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Off the Record (November 24, 2021)

RECOMMENDED VIEWING, NETFLIX: “The Unlikely Murderer,” a Swedish film about the man believed to be Olaf Palme's assassin. Even if you have no interest in the event, the series is so well acted it is certain to hold your interest.

RECOMMENDED READING: “Crossroads” by Jonathan Franzen. So much of modern fiction seems so bad I'd stopped reading novels a long time ago, sticking to an occasional short story in The New Yorker where most fiction is also unreadable. It's been non-fiction for me for a long time, the wisdom of my choice solidified every Saturday morning when NPR's premier nuzzlebum, Scott Simon, interviews an inarticulate author of a failed novel, the failure proved by the passages read by their creator as Simon sheds several octaves as he fakes how moved he is by a couple of paragraphs only a deep dish fraud could claim to be moved by. 

I REMEMBER being impressed by Franzen's 2018 New Yorker piece on the rolling, unaddressed catastrophes unleashed by industrial civ. “Here's a guy who sees clearly,” I thought, and resumed contributing my share as one more swinish, consuming citizen of the First World to the serial apocalypses I will leave my grandchildren. I was aware that Franzen was also a fiction writer, but how good a fiction writer? My blind intolerance for contemporary creative lit forbade me from knowing. But just last week I noted a challenge somewhere that went like this: How good does a writer have to be to interest the averagely depraved modern reader in a Christian family struggling to emulate Jesus's standards of right behavior in contemporary America's moral cesspool? Real good, and this guy is a real good writer, light years better than anybody else out there. I haven't been this gripped by a novel in years. “Crossroads” is the goods.

STEVE BANNON, white nationalist, handed himself in to the FBI in Washington last week after being indicted for defying a subpoena to testify before the House's investigation into the January 6 attack on, basically, them. Bannon, livestreaming his big day, told his supporters, “I don't want anybody to take their eye off the ball of what we do every day. We got the Hispanics coming on our side, African Americans coming on our side. We're taking down the Biden regime every day. I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message.”

BIDEN'S REGIME? Poor Old Joe barely knows where he is let alone being capable of directing anything regime-like.

BUT BANNON is a key voice in cheering on civil conflict in the accelerating crumbling civil context of 2021. Our elites are divided among themselves, we're getting whacked all over the globe, the economy is not supporting the millions of Americans who depend on it, and there's an ongoing and growing level of general lawlessness. Bannon and Company want a civil war. And you can be sure he has plenty of soul bros among law enforcement, including the FBI. 

AS A FAITHFUL but not particularly careful reader of the MCN chatline, some time ago I began to look forward to the unfailingly smart posts from Marie Tobias and Carol Mattesich. Of the two, Ms. Tobias seems more broadly focused, discussing everything from alternate power sources to gentle attempts to get the regulars to tone down their endlessly abusive denunciations of each other. Ms. Mattesich usually confines herself to left wing analyses of current events, which I invariably agree with. (She's smarter and more pertinent than most of the writers on Counterpunch.)

BUT are these two women the same person? Not that I'm capable of reliably discerning the difference in prose styles, but my textual investigations suggest, to me anyway, that Marie and Carol just might be the same person or, and this is really farfetched, maybe both are the creation of the brilliant Eleanor Cooney pulling off the first locally-based literary hoax since Wanda Tinasky!

I WAS WRONG about Wanda Tinasky, too. At book length. If a guy's gotta be wrong, do it big, I say. I thought Wanda was the elusive Thomas Pynchon because the Wanda character went to professional forger-lengths to not only mimic Pynchon's style but wrote on a typewriter of the same type and vintage as Pynchon's. He also signed off with a signature resembling Pynchon's. 

SOME PEOPLE close to that case still think the Wanda letters were the work of Pynchon, who lived on the Northcoast while he wrote Vineland. I thought Wanda/Pynchon, like lots of us, saw Mendo as a target-rich environment given this area's literary-artistic-intellectual pretensions.

BUT ALONG CAME Don Foster, a well-known literary scholar with a specialty in ferreting out true authorship. Foster identified Hawkins as Wanda, helped along by letters and other documents, including a pile of ava's, recovered from the Hawkins' Trillum Lane home. 

