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TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE INTERIOR WILL WARM through mid-week while coastal areas remain seasonable. No appreciable rain is expected through the next week. (NWS)
People need to stop planting eucalyptus trees. They are awful trees. They are extremely flammable. They spread fire, destroy homes and injure and kill firefighters as a recent local Facebook post pointed out (see a video about the dangers of eucalyptus that was also posted on youtube). We cannot expect firefighters to protect our property if we keep making it more dangerous for them to do so.
Euks also drop heavy branches and even fall over in windy conditions causing more danger to people and property. They are bad for native wildlife. The oils and their leaves repel many birds and other animals and their leaves, bark, and toxic oils fall onto soil and change it so many native plants and wildlife cannot survive.
Eucalyptus are non-native, invasive and displace our beautiful local native trees and plants. Please, folks, if you plant trees, try planting natives like bull pine, Doug fir, and even redwoods, all of which are fast growing and wildlife friendly. Tanoaks, silktassel and native willows (if you have the water) also support abundant wildlife.
Contact the local Dorothy King Young Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the Mendocino Botanic Garden, or nurseries for more information on local native trees.
Thank you for planting local!
SUPES TALKING WHEN THEY SHOULD BE LISTENING
by Jim Shields
It’s not required to be a historian to know that legalization of pot in California is the most important law and public policy in California since 1978’s precedent-setting tax reform initiative Proposition 13.
It’s clear that four Mendocino County Supervisors, Dan Gjerde, Ted Williams, Glenn McGourty, and Maureen Mulheren aren’t aware of that fact.
They along with two previous Boards of Supervisors have managed to create complete chaos through a combination of ignorance, arrogance, and the uncanny ability to compound an unbroken streak of bad decisions with even worse decisions.
The BOS on April 27, approved the proposed Phase 3 Cannabis Ordinance, including the controversial “10 percent Rule” that allows for cultivation to occur on 10 percent of the total acreage of any parcel that’s a minimum of 10 acres.
Third District Supe John Haschak was the only one to vote against the provision.
The proposed amended Ordinance is now before the County Planning Commission for the second time in about a month. It’s expected to return to the Supes later this month for final approval.
Thus we find ourselves at a juncture where, conservatively, at least 80 percent of County residents are staunchly opposed to the Supes attempting to ram through a breakaway cultivation expansion plan, which they think is a great idea notwithstanding the fact this county and the entire state is experiencing its second consecutive year of drought and now declared water emergencies.
They still haven’t figured out the connection between weed and water even though I’ve tried in vain to educate them over the past four years.
Here’s some friendly advice for the four Supes:
1. There’s a reason why we are all born with two ears but just one mouth. Perhaps the Creative Force was prioritizing listening over talking. It’s difficult to hear what people are saying if you’re talking all the time. That’s why you don’t hear what the vast majority of your constituents are saying to you: No expansion of pot cultivation, there’s too much already.
2. Supervisors don’t understand their role as elected officials. Elected officials are duty-bound to carry out the wishes/demands of clear majorities of constituents unless what they’re asking is unlawful or totally unfeasible, neither of which are applicable with the “10 Percent Rule.” It’s not the Supervisor’s job to substitute their judgment for that of their constituents when they overwhelmingly demand a different course of action than that proposed by the Supervisor.
3. The primary goal of public policy is to accomplish the most good for the most people. The four Supes’ proposed Cannabis public policy is the very antithesis of that objective. County-wide, there is a super-majority of residents who overwhelmingly are opposed to the proposed 10 Percent Rule.
Essentially what’s occurring here is a clash of values and economic models between most County voters and the Board of Supervisors.
Four Supes are advocating for the super-sized cultivation model as they believe, and have said, that County revenues will be enhanced with expansion. They argue that it’s not their responsibility to protect small growers through the mechanism of a Cannabis Ordinance.
Supe Ted Williams, a hard-liner on the benefits of the “bigger-is better” pot ordinance model, argues that, “Using public policy to create a monopoly, essentially rigging the market to only allow legacy cultivators, lacks legal foundation …”
I have no idea what Williams is talking about, and he doesn’t either. It’s perfectly legal to construct regulatory frameworks that restrict, constrain, or cap the size of operations. He wants to “rig” the market so it favors industrial and corporate cultivators.
