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A COLD FRONT is clipping northwest California this morning, but only a couple spotty showers or some patchy coastal drizzle is expected followed by clearing skies later in the day. Cooler temperatures and breezy afternoons are forecast for midweek. Additional chances for light rainfall mainly in northern portions of our region are forecast around Thursday and again on Saturday. Otherwise it will be a mainly dry week with temperatures near or slightly cooler than normal. (NWS)
DR. PAUL M LAGOMARSINO
A Celebration of Life
September 18, 1937 - November 7, 2021
The Celebration of Life for our dear and beloved friend, Dr. Paul M. Lagomarsino (or as many knew him as “Doc Lago”) has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 1, 2022 from 1 – 3 p.m. in Fort Bragg.
Please call and leave a message for Michael Slaughter and Clara Slaughter at (707) 964-5336 or Kimberly Millick at (760) 774-7971 if you would like to RSVP to attend.
SAT. APRIL 30TH, 7:30 AT ARENA THEATER.
A Concert Fundraiser for Ukraine, featuring a husband and wife duo performing their different genres of music (hip hop & indie pop) while raising money to help the people & country of Ukraine.
The musicians have provided us with 3 short films about life in Ukraine before the war to show during intermission.
We are holding a silent auction offering Ukrainian folk art and other items donated by the community to add a further fundraising dimension to this concert as well.
AV HOUSING MARKET UPDATE
Spring Comes Early
At a national level, the spring real estate season got an early start: “Real estate markets are unseasonably active in early March,” reports Realtor.com’s George Ratiu, “with buyers and sellers trying to get ahead of rising rates.”
Mortgage Rates Trending Upward
The historically low mortgage rates we’ve been experiencing during the last two years are beginning to trend upward. The average rate for a 30-year fixed in early March was 3.85%, an increase from 3.76% in February and 3.45% in January.
To give you a broader view, here are the annual averages for a 30-year fixed over the last five years:
- 2.96% in 2021
- 3.11% in 2020
- 3.94% in 2019
- 4.54% in 2018
- 3.99% in 2017
The Best Time To Sell
Experts are predicting the week of April 10-16 to be a prime time to list a home for sale. According to Realtor.com, we can expect to see 29% more online views per listing during this week; prices that are 1.4% higher than average; and a fast-paced market, with homes selling 13.2% more quickly than the average week.
Keep in mind that these are the national averages. To learn more about our local housing market, reach out to me or another local real estate professional!
— Anne Fashauer, North County Real Estate
THE BOONVILLE WASTEWATER PROJECT is back to square one. Community Services District Board Chair Valerie Hanelt reported last Wednesday night that the vacant Shapiro property a few doors down from Boont Berry Farm in downtown Boonville is no longer available as a disbursement area for the treated wastewater. The younger Shapiros got the (incorrect) impression that “sewage” would be spread on or under the ground, even though the planners have tried time and again to point out that it’s not sewage but treated wastewater, suitable for crops, minimal to no odor. When the CSD planners and the engineers met with the Shapiros via zoom recently the Shapiros decided that they “had other plans to develop that property.” Former sites, possibly including the County Fairgrounds, are now back on the table, but the planning has been set back yet again. The other half of the Boonville water project, a drinking water system, also hit a snag recently when one of the well owners under consideration backed out. But planners think the remaining wells would still provide an adequate supply.
IN OTHER COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT NEWS, Fire Chief Andres Avila requested and got a special Board meeting set for Thursday, May 5 at the Boonville Firehouse to review the local ambulance service. Chief Avila wants to discuss persistent budget and staffing problems for the ambulance which continue to stress the popular and essential operation, both short-term and long-term.
A LOCAL CONTRACTOR has been chosen for the Boonville Community Park parking lot and park upgrade. A group of locals, including some high school students, have also begun planning a skate park in the area. The Community Services District board is considering acquiring the Community Park property from the school district for $1 to set the stage for these upcoming concrete projects. Details to come.
OVERVIEW, THE OLD HAUL ROAD NOW A WALKING PATH, FORT BRAGG
DOUG MOSEL COMMENTS: "About the fine Low Gap whiskey and local grain, any modesty on my part is well-placed. Reintroducing grain production in our County was inspired by the work of the Anderson Valley Foodshed group. It happened because of the support and encouragement of many dozens–and because old grain varieties are magical, miraculous. Countless small-scale farmers have done so much more to demonstrate the possibility and, increasingly, the importance of local food independence–to name just one, the late Stephen Decater, who with his wife Gloria, produced food for hundreds of people locally and in the Bay Area for about four decades."
I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT that Doug's grain growing projects and the many small mom and pop farms of the county were the brightest lights burning in Mendocino County, harbingers of a time probably not far off when they'll be central to feeding us rural dwellers, as they were in the 19th century.
THE DISGUSTING war on Ukraine goes on and on, and I'm a little disgusted with myself for having grown unmoved at the daily accounts of the major atrocities Putin is committing there. But what are the options? Fight him with the Ukrainians as surrogates as we're doing or fight him directly?
THE TIRELESS Renee Lee reports that she and her cadre of Senior Center staff and volunteers served more than a hundred breakfasts Sunday to the hungry hordes of Beer Fest attendees, raising over a thousand bucks for the Center.
IT CAN HAPPEN HERE! A California man threatened to bomb Merriam-Webster's HQ over the dictionary's definition of the word female as “a gender identity that is the opposite of male.” Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, has been arrested for being so disturbed about Merriam-Webster's woke-def that he was poised to begin assembling a more emphatic protest.
A WOMAN called to say a recently departed Willits man, a man of substantial wealth, had been her secret boyfriend for many years, but the man's family has cut her off without a dime. She rattled on as I read her e-mail. “Money means nothing to me. I loved that man,” she said. “I'd live with him in my van down by the river, wherever. He was the love of my life.” Then, suddenly, “Are you Mark Scaramella?” I confessed I wasn't, that Mark was at an all day meeting of The Armed Sons of Italy in Ukiah. “Where in Ukiah?” she demanded. “The location is secret,” I said. “Frankly, I think they're up to something, but he's always had clandestine nationalist sympathies, and anyway it's none of my business.” She promised to call back “later” but didn't.
