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MCT: Thursday, June 11, 2020

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WARM AND MOSTLY DRY conditions are expected again today, with an isolated shower or two possible near the Trinity Alps during the late afternoon. Cooler conditions are expected Friday, with light rain possible in Humboldt and Del Norte counties in the morning, followed by perhaps a thunderstorm or two across the mountains of Trinity, Mendocino and northern Lake counties. Cool temperatures will continue Saturday, with some light rain again possible in the afternoon and evening. (NWS)

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The CalFire report on the "Vineyard Fire" located in the 30000 block of Highway 128 was reported to be 150 acres and 40% contained Wednesday morning - up from 10% contained Tuesday night when the fire's forward progress was stopped around 7:00 pm.

There was no smoke at the scene Wednesday morning as compared to late Tuesday afternoon.


A report from CalFire said the temperature at the scene of the Vineyard Fire in Yorkville (1,900') Wednesday afternoon was 80 degrees, 38% humidity and a southwest wind 3 - 8 mph. A CalFire report from the scene @ 10:51 am had the fire at 151 acres and 40% contained. CalFire added, "Forward progress has stopped with firefighters working hard overnight increasing the Vineyard Fire to 40% containment. Fire resources will continue their efforts today improving control lines and extinguishing interior hot spots. One firefighter received a minor ankle injury and has been treated and released."

ASSETS AT FIRE: Engines – 10; Dozers – 1; Water Tenders – 2; Personnel Involved – 108; Crews Involved – 4. 

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

ms adds: AV Fire Chief Andres Avila said Wednesday afternoon that the fire reached 150 acres with no structures damaged and no significant injuries. It was under control and the con crew was mopping up remaining hot spots. The cause was under investigation by Calfire.


by Chantelle Lee & Lori A. Carter

Firefighters fully contained the Vineyard fire in Mendocino County on Wednesday.

The blaze sparked around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday near Highway 128 and Elkhorn Road, just south of Yorkville. It blackened 151 acres before it was fully contained, Cal Fire reported.

Crews battled it overnight Tuesday, stopping the spread. The blaze burned in grass and oak woodland and timber, Cal Fire said, about 3 miles southeast of Yorkville.

No structures were damaged, and no one was evacuated because of the blaze. One firefighter suffered a minor ankle injury Wednesday night and is recovering.

Fire resources will remain in the area over the next few days, Cal Fire said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

(courtesy The Press Democrat)

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On Monday, June 8, 2020 between 6:29 and 6:31 PM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch received four separate 911 calls coming from the Covelo area. Callers reported what sounded like a "shootout" that was occurring near the intersection of Crawford Road and Biggar Lane. Reports ranged from 40 to 200 shots being fired as callers described what sounded like semi-automatic and fully automatic rifle fire.

Members of the Round Valley Indian Reservation Tribal Police also responded to the scene, arriving first, around 6:41 PM. When Tribal Police arrived they observed one male, with a rifle, fleeing the scene on foot in a southbound direction. Tribal Police were eventually able to detain two individuals and located one rifle. Witnesses reported numerous armed Hispanic males fleeing the scene on foot as law enforcement responded.

Mendocino County Patrol Deputies arrived and contacted Tribal Police. Members of the California Highway Patrol also responded to the scene to assist with the incident. The scene was determined to be a very large marijuana growing operation at the south east corner of the intersection of Crawford Road and Biggar Lane. The property consisted of an approximately 10 acre parcel, held in trust by the Federal Government as part of the Reservation system. The property had no real fixed dwellings but had 38 "hoop houses" which are green houses used to cultivate marijuana as well as several camp sites with recreational vehicles and or tents used by those cultivating marijuana. The responding Officers were able to initially detain four Hispanic males who indicated they were only working in the marijuana grow but denied knowledge of involvement in the shooting. 

  • Rosalio Pena (AKA Armas Severiano), 50 years of age, Transient, Covelo
  • Ruben Hernandez Najera, 22 years of age, Atascadero
  • Osvaldo Garcia Campos, 40 years of age, Transient, Covelo 
  • Angel Maria Ramirez, 48 years of age, Sacramento 
Pena, Najera, Campos, Ramirez

Deputies noted what appeared to be in excess of 10,000 marijuana plants as well as evidence confirming at least 50 or more rifle rounds having been discharged recently on the property. They noted one green house had many rounds fired into it and one vehicle had numerous rounds fired into it. There appeared to be evidence that rifles, handguns, and shotguns had possibly been discharged at the location.

Deputies then contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Investigations Unit to request assistance. The Mendocino County Marijuana Team, discovering the cultivation activity was not permitted, authored a search warrant for the location. This team was assisted by the Mendocino County Detective Unit and the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force in the service of the warrant. Upon service of the search warrant, investigators located a total of 7 firearms; 3 rifles and 4 handguns, including 2 AR15 style assault rifles with high capacity magazines, one with a suppressor attached. 12,022 marijuana plants, ranging from 6 inches to 6 feet in height, were located and eradicated. Two additional suspects were identified, Foley Azbillm, 41, and Britton "JR" Azbill, 38, both of Covelo were detained.

The investigation determined this garden might have been grown in a similar method of others recently found in the Covelo area; with Federal Trust Properties being leased by tribal members to non-tribal members for the sole purpose of conducting large marijuana growing operations. Most of the persons detained appeared less than cooperative and no one admitted direct knowledge as to whom had been responsible for the large discharge of firearms. Investigators found no evidence or indication that any person had actually been shot. However, this area is a residential neighborhood with neighbors being less than 200 yards away on all sides of the property as well as roads on two sides that have a high frequency of traffic this time of the day. There is no safe way to discharge a firearm at this location.

