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Mendocino County Today: Friday, April 23, 2021

Wet Weekend | 2 New Cases | Yorkville BBQ | Guv Caitlyn | Stranded Fry | Library Hours | Cliche Police | Drought Wine | Buttermilk Junction | Mondale Lunch | Chico 1851 | Point Arena Oil | Roll Over | Photo Op Politics | Gary Webb | Kelley House Museum | Coast Dune | Ed Notes | Coffee Club | Hop Pickers | Mobile Pharmacist | Sausalito 1890 | Uncomposed Campos | Banker Shaw | Sleep Limit | Yesterday's Catch | Surreal Mexico | Economy Basics | Pointer Pete | Mt Tamalpais | Girl Fight | Pearl Harbor | Knafta Knees | Match Race

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TODAY WILL BE THE LAST WARM AND DRY DAY across the interior, while cooler marine air lingers along the coast. Cooler and wetter weather is in store for the weekend, with widespread rain and high mountain snow expected late Saturday night and Sunday. (NWS)

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2 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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This Saturday we will be grilling delicious chicken served with corn and a mediterranean pesto pasta salad. We will be serving from 12:00ish until 4:00ish or until sold out! Price per plate is $15.

See you soon!


Lisa at Yorkville Market

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The former Olympic athlete and reality TV star confirmed the news on her Twitter account earlier on Friday.

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(photo by Jeff Borroughs)

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ALL MENDOCINO COUNTY LIBRARIES will be open for short visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-5 p.m., during the Red Tier. Curbside pickup and return continues as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. — 4:20 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to noon. Call 707-964-2020 Mon-Fri between 10-5 to schedule a pickup, get a library card or ask questions. Bookmobile is operating curbside. Please wear masks and observe social distancing when you visit. Fort Bragg Library cannot accept book donations until further notice. 499 E. Laurel St., Fort Bragg.

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“You’ve said ‘accordingly’ sixteen times in this presentation. You’re gonna have to come with us.”

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CALIFORNIA'S DROUGHTS sometimes make better wine — but they're bad for the industry overall. Here's why:

What the extremely dry conditions may mean for the harvest season ahead, in this week's Drinking with Esther newsletter

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Buttermilk Junction, Marin, 1937

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by Bob Dempel

The recent death of Walter Mondale brings back strong memories for me, back to when I and many other Mendocino County residents had a first-hand face to face meeting with the late Vice President Walter Mondale. The setting was a function at the Ridgewood Ranch, home of the famous racehorse Seabiscuit, owned by the Howard Family. The then postmaster general issued a stamp honoring Seabiscuit. Invitations were sent to a group of local residents to attend the function. I have a connection to Seabiscuit and the Howard Family through my maternal grandfather so I was one of the lucky ones who attended. Mr. Howard had the Buick distributorship for the western United States. My grandfather co-owned the Buick dealership in Ukiah in the 1920s.

For anyone who not has visited the Ridgewood ranch it is a beautiful property located between Ukiah and Willits. 

It was a spring day with lots of pageantry. As I remember the Vice President’s wife served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. As I was entering the ceremony area then Sheriff Tom Allman passed me and whispered that the Vice President was in the audience. A short time later as people were greeting him. I got a chance to introduce myself and shake Mondale’s hand. Judge (ret) Jim King had just finished talking to him. I researched that Jim King is also a member of the Seabiscuit Foundation.

Meeting the Vice President was a great thrill but by circumstance I sat down at lunch with unknown couple. The man (a minister) happened to be Laura Hillenbrand’s father. Laura is the author of the Seabiscuit book later made into a movie. I had a chance to talk to Laura’s father about her lifetime disease that confines her to bed and how she researched and wrote the Seabiscuit book. She later wrote the book “Unbroken.” The lady with Laura’s father was her stepmother and only seldom joined the conversation.

So, in one afternoon I was privileged to meet the Vice President and his wife as well as the father and stepmother of author Laura Hillenbrand. I went home and reread the Seabiscuit book and when her second book was published I immediately purchased a copy of “Unbroken.”

So, the death of the VP brought back all of the great memories of a one-day experience at the Ridgewood Ranch. 

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Chico, 1851

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APRIL 1918 — POINT ARENA — Oil drilling will start here within the next 60 days, according to an official representing a large firm who made a thorough investigation of the formation here this week. The machinery will be transported here as soon as possible and it is understood that drilling will be commenced on the Sam Hunter ranch. Several unsuccessful attempts have been made to bore for oil here in the last 35 years. Every expert who has examined the local formation insists that there must be oil at some point under the strata.

(Fort Bragg Advocate)

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SUPERVISOR McGOURTY did a quick pivot on the drought emergency [County Notes AVA 4/21] but it was Boss Lady Angelo who brought it forward. When she presented it she said Calfire Chief Gonzalez had called her three times. And now we know why. The Governor needed a backdrop for his photo op declaration of a state emergency. And because most of our water gets shipped outta here (all the way to southern Marin), Lake Mendo with its mud-cracked dry lake bottom was the perfect spot. But first the locals had to adopt a drought emergency. Angelo handed McGourty a Whereas for the Ukiah Valley Vintners as a consolation prize. What was weird was the supervisors had a big debate about whether they really need the declaration or not. But they all showed up for the photo op with the Governor (and Senator McGuire and Assembly member Wood).

