- Jury Results
- B Manager
- Mendo Giveaways
- Beer Fest
- Major Minor
- Redwood Heresies
- Planning Canceled
- Wildfire Safety
- Hayfork Bust
- Facebook Privacy
- Nurses Needed
- Hung Jury
- Emergency Notice
- Flea Market
- Shoot First
- Yesterday's Catch
- New Blacklist
- Most Famous
- Democratic Socialism
- Dragonfly Lady
- Sleeping Pods
- Analog Pad
- Relentless Ticking
- Dude Wall
- Salmon Season
- Big Shroom
- Scout Laws
- Congresswoman Omar
- Dem 2020
- Crumb 75
NEWS BRIEF: PEOPLE V. WRIGHT & BRADFORD
- Counts 1-3 (kidnapping to commit robbery) - mistrial (hung jury) on each count as to both defendants
- Count 4 (robbery in concert of an inhabited dwelling with two or more other perpetrators) - both defendants guilty
- Counts 5-7 (assault with a firearm) - both defendants guilty on each count
- Count 8 (reckless evading a peace officer with wanton disregard of the public or property) - both defendants guilty
- Count 9 (reckless evading a peace officer by driving in opposing lane of traffic) - both defendants guilty
- Count 10 (assault a peace officer with a motor vehicle) - both defendants not guilty
The trial did not end until late on Monday of this week and the verdict was not reached until 4:45 on Wednesday afternoon.
Full story to follow this weekend.
Last week’s backgrounder: theava.com/archives/97709
MEASURE B COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS PROJECT MANAGER — BELATEDLY
At the Wednesday, Feb 27 meeting of the Measure B Mental Health Advisory Committee, Chair Dr. Ace Barash opened with a bit of actual useful information by saying:
“One of the issues in front of us is the extent of the funds and what we will we will be able to fund in the end. The virtue putting the training facility and the locked facility in the same building is that they are part of what was asked for in the Measure B initiative. The other facility was for housing conserved people. So putting them in the same building would conserve funds to do the things we need to do. One of the things we have to build is a locked facility, a PHF unit. We were looking at other options. One of the options we looked at was the Ukiah Hospital and if their vacated ICU was already occupied. The problem with that is that it is only six beds and the amount of funding would double if we increased that to eight beds which is still on the low side. Another option would be to build a psych hospital in conjunction with the new Howard Hospital which would be very expensive. It would also run into that problem about public money in a privately funded owned building and ownership in the future.. Then the question of cost. While that could be a reasonable partnership, I think the amount of time involved in the expenditure would be on the expensive side and the expense would be higher. You would have the Adventists actually running the facility. We run into another problem and that is that Adventist Health is contemplating building office buildings both in Ukiah and Willits. They are already out on the limb and I don't think they would be very quick to add another expenditure on top of that. So in terms of the facilities, we looked at so far we are left with old Howard Hospital. One of the big problems with the old Howard Hospital is that it's a much bigger facility than we need for simply a psychiatric facility. The idea of putting a training center in the same building with the psych unit helps to solve that problem. Those are both facilities we need to build.”
Deputy CEO Janelle Rau then summarized what the County is starting to do regarding the recent direction to proceed with plans for a Crisis Treatment Center, a Crisis Residential facility and a Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF). In essence, Ms. Rau said that they do not have anyone currently on staff to develop the options and the pros and cons for the possible sites.
A clearly frustrated Sheriff Allman finally seems to have realized that they need to have a project manager, if they can find one, to get the process moving.
“We are stymying the public,” said Allman. “We are in month 14 of this initiative and we have not made any noticeable progress. If we get a manager — first of all, I think it’s impossible to find such a manager, but if one exists, a manager that can understand, if he or she can get a complete understanding of the Kemper Report, a complete understanding of the properties that are available and what the intended use of Measure B funds are, I think now the time is right. We can put this off for another year. We can meet every month and talk and look at each other. I am saying that we have to make a motion forward to get quality service returned to some of these patients. I would love to move fast on this. Whether it's a consultant, or a county employee— the employee is going to cost in the area of $100,000-$150,000 a year when you look at the expectations we have on this person. We need to start looking and find him or her. Let's move. The time is now. We need to ask the Board of Supervisors to allow the CEO’s office to develop the job description and either go out for an RFP or hire a county employee and hold this person accountable and have them at our meetings and understand what our mission is to get moving on this project. … So my motion is to advise the Board of Supervisors that the Measure B Committee recommends that we have a project manager now to assist the committee with what our goals are.”
After some more back and forth, the committee voted unanimously to recommend the hiring of a project manager.
Later the County staff prepared a “Classification Specification” (up for Supes approval on Tuesday) that is so extensive, so demanding, that Sheriff Allman will probably be proven right in his prediction that “it’s impossible to find such a manager.” But leave it to the County to overcomplicate things and drag them out for as long as possible.
THE MENDOCINO BARGAIN
by Bob Dempel
In my short life I have observed Mendocino County give away some great assets. In looking back, I can find no one who can justify just what was the thinking of our great leaders in the past years.
The most talked about great give-away was Lake Mendocino. I recently attended the showing of the movie, “A River’s Last Chance.” By “reservation only,” the free Mendocino County Farm Bureau showing at Mendocino College was full. I got the last seat. An absolute must-see movie. The Eel River water originates in Lake Pillsbury. A giant man-made straw transports the water to the north end of Potter Valley through the mountain. Mendocino County is merely a hired trucker. Makes me think of Philbrick, who I have never met, but he would be my choice to be in charge of moving the water. Mendocino County moves it from the north end of Potter Valley into Lake Mendocino. Sonoma County owns 88% of it. Our leaders are now trying to get some of the water back. The problem is PG&E, which owns what is referred to as the Potter Valley Water Project. The project is best addressed by Janet Pauli, PhD. Janet is rightfully referred to as the Water Queen of Mendocino County.
The next big give-away was the State Hospital at Talmage. I have heard every excuse as to why the County did not want the hospital property. The sale was close to the time our Mendocino Community College was being formed. What a great place for a college! Excuse number one was that the property carried a stigma. Someone even suggested calling it “Nut House Tech.” Excuse number two was that the County could not afford the upkeep. Yes, maybe they needed a new roof, but the buildings were historic. Excuse number three was concern about what to do with the agriculture land. What to do with the pig farm, the dairy? Does anybody remember that there was a dairy at the hospital?