Four men were arrested, booked, and then cited for cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale; Rosalio Pena (AKA Armas Severiano), Ruben Hernandez Najera, Osvaldo Garcia Campos, and Angel Maria Ramirez.

The case remains under investigation and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is requesting anyone with information on this case to please contact the Sheriff's tip line at 707-234-2100 or the WE-TIP line at (800) 782-7463.

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(photo by Dick Whetstone)

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Sunday, June 7, saw a huge demonstration in Mendocino. I'm proud to be had been among the more than 400 peaceful marchers honoring the memory and suffering of George Floyd. Everyone was masked, even the children. We assembled at Gallery Books and walked to Friendship Park chanting what by now is indelible in our consciousness: Black Lives Matter.

We stood around the perimeter of the park in some places three and four bodies deep. The two women who organized this powerful and meaningful event used a bullhorn to implore the crowd to speak up and address social injustice, make this activism an integral part of our lives, now and forever. Their emotional rhetoric ended with all of us kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds. That's a long time to be kneeling. I thought about George and the cop who, with his hands in his pockets, nonchalantly used his knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds to cut off the blood flow to Floyd's brain. It was a reflective moment for me.

So few words on all the signs said so much. A sampling: Silence is Violence, Black Love Trumps Orange Hate, All mothers were summoned when he cried out "Mama," and Dump Trump, vote him out.

Racism is endemic in this country and Mendocino County is no exception. A man stood outside the park fence, his small child on his shoulders. His cardboard sign read, "This is Pomo Land — understand?" I did. I got it.

When will white supremacy end? I own a geography textbook dated 1876. It instructs that there are five races of people in the world -- brown, red, yellow, black and white, reducing humans to the choices in a crayola box. It continues, "What is known of the white race?" Answer, "The white race is superior to the others and is found in Europe and America." There it is. Taught in the schools 150 years ago. How do we overcome that prejudice?

Sunday was a start.

Louise Mariana


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So, which is it? Are police officers who commit misconduct simply “bad apples” scattered among the 99% of good cops? Or is their behavior symptomatic of a deeply flawed system infected with racism and brutality?

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The Ukiah Police Department would like to address and provide clarity on where we stand in regards to Police Use of Force. Please visit our webpage to view a message from the Chief and read our stance on this topic. We look forward to hearing from our community as we continue to provide you with Safety, Professionalism, and Community Service. Please visit:


Leadership of the City has received a number of inquiries regarding the Fort Bragg Police Department’s use of force policies and what has been labeled the #8cantwait on social media. The eight policies proposed by Campaign Zero are intended to decrease police violence and improve the safety of all members of our community. Members of the public and reform groups often provide input in Police Department policies and in Fort Bragg we encourage that participation and where the Fort Bragg Police Department is not already in line with the #8cantwait, we will implement those changes consistent with law, which is already changing in response to recent events, and in line with the safety of all. Professional policing demands respect and dignity for every one of our community members. Trust between law enforcement and the public is the foundation of our system. To be sure that trust is maintained and built upon we are reviewing and revising our policies and practices and will post the new policies soon.

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Editor --

You know at least one person under the age of 60 who reads paper papers: me, I'm 55.

I normally read the AVA, the Marin Independent Journal, the Press Democrat and the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times every once in a while.

If paper papers are ever discontinued, I suppose I would spend a minimal amount of time looking at them online at the library because I don't plan ever owning a computer again.

Reading off of a computer screen for me is uncomfortable to the point of being painful. I've come to the conclusion based on research I've done (reading Dr. Peter Breggin and Dr. Joanna Moncrieff) that this might be at least partly due to damage done to the frontal lobes of my brain from 20 years of using psychiatric medications.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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I'm healthy, we all are helping here, an island of locked down health.

Our fascist president has fixed it for me to remain in jail until May of next year. Trump's appointee, the fascist Attorney General Barr, saw looting! All I saw were people resourcefully appropriating necessary supplies. That over advertised $1200 went right over them as they were not the intended recipients.

Yes, race relations are good the way you mean them in that most people these days recognize and interact with each other amicably and that is why many white people are going along with the current uprising. Like the Wall Street protests of yesteryear, these protests are against the greedy system which is also systematically racist. The further up the social ladder one goes, the more elite specialism the people think they enjoy, but they are adaptable enough to accept (co-opt) a Vernon Jordan or Obama when they promise not to upset the status quo. That ladder is missing many rungs between the poor, the almost middle-class, and the well to do.

The police departments should be eliminated and replaced with unarmed social organizations knowledgeable and schooled about domestic and social problem-solving. A good start would be to defund police departments for all drug enforcement activity (take everything to do with drugs away from them) and make a rule to never send armed police to a nonviolent situation.

Anybody who thinks for half a day can come up with better social institutions than the police forces of the United States.

The police were originally created to protect the haves from the have-nots and it has not changed. The police men and women themselves think they are doing the right thing, at the beginning of their careers anyway. By now society should have advanced enough so there are no complete have-nots, everyone should have a home, an income, health care, access to education and to feel as if they belong to and in society.

Good government controls the extremes not protect and promote them as they currently do, instead using the people's money to support a super grotesque military which in turn protects the corporate giants.

I am George Floyd, but keep my old name on my sub, please.


Paul Jorgensen


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Dear Editor,

As always I wish you and yours will during these trying times. When we all thought things were bad due to the virus, this racial crap raises its ugly head when our country can lease deal with it. Things here in prison are just magnified compared to an already fragile tension between the races -- all bad! The virus is sure to spread with demonstrations, rioters and looters gathering with little to no respect for social distancing. Businesses on the brink of losing everything are being looted before they can even open. The horrible irresponsible officers back east have once again shown the ugly abuse of power a small amount of law enforcement officers selfishly displayed. 

