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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Breezy | Amphibious Aircraft | PV Project | Pill House | So Cool | Shelter Closing | Haschak Report | Boardwalk | Unity Club | Sunset | Planning Agenda | Dino Guilty | Walmart Shopping | Thirsty Grapes | Guthrie Show | Mendo Brickmaker | LOVE Coordinator | Navarro Nurseyman | Yesterday's Catch | Retire DiFi | Sponsor Jackets | Ed Notes | Grizzly Dreams | Griner Standing | NorCal Tranq | Red-Headed Nut | Facebook Friends | Strange Days | Everything Broken | Motivational | Crib Girls | Ukraine | Kreuzland | Mr. Z | Space Station

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BRISK NORTHERLY WINDS along the coast will continue through mid week. Low pressure tracking southward along the coast today will bring a cooling trend and the potential for isolated showers and thunderstorms over the interior mountains each afternoon through the end of the week. (NWS)

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JEFF GOLL: I went to Willits Airport's Experimental Aircraft Day and got this photo of an experimental amphibious aircraft taking off.

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ADAM GASKA (as reported by Monica Huetl on “PG&E is willing to negotiate with an organized entity that is willing to take over the Potter Valley project, but the entity needs to be formed by the end of 2024. If nobody steps up to acquire the project, the communities that rely on Upper Russian River water could lose 60,000 acre-feet of water per year. That’s half of Lake Mendocino.” 

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On May 16-18, 2023, Fort Bragg Police officers received multiple tips about a subject selling controlled pharmaceutical pills in and around the City of Fort Bragg. The investigation revealed the subject lived in a house in the 31000 block of Digger Creek Drive, just outside city limits. 

An officer had gathered enough information to request a search warrant of the home, which was granted on May 19, 2023. On May 20, 2023 at approximately 7:00 AM, Fort Bragg Police Department officers and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies served the warrant. 

The search yielded over 12,000 pills of Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, and Adderall, as well as Suboxone strips, a digital scale, packaging material, and cash. The investigation leads officers to believe the suspect was purchasing the narcotics online, then reselling them. Apparently, he had just received a shipment, as most of the pills were found in a still sealed box that was recently delivered. It is also believed the pills are counterfeit, with some possibly containing fentanyl, however further testing is required. The estimated street value of the pills was $50,000 - $60,000. 

Bryan Grizzle, 32 of Fort Bragg was arrested on scene for several felonies including possession of controlled substances for sale and conspiracy.

Bryan Grizzle

Elias Rutherford, 35, of Fort Bragg was also arrested on scene for several felonies including possession of controlled substances for sale, county parole violation and conspiracy.

Elias Rutherford

Both were transported to the Mendocino County Jail where they were booked. 

Chief Neil Cervenka said, “The incredible work of these officers prevented thousands of illegal narcotics from getting to the streets, undoubtedly saving lives. I also want to express my gratitude to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance on this case. Together, we made the coast a safer place.” 

Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact Officer Frank of the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707) 961-2800 ext 139. 

This information is being released by Chief Neil Cervenka. All media inquiries should contact him at 

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BURBLE GUSH (an email note from Leadership Mendocino Director Holly Madrigal to Laytonville Leadership Mendocino host Jayma Spence after Leadership Mendocino visited Laytonville on May 12): “Friday was SO great, Jayma. Oh my goodness you all hit it out of the park. So many people in the class said that they had no idea Laytonville was so cool. Thank you!”

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Ground was broken on the Highway 162 multipurpose trail in Covelo. It has been a needed dream for many years. The trail will provide a safe walking/biking pathway to town.

FEMA added Mendocino County to its list of counties with declared major emergencies for the February and March snowstorms. Mendocino County was approved for the Individual Assistance program which allows residents with damage to homes from the snows, fallen trees, etc. to receive financial assistance for their recovery. FEMA will be back in Mendocino County helping with the application process as soon as a location has been identified for a disaster recovery center. In the meantime, impacted residents can register online at or by calling 800-621-3362.

The Board unanimously joined me in rescinding the Public Records Request ordinance. Charging people to get public records went against the spirit of open, transparent government. The County was being threatened with multiple lawsuits. Last month, I wrote in my report that I was awaiting another Supervisor to join me in my calls to rescind the ordinance. I am glad it finally happened.

A 171 unit housing development was approved for the south side of Ukiah. 39 of the units will be for senior housing and 13 will be moderate income. It is outside of city limits. With housing in short supply throughout the County, this is a welcome step forward. After approval by the Board, the Project Manager called me to say that the developer is interested in working in Willits. I directed him to City Planning. In my conversations with the City of Willits, this would be welcomed.

The cannabis department continues to streamline the process. I chair the General Government Committee and we met twice in April to eliminate duplicative processes especially if the state has a similar process, get the administration of the permitting process fully functioning, and clean up the department’s budget mess. Two major grants had to be revised but competent staff are working on these issues. With the County and State working together to get people to their State annual licensure, there is a feeling of optimism that these efforts will work.

The Sherwood Firewise Council had a 5th Anniversary party. As usual, it was informative and community building and great to be back in person. Kudos to all the volunteers who are working to make our communities safer. The SFC has received more than a million dollars in grants to create emergency access routes and defensible space and educate the community. Together we are working on several significant grant applications.

Please reach out to me at or 707-972-4214.

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Pathway To The Sea, Fort Bragg

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by Miriam Martinez

The final meeting of the AV Unity Club's 2022-2023 year will be held June 1st at 1:30 in the Fairgrounds Dining Room. We will be installing our new Vice President Janet Lombard. The hostesses will be Jean Condon, Arline Bloom, and Judy Nelson. They will provide yummy snacks and coffee or tea. A brief meeting will be held, and a discussion about our plans for the party celebrating our 100 Years will follow. Janet Lombard will be installed as our new Co-Vice President.