The next big give-away was the Ukiah bypass freeway. Never mind that the freeway was cutting through some of the most prime agriculture land in the world. As I remember, there was an alternate proposed route in the hills east of Ukiah. Next time you drive the bypass near Geyserville on Highway 101, take time to look at the beautiful scenery of upper Alexander Valley off to the East rather than going through prime agricultural land.
I just cry when I take the Willits bypass, but the precedent for that give-away was set many years ago at Hopland. Probably no one misses the prime agriculture land just south of Hopland as the 101 highway crosses the railroad and the Russian River. Those fields were rich with hops and pears. Now they are overgrown with berries and brush.
And now the state wants to remove the railroad running through Mendocino County. We just returned from an Amtrak rail trip from Davis to Reno. What a glorious trip! Up the hills, through the snow over the top, and arrive in Reno. Has anyone else looked at Lake Donner froze over. Two days later and a five hour return trip got us back in Davis, ready to return home.
Mendocino County has scenery just as glorious, along the river, through tunnels and manicured vineyards. Tourists could stop at towns and visiting historic places, adding to the economy. Not to mention trains could move freight into and out of Mendocino County. Years ago, freight was moved from Fort Bragg out of the County by rail.
Does anyone remember just a few short years ago passenger service was restored from Healdsburg to Ukiah. The train only had passenger cars and traveled slow for the benefit of the passengers to take photos. The train also contained a private passenger car owned by a local man. The train stopped at Hopland, the engine disconnected his car, and moved it to a siding right there in beautiful downtown Hopland. I got an invitation to look inside this historic classic. Later the train returned from Ukiah, hooked up his private car, and off it went on to Healdsburg. I wanted to take the first passenger train from Healdsburg to Ukiah, but my wife wanted to go a week or so later after the bugs were worked out. Well, there was no next time. The powers that be halted the passenger service for some unknown reason.
I am told that the rails from Hopland to the first tunnel are still used by an owner of a small rail gas powered cart referred to as a “speeder.” The rails are blocked at the first tunnel south of Hopland by a fire many years ago. I hope the tunnel can be repaired.
There is a reason the railroad was built on the west side of the river. Even with the tunnels, it was the path of choice by wise men. Next time you travel from Hopland to Cloverdale observe that the 101 highway is EAST of the river. There is continuous road construction in several areas trying to stabilize the road surface.
We do, however have a chance to revive the railroad. Once it is gone, it is gone forever and our descendants will say the same thing we are saying. “Just what were they thinking to let the railroad disappear?” I have no problem with a path next to the rails, but just get the train back on track to Willits. I support a walking or bike trail from Willits to Eureka. Let’s not be another generation that gave away part of our County.
MINOR NOTES by The Major
AT A RECENT INFORMAL MEETING of some ambulance people who were reviewing the complex Request for Proposals for an Exclusive Operating Area for ambulance services in the 101 corridor, a representative from Ukiah pointed out that the main reason there’s no longer an ambulance serving Willits and there are (perhaps) two companies serving the Ukiah area is that the main “demand” for ambulance services in Ukiah is traffic and traffic related accidents in the Ukiah area but very little demand in Willits on Highway 101 because the traffic on and around the new Bypass is so light that there’s very little call for emergency services.
ON A RECENT EDITION of the amusing cable show “Shark Tank” one of the “sharks,” a Canadian multi-millionaire named Robert Herjavec pointed out that the small businesses he invests in in Canada and the United Kingdom have healthcare costs for employees that are less than one-fourth of what healthcare costs in the US. He added that healthcare costs for employees in the US is one of the primary obstacles to economic growth in the US. What he did not say — but implied — was that Canada and the UK have versions of single-payer or government run healthcare which not only saves those countries huge amounts of money but also gives those other countries an enormous competitive edge in the global economy and is one of the main factors driving jobs out of the United States. So why don’t American businesspeople and the US Chamber of Commerce advocate for some form of single payer health insurance? Are they unpatriotic? Do they not care about their bottom lines and the cost of American employment?
READING Mr. Dempel’s lament about the loss of prime ag land reminded me of why my uncle, the late great Fifth District Supervisor Joe Scaramella, was opposed to the Round Valley dam and actively assisted Richard Wilson’s efforts to derail the ill-considered project through lobbying of then-governor Ronald Reagan. Joe Scaramella was not opposed to water projects — in fact he was the only sitting Mendo supervisor to support the County paying for a much bigger share of the Coyote dam project so that Mendo would retain a much larger share of the rights to that water. But Joe Scaramella was the only sitting supervisor who realized that flooding Round Valley and turning it into a huge lake would not only take huge amounts of prime ag land out of production but would also take huge amounts of taxable prime ag land out of the County’s tax base and remove an important source of revenue for County activities which were then (in the 60s) starting to ramp up beyond the mostly roadwork that had prevailed in the 50s and earlier. (Never mind that “County activities” have since turned into an unaccountable self-serving bureaucracy, but in the 60s government ran much more efficiently and actually delivered tangible services and were well worth supporting and sustaining with those prime ag land tax revenues.)
COAST REDWOOD HERESIES
by George Hollister
- The primary source of water for redwoods is water that is extracted by redwood roots from the ground, not water from fog. It is likely that the reason Coast Redwoods are found naturally in the California fog belt is that the ocean influence has provided a place with a temperate climate that allowed them to survive the last 2 million years of periodic ice ages. Coast Redwoods do not grow where their roots will freeze in the winter.
- The limiting factor for redwood forest growth is available ground water for transpiration, not sunlight. A redwood forest will be limited by water before it is limited by sunlight. This means that, optimally, redwoods are growing best where openings exist in the forest, and some sunlight is hitting the ground. A closed canopy redwood forest is “overstocked”.
- Redwoods are shade intolerant. They have to be in the sun to grow, and do poorly or die when completely shaded.
- Redwood roots run deep and wide. They are not shallow, and are commonly found to be the deepest roots of any tree species in a redwood forest. They also run wide, and can be found 100 feet from their associated tree.
- Redwoods can be poor competitors compared to other tree species they share the forest with. Douglas fir trees will outcompete redwood trees in height growth when the two are grown together in an even age forest. Douglas fir will outcompete redwood trees in height growth even when the redwoods get a 20 year head start. Tan oak will out compete redwoods for soil moisture when the two are grown together in an even age forest resulting in greatly compromised redwood growth. In high graded stands where Douglas fir, and tan oak are left, and redwood removed, redwood growth remains diminished, despite redwood stump sprouting, and the increased growth seen in residual redwoods.