The same racial tension exists behind the walls of prison, however due to the lack of cell phones it doesn't get out. Of late, the promised releases the governor promised haven't occurred. Rather than keeping each prisoner isolated from each other and cutting back on overpopulated prisons, here at San Quentin we just received over 200 more prisoners from other prisons. 125 this week from Chino where the virus has forced men to live in tents in their yard. Some inmates have come in with signs of the virus. Prior to this group San Quentin had been fortunate to not have any positive tests. Who knows now? San Quentin’s cells are presently at more than 190% of design occupancy. Single cells are 9' x 4' and forced to hold two men. No possible way to social distance at six feet. Still nothing is being done.

We are locked in our cells pretty much 24/7 except a few yard hours every other day along with a shower also every other day. Fortunately I work five days a week six to 1 pm. All education and self-help classes are gone along with any visits and most jobs. Phone calls to family are 15 minutes every five days. 900 men and only six phones. Lots of fights over phone calls is not good.

God has a plan and I'm continuing to make the best of things. I have most surely seen the faults in the so-called justice system. Do your best to continue to report the truth as always. Stay safe and healthy. I surely miss home.

God bless,

Kenny Rogers

San Quentin

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THE PUBLIC CONVERSATION grows ever more bizarre, led of course by our president, who has repeated, via his wacky new press secretary, the preposterous claim that Martin Gugino, 75, gratuitously knocked down by Buffalo police and subsequently hospitalized, was an Antifa plant. Antifa is rapidly becoming the rightwing's latest unfounded fear. Surprising so much paranoia can penetrate their fact-proofed skulls. But it is. Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal says that fantastic rumors claiming that Antifa was hitting the road to disturb the rustic slumber of Humboldt County, among other of Antifa's unsuspecting destinations. Honsal: “We did have reports — substantiated, law enforcement reports — that said antifa did have people in buses that were in southern Oregon and in the Central Valley … These aren’t unsubstantiated stories. This is the reality, and we have to deal with that.”

ANOTHER TRUMP genius, Merritt Corrigan, appointed to run the Foreign Aid Agency, said the United States is being menaced by the "homosexual agenda," and is rapidly becoming a "homo empire."

HBO has announced that because Gone With the Wind "glorifies the antebellum south," HBO is not offering the film until HBO can provide "historical context."

A UCLA professor of accounting has been suspended because he refused a request from non-black students to lower grading standards for black students because of the "trauma" black students have suffered from George Floyd's death and the ensuing civil unrest.

THE POPULAR television program Cops has been cancelled after 33 years on the air, although it's highly popular among prison inmates of all ethnicities who view it as a comedy show. (I once asked then-Sheriff Tony Craver when Mendo deputies would appear on Cops. He replied, "Never! I can't believe the stuff they show on there.")

I WONDER how long the black guy on the Cream of Wheat box will last? The prob here is that he was a real person, Frank L. White, long gone but the subject of at least one biography and very proud of his fame. The Washington Redskins football team? Still hanging on, but in the closely watched sports context of today? Soon to join Chief Knock-A-Homa of the Atlanta Braves in the Racist Hall of Shame. (Braves? Soon to be relegated to the same dustbin of Knock-A-Homa who, sports fans will remember, emerged from a teepee in deep center to perform a "war dance" every time a Brave hit a home run.)

THE LOCAL ANGLE: From the 1930s until 1972, the chief of the Yurok tribe, Timm Williams, was the Stanford Indian, togged out as a Plains Indian as he rode around the football field as a pre-game visual. Williams was finally convinced by Native American students to give it up.

READING the calls to disband police forces (omg force!) I dimly recall the informal neighborhood watch groups of yesteryear which, in this area were called "Comptche Visits." I turned for confirmation to my favorite historian, who happens to live in Comptche, Katy Tahja: "Well, two things cross my mind — one was when hippies and rednecks were blending — the rednecks discovered hippie kids at the Comptche School were not wearing underwear; they were horrified and disgusted. I don’t know if the redneck parents make their disgust known to the long hairs by physically visiting them, but they might have. The other case was more recent—an informal neighborhood watch against renegade dope growers back when it was illegal. A car was seen parked along a county road for a short time every day, but no houses were around, lots of minor illegal grows around. Someone made a graphic note on a post card (a giant eye if memory serves) saying ‘WE SEE YOU! The community has noticed your car parked here every day, you have NO REASON to park here, so we have made a complete description of your vehicle, plate #, and dates you have been observed parking here. If you come back we will deliver this info to the county sheriff and suggest he take a walk in the woods and see what he can find. Bye-Bye. Neighborhood Watch. (Note, we were not affiliated with the national program.) On a lighter note, the community had chivaree’, these were basically a ‘let’s go cause a ruckus under the newlyweds window’ event, maybe not the wedding night but soon after, fueled by alcohol and good spirits, a century or more ago." 

AS THE FRENZY grows to purge all unpleasantness from the national memory bank, Coasties are debating a re-name for Fort Bragg. 

So far, Marco McClean's list, especially 'LindyPetersville,’ contains the most viable alternatives:

  • Sanctuary Sluice.
  • Warm Puppy.
  • Watership Down.
  • Arkham West.
  • Land's End.
  • Porco Rosso.
  • Jabberwock's Jockstrap.
  • Gentle Murmur.
  • Brownwater.
  • Chief's Lovely Daughter.
  • Scotch Broom.
  • Fuchsiarama.
  • Odd Mood.
  • Lorikeet.
  • Popeye and Olive Oyl.
  • Lindy Petersville.
  • El Corazon.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 10, 2020

Anguiano, Carrillo, Fox

LETICIA ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ISRRAEL CARRILLO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

DANIEL FOX, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

Hernandez, McWhinney, Nunez

LEAH HERNANDEZ, Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance.

