Off the Record

by AVA News Service, November 4, 2010

I LISTENED to the big game on the radio. I couldn't find any place in Boonville that would allow me to watch the game with the sound off, and Buck and McCarver were driving me nuts. I wanted to hear Krup and Kuip and Jon and Flem describe The Little Stoner shutting down Texas, and I definitely didn't want to look at the Bush family all night in between pitches, although I've always been kind of partial to Laura who, in between those pitches, looked like she always looks — a kidnap victim. I still wonder if she's being held against her will. And can you even imagination a Standing O for the Bushes in San Francisco? The mere appearance of a politician, any politician, including hometown girls Pelosi and Feinstein, on the big screen at AT&T brings fans snarling out of their seats. But the Bushes got the Standing O in Texas, and how sweet it was to watch Tim and Edgar ruin the entire sports winter for them and their entire state. A friend sent along a pre-game joke: If the Texas Rangers win, Texas will secede from the Union. If the Giants win, they will insist that Texas secedes. My joke: Bush and Gavin Newsom are both on the scaffold, game six, loser to die. A trap door malfunction hangs both of them. Texas and San Francisco live happily ever after. As a lifelong Giants fan all the way back to '58 when they moved out here, I couldn't be happier. Back in April I thought the Giants would be lucky to get into the first round of the playoffs, and now look at them, world champs. Yippee!

BASEBALL ADDENDUM: A disbelieving reader confronted me in Boonville. "You say you played against Curt Flood and those guys?" I replied that I knew that the anatomical wreckage he was looking at was not at all reminiscent of the lean, lithe figure it was fifty years ago, but everyone in the Bay Area, circa 1956-57, who played baseball at an, ahem, fairly advanced level, played against Bill Irwin Post out of Bushrod Park in Oakland coached by a legendary figure called, I think, George Powles. Like all of us, Curt Flood, Pinson, Frank Robinson, Gonder, played semi-pro ball all over NorCal under various auspices. My high school team played winter ball as Fisherman's Grotto Number 9. I have a vague memory of playing a weekend of games in Fort Bragg where, I think, we dropped three to a very good mill team comprised of locals supplemented by several ex-pros. Heck, Vern Piver, a great ballplayer from Fort Bragg, might have been on that team. My brother and I also played for the Tiburon Pelicans, American Legion teams out of Marin, a VFW-sponsored team — whoever we could hook on with. We played year-round, mostly at Big Rec and Funston in The City. I remember playing football on a Friday night then baseball on Saturday and Sunday. Summers, you'd wake up to check the Where The Bushers Play Today column by Bill Earle, I think his name was, and that's where you'd meet up with your teammates. Earle somehow managed to schedule games where both teams were of comparable ability. The Flood-Robinson-Pinson team from Oakland was always scheduled against the best semi-pro teams in the Bay Area, the very best of which, as I recall, was a team out of Manteca, which is barely in the Bay Area. Occasional AVA contributor Dick Meister was a ballplayer of that era. He probably remembers all this, too, and I'll bet he's the only reader of this newspaper besides Frank Bardacke who not only knows that Dave Righetti's father was Leo Righetti of the San Francisco Seals but saw Leo play for the Seals.

HOME INVASION SEASON is off to a fast start with two shootings in the Laytonville area last week. William Graves, 19, of Bell Springs Road, was shot in the face by, it is said, Leberado Lopez Ramirez, described as pot-farming transient working the marijuana outback from Northern California through Southern Oregon. Ramirez and Graves had quarreled over the crop they'd jointly produced. Graves is expected to recover; Ramirez is on the run.

JILL CAHILL, of Steele Lane, southeast of Laytonville, shot and killed 21-year-old Timothy Burger of Sacramento when Burger, Tyrone Bell, 18, and Christopher Shinn, 19, also of Sacramento, ran into Ms. Cahill's house and began pepper spraying Ms. Cahill and persons described as Ms. Cahill's "guests." The Sacramento trio was apparently bent on stealing Ms. Cahill's marijuana. In the melee, which began about 7:30pm, one of Ms. Cahill's males guests was shot in the leg by one of the intruders, presumably Burger, when Ms. Cahill produced a .357 and put a very big hole in Burger, blasting him clear into Home Invader Heaven. Bell and Shinn were arrested later as, on foot, they shuffled south on 101. Late Monday afternoon, Noah Shinn, 39, father of Christopher Shinn, was arrested in Sacramento for his role, as yet undetermined, in these events.

