FOR THE SECOND TIME, roughly two dozen unmasked people, including children, invaded the Ukiah Co-Op on Saturday, allegedly in protest of the store's mandated mask policy. The protesters denounced CoOp employees as fascists while encouraging their children to help themselves to whatever food they desired as their parents loaded shopping carts with food items they left in carts. The response by the Ukiah police was [suspiciously] slow. No one was cited although the store sustained minor damage and staff had to spend several hours cleaning up deliberately spilled goods and re-shelving items the demonstrators left in loaded shopping carts.
THE REBUTTAL came from a phone call late afternoon Monday. The caller would not identify herself. She said the AVA's paragraph on Saturday's demonstration by the unmasked at the Ukiah Coop was fake news. She said her group entered the store with the intention to buy “but they wouldn't check us out.” She said her group of “22-23” people has a video of “what really happened.” She said nobody spilled anything on purpose. “One man was there with his children. He offered to pay for the chips his child ate but the clerks wouldn't take his money.” She said the clerks were rude and laughing at the demonstrators. “I am a Coop member and I have not been allowed in the store even though I have a medical exemption they refuse to honor,” the caller said. “We went to Black Oak Coffee but Black Oak closed early when we got there.” I made the mistake of arguing and off she went into blanket challenges of immunization, a totally uninformed riff on Jews in Nazi Germany, challenges to the efficacy of vaccination — the usual anti-vaxxer catechism.
HARD ON THE HEELS of screwball numero uno's call, screwball dos called. He wouldn't give his full name either “because you don't need that.” Screwball Dos later said his name was “John.” John said he was an eyewitness, not a participant, to what happened in the Coop and my paragraph on the event was a “complete misrepresentation” of what happened and “our community will not tolerate these deliberate blah blahs” before he said, “Keep it up and we'll (plural give away) get our lawyers and blah blah blah…”
HMMM. Check the logic here, nevermind the science. Resorting to fascism to vandalize a market to protest that market’s “fascist” mandate that shoppers wear masks. Perfectly clear, as was the excellent parenting also on full display by the Coop invaders. Ironic that the store invaders cite Nazi Germany as they falsely equate mask mandates with Hitler’s Brownshirts, who also invaded and trashed stores belonging to Jews in the run-up to Hitler’s takeover.
CALLED the Ukiah PD to get their response to the accusation they were slow to respond to the Coop invasion. No call back as we went to press.
THE ANTI-MASKERS are, of course, anti-vaxxers, covid being a government hoax and the work of the same people who robbed the Orange Whale of re-election, and Big Pharma is murdering its customers and Fauci wants men dressed as women to read fairy tales to kindergartners and teach poor little white kids that grandpa killed all the Indians and then made black people slaves and the vaxx people want to take guns away from all us patriotic draft dodgers and give our Lay-Z Boys to homeless communists. Darn right I won’t wear a mask. I’m a free American!
CHRIS BROWN is a long time resident of Albion. Anderson Valley people probably know him best as the former contractor for the Navarro Store whose wife functioned as the store's bookkeeper.
MR. BROWN is not engaged in activity that might make him a target for criminals, which makes what happened to him last Thursday morning [December 8th] about 2am all the more mysterious.
AWAKENED in his modest cabin on Albion Ridge by a feeling that he wasn't alone, Brown saw someone, or two someones, staring at him through his front window. At the instant he was awake he was shot. Hit, Brown still managed to roll to one side of his bed where he grabbed a gun and returned fire. His two assailants, apparently unhit but just as apparently disoriented, ran off into the nearby woods, leaving their truck at the head of Mr. Brown's driveway.
MIRACULOUSLY only grazed by the gunshot one of the intruders had fired, neighbors who heard the shots gathered to tend to their wounded friend until an ambulance arrived. Sheriff's deputies were soon on-scene and, accompanied by their highly trained tracker dog, deputies quickly located two men attempting to hide in the woods.
ONE of the alleged intruders is 29 year old Jose Aguilar from Santa Rosa, the other is Roberto Chavez-Sousa, 26, from Lake County.
