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COLD TEMPERATURES are expected this morning across interior valleys. Isolated afternoon light showers are possible through Friday, with more abundant rainfall developing this weekend into early next week. (NWS)
JOHN TOOHEY: Please be on the lookout for a pickup with driver side front quarter panel damage - they sideswiped my grandfather Bill Holcomb on 253 and then fled the scene. Bill is ok - he saw them losing control and pulled all the way off the road into the ditch and they still managed to cross the lane and hit him. This happened last night - March 29th. Bill did not get a good look at the truck - it was dark and raining.
SHERIFF’S OFFICE INVESTIGATING GUNSHOT DEATH OF 20-YEAR-OLD MALE IN COVELO
A 20-year-old Covelo man was found dead early this morning from an apparent gunshot wound. Detectives with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office are investigating…
We want to thank everyone so much for all of their kindness in these months since my parents’ (Bill Allen and Nancy McCleod) accident.
Having community to hold us, even from afar, has been invaluable. We have finally decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help with what insurance won’t cover of my dad’s medical expenses. After researching how much rehab facilities cost and seeing how few take insurance… Oh my! We are ending month three, and there are clearly many arduous months ahead of us. I know times are financially tight for most people, so truly any little amount helps, especially if this can reach far. Every dollar counts. If you are so inclined, please share this with your communities.
We decided to go with this organization because my parents won’t risk losing their MediCal this way, and all donations are tax deductible! If you have any questions about it, please reach out. Thank you so much again for all the love and support. We feel it, and so appreciate it.
My family is finishing our third month of the worst nightmare we’ve ever had… and it’s one that doesn’t end with sunrise each morning. On December 29th, 2022, my parents’ truck went off the road near their Philo home in Northern California, and crashed into a row of trees. Thankfully my mother was largely unscathed, but my father was badly bruised, broke one clavicle, suffered a fracture to his skull and severe brain trauma.
He was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he spent three weeks in the ICU deep in a coma from his traumatic brain injuries. It was the worst three weeks of our lives, seeing him in such a devastating state, completely unresponsive and unstable, with no idea what was going to happen. (click below for the rest.)
TSUNAMI WARNING WENT WELL
Today’s Tri-county Tsunami Communication Test went very well.
We had Ham Radio Operators stationed from Gualala to Pudding Creek, at coastal locations that would be impacted by a Tsunami.
I believe all stations were able to be heard, and reported their observations of ocean conditions to the radio operator from the Office of Emergency Services for Mendocino County.
All these volunteers were there to serve the greater community in the event of a tsunami or other large scale emergency or disaster.
A big Thank You to all who participated, and I encourage other Hams to become active in emergency communications.
Anybody else who may be interested in Ham Radio, or have any questions about it, feel free to contact me off list at: email@example.com
Derek Hoyle - KE6EBZ, President of the Mendocino County Amateur Radio Communications Service (McARCS)
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RONNIE JAMES: I didn’t get or hear any Tsunami warnings, I live in a wifi dead spot (along with many, many others in Little River and along the coast). No phone calls, no sirens, no email during or after the warning test. I live close to Van Damme Beach and also am responsible for a building near the beach designated as an emergency shelter. I want to be Alerted. Also, any visitors to Van Damme Beach and Park would be at high risk. I wouldn’t have even heard there was a test if I hadn’t seen it posted by a private party on the List Serve. This same thing happened last year and nothing has changed. Who conducts the test? Don’t they need some feedback? I feel this is a valid safety concern and someone must be responsible for making sure the word gets out and making sure the voids are filled, but who?
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Comment 1: I heard nothing, 1 mile up Fern Creek Road from Hwy 1.
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Comment 2: I could not hear anything. At Van Damme; same location as for years.
ON LINE COMMENT re Pot Permit Director’s ‘Resignation’
The Mendo supervisors have no one but themselves to blame for their failed pot program. Nevedal is a convenient scapegoat but she was handpicked by Ted Williams, hired by bypassing the normal (legal) hiring process, had no experience running any kind of permit or process based system, and had nothing to do with creating and sticking to a fatally flawed local ordinance that didn’t meet State requirements.
Haschak pretends to be the growers friend but when he was Chair he abused his power to block adoption of a permit system that complied with State law and the other four let him get away with it. Then they’ve allowed their corrupt and incompetent CEO and County Counsel to constantly delay awarding equity and grant funds that might have helped a few people get permits.
Unless the State bends on requiring “site specific” environmental review, the program will stay stuck in failure mode. Canning Nevedal does nothing to change that basic reality.
JIM SHIELDS WRITES: We had grand opening for the Laytonville Library; lots of people showed up for it, and a great time was had by all. These county-wide library groups are awesome that are bringing back libraries to our rural towns. As I always say, they sure don’t make bookworms like they used to. In my latest column, you’ll find that the county’s Pot Czarina performed her most productive act since hired by the Supes — she resigned. Also, I update you on the County’s unlawful Public Records Act developments, and Laytonville taking action to independently operate its emergency shelter operations. Can’t believe that CEO Darcie Antle’s Emergency Storm Report to the Supes had no mention of the three-day closure of a 70-mile stretch of Hwy. 101, a story that was reported state-wide. Actually, I can believe it, SOP in Mendo County.
SIERRA NEVADA WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL 2023 (from Jun 16 at 5 pm to Jun 18 at 10 pm)
THE Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN) is pushing forward with their protest on Saturday in DC after a rally to raise money for firearms training in March. Meanwhile, a press secretary for the governor of Arizona posted a Tweet suggesting shooting transphobes.
THE TRANS issue seems central to MAGA-think lately, and of course lights up the tabloids. But the basic issue with the Tennessee shooter clearly seems to have been a slow mental deterioration, for which she was being “treated by a doctor,” which to me translates treated with drugs that probably made her crazier. I feel for her parents, but jeez if your kid is stockpiling guns in your house you would think an even inattentive parent would have noticed.
THESE SAD EVENTS are now ritualistic. This random shooting of children was followed by a slurred statement about how awful it was by Biden, which he preceded with a joke that “I came down here because I heard there was ice cream,” more evidence that the president is out of it to the point he doesn’t even have a sense of occasion anymore, not that he was ever rhetorically sensible even when he had all his marbles. Next come national demands for a ban on assault rifles and “holding politicians accountable.” Then there’s another mass shooting and we do it all over again. Strict background checks would almost certainly have prevented this girl from buying a gun, let alone multiple guns.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING, Steve Talbot’s documentary for PBS about Nixon and Vietnam called, “The Movement and the Madman.” For people of my vintage, and there aren’t many of us left, Talbot’s film was a kind of trip down memory lane, but also revelatory. Nixon always seemed cuckoo to me, and Kissinger a Strangelove figure, the military a bunch of blustery incompetents, all of them, taken as a whole, were evil personified.
I DID NOT KNOW that “the movement,” which has moved steadily backwards ever since millions turned out to protest the War On Vietnam, really did force Nixon to cancel what he called his “madman” plans for a massive escalation of the War, up to and including nuclear strikes against North Vietnam and an invasion of the North. The protests, plus the Vietnamese calling Nixon’s nuclear bluff, plus the remarkable mobilization against the War, stopped what could have been an even greater disaster than it was.
THE IRONY, you might call it, is that the situation today — climate change, the war in Ukraine, growing poverty — is even more comprehensively dire but protests are few and those sparsely attended.
CLOSER TO HOME, Steve Talbot also made an excellent film in 1991 centered in Mendocino County called, “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” which the Bari cult went to extraordinary lengths to suppress — it can’t be mentioned, let alone discussed on Free Speech Radio KZYX, for instance. That film is available on the AVA’s youtube posting. In follow-up interviews Talbot said plainly that Bari herself told him that her ex-husband was her likely bomber.
EVERY DAY these sales pitches waft into my computer with the salutation, “Hey, Bruce!” I know that standards have slipped, but wouldn’t you think that professional pitch people would be a little less casual? A little less flippant, a little more formally serious when trying to sell something to strangers? Happens around here all the time, people of all ages. “You, Bruce?” Maybe, sometimes. Why, does he owe you money?
ERNIE BRANSCOMB WRITES:
John Pinches knows more about the Eel River and northern Mendocino than anybody alive. Indian Creek in Piercy once had a large mill pond. It is an ideal place for a fish hatchery. Cedar Creek in leggett has proven to be an ideal fish rearing creek. Several other clear water pristine creeks exist on the South Fork.
The Garberville Rotary Club had phenomenal success rearing steelhead. Fish and game stopped them because they were afraid that the steelhead would eat salmon fry.
Mendocino made a big mistake not reelecting John.
DENIS ROUSE WRITES:
I urge you to take a look at Knopf’s "The Novellas of Martha Gellhorn", particularly in this six hundred page volume of her work the titles "Till Death Do Us Part" and "A Promising Career". I read some of her war and travel stuff earlier, mostly curious about the Hemingway connection, and see it now as a minor act in her life that ironically retarded what I think should be her reputation as one of America’s great writers, certainly on a par with you know who. I know that sounds like hyperbole but the more of her work I read -- it’s like she wrote with a knife instead of a pen -- the more impressed I get. Her brilliant intelligence, and keen sense alone of the undercurrents that define men and women together, at least never encountered before in my reading experience, is almost alarming. I know you’re busy, but I’d love your reaction to one of the titles in this bank of what has to be her best work. Best, Denis.
