Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, July 19, 2023

WARM temperatures will occur across interior portions of Northwest California through today, while stratus become stubborn to clear out. Interior valleys will then warm toward the low to mid 100s during late week. In addition, no rain is forecast to occur during the next seven days. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A foggy 54F on the coast this Wednesday morning, smells smoky also. The fog has moved back in, possible clearing later today as usual. Our forecast is for generally clear after today then getting breezy for the weekend.


Bell Point Bovine, Westport (Jeff Goll)



Lost six-foot iguana. Got out of enclosure about a mile and a half up Hwy 20. Friendly, orange, needs special diet. Climbs trees, runs fast. Long tail. If any sightings, please call Wendy. 707-813-6841. Thank you.


BOONVILLE QUIZ THIS THURSDAY. The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz will take place on Thursday, July 20th at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn in ‘Downtown Boonville’. Fun, banter, beer, booze, wine and grub, and of course the usual incredibly mediocre prizes! Hope to see you there - you know it makes sense… Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster.


LARRY WAGNER: If you have been near the ocean this month you have surely noticed all the pelicans. 

In my 15 years of photographing that weird and wonderful bird, I had never photographed a pelican in July. This July they are all over the place. Another product of climate change?



American Legion and County Negotiations

American Legion Post 385 [Boonville] is currently negotiating with the County of Mendocino concerning the transfer of a currently county owned parcel containing the Boonville Veterans Building from county ownership to Post 385 ownership.

The County has stated Post 385 qualifies for this transfer at little or no cost. The concern the Post has is if the Post will qualify for property tax exemption. It appears that the Post will be granted exemption, however it is an involved process to obtain a definitive answer.

The Post is in the process of filing a claim for an organizational clearance certificate-veterans’ organization exemption. In order to file this claim the Post must provide formative documents showing the Post is a non-profit and tax exempt organization. These documents have been requested from the CA Sec of State’s office and have yet been delivered.

Once received, the Post will then file the claim for an organizational clearance certificate with the CA Board of Equalization.

If the Certificate is granted then the Post must file an application with the Mendocino County Assessor’s office. They are the entity who will make the final determination regarding the property tax exemption requested by the Post.

If granted, the Post has every intention of continuing negotiations with the County to obtain the said property.

If not granted, the Post will decline to proceed and request the County initiate negotiations with the AVCSD.

That is where we are at this moment. I am hopeful the Post will hear something soon from the Sec. of State. However, I am departing Monday morning on a three week vacation, so I do not expect anything to happen until I return. I have informed the County of my vacation plans and the above outline process I have initiated, and they understand.

Kirk Wilder

Financial Officer, American Legion Post 385




Every year, the Redwood Empire Fair kicks off the beginning of “fair season” with a special VIP Awards Dinner, honoring local individuals, organizations, and businesses for their community spirit and support.

The dinner was held on July 15th in the Fair’s Fine Arts Building. The Redwood Empire Fair Board of Directors presented awards to the Business of the Year- the Fairfield Inn, Industrialist of the Year, METALfx and Media of the year: KOZT Radio. This year’s Blue-Ribbon Award was presented to Marge Pardini, and Exemplary Service Awards were given to Mendo Parks and the Mendocino County Museum. 

“We are honored to kick off the Fair by honoring those who do so much for our community and who don’t always receive the recognition they deserve,” said Redwood Empire Fair CEO Jennifer Seward. 

“The Fairfield Inn and Suites is being honored this year because of their commitment to our community and the community of visitors who visit Ukiah and Mendocino County and leave with a better impression than when they arrived,” notes Seward. Owner Jitu Ishwar, his wife Paru and their partner Anil Bhula been hoteliers in Mendocino County for the past 25 years.

Ishwar has served as president of the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce. “Years ago, Marty Lombardi encouraged me to join the Chamber. While with the Chamber, I got pulled into the Main Street Program, Visit Ukiah and Visit Mendocino. We focused on putting the small budgets together and streamlining operations, which was helpful for everyone.” He has also served on the regional board of the Red Cross and is currently a member of the Advisory Board for Visit Mendocino County. 

Bhula and his wife Sharda have been in the Ukiah area since 1989. They have two adult children and have been business partners with the Ishwars since 1998. During that time, they accumulated four properties. Bhula sits on the Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance board as a director. He is also on the Visit Ukiah team and an officer for the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce. “I am an active Rotary member and love to volunteer where I can,” Bhula notes.

METALfx received this year’s Industrialist Award. The company morphed from a local sheet metal fabrication business into a multi-faceted facility. 

“They’ve been featured on the ‘Manufacturing Marvels’ Fox Business program and are known for their superior customer service, an ‘engineering first’ approach and their ability to do everything from welding, powder coating, punching, forming and CNC machining,” Fair Board Member Casey Burris told attendees.

METALfx President, CEO and managing partner Henry Moss hails from Baton Rouge, LA. He and his wife Kristy have a daughter living in L.A. and a son who is currently on active duty in the Marine Corps. They are also the proud grandparents of one grandson. 

Moss is a member of the Young Presidents Organization- a global organization of over 22,000 Presidents and CEO’s. He is an Advisory Board member for both Ukiah and Willits High Schools and an Advisory Board member for the City of Willits Planning and Development Committee

Redwood Empire Fair VIP Award Winners: (L to R) Anil Bhula and Jitu Ishwar of the Fairfield Inn and Suites, MendoParks Interim CEO Scott Menzies, Vicky Watts of KOZT, Fair Board Member Roberto Muniz, Marge Pardini- Blue-Ribbon Award-Winner, Fair Board Member Casey Burris, Redwood Empire Fair CEO Jennifer Seward, Henry Moss of METALfx, Industrialist of the Year Award Winner and Karen Mattson, director of the Mendocino County Museum. The award-winners were honored at a VIP dinner kicking off this year's Redwood Empire Fair.

KOZT FM was the recipient of this year’s Media Award.

“For years, Tom Yates and Vicky Watts of KOZT have brought great rock and roll music to nearly every corner of Mendocino County, but one thing they also do is deliver critical, live updates during fires, floods, power outages and even heat waves like today,” Board member Roberto Muniz told the guests. KOZT was this year’s recipient of the Media Award.

“If you’ve been to a State Park in Mendocino County, you’ve probably witnessed the great work of Mendo Parks. Currently serving ten State Parks, the mission of Mendo Parks is to inspire and ensure stewardship of the state parks in Mendocino County,” Muniz states. Mendo Parks was the recipient of one of two Exemplary Service Awards.

Mendo Parks provides many of the enrichment programs the public is familiar with, such as Campfire Programs, Park Brochures, Latino Outdoor programs, and Junior Rangers. The award was accepted by interim director Scott Menzies. 

Board Member Casey Burris presented the second Exemplary Service Award to the Mendocino County Museum. The award was accepted by museum director Karen Mattson.

“Mendocino County Museum is currently celebrating its 51st Anniversary. Karen works with Museum staff and volunteers, who act as stewards of the Museum's expanding collection of over 60,000 artifacts. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits and programs that educate and inspire awareness of the peoples, communities, and history of Mendocino County,” says Burris. The Museum is supported by the Friends of the Mendocino County Museum, Museum Volunteers, and the greater community.

This year’s Blue-Ribbon Award was given to longtime Ukiah resident and stalwart volunteer Marge Pardini, who at 98 years old is still driving and still serving her community. She received a standing ovation for her years of service.

“Marge has been with the Lions Club since 1993, where she is known as the ‘Queen Bee!’ smiles Burris. “She was the Secretary for 16 years. ‘It’s always fun, so it never feels like work,’ she says about the Club. She was also awarded ‘Lion of the Year’ at both the Club Level and the District 4C2 Level, receiving an excellence medal from the Lions Multiple Districts and Lions International. Marge has received three International Lions Club President’s Certificates. And in 2018, Marge’s club initiated the Marge Pardini Philanthropy Scholarship Fund for High School Seniors who are dedicated to Community Service,” Burris continues.

Pardini and her husband chaired an annual Spaghetti Feed and Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner for Saint Mary’s Church for 14 years. “And if that isn’t enough, Marge keeps busy gardening, reading and crocheting. Please give a big round of applause for Marge Pardini, who’s been making a difference in the community she’s lived in since 1978- for over 45 years,” Burris concludes.

The Board also commended CEO Jennifer Seward for her quarter of a century serving the Fair, noting that unlike many cities that have lost their fairs to economic hardships, the Redwood Empire Fair continues to be a successful and essential community enterprise. Seward in turn thanked her staff and the audience members, many of whom are lifetime supporters of the Fair.

The theme for this year’s fair is “Jungle of Fun.” The Fair runs from August 3rd to August 6th. For information about the Fair visit, email or phone (707) 462-3884.


Route 1 bridge, Casper (Jeff Goll)



North Coast Brewery Live Music Series July 20, 21, & 22

Friends and Neighbors -

The North Coast Brewing Company's (NCBC) Sequoia Room in the Pub hosts live music featuring your favorite artists, outstanding food, award-winning beers, fun beverages, and friendly service.

NCBC is committed to delivering an enjoyable experience for its customers and believes that live music of all genres ranging from rock to folk, jazz to blues, funk to R&B, and everything in between is a vital part of serving our community.

To build our stronger community, NCBC is collaborating with Crosstie Productions to create a world-class experience that is a joyful and safe environment for our customers to enjoy an evening of great music, food, and beverages.

All shows are from 5:00 to 8:00 PM

Thursday, July 20th - Deep Pockets Band

You may have heard it through the grapevine that there will be dancing in the streets as Deep Pockets lets the good times roll at the Sequoia Room on Thursday, July 20th as the second week of the North Coast Brewery summer series of live music continues.

What’s going on? Deep Pockets will bring their blend of R&B, Blues, Funk, Rock and Motown sounds that will have you jump, jive, and wail, take you higher and higher, and make you feel some kind of wonderful compared to what.