THE REASON for the assault on Mr. Brown remains unknown. Neither of his attackers are known by Mr. Brown. Both were held briefly in the Mendocino County Jail on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy. And right here is where it all becomes curiouser and curiouser.
UNBELIEVABLE as it is, the two guys believed to have shot and wounded Chris Brown of Albion last week in a 2am intrusion into Brown's property have been released. Although initial bail had been set at $750,000 each, when Aguilar and Chavez-Sousa appeared in court last week charges had mysteriously disappeared and they were free to go. And went. We hope to get a clarification from the DA's office Monday. (As we went to press Monday afternoon, no call back from the DA’s office.)
I'VE WONDERED the same thing as this anon poster: “How come these boys from Covelo all look like they were born in 1880?” A lot of Covelo's defendant community do indeed come with that old time Mathew Brady look, half wild, half guileless. But then some of them look like they want to jump off the booking log page and cut a throat, and any throat will do.
THE PARENTS of the latest school shooter, Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley, have been destroyed without the piling on from Michigan authorities. Their son Ethan, 15, will be locked up forever. There are millions of gun families out there, few of whom, presumably, would be so out of touch with the ultra-vi potential of their son to buy him a gun for Christmas, but from all the preliminary reports, Ethan was a good student, a dutiful, conventional kid.
ADOLESCENCE is a crazy time in a kid's life, especially in a country seemingly organized to promote mental illness. Who can know what turned him mass killer. And the school people are getting scapegoated in this one, too, as if any of us live our lives expecting the catastrophic. Now the Crumbleys are being accused of trying to flee. Wouldn't you try to hide out if you had the world's media barking in your front yard? The parents are just working people suddenly plunged into tragedy, guilty of a fundamental mis-read of their kid, but not the pure evil they're being portrayed as.
(1) I agree with Matt LaFever’s assessment of the Crumbley (ironic name, isn’t it?) massacre and respectfully but vehemently disagree with the esteemed Editor’s opinion. The Crumbleys, each and every one of them, deserve the harshest punishments applicable under the law.
(2) I felt Bruce’s assessment of the Crumbley’s accountability was off the mark also. Sure it was a tragedy, but their fundamental misread of their kid cost his classmates their lives. If the school saw the signs and even warned them about it, why would they still buy him a gun? If anything the nutso gun culture in this country should be held accountable, but spineless politicians won’t step up preferring NRA dollars to protecting children. We should expect the catastrophic as long as the afraid of everything gun crowd wants lethal force available for any interaction they perceive as threatening to them.
DON'T DISAGREE with these comments but I'll bet if the staff at that Michigan youth processing factory had been polled prior to shooting, they would have come up with a consensus roster of more likely candidates than Ethan Crumbley to randomly gun down their peers. Unless it develops that the kid was on psychotropics or otherwise suspected of evil intent, the boy was a good student and otherwise normal, normal being a pale, cyber-addicted pudge who spent way too many hours gazing at unhealthy screen images, just like millions of his contemporaries do. The electronic lynch mob howling for Crumbley blood isn't exactly edifying, but that's life these dark days.
THIS COMMENTER puts it perfectly: “Unvaxxed folks are 5.8x more likely than vaccinated folks to become infected. Which means vaccines dramatically reduce the chance of becoming infected at all, which means vaccines reduce the chance of ever being contagious. If you're never contagious, you never spread the virus. But some vaccinated folks do become infected. But more good news. They are less contagious than unvaccinated folks who become infected, and for much less time than unvaxxed folks. So if you're vaccinated and become infected, your likelihood of spreading the virus is far lower.
Plus (bonus points!) vaccinated folks are less likely to die if infected. Unvaccinated Americans who became infected were 11.3 times more likely to die from covid than fully vaccinated folks who became infected.”
GEORGE DORNER neatly sums up the reason the supervisors should not place the Auditor-Controller's and Treasurer-Tax Collector offices with the CEO's office: “The proposal to merge the office that takes in the money with the office that pays out the money is such an obvious setup for potential embezzlement that I can’t believe it has even been proposed.”