ED NOTE: Like you, I’ve only known her in her association with Hemingway, but on your recommendation, and I’ve always found your recommendations to be sound, Martha has zoomed to the top of my Must Read list.
WRITERS READ returns to the Museum this Thursday, March 30, at 7:00 PM after being snowed-out in February.
The featured reader for March is Jabez W. “Bill” Churchill, who claims two muses, one English and the other Spanish. He has been a California Poet in the Public Schools since 1998, working primarily with bilingual and at risk students. A former Ukiah Poet Laureate (2014 to 2016), Bill has been a member of the Ina Coolbrith Poetry Circle since the 1970. Says Bill: “Still writing. Still submitting for publication. Still reading.” Writers Read has been happening in Ukiah since 1999, and occurs on the last Thursday of almost every month. The program focuses on poetry, spoken word, short stories, song, and expository prose. The evening begins with a featured reader and then is followed by an open mic until 9:00. Suggested donation is $5.
(Grade Hudson Museum/Sun House & Wild Gardens)
RD BEACON: And what has happened to the little village that we used to call Greenwood, ranchers and proud timber owners and sawmill operators operated out of the town for so many years, what is happened to her little village we called elk now, where the local Miwok Indians from over in the Sierra Nevada’s have bought up most of the town, that we now even have an art gallery of sorts, which is actually made up of part of the people that put the spike into the timber industry these new people it moved in from the East Coast and Southern California, most of them a bunch of old stoners all jacked up on drugs, hardly any business is owned by a local person in the town, and then look around if the garage that is been in the Matson family for many years is the only locally owned business within the city limits of the town of elk everything else is transplant and substandard at that overpriced B&Bs etc. special rules their idea, squeezes much money out of the customers they can, and leisure wealthy with buckets of money spent, enough to come out in the elk with full pockets as to the little art gallery it’s a joke, they swindle people who anger part of the walls part of their song and dance so they don’t have to carry a payroll they make the artist did do time, helping run the place but they don’t want to pay the living wage, these are the same people that stand up and scream that they’re not getting their share when, they hoodwink of people two ways and maybe more than make him run the gallery a couple of days a week and/or charge them to hang there are another walls, this is basically up saying in the real world it’s not like if you come to help you got lots of things to do, if you stay in the town the only thing you can do is look at a little art, go to the museum of its open, and maybe walk on the beach and hope you don’t step on a needle or a piece of glass, you may be able to buy a little weed from some local sitting your room and get stoned, or you go out and water around up stray roads down through somebody’s pasture, not realizing not all the property in the neighborhood belongs to the government, the people come here and go places it really upset local landowners, and sometimes on occasion a cow will chase you down the road because you’re not supposed to be there, but I found as an experience most city folks do not know how to read a no trespassing sign their attitude when you catch them they didn’t think it meant them, when you tell him nicely to leave they argue, and then you tell him I want your address a statewide, because I’m going to camp in your yard effort I tell, they tell me they would have me arrested, I tell him I would call the sheriff and see what we can get them arrested right now then they run off the property, I know several of my neighbors that have had this problem for years, what I see here is people come down to recreate and there is nothing here, in the real world like in Mendocino there’s lots to do lots of things the city and the art galleries, a real not make-believe black elk, I’m not saying that artist started good in elk when I’m saying, they should move their product up the road where people will buy it, elk is not a big shaking and moving town and the only way you get hard liquor and lets you brought by it in a bottle and bring it with you is you have to go up on the hill, south of the town on Fridays or Saturdays, for they have the only hard liquor in the neighborhood for sale, which is another locally owned business, we understand the local restaurant which was operated from a lady in Fort Bragg another nonlocal, is not going to reopen so maybe the gallery and a few other things will disappear, now what does the town need, cost-effective reasonable rates and B&B where children friendly and pet friendly, a restaurant that you could buy breakfast and/or dinner at reasonable prices not the high-priced stuff we’ve got now, we need a real grocery store that is open early in the morning and at least until 8 o’clock at night, with a real meat counter and a real butcher that some for 10 people from out of town, and may be better a real hotel or motel, with TV in the room was in a telephone nice golf course in the neighborhood would help last but not least, is a full-service paid fire department downtown with a real ambulance paramedics not want to be doctors that walk under the disguise of EMTs, what we have is all right we could have better, we were offered better but the politics in town so bad they chase the individual out of town that wanted to bring paramedics to rotating system from the Bay Area, we had one time in the neighborhood had an emergency room doctor partly retired is trying to help the community and a virtually chased her away, one of the new people done for the community nothing worthwhile, in their minds they feel that they’ve done well but we that are locals say that they shoved his back in the Stone Age, and driven the price of the land in the neighborhood up so high, nobody can afford to live here.
CONVERSATIONAL SPANISH CLASS IN BOONVILLE! The late-start levels 2 and 3
This class is a combined level 2/3 class, meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays will focus on level 2 content and Thursdays will focus on level 3 content. If you’re not sure what level is right for you, contact us (contact info below).
Time: 5:30-7:20 p.m. each night.
Cost: For the entire cycle is $12
Teacher: Serena Acker (bio below)
Location: Tuesdays: Elementary School room 13, Thursdays: Adult School classroom
To register: This is a Mendocino College class offered in partnership with the Anderson Valley Adult School. You are welcome to register directly with the college, and please confirm your interest and participation with the AV Adult School by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 895-2953.It will be helpful for us to know how many people to expect. If you are not familiar with the Mendocino College registration procedure, we can help you. Registering online with the college can be tricky!
About the teacher: Serena has been enamored by the Spanish language and culture from a young age exploring trinkets and hearing stories of her mother’s travels down the Pan-Americana highway in the 80s. She studied Spanish and spent a summer in Argentina in high school which further ignited the intrigue. While attending Pitzer College she was immersed in the spanish-speaking culture of Southern California through coursework and volunteer efforts. She spent her junior year living in Quito, Ecuador where she found a second home and fell in love with the Andes and Andean culture. Upon graduation she received a Fulbright scholarship to teach English at La Universidad de Medellín, Colombia. When she returned from Colombia, she quickly landed her next teaching job at her Alma Mater, Mendocino High School, where she taught for 9 years, spending summers in Costa Rica and Spain as a trip leader for language immersion programs for teenagers. She continues to study Spanish herself and is almost complete with her Masters in Spanish Education in Guanajuato, Mexico. She believes that learning Spanish (or any language) is a responsibility to intercultural communication, and that through language learning we are able to better reflect on our heritage language and culture, expand who we are and how we see the world, ultimately becoming better citizens, who celebrate diversity in all forms.
BRYAN NIES AND SYMPHONY OF THE REDWOODS!
Symphony of the Redwoods is excited to present auditioning conductor Bryan Nies from San Francisco this Saturday and Sunday! He will lead the orchestra in the very familiar Haydn’s trumpet concerto (Scott Macomber, soloist), Copland’s Quiet City and the exhilarating Dvorak’s 5th Symphony.
Symphony of the Redwoods Concert on Saturday at 7:30 PM with a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 PM and on Sunday at 2:00 PM with a pre-concert lecture at 1:00 PM. Both performances at Cotton Auditorium in Fort Bragg.
Mr. Nies will conduct the orchestra as well as present the pre-concert lectures.
Tickets available at Out of this Word in Mendocino, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg and online at brownpapertickets.com
Here is a short version of Mr. Nies bio: Bryan Nies is the Principal Conductor of Festival Opera and former Associate Director of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra where he was a Bruno Walter Memorial Conducting Grant recipient and the Oakland Youth Symphony’s longest tenured conductor. He pursues an active performance and teaching schedule with multiple vocal and chamber recitals, and is a Lecturer at Stanford University. He released his first recording "Amour sans ailes: The Music of Reynaldo Hahn" on MSR Classics with baritone Zachary Gordin. (for a full bio go to www.instantencore.com)
WHO IS SCOTT MACOMBAR?
Scott Macomber is the soloist at the Symphony of the Redwoods Concert THIS WEEKEND at Cotton Auditorium! He will perform the well-known Haydn Trumpet Concerto as well as Quiet City by Copland. The Symphony will finish the concert, after intermission, with Dvorak’s stunning 5th Symphony.
Scott has been featured in one of the Symphony of the Redwoods free, outdoor summer concerts at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden and he is a regular on the coast. We can’t wait to hear him solo with the Symphony of the Redwoods!
Tickets at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, Out of this World in Mendocino and online at brownpapertickets.com
Saturday concert at 7:30 PM with pre-concert lecture at 6:30. Sunday concert at 2 PM with pre-concert lecture at 1 PM.
