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Mendocino County Today: Friday, July 30, 2021

Hot Thunderstorms | 25 New Cases | Vaccination Revelation | Dedication | Cement Peckers | Farmers Market | Thrice Defaced | Muddy Road | Forest Fest | Russian Gulch | Pomo Palisades | Medieval Plumbing | Water Commons | Bart Fire | Point Maskarena | 1880 Hospital | Walking Tours | Walter Sandelin | Big River | Agenda Highlights | Mr. Sparky | Ed Notes | Victim Identified | Yesterday's Catch | Herd Immunity | Vanity Projects | Old Man | Kelp Broccoli | Hetch Hetchy | Unvaxxed Covids | Auto Park | Engine Running | SF 1919 | Tired Team | Newsom Allies | Packers Fans | NBA Draft | Medicare Signing

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ISOLATED TO SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS are expected this afternoon across portions of the interior, while it will be another hot day for most of inland northwest California. Isolated thunderstorms may still be found in northeast Trinity County this weekend, while a gradual cooling trend commences. Coastal areas will remain seasonably cool with a fair amount of marine layer cloudiness. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 105°, Yorkville 105°, Boonville 98°, Fort Bragg 64°

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25 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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ERNIE PARDINI: You know, I was one of those anti-vaccine people from the get go. I made the decision to get vaccinated because I was spending time with my 90 year old dad on a daily basis and I didn't want to chance giving him the virus. At his age his chances of surviving it were small. Looking at the way this virus is running rampant among the un-vaccinated, I realized that people who refused to get vaccinated were not only putting un-vaccinated people at risk, but they were putting those of us who did at risk as well. What people don't realize is that every time this virus mutates it gets a bit closer to being immune to the vaccines that now being used. We could be one mutation away from having to start all over again. Unless we get enough people vaccinated to reach herd immunity, we could have a very dismal future. For the sake of us all, please get vaccinated. I agree with all your reasons not to, and I can't say that their will not be issues down the road that we can't see now, but the alternative makes it all that more urgent that we take the risk.

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Greetings from the board of the Anderson Valley Historical Society. You may have noted the scaffolding up around the bell tower of the Little Red Schoolhouse building over the past week or so and wondered what was up. It is work being done by local contractor Brad Alper and crew and is part of our ongoing War Against the Woodpeckers! It’s kind of hard not to like the pesky critters, but on the other hand . . . “Leave our building alone!” We’re sure many folks reading this can relate. Those persistent birds have been pounding away at that bell tower for quite some time, and the damage had become extensive. We’re glad to have Brad and his crew helping out by creating a trim of cement board, which we hope will frustrate the woodpeckers and keep the tower safe and secure. 

Don’t forget to stop by to see your Anderson Valley History Museum. We’re open every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. There are lots of great artifacts, photos and artwork to see, books to buy and discoveries to be made. Bring the kids! Admission is free, though the donation jar is always handy. Our helpful, knowledgeable docents are always happy to give you a tour. And speaking of docents, we’re always on the lookout for new volunteers. One weekend afternoon per month is all the commitment necessary, or you can try it out by signing up for our substitute docent roster. Call Sandra at 895-9020 for more information. 

Cheers, all! 

Jerry Karp

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by Justine Frederiksen

After one small figure in the sprawling historical mural being painted along one block of West Church Street was vandalized three times in one week, artist Lauren Sinnott said she plans to change it.

“One tiny part of this great big panel, one small figure, was defaced,” said Sinnott last week on the day the vandalism first happened, July 22. She reported the incident to the Ukiah Police Department, repaired that section of the mural and prepared to move on.

“It was a shock, but I’m almost grateful to the person who did it, because they didn’t do more, and they reminded me how important it is to coat the surface with protective coating,” said Sinnott, explaining that this was the first instance of vandalism to the block-long mural she has been painting for the past three summers. “I always tell people how great the community has been, and I want to say still is, in respecting the mural and not wanting to see it scrawled on. And we’re just going to move forward, being a fabulous, wonderful community, together.”

However, the figure was soon defaced a second time, and Sinnott again repaired it after again calling the UPD on July 24 to report the incident. Sinnott then repaired the mural again, but returned the next morning to find the figure defaced a third time and again reported the vandalism to the UPD, describing the cost of the damage at $1,000.

While talking about the incidents with local media, Sinnott said the owner of a local taxi service offered to have his drivers patrol the area and keep an eye out for the person Sinnott said is suspected to be defacing her mural. She described the suspect as a woman who has a personal animosity toward the person depicted in the mural due to mutual romantic entanglements.

Sinnott Points to Vandalism

This week, Sinnott said she has now decided to replace the figure that was repeatedly defaced with someone, or something else. For now, the small figure remains damaged.

Sinnott said the rest of her mural is protected with a coating that does not keep people from drawing on it, but does allow her to remove any graffiti without removing her paint. She also coated a mural across the street on the former Poma TV building, which she said allowed her to more easily remove a swastika and other Nazi symbols that had been added on the figure of a woman sitting under the words “Raccoon Lodge” earlier this year.

(Ukiah Daily Journal)

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Muddy Mendo Road, 1920s

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Tell your friends and family to join us for the First Annual Caspar Forest Fest this Saturday at the Caspar Community Center from 1:00pm until who knows when? The music will be unparalleled, the speakers will be momentous, the food predictably fine, the desserts delectable, and the company? The best! The tentative schedule of acts is action packed. 