NORM CLOW ON DECEMBER 7TH: Thinking of Pearl Harbor Day, in early December 1992 I was sitting one beautiful starlit Pacific evening with Tosiwo Nakayama, seen here at my desk at the Development Bank on Pohnpei, my friend, customer and far more importantly the first president of the Federated States of Micronesia in the 1980s, on the terrace at the old Continental Hotel on the southern tip of Moen island in Truk Lagoon in the Western Carolines. The hotel, now Blue Lagoon Dive Resort, sat on the site of the Japanese seaplane base during WWII, Truk Lagoon being the district headquarters of the Japanese naval fleet. Tosiwo’s Japanese father was manager of a major Tokyo trade and supply company, so he grew up there as a young boy during the war, and remembers the fierce fighting over the lagoon well, especially the Allied bombs. (His father was sent back to Japan when the war broke out and it was many years before they saw one another again.) I was there with a delegation, so to speak, from the national government on Pohnpei, in my role as manager of the Development Bank’s Investment Development Fund, regarding a multi-million dollar national fisheries project we were seeking support for from the four island states. So, we’re having a soda and talking about the itinerary the next day, this meeting, that meeting, legislature, fisheries department, chamber of commerce, etc., when he asked me, “Norman, what’s today’s date?” I thought for a second and replied, “uh, Mr. President, it’s, uh, December 7th.” The international dateline notwithstanding, he looked up into that beautiful sky and said, “well, Norman, it’s certainly a lot quieter tonight, isn’t it?” It certainly was. Tosiwo was one of the finest leaders and statesmen a young - or any - nation could have had. If he were still with us now, he could give important lessons on that to today’s crop of alleged “leaders and statesmen”. If they would bother to listen, that is, an unlikely prospect.
AT BREAKFAST ONE DAY in his room at the Florida hotel, which more or less overlooked the nearest part of the front, Mr. Ernest Hemingway was very comforting about the shelling. He had a big map laid out on the table, and he explained to an audience of generals, politicians, and correspondents that, for some ballistic reason, the shells could not hit the Florida. He could talk in a very military way and make it all sound very convincing. Everyone present was convinced and happy. Then a shell whooshed through the rooms above Mr. Hemingway’s —the first actually to hit the state of Florida— and the ceiling fell down on the breakfast table. To any lesser man than Mr. Hemingway the occurrence would’ve been humiliating. While we were all getting the plaster out of our hair, Mr. Hemingway looked slowly round at us, one after the other. ‘How do you like it now, gentlemen?’ he said, and by some astonishing trick of manner, conveyed the impression that this episode had actually, in some obscure way, confirmed instead of upsetting his theory — that his theory had been right when he expounded it, and this only demonstrated that the time had come to have a new one. (Claud Cockburn)
THE KID CAN TALK. Robert Pinoli Jr. was Karen Ottoboni's guest last week on KZYX. Pinoli's the on-site boss and front man for the Skunk, Fort Bragg's premier tourist draw. An hour goes fast, especially with the usual laying-in-wait chronophages chipping in long-winded comments and cosmic questions during call-ins, so Karen never got around to the basic question, to wit, How did the Skunk get 270 acres of primo FB real estate for $1.2 million when GP originally wanted more than $50 million from Fort Bragg for the same parcels?
PINOLI sounded like he was in full candor mode and might have explained that perhaps national deal of the century in at least arguable detail if he'd been asked. I thought most of what he said was interesting, especially that the tunnel on the FB end is nearly ready to go again, meaning the Skunk can again traverse the full 40-some miles of its track between FB and Willits. I was also surprised that the line, even in its partially-functioning state, employs 50 people. Pinoli and his Skunk colleagues have pulled off quite a coup in their purchase at that price. GP obviously wanted to finally rid itself of whatever toxic liability remains at the old mill site.
KZYX doesn't do debate, unfortunately, but this is one that begs for much more discussion of the type best illuminated by the debate format. George Reinhardt and Bruce Broderick are articulate opponents of the proposed Skunk development and fully capable of raising the obvious questions. Get them on with Pinoli.
