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MAINLY CLEAR SKIES and mild temperatures will return to northwest California late this week and persist into next week. In addition, near-zero rainfall chances are expected across the region during the next seven days. (NWS)
FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE HINTS AT USING POLITICAL INFLUENCE TO GET COP FIRED, THEN URINATES IN PUBLIC
25-year-old Alberto Aldaco is a candidate for Fort Bragg City Council. On the evening of September 23, 2022 on the corner of Oak and Franklin Street in the same city, Aldaco stood beside a man known to Fort Bragg Police to be on probation while Officer Jarod Frank conducted a probation search of the subject.
Body camera footage of the interaction showed an amicable conversation between the beat cop and the probationer who had allegedly had a few beers that evening, reportedly breaking the terms of his probation. By the end of the interaction, Officer Frank would essentially give the man a pass.
However, Aldaco’s actions that night would prove problematic. Aldaco told Officer Frank that it would be “beneficial to all of us” to move on – pointing out (erroneously) that the City Council influences hiring and firing within the Fort Bragg Police Department.
Later on in the video, the officer’s body camera captured Aldaco urinating on the asphalt of a public street. He later told the police officer that the officer could not prove that he had, in fact, urinated.
We sought comment from Aldaco regarding his actions that night and he told us he would be dropping out of the city council race. “I’m young and I make small mistakes from time to time.” He added, “I believe it is my duty to my community to be the best person I can be to run for city council, and I currently believe I am not that person.”
Fort Bragg City Clerk June Lemos confirmed that Aldcao had requested to drop out of the race for city council, but told us that his name would still be on the ballot come November 8, 2022, because the window to withdraw from the race has passed.…
THE UNITY CLUB’S POPULAR HOLIDAY BAZAAR IS BACK!
Calling all crafters and holiday elves! The Anderson Valley Unity Club is now accepting vendors to sell their wares at the Holiday Bazaar on December 3rd, 2022 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville.
Rent a booth for only $35 to sell your crafty creations and unique gifts to eager shoppers who are looking to buy local goods.
Space is limited, so reserve your space soon. First come, first served.
Reserve with Alice Bonner at 707 895-2545 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HEALTH CARE DISTRICT SPECIAL MEETING
Special Meeting of the Mendocino Coast Health Care District at 6 PM Sept. 29. The Closed Meeting Agenda is available at: MCHCD.ORG.
The Zoom address is: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83637021640?pwd=NlhNRnNZZGFDSUhVWU8ybndINjhOdz09
Public Expression will be heard before the Closed Session.
— Norman de Vall
HITCHCOCK'S ‘THE BIRDS’ AT COAST CINEMAS: One week from today - Hitchcock's THE BIRDS will be a Coast Cinemas in Fort Bragg as part of MFF's Classic Film Series on Oct. 5 at 7pm. Tickets are $15 Cash at the door. This film is generously sponsored by The Study Club and Splendiferous. Our media sponsors are KZYX and KOZT. (Angela Matano, Executive Director, Mendocino Film Festival, Office: 707.937.0171)
DEADLINE FOR MENDOCINO COUNTY WILDFIRE IMPACTS SURVEY THIS FRIDAY
Mendocino County officials are seeking input from local residents who “sustained direct impacts” from recent wildfire disasters, and report that the deadline to complete the Wildfire Recovery and Resiliency Survey is rapidly approaching.
According to a press release this week, “the Prevention, Recovery, Resiliency, and Mitigation Division requests that residents of Mendocino County complete a disaster recovery and resiliency survey. The survey is open to all residents, past or present, not just those who sustained direct impacts caused by the 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021 wildfire disasters.”
The county is “actively seeking the input of the whole community to identify, track, and address remaining unmet needs, plan for future recovery, resiliency, and mitigation projects, and to update the County Recovery Plan.”
County officials note that “responses to the survey are completely anonymous, and will inform the type and scope of projects that the recovery team pursues for the next three to five years.”
To complete the survey, visit: surveymonkey.com/r/MendoDisasterRecovery
The survey will close at midnight on Sept. 30.
