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Mendocino County Today: Monday, August 8, 2022

Climatologically Normal | Al Krauss | Elk Coast | Teacher Wanted | Olsen Kids | Dangerously Flawed | Referee Appreciation | Tourists Shootout | Six Rivers | Macdonald Book | Fair Photos | Humid Heat | Johanna Boyle | Slow Deal | Riley Barn | All Aboard | Yesterday's Catch | Woke | Ukraine | Ancient Evil | USF Regret | Say Chesterfield | Food Advice | Selkirk Street | Goofy Movie | Surfer Girl

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AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES are forecast to remain climatologically normal through early next week. Typical summer coastal weather is expected with periods of coastal low clouds during the nights and mornings and partial sun each afternoon. Generally light winds will allow for smoke to accumulate in some interior valleys. (NWS)

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CAROL BRODSKY: 

Al Krauss

Very sad to report the passing of Al Krauss. He was in renal failure, flagged for a bit and a fall several days ago took him to the Summerlands. So much to say. The father of my firstborn, the irascible patriarch of our overly-extended family, as Steve used to call our tribe. A creative. An eccentric, in the true style. Fluent in French, and the longer the English word, the more he liked using it. A radical. A worshipper of the word, of reading, of books and keyboards - both computer and piano. So much a part of my ordinary, regular life for so many decades it will be hard to fathom life without him popping in, unannounced, critiquing my writing, railing about mostly, but not always, the conservative side of politics and inviting himself for dinner, by saying he wasn’t really inviting himself for dinner. 

Called “Sufi Al” by his friends in the Sufi community, he never totally bought in, but he had deep respect for deep thought - de Chardin, Proust, Jung, and Sam Lewis, who was a western Sufi teacher back in the day. He subscribed to The Sun and read every issue. A bonafide Back to the Lander. An early supporter of Mariposa School and other “alternative” schools before that. He drove all our kid’s teachers nuts - because he cared so profoundly about education, being a Dartmouth graduate and all. As I have said before, I have been the luckiest person in the world of love on this planet, and though we were only a couple for 3 years, we remained parents and life friends for the duration. “Sleep loose,” Al - as he used to tell the children.

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Elk to Point Arena (photo by Dick Whetstone)

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TEACHER WANTED! NOW! BOONVILLE!

AV Superintendent Louise Simson explains: "Should have a Preliminary or Clear Credential. We have flexibility with Necessary Small School Credentialing, so a credential in any subject is appropriate. It could be a retiree willing to help for a month or two until we identify a candidate. Anyone who has a Bachelor's and a preliminary or clear credential IN ANY SUBJECT, have them call my cell at 650-996-3290."

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The Sven Olsen children, 1900

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ONLINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK

(Re: the recent infant death incident involving Edward ‘Two-Feathers’ Steele and his girlfriend)

As a former CPS social worker in Mendocino County, I can tell you an urgent call to CPS does NOT go unanswered. Instead, the call rolls to the next in charge, which is usually a social worker supervisor, who should have responded immediately…if Assistant Director Kelsey Rivera is so confident and knowledgeable, why the hell didn’t she respond immediately to save this poor child? ANY other CPS social worker, CPS supervisor, CPS manager, or even the Social Services Director herself had a duty to respond immediately, and they are ALL trained in basic child safety, and they are also ALL liable for this preventable death.

The Mendocino County Social Services basic structure has become dangerously flawed, because they are overly top heavy with supervisors, managers, and incompatible dipshits without the required education, which leaves line staff understaffed and paralyzed with fictional top-heavy policy. It is very much still a “good-ole-boy” network of selfish power grabbers drunk with nepotism and disdain for other underpaid County residents.

UPD or MCSO should have scooped up the kids from Motel 6, upon arrest of the mother, and taken them directly to CPS or the police station where safety can then be ensured. How many recent or currently open investigations/referrals did CPS have on this mother? Did the mother have an open WIC 300 dependency court case? Why not? Was their an existing CPS crafted safety plan? Why not? Anyone bother to contact dad or other family? Why not? Did anyone put eyes on these kids in the moment? Why the fuck not?

Also, many CPS social workers, their supervisors, and Law Enforcement have direct phone & email access to each other, because they coordinate so often (should be anyway). Law Enforcement majorly screwed up when they minimized initial CPS involvement, and instead decided their MCSO or UPD balls were biggest, and therefore didn’t need to coordinate with anyone.

The UPD officer who minimized initial CPS involvement is as liable for this child’s death as 2fux, and perhaps should also be arrested for murder?

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THIS GUY refereed a bunch of high school aged basketball games, on a Saturday, during summer, so that kids like mine and maybe even yours could play. He's not upset or mad or anything, there was no big controversy, it was just kinda warm in that gym today and he was taking a break in between contests. The next time I feel inclined to complain about the refs, or say something outloud during a game, I'm gonna try to remember this guy. And unless I'm willing to give up my free time and pick up a whistle, I really don't get an opinion. As a parent of student athletes, I do not want to teach them to blame officials for the outcome of a game. If we don't respect refs, umpires, officials etc, what are the odds our kids will? Huge thank you to all those who step up and officiate games. Keep up the good work.