PINOLI himself conceded that the basic infrastructure — water, sewage — for a development of the size proposed was “up in the air.” Fort Bragg is perennially thirsty and the drought shows no signs of abating. But the Skunk thinks big and confident, and they now own the real estate while all us doubters and naysayers are left sputtering on the outside.
OLD TIMERS will recall the days when civic Fort Bragg was basically a criminal enterprise, complete with arsons of public buildings, suspicious deaths, no-payback loans from a developer to city councilmen, free infrastructure for the developer's Glass Beach neighborhood, and the town awash in cocaine. Pinoli, however, has stepped right up to the plate and seems prepared to keep stepping up to take on the hostiles, and there are lots of them.
MC CHAT LINE comments on Skunk Train President on KZYX
1. Ask for a debate … What a softball joke that was. It only served Mendocino Railways interests. The softball questions afterwards weren't any better. I guess we can't expect any better from KZYX when the interviewee is also the show sponsor. Reminds me of a Fox news bit.
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2. Hearing all sides of an issue empowers the pushback, IMHO. If the show host did a disclaimer re Skunk Train underwriting early in the program, I missed it---tuned in late. For sure the matter deserves more airtime.
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3. George Reinhardt did an excellent presentation that wasn't advertised, 15 minutes before Pinoli was allowed to take over the airwaves. At the top of the hour, just before the show Skunk train was listed as a KZYX sponsor, but no, there wasn't a disclaimer at the beginning of the show.
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4. According to the station’s program logs, the underwriters for the 7 to 9 am time window were:
7:06 am: Ignacio Health Insurance Services
7:43 am: The Waldorf School of Mendocino County
7:43 am: The Bewildered Pig restaurant
7:59 am: North Coast Brewing Company
The Skunk train isn’t listed as an underwriter for any of today’s programming.
(All of that said, George Reinhardt’s interview was excellent and is worth listening to.)
THE SKUNK DEBATE RAGES, a Coastie writes: “Skunk is more than a tourist attraction. Before the collapse of the tunnel, the California Western carried passengers and freight to and from Willits/Fort Bragg. Indeed, it carried the US Mail to Northspur as well. I see the reopening of this line a positive for Fort Bragg and the coastal community in general. Perhaps it could even hook up with Coast Starlight Amtrak again and bring tourists over for more than just a day trip; staying over at hotels and maybe biking or hiking the coastal trails or sport fish out of Noyo.. It could be used for freight as well again and relieve a lot of traffic off highway 20. Who wouldn't like to see more tourists here but without more vehicular traffic? Calling the Skunk a 3.5 mile local only joy ride only is spurious at best. That's my take on it.”
LIKE MOST MENDO PEOPLE, I yearn for a return, somehow, of rail transport, a restoration of the old time Skunk that you could board in Fort Bragg, connect to a southbound train in Willits and be sipping a martini at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco watching the setting sun glint off the windows of Berkeley and Oakland. The only way this rail fantasy could happen is if the whole project is subbed out to either the Japanese or the Chinese, who run high speed trains out a hundred, even two hundred miles from their city centers.
SO, why isn't there a train running up and down the 101 corridor from Southern Marin to at least Willits? One word. Liberals. Or, I should clarify, pseudo-libs of the type dominant in the degraded Democratic Party who run the show on the Northcoast. Sure, the libs have managed to get a train running from San Rafael to Santa Rosa, neatly evading population centers en route which means only tourists and train buffs ride the thing at, of course, wildly inflated ticket prices. Why hasn't the line been extended to at least Cloverdale, the Northcoast's most optimistic community whose city fathers and mothers built a brand new train station forty goddam years ago in anticipation?
WELL, somehow former Northcoast congressman Doug Bosco and his Party enablers and accomplices got title to the tracks, which by itself ensures a train to Cloverdale is unlikely in our time. Also, the existing Smart (sic) Train is a major bust and runs, when it runs, at ruinous deficits requiring ever greater infusions of disappearing public money. Extending it north from Santa Rosa is totally beyond the Democrats, hence the desire among some of us to bid out the job to the foreigners who still know how to do stuff.