THE SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCE of Eric Grant last week continues to mystify law enforcement while it inspires a kind of low-level fear in the Navarro Ridge area. Grant, 33, works with the Mendocino Redwood Company. He is unmarried and lives in Fort Bragg. He is not known to be suffering from emotional turmoil that might drive him to suicide. Passersby began to notice Grant's vacant MRC truck at the turnout nearly opposite Navarro Ridge Road shortly after noon on Wednesday the 27th of October, noting that the vehicle was parked at an odd angle as if whomever had last driven it had jumped out and run. Keys to the vehicle were not in the ignition and have not been recovered. Grant's work for MRC took him deep into the woods, and the woods at this time of the year can be dangerous because of the squatter-growers inhabiting them. It is also a possibility that Grant walked down the public trail to the bluffs where he was known to enjoy eating his lunch and somehow tumbled over the side. Large-scale searches of that stretch of shoreline have been conducted by MRC employees, the Albion Fire Department, and the Coast Guard. As of press time Tuesday, not a trace of the missing man has been found.

LIBERAL AGONISTES. In a lengthy letter to the editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal, Antonio Andrade, explains why he and his wife Shalom supported Measure C, the Supervisors’ half-cent sales tax increase proposal: “These kinds of divisive battles are not a way to build a sustainable, viable community. They are ideologically driven, focus on blame and pit one against another, rather than empower citizens to solve their problems. Perhaps our hotel stay in San Francisco best illustrates my point about the ‘punishment brigade.’ When we arose the next morning to shower, there was no hot water due to a power outage. What an unpleasant shock. When departing, my wife and I discussed the traditional tip we leave for housekeeping. Though disturbed by not getting what we paid for, it did not seem appropriate to essentially punish the housekeeper by not tipping appropriately for something out of their control.”

THE PURE MORAL SPLENDOR on display here left me temporarily blinded, but when I put on my dark glasses and read it again I came away wondering if the Andrades had left the maid fifty cents or a quarter. At the risk of divisiveness — do the libs want us all in uniform, or what? — I'd guess that Measure C will probably lose because (1) This particular board of supervisors is widely viewed as less than competent to spend public money (2) Supervisors Smith and Colfax, while encouraging all other County workers to take pay cuts, have refused to cut their own pay, and both have been revealed by successive grand juries to be a couple of nickel-nosing crooks (3) Measure C might have had a chance if the money had been specifically targeted to this or that County service.

A WESTPORT TRAILS planning meeting is set for Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, 10am. to 3pm at the Westport Community Church on Abalone Street. Westport being a community of about 200 people if you manage to get lost there you probably shouldn't be on the trails in the first place, but this is an important stop on the way to eventually getting a Coast trail from Noyo to, heck, Usal? For info contact Louisa Morris, project manager at 937-6217 or Thad Van Bueren at 964-7272.

SUPERVISOR KENDALL SMITH won't return the $3,000 she owes us, but she's got the dough to re-model the sunroom of her Fort Bragg home.

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S International Pot Grower of the Week award goes to Mr. Shimpei "Shimp" Ueda, a citizen of Kanagawa, Japan. Shimp-san, 29, was arrested last week near Willits for cultivation. Over the past two years, and confirming our suspicion that trimmers are also recruited out of Bay Area youth hostels, pot raiders have netted young people, and some not-so-young people — the Bulgar-

ians were certainly no spring pullets — from: England; Mexico (surprise!); China; Russia; Mississippi; Australia; Bulgaria; Israel; Italy; Vietnam; Laos; Germany; Korea; Spain; and now Japan. Congratulations, Shimp-san, and thank you for thinking of us.

IT'S ALL HUSH-HUSH but Michele Bachmann is coming to Ukiah for an anti-abortion rally at the Ukiah Conference Center this Thursday night. Bachmann, a Sarah Palin type but, in the words of our informant, "dumber, crazier and more fanatical," is festooning the School Street venue with big blow-ups of mangled fetuses and the other grim visuals these nuts seem to enjoy gazing at. Meanwhile, over at the Catholic Church, long-time lay priests and priestesses are being asked to sign vows that they support the Churches' most retro political stances against gay marriage, abortion and so on.

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