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Mendocino County Today: December 24, 2020

Windy | 22 New Cases | Janice Pronsolino | First Pokes | Guard Dropped | Christmas Spirit | Jail Outbreak | Bragg Bridge | Light Show | Blair House | Creek Cleanup | Wiard Sex | Shaker Ladies | Vasquez Suspected | Rhino Tree | Plaque Retrieved | Old Venice | 1981 Flashback | Econ 101 | Death Spiral | Ed Notes | School Closures | Yesterday's Catch | Gone Gone Gone | Crazy Time | Crooked House | Ball Back | Patriot Bracelet | Virtual Holiday | Square People | Far East Cafe | Wake Gay | Raging Away | Found Object

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CLOUDS AND SOUTHERLY WINDS will be on the increase ahead of a storm system due to impact northwest California on Friday. Widespread rain is likely with that system, as well as gusty coastal winds and mountain snow across Trinity county. Showers and a few thunderstorms are forecast to move across the area Friday night into Saturday morning. Another period of dry weather will be possible Saturday afternoon followed by additional rain chances later Sunday in the southern portions of the forecast area. (NWS)

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22 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Wednesday, bringing the total to 2314.

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JANICE MARIE PRONSOLINO

June 20, 1954 - November 19, 2020

Janice Marie Pronsolino passed away November 19, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. Janice was born June 20, 1954. She was raised on the Mailliard ranch in Yorkville. Janice attended school in Boonville.

While growing up Janice was very active in her school, sports and 4-H. She made lifelong friends in the Valley whom she maintained close relationships with until she passed. Janice led a very exciting life.

She worked as an administrative assistant for Steve Dorfman auction company. This job took her all over the western United States and ignited her passion for travel. She worked as an administrative assistant for auctions at the Cow Palace and the Reno Bull Sale.

Janice had a long career working at multiple companies including Ford Gravel, Parnum Paving and Maverick in Ukiah.

Travel was Janice’s passion and she has taken trips all over the world. Her favorite places were Italy, Ireland and Texas. She was always planning a trip somewhere.

Janice’s greatest joy was her family.

Her favorite thing to do was hang out at the ranch with family. 

She was preceded in death by her mother and father Guido and Betty Pronsolino. She is survived by her uncle and aunt Angelo and Eileen Pronsolino, her brother Ron Pronsolino sister-in-law Jennifer Pronsolino, her brother Guy Pronsolino, nephew Kris Pronsolino his wife Kayla Pronsolino, her niece Vanessa Spacek her husband Steve Spacek, nephew Rusty Pronsolino, niece Marci Norris and her husband Bobby Norris. Her great-nieces Charlotte and Josie Pronsolino, great-nephews Jack, Gus, Everett, and Stuart Spacek, great-niece Shawnee Norris and great-nephews Harrison and Hunter Norris.

She is also survived by many cousins and friends. She was a bright light in the lives of everyone who knew her and she will be greatly missed.

She always gave the best advice and she would always say; “Life is short. Take the trip. Eat the cheesecake. Drink the margarita. You never know what tomorrow will bring.”

Ed note: Boonville locals will recall that Janice Pronsolino was one of the proprietors of the popular Fish Rock Farm Girls Antique Shop in the Farrer Building (which closed in the fall of 2018).

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AVFD FIRST RESPONDERS receive round one of the COVID-19 vaccine at Anderson Valley Health Center. This year has been challenging to say the least. We're looking forward to better times ahead! 

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COVID AND ME: I was bad, but I’ll be better

by Jonah Raskin

I was bad. I admit it and I’m sorry. On Thanksgiving, I joined a dozen or so friends and some strangers, too, for a feast.

We sat outdoors on a farm. Sadly, we did not practice social distancing and we did not wear masks or any facial covering. I ate, I drank, I talked and I went home. I felt well, though more than full on goose and pie. I had no COVID-19 symptoms: no fever, no cough, no diarrhea. I took pictures of the Thanksgiving gathering and posted one of them on my Facebook page. Someone saw it and wrote a comment in which she expressed real concern that we didn’t follow COVID-19 protocol. That was the first awareness that I’d done something wrong. Then I saw a health practitioner and told her about my Thanksgiving. She nearly freaked out, though she was kind and caring. She insisted that I be tested.

