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Off the Record (March 1, 2023)

DICK WHETSTONE CLARIFIES THE COASTAL HISTORY: Braxton Bragg was never in California. It was named by Lt. Gibson for his former Captain in the Mexican War. From Wikipedia: “In the summer of 1857, 1st Lt. Horatio G. Gibson, then serving at the Presidio of San Francisco, established a military post on the reservation, approximately one and a half miles (2.4 km) north of the Noyo River, and named it for his former commanding officer Capt. Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy.” I agree about not changing the name. It is not right to lose the history for political correctness.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: “Poker Face,” now playing on Peacock. A reliable friend said she and her husband were enjoying it, and I was already laughing when I read somewhere that the series was about a non-cop woman with an infallible bullshit detector, not that cops don’t generally have pretty good bullshit detectors since they’re immersed in it all day every day. (First two episodes good, third not so)

THERE’S A TON of cop shows on TV — “copaganda” I’ve heard them referred to — but this non-copaganda show — Poker Face — is about a woman whose infallible bullshit detector got her in major trouble with big time criminals when she cleaned them out in their private, high stakes poker games. She was forced to flee, taking her bullshit detector on the road. 

NATASHA LYONNE is the actress who plays the lead character, and she’s very good. And so’s everyone else in the first two episodes I’ve seen. The writing doesn’t miss, the photography is compelling, and there’s lots of very funny stuff into the bargain.

GREG LUDWIG: Three bedroom, two bath house for rent at $2000/month. Clean and well maintained. Fenced vegetable garden, laundry facilities. About one mile from downtown Boonville, schools, and clinic. (707) 489-3595 Leave message

MENDO, TOO, OF COURSE. A company that processes drug tests has detected a ninefold rise in fentanyl use in the western US these past three years — showing the powerful opioid has now cast its deadly shadow across the whole country. Eric Dawson, the vice president of clinical affairs at Millennium Health, said his researchers had seen a 146 percent increase in the number of positive fentanyl tests nationwide between 2019 and 2022. The biggest rises were seen along the Pacific coast and mountain regions, which respectively saw 900 percent and 875 percent increases in detections of the powerful synthetic opioid. 

IN TODAY’S WORLD a functioning bullshit detector gets a constant workout, and who among us hasn’t fallen for bullshit? I cringe at the memory of the many times I’ve bought something whole before I realized it was untrue. 

DING DING DING goes the bullshit detector of a normal person at most political rhetoric, but these days that normal person and his/her fully functioning bullshit detector seem pretty much confined to readers of the Boonville weekly, which is a tiny joke for those of you without bullshit detectors. But, really, look who’s president, and look at the orange fraud who preceded him. 

THE SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT reported Tuesday that Sonoma County has decided to establish “managed homeless camps” on County-owned sites in Sonoma County. One of the sites is at Sonoma County’s admin center in Santa Rosa where a 100-tent campsite is planned. Which produced an immediate “aha” moment here, when we realized that Mendo could make a big dent in Ukiah’s homeless problem by establishing their own “managed homeless camp” at the 501 Low Gap Road Admin center! It’s obviously a workable idea; the only hiccup might be that it would have to be “managed,” a requirement that official Mendocino County is incapable of. (Mark Scaramella)

LAST WEEK, Mario Montes, 26, of Covelo was walking along Tabor Lane when he was attacked by a pack of wild dogs, nine of them by Montes' count. Montes, young and strong, managed to beat the dogs off him but he was hospitalized for his wounds. Imagine a child or any other vulnerable person similarly beset.

WHICH BRINGS US to the County's animal control program. Like, uh, there isn't one. There used to be two federal trappers. They spent much time suppressing wild dogs, heavy on pitbulls abandoned when outlaw pot growers had no more use for them as guard dogs. The Animal Shelter in Ukiah has more unadoptable pitbulls than any other breed, many of them abandoned by love drug farmers.