SO WANDA turned out to be an erudite old beatnik named Tom Hawkins, who was well known in the early beat Frisco literary circle that included Gary Snyder and L. Ferlinghetti. Hawkins and Mrs. Kathleen Hawkins, the latter a gifted potter, had left the city for their retirement home on Trillum Lane outside Fort Bragg.

HAWKINS' hilarious critiques of Mendo's incestuous literary scene were published under the pseudonym, Wanda Tinasky. Wanda's adopted persona was that of a bag lady who lived under the Pudding Creek Bridge from where she commented on local personalities and events. The Wanda letters first appeared in the long gone Commentary, later Marco Maclean's Memo. The Wanda letters got him/her banned from that publication, but she/he was of course welcomed by the less, ahem, judgmental  ava where the Wanda letters were much admired and enjoyed.

THE WANDA interlude didn't end well for Hawkins. He bludgeoned his wife Kathleen to death in their Trillum Lane home, mourned over her remains for several days, set the house on fire, then drove himself into the sea north of town. In one of his last letters as Wanda, which had always been lighthearted and very, very funny, Hawkins/Wanda said he was going to “a very cold place.” How cold nobody could have known.

REGRETS, yes, I have a few, as the song goes, one of them being turning the Tinasky project over to a perpetually aggrieved battleax calling herself TR Factor, a story in itself but, short form, Factor thought her commentary was just as interesting as the Wanda letters, the result being a book that would have been much livelier and much more interesting if Fred Gardner, who wanted to edit the collection, had done it. The Factor version, btw, last time I looked on Amazon, was going for upwards of fifty bucks. 

THE SF CHRONICLE’s Katie Dowd recently recapped the Asha Kreimer missing person case. We all still hope that Asha Kreimer is alive somewhere, despite the likelihood that the very disturbed young woman jumped off the Mendo coast bluffs near the Rollerville Café outside of Point Arena back in December of 2015. 

BUT there was one claim in Ms. Dowd’s story which is incorrect and misleading, and which has a Mendo hook.

At one point reporter Dowd says, “Due to her erratic behavior, she was put under a psychiatric hold, known as a 5150 in California, for three hours before the hospital [our emphasis] released her back to the care of her companions.”

“THE HOSPITAL” referred to is Coast Hospital’s emergency room and the “Access Center,” then being operated by Mendo’s private contractor Ortner Management Group, whose staffer later told Asha’s mother that he regretted Asha’s premature discharge despite Asha’s psychotic condition.

WHAT IS KNOWN is that her boyfriend, a dreadlocked young white man from Albion named Jamai Gayle, and a visiting friend of Asha’s from Australia named Sally (last name unknown), took Asha to the “Access Center” in Fort Bragg Sunday evening, September 20 where she was reported to be suffering from a mental health crisis stemming from what her mother said was a bipolar disorder — but as far as is known she had not suffered any such “crisis” before.

THE ACCESS CENTER at the time was run by Ortner Management Group, the private, for-profit mental health contractor given responsibility for Mendocino County's publicly-funded mental health services. Ortner has long since been terminated after a chorus of complaints from cops and local doctors.

ASHA had been living in Albion with Jamai Gayle for three years. She was having trouble sleeping in the days leading up to her disappearance, and had been awake for four consecutive nights and shouting “incoherently,” which precipitated the trip to the Hospital.

THE YOUNG WOMAN’S behavior at the Hospital was described as so odd and potentially dangerous that the Hospital staff called the Fort Bragg police. Asha resisted being restrained and was then declared 5150 (danger to self or others) by a Fort Bragg police officer.

ASHA’S MOTHER, a practicing nurse in Australia, has since spoken to the Fort Bragg police sergeant who was on the scene at the Hospital and the mental health worker who arrived at the Hospital soon after Asha was brought in. The worker told Asha’s mother he couldn’t discuss details because of Health Privacy laws. But he broke down in tears while talking to Asha’s mother about the incident at the Emergency Room. “I think he felt responsible for a bad decision. I’ve heard about incompetence there.”

SOMEWHERE toward the end of the “mess,” Asha was released by the tearfully regretful Ortner contractor rep, to boyfriend Jamai and her young Australian friend, “Sally.”

