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FOG WILL LINGER around through the morning hours but mostly pleasant weather is expected today. Calm conditions usher in the new year, just before the next round of adverse weather and potential flooding mid week as a strong system approaches from the north west. (NWS)
FREE HENDY DAYS
Our Gift to you this New Years Day - FREE day use at Hendy Woods State Park for All Mendocino County residents - covered by the Hendy Woods Community http://www.hendywoods.org/
Know your zip code
Day use is from sun up to 1 hour after sunset
Enjoy and Happy New Year!
And a Free guided hike at 11 AM
Parking: park at day use picnic area.
What to expect: Explore Discovery Loop all access trail with a guided hike through Big Hendy Grove. Learn about the complex systems of redwood ecology as you walk among the towering giants.
Length of hike: 1.5 miles (ADA accessible trail)
Ages: all ages
Preparation: rain or shine
Special instructions: dress in layers for cool and wet weather and bring water. Binoculars will be available to check out
Second Sundays: Free Entry To Hendy Woods State Park For Local Residents
We are resuming the Free Days! On the Second Sunday of every month in 2023, the Hendy Woods Community is covering the Hendy Woods State Park’s Day Use fee ($8) for local residents from the following communities: Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, Navarro, Comptche and Elk - Know your zip code. Enjoy a free visit to the park on us and stroll the old growth redwood groves and beautiful meadows, hike the trails, and unwind along the river! Note: Day use is from sun up to 1 hour after sunset.
Want to join our great team and support your wonderful park? We are always looking for motivated Volunteers for the Hendy Woods Visitor Center, remove invasive plant species and lead forest walks! Interested? Contact: email@example.com
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE: Events Calendar
Re: GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, 2022: Diane Hering should have been on our list. Our apologies for the oversight.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Beautiful Diana is our first 2023 Pet of the Week. Diana is sweet and playful with a lively personality. She can be a little silly and goofy at times. Diana is eager to do some brush-up work on her basic training and leash manners. We think Diana will be a wonderful family dog in her new home. Diana is 8 months old and 43 pounds.
For more about Diana, head to mendoanimalshelter.com
If you can’t adopt, consider fostering. Our website has information about our Foster Program, on-going Dog And Cat Adoption Events, and other programs, services and updates.
Visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
MOM NEEDS HELP [links dead]
END OF YEAR AWARDS, 2022
WOMEN OF THE YEAR, with special grace under hugely unfair criticism: Michelle Hutchins, who lost re-election as County Superintendent of schools to a secret gang of "educators," past and present, who lied about her and misrepresented what were in fact major accomplishments in fair distribution of County educational monies; Chamise Cubbison, similarly attacked by a County administrative apparatus that left her to pick up the pieces from their blunders, all the while blaming Ms. Cubbison for their incompetence; Louise Simson, Superintendent of the Anderson Valley schools whose energetic intelligence has revitalized a school system gone torpid from Covid and fill-in administrators.
DISAPPEARANCE OF THE YEAR: Ann Molgaard, latest victim of County's Stalinist personnel practices, employed Thursday, gone Friday, non-personed ever since. Runner-up: Former Supervisor John McCowen. The garrulous Ukiah solon suddenly went silent six months ago. Known to clean up after the homeless, they may have cleaned him up.
COCKEYED OPTIMISTS of the year: Democratic Party of Mendocino County, who think they and their party are the way forward. On the other hand, they might just be lonely, politics being an excuse to gather with other delusionals.
NUZZLEBUM of this year, any year: Scott Simon of NPR
STATEMENTS OF THE OBVIOUS, repeaters of received wisdom, perennial co-winners: David Brooks, NYT. Runner-up, Pete Golis, Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
BEST BOOKING PHOTO:
CLEARCUTTERS OF THE YEAR: PG&E for its random, unaccountable County wide tree massacres.
MORE MEETINGS, LEAST PROGRESS AWARD: The self-cancelling Measure B Committee. (Any appointed committee in Mendocino County, home of more experts per capita than any county in the United States, is self-sabotage.)
BIGGEST BOONDOGGLE OF THE DECADE: New County Courthouse. Runner Up: Great Redwood Trail. Third Runner up: Supervisors Chambers remodel for over $400k complete with customized bullet proof glass.
SWEETHEART DEAL OF THE YEAR: Sacto Architects Nacht & Lewis who are allowed to write their own ticket for facility construction overhead and administration.
JOURNALO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Matt LaFever of website, Mendofever.
JOURNALO COMEBACK KID OF THE YEAR: Mike Geniella.
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR: Anderson Valley’s Louise Simson who single-handedly reinvigorated Anderson Valley schools and brought the community along with her.
R2D2-SPEAK: Supervisor Ted Williams, who routinely resorts to techno-bafflegab in lieu of mother tongue responses.
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS AWARD: County CEO's office, a legacy of departed CEO Carmel ‘You Talkin' To Me, Mr. Man?’ Angelo.
MOST INEFFECTUAL PUBLIC BODY: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for ignoring the will of the voters on almost every local ballot measure, and for providing zero leadership as Mendocino County goes slowly broke while providing unsupervised blank checks to outside County contractors, especially lawyers and architects.
MOST MISSED PUBLIC OFFICIAL: Retired Fort Bragg Police Chief John Naulty.
MOST SUSPICIOUS PLEA DEAL in modern Mendocino County history: A dual project of DA David Eyster and Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman for former Ukiah police sergeant Kevin Murray, rapist, tweaker and gawd only knows what else.
MARTYR OF THE YEAR: Noble Waidelich, former Ukiah Police chief summarily removed from his job on the dubious say-so of a former girlfriend and police gang girl, a matter leaving Waidelich in limbo for months now while the DA endlessly waffles on whether or not to prosecute him.
NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON'T AWARD: Former Mendo cop Trent James who disappeared after stirring up Mendo’s Blue Meanie brigades with on-line videos alleging widespread corruption before making a quixotic, failed write-in campaign for Sheriff.
BEST SUPERVISORIAL STATEMENT of the Year: Supervisor Dan Gjerde’s denunciation of the inland water mafia and their laughably unjustified demand for a taxpayer subsidy via a Countywide sales tax.
BEST ESSAY by a Public Official: Sheriff Kendall’s memoir of his father.
COCKEYED OPTIMIST OF THE YEAR II: John Redding for his kamikaze run as a Republican against incumbent Supervisor Ted Williams in the NPR-brained Fifth District where even Democrat female Wendy Roberts got branded as too right wing in her run against faux liberal Dan Hamburg.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL coach and athletic director: John Toohey of Anderson Valley High School.
BEST NEW LOCAL REPORTER: Terry Sites of the Anderson Valley Advertiser.
LOW-DOWNDEST POLITICAL CAMPAIGN IN LOCAL HISTORY: Nicole Glentzer, Mendocino County Office of Education, with big assists from the least competent sectors of Mendo's intellectually impaired edu-establishment, past and present.
SCAPEGOAT OF THE YEAR: Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector Chamise Cubbison who stepped up to run an understaffed consolidated department decimated by retirements and resignations only to be blamed for the County’s long-standing poor financial reporting.
LAWN GUY OF THE YEAR for keeping it green in the drought years: DA David Eyster.
BEST MENDO HISTORIANS: Brad Wiley, Katy Tahja, with matching appreciation for the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino, and Alyssa Ballard at the Held-Poage Library in Ukiah.
MOST WELCOME Post-Covid Revival: Unity Club/Wildflower Show at the Boonville Fairgrounds.
SPORTS HERO OF THE YEAR: Brock Purdy of the San Francisco Forty-Niners.
UNDER-RECOGNIZED MEDICAL MAN for his years of service to the Anderson Valley community: Dr. Mark Apfel.
MOST WELCOME ballot measure: School Bond passage for Boonville school repairs which, although the finances were of course mishandled by the County, promises to bring long-overdue upgrades to local school facilities.
PROFESSOR IRWIN COREY AWARD: County Counsel Christian Curtis, the highest paid public attorney per capita in California but the least articulate. First sentence clear, second sentence in the ballpark of meaning, third sentence and beyond a rhetorical Rorschach riddled with ums and uhs.
MOST OVER-HYPED BALLOT MEASURE: Measure P which promises millions in new money for County fire departments but can still be snagged by the County if the Supervisors claim to be broke.
BEST MANAGED TOWN: Fort Bragg under "Gettin' It Done" mayor, Bernie Norvell and former mayor and long-time city council anchor, Lindy Peters.
BEST LAW ENFORCEMENT HIRE: Chief Neil Cervenka, Fort Bragg
MOST IMPRESSIVE crook catch: The Mendocino County Sheriff's Department's apprehension of Boonville armed robber just before he boarded a plane for his home country of Argentina.
DHARMA BUM OF THE YEAR: Craig Stehr, presently of Ukiah, age 72, who has lived well for years but hasn't worked since his morning paper route as a 12-year-old. Contributions welcome at his PayPal account.
TOWN GREETER: the always helpful and watchful, Jose ‘Lumpy”’ Garcia, Boonville.
MOST EXCELLENT RESTAURANTS per capita in the United States: the Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, where it's impossible to get a bad meal.
COUP OF THE YEAR: The Skunk Train’s use of eminent domain to acquire Fort Bragg’s abandoned Georgia Pacific mill site at a fire sale price leading to an ongoing court battle about whether the Skunk Train is exempt from local development rules.
MARIE ANTOINETTE AWARD IN PERPETUITY: goes to the wineries of the Anderson Valley for heedlessly, unapologetically, destroying the sleep of at least two thousand Valley residents every Spring for nights on end, their monarchical arrogance memorably expressed by Ted Bennett of the Navarro Winery when he told a room of critics, "My grapes are more important than your sleep."
DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR: Anderson Valley's rednecks for not shooting winery frost fans.
LUCKIEST DRUNKEN OUTBACK IDIOT OF THE YEAR: Trevor Williams whose encounter with local cops back in July would have been lethal in most other places.
Williams fired a gun which he was prohibited from owning at a juvenile female on his huge north county ranch prompting a response from deputies. Upon arrival Williams unleashed a “hostile” verbal barrage at the cops, telling them to go back where they came from, slammed his gate and went back to his house where he proceeded to arm himself with “several” firearms including a high-powered scoped rifle. Deputies cleared the area and called for backup, preparing for a gunfight. Williams demanded to speak only to Sheriff Matt Kendall, Mendo’s go-to negotiator for drug-addled or drunk suspects, to “de-escalate” the situation. As they waited for the Sheriff, Williams gathered up more guns, more ammo and extra booze and loaded them onto his ATV. When backup arrived Williams became even “more verbally hostile.” From the Sheriff’s press release: “After approximately ten minutes of Williams yelling at the Sheriff's Office personnel on scene, Williams left his residence on his ATV and disappeared out into his 7,700-acre ranch.”
With considerable restraint, deputies held back, waiting for Sheriff Kendall to arrive. Deputies then spotted Williams “low-crawling through a creek bed in an attempt to flank the Sheriff's Office personnel on scene."