I called a phone number, went online and made an appointment for a test at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. I found it challenging to locate the actual site. After all, the fairgrounds are large; signage was in my view inadequate.

I parked my car and joined the line which went quickly. A woman in white, and with all the necessary protections, stuck a stick in both nostrils and gathered what she needed.

I went home, I carried on, wore my mask and did the social distancing thing. A few days after the test I heard that I was negative. I told all my friends the good news.

I’m writing this now because I want to say that I was as bad as anyone else. Maybe I wasn’t bad, just sloppy and stupid. Before I went to that Thanksgiving gathering, I thought that “other” people didn’t wear masks and didn't remain 6 feet apart. Suddenly I was one of them, and I had a Ph.D and was a professor emeritus at Sonoma State University.

I realized that all my supposed “smarts” didn’t help me when it came to Thanksgiving and COVID-19. I know that I went to my friend’s farm because I didn’t want to be home alone. I wanted to share the time and the experience. Now I’m thinking of Christmas.

I don’t know what I’ll do or where I’ll go, if anywhere. I know that I can stay home, be by myself, prepare a meal, say grace, go to bed early and be happy.

(Jonah Raskin is a professor emeritus at Sonoma State University. He lives in Cotati.)

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COVID IN THE JAIL (Despite months of keeping covid at bay…)

A corrections Deputy employed at the Mendocino County Jail had been off work with an illness. Per policy the deputy received testing for COVID-19. On Saturday December 19, 2020 the Corrections Deputy reported to Jail Administration that he had taken a COVID-19 test and received a positive result. Working with County Human Resources, contact tracing was immediately done. Two employees were identified as being potentially exposed and were subsequently tested. On December 21, 2020, one of those employees received a positive test. An additional employee reported feeling ill and submitted to COVID-19 testing, and was also found to be positive that same date.

Because of the positive results, Jail Administration reached out to Mendocino County Public Health, who arranged for testing kits for all staff members. Testing began for all staff members on December 22, 2020. The Mendocino County Public Health Department also worked to secure test kits so that all of the inmate population and corrections staff can be tested. Testing has begun and will continue until all inmates and staff have been tested.

In the evening of December 22, 2020, three male inmates reported feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. On site jail medical staff from Naphcare responded immediately and began testing the three inmates. The three inmates all tested positive for COVID-19. Based on those results, the housing unit in which they were assigned was quarantined, following the jail’s COVID-19 policy, to avoid any potential spread of the virus.

In the morning of December 23, 2020, a fourth male inmate from a different housing unit, complaining of flu-like symptoms, was tested and found to be positive. Again, following the jail’s COVID-19 policy, the housing unit in which the inmate was housed was placed on quarantine.

In addition to the normal cleaning of the jail, a deep cleaning of the jail was performed by staff following the positive findings.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Bekke Emery and her staff for their quick response in assisting us, and providing the necessary testing supplies so that testing can be completed for the safety of inmates and staff.

Working with our partners at the Public Health Department, we will continue working to keep the staff and residents within the Mendocino County Jail safe.

(Sheriff's Presser)

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Fort Bragg Bridge

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ANDERSON VALLEY LIGHT SHOW

We welcome residences of the Valley to come drive through and watch the light show that is on display at 11255 Anderson Valley Way. We ask that you remain in your vehicle and follow any covid guidelines and restrictions set by the county. The light show will be available to watch from dark to 10pm. The driveway is a single lane road that loops around at the top of the road (Keep to the right). As you drive through, please feel free to roll down your window and listen to the music that plays along to the dancing lights. Only one vehicle is permitted at a time since there is not a passing lane. We know times have been rough and we hope this brings a little joy and entertainment. Hope you all have a Happy Holiday, From The Johnsons 

As a reminder please remain in your vehicle.

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Blair House, Mendocino

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CLEANING UP AFTER THE SLOBS

During December of 2020, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office responded to and addressed ongoing trespass violations occurring on privately owned land located within the Hare Creek drainage in Fort Bragg, California.

These properties totaled just over 150-acres, bordered by Hare Creek Beach on the west and by California Jackson State Demonstration Forest to the east.

These properties had a long history of non-permitted use by the homeless, mainly because they provided an out of sight location. The associated encampments and activity generated numerous health and safety concerns and conditions.