“They did no blood workup, they made no written observations, they took no vital signs, because they said Asha refused to allow it,” her mother reported.

BUT if she was 5150 she could have been involuntarily held for up to 72 hours, which might have been enough time for the distraught girl to recover some of her senses. One would like to think that Camille Schraeder’s subcontractor in Fort Bragg would be more professional if a similar situation arose now. But we’ll never know because all of this is kept secret — to protect the patient’s privacy, you see — and nobody involved in the handling of these cases is allowed to talk about them without the express written consent of the (probably now dead) victim.

(Mark Scaramella)

A POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT poll found 40% think Biden is in “good health” while 50% disagree; 46% think he's “mentally fit” and 48% said they think Joe is past it as he turns 79 this weekend. I'd say Biden is obviously unable to do the job, which his handlers have just as obviously pared down to token appearances at carefully staged photo ops and before teleprompters. If there's anybody writing history in the wake of our sunken SS America it will be interesting to know who made the decision to foist the old guy off on US.

I AGREE with the Rittenhouse prosecutor that you logically can't create peril then claim self-defense inside the peril you created, but once Rittenhouse was in peril the films of the event show he acted in self-defense against people who clearly intended to hurt him, maybe even kill him since two of the attackers were armed. All-in-all, though, Rittenhouse doesn't strike me as a vicious type but more as a young, dumb, confused kid. Of course his acquittal will be used as an excuse for burning and looting in the mild weather areas of the country by truly merciless opportunists a lot more vicious than Rittenhouse.

AHMAUD ARBERY'S killers aren't going to be acquitted. The three of them could just as well have called the cops rather than confront the kid with a shotgun. Both these cases, though have, by themselves, sped up The Great Unraveling.

ABERRANT BEHAVIOR, minor league division right here at home, we have a board of supervisors blithely signing off on whatever CEO Angelo shoves in front of them, apparently indifferent to the large sums of public money her irrational decisions are costing Mendo's taxpayers. 

TWO SUMMARY FIRINGS by the CEO have been shunted off to expensive outside attorneys because our nine in-house attorneys can't handle the simplest disputes, so the two disputed firings are costing us a ton as the outside, unsupervised legal pirates run up their billable hours, and then will cost us a ton more when we lose because the CEO can't control her temper.

CEO ANGELO also started the pointless (and losing) beef with Sheriff Kendall, another expensive Mommy Dearest move by Angelo that she and her five enablers have also outsourced, this time to LA lawyers. (Had to laugh when the LA hustlers magnanimously stated that they'll only charge four hours travel.) 

BESIDES WHICH the Sheriff doesn't want to be represented by outside attorneys. He's already retained Duncan James of Ukiah. Complicating this absurd (and absurdly expensive) matter, Judge Moorman is taking forever to decide, basically, if Sheriff Kendall can choose his own lawyer. The supervisors say James is unacceptable because he's representing one of the administrators (Harinder Grewal) the CEO arbitrarily fired, and because he costs too much. (Like the LA mouthpieces are pro bono?)

AND THEN there's the eighty grand an elderly woman from Healdsburg is getting to write a “strategic plan” for the supervisors (I guess if you don’t have a clue you need a plan). And there's the absentee assistant covid doctor who's pulling down over a hundred thou for doing absolutely nothing. And another new deputy CEO, and and and…

A READER WRITES: I’m mostly with the Sheriff in his dispute with the CEO and the Supervisors. But come on, why has this been allowed to get this bad? A lawsuit? Nobody is saying the Sheriff is spending any money inappropriately. The issue isn’t Kendall’s opinion of the CEO or vice-versa, the issue is public safety and adequate funding of law enforcement. If Mendo had any serious senior leadership or a bold enough judge, they’d sit the parties down and tell them all to grow up and stop bickering. What’s wrong with these people?

JADE TIPPETT WRITES: “Aside from the financial issues affecting the [Fort Bragg] hospital itself, one of the primary issues is housing. A number of excellent health care providers have attempted to settle on the coast but had to abandon the attempt because they could not find adequate housing for their families. The primary cause of the housing crisis is the proliferation of investor-owned vacation rentals, taking long term residences off the housing market to be used as profit centers to extract money from the coastal economy. Contact your supervisor and ask for a moratorium on whole-house vacation rentals.”