San Francisco Bay Area trumpeter Scott Macomber is in demand on the stage, in the pit, and recording studio. He has served as Acting Second Trumpet of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 2016 as well as maintaining permanent positions with the California Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, and Napa Valley Symphony. Scott frequently appears with the San Francisco Symphony, with whom he has served as Acting Third Trumpet, and the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. A busy recording artist, Scott is frequently at Skywalker Ranch to appear on video game and film soundtracks as well as commercial albums. (full bio at scottmacombertrumpet.com)
On Thursday, March 30, at 9:00 am, Pacific Time (12:00 pm EST), our guest at "Heroes and Patriots Radio" on KMUD will be Trita Parsi.
Trita Parsi will talk about "China's Growing Influence in the Middle East and How China Brokered Normalization Between Iran and Saudi Arabia".
Parsi is the executive vice president of the Quincy Institute. He states: “Saudi-Iran normalization is a BIG DEAL, not just because of the positive repercussions it can have in the region — from Lebanon to Yemen — but also because of who mediated the deal (China) and who didn’t (the United States).
“Saudi-Iran tensions have had many ups and downs in the past 40 years, but this is the first time they have agreed to lower the temperature through Chinese mediation. By not taking sides, China has emerged as a player that can resolve disputes rather than merely sell weapons.”
Meanwhile, Parsi notes the U.S. focus on Israel: “When asked about the China-brokered agreement between Iran and Saudi, Biden responds that ‘the better relations between ISRAEL and its Arab neighbors, the better for everybody.'” Parsi adds: “While the Abraham Accords have been lauded as a ‘peace deal,’ the Wall Street Journal explicitly states that it could ‘extinguish the flickering Palestinian hopes of creating an independent state.’ So it would be a ‘peace’ based on Israel annexing Palestine. Got it.”
In 2021 Parsi called on the U.S. to help build a new Persian Gulf security architecture: “1. Abandon dominance 2. Encourage regional dialogue, but let the region lead 3. Include other major powers such as China.” He notes now: “Biden didn’t listen, but apparently Beijing did.”
He adds: “The Saudi-Iran normalization was apparently not a one-off by China. China is also arranging a summit between Iran and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council for later this year.”
Our show, "Heroes and Patriots Radio", airs live on KMUD, on the first and fifth Thursdays of every month, at 9 AM, Pacific Time.
KMUD simulcasts its programming on two full power FM stations: KMUE 88.1 in Eureka and KLAI 90.3 in Laytonville. It also maintains a translator at 99.5 FM in Shelter Cove, California.
We also stream live from the web at https://kmud.org/
Speak with our guest live and on-the-air at: KMUD Studio (707) 923-3911. Please call in.
We post our shows to our own website and Youtube channels. Shows may be excerpted in other media outlets.
Wherever you live, KMUD is your community radio station. We are a true community of informed and progressive people. Please join us by becoming a member or underwriter.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, March 29, 2023
GABRIEL BOGGS, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.
AMANI CLAY, Indianapolis/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, no license.
JENNIFER DEFRATES, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation, unspecified felony.
YURI GOLOVEY, Citrus Heights/Ukiah. DUI.
JESUS HERRERA, Ukiah. Vandalism.
LAWRENCE LAWSON, Ukiah. County parole violation.
LEONARDO LOPEZ-CRUZ, Fort Bragg. DUI causing bodily injury.
JOSEPH MORRIS-MENDOZA, Willits. Domestic battery.
JASON NAGY JR., Antioch/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
KC STILLWELL, Covelo. Stolen vehicle, failure to appear.
RUSSELL TRIMBLE II, Covelo. Fugitive from justice.
CRAIG SLEEPS IN
The Real You Is Not Affected By Anything At All!
Awoke later than usual at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center in rain soaked Ukiah, California, and following morning ablutions, walked to the Plowshares Peace and Justice Center for a free lunch, followed by an MTA bus ride to the Ukiah Public Library. At 1:29PM Pacific Time am cheerfully tap, tap tapping away on computer #5. The Smoky Blues compilation is comin’ through the ear buds just fine, and a trip to Schat’s Bakery for a pastry and a Java Jolt is nigh. Physical health is seriously improved due to all of the medicines and associated treatments, courtesy of Adventist Health. And most importantly, being spiritually identified with the Knower, or Eternal Witness, or the Self, or Immortal Atman, or Pure Spirit, or whatever you wish to define as the Divine Absolute (id est, GOD!), is the only really important thing now and forever. This only goes to prove that the real you is not affected by anything at all! Hey, enjoy the smoky blues
Earth Day is April 22nd. This is a callout to be a part of the global anarchist direct action to destroy the demonic. And this is the further point of the 45 year young Earth First! movement’s approach. Have a good time, y’all.
Craig Louis Stehr
Citizens who believe there are tax loopholes were called envious by Bob Proctor in the Press Democrat, who wrote that the tax laws are applied equally to all in our country. What he does not address is the inequity built into that code — the fact that wealthy people who live on capital gains pay much less than those of us who earn a living. I believe that loophole is a generic term used to disparage a system that is inherently unfair to the majority of citizens.
When you look at the budget proposed by the Democrats and the ghost budget we can’t see from the GOP, it is crystal clear that we have a collection problem more than a spending problem.
I am not saying that there is no room for modifying discretionary spending. But when you see how little the rich contribute to social safety nets and how much most of our taxes went up when Donald Trump blew a big hole in the budget by decreasing the corporate tax rate from 38% down to 21% while taking away California’s state and local deductions, it is easy to see how justifiable anger at the system is easily generated.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
About school shootings…
In my view, the entire educational system in the USA is the root cause of all the mental illness in the country in the first place. This will only become obvious post collapse. It will be impossible for broke governments to come up with the resources to support the incredibly costly and energy hungry system we have now. We have giant schools with kids being bused and driven to them on traffic clogged roads. During collapse, after a few years of no school whatsoever and general chaos and crisis everywhere, parents will be astonished at how well their home schooling goes. Some home schools with larger classes will happen in private homes converted to private neighborhood schools. All of these schools will be within walking distance of students’ homes. Compulsory education will be gone and no men with guns will show up to force kids into schools. Children will walk to school again because no resources and no diesel will be available for the big yellow buses. Those huge mega-schools will be repurposed into local sweatshop factories for making shoes and clothing, or be demolished and scrapped.
But in the meantime before sanity and reality returns to education, the mental illness everywhere will continue to get worse because each year the schools get worse and less connected from reality, The delusional college educated females running elementary education – these females are barking mad themselves and in no position to lead a child anywhere except into woke madness. What goes on in schools now is poorly disguised child abuse. The teachers are sick and so are the students.
The other giant predator institution that will make a massive bang and a huge cloud of dust when it collapses is our “health care system”. It’s a scam similar to the education scam, and it will collapse for the same reasons – no resources left to support it and the public becoming aware of how much damage the system causes. People everywhere will be astonished after they notice a general improvement in public health post collapse. Health improves after we stop with the pills, shots, operations, etc. After we stop eating trash and eat backyard garden food instead. After we quit driving everywhere and are forced to use bicycles. After we mow our own yards because we cannot afford to pay a landscaping company. After we rake our own yards with hand held leaf rakes because fuel and spare parts for leaf blowers won’t be available. After we heat our homes with wood we’ve gathered ourselves, after we after we after we……….
BILL KIMBERLIN: In my view, there is only one way to stop these school shootings. Politically, it can’t be done. We need private enterprise to buy these gun companies. They are not that valuable. Once a majority of their stock is owned, new directors can be hired to stop this non-sense of unlimited lobbying of Congress. Don’t need to put them out of business, just change the rules by which they operate. New owners, new standards. There are over 600 billionaires in this country with enough money to take control of the three major gun manufactures in the world. With control of all three, no other company could compete selling guns against them.
PHOTO EXHIBITION: In The Fields Of The North
When We Spoke Out Against War -
Unearthing the history of protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Photographs by David Bacon
April 1 To May 11, 2023 (Opening: April 1, 7 PM)
El Museo de Arte de Nogales
Av. Adolfo LÃ³pez Mateos 120
Fund Legal, Centro, 84000
Nogales, Sonora, Mexico
BRITAIN’S BURIED SLAVERY HISTORY
by Gary Younge
Slightly tucked away from Manchester’s main thoroughfares, in a quiet square that bears his name, there is a statue of Abraham Lincoln – as it happens, just outside the windows of the Guardian’s offices in the city where the newspaper was founded nearly 202 years ago.
Manchester acquired the sculpture by chance. It was meant to appear outside the Houses of Parliament in London, as a symbol of Anglo-American cooperation – until the American donors were riven by fighting over its “weird and deformed” depiction of the famously homely president, and a more “heroic” statue was sent in its stead.
Manchester was keen to have it for a reason. Lincoln developed a deep affection for the city during the American civil war after Lancashire cotton mill workers resolved to back him at considerable cost to themselves. Manchester was the largest processor of cotton in the world at the time; the American slave-holding south was the largest producer. Lincoln, seeking to isolate and economically cripple the south, implemented a naval blockade of its cotton, which wrought great hardship on the mill workers in the north of England.
The British government was officially neutral. Many merchants in Liverpool, prioritising wealth at home over freedom abroad, backed the Confederate south and organised warships to support the enslavers. But in Manchester, a coalition of liberals, cotton workers and abolitionists came together to back the north. After a famous public meeting at the Free Trade Hall on 31 December 1862, Manchester’s workers resolved to endure the privations of the blockade and lend their weight to the fight against slavery. (The Guardian did not support them: its leader on that day warned that “English working men” should “know better than to allow the organised expression of their opinion as a class to be thrown into one scale or the other in a foreign civil war”.)