Aside from large accumulations of garbage, biohazards, and fire risks, the centralized location of these properties contributed to other criminal activity that went beyond illegal drug use and negatively impacted neighboring residents and nearby businesses.

Accounting for the severity and long-term impacts these issues carried, the Sheriff’s Office sought out the assistance and participation of other agencies and organizations to support the strategic and successful response that followed, which was aimed at providing a long-term solution to the trespass issues, addressing needs of the homeless, and restoration of the properties.

The following people, agencies, and/or organizations participated and provided their services to meet these goals and their involvement and the collaborative approach and response taken was instrumental to improving the quality of life in our community.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Fort Bragg Police Department, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mendocino County Code Enforcement, the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency Advocacy & Collaboration Team, and the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center for their participation and services provided during this project.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to give special thanks to the Rotary Club of Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg Fire Department, and Friends of the Hospitality House, the Mendocino Land Trust, and Sovereign, for volunteering their time to collect and remove approximately 60 cubic yards of garbage from these properties on 12-21-20.

The Sheriff’s Office also thanks the California Department of Transportation for furnishing trash collection equipment and for disposal of all the collected garbage.

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WIARD AGAIN: This time as a chomo

On Sunday, December 20, 2020 at about 6:15 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to assist a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer in regards to a suspected child abuse situation in the 4500 block of Mill Creek Road in Ukiah.

Upon the Deputy’s arrival, they contacted Brandon Wiard and a 13 year-old female who had been contacted by the Wildlife Officer who was on routine patrol.

Brandon Wiard

The Deputy conducted an initial investigation and obtained information that Wiard had potentially engaged in sexual acts with the female juvenile.

Based on the circumstances, Sheriff's Detectives were contacted and assumed control of the investigation.

During the subsequent investigation, it is believed Wiard had engaged in unlawful sexually activity beginning when the female juvenile was 12 years-old and extended over the course of about one year.

Following the December 20, 2020 contact, Wiard was initially arrested for willfully engaging in lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of fourteen, and for participating in an act of oral copulation with a person under fourteen years of age.

A Mendocino County Superior Court Judge was contacted and based on the allegations a bail enhancement was requested and accepted.

Wiard was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for the aforementioned charges and was to be held in lieu of $175,000 bail.

This case remains under investigation and Sheriff's Detectives are requesting persons familiar with Wiard or who have specific knowledge related to this incident or other incidents of the same nature to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line at 707-234-2100.

The case has been forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for review of additional charges related to Wiard’s sexual activity with the juvenile female.

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New York Shakers, 1903

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VASQUEZ AGAIN

On Monday, December 21, 2020 at approximately 6:54 A.M. Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a report of a commercial burglary at a construction site in the 300 block of Brush Street in Ukiah.

Deputies were advised that various tools and construction equipment totaling approximately $5,000 had been stolen from the construction site.

Deputies conducted an investigation and were able to identify a possible suspect responsible for the burglary.

At approximately 3:45 P.M. Deputies responded to an address in the 13000 block of Nokomis Road in Hopland where they contacted Adam Vasquez.

Adam Vasquez

Prior to responding to the address, Deputies determined Vazquez was on probation. One term of Vasquez' probation was that he must submit his person and residence to search to any peace officer.

Deputies made contact with Vasquez at the residence and he would only speak to them through an open window. Deputies advised Vasquez they would be conducting a search of his residence pursuant to his probation terms. Vasquez was argumentative with Deputies but ultimately exited the residence onto the back porch.

The Deputies again advised Vasquez they would be searching his residence, at which time Vasquez fled back inside the residence, closing the door behind him. Vasquez ran through the residence and was apprehended as he exited the front door. Vasquez was detained at that time.

Deputies continued their investigation and developed probable cause to believe that Vasquez was responsible for the burglary.

Vasquez was ultimately placed under arrest for Second Degree Burglary, Violation of Probation and Resisting or Delaying a Peace Officer.

Vasquez was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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Rhino Tree

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MAUREEN MULHEREN:

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Many people have asked me where “The ladies of the night” plaque went. It was removed. The peace pole has returned and the community now has the plaque back. I’ll be reaching out to the City Manager and the Historical Society to ask that it be placed in a public location so that change of ownership or other private property challenges don’t come up in the future. This was not related to the Streetscape and I just want to empathize with the community that all that we have gone through this year, this was a sudden shock. I’m glad that it was retrieved and I look forward to finding a new location for it.

