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NORTHERLY WINDS WILL REMAIN GUSTY over the next couple of days, particularly along the near coast and coastal ridges. Winds ease into Tuesday. Temperatures will continue a warming trend through late this week, while the dry weather pattern is expected to persist for several days. (NWS)
by Nancy MacLeod
On Dec 29, 2022, Bill Allen and I were driving home from our Christmas gathering with my family in southern California. We were on a straight stretch of Highway 128, only half an hour from home. I was driving along watching the road in front of me coming at me between my hands, when suddenly instead of pavement, I saw trees coming at me. Bill yelled, “Nancy, watch out!” or something like that. I tried to brake and steer away from the trees, but it was all mud, and we just slid along. The next second, trees stopped us.
The lights were still on, the windshield wipers were still on, and the engine was still running. I turned off the wipers, the lights and the engine. Then I realized that my window was still closed — it was not broken. I thought I might need to crawl out of it, so I turned the engine back on and opened the window, then turned the engine off again. I picked up my purse which was right next to me, got my phone out, and called 911. I said we’d gone off the road somewhere between Boonville and Philo, on Highway 128. (I may have been confused and said 253 at first, perhaps that’s why they looked for us at the wrong place first.) My purse is large, with a large open top — nothing had fallen out of it. At this point I thought Bill was fine, since I felt unhurt; then I saw he was hunched over toward me. There was no blood, but he was obviously hurting and unconscious. I put my hand under his head to hold it up and kept yelling at him to keep breathing!
I stayed on the phone and holding his head up until someone came. There was pale pink mucus coming out his nose. When people finally came, they couldn’t get him out the opening in the doorway. His knees were crammed right up against the dashboard, and I was worried they would be quite hurt. They said maybe they’d have to go get the “Jaws of Life,” but I said, “There’s a lever just by the side of the seat that will make the seat-back go down,” so they pulled it, and sure enough, the seat back leaned back, and now they could get him out and on to the stretcher. I climbed out after him, clutching my purse, and grabbed his beautiful suede jacket that Olivia had given him.
I walked up a little slope where the paramedics put down a big red tarp, which I then sat down on. I saw that the lumber rack with the car carrier still attached had been thrown clear of the truck and was laying maybe 20 feet to the right of it.
The paramedics and everyone were so kind and sweet, and I was very, very grateful. They told me Bill had a serious head injury, and they wanted to airlift him to Santa Rosa (they may have said “Ukiah,” but I heard Santa Rosa) but they couldn’t, because the visibility was so bad.
They brought him to an ambulance to take him to Ukiah. Meanwhile, they did a quick assessment to my well-being, then took me over to another ambulance. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into it, but Antoinette said, “You’ve just been in a very bad accident, and I really think you should go to the hospital.” I said, “But how will I get home?” She said, “we’ll get you a taxi; but how would you get home from here anyway?” I said, “Good point!” and went into the ambulance. Thom talked to me all the way to the hospital very kindly, and made sure I was okay, and not getting too car-sick. Really, the two of them were angels!
At the hospital they checked me out, X-rayed me, even did a cat scan. They said that if one person in an accident has brain damage, they check out the others in the car to be sure they don’t as well. The x-rays showed that I had two cracked ribs. My right wrist was slightly bruised and swollen. I had no other injuries.
I have since learned that my injuries, including the hurt wrist, are consistent with injuries sustained — especially in women — when an airbag is deployed. I hadn’t been able to figure out what had caused my injuries, so this explanation makes perfect sense. I heard someone saying that Bill wasn’t too happy to have his clothes cut off him, so I guess at that point he wasn’t in a coma. They observed me for a few hours, and released me about 10:00. Bill was in a room right next to mine, and they invited me to see Bill right before I left; he was on a gurney ready to be airlifted to Santa Rosa, where there is a much more sophisticated brain trauma center. Obviously the weather had cleared up by then.
When I was asked what happened, I really had no idea how I had gotten off the road, and said maybe I shut my eyes for a second or something. I was asked right away if any other cars had been involved, and I gave an emphatic “no,” even though I saw tail lights going to the left and front of me. I knew I did not hit another car. In thinking more about it, however, I don’t believe I ever lost consciousness before, during or after.
Some people have suggested that I hydroplaned. Others have suggested that maybe I had a blowout, but I never heard anything or felt anything that I think could be consistent with a blowout. Instead it was smooth and slidey, like it has felt a couple of times when we’ve been stuck in the mud before, trying to drive on a muddy un-rocked road by our house. Braking and steering made absolutely no difference in both cases. If the tail lights I saw had belonged to a car that had just passed me, the extra wind and water it threw up could have contributed to my going over. But regardless, I was driving, and somehow got us off the roadbed, and into a slide downhill, where the center of the truck hit a tree, and seriously injured the love of my life.
The next day I drove to the tow-yard to see the truck carcass. Some people have suggested that it flipped over, but I am certain that it did not. The inside of the driver’s compartment was not compromised at all, including the roof, and I never felt it turn over, as well as the fact that nothing fell out of my purse. The tow-truck driver said that people (if conscious) always know if they flipped.
Looking at the damaged truck, the accident site, and my own experience inside it, it becomes quite clear that it did not flip over. What does become clear, as related to me by the tow driver and two people who talked to him at the towing site while observing the carcass, as well as their observation of the site of the accident, is that the truck slid off the road and into a tree that hit the side of the truck, smashing into the back door right behind Bill; that impact sent its path into a stand of small trees that were able to stop the movement. Thus the inside of the cab where I was, was not in the least crushed. nor was the driver’s side window broken, as I stated before, and that it was still quite operable. The driver’s side door was dented on the outside where the trees stopped it, but it was not crushed. The lumber rack and car carrier had flown off. (20 years ago when we got the truck and the rack, the rack was just set into the truck, not bolted in.) The tow driver got our suitcases out of the carrier and put them in his truck cab, so they would stop getting wet. There were five metal garden chairs and a wicker chair tied onto the bed; only one metal chair was bent and is unable to be used. The others, including the wicker, were fine. (My sister and her husband took them off the truck.) This would not have been possible if it had flipped.
The bed of the truck looks really bad in the photo, but a great deal of that is because the clean-up team scooped up the lumber rack and pieces of car carrier, wood from a chest we were carrying, other plastic debris from boxes we’d had in the truck, as well as the tailgate that had probably flown off with the impact into the tree, and put it all onto the metal chairs, and tied it all together with ratchet straps. There is an imprint of the tree we first hit on the door behind Bill’s door. That door was completely destroyed, the computer packed right inside of it was completely destroyed, and clearly this is how Bill was hurt.
We had just gone to the grocery store in Santa Rosa. Six or seven bags of food were in the backseat behind the driver’s side, as well as my boots which were completely unscathed, and a box of a dozen eggs, only TWO were broken!
I have to say this really surprised me! Most of the rest of the food was fine, except for corn chips. A few of the cans flew out of the truck through the passenger side door, as that was the only exit. (I just realized that a can could have hit Bill as well!) Even a delicate ‘papier mache’ dragon mask that our niece made Bill for Christmas was barely damaged; a little paint and it will look like new. I say all this as evidence that the truck never rolled over.
Only Bill, the most valuable victim, was badly injured. No broken bones except his right clavicle and a small crack in the back of his skull that the doctors are not worried about; even his knees that I had been so worried about being hurt are fine. No broken neck, a huge relief. His right arm and shoulder were badly bruised.
But the awful part of his injuries is that his brain was seriously shaken. He has been in a coma now for more than three weeks. Cat scans show improvement; the MRI shows that there was only a very small amount of frontal lobe damage, no brainstem damage, very little axonal damage. In short, nowhere near the damage the doctors were expecting to see. So they are flummoxed as to why he hasn’t woken up yet.