For more information, call 707-234-6303, email: email@example.com, or visit: mendocinocounty.org/community/fire-recovery
A RAFT OF SEA LIONS on the Mendocino Coast
CONCERNING SOCIAL MEDIA THREATS
Parents and Guardians:
Late today, we became aware of a second concerning social media post connected to today’s earlier post regarding Pomolita Middle School. Ukiah Police Department School Resource Officer Brett Chapman and Ukiah Police Department Detectives immediately investigated these social media posts. They determined that the posts came from the same source and that there is no credible threat. Out of an abundance of caution, there will be an increased presence of law enforcement and district staff on the Pomolita campus tomorrow. Thank you to the Ukiah Police Department for their swift action and dedication to ensuring the safety of our students.
The safety of students and staff is our priority. Thank you to the students and parents who reported this to us. We ask for your help in providing a safe and secure learning environment for our school community. Please take this opportunity to speak with your child about school safety. Encourage them to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior or information they may have that jeopardizes their safety and that of others. If you see or know something, say something.
Our goal is proactive and transparent communication. Contact us at 707-472-5005 if you have any questions or concerns.
Superintendent, Ukiah Unified School District
ANOTHER NORTH COUNTY DUI DRIVER CONVICTED
A Mendocino County jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday morning to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty as charged.
Defendant Tiffany Nichole Lucero, age 38, of Laytonville, was found guilty of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor, and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater, also a misdemeanor.
The jury found true a special allegation alleging that the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or greater.
An additional pinpoint finding was entered by the jury that the defendant’s blood alcohol was .20 or greater at the time she was driving.
The evidence presented at trial through a criminalist from the Department of Justice was that the defendant’s blood alcohol was either .26 or .25 at the time she was driving, over three times California’s admin per se limit of .08.
The jury’s finding that the defendant had a blood alcohol .20 or greater at the time she was driving requires the defendant to participate in a nine-month alcohol and driving education program versus the normal three-month program.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence leading to Wednesday’s guilty verdicts were the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Justice forensic laboratory in Eureka.
The prosecutor who presented the People’s evidence to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Jamie Pearl.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Victoria Shanahan presided over the three-day trial.
WHAT AN AMAZING TIME at Camp Deep End last weekend! 4 sets with 3 bands, great music, beautiful people, and RAIN!!!! Thank you all for a fabulous time, most especially to Dan Braun for making it all happen in the best possible way.
I so love this family! I'm heading back up to Mendocino County for another fun time with The Real Sarahs and Alex de Grassi at Music In The Redwoods. If you're near Ft. Bragg, come take ride on the Skunk Train with us!
Details here: https://www.skunktrain.com/music-in-the-redwoods/
GRADE A BIOS
To the Editors,
I am writing in response to the series of fine articles by Brad Wiley regarding early Valley residents and biographies of current ones. This on-going series is consistently informative and entertaining and I look forward to reading more from this author. It is with great appreciation that I write this letter of applause and approval. And, I might add, that the AVA is one of America's last great newspapers.
BOONVILLE QUIZ: Yes, September sees its 5th Thursday this week so, as The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz is on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays, there will not be a Quiz on the 29th and we hope to see you next week on October 6th. We will pose the first question at 7pm and dinner and drinks are available throughout the ensuing two hours of brain exercises.
Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster
NORTH BAY & NORTH COAST RESIDENTS, ARE YOU READY FOR NEW 369 AREA CODE?
by Phil Barber
The 707 area code has helped identify a vast coastal region stretching from Vallejo to the Oregon border since 1959, but beginning as soon as Feb. 1, new phone lines will carry three different digits.
The California Public Utilities Commission has approved an “overlay” of the area with a new area code: 369. The two dialing codes will coexist over a swath of land that claims 1.3 million people, 34 incorporated cities and all or parts of 11 counties.
The dual numbers are bound to cause confusion, with phone lines on the same city block, or even within the same household, assigned different area codes. But something had to be done to create space for the proliferation of new lines in the age of cellphones, the state utilities commission said.
No one will be reassigned from 707 to 369. The new area code will apply only to new phone lines. And calling areas and rates will not change — anything considered a local call now will remain free after the overlay.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator, an obscure office that manages and assigns all United States and Canada area codes, noted in June of 2021 that the 707 region was running out of available prefixes, the term for the second three digits of a 10-digit phone number. At that time, there were only 28 prefixes with room for new lines — about 3.5% of the total capacity.