Consolidation of the Assessor and Clerk-Recorder

Over two decades ago, the Board of Supervisors approved the consolidation of the offices of the Clerk-Recorder and the Assessor. At that time, the Clerk-Recorder was an incumbent with name recognition and the current Assessor had planned to retire. The Assistant Assessor at the time challenged the sitting incumbent, after a contentious election, the incumbent Clerk-Recorder was the successful candidate. The deterioration of the Assessor’s Office started immediately with extremely knowledgeable, long-standing employees vacating the office for other departments or other Counties. I witnessed the Assessor responsibilities take a backseat to everything else that was going on in the office, particularly elections. 

Beginning in about 2010 or so, the Assessor’s Office went an entire decade without the Assistant Assessor position being filled. This was a critical function and should have absolutely been filled. Again, in my opinion, this left appraisers to flail with very little instruction and oversight. I believe this substantially contributes to the Assessor’s Office having a lack of senior appraisers to this day. 

My goal is not to degrade the Assessor’s Office, but to tell you I have had a front row seat to witness a mass deterioration of a County office over the past two decades. All the tools to generate additional revenue for the County, such as finding unassessed properties, were severely hindered due to a lack of critical focus on functions of the Assessor. I know finding unassessed properties is very important to the current Board and I completely agree, losing out on this increased revenue source is a significant lost opportunity. 

To summarize, I am adamantly opposed to the creation of a Director of Finance position. The current structure has been successful for decades, it allows for critical functions to remain at the forefront and not minimalized by lack of time and focus. It also allows for the separation of duties that is absolutely vital for financial offices. Like with the consolidation of the Assessor- Clerk-Recorder, I fear if this consolidation takes place it will set the County on an extremely negative path going forward. We have learned a lot over the decades, one thing we know for sure, it is imperative that our financial offices remain stable. 

I would be happy to address any questions that any Board members may have.

Shari Schapmire, Tax Collector

ED NOTE: Another bad idea, as Ms. Schapmire points out, and probably cooked up as a joint project of the CEO and DA Eyster, arising out of Eyster's pique that his office's travel reimbursements had been challenged by Ms. Cubbison of the Auditor-Controller's office. The CEO's solution to such impertinence? Combine the offices of Assessor and Auditor-Controller and place them under the authority of the CEO. 

DIALOGUE OF THE DEAF. I wrote to a Fort Bragg guy named Zwerling, apparent herd bull for the people who want to re-name Fort Bragg.

HE REPLIED: “Thanks Bruce, for responding to my announcement of the new website and residents group formed to change the name of Fort Bragg. We have been meeting and organizing to do the work of education, research, and political outreach necessary for this effort. There are almost 50 of us right now and we are independent of both the City Council and the Ad Hoc Name Change Commission they established in summer 2020‚ though we will certainly support any efforts they make to change our City’s name. We are not sure how a name change will finally be realized locally but know that with the wave of name changes nationally (the US Army will soon change the name of Fort Bragg, North Carolina) and internationally make a local change inevitable and an important part of this ongoing work for racial justice. How could you help? What skills do you possess (and I am sure you do have skills that would help)? We will need to raise more money, to do more public outreach through letters to the editor and newspaper articles and door to door outreach to neighbors. Teachers may want to work at changing the name of Fort Bragg High School and educating students about our town’s true history. You may have ideas for projects we haven’t even considered yet. Our next group meeting is 11/20 at 2 p.m. We meet out of doors, vaccinated, and socially distanced. Would you like to attend? Please be in touch. 30 more people responded to my outreach on the mcn listserv. and I’d like to work with you. Can the AVA support this effort?

UH, NO, but thank you for replying, Mr. Zwerling. I admit I was writing simply to gauge how open your group is, and am reassured it is open to interested persons, among whom, I'm afraid, I'm not. I think a re-name is misguided, that American history, ugly as much of it is, is our history and should remain as vividly horrific as it is.