- When a redwood forest is thinned, or has significant competing vegetation removed, like in the case of tan oak control, the positive growth response, in the remaining redwoods, is seen the following year. If the treatment is done early enough in the growth year, the response will be seen in the same year. There is no “two year wait period” for shade needles to be replaced with sun needles. The exception is with over story removal or high grading, which are not considered to be the best silvicultural practices.
- The site index for redwood trees is not a constant. The rate of height growth of a redwood tree can be influenced by competition for soil moisture from other tree species, and from other competing redwoods as well.
- When making long term economic decisions about a redwood forest, spacing, size, and age of trees are generally inappropriate considerations. Redwoods grow in clumps, or groups, and not commonly as individuals. Openings between redwood clumps might appear understocked, but in fact are completely exploited by redwood roots. Regardless of size, or age a redwood tree can exhibit the ability to grow well, and at a high percent growth rate when thinned or released from competition. The biggest, or tallest redwoods in an even age stand, or clump, are the fastest growing, and have the highest percent growth rates.
- Redwoods don’t require fire; are damaged by fire; if growing in a managed forest grow better without fire; though in the last 10,000 years redwoods have benefited from fire. The historical benefits from periodic human caused burning of redwood forests was from the control of other competing tree species less able to adapt to, and withstand burning than redwood trees. That does not mean burning redwoods today is necessary, or desirable. The redwood forest that existed before logging, was a forest that had evolved, and adapted to human caused periodic burning. It was also a forest that had been released from the presence of mega fauna, at about the same time as the introduction of human caused burning. The redwood forest that existed before logging is not inherently, or necessarily “natural”, or desirable today. To better understand redwood forests it is more appropriate to understand redwood forest evolution, and adaption, that existed during the 2 million years before humans came to America. 10,000 years is a short time in terms of forest evolution. The redwood tree genes that exist today, go back much further than 10,000 years.
PLANNING CANCELED AGAIN
The March 21, 2019 Planning Commission cancellation notice has been posted on the department website at: mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/meeting-agendas/planning-commission
Statewide Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Campaign Led by California Fire Foundation
PSA Video Link:
Last month, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), assisted by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant at a private parcel in the Hayfork area of Trinity County.
The warrant was based on evidence of black market marijuana sales, environmental crimes and other criminal activity. CDFW also verified that the private property and parties involved were not licensed by the state to commercially grow and/or produce cannabis products.
Officers seized five firearms, 455 pounds of processed marijuana, 1,540 grams of Butane Honey Oil (BHO) and equipment for a BHO lab. Along with this, wildlife officers found evidence of black market marijuana being shipped across state lines.
“There is no doubt that black market marijuana operations prevent California’s legal cannabis market from thriving and encourage other criminal behavior,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “Shutting down an operation of this nature is one of the many tasks that wildlife officers encounter when protecting California’s natural resources.”
The Trinity County District Attorney’s office is reviewing five felony charges against the two suspects.
CDFW reminds cannabis cultivators to obtain state licenses and local authorization for commercial cultivation. Following these recommended actions can help cultivators avoid common pitfalls that may lead to enforcement actions. Learn more at wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis.
CDFW would like to remind the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and whatever the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).
(California Department of Fish and Wildlife press release)
MENDOCINO COUNTY IS LOOKING FOR NURSES
Interested in pursuing a Healthcare career that will allow you to have a real impact in your Community? Mendocino County is now Recruiting for multiple Nursing positions, with both Full-Time and Extra-Help opportunities available. This position provides comprehensive health services across the continuum of care, including populations throughout the life span under the direction of the health officer, professional nurse, or health care provider. Positions may be office, field, or clinic-based, depending on the program.
- Licensed Vocational Nurse - $41,746 - $50,752 Annually
- Registered Nurse - $60,216 - $73,154 Annually
- Senior Public Health Nurse - $73,154 - $88,941 Annually
- Supervising Public Health Nurse - $76,856 - $93,392 Annually
For more information and to apply: governmentjobs.com/careers/mendocinoca
Kathy Wylie, M.S. Ed., firstname.lastname@example.org
HERIBERTO: RESISTING, BUT NOT THREATENING, YET
UKIAH, Wed., March 6. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday with a partial disposition of the charges it was asked to decide.
Defendant Heriberto Juan Solis Olivarez, age 23, of Petaluma, was found guilty of resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.
However, the jury also reported that it was hopelessly deadlocked and would be unable to reach a verdict on the separate charge of criminal threats, a felony. As a result, a mistrial (hung jury) was declared on that count.
This defendant's case will be called again on March 22nd at 9 o'clock in the morning in Department A of the Ukiah courthouse to decide whether the criminal threats count will be presented to a new jury down the road.
The attorney who presented the People's evidence at this week's trial was Deputy District Attorney Tom Geddes. The investigation law enforcement was the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, with trial preparation assistance by the District Attorney's own investigators.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the three-day trial.
ATTENTION COAST FLEA MARKET VENDORS
The 17th annual Caspar Flea Market is coming up on Sunday, May 26th, the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. The Market is a fund raiser for the Caspar Community as is the 4th Sunday breakfast which also happens that day at the Caspar Community Center. Vendors are invited to sell arts, crafts, imports, produce, antiques, household stuff, tools, extra stuff from garages, closets and attics, thing-a-ma-jigs and special gew-gaws. Over the years many truck loads of stuff have found new homes. Sell stuff, make money, clean out your space. To obtain an application or get more information email@example.com or call the center at 964-4997. More about the center and the breakfast atwww.casparcommons.org
AN 1872 LAW GIVES POLICE IN CALIFORNIA LICENSE TO KILL
Penal Code Section 196, enacted in 1872 when California was the nation’s sparsely populated westernmost frontier, declares that a police officer may lawfully kill someone while “arresting persons charged with felony, and who are fleeing from justice or resisting such arrest.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 7, 2019
KENTON COLBERG JR. Fort Bragg. Resisting, probation revocation.
RAYMOND DERBIGNY JR., Ukiah. Paraphernalia, disobeying court order.
ANTONIO GALLEGOS-GUERRERO, Ukiah. Annoy/molest children under 18.