THANKS to the anti-vaxxer who called up to denounce Dr. Fauci I was reminded to get my second booster at the AV Health Center this morning. That makes four jabs and counting.
ENOUGH RAIN over the past week to set the Navarro free at its mouth to the Pacific!
AS FRESHLY RETIRED CEO Angelo retreats to San Diego to draw a lush pension many times greater than the annual income of the Mendo serfs who fund it, far from the turbulent county she steered onto the rocks, she's one of many of our public servants who feasted off Mendo's largesse then headed outtahere.
TALKING with a social services worker the other day she said, “The only difference between the people we allegedly serve and us is the counter.”
THE BOONVILLE BARN SALE will be open this weekend featuring Prom Dresses - as well as all the usual assortment of items. Saturday, April 30, 10 to 3 pm and Sunday, May 1, Noon to 3 pm. 12761 Anderson Valley Way. Look for signs and banners along 128.
SHALL-WILL: For first person use at any rate, “shall” and “will” surely have become interchangeable. “Will I come in” a hesitant young reporter teetering at the door of his busy London editor. ”God knows!” is the impatient reply. — Conrad Natzio
As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
President Biden named his pick for ambassador to Ukraine. He announced that Bridget Brink, a career diplomat and current ambassador to Slovakia, is the nominee for the post that has been vacant since 2019. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv this weekend, said the U.S. would send millions more dollars' worth of aid and is beginning to send diplomats backto the country after evacuating embassy personnel to Poland in February.
Russia fired missiles at five rail infrastructure targets in central and western Ukraine, according to Ukraine's national rail service. At least five people were killed and 18 were injured in strikes at railway stations in the west-central region of Vinnytsia, according to The Associated Press. The strikes cut electricity to several rail lines and delayed passenger service on dozens of trains. The attacks came within hours of a visit by the U.S. secretary of state and defense secretary.
THE GIFT OF A LIFETIME
I have never been much for human interest stories. They’re, well, too human for my liking. I’ve always preferred writing about some corporate or government wrongdoing and maybe some amazing tech I’ve recently seen. But in this case, I am compelled to climb down into the human trenches and expose myself.
1971, I was 19 years old. I refused to go to Vietnam. As I was classified as 1A, I was certain to become cannon fodder at worst and return with irreparable physical and emotional damage at best. I had already watched a few friends who returned from Nam starting to deteriorate from Agent Orange exposure.
So in the early fall of 1971, my next older brother and I loaded up my 1952 brush painted red Ford pickup truck and hit the road for Montreal from Capitola, Ca., just south of Santa Cruz. My oldest brother was in Montreal already and had made arrangements for a place for us to stay upon our arrival. There was a lot that went on in the relatively short time I was in Montreal and it is certainly worthy of more stories. However, for the purposes of this writing I will get to the point, and that is, I met someone special. One thing led to another as things can and she became pregnant.
Reasons. There are so many reasons that I have told myself over the years as to why I left when she was in the early stages of pregnancy. As time went on the truth faded from memory and I was left with the reasons I wanted to remember to cover the pain of what I had done. Or hadn’t done in this case, which was to step up to the plate and be there for someone who was to now be alone instead of a shared experience of bringing life into the world. The pregnancy wasn’t an accident. It was planned, or as planned as anything can be by a 19 year old and a 20 year old.
So, fast forward to early April, 2022. I get home and Eileen tells me there has been a phone call from a woman in Canada that may be related to me. In Eileen’s notes there were a lot of references to Montreal and the early 70s. I decided to call the number and see what was up.
Before very long I knew who I was talking to and as Calli O'Brien was relaying different facts she had found and about DNA tests that were positive on both my father’s side and my mother’s side, I just told her that what she had found would make her my daughter. I also told her that I had expected her. I found myself wanting to naturally include her in my/our lives. I mean, she had been on this quest to find me for most of her life. Real clues only came after her mother’s death last year because her mother refused to share any information about me at all. Ironically, as it turned out, I didn’t even have her real name and couldn’t have found her again if I wanted to.
During our first phone conversation I don’t think it had sunk in yet as to the magnitude of what had just occurred. I could intellectualize it alright, but a silent switch had been flipped. By the time we had our first Zoom call and I could see how much she looks like me the emotional avalanche started. The only way I know how to explain it is, like a lot of the decisions I made during my life were based on the decision I made in Montreal in early 1972 when I decided to leave Calli’s mother. That fork in the road led to other forks in the road. Not all of the subsequent decisions were good ones. Many were decisions to leave and to hide instead of decisions to participate in life. Now, those decisions/forks are like cracks or fissures that were empty parts of my life that are in the process of filling up and making me more whole.
Meeting Calli has been a profound experience. The experience is ongoing because she is part of me. I know her and want to know her at the same time. I guess this is something that fathers of daughters feel regularly, or so I am told.
I don’t want to leave out that I have two sons that are grown. Eric and Nicholas. This experience has brought me closer to one of them, and in time will bring me closer to the other, I’m sure.
This experience is helping me to acknowledge that I am a grandfather and have grandchildren that want to know me. And, as of today, I want to know them.
So at almost 70, I can say that life is full of surprises. Eileen, my wife, (who just said goodbye to the last of her immediate family last year), and I are looking forward to this amazing new chapter in our lives.
I cry a lot these days. And it’s not out of pain or misery. Joy has crept into my life, in a most unexpected, expected way. Emotional up-wellings have become part of my day.
TOAD & FROG
Vegetables, plants & eggs
This week at our little farmstand we have the following. In the cooler are Eggs, Romaine Lettuce, Matador Spinach, Italian Parsley & Kale. Plants on the table are Basil, Speckled Romaine Lettuce, Delicata Squash, Butternut Squash, Trombone Squash, Zucchini, Raspberries, Tree Collards, Matador Spinach, Ground Cherries, Blueberries, Paper Whites, Jasmine & Iris. Help yourself any time and leave a donation in the pot with the face or contact me to make a trade.