The administrator projected then that 707 would run out of available prefixes in the fourth quarter of 2023. It subsequently revised that projected “exhaust date” to the first quarter of 2023, lending some urgency to the bureaucratic proceedings.
As a result, the CPUC approved a condensed, six-month plan for service providers to announce and explain the overlay, a campaign that will include news releases and customer notices, but no mandated paid advertising. The commission wants a public awareness level of at least 70%, with special outreach to senior citizens, children, the disabled and ethnic minorities.
The alternative to an overlay would have been splitting the 707 territory in half. That may have been a more elegant approach. But it would have created hassles for residents, with existing phone customers having to change their numbers — along with any business cards, stationery or websites that reflected those numbers.
“The overlay will provide additional numbering resources to meet the demand for telephone numbers while minimizing customer inconvenience,” the CPUC wrote in approving the plan administrator’s application on June 23.
All of the major telecommunications companies supported that plan, and no protests were filed to the application.
Overlays have become the industry’s preferred method of “area code relief,” according to the CPUC. In fact, there has not been an area code split in the U.S. for 14 years. California has previously introduced 12 new area codes using the overlay method.
One requirement of the preferred system is that anyone calling within an overlay must dial the full 1+10 digits to reach their party. But that is irrelevant in the 707 zone. Callers here have been doing that for nearly a year, the result of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline moving from a 10-digit 800 number to the more easily accessible, three-digit 988.
The 707 area code originally sprang to life in 1959, carved out of the 415 — one of California’s three original area codes, along with 916 and 213.
The 369 area code nearly made its appearance a couple decades ago. In December 1999, the CPUC approved a three-way split of 707 that would have created zones for 369 and 627. Just seven months later, the utilities commission reversed course and deferred the implementation. The plan never went anywhere.
Among the more than 100 area codes that were still up for grabs, the North Coast probably could have done worse than 369.
At least it’s a catchy, made up of successive multiples of three. That must be why Shirley Ellis immortalized the number in “The Clapping Song” in 1965, singing, “Three-six-nine, the goose drank wine, the monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line.” No one knew what it meant, or why things went so wrong for the monkey, but everybody danced to its infectious beats.
Maybe listed LLCs like Divine Vibes 369 (Sebastopol) and 369 Consulting (Santa Rosa) knew something the rest of us didn’t.
Any questions and comments regarding the 707 and 369 area codes should be addressed to the CPUC Public Advisor’s Office. Call 866-849-8390, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MR. AND MRS. ERIC TRUMP were in the news Wednesday for their child-rearing practices. Like their patriarch, they live in Florida where, as we know, a hurricane is raging. The Trumps posted a video of their son, Luke, age 5, shielding his eyes and clinching his knees together as he drives his toy vehicle in the heavy rain as Mrs. Trump comments, “Thought we had a clear window, turns out we did some character building instead.” The boy seems frightened, but at a minimum he's unhappy and not getting his character built.
I HAVE A MEMORY of my father and a friend of his, plus me at about age five, as the two drunks rowed a very small boat across Tomales Bay. Since I still remember it, I guess I was traumatized. The Trumps seem to think their kid crying in the rain is so amusing they posted it for the world to see.
THE ONLY OTHER memory I have from early, very early, youth is the old Seals Stadium where Luke Easter, then with the Triple A San Diego Padres, later with the Cleveland Indians, pumped one ball after another during batting practice clear out of the ballpark and across 16th Street. It was the most marvelous sports thing I'd seen to date. Old timers of that era said Easter was the only ballplayer alive who could hit the ball harder and farther than Babe Ruth. Years later, I felt like weeping when my friend, Tommy Wayne Kramer, who'd worked as a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, told me that Easter, a union shop steward, was shot and killed at age 63 in 1979 during a payroll robbery when he refused to hand over the money.