I SHOULD have added that until the righteous ones brought it up, Fort Bragg’s namesake and his lamentable life were mostly unknown, that the best way to combat racism is not to be one, besides which, race relations have never been better in this country. There are now millions of affectionate, loyal, color blind relationships where in 1960 there were very few.

ZWERLING: “I understand your position, Bruce, but think the name change project is a very pointed way to raise those historical issues in the present. Surely you do not oppose the removal of the various statues of Robert E. Lee erected around the South specifically to glorify the 'Lost Cause'? or believe we should still call Chinese people "coolies" just because that was once the acceptable term? Fort Bragg is an ugly name in both its constituent parts but I think you'll find few residents think beyond the idea that Bragg was a general and the Fort protected white settlers from the savage natives. Keeping the names merely reinforces this complacent amnesia. Of course, if a town is named after you, General Bragg, you don't need a statue. And if you have a plaque downtown noting your service to the Confederate States of America no one need mention you owned slaves (100 +) all your life. My point about the term "coolies," which I draw from my current research for a book about Hollywood in the 1930's (see the 1927 Gable/Harlow film "Red Dust" for its prophetic treatment of colonialism in Vietnam) is that the term is no longer in usage BECAUSE people made an issue of it rather than keeping it around as a reminder of our racist past (as in the Chinese Exclusion Act which followed the aptly named Anti-Coolie Act.) And why bother with publishing the AVA if the only pressing issue is climate change?” 

I REPLIED that there are no statues honoring Bragg in Fort Bragg, and no one in contemporary America would consider calling Chinese “coolies,” a term long gone from contemporary usage. The danger in name changes and other re-writes of historical realities is historical amnesia, that our history won’t be our history, the big lie that our history is an unbroken series of crimes, which is a serious distortion of history itself. With the planet on life support, there are more pressing concerns than a re-name for Fort Bragg. And for the historical record, Fort Bragg was established to protect the already decimated Indians for the purpose of relocating them to Covelo where, the theory went, they would be safe and self-sufficient. Didn’t work out that way because, as has often occurred in American history, good intentions went terribly awry. You really ought to work on your hierarchies of peril. Re-naming Fort Bragg, on a list of average Mendo person's concerns, wouldn't make the first fifty, I daresay.

ZWERLING, whom I’d addressed as dude in our final communication, replied, “I would disagree… but time will tell, dude.”

PRESSER: At the November 8th regular Council meeting, the Fort Bragg City Council approved a contract with Mendocino County to operate an Extreme Weather Shelter starting November 15, 2021…. Due to limited budget, this season’s Shelter will operate only during extreme weather conditions and will utilize local motel vouchers to provide shelter on an as-needed basis. The contract with Mendocino County provides that vouchers will only be issued during severe weather events when all other emergency shelters are at capacity….

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: This is good news, but the Fort Bragg press release fails to note the value of the contract or which county department will oversee it (if any). We cannot find any record of “emergency winter shelter” on the County’s website for 2021 and it has not appeared on any board agenda. It’s possible that the value of the contract is under $50k which is the trigger for board approval. But still you’d think the subject would appear on a board agenda just so more people know about it. We’ve also heard that besides the list of people who Mr. Norvell rightly thanks, there’s a Mr. Calvin Pierce at the Motel 6 in Fort Bragg who has also been very helpful.

A READER WRITES: “I don’t have any problem with the Rittenhouse jury verdict. My problem is with Wisconsin’s (and many other states’) open carry law which makes these kinds of deadly encounters more and more likely. Not only does it encourage kids and misfits like Rittenhouse to do what he did, but it endangers and complicates law enforcement. From what I’ve seen, Wisconsin has no firearm registration law, no assault weapons laws, no magazine size restrictions, and no background check requirements for private sales. Unfortunately, with this verdict I think there will be more incidents like this, especially in the 20 states, including Wisconsin, where open loaded carry is legal without a permit. (California is not one of them.) Here’s Wisconsin’s open carry law:

“Unless other facts and circumstances that indicate a criminal or malicious intent on the part of the person apply, a person is not in violation of, and may not be charged with a violation of, this section [disorderly conduct] for loading a firearm, or for carrying or going armed with a firearm or a knife, without regard to whether the firearm is loaded or the firearm or the knife is concealed or openly carried.”

