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COLD AND DRY AIR has infiltrated most of the region in the wake of the cold front that moved through yesterday. Widespread freezing and frost will be prevalent in Northwest California. Another winter storm will enter the region by Saturday morning and last through Monday. Snow, rain and wind are expected yet again. Afterward, a dry air mass looks to settle over the region by the middle of next week. (NWS)
Nick Wilson writes:
Some of you know that I've been watching the Navarro River and its sandbar for several years, trying to predict flooding.
When I checked it out Tuesday just before sunset, I found the sandbar to be wide and piled up high by recent high surf.
The water level in the estuary is already high and is flooding the brushy mud flats on the south side west of Hwy. 1. Just a little higher and the road to Navarro Beach will be flooded.
The storm coming in this evening and overnight will boost the river flow and raise the level about one foot by Thursday morning.
That might be enough to cause minor flooding of Hwy. 128 for a short stretch just east of the Hwy. 1 bridge, but it does not look like enough to breach the robust sandbar and let the backed up water flow to the sea.
Not saying it's definitely going to flood, but travelers should be aware of the possibility and check road conditions.
We're still a long way from when major flooding might close 128 for a few days. That only happens when there have been days of heavy rain and the ground is fully saturated. The official flood stage (level) is 23 feet.
On the positive side, a CalTrans worker told me last year that the agency put in a 6” asphalt overlay on 128 through the low spot. That will help avoid some of the shallow flooding caused by the sandbar in recent years.
Usually when there is minor flooding of a few inches over the roadway CHP and CalTrans will close 128 during the hours of darkness, but usually keep the road open during daylight, when drivers can see where the road is.
The National Weather Service (NWS) provides a forecast chart of the Navarro River level at a gauge 5 mi. upstream at: water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=eka&gage=nvrc1
The chart is based on the NWS weather forecast and a model of the river's historical response to rainfall events. It is updated daily and may change drastically from one day to the next. Minor flooding of 128 may happen when the level goes above 3 ft. When it goes above 4 ft. then the sandbar is likely to breach and the level will fall quickly.
Best way to check highway conditions is click on https://roads.dot.ca.gov/? and then type in 128 to check.
We've got some real winter weather coming in over the next several days, through Sunday.
Stay warm and dry,
Update: Although we got nearly 2” of rain overnight, measured 3 mi. inland from Little River, the Navarro River level is coming in lower than predicted, and appears to be leveling off with only a few inches of rise from yesterday.
In light of that, I think there will be no chance it will cause flooding of Hwy. 128 for the immediate future. I'll go take a look later this afternoon.
Enjoy the sunshine!
Late 2022: October was dry, November started with some rain but was mostly dry, and now December is off to a wet start. The next three months, December through February, were typically when this area got most of its yearly precipitation.
Monthly figures for the 2022-23 rain season (Oct-Sep) thus far:
Boonville (4.60" total)
Yorkville (5.16" total)
We are looking for a rental, anything from a large studio to a small one or two bedroom. A house in town would be nice, a mother-in-law unit, cottage or mobile home, something like that. We will look at anything from Cleone to Little River, preferring to stay within a mile of the coast. We are a semi-retired couple, responsible, clean, non-smokers, with one senior dog and one middle-aged cat. We have rented our current house for 16 years and our landlady will give us a solid gold reference. We can afford up to $1400/month and would consider a bit of work-trade arrangement. Call/text Lea at 707 813-0216. Thank you so much,
707 964-7525 landline
Lea Smith, email@example.com, 707 813-0216 cell
Bob Felch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 707 409-4496 cell
REDWOOD CLASSIC IS BACK, and the food, Oh My!
Dear AV Unified Community
So wonderful to see the teams back in action. So proud to see the banners our students made for all of the teams playing. So amazing to see the community members that paid for banners around the gym. A huge shout out to all of the students and staff involved and Coach Toohey and his mom, Palma. Burgers are for sale to support Mariah Perez's senior project, ornaments, coasters, and T-Shirts that are super cute are on sale for a class benefit. Come on out and watch a game. No charge. A donation can be made to the food bank, but is not required. Our retirees filled the stands. Great to see JR Collins who related it was his 45th Redwood Classic and Coach Flick too! We want you back in our gym. Our heaters work and it isn't cold in there anymore. Come have some fun and support the kids!
And as far as that food drive, my heart is happy and my tears have come down. Amazing what you and your kids are doing for people who don't have enough.
I think we already have 700 pounds of food. We have two more weeks. What can we do?
A good day,
Louise Simson, Superintendent
Anderson Valley Unified School District
MENDO'S POET OF THE REDWOODS
by Sam Whiting
In the poetry crowd that formed the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s, Mary Norbert Korte stood out in her nun’s habit.
She’d attend the happenings in North Beach and Haight-Ashbury then withdrawing to the convent at St. Rose Academy in the Western Addition where she taught and lived as Sister Mary Norbert.
It was a dual identity she maintained for nearly 20 years until the day in August of 1968 when she took off the habit and was Sister Mary Norbert no more. Trading one monastic lifestyle for another, she permanently settled in a one-room cabin in a defunct logging camp on the banks of the Noyo River in Mendocino County.
Seven miles down a gravel road, she lived mostly alone and off the grid for 50 years, chopping wood, pumping water from a well, and writing poetry in longhand which she transferred to a manual typewriter. She published six collections and had a seventh on the way when she had to be hospitalized with heart and kidney failure on October 16. After three weeks in the hospital, she made it home to her cabin and completed five death bed poems before she finally died with a close friend holding her hand, on Nov. 14. She was 88.
“Her poetry is magical because it is a document of a life lived but at the same time it is a poetry of ancestral forest wisdom,” said Iris Cushing, Korte’s literary executor and co-editor of the upcoming collection “Jumping into the American River: New and Selected Poems.”
“She had access to this human tradition of practicing a mystical life, and even though she started out as an urban poet, the forest became her muse,” Cushing said.