250 N Harrison, Fort Bragg
Jacquely & Chris
Toad & Frog Farm Stand
HOW TO TELL IF EGGS ARE FRESH
DID THIS HAPPEN AT MENDO HIGH SCHOOL?
Here is a story that was presented to me as fact. Unfortunately, the individual who told me this has had a bad record for accuracy regarding things he has told me. This is a great story and I hope it is true and lacking exagerration.
If anyone has any information regarding this alleged incident please respond offlist.
OK, here we go:
In the early 90s there was an individual who was not named but was known by my source. Said individual had scored a bunch of acid and been distributimg it around. He made plenty of money and still had lots of acid and was tired of dealing. So he decided to drop by the alma mater and share out the last multiple hundred hits.
So he drops by MHS early one morning and gives out all the acid to the student body. He gave out all his acid and dosed the majority of the students. About half decided to skip school and the other half said this is going to be an extra special day and I'm going to school, thank you very much.
So school starts for the day, and within an hour or so things got very interesting. Of course it wasn't long before somebody found humor in the whole affair and before long there was classroom after classrom full of hysterically laughing students. The staff thought all the students were tripping, but only about half of the students at school had done acid. Still, the others got contact highs and were laughing as much as the others.
Of course the teaching staff figured out PDQ what was up, but no information was provided about how they dealt with it.
The hero was allegedly busted, again, no details available. But this is where doubt creeps in most - it seems I would have had to have heard something if there was a legal case. An incident like this with a legal case involved woulda/shoulda made the news and EVERYBODY should have heard something.
If this is a true story somebody should know something, so if somebody is you please get in touch.
If it turns out to be a legit story I'll put it together and put it out there. In order to be considered legit I need at bare minimum a name and the ability to contact the hero, and statements from the school staff.
(Posted on Coast Chat Line, from: email@example.com)
THE VELVET BANDIT IS BACK AT IT WITH NEW ART IN WILLITS AND HOPLAND
THE STAFF REPORT(S) and Agenda for May 5, 2022 is posted on the department website at:
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 25, 2022
JONATHAN ARIAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
AMBER FRENCH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MINDY GONZALEZ, Hopland. DUI-alcohol&drugs, paraphernalia, no license, failure to appear.
JOSEPH HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Forge/alter vehicle registration, evasion.
WYATT HURT, Covelo. Domestic abuse, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, burglary, assault weapon, failure to appear.
AARON ORESCO, Ukiah. Stolen property, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
THE FRONT (1976) is a very good movie about leftist writers trying to make a living in 1951 when McCarthyism was still on the rise. It's set in NYC, where the television industry used to be centered. Woody Allen plays Howard Prince, an apolitical, low-end bookie who agrees, for a 10% commission, to submit scripts in his name that were written by an old friend from the high school chess club (Michael Murphy). The ruse works, and other blacklisted TV writers start using Howard to put his name on their scripts, too. Howard wins the heart of classy Andrea Markovici, a network employee who thinks he’s a great writer and politically liberal. The Front is not a Woody Allen movie — Walter Bernstein (blacklisted in 1950) wrote the script and Martin Ritt (blacklisted in '51) directed it. Which may be why it's Allen's best performance. When the movie came out in ‘76 I was so down on the US left that I found fault with it. The Hollywood 10 got so much publicity, I groused, you’d never know that public school teachers like my mom were losing their jobs because they wouldn’t answer questions about Local 5… Dalton Trumbo and Gordon Kahn didn’t have it so bad down in Cuernavaca… Etc., etc. But watching The Front on TV the other night I was moved and grateful that Bernstein and Ritt had made such a heartfelt fairy tale about how they and their colleagues hustled and made it through the season of the toad. (Trumbo's phrase — unfair to toads.) Many a writer and artist suffered a class fall, and several committed suicide (as Zero Mostel does in The Front). The actors Canada Lee and Walter Bromberg are two I recall the grown-ups talking about… Some say that the stress of the class fall brought on John Garfield’s heart attack at age 39.
CATCHING AS CATCH CAN
During this time of severe drought, why aren’t more municipalities, agricultural operations and residents using rainwater catchment as a strategy to save and conserve water? Even urban residents can use smaller containers designed for small lots.
Our small rural homestead uses two 2,500-gallon tanks to catch rainwater, and they filled up after the first storms this past fall. We use this water to irrigate our flower and veggie gardens, and this captured water will last all summer, thus taking the strain off our well, which we use for household needs.
Instead of wringing our hands over the drought, rain catchment can make a huge difference. There is a lot of information to be found online about how to do it.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
That’s what wrong with most people who suffer from emotional problems: They have no real problems.
Thomas Merton’s thoughts on this have resonated with me over the course of many years. He said that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer from inconsequential things, until you are made miserable over miniscule or even imaginary troubles.
It would do the “woke” a world of good to be dropped off in the wilderness with nothing but a pocket knife, and left there for a few years.
Of course they may soon have to face what is in many ways a worse situation: living in the new America without money – that is, without a working monetary system. Such an America will be a very dangerous place.
WE NEED THE ALZHEIMER’S ACT
Several years ago, faced with my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I found myself managing the complicated details of her life while still trying to live my own.
As a volunteer advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association, I have asked Rep. Jared Huffman to help reduce caregiver stress by co-sponsoring the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act, (House Resolution 2517) which would ask Medicare and Medicaid to consider a dementia care management model of care. I think the components of the bill are proven to reduce costs, improve quality of life and streamline today’s complicated health care maze for families living with dementia.
I dealt with 24/7 vigilance (and the exhaustion that goes with it) while managing my mother’s entire life. I ran her household, balanced her checkbook, managed her will and trust, organized her social life and arranged her doctor’s appointments.