READING THE EMINENTLY READABLE, ‘Medium Raw’ by the late Anthony Bourdain, and what a big loss that guy is. The book's subtitle is “A bloody valentine to the world of food and people who cook.” It's the first book I've read about a totally foreign world to me, but he's such a good writer that he makes food and cooking interesting even to a person like me who has zero interest in the subject.
ALONG THE WAY, Bourdain does a long riff on how he'd like to see the schools make the basics of food prep mandatory for all students. “Everyone should know how to cook the basics.” I agree, says the guy who isn't even allowed in his kitchen to prepare anything more complicated than toast — and, as Bourdain points out, learning the basics would enable people to eat better and cheaper, which is more important than ever with half the people in the country either fully diabetic or on their way there, not to mention the millions of people who are “food insecure.”
BACK IN THE BOONVILLE DAY, Anderson Valley High School was fortunate to offer an effective and popular home ec class taught by a formidably smart, vibrant woman named Gloria Ross. There are Not So Old Timers around who not only remember Gloria's classes but profited from them, and it's somehow reassuring that Gloria's equally capable daughter-in-law, Terri Rhoades, is, today, in charge of the high school cafeteria. It's doubly reassuring, according to Superintendent Simson, that kids still function as “teachers' assistants” who work in the cafeteria alongside Mrs. Rhoades to learn the basics of food prep. “We are also working with Mendo College to get a culinary class going here,” the Superintendent reports.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY having become a sort of gourmet alley, albeit an alley 25 miles long, there are a dozen really, really good restaurants between Boonville and Navarro that do a lot of hiring of young, energetic people who've learned something about the business in the local high school.
AN ON-LINE COMMENT: “One thing about Jimmy G is that he makes the same mistakes game after game, year after year and does not improve. Tiger works on his golf shot. Steph works on his shooting. Jimmy stays the same mediocre quarterback, underthrowing, overthrowing and making bad decisions throughout the game. How many times did Deebo Samuel search up, down, to the right and left looking for the ball? Jimmy seems incapable of putting the ball where the receiver is. I'm amazed he's still playing in the NFL, making a ton of money for this level of mediocrity.”
IT WAS NOAM CHOMSKY who pointed out that if Americans devoted the hours of close scrutiny and analysis to their political situations that they devoted to sports, we might not suffer the dysfunctional governments dragging us all down.
“Sports offer people something to pay attention to that's of no importance, that keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives, that might give them some idea of doing something about. And it's striking to see the intelligence that is used by ordinary people on sports. Listen to radio stations where people call in, often with the most exotic analysis and information!”
— Noam Chomsky, “Manufacturing Consent”
I've been cheating the Fates right from the start.
The night I was born Ma, Pa, and big sister Cal played cutthroat pinochle by lantern light in the log house of my youth. Ma held a winning hand when the labor pains hit, wouldn't lay down her cards 'til she made her bid.
Thus begins the life of the narrator of OUTLAW FORD. A new batch of copies of this unique coming of age novel has arrived at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino after recently selling out.
You'll find this fabulous independent bookstore on the corner of Main and Kasten Streets. If you can't make it in person try calling them at 707-937-2665 or use their easy to navigate ordering system at gallerybookshop.com to purchase your copy of this wondrous, whimsical ride on horseback and Model T through the life of ‘Outlaw Ford.’
I'D GUESS ABOUT 75
Ordinarily, I avoid looking at the variety of column that have become so popular on the internet that they've engendered their own label, Listicles. Book and reading lists are a little harder for me to ignore, unless they're celebrity oriented. I'm not really very interested in what's being read by pop singers, NFL quarterbacks, political candidates, or even other authors.
But AVA readers? That's another story. Very enjoyable column. Thanks.
I'd love to learn that many of the folks who responded with these reading preferences are in their 20's, 30's, or even 40's, but I'm guessing that nearly all of them are probably Medicare enrolled.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 28, 2022
EDWARD BLAKELEY, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation.
DREW ERSLAND, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JOEL HUMECKEY, Fort Bragg. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
RITA LAVENDUSKEY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JASON MUSSO, Lucerne/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JAMES PELLEGRINE, Ukiah. Disturbing the peace, obstructing education, failure to appear, probation revocation.
MICHAEL PONTE, Live Oak/Mendocino. Domestic battery.