The students at A.V High School have been busy making posters for the 100 Years Celebration of the Unity Club in our community. The Poster Contest was held mid-May and the 5 judges selected the winners.

1st Place ($50) went to Kellie Crisman.

2nd Place ($25) was Rye Baird-Green.

3rd Place was awarded to 2 artists ($10@) Luis Mendoza and Marianna Flores.

Honorable Mention Awards ($10@) were Chantelle Alarcon, Gabelli Guerrero, and Leidy Mia Lopez. 

Thank you to all the students who participated in the Unity Club 100 Years Poster Contest. The artistry was moving and very difficult to judge. I wish we could give prizes to all the participants.

Our Lending Library will be open during the Summer as usual; Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00 and Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30. We will be closed during events when the Fairgrounds are rented out.

See you June 1st at 1:30 in the Dining Room for socializing and an installation.

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Glass Beach Sunset (Jeff Goll)

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The Staff Report(s) and Agenda for the June 1, 2023 Planning Commission meeting is now available on the department website at:

Please contact staff if there are any questions, thank you!

Jocelyn Gonzalez-Thies, Staff Assistant III

Planning and Building Services

Mendocino County

860 N. Bush Street

Ukiah, CA 95482

Telephone (707) 234-6650

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A Mendocino County jury returned within the first hour of the new work week to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty almost as charged.

Defendant Dino Blackbear Lincoln, also known as Dino Michael Blackbear, age 36 of Covelo, was found guilty of murder in the second degree and felony reckless evading a peace officer.

Dino Blackbear Lincoln

The jury also found true a special allegation alleged that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, said discharge causing the death of another person.

The jury returned a guilty verdict of misdemeanor simple assault, a lesser included crime to the charged crime of felony assault with a motor vehicle.

The jury began its deliberations late afternoon Friday and returned to complete their review of the evidence and applicable law first thing Monday morning.

After the jury was excused, a bifurcated court trial was held wherein it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant Lincoln has suffered two prior Strike convictions.

The two prior Strikes found true by the Court were for:

(1) felony criminal threats, said conviction having been entered in the Mendocino County Superior Court on January 3, 2019 (a felony characterized as serious by Penal Code section 1192.(c)); and

(2) felony assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury to another person, said conviction having been entered in the Mendocino County Superior Court on July 24 2008 (a felony characterized as violent by Penal Code section 667.5(c)).

The defendant’s case has now been referred to the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department for a background and social study leading to a written sentencing recommendation.

The probation department’s sentencing report and recommendation is relied on by the intake staff at the CDCR reception center for determining an incoming inmate’s threat and classification level for purposes of making a permanent cell assignment in the available state prison facilities.

The defendant’s formal sentencing date has been calendared for July 27, 2023 in Department A at 9 o’clock in the morning in the Ukiah courthouse.

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence in support of Monday’s verdicts are the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice forensic laboratory, and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.

A special note of appreciation is extended to Gregg Stutchman, a forensic audio/video and photography expert from Napa, for his work on the case.

The attorney who presented the People’s evidence to the jury and argued for the verdicts that were returned was Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the nine-day trial that spread over parts of three weeks. Judge Faulder will also be the sentencing judge in July.

(Mendocino County District Attorney)

BACKGROUND from (October 18, 2021): "On Sept. 15 Kenneth J. Frazier Whipple, a 26-year-old Covelo resident, was fatally shot with a handgun at Greely Street and State Route 162. MCSO deputies identified 34-year-old Dino Blackear Lincoln, also known as Dino Michael Blackbear, as a suspect and later apprehended him in the Fort Bragg area after a widely publicized manhunt. Prosecutors charged Lincoln with murder, and 32-year-old Corina Amanda Carrio has been charged as an accessory. Lincoln pleaded not guilty Oct. 8, and is scheduled to return to court at 10 a.m. Dec. 30, also before Judge Faulder. "

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Dear Wine Appreciation Department: This “reader” is prepared to make a minimalist statement like:

“We need to keep in mind that soil water is required both for wine and for growing the grape plant. The roots of the vines may run very deep in search of moisture. If you kill off the weeds via mechanical cultivation and/or application of chemicals the crop can escape irrigation. This does not mean, however, that the water consumption is negligible. In fact, in Anderson Valley, depending on many factors, the total water demand of grapes per vine between bud break and leaf fall is thought to be 100 to 150 gallons. This aggregates to an acre-foot of water for a vineyard of less than ten acres. Obviously, planting cannot be continued indefinitely without serious depletion of the water table. The total draw per vineyard depends on the vine density. According to a book I picked off the shelf at Barnes & Noble the California average is 450 vines/acre. An acre is about 43,000 square feet, or a plot around 200x200 feet or so. The rows have to be about ten feet apart to accommodate the tractors, which would be 20 lines each with about 25 plants/line. This is a critical point. The summer flow in the Navarro is steadily diminishing.

“The Water Economy of the Grape Vine”

Water Supply (most of this goes right down the river)

• Annual 30 inches of rain on one acre: 2.5 acre-feet.

• For a 500-acre vineyard, 1250 acre-feet Water Draw

• From bud break to leaf fall, estimated about 125 gallons per vine

• For about 450 vines/acre, 125 x 450 = 56,250 gallons per acre.

• For 500 acres, 56,250 x 500 = 28,125,000 gallons.

• One acre-foot = 43,560 cubic feet x 7.8 gallons/cubic foot = 339,768 gallons.

• 28,125,000 gallons for 500 acres/339,768 gallons per acre-foot = 82.3 acre-feet on 500 acres with 450 vines/acre.

There are over 2500 acres of grapes in Anderson Valley. So 82 acre-feet times 5 = 400-plus acre feet of water for grapes per year, not counting frost protection, not counting heavy water use in wineries.