From the press release: “Once he was spotted, Williams stood up and it was determined he was armed with three handguns and a scoped high powered rifle. Williams took up a position of cover behind a piece of heavy machinery and began pointing his rifle in the direction of the Sheriff's Office personnel in what appeared to be an effort to acquire a target. Williams was verbally commanded to drop his rifle several times before he finally complied and placed the rifle down and put his hands up in an apparent [sic] gesture of surrender. Williams was then verbally commanded to come out of the field and walk towards the Deputies’ location with his hands up. Williams complied at first, but then turned around and walked away from the Deputies. A Deputy and a Sergeant then re-positioned themselves to intercept Williams as he again appeared to be trying to flank them. Williams was contacted by the Sergeant and Deputy and given verbal commands to keep his hands up as he was still armed with three handguns in his waistband. Williams complied and walked towards them with his hands up. Once he reached their position, an attempt to physically disarm Williams was conducted by the Sergeant on-scene. Williams grabbed the Sergeant’s hand as he tried to remove the handguns from Williams' waistband. Williams then grabbed one of the handguns from his waistband and also grabbed the Sergeant’s issued firearm. A struggle for control of the firearms between the Sergeant and Williams ensued which resulted in the Sergeant maintaining control of his firearm and Williams’ handgun. Williams continued to try to gain possession of the Sergeant’s firearm and maintain possession of his own handgun. Williams was pinned against a fence during the struggle which allowed the other Deputy to remove all the handguns from Williams waistband and his right hand.”
Williams was finally handcuffed, taken to the Willits Hospital and “medically cleared,” and then booked into the jail on $500k bail. Deputies subsequently searched his property and found “other firearms” which Williams illegally possessed.
As of today, the case is still pending.
THE MARIJUANA MESS
The Press Democrat was right that California’s legal marijuana system is a mess, but wrong to blame it on “people who saw profit potential” and not on the state Legislature. In fact, marijuana interests had no role in funding or drafting Proposition 64 (if they had, it might have actually turned out to be profitable for them). Proposition 64 was primarily funded by Facebook billionaire Sean Parker and drafted by a team of consultants who had no business interest in cannabis.
The Legislature in fact bears some responsibility for the shortcomings of Proposition 64. Before Proposition 64 passed, it enacted the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which imposed an unduly complicated, unwieldy regulatory structure over the industry. The architects of Proposition 64 perforce adopted this structure and were further influenced by a blue ribbon task force overseen by the lieutenant governor.
Proposition 64 is yet another example of California’s unfortunate penchant for overregulation and over-taxation, which has rendered its government so dysfunctional in recent years.
Director, California NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) San Francisco
YORKVILLE MURDERER RE-OFFENDS
A familiar face received additional state prison time Friday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court to close out calendar year 2022.
Defendant Edgar Fidel Contreras, now 32 years of age, was previously sentenced in 2017 to state prison for 25 years to life for his 2015 involvement in a botched armed nighttime marijuana garden rip-off in the Yorkville area.
As an aside, two other Sonoma County men were also convicted and sentenced to life sentences for their armed participation in the murder. But unfortunately that was not the end of the story for Contreras in Mendocino County.
At his request, Contreras was returned to Mendocino County in 2020 for court proceedings so he could attempt to have his murder conviction thrown out due to changes in California law.
While this legal maneuver ultimately failed, Contreras could not find it in himself to stay out of trouble during his visit to and stay in the Low Gap Jail facility.
In March 2020, during an unprovoked attack, Contreras came up from behind and hit another jail inmate watching TV in the face and head multiple times with closed fists. When the victim fell to the floor, Contreras continued his attack by repeatedly kicking the victim while he was down.
While Contreras later denied to investigators that he had hit the victim, the jail’s surveillance system clearly showed this denial to be a lie.
The investigation into that 2020 case was ongoing because others were also involved. Meanwhile, Contreras returned to the Department of Corrections to continue serving his murder sentence.
Charged by the DA in early 2021 with a felony assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, along with Contreras’ prior Strike conviction (the murder), an arrest warrant was issued for Contreras.
Likely due to the pandemic, Contreras was not pulled from prison and returned to Mendocino County to face the new charge until July 2022.
Having entered a no contest plea to the felony charge and admitted the Strike enhancement in early December, Contreras was sentenced Friday morning to 48 months in state prison, said sentence to run consecutive to the 2017 life sentence.
The attorney who prosecuted the defendant in the new case was Senior Deputy District Attorney Luke Oakley. The attorney who prosecuted the 2015 murder case was District Attorney Eyster.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over today’s sentencing hearing.
* * *
AVA, September 30, 2015
SCANNER EXCITEMENT SUNDAY. This being the season of agricultural tensions in the Mendocino County outback, the scanner crackled Sunday with a 7.20am report of a male gunshot victim “near Mountain House Road.” It took a while — a long while — to find the guy, who had said he'd been shot “multiple times” but had no precise idea where he was other than “in a field near a dried up creek.” That didn't exactly narrow down his location, but much was lost in translation over the ensuing three hours. With the medi-chopper waiting at the Boonville airport, a 25-year-old Mexican, bloodied and indeed shot multiple times, was finally located not very far from Highway 128 and Mountain House Road. Deputies subsequently found a dead man in the garden where the almost dead man was finally located, and have since arrested Isidiro Lopez-Bernal, 26, of Ukiah, and Mario Godinez, 25, of Cloverdale on suspicion of murder. The wounded man, still not identified, is from Windsor. He was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he remains in serious condition. He seems to have identified his would-be killers.
AVA, October 7, 2015
THE CO-DEFENDANTS in the Yorkville shootings were arraigned yesterday in front of visiting Judge Jeffrey Tauber. Mario Godinez Gonzales and Isidro Lopez Bernal of Cloverdale were both charged with murder in the shooting death of John Doe and attempted murder of Fidel Contreras. Contreras remains hospitalized. DA David Eyster said the charges included special allegations that the crimes were committed for financial gain. The Public Defender and Alternate Public Defender were assigned the two defendants who are being held without bail. They'll be back in court on Oct. 14th at 1:30 for entry of plea. (Bruce McEwen)
AVA October 14, 2015
THE DEAD MAN in the Yorkville pot patch has been identified as 43-year-old Marcos Bautista of Cloverdale. The forensic autopsy determined Bautista had died as the result of multiple gunshot wounds.