Korte’s first two collections, “Hymn to the Gentle Sun,” and “Beginning of Lines,” were written while she was still a nun. According to Cushing, they had to be screened and approved by Kore’s employers at St. Rose, a prestigious parochial high school for girls founded and sponsored by the Dominican Order in San Rafael. Her second two collections, “The Midnight Bridge” and “Breviary in Time of War,” had no such censorship, because Korte was by then living at Rancho Olompali, the famed Grateful Dead summer home-turned-hippie commune in Novato.
These poems contained heavy anti-Vietnam War war themes that started her on a life of activism. She later became a dedicated champion of old growth redwood forests in the areas around Willits and Fort Bragg. Korte was a compatriot of both Judi Bari, the martyred leader of the radical environmental group Earth First! and Diane di Prima, the last queen of the Beats. Korte came along too late for the literary movement launched at the famed Six Gallery poetry event on Fillmore Street in 1955, but she made up for the lost time and earned inclusion in ”Women of the Beat Generation,” the definitive encyclopedia published in 1996.
“She was as Beat as anybody,” said Jerry Cimino, founder of the Beat Museum in San Francisco. “She changed her whole life because of the Beat poets. She was part of the scene and her activism went right along with what the Beats were doing.”
Korte was unafraid to be arrested. Her first came after an anti-war rally in San Francisco, in the late ‘60s. “Ex-nun dances in jail” was the headline of a newspaper story on it. Her last arrest was at age 79, in 2013, during a sit-in at a Caltrans office to protest a highway bypass around Willits.
Cecile Norbert Korte was born June 7, 1934, in Oakland where she grew up the second-oldest of four children. Her father, Norbert Korte, was a corporate attorney who often represented management in labor disputes. Her mother, also named Cecile, was a housewife and single parent after her husband died young.
Ceci, as she was known, attended St. Augustine Catholic School where she was known as an independent thinker and solitary child who wrote poetry and played piano. From there she asked to be sent to boarding school at Dominican College, which had an Upper School offering a high school diploma on its San Rafael campus. The Upper School fed into Dominican College where she received her bachelor’s degree in Latin and a minor in English, in 1957. She had already taken the holy vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and was given the religious name Sister Mary Norbert.
She might have stuck with her oaths had she not seen an announcement for the Berkeley Poetry Conference, which was sponsored by UC Extension, in 1965. There were lectures and readings by Gary Snyder, Robert Duncan, Lew Welch and Allen Ginsberg, who was elected Secretary of State of Poetry.
In order to attend, in her habit, Korte had to get permission from her Mother Superior of the Dominican Order in San Rafael, who may have later regretted that decision. Three years later, Korte turned in her habit.
“The impetus to leave the convent was to be a free spirit,” said her younger sister, Marla Korte. “When you are under the vow of obedience you are not too free.”
There was plenty of freedom at the Chosen Family Commune, the group that occupied Rancho Olompali after the Grateful Dead vacated. In the 1970s it became a state historic park but by then Korte had moved to Aptos where she found work at UC Santa Cruz. She co-taught a course called “Birth of the Poet” with long-bearded poet William Everson.
While living in Aptos she became involved with a man named Peter Van Fleet, and together they moved to Willits in order to become live-in caretakers at Sanctuary Station, a 25-acre plot in the redwood forest. The station was named for a stop along the line of the historic Skunk Train, which carves a scenic course through the Noyo River Canyon.
In 1990, San Francisco Examiner reporter Burr Snider traveled to Mendocino to search out the reclusive writer Thomas Pynchon, who had been allegedly hiding out there to write his novel “Vineland.” Snider did not find Pynchon but he did find Korte, which was just as good. She described for him the literary inspirations of the region.
“It’s what I call Mendo Dada,” Korte told Snider. “All these artists up here living in the wild in little cabins under the redwoods without electricity scribbling away at their work, writing for the small presses and trying to survive. “This is where people live Bob Dylan’s songs.”
Korte was central to a decades-long drive to protect the headwaters of the Noyo Watershed, which was under threat of a timber harvest by its owner, the Willits Redwood Co.
She and a few other women were eventually able to cut a deal with the company to save 460 acres. But they were only given one year to find a buyer, at full price. They did, Save the Redwoods League, a San Francisco non profit. In 2011, the land was finally purchased and renamed the Noyo River Redwoods and ownership of the old-growth forest was transferred to the Mendocino Land Trust.
“Mary was truly the heart of the project and this is her legacy,” said Catherine Elliott, senior manager of land protection for Save the Redwoods League. A copy of Korte’s 2010 poem, “The Story of the Noyo River Redwoods,” hangs in the League office as inspiration.
“Mary was always standing up for the climate,” said Chris Cichacki, a longtime friend, who lives in a geodesic dome on the same property as Korte. “She was an earth lover. She saw the need to protect these trees because you can’t re-plant a 3,000-year-old redwood.”
Van Fleet, Korte’s companion in the woods, did not last at Sanctuary Station but Korte did. She managed to buy the 25-acre property which includes her cabin plus a larger cabin and the dome where Cichacki lives. In her will she left a portion of the land to Cichacki and the residents of the other cabin, all of whom she called her cosmic family.
Survivors include her brother, George Korte of Orinda and sister Marla Korte of Oakland.
LOCAL NEWSPAPER TO BECOME LOCAL NONPROFIT
After 53 years of McLaughlin family ownership by my parents and myself, the Independent Coast Observer, Inc. is preparing to transfer ownership and operation of the weekly Independent Coast Observer to a newly-formed nonprofit community corporation, Independent Coast Observer Community News, Inc. The 501(c)(3) corporation’s founding board includes Drew Fagan, President; Susan Levenson-Palmer, Vice-President; and Jeanne Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer.
We anticipate completing the transition to new local ownership early in 2023.
We plan to make this transition as seamless as possible. Most of our current staff will continue under the new ownership; I will retire from the publisher post, but will be available on a consultancy basis after the transition to new ownership. Editor Chris McManus will also take on management responsibilities of publisher.