ADRIAN MCWHINNEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-drugs & alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)

BEAU NUNEZ, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

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THE GUN NUT PERSPECTIVE, an on-line comment: 

It may be unimaginable for you, but we could easily take on the US govt. We outnumber them by a factor of around 250% (1.3 million soldiers out of 328.1 million citizens). Even if there’s only 13 million people who resist, that’s still 10x the amount of people in the military. You think that the majority of veterans and currently enlisted soldiers are going to break their oath to protect the citizens of the United States and uphold the constitution? I doubt it. 

I guarantee that if there was a domestic policing scenario, the first people to lay down weapons would be soldiers. That’s why they’re pushing for the militarization of local police forces because they are less trained and more likely to enforce makevelian attitudes toward civilians. 

Both hunting and self defense are perfect examples of why most people should own or be able to operate a firearm. The number of rounds in a magazine should be irrelevant. There’s no limit to the amount of magazines you can own, so why is there a round limit per magazine? What if you’re trying to defend against multiple assailants? Do you want to be limited in your ability to defend yourself in that case? 

Why are citizens held to certain standards, while criminals are only (maybe) punished if they get caught with extended magazines or gun modifications? What kind of double standard is that for people who are actually trying to follow the rules? Why should they be punished?

If you don’t feel comfortable around guns, why should that limit how I can interact with them? If you’re worried about guns in the hands of the wrong people, why don’t you want guns in the hands of the right people? Who makes that decision?

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I often wonder how cops nowadays have the guts to pull someone over, especially someone who is driving erratically, or even worse, aggressively. If I were a cop, I would always wonder, “What’s this character going to do? Will he open fire with that pistol he has under the seat?” It does happen. Which reminds me of those clowns who have excessively tinted driver and passenger windows. If I had to pull one of those bozos over, I know what I would do, and it certainly would not be to walk over to the driver’s door. They would get a blast from the cop car PA system telling them to get out of the car, hands high and visible, and put those hands on the roof of the car, spread their legs and don’t move. I certainly think it takes a very special person to be a good cop. It’s a scary, mostly thankless but dangerous job.

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The bad apples cannot be rooted out of police forces for one simple reason: Police Unions. There was even a front page article about it in “The New York Times” on Sunday. 

Fierce Protectors of Police Impede Efforts at Reform

Maybe defunding the police is not a bad idea. They should at least threaten to do that until they make police unions illegal. The times story describes how in St. Louis any attempt to reform the police was met with a work slow down and a rise in crime. “It operates a little bit like a protection racket,” said one of the reformers. I’m not confident they can end this for the simple reason that it goes against the liberal mind-set of most people running big cities. After all, it’s the unions that fund the campaigns of the politicians that are supposed to oversee them. The same is true of teachers’ unions.

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Sources: Interior To Push Drilling In Florida Waters After November Election. According to Politico, “The Trump administration is preparing to open the door to oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coast — but will wait until after the November election to avoid blowback in a swing state whose both parties have long considered sacrosanct, according to four people familiar with the plan. Drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would fulfill a long-sought goal of energy companies, giving them access to potentially billions of barrels of oil that have been off-limits since the federal government withdrew leases it had sold in 1985. But even the possibility of drilling is a politically explosive topic for Floridians, who worry that oil spills would devastate their tourism-based economy in a reprise of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. President Donald Trump, who has set ‘energy dominance’ as a key national goal, has eased regulations on offshore drilling put in place by the Obama administration. Interior has spent years working on a proposed drilling plan that would expand oil companies’ access to waters around the country’s coastline, including a draft plan issued in 2018 by the Trump administration that considered opening the federal waters off both of Florida’s coasts. That plan also included an expansion of offshore drilling in California, a move that would escalate the ongoing battles between the state and the administration over environmental issues since Trump took office. The people did not know whether the final proposal will include that section of coastline as well.” [Politico, 6/10/20

We need our Board of Supervisors to again oppose offshore development with a Resolution.

(via Norman de Vall)

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Message from: Maggie Von Vogt - please reply to her if you are interested

Greetings from the Adult School!

Once upon a time, before a certain pandemic, you expressed interest in a computers class to be organized as a part of the Adult School's Community Enrichment Program. You are receiving this email because you expressed interested in a fee-based class for trouble-shooting and tech support designed to fit your needs, curiosities, and technological challenges. The week before everything shut down, I met with Keshab Bhandari, who is cc'd here. Keshab teaches computer science classes for Mendocino College and was very eager to design a class for AV residents and get to know our community. 

Now it seems we will be in this reality of physical distancing for a while. While in-person computer classes are not something we can safely arrange for this summer or fall, we could potentially organize a virtual class for you. This does require a minimal amount of computer skills, such as checking your email, or potentially participating in Zoom or Google hangouts calls. We wanted to reach back out to you to survey your interest in a virtual class like this. Some people may have more time on their hands now, while others may be less interested in screen time. 

Please reply to this email to express your interest and we can continue exploring the possibilities with Keshab. 

Best wishes,

Maggie Von Vogt

AV Adult School

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by William Grimes

That Flynn Washburne is.

I love his work more than my phone and only a little less than the word processing software that helps this oldie who never had a typing class have some avocation in my senescence.

I envy Mr. Washburne’s in-your-face James Ellroy writing style. I like the themes: real world problems seldom addressed in media. I like his vocabulary, his ability to come up with a word that’s perfect for what he is trying to say, one that often one that sends my fingers running to click on Merriam-Webster.

His unconventional views on society, government, and culture are welcome I’m sure to younger readers as well; I eagerly consume them when I get my AVA. Best of all is Mr. Washburne’s unfailing honesty about his life’s travails and his ongoing battle to rest those demons and prevail.