Meet Deep Pockets:

Sharon Garner (lead vocals)

Billy Shieva (keyboards and vocals) -

Daniel Coulson (bass guitar)

Jay Costa (guitar)

Tim Cuny (drums)

Deep Pockets will make you dance with joy and have you smiling for many days to come. $10 Cover for a three-hour show

Friday, July 21st - Lauralee Brown

Lauralee Brown is a vocalist, entertainer, and singer-songwriter who has been living in Northern California since the mid-1980s. She sings her own originals as well as ones collected from many fine songwriters she has met along her musical journey. Lauralee has a unique vocal style and approach to the songs she performs. No Cover

Saturday, July 22nd - Aaron Brown

Aaron Ford is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from the Mendocino coast whose musical style is rooted in folk, Americana, and the blues. His original songs are deeply soulful, his guitar distinctly recognizable and his voice rich and compelling. His EP, “Where have you Gone,” is available digitally through CDbaby and Spotify. No Cover

Tim Cuny <>





ON THE SUBJECT of dope, a subject perennially up front for fifty years now in Mendo county, I was startled by a couple of episodes on COPS — excellent cinema verite — the other night. A Kansas City law officer rolled on a call where he had to deal with a guy who’d been smoking marijuana dipped in formaldehyde, the effects of which seem to be something like PCP-induced berserk. In a second segment filmed in Las Vegas, a posse of cops arrested a van load of hats-backward remedial readers and their debbies who had been driving around “partying” by sniffing gold spray paint, smoking pot and drinking beer. What’ll those darn kids think of next? Smoking pot and drinking beer is, of course, a widespread method of annhilating time, but sniffing spray paint? Formaldehyde? Nostalgics may recall that wonderful mescaline that came and went in a couple of months back in 1968. But now, altered states of consciousness are harsh, often lethal, but consistent with the harsh, lethal times, I guess. 

A FRIEND mentioned that he was a “double cousin.” I asked him if he was the functioning product of incest. “Nope,” he said, “double cousins happen when sisters marry brothers — brothers unrelated to the sisters.” Whew! 

JONATHAN ALTER, to Katie Couric on the Today Show was quoted by the late Alexander Cockburn as Alter responded to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair: “And it’s also just kind of a disgusting, tawdry story that makes you want to take a shower when you’re either reporting on it,” Alter thundered, the dudgeon heaping higher with every indignant word. It caused me to wonder how my colleagues in the journalo-biz here on the Northcoast would respond to a sexual invitation from, say, one of the many pneumatic queens of tawdry whose affairs take up so much tabloid tv space if she presented herself as available. 

We put it to The Major.

“No!” the Major exclaimed in a suspiciously fervent voice. “I don’t like any of them. I want a girl like the girl who married dear old dad.”

Then he asked me how I would respond to an invitation from a fetching bimbo. “Not while my mother is alive,” I said. A person who declined to be named said he “takes all offers under advisement.”

INTERNET TRAFFIC, according to the usual unreliable sources, is doubling every 100 days. I know it isn’t reasonable to deduce much of anything from the random hour or so I spent on the Net the other afternoon, but I didn’t see a single thing worth reading, a single conversation I felt any impulse to join, didn’t learn a single thing I didn’t know, wasn’t moved to get in touch with anyone in the global village. Besides which, the cyber-journey screen was stuffed with advertising and so many frenetic visuals while the thing buzzed and beeped and sang at me that I felt slightly exhausted just looking at it. And now, with millions living in their telephones, small wonder people have a hard time focusing on anything that isn’t gone in a second and a half. I feel fortunate to be book and magazine-dependent. 

WHATEVER HAPPENED to the “95/5 bill”? Prop 223 back in 1997 was aimed at the decapitation of redundant school administrators, especially in places like the Mendocino County Office of Education where a slug of lemur-like paper shufflers draw fancy pay for performing tasks of no discernible educational value. Prop 223 limited school administration to 5% of a school district budget. MCOE, a relic of the 19th century when one county superintendent of schools and one secretary functioned as a county hiring hall, then dispatching teachers by horseback to all areas of far flung Mendocino County. MCOE these days is all administrative, but not performing a single task that couldn’t be done cheaper and more efficiently by the individual school districts of the county. (Ukiah Unified has become a mini-MCOE, with roughly 60 people in-servicing and swapping unintelligible memos, all paid at least twice the average private Mendo wage, all allegedly supervised by chummy school boards who regard themselves as part of “the administrative team.)

The long overdue 223 initiative was brought to us by the teachers’ unions to break up the cozy relationships that school boards and school administrators have built up over the years to the great detriment of public ed. What happened? The admin blob and their stooge school boards crushed 223.


Wallmurals, Fort Bragg, Franklin St (Jeff Goll)



I managed to live decades without knowing that Fort Bragg was named for a Confederate general. I suspect many people in northern California did also, and now that they know they probably question whether it’s worth the bother and expense of changing the name to satisfy a bunch of culture warriors. This should be up to the residents of Fort Bragg and only them, but if they do change it it could be for someone also a bit roguish. Perhaps Black Bart City.



Great Day in Elk is fast approaching and hardly anybody remembers what it was about, it was appropriate created out of boredom for we were waiting, for the oasis to open up it was a bar where the common folk in the real true alcoholic could hang out, we had sellable way races and when we caught a couple of banana slugs we race them across the highway, I rode a course and everybody else walked started at the school and went south, that was the first parade of the founding people which I am one of the few, there's always three of us the rest of all made winged flight heaven bound, and the great in elk was turned into a money, pump by the newcomers it failed to recognize who really started it.

My beautiful picture

It's like the community center the land was donated by Flora Buchanan, the money was raised by the townspeople by selling abalone permits doing the heavy part of the abalone season we had other events as well, the rent the land was prepared, by the sawmill owners and the loggers, and several ranchers the donated rock materials but none of the newcomers were here, either a shovel turned by them or raked over the rocks, it was done by old-time locals, yet they're not remembered in the building their names to appear on the wall, people who really paid for and build, they named the firehouse after a member of the Board of Directors of the community service district, a nice individual but not a founding father, and the building was supposed to be a memorial firehouse and that didn't fly, as well the newcomers… Stage on the inside again not remembering the people who really put the dollars up, and the newcomers keep squeezing money out of the system to feather their nest to make them prestigious in the eyes of the coast, these are the same people that don't want development and don't want growth for they got theirs, and they don't share, people fail to realize without timber industry and the ranchers most of these towns would not be here and we wouldn't has a vast history wrapped around, it seems like the newcomers don't remember, and don't care to remember who actually built the community center and paid for, and they certainly don't care to take input from locals, each and every one of the original 197 people that lived within the community of elk from the 50s and to the mid-60s should have their name on the wall for they all contributed, no one individual is more important than the other and if it had been for the Daniels & Ross sawmill there would not be iron pipes for the water system came in the 1950s prior to that water lines were made of wood, and even though in 1956 we suffered a great loss of the hotel in the middle of town, that gave birth to the first fire department and the desire to have fire equipment in the town, so as we think about the so-called great day and elk we need to look back at founders to creators of this community the people of kept alive for so long, and when we look at the community center and the firehouse we need to also remember who the true creators were and why all of this is together it is not one individual, a collection of old-time people saw need and help supply it reached down in their pocketbook and came up with the money to do it.



John Schlote (1933-2023). If you were attending high school in Fort Bragg in the late 1940s - early 1950s, or if you were a rowdy teenager in the late 1950s - 1960s, you might remember John Schlote. His mother owned the Casa del Noyo for years, and John and his siblings grew up there.

He married my sister, Carol Mason, and the wedding was at the Presbyterian Church in Mendocino. I was expected to be an usher - even though we had a football game that same afternoon. I ran off after all the post-wedding photos, skipping the reception, to get to the locker room, changed into my uniform and got into the game shortly after half-time! John was my idol in those days, I mean, after all, he drove a black MGA. He could do anything and do it well, then move on to do something else. Kids growing up on the Mendocino Coast might best remember him as a policeman in Fort Bragg. He also was a merchant marine (working in the boiler rooms as an engineer on oil tankers going to and from Alaska); a deputy sheriff in Monterey County; a private detective; a restorer of vintage MGs; a long distance moving van driver (his way of exploring the US on someone else's dime); and an avid motorcycle rider (even into his eighties). He built a cabin on a mountain up out of Weaverville for Carol and his two sons. The family moved to Fresno and John became involved in modifying wheelchairs for folks with particular needs. John passed away several weeks ago in Fresno, where, as a former Navy man, he had been living in a VA retirement center. I was fortunate enough to reconnect with John (he and my sister divorced many years ago) through my nephew Scott, one of his two sons. Scott now lives in Mendocino, just across the field from the Mason (aka Blair) house. I will miss John. He never lost his good looks (or his hair!) and sense of humor. We recently laughed together at some of the Mendocino - Fort Bragg memories. Catching kids drinking and, rather than turning them in, just pouring out all the beer and telling them to drive carefully home. Or, about when he and another officer got a call from dispatch late at night to check on reported gunfire at the old dump (Glass Beach). The two quickly holstered their service revolvers and responded that they would check on it! The rats got a reprieve that night. Good memories... It was an honor to be a small part of his life.


CATCH OF THE DAY: Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Aguayo, Armijo, Davis

ELIOTT AGUAYO, Santa Rosa. Failure to appear.

ANDREW ARMIJO, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-drugs&alcohol, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

BRITTANY DAVIS, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.

Delgado, Herrera, Hogan, King

JESUS DELGADO JR., Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.


JAMES HOGAN, Sonoma/Ukiah. DUI.

WYATT KING, Willits. Stolen property. 

Lawson, Lell

LAWRENCE LAWSON, Covelo. County parole violation.

SHAUN LELL, Ukiah. County parole violation, failure to register as transient.

Myers, Norgard, Reed


BRETT NORGARD, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

JASON REED, Fort Bragg. Stolen property, controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Rosales, E.Sanchez, R.Sanchez

FABIAN ROSALES-REYES, Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation.

ESPERANZA SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ROBERT SANCHEZ, Leggett. Domestic abuse.



Good afternoon everyone, The Ukiah Public Library computer system is down, so am at RespecTech on Perkins Street tap, tap tapping away. Just sitting here awaiting postmodern America to behave sanely. Am looking forward to moving out of the homeless shelter after 14 months on a spring bed there. Ready to “set up shop” in a subsidized apartment. Gotta obtain a new PC, having burned out the Microsoft one due to normal use. RespecTech advises purchasing an ACER computer. Meanwhile, the post operative appointment with the cardiologist is at Adventist Health-Ukiah on Thursday afternoon. Beyond that, I don’t have any reason to be living in Mendocino County. Not to be unappreciative to all of the social service providers, but I don’t give a pile of faecal pig droppings in regard to survival. Instead, I am seeking spiritual opportunity on the big blue pearl. Thanks for listening!

Craig Louis Stehr




by Paul Modic

I might not be discovered for days, or even longer, lying on the floor or in bed. Will the UPS driver smell something from the road just a few feet from my house? Will a neighbor wonder why my car hasn’t moved recently? It could take weeks until someone misses me, unless I keel over in the park, in which case it would be minutes, hours, half a day at most. 