Get ready for: Priscilla Hunter, Diane Patterson, Alice Di Micele, 2nd Hand Grass with Gene Parsons, Bug Guts, the Miller Family Band, Alicia Bales, Ellen Buechner, Hailey, The Skyhawk Twins, Vince Taylor, U'i Wesley, David Martinez, Chad Hanson, Michelle McMillan, Sue Nagle, Ignacio Chapela, Ravel Gauthier, Sara Constance Rose, Belvie Rooks, Mary Rose, Anna Marie Stenberg… and I'm sure I've forgotten someone.

We will be following suggested covid protocols: bring a mask or get one free, stick with your group and wear your mask when close to others, wash your hands and, if you need one: get vaccinated! Mendocino Coast Clinics will be on site ready to vaccinate those who haven't already gotten the jab!

(Anna Marie Stenberg)

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Russian Gulch, 1940

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I would prefer that the name not be changed. Not because I think Braxton Bragg or the Confederacy should be honored, but because I think it is much ado about nothing. I've been aware of Fort Bragg all my life, but it was only this name change controversy that caused me to become aware of the origin of the name. When I hear “Fort Bragg,” I think of the wonderful community in which I live, not some low-life Confederate General that died 150 years ago.

That being said, if the name does need to be changed, at least change it to something short and easy to write. As far as I am concerned, “Pomo Palisades” dramatically fails this test.

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I appreciated your observation recently. It seems the public face of the law, when it comes to the health of our creeks, differs from that of the boots on the ground.

Water theft in that stretch of creek is as old as the subdivided and sold off Seabiscuit's Ridgewood Ranch. I have owned the residual parcel of that ranch for the last decade and I have seen it all.

In the early days, as has been admitted to me on occasion, the holes in that section of creek served as the sole source of water for many of the early residents that operated on a shoestring. These parcels were subdivided and sold prior to the subdivision act and, as a result, were not developed to a point of planned septic and installation of a potable water well. Many of those parcels, especially South of the Russian / Eel divide, are dry.

Wells have always been an expensive endeavor, and for many of these early residents not an option fiscally. The barrel of water, filled by the creek side, became the de rigueur practice, part of the living off the land experience.

As people have moved in with different scales of economy than those early residents, these practices fell out of equilibrium with the commons. This new economy of scale enabled larger trucks and tanks, and more powerful pumps resulted in significantly more impact. In the intervening decades, the cut over land has been relentlessly growing back, the stands of fir are dense and stand in stark comparison to the remaining stumps of the old growth in their density. 

These two inconvenient facts combine to bring us into our current paradigm. The lack of management of the land has led to increasing demands on the groundwater in our watersheds. An 18-inch diameter Douglas Fir tree evapotranspiration rate is 800 gallons per day. Multiply this number by the current tree count in many of our headwaters, and it becomes clear that the forest's water demand is far greater than historical levels.

People with their big pumps and tanks are just the last straw in this destruction of the commons. You are correct that the last defense is the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. When you drain a pool, it may only technically be a low level misdemeanor with regards to the water stolen, the habitat that water represents to the endangered Salmonid species is definitely a significantly larger violation.

Please publicize the CDFW tipline as the prime contact for issues of this ilk.

Thank you,

Philip Stewart

Williams Ranch Road, Willits

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Calfire Mendocino: "Approx. 20 acres-forward progress has been stopped. 1 outbuilding was destroyed-there is no longer any threat to any other structures. Fire resources will remain at scene working to build containment lines and extinguish hot spots."

(photo by Kent Porter)

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City Council Asks Residents & Visitors To Use Face Masks

Due to the increase in Covid cases on the South Coast and the contagiousness of the delta variant, the Point Arena City Council is asking residents and visitors to use face masks even if vaccinated.

Face masks are also now required at all City facilities, including City Hall and when on the Point Arena Pier.

The City Council's Resolution 2021-17 states:

The City Council finds that due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases, the public should be strongly encouraged to wear face masks whenever indoors or outdoors in public settings including grocery or retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated.

The City Council recommends wearing face masks indoors and outdoors as a precautionary measure to all residents and visitors to Point Arena, regardless of whether such residents/visitors have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.


Paul Andersen, City Manager, 707-882-2122,

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Mendocino Hospital Company, 1880s

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For years Kelley House tour guides have led visitors and locals around our unique historic preservation district, regaling them with stories from Mendocino’s past and present. Thank you to volunteer guides David Tahja, Mary Jackson, and Jane Tillis, who are now taking tours by appointment only (two person minimum). Feel free to join a tour or to volunteer. It’s a great way to meet new people, enjoy a scenic walk, and help the Kelley House. Kelley House walking tours of the Mendocino Historical District are available by advance reservation by emailing

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Thank you, Bob Dempel, for your memory of Walter Sandelin, Mr. Ukiah. On June 29, 1970, the Monday I opened my law office, I didn’t know anyone in town. I remember only one person coming in all day. It was Walter, who took the time to drop in and introduce himself, and I’ve never forgotten his greeting:

“Welcome, Brother Luther.”

I do think of him, especially driving south on 101, crossing the bridge just before the Sonoma County line. I always wave and say “Hello, Walter.”