THE MAN found in that same pot patch who didn't die of multiple gunshot wounds, Edgar Fidel Contreras, 25, of Windsor, has been booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of murder and robbery. Contreras is the third man being held in connection with Bautista's murder. Contreras was the wounded man it took several hours to locate deep in the Yorkville hills because he didn't know exactly where he was and his vague, cell phone-relayed directions had to be translated from Spanish to English. He had been hospitalized in Santa Rosa for treatment of the gunshot wounds that nearly finished him prior to his arrest. Who shot whom, and who shot first isn't going to be easy to sort out, but it seems that one of the three surviving suspects has said enough to implicate all three in Bautista's demise.
From Bruce McEwen’s court report in March of 2016:
“The lucky gut-shot guy, Del Diablo (Bad Boy), said he’d been plugged by one of his partners, Blackie (El Negro), and that his other partner, Shorty (Chipparo), had taken his gun (pistola) away. Then, he said, those pinche madres left him to bleed out in the thirsty dust of Cooper Ranch Road off Highway 128.
Bad Boy’s real name was Edgar Contreras. He said La Cholita —translated as Little Gangbanger — Blanca Rodriquez, drove the three (or four) bandidos out Highway 128 in the early hours from their Cloverdale headquarters, dropped them off at a spot where they armed up with stashed weapons and, as La Cholita drove back to Cloverdale, Chipparo, Del Diablo and El Negro headed into the woods for the grow site, arriving at first light.
Instead of bringing some sensible tool, like pruning shears, they were reduced to snapping off the trunks of the plundered marijuana plants by hand, and then twisting and wrestling with them to worry the fibers loose. They make rope from this stuff for a reason, Vato.
The thieves later admitted they’d been toiling in this manner for over an hour when an angry voice interrupted to them to stop.
That’s when the shooting started.
Each of the defendants denied shooting first. Edgar “Bad Boy” Contreras said he only fired once — into the air. Isidro “Blackie” Lopez-Bernal said he only fired twice — in the air. And Mario “Shorty” Godinez-Gonzalez said he fired three maybe four times — all in the air.
Somehow all these air shots came back to earth where two guys got shot, one of them fatally.
But each of the widely separated bundles of marijuana had several spent shell casings in and around them, which had been ejected and fallen into the bundles or nearby.
True, the victim, Mr. Gut-Shot Bautista, was only hit three times, but the brush and tree limbs around him had been shot up pretty good, and the detectives had pictures to show the hail of gunfire through the shattered branches. Medical marijuana may be good for lots of ailments but no one has used it to stop bullets.
So they were bad shots. The autopsy reports suggested that the third and final shot on the dead man came from close range, fired downward, after the guys who said they were shooting in the air had obviously run the wounded man to ground and finished him off.
One man dead, one man left for dead.
The thieves seem to have concluded that their easy money plan to rip off a trespass grow — major crooks ripping off minor crooks — had failed. Seems that the robbers panicked and abandoned the bundles of marijuana plants, with their ragged and frayed stems they'd worked so hard to break loose and bundle up.…”
AVA, March 1, 2017: “The Yorkville pot farm murder case has been partially resolved. Isidro Bernal has pled out and received 25 to life in state prison, as has Edgar ‘Bad Boy/El Diablo’ Contrerras. They were two of three pot thieves (the case of the third man, Mario Godinez-Gonzalez is still pending) who wound up shooting at each after one of them shot and killed guerrilla grower Marcos Bautista back in the fall of 2015 near Highway 128 and the Hopland Road. Contreras was gutshot by one of his fellow pot garden raiders, Bernal Lopez or Godinez-Gonzalez, and left to die. He called 911 and survived to face murder charges along with the other two.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, December 31, 2022
HERIBERTO ACOSTA, Covelo. DUI.
DAVID CAMACHO, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol-drug, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
TATIANA FRANCO-CORTEZ, Ukiah. Shoplifting.
CARLOS GONGORA, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JUBA KENYON JR., Fort Bragg. DUI-alcohol&drugs, addict driving vehicle, controlled substance for sale and transportation, controlled substance while armed, felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, paraphernalia, narcotics for sale, transportation of controlled substance between counties, marijuana for sale.
ERIC KOTILA, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
CRYSTAL MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Burglary, harboring wanted felon.
PANIAGUA-HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
DON SHACKELFORD, Willits. Battery on peace officer, resisting.
CLETIS SHAFFER, Willits. Domestic abuse, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, vandalism.
QUADE SMITH, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, witness intimidation.
NATHAN TUPPER, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale.
*AVA, March 27, 2013: “Juba Lee Kenyon JR., 34, of Fort Bragg, is being sought in connection with what seems to have been a one-stop tweek shop located in Kenyon's home on North Harrison Street between East Alder and East Redwood. According to Lt. John Naulty of the Fort Bragg Police Department, “officers found a room outfitted like a drug store with supplies and a significant amount of methamphetamine in four chunks, each about three inches long and half-inch thick.” Police were at the home to conduct a routine probation search because Kenyon is on probation for a theft conviction. Kenyon was not at home, but Naomi Elysia Mendez, 32, was. She was arrested on charges alleging possession of marijuana and methamphetamine for sale.”
NOT ‘THE RAIN IN SPAIN…’
Hopefully, the recent rains are a good omen of more coming in 2023. Our arthritis is telling us the Bay Area’s “storm door,” at last, may be opening again. “Yaa-hoo, Mountain Dew!”
Kathleen & Frank Baumgardner
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Too many moving parts! Yup. I think about these issues every time I fire up my wood heater and read reports and complaints in the local news about rolling blackouts turning people’s heat off, energy costing way too much, and complaints about complex heat and air systems failing at the worst time and heat and air techs being temporarily unavailable due to too much workload.