Then what? The house will go silent, who will deal with all my stuff?

Word will spread around the community then across the country to family. Some people will wonder how it happened, suicide will cross some minds as it always does, they might want to ask but will mostly refrain out of decorum.

They’ll get “me” out of here, how long does the stench linger? Do you need professional cleaners to come in? 

People will think about me briefly, I’ll finally get some attention, then I’ll just be another old dead hippie, or ex-hippie.

I’ll look down from Heaven or up from Hell and think, “Damn, what the fuck, I was an atheist, I guess I was wrong! Jeez…” or be reincarnated as a flea and not think much of anything, I didn’t believe in that either, so another surprise.

The logistics, the practicalities, the reality of all the stuff will settle in: who will deal with the fifty year accumulation? What will they do with it?

Where to start? The Tupperware in the kitchen? The furniture? The clothes? What matters, what doesn’t?

Is there anyone else who has ten solar ovens still in their boxes? Twelve boxes of Mexican folk art recklessly collected when my folk art dealer friend died twenty years ago? Twenty Huichol yarn paintings, drapes, electronics, recording devices, old computers, harvest supplies, grow lights, and on and on. 

My most valued possessions are a sword from Borneo and a 15 Watt FM radio transmitter. The sword, with eleven mysterious marks in a row on the sheath, along with carved elephants on the handle, might be priceless. It was bought in a shop in Amsterdam forty-three years ago for $150. The FM transmitter, a souvenir from an ill-fated attempt to start a pirate radio station in Mexico, is worth something also. 

Eventually someone will discover last year’s harvest stored in a secret location and finally toss it down the hill, dumped out of the plastic bags first of course.

Everything in the medicine cabinet, including the Viagra samples I never tried (are they still good ten years later?), pretty strong pain pills from my hip operation, and all kinds of skin creams and medications will be swept in a bag or box and unceremoniously tossed: tweezers, scissors, nail clippers and beard trimmers included, but tossed by whom?

The twelve boxes of memorabilia upstairs including old passports and driver’s licenses, “Pure Schmint” theatre programs (including one from the play “Nobody Nose” shaped like a cocaine bindle with some fake white powder inside), and everything else will probably be tossed without a glance inside at the evidence of a life strangely and haphazardly lived out in the hills for decades.

When I sold my cabin in the hills three years ago I emptied out the filing cabinets into the boxes, hauled them to town, set up a sorting table, examined the first box, and threw little away though I did label some folders “Throw” if it ever got that far. But if I, creator of this roadmap of a life, have not been interested in going back, looking through, sorting, throwing, and saving, then why would anyone else be? (Now and then I’ll reach into a box and pull out a gem of a memory, like the ticket stub I recently came across from “Lord of the Rings” twenty years ago when my date and I spent the whole movie making out, ahh, those days...) 

The many smart pots, full of goodpotting soil and fertilizer, scattered around this amazing sunny acre may never be touched, though if anyone ever tromped around down there they would occasionally feel a crunch as they stepped on bundles of redwood stakes buried beneath the weeds.

(Is writing this the kick in the ass I need to wade into the jumble of detritus and sort and label all the stuff in the cabinets, closets, attic, and outbuildings?) 

With no children what if I outlive my siblings and friends so there’s no obvious person to clean up this mess, get rid of the stuff, lament the loss, and settle the accounts? 

What will happen to the remains of me? Will my ashes be scattered in the river I fell in love with instantly upon moving here twenty years ago, when submerged in the Mighty Eel’s cool embrace every summer day? (Should I write my own eulogy, maybe this is it?)

Did I finally buy one of the last Garberville cemetery plots with the gravestone saying just three words beneath my name: “He Grew Weed”?

* * *

Startled by and jolted into action by these stark images of my demise I decided to try to deal with my mess, but where to start? I went upstairs to the attic, pulled the stairs down, climbed up, and surveyed the situation: 

There were bags of used mailing envelopes, bills, and tax returns going back twenty years, a pile of forty screens, big leftover pieces of rigid insulation, boxes of cassettes, VHS tapes and hundreds of old music CDs, long since uploaded to the computer, a couple boxes of record albums and never-used turntables, three pretty ceramic Mexican sinks, boxes of resin-stained clothes hangers, two more of brand new hangers (five hundred overbought after a shortage during a harvest mold emergency years before), and the indoor grow equipment: fans, hoods, ballasts, and lights, which I decided to start with as they were the heaviest and bulkiest testament to my past. 

* * *

I never imagined I’d run grow lights, being an out-in-the-sun guy myself, but after I became friends with Hugh it opened up more possibilities. I was able to initially hire him to build the guest cabin now called “The Hugh” because he was on probation for being involved with a big indoor grow, being skilled in electricity he was often working the diesel doper scene, though when I met him he was retired from that. One of the terms of his probation was to not have any contact with his boss, who had been busted with him, and that’s why he was free for me to hire him. 

The first time I grew weed I just put some seeds in the ground and waited for October to come around, later we’d start them in cold frames and then put them in a greenhouse. I had a great setup out in the Gulch with a skylight under which I slid a piece of plywood as a shelf which could hold 120 4” by 4” pots or ten thirty-six hole trays for a total of 360 starts. It was the ideal spot because it had all day sun, was warm from my wood fires and solar heat rising up the stairs, and there was no danger from bugs, mice, rats, or birds, all of which could devour the tiny plants in minutes.

The only danger was that the trays were just a few inches under the skylight so they needed to be checked every other day as it got very hot up there, after about two to three weeks it was time to move them out into the greenhouse and transplant them into gallon containers. After about seven weeks they were sexed, transplanted into three gallon pots, in which they grew for a few more weeks, and then were hauled out into the woods. (Years later they were just grown full-term in the nearby greenhouses.) 

When clones became popular you could buy them from one of the many clone dealers, fifty cubes a tray for ten dollars each, more or less. Since they were under lights eighteen hours a day at the clone factory you couldn’t put them out in the sun until about mid May when the solar cycle had increased to about fourteen hours a day. If you put them out earlier they would “go off,” flower, and you’d have all these tiny prematurely budding plants in July when what you wanted were nice big ones in September or October.

Hugh showed me how to maximize the harvest by putting the clones under lights for a month or so before putting them outside for the summer. He also set up The Hugh as a grow room for me (with his standard $20 an hour wage) which was pretty simple for him as he had set up many for himself and others:

First you needed almost total darkness and he had me buy rigid insulation which we cut, then slid snugly over the four big windows, jamming used black garbage bags and aluminum foil in the edges. I covered the door light with grocery bags then big swaths of aluminum foil. One window was covered with overlapping pieces of insulation and was left open about half an inch for some air to come in, a standing fan was placed by that window to pull the air into the room.

In the window on the opposite side of the ten by twelve room, Hugh installed a small but powerful fan built into a narrow piece of plywood. He screwed a small regulator on the wall next to the window which automatically turned the fan on when the temperature hit 80 degrees, or whatever the industry standard was then.

I bought a grow light setup for a couple hundred dollars: ballast, hood, and halide bulb and Hugh put a hook in the ceiling, a tie down on the wall and attached a strong nylon cord so the hood containing the light could be lowered up and down when necessary. He installed an expensive, maybe eighty bucks, timer on the wall next to the breaker box which automatically turned the light on at six at night and off at 11:30 in the morning. (The idea was to have the light on at night instead of the heat of the day as a precaution to mitigate fire danger.) 

Starting out at seventeen and a half hours of light each day, per Hugh’s specific instructions of course, the light was reduced half an hour a week and by the first of June the amount of light I was giving them was fifteen hours while the ambient sun outside was about fourteen. They were ready to take outside, transplant out of the two gallon pots into threes or fives, grow them larger in the sun for another month, and then haul them out to the smart pots spread out over the hillside.

 I was fascinated by those strong yellow grow lights, opening the door and gazing at them radiating down on the growing clones many times a day, though not for long and not looking directly at or standing under the lights myself. The plants were growing in one, two, or three gallon containers and the main hassle was infestation with powdery mildew so I had to get in there with the sprayer and spray every leaf, even the undersides of all the foot tall plants. (Sometimes people brought unwanted bugs, like spider mites, back home from the clone factories.) 

When the clones were a couple feet tall and ready to be taken outside and put in a sunny spot for another month, they had to be covered with shade cloth for a week to acclimate them to the sun, which was much more powerful than the 1000 watt lights, they would shrivel up and die if not gradually introduced to the summer sun.

Even when planted out in the field clones were more sensitive to bugs and powdery mildew and I remember one summer I couldn’t go to the Summer Arts Faire at Benbow because I was out on my hillside spraying the plants. (Then I knew something was wrong, out of balance: I was a prisoner of my crop.) 

* * *

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the heavy ballasts were lined up along the wall just a reach away from the stairs. The hoods were further away, I reached over with my hoe and pulled them to me, an indispensable tool for also retrieving the boxes of hangers, fans, empty boxes, and anything else spread out in the big attic.

I hauled the four sets of grow equipment down the stairs, out the door, and loaded it into the truck. In the morning I woke up wondering if I should keep one set, couldn’t the hood be used for something, like part of an art installation? I haven’t thought about that stuff for years, finally have it out of the house and into the truck, and am contemplating clawing some back out, hmm, maybe stash a set under the Hugh? 

I know this is crazy talk, I’ll never need or use them again, but when I opened the box of bulbs and fondled those long tubular phalluses they seemed wondrous and powerful in my hands and I started feeling irrationally attached. (Shouldn’t I at least save one of those cool bulbs? We’ll see, the limit at county hazardous waste is three, and I have four.)

I drove my load of metal up to Eel River Salvage in Fortuna, the workers started throwing everything out of the back, and when the first ballast hit the ground I said, “Hey, those are still good!”

“I saw one for twenty bucks at a thrift story,” one of the friendly guys said as another ballast crunched onto the cement floor.

In less than a minute my truck was unloaded, I headed up to Eureka, and after a couple wrong turns found Hazardous Waste on West Hawthorn just past the bowling alley where there was a sign posted saying “Closed for lunch 12-1” and another which said “Do not dump.” 

I looked around and saw no one, took out the box of four halide lights, placed it on a tray next to some long florescent lights, and drove out of there with an empty truck. 



When do we begin planning for the impact of climate refugees? 90k population won’t last long…




I read with interest a recent article about the white paint that can act as a reflector. In past years, I have read that buildings and roofs should be white versus dark colors to reflect the sun back into space, which would cool the planet to an extent. A good number of years back, when I worked as a civil servant (base carpenter) for the U.S. Coast Guard, a few buildings at the Two Rock training base had white roofs. Among my responsibilities were repairs and maintenance of those roofs. In talking with the occupants of those buildings, I remember they mentioned that in hot weather their building always seemed to be cooler.