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May 22, 1878 - Fred Kunkel produced 70,000 bricks at his new Mendocino brick yard. The brick maker pressed locally-sourced clay into wooden molds by hand to form the bricks. The process of manufacturing a kiln full of bricks was a months-long endeavor, and the Beacon closely followed Fred's progress.

There were two locations on the east side of Mendocino where clay could be found for making bricks: the end of Blair Street, and the north side of Little Lake Road, across from Clark Street. When Steve Schlafer was grading the site of the new fire station on the corner of Little Lake and Hills Ranch Roads in 1992, he hit a layer of yellow clay, and Ken Jackson remembered that there had been an old clay pit there.

Fred first created sample bricks from the clay, and the Beacon described his samples in December. “We have before us a sample brick manufactured by Mr. Fred Kunkel, which presents a very fine appearance. In hardness it compares favorably with the San Francisco brick, and in color far excels them. The brick before us was made only to test the clay, and there were no pains taken as to fine edge and rich color. Mr. Kunkel surely deserves great credit and more encouragement.”

Fred began constructing the brick kiln in February, and by April, he had 30,000 bricks in the kiln and was molding more at a rate of 2,000-3,000 bricks per day. He had already received numerous orders, and the Beacon stated that “the quality and price for Mendocino brick will be satisfactory to purchasers.”

By July, Fred had sold his bricks and moved on to Point Arena. “We are pleased to learn that Fred Kunkel who manufactured the kiln of bricks at this place, is meeting with success in that enterprise at Point Arena.”

Mendocino Lumber Company Mill on Big River Flat, 1890 - 1898. The third Mendocino lumber mill, built in 1864 after the second mill burned down. The square brick chimney was constructed in 1864 and made from over one million locally made bricks. This chimney collapsed in the 1906 earthquake. (Gift of Alice Earl Wilder)

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APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK: According to Laytonville activist Jon Spitz, he has now appointed himself “LOVE Coordinator.” Reportedly, LOVE stands for Laytonville Organic Vegan Experience.” Mr. Spitz shared the LOVE by inviting “old friends and new” to bring their own organic vegan dishes to the first LOVE experience at the Long Valley Garden Club in Laytonville on May 21.

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FROM the November 26th, 1898 edition of the Mendocino Beacon: “F.A. Bean, the Navarro nurseryman, notes there was a ready demand for apples this season, almost the entire dried product of that fruit grown in Anderson Valley having been purchased by a San Francisco firm and shipped to Australia. He notes the codlin moth cannot exist within ten miles of the coast. With immunity from this pest, combined with our soil and climate, Mendocino at some distant day, should enjoy the distinction of being one of the best and most prolific apple producing sections in the world.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, May 22, 2023

Cornejo, Maciel, McFadin

JOSE CORNEJO, Ukiah. Battery with serious injury, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, domestic abuse, county parole violation.

RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

DEMETER MCFADIN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Montano, Turney, Vigil

JULIAN MONTANO-ZARAGOSA, Boonville. DUI causing bodily injury, hit&run resulting in injury or death, no license.

MELISSIA TURNEY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, protective order violation, failure to appear.

ARMANDO VIGIL-LOPEZ, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Kidnapping, stalking with criminal threats of bodily injury.

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by Marilyn Davin

America's most enduring political figure now lives in slow motion. Hampered by bad hips, she walks at a glacial pace, usually gripping the arms of two aides who lead the way, her legs flopping around like a puppet's as she shuffles through the corridors of Capitol Hill.

However dramatic, does that passage, written by a Washington Post reporter in 2001 about South Carolina’s gaga senior U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, remind you of anyone in the U.S. Senate today? (Hint: I changed the pronoun from “he” to “she” in the quote.) 

As a native Bay Area Democrat I have mostly sung Dianne Feinstein’s praises lo these many years, from the bloody carnage of the San Francisco City Hall murders until she led the #MeToo charge against Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken, which prompted his dramatic 2018 resignation just three weeks after her opening salvo. A former model and conservative talk-radio-host-turned politician (before Franken’s election to the U.S. Senate) by the name of Leeann Tweeden released a tasteless gag photo of him taken 11 years earlier during a 2006 entertainment-of-the-troops visit to Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. It actually reminded me of my TV-reporter days when we all took similar photos of each other for the Christmas party. The Franken resignation was an enormous loss for our country that keeps on giving, and Feinstein poured the gasoline and lit the match for the conflagration that consumed him without even the pretense of a presumption of innocence or due process. I can only write about this because I am a woman. The fires of woke Hell itself would metaphorically incinerate any man who wrote it, including at this paper. Equality has cynically come to mean reordering the bigwigs on top instead of doing what’s best for everyone, man or woman, from the bottom up. 

Feinstein needs to do the right thing and retire already. Her professional race is over, why limp over the finish line? She can‘t possibly need the money. Forbes pegged Feinstein’s personal wealth at around $200 million this year, and as the country’s most senior senator, she surely qualifies for the maximum U.S. Senator annual salary of $203,700 ( And unlike the vast majority of the Californians she represents, Feinstein also has a defined pension plan that pays 80-percent of that salary for life. Neither of these employer contributions from the public purse would even show up as a blip on her personal financial spreadsheet, of course, but it seems like a good time to remind both ourselves and all of our electeds that, before taxes and deductions, the median gross annual income of tens of millions of Californians in this richest of states is $78,672, and outside of government work the defined pension plan has gone the way of the dodo. So if she doesn’t need the money or employee benefits, what gives?