Months later, Lincoln wrote a letter of thanks to the “working-men of Manchester”, part of which is inscribed on his statue. “I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the working-men of Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis,” he wrote. “Under the circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country.”
Manchester is understandably proud of this moment in its history, an act of international, antiracist solidarity between workers and enslaved African Americans. While in other cities statues of enslavers, slave traders and genocidal settlers have been defaced, dismantled or otherwise challenged, here was one statue that not only celebrated popular resistance to slavery but demonstrated a collective material sacrifice for the very principle.…
WHEN MY MOTHER RETURNED from my sister the day before yesterday at 1 o’clock at night with the news of the boy’s birth, my father moved through the apartment in his nightshirt, opened all the doors, woke me, the maid and my sisters and announced the birth in such a way as if the baby had not only been born but had also already led an honorable life and had its funeral.
— Franz Kafka
FIGS: NOT FRUIT, Did You Know?
A fig is not just an ordinary fruit, in fact, it’s not even a fruit.
Strictly speaking, figs are inverted flowers.
Figs don’t bloom in the same way as other fruit trees like almonds or cherries.
Figs have a very curious history.
First of all, they’re technically not a fruit, but an infruity (a set of fruits).
And secondly, they need a slaughtered wasp to breed, an insect that dies inside the fig.
In a nutshell, figs are a kind of inverted flowers that bloom inside this large, dark, red-hued bud we know as figs.
Each flower produces a single nut and a single seed called an "aquarium".
The fig is made up of several branches, which give it this characteristic crunchy texture.
Therefore, when we eat one fig, we are eating hundreds of fruits.
But the most amazing thing, it’s the special pollination process that fig flowers need to reproduce.
They can’t depend on weather, the wind or the bees bring pollen as other fruits, so they need a species known as the fig wasps.
These insects transport their genetic material and allow it to reproduce.
For their part, wasps couldn’t live without figs, as they deposit their larvae inside the fruit.
This relationship is known as symbiosis or mutualism.
Currently, the vast majority of producers of this fruit no longer need the work of wasps.
Most fig varieties for human consumption are part non-genetic.
This means they always bear fruit in the absence of a pollinator.
NORTH BORNEO, famous for the stunning stamp pictorials during the classical era. Having obtained sovereign and territorial rights in 1882 from the sultan of Brunei, the North Borneo Chartered Company administered the lands, while Great Britain, in 1888, controlled the defense and foreign relations as a "protectorate". The North Borneo Chartered Company was in power until 1942, when Japanese forces occupied North Borneo. Liberated by the Australians in 1945, the territory became the Crown Colony of British North Borneo from 1946-1963. Granted self-government in 1963, the (now known as) State of Sabah united with Malaya, Sarawak, and Singapore to form the Federation of Malaysia.
ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE
by John Lanchester
Anyone with an interest in the history of technology will know who the first customer for new inventions tends to be. As the biophysicist Luca Turin once said to me, ‘the military are the only people who know how to fund research, because the military are the only people who really know how to waste money.’ Three days after the foundation of Fairchild Semiconductor, Sputnik 1 zoomed into orbit, and the company suddenly had its market. Nasa, tasked with overtaking the Soviet Union in the race for space, made the first significant order for Noyce’s new chip. Texas Instruments did most of its important early business with the US air force, which was looking for a way to increase the accuracy of its missiles. ‘Within a year, TI’s shipments to the air force accounted for 60 per cent of all dollars spent buying chips to date.’ By 1965, 72 per cent of all integrated circuits were being bought by the US Department of Defence.
The first beneficiary of the military’s spending was the military. The scandal of the US bombing campaign in Vietnam is widely known: in three and a half years, Operation Rolling Thunder dropped more ordnance on Vietnam than the Allies used in the entire Pacific theatre during the Second World War. What is less well known is that most of it missed. The average Vietnam bomb landed 420 feet from its target. Miller cites the example of the Thanh Hóa Bridge, a vital transport artery in North Vietnam, which in 1965 was the target of 638 bombs, every one of which missed. Seven years later, the TI chips were incorporated in the same bombs, and the final set of air raids, on 13 May 1972, destroyed the bridge – a confirmation of the importance of the new technology in war, even if it was broadly ignored in the context of the US defeat. (The other wider significance of the Thanh Hóa Bridge was that the first big raid there was the occasion for an aerial dogfight in which the US, to its astonishment, lost a number of its most advanced aircraft to Vietnamese fighters. That shock to the system eventually led to the foundation of the fighter school memorialised in Top Gun, which in turn led to the 2022 sequel which was such a big-screen success that Steven Spielberg recently told Tom Cruise his movie had ‘saved the entire theatrical industry’. It’s the Thanh Hóa Bridge’s world – we’re just living in it.)
From this point on, the US military was committed to the microchip as a central part of its strategic planning. The Soviet Union had more men and materiel than the US, so the US embarked on a plan to offset those advantages through superior technology. They have more men and more stuff, but our weapons hit the target – that was the idea, and the first time it could be seen in use was in the 1991 Gulf War. That first astonishing blizzard of bombing and cruise missiles in the attack on Baghdad, which nobody who watched it live on television will ever forget, was based on a huge technological superiority which was in turn based on the ubiquitous microchip. As Miller puts it, ‘the Cold War was over; Silicon Valley had won.’
That wouldn’t have happened if the Soviet Union had been able to match US chip production. Its failure to do so was based partly on the fact that ever since Shockley’s initial breakthrough, the Soviet Union had relied on industrial espionage to keep up with the US. An entire department of the KGB specialised in stealing and copying US chips. The problem was that the speed of advances in the microchip industry was so rapid that by the time you had successfully copied an existing chip, you were far behind the current state of the art. Gordon Moore had foreseen that chips would double in power or halve in price every eighteen months, and although this was not a law but a prediction, it was proving true.
Moore’s law gave the chip industry a special character. Nothing else that humanity has ever invented or created continually doubles in power every eighteen months. This was the result of remorseless, fanatical engineering ingenuity. As a result, the business attracted a particular kind of person, exemplified by Intel, the company that span off from Fairchild, in the same way Fairchild had spun off from Shockley. Once again, Moore and Noyce left the mothership. The most driven of the men at Intel – even by the standards of tech, the story of microchips is male-dominated – was Andy Grove, who joined the company on its first day, and rose to become the boss. The Wasp neutrality of Grove’s name is deceptive. He was born András Gróf in Hungary in 1936. His early life was not easy. As he says in a memoir, by the time he was twenty he had ‘lived through a Hungarian fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis’ “Final Solution”, the siege of Budapest by the Soviet Red Army, a period of chaotic democracy in the years immediately after the war, a variety of repressive communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint’. His Jewish father was sent to a labour camp, and his mother was raped by Russian soldiers when Budapest fell at the end of the war. The penniless, non-English speaking Gróf escaped to Austria, went to the US, trained as a chemical engineer, got a job at Fairchild, joined Intel and ended up running the company. In that role he created a distinctive culture which became hugely influential throughout the world of technology. He wrote a book, named after his guiding maxim: Only the Paranoid Survive. That’s a pretty bad rule for life, but it was a useful mantra in the microchip industry, thanks to the permanent acceleration of Moore’s law.
THE LAST VESTIGES of California’s Vanishing Hippie Utopias
by David Jacob Kramer
Half a century ago, a legion of idealists dropped out of society and went back to the land, creating a patchwork of utopian communes across Northern California. Here, the last of those rogue souls offer a glimpse of their otherworldly residences—and the tail end of a grand social experiment.
There was an aphorism in the movement: “Bad roads make good communes.” And the road we’re on today is bad. Several miles inland from California’s foggy coastline, we’re driving down a single lane hemmed in by 50-foot fir trees and then turn onto a rocky dirt path, joggling our rented SUV. Photographer Michael Schmelling and I are in Mendocino County, about a three-hour drive north of San Francisco, looking for what remains of perhaps the most famous of the hundreds of rural communes established across Northern California in the late ‘60s and ‘70s: Table Mountain Ranch.
The entire expanse—which once was a kind of American Arcadia, home to scores of hippies who’d fled San Francisco to live a new, idealistic kind of life—now looks deserted. We pass tree stumps, logging equipment, and mounds of dirt. The only sound is the chirping of birds. Eventually, in the middle of an open field, we come upon a peeling wood building where a lone man is perched up a ladder. Ascetically thin, with long red hair and a patchy beard, he tells us that he’s one of Table Mountain Ranch’s last remaining members. Now in his mid-70s, he’s wary of supplying his name, wary of being somehow “on the map” after so much time off the grid, so I tell him that I’ll refer to him as Jack Berg. Attempting to set the foundation for a second-story balcony, he struggles to balance on the ladder while positioning a two-by-four, an unlit roach in his fingers. As we look on, he brusquely puts us to work, chastising Michael for snapping a picture instead of immediately helping with the load.