BESET by anthromorphs led by John Spitz of Laytonville, the Supervisors cancelled the federal trappers in whose place they adopted a “wildlife exclusion” policy consisting of, well, fencing and other non-lethal exclusion methods. Today, if you have a bear camping out in your carport, simply tell him to go away, that he’s sleeping in an exclusion zone. Don’t be rude about it, just gently point out that you, Mr. Bear, are excluded. Of course there are lots of telephone number you can call with your critter prob, but nobody is likely to respond while your call is routed ultimately to Fish and Wildlife who, for sure, will not respond or even answer the phone.

THERE WAS A perfectly qualified lady, also from Laytonville, who applied to be the County's wildlife staff person but she wasn't “licensed.”

SPITZ AND COMPANY harbor a visceral dislike for a federal trapper called ‘Dead Dog Brennan.’ Spitz and Company claimed Brennan was a little too indiscriminately lethal in his policing of the wild things, but if a pack of feral pitbulls is roaming your property he's definitely the go-to guy. And he's forgotten more about Northcoast wildlife than most self-certified experts ever knew. 

ALTHOUGH Dead Dog is retired, he works free for lots of people who still call him to resolve their animal problems, and in most cases he does it without killing the problem.

ROUND VALLEY'S Tribal Council says they are going to assign someone to take care of their feral dog problem. Shooting them before they kill someone is the quickest way to suppress the dangerous dogs, and there are plenty more of them roaming the hills of the County.

UKIAH is going to war with French Broom, Scotch Broom's tenacious cousin. The South Coast has periodically gone to war with pampas grass, another virtually ineradicable invader, and a much larger, more formidable plant than the brooms. I'm betting on Ukiah’s French Broom to prevail much like Scotch Broom has successfully resisted all efforts to eradicate it at Caspar, most prominently. A friend tells me goats will eat it but otherwise the plant is pretty much indestructible. Originally imported as ornamentals, the prolific brooms, unattended, soon swept up otherwise vacant landscapes. I kinda like its merry yellow blooms myself, but whole fields of it — the brooms don't share — are aesthetically contraindicated. Ukiah is asking for volunteers to sweep the French broom from the west hills because it's highly flammable. It's a job getting rid of it, for sure; but good on Ukiah for trying.

I THINK it's evident that Biden is past it, and his past it-ness is only more evidence that the mainstream media — ABC and the major tv networks, NPR (of course) and CNN and MSNBC — all extensions of the Democratic Party, don't dare to mention Biden and unfit in the same sentence. Talk about naked emperors, but the glee from the fascists at Biden falling on Air Force One's stairs today isn't evidence of his senility, anybody can fall, and only sadists think it's funny. What isn't mentioned in all the guffawing about Biden's spill is how fast the old guy got back up and continued climbing into the plane. Physically, he’s in good shape, mentally…. 

I'M PLENTY BORING without relaying my dreams to trapped readers, but lately, with earthquakes in the news, and little daily quakes a fact of California life, especially here on the Northcoast, I've suffered serial nocturnal earthquakes, all of them pegged to a bothersome metaphor I read somewhere that the earth is like a cracked hard-boiled egg, that fault lines are all globally connected however tenuously, and one day… I'd prefer dreams about sunny days at the ballpark or a reprise of one I had recently of Craig Stehr leading a hari krishna parade up a flower-laden State Street where Craig levitates the County Courthouse.

A MUST READ for all Californians should be Marc Reisner's “A Dangerous Place,” a clear explanation of how the state's tectonic plates periodically crack California's topographical egg. Half the book is Reisner's hypothetical but fact-based scenario of what we can expect with the Big One. A most ominous fact is this one: if earthquakes occurred in California with the frequency and intensity they did in the 19th century, LA and San Francisco would be uninhabitable.


Jonah Raskin's item about the Avedon exhibit reminded me... Avedon took my picture, too. When I got the request I was going to pass but my dad had just died and my mother said she would like to have a picture of me by the great Richard Avedon. So I went down to his Park Avenue studio and got shot and interviewed for the book he was planning. Years later I got this letter. 