The Measure B discussion was another cluster. Williams said he's ready to build a PHF at the run down nursing home at Whitmore Lane. He said he's been asking for data. Asking for a plan. But after two years (for him) he's ready to take the Measure B money and build the PHF and give up on asking for data or a plan. I dunno, maybe, but I think the old nursing home is more of a tearer-downer than a fixer-upper.

Agree on the Strategic Plan. Total waste. What struck me was Angelo, after two years of planning and after working with the ad hoc had no clue what the purpose was. She had to ask if this was a strategic plan to focus on Board of Supervisors policy or a stategic plan on how we move the entire county forward? This is what the taxpayers get for $300,000 a year?"

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Kelley House Museum is open!

Little did the folks at Kelley House Museum know when they ushered out their last guest (Leo from San Leandro) on March 14, 2020, that it would be a full year before they would re-open to the public. But thanks to Mendocino’s move into a lower tier and a handful of dedicated (and vaccinated) docents, Kelley House threw the doors open on April 3 and welcomed their very first guests to the Kelley House. They were greeted with spruced up exhibits, a garden in full bloom, and docents eager to bring the Kelley family’s stories back to life. Talk about a spring awakening!

All those at Kelley House feel immense gratitude to everyone who helped them get to this point. Keeping a historic house afloat was not on most people’s minds this year, but thanks to the generosity of so many, the museum will pull through. Visit the Kelley House Museum on weekends, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit

(Fort Bragg Advocate)

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(photo by Chris Calder)

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NAMES, SHARON, NAMES! If the harassment is ongoing…

BIDEN SAYS he'll fund his new “human infrastructure” proposals by raising the top income tax rate to 39.6 per cent and nearly doubling capital gains tax rates for big earners. The top rate would wipe away the rate cut from the 2017 Trump tax cuts. The top capital gains rate would rise from 20 per cent to the same 39.6 per cent rate.

BIG WIN for Boonville High School when the local girls defeated Ukiah High School's varsity volleyball team in Ukiah's gym Wednesday afternoon. Considering Ukiah's enrollment of nearly 2,000 and Boonville's maybe a hundred if everyone shows up, Boonville coach Kendra McEwen was justifiably proud of the big victory when I encountered her at Boont Berry Farm the day after. Years ago, in the Jerry Tolman era, Boonville's boy's powerhouse basketball team ran Ukiah clear out of the gym, theirs and ours, whomping the much larger school by upwards of twenty points. Twice. And Ukiah would never play us again. 

WHATEVER happened to “recovered memory,” the unfounded phenomenon occurring when a young woman suddenly remembers that her mother had molested her so traumatically that she entombed it in her memory mausoleum, but disinterred it years later for the media and a lawsuit against her father? Best book on the subject happened to be written by a part-time resident of Boonville, Moira Johnston, a well-known author who owned a small vineyard here. Ms. J described in detail the infamous Napa “recovered memory” case wherein a young woman claimed that her father had somehow, undetected by other members of the family including her two sisters, molested her for most of the years of her childhood and on into adolescence. Dad, a wine company exec, was found innocent, but hapless fathers in different parts of the country were also hauled into court, their daughters encouraged by alleged therapists, many of them certifiable themselves. Similar hysterias have swept Mendoland, most taking the form of wild allegations of Satanist child abuse, a phenomena unconfirmed anywhere in the country but one that has sent innocent people to jail for long periods of time. Moira Johnston's crucial book is called “Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth On Trial in Napa Valley.” (The Satanist hysteria was especially vicious in Fort Bragg. A full account of its evil effects in Mendocino County can be found on the AVA’s website.)

INTERESTING SPECULATION from a local ridge dweller: “As you know, I’d really like to understand why the water level is so low at this time of year. It seems to me that building roads back into the hills is carrying away winter rain that should be left to percolate down and replenish the water table. The other thing is the amount of water transpired by the grapevine. I think that the acre feet pumped out this way must eclipse that carried off by the wine aficionados. Water used by the settlers in their kitchens and septic tanks will “flow through” and not be lost to the atmosphere — it’s the agricultural crops I worry about. But to sum up, I don’t know how much is lost because of logging, absence of fog drip, marijuana gardens, road construction, catchment systems, vineyards, climate variation, etc, so I refrain from issuing a pontification on the subject.”

THE GREAT IRONY in the murder of 77-year-old Jim Cummings by Bill Vargas almost a quarter century ago, and apart from the final irony of being murdered at an age when you have a hard time climbing aboard the Senior’s bus, is that Cummings had actually been quite kind to both Vargas and the Vargas family over a period of many years. Cummings, who could be ruthless in his business dealings, had a soft spot for the miscellaneous walking wounded, many of whom found shelter in Cummings’ Cannery Row-like complex at Noyo Harbor. Vargas, 45, at the time, had been allowed by Cummings to do odd jobs around Noyo in exchange for rent and walking around money. Vargas was subsequently declared insane and is still confined to the state hospital at Napa. 