SEBASTIAN RABANO, Ukiah. Arson.
ANGELA RIVERA, Ukiah. Suspended license, registration tampering.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Protective order violation, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
DAVID SIMPSON JR., Yuba City/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JEREMIAH SKINNER, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
47 ALAMEDA DEPUTIES stripped of guns after failing psych tests
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in Northern California has stripped 47 deputies — 10% of the force — of their guns and arrest powers because they failed psychological exams, it was reported Monday.…
CAN CALIFORNIA REALLY MAKE POWER GRID 100% GREEN?
by Dan Walters
As California baked under record-high temperatures last Tuesday and the state’s residents turned up their air conditioners to cope, electricity consumption hit an all-time peak.
The record demand of more than 52,000 megawatts was experienced in the 80% of the state’s electric power system managed by the Independent System Operator and was a successful stress test for the grid.
Californians heeded pleas to minimize consumption in the all-important late afternoon and evening hours, thus averting rolling blackouts that grid managers had feared would be needed to avoid systemic collapse. Luck also played a role — no major power plant shutdowns — as did having a healthy amount of reserve generation.
By happenstance, Tuesday’s test of the power grid’s resilience came just a few days after the Legislature passed — at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s behest — legislation to speed up California’s conversion to a carbon-free electrical grid by 2045. So the day’s experience provided a graphic snapshot of what must to happen for that conversion to occur.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1020, requires that California get 90% of its power from renewable sources by 2035 — the same year the state is now scheduled to end sales of gasoline-powered cars — and 95% by 2040 while retaining the 2045 deadline for converting to a carbon-free electrical grid.
Last Tuesday, when power consumption peaked in the late afternoon, renewable sources, principally solar panels, supplied just over a quarter of ISO-managed juice, while plants powered by natural gas were producing nearly half. Later, as the sun began to set, solar arrays generated steadily less power, finally tapering off to zero, while the gas plants’ share of the load increased rapidly.
Climate scientists tell us that that Tuesday’s experience, including elevated demands on the grid, will become more common. Meanwhile, California theoretically will, in just 13 years, more than triple its proportion of renewable power production.
But there’s more. Power demand will not only increase due to climate change, but because California will be shifting everything it can from hydrocarbons to electricity.
Meeting ambitious goals for zero-emission cars — the vast majority of them powered by batteries — will require much more power to recharge them so that Californians can continue to drive almost a billion miles a day.
Simultaneously, the state wants to phase out gas-powered home appliances and other devices, such as lawn mowers, and replace them with electric models.
The sharp decline in solar power in late afternoon and early evening hours also requires banking renewable juice when it’s available so that the grid can continue to meet overnight demand — such as recharging the 30 million or so battery-powered cars we will be compelled to buy.
The state now has a few battery banks to preserve solar power but scaling up will be enormously difficult and expensive and at the moment there are few alternatives.
Finally, the grid itself — the massive complex of high-voltage lines linking generators and importing power from other states — will need upgrading, not only to handle the conversion of power sources, but to meet rising demands and to prevent failures that cause wildfires.
Is California really up the task that the new legislation mandates, a very expensive, relatively rapid conversion and expansion of this immensely complicated and absolutely vital thing we call the grid?
Recent history is not reassuring. This is a state government that took a quarter-century to replace one third of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, has been futzing around with a bullet train project for 14 years with little progress, and has dozens of bollixed information technology projects.
Electric power transformation would be infinitely more difficult than any of those.
I believe that the Great American Hamburger is a thing of beauty, its simple charms noble, pristine. A basic recipe — ground beef, salt and pepper, formed into a patty, grilled or seared on a griddle, then nestled between two halves of a bun, usually but not necessarily accompanied by lettuce, a tomato slice, and some ketchup. It is, to my mind, unimprovable by man or God. A good burger can be made more complicated, even more interesting, by the addition of other ingredients like good cheese, or bacon, relish perhaps. But it will never be made better.
I like a blue cheese burger as much as the next guy — when I'm in the mood for blue cheese. But if it's a burger I want, I stick to the classic: meat and bun.
I believe this to be the best way to eat a hamburger.