And declined the invitation. 

Avedon didn't want to take no for an answer and said he'd send me a photo of Bob Dylan that I'd admired when I was at his studio. 

I was going to pass again but this time Marci convinced me to sign the release. Big Dick then sent two photos. One was of Dylan as a mod rocker walking down Fifth Avenue in the early morning with Central Park in BG. The other was of Dylan the folksinger in a Pendleton shirt with his guitar case in the foreground and the East River in BG). I gave that one to a cousin who was a big Dylan fan and the Fifth Ave photo to Jason Benguerel, my stepson who lives in Tokyo and works for Dell. I'm told each print is now worth at least 100 grand. Cousin Eric has his tacked up on a wall. Smart Jason put his in a safe deposit box. 

HEADLINE FROM SATURDAY'S CHRON: "Do San Francisco supervisors support arresting fentanyl dealers? We asked them."

MYSELF, I'm inclined to shoot drug dealers, but the SF supervisors, all but one who didn't reply, replied as one would expect them to reply to a loaded question. They said versions of, “Of course we expect drug dealers to be arrested.” Ms. Jenkins, the new Frisco DA has filed charges on almost all arrested drug dealers. The prob of course at this point in The Great Deterioration is for every drug dealer arrested another appears.

SO, WHAT WOULD YOU DO, Mr. Arm Chair dispenser of wild opinions? I would detain every person on the streets, bus them out to a fenced sorting center — the former Candlestick Park is handy — where they would be assessed and assigned to tent camps according to affliction: Drug addicts over here; drunks over there; drunks and dopers and crazy people all in separate areas but all of them on their way to impromptu asylums in the rural areas of the state. (For the economic boost, which is the way the old state hospital system was organized before America lost its way. Street criminals would be sent back to prison where they have all been many times before, only this time they'd have to learn their way out rather than lie around watching tv for a few months. Miscellaneous incompetents would be housed in requisitioned, strictly supervised, hotels, larger versions of Ukiah's homeless shelter where our mutual friend, Craig Stehr, resides as he awaits a permanent senior placement.

IN SF, the masses of people making the central city areas unlivable and impossible to do business in, are dopers, drunks, the insane, and the criminal. The macro-situation there and in LA can't be tolerated. The clean-up should be carried out humanely because once the magas get rolling they'll do it with maximum force and violence.

LAST WEEK WE POSTED AN ARTICLE by Mr. Andrew Scully about County budget delays and County Auditor/Treasurer Chamise Cubbison on our website. It is several degrees off. I can't remember the last time the Supervisors tried to operate within the purely alleged confines of a budget. CEO Antle, Supervisor Williams et al, in denouncing Ms. Cubbison, ignores the fact that, against all sensible advice not to do it, the Supervisors combined two large functions into one, leaving Ms. Cubbison scrambling for staff while she tried to sort out new responsibilities.

AND THE SUPERVISORS spend public money like the proverbial drunken sailors. For handy instance, the Supes have $1.7 mil on their consent agenda this week, given that it’s grant money, but still, $1.7 mil on the consent calendar? And they recently signed off on a quarter-mil for a two-day emergency bridge. This is grant money, but still…. Every time they meet, public money flies to indefensible outside legal sharks and so-called consultants.

AND WE WON'T even bother mentioning travel and conference spending. If the Supervisors are so concerned about the county budget maybe they should cut back their own profligacy first. 

MY COLLEAGUE, The Major, points up on a weekly basis, that the prob isn’t with Ms. Cubbison, it’s with the Supervisors, and not to mention that Antle’s predecessor left a helluva fiscal mess behind that adds to the current money probs, which are likely to grow much more severe as the overall economy deteriorates. 