Olivia dropped everything immediately and came to be with us at the ICU in Santa Rosa, a tremendous support! We have been playing him his favorite music: body-healing frequencies, which sounds like that old show “Hearts of Space” that we listened to in the 80’s, Mozart, Eric Satie; we recite the Great Invocation, have a hand card under his hand, talk lovingly and positively to him, and of course, pray.
I think he just needs more time to rest and heal from this horrifying and traumatic experience! My sister and her husband also dropped everything immediately and came to help. Olivia and I were in the ICU all day every day except one. At first we spent the nights in there with him, but through the generosity and kindness of two of Bill’s old friends, and my sister and her family, we were able to stay in a BnB where we have been able to get much better rest. Other friends and neighbors have been keeping our cats happy, and home safe. Betsy and Charles had to do quite a job to fix a breach in some of our doors during the storms.
Bill has had some small improvements nearly every day the past week in the ICU. He is breathing on his own most of the time now, his lungs are good; two weeks in, he has finally opened his eyes some. To quote from one of his favorite movies, “Small steps, Sparks, small steps.”
On January 16, he was well enough to be out of the ICU, and moved to another facility in Kentfield, where he is given physical therapy. Breathing on his own, but with a Trache to help a little, and to aid in coughing up phlegm in the lungs, he is still in a coma; there are many levels of “coma.” He sometimes turns his head my way and opens his eyes when I talk to him. But he is far from “awake.” Getting there though! Yesterday he opened his eyes more, seemed to smile at me, and mouthed, “Hi” to the physical therapist. He has a long ways to go, but he will get well! Thank you all so much for your prayers and healing thoughts and love!
ARMED MEN ROB FIFTY POUNDS OF MARIJUANA FROM WILLITS CANNABUSINESS
Mendocino County law enforcement was on the hunt Sunday afternoon for five men suspected of committing an armed robbery of a Willits cannabis business making off with fifty pounds of bud…
CREEKSIDE CABINS, WILLITS, DECLARED HEALTH HAZARD, an on-line comment:
They can stay there at their own risk. At some point most likely PG&E will be discontinued to the side as well with the red tag status. Once you’re out there with no access. No water. Inability to get propane. Problems with trash and garbage pile up and how do you dispose of that with no access? Well water that’s no good and if there’s no electricity there’s not going to be any hot water in the showers or water to flush the toilet in the communal shower. I really don’t think that Thurman could charge you to stay at that point. Similar to camping out in the woods . May the powers that be use this as proactive time to address other slumlord properties. There are many renters charging full price rent even on HUD certificates the places are moldy, leaky, in horrible repair. Yet it’s better than being homeless. Code enforcement rarely does anything about moldy homes or things that are just rotting into the ground. We need about 600 more units of low income housing in the area that is income based. Not ones that have the high cap on there rent, the ones that can have low to free rent. Give us 150 over in Fort Bragg. 150 in Ukiah and Covelo. 100 in Willits and 100 in Hopland. There’s a lot of grants out there for this kind of stuff so let’s start looking and get this situation under control. Do something for the longer term instead of temporary Band-Aids that cost more than entire permanent projects. Could they clear the Creekside site and build a nice apartment complex in there for low-income families people who like to live out by the forest that could be a great solution for everyone might take a couple years but invite the tenants that had to leave to come back in if they’re still needing shelter.
NEW CIVIL SUIT Accuses Disgraced Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray of Repeatedly Raping His Fiancée’s Friend
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE: List of Events
OPEN IT UP
Extremely Low Adoption Rate at Ukiah Dog Shelter…
It's way past time, to open up the doors of the Ukiah Dog Shelter again, to the community, to the people it belongs to. Closed, by appt only? So dogs can get plenty of sleep? They can get more sleep than they ever dreamed, after getting adopted into a new home. What happened to the days, when people could just drop by, anytime, with the kids, friends, family, grandparents...always welcomed, by a great, friendly staff, of incredible volunteers ...spur of the moment, when they finally had some time to stop by and browse all the latest dogs and cats. 9 times out of 10, they'd drive home with a wonderful new family member. Instead, people are turned away when they show up at the Ukiah Shelter, with hopes of finally finding that perfect dog they've been waiting for. Out of towners and tourists, potential adopters, passing through, see the ''Animal Shelter'' sign, on the corner of Plant Road and think, ''Wow! A shelter! Lets go see the dogs!''... but are sadly turned away at the doors, unexpectedly, to what could have been a great drive home, with the happiest, best dog they've ever had in their life. Another potential adoption, lost that day... a new home, again denied, to a dog or lonely cat.... ''The dogs are sleeping.
They need 16 hrs a day. Make an appt.'' There goes another possible wonderful match, for a dog or cat or kittens, into what could have been the perfect home. Used to be you could drive in anytime, lots of people and happy, hopping kids everywhere, looking at dogs. Friendly staff everywhere, encouraging people that are showing interest in a dog, to take it outside for a walk, passing out leashes, hoping they'll adopt...
Most times, you walked back in with that dog, eager to sign the papers and drive home with a wonderful new addition to your life. You just happened to find 'her' that day, because the shelter was open, bustling with happy people, hoping to adopt. The happy staff were always so welcoming back then, when people stopped in anytime, to see all the animals, making it easy for everyone, to spend time with a dog or cat, or a bunny, that they'd just fallen in love with... (who makes an appt to see a bunny? How much sleep do they need?) ...
Used to be a great place to visit. You could just stop in anytime. Now, you can actually be banned for life, from adopting at the Ukiah Shelter, if you miss too many appts or cancel too often. Then, the friends and family of those that have been banned, refuse to go to the Ukiah Shelter ever again to adopt, out of support and protest, for their friend or family member, that was banned. Who ever heard of such a thing? People are sitting around on weekends, wishing they could go to the 'Ukiah Shelter, with the kids, or friends, or stop by on the way home, spur of the moment, when they finally had some time and browse the animals, ready, willing and able, to adopt ...but it's closed.
The fabulouS ''Redwood Valley Shelter'', is open for all...they make a point to let everyone know, on their website... ''NO APPT NECESSARY!'' ...As if they agree, it's wrong to keep those beautiful Ukiah dogs, closed off from so many potential daily adopters, just dropping in...sadly, they don't seem to have any power, to change the rules at the 'Ukiah Shelter' and get it open again for the people, that it belongs to.... Like the 'petaluma dog shelter' on hopper rd... open 7 days a week! for it's community, til six o'clock... every night!
Those staff at the Petaluma Shelter, are endlessly dedicated, to doing everything they possibly can, to give those dogs every chance to get adopted, to a beautiful, loving home. They are wonderful staff, with phenomenal adoption rates. Ukiah Shelter is always jammed full, at the end of every year, begging people to adopt, to help them, slashing prices, giving dogs away free, threatening euthanasia, all because they impeed potentially wonderful adoptions, every day, because they want the dogs to get their 'daily recommended dose of sleep'. That's why the doors are shut?
The amazing 'Ukiah Shelter' volunteers, put SO much time and work, into these beautiful dogs, training them, cleaning, walking them, building their trust, preparing them for adoption into your beautiful homes... They deserve to have those doors opened up again, every day, seven days a week, for the people of Ukiah to come meet the dogs they've worked SO long and hard with, who are ready and eager to adopt, like the 'Petaluma Shelter' and others, throughout the country, open 7 days a week... because the priority is adoption, not sleep.
FUEL FOR THOUGHT (Coast Chatline)
Jean wrote: Comparing propane to natural gas — per therm/BTU? Per gallon?