My experience differed from caring for children in many ways, the main one being that this adult person (my mom) had a rich full life of her own before diagnosis. She had relationships I knew nothing about, as well as ongoing projects and conversations no one else in the family was aware of.
In addition to Alzheimer’s, my mom had celiac disease, which is an iron deficiency. She had frequent bouts with pneumonia and urinary-tract infections. I had to consider what course of action to take if any one of those things flared up. That meant I had to contact her various doctors myself, explain the symptoms and her behavior, then help them assess what to do next.
How wonderful it would have been to have a system in place that helped me coordinate those conversations and treatments.
I have personally spoken with Congressman Huffman about this idea and am hoping others will join me in asking him to cosponsor what would be a life-changing policy for so many families.
TUNE THE GUITAR THUS
by Alex Abramovich
The first Siege of Sevastopol – a belated response to Russia’s first annexation of Crimea – took place in 1854-55. Tolstoy wrote about it in Sebastopol Sketches. Mark Twain referred to the battles in Innocents Abroad. Poems were written, paintings painted; eventually, movies were made. In 1856, Henry Worrall, a musician and artist, published ‘Sebastopol’, a ‘descriptive fantasie’ for the parlor guitar. ‘This piece is intended as an imitation of military music,’ he wrote. ‘The Harmonics in single notes imitate the Bugle. The Harmonics in chords imitate a Full Military Band at a distance.’ Readers were instructed to retune their instruments:
This is Open D tuning, which means that the six strings, struck openly, sound a D major chord. To make other chords, players could simply bar the strings straight across, with one finger, and move it, fret by fret, up the neck. Guitars are counterintuitive objects compared to the piano; open tuning turns them, almost, into another instrument. Joni Mitchell favored Open D tuning, and her example inspired Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, which stands out, in part, because of its voicings. Guitar nerds would point you towards Leo Kottke, John Fahey, Ry Cooder and Duane Allman, too.
To a degree, Open D is the sound of pre and postwar blues: Elmore James, Furry Lewis, Blind Willie Johnson (who only played in Open D). Here’s Elizabeth Cotten, playing ‘Vestapol’ – which quickly became a colloquial name for the tuning. (Open G, or ‘Spanish’ tuning, also became popular; it’s named after Worral’s ‘Spanish Fandango’. Keith Richards likes these tunings. The Stones’ ‘Prodigal Son’ is an originally uncredited cover of ‘That’s No Way to Get Along’ by Robert Wilkins – which bears a striking resemblance to ‘Vestapol’.)
Open tunings favor slide players, and amateurs. You don’t have to know any fingering. Placing just the index finger of the fretting hand across the fifth and seventh frets (where the dots on a guitar’s neck are helpfully located) gets you the other two chords you need for the I-IV-V progression that blues, and blues-based forms like rock music, seem to default to.
Good players do delicate, beautiful things with the tuning. Absolute beginners who want to bash away, right away, find Open D blissfully easy to use; and the louder you play, the better it sounds. But guitars don’t arrive in the mail tuned to Open D. It really does take a bit of instruction. How did Open D jump from the parlor to cabins and cotton fields? The answer probably has to do with songbooks like Worrall’s Guitar School (published in Cincinnati in 1856; republished in Boston in 1882), which were later included with or sold alongside affordable, mass-produced guitars ordered through catalogues.
It’s strange to think that the clear sound of Open D is rooted in one of the bloodiest, most senseless conflicts of the 19th century. But as Dylan once put it, “every distance is not near.” It’s a long way from Crimea to the Mississippi Delta. It’s also no distance at all. Sebastopol. Sevastopol. Vestapol. Vastapol. The world moves on in circles.
(London Review of Books)
THE WAR IN UKRAINE IS BEGINNING TO LOOK MORE AND MORE LIKE SYRIA
by Patrick Cockburn
“War is too serious a matter to be left to the soldiers,” said the French First World War prime minister Georges Clemenceau. But the evidence of most wars in history is that they are also too serious to be left to the politicians. This failing is not yet evident in Ukraine only because fighting is still raging on the battlefields of the Donbas and is likely to escalate.
But it should already be clear that the end of the war, if it comes at all, is more likely to be brought about by politicians – as difficult as that might be – and not by soldiers because the chances of either Russia or Ukraine winning a decisive victory have already disappeared.
The key question now is how and when the fighting will cease – or have the chances of a compromise peace already been overwhelmed by the sheer momentum of military conflict and the hatred it inspires?
Bizarrely, the main points in dispute have probably been decided. Russia is never going to conquer Ukraine because its forces do not have the strength to do so in the face of fierce and united Ukrainian resistance supplied with arms by the NATO states. This should have been self-evident to President Vladimir Putin long before he launched his disastrous invasion on 24 February, but his capacity for self-deception appears bottomless.
But it is equally unlikely that Ukraine will defeat Russia and drive its forces out of Ukrainian territory, as some politicians are now recommending as a war aim, however many weapons systems it receives from the West.
Russia is unlikely to repeat the same amateurish mistakes it made in the first two months of the war when it fragmented its inadequate forces so none of their attacks were strong enough to succeed.
Putin falsely claimed then that he had only invaded because Russia faced an existential threat. But his gigantic blunder turned this largely imaginary threat into a reality, enabling Putin – with his full control of all Russian media outlets – to persuade Russians that they now have no choice but to fight. Western sanctions are a double-edged sword because, though they do great economic damage, they are a collective punishment inflicted on all 145 million Russians who feel that they are left with no choice but to rally to the flag.
A divided, frozen, fragmented conflict
Russia’s enemies show an understandable reluctance to let Putin off the hook by relaxing the pressure on him or giving him an escape route out of the quagmire into which he has plunged his country. “There is an unfortunate dilemma,” a senior European diplomat is quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “The problem is that if it [the war] ends now, there is a kind of time for Russia to regroup and it will restart, under this or another pretext. Putin is not going to give up his goals.”