DEVELOPERS had coveted Noyo for years, envisioning a tourist attraction similar, albeit on a smaller scale, to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. With Cummings gone, and his tangled affairs headed for a lengthy probate, the wolves were circling. He owned property up and down the Coast now valued, some say, at perhaps as much as $25 to $50 million. In addition to his extremely valuable holdings at Noyo, Cummings owned most of Chapman Point overlooking the Mendocino Headlands, not to mention other parcels up and down the Coast. Some of the parcels are under his given name of Boyle, some under Cummings, the name of his stepfather. Bob Peterson, the Fort Bragg attorney, was executor of the Cummings estate. Cummings was married several times, his last connubial contract being to a Brazilian immigrant he’d hired to assist him recuperate after an automobile accident near Yorkville. His wife was not with him on his last night; she apparently lived at another address. Cummings had two teenage children from his marriage to a much younger Fort Bragg woman, Aura Johansen. Ms. Johansen and the two heirs were in the national news several years after their father’s murder when mom, a recovering drug addict, was falsely arrested by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and charged with possession of black tar heroin. The black tar heroin turned out to be a batch of jam mom was mixing, prompting unkind community speculation about the abilities of police officers unable to distinguish dope from sandwich spread. Ms. Johansen had been videotaped by her son allegedly in the act of doing drugs. The son went to the police with the claim that his surveillance showed that Mom was supplying drugs to her young daughter, all of which turned out to be untrue but provided much grist for the national talk show moralists for about a week. Jim Cummings Jr. married a Fort Bragg girl and moved to Belfast, Maine where, after enduring years of his abuse, the Fort Bragg girl shot him dead. He was 29, she 31. The couple had a daughter. She was never charged. He was infamous in his Maine neighborhood as an admirer of Hitler.

THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT, by the way, had described Bill Vargas, Cummings senior’s killer, as being “highly educated” because, in a stormy case with his former wife Vargas had deployed the word, “uxorious” to describe her. Vargas has admitted that he went to Cummings home at Noyo shortly after midnight, ignited a small bomb to lure Cummings outside, then shot Cummings when Cummings appeared on his porch with a pistol. Vargas’ usufructuary plan seems to have worked in that he shot Cummings before Cummings could shoot him.

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Raymond Martinez

On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 50-year-old Laytonville man, Raymond Lee Martinez, was arrested for criminal threats, possession of a billy club, and public intoxication after chasing employees of a Ukiah Starbucks causing them to fear for their safety, according to Ukiah Police Department Lieutenant Andy Phillips.

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Hop Pickers, Hopland, 1912

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On Sunday, April 18, 2021 at approximately 10:56 P.M. a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff was on patrol when they observed a vehicle displaying expired registration in the 1200 block of South State Street in Ukiah.

The Deputy conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The Deputy contacted the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle who was identified as Joseph Hoaglin, 27 of Ukiah.

Joseph Hoaglin

Upon contact with Hoaglin, the Deputy observed a pill bottle in the cup holder of the center console which contained a plastic baggie. Through an investigation, the Deputy determined the bottle contained opioid pain pills which were not prescribed to Hoaglin and are classified as a Schedule II controlled substance.

The Deputy conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle and of Hoaglin's person.

In the vehicle, the Deputy located a plastic baggie containing a commercial quantity of suspected methamphetamine and a glass methamphetamine smoking pipe. The Deputy also located a plastic baggie containing additional suspected methamphetamine on Hoaglin's person.

Hoaglin was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hoaglin was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was later cited and released to appear in court at a later date.

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Sausalito Hills, 1890

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On Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at approximately 7:23 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance at a residence in the 1900 block of Buckeye Road in Willits.

Upon arrival Deputies contacted Robert Campos, 30, of Willits, and his adult female girlfriend, age 30. Deputies learned Campos and the adult female had been involved in a verbal argument.

During the argument, Campos became very agitated and started throwing personal property items out a balcony of the residence. The adult female confronted Campos about throwing the property out the balcony and a physical altercation ensued between them.

The adult female pushed Campos to get him to stop throwing items out the balcony. Campos responded by punching the adult female in the face and left arm causing visible injury to her left cheek area of her face.

Campos was arrested for domestic violence battery and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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I.E. Shaw, Founder FN Bank, Cloverdale

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Public Notice: Ordinance 240 - Restricting Public Camping


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that on April 27, 2021 at 6:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as possible, the Point Arena City Council will hold a public hearing via teleconference on the following proposed ordinance. A copy of the proposed ordinance is available for review at City Hall during normal business hours and on the City’s website.



Summary: This proposed Camping Ordinance addresses public health and safety concerns related to camping on public and private property by people experiencing homelessness within the City.

Pursuant to federal law requirements, it avoids criminalizing homeless individuals for sitting, sleeping or lying outside on public property when they have no access to local, alternative shelter but places time limits, location and space limits, and nuisance controls that allow the public property to remain sanitary and accessible to all residents. The proposed ordinance sets limits for sleeping in and parking recreation and other vehicles.