Our community's newspaper will continue to publish, both in print and online at www.mendonoma.com, with the same look and spirit as it has for half a century, chronicling news and life, while driving local commerce on the 50 miles of California coast we call Mendonoma, from Elk to Jenner
J. Stephen McLaughlin Publisher, Independent Coast Observer PO Box 1200 Gualala, CA 95445
707-884-3501 x 13 email@example.com
IN NEED OF RENTAL
We’re a local couple, gainfully employed; small business owners, events coordinator + service staff member at two local businesses, and on the events committee for MendoParks. Great credit, references, and rental history. Three sweet dogs, all under 40lbs, and 9-10 years old; one is blind.
We work opposite schedules so one person is almost always home with pups. No gatherings or social events in the home. Looking for a studio/1 bedroom minimum and a yard/land for pups.
Please respond via email/text. (Phone calls are okay but need to be planned as we don’t have great cell service.)
Liss Shaw <firstname.lastname@example.org>
NOTHING TOO LOW FOR OGAWA
On Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 10:15 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol in the 100 block of Kawi Place in Willits.
The Deputies observed Carlos Ogawa, 35, of Willits, exit a vehicle with another passenger. The Deputies were familiar with Ogawa and knew he was out of custody on bond. As a term of his release, Ogawa was court ordered to submit to search by law enforcement.
The Deputies contacted Ogawa and searched his person, finding no contraband. The Deputies searched Ogawa's vehicle and located a checkbook belonging to an adult female from Ukiah.
The Deputies observed some of the checks appeared to have been altered with Ogawa's name inscribed in the “Pay to” line. The Deputies continued their search and located other items they suspected to be stolen from other parts of Mendocino County.
Deputies in the Ukiah area contacted the adult female owner of the checkbooks, who confirmed the checks were stolen and Ogawa had no legal right to possess them.
The Deputies interviewed Ogawa and continued their investigation. As a result of their investigation, the Deputies developed probable cause to believe Ogawa was in violation of the following: Felony Forgery, Felony Possession Blank Check, Misdemeanor Possession Stolen Property and Felony Commit Offense While on Bond.
Ogawa was arrested on the listed charges and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
WATERSHED REMEDIATION AND ENHANCEMENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITY
CDFW is seeking high quality grant proposals that support the enhancement of watersheds and communities in areas impacted by cannabis cultivation. Grants are provided through the Environmental Restoration and Protection Account pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code section 34019(f)(2)(A). This Solicitation focuses on planning, cleanup and remediation, or implementation projects across multiple project types outlined herein.
Proposals to remediate and/or enhance watersheds and communities may include the following: road decommissioning, road crossing upgrades, erosion and sediment delivery prevention actions, culvert upgrades, water conservation, cleanup and remediation of impacts due to illicit cannabis operations on private and qualified public lands, and/or enhancing biodiversity and wildlife habitat within watersheds, among other projects in similar nature.
Cleanup and Remediation on Qualified Public Land should focus on the severe impacts of illicit cannabis operations and reduce delivery of contaminants and waste to the environment by removing refuse and infrastructure associated with illegal cannabis cultivation. Projects can include the removal of stream crossings or water diversion infrastructure associated with illegal cannabis cultivation.
Activities that may be eligible through this Solicitation under Cleanup and Remediation on Private Land will reduce delivery of environmental contaminants and waste into the watershed by removing refuse and infrastructure associated with illegal cannabis cultivation on private land. Projects can include the removal of stream crossings or water diversion infrastructure associated with illegal cannabis cultivation.
Activities that may be eligible through this Solicitation under Road Treatments include, but are not limited to: road upgrading, road decommissioning, culvert and road crossing upgrades, and other sediment prevention delivery actions. Road Treatment projects must be necessary due to cannabis cultivation activities within a watershed.
Activities that may be eligible through this Solicitation under Wildlife and Habitat Enhancements include but are not limited to: preventing accidental injury/death; habitat improvements for birds, bats, and pollinators; poisoning prevention with rodenticides, limiting human disturbance to wildlife, minimizing the spread of invasive species, enhancing native habitat, habitat connectivity, and fire resilience.
Activities that may be eligible through this Solicitation under Water Conservation include but are not limited to: off-channel water storage, groundwater storage and conjunctive use, irrigation efficiencies, and stream gauges to ensure sufficient flow and water quality prior to water being available for irrigation.
The following organizations are eligible to receive grant funding (FGC, section 1501.5(b)):
Public agencies within California;
Nonprofit organizations qualified to do business in California, qualified under Section 501(c) of Title 26 of the United States Code;
California Native American Tribes, as defined in Public Resources Code Section 21073.
Funds under this Solicitation will be available for projects statewide. However, proposed projects that directly benefit California’s Threatened and Endangered Species, as defined by the California Endangered Species Act, will receive higher scores under the “Solicitation Priorities” scoring criteria during the Full Application Proposal phase.
Watershed Remediation and Enhancement Funding Opportunity - California Grants Portal
Erick Burres, Clean Water Team Coordinator, email@example.com, 213 712 6862
A LOOK BACK, AN ON-LINE COMMENT: In 1983 I was out of Willits, just over the hill into the very upper watershed of Big River. We hiked in 5 miles through logging land to our guerrilla patch on that hill. Didn’t own land and there was really no way forward for a poor man to own land…so we squatted on land that had been raped and scraped to feed the ever-thirsty investors who lived in the cities. There was a war over whose drugs would be allowed but also there was a war at that time over our very survival on the planet. We lost. These are the mopping up times now, waiting to see what comes to decimate our massive, consumptive overpopulation - famine, war, disease? 1983 many of us still had hope for the future but we knew we were up against large forces of evil and destruction. Where were you?