* * *
Marco McLean here. Propane has more than twice the energy density of natural gas. But a lot of energy is used separating propane from natural gas and from oil. And I can't easily find an answer about /how much/ is used, or how bad that process is in pollution and energy waste, nor about what they do with what's left behind after they get the propane out of natural gas and oil. Maybe they make plastic out of it, or chemical fertilizer, or men's cologne.
About another fuel: I've been using a lot of gasoline lately getting Juanita to work and back while her car is in the shop, and going the same route every day. I've noticed that something I suspected for years is actually a thing: When I get gas at Costco, my car gets poorer mileage than when I get it at the Speedway Express station for ten cents more per gallon. It's 43 mpg versus 45 mpg, and currently $4.09 per gallon versus $4.19. Which results in the exact same price per mile: eleven cents.
I think the difference in performance might be from the Costco gas having more alcohol in it. All the refiners add it anymore, but some add more than others. Alcohol has less chemical energy than gasoline. A great deal of energy and water and crop lands and materials are used growing corn and turning it into alcohol to add to gasoline. Considering that, growing corn for fuel may be worse for the environment than just making fuel from oil sucked up of the ground. And alcohol in gasoline can be bad for car motors, depending on the car, and depending on where you live and even on how long you let your car rest between drives. Worst case: too much alcohol in the gasoline in an older car sitting idle for long periods in a moist environment can ruin the motor. Best case: a little alcohol in the gasoline in a newer car driven every day in a dry environment gets you fewer miles per gallon. Either way, the main effect is to give giant corporations of corn farms, such as Archer Daniels Midland, steady income even if the corn flakes market is on a roller coaster, and they can spare a trickle of that money to greenwash themselves by advertising on NPR radio stations.
Here's a link to an article just about the car part of that: https://www.bellperformance.com/blog/the-major-differences-between-ethanol-and-gasoline
Speaking of NPR radio stations: If KZYX's figurehead manager/CEO Marty Durlin were to accept just a 15 percent cut in pay from her $60,000 a year, the freed-up $9000 would pay the entire electric bill to keep all their studios lit up and all their equipment on and all their transmitters pumping, including the main one. It would be a straight-across trade. If recently fired program director Alicia Bales was being paid $40,000 a year to pretend to direct the programs, dragging out the process of hiring a replacement would pay for all the rent on all the buildings, and maybe tower fees, too, and phones and internet. And the local airpeople will still be showing up and doing their shows, such as they are, for free, the way they have been since before the Berlin Wall fell. And the place would still be somehow flushing more than half a million dollars of mostly tax-derived grant money and rich families' hush money though its various mysterious bookkeeping tubes every year, and the upheaval would amount to a blip.
Meanwhile KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, which gets no government grant money, and whose management works for free and whose airpeople direct their (our) own programs, has just had the massive blow of its radio tower being destroyed by the recent storms and needs money to bring it back up to its full height and tiny but brave full power. One way to help KNYO and real radio would be to go to KNYO.org, click on the Donate Heart and see what happens inside your own heart. Another way would be via the gofundme page dedicated specifically to the tower project: https://tinyurl.com/NewTowerForKNYO
Also, I played Alicia's announcement of her new news podcast on my show on KNYO last Friday, and it occurred to me to invite Alicia to have a regular timeslot there for her radio work. Many of the airpeople on KNYO do shows from their own studios. When I'm at Juanita's place, I do my whole show from a typing table. Cheap computer, microphone, small mixing board, reading easel and internet service, that's all you need. It's easy and fun. Alicia, contact Bob Young via email@example.com.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, January 21, 2023
MICHAEL DOMANOWSKI, Ukiah. More than an ounce of pot.
JASMIN GONZALEZ, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
HUGO HERNANDEZ-BUDAR, Ukiah. DUI.
JOSHUA LEONARD, Willits. Battery with serious bodily injury, robbery, vandalism, criminal threats, damaging communications device, escape attempt, resisting.
GROWING OLD UNGRACEFULLY: My Mexico
by Barry Evans
As a gringo here in the middle of Mexico, I notice things that I assume mexicanos take for granted…
WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN?
When does life begin? When a human being can breathe? When a human being can function independently? When another person says it does?
In California, under Proposition 1, which was passed by the voters in November, abortion is legal up to the time of fetal viability (24 weeks) but also after viability if the procedure is necessary to protect the life or “health” of the mother. Advocates of Proposition 1 feared that future legislatures or federal or state courts would try to restrict broad access to abortion. Proposition 1 prevents any restriction to access to abortion by creating a constitutional right to an abortion.
Proposition 1 basically meant that the death of one individual is decided by another individual. In fact, there is nothing in Proposition 1 that stops anyone from ending an unborn life right up to birth. Proposition 1 amended the California constitution by preventing the legislature and future legislatures from placing reasonable limits on abortion.
Since 1973, the official number of abortions in the United States is over 60 million. Please note that over 60% of abortions are performed on women of color. Abortion is a form of eugenics where others decide which lives are worth living. When human life is not held sacrosanct, every kind of abuse will occur.
Chairman, Sonoma County Republican Party
LESS BROCK PURDY MAGIC, BUT 49ERS MADE MORE THAN ENOUGH TO PUT COWBOYS AWAY
by Scott Ostler
The San Francisco 49ers ’ season just might be a Disney movie being filmed in real time, after all.
The fantasy continued Sunday at Levi’s Stadium, where the 49ers got their act together in the second half to beat the dreaded Dallas Cowboys, 19-12, and advance to next Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia.
The toughest part of the day for the 49ers might have been their fans’ commute. Pregame traffic was snarled and gummed up worse than any time in team history, with cars taking up to 90 minutes to creep the mile from the freeway to the parking lots.
But the fans got there, and they got a hell of a show for their money.
Reality may set in eventually, but for now, the 49ers are living the dream. Twelve wins in a row for the 49ers, who opened the season 3-4 and were running out of quarterbacks and hope.
The 49ers have found they lucked into Brock Purdy after their first two quarterbacks were KO’d for the season, and they lucked into Christian McCaffrey via trade, but that’s not to say they have been lucky. Sunday’s win, a defensive struggle against one of the league’s stoutest defensive teams, once again showed the 49ers’ true grit. The story of Purdy, their rookie quarterback from nowhere, is the surprise of the season in the NFL, but it tends to obscure the reality that the 49ers might be the baddest dudes in pads.
So intimidating is the 49ers’ defense that it may have frightened the Cowboys into surrendering their best chance to win Sunday. The game was 9-9 midway through the third quarter, the Cowboys had 4th-and-5 at the 49ers’ 40-yard line, they were moving the ball — but coach Mike McCarthy elected to punt.
The 49ers turned the ensuing possession into a 91-yard touchdown march and a 16-9 lead.
Then the bad boy 49ers really went to work. The defense held the Cowboys to a field goal, then the offense marched another clock-killing 75 yards to add another field goal and a 19-12 lead.
For all their cuteness, with Purdy magically executing Kyle Shanahan ’s creative playbook, the 49ers are bad to the bone. They are a running team at heart, and the goal of a running team is to wear down the opponents. That takes time. At halftime, the 49ers had run the ball 11 times for a grand total of 27 yards. The Cowboys, no sir and ma’m, are not wimpy.
But the Cowboys did wear down. On the 49ers’ fourth-quarter TD drive, they got their running game going, with runs of 7, 5, 8, 6, 2, 8 and 2. The Cowboys couldn’t key solely on the run, either, with Purdy connecting on passes of 29, 9 and 11 yards in that drive. The 29-yarder was into the heart of the Cowboys’ defense, George Kittle tipping the ball into the air, slapping it off his helmet, and finally snatching it to move the ball to midfield.