It also requires the City to, by resolution, determine how it will handle cleanups and seizures of personal property. Encampments on private property without prior written consent of the owner are prohibited.

Residents of Point Arena are encouraged to attend the hearing where they will be given the opportunity to provide input on this proposed ordinance. All interested parties may appear and be heard at the public hearing described above or provide written correspondence to PO Box 67, Point Arena, CA 95468 or email to ( .

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals needing special accommodations (including auxiliary communicative aids and services) during this hearing should notify the City Manager/City Clerk at (707) 882-2122 at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. 

Dated: April 19, 2021

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 22, 2021

Anderson, Buenrostro, Campbell, Caradine

BRIAN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Probation violation.

JOSE BUENROSTRO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ANDRU CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Domestic battery, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, resisting, coiunty parole violation.

DARRELL CARADINE, Ukiah. Rape/victim incapable of giving consent.

Dillenbeck, Hill, Hillhouse

BHAKTI DILLENBECK, Albion. Under influence.

MATTHEW HILL, Branscomb. Reckless evasion, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.


Hoaglin, Oresco, Perry

TEVIN HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Vehicle theft.

AARON ORESCO, Redwood Valley. Burglary, burglary tools, controlled substance, no license.

MICHAEL PERRY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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by Paul Theroux

Trump’s crude insults were well-known and they were so hurtful in their stinging bluntness that most Mexicans I asked about them just shrugged, regarding it as beneath them to comment. Of Mexican immigrants, he said, “They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They are rapists.” And, “The Mexican legal system is corrupt as is much of Mexico.” To the cheers of his supporters he crowed, “Mexico is not our friend.”

“Worse than a cabron,” Rosi said. “And different.”

“Give me a word,” I said.

“Mamon,” she said. “Thinks he's better than anyone.”

Mamon is cocky. The literal meaning is unweaned, still suckling. But in colloquial Mexican Spanish it has a much broader meaning, implying conceited, idiot, scrounger, dickhead, mooch, jackass.

“Stupido,” she added. “Boolgar” — her pronunciation of vulgar.

“Cinico,” Guadalupe said. “Mentirosa” — liar. “Engreido” — vain.

“Tontos, perverso, payaso,” Julieta said. Stupid, perverse, clownish.

“Astuto,” Yael said, not astute, but in the Mexican sense, cunning and tricky. “Decadente.”

“Loco,” Raul said. “His talk about building a big wall. He doesn't know that Mexicans travel back and forth every day to work in the United States or to buy things. When I lived in El Centro, California, I was a radio journalist and I covered the border. In my time in 1990, a 15-year-old boy was climbing a fence and when he got to the top a border patrol agent shot him. He fell back onto the Mexican side and he died.”

“I'd like to check on that,” I said. “Do you remember his name?”

“Eduardo Zamora,” Raul said. After 27 years the name was still fresh in his mind.

When I looked into his case this case, I found many others: unarmed Mexicans shot to death while attempting to cross the border.

“But half the voters in the states wanted Donald Trump,” I said.

“Por que?”

I told them that based on my travels in the deep South in the Obama years I understood the Trump voters, and how rural America felt overlooked and disregarded by Washington politicians who seemed out of touch and pompous and casually corrupt. Many Americans were bewildered by having to accommodate themselves to the resettlement of Syrian, Somali, and Afghan refugees -- their care and feeding -- when many local communities were hard up. And why were they unemployed? Because their town’s manufacturing has been outsourced to China and India and Mexico. The larger proportion of American soldiers came from such communities and they and their parents resented being instruments of regime change abroad. America seemed insecure, violent, and wayward; and President Obama appeared detached and indecisive. He had belittled the police, and his attorney general had called the police racist.

Add to this the presumptuousness of Hillary Clinton who was so certain of winning that she campaigned halfheartedly and did not understand voters’ anxieties. Trump saw into this anxiety and discontent and promised to fix Washington and the border and put America first and stop fighting foreign wars and create jobs. There was a subtext of xenophobia too in many of his speeches. He played on the distrust of the Clintons and subtly disparaged the Republican Party. To the complex problems America faced, he offered simplistic and persuasive answers. His message resonated and as I had spent the previous two years driving on the back roads of middle America listening to people, I was not surprised that he won.

At that point I changed the subject to the Mexican police. Most of this group had been stopped by policemen and Rosi said, “It's almost as if you're more afraid of the police than anyone else.” Part of the reason for police shakedowns was that they earn so little, between $150 and $300 a month.

“This is getting depressing,” Julieta said. “Let's go to the Costa Azul.”

The Blue House in Coyacan, a short walk from the restaurant, was where Frida Kahlo had been born, grew up and lived with Diego Rivera. She had died there too in an upper room. Now a museum, it was filled with Frida’s startling paintings and also many of Diego’s, family photographs and paraphernalia, such as the corsets and leg braces that the wounded (30 operations, including an amputated leg) Frida had worn. Of the small, stifling rooms, the courtyard was a suburban jungle of tamed vines and trimmed trees, the whole house a work of art, a kind of habitable sculpture.