ON-LINE COMMENTER WONDERS ABOUT THE SKUNK:
I have some questions and viewpoints here. I thought that for a railroad to claim eminent domain it must first have a working railroad so shouldn't the tunnel have been restored along with service twixt Fort Bragg and Willits first? Or is it enough to declare the repair and reopening of said line as imminent? I personally would like to see the Willits/'Fort Bragg train improved and the steam train running again. I would like to see a fully functioning roundhouse at both the Willits and Fort Bragg depots and upgraded service yard and barns. I would further like to see the hotel and restaurant expansion at the depots. Certainly such developments are not unprecedented as anyone who has taken train trips will have noticed. I would even like to see cargo loading and unloading facilities at both depots and even Northspur. It would mean increased tourism traffic for the coast without increasing vehicular traffic over highway 20; perhaps even reducing it somewhat. It means more jobs here as well. People might want to come over to do a day of sport fishing out of Noyo or take a hike or bike along the coastal trail or just picnic on the headlands. Accommodations for overnight or longer stays would be possible and even predictable. . Which brings up another issue: the privatizing of the coastal beach access, the coastal trail, and the headlands, I believe that is illegal by State and/or Federal statute already. I must leave the determining of that to you legal eagles out there.
GOING DEEP HERE, hang on to your existential hats. All of it, the whole shebang, from viable trains to a viable political system seem precarious in the extreme, what with Mother Nature swinging into high gear revenge mode and the country moving steadily to death fascism. Fanciful projects like the Skunk 's grand plans for Fort Bragg are a longshot even assuming civil stability and endurable weather.
RE: Proposed consolidation of Treasurer and Auditor offices: County employment has always been incestuous, but putting the bean counters under the authority of the perps is taking incest to where the kids will all be hemophiliacs.
GINA RAE BEAN was sentenced to none-months County Jail time, probation and community service Wednesday for leaving the scene of an accident that killed skateboarder Calum Hunnicutt two years ago. The DA had asked for 4 years state prison time, a sentence consistent with the known facts of the sad matter.
THERE'S NO EVIDENCE Ms. Bean deliberately or carelessly hit the kid. Indeed, the stipulated facts are that she had the green light and he ran into her, but instead of stopping she drove home to Fort Bragg and attempted to conceal the resulting damage to her vehicle. Which is the felony the DA saw and desired hard time for.
I DON'T like to see anyone packed off to the state pen, and County Jail time is still jail and no picnic, but pardon me for assuming that Judge Moorman also weighed the well-connected, no-criminal history Ms. Bean against the family of the less connected kid, and spared the defendant a more harrowing version of incarceration. Also noted: Mark Kalina has become the county's go-to criminal defense attorney. Guilty? Kalina will get you off! Or mostly off, as in this case.
THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS matter of Douglas Stone, the latter day bandit of Black Bart Trail, Redwood Valley: On December 7th ,the date for the setting of the preliminary hearing, Douglas Stone and his attorney, John Runfola, appeared on Zoom at the Mendocino County Courthouse. Joan Vivaldo, one of Stone's vics, was “electronically present.”
“In contrast to his trim, in-person appearance in November, Zoom presented Mr. Stone as hunched, bulky and mute in a brown plaid jacket. Ms. Heidi Larsen for the People and Mr. Runfola for the Defense had already decided that February would be an acceptable date for the prelim. And so it was set. In an immediate postscript, ‘reconcile’ chorused in Chamber H. The cases may be settled prior to the prelim. Judge Dolan asked that the court be informed if the cases were reconciled. Later in the morning, by chance I met another Doug Stone victim, a man who knew Stone as a first responder, and could pinpoint the tragic episode in the 2018 fire in Redwood Valley that initiated the PTSD which launched Mr. Stone’s descent into crime.”
OKLAHOMA EXECUTED a 79 year old this week. He'd murdered his girlfriend and had tried to murder her new boyfriend almost four decades earlier, and what exactly the point of frying him after all those years on death row wasn't explained by anybody. Yes, I suppose he'd had revenge coming in the Old Testament sense, but this execution is one more example of how pointless the death penalty is as its supposed deterrent.