DAVID GIUSTI, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
WILLIAM MARSHALL, Willits. Disobeying court order, faiure to appear, probation revocation.
MICHAEL STAGG, Sacramento/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, concealed dirk/dagger, failure to appear.
JAMES VOGUS, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ROBERT WIRTH, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
TINA WOOLLEY, Nice. DUI.
DAVID YADON, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
THE NEW BLACKLIST
Matt Taibbi's superb new article on how the U.S.'s fixation on Russian infiltration is (coincidentally or not) vilifying all anti-establishment views, figures & movements as unpatriotic tools of The Enemy. Russiagate may have been aimed at Trump to start, but it’s become a way of targeting all dissent.
SOUTHWEST CORNER OF HIGHLAND AVE. & HOLLYWOOD BLVD, 1953.
IF DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM IS SO BAD, why is Norway so good?
The spectacular upset victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her recent New York congressional primary election has catapulted the topic of democratic socialism to the top of America's political discussion. Conservatives have argued that the leftist politics of Ocasio-Cortez represent a policy program guaranteed to fail, and a sure electoral loser for Democrats.
THE DRAGONFLY LADY
by George Walsh
My black and tan sidekick hears a noise before I do. Flatlanders. Terrorists in nice rides drive too far up into this steep woodland, then scratch up their paint jobs as they make tight turnarounds in the brush. They head back down the rutted, overgrown road they came in on. When game wardens and forest rangers come to assert their authority at my camp, I listen in dismay to screeching scrapes and grinding, labored crush of rubber against gravel. These public servants are not well received.
One late night we heard someone walking. I had hoped it was an animal but knew better. My loyal pal never growls at anything that isn't human, even surly pit bulls and rotties. He is not usually "people mean" -- but knows that real trouble comes on two legs. A careful scanning of the area with a good flashlight revealed nothing, but my partner kept up a steady low grumble. The eyes of people don't shine reflectively in the darkness.
These deepwoods are home to misfits, the happily houseless and criminals with no social skills or conscience. This is not a concern. I'm more likely to cause fear than be frightened; a predilection that has resulted in invitations to be a guest at county lockups. The affections in my heart do not translate into smiles and pleasantries. A people person I am not. Sometimes it's fun to try, but city life is hard on the old arteries.
Living in the wild is invigorating but it's not surprising that rudeness and disapproval falls on one who's domicile doubles as transportation. Nor is it common for people living in vehicles to forego cordiality and mirth when dealing with others.
I am a hard drinking veteran who lives with a dog in Oregon's Coast Range mountains. A doctor at a VA clinic thinks I have post traumatic stress disorder. My cousin thinks I'm a communist because I've never cooperated with the IRS and I dislike the lopsided status quo created by unrestrained capitalism. Home for my pooch and I is a big clearing near an old, unused dead-end logging road. The dog is a great companion but I would welcome a female friend of my own species who feels that living out in the boonies is fine.
During my three marriages I have lived in houses but now year number seven has arrived for a trusty old vehicle and seasoned outdoorsman. It's a rough life but not unrewarding. I have a Stihl chain saw, an eight-pound splitting maul and I can start a fire in the rain. Emergency highway flares get the job done off the road. Lots of wood gets burned up here. I string up tarps against prevailing winds. A basalt and mortar oven works well. Last week produced a three cheese lasagna paid for by the United States Department of Agriculture. A hot fire, a big glass of chianti and a pipe full of high dollar bud make everything okay.
It's quiet out here when no blues are blasting out of my Infinity speakers. There’s wildlife chatter; wind in the trees. Crows use strident calls to scold, beg or gossip, it's hard to know which. These are far cries from traffic noise and the sounds of busy humans. With soft voices that sound like small, muted trumpets, blacktail deer warn one another about a nearby canine in the company of an armed Homo sapiens. Coyotes provide moonlight serenades. Barred owls send a subliminal message: forget the past, sleep and let the future care for itself. By day I see the tracks and scat of bobcat and bear, but never the animals themselves. They may sense that I have firearms and PTSD.
During 40 years as a brick and stone mason I put back some cash. I've got a stack of benjies thicker than a large-print Bible. I would like to buy a coastal cottage for Luther and I, but Uncle Sam would pounce on it like he did my other properties. The IRS will receive nothing from me. I paid my dues. Renting is out of the question. No one who is comfortable and not in need should own the living quarters of other people and become enriched through that manipulative arrangement. My uncle called me "a subversive, drug addled lush." He was on in Iwo Jima in 1945 and sent money to Republicans. He does not respect that I was a founding member of VVAW.
Had I been captured in Southeast Asia I most likely would have created a code of conduct that went beyond "name, rank, serial number and date of birth." Ronnie Ronhower. Lance Corporal. Born under the sign of Taurus in the year of the snake. My captors would have learned that I love my country but felt duped into serving in an unjustified action. On behalf of my country and Lyndon Baines Johnson I would have written a letter of apology to Ho Chi Minh. Geneva Convention protections were not in place. I'm dark eyed, small boned and have my mother's olive skin. I spoke a rudimentary version of the local language. These things may have helped when I refused to provide information that endangered my countrymen.
For those of us who did not live and work in a secure duty station, things would sometimes become stressful; but many days were simply tedious and boring. The only activity seemed to be mantises preying on houseflies that lived outside. There were the sporadic logistics of squadron routine. Troop insertions. Extraction. Medevacs. Resupply runs. The mundane could become chaotic in a hot hurry. If a bird was shot down or fired on in a landing zone, Cobras were called in. Heavily armed Huey gunships. When things became tense a religious staff sergeant was known to unabashedly call upon the Lord and a couple of other deities to intervene on our behalf. Comic relief was not unwelcome. There was time for reflection and evaluation. A polarization of viewpoints occurred. Disillusioned critics squared off against summer patriots in spirited debate. Staff Sergeant Fred Creedmore, an evangelical helicopter maintenance technician, sided with the latter group of commentators. During incoming, down in the bunkers, the big buffoon would drop to his knees and pray openly, while the rest of us performed "wounded bird calls" or other facetious sound effects as a form of defiance against our tormentors. Sgt. Creedmore was not amused by our avian foolishness. "Give it a rest, guys," he’d say. More by reflex than conscious intent, Navy corpsmen and Marines stayed the course: a sleepwalker’s parade on a forced march to hell. Stoicism was a benefit to be earned through mental discipline.