Hey, there is always magic involved in a run like the 49ers are on.
But here’s what the 49ers proved to themselves Sunday: They can play kick-ass defense as well as any team in football, and they can move the ball against a great defense, even when magical Brock Purdy is having a more ordinary day.
Purdy went 19-for-29 on his passes for 214 yards, easily his least impressive performance since he took over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. But in the second half, Purdy was 12-18 for 147 yards. And it’s also about what he did not do Sunday: Throw an interception.
Some might see Purdy as a game manager, but in the second half, to the Cowboys, he was a game mangler. With the world waiting for him to hit the reality wall and wilt under the pressure, Purdy stood tall and easily outplayed his veteran counterpart, Dak Prescott, who was coming off a huge performance the previous week, but threw two big picks and finished with a 63.6 passer rating.
The 49ers were smart, efficient and bad to the bone. Nick Bosa will probably be named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, but once again linebacker Fred Warner showed it’s not clear who is the best defensive player on this team.
The 49es are more than one thing: They are cool. Icy. That could work well in chilly Philly.
THE STAGE IS SET FOR THE NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
by Mike Jones
The AFC will feature the Kansas City Chiefs against the Cincinnati Bengals, while the NFC will come down to the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia).
How the Eagles got here: Regular-season record: 14-3. Wild-card round: Bye as NFC’s No. 1 seed. Divisional round: Beat the Giants 38-7.
How the 49ers got here: Regular-season record: 13-4. Wild-card round: Beat Seattle 41-23. Divisional round: Beat Dallas 19-12.
Key storylines for Eagles: Jalen Hurts has been the breakout player of the year, and he looks to continue his impressive campaign by leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Hurts’ importance to Philly’s success was never more clear than in the final weeks of the season, when a shoulder injury sidelined him and his team went 0-2 in his absence. He returned for the regular-season finale and got the Eagles back on track, and then delivered an impressive performance against the Giants on Saturday. … The Eagles offense is loaded with talent. Wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith each have recorded 1,000-plus-yard campaigns, and running back Miles Sanders topped the 1,000-yard mark as a rusher. … Philadelphia’s defense also plays a large role in this success. Haason Reddick, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat, who all recorded double-digit sack campaigns, anchor a unit that ranks among the best in the league.
Key storylines for 49ers: It’s hard to find a more well-rounded, battle-tested football team than the 49ers. No stranger to adversity, San Francisco has overcome the loss of two starting quarterbacks and in-season injuries to key veteran contributors but never flinched, closing out the regular season with 10 straight wins. Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy is playing like a seasoned veteran while distributing the ball to a star-studded cast led by Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. … DeMeco Ryans’ defense is one of the best in the league and has provided the backing needed to ease pressure on the offense and the 49ers’ young quarterback. … Kyle Shanahan has his team in the conference championship game for the third time in the last four years and aims to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since February 2020, when he and the 49ers fell short against Kansas City.
How the Eagles beat the 49ers: With the same well-rounded approach that has carried them all season, with Hurts executing as one of the most efficient passers while connecting with his dynamic receivers and reliable tight end Dallas Goedert. With a commitment to balance, with Sanders and Hurts leading the way. With an aggressive defensive front and complementary stingy secondary. NFL coaches and scouts call the Eagles the most complete team in the league. If they can keep pressure on the 49ers defense by attacking with balance and versatility, and get after the Purdy and force him into mistakes, the victory is theirs.
How the 49ers beat the Eagles: The Washington Commanders provided a blueprint for success in a 32-21 win over Philadelphia in Week 10. It starts with a patient and punishing rushing attack to keep those aggressive pass rushers from coming after the quarterback. Philadelphia gave up an average of 121 rushing yards per game, so the 49ers will likely try to exploit this weakness. Purdy continues to execute the 49ers offense at a high level and on Sunday improved to 7-0 as a starter. But the Shanahan offense is founded on a strong run game.
Final thoughts: There are a lot of similarities between these teams. Game-changing defenses, top-10 rushing attacks, young quarterbacks, big-play pass catchers, strong veteran leadership and highly creative (yet disciplined) offensive-minded head coaches. Now these squads, which have ranked among the best in their conference all year, will face off in what should be a physical, chess match of a game.
IN DREAMS BEGIN ILLUMINATION
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Ours might be the first civilization that pays no heed to our dreams, those semi-silent, highly personal, psychologically rich nightly weavings that are both fresh and repetitive, manufactured purely by us and for us, then completely ignored by us.
It’s not the only aspect of the natural world that we pay no attention to, because none of us spend so much as a minute a month gazing at the night-time stars. Looking at the stars and planets might have been our ancestors’ earliest awareness of what we’d someday call science, morphing from astrology to astronomy to landing on the moon to satellite telescopes capable of photographing the past.
Americans pay no heed to stars or dreams. But unlike the cosmos, there is no equipment equivalent to the James Webb telescope in assisting even the laziest of us who are busy ignoring our dreams.
Let’s suppose we had no dreams. Suppose we slept coma-like through our nights with no more mental stimulation than a cactus or an iceberg.
Then an astonishing new technology arrived. An app-like device became available allowing us to tap into our subconscious and receive nightly audio and visual messages of ourselves in familiar, and/or bizarre circumstances. Revelations we could recognize from our past, and other intimations suggesting our future would provide personal hallucinatory visions we could interpret as we wished.
How much money would we be willing to pay for such an instrument? And why do we ignore it when it’s free?
A few years ago, spurred by having read Sigmund Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams, I started keeping sloppily written, fragmented accounts of my dreams. It was at a time I arose several times nightly, and I used the interruptions to pause and scrawl recollections of what had been streaming through my mind a few minutes earlier.
I quickly discovered my dreamy episodes occurred far more often than I ever knew, and next I found that writing down even the scantest memories brought more and more detail to mind.
Some personal specifics were apparent:
1) My son and daughter, both now comfortably snuggled into middle age, appear frequently in my dreams but only as little children; Emily at around 7 years old, Lucas is maybe 4 or 5. (In “real life” they are separated by 10 years.)
2) The most common thread running through my nocturnal imaginations is that I wait. I never actually do anything in my dreams, despite preparations that continue until I awaken.
Whether I’m destined to drive a race car, bat cleanup, meet a celebrity, make a speech or receive an award, nothing ever happens, or even begins. I’m waiting for the bus, or for the opening kickoff, or to walk across the narrow wooden bridge, or get through the line at Walmart. I accomplish none of it.
All my life I have spent my dream(s) waiting.
3) That if I keep diligent track of my dreams they become more clear and detailed. What we recollect over morning coffee is often along the lines of “Well, I was following some guy who was Kip, I guess, and it was in Willits except there were big tall buildings in the distance, and then I think maybe you were in it but maybe not. I don’t know.”
Seem about right?
But keep track of your dreams by putting things down and believe me, more and more details emerge as you write. Entire scenarios and story lines come into focus as you recall how Kip got out of cab ahead of you and you’d both been at some kind of circus, and next you were standing on top of a building overlooking a huge city, eating peanuts and tossing shells to seals.
Your dreams will become rich and textured. Recurring scenes, images and anxieties will become apparent and open, and you’ll be able to dissect them at your leisure with increased clarity and understanding.
But maybe we don’t have time to pick at our subconscious. We’re too busy, and the distractions too many as we get blasted daily, hourly, nonstop by meaningless messages.
Fashion updates, news bulletins, ceaseless advertising conspire and succeed at diverting our attention; we haven’t time to think about our lives or purpose or happiness. Not with the 49ers on ESPN at 8 o’clock!