At the Board’s April 27 meeting, he incredibly, insultingly, and idiotically equated all those opposed to the 10 Percent Rule as favoring something that “reeks of a communist cannabis model.”
Really? That’s his contribution for enlightened, elevated and civil discourse.
Williams unbroken refrain of unloading responsibility and accountability for the utter failure of the Board’s handling of the Cannabis program, serves no useful purpose, nor does his carping about how the vast majority of County residents who oppose the Phase 3 Ordinance, have been misled and bamboozled by, presumably, folks like me, Haschak, Mark Scaramella, Bruce Anderson, leaders of a referendum movement, and who knows who else. Believe me, the people of this County are not fooled by anyone regarding this proposed Ordinance; they figured it out all on their own.
People have also figured out that the takeover of Covelo by violent criminal elements and other scofflaws occurred when they moved in to fill the vacuum created by the County’s premeditated failure to enforce its ordinance. County officials bear responsibility for the violence, lawlessness, and environmental degradation in Round Valley.
In the meantime, some of us are working on a referendum to repeal the 10 Percent Rule in the event the Supes approve it in the final version of the Ordinance. Therefore, it’s time for the four Supervisors who stubbornly cling to the Expansion Rule to stop acting irresponsibly by attempting to shove through the approval process water-intensive proposals that are going to result in a holocaust in our watersheds and devastation to our water sources.
Their 10 percent rule must be withdrawn because it is lousy public policy.
They must re-write the proposed Ordinance to reflect the original intent of legalization in this County: The recognition of the value of the legacy farmers who founded and created this local industry that should not ever be handed over to outside corporate interests who the four Supes favor over their own constituents.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
THANK YOU to the Ukiah Police Department for paying us an early morning visit between 4:30 and 5 o'clock Sunday morning to deal with the intoxicated man who had chosen our house to hang out at on the front porch. While the man was less than cooperative and courteous during the interaction, the primary officer -- first on the scene -- was professional and handled the interaction well.
And thank you to the Ring doorbell for waking us up by being persistent that there was ongoing movement occurring at the front door.
— David Eyster
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
JDSF tree sit…
On Saturday May 8 at the JDSF tree sit in east Caspar that has been dubbed “Mama tree,” a group of children surrounded by parents and supportive community gathered at the tree sit to express concerns for their local forest and the health of their planet.
The children also met with tree sitters “Bugs” and “Walker,” and exchanged supportive ideas and learned from the occupants just what it is like to live in a tree. This was a small but historically significant event reflective of the growing community that is gathering around Mama Tree, the health of our public forest and the health of our planet. Stay tuned community!
CONTRAST & COMPARE
I’m noticing a barrage of letters on the current changes to cannabis cultivation laws. I’m wondering, when we compare the amount of water used for wine grapes vs. cannabis, do we consider the amount of water used to convert the grapes into a bottle of wine? As we all know, grapes are only the beginning of a very water-intensive process of fermenting, bottling, cleaning equipment, etc. From my memories of cannabis production, there is little water involved in cleaning and drying the plants to be consumed. Let’s compare apples to apples: a fine bottle of wine to a beautiful resinous bud. How does the water use actually compare?
STOP ASIAN HATE. And while we're at it, bring grammar into line with meaning. Asian hate isn't the problem, random attacks on Asians and citizens generally by deranged street people is the problem, that and auto-pilot mantras from officeholders and the industrial social work complex that assaultive crazy people on the streets is now a fact of American life because there isn't enough low cost housing and there isn't enough psychiatric help.
THE MOST RECENT street assault in SF where a free range mental case stabbed two Chinese women at 4th and Market, leaving his combat knife in an 85-year-old woman's back, was committed by a housed man, an outpatient with a long history of random assaults. Nobody likes to say it but psychiatric incarceration with, it is to be hoped, psychiatric rehab, is the only possible strategy that will protect both crazy people and protect the public from crazy people. Not to be too boring on the subject, as some of us still recall we used to have a state hospital system that sequestered the dangerously insane....
MENDO has just completed a psychiatric wing as part of the County Jail complex on Low Gap Road in Ukiah in full, if unstated, recognition that about a third of all local arrests are of deranged persons, a social situation unlikely to change despite the expenditure of upwards of twenty million dollars a year by Mendo taxpayers.