My wood heater is extremely simple, so simple in fact that I’ve yet to experience a breakdown. And since I have access to the woods behind my house, I’ve never experienced a lack of fuel either. I get a smug feeling of satisfaction and superiority every time I see people in trouble due to mechanical problems I don’t have. The only mechanical issues I encounter is with my chain saws and wood splitter. And I also have the old fashioned splitting maul that never needs gas or service. If the gas splitter fails or there is no fuel for it, my house still stays warm while the people around me might just be shit outta luck.
The killer has been killed. The jailer has been jailed.
The seer has been seen. The peeler has been peeled. The speller has been spelt. The feeler has been felt. The doctor has been doctored. The fire has been fired. The weather has been weathered. The plum has been plumbed. The case has been cased.
The spin has been spun. The spinster has been spunstered. The mustard has been mustered. The hearing has been heard. The herd has been herded. The broker has been broken. The trip has been tripped. The drip has been dripped. The slip has been flipped. The rapist has been raped. The tapeworm has been taped.
The exorcist has been exorcised. The ostrich has been ostracized. The capitalist has been capitalized. The nihilist has been nihilated. The vent has been ventilated. The penguin has been penguinated. The marshmallow has been marshmellowed. The fish has been fished. The stone has been stoned. The editor has been edited. The fun has been fund. The sucker has been sucked. The dealer has been dealt. The well has been welt. The entertainer has been entertained.
The water has been watered. The counter has been encountered. The cucumber has been encumbered. The ticker has been tickled. The picker has been pickled.
The bore has been bored. The lint has been lent. The puck has been puckered. The gut has been guttered. The butt has been buttered. The fairy has been ferried. The hairy has been harried. The mare has been married. The bear has been buried.
The tuner has been tuned. The burner has been burned. The scammer has been scammed. The baker has been baked. The wanker has been wanked. The spanker has been spanked. The spelunker has been spelunked. The catcher has been caught. The tailor has been tailed. The teacher has been taught.
The timer has been timed. The beater has been beaten. The feeder has been fed. The bleeder has been bled. The peter has been petted. The wet has been whetted. The faex have been faxed. The jet has been jettisoned. The summary has been summarized. The coot has been cauterized. The doomsayer has been doomed. The boomer has been boomed.
The spleen has been splintered. The inestimable has been estimated. The escalator has been escalated. The phony has been phoned. The finger has been fingered. The liker has been liked. The lichen has been licked. The licker has been likened. The rejecter has been rejected. The detective has been detected.
The servant has been served.
Happy New Year!
STEVE HEILIG: Some additional practical tips towards better end-of-life care and choices, beyond advanced care directives:
- Fill out a POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form to be added to your medical record. Doctors and NPs (in CA) can help complete and sign these medical orders.
- Ask for a palliative care consult. It’s now a distinct specialty and team approach that can help very much.
- Ask if the time has come for hospice care (less than 6 months of life expected). Hospice care is too often brought in too late.
- If in conflict about care, in-hospital, ask for an ethics consult. Hospitals are required to have such teams to help guide decision-making.
- If religion is a factor, ask for a hospital chaplain consult and visit; they are often very good in assuring patients it is “OK” to let go of this life.
- And yes, if suffering is unbearable and your state has legalized it (and again, the prognosis is death within six months), discuss the possibility of medically-assisted aid-in-dying (MAID). Even if not actually provided in the end, having that option can be very reassuring to some. In fact, it ironically can wind up prolonging life.
– Steve Heilig (longtime consultant in these tough matters)
CONFESSIONS OF A CURBSIDE WEENIE
by Paul Modic
My local health food store stopped curbside pickup on November 30th and I sure miss emailing my order in on Thursday and picking up my food on Friday. Are things really getting “back to normal” or is it just politically untenable to continue restrictions?
I don’t want to go in there wearing a mask because they would think I was a mask weenie, and I am, so why am I so hesitant to show who I really am? Still a very cautious person, I just don’t want the annoyance and discomfort of getting covid, so am not taking any chances, though I have been going into the post office unmasked when there’s no one in there, and the hardware store as well. (The way this small town is going it seems pretty safe inside: there’s few customers!)
What to do? I invented some excuses to go to out of town and shopped at some big health food stores wearing a mask, no one knew me there, and I stocked up, bought two weeks worth of food, and damned the possible spoilage, this was a matter of life or death!
Now the two weeks are up and I’m out of veggies, which is the most important meal of the day, right?
Jenny was my food girl for over two years, the woman “in my life,” and the sweet, upbeat voice on my answering machine. She was conscientious and communicative about my order and when she stopped doing Fridays said I could change to Thursday to still have her, but I decided to be adventurous and switched to a new shopper.
The new person, and I have no idea who it was, got seven things wrong with my order, granted they were just small mistakes like five avocados instead of four and three purple beets instead of one purple and two orange, but it was kind of annoying and I ran back to Jenny: she could count and she gave a shit.
The time has come! I need those veggies, it’s a matter of life and death in a different way now, that cure-all broccoli! No veggies equals death, well at least premature?
(Why do we care what people think about us? It usually comes down to sex, right? They’ll see me still wearing a mask and think, “Look at that scared guy, he probably wouldn’t be very adventurous in bed, make a note of that!”)
No, no one at this store is into me me, I don’t even know who’s there anymore, is Boomer still there with his hopeful jokes? Of course Marieta is there, she’s a fixture, they just wind her up three or four days a week and set her loose, right?
So here’s the plan: I’ve got my list ready and I’ll go up there when it opens to limit the chance of leftover covids floating in the air, less people to see me scurrying down the veggie aisle maniacally grasping the greenery in my eager paws, then a great sigh of relief driving away.
Who knows, maybe I’ll have a dance down the aisle with long-legged Marieta,
I’m back, baby! (?)