One sweltering day on a coastal plain east of Phu Bai, staff Sergeant Creedmore chose to summon his most earnest and sanguine self to impress upon other Marines "the importance of keeping God in our daily lives." His pale blue eyes were shining with reverential sincerity. I grew up on the Oregon coast and dislike hot weather. I was not a happy camper right then.
"Hey Creedmore," I said. "There is no God. Read my lips, preacha man. There is no God."
In the states, dissing a Marine three pay grades higher would not go well, but what could this pious NCO do? Shave my head in send me to Nam?
"There is a God," he stated with the certainty of a Supreme Court Justice writing for the majority.
"Okay then," I said. I threw my head back and stretched my fingers toward the heavens.
"Hey God," I yelled. "Let's see what you got! Let's see you strike me down with green and purple lightning! Bring it on, big guy in the sky! Let's see your almighty power in action. See, Fred? No green and purple lightning. No God."
A red-faced noncom eyed me with a mixture of pity and contempt. "Ronhower, God's not going to get sucked into your silly old games."
Sergeant Nguyen Vi Bui from the ARVN compound came with us as a guide during this foolish, on-foot foray into open country before we first checked area tree lines from the air.
"You have big voice, Runney," he said, making a hand gesture up and away from his face.
"No, you're wrong," I told him.
"Abraham Lincoln had a big voice. John Fitzgerald Kennedy had a big voice. Mahatma Gandhi had a big voice. I just have a big mouth."
Our South Vietnamese counterpart looked at me quizzically during this impromptu history lesson.
A certain status came with owning things other Marines did not have: a CHI COM, AK-47, a box of foreign-made ammo and extra banana magazines. In a poker game I won a US military 45 caliber handgun and shoulder holster. Weeks passed before this unauthorized weapon was confiscated by staff Sergeant Creedmore who strapped it on his own shoulder right then and there. Payback's a motha. My M-16 was fitted with an ArVN sniper scope acquired from specialist Thien Chuc Deng for two 4x8 sheets of corrugated metal scavenged from some Seabees. I had a 10 inch fixed blade buck knife honed to a razor edge. As an occasional door gunner on one of our birds, I manned an M-60 machinegun. I was 20 years old and bad to the bone. Lacking was any sense of purpose.
Now at 68 I’m still fond of my weapons. I’ve got a semi automatic Benelli shotgun, a .357 Ruger revolver and an unneutered German Shepherd. I've got a supersharp Shrade hunting knife. I haven't shaved in years and rarely trim my gray beard and hair. Deep in Oregon's Umpqua National Forest, I sleep in a rusty ford Econoline van that was assembled while I listened to the pulsating sounds of Marine helicopters in I Corps. I drink beer, smoke fine weed prescribed by a physician and take comfort in the profusion of life here. The uniformed keepers of the land are not treated graciously. Luther growls at them. He's a good dog. Best ever.
In the Nam I was envious of the dog handlers and a couple of guys who kept pet monkeys. I did not envy Lance Corporal Dwayne Leepers, a chunky Marine with crooked teeth. He used a live trap to catch rats that he'd mark with a spot of spray paint. He would release his captives far from the trapping site to see if any made it back to be caught a second time. None did. Staff Sergeant Creedmore took the trap and gave it to a young guy who sold Thai stick, aviator sunglasses made in Germany, and cans of San Miguel beer from the Philippines. Lance Corporal Leepers was a misogynistic trash mouth who used demeaning slang terms for the citizens of a country that has seen its share of meddlesome westerners.
He became enamored of "Josie Jo," a woman who sold to us at inflated prices cold Cokes from her bicycle when we patrolled near Phu Bai airbase. She wrote down her street name in native Vietnamese language characters for an obstreperous E3 autograph hound. During an R&R to Hawaii he paid a Japanese artist boucoup bucks to tattoo the exotic letters onto a forearm. Josie Jo giggled when he showed them to her. One day while we loitered on the shady side of a supply building, Lance Corporal leepers used a vulgar term to refer to a woman he met on the Big Island. I was quick to flash back then. My mother was Italian and showed me that it was unnecessary to tolerate overt stupidity in silence.
"Hey Leepers," I said. "Sergeant Bui says people in the ville are laughing at your new tat.”
“So? Let them laugh. Josie Jo likes it."
"Yeah, I bet she does. Sgt. Bui says it doesn't say what she wrote down."
Lance Corporal Leepers smirked.
"Yeah, what's it say then?"
"That tattoo artist done pulled your chain, fool. It says, ‘I'm a horse’s ass’."
Given his crude vulgarity, it was a pleasant announcement to make, however false it may have been.
Josie Jo showed us photos of her children and ignored Leeper’s flirtations. At one point the peevish enlisted man said that we should just take the Cokes without paying.
"They were made in America and probably stolen."
Staff Sergeant Creedmore reminded him of our secondary mission to implement a pacification program, "and win the hearts and minds of the people, not create enemies." I didn't want the issue to die and spoke up.
"So, Sergeant preacha Man, we're supposed to be purveyors of propaganda with no proper public relations training?"
"We’re supposed to behave well and not make fools of ourselves."
"Hey, you hear that Leepers? You're suggesting that we rob a small woman on a bicycle? You are a horses ass! You need to spend some time down at LBJ! You need to get down on your knees and beg forgiveness from Mr. Jesus and Mrs. Christ, the pregnant virgin."
Lance Corporal Leepers flipped me off and Sergeant Creedmore flipped his lid.
"Ronhower, put a freaking lid on it! I'm sick and tired of your dang nonsense, man! Damn it!"
His eyes took on a deeper cobalt hue. Perspiration beaded on his forehead while sweat soaked his clothes and trickled down into his jungle boots. A stickler for rules and regs, only he wore underwear in that weather. I wore a light green silk shirt bought from a laundry lady in the ville for 30 MPC. I pinned my Lance Corporal chevron's to the collars. I picked one up for my favorite pilot, Lt. Jake McKenzie, a surfer from Laguna Beach. His gold bars dangled like earrings from the loose, thin material. We discarded our web belts in favor of parachute cords and others followed suit. MAG 36 was California cool. Staff Sergeant Creedmore frowned.
"Now now, Sergeant preacha man," I said after his outburst.
"You know I don't like cursing and swearing"
"Ronhower, maybe you need to spend some time in Long Binh jail after I write you up for insubordination."