And to lay on our backs in some big meadow gazing at the stars is for another era, maybe back when Aristotle and Cleopatra and Genghis Kahn gathered together each night to puzzle out constellations overhead, hoping to glean meaning from the semi-hidden configurations.
Perhaps those answers and revelations would come later, in the wee hours, during their nightly dreams, all to be examined and pondered come next morning.
(Tom Hine offers a tip: If someone recounting a dream tells you of loud explosions, trains crashing over a cliff or people screaming as the Ferris Wheel collapses, that person is lying. There are no loud noises in dreams. If you hear a dog barking in your sleep you will awaken to the sound of a neighbor dog’s howling. TWK has no dreams and no life but a bright future.)
JOURNEY OF THE MAGI
Moses was old, a chill in his bones
Falling apart, he knew in his heart that his time had come
As he lay in his tent in the hot desert sands
He smiled at how he would never see his promised land
He sang, "I could have lived and died an Egyptian prince
I could have played safe
But in the end the journey's brought joys that outweigh the pain"
Now, Odysseus sat tired and alone
He'd always held out against all the doubts that he would come home
But now he was here, his soul felt estranged
His wife and his dog, his son and his Gods, everything changed
He sang "I could have stayed and ruled as an Ithican prince
I could've played safe
But in the end the journey's brought joys that outweigh the pain"
Balthazar rode for seven long years
Eastwards and far, he followed his star, and it brought him here
To a stable in ruins in some backwater town
To a virgin defiled, no king but a child, too small for a crown
He sang "I could have lived with my Gods as a Persian prince
I could've played safe
But in the end the journey's brought joys that outweigh the pain"
Paupers and kings, princes and thieves
Singers of songs, righters of wrongs, be what you believe
So saddle your horse and shoulder your load
Burst at the seams, be what you dream, and then take to the road
— Frank Turner
CANADA TO PAY INDIGENOUS ABUSE SURVIVORS MORE THAN $2BN
by Agence France Presse
Canada will pay hundreds of Indigenous communities more than $2 billion in compensation for nearly a century of abuse suffered by children in residential schools, its government has announced.
A class-action lawsuit brought by 324 Indigenous communities has resulted in the Can$2.8 billion (US$2.1 billion) settlement, which will be placed in a not-for-profit trust independent of the government.
It will be used to "revitalize Indigenous education, culture, and language – to support survivors in healing and reconnecting with their heritage," according to a press release.
"It has taken Canada far too long to own up to its history, own up to the genocide it committed and recognize the collective harm caused to our nations by residential schools," said Garry Feschuk, an Indigenous leader who is one of the plaintiffs in the suit.
"It is time that Canada not only recognize this harm, but help undo it by walking with us. This settlement is a good first step," he said in the statement released Saturday.
From the late 1800s to the 1990s, Canada's government sent about 150,000 children into 139 residential schools mostly run by the Catholic church, where they were cut off from their families, language and culture.
Many were physically and sexually abused, and thousands are believed to have died of disease, malnutrition or neglect.
The discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the sites of the former schools over the past two years has dragged the legacy of those institutions back into the spotlight as Canada reckons with its dark colonial past.
More than 1,300 graves have been identified, the most recent about 10 days ago.
Last year, Pope Francis visited Canada on a penitential trip to apologize for the abuse -- a gesture seen by many survivors as overwhelming, but only the beginning of a process of healing and reconciliation.
"We believe that all survivors deserve justice and the compensation to which they are owed," said Marc Miller, federal minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in the press release.
The precise terms for disbursing the $2.8 billion will be determined by the federal court on February 27.
A national commission of inquiry in 2015 called the residential school system a "cultural genocide."
OLDER VOTERS KNOW EXACTLY WHAT’S AT STAKE, And They’ll Be Here For Quite A While
by Bill McKibben & Akaya Windwood
Is it time to call the next election “the most important in American history”? Probably. It seems like it may involve a judgment on democracy itself. Americans with a lot of history will play a key role in determining its outcome.
And judging in part by November’s midterms, they may not play the role that older voters are usually assigned. We at Third Act, the group we helped form in 2021, think older Americans are beginning a turn in the progressive direction, a turn that will accelerate as time goes on.
A lot has been written about the impact of young voters in November’s contests, and rightly so. The enormous margins that Democrats ran up among voters under 30 let them squeak through in race after race. Progressives should be incredibly grateful that the next generation can see straight through Trumpism in a way too many of their elders can’t.
But there were also intriguing hints of what looked like a gray countercurrent that helped damp the expected red wave. Yes, older people by and large voted Republican, in keeping with what political scientists have long insisted: that we become more conservative as we age. But in the 63 most competitive congressional districts, the places where big money was spent on ads and where the margin in the House was decided, polling by AARP, an advocacy group for people over 50, found some fascinating numbers.
In early summer, Republicans had a sturdy lead among older voters in 50 of those districts, up 50 percent to 40 percent. Those had Republicans salivating. But on Election Day, voters over 65 actually broke for Democrats in those districts, 49 to 46.
That doesn’t surprise us at Third Act. We’re nonpartisan, but we’ve learned that demographic is far less settled than people sometimes suppose.
Some of the issues that benefited Democrats are obvious, of course. Republican messaging included calls for weakening Social Security and Medicare even though most older beneficiaries rely on Social Security for most of their income, and for an estimated 40 percent it’s all their retirement income. The cruelty of toying with people’s life support systems is matched only by its political foolishness. Among voters 65 and over, Social Security and Medicare were among the top concerns.
But something else happened, too. When the Supreme Court tossed out Roe v. Wade in early summer, most of the pictures were of young women protesting, appropriately, since it’s their lives that will be turned upside down. But people we know in their 60s and 70s felt a real psychic upheaval: A woman’s right to choose had been part of their mental furniture for five decades. And they’ve lived their entire lives in what they had imagined was a stable and working democracy.
The top concern to voters 65 and over, especially women, was “threats to democracy,” according to AARP. And exit polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that among women 50 and older, the court’s decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion had a major impact on which candidate they supported. Sixty-six percent of Black women said so, as did 61 percent of Hispanic women and 48 percent of white women. Voters who said the Supreme Court’s abortion decision was the single most important factor in their vote supported Democrats by a margin of 2 to 1.
Some of our members helped organize access to abortion before Roe was decided in 1973; they don’t want to go back. And it’s not only abortion: The Supreme Court also took on the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We helped win these fights once, turning out by the tens of millions to oppose the war in Vietnam or for the first Earth Day. And we can help win them again — we have the muscle memory of what organizing on a big scale feels like.
“It’s important that the government is in sync with the public opinion, but I don’t think they are.”
“Sometime soon, I am going to meet a patient who has no ability to leave the state, and I am going to have to tell her that her baby has a lethal condition, and she is going to have to carry a pregnancy to term against her will.”
Hundreds of us from around the country converged on Nevada in the days before the midterm vote, because we determined — correctly, as it turned out — that it might be the place where control of the Senate would be decided. We may walk a tad slower door-to-door, but in this case slow and steady helped to win the race.
With the election past, Third Act is now digging into work on climate change — in particular targeting the big American banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America) that are also the biggest lenders to the fossil fuel industry. On March 21 we’ll be cutting up bank credit cards and picketing bank branches across the country. We know that young people have been in the lead in this fight, because they’ll have to live with the world we’re creating. But as long as we’re still here, we’ll have to live with the knowledge of what we’re leaving behind, so we want to change it while we still can.
We recognize that this will require a sustained effort beyond the next election and the election after that. Numerous analysts and demographers do believe that coming demographic changes in the United States will generally favor Democrats. But complications abound. Partisan gerrymandering continues to favor Republicans, for instance, and at least five states that generally vote Democratic have each lost a seat from their congressional delegations.