Senator Feinstein has regrettably fallen beneath the hooves of the four horses of this particular apocalypse: prestige, ego, pride, and hubris. Dubbed the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Effect, it’s the emotional inability to give up the glory that really drives doddering senior senators and other powerful public servants to keep hanging on long into their dotages. And as women we are free at last to be every bit as obsessed with power, status, and public image as the most ego-driven of men. In and of itself this is hardly surprising; all mammals on Earth have dominance hierarchies. And those fortunate few at the top stay there until they’re toppled by younger, stronger members. It’s the toppling piece that’s missing in the Feinstein scenario, especially tricky these divisive days when the individual in need of toppling is a woman. In our shared cultural moment few men would dare raise a voice to publicly criticize a high-profile woman. YouTube and cell phones lurk in the shadows…waiting patiently for the first woke slip. And getting back to the Strom Thurmond example, men cling to their professional standings longer than they know they should, too. Knowing when to call it quits and walk away is an all-gender skill, too infrequently employed. 

I get it, intellectually. But…it’s just that I expected things to turn out differently back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s when we were all marching and writing about equal pay and independence under the law (in my view still the real cornerstones of gender equality). Our future vision at that time was a rosy one of cheerful cooperation within families and other less traditional domestic arrangements, a kind of flexible home-team approach where everybody pitched in to the extent he or she was able. In hindsight it was a utopian vision, probably even a naïve one since those years morphed paradoxically into today’s reality: historic economic inequality, even with everybody in the house working except the cat and dog; an economic system where the poor are increasingly locked into their poverty; a way dumbed-down education system, and general discontent from everyone about how the other guy or gal is getting a sweeter deal than the next guy or gal. 

Maybe that’s why senators hang onto their seats so long after their own youthful hopes for the country have been crushed beneath the weight of years of quid pro quo. They understand, but can never say, that after all those years in their front-row seats they know for sure that the country’s real power structure, measured in wealth and the power it generates, is so fortified and inbred to be impregnable. 

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Youth Wants To Know

Dear Editor,

For the past few days I was feeling very low and withdrawn. I felt something was missing, but couldn't put my finger on it. Being 49 years old, I just assumed it was another symptom of menopause, high one minute and low the next (not bad really considering no drugs are involved, although I'm not averse to “illegal” drugs. Funny isn't it? All these legal prescriptions — Ritalin, Prozac, tranquilizers, tobacco — are more harmful than the so-called drugs such as marijuana; yet our government — or big business — profits from the sale of both-in a very big way). Anyway, I finally realized what it was when my husband picked up the mail on Friday, and three AVA's came at once! I was suffering AVA withdrawal! You have no idea how much I depend on your paper, especially your sharp-tongued, razor-wit retorts to imbeciles! Your replies are never disappointing, in fact, my middle son, Phillip (18yrs), enjoys your rebuttals as much as my husband and I do.

Now a question I hope you can answer for me: my husband says he is a communist. He has read Marx and follows his teachings. What is the difference, if any, between a communist, a socialist, and a leftist?

Keep fanning the flames!

As always,

Kathy Schmidt


ED REPLY: Certainly, my dear. Always happy to help out with the finer distinctions, especially after an encouraging pat on the head like you gave me. Ready? Begin. Marx laid it so clearly that even college graduates could understand that capitalist societies are organized to serve the few at the expense of the many. A sensible society would of course be organized in a way that its economy had as its first and only purpose human happiness, in other words an economy organized to serve the people who live in it rather than the people who own it, as we suffer here in the United States. Revolutionaries subsequently took Marx’s analysis and tried to put it into practice, but they were murdered or otherwise nullified as soon as the rich learned that they wanted to divvy up the wealth they could see through the palace windows. Lenin was the first Marx-inspired revolutionary to pull it off, “it” being the transformation of a society to put its economy to work for the great majority of people. To turn a society on its head requires smarts and determination, which is why it doesn’t happen very often. Lenin’s Russia was on the cusp of industrialization but retarded by a degenerate, priest-ridden monarchy dominated by a parasitic gentry, a ruthless secret police, the usual retro army apparatus, all of it sitting on top of a huge but unschooled population. The Czar also hanged Lenin’s brother, which was added incentive for the revolution Lenin subsequently engineered. In a context of a rigid and lethal dictatorship, one simply can’t call a public meeting to organize the overthrow of the government. Nor can one run for office on a platform promising the abolition of the ruling class. Check that: You can run for office on that platform but the liberals will howl you down. Leninism, i.e., a cadre of smart, tough people who persuade key sectors of the population to help them forcibly get the rich off their backs, although in a great irony of history Lenin and his Bolsheviks simply walked into an odd power vacuum and took over. Leninism is really a sort of revolutionary how-to manual. (If there weren’t tenure in this country the barricades would go up tomorrow and every population center in America would have at least one Lenin.) The kind of government the Marxist-Leninists set up is a perverted, bureaucratic version of what they like to claim is a classless state, but which in practice inserts them in the big black limos formerly enjoyed by the people they have just offed. Lenin himself wasn’t much of a one for the high life but his successors had no trouble making the adjustment to gross privilege. That system, “the dictatorship of the proletariat,” is called communism, although it's a perversion of what Marx had in mind. It isn’t communism although the communist states are generally able to feed, house and educate everyone, an accomplishment beyond capitalist states like ours. The kind of gangster socialism of the Stalinist type survives as an ideal in America in a few Kom-Kults, some of them in the Bay Area, but our Kom-Kults never get bigger because they are wrong, boring, humorless, and fanatic — in short, the political equivalents of the more excitable but irrelevant congregations of Pentecostal Christians, especially the half-dipped ones. So, the socialism that has a Lenin figure at the top and a bunch of hangers-on dependent on the top guy is modern communism. Castro was just about the only Lenin type left although the screwballs running North Korea are another version of what is generally called communism. Socialism is a more malleable and democratic sharing of the wealth often achieved electorally because it makes sense to give the broad mass of folks a few comforts so they won’t pick up the gun to get them. Socialism can co-exist in an otherwise capitalist society. It has co-existed for many years, more or less, in the Scandinavian countries, and Western Europe including, sort of, England. It usually means a guaranteed social floor of shelter, a livable income whether or not you work, education, health care, pensions, and various other amenities most Americans can only dream about because we have no political party representing the true interests of a majority of our citizen-body. In America, socialism had its best shot at the turn of the century when this country produced its best-ever radicals in Gene Debs, Big Bill Haywood, Mother Jones, and immigrants like Emma Goldman. They argued for livable lives for all Americans and were framed, defamed, deported, and murdered by capital for their efforts. Today, thanks to a whorish media owned by the rich who use media to promote their stranglehold on an increasingly volatile society, harmless conservative liberals of the Democratic Party type are routinely denounced as socialists and even communists. The average American, a product of a failed system of public education and completely befuddled by media owned by his objective enemies, can no longer make the basic distinctions between communists, socialists, liberals, vegetarians, greens, Al Gore, and anarchists. A “leftist” thus becomes any person expressing an opinion the ruling class thinks will cost it money. "Leftist's" vague flexibility is handy to lazy journalists (99% of those presently employed in the so-called profession) as an all-purpose epithet with which to libel reformers while at the same time ingratiating themselves with the thugs who employ them. Then again a lot of journalists are dumb as stones and sluttish too (cf. MSNBC, Fox News, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, so it’s often a close call where one deficiency leaves off and another begins). Myself, I’m most attracted to anarcho-syndicalist ideas of social organization, but I’d settle for a benign form of socialism which, if adopted, would make America a much happier, much less violent place.