James Luther


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Big River (photo by Bob Dunham)

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by Mark Scaramella

COUNTY COUNSEL CHRISTIAN CURTIS has dug up four “discount” lawyers to propose to the Supervisors as the Sheriff’s “conflict lawyer.” Readers will recall that Sheriff Matt Kendall has demanded that a judge tell the Supervisors what the law is regarding public safety staffing and computer independence. Two weeks ago, Sheriff Kendall told the Board that he wanted Ukiah Attorney Duncan James to be his attorney at a top hourly rate of $425 per hour (less for less experienced attorneys on James’s staff including former Interim County Counsel Doug “The Midnight Rambler” Losak).

Item 5b) on next Tuesday’s agenda: “Discussion and Possible Action Including Selection of Outside Counsel to Provide Legal Advice and Representation to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Regarding Areas in Which County Counsel Has a Conflict of Interest. (Sponsor: County Counsel). Recommended Action: Select outside counsel to provide legal advice and representation to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office regarding areas in which County Counsel has a conflict of interest.”

COUNTY COUNSEL CURTIS has solicted proposals form four outside lawyers:

Cole Huber, LLP of Roseville (Placer County), Top Rate: $250 per hour.

Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester, LLP, Los Angeles. Top Rate: $300 per hour.

Porter Scott, LLP, Sacramento. Top Rate: $260 per hour.

Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone, LLP, San Jose. Top Rate: $300 per hour.

(Mr. Curtis seems awfully familiar with outside attorneys.)

FORMER FIRST DISTRICT SUPERVISOR CANDIDATE, and former Plumas County Supervisor, Jon Kennedy wrote on a facebook discussion of the Board/Sheriff dispute: “…the Supervisors, if they knew enough about all the Sheriff's budget units, (they don't) they could spend the required time to ‘audit’ the budget(s) themselves. As they should with every department's budget. Doing this not only makes them more knowledgeable about each budget, but it forces open conversations with the department heads, that doesn't necessarily have to turn into a public spectacle. As a former County Supervisor who did JUST that in regard to making it a priority to learn each department's budget better than most department heads knew thier own, I can attest to the importance of spending those extra hours understanding each budget. The assumption that internal audits are performed each year for all departments is not an accurate description of what really happens at the Auditor's office. Even the external audits that are done by professional third party auditors (legal mandate) aren't the same as face to face discussions of priorities of each department. Not even close. These audits are completed with only one thing in mind, and that's to make sure funds are managed in a legally compliant manner, with a goal of having zero to minimal audit exceptions. These audits don't include real talk about serving the public.”

LET’S HOPE this court option can be avoided. Much as we basically agree with Sheriff Kendall in his dispute, if the County and the Sheriff end up in court with lawyers — whatever their hourly rates — attached like leeches, they’ll go down a rabbit hole that will cost more than anyone currently expects — and Curtis himself estimated it might take two years and $250k, if that. If it takes years to resolve, what’s the point? CEO Angelo will be long gone by then.

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Item 5c) “Discussion and possible action regarding approval of modifiation to the Current Resident Deputy Pay Incentive Plans for the Round Valley and South Coast Positions. (Sponsor: Sheriff-Coroner). Recommended Action: Approve modification to the current Resident Deputy Pay Incentive Plans for the Round Valley and South Coast positions.”

Unfortunately, this item does not include any information about what the “modification” would be. We assume it involves increasing the incentives, but might also address resident deputy housing.

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Item 5d) “Discussion and Possible Action Including Acceptance of the Presentation of the Board of Supervisors’ Prioritized Worksheets Regarding Projects for Strategically Investing One-Time Pacific Gas & Electric Disaster Settlement Funds (Sponsor: Executive Office). Recommended Action: Accept presentation of the Board of Supervisors' prioritized worksheets regarding projects for strategically investing one-time Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) disaster settlement funds.”

Staff has compiled an itemized, priced list of projects to spend the PG&E settlement money on, but as with most Supervisors reviews, the list is too abbreviated and jargonized to allow for meaningful understanding or decision making.

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There’s a strange item on the Consent Calendar which seems to us like it might be one of those non-sequiturs that the CEO threw on to the agenda to see if anybody was paying attention.

Item 4m): “Approval of Agreement with Izmael David Arkin dba Mendocino County Aikido in the Amount of $93,375 to Provide Aikido, Mindfulness Meditation, and Trauma Resiliency and Emotional Regulation Skill Development Programming Services to In-Custody and Out-of-Custody Youth for the Period of Date of Full Execution of Agreement through June 30, 2024.” 

Huh? “Mindfulness meditation” … for “out of custody youth”? Come on.

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And as usual, there’s the monthly retroactive gift, this time of yet another $277k to Camille Schraeder:

Item 4o) “Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Community Services, Inc., in the Amount of $277,000to Provide Housing and Services to Assist Emancipated Former Foster/Probation Youth for Health and Human Services Agency, Family and Children’s Services, Effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.”

No evidence that this was even put out to bid, of course. Yet, again, here’s the Board being told to approve what the CEO has already done. (Two weeks ago, Supervisor Williams got all huffy when he saw the proposed agreement between Sheriff Kendall and Duncan James which — horrors! — the Board hadn’t approved yet. Turned out that no final agreement had been signed yet, of course, and Williams calmed down. But never a word from Williams or any other Supervisors about the monthly openly retroactive gifts to the Schraeders, et al.


Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:

The Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda for the Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021, meeting is now available on the County website:

Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

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THE SHERIFF'S REMIT is clear. The state constitution says nothing shall impede the investigative duty of the Sheriff… He's elected and controls his budget, and his computers are the department's computers. To interfere with him on these pretexts interferes with his mandate and is a losing proposition. Why public money should be spent on lawyers, outside lawyers at that, shouldn't be acceptable. But in an apparatus that has $93,375 on the consent calendar “to Provide [delinquent youth] with “Aikido, Mindfulness Meditation, and Trauma Resiliency and Emotional Regulation Skill Development Programming Services to In-Custody and Out-of-Custody Youth”…Well, hell, pass the checkbook.

THE MENDOCINO VOICE reported today that Willits has nixed any water deal with Fort Bragg. Willits has issued its own stage-one water warning as its own supplies don't leave enough to sell:

THE UNSETTLING EVENTS of recent times have lots of people thinking apocalyptic thoughts, their doomer scenarios fed by media accounts such as this one getting a lot of play this week. According to a study by Anglia Ruskin University in England, a total global collapse wrought by climate change, the U.S. isn't among the Top 5 countries well-positioned to survive because our lengthy land borders make US vulnerable to migration, especially from the poor countries to the south of us but even from Canucks from the frozen north of their country.

THE UK professors rated countries' survivability on factors such as manufacturing capability, isolation from dense population centers, and proportion of arable land. The following island nations sit in the survivability cat bird's seat:

  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • United Kingdom

COLLAPSE would involve the breakdown of supply chains and international agreements that facilitate trade among countries, bringing the global financial system to its knees.

IN A VERY SMALL WAY, Mendocino County's supply lines are largely dependent on Bay Area suppliers running our Fritos and Amazon surprises by truck up Highway 101. 101 gets knocked out, no more Fritos.

A NEW HOLIDAY INN sits at the south end of Ukiah's grandly mis-named Airport Boulevard, basically a collection of big box franchises only the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce might confuse with the Champs-Elysees. 

The new Ukiah Holiday reminds me of one of those Chechnya hotels that magically survived the Russian assault on Grozny back in '94. Devastation all around but one, squat, seemingly indestructible structure surviving a city otherwise totally destroyed. Welcome to Ukiah, Hotel Grozny!

AN INTERESTING PBS doc the other night was all about Alden Global Capital's looting of the Denver Post, much as here in Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake counties. Alden has looted ancient community newspapers, selling off their real estate, dumping long-time staffers that made the papers sing. (Well, warble, maybe, but still…) The Denver Post staffers got together to start their own on-line paper but, as the film concluded, were guardedly optimistic they could eke out livings as journalists. Prior to Alden's takeover of the Post, it was owned by Dean Singleton, a minor league Alden who also scooped up community papers, cut them to the bone, but managed to parlay enormous debt into a tidy fortune for himself while at least keeping the papers alive. Alden also keeps papers alive, and I'll bet that even in their reduced state the three Mendo papers Alden owns return enough of an annual profit for the vultures at Alden to keep them on life support.

SINGLETON, ever the realist, appears in the documentary to say that newspaper-newspapers are doomed, as are the Denver Post staffers who've started their own on-line paper to go with it. We don't need Singleton to point out that the internet has killed newspapers, and has also knocked off thousands of print journalists. But looking at the Northcoast, the journalo-situation isn't all that dire; the Mendo papers hang on, and a few on-line papers (including the ava) like Lost Coast Outpost and Kym Kemp's terrific Redheaded Blackbelt website, plus lots of knowledgeable people chipping in on comment lines, seem to me to add up to a daily news diet as good as it's ever been. Oh yeah, the internet has major downsides, for sure, but everything is up there if people can be trusted to sort out truth from untruth, a big IF for sure.

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(Victim Identified)

Becerra-Alvarez, 2016

On Thursday, July 29, 2021 Sheriff's Detectives were able to identify the victim as being Edgar Alejandro Becerra-Almaraz (27 year-old male from Rohnert Park).

Next of kin notification has been completed and follow-up investigations are still ongoing by Sheriff's Detectives at this time.

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Previous Update…

On Friday, July 23, 2021 Sheriff's Detectives established probable cause to arrest Oscar Alvarez Ruiz for the death of the adult male associated with this reported incident.

Alvarez Ruiz was one of two individuals detained on the property several hours after the Deputies arrival in respond to the reported shooting incident.

Alvarez Ruiz was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a No Bail status.

The motive and circumstances of incident are still under investigation by Sheriff's Detectives.

The identity of the deceased adult male is not being released, pending positive identification and notification to the next of kin.

A forensic autopsy on the deceased adult male is scheduled for 07-28-2021.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 29, 2021

Bohannon, Gutierrez, Jenkins, Lawson

TODD BOHANNON, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.


GLENN JENKINS, Willits. County parole violation.

ZACHARY LAWSON JR., Ukiah. Parole violation, failure to appear.

McElroy, Miller, Roberts

TONY MCELROY, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DANIEL MILLER, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, contempt of court. (Frequent flyer.)

Sagehorn, Sanders, Wall

LORI SAGEHORN-QUARLES, Ukiah. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%, DUI with priors, fourth or more DUI conviction in within ten years, misdemeanor hit&run. 

RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance. (Frequent flyer.)