LAUREN SINNOTT: OK you guys, I’m finishing the final panel (of 26)! It is entitled “our future together.” There will be 42 portraits in it and an invented housing development, as well as intelligent insects and the network of communication that runs through healthy soil, and more. I will do a series of daily posts leading up to the final day of painting which will culminate this 4-year project. This is day 1.

And actually, since it is Veteran’s day, I’m going to digress to the two panels right before this one, representing “service” and “remembrance.” I have been so busy and not posted much yet about ALL the work of this summer, but I will make up for it this winter. 

Four portraits spanning the “service” and “remembrance” panels are men from Ukiah who paid the ultimate price with their lives in foreign wars. The two figures at the very bottom of these panels are a fallen soldier and a woman grieving on the other side of the slab that separates them, his tombstone.

Day 7 in my series showing the elements of the last panel in this huge mural as I approach the final day of painting. This depiction of Standley Street in downtown Ukiah is the third part of my architectural vision for the future. It represents the old and the new, preserving and maintaining historic buildings when possible while integrating new construction that is efficient and well-constructed. That principle is gloriously illustrated by Ruff & Associates architectural office at 100 Standley St. 

Ukiah’s vibrant city center is the star of this show.

See the entire mural at

WHEN ROUND VALLEY (COVELO) was Clinton Valley, an illuminating comment by Northcoast historian, David Heller: “Clinton Valley is shown on an 1857 map that gives Pomo names for Little Lake, Sherwood, and Long Valleys instead of English names. There is an October, 1856 newspaper account of a fierce battle in the vicinity of the ‘US Reservation in Clinton Valley, Mendocino county’ that was fought when the ‘settlers’ tried to take them to that reservation, but the RV reservation hadn’t been set up as a collection location, the nearest such reservation was the Nom Lackee Reservation. It wasn’t until June 20th, 1856 that Simon Storms and some of his Yuba Indians came to RV and named the valley ‘Nom Cult.’ Just a month after the Kelsey and Asbill, and White parties, the Yuki fled at the approach of the new whitemen, having learned their lesson apparently from the Kelsey and Asbill party’s killing spree riding through the valley. Storms also reported that at that early date some Indians had been taken away as slaves. When Storms proposed to the Indian ‘captains’ that he wanted to build in the valley, and how the Indians lived at the Nom Lackee reservation, they agreed to work if he would protect their women and children. He agreed to leave three men in the valley to help guard them. Leaving the valley to return to the Nom Lackee reservation, he ran into a party of men seeking to go to the valley to settle and told them not to, that he had claimed the valley for the US government. I don’t think it stopped them.”

THE AMERICAN FASCISTS are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity… They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

— Vice President Henry A. Wallace, April 9, 1944.

TANNER CROSS: Call it cancel culture, call it censorship, call it what you want-all of our freedoms are threatened when the culturally accepted narrative is the only option for discussion. America is large and diverse, and some of us don't agree with the ideas that are touted as truth by cable news networks, Hollywood executives, or political leaders. We shouldn't be singled out for censorship. Teachers and parents should be allowed to have a say in what goes on in their kids' schools.

TED DACE: Was it wise for Rittenhouse to bring an automatic rifle to a protest? No. Was it wise for Rosenbaum to aggressively harass him? No. Did Rosenbaum deserve to die for his mistake? No. Does Rittenhouse deserve life in prison? No. He had good reason to think he was acting in self-defense, and his original mistake of bringing the rifle does not equate to murder. Sorry to be so negative, but there's just no way of making this right.

A MASOCHIST BY INCLINATION, I watched an episode of the Hillary documentary on Hulu last night & was struck by two things: Thing 1. after all the renaissance weekends, encounter groups, seances with Eleanor Roosevelt, election postmortems (2008 & 2016), HRC remains the least self-aware political figure of our time, except perhaps for James Comey, who, ironically, would have made a perfect partner for her in an alt. life. Thing 2: Bill had a portrait of Andrew Jackson hanging in the Oval Office. No wonder he gave a pardon to Marc Rich instead of Leonard Peltier. — Jeff St. Clair

MILES DAVIS on how drummer Max Roach led him to kick heroin: “Max Roach walked up to me one day on the street. We were real tight. And he said, ‘Damn, man, you sure do look good. What’s happening?’ But I could tell he was looking at me. And as he left, he touched me on MY pocket. He put $100 in my pocket. And I didn’t dig it until he left, telling me I looked good and then giving me a hundred dollars like I’m some fucking bum. And that’s all you are when you use that shit. I went right to St. Louis and kicked.” (1983 interview with David Breskin).