But here’s the thing. Many of us are going to be here for quite a while. Ten thousand Americans turn 60 every day, and on average we’ll live another 23 years. The last of the baby boomers, will be 65 or older in 2030. Youth voters, moreover, are youth voters for only about a decade. One guarantee for 2024: We’ll vote in huge numbers, as we always do. One possibility is that we’ll help turn back the clock a little, toward the world we actually built in our youth.
We’re not your parent’s grandparents.
(Bill McKibben is the founder of Third Act, helped found the climate advocacy group 350.org and is the author of the memoir “The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon.” Akaya Windwood is the lead adviser for Third Act and a co-author of “Leading With Joy.”)
PAUL MODIC: Best line in Maureen Dowd interview of Pelosi…
…To take her teenage grandsons to the game against the Wizards that afternoon; they were also going to the White House Tuesday to watch the championship team be honored. When Alexandra complained that her kids would miss school if Mimi, as the boys call her, took them to the Warriors’ celebration, Mimi replied, ‘This is the White House with Steph Curry’. End of discussion.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Yes, as H.L. Mencken said, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
The beam on the current scale can no longer be balanced. The Durham investigation essentially turns up bupkus. Dem special counsel appointment, Dem FBI and DOJ means that the Republicans must lift a very heavy weight, that, in my opinion, they don’t have the muscle for.
“If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government.” — Emiliano Zapata
What we’ll probably see are exercises in futility, David against Goliath, Republicans having the sling but not the stones.
AMERICA THIS WEEK, Ep. 22 (Part 2)
with Walter Kirn and Matt Taibbi
Walter Kirn: I went to a movie the other night, and there were four previews, and in every one of those previews, there was a body count, every single one, right? But apparently the notion of stochastic culpability doesn’t apply to them. It doesn’t apply to video game makers. It doesn’t apply to fine artists who maybe reproduce terrible scenes or extreme states. It only seems to apply to those they want to prosecute anyway. And when you have a theory as vague as stochastic terrorism, well, in some sense, all of us in some moment of injudicious speech have said something angry, violent, or threatening. Even I jest, but we can’t all be prosecuted, right?
So there’s going to have to be a threshold for stochastic guilt. And then the whole thing enters their realm of absurdity. Tucker Carlson is a broadcaster who is always accused of fomenting stochastic violence. Well, can they give us numbers? When Tucker does five minutes on a certain topic, can we then say down the line, there’s going to be a distribution of these kinds of events over this amount of time, et cetera? No, they can’t experimentally. This is probably impossible to prove, nor would you want to run the experiments. We’ll see if we get a US president to talk about spying on your neighbor, and then we’ll see how many people do it. It’s the basis for the most selective sorts of prosecution you can imagine.
Matt:To me, it’s also totally un-American. It’s frustrating that there isn’t more of a backlash to this casual acceptance of ideas that we’ve specifically rebelled against at the beginning of our history. We have always fought for the right to speak our minds. We’ve always thought of that as a virtue. We’ve always thought of social mobility as being something that was important. That people shouldn’t be excluded from trying to change the world, change the government. We have an elastic clause in the Constitution specifically for that. This idea of government by the people. We’re supposed to agitate for changing things, sometimes in a dramatic way, if we feel like it.
Walter:But with one swipe of a keyboard, all language groups could be included in these hate speech laws. They could do to the society at large, what they did to Twitter, for example. And you would have whole criminal classes emerge overnight. And one of the reasons there’s not a backlash, I think, is that not enough people feel threatened by it. We have a society in which so many people are convinced that they’re in the right, that they’re somehow on the safe side of every question. And it tends to be the ornery, maybe even less attractive people right now, perhaps on the right, who feel most threatened by these laws and these notions and these theories. But, I have a conspiracy theory of a conspiracy theory that’s actually a literary theory, that all the tools that have been put in place with the ascent of the left to suppress the right could easily be toggled into a total suppression of the left.
And sometimes I wonder if that’s not the plan. If there’s going to be a secret plan, maybe it’s to get all the people who think of themselves as dissenters and class crusaders and so on, to sign on to a regime to assist them, which will absolutely eliminate the moment it’s turned on. And what continually surprises me is to see the cohort of people who’ve always been the questioners, always been the hippies and the kooks and who’ve been quite proud of that conform to this new model. Because should the winds change or should a certain charismatic figure arise, it will be used in an instant to decimate their variability to resist that thing that they have been so traditionally proud of.
Matt:It’s so true. And there are no Abbey Hoffmans now. That figure is absent from American culture. They’re on the right, if they exist.
Walter:There’s no Abbey Hoffmans, and there’re no lawyers for Abbey Hoffman.
Matt:Well, that’s true too.
Walter:There’s no William Kunstler’s. Back in the sixties and seventies and even into the eighties, we had these civil rights lawyers who were practically celebrities in their circle, but even to the larger society. People who stood up. They had long hair, maybe they wore unkempt clothing, and they were firebrands in court for the right of some of the most somewhat clownish people sometimes to speak their minds. And, they were heroes. But I can’t even find a minimal version of that on the scene now.
Matt:There’s one person I can think of who fits that description. It’s Shahid Buttar, who is the, he ran against Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco. He’s a civil rights lawyer. He’s got long hair and a ponytail. He clearly watched all those movies
Walter:Ron Kuby. Remember Big Lebowski? I want Ron Kuby said Jeff Bridges.
Matt:James Woods starred in one of them, and they put hair extensions on James Woods. That was pretty funny.
But Shahid, he’s an old school speech advocate, a hardcore civil rights lawyer, but he’s the only person I can think of who is a public figure of that sort, who’s on the left. And of course, they tried to cancel him over some personal thing.
Walter:Well, you have a character like Lin Wood who attempted to be something of like the William Kunstler of the right.
Matt:Bob Driscoll is another who in the old days, would’ve represented Maria Butina.
Walter:Right? Exactly. Right.
Matt:It would’ve been one of those lawyers.
Walter:To speak about speech generally, to make a defense of it. I think transcends the small partisan defenses. The reason for me that I want speech to be as unrestrained as possible, consistent with good order, I guess, is that every idea, every sentence, every utterance of a human being represents a thought. And the diversity of speech is directly proportionate to the diversity of thought. And that means all the problems in the world are getting looked at from as many angles as possible. And when there’s a multiplication of ideas and solutions and theories, you would seem to have a better chance of solving your problems. Anybody who’s ever worked in a very confined or restrictive organization where only a few ideas are ever ventured in meetings, knows that the whole organization can fall down for want of anybody having the guts to stand up and say, we can fix it this way, because they might fear giving offense. So this lack of giving offense that seems to be the direction these people want to move us toward, is also going to be a lack of creativity about solving problems. We may get a state of perfect inoffensive, peaceful, non-hateful speech, but we will be living in huts because we can’t get there to the necessary solutions, the necessary resolutions, the necessary creative ideas
Walter:It’s like taking your engine and saying, my engine’s too powerful. It’s 300 horsepower, I could go off a cliff in this thing. I might speed into the rear end of another car. It should be 80 horsepower, and that way I’ll be safe. Well, you will be, but you also won’t get anywhere. You’ll also move quietly and irresistibly inertia. I doubt very much that the people at Davos and so on will have their speech scrutinized when they go to dinner, or they ride up the chair lift together. They seem to be able to discuss the most outlandish possibilities in peace.
Walter:I fear that worse than hate speech is sedentary cold, rigid lack of progress and dynamism in society, because history hasn’t stopped. It’s presenting us with new predicaments and new situations all the time. And yet we seem to be voluntarily limiting our ability to think about them, react to them, and discuss them.