— Erik Osberg

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CANNABIS TOURISM SHOOTOUT

Wallace, Blanchard, Brown, Collins, Judd
(click to read)

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SIX RIVERS LIGHTNING COMPLEX FIRES

As of this morning 3,181 acres, north and south of Highway 299, Waterman Ridge, Friday Ridge Road, Ammon Ridge: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8312/

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MALCOLM MACDONALD: Chapter Five of my latest book, Mendocino History Exposed, is titled, "The Pig War." From a flying piglet to a military conflict fought because of the actions of a sow. And yes, it is all true. To tell any more would spoil this tale connecting local history to events in the San Juan archipelago and China. You can acquire Mendocino History Exposed at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. Call them at 707-937-2665 or use their easy to navigate online ordering service at gallerybookshop.com.

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THE 2022 REDWOOD EMPIRE FAIR IS OVER! What a great week! Today we found out Carmen Malfavon placed 4th in Small Animal Round Robin Showmanship. These are a few more pictures of our week at fair. (Beth Swehla)

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HOT, HUMID, SWEATY, STICKY

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Raised in Cleveland, Ohio means I grew up on speaking terms with numerous and varied weather conditions, including humidity. 

Then I moved to California and learned a different weather language and forgot all about humidity and how to comprehend it. 

Now it’s North Carolina for the retirement years, and I’ve recently been re-introduced to the magic of elevated temperatures that include fat dollops of oily sweat. Nice to be here, mostly. 

California heat is simple. It’s a flat, harsh, baking heat that hits 108 without even breaking a sweat, he lied. You’ll sweat all right. Try to resist and the heat just laughs and jacks itself up another 10 degrees. 

But it’s a dry heat, as the skeleton told the mummy. Early evening takes the edge off, with Northern California temperatures dropping about 15 degrees every five minutes. By 10:30 you’ll be wearing a parka.

Overnight can trim 50 degrees off midday highs, and it takes until afternoon for them to climb back up to cactus-wilting levels. This means you have a fighting chance to make it to noon before cracking open your first icy cold can of Coors. By 3 o’clock you’ll be pouring cold beer over your head to soak your shirt and prevent heat stroke.

Temperatures above 100. Droughts. Wildfires. Power blackouts.

About the only benefit to a California summer is the guarantee no one will be hiding in your car, waiting to kill you.

The weather in North Carolina is a bit more civilized, if a shade more moist. They have ceiling fans down south, quaint leftovers from an era recalling elegant porches with rocking chairs and sweet old ladies fanning themselves while sipping lemonade, chatting about church socials, NASCAR and flower gardens while waiting patiently for someone to get around to inventing air conditioning.

A couple days ago I went out to my front porch which has an overhang so it was shady, but it was also humid. Where isn’t it? It’s so humid here I won’t know when it starts to rain. I went back inside, got a beer and turned all five ceiling fans on around the house.

Ceiling fans are perfect for stirring a room’s warm muggy air into hot sludgy air like a wooden spoon in a Crockpot but with lots more humidity. 

And ceiling fans do a fine job of whisking hot steam into small, humid typhoons and blowing them down over your naked, overheated body clutching a room temp (108 degree) Coors while begging to be buried at the North Pole.

Can we all agree that Cleveland has the fairest weather of them all?

Emperor Joe’s Got New Clothes 

We watch him during a rare moment when he’s given permission to address the public without wearing a muzzle and we say “Yup, he’s clicking long just fine, lookin’ good and making perfect sense. He’s our man.”

There’s a Youtube video of Joe trying to describe “America in just one word.” So he swallows a hiccup into the microphone while sneezing and then coughs up a hairball and looks around to see if maybe he said anything. 

Yup. Got it. 

Friends, we’d be alarmed at degeneration of this magnitude in a grandparent or elderly neighbor. In a President it ought to scare even corrupt politicians into action. But the man is so obviously a mere puppet that no one cares if he wets the bed, can’t count backward from 20 and doesn’t know Kamala Harris from Joe Camel.

Instead the media tell us the Emperor is sharply attired, looks great and is leading the parade in grand and magnificent style. But the media is liars and Joe is incompetent. 

Well, at least he doesn’t tweet too much.

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Johanna Cotter Boyle holding nephew, 1950

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NEIGHBORS

by Paul Modic

There's a group of about six houses down the hill and everyone drives by my house, mostly neighborly slow, but a couple of them barrel by multiple times a day on their way to town. After some years of this I put up two SLOW PLEASE signs last winter but took them down after a week or so because they seemed like a bright shining yellow blight on our little country lane and I figured they got the message although I didn't keep track to check for sure. (It might have been like the DRINK WATER post-its I pinned up all over the house once—after a while I didn't even notice them.) 