The human animal evolved as it did with eyes in the front of its head, long legs, fingernails, eyeteeth — so that it could better chase down slower, stupider creatures, kill them, and eat them; that we are designed to find and eat meat — and only become better as a species when we learned to cook it.
We are not, however, designed to eat shit — or fecal coliform bacteria, as it's slightly more obliquely referred to after an outbreak. Tens of thousands of people are made sick every year by the stuff. Some have died horribly.
Shit happens, right? Literally, it turns out. That's pretty much what I thought anyway, until I read recent news accounts of a particularly destructive outbreak of the OH157:H7. What I came away with was a sense of disbelief, outrage and horror — not so much at the fact that a deadly strain of E. coli found its way into our food supply and made people sick, but at the way other, presumably healthy burgers are made — the ones that didn't make anyone sick.
I was well aware — I mean, I assumed — that your frozen pre-made burger patty — the one intended for institutional or low cost fast food use; your slender and cheap prepackaged supermarket disk — was not of the best quality cut. But when I read in the New York Times that is standard practice when making the "American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties," the food giant Cargill's recipe for hamburger consisted of, among other things, "a mix of slaughterhouse trimrnings and a mash-like product derived from scraps" and that "the ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay," and from a South Dakota company that "processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria" — well, I was surprised.
By the end of the article, I came away with more faith in the people who processed cocaine on jungle tarpaulins — or the anonymous but hard-working folks in their underwear and goggles who cut intercity smack — than I had in the industry. I was no less carnivorous, but my fate had been seriously damaged. A central tenet of my belief system, that meat — even lesser quality meat — was essentially a "good" thing, was shaken.
Call me crazy, call me idealistic, but I believe that when you are making hamburger for human consumption you should at no time deem it necessary or desirable to treat its ingredients with ammonia. Or any cleaning product for that matter.
I don't think that's asking a lot. I don't ask a lot for my fellow burger eaters. Only that whatever it is that you're putting in my hamburger be laid out on a table or cutting board prior to grinding, and that it at least resemble something that your average American might recognize as "meat."
— Anthony Bourdain, "Medium Raw"
AN EXTRACT from a diary kept by Leo Tolstoy has never left my head since I first read it. He was talking about a path between two fields. In one, he could see a man squatting, crouched over. The man was looking down, absorbed, shouting now and then, gesturing strangely. He seemed a madman. Tolstoy walked across the grass toward him, unable to imagine what he could be doing. It was not until he came close that Tolstoy understood. The man was performing an essential, sensible piece of work — he was sharpening a knife on a stone. Tolstoy drew no moral. To me, it is an image that fits so much of what we do in this world. All the feuds, squabbles, bouts of abuse, lengthy dissections of words at the 1903 Congress looked to the outsider, even to some insiders, like the posturings of madmen. It is only close-up that it is possible to appreciate what we were doing there. It was the performance of an essential, sensible piece of work — the sharpening of a Party on its opposition.
— Lenin as channeled by Alan Brien
TOM WAITS: I wanted to be an old man when I was a little kid. Wore my granddaddy’s hat, used his cane, and lowered my voice. I was dying to be old. I paid a lot of attention to old people. The music I listened to as a teenager was old-people music. Yeah, I heard The Beatles, but I didn’t really pay attention. I was suspicious of anyone new and young. I don’t know, probably a respect thing? My father left when I was about eleven — I think I looked up to older musicians like father figures. Louis Armstrong or Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole or Howlin’ Wolf — I never really thought about it that way, but maybe it was that I needed parental guidance or something.
“Most artists you hear are really doing bad imitations of other people,” he says solemnly. “And they’re afraid you’re going to notice it. If Howlin’ Wolf told you he was really trying to sound like Jimmie Rodgers, you’d say ‘nice try, missed it by a mile.’ Well, that mile is his work…. To me, what artists do is take in all this information and send back a picture of something that’s moving. Recordings are like little postings, an ongoing conversation that’s part of living culture. You’re always sending feelers out, to find new protein or carbohydrates, and sometimes what you bring back is a Salvation Army relic. Sometimes the most pleasant thing is to go backwards."