“What do you think?” Rosi asked. She was the art dealer, always inquisitive.

“Lovely — I could live here,” I said.

But I thought Freda's house, her art and her clothes, especially china poblana peasant costume, were deeply personal expressions of a passionate self. I could not formulate this for Rosi, but I felt that for art, for writing, for anything created to have value, it must be passionate and personal. Yet Frida was a special case.

She had become one of Mexico's exports, although in Mexico her style was recognized for being self-conscious and somewhat dated. Foreigners adored her, so she was promoted with her image on T-shirts and refrigerator magnets, as well as a fairly expensive Frida Barbie doll. Her house and wild garden were widely advertised as attractions for the tourist buses.

She is “ghastly but unique,” in the summing up of the narrator of Juan Villoro’s story “Amigos Mexicanos,” in which the nosy American journalist Katzenberg is searching for meaningful Mexicanisms. “Katzenberg didn't understand that Kahlo’s famous traditional dresses were now only to be found on the second floor of the Museo de Antropologia or worn on godforsaken ranches where they were never as luxurious or finely embroidered.”

For the traveler contemplating Mexico, Frida’s a detour and a distraction. It was her genius as an artist and her neurotic narcissism to turn her whole self into art – her love, her suffering, her accident prone life -- and in the process make herself an icon, for the Mexican tradition is full of icons, especially of madonnas. It did not hurt her career that the 43-year-old Diego Rivera dumped his wife and married the teenage Frida (she was 19). And Diego was not just any old bridegroom. “This 300 pounds of gesticulating, brush-waving, manifesto writing flesh,” as Rebecca West describes him in her posthumous ‘Survivors in Mexico,’ “who looked like Mao Tse-tung, but was an amalgam of Pantagrule and Barnum and Baron Munchausen.” Frida loved him as a wife, as a daughter, as a protege, as a mother. But Frida as a mutilated, mustached, and unibrowed Madonna was perhaps more admired in Europe and the United States than in Mexico itself.

Leon Trotsky's house, not far away, near a busy road, was less a house than a shrine to its former occupant who is buried there. His skull had been smashed in 1940 by a Stalinist assassin, the weapon a piolet, a mountaineers ice ax. The murderer, Ramon Mercader, was made a hero of the Soviet Union after his release from 20 years in a Mexican prison. “Depressing,” Julieta said. “And the building is modernized so badly.” Then we went to the Coyoacan market and walked among taco stalls, crates of mangoes, carcasses of animals, dead-eyed fish gleaming on marble slabs, chiles hung like firecrackers and trays of toasted grasshoppers.

“What did I tell you — Mexico City is surreal,” Rudi said, back at the Hotel La Casona, when I describe my day.

“A good day,” I said, my first as a teacher in Mexico City.

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HIS NAME WAS PETE. He was just a dog, fifteen-months-old pointer, still almost a puppy even though he had spent one hunting season learning to be the dog he would have been in another two or three if he had lived that long.

But he was just a dog. He expected little of the world into which he came without past and nothing of immortality either; - food (he didn’t care what nor how little just so it was given with affection – a touch of a hand, a voice he knew even if he could not understand and answer the words it spoke); the earth to run on; air to breathe, sun and rain in their seasons and the covied quail which were his heritage long before he knew the earth and felt the sun, whose scent he knew already from his staunch and faithful ancestry before he himself ever winded it. That was all he wanted. But it would have been enough to fill the eight or ten or twelve years of his natural life because twelve years are not very many and it doesn’t take much to fill them.

Yet short as twelve years are, he should normally have outlived four of the kind of motorcars which killed him – cars capable of climbing hills too fast to avoid a grown pointer dog. But Pete didn’t outlive the first of his four. He wasn’t chasing it; he had learned not to do that before he was allowed on highways. He was standing on the road waiting for his little mistress on the horse to catch up, to squire her safely home. He shouldn’t have been in the road. He paid no road tax, held no driver’s license, didn’t vote. Perhaps his trouble was that the motorcar which lived in the same yard he lived in had a horn and brakes on it and he thought they all did. To say that he didn’t see the car because the car was between him and the later afternoon sun is a bad excuse because that brings the question of vision into it and certainly no one unable with the sun at his back to see a grown pointer dog on a curveless two-lane highway would think of permitting himself to drive a car at all, let alone one without either horn or brakes because next time Pete might be a human child and killing human children with motorcars is against the law.

No, the driver was in a hurry: that was the reason. Perhaps he had several miles to go yet and was already late for supper. That was why he didn’t have time to slow or stop or drive around Pete. And since he didn’t have time to do that, naturally he didn’t have time to stop afterward; besides Pete was only a dog flung broken and crying into a roadside ditch and anyway the car had passed him by then and the sun was at Pete’s back now, so how could the driver be expected to hear him crying?

But Pete has forgiven him. In his year and a quarter of life he never had anything but kindness from human beings; he would rather give the other six or eight or ten of it rather than make one late for supper.