Martin Amis said in the New Yorker in reviewing Don DeLillo’s compilation of short stories, “When we say we love a writer’s work, we are always stretching the truth: what we really mean is we love about half of it.” He gives examples of what he meant: “the vast presence of Joyce relies pretty well entirely on ‘Ulysses’ with little help from ‘Dubliners.’ You could jettison Kafka’s three attempts at full-length fiction (unfinished by him and by us) without muffling the impact of his seismic originality.” And so on.

I don’t buy it, Martin. I love 90% of Flynn’s essays. The 10% —I’m too lazy to do a detailed search on AVA’s site to find those few which I didn’t read twice.

His latest: “If You Really Loved Me…” It took me a while into his playlet (never was I a quick study) before I realized his plot was a satirical fantasy. 

What the hell’s Washburne thinking? Did he forget France, in May 1940? Nice friendly bunch enjoying good wine and cheese when all of a sudden its next door neighbor sends million highly armed soldiers to intent on getting all those tasty goodies and those coal deposits in Saarland. That might suggest the evil General will be in his job a while and the Valedictorian might find sex, drugs and rock and roll a little taxing under the thumb of….Anyway, I got it.

Instead, I’d like to say why Flynn is a brilliant iconoclastic, post modern writer that we need to get our brains working, our mind-sets challenged, and our (my) use of our language and words upgraded. I’ll cite a few examples: 

Insight into our mindsets: Coach Cavender’s Retirement: (December 12, 2019)

A beautiful paean to a man who overcame a childhood of poverty to become a great teacher and coach, and much more off the field, and behind the scenes. Washburne, while acknowledging that he and the Coach “disagree on pretty much any subject…” he concludes with “this just goes to prove my long-held assertion that any beliefs or opinions about meaningless abstractions or things that have nothing to do with you, e.g., politics and/or economic systems, are not only the least interesting things about you but the most ineffective at determining your character and suitability for friendship. 

That’s something to appreciate and think about. 

Language and words that make you want to know to get smarter. The Life Pastoral (June 12, 2019)

How about this sentence? “For those creative writing classes I’ve taken where the professor insists on using one and two syllable familiar words, I say sometimes maybe often but hang on to this: I’ve been feeling lately as if I should be (or should have been) evolving. Not in the literal sense, although some kind of spontaneous flash mutation like growing gills or supernumerary phalanges or toxin-secreting glands might be fun, and of course being the launch point of the age of Novo Homo would satisfy that need to have Done Something Meaningful, but just not only acquiring but actually applying some wisdom to this accidental brush-fire I call my life.”

I say “Stand up and applaud, Mister Amis and Mister Ellroy.”

Thinking unconventionally (of course) and with brutal personal honesty about our drug problem Solving Drugs (April 3, 2019)

“Better question, where's the surgery? Brain researchers can pinpoint the exact place where shopping lists are stored; why can't they isolate this insane urge to render myself stupid and felonious?”

Yea, how about a slice of the cost of incarceration be granted to brain research on addiction—any and all addictions?

For an important crazed mindset we Americans in particular exhibit: 

“Some people like to throw Christianity at addiction, and while at a casual glance this might appear akin to lying on your couch and hoping your house will clean itself, it seems to work sometimes, which suggests a better comparison of fishing with dynamite.”

He backs off on this by saying he was joking but I hope he wasn’t. And Christopher Hitchens would have loved to have used this line in “God Is Not Good: Religion Poisons Everything.” Full disclosure: I’m an atheist. 

It’s Not All Bad (April 8, 2020):

A fearless risk-taking writer. I love this.

“Yes, print media is a lame, blind donkey running in the Preakness. Where have all the other Washburnes gone? Not all their departures can be blamed on print media’s financial woes. A valentine to AVA who I hope will be America’s Last Newspaper—after I’m dead — another disclosure it has published three of my articles.”

And he fears not the bane of those who think the world is ending with covid-19 the cause.

“It is not only highway deaths being prevented, either; consider the fact that all the bars and nightclubs are closed, and with that goes the nightly body count of loudmouthed drunks being stabbed and stomped to death, gangbangers displaying their terrible marksmanship by pegging innocent dancers instead of the intended differently-hued bandanna, and wayward drunks, passing out in snowdrifts and freezing to death.” 

Cheers in my head.

On this subject I had a thought: What good could come from this pandemic.

Today there are 20.5 million Americans 75 years and older. The number increases daily. 

28 million over 70. Of those, 835,000 live in assisted living facilities.

How many of these people are terminally ill or don’t know who their kids are, suffering from serious dementia?

Seventy per cent of the cost of Medicare is incurred during people’s last nine months of life.

What percent of these 20.5 million contribute anything to society? 

By that I mean working a job and paying income tax, or volunteering in any way to help others. My guess would be less than a third.

All of these 20.5 million are likely receiving social security payments and some form of health subsidies. 

Reducing Social Security and Medicare costs, both entitlements are projected by our government to be seriously challenged as more people live longer. There are various estimates of what year both will be out of funds.

This is why I had hoped covid-19 would help those terminally ill pass sooner. 

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A TRIBUTE TO THE STEINHART AQUARIUM two-headed snake, communal pet of our imaginations

by Peter Hartlaub

The two-headed gopher snake at the Steinhart Aquarium was a popular exhibit in the reptile area of the aquarium for decades.

It’s a miracle 100 kids didn’t get lost every day at the old California Academy of Sciences.

The architecture style was early 19th century labyrinth, which seemed to follow M.C. Escher and “Inception” rules of physics. When I first went there in the 1970s and early 1980s, they just let the kids loose to wander aimlessly, without iPhones or chaperones, trusting their homing instincts to make it back to the school bus at 4:15 p.m.