INTERESTING media aside here: The Bay Area's Chinese language media always identifies perps by race, and those perps in street attacks and robberies are mostly black. The English-language media, for years now, seldom identifies criminals by race if they happen to be black.
GOING, GOING… The Press Democrat has announced it will no longer deliver their paper-paper on the Mendonoma Coast. "Like most traditionally print-based media companies, we are working hard to adjust to the reality of dramatically declining advertising revenue," explained the paper's Troy Niday, Chief Operations Officer for Sonoma Media Investments.
THERE WERE AT LEAST 9 MASS SHOOTINGS ACROSS THE US THIS WEEKEND
A gunman opened fire at a family birthday party in Colorado Springs, leaving six people dead and a community in mourning. "Words fall short to describe the tragedy that took place this morning," Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement. "From the officers who responded to the shooting to the investigators still on scene, we are all left incredibly shaken." The suspected shooter -- believed to be a boyfriend of one of the victims -- is also dead, according to Colorado Springs Police. The tragedy was one of at least nine mass shootings that occurred across the US over the weekend.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 9, 2021
SALVADOR AGUILAR-ALVAREZ, Boonville. DUI, no license.
PAULINO CALIHUA, Yuba City/Willits. DUI.
KYLE CARSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
PATRICK DAVI, Guerneville/Ukiah. Arson of structure or forestland.
DARRELL FOLEY, Maunolia, Texas/Ukiah. DUI.
CHRISTOPHER GUERRERO, Willits. Controlled substance, grand theft of more than four access cards, bad checks, false compartment, probation revocation.
NOAH HARRISON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DANIEL PEREZ, Manchester. DUI, suspended license.
JORGE SANUDO-ZAVALA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TRAVELS IN MEXICO
by Paul Theroux
At a service area near the town of San Martin Texmelucan de Labastida I stopped for gas. By now as a road tripper I had become accustomed to the routine of a Mexican pit stop, a model of efficiency and in many respects superior to its equivalent in the United States. Because Mexico has abandoned its passenger trains, and it depends on 18 wheelers to move its freight north to the border and beyond, and on its fleets of long-distance buses, its main highways are well maintained. The off ramp always leads to the dusty antique past — two men plowing a stony field with a burro, to the woman with a bundle on her head, to the boy herding goats, to the ranchitos, the carne asada stands, the 500 year old churches, and a tienda, selling beer and snacks with a skinny cat asleep on the tamales.
On the main road the gas pumps at the service area are manned by attendants in uniforms. You drive in, say "Lleno, por favor," or "Llenarlo," and the fellow fills the tank, washes your windows, earns a tip, and offers his elaborate thanks: "At your service, sir."
There will always be an OXXO convenience store at the service area, many of them the size of a small supermarket: beer, wine, t-shirts, hats, chips, automotive accessories, fireworks, balloons, lucky charms, first aid supplies, fruit, and food, plastic toys, magazines and newspapers. There will probably be a taco stand next door or a chicken franchise like El Pollo Loco staffed by pretty girls in paper hats. The restrooms will be guarded by a woman wrapped in a rebozo and wearing an apron. She will greet you and remind you that you will need to insert a five peso coin in the turnstile and she might discreetly hand you four squares of stiff abrasive paper, expecting a tip. An enterprising man might be seated at a table near the gas pumps, selling watermelons or clay pots. In some of the larger service areas between the big cities there might be a brown motel of fake adobe and some of the smaller ones feature a decent restaurant selling local food.
After the gasoline ritual, I parked and bought two tacos, a cup of coffee, and a copy of El Universal, and sat in the sunshine, reading the paper and blessing my luck. I had been in Puebla within an hour and in three or four days — I was in no hurry — in Oaxaca.
But no sunny moment in Mexico is without a cloud. On an inside page of the paper, under a photo that looked like a gruesome car crash, I read a news item about how, just the day before, a car — the vandalized and sticky one in the picture — was found in Veracruz with five human heads tied to the hood, the decapitated corpses stacked inside the car. Graffiti scratched into the car’s paint, a narcomensaje, indicated that it was the work of a cartel, the Jalisco New Generation.