In the big picture does it really matter that a couple of thoughtless people speed by? Not really, though some car or truck did kick a pebble up onto my windshield resulting in a $70 repair. When I drive by houses in a neighborhood I go very slow, the rest of the time I also like to step on it.

I figured out what I could tell the guy who speeds past, often with one of those weed-grower trailers bouncing around behind him. I would ask him to slow down and my main point would be if the roles were reversed and I drove through his little cluster of houses down the hill on the way to and from town would they want me blazing through four times a day? (We're on a private road, does that mean I have access to the whole road? Maybe I should just drive down there twice a day to the dead end as fast as they go and see if they like it?)

I could just ask him to slow down but why would he? Why should he? Who am I to ask him for anything? For the fast drivers to slow down they would actually have to think of me, give a shit, and drive respectfully. Frankly, for a guy like this, probably raised like an animal on a dope farm, it might be better to just say nothing, maybe try the signs again, right?

Which brings us to the other speedster who probably also doesn't want to have to think about me everyday, slow down, and waste two seconds of her busy day every time she goes out to work or shop—who wants that?

Yesterday she asked me for twelve garden stakes and I said sure as I have a thousand or so left over, lying all over the place, stacked or buried in piles in the underbrush. What can I pay you for them she asked. I thought about it and said how about some squash, I don't even have a zucchini here this year. No she said, she doesn't have any veggies, just herbs.

Later I thought wait a minute, I'll trade her the stakes for driving slowly past my house! If she wastes two seconds four times a day slowing down, over a year that would be about forty-eight minutes of her valuable time, just for me to have a good feeling when she drives by, like she cares. Though maybe she wouldn't really care as she might feel forced to give up the forty-eight minutes by her desire to have garden stakes. I would like her to be aware that she's doing a nice thing for me.

I originally spent two dollars each for the stakes, maybe they're still worth a dollar each, but really I would just give her the twelve she wants except now I'm realizing I could leverage something out of the deal which I would really appreciate: one more motorist on this road who is neighborly and gives a shit. 

I learned my lesson about being stingy with those stakes a couple years ago: another young woman (as you probably can guess the speedsters are in their thirties) who had helped me stake my plants the year before asked if she could have some and when I tried to charge her a dollar each she said she could get plastic ones from Dazey's for sixty cents. She stopped texting, calling, and she never visited me again.

The reason I tried to charge her was because I didn't want our friendship to depend on me giving her things. So I was right! I didn't give and she dissed me. But that was a big mistake, I should have just been generous and not worried about those dynamics: she was nice, she was fun, she is gone, and I still have my thousand stakes.

So if I tell the working girl the trade is stakes for slowing down I will have to be very specific as she is argumentative, knows her rights, and might lecture me fully on her free will and people like me who are trying to take her freedom away, how she has a busy stressful life and doesn't have the time or desire to think about me wanting to feel good about her every day when I notice her passing by. 

I will have to be very clear: please crawl by at ten miles an hour every day for the rest of your life—that's a lot of stakes! I shouldn't have to bribe you with stakes, you should want to drive slowly and respectfully. Do I not deserve your respect? Okay, that's an open question I suppose.

So what's gonna happen? I predict she will reject the deal and I'll just give her the stakes anyway—I'm not a monster!

That's Horseshit, Man!

Walking around the park I see lot of shits, wild and domestic. I've been stepping over some big piles of horseshit on the trails recently—don't they carry super-sized pooper-scoopers? Don't get me wrong, the horseshit looks like mostly hay and the smell is benign or nonexistent. Pretty nice stuff, really.

We like to say bullshit! And sometimes say horseshit! But rarely do we say dog shit!

I've noticed a cute trick the smart phone addicts with dogs do: the dog wanders off (without a leash breaking the rules of the park), the man stares down at his phone, and the dog takes a shit down the trail. That's what's known as “plausible deniability” in DC. Should I say hey dude your dog just took a crap while you were enjoying a beautiful day in the park staring at your phone?

Another time I saw a young woman wait for her dog to shit nearby and then just left the area and the turds. Busted by the turd patrol! I guess I could have done what any normal person would do: pick up the shit, follow the woman home, and throw it at her house, right?

But then things are usually not what they seem and if I confronted her she might say, “Oh, he always does 'his business' in that spot so I was going to pick it up when we came back around. Please don't follow me home and throw it at my house again.” Dog owners have all the excuses for breaking the rules.

Yes bullshit and horseshit is some pretty nice stuff, but dog shit? That's what we should call the bullshit we hear but we won't because of the damn dog lobby. All the dog owners won't hear of it, no sirree!

Dog shit: that's some nasty smelly shit not good for the earth like cow and horse.

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MARSHALL NEWMAN: Another ebay AV find, 1975 Riley Barn postcard

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ALL ABOARD!