Maher, Paul. Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters
Photo © Gary Green, from the book When Midnight Comes Around
HE WAS AN OLD GENTLEMAN of considerable charm and culture, who had fallen, however, into bad habits of silence, having said everything he had to say before he was thirty.
— Oscar Wilde
THE VAN GELDER SOUND
by August Kleinzhaler
When you’re listening to jazz in, I would argue, its greatest and most significant incarnation, a folk-based, body-based chamber music recorded during the 1950s – Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, et al – it was probably recorded by Rudy Van Gelder on analog equipment in his parents’ living room in Hackensack, New Jersey, a room specifically designed for their son’s sound recording and where he made use of hallways and alcoves to tease out acoustic effects. By day, Van Gelder worked as an optometrist in Teaneck, New Jersey. He died in August of 2016 at the age of 91.
The Van Gelder sound is synonymous with high-end jazz recording. Almost every important jazz album you’ve ever listened to from Prestige, Savoy, Blue Note, Impulse, Verve… was recorded by Van Gelder, or someone trying to imitate him, first in Hackensack, then, after 1959, in nearby Englewood Cliffs, the town just north of Fort Lee, where I was raised. Monk has a tune, a tribute, called ‘Hackensack’. Coltrane has another, called ‘Route 4’, after the highway he would have travelled by car or bus from New York to record in Hackensack. I don’t know how many records were recorded in the Van Gelders’ house between 1954 and 1959, at least a couple of hundred, surely. When I was learning to tie my shoelaces on 6 May 1955, Rudy Van Gelder was recording Herbie Nichols, with Al McKibbon on bass and Art Blakey on drums, playing ‘Cro-Magnon Nights’ a few miles down the road.
While recording at a high level, with only two microphones on a stand, Van Gelder managed to get a clarity from the drums and bass that no one else had. In fact, he caught the sound of an entire rhythm section – bass, piano and drums – in proper perspective, something other engineers hadn’t thought possible. Using real and electronic echo, Van Gelder pulled sound and power from horn players unheard of outside of live performance. When Van Gelder moved to Englewood he built an elaborate studio with churchlike ceilings and cross-beams. By this point, he’d dropped the optometry.
Here’s the not entirely sold engineer Steve Hoffman describing the Van Gelder sound in an interview from some years back:
“Take three or four expensive German mics with a blistering top end boost, put them real close to the instruments, add some extra distortion from a cheap overloading mic, preamp through an Army Surplus radio console, put some crappy plate reverb on it, and record. Then, immediately (and for no good reason), redub the master onto a magnatone tape deck at +6, compress the crap out of it while adding 5 db at 5000 cycles to everything. That’s the Van Gelder sound to me.”
Van Gelder came to digital technology rather late. Always secretive about his techniques, and a perfectionist, he presumably wanted to get the new technology down to his satisfaction before having a serious go at it. In a rare interview he gave to Ben Sidran in 1985, he discussed what was gained and what was lost with digital multitrack recording. What was gained was a consistently clean sound. As for what was lost:
Sidran: “So the event nature of what you were all doing back then had to do with the fact that people were having to make live adjustments in order to get the music down.”
Van Gelder: “Absolutely.”
Sidran: “And these days we’re talking about ways of removing each individual from the live process.”
Van Gelder: “That’s exactly right… If you wanted to think of a way to inhibit creativity in jazz music in a studio, I would come up with a multitrack machine. A 24-track recorder that you could overdub on.”
Sidran: “Once you’re into that, then you’re into the whole concept of earphones, and you’re into the concept of doing it again, and you’re into the concept of doing it later. ‘Fixing it in the mix’.”
Van Gelder: “It’s inseparable. It’s a machine of mass destruction [laughs] – artistically.”
UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER
Pro-Russian authorities have claimed huge majorities in favor of joining Russia in so-called referendums in four occupied regions of Ukraine; the votes have been dismissed as “a sham” by Western nations.
Russia could now move to annex the four areas within days, officials say. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed the Kremlin plans to force the region's residents to fight in the Russian military.
Unexplained leaks have been found in two Russian undersea gas pipelines to Europe.NATO's chief and multiple European leaders have alleged "acts of sabotage," claims the Kremlin has dismissed as "absurd."