No one had a map. You’d enter the next room and it was a coin flip whether you came across the spiral ramp up to the hypnotically glorious fish roundabout (my first experience with meditation), or a far less exciting room full of minerals. There were live dolphins in Golden Gate Park back then. You never knew you were there until you turned a corner and saw them whooshing by at eye level in the floor-to-ceiling Cal Academy windows.

Which is all to say, there was still an element of surprise to being a kid. And the greatest surprise in all of San Francisco was the two-headed snake.

Everyone had different traditions in San Francisco back then. I went fishing in Lake Merced with my grandmother and we would seek out any concrete slides in the city, yet never ate at Doggie Diner. Some kids went to Golden Gate Park, some hung out at the piers. But everyone in the Bay Area went to the Steinhart Aquarium, and everybody knew the two-headed snake. For about two decades it was the communal pet of the Bay Area.

Reptiles are already an otherworldly experience, a chance to reroute your brain into a prehistoric mind-set. But the two-headed snake was a journey beyond that into pure fantasy. The Cal Academy might as well have had a unicorn in captivity, or a leprechaun. In the realm of things that seemed possible in 1978, Kermit the Frog riding a bicycle made more biological sense than that two-headed snake.

Sept. 28, 1993: Children watch the dolphins at the old Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences. The dolphins moved to Sea World San Antonio two years later.

The snake had one of the smaller enclosures in an L-shaped bank of terrariums, but you always knew it was ahead by the closely packed kids gathered around. Like the Señor Sisig food truck, the crowd seemed to attract a crowd.

The snake — and this part may be pure imagination — seemed to love the limelight. With the approximate length and girth of a pair of jumper cables, it never seemed to go into hiding like many of the other reptiles. Tongues flickering, the two-headed snake didn’t let its fans down.

Here are a few facts about the snake, from The Chronicle archive.

There were at least two of them. Officials announced a baby two-headed garter snake in 1966, that was apparently born at the academy and didn’t survive to see the 1970s.

The second snake that most of us got to know was a gopher snake found by a Napa teacher in 1969 and brought to the academy.

Both heads could eat and drink. The dominant right head ate a full-grown mouse every 10 days. The left head ate baby mice.

The snake was a survivor. A 1973 epidemic caused by a dysentery amoeba killed all of the pythons and anacondas and many of the smaller snakes. Two-head emerged unscathed.

Dec. 3, 1966: A story on the first two-headed snake appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle.

By 1984, it was the oldest two-headed reptile in captivity, exceeding the 12 to 15 years that gopher snakes can live in the wild.

When I last saw the two-headed reptile in 1987 or 1988, while (barely) chaperoning kids at a Burlingame Recreation Department summer camp, it was already the Lawrence Ferlinghetti of gopher snakes. An academy official told me in 2009 that the snake was 22 years old when it died, ancient for the gopher snake and almost certainly still a record for two-headed snakes.

When the earthquake-damaged academy was razed and reopened in 2008, officials wisely complemented the full reboot with nods to the past. The Foucault’s pendulum, seahorse fencing, and … the floating carcass of the two-headed snake, kept in what looked like a Costco-size Skippy peanut butter jar with the label pulled off.

(It was later replaced with a more tasteful photo display, which remains.)

There’s less of an element of surprise for kids in 2020, and that has been a good thing for the communal pet.

My kids talk about Claude the albino alligator at the Steinhart Aquarium, the star of the Cal Academy website, like he’s a member of the family. Webcams allow us to track baby animals in real time around the world. Social media allows us to share our interactions with the free-roaming coyotes and fenced-in bison of Golden Gate Park, the goats of Children’s Fairyland and the seagulls of Oracle Park. (One seagull has its own Twitter account.) And if there aren’t enough animals in our lives, inanimate objects have been brought to life. #KarltheFog

But the two-headed snake will always stand alone, in that everyone who grew up here remembers it while not being quite sure if the whole thing was a dream. From a time when all the answers weren’t at the tips of our fingers — and that let our imaginations soar.

(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)

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* * *

ON TV, RIGHT NOW, something I can’t watch. It’s on CNN and MSNBC. I often turn them on for a minute in the morning for a peep at what’s supposedly happening—then off.

It’s a lavish affair of some kind, a preachery guy with round tones emceeing, praising everybody, George Floyd first and foremost, but the glance I take makes it look like they’re going to acknowledge all the players, all the cherubs—Al Sharpton, Prince of Love, on and on, people of color, mostly. (Don’t you dare say “colored people,” Mitchell. They’ll come for you and disassemble you, limb from limb, so strange it is in this Madrasa 2020, this “rilly big shue,” as the late Ed Sullivan used to say.) 

I remember when Sharpton was the prince of hate, when he stirred the blacks of greater New York to hate all the whites because the NYPD discriminates and murders. It was suitable that he should call out the cops, but Al did it in a particularly spiteful and vengeful way, way more diabolic than christlike. I prefer the current model, but I don’t forget who else is in there.

God forbid that showbiz, hungry for content in the midst of covid and sudden, jolting social change, should co-opt this revolution, monetize it, sell product, weaponize it—TAKE THAT you cops, you rich white people. 

WRONG! The beauty of Floyd’s agony is the INCLUSIVENESS it has spawned among us. I didn’t have to become African to feel his torment; nobody did. We all experienced the shock of seeing a vital man crushed, before our eyes. Let’s not—god almighty—make this a moment for sponsors to bid on, to make friggin MONEY out of.

The eager news cameras flit around demonstrations in every hamlet, every hood. Displays of grief and honor for Floyd and all the people this dead man represents. I see his powerful likeness done again and again. In one, he wears ghostly angel wings.

NO! He was not a goddamn angel! That’s not the point! You don’t have to be an angel—or white—to have an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of security, contentment, civilization, an equal right to drive a car or stand on a sidewalk. THAT’s the goddamn point, and it’s lost if you cloak it in great glowing lies!