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MEGAN MCCAIN: Often people don't appreciate what they have until those things are gone. And so is the case with WNBA superstar Brittney Griner. The two-time Olympic gold medalist made her triumphant return to the basketball court on Friday after spending nearly 300 days in a Russian prison. And 32-year-old Griner — to her great credit — did something she hasn't done in a regular season game in years. She stood for the playing of the National Anthem. Funny what a nine-year sentence in a notorious Russian penal colony will do to a person. Because less than three short years ago, Griner claimed her days of saluting America were over. So, what changed between then and now? Why the 180-degree turn from Brittney Griner? Has America solved its issues with supposedly biased policing? No, not exactly. It turns out that Griner didn't appreciate her freedom, until she lost it.

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Tranq finally made it to NorCal. They have video of limbs rotting off and abusers still insist on more. Must be hellava high.

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GO TO THE BIGGEST NUTHOUSE you want to and if you can find a red-headed nut I’ll give you fifty dollars. Wooten told me that years ago and he was right. Wooten was a doctor’s doctor. He was the greatest diagnostician of our time, bar none. Surgery was only his hobby. Diagnosis, that’s the high art of medicine. It’s a genetic thing, you see, with these redheads. They never go crazy. You and I may go crazy tomorrow morning, Speed, but Melba here will never go crazy.

Melba had been stirring her iced tea violently for about four minutes. She put her face in mine and winked and said, ‘I’ll bet I know what you like.’ From her leering expression I thought she was going to say, ‘Nooky,’ but she said, ‘I’ll bet you like cowboy stories.’

— Charles Portis, Dog of the South

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by Steve Heilig

The original “West Side Story” was on TV Sunday night, I hadn’t watched it in decades, and as often happens, the landmark musical film triggered an ancient flashback…

At Lincoln Junior High in the bucolic and conservative Orange County, California coastal town of Corona Del Mar there was a music teacher whose name I’ve long forgotten, but I do recall he wore garish lime green suits and had horrendous breath. He was likely a very nice and smart guy though, but for some reason a few of us brattier boys took a dislike to him. Maybe me most and worst of all. It wasn’t pretty.

On the first day of class he put on the title song of The Doors’ second album “Strange Days,” the volume up loud. Some of budding rock fans sat there slightly bemused, as The Doors were about as subversive a band as there was then. This song, like many of theirs, celebrated countercultural hedonism, debauchery, darkness: “Strange days have found us…strange days have tracked us down…they’re going to destroy, our casual joys….the hostess is grinning, her guests sleep from sinning…hear me talk of sin and you know this is it…bodies confused, memories misused, as we run from the day to a strange night of stone…”

Not exactly “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” right? The Doors sung and played of bizarre rituals and dreams, phantasmagorical fantasies, and of course murky sexual scenarios. The Doors’ epic “The End” from their first album was a tale of Oedipal lust and murder, getting them banned from some radio stations and clubs. They also filmed what might be the first rock video, to their tune “Unknown Soldier,” but rather than sexy pop fluff it depicted a gruesome anti-Vietnam war execution on Venice Beach where they’d first formed. Lead singer and figurehead Jim Morrison said The Doors were “erotic politicians,” whatever that might mean. His own life turned out to become mostly sordid, sad, and short. The three musicians who backed him up were inventive and great, and very patient with him. The Doors were thus one of my first favorite bands.

Lead singer and self-proclaimed “Lizard King” Jim Morrison, born to a Navy admiral but soon drawn to beat and surrealist poetry, experimental film, illegal drugs and booze, and rock and roll superstardom with all that can entail, was already on the run from public obscenity charges and would soon die intoxicated in a bathtub under murky circumstances in Paris, thereby joining the legendary “27 Club” of musical stars dead at that age (Hendrix, Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Pigpen of the Grateful Dead, and blues legend Robert Johnson, to name just the most famed of a long list). His longtime long-suffering girlfriend Pamela Courson soon overdosed and joined the same club, maybe carrying loyalty to extremes. Of course rumors soon spread that Morrison had faked his death to flee fame, but his gravesite in the hallowed Pere Lachaise cemetery promptly became a pilgrimage and party site, outdrawing such esteemed neighbors as Chopin, Proust, and Piaf. The bust of his head was liberated from his tombstone, never to be seen again. It would now be worth millions in any currency.