1983 was the early stages of CAMP and also the nationwide War On Drugs. A war that would join Reagan, Bush and Biden (yes- he was actually harsher than the others) together in making America the most incarcerated nation in the world. Fighting the drugs that their own CIA was bringing in and distributing. (refer to Contra funding and Freeway Ricky, Arkansas air fields, etc). By mid-80’s the FBI had a program called Operation Dead End that focused on my friends in the Grateful Dead scene and was arresting people, refusing them bail and handing them mandatory 20 year sentences for “conspiracy to distribute”. That could mean making a phone call, being in the room, hell- they did not care. Many urban folks had the same thing happen in crack neighborhoods. WAR ON DRUGS. I was a part of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) as we sought for relief against these Stalinist-type tactics. Where were you? In your Mommy’s basement?
The CAMP tactics of warrantlessly kicking down doors and holding children at gunpoint was real. Our local hero attorney Ed Denson formed Citizens Observation Groups (COG) and trained many of us to observe, record and report. I followed raids in the Laytonville area and recorded what I could. Boy- they didn’t like me! But I did not like letting them get away with what they did. Oh yeah- where were you? Were you even here?! I could write a book about the War On Drugs. We who were here understood what it really was- a War on Certain Drugs. Weed and psychedelics. Cocaine/Crack and Heroin were government-approved. Just like the pharmaceutical mood-changers and anti-depressants that were being forced down the throats of troublesome children across America…yeah-that was just getting started too. Why was Dan Quayle ever installed as Vice-President? His father was the head of Lilly Pharmaceutical out of Indianapolis. Nancy (Just Say No) Reagan’s maiden name was Davis. Nancy Davis. Yes of Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals. Coincidences? No. It was a War On Our Drugs….it was a War On Us, the marginalized….for Money…And it is still going on.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, December 1, 2022
ERICA CAMPBELL, Merced/Ukiah. DUI.
DANNY DOMINGUEZ-BARRERA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
IRIS HALE, Willits. Petty theft, suspended/revoked license.
BEAU HARRIS, Fort Bragg. Suspended license, failure to appear.
KEVIN KINCAID, Laytonville. County parole violation.
JULIE LORMER, Ukiah. DUI with priors, suspended license.
JOHNY NUNEZ-GARCIA, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
CARLOS OGAWA, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, reckless driving, addict driving a vehicle, obtaining someone else’s ID without authorization, contempt of court, resisting.
MATHEW RILEY, Ukiah. Contributing to delinquency of minor by encouraging disobeying of parents or truancy.
JOSHUA SMITH, Laytonville. Shooting at inhabited dwelling or vehicle.
MRS. FIELDS: At the age of 15 Debra Jane Sivyer became one of the team's first ballgirls. While working for the Athletics she saved some money and eventually founded Mrs. Fields Cookies!
WHO'S THE FOOL?
Crucial Message fr. Craig Louis Stehr in Ukiah, California
Am now chanting Om Namah Shivaya continuously, as an alternative to “random discursive thinking”. The stupidity of the cannabis trimmers putting me out of my place in Redwood Valley twice, because they did not want anything incredible to develop there, has now been realized as a blessing in disguise. Totally free, sleeping at the Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah paying zero dollars, health at 73 is good, Self realized, which means that I know what I am, $759.88 in Social Security benefits due in the next couple of days, and the Goddess loves me! You tell me, (and don’t bother sugaring it): who is the fool?
Craig Louis Stehr
MEET THE AUTHOR of ‘Rounding Up a Bison’!
“…Byron Spooner spins stories from the busted front porch of a faded American Dream.” – Robert Mailer Anderson
Byron, along with a variety of North Beach artists, will be selling and signing Rounding Up A Bison in Kerouac Alley, San Francisco, December 12, 11 AM – 4 PM
My story, 'Elvis Walks the Earth,' has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Read it here, at the Lakeshore Review web site: https://www.lakeshoreliterary.com/elvis-walks-the-earth/
BURNING MAN, AN EXCHANGE (Coast Chatline)
Alan Haack: Fakes and poseurs, sleep-walkers and losers. The worst, the lowest, building nothing to burn it down. Gross polluters. Stay home and do something useful.
Marco McClean: Alan, are the Burning Man artists and revelers, per person, really using and wasting more fuel and electricity and water and food and breathing more air in their lives than you are in yours, staying home, sitting at your computer, angrily scolding everyone you see doing their projects and enjoying themselves the way they want to and not the way /you/ want them to? Unless you have a project besides being impotently bossy, I mean, that nobody knows about.
CALIFORNIA HAS BRILLIANT FALL COLORS, TOO. If you know where to look…
by Soumya Karlamangia
Driving from Los Angeles to the Central Coast over the weekend, I spotted the most Californian of autumnal scenes: vineyards showing off their fall colors.
On either side of Highway 101 as it wound through the Santa Maria Valley, a prized Central Coast wine region, rows and rows of grape vines sported crimson and yellow leaves. The brilliant colors against the golden rolling hills were a mesmerizing sight.
And it wasn’t an aberration. Though it doesn’t have the reputation of New England, California has plenty of fall colors every year — if you know where to look. Kyle Cotner, who compiles The Foliage Report, which tracks fall colors nationwide, called California “a sneaky great fall foliage state.”
The state’s bad rap when it comes to its autumnal show is probably because 80 percent of Californians live along the coast, where there’s little fall color, so we don’t see much of it, said John Poimiroo, a travel writer who runs the blog California Fall Color.“We’re our own worst publicity agents,” he told me.
But all kinds of trees across the Golden State turn scarlet, orange and bronze each fall, particularly in the eastern parts. The fall foliage season here typically begins in September in the Eastern Sierra, in Mono and Inyo Counties, and then spreads to lower elevations as fall continues, Poimiroo said.
Because California is so large, with such varied topography and so many types of trees, the state has the longest fall color season in the country, running through at least December, Poimiroo said. “In California, if you miss peak at one elevation, just go to a lower elevation elsewhere and see it there,” he wrote on his blog.