"Oh, get off that."
We all knew that the brass wanted only egregious offenders going to LBJ. Drug dealers. Black-market sellers of pilfered military supplies. People who had to be tracked down in Hawaii or Australia after failing to return from R&R. We slogged through the days humping our gear in the heat and keeping an eye on our short timer calendar. Sometimes I asked Sergeant Creedmore if he cared to trade his Bible for a copy of Playboy. He would say that things wouldn't seem so funny when I found myself burning in hell. My fervent hope is that atheists are not wrong. I was known in our squadron as the source of bruised feelings and fairly blunt outgoing mail. Very few of my fellow Marines would cosign my letters.
Things haven't changed. I still have a "smart mouth and a bad attitude" as one forest service ranger described them. The guy didn't like my tattered tarps, stone oven and fire pit. He was treated to a string of my favorite profanities but cut me some slack anyway.
"Look," he said, "you can't just live here indefinitely. Take as much time as you need, but at some point you will need to make other arrangements."
Luther growled. The uniform left. Open carry is the order of the day at my camp. A small safe is welded to the floor of my van but only a portion of my cash sits inside. $15 grand is stuffed into a big Harley-Davidson wallet with a chain. $20,000 were put into each of three mason jars. They were sealed shut, wrapped in heavy plastic and buried deep in the woods. I made maps, photographed these places and often hike back to them in order to burn the locations into my memory.
I'm at home out here. I sling the shotgun over my shoulder, strap on the handgun and control my area with a serious dog in tow. We search for poachers, those who harvest timber illegally or strip the bark off cascara trees. I'm a cop. A citizen on patrol.
One August afternoon, fatigued and reeking of insect repellent, I heard voices as we came upon a marijuana grow. The plants were beautiful. High Times material. They smelled like the south end of a northbound skunk. I turned and saw several rough looking people hauling water jugs up a game trail. Women and men. One guy had dense, fully-tattooed sleeves like you see on career criminals or some pro basketball players. They were startled to see us and eyeballed my dog and guns in silence. Luther looked at me, then back at the porters, maybe 30 feet away. No one said a word. Summer sunshine filtered through the trees and brushed golden highlights onto an aromatic crop in a cultivated clearing. I pulled out an ornate glass pipe and a baggie of bud and held them up to show that we were friend, not foe. They smiled and seemed relieved. We burned some bowls and I praised their horticultural expertise. Luther was his usual good genial tail-wagging self.
"Folks like you make weed more affordable," I told them. "You increase supply."
A pretty lady smiled. "That's right," tattooed sleeves said. It was an economic reality and not unappreciated by THC lovers.
"I like what you're doing up here. I'm not a rat by the way."
"No, I don't believe you are. You look like more of an outlaw than we are."
"I'm not a thief either."
"No, you don't fit that profile," tattooed sleeves informed me. "The people who rip us off our young guys who travel in groups and work quick. We lose more than we harvest, believe me."
"I don't doubt that a bit."
"The worst scenario is if cops find your grow and install motion cameras that send them a signal. What you need is some local with a police band scanner to alert you to a 420 call in your area. But they're starting to scramble their signals."
Bonding moments were stacking up like bundles of pot plants. These unorthodox entrepreneurs drove over from the valley because growing conditions are favorable up in these breezy elevations. The new sativa strains from Holland require less direct sun than plants in the past, they said. The woman who smiled had a dragonfly tattoo on her neck and seemed to be a bit older than the others, maybe 10 years my junior. We hit it off well. She's a Mariners fan. Drinks Red Bull and Smirnoff while working. She wore several turquoise rings but nothing to discourage a man living alone. I planned to visit that farm again toting a half rack of imported beer. I planned to invite the Dragonfly Lady back to my camp for red wine and eggplant parmesan paid for by the USDA.
When I returned to the grow site the pot farm was gone. I had hauled a 12-pack of Corona over a mile. I opened a beer and stashed the rest in some brush. This would be a pitstop when I did my late-day rounds. If there had been a bust, the details — including the names of the perps — would be public record. I haven't worked in years but maintain a construction contractor board license that will lend credibility when I apply for a concealed handgun license. I figured that an active CCB number might help me get the Dragonfly Lady out of jail or daytime work release. Selling bundles of firewood to tourists could work better with a woman involved. The attractive Dragonfly Lady would be more approachable than a grizzled old dog owner. I wanted to make some changes most rickey tick. It felt good to have a plan that didn't include driving to Reno to book large ill-advised sports bets and risk attack by bedbugs and police in some pet friendly motel.
SLEEP PODS IN WALES FOR HOMELESS
'This could save lives': Residents welcome new sleeping pods for the homeless in city
"THE CIVILIZED have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their "vital interests" are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the "sanctity" of human life, or the "conscience" of the civilized world."
— James Baldwin
GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGGIES, EH?
It's a kiss from God. A big hug. Like teaching while at Wild River. At this point in my getting longish life, each and every new surprise - death, taxes, betrayal of trust, marriage, divorce, disappointments, the whole repellant mess -- is welcomed and thanked for letting me be here to experience whatever it may turn out to be. Or be like. Thank you. I bow.
Some little flaw, perhaps in this intricate rug I've been weaving for seventy five years now (a lifetime) makes me think this might be cowering weakness, that it's somehow pathetic. But that's good. There is no escape. Not even with most attention to the chapters involving family and health and judgement and aaaaall the rest of it taking nearly all one's attention and time. All the time. And often thinking in rhyme.
The Orange guy is apparently still there. And his creepy family. Still there and gaslighting us all and denying it, as usual. And brick by brick, removing from our lives everything that might make it harder to keep up with the raping and pillage. The violence to everything we have ever known. And to slow by an immeasurably degree their accumulation of all the money. But then as my son pointed out to me when he was maybe three or four or so, nobody would ever be able to make change. And the best news of all: The clock keeps up its relentless tick. Sooner or later, the lamp posts. Thank you . . .
OK, BUILD A £^&%!^$ WALL (West Marin)
GOOD OCEAN SALMON SEASON EXPECTED IN 2019
by Dan Bacher
Anglers can look forward to another solid recreational salmon fishing season on the ocean this year, based on data presented at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual salmon information meeting in Santa Rosa on February 27.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has forecasted 379,632 adult Sacramento River Fall Chinook (SRFC) salmon are now in the ocean off the West Coast, compared to 223,854 a year ago at this time. The number is derived from the number of jacks (two-year-olds), 41,184, that returned to the Sacramento River and its tributaries in 2018.
