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Mendocino County Today: April 23, 2013

ACCORDING TO the District Attorney’s statistics, 21 people have been sentenced to serve their prison time in the local jail under “realignment” some for multiple offenses. The 21 include people convicted are for grand theft, “possession of a destructive device in a certain place,” possession of a controlled substance in jail, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of methamphetamine for sale, carrying a loaded firearm in public, fraudulent use of prescription to obtain prescription drugs, possession of cocaine/heroin, vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, elder abuse, parole violation, and multiple DUIs. To our untrained eye, the number is pretty low. So far.

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HesBackSAN FRANCISCO'S Department of Public Health has restored “Healthy Penis” to its arsenal of clap-fighting strategies. The six-foot penis costumes are donned by health department staff when they sally forth to public events to encourage gay men to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

(MUST LOOK kinda funny on a resume — “• 2009 to 2013 — I dressed up as a penis for the City of San Francisco.”)

FRISCO'S Health Department says HIV is declining, but gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are on the rise because “many men choose to have sex with people of the same HIV status as themselves to forgo using condoms. It means they’re not protecting themselves against a host of other STDs.”

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THE ENCHANTED FOREST FESTIVAL, described by Fire Chief Colin Wilson as a “rave,” and as “Sierra Nevada Music Festival — Lite” is scheduled for the former Boy Scout Camp in Navarro from June 28 to July 1, the weekend after the Sierra Nevada Music Festival in Boonville. According to the permit application for the event, signed by Jeremy Mayberry of Mendocino, the festival will be “drug and alcohol free.” But Chief Wilson said this would be its third year and it certainly hadn't been drug and alcohol free in the past. Mayberry's permit says the Forest Festival is expecting 1500 people over its four-days.

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ANYONE INTERESTED in getting a close look at the fascist-inspired CalFire fire-bunker south of Boonville might want to attend CalFire's Open House on Thursday, May 2, at 11am. That public money can be used to destroy public morale with architecture like this is one more outrage in the daily deluge of outrages. And to think that CalFire erected this thing without so much as a single public hearing. I'm calling Wes Chesbro right now!

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EVEN THOUGH THE REBUILT OUTHOUSE at Boonville International will contain nothing but “toilet paper and a hole,” and is in effect a non-movable porta-potty, the county Planning Department has told Airport representatives that it requires the same permit as a full-blown bathroom with septic system, meaning as expensive an outhouse as one might find anywhere in the NorCal outback. Environmental Health, another county agency, has said that the outhouse doesn’t need a permit because it’s just a porta-potty. It is hoped the two county agencies will soon introduce themselves to each other.

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RichieHavensFOLK SINGER AND GUITARIST RICHIE HAVENS HAS DIED of a heart attack in New Jersey. The Brooklyn born star was known for his tasteful guitar work and cover songs, including his well-received cover of Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman. His performance at the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival, where headliners included Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane was a turning point in his career. He was the first act to hit the stage, performing for nearly three hours. His performance of Freedom - based from the spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child - became an anthem. Havens returned to the site during Woodstock's 40th anniversary in 2009, saying: 'Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train.' Woodstock remains one of the events that continues to define the 1960s in the popular imagination. Performers included The Who, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and dozens of others, and the trippy anarchy of Woodstock has become legendary. There was lots of nudity, casual sex, dirty dancing and open drug use. The stage announcer famously warned people to steer clear of the brown acid. Havens had originally been scheduled to go on fifth but had been bumped up because of travel delays. Festival producer Michael Lang said in the book The Road to Woodstock that he chose Havens 'because of his calm but powerful demeanor.' His performance lasted hours because the next act hadn't showed up. Havens said: “So I'd go back and sing three more. This happened six times. So I sung every song I knew.”

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THE CHECHEN GRIEVANCE:

Tolstoy's 'Hadji Murad' After Boston

By Benjamin Lytal,

As everyone followed the Boston manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers, thoughts turned to Tolstoy’s final novel, ‘Hadji Murad,’ about Chechen rebels fighting Russian imperialism. Benjamin Lytal checks in on the master’s tale of anti-heroism and betrayal.

On Friday, while CNN was making constant reference to the Tsarnaev brothers' attempt "to go out in a blaze of glory," a micro-meme lit up social media: didn't Leo Tolstoy have a novel about Chechnyan rebels, called Hadji Murad? He does: it was his last, a thin book that everyone should read. While it offers few overt parallels to a case of 21st century terrorism, Tolstoy's novel sets the stage for the Chechen grievance-and tribal dysfunction. But what is more piercing, when Dzokhar Tsarnaev's image is haunting the public eye, is Tolstoy's insight into the dire symbiosis between heroic desires and boyish innocence. Tolstoy would have been the first to reject an idea like "going out in a blaze of glory." In battle scenes he was a master of anticlimax: perhaps the best-remembered moment in all of War and Peace is young Nikolai Rostov's first cavalry charge: knocked from the saddle by a bullet the bewildered twenty-year-old turns tail: "They're not after me!