Berg is restoring the Whale Schoolhouse, a progressive academy founded in 1971 that became the pride of communards across the Albion region of Northern California. Fifty kids, from elementary to high school age, were enrolled here, but it’s sat unused for decades—and now Berg is moving in. “Nobody cared about this building,” he says. “It was disintegrating.” He takes us inside. It’s a single room, the size of half a tennis court, with old class pictures on a corkboard. A circular window overlooks an empty field that had long ago been a playground.
At one point in 1970, Table Mountain had over a hundred residents, some living in tipis, some in cabins, some crashing in the open air. It appears that before it became a commune, the 120-acre property had been a dude ranch, and the cabins and outbuildings were constantly being expanded in an endless ad hoc construction project. Residents scavenged materials from an abandoned hotel in nearby Fort Bragg and chicken coops from a Jewish communist chicken farm a few hours’ drive south, in Petaluma. The living was primitive: There was no electricity or telephone lines, and the toilets were compostable. Residents shared their money and meals. This was the vision of one of Table Mountain’s founders, a former Navy pilot named Walter Schneider, who discovered the deforested property from the air and, according to Berg, purchased the plot with cash he made trafficking pot via plane—and with his friend’s inheritance. Countercultural luminaries moved up from the Bay, like Allen Cohen, founder of Haight-Ashbury’s foremost underground newspaper, The San Francisco Oracle. A close friend of Timothy Leary’s, Schneider brought the famed professor for weekend visits. “Walter and Tim came up here looking for a place to drop acid,” Berg explains, “to retreat from the city and do their thing.”
Berg first came to Table Mountain Ranch to visit his sister, then a resident, and never left. He doesn’t remember precisely when that was, just that it was around the time Schneider finally got arrested for smuggling weed. Berg didn’t know it then, but when he joined the commune he became part of the greatest urban exodus in American history. From the late ‘60s to the mid ‘70s, nearly a million young people went back to the land. Nowhere was the urge to reconnect with nature more keenly felt than in San Francisco, where droves of young people were suddenly fleeing a city overrun by heroin, speed, and bad vibes. Cops were shooting down Black Panthers in Oakland and the military was tear-gassing students in People’s Park in Berkeley. Vietnam veterans were looking for a salve for their PTSD. Faithful Marxists aimed to put their ideals to the test. Some just wanted to get high in the woods.
This movement found its epicenter in a sunny swath of Northern California between the Bay Area and the Oregon border, a region where plots of land were going cheap, decimated by a century of logging and an economic downturn. Thousands of cooperative communities like Table Mountain Ranch sprouted up along the coast and the inland forests. Residents taught themselves to farm, practiced free love, and built their own homes.
It was a grand social experiment, but the promise was often rosier than the reality. Most found the grind too hard going and the poverty too bleak, and within a few years returned to the city and more conventional lives. But a small number stuck it out for decades, long after the Summer of Love had dissipated, and a handful of them still live in communities scattered across Northern California. These flinty souls remain a study in principled self-reliance and human ingenuity, having supported themselves and their families for years through subsistence farming and sundry side hustles: ceramics, teaching, salmon fishing, instrument making, firewood hawking, and weed growing.
These residents are now in their 70s and 80s. For some, the isolation has become challenging due to medical needs, yet they continue to remain, some living like hermits, others as community activists. Although the last holdouts within these fading utopias are all uniquely compelling characters, it’s the question of what they’ll leave behind that has drawn us here. Living in strange homes of their own creation, forever fearful of building inspectors and outsiders, they’ve kept these structures hidden and shrouded in mystery. Will these dwellings languish as ruins of a lost civilization, relics of a long-obsolete 20th-century idea? Might some, like Berg’s current project, be outfitted for new uses? Many seem on the brink of collapse, and before they’re gone, I want to know what lessons they could teach us.
As the light begins to fade, Berg walks us into the woods on a tour of the property’s most neglected structures. We trek down a damp glen, which becomes darker and colder as we walk under a thick canopy, and in a small clearing come upon a shack with a mossy dome and triangular windows. The foundation is sinking into the earth. This would have been a sunny spot 50 years ago, when the land was newly decimated by logging. Still, Berg thinks the builders were foolish for choosing this side of the hill. He struggles to remember who they were, mouthing names to himself as we continue. Deeper into the woods sits a cabin with walls aslant, its windows knocked out. “The design is impractical,” says Berg. “I think it’s humorous architecture.” He pauses, considering the structure’s design. “Some are really beautiful, though. This is beautiful.”
Both structures are beyond repair. Berg has long planned to burn them down, following in a tradition among communards of destroying properties they’ve abandoned so that the state doesn’t have the chance to condemn and bulldoze them. But he hasn’t brought himself to do it yet.
It was at a used-book store in San Francisco that I first developed an interest in these strange structures. I’d been thumbing through an issue of the Whole Earth Catalog, a compendium of self-help advice and product reviews, founded and edited by Stewart Brand, that became the bible for back-to-the-landers when it was first published in 1968. (Steve Jobs would later call it “Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along.”) What struck me most was the opening statement: “We are as gods and might as well get used to it. A realm of intimate, personal power is developing—power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested.”
I found a particularly unshakable fantasy in the “Shelter” section, which told the stories of people who had built their own homes and, in some cases, formed their own societies. Did I need to continue grinding away in the city in hopes of one day maybe owning my own home? Was I going about my existence all wrong? A generation had already put this alternative lifestyle to the test. I wanted to meet those who were still living the fantasy.
On a Mendocino community Facebook group for back-to-the-landers, I found a man named Ron Blett, who lives on a five-acre plot a short drive from Table Mountain Ranch. In April, Michael and I visited him at his cabin, a simple structure he has continued to renovate over the years, and which features a stained-glass window salvaged from an abandoned church. Blett is 78 years old now; tubes from an assisted breathing apparatus dangle from his neck into his knapsack. After dropping out of Western Michigan University, during his final semester, in 1968, he headed to California, borrowed $1,200 from friends, and built the house he still lives in. The commune never had a name; he just started letting friends live on the land. At its peak there were 16 residents in cabins that he’d built. Now those original tenants are gone, and all that’s left are the cabins, some shake-shingled, fitted with odd, mismatched windows. The homes’ chaotic design reminds Blett of an experiment he’d read about where spiders were dosed with various drugs. “If you look at a normal spiderweb,” he says, “then you look at a spiderweb on acid, that’s how these homes appear to me.”
It’s common in Northern California to find people who abruptly dropped out of society, never to return. Monty Levenson lives 50 miles from Blett, up a winding mountain road outside the town of Willits, on the northern edge of California’s redwood forests. His home is a minimalist, pragmatic structure that befits his no-nonsense personality. He came out here with little more than his books, 500 of them, and an intent to focus on his doctoral thesis. But he soon abandoned his studies and began to pursue a different kind of knowledge. “I felt I didn’t know anything, really,” he says. “After going through the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war movement, I started thinking, Do I really want to be a professor training other professors who will in turn train other professors?”
Levenson sought to move beyond talk of revolution; he wanted to embody it. “My impulse was to do something with my life, that just by being here, I would be making it a better place,” he says. “That’s what came out of the ‘60s, the sense you could create your own reality. In 1968 in Paris you’d see the phrase ‘Be realistic but demand the impossible’ spray-painted on walls. I needed to manifest that.”
Levenson, who’s in his mid-70s, has a short white beard and the same intonations as Bernie Sanders—a contemporary of his at Brooklyn College. The curriculum there hadn’t prepared him for building his own dwelling. “The only wood I ever held in my hand was a pencil,” Levenson says. “This thing where we’re going to change the world? I didn’t know how to wipe my ass.” His methodology was “trial and error—mostly the latter. You make a lot of mistakes, and if you survive them and you have half a brain, you figure it out.”
When Levenson arrived, the land had been ravaged by loggers. “It was ecocided,” he says. “Destroyed. Deemed worthless land that was being sold to unsuspecting hippies. And it backfired.” He expanded his home, where he lives with his wife of 37 years, Kayo, and reared four children, three of whom moved to Brooklyn as adults—an irony not lost on him. He’s recently built a meticulously crafted sauna and a Japanese-style bath house, both straight out of a high-end eco-retreat. Unlike many back-to-the-landers, Levenson never cared to live on a commune and has always resided in a private abode with his family. “I don’t like going to meetings and I’m still that way,” he explains. “If you want to do something, sometimes the most efficient way is to do it yourself. I wanted to make my own decisions, and if I made mistakes, then I dealt with them myself.”
For all his plucky gripes, Levenson is a student of Zen and has become a world-renowned craftsman of the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute that dates back over 1,200 years. A big break came when he was personally invited to include one of his instruments in a 1971 edition of the Whole Earth Catalog. Ever since then he’s been backlogged with orders. At one point, he refers to a Japanese saying: joshaku shushaku—mistake upon mistake compounds to become the sum total of one’s knowledge. Then he blows the flute for us, eyes closed. It’s a pure, swelling sound that fills the room and seems to transport him to another place.
“We were kindred spirits forging a world we wanted to live in, connected to the earth organically and spiritually.”