FUTBOL VS. FOOTBALL
So, 1.2 billion people watched the FIFA World Cup final. Well, they grew up with the game; equipment is inexpensive; in many countries, nothing more interesting is available.
American football is situational. Each play presents a team with different challenges and decision points (yards to a first down, field position, time remaining, score differential, etc.) Everything can change in an instant. Combine this with amazing athleticism in a very tough, physical game.
Soccer players run back and forth across a huge field. Most of the time, the ball is nowhere near the goal. No wonder scoring is minimal. Boring!
“MY NOSE WAS BROKEN six times, my hands six times, a few fractured ribs. Fifty stitches over my eyes. But the only place I got hurt was out of the ring.”
— Jake LaMotta
THE SMOOTH SHMOO SWOOPS THROUGH.
Here's the recording of last night's (2022-12-30) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0521
This particular show, while only 440 minutes long and not the full 480, for reasons which you'll hear near the beginning of the recording, nonetheless features the fascinating story of Paul Modic's arrival in and impressions of peak-hippie Northern California lo these many years ago; Chuck Wilcher's and Steve Hinnefeld's memories of the late Ren Oschin; options for drying mushrooms if you don't have a fancy Bluetooth mushroom dryer; an account of attending the recent billion-dollar Avatar sequel on the other kind of mushrooms; further adventures in quack psychic healing and questionable Sovereign Citizen legal advice, as well as warnings from competing time-traveling fashion influencers about the tunnel to another world beneath Area 51 and real-life Cthulhu, as big as a football stadium, stirring at the bottom of the sea, about to yawn and stretch and roam upward to land, ravenous for breakfast; heating gas delivery options; the usual assortment of real medicine, poetry, math, science, history, cosmology and cosmetology; the annual end-of-year run-down of all the things Americans got stuck in their various bodily orifices that required an emergency room doctor to get them out, listed by orifice, starting at the top and moving downward: ear, nose, throat, penis, vagina, and rectum ("Rectum? Damn near killed'm!); a brief history of Glass Beach; two chapters each of new books by Clifford Allen Sanders and Kent Wallace; my dream journal of the last week; Gadeng Vadoo and Eid Ma Clack Shaw; Patrick Cockburn on Israel's latest Government of Darkness; Ezekiel Krahlin's adventures in homeless dog-sitting; Maggie Hart's Peruvian travel rape story; the latest in Artificial Intelligence news; and it's all capped off with The Weird Circle: The Queer Client, a play, recorded in 1944, of a bereaved banker's revenge, remorse and madness. Somewhere in there I recall reading a story by John Mahoney and being confused, thinking it was the John Maloney I know. Mahoney-Maloney, not the same, but the nickel didn't drop until much later. It's a simple mistake; no malice intended. Oh, and Ari Yovel, student rabbi, who I was hoping would call for the Ask a Jew portion of the show, had other commitments, so maybe next week we'll try again.
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
The Q continuum. These people are clearly ignorant and crazy and easily manipulated for the bad and they’re damaging their children, but really is this any worse than any family that fills their kids’ heads with emphatic nonsense not in a spirit of fun but as though it's real information? Religious people, for example.
Bill Bixby's last interview ever. Watching The Courtship of Eddie's Father I always wondered why he didn't just marry Mrs. Livingston. I remember thinking it was unfair that she was always cooking for them and cleaning up after them. Why didn't they wash their own clothes and cook their own soup? I thought she was pretty and I liked her. That and the little talk Eddie and his father always had about this or that on the beach at the end of each show was my favorite thing about it.
In other Bill Bixby news, after Judi Bari died slowly, over years, of complications of being car-bombed and cancer, many people were writing in the Anderson Valley Advertiser about who might have bombed her. I wrote a funny story titled Who Bombed Bill Bixby. That was before newspapers had web pages, so I can't just click on something and find it again. I'd like to see it, if you have the issue of the paper with that one in it. A picture of it would be good enough.
And I didn't know starling birds could do this. So nice. Of course crows and ravens can. If you have popcorn and a little patience you can make friends with all the crows in the neighborhood and teach them all kinds of things to do as well as say. In France a few years ago they taught crows and ravens to find coins all over a big city and put them in a vending machine in exchange for treats. And the birds invented on their own a way to crack nuts open by putting them in the street for a car to roll over them and then they wait till it's safe and go get the nut meat. They do it at a stop light.
*Email your written work on any subject and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air on KNYO.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
AVATAR MAKES US LONG TO BE NA’VI, While Dooming Us To Remain Murderous Humans
by Jonathan Cook
Watching Avatar 2: The Way of Water, I was reminded that there is nothing new under the sun, ours or Pandora’s. James Cameron’s three hour-plus epic tells us little more than The Tables Turned, a short poem written more than 200 years earlier by William Wordsworth. One verse observes:
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:-
We murder to dissect.
Another points out:
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
But while Cameron and Wordsworth share a pressing concern that we are losing our connection to – murdering – Nature, including our own natures, their visions differ on what it is to actually be a modern human.
With two centuries of additional historical experience to draw on, Cameron’s view is much bleaker than Wordsworth’s.
On Pandora, humans don’t just murder through their compulsion to understand and master their surroundings (Wordsworth’s “dissection”). They murder to make money, they murder in the pursuit of vanity, they murder simply because they can. Power has no higher purpose than its own self-promotion.
Wordsworth’s Romanticism did not halt, or even temper, the Industrial Revolution’s appetite for material dissection: the relentless ransacking of the planet’s resources, the prioritisation of endless economic growth over everything else, the promotion of a hollow rationalism that stripped out the wonder, the spiritualism that had been at the core of human existence even before mankind emerged from the cave.
There is no evidence that Cameron’s Avatars, 1 or 2, will have any greater effect on rethinking our relationship with Nature two centuries on, or end our slash-and-burn approach to our planet. We have gained no greater insight, even as the harm we have inflicted on the environment, and science’s ability to measure that harm, have grown exponentially.