They can't be after me! Why? They can't want to kill me! Me. Everybody loves me!'" Like, one suspects, many a hunted young man-boy, Nikolai is haunted by "all the love he had from his mother, from his family and his friends." He can't reconcile such a background with all the trouble he has gotten into. Tolstoy was a complicated man, however. He understood glory, even in its shallowness. Maxim Gorky tells the story, in his priceless Recollections, of Tolstoy's reaction to two proud young cuirassiers, walking down the street in their shining armor. As they approached, he cursed them: "What magnificent idiocy! They're nothing but circus animals trained with a stick . . . " But as they passed, Tolstoy gazed on admiringly: "How beautiful they are! Ancient Romans, eh, Lyovushka?"

Tolstoy's 1904 novel begins with a fifteen-year-old boy staring at the eponymous hero. "Everyone in the mountains knew Hadji Murad, and how he slew the Russian swine." Betrayed by the Chechnyan chieftain, Shamil, Murad is at the novel's beginning a fugitive, wrapped in a burka. The boy can't stop staring at him-indeed, the boy's "sparkling eyes, black as ripe sloes" contain all the sickly-sweet potential of a desperate boy's life. Several chapters later the boy's village, where Murad had taken refuge, will be razed by Russian troops.

The Russians, no less than the Chechnyans, are eager to get a look at Murad. Forced by his feud with Shamil to defect, he arranges to ride over to the Russians: the officer who takes him into custody has no translator, and has to gesture and smile. Murad smiles back, "and that smile struck Poltorátsky by its childlike kindliness. . . . He expected to see a morose, hard-featured man; and here was a vivacious person, whose smile was so kindly that Poltorátsky felt as if he were an old acquaintance. He had but one peculiarity: his eyes, set wide apart, gazed from under their black brows attentively, penetratingly and calmly into the eyes of others." The much-feared Murad charms the Russians. They give him a translator and allow him to pray at the appointed times. "He is delightful, your brigand!" reports an officer's wife. Tolstoy is very sensitive to the way we look at our babyfaced enemies: our outward condescension, our inner relief, our deluded, liberal belief that we already know them.

It is strange that Tolstoy, by this time a guru of peaceful resistance who would inspire Ghandi, wrote his final novel about a hero who kept multiple daggers on his person. To be clear: neither Murad nor the other Chechnyans in Tolstoy's book are terrorists. They are rebel insurgents defending their homeland against Russian invaders, who want to annex the Caucasus in order to connect their empire to Georgia. Murad hopes that the Russians will give him an army that he might march against Shamil. He dreams about how he would "take [Shamil] prisoner, and revenge himself on him; and how the Russian Tsar would reward him, and he would again rule over not only Avaria, but also over the whole of Chechnya." Most Chechnyans in this book are sworn to some form of political violence. But it is usually directed at other Chechnyans: theirs is a world of mutually recognized blood feuds. It is a function of their myopic passion that they think they of the Russian Empire as a pawn in their game.

As with War & Peace or Anna Karenina, Tolstoy built Hadji Murad out of multiple plots, which he cycles between for cunning, highly-contrastive effect. But because Hadji Murad is only 100 pages long, its structure is more obvious, even flashy. Ludwig Wittgenstein, of all people, admired it. It has the cold, distilled clarity of late work. Critic John Bayley reads the book as a fantasy, for Tolstoy, of certainty: the ruthless Murad being the opposite of the Tolstoy who, dying at the Astapovo railway station repeated over and over, "I do not understand what it is I have to do." But the book must also be read as a study in just this kind of indecision. Fit into its 100 pages is every viewpoint: Tolstoy fully characterizes and motivates everyone from Tsar Nicholas I (a useless letch) to individual soldiers-like Butler, a good man heartbreakingly addicted to gambling, or Avdeev, whose death opens up a startling sidelight on his peasant parents-to several of Murad's disciples (notably shy Eldár, with his ram's eyes) to Shamil himself.

In so much context, anybody's brave death basically has to be meaningless. If Murad is a hero, perhaps Bayley is right: it is simply because he is resolute. Tired of waiting on the Russians to make up their minds about his cause, he rides out with his disciples one day, shakes his escort, and makes for the mountains. However, in trying to cut across a flooded rice field, he and his friends are bogged down. They decide to hide, and sleep through the night. Meanwhile a peasant tips off the army. At dawn, Murad finds a line of Russians advancing on one side. On the other-and this is the decisive tactical fact-are Chechnyan fighters who have betrayed him.