“Sending a message” was the usual explanation, an unambiguous message in this case, stating that this cartel was not to be trifled with. In 2017 there had been 2,000 criminal homicides in Veracruz state, most of them cartel related.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA what kind of bastards these people are. They make me want to throw up. I can't handle these cursed "intellectuals" from my two. This is really above my strength. I'd rather sit on the floor to sell tortillas at the Toluca market than have to partner with these fucking Parisian "artists." They spend hours warming up their precious butt at the coffee tables, talk continuously about "culture, art, revolution," and so on, thinking of gods of the world, dreaming of things more absurd than each other and infecting the atmosphere with theories and still theories that never become reality.
The next morning they have nothing to eat at home since not one of them works. They live like parasites, on the hooks of a bunch of full old skins admiring the "genius" of these "artists". Shit, nothing but shit is what they are. I've never seen you or Diego waste your time on stupid gossip and "intellectual" discussions; this is why you are men, real ones, not "artists" with nuts. Damn it! It was worth coming, just to see why Europe is rotting on its feet and why these people - these good-for-nothing are the cause of all the Hitler and Mussolini. I bet you I'll hate this place and its locals for the rest of my life. There's something so fake and unreal about them that it drives me crazy.
— Freda Kahlo
by Ernest Hemingway
At two o'clock in the morning two Hungarians got into a cigar store at 15th Street and Grand Avenue. Drevits and Boyle drove up from the 15th Street police station in a Ford. The Hungarians were backing their wagon out of an alley. Boyle shot one off the seat of the wagon and one out of the wagon box. Drevits got frightened when he found they were both dead. “Hell, Jimmy,” he said, “you oughtn’t to have done it. There's liable to be a hell of a lot of trouble.”
“They're crooks, ain't they?” said Boyle. “Their wops, ain’t they? Who the hell is going to make any trouble?”
“That's alright maybe this time,” said Drevits, "but how did you know they were wops when you bumped them off?”
“Wops,” said Boyle, "I can tell wops a mile off."
NONE MORE BLIND
Old Buzzard Luck here with you again. I hope all is well there as I send my best to one and all.
I can be a pretty blind old fool sometimes as there is none more blind than the one who chooses not to see. But sometimes the world gives you that wink from the beyond that any old fool can see once his eyes get open and it's in those few and too far between times that we are embraced by beauty that is truly priceless.
As the best blessings in the world truly are free, I would like to give a great big shout out to one of those gems who was provided for me in the form of a conflict attorney who by grace was provided to me as I'm a broke dick Long but I'm here to tell you all that if you need an attorney who will dog. This attorney will not only go the extra mile for you, she will go two or three or four or however many extra steps are needed to ensure you are well taken care of. That attorney is Rachel McAlister at 707-848-7911. She is the one you should call.
Being the king of Buzzard Luck, I kept getting saddled with bottom of the barrel public defenders who I had to fire only to get some lame guy named Evan Zelig who did my prelim in such a foul fashion he admitted me guilty on all counts. So that fool had to go by way of my filing a complaint with the State Bar. That's how it's done for all you who the courts are forcing us to stay with these lawyers who are bending us over out there. Screw that. Stand up and be counted or lay down and be mounted. It's up to you.
My deepest gratitude to Rachel McCallister for going to bat for me as you are the cause of me finally seeing that there is a flip side. I've only seen the ugly side of the buzzard luck. But you have shown me that buzzard luck can be a beautiful thing. I've taken a lot of hard lumps. Like that old fool from the cartoon of yesteryear who says, "How many lumps you want?" He thought he was going to get some sugar until he got beat the hell up. But you to took that off of me when you went to bat for me. Thank you for helping me turn the tide in my life as I now see buzzard luck ain’t as bad a thing. Without it you never would have come my way. Any of you who need an attorney, find wicked good Rachel — the lady to get the job done.
Why do they call a star witness a star witness? Because of what star spells backward. Everyone of them are that.
Am I the only one who knows why they call it “Mountain Dew”? Break it down as the world winks: Mount and do. Do the Dew baby.