Matt:You know, it’s funny, I lived through the end of what it looked like when you turn off creativity. I went to school in the Soviet Union in its waning days, and that was an experiment in basically what they’re thinking of doing, right? They took this society, Tsarist Russia, that was cruel and unfair and full of all kinds of abuses, but was filled with mad geniuses and unbelievable artists, brilliant novelists, poets, composers. And then they went through the process of banning all sorts of words. And there was a verbal style that developed, and over the course of the Soviet period, in Russia, they call it Sovok.
It’s a play on words between like Soviet person and the word for dustbin, which is like the dustbin of history. And a Sovok is like a good Soviet person. And that person learned over the course of decades of Soviet rule that the only defense against being thrown in the camps was to talk nonstop nonsense in stale proverbs and give constant pledges of support for whatever the current thing was in Soviet society. And they phased out all this amazing creativity in this population and left people unable to do simple things like farming or transportation. They squeezed all the vitality out of the country. And I’ve always been struck by that. They created this kind of person who couldn’t shut up but never had anything to say.
Walter:That may be the definition of the people that we see on TikTok now. I mean the constant display without any real significance. We can change our hair, we can change our looks, we can change our clothing. We can do this metaverse-oriented image variation, but without any real substance to it.
The thing is that any speech of any vigor or any charisma is always attractive and is always powerful. And, as power becomes distributed more and more to the top, one of the great ways to make sure it goes on in that fashion is to prevent people from when doing one of the few things that we can all do well at times, which is say the right thing or say the vivid thing. It’s a much more predictable society. It’s also a much deader one.
Matt:But that’s why it freaks me out so much that they’re moving in this direction of having everybody speak in the same kinds of words. Eliminating the variability of language. Obviously, again, this is straight out of 1984. We want to reduce the vocabulary because if people stop reading, if they’re no longer.. the other night I read, because I hadn’t read it in a long time, I read Ulalume, the Edgar Allen Poe poem. And I just thought, my God, people do not speak like this anymore. They don’t have the vocabulary for this, and it’s so beautiful. Why would we not want to read things like this? We’ve raised a culture that is incapable because the new technology makes it very difficult to read.
It makes it even harder to read poetry, because that requires visualization and sensitivity that is driven out of you if you’re a heavy consumer of the internet. And so already people are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the tools that they used to have just from writing letters and reading books and doing all those things. And then you want to impose on top of that superficial controls on what people can say, and you want to impose an ethos of conformity and conformism on those folks. You’re going to prevent people from even privately having the ability to have an inner world that’s important, that’s interesting. And that’s very worrisome.
Walter:At the risk of just sounding grumpy and pessimistic in general I’ve noted that in private conversations with maybe people who I’ve just met, or people I’ve met a couple of times, people who don’t have absolute trust among them, that is conversation these days, tends to be recapitulation of attitudes and even sound bites gathered from the media, because one service the media now provides is it gives us a sense of what is permissible to say. And so if you quote it and if you quote, especially mainstream media, you can be assured that you’re saying nothing that hasn’t already been textured and combed through. And I was reading the other day about Samuel Johnson, Dr. Johnson, the British essayist of the 18th, or
Walter:Yeah. And Lexicographer. And I saw that he was deemed the greatest conversational speaker of all time, that it was pretty much known during his lifetime and assented to afterwards, that he was the most brilliant talker in the history of the English language. We don’t know if Shakespeare was at all entertaining at the table. We imagine he was, but we know that Johnson was so much so that he inspired a biographer to follow him around and write down everything he said. Boswell and the achievement of conversation as a literary form, which is I think a rather salutary ambition, is not going to be possible. Great conversationalists are not being generated by this current system, nor will they be allowed, I imagine, because there’s something about conversation, great conversation that’s surprising. It rides the edge of giving offense. It comes back. Funny wit in general always has something of the subversive about it, or usually does.
Matt:By nature, isn’t it? Humor by nature has to be subversive a little bit, because what you’re doing when you’re laughing is you’re releasing tension about something that you held in.
Walter:Well to get really heady in literary studies, Matt you outpaced me by thousand miles on the reporting front, but I have to prove my own value here. I’ve done a lot of reading in libraries, and armchairs, and it’s my theory that language itself is an expression of tension. When everything’s fine, when you’re full when you’ve just made love, when you’re not worried about money, there’s really no reason to speak. Even ancient man as he walked along through the Savannah having just made a kill and it’s good weather and it looks like we’re going to make another kill tomorrow, probably didn’t have much reason to speak. But when things get stressful, we start to talk and talk is, in a way, an expression of, and a relief of stress.
And life is growing more stressful every day. I think we can all agree on that. Planes don’t take off, money disappears from your Zelle account like it did yesterday at Bank of America, pandemics descend. And if there were ever a time where we needed to talk a lot, and in an unrestrained, edgy way, it would be under the current regime of nonstop crisis and stress. But instead, the speech and the thoughts that are engendered by all this stress are going to be tamped down. That’s the worst of both worlds.
Matt:Yeah, that’s true. And, I don’t see that it’s going to change anytime soon. I remember reading the picture of Dorian Gray and thinking that that convention of people who would sit around a table and speak in these beautiful epigrams and try to outdo one another that’s certainly not part of our culture anymore. I mean, Americans have their own history of the tall tale, and they can be funny in their own way. And we have standup comedy, but conversation as an art, has that ever been a thing for us?
Walter:Well Mark Twain, and I’m what they call a Twainiac, thrived between the Civil War and about 1900 in a time of depressions, currency panics, reconstruction from the war, and he was there during the war itself, to some extent. The late 19th century was one of the most stressful times in American history. Everything was changing, everything was up for grabs. And he was incredibly famous at the time. It’s not like we go back and see Mark Twain as a bigger figure than he was. In fact, we probably don’t appreciate how big a figure he was because this is before TV and before Twain’s lectures, books, stories, et cetera. His personality was a one-man stress reliever for society, and his remarks... Twain would be invited to speak at every honorary dinner, and he loved doing it to give the opening remarks at all kinds of conventions and birthday parties and this and that. America hungered for that vivid, irreverent expression, and never was it so needed, I think in our history. And we had not just him, but some other lesser-known figures.
Matt:Ambrose Bierce is another one
Walter:Yeah. We’re going to need some great language to get through all this. So why deny us, in our hour of need, with no eggs on the shelves? We’ve got to crack jokes about something.
Matt:Do you see that they’re now starting to wrap egg cartons with those security anti-shoplifting devices?
Walter:Dude, I was just in New York City, and every time I go to New York City, having to buy toothpaste becomes more arduous. Now toothpaste is behind locked things and toothbrushes, my Lord, try to get a sales associate on aisle four to unlock the toothbrush dispenser for you at rush hour.
Matt:Right. For the enormous salary she’s being paid to do that. I’m sure she’s going to hurry, right?
Walter:Well, yeah. I mean, nobody’s hurrying to do anything right now. But to get to the point, frustration, which I think if there’s a frustration index in society, it’s got to be a pretty high level right now, breeds the need to express oneself. And it’s exactly the wrong time to start getting the lid on speech. We’ve never needed it more.
Matt:And there’s also, there’s also the idea that when you make certain kinds of ideas too transgressive and forbidden, and authors or artists are not, are not encouraged to delve into that material, then it just is driven further underground, and you never know where is it going to surface it’s going. It’s only going to surface in something like violence, right? You have books that are great books, but they are built around ideas that are criminal or, at least subversive. Everything from the autobiography of Malcolm X to Lolita to even Catch 22. You have to let people air out their fantasies and thoughts and anger toward the system.