With the right soundtrack, in the hands of a Hollywood director, it could have been a blaze of glory. But we know that Murad's life is no longer glorious. He has spent the entire novel in the waiting rooms of Russian generals. The decision to cross the rice field seems stupid, meaningless. Tolstoy is a master of anticlimax. Apocalypse is not, as some terrorists have it, now. If his final novel presents a more balanced view of imperialist politics than even Heart of Darkness (with which it was contemporary), it is because Tolstoy knows there are no climaxes: conflicts like this one will drag on forever.

Ultimately, Tolstoy cares less about glory than about another theme: He's interested in the way that childhood haunts heroism. Murad's head is cut off and carried from camp to camp: "The shaven skull was cleft, but not right through, and there was congealed blood in the nose. . . . Notwithstanding the many wounds on the head, the blue lips still bore a kindly, childlike expression." The Russians who had befriended Murad turn away, shocked. It is just before his final, rebellious escape, that Murad meditates on his own childhood-and on that of his son, whom he fatefully, tragically wants to rescue. He is reminded of a song, one his mother composed at his birth, addressed to his father:

"Thy sword of Damascus-steel tore my white bosom; But close on it laid I my own little boy;

In my hot-streaming blood him I laved; and the wound Without herbs or specifics was soon fully healed.

As I, facing death, remained fearless, so he, My boy, my dzhigit, from all fear shall be free!"

**All quotes are from Aylmer Maud's translation of Hadji Murad (Orchises: Alexandria, VA, 1996).

(Courtesy, The Daily Beast 21)

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FOREST FORUM

AT 7p.m. on Wednesday May 15, 2013 the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter and Sonoma Group are partnering with the Unitarian-Universalist Advocates for Social Justice, Sonoma County Water Coalition, and Forests Unlimited to host a public forum on the magnificent coastal forests of California’s North Coast. The meeting will be held at the Glaser Center (547 Mendocino Avenue) in Santa Rosa, and is open to the public without charge.

The forum, titled “Bambi vs the Bulldozer,” will feature a presentation by University of California Extension Forest Advisor Greg Giusti on the Ecology of the Coastal Redwood Forest. Most Sonoma and Mendocino residents live along the Highway101 corridor, and may not be fully aware of the fascinating plants and animals of the unique ecosystem just a little way to the west.: this is your opportunity to find out more about the marvels lying beyond our doorsteps.

After the main presentation, an expert panel including representatives from The Conservation Fund, Friends of the Gualala River, and Fish Friendly Farming will extend the discussion to the threats these remarkable forests face from things such as sprawling residential development and vineyard conversion, and the ways to ensure that resource conservation and economic development can coexist compatibly and sustainably. Our forests are the legacy of our children and grandchildren, and we all have a role to play in insuring their survival into the future.

For more information about the event contact Sierra Club Sonoma Group Chair Dan Kerbein at 707 387-6394 or visit redwood.sierraclub.org to download an event flyer.

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MICHAEL DARBY and Smile add Ukiah's Oak Manor Elementary School to their anti-bullying Mendocino County and Lake County visit! — The 6'6" 307 pound Olympic Training Center wrestling athlete will be performing an original anti-bullying program April 25 and 26th at Oak Manor, Frank Zeek, Rivera and Kelseyville Elementary Schools. He will be joined by ABC network dancer Ashley Miller and Cybelle Kaehler who has sang for the President of the United States. Michael says, "My love for wrestling and the arts started right here in Mendocino Country/Lake County. I first laced up my wrestling shoes at Terrace Middle School in Lakeport and later Graduated at Ukiah High School as the number one ranked wrestler in the Redwood Empire at 171lbs. While at Ukiah High, I was coach and mentored by math teacher GaryCavender. When it came to arts, I discovered the magic of music in Kelseyville with Vernise Pelzel who wrote and directed the children's play THE STORY OF ORANGE. I was also taught by Rick Allen at Ukiah High where I was cast in the honor choir. From those musical platforms I've been able to work with people like ChristianaAguilera and multiple Grammy award winning producer WalterAfanasieff(Michael Jackson,Barbra Streisand,Celine Dion,Whitney Houston,Mariah Carey,AndreaBocelli) I am incredibly excited to come back to the place where it all started and share my anti-bullying message and music with the youth of Mendocino and Lake Counties. Our goal is to help children discover the best part of who they are and who they can become. We try to accomplish this by sharing the message that no matter how different we may be be, if we treat each other with respect we can always be friends." To Learn more about Michael's cause you can check out his organizations website at: www.michaeldarbyandsmile.tv — Humbly Yours, Ashley Miller, Michael Darby and Smile

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A world that hails Mark Zuckerberg while Julian Assange can't step outside is in big trouble.