Warmest spiritual greetings, Let us all be identified with that which is "prior to consciousness", listen to LIVE bhakti bhajans from India devoted to Lord Sri Krishna and his eternal consort Srimati Radharani, perform devotional service wherever we go on planet earth, and leave this world at our earliest convenience, joining the tour of the spiritual sky with a stop at Vaikuntha planet to meet Lord Shiva, and then on to Goloka Vrindavan forever. ~OM SHANTHI~

Craig Louis Stehr

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 7, 2022

Attanasio, Blanchard, Brown, Bucio

MYQ ATTANASIO, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DIALAN BLANCHARD, Okolona, Mississippi/Ukiah. Loaded firearm with felonious intent, pot possession for sale, providing pot to minor, conspiracy.

JOHN BROWN, Atlanta/Ukiah. Concealed firearm in vehicle with prior, pot possession for sale, loaded firearm in public, conspiracy.

ANDRES BUCIO-ARTEAGA, Willits. DUI with priors, suspended license.

Collins, Delgado, Garcia, Gielo

JAQAVEIOUS COLLINS, Okolona, Mississippi/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, conspiracy.

RYEN DELGADO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, mandatory supervision violation, probation revocation.

JUAN GARCIA, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-under influence, resisting.

CHARLES GIELO III, Willits. Grand theft, vehicle tampering.

Hoaglen, Judd, Lawrence

IRAN HOAGLEN III, Ukiah. Parole violation.

DAN JUDD II, Okolona, Mississippi/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, conspiracy.

BOBBIE LAWRENCE, Ukiah. DUI.

Lowe, Pena, Reed

JAMES LOWE, Ukiah. Narcotics for sale, paraphernalia.

FRANCISCO PENA-LOZA, Redwood Valley. DUI, no license.

STEVEN REED, Clearlake Oaks/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, tear gas, county parole violation.

Sanchez, Simmos, Starke

JACOB SANCHEZ, Redwood Valley. DUI. 

JAMES SIMMONS, Laytonville. Parole violation.

JOSHUA STARKE-EDWARDS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, battery on peace officer, resisting.

Wallace, Whipple, Yadon

LAZENTE WALLACE, Tupelo, Mississippi/Ukiah. Felon-addict with firearm, concealed firearm in vehicle with priors, pot possession for sale, conspiracy.

KORY WHIPPLE, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.

DAVID YADON, Willits. Paraphernalia, failure to appear.

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UKRAINE, SUNDAY, AUGUST 7, DAY 165

Donetsk. Today five civilians were killed and eight more wounded as a result of Russian military shelling and bombing of towns and settlements in the Donetsk region, including Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Blahodatne, according to a report from Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. 

Russian forces have intensified their strikes on other regions of Ukraine, with shelling or rocket strikes reported in the Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Cherkasy regions.

Vinnitsya. Russian forces have conducted rocket strikes on military infrastructure in the city of Vinnitsya, local authorities report. While an exact number of casualties has not been announced, it is reported that people have been injured as a result of the strike.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has commented on Russia’s reported preparation for referendums that would allow the invading nation to annex newly occupied territories in Ukraine, saying that in the event such referendums were held, Ukraine would decline any further negotiation with Russia. While peace negotiations between the two warring sides have stalled — with not a single round of talks held between them since the end of March—some view the success of the grain export deal as a precursor to the restart of the negotiation process. Some notable Ukrainian officials have broached the possibility of restarting negotiations after the conclusion of Ukraine's counteroffensive in the country’s south, when Ukraine is in a better negotiating position.

After Russian military forces shelled the massive Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant for a second time, asreported by the Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Western countries to impose further sanctions on Russia.

Speaking to European Council President Charles Michel, Zelenskyy called for an embargo on the Russian nuclear industry, including its exports of nuclear fuel. Additionally, the Ukrainian leader said he asked Michel for aid in unblocking the remaining €8 billion in funding which EU member states have pledged to Ukraine, but are yet to deliver.

International human rights organization Amnesty International has apologized for the "distress and anger" caused by a controversial report accusing the Ukrainian military of endangering civilians. The report, which infuriated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, triggered a torrent of online backlash against Amnesty International and moved top leadership in the organization's Kyiv office to resign. 

In an email to Reuters on Sunday, Amnesty said it had found Ukrainian forces next to civilian residences in 19 towns and villages it visited, exposing them to the risk of incoming Russian fire. "This does not mean that Amnesty International holds Ukrainian forces responsible for violations committed by Russian forces, nor that the Ukrainian military is not taking adequate precautions elsewhere in the country," it said. "We must be very clear: Nothing we documented Ukrainian forces doing in any way justifies Russian violations."

The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed a Russian ammunition depot in the Donetsk region on August 6, reports Ukrainian Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

As of August 7, more than 3,5 million Ukrainians have lost their homes due to Russian military aggression, according to the president Zelenskyy’s initiative United24.