STATE SENATOR McGUIRE has a pandering trophy coming for floating the idea that pot farmers should be tax exempt because the bottom has fallen out of the market. In other words, McGuire suspects a lot of pharmas vote so why not test public reaction by suggesting they get tax relief? Well, one reason would be that many of them have already logged years of tax free cash income and aren't specially entitled, are they?
IDIOT HED from a recent Press Democrat: “How to snag your favorite celebrity.” I polled the office and our next six visitors to the office, none of whom had a favorite celeb, one of whom said he was “insulted” by the question, another said he'd be interested if he could shoot all celebrities, the two ava staffers couldn't even think of a celebrity they were interested in, and two other gaffers said, Betty Grable and Mickey Rooney, respectively.
ANDY BOWMAN, via Ernie Branscomb, a local history note: Andy Bowman, the all-time enduring hero of Laytonville. His prowess as a hunter is only one aspect of this great man. Many tales were told to me by my family who knew him well.
From the Healdsburg Tribune, Number 87, 14 February 1936
Former Sonoman Has Ridden Range Seventy Years, State Hunter. Andrew Bowman of Laytonville is the oldest paid employee in the predatory animal control department of the state and is one of the oldest active employees on the state pay roll. Since the department was organized 12 years ago “Andy Bowman has ridden the hills and valleys of this county searching out and destroying the animals that prey on the flocks, says the Redwood Journal of Ukiah. With a faithful horse, and at the present time, seven dogs, this pioneer is on duty from morning until night hunting the haunts of wild animals, tracking them to their lairs or killing them in the chase. Bowman went to the ranch near Laytonville in 1869 and before that time lived in Sonoma and Humboldt counties with his parents. Since a boy of eight years of age he has ridden the range and knows no other life. In twelve years of service to the state he has destroyed more than 600 bear, coyotes, panthers and wild cats. Wild animals are getting scarcer in Mendocino county according to Bowman. When he first hunted in this county bears were plentiful, coyotes ran in packs and wild cats and panthers were familiar sights on the road. Now only an occasional bear preys on some farmer’s flocks, and the howl of coyote pack is never heard. Even a litter of seven or eight is watched and killed before even a one-family pack can be formed. Bowman’s district stretches from Longvale into the southern part of Humboldt county and from the Eel river on the east to the shores of the Pacific, He has served at times in Trinity, Glenn and Sonoma counties but it is Mendocino county which he knows and loves best. In all probability no man in the county knows practically every foot of it as does Andy Bowman who has forded the rivers and ridden the hills and canyons for three score years and ten. Bowman has been in Ukiah General hospital for ten days or longer recovering from a light accident suffered in line of duty. He returned home Sunday night and the wild animals in his district will be on guard for this familiar figure on horseback.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: ‘Ladybuds’ on Amazon Prime, a close documentary look at Mendo-HumCo women, and one Oakland woman, struggling in the aftermath of legalization, which has made the little guy/gal grower just about ready for The Last Hippie Museum. That legalization followed by the corporate sharks spreading enough money among our state reps (alleged reps) to get the one-acre max garden size lifted, and here they came, the green rushers, rushing in like a biblical locust infestation with their massive hoop houses, slick marketing, fast-talking hustlers with their MBAs, thug cartels, and there went an entire way of life for the hardy, ingenious people who'd made three-generations of healthy, robust lives for themselves in the otherwise unforgiving hills of the Emerald Triangle.
ALSO RECOMMENDED VIEWING, and also on Amazon Prime, ‘Freeland,’ a brilliantly acted story of an aging woman memorably played by Krisha Fairchild whose pioneer gro years are ending, as so many have ended, in flurries of impossible local rules and the marijuana glut wrought by the corporate jackals. ‘Freeland’ is also filmed in the more attractive hilltop venues of Humboldt County. (Even scruffy Garberville comes off as habitable in this one. Ms. Fairchild’s powerhouse performance is guaranteed to stay with you.)