After that experience and the information I read about light-colored roofs and buildings being an aid in cooling the earth, I have shared that information with friends, family and legislators. It seems to me there should be a Manhattan Project to do just that across the nation and world. This earth needs all the help it can get.

Jacob W. Boudewijn

Santa Rosa


BILLBOARDS, billboards, drink this, eat that, use all manner of things, everyone, the best, the cheapest, the purest and most satisfying of all their available counterparts. Red lights flicker on every horizon, airplanes beware; cars flash by, more lights. Workers repair the gas main. Signs, signs, lights, lights, streets, streets.

— Neal Cassady


JOHN REDDING: A factual factoid for those in the I Follow Science or the I Am Data Driven crowd. In today's WSJ it is reported that between 2015 and 2022 China’s greenhouse gas emissions increased nearly 12%, while U.S. emissions declined some 5%. This according to the Climate Action Tracker which monitors a nation's progress towards meeting the Paris Climate Agreement.

And that 5% reduction by the US was due to using natural gas. 

This is like two people faced with a limited amount of food agreeing to go on a diet. But while one party does, the other continues to consume as never before. At some point you would wonder about the sanity of the dieter.




Recipients of this email should not be alarmed. It does not represent the commencement of a new online invective war such as I recently underwent. It is not a plea for money. It will not be followed by immediate further communications. If you don’t want to receive messages from me, please do not be upset. I don’t expect a response. These dispatches from another universe are few. The immediate topic of this email is fundamentalism: specifically, the new and widespread doctrine of gender fundamentalism, which may be best described as anatomical fundamentalism.

I am aware that most of you have other, more pressing matters of concern, such as Ukraine (a matter on which, probably predictably, I share your distress.)

Having experienced the destruction visited on the Balkans by Russo-Serbian imperialism, I have come to see our country as Ukraine before the atrocities became daily occurrences. Here at home, massacres have already begun, targeting sexual nonconformity, as we see in the attack last year in Colorado Springs. After that incident I suspended my mass emails.

But regarding fundamentalism, I recently found this online, though I don’t usually Google myself:

And thus the work of my male personality (denoted by what transfolk call our “dead name”) is read and discussed by spiritualists at the most important Muslim shrine in India, which is also visited by Hindus.

It is likely my book was read there in a pirated edition. But it is known, and described as “famous.” Stephen Schwartz is famous.

Do faraway individuals in the Islamic world, who esteem my past work, know I have come out as a transwoman? I have indications that many do. Would it matter to them? Perhaps not in the Indian subcontinent, where the trans phenomenon is accepted to the degree that Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India recognize “third gender” identities. Shia Muslims are notably open to trans identities as expressions of divine will.

I think constantly about the contrast between my past and my present. The “transition” I am experiencing is perpetual. I often wake up bedeviled by male feelings about my condition as I live now.

I don’t miss my past. It was satisfying when I spent time with my muse Rebecca (aka Buck) but otherwise it was painful. I was seldom quiet but always walked on my own path — a “loud loner.” (As a transwoman I am quieter.) Even when traveling and publishing I was cosmically alone.

I had success. The Two Faces of Islam was not my only authorial achievement. But my work on Islam came to define me. The immense body of writing I published in this area was, in reality, burdensome. Most of the product of the Center for Islamic Pluralism was written by me. Much, aside from that in The Weekly Standard, required work with difficult editors. When, after many years, Rebecca and I were reunited in 2016, I was suicidally despairing, in “a coma” as she described me.

My intense depression was known to my closest friends in Washington, where I lived and worked for a decade.

With Rebecca’s support — she had bestowed the name “Lulu” on me — I escaped to the alternative reality I knew within myself. I had fought against Islamic fundamentalism, and now committed to struggle against gender fundamentalism. My entire life has reflected my rejection of fundamentalism — Stalinist, Islamic, and now, anatomical. I did not come out as a transwoman as an expression of this — all such affirmations emerged from my gender quest. To paraphrase Jefferson, I have sworn eternal hostility to every form of fundamentalism imposed on the human mind. Islamic fundamentalists do not comprehend Sufis. Anatomical fundamentalists do not accept transgenders. This video traces my journey:

Nadja Part 28 Who I Am

I want my story told. For that reason I appeal to the readers of this email to help me find new and effective media platforms. If I dealt with you harshly in the past I ask forgiveness and a fresh start. I recognize that I am now, to most, pathetic.

But I feel an urgency as well.

Gross transphobia has become standard in the dominant American culture.

This represents a new threat to human rights, and a challenge.

I now represent a community under direct threat of violence.

I walk in fear.

As a historian I anticipate worse horrors to come.

And so I now appeal to you: do not shun me. Do not stand aside. 


* * * P.S. I pondered attaching two recent pieces by me, one describing how Stephen Schwartz was cancelled by the San Francisco literary bureaucracy and another recalling my struggle with gender dysphoria beginning in childhood, but they seemed too lachrymose.

Stephen Schwartz" <>



‘THIS STATE IS UNDER TYRANNY’: Scenes from California's latest secession movement

by Eric Ting

Sharon Durst, leader of the secessionist El Dorado state movement, knows people don't take attempts like hers seriously. Past efforts to split rural California counties off from the rest of the state have accomplished little beyond inspiring ridicule — which the former rancher, now in her 80s, experienced directly as an early supporter of the infamous state of Jefferson.

But Durst also knows that something has to change, if rural counties like El Dorado are going to have a fair say in how they’re governed. On July 10, she and former county Supervisor Ray Nutting co-hosted a town hall to explain to their neighbors why the solution is peeling the county off from California and forming a new state.

It’s true that California has a unique problem of representation in state government. No state in the country has fewer state legislators per capita; the problem is especially stark in rural areas like El Dorado County, population 192,000. In the state Senate, El Dorado is represented by a legislator who also represents voters in 12 other counties; in the state Assembly, the county is split between two legislators, each responsible for voters across several counties, with widely diverging industries and demographics. Not one of the three legislators responsible for representing El Dorado County actually lives there.

“This has long been an ongoing problem in California politics,” said Isaac Hale, a professor of politics at Occidental College who specializes in electoral systems and representation. “There are nearly 500,000 Californians per assemblymember and a million Californians per state senator, and that’s pretty out of whack.”

“You could double the size of the Assembly, and we’d still have the highest number of people represented by district,” he added. “And there are serious consequences to this.”

One such consequence is that some rural Californians feel so disenfranchised that they’re willing to attend multihour town halls on secession. Twenty-five people showed up to Durst and Nutting’s July 10 gathering, held in the office space of a Raley’s supermarket in El Dorado Hills. Each person was handed a copy of the United States Constitution as they walked in.

The political leanings of those in attendance were on full display. One attendee wore a shirt that helpfully defined the word “patriot.” Another wore a shirt reading “Save the Children” on the front and “WE RIDE AT DAWN” in all caps on the back. Durst’s introduction was punctuated by audience member comments, including “California is red, we all know it,” and “Trump won.” When she mentioned that a reporter was in the audience, the room broke out into groans, like someone had just offered the restive crowd Bud Light from the supermarket outside the meeting room.

Durst and Nutting know the dream of statehood means going up against insurmountably steep odds; for a California county to secede and become its own state, both California’s Legislature and the United States Congress must sign off. Durst and Nutting concede California lawmakers would never go along with it, so Durst is gambling on what she described as a “backdoor” maneuver to go to Congress directly.

In a 7,000-word Substack post published in May, Durst argues that El Dorado County is technically not a legitimate piece of California and is instead “other property” of Congress (though she cites no legal scholars or historians who have promulgated this view). Therefore, she wrote, Congress alone could vote to turn El Dorado County into El Dorado state, without California’s approval.

At the town hall, Durst declined to discuss the procedural steps ahead.

“To try to speculate, ‘What if this? What if that? Blah blah blah?’ No,” she said. “You know what? We’re going to just move forward, do our thing, hope for the best and see where the people take it.”

She also was not interested in alternate routes to better rural representation, including those that experts like Hale believe have a greater chance of success, like organizing for a ballot measure to increase the size of the Legislature. With a proper education campaign, Hale told SFGATE, such a push could find bipartisan support across the state, not just in rural districts.

“Consider Mia Bonta’s East Bay Assembly district,” he said. “Why are wealthy homeowners in Piedmont linked with renters in east and west Oakland? They have wildly different interests, and you could make the argument that they each should have their own form of representation. This is a systemic problem.”

Nutting, whose time on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors came to an abrupt end in 2014 when he was found guilty of six misdemeanor charges over an attempt to borrow bail money improperly, was more willing to discuss other, more realistic paths.

“It would help,” Nutting told SFGATE about increasing the size of the Legislature. Nutting, age 64, spends most of his time these days harvesting timber on his ranch. He dislikes many of the forest practice rules issued by the state and yearns for an El Dorado County-based legislator who could bring their shared concerns directly to state leaders. 

“You could go to your store, and people are going to know who your state senator is,” he said of a bigger Legislature. “It’s like county supervisors, people know who their county supervisors are because there are not as many constituents as there are for a state senator or assemblymember. The numbers are so huge, it’s hard for them to have a direct connection in a big way with their constituency.”

At the town hall, though, it was clear many attendees were dead set on secession. That included Durst, who opened the meeting by asking everyone to stand and pledge allegiance to the “American civil flag,” which has vertical stripes as opposed to horizontal ones. (The Arizona Republic has labeled the flag a “favorite of various conspiracy or anti-tax groups.”)

As Durst began walking attendees through her argument that California is failing to provide El Dorado County with a “republican form of government,” the man in the patriot-defining shirt yelled out from the back of the room, “California is not a republic!” 

“It’s lawlessness,” added another member of the crowd.

Later, during a discussion of the word “democracy,” the man in the patriot shirt again chimed in. “Democracy is an old word. We should wash it down the drain. It’s what the liberals say. We’re a constitutional republic and have been one since day one,” he said, earning nods from the crowd.

Not everyone was a cheerleader, however. One attendee, Greg Duncan, interrupted one of Durst’s legal arguments to say, “That’s a stretch.” He was also unimpressed with some of Nutting’s arguments about El Dorado County’s financial viability as a state, given the need for a substantial tax base. 

“So you don’t have any numbers at all?” Duncan asked Nutting, who responded that he didn’t have anything granular but was convinced it would work. (Duncan later told SFGATE he’d decided to stop being a Republican in 2020 because “Trump’s an ass.”)