Today we’re sharing some photos you sent in of this year’s fall show. And if you still want to go leaf-peeping in California, Poimiroo maintains a crowdsourced map of spots where fall colors are still on display. Enjoy.
PHOTO CAPTION (Aug 4, 1960): Chicago: Cincinnati's Billy Martin (12) walked out to the pitcher's mound to greet Cub's pitcher Jim Brewer with a right to the eye in game here. Martin claimed that one of Brewer's pitches came a little too close to him in second inning of Cubs, Cincinnati game. Jim Brewer was taken to hospital, where he will be treated for a broken orbit bone in his right eye.
On November 29, 1966 — A circuit court jury in Chicago, IL awards Jim Brewer $25,000 in damages stemming from his 1960 on-field fight with Billy Martin. The case went to a jury trial, which did not buy Martin’s argument that when a pitcher walks off the mound toward a batter it means that he wants to fight. Brewer was awarded $25,000 but the amount was later cut in half. Martin got the money from an acquaintance in Minneapolis and spent several years paying it off.
GAYLORD PERRY, MLB’S SPITBALL ARTIST AND HALL OF FAME PITCHER, DEAD AT 84
by John Shea
Gaylord Perry, a Hall of Fame pitcher who played his first 10 seasons for the San Francisco Giants and was known for throwing a spitball — at least that’s what hitters thought he was throwing — died Thursday at his home in Gaffney, S.C. He was 84.
Perry, one of five Giants legends with statues outside of Oracle Park,won 314 games, completed 303 and was the first pitcher to win Cy Young Awards in both the American and National leagues.
Unfortunately for the Giants, he won both awards after the team dealt him to Cleveland in November 1971 in one of the worst trades in franchise history. The Giants acquired lefty Sam McDowell, who won 11 games for the Giants and quickly fizzled out. Perry played another 12 years and won another 180 games and Cy Young awards in Cleveland and San Diego.
As a sidekick to fellow Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, Perry was a key component for the Giants, who won the most games in the National League in the 1960s. The lone postseason appearance in Perry’s career came in 1971 when he won the Giants’ only game in an NLCS loss to the Pirates.
“We were living the life of dreams,” Perry said in a 2016 Chronicle interview when asked about playing with other Giants honored with statues including Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda.
Reached in the Dominican Republic, Marichal said, “I feel very sad. My good friend, my brother passed away. Gaylord was like a big brother to me. We played so many years together. We had a wonderful friendship. I’m very sad to hear this morning that he passed away. A great pitcher and wonderful human being.”
Mays said of Perry, “He was a good man, a good ballplayer, my good friend. So long old pal.”
Cepeda called Perry a “wonderful teammate with a great sense of humor.”
In Perry’s 1974 autobiography, “Me and the Spitter: an Autobiographical Confession,” published midway into his career, he chronicled the genesis of the illegal pitch, which made the ball unnaturally sink because of the application of saliva, Vaseline and other foreign substances.
“I reckon,” Perry wrote in the book, “I tried everything on that old apple but salt and pepper and chocolate sauce topping.”
Perry learned to throw the spitter, which was outlawed in 1920, from teammate Bob Shaw, a pitcher acquired by the Giants in December 1963 in the trade that sent Felipe Alou to the Braves. The first time Perry used the pitch was in the nightcap of a May 31, 1964, doubleheader in New York that lasted 23 innings — Perry threw the final 10 and got the win.
Perry never got punished for throwing the spitter until his penultimate season when he was ejected by umpire Dave Phillips and suspended 10 days and fined $250.
The more hitters thought Perry was loading up, the more he played into their hands by touching parts of his body and uniform — his hair, forehead, arms, neck, cheek, ear, bill of his cap — before every pitch.
“They thought I threw it, and that was a great weapon of mine. They thought I did it all the time,” Perry said in The Chronicle interview. “Doug Harvey was the best umpire in baseball when I played. He told me when he got in the Hall of Fame, ‘I wanted to get you, I tried to find something on you, but I couldn’t find something that’s not there.’”
Perry threw an assortment of pitches with an assortment of deliveries and jokingly called the spitball “my best pitch … when they thought I was throwing it.”
Knowing the spitter always was in hitters’ minds, Cepeda said Perry “threw excellent pitches and provided the batter with another thing to think about as the pitch swept toward the plate.”
Pitching for eight teams in 22 seasons, Perry struck out 3,534 batters, ranking eighth all time, and was a five-time All-Star and five-time 20-game winner. He threw a no-hitter against St. Louis in 1968, a day before Cardinals pitcher Ray Washburn no-hit the Giants, prompting Perry to say, “Not a lot of time to enjoy mine.”
The Giants retired Perry’s number (36) in 2005. He was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. His statue was erected in 2016.
One of the most iconic Perry stories involves the Apollo 11 lunar landing. As the story goes, manager Alvin Dark had said a man would land on the moon before the weak-hitting Perry hit a big-league home run. Perry hit his first homer off Dodgers lefty Claude Osteen on July 20, 1969, the same day Neil Armstrong was first to step on the moon.
Perry’s older brother, Jim, also was a major-league pitcher and won a Cy Young Award for the 1970 Twins. They combined for 529 wins, more than any brother tandem except Phil and Joe Niekro, who won 539.
The Perry brothers grew up in a farming family in North Carolina and spent their youth plowing the fields and playing ball. After Gaylord Perry retired as a player, he returned to his hometown of Williamston, N.C., and a 400-acre farm where he grew peanuts, soybeans and corn and raised cattle, but his farm failed in 1986.
Perry subsequently was contracted to start a baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney. His wife, Blanche, died in a car accident in 1987; together they raised three daughters and a son. He subsequently married Carol Caggiano, a Limestone board member, and later divorced.
Perry is survived by his third wife, Deborah, and daughters Allison, Beth and Amy and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. His son, Jack, died of leukemia in 2005 at 37.