Till next time,
Terry Buzzard Luck Kramer
PS. In my previous note my shout out to Brian Long came out Ryan Long. I hope he is well. PPS. I enclose some butterflies/angels (origami) to hang in your office as symbols of freedom.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Report From Slab City: Day trip report from the resort town of Slab City and Salvation Mountain. There is something about the desert and its dwellers in that everything gets weathered and worn and all the homes have junk strewn across the yards even in the little town of Niland just to the south of Salvation mountain.
First the mountain is really just a hill with a lot of paint on it. By California standards it would be labeled a toxic waste clean up site as would most of Slab City. Very colorful and amazing as it might seem actually pulls in tourist traffic. On to Slab City…..
First thing you notice is that there are “churches all over the place made from whatever people could scrounge. The road tripper piece does not do justice to the amount of people living in a mad max style of life justice. Nor does it actually show the amount of trash strewn all over. The area is a huge sprawling mess with thousands of people living out in the middle of nowhere on our land (BLM) for free.
One of the things that bothered me was some of them just don’t seem to respect the fact they are living rent free on land they actually don’t own or have any claim on. All of them have either occupied signs painted on tires or trash or the obnoxious no trespassing signs all over the place. Some of the living spaces were actually tidy and well kept up and some of them were places made from literally junk or trash and tarps. Some of them erected walls out of mattress springs, barbed wire or pallets. What got to me the most was how are these people living there? I saw no food being grown anywhere that I could see and it was a fairly cool day @ 91 degrees some of them had long drop porta potties and satellite dishes as well as an internet cafe. They do have a water sources in an aqueduct named the Coachella River Valley Water System which was fast moving and had signs to keep out — no wading or swimming allowed. I watched one nervous resident stealing water with a pump and trailer with a large water tank on it. Basically it was skid row but out of sight of fellow Californians.
My take away was that I wanted to come back with trash truck and begin cleaning up all the garbage left behind.
My friend and I will go back again for a camping trip but miles down the road from all the people living in the various camps.
by Paul Modic
Taking the train across country is a singular joy and I strongly recommend a berth in the sleeper car: There's that magic moment when you wake up in the middle of the night, the steel wheels rattling on the rails below your bed, and for half a second you can't place it, not sure where you are.
In the morning you get up, walk down the hall for a shower, brew a strong cuppa coffee in your roomette, and then bring it upstairs with a relaxed smile on your face to watch the scenery flash by outside the big long windows. Everyone in coach is sprawled out and exhausted: drooling mouths hanging open, legs splayed in awkward positions seeking comfort—another night in the cattle car trying to sleep in the seats.
Riding through Arizona one time I struck up a conversation with a college girl going home for the holidays. Asking questions seems to be my main form of communication and I soon found out that her mother had recently been in Paris with a group of her friends from school days twenty years before.
“One of the women takes my mom and her friends on a trip once a year to some interesting place in the world,” she said. “This year it was France.”
“And she pays for the whole trip?” I said.
“Yup,” the girl said.
“Wow, I wonder who would do something like that?”
“It's Meryl Streep,” she said.
BEGGAR, n. A pest unkindly inflicted upon the suffering rich.
— Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”
Jesus died for your sins and I read The NY Times so you don’t have to.
Del Crandall, All-Star Catcher With Champion Braves, Dies at 91
In his 13 seasons with the team, first in Boston and then in Milwaukee, he helped lead them to two National League pennants and a World Series title.
AFTER GIVING THE SIGNAL FOR THE TYPE PITCH I WANT THROWN, I give my pitcher another hand signal. I think this is very important. I indicate where I want the ball thrown, high or low, inside or out. The pitcher generally knows this, so it's usually a reminder. In some cases he doesn't. I want to eliminate as far as possible any chance of misunderstanding between my pitcher and myself as to where that pitch is supposed to go.
Now I give my pitcher a target to aim for. Some catchers use only the glove. Others prefer some part of the body. I believe in giving the pitcher all the help possible. And in my opinion, I can give him more help by using both my body and my glove as a target.
Some people might say this involves a lot of extra movement. But it's a matter of inches, shifting one way or the other when you set yourself to catch. It doesn't take any more out of you to shift to the left or right. I have to make a movement anyway, after I've given my signals, to get into a ready position to catch.
