall give you the address.

Moving on to a couple of the topics under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge. Yes it’s “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…Dog lovers at The 3-Dot were both excited and yet concerned at the news that the female Border collie sheepdog of Sam Prather, the Valley’s #1 Shepherd, has unexpectedly given birth to a litter of pups. These will be excellent dogs for the right owners — someone who can at best work them on sheep or at the very least spend lots of time exercising them, and not leave them at home all day long where there is a good chance, given that this wonderfully intelligent breed is very intense and highly strung, that they might literally go ‘nuts’. Hopefully good homes will be found for these pups so if anyone who qualifies is interested they should please contact Sam at 895-3049...

…Some regulars were still a little hung-over even as late as Friday evening following the celebrations the night before at The Boonville Saloon for Amy Bloyd’s birthday bash. I was there for a short time and clearly those in attendance were having a rip-roaring time. Amy was too, I could tell, although she may not remember that she did!

…Not for the first time around here, and not for the last I’m sure, the conversation at The 3-Dot turned to the ‘luminaries’ who live here in the Valley. After skipping quite quickly through names of current residents such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker (‘The Color Purple’), accomplished actor Rene Auberjonois, and Nobel Laureate Cary Mullis, inevitably the less celebrated but perhaps equally famous or rather infa­mous names of those who at one point lived here were discussed in greater depth. Many readers not from this area may not be aware of this but I am reliably informed that the list includes convicted killer Charles Manson (of the Manson Family), formerly of Gschwend Road in the Christine Woods region; Jim Jones of People’s Temple fame and a member of the AVHS faculty in the late 60s; convicted sex offender and kidnapper Kenneth Parnell, resident of Mountain View Road in the early 70s; serial killer Leonard Lake, commune-dweller in Philo in the early 80s (just before embarking on his diabolical murder spree with Charles Ng in Calaveras County); and ‘Tree Frog’ Johnson, formerly of Boonville in the 70s, another infamous child abductor/abuser.

I mention this because it is a topic that is quite often discussed around here; I do not wish to make light of it. Obviously these days the Valley is an exceptionally friendly, harmonious, and community-minded place to live. However, these former ‘Valley People,’ the perpe­trators of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, all once lived here and that fact is a small but unique part of the Valley’s history, albeit in a way that some choose to ignore. I’m sure this information does not appear in the Chamber of Commerce’s literature. ‘Tours of Evil People’s Homes’ anyone?

Well now I think it’s time to take my leave. Happy Holidays! Be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. Of course, one final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Keep the Faith. PPS. Contact me with words of support/abuse either through the Letters Page or at PPPS. On the sheep, Grace.

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