CLARKSON DIDDLY SQUAT FARM
Letter to Editor/Senator
Dear Senator Padilla,
“It must be recognized that the cause of all world unrest, of the World Wars which have wrecked humanity and the widespread misery upon our planet, can largely be attributed to a selfish group with materialistic purposes who have for centuries exploited the masses and used the labor of mankind for their selfish ends. From the feudal barons of Europe and Great Britain in the Middle Ages through the powerful business groups of the Victorian era to the handful of capitalists—national and international—who today control the world's resources, the capitalistic system has emerged and has wrecked the world. This group of capitalists has cornered and exploited the world's resources and the staples required for civilized living; they have been able to do this because they have owned and controlled the world's wealth through their interlocking directorates and have retained it in their own hands. They have made possible the vast differences existing between the very rich and the very poor; they love money and the power which money gives; they have stood behind governments and politicians; they have controlled the electorate; they have made possible the narrow nationalistic aims of selfish politics; they have financed the world businesses and controlled oil, coal, power, light, media and transportation; they control publicly or sub rosa the world's banking accounts.
The responsibility for the widespread misery to be found today in every country in the world lies predominantly at the door of certain major interrelated groups of businessmen, bankers, executives of international cartels, monopolies, trusts and organizations and directors of huge corporations who work for corporate or personal gain.” — The Tibetan Master D.K., via Alice Bailey.
This was written at the end of WWII, and holds true, and worse, today!!
What are you doing to ameliorate this?
Better and enforce anti-trust laws? Ranked choice voting? Stop giving the military so bloody much money?
Excellent “socialized” “MediCal” medical help for everyone?
Election day a holiday, and every citizen MUST vote, with no one allowed to intimidate voters? and/or everyone mails in their ballots?
Govt paid for election information about every candidate, so each has an equal chance to tell the people what they are about? ie free TV and radio spots and debates? Get the money OUT of the election process? Honest reporting on news media? (W/ anti-trust laws enforced, this would be easy. With about 6 corporations owning about 90% of businesses, we, the People, are SCREWED!!) Nationalize- AGAIN- utilities- energy, water; hospitals, prisons, USPS, schools etc.? (Those are NOT things that anyone should be making a profit on!!) Raise taxes on the super wealthy? Stop their tax loopholes? Stop government subsidies of Oil/gas companies?
There are so many things that could and should be done to have a truly viable society where no one is left out, and the environment is taken care of! We hope you are doing all you can! We are pretty depressed about it all, not to mention disgusted.
Since the election of Joe Biden, we live in an age of lying. The president and sycophants like Alejandro Mayorkas routinely lie. When caught they double down.
Biden and Mayorkas’ Big Lie is that the border is secure. They’re Democrats — they don’t have to tell the truth. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is encountering up to 8,000 illegal immigrants every day. In fiscal year 2021, monthly border encounters grew from 72,000 to 210,000. The border isn’t secure.
Among Biden’s Big Lies is that he knew nothing about his son Hunter’s business dealings in Russia, China, Ukraine and elsewhere; that Hunter’s laptop was “Russian disinformation.” The New York Times and Washington Post acknowledged the laptop is not Russian disinformation. The Post awarded Biden a “bottomless Pinocchio” for his fabrications.
Biden lies about his law school grades and scholarships, where his son Beau died (not in Iraq), that he used to drive a tractor trailer, that al-Qaida is gone from Afghanistan, that the price of gas was over $5 when he took office, that he was arrested on his way to see Nelson Mandela, etc. Biden ignores inconvenient facts.
DOCK ELLIS ATTEMPTED TO HIT EVERY BATTER in the Cincinnati Reds lineup on May 1, 1974, as he was angry that the Pirates were intimidated by Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and the rest of the Big Red Machine. In the clubhouse before the game Ellis announced, “We gonna get down. We gonna do the do. I'm going to hit these mo__________s.” Ellis took the mound and drilled Rose in the ribs. Morgan was next, he was hit in the side. Dan Driessen batted third, attempt to spin out of the way, he got plunked in the back, bases loaded. Cleanup batter Tony Perez had a pitch thrown behind him, another thrown over his head, and somehow avoided two others to draw a walk. Manager Danny Murtaugh pulled Ellis, but not until after Dock sent the next two pitches directly at the head of Johnny Bench.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Everything today is fake! Fake religion, fake healthcare, fake money, fake and synthetic drugs, fake food, fake education, fake marriages, fake democracies. Hell, right now it seems we even have fake Nazis! Is nothing sacred anymore?
"I DONATED ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT to both parties this year. That was not generally known because…all my Republican donations were dark…not for regulatory reasons, it's because reporters freak the fuck out when you donate to Republicans...and I didn’t want to have that fight, so I made all the Republican ones dark."
– Sam Bankman-Fried
“It's a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can't eat for eight hours; he can't drink for eight hours; he can't make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work. ”
― William Faulkner
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday night that the country’s armed forces are preparing a “countermeasure” to Russia’s offensive operations.
“We are analyzing the intentions of the occupiers and are preparing a countermeasure - an even more powerful countermeasure than it’s been,” he said in his nightly address.
Zelenskyy did not elaborate on what the countermeasures would look like. Since September, Ukraine has retaken some parts of the country seized by Russian forces earlier this year, particularly around the regions of Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson in the south.
Russia has seen some slow gains in eastern Ukraine, however, with fierce fighting continuing around Bakhmut in Donetsk. Pro-Russian separatist leader, Denis Pushilin (the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic) claimed earlier this week that Bakhmut was close to being encircled, a claim vehemently denied by a Ukrainian official.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry official Yuriy Sak told CNBC on Wednesday that Bakhmut was “undoubtedly one of the key hotspots at the moment” in the war but claimed Russia was experiencing a “colossal” level of losses there.