After playing us “Strange Days” the teacher launched into an erudite explication of the song’s structure and technicalities. He was good! I heard things I hadn’t even noticed or conceived of before even though I’d played that album a hundred times. But then he put on another LP, the soundtrack to West Side Story. “I Feel Pretty” sang a chirpy little voice, later revealed to be a young and beautiful Natalie Wood, masquerading as a lovestruck Puerto Rican. It was horrible. I soon realized his Doors song opener was just to hook us in, the make us think he was cool or something. And adolescents hate that sort of charade. 

So soon I was the class clown, or worse. I was usually shy but he just brought it out in me. Whenever he asked a question I replied, snidely and chirping, “I don’t know, but I feel pretty.” Giggles and guffaws among the classmates, thus rewarding and encouraging my snottiness. I think I even broke into that song while he was lecturing, as if to myself. Also, as a nascent drummer, I constantly tapped on my desk with pencils or even the classroom drumsticks. Some of that was unconscious but he had no reason to believe that, given what a jerk I otherwise was there. 

Eventually I became so intolerable he sent me to the Principal’s office for disciplinary action. This was a first for me. I sat in the waiting room until called in, questioned, and warned. But it seems I wasn’t scared straight. On my way back to class I noted that there was a back door to the musical instrument room. I quietly snuck in there and looked around at the violins, horns, and other cool stuff. A big saxophone, likely a tenor but maybe even a baritone, caught my eye. I’d never touched one before and I picked it up, marveling at its weight. I then noticed that the teacher’s voice was droning just on the other side of a thin door to the actual classroom. I was right behind him! Without really pausing to think I stepped over, rested the bell of the horn on that door, placed my fingers in a random manner on the many keys, took a deep breath, put my lips on the mouthpiece, and blew as hard as I could: BLAAAAAAAT!! John Coltrane at his most musically inspired and unhinged couldn’t have blown a more scorching note.

There was a second of silence and then I heard pandemonium from the classroom. Apparently the poor teacher had leapt straight up in the air, shocked and startled, knocking over his podium. A few kids had screamed. Then it was mad mass laughter. Within a moment the teacher came storming into the instrument room, enraged. Still holding the horn, I didn’t have much of a case for innocence. He grabbed me by the shirt and yanked me out of the room, then out of the building and down a hall or two, back to from whence I’d just come. 

The Principal’s secretary seemed very surprised to see me. I was shown to the same seat as only 20 minutes before but the principal appeared immediately, heard the tale of my stunt, and sentenced me to a couple weeks of eating lunch right there. They notified my parents that their son was fast becoming a disruptive juvenile delinquent but fortunately my intimidating dad was out of town as usual and my nurse mom, a wholly forgiving sweetheart, just sighed and shook her head at me. (They had no idea what shocking misbehaviors the subsequent decade or so would entail, but I became more careful and discreet about such things. For example, I didn’t tell mom until decades later that I was scorched on LSD and newly relieved of my virginity when they sat me down at seventeen to tell me they were divorcing, evoking in me an understandingly baffling outburst of relieved - as I hadn’t been busted - laughter). I did eventually have more lunches in the Principal’s office, however.

I also did go back to music class eventually, and behaved relatively well, but the teacher still gave me my first ever “F” grade. Who could blame him? In any event the only other class I ever failed was penmanship. So of course, ironically or not, among a number of other careers, for many years I was a fairly widely read music journalist. 

People say Einstein once failed a math test. It’s good to know your own strengths. But I never learned the sax, and still know many Doors lyrics, whether I want to or not. And every month or so, reading the news, I hear Jim singing in my head, “Straaaange days, have found us….”

The author visits Jim Morrison’s grave, Paris, 1980s

* * *


Broken lines, broken strings,
Broken threads, broken springs,
Broken idols, broken heads,
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain't no use jiving
Ain't no use joking
Everything is broken

Broken bottles, broken plates,
Broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts,
Streets are filled with broken hearts
Broken words never meant to be spoken,
Everything is broken

Seem like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground

Broken cutters, broken saws,
Broken buckles, broken laws,
Broken bodies, broken bones,
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath, feel like you're chokin',
Everything is broken

Every time you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs,
Broken treaties, broken vows,
Broken pipes, broken tools,
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking,
Everything is broken

— Bob Dylan

* * *

* * *

SAN FRANCISCO, 1869 — Chinese slave girls can be found in San Francisco in parlor-houses or cribs, the parlorhouses are adorned with all the Chinese trappings expected by tourists: musk, sandalwood, teak, silk wall-hangings, comical ceramic gods, and scrolls. These houses are on Grant Avenue, Waverly Place and Ross Alley. There are only a few of them. There are cribs without number. They line Jackson and Washington Streets, and Bartlett, China and Church Alleys.

In 1869, the Chronicle reported a cargo of nine-and-ten-year-old Chinese girls as though they were any commodity arrived from the Orient. “The particularly fine portions of the cargo, the fresh and pretty females who come from the interior, are used to fill special orders from wealthy merchants and prosperous tradesmen. Less fine portions of the cargo would be ‘boat-girls,’ from the seaboard towns, where contact with sailors would have reduced their value.”

That item was published six years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

The girls are sold at about the age of five by their parents. Syndicates farm out as many as eight hundred girls, bringing them along to an acceptable age, at which time their prices might be seventy-five or eighty dollars in China. In California they are worth from two hundred to a thousand, depending upon their degree of attractiveness. Pay for their services ranges from fifteen cents to a dollar.

The crib girls on Jackson and Washington Streets, and in the alleys, are exposed like chickens in cages. The cribs are ten or twelve feet wide, containing a front room and back, divided by a curtain. Reformers claim that up to 90 percent of the girls are sick. Their indentured prostitute contracts, which are usually for eight years, add on two weeks for every sick day. If they try to escape their indenture is changed to life. If they are too sick to work they are transported to a “hospital,” from which they do not depart alive.