Others say that I tip off where the pitch is going by moving around behind the plate. But when I make my move for an outside or inside pitch, it's too late for the batter to do anything about it. I move when the pitcher starts his motion. The batter at this point has all he can do to watch the pitcher. The main thing here is that you can't move too soon—the batter will see you. Or too late—it won't help your pitcher.
With some pitchers I only have to move an inch or two outside and they will aim for the outside corner. With others I might have to move farther out in order to emphasize for him what I want him to do.
Now my body is where I want the pitch to go, either inside or out. If a low ball is to be thrown I try to get as low as possible. My rump is as high as I can get it without being awkward. Too many catchers let their rear end drag and are in a bad position to move. My weight is forward on my toes and away from my heels. For a high ball I raise the upper part of my body just a few inches. In either case my glove is in the same position as my body.
In any of these four positions, my glove and body are giving the best possible target for the pitcher. In my opinion, you're a bigger asset by moving around. It makes sense to throw at the whole of something rather than a part. It will help get the most out of your pitcher.
Giving the best target possible is so important because it is at the start of the whole pitching action. It is also a factor with the umpires. If you are where that pitch is supposed to come, it will certainly look better to the ump than if you're reaching all over the place for it, no matter how good it is. Also, by keeping your body as low as possible all the time, you give the ump a better look at the ball.
The next way you can help your pitcher the most is in catching the ball properly. What you want to do here is to take charge of the ball after it is thrown and not let the ball take charge of you. This relates mainly to two types of pitches—pitches breaking outside or inside.
If you let the ball take charge on these pitches, the strike on the corner is going to look like a ball to the umpire. I meet the ball with my mitt and catch it firmly before it breaks out of the strike zone. If you're a sloppy catcher, the strike that is so close to being a ball will look more like a ball than a strike. This is no knock at the umps. All I'm doing is to make sure that they can get a good look at the pitch where it passes through the strike zone. I'm stopping the ball there.
This has nothing to do with cheating. This is a legitimate strike. If you cheat a little by taking the pitch and pushing it toward the middle of the strike zone, you won't fool the umpires very long. There's a natural tendency to make the pitch look better. But it's a policy which boomerangs. By pursuing it, you will later lose your pitcher the strike he's entitled to. Don't try to make something out of it that isn't there. Let the strike speak for itself.
It could mean the ball game. If you keep losing your pitcher his strikes you may not be in serious trouble for a while. But a point might come up when one pitch could lose the ball game if it goes against you. When you get in a spot like that, you want the ump to have every chance to look at the pitch. He's going to call it correctly.
— Sports Illustrated "Del Crandall On The Art Of Catching"
THE OLD DOG GETS OLDER
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
She still runs, but rarely and slowly and only if she sees someone holding a dog biscuit 20 feet away.
And she still goes on her morning walks but after a couple blocks she plods along like we’re heading for the gallows. Her gait is a slow, steady trudge and if you give her half a chance she’ll lay on the sidewalk and fall asleep while you talk with a buddy about last night’s A’s game.
Walking 65 pounds of anything is easy if you don’t have to lunge every time it sees a squirrel or wants to chase a gum wrapper. I’ve never known if our dog was well-trained, dimwitted, afraid of the world, or lazy, but who cares? She’s never needed a leash.
A morning stroll to Todd Grove Park until recently took a few minutes but now requires half an hour. From the park we angle behind Anton Stadium, up Giorno to Standley Street, then over the creek and through the trees and by the time we hit Spring she’s rounding third and heading for home.
Up the steps, through the door, into the kitchen to drain her water bowl and now it’s time for a great big nap. (Sorry, I meant to introduce you! Her name is Katrina but most know her as Puppy.)
Dogs get old in different ways, just like people and probably parakeets. She’s elderly and demonstrates it daily. There was a time walking an hour absorbed three miles, and now we’re lucky to get one.
Slowing down is what old dogs do. They leave the pointless bouncing and frolicking to pups who do wild things at dog parks, dance on sidewalks and yank on leashes. Puppy’s disinterest is obvious when happy yappy young dogs try engaging her in activities she once enjoyed, but today are mere hard labor.
Decline is difficult. Our last dog, another Golden Retriever, staggered down a similar path 15 years ago, and I vowed to keep her healthy and active. I’d take her out the door and down the sidewalk for fresh air and some good ol’ stretching of the limbs and joints. Snuppy, ever obedient, did as told. Limping all the way in both directions, she’d return exhausted and sleep until I roused her for another forced march.