LESLI WALL, Willits. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

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Beginning in June 2020, Dr. Scott Atlas, a medical adviser to Donald Trump, promoted herd immunity — suggesting that everyone be exposed to COVID-19 so the disease could cull the vulnerable. That is exactly what is happening right now among the voluntarily unvaccinated. Mission accomplished! Here’s the irony: I know that Trump is fully vaccinated, and I’ll bet Atlas is as well. There’s a cliché for that: Do as I say, not as I do.

Steve Schlich


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Old man sleepin' the hot day away
While he dreams a thousand yesterdays
'Cause he's had so many come his way
All he cares about is somewhere to lay his head tomorrow

Old man sits and thinks about his home
Doesn't matter 'cause he's all alone
What he'd give to get back on his own
Curses his body 'cause it's old and it gives no transportation
He sits in his one room shack alone but it provides no consolation

What a shame, his time is nearin'
His eyes won't let him see the skies are clearin'
Someone tells him without his hearin'
It's no news to those who've been around while things are changin'

— ZZ Top

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WHEN WE LIVED on the coast of Oregon, we had to constantly fertilize the poor, sandy soil to maintain a garden. Also, the area received very high rainfall—100 or more inches on the coast where we lived and 200 inches in the coastal mountains that began at the edge of town, so nutrients were continually washed out of the soil to run into the ocean nearby. I first realized how accustomed people were to rain when shortly after I moved there I watched two people talking while standing out in a light drizzle when there was a covered porch just six feet away they could have easily moved under. During storms the water would often hit our house horizontally so you had to weather-strip and caulk windows against water being driven upwards as well as downwards on south sides of houses where big storms hit.

Notwithstanding our poor soil, one year we grew an enormous broccoli and people came from all over to see it because it was 14 inches across at the top and later won a blue ribbon at the county fair. People would come to the door and ask to see the “broccoli from outer space.” We always believed the secret of that plant’s success was the fertilizer. That spring we had used kelp from a beach a few hundred yards from our house to fertilize our garden. We had a prolific kelp bloom that winter and violent storms had covered the beaches with it. I made many trips bringing back tons of the stuff and we had spread it all over the garden. Kelp consists of green, slippery, long, tapering, hollow tubes from three or four inches wide down to a fraction of an inch. I used a hatchet to chop the tubes into hollow rings and spread them all over the garden. We always assumed that the kelp bloom that year contributed something that caused our broccoli to grow that large.

When kelp washes up on beaches it is called wrack and as it decomposes it produces clouds of tiny flying insects that shore birds eat. Seven hundred species depend on kelp and it contains about 70 nutrients that benefit plants....

— Jim Britell, The Broccoli That Ate Port Orford

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Hetch Hetchy

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I have Real Bad anecdotal evidence to share.

My hairdresser gf’s long-time client Just told of her neighbour (Paediatrician Surgeon at Regina General Hospital) saying that RGH’s ICU is full of unvaxxed Covids.

If this is True, my analysis leads to: the Delta is Real and it is part of their repetoire. They will knock off the clean while “breakthrough” the poisoned.

I’ve no word on the compromisedness of these cases or how many beds are in ICU there. Regina has 200,000 people and 2 major hospitals. Regina is very, very highly vaxxed. Us unjabbed are a small minority.

Survival of the fitest. I take zinc & Vitamin D and remain hermitose but my gf (unjabbed) could bring me the Delta every time we play Yahtzee together.

These rotten dcumbags! It reminds me of The Far-Side cartoon where 2 men are talking in the foreground with all manner of literal Hell surrounding them. The one guy, putting down his mug, says, “Oh man! Even the coffee’s cold! They’ve thought of everything.”

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Willits Auto Park, Vintage

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A Lexus mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a LS460 when he spotted a well known cardiologist in his shop. The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his car when the mechanic shouted across the garage, “Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?” 

The cardiologist, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "So Doc, look at this engine. I opened its heart, took the valves out, repaired or replaced anything damaged, and then put everything back in, and when I finished, it worked just like new. So how is it that I make $48,000 a year and you make $1.7M, when you and I are doing basically the same work?" 

The cardiologist paused, leaned over, and then whispered to the mechanic... “Try doing it with the engine running.” 

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Stanyan at Fell, San Francisco, 1919

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by Benjamin Markovits

In my last year at university, I got the name of a European basketball agent who could help me land a job after graduation. He gave me a list of Americans already playing overseas. I called one of them and asked him what it was like playing in Europe. His answer reminded me of John Travolta’s line from Pulp Fiction, about “the little differences.” “They’ve got the skills and everything,” he said. “But they don’t have that attitude, do you know what I mean? That edge…”

He was talking to the wrong American. I hadn’t played competitively since high school, when I sat on the bench for a team that went to the state semis in Texas. The attitude – or feeling – that dominated my basketball life was deep frustration at the gap between what I wanted to do on the court and what I had actually done. I hoped that a German passport (my mother comes from Schleswig-Holstein) might make it easier for me to play in Europe, where the second division clubs have quotas to limit the number of foreign (mostly American or Russian) players.

That was twenty-five years ago. Since then, the rest of the world has been catching up. After a very young squad of American stars lost (i.e., got a bronze medal) in the men’s tournament at the 2004 Olympics, Team USA put together a run of 25 straight wins and three gold medals. But that streak ended last Sunday, when they blew a seven-point lead against France. Maybe they didn’t have that edge. In the final minutes, Damian Lillard passed up an open three, trying to find a teammate, and turned the ball over. On one possession, they missed five straight shots. Toward the end of the game they went almost five entire minutes without one field goal. You could feel the pressure tell. But you could also sense that the world is not frightened of American basketball any more.