After the meeting, most of the attendees milling around inside the room reacted positively to what they had heard from Durst and Nutting.

“It was very good,” said county resident Carol Martin, a gray-haired El Dorado resident who had nodded along emphatically to speakers throughout the evening. “It’s about freedom. I hate to say it, but this country, this state, is under tyranny. And right now, we have to free ourselves.”

“There’s definitely an interesting group of people here,” said her son, Kyle Martin, a fellow resident and family law attorney who came dressed in a white dress shirt and tie. “I know I certainly have my fair share of apprehensions about whether this group can be successful, but I’m sure it’s the same with every other group that was revolutionary throughout history, and so I think it would be unfair to characterize them in a way that precludes any level of success.”

As for the idea of increasing the size of the Legislature, reactions were mixed.

“That would go a considerable way to ease my current concerns,” Kyle Martin told SFGATE. “The fact that the vast majority of representatives come from the urbanized regions is not unexpected, but the fact that we in El Dorado County currently have no representatives on the statewide level living here is concerning to say the least.”

“I don’t think it would help,” countered Gary Dobler, who came decked out in a gun-clad Warrior XII shirt and told SFGATE he was helping Durst and Nutting distribute flyers and forms across the county. “This state is too corrupt. California is too corrupt. Representation is what we’re looking for but California will never get it unless there are major changes in the state.”

After most attendees had filtered out, save a few volunteers tidying up flyers and discarded copies of the Constitution, Nutting took a moment to reflect on how he would feel if this movement somehow, someday, led to greater representation for the people of California — without El Dorado County becoming its own state.

“I think that would be a solution, and that’s where Sharon and I might differ,” Nutting told SFGATE.

When asked a few minutes later, Durst confirmed his suspicions.

“I’m not going to petition anyone in California,” Durst said. “I’m going to absolutely ignore California, as if there’s a barrier between our border and California.”



ANDREW LUTSKY: Alan Rockefeller solves the rainbow question.

This IS pretty amazing photo (a composite image) by mycologist Alan Rockefeller.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, the Democrat from Washington state, set off a small firestorm when she told the truth this past weekend. Here are her ‘offending’ words: “I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state.” In response, what passes for Democratic leadership in Congress issued this statement:

“Israel is not a racist state,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Reps. Katherine Clark, Pete Aguilar and Ted Lieu in a joint statement that did not mention Jayapal by name.”

We all know, of course, that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and other human-rights organizations[i] have documented in great detail how Israel is an apartheid (read: racist) state. That is an obvious fact for anyone who follows news of the Middle East. So why do the esteemed Democratic ‘leaders’ referenced above deny this fact? Well, there may be a reason.

During the 2021-2022 campaign, ‘Pro-Israel America’ was the top contributor to Jeffries’ campaign, donating $213,450.00. For Representative Katherine Clark, AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) was her second largest donor, contributing $45,033.00. Representative Pete Aguilar received $101,800.00, his second largest donation from AIPAC, and Ted Lieu received $37,700.00 from Pro-Israel America, making that his second largest donor. 

— Robert Fantina



"SO FRIGGIN' LIKELY": New Covid Documents Reveal Unparalleled Media Deception

Newly released chats and emails between the authors of a crucial scientific paper leave no doubt: an unprecedented official disinformation campaign accompanied the arrival of Covid-19

by Matt Taibbi, Leighton Woodhouse, Alex Gutentag, And Michael Shellenberger

On February 5th, 2020, as a small group of scientists were crafting a Naturemagazine paper that would become the basis of years of reports insisting Covid-19 had natural origins, one of the co-authors, Tulane’s Dr. Robert Garry, wrote in group email: 

Accidental release is a scenario many will not be comfortable with, but cannot be dismissed out of hand.

As detailed in an explosive Publicstory today, Garry’s thinking changed suddenly when then-New York Timesreporter Donald McNeil asked the next day: “Is there any possibility that it could be from the Wuhan lab?”

Garry warned McNeil was “credible,” but “like any reporter can be mislead [sic],” cheering colleague Dr. Andrew Rambaut’s scientific version of a non-denial denial as a “good honest response.”

Last week, House members investigating origins of Covid-19 accidentally released a trove of Slack chats and emails between the authors of Nature’s seminal paper from March 17, 2020, The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2. The Proximal Origin paper delivered a single line that for years helped authorities slam a lid on theories of human intervention in Covid-19: “It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation.” 

Chats showing Proximal Origins authors saying things like “The truth will never come out (if lab escape is the truth)” were published first by independent researcher Francisco Del Asis of the independent investigatory group DRASTIC, after which the story was picked up by Ryan Grim of The Intercept. From there, health officials did their best to ignore the material — “Many of them remained silent with this revelation,” is how De Asis puts it — almost as if they were waiting for another shoe to drop. 

That other shoe is dropping. Public and Racket last week obtained a full complement of the “Proximal Origins” communications examined by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, revealing a story far worse than previously believed. While today’s Public story details the unprecedented scientific cover-up, the letters and chats examined here at Racket show how health officials and scientists constructed perhaps the most impactful media deception of modern times, exceeding even the WMD fiasco both in scale and brazen intentionality. Because House investigators uncovered such a wealth of material, some of the Proximal Origin communications — which shed light on other Covid-related controversies — will be addressed in a second part of this series later this week. For now, however, the degree to which these communications blow up years of news stories stands out. 

The released communications mainly center around four of the five Proximal Origin authors: the aforementioned Dr. Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh, Tulane’s Dr. Garry, Scripps Research Professor Dr. Kristian Andersen, and University of Sydney Virologist Edward “Eddie” Holmes. There are also email communications with the fifth author, Columbia’s Dr. Ian Lipkin, who is not on the Slack chats but does figure in the story. 

The core four on the Slack chat — Andersen, Garry, Rambaut, and Holmes — never appear far from thoughts about the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and famed scientist Shi Zhengli. Affectionately dubbed “Bat Woman” by Chinese colleagues, Shi received grants to research bat viruses, including a recent one called “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence” in which she partnered with Peter Daszak of the U.S-based EcoHealth Alliance on so-called gain-of-function experimentation. 

At one point, Andersen complains about containment procedures at the WIV, noting, as biosafety expert James Le Duc would write in an email later that year, that the facility was conducting very dangerous experiments as Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3), while the higher BSL-4 would normally be considered necessary. “I’m all for GOF experiments, I think they're really important,” Andersen writes. “However performing these in BSL-3 (or less) is just completely nuts!”

Andersen goes on to say he’s “evolved” on the question of gain-of-function research, saying he’s not sure if such knowledge is “actionable,” while “of course being exceptionally dangerous. It only takes one mistake.”

It later came out that WIV was performing some of its experiments at an even lower level. “Keep in mind that WIV actually performed a lot of their coronavirus work at BSL2, which is what ultimately prompted Ian Lipkin to change his mind,” says DRASTIC founder, referring to comments by Lipkin to McNeil in May of 2021, saying “My view has changed.”

The core four also repeatedly pored over the problem posed by the “furin cleavage site,” a distinctive feature of the Covid-19 genetic sequence. As is now known to the general public thanks again to the digging of the DRASTIC group, which leaked the material in the fall of 2021, researchers at the University of North Carolina led by Dr. Ralph Baric had sent a proposal to the Pentagon seeking to introduce “human-specific cleavage sites” into bat coronaviruses, for a program called DEFUSE. Baric and Shi had worked together on more than one occasion, and even co-authored a paper in 2015 demonstrating that a coronavirus spike protein can infect human cells. 

In any case, with these and other issues in mind, all five scientists express belief that escape from the Wuhan lab was at least possible, if not probable:

Andersen: “The lab escape version of this is so friggin’ likely because they were already doing this work…

Garry: “The major hangup I have is the polybasic cleavahe [sic] site… it’s not really a natural process.” Also: “It’s not crackpot to suggest this could have happened given the GoF research we know is happening.” 

Lipkin: “[A draft of the paper] does not eliminate the possibility of inadvertent release following adaptation through selection in culture at the institute in Wuhan. Given the scale of the bat CoV research pursued there… we have a nightmare of circumstantial evidence to assess.”

Holmes (replying to Lipkin): “I agree… Seems to have been pre-adapted for human spread since the get go. It’s the epidemiology that I find most worrying.”

Rambaut: “I am quite convinced it has been put there by evolution (whether natural selection or artificial).”

The community of scientists who work on the specific area of “pathogen spillover” and gain-of-function is “tiny,” says one researcher from that world, who asked to remain anonymous. Within that insular group, the characteristics of the Wuhan outbreak and the virus’s genetic sequence — while not offering definitive proof of human intervention — conjured obvious and immediate concerns, as Andersen’s “so friggin likely” remarks show. 

“I can just tell you,” says the researcher, who has experience working with bat viruses, “that if someone proposes to insert a furin cleavage site in a bat SARS coronavirus in Wuhan, and then one year later we see a bat SARS coronavirus with a furin cleavage site in Wuhan, that is highly unlikely to be a natural event.”

In addition to referencing “GOF” work, the researchers also repeatedly referenced concern over the political consequences of publicly suggesting any kind of human intervention caused the outbreak, even if that happened to be the truth. “Destroy the world based on sequence data. Yay or Nay?” asked Andersen.

Rambaut cited an erroneous analysis from the past. “Remember when during the swine flu outbreak Adrian Gibbs suggested it was a lab escape? Caused a huge shit show.” Garry concurred, saying, “The public space is not the place to discuss this, which WHO should be aware of [realizing that in itself will pour gas on the fire].” Later, Andersen added: “I hate when politics is injected into science — but it’s impossible not to, especially given the circumstances.”

What “circumstances”? Beyond the long history of grants for research involving bats, coronaviruses, and the Wuhan Institute, the unique characteristics of the Covid-19 virus raised suspicions, according to multiple sources. 

“I think this was purposeful research to try to make a vector to be used to help vaccinate both military and civilian populations, against a variety of different pathogens,” says then-CDC chief Dr. Bob Redfield, stressing he believes the WIV work was “biodefense, not a bioweapon.” The communications of the Proximal Origin authors, Redfield believes, show the scientists were both conscious of the WIV’s work and flummoxed by the task of explaining the virus’s genetic “anomalies,” but ultimately pressured to ignore both issues by health bureaucrats seeking what Redfield calls a “single narrative.”