The audacious confidence of building one’s own house according to one’s own vision tends to be reflected in back-to-the-landers’ other creative pursuits. Laird Sutton is an artist, Methodist minister, and sexologist who has spent his life intermingling these disciplines. For years he commuted into San Francisco from his ranch in Bodega, an intentional community about an hour-and-a-half drive north of San Francisco. He built his home there in 1968 and has continued to tinker with it over the years. His front window, made of curved plexiglass, like a cockpit, overlooks the hillside; it once displayed a collection of ancient erotic art. One of a handful who remain on the community’s land, Sutton lives with his 15-year-old Labrador, Maggie (whose bloodline he has traced back to J.R.R. Tolkien’s own dog), and a library of sexological literature.
With his long hair—he hasn’t cut it since 1967—bushy eyebrows, and hoary beard, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Gandalf, and speaks with no less gravitas. He felt a deep connection with the land, and he pledged to never leave, despite the commute. An intentional community requires harmony not only with its members but with the earth itself, he explains. The land, Sutton says, “can decide that people aren’t good and drop a tree on their house.” He tells the story of a troublesome member who woke up in such a scenario. The woman was unhurt but rattled enough to leave. “The land spoke,” Sutton says. “I won’t say divine intervention, because when you say that, you’re talking about somebody up there. We’re talking about the intervention of the living ranch, because everything here is alive.”
The back-to-the-land movement consisted of predominantly white heterosexual youth from middle-class backgrounds. And so Richard Evans, who is Black and gay, found himself a double anomaly, not just on the commune he lived on near Garberville but in the broader Humboldt County region. In his 20s he’d spent time at a pansexual urban commune in the Haight, Kaliflower, that was known for creating the elaborate costumes worn by the legendary avant-garde drag performance troupe the Cockettes. But Evans had always loved nature and wanted to be nearer to it. In the early ‘70s, he found some friends willing to pool their finances to purchase land up north and was dispatched to find a parcel for the crew. For six months he camped and fished, scouring territory all the way up to Oregon. “I never met another Black kid hitchhiking,” he says, noting that times haven’t become any more encouraging. “Nowadays I don’t see women hitchhiking, either. It’s unimaginable.” In San Francisco, he says, “the Summer of Love was a huge heart opening. What changed?”
When Evans finally found a fitting plot, he called up his friends and they established a commune there named Narnia. For his personal living quarters, he built a geodesic dome with wood salvaged from a demolished school. Domes were frequently found on communes, their technical experimentalism and trippy look symbolizing a certain lifestyle.
But living in his dome alone meant that there was a part of Richard Evans not being expressed. Narnia’s other residents were three heterosexual couples, and with the exception of a few lesbian communes, he knew of no queer communes so far up north. He was on his own, in a sense, and came to develop a deep sense of self-reliance, one he still retains. The first thing to look for on new land, he tells me, is a stream: You can’t live without drinking water. And so Evans taught himself how to dowse for underground springs by reading an article in the Whole Earth Catalog.
Lloyd Kahn, the former editor of the “Shelter” section of the Whole Earth Catalog, still lives on the half acre he and his wife purchased in Bolinas, a coastal community in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, in 1971. Now 86 years old, with bushy white hair, he is, after Buckminster Fuller, the most famous proponent of geodesic domes. His Domebook, volumes one and two, sold hundreds of thousands of copies before he pulled them from print, renouncing geodesic domes as impractical—they can’t be sealed against wind and weather, and barns were simply better structures. His agent couldn’t dissuade him. “I didn’t want any more domes on my karma,” he says.
Kahn now largely espouses simple stud houses, with vertical walls and simple roofs, inspired by the conventional farm structures he would see on the side of the road. “I had to admit I was wrong in front of a quarter of a million people,” he says. “It was great. People are so disinclined to admit mistakes. That’s part of learning. If you’re experimenting, there are going to be failures. You acknowledge them and go from there.”
Laird Sutton is a Methodist minister and sexologist, at home. He runs his own press, Shelter Publications, out of an office he built with recycled lumber from an old Navy barracks. He’s published dozens of books on alternative and mobile living spaces and he maintains an Instagram account where he features examples of spaces he finds captivating. Every day he gets emails from people gushing about how his work inspires them. On YouTube you can find his tutorials—how to shoot and vacuum-pack squab, for instance, or ferment pickles.
Kahn disapproves of the sloppy construction typical of commune dwellings. “I thought those places were abominable,” he tells me. “You could build anything you wanted, so terrible stuff got built. Those loose anarchistic ones are probably gone now. Good riddance, I think. I was into building and growing food—other people were into communicating with dolphins.”
To Harriet Bye, another Albion settler, the Whole Earth Catalog and other similar publications enforced gender stereotypes. Even the catalog’s introductory statement catered to a male perspective. So, with a collective of other local women, Bye created a female-oriented magazine called Country Women in 1972, mailed out from Table Mountain Ranch. “We had to do [a publication] that directly spoke to women being able to take on a lot of these things that were considered men’s work,” she tells me. Country Women had themed issues like “Women on the Land,” “Anger and Violence,” and “Sexuality,” but it also offered advice for, say, how to deal with an outbreak of white cabbage moths. The magazine was launched the same year as Gloria Steinem’s Ms. and found a similar audience, with its distribution at one point hitting 9,000 copies.
The attic of Laird Sutton’s cabin in Bodega, California. We’re sitting outside her wood-shingled home, a short drive from the commune. Bye first bought land in 1969, on her 26th birthday, securing an acre and a half with a $750 down payment and a $40 monthly mortgage. She built this house herself, affixing the shingles in a pattern that wasted the least amount of material, initially using a cookie sheet as a T square. In those days, she says, everyone salvaged material. Part of this was principle, part of it was practical. Most new settlers didn’t have a ton of money, Bye among them. At one point she came upon a house in San Francisco where the windows were being removed and the contractor offered them to her for free. Bye launched a reused-window business that her husband still runs. A good portion of all the hippie homes in the area got their windows from her. There are fields of them stacked across her property. “It’s obvious now that we have limited resources,” Bye says. “They are beautiful things, so who wants them destroyed?”
A few roads over lives Ted Thoman, a tall, soft-spoken man with a long white ponytail under a Greek fisherman’s cap. He designed his seven-sided, single-room house around the windows he’d scored, the biggest one from the side of a gas station. “Windows are cheaper than a wall,” he tells me over a breakfast of eggs and coffee inside his light-filled abode. After we eat, Thoman sets down a metal tube used to tighten nuts and bolts. In the small opening at the top are hefty buds of weed grown on his property. “An after-meal digestive?” he offers.
Up a ladder is a 12-windowed attic loft, once the bedroom for two kids and now webbed with wire for drying weed. Back-to-the-landers started cultivating marijuana for their own consumption in the mid ‘70s, and in the ensuing decades, their isolation, dedication to the crop, and general disregard for the law would turn Humboldt County into one of the epicenters of America’s illegal cannabis industry. By the 1980s, former hippies who had once disavowed materialism were turning hefty profits; some built private “pot palaces” and became disconnected from the communes that first brought them into the countryside. Not Ted Thoman, though. He grows for himself and his friends. When we leave, he hands me a full baggie for later.
Constructing a home with next to no money demands feats of creative resourcefulness. Back in the 1970s, free building materials were everywhere—if you knew where to look. Jon Turner’s house, a two-story, gable-roofed structure in Mendocino County, is fabricated from 2,000-year-old redwood logs he pulled out of the Albion River. His ceiling is the height of a gymnasium because he couldn’t bring himself to trim the ancient logs, he explains. He never put a single architectural sketch on paper.
Turner wears a leather jacket and a white handlebar mustache; in an adjoining garage, he rebuilds Harley-Davidsons. When he first moved here, from San Joaquin County, just east of San Francisco, he eked out a living as a commercial fisherman. But he found that a century’s worth of logging detritus made it hard to navigate the river. So one day he put on goggles, dove into the muck, and discovered buried treasure. The detritus was actually the butts of redwood logs, called “sinkers,” that nearby mills had discarded over the past century. Turner was savvy enough to know that this was the best part of the best lumber on earth, wood with a tight grain and no knots. And the logs were killing the river—redwood is toxic to the river ecosystem, and the logs trapped silt, contributing to the depletion of the local salmon population.
Turner was determined to extract the logs, but not even the California Fish and Games Commission had figured out how to do so without ripping up the riverbed. At a junkyard he scored four military-surplus fiberglass pontoons, which he says were used during World War II to clear land mines from rivers. These pontoons each held up a custom-fabricated steel A-frame, from which he dropped a winch line affixed to a pair of century-old logging tongs he’d sink to the bottom of the river in the hope of latching onto a submerged log. With luck, tiny bubbles would emerge. “Then you’d get this whiff like raw sewage,” Turner says, “and you knew it was starting to break loose.”
“That’s what came out of the ‘60s, the sense that you could create your own reality.”
Turner has piles of the logs in his front yard, the biggest of which, he says, is 11 feet in diameter. With about 96 percent of old-growth redwoods in California already plundered, it’s illegal to touch one today. Turner has never intended to sell his materials, but he collaborates with an architecture firm near Lake Tahoe specializing in chalets. He shows me a magazine featuring one of his projects, for which he’d constructed a two-story wine cellar and a redwood slide that goes from the upstairs into a game room. Turner fabricated the slide himself, bending the wood by creating incisions in the top, a technique he perfected on a piece of celery.