READING PROUST IN WAR
Marcel Proust died a century ago on November 18, 1922, leaving behind one of the most remarkable literary investigations into human nature and society.
by Chris Hedges
During the war in Bosnia, I worked my way through the seven volumes of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.” The novel, populated with 400 characters, was not an escape from the war. The specter of death and the expiring world of La Belle Époque haunts Proust’s work. He wrote it as he was dying; in fact, Proust was making corrections to the manuscript the night before his death in his hermetically sealed, cork-lined bedroom in Paris.
The novel was a lens that allowed me to reflect on the disintegration, delusions and mortality around me. Proust gave me the words to describe aspects of the human condition I knew instinctively, but had trouble articulating. He elucidates the conflicting ways we perceive reality, exacerbated in war, and how each of us comes to our own peculiar and self-serving truths. He explores the fragility of human goodness, the seduction and hollowness of power and social status, the inconstancy of the human heart and racism, especially antisemitism.
Those who see in his work a retreat from the world are poor readers of Proust. His power is his Freudian understanding of the subterranean forces that shape human existence. The novel is grounded in the bitter wisdom of Ecclesiastes: The beauty of youth, the allure of fame, wealth, success, power, along with literary and artistic brilliance, reap a horrendous toll on those beguiled by them, for they are transitory, and perish.
I was in Croatia as Serb villages were being ethnically cleansed by the Croatian army. I watched an elderly veteran of the partisan war being pushed out of his home, which he would never again inhabit, in a wheelchair, bedecked with his World War II medals on his chest. The rise of ethnic nationalism had extinguished the old Yugoslavia and with it his status and place in society.
The last volume of “In Search of Lost Time” is populated with the aged shells of once-great actors, writers and aristocrats, forgotten as the crowd flocked to new luminaries. The celebrated actor La Berma, a thinly disguised Sarah Bernhardt, too infirm to take to the stage, is ignored. The courtesan Odette de Crécy, the passion of Charles Swann, one of the central characters in the novel, was once a great beauty who entranced Paris but in senility is relegated to a corner of her daughter’s fashionable salon where she is a figure of ridicule.
She had become “infinitely pathetic; she, who had been unfaithful to Swann and to everybody, found now that the entire universe was unfaithful to her,” Proust writes of Odette.
The pedestals the powerful and the famous stand upon — and believe are immovable — disintegrate, leaving them like King Lear, naked on the heath. When Swann denounces the persecution of the Jewish army Captain Alfred Dreyfus, wrongly accused of treason, he becomes a nonperson and, along with other “Dreyfusards,” is blacklisted. Émile Zola, France’s most famous novelist at the time, was forced into exile because he defended Dreyfus.
“For the instinct of imitation and absence of courage govern society and the mob alike,” Proust notes. “And we all of us laugh at a person whom we see being made fun of, though it does not prevent us from venerating him ten years later in a circle where he is admired.”
War elucidates these Proustian truths. Death, as in the novel, permeated my existence in Sarajevo, a besieged city being hit with hundreds of shells a day and under constant sniper fire. Four to five people were dying daily, and perhaps another dozen or so were wounded. But even with death all around us, those desperately clinging to life sought to obscure its reality. Death was something that happened to someone else.
This denial of death, and our impending mortality, is captured by Proust when Swann informs the Duke and Duchesse de Guermantes that he is ill and has only three or four months to live. On their way to a dinner party and not wanting to cope with the finality of death, the Duke and Duchesse dismiss the prognosis as fiction. Swann warily accepts that “their own social obligations took precedence over the death of a friend.”
“You, now, don’t let yourself be alarmed by the nonsense of those damned doctors,” the Duke tells him. “They’re fools. You’re as sound as a bell. You’ll bury us all!”
The death of the narrator’s grandmother, as well as the death of his lover Albertine, a version of Proust’s lover and chauffeur Alfred Agostinelli, who was killed in a plane crash in 1914, exposes the mutations of the self. Marcel, the narrator, does not lament grief, for it retains the connections to those we have lost. He laments the day he no longer grieves, the day the self that was in love no longer exists. He writes:
I too still wept when I became once again for a moment the former friend of Albertine. But it was into a new personality that I was tending to change altogether. It is not because other people are dead that our affection for them fades; it is because we ourselves are dying. Albertine had no cause to reproach her friend. The man who was usurping his name was merely his heir. We can only be faithful to what we remember, and we remember only what we have known. My new self, while it grew up in the shadow of the old, had often heard the other speak of Albertine; through that other self, through the stories it gathered from it, it thought that it knew her, it found her lovable, it loved her; but it was only a love at second hand.
Inanimate objects carry within them a mystical force that can awaken these lost feelings of grief, joy and love. They return not by an act of will, but through involuntary memory. A smell, sight or a sound suddenly ignites what is buried and otherwise inaccessible, the most famous example being the dipping of the petite madeleine into the tea that evokes a sudden memory of Marcel’s childhood at Combray.
“I find the Celtic belief very reasonable, that the souls of those we have lost are held captive in some inferior creature, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate thing, effectively lost to us until the day, which for many never comes, when we happen to pass close to the tree, come into possession of the object that is their prison,” Proust writes. “Then they quiver, they call out to us, and as soon as we have recognized them, the spell is broken. Delivered by us, they have overcome death and they return to live with us.”
Art – literature, poetry, dance, theater, music, architecture, painting, sculpture – give the fragments of our lives coherence. Art gives expression to the intangible, nonrational forces of love, beauty, grief, mortality and the search for meaning. Without art, without imagination, our collective and individual pasts are disparate, devoid of context. Art opens us to awe and mystery. Art is not, as the painter Elstir says in the novel, a reproduction of nature. It is the impression nature has on the artist. It wrestles with the transcendent.
Imagination, however, is a blessing and a curse. It can be self-destructive when we mistake what we imagine for reality. Swann’s infatuation with Odette, for example, is driven by her resemblance to the women painted in the Florentine Renaissance by Sandro Botticelli. It is the painting, the image, not Odette that Swann worships, a fact he eventually faces, amazed that he has courted a woman “who was not my type.” Marcel will come to a similar conclusion at the end of the novel, seeing the aristocratic elites who dazzled him in his youth as mediocrities, elevated to the status of demigods by his imagination.