Edited to add: I specifically didn't go into a lot of details about the removal of the plaque and now some people are being harassed which is not ok. It certainly has brought up the conversation of history and what should be remembered and what shouldn't. I also very much respect people's right to freedom of speech and we are all entitled to our opinions but my post was in no way meant to bring attention to the debate about the plaque merely to announce that it will be returned to a public location. I don't think the importance to our community of the plaque at the time that it was removed was known to the owner or some of the people in the area. It's very clear how special our history is to us Ukiahans and we can all work together to make sure that plaques and other historical references are placed on public property. Join the Historical Society and donate a park bench or a tree.

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San Giorgio Island, Venice, Italy, 1800s

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MENDOFLASHBACK: Sheriff Jondahl Warns Residents to 'Destroy Marijuana BEFORE It Destroys Our Children'

Mendocino County’s relationship with marijuana is well established being one of the globe’s top producers of cannabis. For decades, marijuana cultivators and local law enforcement have clashed and even today stakeholders are coming to grips with the legal cannabis industry and enforcement priorities.

mendofever.com/2020/12/23/mendoflashback-sheriff-jondahl-warns-residents-to-destroy-marijuana-before-it-destroys-our-children/

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PUBLIC SCHOOLS FACE FUNDING ’DEATH SPIRAL’ AS ENROLLMENT DROPS

Even with a promised lifeline of billions of federal dollars, public schools in many parts of the country are headed for a financial cliff, as the coronavirus drives up the costs of education while tax revenue and student enrollment continue to fall.

pressdemocrat.com/article/news/public-schools-face-funding-death-spiral-as-enrollment-drops/

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ED NOTES

THE AV FOOD BANK is a volunteer organization that dispenses food to needy locals twice a month. Demand has never been greater. 317 people were served at the first round in December, 527 at the Christmas distribution last week.

BUT the Food Bank was suddenly asked to leave its long-time home behind the Boonville Methodist Church, and to be out by the end of December. No explanation was given, or at least an explanation that anybody who might know will disclose.

PERHAPS in the spirit of the season, or perhaps belatedly realizing that the eviction of a charity by a Christian church at this time of year would represent a fundamental contradiction of Christ's message, the eviction was put over until the end of January. 

THE FOOD BANK, betrayed by Peter, turned to Paul in the form of the Mendocino County Fair Board where Paul demanded an extortionate one thousand dollars a month as a site to feed the hungry twice a month. 

PHILO GRANGE to the rescue. The Food Bank has been invited to do its crucial work out of the Grange, where distribution commences in February.

AS ONE VOLUNTEER put it, “This is holy work especially during this challenging time. We are thankful for all the help of our beloved community. The Food Bank is a long list of dedicated local volunteers, some who pack the bags while some who distribute the packed bags. Some help every Food Bank. Some help occasionally when we are short handed. Some people buy us food when our usual delivery is sparse. Some people share food from their gardens. I would say we are a collective of people who are all in agreement that no one should go hungry.” 

SO, JOSEPH AND MARY arrive destitute in Boonville, Mary heavily pregnant. Turned away by the Methodists as theologically incompatible, the couple walk down the street in search of a manger at the Boonville Fairgrounds where they're told, “We have a manger out back, but we'll need a thousand bucks up front and proof of insurance.”

ATTA BOY, DONNIE. Trump said today (Wednesday) that he would veto the chintzy $900 billion “relief” package passed by Congress on Monday unless checks are more than tripled from $600 to $2,000. ($5,000 would be more like real help, but…) Trump said it had “taken forever” to get the bill passed and called the terms “a disgrace,” adding Queeg-like, “Send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package and maybe that administration will be me and we will get it done.” Nancy Pelosi replied, “Let's do it!” in a tweet responding to Trump. “Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. House Democrats will pass such a measure on Christmas Eve, using a procedure called unanimous consent. The $2,000 checks will pass automatically unless a lawmaker verbally objects.” Which a bunch will, of course. But all of this is mutual woof-woofing, and expect, if anything, the smaller amount.