AS IF THE CORPORATE green rush wasn't destructive enough to what's left of small pharmas, there's the drought, the plague, major fires, and the onset of Trumpian fascism, but only the Potter Valley Fire appears in ‘Ladybuds,’ but in a tellingly Mendo cameo where a young woman trying to get back into the fire area to check on her plants is turned away at the checkpoint as wine grape planters are allowed in.
POPPED into the Grace Hudson Museum the other day, not to see Grace's paintings, which I've seen so many times over the years I've memorized them, but to really, really, really enjoy the wildly imaginative ceramic sculptures of Potter Valley's Mac Magruder, worth a visit all by themselves. (Art in Potter Valley? Who would have thought…) The paintings of the late Wayne Knight are also worth a long look, one of which features a large canvas depiction of representative Mendo people including the late Judge Broaddus, if one can say there is a representative cross-section of Mendo people. The photographic arts are a lesser art in my admittedly limited view, especially abstract photography, but Tom Liden's photos are probably of interest to people who take photography more seriously than this philistine who thinks most photography he sees is inferior to the work of the booking photographer at the Mendocino County Jail, as riveting a daily gallery as there is.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 I want you to stop being subhuman and become ‘yourself’. ‘Yourself,’ I say. Not the newspaper you read, not your vicious neighbor’s opinion, but ‘yourself.’ I know, and you don’t, what you really are deep down. Deep down, you are what a deer, your God, your poet, or your philosopher is. But you think you’re a member of the VFW, your bowling club, or the Ku Klux Klan, and because you think so, you behave as you do. This too was told you long ago, by Heinrich Mann in Germany, by Upton Sinclair and John Dos Passos in the United States. But you recognized neither Mann nor Sinclair. You recognize only the heavyweight champion and Al Capone. If given your choice between a library and a fight, you’ll undoubtedly go to the fight.” — Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man! You are excluded from this. You don’t recognize his false distinction, going to both fights and libraries. But if one had to choose, the fight would be better because fighting is the Foundation. As Mao said, the rifle must never slip from the hand of the Party. This is true for all parties, nations, peoples, and individuals.
 COVELO, an on-line comment: “There is supposedly a Cloud of Confusion curse that was placed on the valley by an unknown person; whether chief or medicine man, I for one do not know. This will have to be lifted before things will be harmonious here. This curse came as a result of the terrible things done to the native people here, and it does seem like we have more than our fair share of drama, loss and misfortune. That said, I would never call Round Valley “just like Skinwalker Ranch”, which is a very nasty portal into other dimensions that allows any number of unfriendly, indeed, I would say decidedly malevolent beings from other planes of existence to walk on our earth. I have lived in Round Valley for thirty years, and have been both uplifted and saddened by the things that happen here. You would not get me within fifty miles of Skinwalker Ranch. Make that 100 miles.”
 I’m absolutely against doom & gloom in the short term – there are resource crises we’re coming up against, and climate change realities we’re coming up against, financial disasters that we’re coming up against, and much else
But we need to be realistic, and say that the world moves very slowly – and in most respects every turn of the world is far longer than one human life-span.
My oldest grandparent was born in 1888 – look how much the world changed in her 80 years! And I reckon it changed more in her time than it has in the 53 years since 1968. She went from horse and buggy and kerosene lamps to jet travel, TV&Radio, plastics, McDonald’s, and IBM computers.
What’s really happened since 1968 – smarter computers and smaller more powerful chips … but what else?
 One of the abiding mysteries is why Putin would entertain any discussions with Crazy Joe about this issue aside maybe from encouraging yet another American military misadventure in a place far from American shores, in a place Americans don’t understand (but think they do), that would require yet another massive sealift and airlift, with the attendant squander of military and financial resources.
Does the US have any real national interest in such a border dispute between the two aforementioned countries? Someone please explain to simple little ole me just what it could be because, strain as I might, I just can’t see it.