AssangeZuckerberg

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A WORLD OF MUSIC Ukiah, CA-A concert benefiting the youth of Mendocino County featuring renowned acoustic guitarist Enrique Henao (pronounced “hey-now”) will be held this Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 PM in the Mendocino College Little Theatre. Joining Enrique on stage will be local artists Alex de Grassi on guitar, Paul McCandless on woodwinds, and the dynamic Ukiah High School song and dance troupe The Beatniks. Proceeds from this event go directly to support Redwood Children’s Services, Arbor on Main--Teen Peer Court project; CASA—Court Appointed Special Advocates, mentoring program; and Nuestra Casa’s after school tutoring sessions. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 18 and are on sale at the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and Mazahar in Willits. Seating is limited.

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WORD BLOSSOMS:

Eleventh Annual Ukiahaiku Fest Honors Poetry In The Spring

by Roberta Werdinger

Spring in Ukiah is a glorious thing. As the hills turn an electric green and are splashed with the bright colors of native wildflowers, the blossoms in residents' gardens radiate their own hues, shapes, and scents. Equally brilliant is the cultivation taking place in many poets' word gardens, as a traditional form first scribbled in medieval Japan flourishes in a small city in a wide valley in the north of California.

That's right, it's time again for the Eleventh Annual ukiaHaiku Festival, at 2 pm on Sunday, April 28 at the SPACE Theater at the corner of Perkins and Dora Streets in Ukiah. A reading of winning poems written by adults and children in English and Spanish will take place, along with a talk by special guest Bart Schneider, followed by a reception with refreshments. A booklet of this year's winning poems will be for sale, with all proceeds to be donated to the ukiaHaiku Festival.

"I think of the Festival as uniquely Ukiahan," Susan Sparrow, poet and one of the long-time organizers of the event comments. "It's celebrating who we are." Ukiah's current Poet Laureate Dan Barth agrees, adding, "The Festival has practically become an institution by now. So many of our local schoolkids are involved. I especially associate the art of haiku with the springtime." Indeed, Barth has been moved to write over 50 haiku since the spring began, including this one:

tree shadows
on an old road
warm April day

A haiku is a three-line poem that captures a fleeting moment – the kind of quiet impression which often goes unremarked on in our busy lives. The poems resemble little word blossoms, compact and bursting with life. Originating in Japan, haiku draw attention to the passing seasons and to everyday human encounters without comment or embellishment. "Think of it as a mental snapshot, as seeing the haiku moment in your mind," Dan Barth, who often pairs his haiku with photographs, explains. Traditionally written in a 17-syllable format of 5-7-5, the haiku form has been stretched and reinterpreted in recent times as it enters new countries, languages, and situations.

No one could be better qualified to comment on the entry of old traditions into new forms as featured speaker and Sonoma County resident Bart Schneider. A novelist and founding editor of the highly regarded magazine "The Hungry Mind Review" (published between 1986 and 2001), Schneider now specializes in writing detective novels. What does this have to do with haiku poetry, you may ask? It's because Schneider has united this most hardboiled of forms with a love for poetry, in plots featuring a poetry-spouting detective who keeps slim volumes in his coat and delights in laying the right verses on the right person. The author's extensive knowledge of various forms of poetry shines forth in these playful episodes, and is sure to shine forth in his address to the assembly as well.

The ukiaHaiku Festival once again drew winning poems in 11 categories, seven for children and two in Spanish for both adults and children. All categories are for residents of Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake, and Sonoma Counties, except for the Jane Reichhold International Prize, named for the distinguished haiku poet and Mendocino Coast resident. Reichhold's most recent book, "Naked Rock," unites photos of rocks with haiku inspired by them and is featured on her website, ahapoetry.com.

The Eleventh Annual ukaiHaiku Festival is produced by the ukiaHaiku Festival Committee, the Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House, the Ukiah Poet Laureate Committee, the Mendocino County Library, the City of Ukiah, Jane Reichhold & AHA Poetry, with special thanks to Kristin Marrow and Diana Thomas. It is sponsored by Hal Zina Bennett & Susan J. Sparrow, Tenacity Press; OcoTime Peace Cafe; Savings Bank of Mendocino County; Haiku Vineyards, Mendocino County; Mendocino Book Company; Arts Council of Mendocino; UFO (Ukiah Folding Organization); Schat's Bakery; Ukiah Natural Foods; Mendocino Bounty; Mulligan's Books; Mendocino Baby; Safeway Foods, Ukiah; Raley's Foods, Ukiah; Staples, Ukiah; and Starbucks, Ukiah. For more information please go to www.ukiahaiku.org.

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