IT ANNOYS ME no end to see Ms. Cubbison constantly sniped at and undermined by the people above her. For instance, when's the last time we had a budget person who dared challenge the DA's inflated travel expenditures? I think she's doing the best possible job she can in very, very difficult circumstances. Another county would certainly welcome her, and I wouldn't blame her if she got outtahere, as many capable public servants before her have gotten outtahere. (In fairness, I think Weer went head to head with the DA a couple of times over his travel budget.)

WE DON'T HAVE A SINGLE SUPERVISOR at this time who demands that public money be spent like he or she spends his/her (their?) own money. Former Supervisor Pinches won me when his colleagues — Shoemaker, Colfax and the rest of that self-serving gang of two-bit chiselers — wanted to buy a multi-million dollar computer system “So we can talk to each other and department heads more efficiently.” Pinches said, NO. “You want to talk to a department head, walk down the hall and talk to him.”

THERE ACTUALLY ARE no good reasons for what we are doing in Ukraine, only bad reasons. Mainly, stoking the war there diverts American’s attention from our own problems, which is to say the titanic failures of America’s political establishment. The USA is falling apart from a combination of mismanagement, malice, and negligence. Our economy is a tottering scaffold of Ponzi schemes. Our institutions are wrecked. The government lies about everything it does. The news industry ratifies all the lying. Our schoolchildren can’t read or add up a column of numbers. Our food is slow-acting poison. Our medical-pharma matrix has just completed the systematic murder and maiming of millions. Our culture has been reduced to a drag queen twerk-fest. Our once-beautiful New World landscape is a demolition derby. Name something that hasn’t been debauched, perverted, degenerated, or flat-out destroyed. — James Kunstler

ED NOTE: Let the record show I don't agree with Kunstler on Ukraine or Covid, but his basic perceptions as to the true state of the union seem to me irrefutable. Ukrainians obviously prefer to be Europeans and as their own country rather than vassals of a nationalist, megalomaniacal dictator. It's also true that the stumbling Biden administration has no exit strategy, but how can they when Putin's obvious goal is the total absorption of Ukraine into his czarist dream state? Covid. I think Fauci and Co did the honest best they could in a fluid medical situation where they were always trying to catch up with a constantly mutating virus. There wasn't any scheme to deliberately kill people, although Big Pharma would certainly kill a lot of us in pursuit of windfall profits as the Sackler family did with their wholesale distribution of painkillers.

HED THIS MORNING from a lib-lab site: “Left-leaning Democrats more receptive to Biden in '24.”

No we're not. We think Biden is the bad joke that keeps on giving, and if the plutocrats who call the tune for the utterly corrupt DNC try to prop Biden up for another four years, the fascists are a shoo-in. A Biden-Trump race would be the absolute final political indignity, likely to bring the curtain down on the whole show.

A UKIAH READER WRITES: Yes, someone actually carved this and left it on Standley Street. What a classy town. 

ED NOTE: Better make sure the City of Ukiah didn't commission it before we get all indignant.

INTERESTING MENDO FACTOID: Of the 33 local attorneys who comprise the Mendocino County Women’s Bar Association, two of them are men: Robert Boyd and Phil Vanucci. We have no idea how or why Mssrs Boyd and Vanucci convinced the esquired women to include them, but we’d guess it probably has something to do with dues, the more the better of whatever gender. (Mark Scaramella)


February 23 at 5:34 PM…

Yesterday, Jeffrey Sachs and Ray McGovern addressed the UN General Assembly in support of Seymour Hersh's expose of the US role in blowing up the Nordstream 2 pipeline. speaking against UNGA resolution condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine. In keeping with the respect the US media has for the 1st Amendment, their presentations merited nary a word in today's press which has treated Hersh's expose of the US role in bombing the pipeline with the same disregard.

Meanwhile, the liberals' darling, the toxic Democrat Party shill and uncompromising war monger (when it comes to Ukraine) Thom Hartmann gave his full support to the statements of four Republican congressional hawks who followed Biden to Ukraine and announced support for the US to provide Ukraine with F-16s, presumably. so they can attack Russia. Hartmann is proudly and unequivocally against any negotiations with Russia to end the war.