UKIAH SHAFTS JENNY

“Any qualified individual who would like to make a difference in the community and is interested in serving for the unexpired term ending November 2022, may apply for this vacancy,” the official notice reads. “The candidate must reside within the city limits of Ukiah and be a registered voter at that address.” The salary for the position is $490 per month and $837 per month in health benefits, with an expected time commitment of 25 to 35 hours per month. 

NO FAIR PLAY FOR JENNY KIMBLER? Ordinarily, when there's a vacancy on an elected body after an election, the next person in line gets the appointment. Not in Ukiah. Ms. Kimbler came in third in a two-seat city council election, garnering more votes than incumbent pwoggie, Steve Scalamini. 

THEN A SEAT became vacant when Mo Mulherren was elected Supervisor, but instead of seating Ms. K an anonymous decision was made to “select” someone other than Ms. K. 

WHY?

BECAUSE MS. K is a Trumper. Additionally, on her facebook page Ms. K made some “inappropriate” comments about the Breonna Taylor tragedy along the lines that in Ms. K's opinion Breonna's boyfriend is a “scumbag.” 

A PERSONAL OPINION on a private social media site, plus a generally critical assessment of Ukiah's stumbling city government sent up such a gasp of pure horror on the town's Westside it was heard in Boonville, and Ms. Kimbler was outta there!

ACCORDING to the UDJ's story on the L' Affair Kimbler by Justine Frederiksen, “Many of the letters [opposed to Kimbler] also advocated against the council appointing the candidate with the third-highest number of votes, Jenny Kimbler, describing comments she made in a since-deleted Facebook post regarding the shooting of Breonna Taylor and the protests that followed as alarming and inappropriate. 

”Kimbler received 1,754 votes, 29 more than incumbent Steve Scalmanini (1,725).

"Kimbler did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment last week, but did send comments recently regarding her Facebook post and why she ran for a City Council seat.

“I would like to say thank you to all who supported me and voted for me,” Kimbler wrote. “I ran because I wanted to help Ukiah, the town I grew up  in, and bring back the town I love. With that said, this election was not  what I expected. I have said some things in a moment of anger, and what  happened afterwards made me realize that this community is not ready to  hear different opinions, and that people who have different views can be  subjected to attacks, threatened and called names. I’m grateful to  everyone who knew what was truly in my heart, and supported and voted for  me.  

“The past few months have made me realize that I do not need to be on the City Council to make a difference for my community,” Kimbler continued. “I  can do all that on my own, therefore I do not plan on accepting a seat on the Ukiah City Council. I will continue supporting our community in every way I can, especially our small businesses. I plan on volunteering locally  and being involved in my community now more than ever, and making sure we continue to demand accountability of our city officials. I hope this  brings everyone peace and I hope you can give my family the same peace.” 

KIMBLER’S PLATFORM: jennykimblerukiahcitycouncil.com/about

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Pamela wholeheartedly supported school closures… until the schools closed.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 23, 2020

Adams, Balam, Brock

LAURA ADAMS, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.

CARLOS BALAM, Oakland/Ukiah. DUI.

VINCENT BROCK, Ukiah. Battery, brandishing, vandalism, resisting, failure to appear.

Charles, Cisneros, Cordova

LAWRENCE CHARLES, Clearlake/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance. 

ADOLFO CISNEROS, Ukiah. Domestic battery, cild cruelty with possible injury or death, probation revocation.

CARRIE CORDOVA-DALSON, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, false ID, probation revocation.

Faust, Franks, French, Hurt

MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

SCOTT FRANKS, Ukiah. Stolen property, probation revocation.

JEFFREY FRENCH, Willits. Grand theft, controlled substance, probation revocaiton.

WYATT HURT, Covelo. Burglary, vandalism, assault weopon, controlled substance, disobeying court order.

Jackson, Knox, Ornelas

JORDAN JACKSON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JAMES KNOX III, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, parole violation.

TASHA ORNELAS, Ukiah. Failure to appear. (Frequent Flyer)

Ray, Reyes, Smith, Wiard

SKYLER RAY, Ukiah. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run with damage.

IRA REYES, Covelo. Controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person, felon-addict with firearm, offenses while on bail, failure to appear.