Even a military stalemate is not necessarily in the interests of East European states near the conflict zone. “This is a major issue for us,” says a senior diplomat from one of the countries bordering Ukraine. “A divided, frozen, fragmented conflict in Ukraine is a very bad deal for us. An active Ukraine-NATO relationship is crucial for the Black Sea region.” Without NATO backing, he believed that there was every prospect of unchecked Russian aggression in the future.
It is easy to see why those who want to fight Russia to a finish now feel that their moment has come, but their policies are full of risks because they contain a number of contradictions. They assume that Russia is powerful enough to pose a serious threat to its neighbors, but at the same time so weak that it can be permanently defeated on the battlefield. They portray Russia as being under the total control of an autocrat in the Kremlin cut off from reality and spoon-fed only good news by his servile advisers. But this same half-crazed and ill-advised dictator is expected to behave with sensible restraint when it comes to widening the war or using nuclear weapons.
This hawkish stance is easy enough for powers outside Ukraine because it is the Ukrainians who will be doing the fighting. Those who glibly call for total victory over Russia are being as unrealistic as Putin was two months ago when he ordered the invasion of Ukraine in expectation of a walkover.
Short of military manpower
This lack of realism is masked for the moment because Russia is still trying to make at least some territorial gains by taking Mariupol and the half-ruined cities in the Donbas, and the opportunity for a counter-attack has not yet arrived. But there are worrying signs that the Ukrainians and their Western allies are taking their own triumphalist propaganda too literally and acting as if it were all true.
The Russian army is likely to fight more skillfully in the next few months, if only because it will almost inevitably do better than its initial feeble performance. For instance, Russia has been accused of pursuing the same ruthless tactics as those used by the Syrian government backed by Russian airpower against the armed opposition after the 2011 uprising. These were to blockade rebel-held urban areas, bombard but not assault them, allow much of the surviving civilian population to flee, but seal off hostile areas. This approach worked well, cutting down on Syrian army casualties and confining enemy fighters to small islands of territory where they were effectively incarcerated with little hope of escape.
Surprisingly, the Russians did not use these successful tactics in their abortive invasion of northern Ukraine, probably because they were short of military manpower. But as the second phase of the war opens in Donbas, Russian forces reportedly outnumber the Ukrainians by three to one, allowing Putin to order the blockade of the vast Mariupol steel works.
Overall, the war in Ukraine is beginning to look more and more like Syria: a military and political stalemate with limited chances of breaking the deadlock. Too many players with too many different interests are involved to bring the conflict to an end unless Russia and the US are determined to do so – and there is little sign so far of that happening.
Look at Putin’s posture, like some King of Kings in a Persian miniature, as he receives news of the capture of Mariupol from his fawning defense minister. He does not look like a man conscious that earlier this year he made one of the most catastrophic misjudgments in Russian history.
Not that President Joe Biden, feebly trying to get a grip on events, or Boris Johnson, endlessly seeking to divert public attention from his latest domestic scandal, look like the sort of people you want to see in charge of defusing the worst crisis in Europe since 1945.
In the Middle East these half-frozen wars can go on for decades, but I doubt if this could happen in Ukraine because the crisis is no longer solely or even mainly about that country but has transmuted into a general confrontation between Russia and the West.
When I read about Boris Johnson’s attack on Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for criticizing the government’s plan to deport to Rwanda asylum seekers crossing the Channel, I looked through the window of my house in Canterbury at the medieval church of St Dunstan’s 40 yards away on the other side of the road.
The reason why Johnson’s self-serving attempt to divert attention from the latest scandal to engulf him made me glance at the church is that it is closely associated with two of the greatest religious martyrs in English history, who were both killed for opposing the secular power. In a crypt in St Dunstan’s is the head of Sir Thomas More, executed in 1535 for refusing to accept Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England and other acts of opposition to the Reformation.
Presumably a 16th century Johnson would have been cheering on the executioner who beheaded More on Tower Hill for putting a proper end to a man who believed that religious faith could not be separated from political allegiance.
The reason why More’s severed head is in there is that his daughter Margaret Roper rescued it from a stake on London Bridge and put it in the crypt of the Roper Chapel which was close to the house where she lived.
But St Dunstan’s has an early link to English prelates who criticized and opposed the political powers-that-be. It was from here that Henry II, barefoot and wearing a hair shirt, began his walk to Canterbury Cathedral on 12 July 1174 in penitence for his role in the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, three and a half years earlier. It was never entirely clear how sorry Henry really was for having precipitated, probably accidentally, the killing of his former friend turned enemy by four of his knights, but he certainly knew how to say sorry.
He confessed that “his incautious words” had led to the killing, asked to be punished, was whipped by the monks and spent the night praying in the cathedral. This was so successful as a bit of royal theatre that he kept returning to Canterbury in later years to repeat his ritual penitence.
A message here, perhaps, for Johnson the next time he has to make his incoherent apologies for some piece of mendacity or chicanery.
Beneath the Radar
A UK court has formally approved the extradition of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, to the US to face espionage charges. What Assange did was no different from what any investigative journalist does. But once again there has scarcely been a cheep out of the British media, both liberal and conservative.
Compare the treatment of Assange with that of Katherine Gunn, the GCHQ translator who leaked a classified memo to a newspaper in 2003 exposing a US plot to spy on the UN shortly before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 in the excellent film Official Secrets with Keira Knightley playing Gunn.
MENDOCINO FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 15TH YEAR, WITH RETURN TO IN-PERSON EVENT
The 15th annual Mendocino Film Festival has announced its 2022 schedule of films and events for June 2-5. A diverse lineup of nearly 60 films, special panels, workshops and visiting filmmakers will make Mendocino the epicenter of film in NorCal this June.
The film line-up includes 35 feature films, including 4 California premieres, as well as 23 short films. 25 filmmakers will be present for post-screening Q&A’s along with several panel discussions.