This forecast, along with data from the Klamath and Trinity rivers, other Central Valley rivers and coastal rivers, will be used by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) to set times and areas open to both sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing this year.
“The ocean salmon fishery targets an escapement of at least 122,000 (67.9% exploitation rate),” said Dr. Michael O’Farrell of the National Marine Fisheries Service at the meeting. “If the 2018 regulations were in place, there is a preliminary escapement prediction of 230,500.”
Another factor impacting the ocean fishery is the constraints used to protect Sacramento winter Chinook salmon, a fish that the late Hal Bonslett, the founder and publisher of the Fish Sniffer magazine, and I spent many hours 30 years ago fighting to protect under the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.
The winter Chinook run shows an abundance forecast of 1,924, larger than 2018, although well below historical levels. Remember that in 1969 over 117,000 winter run Chinook returned to the Sacramento River,
The maximum allowable age-3 impact rate for winter chinooks on the ocean is 15.7%. If the 2018 regulations were in place at this time, it would show a preliminary prediction of 9.1%. “This is likely to constrain 2019 fisheries south of Point Arena ,” said O’Farrell.
The Klamath River Fall Chinook (KRFC) abundance forecast is also promising. The age 3 forecast is 167,504, the age 4 forecast is 106,119 and the age 5 forecast is 599, a total of 274,182 adult salmon. That is lower than 2018 forecast, but still an improvement over low forecast numbers seen in recent years, according to the CDFW.
O’Farrell said the potential spawner abundance forecast is 87,893 — and the regulations must target an escapement of at least 40,700, a 53.7 percent exploitation rate.
If the 2018 regulations were in place this year, the forecasted number of natural area adults returning to spawn would be 58.000 fish. That would result in an exploitation rate of 33.2 percent.
O’Farrell said this fish stock could constrain the 2019 fishery south of Cape Falcon, Oregon, as it has done in recent years.
The ocean abundance forecasts “suggest a return to relatively plentiful salmon fishing in 2019 is likely,” explained John McManus, President of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA).
“We are cautiously optimistic that the increase in ocean abundance of SRFC will translate into more fishing opportunity this year,” said CDFW environmental scientist Kandice Morgenstern.
In March and April, Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) officials will use this forecast and other information to set times and areas open to both sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing for 2019, according to McManus.
McManus said the reason for the increase in this year’s salmon forecast is directly linked to the better Central Valley river conditions during the very wet spring of 2017.
“Increased natural runoff from rivers in the Central Valley always boost salmon survival, as measured two years later when the fish return to spawn as adults, said McManus. “We are looking forward to a good salmon fishing season this year.”
“We could see the best season since 2013, which was a really good one,” said Mike Aughney, GGSA director. “Then as now, the good times came two years after really wet winters and springs in the Central Valley. If water managers would leave more water in the rivers during some of the drier years, we’d always have more salmon.”
Since salmon are considered one year old when they leave the Central Valley in the spring, and most return as three year old adults, you can usually count on good fishing two years after lots of rain and snow, noted McManus. Thus, with this year’s rain and snow, 2021 should be a good year also.
The less positive news is that the number of adult salmon that returned to the Sacramento Valley to spawn in 2018 fell short of targets for the fourth year in a row. After three years of missing the target, the National Marine Fisheries Service increased the minimum escapement target from 122,000 to 151,000 fish in 2018.
“They may do the same again this season, which could result in a shortened season or some areas being closed. These decisions will be made over the next month but no matter what, most expect good fishing once the season finally gets under way,” said McManus.
A total of 105,739 hatchery and natural area adult spawners were estimated to have returned to the Sacramento River Basin in 2018, meeting the criteria for “overfished” status in 2018, according to the PFMC.
Fall Chinook returns to Sacramento River hatcheries in 2018 totaled 33,815 adults, and escapement to natural areas was 71,924 adults.
“In spite of the relatively rosy 2019 forecasts, the entire Central Valley is still recovering from the last drought that greatly reduced salmon in various Central Valley tributaries. A few years of good returns to help rebuild the natural spawning stocks is welcome news,” said McManus.
The excessive diversion of Central Valley rivers and massive water exports from the Sacramento-Sacramento River Delta in dry and drought years are two of the primary causes of salmon declines, combined with poor ocean conditions, the blocking of migration to the spawning grounds by dams and habitat destruction.
“Drought could revisit us almost anytime, in fact it’s probably just a matter of when. We need to build and fortify in the good years so we don’t get wiped out again in the bad,” said GGSA secretary Dick Pool. “That’s why GGSA is working overtime to get salmon recovery, habitat improvements, and hatchery improvements on the new governor’s radar.”
One revealing bit of data presented by Barry Miller of the CDFW at the meeting is the contribution of the Mokelumne River to the recreational and commercial ocean salmon fishery in 2018. The Mokelumne, a relatively small river, provided 33 percent of the Central Valley fall Chinooks caught in the recreational fishery and 43 percent of the commercial fishery.
“The advances in releases of salmon, coupled with the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery Manager Bill Smith’s care of the fish, have resulted in big, strong fish that are in really good shape,” concluded McManus. “The Mokelumne Hatchery has apparently discovered some type of magic in their stewardship of salmon.”
For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/%20regulations/salmon or call the ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
As for Girl Scouts, I always found their cookies kind of blah, but I’ll give the troop a couple of dollars to help them out. Lately, I say ‘and do you think girls should join the Boy Scouts or stay in the Girl Scouts?’ When they chorus ‘Girl Scouts!’ I give them an extra buck.
I also ask the girls if they know their scout laws. A lot of them don’t, and one of the adults told me they cut off a couple because it’s too much to memorize!
I was a Boy Scout in 1964, and…
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. That’s off the top of my head.
C’mon, girls: get with it.
MEANWHILE, Sanders keeps acting the political Don Quixote tilting at the Dem party, trying to reform it, which keeps shitting on him and will do so perpetually. The Warrens, Bookers, and other ersatz progressives will ‘talk the talk’, the Dem party moneybags and leaders will encourage them to do so in order to outflank and dissipate Sanders’ progressive message, but in the end whomever of the progressives gets the next Dem presidential 2020 nomination, the Party leaders will ditch their proposals and programs and bring them in line. Don’t forget Obama in 2008, sounding like a progressive, but once in office put the bankers back in charge of his administration. But Biden’s the front runner anyway. So it’s not likely the party will even choose Warren, Booker, or any of the other ersatz progressive wannabes and Sanders clones.