(Forbes.com)

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HOW BILL RUSSELL’S USF LEGACY WAS POISONED BY SCHOOL’S MISTAKE

by Conner LaTourneau

Shortly after becoming president of the University of San Francisco in 2014, the Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald flew to Seattle for an important meeting.

There, he told Bill Russell’s lawyer how he would repair USF’s relationship with its most famous former student: free tuition so Russell could finally finish his bachelor’s degree; an honorary doctorate; an invitation to speak at commencement. The problem? Russell had recently collapsed at his home and wasn’t interested in meeting new people.

“I’m sorry, Paul,” Fitzgerald recalled Russell’s lawyer telling him that afternoon in 2014. “You’re too late.”

When news broke Sunday that Russell had died from natural causes at age 88, Fitzgerald was crestfallen. For eight years, he held out hope that Russell would get healthy, move past his grudge against USF and make a triumphant return to campus. Now Fitzgerald must face a harsh reality: Any chance of reconciliation is gone.

He called it one of the university’s “biggest regrets.” In 1957, after winning his first of 11 NBA titles with the Celtics, Russell arrived at the Hilltop (USF’s main campus) to complete the last 16 credits needed for his degree. But when a Jesuit priest serving as university treasurer informed Russell that he would have to pay full tuition for that final semester — around $900 then, or almost $9,500 today — because his four-year scholarship had expired, Russell stormed off and told friends he was done with his alma mater.

Outside of a brief return to campus in 1985 when USF reinstated men’s basketball after a three-year shutdown brought on by NCAA rules violations, his relationship with the only college to recruit him out of Oakland’s McClymonds High School remained fractured. Calls and emails from Dons officials went unanswered. When USF honored his two NCAA championship teams and retired his No. 6 jersey, Russell was nowhere to be found.

“The school did everything it could to get him back involved,” said Mike Farmer, who at 85 is the only living starter from the Dons’ 1956 national champs. “But Russ had made up his mind, and that was it. I think he took it to the extreme, but that was him.”

Russell’s extended absence from campus saddened anyone who understood how much the tiny Jesuit school and future NBA great once meant to one another.

When a USF booster named Hal DeJulio discovered him during his junior season at McClymonds, the 16-year-old Russell was raw, uncoordinated and played half the time because his coach had him sharing the team’s 15th uniform with another player. After a year working with Dons assistant coach Ross Giudice, Russell blossomed into a two-way force — a big man who revolutionized the game with a blend of athleticism, intimidation and ingenuity.

With Russell patrolling the paint and throwing down the first alley-oop dunks, a college team with no home gym (it practiced at nearby St. Ignatius High School and played at the Cow Palace or Kezar Pavilion) won back-to-back NCAA titles and a then-record 60 straight games. In doing so, the Dons became agents of change.

Their signature full-court press, in which guards K.C. Jones and Hal Perry herded ballhandlers toward the middle so the left-handed Russell could block ill-advised shots and ignite fastbreaks, forced opponents to place more emphasis on defense. In response to Russell’s dominance, the NCAA widened the lane from six feet to 12 and banned offensive goaltending.

Perhaps USF’s biggest contribution to basketball had little to do with X’s and O’s. A decade before Texas Western became the first team with an all-Black starting lineup to win an NCAA title, the Dons went undefeated in the 1955-56 season with five Black rotation players, including three — Russell, Jones and Perry — who started.

When USF was invited to play at Loyola-New Orleans that December, Dons head coach Phil Woolpert called a meeting. Black players would have to eat in separate restaurants and sleep in a separate motel from their white peers. As the team weighed whether to play, Russell stood in front of the group.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Farmer said. “Russ told us all, ‘Let’s just go and make a statement.’ So, that’s what we did.”

As the Dons took the floor for warmups, white Loyola fans mimicked monkeys, shouted racial slurs and tossed change at Black players’ feet. Russell, who had spent his early childhood less than 300 miles away in Monroe, La., was unfazed. By the time the final whistle sounded on USF’s 61-43 win, a capacity crowd stood and applauded.

Dignity in the face of racism would become a huge part of Russell’s legacy. When Jones and another Celtics teammate, Tom “Satch” Sanders, were denied service at a Louisville restaurant in 1961 because of their race, Russell and other Black players packed up and left town before their scheduled exhibition game there. Two years later, during the prime of his NBA career, Russell marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

When civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated that same summer, Russell worked with Evers’ older brother, Charles, to organize an integrated basketball camp in Mississippi. Even after receiving death threats, Russell ran the camp.

At the risk of alienating fans and sponsors, Russell was one of the first high-profile athletes to call himself Black instead of Negro, play with a goatee and visit Africa. After each NBA season, Russell took a couple of weeks off from workouts to read at home. When fans asked him for autographs, he declined, offering a handshake instead — an interaction he found far more personal.

“He had a really sophisticated worldview,” Fitzgerald said. “It was an educated worldview, but it was also a really courageous one.”