— Oakley Hall, Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades

* * *


A Ukrainian "sabotage” group crossed into Russia and attacked a town in the Belgorod region, resulting in at least eight people being injured, its governor said. A Ukrainian official said the group was made up of Russian nationals, but insisted they were acting independently.

Ukraine says it's still holding on to part of Bakhmut after Russian private military group Wagner and Moscow officials claimed they had seized the eastern city.

The UN nuclear watchdog says Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is in an "extremely vulnerable" situation after it briefly lost external power supply.

Analysts say F-16 fighters aren't a cure-all for Ukraine after President Joe Biden backed Kyiv's request for its pilots to be trained to fly the US-made jets.

* * *

Kreuzland, Kreuzland, über Alles! (1914) by Louis Raemaekers

* * *


by James Kunstler

Following the ouster of Mr. Trump in 2020, this new-new-left had exactly what it had been clamoring for, a liberal Democrat in the White House. Given the sense of impending catastrophe at present, it may be difficult to remember precisely how much sniveling bullshit went into selling Joe Biden.

— Rob Urie

Have you noticed that the president of Ukraine (or, governor of America’s fifty-first state), Mr. Zelensky, has been globe-trotting for weeks: London, Helsinki, Paris, Hiroshima? That’s because this is one of those months when years happen; the world is changing at hyper-speed. He seems to be running scared, a little bit, trying to keep ahead of the changing game. What sounded like a great idea to a certain claque of so-called neo-cons in our country — to use Ukraine as a bear trap — has instead rather suddenly revealed Europe’s and America’s manifold bankruptcies and revolted the whole rest of the world outside of Western Civ. Oh, the wonder and nausea!

Try to imagine Mr. Zelensky’s predicament. Mighty America and redoubtable Europe conned the former comedian to thinking that if he went along with a genius scheme to ruin Russia and knock Vlad Putin off the global gameboard, his sad-sack country would be transformed into something like Ukro-Disneyworld, while he, Mr. Z, would be lionized and made rich beyond his wildest imaginings. His backup was the greatest hegemonic power the world has ever seen. The game was called Let’s You and Him Fight.

The poor schlemiel fell for it. He let NATO (that is, the USA) set-up, equip, and train the largest army in Europe, including battalions of bad-ass, hard-core Ukro-Nazis — who had previously been so useful in the American-sponsored 2014 Maidan “color revolution.” Mr. Z followed the US State Department’s orders to rain down rockets and artillery on Russian-speakers who lived in his own eastern provinces. He formally applied for membership in the NATO club. His country received billions of US dollars without audit oversight, just screaming to be creamed off by Ukraine’s leadership — who, after all, deserved a little something for all these goings-along. What could go wrong?

Thus, Western Civ kicked off Europe’s biggest hot war since the 1940s. So, in February, 2022, Mr. Putin had enough of the monkey business on his “front porch” and sent in a clean-up crew. Game on! The US neo-cons were ready to feed countless Ukrainian troops into a meat grinder that would, theoretically, exhaust the will and resources of the execrable bear and yield countless benefits reinforcing our dominant position in the world. Our hapless NATO “partners” went along with the program, despite being asked to commit economic suicide for the greater good of the alliance (or something like that). Anyway, they didn’t need that filthy Russian nat-gas. They were going “green” (Klaus Schwab said so, didn’t he?)

Meanwhile, the citizens of our country were groomed to perfection by the US Propaganda-Industrial Complex screaming “Russia, Russia, Russia,” at the behest of opinion-leader Hillary Clinton, a wannabe president. The news media demanded crucifixion for her opponent, Mr. Trump, who had idly tossed out the heinous idea that The USA and Russia could cultivate a friendly relationship, seeing as how the bear was no longer flying the red flag. Aye-yi-yi!!! He actually said that!?! The clueless orange boob!

Well, the folks running things in America — that is, the scores of unelected bureaucratic satraps guarding their nests throughhout the Okefenokee inside-the-Beltway, especially the gator-pit known politely as the Intel Community — decided to subject Mr. Trump to a one-man version of the exquisite torment intended for Russia, Russia, Russia: pain, ignominy, and ruin. They’re still at it six years later, since the relentless Mr. Trump will not give up his crusade to take back the White House and defenestrate all those attempting to defenestrate him. His enemies have captured all the levers of legal power, and yet, amazingly, they can come up with nothing but the most rinky-dink charges to railroad him in captured jurisdictions.

This internal political conflict in the USA has driven the populace plumb insane, while it has rendered our institutions rancid and left us subject to a pathocracy hiding behind a laughably fake chief executive. After a year-plus of America’s genius scheme to maintain world dominance, Russia is doing really well, thank you, in constructing a geo-economic framework for trade that will not be subject to the pranks of USA-led Western Civ. Russia is a nation of people who regard themselves as men and women, the toils of gender confusion happily absent. Ditto race hustles. Ditto banking Ponzis.

After two-plus years of “Joe Biden” — well, our country is bypassing the banana republic stage of dissolution and depravity and steaming quickly into a Hieronymus Bosch dystopia of financial, social, psychological and moral ruin. Every official utterance is a lie. Everything’s broken or breaking. And seemingly, on-purpose. The nagging question, of course, is on whose purposes?

And why is Mr. Zelensky flitting from one country to another the past month? Because the game of Let’s You and Him Fight is drawing to a close and Mr. Z may find himself fatally unpopular back on the home-front. He has managed to send upward of a hundred-thousand young Ukrainian men to their deaths in the meat-grinder, and perhaps a million more have hightailed it for other countries. Ukraine will now be a land of mostly women, children, and old folks — with just enough surviving soldiers left looking to hunt down the comedian who turned Ukraine into another one history’s sick jokes.