Let’s play along with Establishment thinking for just a bit and pretend that American and Russian interests are in conflict in some way or other (which anybody living in the real world knows they are not). Let’s pretend that it’s in America’s national interest to hobble Russia, to bring it down a notch or two, or to upend the current ruling regime. Let’s also pretend that the Russians really are massing troops as the Lie-its-Ass-Off news media insists. Let’s just pretend.
So, let’s first look at the nature of the two countries at issue, Ukraine and Russia, the first a Second-World country (at best) with no oil, the second country the same as its neighbor but with oil, both heinously misruled, both oligarch-infested and both corrupt to the gills, Ukraine arguably by these measures worse than Russia.
If the US had any real interest in bringing Russia down, wouldn’t the US encourage the Russians to not only grab some land but grab the whole damn thing, the acquisition of which would prove to be a monumental headache to Putin and a massive financial millstone? If America’s foreign policy elite were innovative (hah!) and creative (lord help us) they’d give their blessing, wish Putin godspeed, and send as a gift the best bourbon the US has, and otherwise hand Ukraine over wrapped in a bow.
But America’s strategic thinking is every bit as doddering as their boss, the Dodderer in Chief, whose job it is to direct the relevant government departments whose guillotine date is long expired.
Assuming somebody outside the two parties in question has some interest in which Slav potentate rules Ukraine, wouldn’t it be countries like Poland and Germany or the Czechs or Slovaks or Romanians? You know, the locals. And wouldn’t they have the necessary economic and military and diplomatic means to intervene?
So why is Joe sticking his nose in this?
 The Misplaced Compassion for violent criminals is immoral. The death penalty should only be used in extreme cases and where guilt is certain. There must be safeguards in place to be certain it isn’t abused. But it definitely should be used. The Misplaced Compassion shown towards violent offenders is a true stain on the supposed “morality” of the people promoting it because it results in a more dangerous world for innocents. Choosing criminals over innocent citizens?! And in this time of declining resources and overpopulation we should be making responsible and serious choices about where our limited resources should be spent- housing children and vets for example or providing living space/food/medical care to violent murderers and rapists? What kind of “morality” could choose the criminals?!! Our country is becoming a cesspool due to Misplaced Compassion…
 When you consider the crew of cretins, criminals, charlatans, inquisitors, whores and moneychangers and garden variety incompetents running the show, ‘madness’ sounds like such a grand term, one normally used in reference to guys like Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot, whose madnesses were truly gigantic in scope, killing millions and tens of millions.
What you do have a whole lot of in America is idiocy. That being said, it isn’t merely idiocy of the pedestrian sort, ambling through the world’s affairs, screwing things up, but rather striding, running, jumping, vaulting, that is, idiocy with a great deal of energy and commitment and ambition, very American in that sense, but misguided at best, often delusional, in many cases destructive and self-destructive, in the worst cases murderous and evil.
In short, the United States of America as the now unexceptional nation whose period of youth is past, whose founding people were the recent inheritors of Western Civilization’s time of intellectual ferment and innovation and genius and who lucked onto a continent with pretty much unexploited resources. But that was then. And this is now.
 Fast food and high fructose corn syrup, combined with a more indolent lifestyle, is mostly to blame. I remember when a McDonald’s first opened in our town. You could get a hamburger, fries, and a shake for $1. We went there once, as a treat, and ate in the car. It was a big deal. I can count on one hand the number of times we ate out when I was a kid. My mother fed us three meals a day at home, packing our lunches for school, and baked every other day. My dad kept a big garden, and she canned the excess. It is true that sometimes, just before payday, we got potato soup, and on fridays, as we were forbidden meat, it was usually a vile thing called creamed tuna on toast (which I haven’t eaten since I left her household more than 50 years ago, though I actually like tuna). There was always a roast on Sunday, and we had meat most nights. None of us had weight problems. Few people did.
 I’m watching a poker show with the sound muted, as always. A guy named Phil Helmuth is at the table. He’s quite famous in the poker world. I notice he has aged. He’s been sitting around casino gaming tables so long he has no muscle mass. I wonder how long ago he ever got any sunshine vitamin D. And he now sports a rather large gut. It’s sad to watch people age.