— William Faulkner, letter to editor, Oxford Eagle, August 15, 1946

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Mt. Tamalpais

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In some ways, what happened in Columbus is more troubling than some other incidents that led to officer shootings. How do?

The altercation happened in a nice middle class neighborhood with well kept homes and newer cars. One of those homes was fostering the girl who was killed. Couples with a stable loving home life are generally the people chosen to foster kids.

Certainly the girl had experienced a troubled life, and had even less emotional control than the usual 16 year old. But the cop rolling up does not have the backstory. He has been dispatched due to a 911 asking for help due to an assault. He arrives and sees one female pin another girl half her size against a car and start to swing her right hand holding a knife at the pinned car. The cop fires immediately. I don’t see that he had any other options.

None of us know what set off this fight, or why the adults were unable to diffuse it. Why was the kid in foster care, given she had a mother and an aunt quite capable of talking to the media? Will we ever know? I doubt it. It seems too many just want to blame it all on the cop.

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Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

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by David Yearsley (1997)

A fat man in a pin-striped Yankees t-shirt comes out of the Podiatrist's office across the street. He stops on the sidewalk, takes out a pack of cigarettes and lights up. He fills his lungs with smoke, holds it in for a three-count, then exhales.

You can barely make out the plume of smoke because it's the same color and thickness as the grey water-soaked air. The sky is on top of us, sweating.

There must be imperceptible currents in the air because by the time the man is half-way to the filter I can smell the smoke. It's moving slugglishly up and across the street into this apartment, and then the sick warm candied smell of it just hangs here, nowhere for it to go.

The fat guy checks his watch. He takes another drag, then with his smoking hand pushes his glasses up his nose.

He glances at the foyer of the Podiatrist's office. It's a square room done up in asbestos siding (fake-brick style) with a rusty air-conditioner hanging out of one of the windows, spitting on the sidewalk.

The man sucks on the cigarette then goes for the glasses again.

Sound carries easily in the thick air, and I can hear his quick, puffy breathing.

The door to the Podiatrist's office swings open and a woman in a white smock leans out and says, "Okay, Gordy." He tosses the cigarette to the pavement, hoists a foot two inches off the ground and drops it on the butt. He turns and grapples up the astro-turf stairs and into the office.

A few times a day I lift myself up and crutch my way over to the window and watch the Podiatrist's patients come and go. I try not to imagine their feet.

It's much easier to give into voyeuristic urges when you've been hobbled and don't have a t.v. But the closest I've gotten to Rear Window was last Saturday morning at about six o'clock. I had been dozing in a musty armchair - falling deeper and deeper into its soft embrace as the Percodan turned the pain into golden buttery clouds of pure contentment - when I was awakened by the scrambling of feet on gravel down below and shouts of "Halt, you fuck!" I craned my neck and peered over the window sill just in time to see my landlord form-tackle a skinhead who was trying to steal his wheel barrow.

I find myself in this predicament because a couple of years back I blew out my knee during a pick-up basketball game against a squad of homeless all-stars in Santa Monica's Lincoln Park. Afterwards a couple of the guys set me on a large piece of plywood, lifted me on two shopping carts and wheeled me home. So did an obscure basketball career come to an end.

Some two years later I find myself in an Upstate New York operating room, anesthetized from the waist down. The interior of my left knee is up on a t.v. screen and a steel shaft moves past lunar bones and bands of meniscus like some kind of space probe exploring an extra-terrestrial landscape. The device is called a trimmer and as it moves into the center of the knee its teeth spin into action and remnants of the wasted ligament are sucked away.

Down beyond the sheet shielding my direct view of the action, three, sometimes four, people in light green surgical rig work on my knee

If I rotate my head a little I can follow my vital signs moving across another monitor to my right. The anesthesiologist sits just out of sight to my left. We're both observers, detached from the action, watching the operation progress.

He's a talker, and he certainly has a captive audience in me - I'm slightly sedated and my arms strapped to the operating table.

What looks like a drill bit moves onto the screen. The surgeon says: "I'm going to make the holes to secure the new ligament."

Meanwhile the anesthesiologist continues his homsepun monologue on the benefits of free trade. Every sentence is in the conditional mode: "... so maybe you've got some people who are just, you know, living by a river. And maybe they want to get some goods, like, say, refrigerators, or they want to put in some roads so they can get the goods they want. Well, then it looks like they'll just have to start competing - and I'm talking globally now - if they're going to get access to those goods which would improve their standard of living ..."

At regular intervals I grunt in a tone that could be construed as affirmative. Now is perhaps not the time to share with this free-market gas man my sedative-induced free associations, which if they were to come true, would right-size him right out of his Bavarian limo and his lakeside mansion. For, as he rattles on, I imagine a scenario in which surgical procedures like the one I am now undergoing have become fully roboticized and are executed via satellite hook-up by low-wage technicians hunched over control panels at crowded medical sweatshops in an American Commercial Zone in the Northern Marianas. The Pacific Rim Medical Group: "The People Who Dare to Care. We're always there - way the hell over there - when we're needed."