* * *

International Space Station transiting Tranquility Base (photo by Andrew McCarthy)


  1. George Hollister May 23, 2023


    Dear Wine Appreciation Department: This “reader” is prepared to make a minimalist statement like:

    “We need to keep in mind that soil water is required both for wine and for growing the grape plant. The roots of the vines may run very deep in search of moisture.—–”

    Yes, we are now making some progress. Transpiration by grapes consumes much water from the soil, whether there is irrigation or not. While controlling water consuming weeds around grapes reduces the need to irrigate it does not stop grapes from extracting water from the ground. But the amount of water consumed by grapes is a very small fraction, likely less than 1%, of the water extracted and consumed by native vegetation in any watershed including the Navarro River Watershed. And if grapes were not growing on the land, native vegetation, including native trees, would be. This native vegetation with its deep roots would be extracting water from the soil just like grapes do.

  2. Chuck Dunbar May 23, 2023


    “He had come outside without his damn cap and now the February sunshine was beginning to cook his scalp. He checked again in his coat to make sure he hadn’t sequestered it in an unaccustomed pocket. He sometimes did that. Confounding himself. Put things in the wrong place, set down things without a clear thought about them. Someday he would put himself down somewhere and forget where he had left himself. In all likelihood.”

    Sebastian Barry, “Old God’s Time”
    (Never read this author’s work before. He’s a fine writer,)

  3. Stephen Rosenthal May 23, 2023

    Everything is Broken. One of my favorite Dylan songs. Two nights ago, while speaking on the phone with a friend, I referenced it as defining the state of our country. Over and out.

  4. Bruce McEwen May 23, 2023

    I was making a parody of this song last week with my Everybody’s Woken — seems like every time you hear a startled sound, someone else just came around… well, it needs work but keep in mind when the song was written, and the reference was to things that needed to be discarded, like place names celebrating and commemorating bad actors.

    • Bruce McEwen May 23, 2023

      The deafening silence suggests a weak smile of contempt for my naivety but some of those sleepwalkers in the Deep End may bump into a post w/a petition to change the name of Anderson Valley, citing a bully-pulpit publisher of the same name and oblivious to the conundrum that the cosmic egg was laid before the chicken came home to roost, but… how pervasive will the new awakening be?

      • Chuck Dunbar May 23, 2023

        The “new awakening” will be” pervasive” as heck, there’s no doubt. Like magic or a small miracle, the post right below your post contains this apt and quite holy answer to your question: Our friend Craig notes that (we all) “are the Immortal Self, Radiant Atman, Glowing Spirit-Soul, Eternal Witness, God Consciousness, Christ Consciousness, and Buddha Nature.

        And there you are…

        • Betsy Cawn May 24, 2023

          [Book of, King James Version] John, Chapter 1, Verse 1:

          “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

          In my experience of this earthly plane, he who names, rules. We fight over every one that denigrates, demeans, belittles, obfuscates, stultifies, and dismisses — all the while fighting the wielders of false flags, “mis/dis/mal-information,” liars and cheats (especially in higher office). Amen.

  5. Craig Stehr May 23, 2023

    Postmodern American Update
    Sunday and Monday were spent in Ukiah, California doing nothing, because the public library is closed. Walked all over the Mendocino county seat sitting on benches, watching the mind complain about how stupid life is in “war world”. On Monday, visited MacNab’s work wear store on State Street, and chatted with one of the owners as we watched the announcement on television that social security money might be delayed in order to somehow ameliorate the American financial deficit. Just did a money check, and there is $172.24 in the SBMC checking account, $51 in cash and $2.20 in the wallet, for a grand total of $225.64 available until the next social security benefits are automatically deposited into the bank checking account. Free meals continue to be available at Plowshares Peace and Justice Center; this includes “second helpings”. On May 30th, a ride has been arranged for me through the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center to go to St. Helena for a consultation with the doctor who will switch out the heart pacemaker for a more comprehensive one, tentatively scheduled for July. I am now budgeting in order to make certain that I have enough money to purchase water and snacks for the ride. Also, am continuing to sleep at the homeless shelter where my two pieces of luggage are. I urge everybody to stop identifying with the body and the mind. You are not the body nor are you the mind. You are the Immortal Self, Radiant Atman, Glowing Spirit-Soul, Eternal Witness, God Consciousness, Christ Consciousness, and Buddha Nature. What would you do in this world if you knew that you could not fail?
    Craig Louis Stehr
    1045 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
    Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270
    Send Money Here:
    May 23rd, 2023 Anno Domini

  6. Adam Gaska May 23, 2023

    I had a hard time following the math on water use by vineyards.

    Yes, if you have deep soil, the right root stock, abundant rainfall and control vegetation with cultivation or herbicide you can dry farm grapes.

    The issue is those factors don’t always favorably align and when they don’t yield can fluctuate widely.

    We have 50 acres of vines in a frost free zone without the benefit of frost protection in Redwood Valley. We use 0.1-0.25 AF per acre per year. We farm organically, use compost and cover crops. We have high organic matter at 5% which helps retain moisture. We have 20 acres in Hopland that do have frost protection. There we use 0.25-0.5 AF per acre per year. Both of these areas are much warmer than Navarro.

    We have olives which use a similar amount of water. We have a small garden/orchard of 2 acres that uses 5 AF of water a year, much more than the grapes and olives.

    I prefer looking at the ranch overall. We have 2000 acres. 800 in rotationally grazed pasture, 1200 in timber land, 70 in crops. Our overall management more than mitigates whatever the negatives of our croplands’ irrigation needs.

  7. Marmon May 23, 2023


    California Democrat Gavin Newsom is poised to ban Skittles, alleging they might be damaging to a child’s reproductive system. But castrating a five-year-old? No problem.

    The prison walls aren’t high enough.


    • Betsy Cawn May 24, 2023

      Mr. Marmon, can you substantiate the assertion that five-year old children are being castrated, please? That’s almost unimaginable to me, next to clitorectomies.

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