As detailed in Public,the Proximal Origin authors who initially discussed lab escape in such a casual manner appeared to have a change of heart after a February 3rd conference call that included the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci, then-NIH Head Francis Collins, and Dr. Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust (and now the WHO). Though he was CDC chief at the time, Redfield was excluded. “I should have been invited,” he said, but “I didn’t find out about these phone calls until the Freedom of Informationcame out,” referencing a FOIA-based report released by Buzzfeedover a year later. 

From that point forward, references by scientists to “lab escape” became less frequent, with some of the Proximal Originauthors claiming to be impressed by various developments, including data sets about mutations in pangolins. However, scientists were clearly more moved by internal politics in correspondence with figures like Farrar, who complained questions about pandemic origin had “gathered considerable momentum not in social media, but increasingly among some scientists, in mainstream media, and among politicians.” 

Anxious to please, Holmes at one point went as far as to say about a draft of the paper, “Jeremy Farrar and Francis Collins are very happy. Works for me.” This feels significant among other things because Andersen testified that when Republicans claimed the Proximal Originsauthors “sent a draft to Drs. Fauci and Collins” and that “prior to final publication… the paper was sent to Dr. Fauci for editing and approval,” Andersen said, “These statements are false.” 

Andersen supported the idea of writing the final Naturedraft so as not to leave anyroom for speculation about lab origin. “I believe that publishing something that is open-ended could backfire at this stage,” he wrote, conceding also at another point that “Our main work over the last couple weeks has been focused on trying to disproveany type of lab theory.” On February 8th, Andersen said, “We should all just stay on Slack, that’s what we should do — and not use email.” In a February 12th letter to Naturevirology editor Clare Thomas, he went so far as to describe their proposed paper as having been “prompted by Jeremy Farrar, Tony Fauci, and Francis Collins,” only after which did he list the actual authors.

By February 27, 2020, Andersen told Natureeditors the virus “does have natural origin,” and by the next day, Rambaut was referring in Slack to “lab origin conspiracy loons.”

In one key email early in the process, Andersen complained about attention from the press, saying the “idea of engineering and bioweapon is definitely not going away.” While “there might be a time where we need to tackle that more directly,” he said, “I’ll let the likes of Jeremy and Tony figure out how to do that.”

This essentially became the strategy: deflect questions from journalists like McNeil, whittle out of the Naturepaper obvious questions about what Andersen and his team originally called the “anomalies” and “circumstances” surrounding Covid-19, and then let “the likes of Jeremy and Tony” handle questions about “lab escape” going forward. 

The list of instances in these chats and emails in which the key authorities on Covid’s origins express doubts about theories that would go on to be embraced by officialdom for years is too long to fully catalog here, but for example: the authors seemed unanimous in their assessment that the so-called “wet market” was an unlikely crime scene. “No way the selection could occur in the market,” says Holmes at one point. Garry agrees and says, “Where would you get intense enough transmission… to generate and pass on the furin site insertion?” Rambaut says, “That’s the million dollar question,” and goes on to suggest not “raccoon dogs” or “palm civets,” but ferrets. “I could believe ferrets,” quips Andersen.

It’s with the publication of The Proximal Origin of SARS CoV-2 on March 17th that the unprecedented campaign of media deception really begins. The primary authorities on the question of whether or not the virus was the result of “laboratory manipulation” now turtled, saying little, while other media figures and politicians on a near-constant basis referred to the paper as the authority on the matter, suppressing questions about the pandemic’s origin. 

The “lab leak theory” became infamous in mainstream circles among other things because Donald Trump seemed to blame China for the mess, using terms like “Kung Flu,” and secondarily because it appeared to implicate a neoliberal hero, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who stepped into the shoes of Robert Mueller as the favored leading man of the mainstream press. Fauci too had votive candles made with his image, enjoyed Nicolle Wallace gushing she was a “Fauci groupie,” and got to watch SNL do regular “Fauci cold opens,” in which the slight bureaucrat was depicted swatting away brasthrown at him by adoring fans, or being asked by morons if girls can get pregnant in the sky. The attention clearly got to Fauci’s head, because he soon began to write his own satirical material, telling Chuck Todd that attacks on him were “attacks on science.”

But this framing had everything to do with the fact that the two figures most on television during the early days of the pandemic were Trump and Fauci, setting up a fierce culture-war rooting interest in the origin question where it didn’t belong. The provenance of Covid-19 was a legitimate angle for journalistic investigation for many reasons. For one thing, the appearance of that particular virus in that particular city was an extraordinary coincidence (as one source put it, “It’s not like it was the neighboringcity”), lab leaks were not uncommon, and the genetic sequence of this virus had characteristics of real research that was conducted by both Chinese and American scientists, research of a type Anthony Fauci had fought for dating back to the Obama years. 

An accident with “gain of function” research moreover might have implicated the exact figures taking the lead in denouncing the lab origin theory, including not just Fauci but figures like Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance. It’s remarkable now going back and looking at (of all people) Newt Gingrich interviewing Fauci and Daszak on February 9, 2020, in which Gingrich asks Fauci about an “urban legend” that the virus might have come from a lab. Fauci replies that it’s a “conspiracy theory… without any scientific basis,” and Daszak agrees that “all the evidence” pointed to the virus crossing from animals to humans in nature or the wet market. As we later found out, this interview aired three days after Daszak prevailed upon UNCs Baric not to sign a joint letter in Lancetdenouncing the lab-leak theory, essentially to keep the public off the scent. “We’ll then put it out in a way that doesn’t link it back to our collaboration,” Daszak wrote, with Baric agreeing, “this is a good decision. Otherwise it looks self-serving.”

More to the point, however, the origin of Covid-19 was and is clearly an unsolved mystery. “Lab escape” and the less scary semantic variants of same discussed by the Proximalauthors (e.g. “passage”) simply could not be excluded until scientists identified, say, the intermediate animal host that allowed the virus to jump to humans. As long as that question was unresolved, every possibility should have remained on the table. But from the start, authorities coalesced behind natural origin, and engineered a relentless and incredibly effective propaganda campaign to dismiss and even censor these very logical inquiries, with the Naturearticle at the center. 

“I read Proximal Origin first, and immediately the reaction was that it felt like propaganda,” says researcher. “The arguments were structured were just so far out of the norm of the standards of evidence… Typically when we’re like, ‘Oh, Where does the virus come from?’ the answer is typically, ‘I don’t know.’ But here they knew.’”

The first major coverage development after the March 17, 2020 publication was subtle. While the Natureteam merely said they found no evidence of lab escape, headlines soon flowed suggesting something far more affirmative. “COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin,” declared Science Daily, the same day Proximal Originwas published.

Moreover, while the Proximal Originauthors could only say lab origin was “improbable,” legacy media outlets soon after began using the report to assert something far stronger that the report explicitly didn’t exactly say. “No, the new coronavirus wasn’t created in a lab, scientists say,” announced the CBC on March 26, 2020.

Crucially also, fact-checking authorities like Politifactbegan denouncing the concept as “conspiracy theory” and rating people who suggested the virus was “man-made” using absolute terms like “false” or “debunked.” It wasn’t until over a year later, as federal agencies like the Department of Energy and the FBI began concluding lab origin was at least possible if not likely, that PolitiFact began to correct itself.

Particularly in 2020, scientists all over the world were rebuked, removed from the Internet, and in some cases fired for spreading the “conspiracy theory” that parts of the Covid-19 genetic sequence suggested laboratory origin. 

For a certain type of grant-dependent intellectual, a message was sent not only by the Naturepaper published in March, but by an open letter put out weeks before and signed by 27 prominent scientists in the prominent journal Lancet.The message got even louder when Andersen and Garry were two of seven researchers to receive an $8.9 million grant from Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

Stanford professor Jay Bhattacharya, who would eventually be deamplified and placed on a “trends blacklist” on Twitter for criticizing lockdowns and other Covid-19 policies, said medical professionals and researchers got the message loud and clear. 

”You got Lancet and all these like funders like Jeremy Farrar and Francis Collins saying this question is essentially done,” Bhattacharya says no. “No one was going to speak up.”

Even credentialed scientists began to be disciplined by sites like Facebook, which took direction from government health authorities and prohibited statements about the virus being “man-made or manufactured.” There was also an impact on the press, especially after the popular site Zero Hedge was removed from Twitter after an article suggesting a scientist in Wuhan was behind the outbreak. It later turned out that Farrar referenced the Zero Hedgearticle in a letter to Fauci not long after the site was suspended. 

With a few notable exceptions, nearly everyone in the mainstream press community steered clear of any investigation of the possibility of lab origin for Covid-19, for several reasons. One key one was that such theories were coded early on as “right-wing” or even racist. “I was publicly libeled as a racist sinophobe,” says Deigin of DRASTIC, “and of course ridiculed as a crackpot conspiracist by countless virologists and their fanboys.” Prominent figures on channels like MSNBC hammered the idea that “lab leak” was right-wing lunacy, with Nicolle Wallace calling it “one of Trumpworld’s most favorite conspiracy theories,” while Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Postannounced, “The far right has now found its own virus conspiracy theory.”

However, in 2021, both the FBI and the Department of Energy issued reports within government that either pointed toward lab escape or allowed it as a strong possibility. The public was not told of these developments, and instead had to watch in confusion as fact-checking authorities and politicians began reversing themselves on this question, with no obvious reason. In May, 2021, Fauci in particular shocked many when he appeared at, of all places, a “fact-checking conference” sponsored by the PoynterInstitute, one of the sponsors of Politifact,and suddenly said he was “not convinced” Covid-19 developed naturally.

Now, two years later, we’re finding that the authors of the Proximal Originpaper (all of whom refused comment to Racketand Public, by the way, as did Farrar and Collins) were having many of the same thoughts as academics and pundits dismissed for years as crackpots, racists, and traitors. I asked Deigin if he felt vindicated. “I do somewhat,” he said. “The Slack messages confirm what we long suspected.”

It has to be reiterated that these documents still don’t prove that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute, or that American scientists were implicated in the episode. What the documents do show, however, is that both scientists and journalists abandoned their traditional mission to keep their minds open and consider all reasonable evidence without fear of political considerations, in favor of a new discipline that openly admitted political factors and sought a “single message” over free-ranging inquiry. The few mainstream journalists who continued to push this story, like Josh Rogin at the Washington Post, should be commended, but as a whole, both the media business and the scientific profession are taking a big hit after the release of these documents. 

“How does the public ever trust science again?” asked Bhattacharya.




Scott: What about San Francisco?