COLTON SMITH, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

BRANDON WIARD, Ukiah. Continuous sexual abuse of child, lewd/lascivious actions upon child under 14, vending machine theft/tools for opening same, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

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YULETIDE GREETINGS

by Matt Taibbi

I bought a tree, and on the way home, found myself pondering environmental impact. I hate fake trees, but was it time to invest in one? Surely it’s better for the earth to keep a single re-usable implement in the garage, as opposed to yearly slaughtering a living, oxygen-producing, CO2-consuming being?

At home, like all good Americans, I asked Google for moral advice. It turns out real trees are righteous. We should think of them “more like cucumbers or corn than towering pines,” I read. Their carbon impact routs that of fake trees (which require “intense carbon emissions to produce and ship”), and tree farmers use sustainable methods and plant 1-3 seedlings in place of every tree cut down. Real trees are also fully biodegradable and have all sorts of uses even after being discarded, including, get this, helping forestall beach erosion. In other words, you actually help the environment by killing a tree.

On the other hand, at least some of the 10 million or so fake trees America buys every year end up getting thrown out, adding to the jaw-dropping 25% increase in trash discarded every year in this country between Thanksgiving and the New Year. That’s 1 million tons of extra trash per annum, which CNN says includes “everything from food to wrapping paper, holiday decorations, packaging, and old cellphones and laptops that are unceremoniously dumped as soon as the latest models emerge from under the Christmas tree.” Buy a real tree, sure, but you’ll probably still suck for what you put under it.

After placing my tree in a stand, I watched another video, about how a single Christmas tree can be filled with up to 25,000 pests, including mites, aphids, mice, frogs, and even “small snakes.” A new-ish arrival called the “brown marmorated stink bug” has apparently already eaten much of the state of Maryland. It turns out there’s a whole genre of bug-in-Christmas-tree horror stories on YouTube, many from local affiliates using classic ledes like, “This year, there may be more than ornaments hanging from your tree…” If you want to second-guess away every seemingly innocent moment of your life, just let your mind wander on the Internet for thirty seconds or so. That’ll fix you.

2020 has been a rough year, in the area of taking second looks at things long taken for granted. This was a year in which things we knew were problematic, like Thomas Jefferson’s slave-owning past or the name of Dan Snyder’s multi-dimensionally embarrassing football team, became unacceptable, while other things not previously identified as big problems, like blind auditions at the New York Philharmonic, Abraham Lincoln, and air, became so.

It may be simple maturation, or a mass effort at constructing a new order as traditional religious traditions fade, or even a by-product of being forced by a pandemic to spend (a lot) more time online, but the defining characteristic of 2020 America was its manic re-evaluation of everything, from history to gender to language to nationality to government, law, love, art, humor, sex, family, and countless other things. We’ve become a society awash in data and options, while fewer and fewer old guiding principles pass smell tests, leaving us in an accelerating cycle of increased choice and dwindling conviction.

From elections to money (how long can the Fed keep this up?), no one in the Covid-19 age seems to know what the definition of anything is anymore, and the appearance of UFOs as an apparently legit news story this year not only made weird sense, but underscored the new upside-down nature of everything.

Hell, why not aliens? Maybe that’s who can tell us whether or not to blow up Mount Rushmore, or explain why our political comedy suddenly sucks so much, if advanced beings even have comedy. After this year, I’m a little concerned visitors from the futuristic civilizations might have bad news on that front.

America for all its political and moral depravity was once fairly advanced in its sense of fun. We gave the world rock n’ roll, free love, monster dunks, rap, twerking, cartoons, standup, the Marx Brothers, doughnuts, and Die Hard. It was part of our basically Protestant tradition: we believed that if you worked to earn the money yourself, you should be free to spend it on pet rocks or booze or an obscene motorcycle with flame decals that spews fumes and noise in all directions.

The modern American lacks such a spiritual permission mechanism and is paralyzed by floods of data about the impact of recreational decisions. Eat bacon, and you’re helping build disgusting, pathogen-filled manure lagoons. Buy a burger, you’re deforesting Brazil. Your awesome sneakers were stitched by Indonesian 12-year-olds. That soda bottle you just tossed will end up in an expanding Pacific Ocean garbage patch already three times the size of France. Part of that will be your fault. Beyond that, social scientists are claiming to learn more all the time about how your words and even your involuntary thoughts and actions are constantly harming those all around you, in thousands of “micro” sins you never imagined possible.