A highlight of the 2022 festival is animator and two-time Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton. Plympton will share excerpts from his upcoming feature-length new film, a shorts program and will also offer an animation workshop while in Mendocino. Also attending is Academy-Award winning documentary filmmaker Freida Lee Mock for a special screening of The Choir and Conductor with a live choral performance following the screening.
Of special note also is the California premiere of the new documentary Mickey: The Story of A Mouse from director Jeff Malmberg, produced by Morgan Neville.
“We’re thrilled to be back in-person and with our new Executive Director Angela Matano and Program Director Herb Stratford on board.” said Mendocino Film Festival Board president Blair Foster. “It is one of our best programs ever.”
In addition to a terrific slate of films, the Mendocino Film Festival prides itself on its great parties. Members enjoy a special preview screening on Thursday, June 2nd of Blind Ambition, augmented with a glass of sparkling wine from Scharffenberger Cellars, and a bag of popcorn.
The Festival's gala event, on Friday, June 3rd, the Royal Garden Party, will be held outside under the spectacular tent at the McCullum House. Thirteen local chefs will prepare small bites and nine Mendocino County vineyards will pour wine.
Elements of this year’s film program include:
An animation track with films from Bill Plimpton, the new Mickey Mouse documentary, Mickey: The Story of A Mouse, the new feature Marcel the Shell With Shoes On and the new documentary Bad Attitude about counter-culture cartoonist Spain Rodriguez.
Art documentaries including Exposing Muybridge about iconic American photographer Edward Muybridge, The Book Makers, about Bay area book artists, Journey to Hokusai with printmaker Tom Killion in attendance, and Man In The Field about urban artist Jim Denevan.
Music documentaries about the Los Angeles Children’s Choir The Choir and Conductor, the acclaimed film on composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein Bernstein’s Wall, and a tale of the Fab Four Meeting The Beatles in India.
Nature documentaries this year include the acclaimed Sundance films, Fire of Love and The Territory, Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest, a documentary about the first Nepali woman to climb Everest, Exposure telling the story of an all-female artic expedition and a special Nature Shorts program.
New buzzy film festival narrative favorites 18 1/2, about the missing Watergate tapes, recent dramas Fire, To Leslie, and The Big Bend, and the heartwarming Irish story Roise and Frank.
Two very special films this year are actually films about film; Be Natural which tells the story of female filmmaking pioneer Alice Guy-Blache, and the beautiful Indian love letter to cinema Last Film Show.
And finally, recent documentaries Blind Ambition, about the Zimbabwean wine tasting team, Dear Mr. Brody, about the 60’s pop-culture character Michael Brody, Missing in Brooks County, Fireboys, Lady Buds, Chasing Voices and The Restless Hungarian.
Our closing night event is the Mendocino premiere of Crabs! by local filmmaker Pierce Berolzheimer. Featuring local actors and stunning Mendocino Coast locations, Crabs! will likely go on to be a local cult classic.
For more information, including this year’s complete program and how to buy tickets, visit www.MendocinoFilmFestival.org.
PRELIMINARY TAXONOMIZATION IN AMERICAN WORKSPACES
by Aiden Gumaer
To my knowledge, there have been no attempts to taxonomize the several creatures found within the workplace habitat of Northern California. It is widely accepted that three major genera – Possesoria, Manegeria, and Proletaria – are present in the region, yet there is doubtlessly a rich variety of species yet to be recorded. Such was my mission during my two-week expedition into a workplace in Mendocino, California. My immersion was short, regrettably so for the accuracy of my notes, but thankfully so for my general health and wellbeing; the emissions present in most workplaces are extremely hazardous to the health of humans.
The information that follows is certainly incomplete, and portions shall doubtlessly be found inaccurate at some time in the future. My hope is that my account will spur on further research, more rigorous than I was able to achieve. I will identify the species I observed and classified, and describe the main traits present in each.
The first thing uninformed readers must understand about the workplace habitat is that none of its native species are, in the traditional sense, alive. They are “undead” – that is, capable of locomotion and thought, but robbed of vitality and warmth. Crucially, they appear not to be aware of the habitats which exist outside the workplace. They would flatly refuse the possibility, even when I explained such environments to them in great detail. At least this was my observation. During my expedition, I was able to observe members of two genera – Manageria and Proletaria.1 I have identified two2 species from within each genus. Species most often differ in their relation to Cruelty, the main form of sustenance in the workplace.
First, let us consider the genus Proletaria, the prey of the workplace. This genus contains Proletaria Apathetica, known to locals as the Zombie, and Proletaria Vindicta, known to locals as the Orc. It appears as if their state of undeath is not present all throughout their life cycle; it appears as if young and juveniles are actually alive, but grow into undeath by the time they reach adulthood. The mechanism behind this transformation is unknown, but I do have a hypothesis. It is possible that the baleful emissions of the workplace may be the cause of undeath. Parents protect their young from these emissions, but cease to do so around the same time undeath begins to set in.
Proletaria Apathetica, commonly known as the Zombie, has no hope for improvements in their conditions. They cope with this realization through deployment of intense apathy. While this allows them to survive the toxic emissions of the workplace, is greatly impedes their ability to survive outside of it. Importantly, it seems to disallow cooperative behavior withing large populations of zombies. I have observed some congregating in large groups, but this appears to be incidental – they move around, bump into each other, maybe communicate a little, but scatter as soon as they are called to labor. While laboring, they rarely communicate with others of their kind. I would wager that even when removed from the workplace, they would continue about their old ways3, refusing to understand other environments around them. While they are rather dull animals to observe, they are quite harmless. They hardly ever seem to get in the way of each other, nor do they predate on other denizens of the workplace. It seems as though their high tolerance for pain has removed any will to inflict it.