At the same time, imagination is the fuel of art. Art, Proust reminds us, takes work — as in the fictional piece of music, the “Vinteuil Sonata,” which Swann associates with Odette.
“Often one hears nothing when one listens for the first time to a piece of music that is at all complicated,” he writes. “For our memory, relatively to the complexity of the impressions which it has to face while we are listening, is infinitesimal, as brief as the memory of a man who in his sleep thinks of a thousand things and at once forgets them, or as that of a man in his second childhood who cannot recall a minute afterwards what one has just said to him.”
It is, he writes, “the least precious parts that one at first perceives.” He goes on, “But, less disappointing than life, great works of art do not begin by giving us the best of themselves […] But when those first impressions have receded, there remains for our enjoyment some passage whose structure, too new and strange to offer anything but confusion to our mind, had made it indistinguishable and so preserved intact; and this, which we had passed every day without knowing it, which had held itself in reserve for us, which by the sheer power of its beauty had become invisible and remained unknown, this comes to us last of all. But we shall also relinquish it last. And we shall love it longer than the rest because we have taken longer to get to love it.”
The external world of the five senses in Proust is always defeated by the inner world constructed by imagination. Nothing could be truer in war. Those in war work incessantly to make sense of the senseless. They form stories out of chaos. They seek meaning in meaninglessness. In a firefight you are only aware of what is happening a few feet around you. But once that firefight is over, two things happen. Those who emerge victorious from the firefight rifle through the pockets of the dead, examining the photos and documents on the bodies of those they killed. At the same time, they piece together a narrative of what happened. This narrative is largely a fiction, for only bits and pieces are available to be cobbled together to make a coherent whole. But without that narrative, the experience, like life itself, is not bearable.
Proust chronicles the poisonous effects of World War I on French society, embodied by the hostess Mme. Verdurin, who uses the war to elevate her social prestige while the suicidal tactics of French generals leads to six million casualties, including 1.4 million dead and 4.2 million wounded, along with numerous army mutinies. Generals and war ministers are celebrities. Artists are reviled or ignored, unless they produce wartime kitsch. Women adorn themselves in “rings or bracelets made out of fragments of exploded shells or copper bands from 75 millimeter ammunition.” The rich, bursting with patriotism, while sacrificing little, busy themselves with charities for the soldiers at the front, benefit performances and afternoon tea parties. Wartime clichés, amplified by the press, are mindlessly parroted by the public. “For the idiocy of the times caused people to pride themselves on using the expressions of the times,” Proust notes. The war eradicates the demarcation between civilians and the military. It degrades language and culture. It fuels a toxic nationalism. It ushers in the modern era of industrial war where nations turn their resources over to the military and, with it, outsized political and social power. The war, the backdrop of the final chapter, signals the end of La Belle Époque.
The public fell into line with the modernists of war, “after resisting the modernists of literature and art,” Proust writes, because it is “an accepted fashion to think like this and also because little minds are crushed, not by beauty, but by the hugeness of the action.”
Proust captures the disparity between the sensory world of war and the mythic version of war that plagues all conflicts, leading to a bitter alienation between those who experience war on the battlefield and those who celebrate it in safety. Those who imbibe the myth of war engage in an orgy of self-exaltation, not only because they believe they belong to a superior nation but because as members of that nation they are convinced that they are endowed with superior virtues.
The flip side of nationalism is racism and chauvinism, for as we elevate ourselves we denigrate others, especially the enemy. Proust, when he writes about antisemitism, makes an important distinction between vice and crime, a distinction quoted at length by Hannah Arendt in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” In the decadence of La Belle Époque, Jews were admitted to the great salons, until the Dreyfus affair. They were seen as exotic, albeit tainted with the vice of Jewishness. Vice is not an act of will but an inherent, psychological quality that cannot be chosen or rejected. “Punishment,” Proust writes, “is the right of the criminal” of which he is deprived if “judges assume and are more inclined to pardon murder in inverts [homosexuals] and treason in Jews for reasons derived from…racial predestination.”
The difference between vice, which can never be removed, and crime, defines war, as it defined fascism a few years after the publication of Proust’s novel. Enemies embody evil not solely because of the acts they commit but because of their intrinsic nature. Eradicating evil, therefore, requires the eradication of all those infected with vice. The only way to survive is to renounce and hide your essence.
Jews in France converted to Christianity. Homosexuals pretended to be heterosexual. Muslims and Croats in Serb-held Bosnia pretended to be Serbs. Serbs and Muslims in Croatia pretended to be Croats. These mutations, Proust warned, turn the blessed and the damned into caricatures easily manipulated by demagogues and the mob. The hostility to difference is an ominous step toward tyranny, either the petty tyranny of the ruling class or the larger tyranny of totalitarianism.
Proust has a dark view of human nature. Those who carry out acts of charity and kindness in the novel almost always have ulterior or, at best, mixed motives. We betray people for bagatelles. We surrender our professed morality for self-advancement. We are indifferent to human suffering. We attack the faults of others but succumb to the same faults if “sufficiently intoxicated by circumstances.”
But because Proust expects so little from us, he extends pity, compassion and forgiveness to even the most loathsome of his characters, as they fade away at the end of the novel in a danse macabre. Our inner life, he concludes, is finally unfathomable, for it is always in flux. As we age we become shells, faded masks identifiable only by our names. Human folly, however, is redeemed because of our childlike yearning for the impossibility of the eternal and the absolute in the face of the destructive maw of time.
Proust reminds us of who we are and who we are to become. Lifting the veil on our pretensions, he calls us to see ourselves in our neighbor. By immortalizing his vanished world, Proust exposes, and makes sacred, the vanishing world around us. His perceptions were a balm, a deep comfort, in the madness of war, where the mob bays for blood, death strikes at random, delusion is mistaken for reality and the impermanence of existence is terrifyingly palpable.