The more you learn, the harder it is to avoid the conclusion that any human community including you is a destructive force, ironically like a virus, making it the responsibility of all educated people to work toward lessening its destructive footprint before any of us can even think about enjoying ourselves again. If only we could un-know it all! The Unabomber was right: not only has technology enslaved us, making us permanent handmaidens to machines supposedly designed to save us time, it has vastly expanded the scope of perceivable responsibility, saddling each of us with the task of fixing a whole world that, in years like this one, seems beyond repair.

Maybe the only solution really is to blow it all up. Maybe I should have bought a real tree, and a truck full of fertilizer. Why do things by halves? Strike a blow all at once…

Or just stay off Google, hang some stockings, and just enjoy the holidays, a beautiful thing even this year. It’s one or the other, probably. In all seriousness, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, have fun and relax in the best way you can, for as long as you can, with the people you love the most. We all deserve a break, from this crazy time and from our own worries.

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THE CROOKED HOUSE

Completed in 2004, the building was designed by Szotyńscy & Zaleski who were inspired by the fairytale illustrations and drawings of Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg as well as designs by Antoni Gaudí.

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PATRIOT BRACELET

Editor,

With mass vaccination essential to vanquish COVID-19, taking a shot for the team could earn one a green, elastic, waterproof “patriot bracelet.” I want one. Just showing it on one’s wrist would earn one special entry to stores, restaurants, theaters, airliners, hair and nail salons and school classes.

A chip encoded with one’s ID, driver’s license number and date of birth would enable easy detection of illicit transfers or counterfeiting.

Inexpensive, mass-produced and dispensed upon completion of one’s second injection, it could incentivize getting vaccinated and be a bipartisan badge of caring for humanity, freedom and the shared prosperity of speeding up reopening for every country. Reassuring, voluntary, free and painless to wear, even when bathing.

Dr. Brien Seeley

Santa Rosa

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“I’m at my work’s virtual holiday party, drinking my fourth virtual white-wine spritzer, staring at my virtual phone, behind a large virtual potted plant.”

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THEY PUT ME DOWN, man, those square people in Port Arthur. They called me a slut. They threw rocks at me in class. But all I was looking for was some kind of personal freedom and other people who felt the way I did.

— Janis Joplin

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FAR EAST CAFE, one of San Francisco Chinatown’s oldest restaurants, is permanently closing at the end of the month.

Owner Bill Lee told the Chinatown-focused Wind Newspaper that he had no choice — the 100-year-old restaurant can’t survive on takeout alone. Far East Cafe was hanging on when outdoor dining was allowed, but now Lee said he can’t afford to keep going without a clear end to the pandemic in sight. Malcolm Yeung, executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, confirmed the news.

https://trib.al/rcp6XkV

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RAGING AWAY

(to be sung at volume to the tune of a dirty old ditty)

Some presidents write speeches,
Others they write books.
The Donald uses Twitter
Despite how lame it looks. Oh! . . .

(Chorus):
Raging away at Donald,
Raging away all day.
What’ll we do for our hullabaloo
When Donald’s gone away?

Candidates pay lawyers
And campaign expenses due.
Donald pays off his Stormys,
Takes tax deductions too. Oh! . . .

(Chorus)

Some presidents use wit,
Others they use charm.
But Donald uses veiled threats
Of vengeance and crude harm. Oh! . . .

(Chorus)

Cisco had his Pancho.
Batman his Robin true.
Vladimir got his Donald,
So now Vlad’s got us too. Oh! . . .

(Chorus)

Europe suffered plagues,
The world its Spanish Flu.
We got a little Covid,
Then, “like a miracle,” it GREW. Oh! . . .

(Chorus)

Instead of good behavior,
“Loyalty” is key
To winning Donald’s pardons
And getting off scot free. Oh! . . .

(Chorus)

We go to court for justice.
Donald goes there for delay,
Knowing justice if he plays it right
Must wait another day. Oh! . . .

(Chorus)

You try to vote by mail,
The Donald calls that fraud.
But he could shoot you on 5th Ave.
And thinks we’d all applaud. Oh! . . .

(Chorus)

For dirt on Joe and Hunter,
He did bribery, a crime
In violation of the U.S. Code,
And could face heavy time. Oh! . . .