Farmer acknowledged that Russell felt some racism at USF. But their conversations in the years after college made Farmer believe that the Hilltop was still a special place to Russell. In addition to that being where he burst onto the national scene and developed his voice as an activist, it was where he met his first wife, Rose Swisher, the mother of his three children.

During his lone visit to campus after that unpleasant exchange with the university treasurer, Russell spoke at a banquet welcoming back the program 37 years ago. He regaled the audience with stories about old professors, speaking at length about a philosophy class he found enlightening.

Shortly after the dinner, the Rev. John Lo Schiavo — then the university’s president — made Russell an offer: USF would award him a degree if he spoke to a few classes and wrote a paper on his NBA experience. He declined.

By the time Russell died Sunday, he had been granted honorary doctorates from multiple prestigious universities, including Georgetown and Princeton. His USF bachelor’s degree, however, remained 16 units short.

Fitzgerald called the tuition issue that triggered Russell’s fallout with his alma mater “the dumbest thing in the history of the universe.” With Russell no longer alive, what-ifs are pointless for USF.

All it can do now is continue to honor the man who epitomized its mission as well as any former student has. Memorial Gymnasium, built in 1958 with revenue that Russell’s teams helped generate, features reminders of Russell’s time at the Hilltop: black-and-white photos of him with championship trophies; a section in the weight room named after him; a quote painted on a wall about the importance of perseverance.

By the start of basketball season, the university hopes to unveil a Hall of Fame just outside the entrance. Among the videos and pictures commemorating Russell’s great teams will be a bust of his likeness.

Some staffers and donors hope a Bill Russell statue is in the works.

“It feels like that would make a lot of sense,” said USF men’s basketball coach Chris Gerlufsen, who shows a video about Russell to each of his prospective recruits. “Maybe even right in front of the arena, you know? That would be awesome.”

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Why aren’t they going veggie? Why for that matter are doctors not being brave / honest enough to look a fifty-year-old executive fattie in the face and say “If you keep eating meat, it’s going to kill you. Probably give you a heart attack, before the end of the year. You’ve already got high blood pressure from all the stress of your lifestyle, your exercise is limited to riding around in a golf cart and swinging clubs, your family has all had heart problems – especially the men”?

Never happen.

One of those entertaining YouTube doctors, discussing diet, mentioned that a convention of heart specialists, held in a southern city, was being sponsored by [paid for by] – wait for it! – a cattlemen’s association. You can’t do better than that. 

I try my best never to show it but meat frightens me, both in the way it is come by and from my knowledge of what is in it / what it does to the human organism. I stopped eating it in 1968 and never looked back.

Now seafood, on the other hand, is my big cheat. A student invites me out for sushi (smoking with one hand while he pops down chunks with the other) and I declare, staring at the lovely item, “Maguro! You are a vegetable!”

(I’m not being serious. I eat fish maybe half a dozen times a year.) 

Not that seafood is that much “safer” than mystery meat. I would like to share it with you, but I cannot find the link to a website detailing how the curious protagonists ordered high-priced sushi from a ‘Frisco restaurant. Once they ran a geiger counter over it they lost their appetite for Japanese food. Much of the fish was quite radioactive.

This was not long after the disaster at Fukushima, “Happy Island”.

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Selkirk Street, Hunslet by Stuart Walton (British, born 1934)

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IN DEFENSE OF LIAM NEESON

Conventional wisdom takes a shot at goofy Dad movies

by Matt Taibbi

Sunday morning reading brought me to this line, in between sips of coffee:

Has the image of fatherhood in the “Taken” films fallen out of step with modern conceptions of masculinity? @AndrewAoyama explores what it takes to separate fatherhood from anger in this week's #TheAtlanticBooksBriefing:

I clicked. Under the header, “Modern Men Are Still Figuring Out Fatherhood,” The Atlantic’s Andrew Aoyama wrote:

If today it’s hard to watch “Taken” without at least some disgust at the glorification of Neeson’s bloodshed, perhaps it’s because the traditional conception of fatherhood his character embodies has begun to fall out of step with shifting understandings of masculinity… Discipline was for generations the father’s domain, and righteous anger gave fatherhood meaning. A rage like Neeson’s could be justified as defining a family’s realm of acceptable behavior.

A few words on the absurdity of this:

I love Liam Neeson’s second act. It’s up there with Leslie Nielsen’s as maybe the most direct hit in discovering untapped camp potential so late into a distinguished career. Here’s a man who paid his dues — for God’s sake, he stayed in perfect deadpan for hours as Ralph Fiennes waved a full-on Colonel Klink accent at him in scene after scene of Schindler’s List — and just as the industry was about to scrap-heap him as a “serious” actor, he found box-office gold as one of Hollywood’s great stock characters, the killing machine with a heart of gold.