There is, of course, a Pacific Rim factory outlet service center at a regional shopping mall in your area. And inside the operating theatre the patient is alone, though in compliance with recent federal patients' rights legislation aimed at deflecting criticism that medicine has lost its human element, a minimum wage orderly pushes through the double doors every hour on the hour and calls out "How you doing, dude?" then disappears again ...

The new ligament is pulled through and screwed into place. The anesthesiologist bangs on: " ... and maybe then they acquire the necessary goods and begin competing - hey, that's a nice looking graft, you're going to have a real good knee now - well, then they would have to start making goods of their own that other people would want and that means their own wages would begin to rise ..."

When I hobble through the sliding doors of the hospital and to my car late that afternoon I am on a brand new pair of crutches. A few minutes earlier a nurse had pulled the crutches from the vacuum-sealed plastic wrap and then adjusted them to the proper height. You don't return the crutches, they're yours to keep. The sensible idea of taking them out on loan and then returning them when you're done has been rendered obsolete by the New World Order. Everything is disposable. To conserve in such an obvious way would be bad for business, bad for trade, bad for international relations.

The nurse has me read a pamphlet on "Safe Walking with Crutches" featuring Gus the Lion, a moronic muscle-beast (he looks like a Mr. Universe wearing a goofy lion's head) who appears to have broken his leg. According to the pamphlet the crutches are manfuactured by Guardian, a division of Sunrise Medical in Simi Valley, California.

But as we drive away from the hospital I notice the fine print on the aluminum shaft of the crutches: "Assembled in Mexico." For now its the crutches. How long before it's the knee?

* * *


  1. Craig Stehr April 23, 2021

    While being bored beyond death by the mundane stupidity of daily life in the “American Experiment in Freedom & Democracy”, here is Krishna Das with Hanging Out in the Heart Space>>> My friend Star Hawk once said to me that the definition of magic is the ability to change consciousness at will. ;-)

    • Bruce Anderson April 23, 2021

      Starhawk would know. She was a commie in the 60’s then, sensing that the ol’ zeit was changing to spiritual thumbsucking, began talking to trees. For a hefty price, natch. She was guest speaker right here in Boonville a couple of times, Mendo being…. well, Mendo being Mendo.

      BTW Craig. The other day you suggested that unhappy people move from Covelo. Is there room for them all at your Happy Ranch in Redwood Valley?

    • Michael Koepf April 23, 2021

      Dear Craig Stehr,
      Your friend Star Hawk was correct. One definition of magic is the ability to change consciousness at will. However, another definition of magic is that it is the conscious and unconscious ability of a person to fool themself. We see and hear a great deal of this these days, including right here on the digital pages which we read, especially the posts of aging, dour men, many dissatisfied with their lives, who identify with the progressive left that’s continually inciting our country over a cultural-political cliff into the abyss of how the hell do we get out of this? Craig, aside from enjoying card tricks, all magic is for fools.

      • Marmon April 23, 2021

        “…especially the posts of aging, dour men, many dissatisfied with their lives, who identify with the progressive left that’s continually inciting our country over a cultural-political cliff into the abyss…”

        Well said, Mr. Koepf


        • Harvey Reading April 23, 2021

          “Peas in a pod,” comes to mind.

      • Craig Stehr April 23, 2021

        To all: Am sitting here at the kitchen table at The Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley, got the Om Namah Shivaya 1008 times on the Google gizmo, a cup of Humboldt Bay Coffee Co.’s “Shipbuilder’s Dark” sweetened with date syrup and milk, and a cinnamon & raisin bagel with pure Irish butter and grape jam for enjoyment. I am not identifying with the body, and am (of course) witnessing the mental factory. I am free! Good luck with your conundrum of how to manage the remaining time that you have on the earth plane. ~Peaceout~

        • Michael Koepf April 23, 2021

          Dear Greg Stehr,
          Thank you for your blessing. It’s clear that you are a spiritual man in whatever sense you choose. That’s to be respected, because, in our day and age, spirituality and religion are too often held in contempt by the self-righteous on the left. Marx and Engles used to be their Gods, but they appear abandoned for vageries too numerous to name: gender choice, taunts of systemic racism, global melting, and “infrastructure” funds for BLM whose leaders are making haste to purchase expensive real estate. Greg, compared to the leaders of the Democrat party, to include the President of the United States, you are, in fact, a saint. Enjoy your bagel and jam.

          • Harvey Reading April 23, 2021

            The fascist right tends to wear its religion on its sleeve, the same sleeve they use to wipe their runny noses.

          • Craig Stehr April 23, 2021

            Thanks Mike. P.S. It’s “Craig”. ~Om Shanthi~

          • Bruce McEwen April 23, 2021

            Harvey Reading, the great scholar of the comment page, modestly paraphrases Ocatvio Paz in his comments on Ruben Dario, “After the seismic thunder of the applause, everybody wondered aloud how he could write such verses with the same hand he wipes his ass with…”

            Ole, maestro! Ole!