— Jack Rasmus
R. CRUMB: ‘I AM NO LONGER A SLAVE TO A RAGING LIBIDO.’
The controversial artist talks about his latest exhibition, how his feelings on Trump have changed and why he has stopped drawing women
by Nadja Sayej
Robert Crumb has always been known as the bad boy of the comics world. He has filled sketchbooks with smutty drawings of women, made offensive remarks and still manages to show at a top New York art gallery with fans waiting for an autograph.
Print: Mind Fucks, Kultur Klashes, Pulp Fiction & Pulp Fact by the Illustrious R Crumb is his latest exhibition, which runs until 19 April at David Zwirner gallery in New York. Showcasing old comic books from the 1960s to sketchbooks, a cartoon about Donald Trump and a portrait of Stormy Daniels, it traces Crumb’s path as pervert in chief – which marks the end of an era.
Because Crumb has stopped drawing women.
The Philadelphia-born artist was a key figure in the counterculture movement in San Francisco during the sexual revolution and has now decided to stop showcasing the female form. Perhaps it was the result of the #MeToo movement?
“I don’t even look at women any more,” said Crumb in New York. “I try not to even think about women any more. It helps that I’m now 75 years old and am no longer a slave to a raging libido.”
It’s a marked difference from a time when his work was typified by thick-thighed pin-up women and even in his 2016 series Art & Beauty, he featured a bathroom mirror selfie of a 21-year-old model who voluntarily emailed him nudes.
“When I was young, I was just obsessed with sexual desire, fantasizing about sex, masturbation, trying to figure out how to get laid. It was awful,” said Crumb. “Fortunately for me, I found a way to express this inner turbulence in my comics, otherwise I might’ve ended up in jail or in a mental institution. No exaggeration. I’m better now. I worked it all out somehow. Success and the love of real women helped me a lot. Aline really saved my dismal ass.”
He’s referring to Aline Kominsky-Crumb, his wife of 41 years, a cartoonist in her own right and collaborator. But not everything has changed since the Summer of Love. While pointing out the pretty portraits of his wife, Crumb reveals his other lovers, too.
“There are a lot of drawings in this show of other women I’ve been involved with intimately, both before and during my relationship with Aline,” said Crumb. “We have a kind of ‘open marriage’, bohemian artists and libertines that we are.”
This exhibition, curated by Robert Storr, focuses on Crumb’s sketchbooks from the 1970s. There are drawings of acrobatic women with Kardashian-sized rear ends, sleazy businessmen smiling behind cigars and one sketch of a rabbit man slapping a woman across the face. Another has a woman with the words “Sex Object” floating above her head. When asked to elaborate, Crumb doesn’t recall drawing it.
“I’m sure I must’ve used the term ironically, a sort of self-accusation,” he ponders. “Yes, I’m guilty of looking at women as ‘sex objects’, I’ve done it thousands of times over the course of my life. I could not help it. The sight of a woman with a large ass and strong legs instantly electrified me. It was not something I could stop myself from feeling. I could only stop myself from acting on it, and therein lies Freud’s Civilizations and its Discontents.”
Crumb’s superwoman-esque drawings were not always meant to empower. “When I was young, I had a lot of anger towards women, as well as towards men and toward human society in general,” he says. “I vented my feelings in my artwork, in my comics. I was crazy enough not to think about the consequences too much.”
But things changed when Crumb received criticism. “I became more self-conscious and inhibited,” he said. “Finally, it became nearly impossible to draw anything that might be offensive to someone out there, and that’s where I’m at today.”
But there is life after sketchbooks, for Crumb. “So yeah, I don’t draw much any more,” he said. “It’s all right. A lot of ink has gone under the bridge. It’s enough.”
For decades, Crumb carried a sketchbook with him everywhere he went, something he learned from Leonardo da Vinci. It was the 1970s, a time when he drew religiously.
“I drew from life, from photos and from my imagination,” said Crumb. “I also used them as diaries, filling many pages just with text; long rambling self-reflections. I was socially alienated and had a lot of time on my hands.”
Alongside the sketchbooks on view, the exhibit features Crumb’s Zap magazine covers, his famed Mr Natural, which was critical to the underground comix movement of the 1960s. There are also his Self-Loathing Comics from the 1990s, drawings of Artie Shaw, a strip based on Philip K Dick and a rejected New Yorker cover of a queer couple from 2009.
Crumb’s comics have often been a critique of modern society, with waves of nihilism to sarcasm and disillusionment, not to mention drug hallucinations and the ongoing battle between 9-5ers and bohemians, many of which were his core readership in the 1960s and 1970s.
Some have called Crumb’s comics a comment on the American condition, but they’re also a snapshot into his personal outlook. His sketchbook subjects ranged from friends to girlfriends, strangers in public places and people based on magazine photos. “Sometimes just types,” he said. “Made up in my head.”
There’s also issues of HUP, a self-proclaimed “comic for modern guys”, including one issue from 1989 where he flushes Trump down the toilet after reading Trump’s book, Art of the Deal, which Crumb found offensive.
“My opinion of Donald Trump has changed a bit since I did that strip about him in 1989,” said Crumb. “Back then, I think I gave him a little too much credit for possessing a bit of class and sophistication. I now have a lower opinion of him than I did then. I now perceive a certain low, thuggish quality in his character, a guy who can say with a totally straight face: ‘Where’s my fuckin’ money? I want my fuckin’ money!’ It’s a quote from Bob Woodward’s book Fear.”
When asked if he feels misunderstood, he said only if his audience thinks he believes everything he draws.
“I only feel ‘misunderstood’ when people react to my work as if I were advocating the things I drew; the crazy, violent sex images, the racist images,” he said. “I think they’re not getting it. I did not draw those images with the intention to hurt anyone or insult anyone, with the exception of the very few times I did strips making fun of specific individuals, like Donald Trump.”
Crumb suggests it’s up to the audience to decide. “I’m just a crazy artist. I can’t be held to account for what I draw,” he said. “Personally, I don’t think they had a bad influence on people. I don’t think it works that way. Conning people, deceiving people, that is what is harmful to them.”