I was talking about Russia before, Master and Margarita was written in 1937 while Bulgakov hid in a room while murderers were happening, raging all around him. And he sat in his room and he composed this incredible fantasy about the devil coming to Moscow. And what would that person have done if it didn’t even occur to him or her to sit down and fight through and struggle to write that? I just think we have a whole lot of people who don’t have an outlet for forbidden thoughts now.
Walter:And what’s so crazy about the quote-unquote left is that a lot of the books which allowed it in some sense succeed socially, books about, hmm, let’s say alternate sexual behavior let’s say a crazy book like Last Exit to Brooklyn, or books about various underground movements, allowed it to become as powerful as it has in some ways. And yet it wants to make illicit the publication of the new version of those books. In other words, it’s cutting itself off at the root even according to its own self-interest, because today’s accepted ideas were once outlandish and they went through a process of digestion and acceptance and proliferation, and they spawned perhaps even a consensus. And now the consensus rules that people doing the kind of thing that allowed us to exist in the first place should be stopped before they even make the attempt.
Matt:Yep. Yep. And especially if those rules are, are created by Vera Jourova and other EU bureaucrats I’m not going to be very happy about this at the end.
Walter:Well, we have to go to Davos, next year in Davos, dude. I mean, they’ll have the facial, they’ll have the biometric warning scans that will probably catch us at the border and we’ll never get in. But we could wear clown masks or something.
Matt:It’ll be like the scene in Brazil. The instant the retinal scan figures out who we are, we’ll be housed in a rubber suit for prisoners, and we’ll try to escape and just run straight into a wall or something like that. You can’t get into Davos unless you’re associated with some organization they think is legitimate. But I bet we could pull that off.
Walter:See, to going to Davos I’ve ever been, is going to Sundance, the Sundance Festival. Which actually happens at the same time as Davos down in Park City. Skiers run the world or people who like to wear ski clothes at least. And when I went to Sundance for the first time, it was with the movie of my novel Thumbsucker, and the movie had yet to get a distributor, but it had a little premiere there and so on. And when I found myself at Sundance, the home of independent film and Kookiness, supposedly, I found out that all these Hollywood clothing stores had closed pop-up stores at Sundance, and that there was this colored pass system that allowed you to go into various levels of closed social gatherings.
As the author of the book that was premiering at Sundance, I had the worst pass they gave. The one that allowed you to take the bus, to walk down the street. And every once in a while I got into the closed gatherings by some machination, and I saw Hollywood stars picking up whole computers as swag. I mean, I’m talking like they were putting laptop computers in their damn bags and rich Hollywood stars who apparently have as much of an appetite for free stuff
Matt:That is a thing I’ve never understood because that’s a big ritual at Hollywood openings and shows and stuff like that. I just never understood that. Anyway, go on.
Walter:There was a Baldwin there with his girlfriend and I won’t say which Baldwin, giving us a choice of a hundred, and to see this guy go down like a fricking Hoover vacuum cleaner along this set of tables stuffing laptops
It wasn’t just like they were getting little bags of caramel corn or something. but I wonder what the swag scene at Davos is. That’s where I’m going. Maybe it’s not even corporeal physical swag at Davos. Like you get a county in Ireland or something.
Matt:You get a title to 27% of the surface of Venus or something like that.
Walter:Exactly, exactly. Some asteroid mining rights in 2073. But Davos swag and listen, I know enough about human nature to know that actually there is physical swag probably, I mean, I’m sure British Petroleum has something to bring home to the kids for the big hedge fund manager or whoever.
So if we go, I’m going to be the swag reporter, I’m going to get into all the weird halls and convention areas and just see what they’re giving away. It’s probably VR headsets or neuro lace. They probably are already doing things that we can’t imagine. Maybe they get little flying saucers for the backyard that they can launch.
Matt:But all right, well, let’s make a deal today that we’re going to do that.
Walter:We’re going to get there. Do you know how much it costs as an individual to go to Davos?
From what I saw, it’s $250,000. There’s always these things that I think I would buy if I got rich. And one is one of those round-the-world unrestricted airline tickets where for two months you can take as many flights as you want and take any path around the world that you want. They don’t cost that, I don’t think $250,000. And no wonder they like each other because they’ve all passed through the great filter of people who are willing to pay $250,000 to say pre-digested stuff and hang out with Christopher Wray. In other words, they’ve made such an investment, they’re not going to get there and be unhappier, have arguments when you overpay for a plane ticket for a show, you damn well enjoy the show.
Matt:Well, we got to go. I guess we should pledge to behave because otherwise, they won’t let us in, but there’s going to be a strong urge not to behave. I remember somebody wants to describe Hunter Thompson’s writing as being, you have a sympathy for him the way you would for a streaker at Queen Victoria’s funeral.
And I think there should be a streaker on that list, but I guess it wouldn’t be us.
Walter:Sure. Yeah. I mean, there’s no real reporting you can do, I don’t think. It’s not like any of these people probably talk off the record. I don’t see any stories coming out of Davos where an anonymous source at Davos tells me they’re secretly fermenting a revolution in X country. There seems to be a real barrier to talking off the record at Davos because as I say, it’s not generating a lot of gossip.
Matt:I think the only reporting you could do is you’d have to kidnap four of them and bring them into an old Soviet Yak 21 airplane that loads out the back and fly them to an undisclosed location, I don’t know, Malta somewhere, and then over the course of months get the real story out of them.
Walter:Well, his year they have 5,000 troops or police of some kind. It’s been reported. I’ve seen various shaggy reporters from Canadian Rebel News, et cetera chasing people down the street trying to get them to answer questions. There’s been some footage of the evasiveness, of the Davos people. But as yet, no stories have been broken. Mine will be on the sick orgiastic hunger for swag, that is shown by even the richest hedge fund managers.
Matt:The swag factor would be fun. If we could catch the moment where Jamie Diamond grabs the swag at Davos, that would be a real feather in one’s cap. That would be great. Let’s do it.
Walter:Okay. Next year in Davos.
Matt:All right. Thanks everybody for hanging in. Next week should be interesting on multiple fronts. So Walter, look forward to seeing you next week.
Walter:Come hell or high water when you, Matt Taibbi, master of the discovered secret, tell me that next week’s going to be interesting. I’m going to be there.
Matt:All right. Excellent. Thanks Walter. Talk to you soon.
Walter:Good luck out there. Bye.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 22ND JANUARY
Ukraine says Russian troops are attempting an offensive in the key southern region of Zaporizhzhia, while fighting also persists in eastern territories.
Former British PM Boris Johnson returned to Kyiv as Ukraine marks National Unity Day. It coincides with a trip by an unofficial US delegation to the eastern city of Izium.
Germany failed to reach an agreementwith Western allies on sending its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, prompting frustrationand concern from some Ukrainian officials.
US President Joe Biden pledged the country will get all the help it needs. On a diplomatic visit to Ukraine on Friday, a group of US senators called for the urgent delivery of both German and American tanks.
The US is taking new steps to counter the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group, which it believes is taking on an increased role in Moscow's invasion.
A Russian parliament member had one warning to offer Western nations following a multibillion-dollar pledge for aid to Ukraine: arm the country at risk of your own destruction. “Supplies of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime would lead to a global catastrophe,” said State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin on Sunday. “If Washington and NATO supply weapons that would be used for striking peaceful cities and making attempts to seize our territory as they threaten to do, it would trigger a retaliation with more powerful weapons.” International chatter has been escalating, as the war-torn nation looks to a reluctant Germany for a shipment of armored Leopard 2 tanks to break its stalemate with Russia. American officials, including members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have suggested shipping U.S. Abrams tanks to the conflict to spur a release from Germany.