They’ve been blasted in the media at home (Tim Legler on ESPN: “Team USA should feel embarrassed”) but the loss was hardly a surprise. They’d already been beaten by Nigeria and Australia in friendlies the previous week. It isn’t always easy to measure the star power of an American squad, because they tend to be a mixed bag of the available and the willing. But this team has a number of genuine superstars in their primes: not only Lillard and Kevin Durant, but two of the heroes of last week’s NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. The consensus has been that if they play according to their talents (and their paychecks), they should win.

So what happened? Some of the obvious explanations are clearly true. The Americans are tired; they’ve been playing basketball for almost two straight years. Because of Covid, the NBA season had a quick turnaround, and some of the players in Tokyo got straight off a flight from the NBA Finals before suiting up the next day. Other countries tend to build up teams from their youth; many of the Americans had never played together before. And it was only one game. They could still go on to win the gold. Wednesday night saw a decisive victory against an overmatched Iranian side.

But there’s more to it than that. The three best players in the NBA this year were all foreign: Serbia’s Nikola Jokić won the regular season’s Most Valuable Player award; Cameroon’s Joel Embiid came second. Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece won the Finals MVP. And the best young player in the league, Slovenia’s Luka Dončić, almost broke the Olympic record with a 48-point debut on Monday against Argentina.

Something has shifted in the 17 years between Team USA’s last Olympic loss and this one. Part of what’s happened is the rise of analytics, on the back of technology that allows us to track and measure the efficiency of almost every unit of play in an NBA game. The computers don’t measure “attitude” or “edge,” which, in the absence of other data, are among the things we used to rely on to assess ability. Now, instead, we’ve got numbers to go by.

But analytics can’t change the fact that basketball teams are social hierarchies, and where you stand in the hierarchy shapes how well you can play. The NBA may be evolving but it is still an American league. And part of what we’re seeing at the Olympics is that foreign role players on NBA teams can, if the hierarchy around them changes, beat NBA stars. France’s leading scorer in Sunday’s game (with 28 points), Evan Fournier, finished the NBA season as perhaps the fourth best player on the Boston Celtics. The Celtics star, Jayson Tatum, scored nine for the Americans.

One of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen live was Patty Mills playing for Australia in the 2012 Olympics. He owned the court and led the tournament in points per game. Two weeks ago, he was the top scorer in Australia’s warm-up victory against the US. Team USA is coached by Greg Popovich, the same guy who brings Mills off the bench for his NBA club, the San Antonio Spurs.

A player I ended up facing in Germany (when I wasn’t sitting on the bench) turned out to be a pioneer of the foreign invasion of the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki was just eighteen but there were stories going around that George Karl, the coach of the Seattle Supersonics, was trying to recruit him. The Sonics had just lost in the NBA Finals. “Call me when you win,” Nowitzki is supposed to have said. Two years later he joined the NBA, and in 2007 became the second player from outside North America (and the first European) to win the league MVP. If these Olympic Games are anything to go by, more are coming.

(London Review of Books)

* * *

RECALL MONEY WARS: What Do Newsom’s Million-Dollar Donors Want?

Gov. Gavin Newsom may be fighting for his political life amid a fourth wave of COVID, a drought without modern precedent, another horrific fire season, a spiking murder rate and an increasingly credible-seeming recall. But at least he has a lot of really rich political allies.

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Green Bay Packers Fans

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by Matt Taibbi

The consensus #1 pick of the 2021 NBA draft, Cade Cunningham.

I’ve written in the past about my obsession with the NFL draft, which was similar to porn addiction in that it involved stacks of dog-earned magazines hidden under the bed. In recent years much of that sickness has moved over to a more digitized version of the NBA ritual, an event taking place tonight. It’s a year-round fixation. As surely as a smoker knows “Just this last pack” is a lie, I know as early as tomorrow night I’ll be surfing mock drafts for next year’s event.

I spent years developing a Unified Field Theory of NFL drafting that I remain convinced works, and would still give almost anything to be hired, even by the Jacksonville Jaguars, to test out. Principles include: always draft the “weed guy” (the talent who falls in the draft because of a positive marijuana test, like Warren Sapp or Randy Moss), don’t sleep on Samoans (perennially under-drafted for some reason), grab undersized running backs with great 40 times in the middle rounds (NFL scouts convinced such players “can’t take the pounding” annually pass on the likes of Darren Sproles and Maurice Jones-Drew), and most especially, observe the Justin Miller rule, i.e. steer clear of the player who gets arrested just before the draft, especially if its for something bizarre like driving a truck into a retirement home.

I have similar theories about the NBA draft, all based on the idea that professional teams can radically improve their hit rate (and, more to the point, decrease their bust rate) without ever scouting the players in person, or really doing anything at all beyond doing what I do, with the shame of a self-abusing hunchback, late every night: obsessively read draft previews by people like Kevin O’Connor and Adam Spinella, and watch grainy highlight videos on YouTube.

Three years ago I published the first draft of these rules. They included, never draft the “next Larry Bird,” pick whichever player Skip Bayless thinks is a bust, and flee the annual International Man of Mystery, i.e. the previously-unknown European with middling amateur stats who races up the draft boards in the last month as scouts fall in love with his weird name and “unique skillset.” That last one could have been called “The Darko Milicic Rule” or the “Dragan Bender Rule” or even the “Pavel Podkolzin Rule,” but it’s a near-constant in the draft ritual.