After a few years on the property, Turner faced every back-to-the-lander’s worst nightmare when a building inspector showed up at his home and cited him for a host of infractions, including a lack of grade stamps on his lumber. He says he’d searched for a grader to approve the quality of his lumber but, with the mills long gone, was unable to find one. So he researched the qualifications required to hold the position, which appeared to be the possession of a rubber stamp used for this purpose. Turner had one made up. He claims the inspector came back round and checked the infraction off his list. That was the easy one, he says. For years he fought other alleged violations. Known as getting “red-tagged,” these coding citations became a means of harassing the community. In 1974 state inspectors deployed low-flying planes to search out illegal structures across Mendocino County. A task force patrolled the hills, tagging premises with notices that deemed them “unfit for human occupancy.” The fines were unfeasibly high, frightening many off the land. I was told of a Vietnam-veteran neighbor who was so triggered by the planes he ran screaming for cover each time.
Correcting the building code infringements led to absurd alterations. Inspectors told Ron Blett that two doors were required between a bathroom and a kitchen. So he installed a wall made of two doors. “The inspector counted the doors and checked the box,” he recalls. “Not everything made sense.” Ultimately a group of Mendocino commune residents fought back against the capricious regulations in court, helping to establish a new code designed for owner-builders who sought to live inside their homes.
Monty Levenson still grows angry when he thinks back to the inspectors’ regulations. “They were trying to put people away for exercising a fundamental human right: to create shelter and manifest their personal freedom,” he says. “It’s a money game. I couldn’t afford to go to a lumberyard. And the quality of that material was inferior. It’s bullshit. It’s ironic that the state destroyed the entire area, and then when we move onto it they’re like, ‘Oh, let’s play fair here.’ But they underestimated us.”
Levenson plays one of the shakuhachi flutes made in his workshop. Levenson plays one of the shakuhachi flutes made in his workshop. The movement wasn’t about living in isolation. Residents of these communes didn’t seek an escape from society so much as the chance to create it anew: a generous, civic-minded, highly social culture with regular potlucks and solstice blowouts. “We were kindred spirits forging a world we wanted to live in,” Richard Evans explains. “Connected to the earth, sustainably and organically.”
Michael and I are driving Evans through Humboldt County to visit some old friends, blasting a reggae show on KMUD, the community-funded radio station he helped found. Evans didn’t get rich growing pot, but at times he made enough to survive, and rallied those who were better off to support a range of community initiatives, from the radio station to a volunteer fire brigade to local schools. He now serves on the board of a community center organizing camping trips for at-risk kids.
We’re headed to see an example of his three-dimensional stained-glass-window installations. To build them Evans tweaked the mathematical principles he loved in geodesic domes, reimagining them in multicolored glass dodecahedrons and polygons. Over the decades, he’s created scores of these windows for hippie homes across California, but he’s only aware of a few that remain intact.
Evans was inspired by similar windows at Druid Heights, a communal outpost formed in 1954 in the Muir Woods National Park that he loved to visit. It was known for its extravagantly experimental hand-built architecture, for low-key performances by musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, and for being the final home and resting place of the philosopher Alan Watts, credited for popularizing Eastern thought and spirituality within the American counterculture. Evans found that sculptural stained-glass work was a natural fit in this pocket of strange organic forms, inspired by mandalas and the dwellings of Pacific Islanders. But when Michael and I later trudge through the ruins of the structures, now overgrown with nature, we can’t find anything that looks like his artistry. All the glass has been smashed. It feels like the remnants of a lost alien civilization.
Evans left Narnia in the late ‘70s and returned to San Francisco. “Being the only gay person for 2,000 miles was no fun at all,” he admits. In the city he fell in love and soon persuaded his partner to move up to Alderpoint, in Humboldt County. They built their own house, where they lived happily for 13 years, until his partner died of complications from AIDS. The disease was poorly understood back then, and particularly dire in rural areas. Evans is now a volunteer counselor in a Bay Area support group for those diagnosed with AIDS.
Late in the afternoon, we arrive at the home (and weed farm) of Tommy and Karen Hessler, who’ve been close friends of Evans’s for more than 40 years. The three rarely see one another these days, and they hug excitedly. Tommy dresses like a farmer: cowboy hat, shirt tucked into jeans. He and Karen built this rambling home themselves in 1972 and has kept it off the grid, installing solar panels—back-to-the-landers were early adopters—and watering crops from a well on their property.
The Hessler family is soon to launch its own prepackaged weed brand on the market, called Amaranth Farm. Tommy claims to be one of the first weed farmers in Humboldt County, having started his operation in 1969. It’s just one of many successful crops they’ve farmed over the years. Their vegetables have been found in plenty of local restaurants and grocery stores. Now he’s dedicated to passing on his knowledge: A recent college graduate is working on their farm, learning how to cultivate crops. “Once you teach a man how to shelter himself and feed his own face, then fuck you,” Tommy explains. “You can say that to everybody. It’s a powerful thing. They don’t want to teach you that. In fourth grade they should put seeds in your hand. They want control. But nobody else is in control—you are.”
Yet the obtuseness of weed laws drives him nuts. It took the couple years to get the necessary permits. Karen had to use her iPad to navigate the intricacies of “track and trace,” the process by which each individual plant receives a barcode and can be followed from seedling to dispensary shelf. It’s all too much for Tommy, who rarely even uses his cell phone. Luckily, the Hesslers’ adult children help them run the business. The farm supports the family, and the kids are committed to keeping it alive.
At the front of the house is one of Evans’s stained-glass window installations, looking like a giant purple chrysanthemum. Inside, new colors appear as the sunlight streams through: blue, maroon, and orange. The Hesslers have looked after the artwork over the decades, and it’s still in near perfect condition, a mark of its craftsmanship. Evans beams as he looks at his handiwork: “The integrity of color on the glass tints hasn’t dulled over time.”
When members trickle out of a commune but retain their stake in the property, ownership can become a tricky issue. Often co-owners will refuse to sell their share because of ideological reasons—many members of Northern California’s communes acquired land to liberate it from logging and developers. This is why large, expensive swaths of land sometimes remain uninhabited even after all members of a commune have long since decamped.
On a cold and foggy morning, we set out to explore one such abandoned commune, based on a tip and vague directions. It’s said to be located many miles up and down twisty, muddy logging roads and over streams with plywood bridges in an area of Humboldt County that’s recently come to be known as Murder Mountain. The moniker isn’t for the treacherous roads. Since the 1990s, the burgeoning cannabis industry has brought cartels and gang violence to the region. We’re nervous about taking wrong turns. Popular wisdom here says you should never go down a dirt road you don’t know.
As the sun pierces through the gray sky, we turn a sharp corner to come upon multiple structures frozen in time. The commune was once known as the Nonagon, named after the nine-sided main house. We step inside the decaying abode to find it empty and surprisingly pristine but for mouse droppings and an antique fridge. A spiral staircase has a raw branch as a handrail; the door latches are out of The Hobbit.
Deeper in the brush, we find a smaller cabin, its roof sagging so low its collapse seems inevitable. This home is literally about to go back to the land. Few know it exists here, and I wonder whether Michael and I will be the last to see it standing. As I walk through the door, Michael starts taking pictures as if it might collapse then and there. Inside, a few volumes on hermetic philosophy and a soggy copy of Ram Dass’s Be Here Now still sit on a shelf. Some kind of animal has left a nest in the closet. A mandala tapestry is pinned to the ceiling. There’s a rocking chair in the corner. The original members of this commune have moved on or passed on, and much as I’d like to know their stories, there’s nobody here to tell us what happened.
(GQ — David Jacob Kramer is a writer based in Los Angeles.)
Biden….the warm up act? I guess Joe’s handlers REALLY blew this one. I’m hoping they coached him and suggested he strike a somber tone when addressing the media about the mass shooting in Tennessee. Instead he thinks he’s A comedian or some kind of warm up act for the headliner? Funny they used to call Obama the ‘teleprompter president’. And there’s two more years of this?
Who were “they”? Do you mean people who pretended that every president of the modern era DIDN’T use teleprompters when delivering speeches? His oratory skills certainly set off a lot of people. Since Hoover they’ve all used them, Obama just made it look like an art form he had mastered, inducing much hysterical outrage.
Trump often went without a teleprompter, and then often said things he shouldn’t have said, and things he denied he said. Trump seldom sounded better with a teleprompter, than with one. The last President who was a good speaker was Obama, before that was Reagan, before that Kennedy. The rest since Kennedy have been painful to listen to. It pays to take classes in public speaking, or be in Toast Masters.
RE: Detectives with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office are investigating…
—> March 29, 2023
On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced approval of an over-the-counter version of Narcan, called naloxone. Willis said the announcement was good news — even though pharmacies in Marin likely won’t be able to stock the over-the-counter version until this summer.
For now, Narcan is available without a prescription at many pharmacies if someone has health insurance. Health leaders suggest calling the pharmacy in advance to confirm availability.