  2. George Hollister April 23, 2021

    INTERESTING SPECULATION from a local ridge dweller: “But to sum up, I don’t know how much is lost because of logging, absence of fog drip, —-”

    Logging of all kinds reduces transportation, thus reduces moisture loss. Anything that reduces vegetation does the same thing. Dry land farming takes this concept and reduces moisture loss by eliminating competing vegetation in the proximity of a crop. That way all the available soil moisture is used by the desired plant. Fog drip is another matter.

    Fog drip is not found everywhere, and is variable. But it appears fog drip that hits the ground is either lost to evaporation, or is transpired by vegetation before it can create runoff so is not a significant factor in effecting stream flow.

    The effects of transportation are important. More than we know because we can’t see it, and we wrongly associate more shade with less moisture loss. Mediterranean climate landscape vegetation will expand into the soil moisture that is available annually. Some plants are better at extracting this moisture than others, so there is competition between species and between plants in the same species for water in the ground.

    • Harvey Reading April 23, 2021

      George, you use more words to make less sense than anyone I have read. Thank goodness you are NOT in any position of real authority.

      • George Hollister April 23, 2021

        Did I get all the spelling write?

        • Harvey Reading April 23, 2021

          You spell as well as anyone and misspell and misuse because you think it is clever. It’s not. It doesn’t garner you any sympathy, either.

  3. Bill Pilgrim April 23, 2021

    re: 1938 Match Race.

    Great. Now I have to go watch the movie for the twelfth time.

  4. Eric Sunswheat April 23, 2021

    -> two days ago.
    What does this all mean for the ancient redwoods we Bay Area locals so fondly cherish? Well, it’s a loaded question, and suffice to say there’s little to no positives to come from a warming world — merely just lesser catastrophes. However, in a roundabout way, carbon-rich environments actually help trees of all types grow and sequester water and other nutrients…

    According to a 2015 paper by professor Stephen C. Sillett, Kenneth L. Fisher Chair of Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University, a trio of environmental changes could be linked to the growth surges over the past half-century: increased sunlight (thanks to the end of heavy logging), clean air (after decades of poor air quality), and less fog (from, yes, a warming planet)…

    As reported by Iversen: “[Sillett explains that”] carbon dioxide is more plentiful, Sillett explains, a tree doesn’t have to open its stomata as wide and can control its levels of transpiration. So more carbon in the atmosphere actually helps tall trees become more water-efficient — a trait that may allow them to thrive despite higher levels of atmospheric carbon.”

    Bonkers. Although the overarching outlook for the future of our redwoods is also riddled with less positive changes, all caused by a combination of “human activity” and “climate change.”

    • George Hollister April 23, 2021

      The growth limiting factor for redwoods is soil moisture, that’s a fact. It is my opinion that the growth surge is related to the dramatic reduction of burning, and the subsequent increase in forest humus. This increase in humus increases the amount of moisture held in the redwood root zone. Notice when a rotten log lying next to a redwood tree is broken apart, redwood roots are seen. Also imagine how much rain water that rotten log can hold. Quite a bit. The redwood roots are in the log to extract that moisture. With constant fires, that rotten log would be gone. Now look at the humus seen in a redwood park that would not be there if there was constant burning as was the case for many thousands of years. There is a huge amount.

  5. chuck dunbar April 23, 2021

    Those Tricky Words Undo an Old Man

    In the Theroux piece today (Travels in Mexico), Theroux talks about Trump’s crude insults toward Mexicans, and notes some of their responses to his unkindnesses:

    “‘Worse than a cabron,’ Rosi said. ‘And different.’
    ‘Give me a word,’ I (Theroux) said.
    ‘Mamon,’ she said. ‘Thinks he’s better than anyone.’
    Mamon is cocky. The literal meaning is unweaned, still suckling. But in colloquial Mexican Spanish it has a much broader meaning, implying conceited, idiot, scrounger, dickhead, mooch, jackass.”

    I have to report here that as I read this short piece, I kept reading “Mamon” as “Marmon” in my “aging, dour, dissatisfied with my life” kind of way. And actually, when you take a look at those colloquial meanings, I can maybe justify it as they, in some odd, even serendipitous, way, kinda’ fit…

    • Jim Armstrong April 23, 2021

      If you Google it, you find an even richer list. What a winner of a word!
      I think calling someone by it, you can keep it secret which meaning or meanings you have in mind.
      Our James (who calls himself “Marmon”) fits some of them some of the time, but he is in good company here.
      There are a few I proudly claim for myself.
      Trump and a good part of the Senate cover them all.

      • chuck dunbar April 23, 2021

        Good points, Jim. And I, too, could claim some for myself.

  6. Marmon April 23, 2021


    “The question I get asked more than any other question is ‘can you assure us that our vote in 2022 and 2024 will count?’ and we will assure you, we’ll never let that happen again and we haven’t stopped working on that,” President Trump stated. “By the way, we’re not stopping.”


    • chuck dunbar April 24, 2021

      Thanks for that great example for the word of the day. Trump is indeed a mamon–always and forever–all the definitions fit him well.

    • Harvey Reading April 24, 2021

      Your hero sounds like the babbling of a child’s wind-up toy, back in the 1950s.

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