Weeks or months later we took her to Ukiah Veterinary Hospital for x-rays on her hips. We stood alongside as Dr. Haynes scrutinized large films on a wall.
He sighed and pointed to the upper regions of Snuppy’s back legs and murmured “See, right here” showing shadowy blurs where balls and sockets had once been.
“It’s just all gone,” he said. “It must have been awfully painful to walk.”
And I thought of coaxing poor old Snuppy to the sidewalk for one more grueling hike to the Mayfield house and back. In her best interests of course.
Which is where we are now, watching our new old dog rise on trembling legs from a cool tile floor, take a few uncertain steps and wobble to the kitchen.
She’s happy to make the effort late afternoons. When she hears those 5 o’clock bells at the Methodist Church her pavlovian trigger knows it’s dinner time. She looks at Trophy with that big doggy smile as the crunchie bowl magically re-fills itself. Puppy still eats like a lumberjack.
Food is her happy thing; getting up the stairs is not. It’s 16 steps to the second floor and watching you’d think she was dragging a plow.
Sometimes in the wishful recesses of my mind I think Hey, maybe this is just a temporary thing, maybe she’ll take a few more anti-inflammatory pills, lose a little weight and be eight years old again. The wishful recesses of my mind also think the Cleveland Browns might win the next Super Bowl.
Who know? Maybe Carprofen pills coupled with Dasuquin is a miracle cure and she’ll live another 20 years, the last dozen or so without Trophy or me to boss her around. It’s not like Puppy would be devastated; her loyalty has mostly been to her dinner bowl.
The dog would thrive without us. She has more friends than we do, and when the Solid Waste Disposal truck comes to haul the wife and me away I doubt Puppy will bother getting off the couch to say goodbye. Instead she’ll trot around the corner and quietly bark at her boyfriend’s front door, knowing Ken Edmonds will be thrilled to invite her in for a few hundred dog biscuits and a couch to sleep on.
Next morning: off to visit Shannon Petersen, Kitti Houston, Bonnie Wildberger or stroll the park with Arlynn and Rod. Or go see Thane. Or Dave Anderson, Stan Harris, Fred & JoAnn, Susan Jantzen and dozens more.
Puppy would miss Trophy and me like she missed Kittiboy when he died.
Mornings she’d saunter downtown for lunch with Aunt Cindy at the Barkery, then visit Pearl and Heidi, the gang at Ann’s Bookstore, Jill at Triple S and Karen at Mendo Bounty. Puppy knows she’s not allowed to visit the bench unless accompanied by a responsible adult because those bad boys would immediately sell her to whoever walked by.
Probably nobody’d want her. Who’d buy a dog if the leash to walk her home wasn’t included?
(Tom Hine lives in Ukiah with his invisible writing companion, TWK )
“IT’S TIME for American troops to come home,” announced U.S. President Joe Biden on April 14, 2021. On the same day, the U.S. Department of Defense clarified that 2,500 troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11. In a March 14 article, meanwhile, the New York Times had noted that the U.S. has 3,500 troops in Afghanistan even though “[p]ublicly, 2,500 U.S. troops are said to be in the country.” The undercount by the Pentagon is obscurantism. A report by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, furthermore, noted that the United States has about 16,000 contractors on the ground in Afghanistan. They provide a variety of services, which most likely include military support. None of these contractors—or the additional undisclosed 1,000 U.S. troops—are slated for withdrawal, nor will aerial bombardment—including drone strikes—end, and there will be no end to special forces missions either.
— Noam Chomsky & Vijay Prashad (CounterPunch.org)
ACCORDING TO THE DES MOINES REGISTER, a new law in Iowa would “grant civil immunity to drivers of vehicles who injure someone who is blocking traffic while engaging in disorderly conduct or participating in a protest, demonstration, riot or unlawful assembly without a permit.” The Washington Post reports that Florida governor Ron “Who Needs Masks?” DeSantis signed a similar law. “That legislation is already a target of a federal civil rights lawsuit,” the Post reports. Oklahoma also passed such a measure.
— Eve Ottenberg (CounterPunch.org)