Zappa: I was around when they were just beginning to manufacture that whole scene. In fact, when the Mothers were first starting out they invited us to move to San Francisco and get in on all the "Hot Action." The Family Dog had a scene going with some local lawyers and businessmen and they were going to make it the Liverpool of the West Coast. Granted, they had a lot of the raw materials but it did take some human engineering and a little convincing for some of the monied forces to make it come off as a scene. Places like the Avalon and the Fillmore just don't happen without some kind of money. So, it wasn't just a bunch of hairy folk who got together and "we're just going to live here and do our thing."

Scott: How did Berkeley figure into it?

Zappa: I didn't see that much inter-relating between the Hashbury hippy types and the Berkeley types. Berkeley was on a more intellectual level. The hippy scene appeared to be sort of chemical-glandular oriented. I'm referring to altered consciousness a go-go in all of its beaded manifestations.

Scott: Does the psychedelic scene fit anywhere.

Zappa: I think it was a necessary smoke screen.

Scott: For what.

Zappa: For what's really happening.

Scott: What is really happening?

Zappa: I'll tell you when it happens.


Zappa: I talk to a lot of kids at concerts and they ask if I'm a hippy and I tell them, "No, I'm a businessman." We don't have a big hippy audience. We get short haired kids who have a reasonable amount of social consciousness. I get a chance to talk to them and they ask for advice: "Should I quit school or go on?" I always tell them you should infiltrate. Hurry up and take over your father's job and do it right. It's fortunate that something like Psychedelia and Haight-Ashbury and all the rest of that goes on because it takes the focus off of the possibility that somebody who looks clean, straight, wholesome, right-wing and harmless is going to come in there and just do it while they're not looking. It's a much more frightening concept thinking it's some hairy creep that's going to take over your job. It's not going to be that way, it's going to be some guy who is straight.

Scott: Who's frightened?

Zappa: Right-wing elements who tend to show up most in positions of power. They become worried about things, you know, threatening appearances. It's like they need something to worry about. It's a paranoia oriented society. We've got to have some kind of fear and that's it for this year. It's almost passé to be afraid of the bomb.

Scott: Do you get a chance to talk to many college students?

Zappa: We've played a few colleges and usually after the show we're invited to a frat party and, we watch them drink. They appear to be well on their way to going down the tubes and succumbing to the same sort of social pressures that helped make their mothers and fathers nowhere. They are still wearing Madras pants – mentally. THE MENTAL MADRAS ! ! !

Scott: Is the drinking part of it significant.

Zappa: Well, from what I see, there is enough of it happening to devote a proportionate amount of our lyric content to the problem of drinking parents in relation to their children. It's much harder to communicate with Mom and Dad when they're drunk – it's bad enough when they're sober, but if they're wasted, it's bestial.


Scott: In all of the social change going on, does God fit in anywhere?

Zappa: Sure, well, he runs it, doesn't he?

Scott: Does He run your life?

Zappa: Yes, absolutely. But, His packaging might be a little bizarre for you to understand. My God is different from your God.

Scott: Who is your God?

Zappa: I haven't named Him. I don't think it's necessary. A lot of people have to rely on images: "There He is with the long white beard, white hair, and flowing white robe – GOD!" I don't see it that way. It's closely related to music. I don't perceive God on an emotional level.

Scott: How then? On a more structured level?

Zappa: Order comes into it. Like on the next album, "Lumpy Gravy," there is some dialogue integrated into the music where two characters are discussing The Big Note. That's the closest that I can come to describing to you what I think of God. He's like a Big Note. Everything, it would appear, is constructed from vibrations. Light is a vibration, sound is a vibration and it's quite possible that, when you break them down, the atoms themselves are nothing more than vibrations of this Big Note. And, in dealing with vibrations, one might be able to become closer in tune to some sort of Universal Force – if you want to get down to that corny, cheesy level. But, that's the way I see it.

Scott: Does this allow for any latitude?

Zappa: Sure, you've got a choice all the time. If you're perceptive you can see many choices that will get you from point A to point B and you can even figure out what will happen with each of the choices. But, I always keep my eye on point B – where it's really supposed to happen. And right now point B for me is the 1972 election.

Scott: You seem fated for it somehow.

Zappa: Well, look, fate – big deal! When your dishwasher wears out you buy a new one.




by Ernest Hemingway (Toronto Star/September 2, 1922)

Triberg-in-Baden, Germany - If you want to go fishing in the Black Forest, you want to get up about four hours before the first Schwarzwald rooster begins to shift from one leg to the other and decide that it’s time to crow. You need at least that much time to get through the various legal labyrinths in order to get on to the stream before dark.

In the first place the Black Forest is not the sweep of black forest that its name suggests. It is a chain of mountains cut up by railroads, valleys full of rank potato crops, pasture land, brown chalets and gravel-bottomed trout streams, broken out all over with enormous hotels run by Germanized Swiss who have mastered the art of making four beefsteaks grow where only one was cut by the butcher and where you waken up in the morning to find that the falling mark has cut your hotel bill to $3.75 a week and that the price of James E. Pepper Kentucky rye whiskey is 90 cents a bottle.

A Swiss hotelkeeper can raise prices with the easy grace of a Pullman car poker shark backing a pat full house, but the mark can fall faster than even a Swiss in good training can hoist the cost of living. A properly run race between a well-conditioned Swiss hotelkeeper and a fast-falling mark would provide an international financial spectacle that would bring the financial fans to their feet as one man, but my last kronen would go on the mark. In spite of it being the monetary medium that is in daily use in the Einsteinian household, the mark still seems affected by the laws of gravitation.

All of which and none of which has anything to do with the trout fishing in the Black Forest. Triberg consists of a single steep street lined by steep hotels. It is in a steep valley and a cool breeze is said to blow down the valley in wintertime. No one has ever been in Triberg in the wintertime to verify this legend but eight hundred sweltering tourists would gladly lay their right hands over where their hearts ought to be, if their hearts are in the right place, and swear there never has been a breeze of any kind in the summertime.

We landed in Triberg after a five-hour train ride from Freiberg. We had originally planned to walk across the Black Forest but we gave this up when we saw the crowd of German tourists touring in and out of all the roads leading to the woods. Our first disappointment was in finding that the Black Forest was no forest but just a lot of wooded hills and highly cultivated valleys, and our second was in discovering that you couldn’t go fifteen yards along any of the wilder and more secluded roads without running into between six and eight Germans, their heads shaved, their knees bare, cock feathers in their hats, sauerkraut on their breath, the wanderlust in their eyes and a collection of aluminum cooking utensils clashing against their legs as they walked.

As I may have said, we landed in Triberg. It was the end of a five-hour ride with two changes and four hours of standing in the aisle while large and unhappy Germans and their large and marcelled wives pushed by us again and again with profuse apologies, and I don’t know what aims.

“The proprietor will fix it up for you,” said the head porter of the hotel. “He has a friend who has a fishing.”

We went into the bar where the friend who had the fishing and six of his friends were sitting at a table and playing a game that looked like pinochle. The proprietor talked with the friend, who has one of the porcupine-quill haircuts that are all the rage this year, and the friend pounded the table with his fist while the rest of the table roared and laughed.

The proprietor came over to our table.

“They all make jokes,” he said. “He says if you pay him two dollars you can fish all you want for the rest of your life.”

Now we are all very familiar with the German when he starts making jokes about the dollar, and suggests that he be paid for such-and-such in dollars. It is a foul and nefarious habit. If it were allowed to go unchecked, it would soon force all Canadians and Americans back to Sarnia, Ontario, or Kokomo, Indiana. It is a habit that needs to be sat on with all severity. There was a lot of dickering. The friend and his friends ceased laughing. We grew stern and strong and silent. The porter grew placatory. The atmosphere grew tense. We finally compromised by agreeing to pay 1,200 marks for the fishing unseen. We went to bed happy. We were the owner of a fishing in the Black Forest. We turned over in our thirty-seven-cents-a-night bed in the regal suite of the largest hotel in Triberg and kicked the eiderdown quilt onto the floor. After all, there seemed to be some justice in the world.

In the morning we got our tackle together and went down to breakfast. The porter, who is another Swiss passing as German, came up.

“I have news for you. It is not so easy. You must first obtain the permit of the police. You must get a fischkarte.”

I pass over the next two days. They were spent in the offices of the Kingdom of Baden, now doing business as a republic of sorts, and consisted of conversations like the following:

We enter an office where a number of clerks are sitting around while stern-looking soldiers scratch the small of their backs with the pommels of their swords, or is it only saddles that have pommels?

We, Mr. [William] Bird and myself speak. “Vere ist der Burgomeister?”

The clerks eye us and go on writing. The soldiers look out of the window at the large stone monument to the war of 1870. Finally a clerk looks up and points to an inner door. There are a line of people outside. We are at the end of the line and finally get in.

Us, Mr. Bird, who is the European manager of the Consolidated Press, and myself speak: “Bitte, Herr Burgomeister. We wollen der fischkarten. We wollen to gefischen goen.”

The Burgomeister looks at us and says, “Nix. Nein.” That is the only understandable point of his discourse.

“Das fischenkarten,” we explain sweetly.

“Nix,” he says. “Nein,” and points to the door.

We go out. This continues indefinitely.

When we finally, by tracing the person who owned it down at his factory where he makes lightning rods or hairbrushes, found where the fishing was located we were informed by another fine-looking burgomeister that we would have to give up our attempts at getting a fishing license in Triberg altogether and go to Nussbach. We didn’t know where Nussbach was. It looked hopeless. We resolved to fish instead.

The stream was a beauty. The friend who owned it was evidently so busy making hair tonic or shoe buttons in his factory that he never fished himself and the trout bit as fast as you could wet a line. We took all we wanted and repeated the next day. On the third day my conscience bothered me.

“We ought to go to Nussbach and get that permit to fish,” I suggested. We went to Nussbach with the aid of a map. No one seemed to know where the burgomeister’s office was. Finally we found him in a little shed across the street from the churchyard where a group of schoolboys were being given squad drill. We had been informed as to the dire penalties that were waiting for those who fished without a Badischer permit. Poaching was rigorously punished.

Mr. Bird, who answers to the name of Bill, can talk German. But he doesn’t think he can. I, on the contrary, cannot talk German at all, but I think I can. Therefore, I usually dominate the conversation. Mr. Bird says that my system of talking German is to pronounce English with an Italian accent.

“Ve wishen der fischenkarten,” I said, bowing low.

The Burgomeister looked at me over his steel-rimmed spectacles.

“Ja ?” he said.

“Ve wishen der fischenkarten comme,” I said very firmly, showing him the yellow card the friend had loaned us to locate the water.

“Ja,” he said, examining the card. “Das ist gut wasser.”

“Can ve gefischen in it?” I asked.

“Ja, ja,” answered the Burgomeister.