People without health insurance have several options, which are listed at odfreemarin.org/narcan. Narcan kits are available for free at vending machines at the county jail in San Rafael and at the Marin Health and Human Service department’s courtyard in San Rafael. The Spahr Center in Corte Madera also has kits available.
In addition, all Marin public K-12 schools and most county private, independent and parochial schools have received Narcan supplies and staff trainings, said John Carroll, Marin superintendent of schools.
“This has been a collaborative effort in partnership between Marin County Office of Education, school districts and the team at Marin County HHS and OD Free Marin and the Spahr Center,” Carroll said. “It has been made possible through Narcan Distribution Program grants from the California Department of Health Care Services.”
I could hear the tsunami warning really good as I forgot about the test at 11am & was walking my dog Pete right underneath it when it went off, Pete did not like it naturally.
David Jacob Kramer skips an essential part of Hippie Utopias, their necessary economic dependence to the very economy they were supposedly running away from. Trust funds, black market pot, and welfare were the economic foundations for most who claimed to be “running away back to the land”. Separate from that, but not mentioned as well, there was a substance abuse culture that came with Hippie Utopias that we still live with. Kramer is painting a fantasy picture of what was, but utopias are fantasies anyway, so maybe his writing fits perfectly.
Madonna is doing a concert In Nashville, but the proceeds will go to ‘trans rights’ groups and NOT the families of the murdered victims?
“The problem with your position is you don’t address what possessed that person to want to destroy another human being regardless of the instrument. Your not solving the problem when you continue to treat the symptoms and not the cause.”
David Jacob Kramer’s GQ article should be required reading for everyone who has migrated here to the north coast and Mendocino from parts elsewhere, as a sort of triptych to times which should never be forgotten… always remembered in the folklore of this region.
“Back to the land” was an idealistic utopian dream. Realized by some, let go of by many. Days gone by. How many readers know how to build a house with their own hands? How to plant and harvest and preserve food?
A noble albeit rapidly fading lifestyle in this day and age of processed food, processed news and hyper processed consumerism.
Back to the Land remains an endearing sentiment. Utopia made manifest, however briefly.
“… but protests are few and those sparsely attended.”
Propaganda, backed up by police power, works. In a few years, protests won’t even be a part of the “approved” history courses in schools, including colleges. How do you think a gaggle of idiotic rich morons maintains its control…
I don’t waste my time reading RD Beacon, but when scrolling down I couldn’t help but notice that he may have created the longest run on sentence in the history of English grammar. At least 750 words and the only period was after the final word. I scrolled back to the top just to make sure my eyes didn’t deceive me.
I did the same thing.
Archie couldn’t reach the shift key but at least was fun to read. Not RD.
Faulkner was longer in his long short story The Bear (I think) RD’s stream of consciousness isn’t exactly Faulknerian but resonates with a lot of Mendo old timers. I like it myself.
I read him a few times, then stopped. Too much Philbrickean for me. I’ll have to reread The Bear, one of the greatest short stories, and check for those run on sentences.
For future reference, the Plain English rule is no sentence longer than 19 words; lawyers get 23.
VIOLENCE AGAINST TRANS PERSONS IN AMERICA
“Anti-Trans Violence and Rhetoric Reached Record Highs Across America in 2021”
By Madeleine Carlisle
“2021 was the deadliest year for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. on record. At least 50 trans and gender non-conforming people were killed this year alone, per a report by LGBTQ advocacy organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—the highest number of deaths since the organization began recording fatal violence in 2013.
The report makes clear that the full number of fatalities is likely much higher still; the deaths of trans and gender non-conforming people are often underreported, and the victims themselves are often misgendered. (At least 24 of those listed in HRC’s report were initially misgendered by the media or police.)”
December 30, 2021
“Nashville Shooting Exploited by Right to Escalate Anti-Trans Rhetoric”
By Fenit Nirappil
“Conservative commentators and Republican politicians unleashed a new wave of anti-trans rhetoric following Monday’s shooting at a Nashville Christian school that killed six people, escalating a broader backlash to the rising visibility of transgender people in public life.
The attempts on the right to connect violence to transgender people come even though transgender people are rarely the perpetrators of mass shootings, which are overwhelmingly carried out by cisgender men, according to criminal justice experts. And trans people are more likely to be victims of violence than cisgender people, multiple studies have shown.
In Nashville, the shooter’s gender identity and motive remain unclear: police initially said the shooter Audrey Hale was a 28-year-old woman, and then later said Hale was transgender, citing a social media profile in which Hale used masculine pronouns. The Post has not yet confirmed how Hale identified.
Nevertheless, Fox News host Tucker Carlson featured a photo of the shooter superimposed with the words ‘Trans Killer’ on his Tuesday show. The chyron read: ‘We are witnessing the rise of trans violence’…”
March 30, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT
I’ll never understand why people care what other people do with their personal lives as long as it doesn’t directly impact them.
As a long time advocate for children’s safety I am totally against mutilating children’s bodies surgically and/or chemically. If you’re an adult do what ever you want to your body, I don’t care. The trans shooter in Tennessee was provoked by the State’s law that prevent young children from such sick practices which are being promoted by the medical and psychological industrial complex for profits.
Spoken like the kind of officious busybody who has to mind everyone’s business but his own, and never trust a man who doesn’t drink — he has something to hide and liquor loosens the tongue…!
Makes his mean plea–
Jail for those trans folks,
Hide away from me and thee.
Don’t give ’em a chance–
Insults and curses shouted–
Label them “The Other”–
The evil ones are outed!
“Yes, and here’s to the few
Who forgive what you do,
And to the fewer still
who don’t even care.”
…pretty elite company.
Biden just released a statement claiming that laws BANNING the mutilation of minors are “hurting kids”. What an a**hole.
Remember when that lousy skunk Titchin (once a school board superintendent’s name, a proper noun, which has since devolved into the verb transitive, “to disguise your own malfeasance as “HELP THE KIDS: Vote For ME!”
Pulled a titchin, did he? Well, I’ve always said he was crooked as a corkscrew ….
The World Health Organization now says that kids up to 17 years old do NOT need to get a COVID vaccine. Conspiracy theorists are right once again. The vaccine should be removed from the market at this point.
Song by Pink Floyd
Good afternoon everybody, A deep cleaning at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center in Ukiah, California was followed by a free lunch at the Plowshares Peace & Justice Center, and right here and now, am at the Ukiah Public Library listening to the New York City Hare Krishnas chanting in the subway on YouTube, while also reading through Jerome Rothenberg’s “Altar Pieces”. All of this is happening while not being identified with the body nor the mind, but only with the Immortal Self, or Atman, or whatever you choose to call the Divine Absolute.
Meanwhile, a callout is hereby given for global environmental direct action on Earth Day April 22nd, in response to the climate emergency which has been caused by this demonic postmodern civilization’s materialists, who are stupid and insane. This global direct eco-action is the further statement by the Earth First! movement, whose approach is without a doubt the only way to resolve the present madness.
Thank you for listening, and feel free to contact me. I am doing nothing crucial presently. Only biding time in Mendocino county and attending to medical appointments for general upkeep of the body-mind complex. Ya gotta take care of the instrument! It is what the Divine Absolute makes use of in order to carry out its higher will. Stay centered, and do not interfere with the Dao working through you. Simple as that. 😊🙏📿
Craig Louis Stehr
1045 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270
March 30th Here Now
“These Thugs and Radical Left Monsters have just INDICATED the 45th President of the United States of America, and the leading Republican Candidate, by far, for the 2024 Nomination for President. THIS IS AN ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY THE LIKES OF WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE. IT IS LIKEWISE A CONTINUING ATTACK ON OUR ONCE FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS. THE USA IS NOW A THIRD WORLD NATION, A NATION IN SERIOUS DECLINE. SO SAD!”
-Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Don’t be sad, Donald. SMILE a big smile, and try to be a brave big boy when they book you next week. Remember: No crying-no whining.
“INDICATED” 😂😂😂 I can’t believe we spend any time on this imbecile.
Be positive, Jimbo. He’s only been indicated.
Yes indeed the mention in the news that in fact “the movement” had halted Nixons madman campaign gave me a tinge of happiness after such books as The Conquest of Cool by Thomas Frank place the onus on the counterculture for the nearly the entire glut of modern consumer culture.
RE: “Don’t Blame Technology”. Well honestly you don’t have to go back to 1917 because I remember in the early 2000’s riding the Bart train and seeing 95% of the rush hour ridership reading the SF Chronicle and thinking to myself Jeez why do people even bother reading that piece of crap paper anymore??? I think it’s really the past decade where the cellphone has gotten more pervasive and you see much less people reading books or periodicals in public.
How many people in the 60s and 70s read the National Inquirer, front to back, and believed all of it? Then there were dime novels. And instead of computer games there were card games. Dubious government narratives came from the television, and still do, along along with companies telling us how some pill will enhance your sex life.
So what has changed?
Call me a luddite but reading trash on paper may actually be better than anything on a screen just as it may be more beneficial and educational for a kid to play with a pile of rocks in the yard than to sit in a room on a screen.