Proletaria Vindicta, commonly known as the Orc, is an entirely different creature. They are much less common than the Zombie, but exert a greater net impact over the ecosystem. This owes to their relatively low degree of apathy. They actually feel the pain inflicted upon them by members of genus Manageria, and seem to need some sort of outlet. Some try to exert it back onto members of Manageria, but they are swiftly killed and eaten. Those that survive do so by learning to inflict suffering onto close evolutionary relatives, rather than members of Possesoria or Manageria who exist higher higher on the food chain. Since they present the vast majority of possible targets, zombies are the usual recipients of this cruelty. Most orcs require several zombies to satisfy their needs, since zombies are mostly unaffected by torment. However, orcs can sometimes come into conflict between each other. While I have not personally witnessed such an event, they are usually cataclysmic affairs, according to tales passed on by locals. I hope to one day return to a workplace, such that I might witness an orc fight firsthand. These conflicts are usually kept from escalating to lethal levels by members of Manageria, as an orc ‘cruelty race’4 could threaten their ecological niche as primary dispensers of cruelty.
Members of genus Manageria are, without exception, the dominant beasts of the workplaces lacking a Possesoria species. They engage in predation as their primary means of sustenance. They tend to have much more awareness of their actions than members of genus Proletaria, and are even sometimes aware when they inflict suffering upon others. However, I have yet to observe them taking actions to mitigate this suffering5, so I presume that they have rationalized suffering into their sense of morality.
The most common species is Manageria Cynicalus, known to locals as the Ghoul. These creatures understand, or at the very least observe, the baleful effects of the workplace, but lack any will to work against it. As a result, they can be easily mistaken for zombies. However, unlike zombies, ghouls often engage in predation. The reasons for their apathy are certainly numerous,6 but I believe that they share the belief that there exist no environments outside of the workplace. I was unable to test this, due to the ghouls’ hostility towards outsiders. They may be biologically compelled to disregard alternatives, as to work towards a reduction in cruelty would lead to outcompetition by other ghouls.
The absolute top of the workplace food chain is Manageria Tyrannus, known to locals as the Vampire. I was only able to encounter one of these creatures, and I can say with absolute certainty that the name is apt. The vampire predates not simply for sustenance – they eat for selfish pleasure, or out of a perverse belief that their cruelty is actually to the benefit of their prey. They are so dedicated to predation that I have even seen them feeding upon ghouls, though this appears to be a rare occurrence. I am wholly confused as to the necessity of this cruelty; vampires face practically no competition for prey. It is possible that this is a case of reproductive selection – crueler vampires are selected as mates by other vampires, and have greater social status in general. Most importantly, vampires are the solitary species to recognize the possibility of other habitats. However, they fully reject the notion that other environments could be better than the workplace. They either see suffering as a necessary evil, or even as a good in and of itself. Vampires are the only creatures able to reduce the pain of the workplace from within, yet are conditioned so as to never allow this to happen.
The Northern California workplace is a fascinatingly ghastly place to be. After a mere week of immersion, I could already feel my vitality and human compassion slipping away from me. I am certain that had I remained past two weeks, I would have suffered irreversible damages. I only hope that my research can shed some light on this oft-ignored area of biology, and, if not pave, at least grade and gravel the way for further research.
OPEN LETTER TO THE MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
I was aghast to read that, on Saturday night, April 23, the recently retired County CEO, Carmel Angelo, got another formal goodbye.
On Saturday night, approximately 125 people turned out at Rivino Winery to bid Angelo a second goodbye. This followed Angelo's first goodbye on March 15 at a Board of Supervisors meeting.
The remarks on Saturday night were shamelessly laudatory and reminiscent of March 15; Angelo was given a couple of standing ovations by a crowd representing Mendocino County's Who’s Who in local politics and business.
But here's the thing. The 125 people who cheered themselves silly on Saturday night were the county's elite in business and politics.
There was no cross-section of citizens.
No rank-and-file county workers. No frontline workers. No union people. No laborers. No migrants. No nurses. No ambulance drivers. No patrol cops or corrections deputies. No hotel desk clerks or tasting room workers. No restaurant workers. No grocers. No teachers. No artists.
So, who cheered Angelo a second time?
Elites like Tom Allman, David Eyster, John Mayfield, Dan Hamburg, Richard Shoemaker, Glenn McCourty, John Haschack, and Ted Williams.
Another present on the night of April 23 was the new County CEO, Darcie Antle, who gets a total compensation package valued at $338,000. Also present was Antle's full retinue of highly compensated assistants, all of whom who get compensation packages in the $250,000 range.
Also present were the department heads of the county's various departments -- also richly compensated for sitting at desks.
And present, of course, were the millionaires at Redwood Quality Management Group and Redwood Community Services, who owe their $35 million monopoly in privatized county mental services every year to Angelo's cronyism.
It was a love fest. An orgy of mutual congratulations. The rich and the powerful, past and present, gathered together. All fat and happy at the taxpayers' expense. All gushing all over themselves.
All of them lucky bastards. All of them mediocre -- in truth, average or below average people who couldn't work anywhere else.
There were only four exceptions among those 125 partygoers: our District Attorney, our immediate past Sheriff, our past Treasurer, and our Transportation Director.
The Rivino wine flowed. Trays of tasty bite-sized hors d'oeuvres were passed around. Rustic Tuscan pepper bruschetta. Artichoke phyllo cups. Bacon-encased water chestnuts. Garbanzo-stuffed mini-peppers.
The cake was cut. The band play on.
You get the point. The fat and happy got fatter and happier.
Meanwhile, our county continues to suffer in poverty. Half of our county's residents are eligible for Food Stamps. And probably half of them are eligible for Medi-Cal.
Meanwhile, our poverty statistics make Mendocino County, the “Appalachia of the West.”
Add to those poverty statistics a looming $12 million county budget deficit when we were told we had a $30 million surplus, a cannabis program $3 million in the red, a county pension system with a negative cash flow of more than $1 million every month, a PHF unit that will never get built despite millions of dollars collected in Measure B taxes, homeless camps under every bridge and along every railroad track, an epidemic of fentanyl overdoses, a projected summer drought and no new water infrastructure, and probably another wildfire, groves of old redwoods that continued to be cut, climate action that goes nowhere -- well, you see what I mean. There is no cause for one party, much less two.