Raging away at Donald,
Raging away all day.
What’ll we do for our hullabaloo
When Donald’s gone away?

© 2020 Jim Luther

* * *

FOUND OBJECT

9 Comments

  1. Lazarus December 24, 2020

    FOUND OBJECT

    “I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me.”
    — Humphrey Bogart

    Merry Christmas, and be well.
    Laz

  2. Marshall Newman December 24, 2020

    Rest easy, Janice Pronsolino. You will be missed. Say “Hi” to Steve Dorfman for me.

  3. Eric Sunswheat December 24, 2020

    Bracelets For Immunity?
    -> RE: PATRIOT BRACELET. Dear Editor… With mass vaccination essential to vanquish… caring for humanity, freedom and the shared prosperity… even when bathing.
    (Dr. Brien Seeley, Santa Rosa)

    -> December 24, 2020
    On Monday, a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases official said the US is looking at why some people have suffered severe allergic reactions shortly after receiving the Pfizer shot…

    Slaoui said discussions are underway between the vaccine makers and the National Institutes of Health to consider holding clinical trials of vaccines in very allergic populations, such as people who always have to carry anti-allergy medication in an EpiPen.
    https://nypost.com/2020/12/24/frequency-of-allergic-reactions-to-pfizer-vaccine-greater-than-expected/

    -> December 24, 2020
    Africa’s top public health official said on Thursday that a new strain of the coronavirus has been found in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country…
    “It’s a separate lineage from the U.K. and South Africa,” said Nkengasong.
    https://thehill.com/homenews/news/531560-another-new-strain-suspected-in-nigeria-africa-cdc

  4. Harvey Reading December 24, 2020

    “Patriot Bracelet”

    Seig effen Heil! It’s sad how stupid the upper and middling classes have become. You can wear mine, Doc.

  5. Craig Stehr December 24, 2020

    New Beginnings
    It is so liberating, so absolutely freeing to have sent out yesterday my FINAL NOTICE in search of others who would be spiritually centered and form a radical environmental direct action group. I will keep to my promise not to bore my associations with any further philosophical pleas to do the right thing, nor any more enjoinments to perform advanced yoga sadhana in order to unify the mind at its Source. I mean, if others do not care about the ecological condition of the planet earth, and also do not care if they are deluded, it cannot possibly be my problem.
    Got up early this morning at The Magic Ranch and fed the dogs and farm animals, and then, went back to the cozy bedroom and got back under the covers and chanted the Hare Krishna mahamantram until noon. Attentive to all of the mental changes for three hours, a thousand intruding thoughts, indeed, the entire play of consciousness. Watched without agonizing over the details of what was a movie of life from birth to the Golden Present. Afterwards, got up at precisely noon and did the bathroom ritual, got dressed, and made a fried panful of the veggie stew plus two eggs and grated cheddar cheese, with toast and mixed berry jam, plus coffee. Spent a sunny afternoon outside, walking around with the dogs, the three of us laughing at the absurdity of this civilization, although we are not among its discontents.
    Right this second, am sitting at the dining room table enjoying a bagel and peanut butter with strawberry jam and a cup of Tulsi tea. Deposited some money in the new bank account in Redwood Valley, CA, received due to closing my Honolulu checking account. I do not know what the future of The Magic Ranch is going to be, but there is a chance that it will succeed as an amazing social and cultural center. It could be a beacon of light in an American society which has lost its way utterly.
    For now, nondualism prevails, advanced yoga sadhana goes on and on, ensuring non attachment to the consumerist hell realm, and a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

    Craig Louis Stehr
    December 23, 2020
    Email me at craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Awaiting my government stimulus check, hence no Paypal requests.

    • Lazarus December 24, 2020

      I hope you’re not holding your breath…
      Be Swell,
      Laz

  6. Marmon December 24, 2020

    RE: SOMEBODY JUST SHOOT ME

    NPR LISTS CARDI B’S ‘WET ASS PU**Y’ AS ‘BEST’ SONG OF 2020

    Marmon

    • Lazarus December 24, 2020

      I wonder if that has anything to do with the “Access Hollywood” deal?
      Happy Christmas…
      Laz

    • pca December 24, 2020

      I don’t cook, I don’t clean
      But let me tell you how I got this ring…

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