Where you see people, especially the members and servants of the commercial class, making a sentimental spectacle of this, for the purposes of prolonging it and milking it—GET IN THEIR FACES!

I love George Floyd, African-American—all African, all American. He was an imposing specimen, like a purebred mastiff, big, strong, handsome. He was an R.Crumb-type black guy: squashed-looking nose, huge lips, daunting height, formidable build—no mistaking this African for anything else. (Still, I keep wanting to say “Lloyd George,” recalling a starchy British prime minister of yesteryear.)

Us lefties and our black brethren might be forgiven for deifying him, if it didn’t open us to the cynicism on my TV just now. Like Rodney King, Floyd looks his part, a giant, virile hero-made-martyr, murdered by a corrupt system circling a black hole. Lefties and the underclasses love and revere him, a creature of this moment, perfect, divine and dead.

He died covid-positive, with (says the official autopsy) uppers and downers in his blood. One listener to the video tapes, which, fortunately and shockingly, keep multiplying and seemingly mutating like covid, claims to hear among the cries and mutterings, “What are you on?” spoken by one of Minneapolis’s Finest.

We don’t know we don’t know. How these things work is, the sorting-out takes place in fits and spurts, in courts, on security cams and in the streets, until the lines between truth and error get smeared into incomprehensibility. Yes, the truth is out there, but you better bring your magnifying glass.

It’s important not to let this love story become a fantasy. The Left usually has honesty in its corner. Rich and powerful need to lie if they want to stay rich and powerful, because their numbers are so few. You don’t want 330 million people snapping at your heels. To keep them in line, you need to feed them stories that support (and disguise) the rich-&-powerful position on things, to make it look like it’s in everybody’s interest (which it plainly is not), so you have to keep the lies coming—dressed in titillatingly skimpy costumes, looking like high fashion, tasty mouth- and eye-candy, a cool ride, a new pill. In election season, this mendacity is on glaring display. 

So, I love George Floyd, the real one (“Perry,” to his friends). He is much more interesting than his postage-stamp version. His story is much more true to the American experience than the spanking, whitewashed, gentle-giant icon. “George Floyd was a peace activist and respected community leader,” says my computer. Probably true. Definitely misleading, and the potential gains of this moment will be won with truth, not BS.

He was a convicted felon, in and out of jail for drugs and petty crime, in and out of the spotlight for being a prize athlete. His ugliest moment came in 2007. He and fellow strong-arm bandits invaded a woman’s home. (She was African-American.) Big Floyd, armed with a gun, searched her home for money and drugs while an accessory pistol-whipped her to shut her up. Floyd did four years for that one, less time for his lesser misdemeanors. He was suspected of passing a phony $20-dollar bill just before he was arrested and murdered. 

He’s the father of five kids by several moms, a member in good standing of the squirt-em-and-abandon-em cohort of the world’s absent fathers. The wailing, now, of daughters and ex-partners, of sons and friends, about the victimization of the gentle giant has that familiar, desperately unfortunate tang of hypocrisy. 

His rap sheet notwithstanding, I love George Floyd. I’m satisfied that he became at least partly a gentle giant (estimates of his height go from 6-4 to 6-6). I watch his living video—he made several —denouncing his bad years and calling young men to the combined benefits of decency and self-advancement. His voice was warm and deep (which proves nothing except the tragedy of having it stilled the way it was). But to make an extravaganza out of his life and death is like making a castle out of sugar. It’s not true and it won’t hold up.

What’s happening in the world is nakedly true. Or it was before the managers started on it. Sharpton basks in its reflected glory, Perry’s family--both estranged and in touch--are pursued by media, who will make them temporary celebs, and Chauvin, a piece of shit if my eyes don’t deceive me, will be the Evil One to Perry’s sainted martyr. 

All this misses the point, which is centuries of oppression to citizens of African descent, and the bigger problem of a good population in a good place, gradually mangled and strangled by a ruthless social, economic and political Freddy Krueger called late-stage capitalism.

But, forget all that liberal crap, this is perfect! Buy it! Get Madison Avenue on it, the media. Distractdistractdistract. Remember the Shock Doctrine. Don’t let an intense national experience go to waste as merely a pivotal moment in our history. Such moments in time have to be managed, else they might go off business’s preferred tracks. 

Get the reform potential out of this, fast! Words like reform, resistance and revolution are to be downplayed at the earliest opportunity. They are commie words, lunatic-Left words, un-American words, disloyal, disRUPtive. Shut that kind of talk down. Get this business under control, goddammit!


— Mitch Clogg

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* * *


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;

- Why the early bird gets the worm;

- Life isn't always fair;

- And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death,

-by his parents, Truth and Trust,

-by his wife, Discretion,

-by his daughter, Responsibility,

-and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 5 stepchildren;

- I Know My Rights

- I Want It Now

- Someone Else Is To Blame

- I'm A Victim

- Pay me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

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Dear Editor,

The Shelter in Place has changed the way we work, play and spend time together as a community. Many children were able to celebrate their birthdays with something called a "Birthday Parade" where friends and families would drive by and wave and drop off a gift. This year I did a bit of a reverse Birthday Parade and turned it into a fundraiser for the Ukiah Food Bank. I started with the small idea of having a handful of friends and families clean out their pantries and I would take the items to the food bank on their behalf. On June 5th I donned my mask and my safety gear visited over thirty prearranged porches in the Ukiah Valley and gathered 1,377 lbs of food. Our community also generously donated $2,575. During this challenging time many are financially strapped and the Ukiah Food Bank has been showing up in a big way to make sure that families and elders can keep food on their tables. I am honored to have been raised in this community and to be raising my children here, because this is what we do, when there's a need we figure out a way to help and support each other. If you would like to donate to the food bank you can mail a check to: Ukiah Food Bank 888 N State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482. Although this came about because of the Shelter in Place I do believe this will become an annual tradition so save the date for June 5th next year, until then, be safe and well. 