I know readers of this site come for more serious topics. I promise to make such outbursts rare, but I’d be useless on any other topic today anyway. It’s so bad my family knows not to approach me after sundown on draft night — not because I’ll lash out, but because I’m no longer there, my brain having already melted physically into the ESPN broadcast, like the poster shot in David Cronenberg’s underrated Videodrome.

Since 2017, there’s an exponentially larger amount of analysis, video, and data which have produced an almost entirely new set of insane scouting cliches, all of which I love. Having studied them, I’ve come up with new guidelines to add to my last list. In no particular order:

No Dogs Allowed: If a player makes it all the way through AAU ball and high school and his first year in college or the G-league and is still content to jack up shots, lose, and spend the rest of his time watching his awesome BallisLife mixtapes, that player is not going to suddenly become more motivated to play defense once he gets his first paycheck in the league. That player is a dog. Beware of that player.

Finding NBA stars outside the top 3 picks is a lot like finding quarterbacks in the NFL: the most dependable way is by accident. Just as NFL teams should just draft quarterbacks every year until they find one (because the flighty animals are impossible to scout), NBA GMs should just keep drafting physically capable players with long track records of playing hard on defense, and pray that some of them turn into Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, etc. If the player is too small or too slow to guard anyone, or is Marvin Bagley, just move on to the next player who isn’t too small or too slow, or Marvin Bagley, and you might have something.

This is why I like players this year like Miles “Deuce” McBride of West Virginia, Herb Jones of Alabama, David Johnson of Louisville, and Usman Garuba of Real Madrid. Maybe none of them turn into stars, but players who try hard on defense usually at least reach their second contracts. Your job as an NBA GM is to not get fired, and it’s the guys who don’t finish their first deals with their original team who’ll send you back into broadcasting or some worse version of a real job. Have your radar up for the player with such evil intentions and cross him off your board.

Second-Tier Freaks: Much has been made of the fact that current NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted 15th, behind the likes of Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, Alex Len, and Kelly Olynyk. That made more sense than it seems now in hindsight: Giannis wasn’t as tall in 2013, nor as ripped, and apart from his insane Martian hands, his physical profile wasn’t so incredible that you could overlook how raw his game was.

However, almost every year, there’s a player who’s physically monstrous who lasts way past the lottery or even into the second round. Often the player doesn’t know how to actually play basketball yet, but past a certain point in the draft, who cares?

Scouts are wildly inconsistent when it comes to falling in love with players based on physical potential. They will go bananas watching Yi Jianlian working out by himself (the chair story isn’t real!) but be unanimous in deciding Pascal Siakam won’t make it because he only annihilated human beings at New Mexico State. They’ll stake their jobs on the “explosive athleticism” of Anthony Bennett or Marquese Chriss in the lottery, but use secret insider scout math to put Rudy Gobert’s 7’9” wingspan as a “mid-20s value.” It never makes sense.

The case study this year is another Nigerian player from a small school, Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey. Bassey had an injury, and supposedly has a reputation for being contact-averse, but this is a 6’11”, 230-pound behemoth who blocks shots, shoots threes, throws down earthquake jams off lobs, and looks like he could eat higher-rated players like Kai Jones and Josh Giddey. Maybe he doesn’t pan out, but clearly worth a dice roll after round 1.

Honorable mention:Yves Pons of Tennessee. He probably won’t get drafted, but athletically he’s a Ben10 alien and could be a small-ball center. He could also just be small. I’d take him late anyway, though.

Draft Villanova forwards: Villanova fours are the new Marquette wings. Coach Jay Wright keeps cranking out guys with Barkley-esque physiques who can at least contribute, but they keep getting under-drafted, from Omari Spellman to Eric Paschall to Saddiq Bey to, this year, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who scouts say has short arms and inspires “questions about his upside.” Robinson-Earl is already a pro-level defender though, and will go late and outlast at least five of the GMs who pass him over.

Acquire unheralded Euros: I almost called this the “draft sucky Euros” rule, but that’s not quite it. However, it’s close. If you draft a foreign player who’s too good at 18 or 19, that player is going to want to come to the NBA as soon as possible, and will force the drafting team to either sign him or renounce his rights.

What you want is a player who is five or six years away from being good. Draft the player late, forget about him, let him get half a decade of professional coaching on someone else’s dime, then bring him back when he’s physically matured and just about to hit his prime at 27 or 28. This is the age when players like Nemanja Bjelica (who was drafted) and Daniel Theis (who was not) come back and have careers. Similarly, prioritize trading for the rights to any such late-drafted foreign player, even if you’ve never seen him play — maybe especially in that case. Look at the Oklahoma City Thunder, who now have the rights to reigning 27 year-old Euroleague MVP Vasilije Micić after acquiring him as an afterthought.

The Thunder not only followed the “acquire random Euros” rule, they applied the important corollary, “Always acquire the rights to foreign players in deals with the Philadelphia 76ers,” who seem to have a passion for giving away useful foreigners. Players who are candidates for the draft-and-forget strategy this year include Juhann Begarin, Belgium’s Vrenz Bleijenbergh (who may want to come over too soon, and also violates the next rule), and Amar Sylla.