Below is the public comment I submitted for Carmel Angelo's March 15 retirement love fest. It's an alternative proclamation for Angelo.
A more truthful proclamation.
It was appropriate then. It's appropriate now.
And it's worth reading again.
* * *
For tomorrow's March 15, 2022, Board of Supervisors Meeting, regarding Consent Calendar Item 3f, I have submitted an alternative, more truthful and accurate "Proclamation for Chief Executive Officer Carmel J. Angelo for the Last Twelve Years Upon Her Retirement from the County of Mendocino".
I hope I can read the proclamation -- or at least summarize it -- during Public Comment for Calendar Item 3f.
The proclamation is my experience of Ms. Angelo.
I have lived in Mendocino County for 24 years and paid property taxes on a home in El Dorado subdivision in east Ukiah, worked for the Sheriff's Office for four years, served on four county grand juries, served on the the county's retirement association for five years, and served on the county redevelopment authority successor agency.
I do not share your unqualified endorsement of Ms. Angelo.
* * *
Proclamation Of The People Of Mendocino County Recognizing The Abuses Of Power And Mismanagement By Chief Executive Officer Carmel J. Angelo Upon Her Retirement, March 19, 2022
WHEREAS, Carmel J. Angelo became Assistant Chief Executive Officer in September 2007 where she reorganized the Executive Office for her eventual takeover of the Executive Office; and
WHEREAS, Angelo while also functioning as Chief Financial Officer balanced the county budget by firing or otherwise furloughing one third of the county workforce and freezing the salaries of the remaining workers without regard to the human costs of those measures; and
WHEREAS, Angelo was appointed Chief Executive Officer in March 2010 and dominated the Board of Supervisors by controlling the Board agenda and the Clerk of the Board for the next twelve years; and
WHEREAS, Angelo further consolidated power at the Executive Office by eliminating the county departments for budget, emergency services, risk management, IT, and general services, and bringing those functions into the Executive Office; and
WHEREAS, Angelo further grabbed power by consolidating the constitutionally elected offices of the County Treasurer and County Auditor; and
WHEREAS, Angelo also dominated the Board of Supervisors by controlling the necessary information to govern by never providing the Board with monthly detailed financial reports and departmental performance reviews; and
WHEREAS, Angelo built the county’s mythical financial reserve on the backs of county workers who suffered high burnout because of high vacancy rates in their departments, and also built the so-called reserve on the deferred maintenance of county buildings and on a ballooning unfunded county pension liability; and
WHEREAS, Angelo privatized county services, especially mental health services where a sole contractor, Redwood Community Services, now gets tens of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts, making that contractor stinking rich with almost no accountability; and
WHEREAS, Angelo hijacked Measure B funds so that those funds would become the Executive Office's private slush fund, and also hijacked the Measure B Mental Health and Advisory Committee so the committee would become totally dysfunctional and ineffective, thereby breaking the promise of building a Psychiatric Health Facility; and
WHEREAS, Angelo helped create one of the worst county cannabis ordinances in California, and also mismanaged the county's cannabis permit program, thereby allowing the carpetbaggers and scallywags at Flow Kana to dominate so-called "legal" cannabis to the detriment of local farmers, until Flow Kana itself lost a hostile takeover bid to the Wall Street gangsters at Gotham Green Partners; and
WHEREAS, Angelo was so indifferent to public corruption in the cannabis industry and law enforcement that a RICO investigation has now been undertaken by the U.S. Attorney's Office, rising to the level of regional and national news to the great embarrassment of the county; and
WHEREAS, Angelo thwarted, stifled, or otherwise influenced the investigations and proceedings of the county grand jury; and
WHEREAS, Angelo “disappeared” numerous county employees, including department heads, resulting in numerous expensive wrongful termination lawsuits;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the people of County of Mendocino hereby bid farewell to Carmel J. Angelo so that she may move to San Diego and collect her $170,000 annual pension.
MUSK’S ACQUISITION OF TWITTER will reignite big questions about the influence of the billionaire class and the power of technology over our national discourse.
This month, Musk was complaining that Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s founder, had too much power, arguing that the way Meta was structured, “Mark Zuckerberg the 14th” would someday be running it.
Now Musk will own Twitter outright as a private company. He will report to himself. So if he decides to allow Donald Trump back on the platform — which seems like the elephant in the room — it will be Musk’s choice and his choice alone. (Trump has claimed he will not return, because he wants to support his own social media platform.)
Washington is atwitter trying to understand Musk’s ideology. He is a self-styled libertarian without an ideology. But is not having an ideology an ideology unto itself?
Musk has said he wants more “free speech” and less moderation on Twitter. What will that mean in practice? More bullying? More lewd commentary and images? More misinformation?
Perhaps a window into Musk’s approach is a tweet he sent on Friday making fun of Bill Gates with a crude reference to anatomy, as a way to get even with Gates, who had admitted to betting against shares of Tesla.
Which raised this question: When conspiracy theorists falsely posted that Gates was paying to develop Covid vaccines to implant chips in people, Twitter down-ranked the content and added fact-check notices. If Musk were running Twitter then, would he have left those posts up to needle his nemesis?
The deal will give Musk enormous influence over politicians, celebrities and the media, with the ability to platform and de-platform them at will.
But some will have sway over him, too, in ways that could distort what the public sees on Twitter. For example, Twitter has no presence in China. Musk does: A huge chunk of Tesla’s growth is dependent on that country. What happens when Chinese officials tell him to remove content from Twitter that they find objectionable?
Back here in the U.S., Musk’s SpaceX business relies, in large part, on contracts with the Defense Department. His Tesla business is in discussions with the U.S. government about a national charging station infrastructure. His Boring Company, which digs tunnels, relies on governments for contracts. If a politician that controls the purse strings for any of Musk’s companies were to publish misinformation, would Musk remove it?
There are no answers to these questions just yet. But we will find out soon. Likely on Twitter.
— Andrew Ross Sorkin