Neeson’s sub-niche turned out to be the the gravel-voiced spook-in-retirement who uses his NatSec training to leave piles of bodies at the intersection of a wayward daughter’s life choices and the creeping evil the whole outside world poses to children. It was a perfect fit. Taken was such a smash hit that Hollywood not only made two sequels, but a seemingly endless series of pseudo-sequels, some starring the actual Liam Neeson (A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Commuter, Honest Thief) and some not (The Old Man with Jeff Bridges could have been called Taken 9). The new Neeson vehicle I just watched, Memory, is an inspired addition to the collection, with clearly aging-in-real-life Neeson rushing to fulfill his body count (and save a proxy daughter, this time an abused Mexican girl) before a combination of his character’s on-screen Alzheimer’s and the off-screen fatigue of action movie audiences runs the clock out on his lovable assassin role.

You have to be thick as cement to not see the appeal of Taken or John Q or Commando or any of a thousand other “There’s no limit to how much killing I’d do to save my family!” movies. Any parent knows the feeling of limitless vulnerability that hits you at the moment of birth. You can’t believe how much you love them, but you also never stop being conscious of how completely your world would end if anything would ever happen to them. Mothers and fathers both, we all become identical worrying machines, consumed with thoughts of how to protect this beautiful helpless thing.

You wouldn’t trade it, but it’s stressful! All day you scan landscapes with Terminator-esque intensity: here’s an electric socket, there’s a kid on the little league team who doesn’t look before taking practice swings, then you spot how badly designed some jungle gyms are, and there are fevers and the croup and crowds (each additional second in any period of losing track of a small child brings you exponentially closer to stroke) and God knows what else. To keep them housed and fed you would, for a dollar, eat buckets of shit all day long and be happy doing it (you might even ask for seconds before clocking out). Most parents in the moment are thrilled with any job that pays, even under the most loathsome boss, but once they get a free moment to think after six or seven years, they might feel strained there, too.

It builds up, until you’re old and gray, and Taken is the kind of movie you see to let out that stress. Again, you have to be simple not to see the gore and ridiculous plot as metaphor. Dad can’t just be an accountant whose life achievements are spotting a streak of mold before buying a house, or stopping little Molly from jamming a pen in her eye. No, he has to have a mysterious past and secret black ops training, and part of what makes Taken work is that Neeson’s “Bryan Mills” (do we believe there’s ever in history been anyone who looks like Neeson and has a name like “Bryan Mills”?) spends most of the film pumping ammo into symbols of the glamorous life most people leave behind to become parents. It’s weirdly satisfying that a lot of the obstacles “Bryan” blows away are Parisians (Harrison Ford, who seems to like these roles too, tried less successfully to tap into this in Frantic), and when he delivers lines like “It was all personal to me!” before emptying five more rounds into Gerard Watkins’ already wounded “St. Clair” character, you find yourself thinking the latter earned at least one of those bullets just for wearing a tuxedo.

This is one of the oldest conventions in Hollywood, and not just confined to Dads. Ever see Aliens? The new Halloween? Will I admit in this column to having watched Jennifer Garner’s Peppermint? I will, goddamnit (it’s from the director of Taken, by the way)! And what about Kidnap, whose poster tagline below the eyes of perfect killing machine Halle Berry: “They messed with the wrong mother”? Did The Atlantic forget that Jodie Foster had the exact same second career as Neeson? You don’t even have to be high to get movies like Flight Plan and Non-Stop mixed up (Neeson is called “Bill Marks” in the latter, I think because “Bryan Mills” was taken). These films are all marketed to the same massive demographic that gladly spends twelve bucks for a couple of hours of air conditioned fantasy that instead of exhausted Moms and Dads who spend their days wiping bums and checking for ticks, they’re secret badasses who can take out an army of Yakuza with one hand and land a disabled 767 with the other.

I don’t know what the The Atlantic is talking about when it says it’s hard to look back at Taken without some “disgust at the glorification Neeson’s bloodshed.” It seems just as gory as any Hollywood movie today and campier than most, so if anything I find it funnier now than when it came out. But to theorize a disgust at an always totally unbelievable cartoon father like “Bryan Mills” that comes from him “beginning to fall out of step” with our “shifting understandings of masculinity” is totally bonkers. It’s not a movie for men dreaming of a return to spankings and spying on little Jenny’s dates. It’s not even about “discipline”! It’s just an escapist fantasy for everyone who’s ever felt the helplessness of getting too old to protect them from everything. This is bad? As my novelist friend Walter Kirn put it:

“Exploited children will be able to read when they grow up, should they be so lucky as to grow up, and will understand that not protecting them, fiercely, was promoted in magazines of taste as a sophisticated ‘modern’ position. That’s why this piece should be archived. For them.”

* * *

Mary Anne Hawkins surfing the flooded streets of Long Beach, California, ca. 1938 (photo by Doc Ball).