[1] I think that most everything anyone does to avoid infection is probably a good idea, especially non-pharmacological interventions like eliminating or avoiding alcohol, taking daily exercise for at least 30 minutes, minimum, eating a diet consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, peas and seeds.

It’s also a good idea to reduce body weight to a Body Mass Index of 23 or less, and to do a few things to reduce stress, improve balance and flexibility, strength and endurance. 

I’ve taken the Pf-pf-pf-Pfizer; I was none the W-w-worser for it. 

Gotta die sometime.

I hope it goes well for each and all of you, as best as can be expected, under the current circumstances, despite all the lies exaggerations, half-truths, unsubstantiated claims, innuendos, and bullshit, most of which can be eliminated just by switching off the screens.

[2] “The answer is simple,” she said. “Stop criminalizing [homeless] people.”

Yeah? Then these “homeless” people need to stop their criminal activities.

Very few of the homeless are actually interested in securing a home where they have to pay rent, keep it clean, and not fuck with the neighbors. Some aren’t capable of even doing the bare minimum but for most, paying rent interferes with their substance abuse budgets. Keeping a job is also something they’re not interested in. And don’t start waxing poetic about how a minimum wage job doesn’t cover rent… I’m well aware of that. HOWEVER… even if you subsidized rent to match income, most homeless STILL wouldn’t pay it.

People who have lost their homes because they’ve lost their jobs don’t stay two years in filthy homeless camps. Most wouldn’t even associate with the drug/alcohol addicted losers who live on the streets… such people are dangerous to decent people. People who are motivated to secure employment and housing are the folks we need to concentrate on… not tweeker zombies roaming our streets looking to exploit the rest of us.

[3] I have eyes. And family members who prefer to live on the streets because hey, drugs cost money and employers expect them to be there every day, on time???

My brother in law is a prime example. He’s now disabled and receives an SSI check; years of alcohol and drug abuse finally caught up with him and it’s too much of an effort to maintain what health he has left. It infringes on his alcohol intake to take care of his diabetes. When social workers help him secure housing, it only works out for a month, maybe three, because again, if he pays rent then he can’t afford his daily alcohol and methamphetamine.

My husband and I have tried to help him but he treats our assistance like he deserves it. And he doesn’t. It’s been 20 years or more since he’s bothered to hold a job and yes, he’s been in and out of rehab for his addictions more times than I can remember. Last time he stayed with us after a three month hospitalization, he was well enough to hobble to the market to get his six pack everyday, but he’d rather piss all over my furniture than spend $20 for a week’s worth of incontinence diapers. Again… it’s those pesky priorities.

Every suggestion we offered to help him has been too much effort. Oh. And did I tell you about his street friends he brings to my home?

I come by my cynicism honestly. I deal with them at home and at work when I rotate to the ER. At some point, enough is enough. Especially when assistance simply enables.

[4] PROBATION, HOW TO, an on-line comment:

 For perspective…when I was busted for weed in Mendocino County the charge was “transportation.” I got a year sentence and three years probation. Three years is what they now consider as “too long” for people to do — ha ha! Yeah it sucked so what I did was never miss a reporting, not do anything stupid, kept my official residence clean, stayed away from idiots and then applied to get my probation dismissed after half-time of a year and a half. They dropped my probation at half-time like they always do when you’re not a fuck-up. So…why even with the AB1950?!! To be honest that three year probation (actually a year and a half) was long enough for me to re-order my priorities and clean my mental house. (I went sober to avoid any dirty piss tests.)

[5] Car and Driver magazine ‘Car of the Year’ 2021: Lucent EV.

What, never heard of it? I don’t think any have been sold yet, but we are told the company’s value exceeds $100 billion.