Fat, not skinny: A heavy player can lose weight, but there’s nothing you can do to Shawn Bradley to keep his matchups with Shaquille O’Neal from turning into nature show videos. In fairness that was true of a lot of players, but the current rules, which don’t allow pushback from defenders, really hurt the kind of player who flies backward when hit with driving Harden-ass in the lane. Within a month last year poor 7’0”, 190-pound Aleksej Pokusevski was stopping when he got to the hoop to see if anyone maybe wanted to sock him before he took a layup. He shot 34% from the field. Maybe he’ll come around, but mostly those players don’t last. Meanwhile, fat skilled guys not infrequently become less fat, and good, like under-drafted players Marc Gasol, Big Baby Davis, Boris Diaw, etc.

This year’s obvious candidate is 6’8,” 270-pound Raiquan Gray, a sloppy-physiqued forward from Florida State with point guard skills. Alaskan point guard phenom Daishen Nix also will probably look much better once NBA trainers get a whack at de-cheeseburgering him. On the other hand, Ziaire Williams of Stanford looks like he will get the Dragan Bender treatment — elbows in the sternum every game, all game — for a couple of years anyway, and his brain may be broken by the time he can put the weight on. He’s a big talent, but no wraiths in the first round is a good rule.

This column is a cry for help. The way I remember it, I predicted that Gasol, Butler, Nikola Jokic, John Collins, Kyle Kuzma, Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Slo-Mo Anderson would be good picks. However, in darker moments, I suspect I may also have thought Justin Anderson, Melvin Frazier, Kyrylo Fesenko, Nathan Jawai, and Mfiondo Kabengele would be hits. It’s possible I even thought Stanko Barac would be good. I really can’t be sure. If I write down my thoughts, like Guy Pearce’s Memento character, I may later be able to piece together a real picture of how far gone things are. Again, I apologize if this is not what you signed up for. If you are a draft fan, however, enjoy tonight, and for the rest of the year — hide it from your family!

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In this July 30, 1965 file photo, President Lyndon Johnson signs the Medicare Bill into law while former President Harry S. Truman, right, observes during a ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo. At rear are Lady Bird Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and former first lady Bess Truman. (AP Photo)


  1. Eric Sunswheat July 30, 2021

    RE: closer to being immune to the vaccines

    ->. From March 20, 2021, to May 21, 2021, there were 1,293 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at United Memorial Medical Center. Eighty-six of them died, resulting in a 6.7% death rate.

    That’s about half the 12.5% death rate for hospitalized COVID-19 patients reported by the National Center for Health Statistics over the same period.4

    Early on in the pandemic, five critical care physicians formed the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC), which developed the highly effective COVID-19 treatment protocol known as MATH+.

    Varon was among them, as was Dr. Paul Marik, a critical care doctor at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia. The protocol for hospitalized patients was initially based on the following:

    Intravenous Methylprednisolone
    High-dose intravenous Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
    Plus optional treatments Thiamine, zinc and vitamin D
    Full dose low molecular weight Heparin

    In the beginning, only supportive care was offered to COVID-19 patients.

    Even today, people with COVID-19 are told to stay home and isolate until they’re lacking oxygen..

  2. Craig Stehr July 30, 2021

    Grew up in Milwaukee, where once per year the Green Bay Packers would come down from their usual playing at Lambeau Field, and compete in Beer City. Everybody bundled up in the stands, sitting on the wool blankets, flasks filled with whiskey, and cheering on Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts who was amazing in passing length and accuracy. Bart Starr totally miffed that we were cheering for the other team. Okay, The Pack won the game, but who cares? We got to see Unitas in his prime! ;-))

  3. Marshall Newman July 30, 2021

    Thank you, Ernie Pardini. Well stated.

  4. Sonya Nesch July 30, 2021

    If you have a better idea than Mendocino County Aikido to help young people find meaning and purpose in their life, let’s hear it. I think they have an excellent idea with a lot of promise for success of the people they work with.
    Sonya Nesch

    • Bruce Anderson July 30, 2021

      Scared Straight program if they still have them at San Quentin; GED prep; Marine Corps Devil Pup Camp; Mountain trail training; Apprenticeships to people with marketable skills, like carpenters, plumbers, electricians.

    • Mark Scaramella July 30, 2021

      Sure: Vocational Training, GED Prep, remedial reading, how to write a coherent letter or essay, book reports. Practical stuff. Use library-style retiree volunteers instead of paying… The list is endless.

  5. Professor Cosmos July 30, 2021

    Don’t be so down on mindfulness meditation. That practice is a part of new treatment modalities that studies show bring great results. PTSD, addiction, etc.

    The practice was developed 2500 years ago by a man who had realized that the yogic one pointed concentrative practices yielding great blisses would wear off and he was the same miserable asshole as before the session. Mindfulness is enabled first by calm abiding practices of one pointed focus on breathing. Over time, mind chatter subsides and there is thought free wakefulness that allows a disentangling from a fusion with subjective and perceptual experiencing. Behavioral and cognitive scientists call that cognitive defusion and represents a break from identifying with the conceptualized self and instead bringing a realization of the self as context. Result is psychological flexibility and less tripping on imagined stuff.

    • Professor Cosmos July 30, 2021

      We will encourage them to institute mindfulness training at the AVA.

    • Mark Scaramella July 31, 2021

      You mean you have withdrawn your “I guess I’ve capitulated” position regarding staff’s continued stonewalling of your “ongoing demand”? Good to hear.

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