Maureen "Mo" Mulheren


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FROM OCCUPATION TO 'OCCUPY': The Israelification of American domestic security. One of the first comprehensive surveys of Israeli training of US local and federal law enforcement officials.

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You tell me there's an angel in your tree
Did he say he'd come to call on me
For things are getting desperate in our home
Living in the parish of the restless folks I know

Everybody now bring your family down to the riverside
Look to the east to see where the fat stock hide
Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
It's time we put the flame torch to their keep

Burn down the mission
If we're gonna stay alive
Watch the black smoke fly to heaven
See the red flame light the sky

Burn down the mission
Burn it down to stay alive
It's our only chance of living
Take all you need to live inside

Ah ah ah
Deep in the woods the squirrels are out today
My wife cried when they came to take me away
But what more could I do just to keep her warm
Than burn burn burn burn down the mission walls

Now everybody bring your family down to the riverside
Look to the east to see where the fat stock hide
Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
It's time we put the flame torch to their keep

Burn down the mission Lord
If we're gonna stay alive
Watch the black smoke fly to heaven
See the red flame light the sky

Burn down the mission Lord
If we're gonna stay alive
It's our only chance of living
Take all you need to live inside

— Bernie Taupin


  1. Eric Sunswheat June 11, 2020

    RE: Reading off of a computer screen for me is uncomfortable to the point of being painful. I’ve come to the conclusion based on research I’ve done (reading Dr. Peter Breggin and Dr. Joanna Moncrieff) that this might be at least partly due to damage done to the frontal lobes of my brain from 20 years of using psychiatric medications. (Keith Bramstedt)

    —>. March 2, 2020
    All psychiatric drugs are potent neurotoxins that so disrupt higher mental functioning and emotional regulation that people taking them almost never have adequate awareness of how much harm the drugs are doing to their body, brain and mind, their energy and will power, and their overall quality of life…
    Injury to the frontal lobes, whose functions also include self-insight or self-awareness… (Dr. Peter Breggin)

    —> May 30, 2020
    Gunnar is serious about blue light filtering eye protection. The company has a “blue light protection factor spectrum,” ranging from the lowest protection of 35, to heavy duty protection at 98 (check out those amber lenses).

    —>. May 12, 2020
    Whether you are spending your day on a PC or a Mac, you should have a blue light filter installed on your computer to help ease the strain on your eyes. A PC or Mac should have a built-in filter for you to access, and there are downloadable options in case your computer doesn’t have this feature available.

    —> January 10, 2020
    You can turn off blue light on your iPhone by activating “Night Shift,” which changes the color of your iPhone’s display.

    —> December 18, 2019
    “Our findings suggest that using dim, cooler, lights in the evening and bright warmer lights in the day may be more beneficial,” study lead, Dr. Tim Brown, said in a statement. This should not be taken at face value, though. The study indicates that brightness levels are more important than color. Furthermore, mice aren’t the same as humans.

  2. Eric Sunswheat June 11, 2020

    Unemployment statistics mischaracterization swindle continues…

    RE: June 9, 2020 6:45 AM PDT
    Wait, so is the real unemployment rate 16%?

    Kind of. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics detailed, survey-takers misclassified a lot of people—around 5 million—as employed but absent from work, rather than unemployed on temporary layoff. If you counted those people as unemployed, the jobless rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher on an unadjusted basis — or about 16%.

    The April report said the unemployment rate would have been almost 5 percentage points higher—or approaching 20%. So both of these statements are true: the rate fell in May, and the real (unofficial) unemployment rate was higher than the given figure in both months.

    —>. June 09, 2020 / 16 hours ago.
    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has recently announced a series of changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, a $660 billion federal initiative designed to tide over small businesses during the pandemic with forgivable loans.

    In the wake of Friday’s stunning jobs report that showed unemployment dropping to 13.3% instead of surging to 20% as many economists had predicted, experts have cited PPP’s role in salvaging more jobs than previously thought.

    —>. JUNE 10, 2020 / 9:04 PM / UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO
    The unemployment rate has jumped from 3.5% in February and was at 13.3% in May.

  3. Harvey Reading June 11, 2020

    Get rid of ALL the statues and memorials to our slave-owning founders, too, especially the slave-raper, Jefferson. The statues and memorials are nothing more than brainwashing intended to make us hold in high, unwarranted, esteem the scum whose only goal was to ensure that they kept ruling–and that commoners knew their “place”–after the limey monarch was out of the picture.

    • George Hollister June 11, 2020

      It is only fitting that we treat the modern day sanctimonious ant-racist hypocrites the same, don’t you think? After all, their rhetoric rhymes with the rhetoric of the historical slave owners. Oh there is so much virtue, and piety to pass around. But there is mostly prejudice to the extreme.

      • Bob Abeles June 11, 2020

        Hey George, you’re sounding unhinged again.

      • Harvey Reading June 11, 2020

        LOL, George, LOL. You old sanctimonious racist you. And, apparently you are unfamiliar with the definition of “rhyme”. Well, at least you are loved by the bureau farmers.

    • Harvey Reading June 11, 2020

      Do you have anything in the way of evidence that they don’t?

      From what I have seen, it looks like Act Blue is a donation handler that, for a percentage fee of the amount donated, accepts donations on behalf of whomever contracted with them to do so, then turns the donated money (excepting the fee) over to the contracting group.

      That said, why Black Lives Matter would contract with a third party to collect donations is beyond me. I am sure they are quite capable of raising and managing funds quite well without help from a third party.

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