Anyone who calls into his widely seen THREE hour daily program ((M-F) who dares to question Hartmann's position and support negotiations to end the war, Hartmann dismisses as a Putin puppet and cuts the caller off.


[1] I’m in favor of the draft for different reasons. The chicken shit generation of soy boyz raised and educated indoors by delusional females will be useless in a real blood and guts battle, like the Battle of the Bulge for example. About the best any of ‘em will be able to do is fly drones via remote cameras and doing other high tech nerdy stuff while their fat pink asses are sitting on seats in climate controlled rooms. Maybe along with the draft could we see draft riots and huge demonstrations as we had during the failed Vietnam war? Or are the soy boyz incapable of even doing that? 

We’ve lost nearly every single war we’ve fought, ignoring what happened in the 1860’s when we most famously defeated ourselves and started construction of the American Empire. This empire is a collection of 50 states or so held together by military force ever since 1865. The primary “glue” holding it all together now is the dollar. Once it’s gone the empire vanishes and is replaced for a while by utter social chaos until the states can get together and construct a new living arrangement here that has no central government.

[2] Up until age six, my only experience regarding churches was what we had here in Eastern TN protestant Bible Belt churches. Plain and simple boxes with not much inside them regarding paintings or sculptures. Statues in churches were regarded as idolatry and Roman Catholics regarded with suspicion. 

Then I spent my first summer in Bavaria and toured some Bavarian Catholic Churches that were like displays of overdone acid trips inside. Fantastic explosions of light, color, sound, and shapes inside these baroque churches. I experienced the Weiskirche while an organist was working the pipe organ inside the church. For those not familiar with the building, check it out sometime on google images. The one statue in the church that impressed me above all others was the one of St. Jerome holding a large book in his arms with a human skull resting on the pages. I asked my mom a number of times what the skull was doing there, she didn’t know. Today, the artists and craftsmen required to create such a building no longer exist.

[3] Reminds me of my first job at an upscale steak house WAY back in the day. They put their butter pats out in little dishes with the meal. When the bus boys brought all the dishes back, we were tasked with emptying the butter dishes and the cheese sauce dishes – both often with cigarette butts in them – into containers for reuse. They would both be reheated and filtered through cheesecloth before reuse, and the butter was only used to cook with on the grill, but even so it was a rather unsavory practice. The steak house is long gone now, but I would only hope others aren’t doing stuff like this as well. On the other hand, the restaurant industry in general is rather quirky in that regard.

[4] We’re not going to discuss my hatred of men because I don’t hate men. My late kid brother was probably my favorite person in the world, maternal feelings aside. And my father and both of my brothers are/were gentlemen in the real sense and always behaved so towards their wives.

Nor do I have anything to say about gay men, other than there is no need to bad mouth the normal, unassuming, non-proselytizing ones who just want to get on with a life they didn’t ask for. 

I also appreciate plumbers, sewage workers, builders, joiners and others who do things for me that I either have never trained in or would be no good at. They tend to be men too. But I imagine you have cause to be grateful to them too, because I’m not aware of your skills in those departments either.

[5] My Leftist friends aren’t saying it, out loud at least, but you’d better believe they’re thinking it. They know they went along with something very, very bad. They went along because they were smarter than their idiot brethren who live in the country, work real jobs, still go to church on Sunday, understand that there are only two genders, and generally don’t pretend to be smarter than anyone else. Giving the keys to the kingdom to a bunch of broken, moonbat, gender-confused psychopaths (like that grand jury nutjob chick) is a recipe for national suicide. That and Trump, of course. Everything these morons do, in the end, is about the orange man who continues to live rent free in what’s left of their pharma-destroyed, hollowed-out brains.

[6] I remember Reader’s Digest asked an old woman what her favorite thing was about electricity. She said “The vacuum cleaner.” The vacuum cleaner? What about lights, radio, TV, cooking? Well, I took her word for it. She lived most of her life without electricity, she gets to pick what she likes best.

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