The US is urging all US citizens to leave Russia immediately in wake of Putin's mobilization order and says Americans have been arrested in anti-war demos.
THE NEW YORK TIMES, which consistently supports every American war, has published an op-ed by a neoconservative think tanker titled “Biden’s Cautious Foreign Policy Imperils Us“.
This would be Joseph Biden, the president of the United States who has been consistently vowing to go to war with the People’s Republic of China if it attacks Taiwan, and whose administration has been pouring billions of dollars into a world-threatening proxy war in Ukraine which it knowingly provoked and from which it has no exit strategy. With this administration’s acceleration toward global conflict on two different fronts, one could easily argue that Biden actually has the least cautious foreign policy of any president in history.
“In the aftermath of Vladimir Putin’s recent nuclear threat and call-up of reservists, it was reassuring for the leader of the free world to be unflinching,” writes the article’s author Kori Schake, who then adds, “Rhetoric aside, the administration has signaled in numerous other ways that Putin’s threats have constrained support for Ukraine.”
As though the possibility of nuclear war should not constrain US proxy warfare in that country. As though the crazy thing is not the US government’s insane nuclear brinkmanship with Russia, but its reluctance to go further.
Schake criticizes the fact that while Biden has been saying a PRC attack on Taiwan would mean a direct US hot war with China, the US military would need far more funding and far greater expansion to be able to win such a war, so it should definitely do those things instead of simply not rushing into World War Three.
“But worse are the real gaps in capability that call into question whether the United States could indeed defend Taiwan,” Schake writes. “The ships, troop numbers, planes and missile defenses in the Pacific are a poor match for China’s capability. The director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, has assessed that the threat to Taiwan between now and 2030 is ‘acute,’ yet the defense budget is not geared to providing improved capabilities until the mid-2030s. More broadly, the Biden administration isn’t funding an American military that can adequately carry out our defense commitments, a dangerous posture for a great power. The Democratic-led Congress added $29 billion last year and $45 billion this year to the Department of Defense budget request, a measure of just how inadequate the Biden budget is.”
As Shchake discusses the urgent need to explode the US military budget in order to defend Taiwan, The New York Times neglects to inform us that Schake’s employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), has been caught accepting a small fortune from Taiwan’s de facto embassy while churning out materials urging the US government to go to greater lengths to arm Taiwan. In a 2013 article titled “The Secret Foreign Donor Behind the American Enterprise Institute,” The Nation’s Eli Clifton reports that, thanks to a filing error by AEI, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office was found to have been one of the think tank’s top donors in 2009. Had that filing error not been made, we never would have learned this important information about AEI’s glaring conflict of interest in its Taiwan commentary.
AEI is one of the most prominent neoconservative think tanks in the United States, with extensive ties to Bush-era neocons like John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, and the Kristol and Kagan families, and has played a very active role in pushing for more war and militarism in US foreign policy. Dick Cheney sits on its board of trustees, and Mike Pompeo celebrated his one year anniversary as CIA director there.
Schake herself is as intimately interwoven with the military-industrial complex as anyone can possibly be without actually being a literal Raytheon munition. Her resume is a perfect illustration of the life of a revolving door swamp monster, from a stint at the Pentagon, to the university circuit, to the National Security Council, to the US Military Academy, to the State Department, to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign, to the Hoover Institution, to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, to her current gig as director of foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Her entire career is the story of a woman doing everything she can to help get more people killed in military mass slaughter, and being rewarded with wealth and prestige for doing so.
And now here she is being granted space in The New York Times, a news media outlet of unrivaled influence where enemies of US militarism and imperialism are consistently denied a platform, to tell us all that the Biden administration is endangering us not with its insanely reckless hawkishness, but by being too “cautious”.
One of the craziest things happening in the world today is the way westerners are being trained to freak out all the time about Russian propaganda, which barely exists in the west, even as we are hammered every day with extreme aggression by the immensely influential propaganda of the US-centralized empire. You know you are living in a profoundly sick society when the world’s most influential newspaper runs propaganda for World War Three while voices pushing for truth, transparency and peace are marginalized, silenced, shunned, and imprisoned.
— Caitlin Johnstone