A lux model will cost you $160,000.

Wait till Joe Sixpack, or the 2025 equivalent of Joe Sixpack, decides it’s time for a new pickup truck, and finds out the only thing available is an EV Rivian, with a range of 300 miles, and a pricetag of $83,000 (which includes a few accessories), and also requires the purchase of a 10 year $15,500 subscription. The ownership of automobiles in the US has been more or less ‘Democratic’ thru out the decades, where not just wealthy people but citizens of ordinary means could afford to own and operate a car. Going forward, it appears this might not be the case; many people might be a little more than pissed off about this turn of events, and $160,000 Lucents could be targets of vandalism, or worse, from the dispossessed majority who can no longer even afford a good pair of shoes.

[6] I like what this commenter said about the Rittenhouse acquittal:

“Not a hung jury. Not a mistrial. Despite all of the prosecution’s fuckery at the end, 12 jurors looked at all of the evidence and agreed this was self-defense.

And yet, for the past year if you posted that position on Facebook, IG or Twitter it could be removed if someone reported it for “violating community guidelines”. Kid wasn’t even allowed to have a GoFundMe to cover legal costs.

And anyone looking at the fact pattern in the case could see that this was self-defense. The whole thing started because an insane child rapist who had just been released from a mental hospital earlier in the day chased Kyle, a minor at the time, around a dark parking lot.

Then he was attacked with a skateboard. Then a dude who was illegally conceal/carrying a gun pointed it at him after pretending to put his hands up.

And the Democrats and the media defended all of that shit. Tried to paint the five time child rapist as a good family man.

I’m glad this kid walked, but our media is a fucking joke.”

[7] Riots seem rather subdued, enthusiasm for vandalism and destruction seems to be waning. Even in Portland — Riot Central — apparently only about 35 Antifa showed up; they blocked some streets, broke out the window of an automobile, smashed plate glass at some poor guy's printshop, and caused damage at the local jail. All pretty mild. Maybe we have turned a corner. We shall see what happens tonight.


  1. Lazarus November 24, 2021

    “BIDEN’S REGIME? Poor Old Joe barely knows where he is let alone being capable of directing anything regime-like.”

    During one of Biden’s speaking appearances, he read a technical instruction from his teleprompter at the Tuesday speech concerning rising gas prices.
    Happy Holidays

  2. Martin Oline November 24, 2021

    Thanks for the film suggestion. I have recently read nearly all of Henning Mankell’s books and the Olaf Palme assassination is a subject he writes around about but never deals with directly. I will look for it soon at a relative’s house.
    I was under the impression that Fred Gardner had edited the Wanda Tinasky book. I looked in vain for his name on the pre-publication volume I recently bought. I believe it was Fred who gave me your address one evening at the Lost & Found saloon in SF. I subscribed to your print edition around 1984 and enjoyed everything about the AVVA. Wanda was just the icing on the cake. I was disappointed that a double haiku I think ‘she’ wrote was not included in the book, but perhaps the source for it was suspect and what I have was not the finished version. You are correct about the price for editions of her letters, but everything online has gone through the roof. Billie Gordon’s cookbook You’ve Had Worse Things In Your Mouth was selling a couple months ago for around $20 and now is at least $40 . It was published at $15 and I was lucky to get a copy for $12 plus shipping.
    Glad to see you are still “Fanning The Flames of Discotheque.”

  3. Pat Kittle November 25, 2021

    QUOTE — “A READER WRITES: ‘I don’t have any problem with the Rittenhouse jury verdict. My problem is with Wisconsin’s (and many other states’) open carry law which makes these kinds of deadly encounters more and more likely. Not only does it encourage kids and misfits like Rittenhouse to do what he did, but it endangers and complicates law enforcement.'”

    So Rittenhouse is the “misfit” — but not his career criminal attackers??
    And criminals won’t get guns — if law-abiding citizens give up theirs??
    As for “law enforcement”:

    If it was allowed to do its job (by the woke powers that be), armed terrorists would not be allowed/encouraged to BurnLootMurder their way through cities & towns nationwide — and Rittenhouse would never have acted in its glaring absence.

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