Give Thanks For The Golden State

For over a month now, at least half of the nation has been suffering from PTSD: Pre-Trump Stress Disorder. Our nation has self-inflicted a very serious sickness – actually, a relapse of a recurring, chronic, ugly syndrome. And when Patti Smith, standing in for Bob Dylan at the recent Nobel ceremony, sang his “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” I could only think, Alas, yes indeed.

Noble Zimmy Hits The Coast

I shouldn’t be writing this. Hell, I shouldn’t be writing anything right now. Seems whatever I say or sing or write or do, somebody’s gotta serve themselves by having some big opinion about it being right or wrong or left or political or not political enough or not as good as the last one or […]

The Man Behind The Warm Spiritual Greetings

Attentive/obsessive AVA readers might recognize the name Craig Louis Stehr – he has long been one of the paper’s most frequent and loyal correspondents. His missives usually tell of his travels around the nation, with ambitious and optimistic plans and wishes for political action and spiritual progress, often sent from transient locales. But who is […]

Sierra Fest 2016

There was a striking man walking up and down 128 all weekend with a goat on a leash. At least he looked like a man, wearing some kind of goatskin-looking coat. The goat was real, and at one point had some sort of coat on too. At Mosswood Cafe one morning, customers were speculating. “He […]

Disarm The Deranged

When the twin towers fell on 911, at first it was thought that as many as 10,000 people might have been inside. A national call for blood donors went out in case there were many injured. By the time I got to my local blood bank in San Francisco, a line of people stretched around […]

Festival Time Is Here

The third weekend in June each year means music festival time in Boonville, in the form of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. The SNWMF is so titled as it began 23 years ago in the foothills of those mountains, and came to the county fairgrounds a dozen years back. After a couple of challenging […]

Memorial Day Realities

My father worked the “industrial” side of what Eisenhower famously called the military-industrial complex. He ran a division of a major automobile corporation that made weaponry, or parts thereof, for the military. After he died, we found a letter addressed to him from a senior general he worked with.

The Right To Die At The Wedge

One of the most famous waves on the planet is called simply “the Wedge.” Or rather, one of the most infamous. It’s in Newport Beach, Orange County, Southern California, right where two long jetties made of big rocks stick out on either side of the entrance to the large bay and harbor full of small […]

My Brief Career As A Karate Kid

On my way to the local junior college, where I attended classes for one semester while trying to figure out where better to go, I’d ride my small motorcycle up a main drag linking our beach town to the freeways and less-exalted communities. It was an avenue of funky thrift stores, gas stations, cheap but […]

Vexxed At ‘Vaxxed’: Like an Infection

An email just arrived in my inbox recently titled “The Most Controversial Film in the Country — VAXXED — Set to Open in The San Francisco Bay Area this Friday!” Why it was not in my junk email box I am not sure, because it promotes a junk film pushing junk science. The film, “Vaxxed: […]

Merle Haggard, Hippie Icon?

Merle Haggard died last week, up in his beloved Mount Shasta region, on his 79th birthday. His son Ben wrote this online: “A week ago dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn’t wrong. A hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends. He loved everything […]