In Avatar, the diseased intellects that have turned Earth into a dying shell send their forward-party spaceships to Pandora with exactly the same diseased agenda of domination and pillage. It is clear that no lessons have been learnt, and that, with humans in charge, Pandora’s fate will be identical to Earth’s.
It is not just the military – represented by the crew-cut, machine-like Col Miles Quaritch – that kills eveything it touches on Pandora. It is business leaders, bureaucrats and scientists.
Cameron’s metaphors are not subtle. The peaceable whale-creatures that inhabit Pandora’s oceans are more intelligent and creative than the “Sky People”, the human invaders. But lacking the humans’ offensive technical capabilities, they are freely hunted for a highly profitable brain extract that can end the natural ageing process. Once looted of this elixir, the whales’ giant carcasses are left to rot on the high seas.
Pandora’s indigenous Na’vi understand what has been lost. They can couple with the whales, not sexually, but through fibres in their hair that bond both parties into a spiritual communion in which they share language, songs, emotion, a sense of unity and family.
The Na’vi can conjoin with all the animals and plants around them. These connections give them a direct pathway to a planetary conciousness, a oneness, that reminds them of their dependency on the integrity of the whole.
Cameron is not, of course, inventing the wheel. He draws on the ancient wisdom of the remnants of indigenous peoples – the survivors of the White Man’s conquests – on our own dying planet, a wisdom we now either mock or exoticise.
Had this sense of oneness remained intact, had we still an awe for Nature, Cameron implies, humans might have evolved to be more like the Na’vi – as they might have too had they listened to Wordsworth all those many years ago. If we had stopped murdering and dissecting, if we had looked inwards rather than so resolutely, so aggressively outwards, we might live in a Pandora rather than in the last stages of the Anthropocene.
The huge popularity of both Wordsworth and the Avatar franchise – and their impact in their respective eras on the popular imagination – indicate something significant. That inside us, in the places where we so rarely look, we understand intuitively that Nature needs, demands our reverence. The message resonates with us because, without such reverence, we are empty vessels, living in a godless, competitive, materialist world created in the image of our own belligerent rationalism.
But here is the point. If we recognise the truth of Wordsworth’s injunction to value a direct connection with Nature more than its depiction and representation in books, or Cameron’s admonition to stop plundering and exploiting Nature as though it is something divorced from us rather than integral to our survival as a species, why do we carry on as before? Why are we so averse to change?
Let us put aside the problems with Avatar for the moment. The fact that the film preaches a oneness with Nature even as it bolsters the very same corporate structures that are killing the planet. The fact that it fetishises military solutions for the Na’vi – even a peaceable whale gets recruited as a battering ram – as it claims to be denouncing Col Quaritch’s militarism.
In our culture, even a film warning that Nature should not be instrumentalised is required to instrumentalise Nature, to earn the big bucks needed to keep its director and producers in the business of making more Hollywood films.
But still, why are we so impervious to the central message: of the need for humility, for respect towards that which transcends us, that which completes us?
Here lies the conundrum. As we watch Avatar, we identify not as human but as Na’vi. We know the indigenous people are right about the threat humans pose, and the necessity of fighting these interlopers to the death or face Pandora’s destruction. We know these humans only too well because they are us.
By extension, we should understand that humans – we – pose the same threat to our own planet, Earth. Through the eyes of the Na’vi, we should be able to see ourselves for what we have become: a virus contaminating and killing everything of value in our path.
And yet clearly we cannot do so. The awareness dies as soon as we emerge from the cinema into the light. Our Na’vi eyes close, and our murderous human eyes are restored.
Out of the cinema, we return to our “normal” lives, to being a small, unthinking cog in the giant machine of human civilisation that pillages the planet, pollutes its air and water, decimates its forests, kills its insects, meddles with its climate.
We go back to poisoning our home world just like the humans in Avatar did, before they were forced to send spaceships to colonise a second planet. Except that last bit is just a sci-fi story. There is no second planet, no second chance.
The paradox is that we identify with the Na’vi because they have what we have lost: they have community and tradition, they share, they believe, they belong.
But we cannot really become Na’vi, outside of our immersion in a cinematic event, because we have been persuaded generation by generation that we are nothing more than individuals. There is no society, Nature is there to be tamed and exploited, there is no higher purpose than profit, there is no meaning beyond our selfish whims, our own self-aggrandisement.
Knowing something to be true with our minds is not the same as understanding its truth, feeling its truth. Which is why in our supremely interconnected digital worlds, with platforms providing infinite possibilities for virtual exchange, we have become so alone, so lost.
Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.
Our new ethereal, soundbite “books” of instant information, easy opinion and even easier outrage are a haven for misinformation and manipulation – chiefly from our own governments but also from the terminal cynics sure everything is a plot and a deception, from disease to environmental collapse.
Without community, without common purpose, without a connection to the fixed wisdom of Nature, we are adrift. We are buffeted by the lies power wields to keep us compliant, and the kneejerk reactions of those who sense the lies but have no yardstick of truth to gauge the reality that has been obscured.
If we can learn anything from Avatar, it is this: We long to be Na’vi but are doomed to be Col Quaritch. Cameron’s film, as Wordsworth warned two centuries ago, is just another dull, strife-filled book – a representation of Nature, not Nature itself. Avatar points us towards the path of redemption, only to slam shut the door that could lead us there.
A STARTLING DISCOVERY: A PAINTING HAD BEEN HUNG UPSIDE-DOWN FOR 75 YEARS!
…Flipping the composition would mean that the tight grouping of lines traditionally found at the bottom was really meant to be at the top—matching the orientation of a very similar work, New York City (1942), held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris…
The curator considers the wrong hanging to be just part of its long history. “Perhaps there is no right or wrong alignment at all?” she suggested to Germany’s Monopol Magazine.