20 Comments

  1. Lindy Peters August 8, 2022

    Tommy Wayne Kramer should have listened to Horace Greeley. Just a few miles west of Ukiah in Fort Bragg we have the ideal weather. High of 63 and low of 51. Pretty much year round. The morning/ evening (sometimes all day) coastal fog provides a blanket of moisture that protects against wildfires and concurrently scrubs the air so that when it does clear up you have clean fresh air to oxygenate your lungs and a spectacular visual feast for your eyes. North Carolina? Come on, man!

    • George Hollister August 8, 2022

      There are those of us who are fog intolerant. We need the cool, and the sun. For that, Comptche provides a good alternative with ocean cooling and less fog. 80 degrees is a typical summer day high. Fort Bragg has many amenities Comptche does not, so don’t just decided to move here without knowing that, but we have the best weather of anywhere I know of.

    • Jacob August 8, 2022

      Unfortunately, Fort Bragg’s delightful weather also comes with a lot of hot air…

    • Stephen Rosenthal August 8, 2022

      Never mind North Carolina. Coors beer? Say it ain’t so, TWK.

    • George Hollister August 8, 2022

      I must add, “blanket of moisture that protects against wildfires” can not be counted on. In the last few years I have seen periods of low humidity, and wind on the coast during the worst part of fire season. There is also a huge fine fuel load on extensive landscapes that could potentially carry a devastating wildfire. I would never assume the coast is immune to a devastating wildfire.

  2. Bruce McEwen August 8, 2022

    Last time I was in Ft. Bragg I saw a bumper sticker that read, “You don’t choose the coast, the coast chooses you”— what does that mean?

  3. Margot Lane August 8, 2022

    If we’re talking Irish actors I’d vote for Stephen Rea any day over Liam as a dad, on screen or off. Less full of himself, well read, utterly poetic, edgy w/out being overbearingly protective, and much more worth seeking out his fantastic lesser known films. Plus Liam’s recent racist comments and defense of carriage horses being electrocuted in winter leaves me disillusioned. There’s enough machismo in this world right now.

  4. Michael Geniella August 8, 2022

    I’ll let Tommy Wayne Kramer sweat out the summer in North Carolina. I’ll take the dry heat of the Ukiah Valley any day because we are rewarded with some of the best summer evenings anywhere.
    Now, about the Joe Biden that Tommy and others keep portraying as the doddering old man propped up by an army of aides. Really? Talk about stereotypes and disinformation. And from many reliable accounts, way off the mark. Joe’s lifelong speech impediment may contribute to the notion but any reasoned assessment suggests the man is clearly capable, for example, of two-hour conversations with Chinese leaders and translators during these perilous times. Gimme a break.

    • Bruce Anderson August 8, 2022

      He didn’t stutter when he was sliming Anita Hill, and I doubt his handlers left him alone with the Chinese. The guy’s past it.

      • Jim Armstrong August 8, 2022

        Bruce: The way you talk about Joe Biden is very much like Lowell Cohn talked about Barry Bonds.
        Your unrelenting animus may make you and Cohn feel better, but it doesn’t make the rest of the world easier to live in.
        And, I have to say, doesn’t make reading your paper easier either.
        You, Geniella and I observe the same Biden.
        What you see is so different from mine, much it is scary.

  5. George Dorner August 8, 2022

    In the midst of the clump of hundred degree temperatures reported by the AVA, there is an unreported location where daytime temps are in their 80s, night-times in the 60s, and humidity is low. It is, of course, Ye Olde Editor’s bete noire, Willits.

  6. Marmon August 8, 2022

    The Biden Administration has just made the 2nd Civil War official.

    Marmon

    • Mike J August 8, 2022

      Can you do Live Facebook videos as your comrades (not you, who is law-abiding no doubts) raid military armories for the good stuff? (Maybe get a press badge in advance so you’re not confused with those raiding).
      Now we get to see how much action is actually born out of all the wild talk. Maybe not much effective organized stuff….could be just lonely disturbed people mass shooting somewhere, stuff like that.

  7. Mike J August 8, 2022

    There’s a massive FBI raid of the Trump residence underway right now. They’re still there. Trump is displeased.

    • Marmon August 8, 2022

      You should be terrified by this.

      Marmon

      • Mike J August 8, 2022

        Not.

        • Chuck Dunbar August 8, 2022

          Equal justice for all– ex-presidents are not exempt from law enforcement actions and processes. He won’t have trouble finding legal representation. This was clearly an action preceded by a judge signing-off on a warrant justifying the search.

      • Chuck Dunbar August 8, 2022

        More to be revealed for sure, Not terrifying, no, more like some faint hope that a legal comeuppance for the man may be in the works. We live in a nation of laws, and Trump has always been on the edge–or over the edge–of bending and/or breaking them.

    • pca67 August 8, 2022

      What took so long?

  8. Steve Heilig August 8, 2022

    The FBI is still headed by a Trump appointee.
    (Nice touch that today is the anniversary of Nixon resigning too).

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