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, 31 DECEMBER
Aerial bombardments killed at least one person and partly destroyed a hotel in the capital, Kyiv. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia vowed to continue the war, calling it a “sacred duty.”
At least one person is dead in Kyiv, with damage reported in other cities.
After repeated setbacks, Putin uses a speech to try to rally his countrymen.
Zelensky, a passionate speaker, will address the country in a New Year’s Eve speech.
Zelensky’s New Year’s Eve addresses have a strong following among Ukrainians.
Germany’s chancellor says 2022 was a year of war, but also one of unity.
In a battered Ukrainian city, workers are battling winter, not the Russians.
Critics say a new media law signed by Zelensky could restrict press freedom in Ukraine.
WHAT MADE CAMILLA HALL, A NICE MIDWESTERN GIRL, JOIN THE SYMBIONESE LIBERATION ARMY?
by Todd Farley
When Symbionese Liberation Army member and Patty Hearst co-kidnapper Camilla Hall was gunned down by the LAPD in 1974, newspapers described the blond Midwestern girl as “homely” or “manly.” Unflattering or not, there was something unusual about Hall’s appearance.
In fact, two witnesses who saw the pale Camilla acting suspiciously on the moonlit night of Hearst’s kidnapping would later describe her to Los Angeles cops as an “albino male.”
Perhaps even more baffling was Hall’s motivation to leave behind her innocent politicking in Minnesota to join the SLA, the first organization characterized by the U.S. government as “domestic terrorists.”
As Rachael Hanel asks in her book “Not The Camilla We Knew: One Woman’s Path From Small-Town America To The Symbionese Liberation Army” (University of Minnesota Press), how did a “soft Minnesota girl, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, become a revolutionary?”
In the mid-1950s, the Halls were a family of do-gooders. Camilla’s father was a minister and his wife a stay-at-home mom, the two always working to aid their congregation and community. The four Hall children shared that philanthropic bent, with Camilla handing out books, clothes and supplies to needy natives when her father did missionary work in Africa.
In high school in Minnesota, Camilla was an arty, popular student. She provided comic relief in school plays and in 1963 was voted “class clown” by the seniors. Hall charmed her fellow students at the University of Minnesota, too, performing on her ukulele whimsical songs she’d written.
“I just got a kick out of Camilla,” one roommate said.
After college Camilla worked to make the world a better place. She took a job with the welfare department in northeast Minnesota, helping single mothers and the poor, and started becoming political. In 1968 she supported Eugene McCarthy for president because he was the only candidate against the Vietnam War. She organized labor unions and led grape boycotts in support of Cesar Chavez.
Although a political activist, Camilla still didn’t approve of the carnage that occurred at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
“She wasn’t into gun violence, just get-up-and-shout violence,” Hanel writes.
Camilla relocated to Los Angeles in 1970 and sold artwork (she made cheeky line drawings), but by 1971 she’d moved to Berkeley. There she became lovers with a neighbor, Patty Soltysik, whose vague political ideas included “banding together with others to resist the system.”
After Hall’s death, much was made of Camilla’s relationship with Soltysik, as if that homosexual affair was her motivation to take up kidnapping and murder. “It’s an easy narrative that makes for eye-catching headlines, a lurid ‘lesbian love’ pulp storyline for the 1970s,” Hanel writes.
Soltysik was at least partly responsible for Camilla joining the Symbionese Liberation Army. The couple had parted ways in 1972 but reconnected in 1973, though only platonically — Soltysik no longer wanted a sexual relationship with Hall. But Camilla found herself swept up in Soltysik’s increasingly radical politics, eventually joining the SLA and supporting its stated purpose: “By the right of our children and people and by Force of Arms and with every drop of our blood, Declare Revolutionary War against The Fascist Capitalist Class, and all their agents of murder, oppression, and exploitation.”
But even though she joined, Camilla doubted the SLA would have any real effect. After the Patty Hearst kidnapping, a friend said to Camilla it was a “useless, ridiculous tactic” and “not the way to change the world.” Camilla didn’t refute her — in fact, she agreed.
Still, during her time in the SLA Camilla bought herself a .380 Mauser pistol and acted as lookout during the Hearst kidnapping. She may not have been involved in the SLA’s first major attack — the 1973 assassination of San Francisco school superintendent, Marcus Foster — but she was an armed participant in the 1974 robbery of San Francisco’s Hibernia Bank. Two innocent bystanders were shot and wounded during that theft.
With the SLA’s continuing sensational crime spree on the West Coast and its militant screeds sent to local media outlets, the FBI was on the case. Eventually, six members of the group – more than half of the organization — were discovered at a “safe house” in South Central Los Angeles on May 17, 1974. Apparently, the SLA always wanted to die in their quixotic quest, believing that sacrifice would give their movement credence. The Los Angeles Police Department and FBI were happy to accommodate them.
With more than 400 LAPD members and dozens of FBI agents surrounding the house, Camilla Hall came out the front door with guns blazing. She was killed instantly with a bullet to the forehead, followed quickly by her comrades.
While the mystery of why Camilla Hall would end up in such a fruitless endeavor was never definitively proven, one of Hall’s friends had a theory. Although one of four children growing up, by the time she was a senior in high school, Camilla was the only one left: Her two brothers and one sister all died of genetic kidney problems. The friend said Camilla had begun suffering similar symptoms in Berkeley, and Camilla might’ve foreseen that her medical issues were leading to an early grave.
Could it be that Camilla Hall joined the SLA to go out in a blaze of glory, via suicide by cops? As one child psychologist said, siblings of dead children often have suicidal thoughts or an obsession with early death.
As Hanel writes, “Sadness, and anger born out of that sadness, will always emerge.”
(New York Post)