“Come on, Bill,” I said, “let’s go.”

We have been fishing the water ever since. No one has stopped us. Some day, doubtless, we will be arrested. I shall appeal to the Burgomeister of Nussbach. He is a splendid man. But I remember distinctly his having told us we could fish all the good water.

(Source: Dateline: Toronto. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1985)

(The works of Ernest Hemingway and other American journalists are now freely available at The Archive of American Journalism. Visit our bookstore for single-volume collections–-ideal for research, reference use or casual reading.)


Road trip, Badlands, South Dakota (Jennifer Smallwood)


  1. Stephen Dunlap July 19, 2023

    “Jacob W. Boudewijn” call Dunlap Roofing, we will fix you up

  2. Mike Geniella July 19, 2023

    So Matt Taibbi et. al. is quoting a purported Newt Ginsburg interview with Dr. Fauci as more evidence of a Covid/ Wuhan lab cover-up. Really?

  3. Chuck Artigues July 19, 2023

    The State of Israel is clearly an apartheid state as citizens who are non Jewish do not have equal rights. Can an apartheid state NOT be racist, I don’t think so.

    It always amazes me when people state simple facts and are then vilified for doing so.

  4. Chuck Dunbar July 19, 2023


    Loved these two comments today—one from modern days, one back in time:

    “INTERNET TRAFFIC (ED NOTES)… Besides which, the cyber-journey screen was stuffed with advertising and so many frenetic visuals while the thing buzzed and beeped and sang at me that I felt slightly exhausted just looking at it…”

    “BILLBOARDS (Neal Cassady), billboards, drink this, eat that, use all manner of things, everyone, the best, the cheapest, the purest and most satisfying of all their available counterparts. Red lights flicker on every horizon, airplanes beware; cars flash by, more lights. Workers repair the gas main. Signs, signs, lights, lights, streets, streets.”

  5. Marmon July 19, 2023

    “These vicious Communists, Marxists, Fascists, and Radical Left Democrats have attacked my lawyers at a level never seen before, and yet I keep on winning. Any attorney that represents me is either a fool, or a Great American Patriot that History will love and cherish!”

    -Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump


    • Chuck Dunbar July 19, 2023

      The parody continues: “and yet I keep on winning.” In what court of law–any of the many–has he won a thing recently? Facts still matter.

      And Trump does have many fools representing him, that’s for sure. Giuliani, who went from a patriot to a fool, is on his way to losing his license to practice law.

    • Marshall Newman July 19, 2023

      “Consider the source and forget it.” Delusional on all but one point; the lawyers that represent him ARE fools.

  6. Stephen Rosenthal July 19, 2023

    Recommended viewing: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words (2016)

    We lost one of the most interesting and intelligent human beings to ever grace the planet when Frank Zappa passed away.

    • Kirk Vodopals July 19, 2023

      Couldn’t agree more!

  7. Ted Williams July 19, 2023

    Re Redding Carbon Diets:

    “A new analysis led by researchers with the University of California has found the 2020 wildfires in the state, the most disastrous wildfire year on record, put twice as much greenhouse gas emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere as the total reduction in such pollutants in California between 2003-2019.”

    • Bob A. July 19, 2023

      That’s a depressing factoid.

      Some might read it as we just might as well give up and party hearty, others might take a deeper look and realize that the wildfires we’re experiencing are an effect of our collective failure to curb carbon emissions historically. Carbon emissions resulting from wildfires are a part of the amplifying effects of emissions that have already occurred.

      According to the CA Air Resources Board GHG (Green House Gas) inventory, CA emissions plateaued in about 2009 and have been declining since. That’s good, but according to the US EPA global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase.

      As a systems guy, I’m sure you understand hysteresis, where historical inputs to a system affect its current and future behavior. Since the atmosphere and oceans are a global system, we cannot expect any improvement until after global green house gas emissions are reduced, and then only after some period of time dictated by the hysteresis of the system. Perhaps the earth will still be habitable at that time, or perhaps it won’t.

      For now, all any of us can do is each reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible and hope for the best.

      • Ted Williams July 19, 2023

        With the changing climate, it’s appropriate to revise regulation to leverage the best forestry research and fire models. Some of the unnatural fuel arrangement could be processed to hydrogen and used to power fuel cells. The greatest roadblocks are matching production with demand (because it’s not easy to store for long) and regulatory hurdles. Benefits include reduced fire risk to communities, economic growth, forest health and green energy production (sub-100 year vegetation compared to Mesozoic age oil).

        • Bob A. July 19, 2023

          I don’t believe that any system gives a hoot for appropriate. We’re rapidly approaching the day when all the best forestry research and management is not going to save our remaining forests. What’s required now is action to significantly reduce green house gas emissions. Hydrogen is interesting as a means of energy delivery and storage, but even with the problems of safe, lossless storage solved, it does not address where the energy to produce the hydrogen comes from.

          When I was younger, I was a staunch opponent of nuclear power. Given where we are today, it might be the only solution that offers the energy in bulk that we need while having comparatively small green house gas emissions. We have a huge reserve of nuclear fuel in the form of weapons that might be repurposed. We also have newer reactor designs that go well beyond the old GE nuclear teakettle in safety and efficiency.

        • Eli Maddock July 19, 2023

          We are getting somewhere with that line thought… How about using waste plastics to create energy instead of fossil fuels?
          New technology needs to be developed to burn our waist efficiently and clean so rather than continuously making new waste we use our old waste for fuel. Plastic is a hydrocarbon just like any known fuel product. It can be burned as clean as propane with the correct stoichiometry.

          • Bob A. July 19, 2023

            Combusting hydrocarbons of any sort produces CO₂ and H₂O plus a plethora of other gasses, noxious and otherwise. It’s the CO₂ that’s the problem.

            For example, propane might burn “clean” in terms of particulate emissions, but at the same time it’s emitting prodigious quantities of the green house gas CO₂.

            • Eli Maddock July 19, 2023

              I fully agree. But I’ll stand by the principles of reuse and reduce before Produce and throw away without any potential.

      • Mike J July 19, 2023

        Chuck Schumer and others seem to be gearing up for an eminent domain seizure of recovered “NHI” tech. See definition of NHI here (text of bill he proposed):
        There are advanced “non human intelligences” on the planet. They have been messaging to us about just this issue you’re discussing. One of the most famous were two young girls receiving messaging imagery from a small being. They were among the 62 kids at the Ariel Elementary School on Sept 16, 1994 who saw the craft and two small beings outside Ruwa, Zimbabwe.

        • Harvey Reading July 19, 2023

          The ETs were gonna let me fly their spacecraft but it ran out of fuel while idling…

          • Mike J July 19, 2023

            They don’t use low tech means.

            • Harvey Reading July 19, 2023

              They don’t do sh_t, because they’re dreamed up by humans with nothing better to do, and who are very gullible…to the point that the really believe that others don’t believe them because they aren’t “adjusted” to the notion of ET actually being present on this gutted planet, of all places. Hell, I’d welcome them; they might rid us of Biden, Trump, DeSantis,, RFK Jr., et al. You really need to see a shrink. You still refuse to answer my question regarding why SETI hasn’t said anything… Most likely they have NOTHING to report!

  8. Lazarus July 19, 2023

    Perhaps of interest?
    Mendocino County’s Credit Rating…

    Mendocino County may lose its rating from a top credit rating agency, due to a lack of sufficient information, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

    Last month, Natalie Ramos, a lead analyst with Moody’s, filed a public records request for the fiscal 2022 audit or adequate draft financial documents that Mendocino County needed to respond to by June 30th. Without those materials, she wrote, Moody’s would “consider placing the district’s rating under review for possible withdrawal due to lack of sufficient information.”
    Redheaded Blackbelt
    Be well,

    • Ted Williams July 19, 2023

      To save the next person from having to PRA to get my PRA of Moody’s PRA:

      Request Opened
      July 18, 2023, 10:20am by the requester

      Request 23-519

      Request 23-454 was filed by Moody’s Investors Service. Non-responsiveness to credit agencies poses a serious financial risk to Mendocino County. Request 23-454 was closed without disclosing the resolution. I request all correspondence between Mendocino County and Mood’s Investors Service broadly related to Request 23-454 as well as any such notices of County’s rating being under review for possible withdrawal due to lack of sufficient information by any credit rating agency.

      “My name is Natalie Ramos and I am a Lead Analyst with Moody’s Investors Service. I am reaching out to you check on the status of the fiscal 2022 audit for Mendocino (County of) CA. If the final fiscal 2022 audit is available, please forward it along as soon as possible. If the audit is not complete, please send over any unaudited or draft financial statements. If we do not receive the completed fiscal 2022 or adequate draft financial information by Friday, June 30, then we will consider placing the district’s rating under review for possible withdrawal due to lack of sufficient information. Thank you for your help and please feel free to reach…”

  9. Kirk Vodopals July 19, 2023

    Mr. Wagner: I noticed the same thing. I surmise that all the pelicans are here cuz of the high populations of anchovies. The excess anchovy, coupled with lack of sardine and krill, is apparently limiting the salmon population via a thiamine deficit (enzyme in anchovy that inhibits thiamine)….
    The ecological web is fascinating… Hopefully the pelicans will devour the anchovies… I wish they could start eating the purple urchins!

    • Harvey Reading July 20, 2023

      You still haven’t answered my question regarding SETI silence. Guess you’re too enthralled with Schemer and whatever lies he has in store for us. Sort of like your “love affair” with the disgusting Harry Reid, may his soul burn in hell.

  10. Michael Turner MD July 19, 2023

    “It has to be reiterated that these documents still don’t prove that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute.” This, after paragraph after paragraph insinuating the opposite. Taibbi is a hack.

    • Marmon July 19, 2023

      “Taibbi is a hack.”

      Why, because he’s making Branch Covidians look bad?


      • Irv Sutley July 20, 2023

        Excellent MARMON,

        Mr. Taibbi however is the one who has been HIGH-JACKED for yet another time. let the GOOD TIMES roll ! !

  11. Jim Shields July 19, 2023

    Willits Shoplifing Forum
    (No it’s Not a How-To Workshop)
    Want to let everyone know that the overwhelming number of positive responses to my recent series on “Crime and No Punishment” continues to grow. I’ve called for the state of California and local governments to abandon the Pandemic-era failed experiment of emptying jails via “catch-and-release” policies that allow crooks and criminal misfits to avoid incarceration. It’s undeniable that some of these new laws and policies seriously undermine basic public safety. Several days ago, Sheriff Matt Kendall issued a public statement supporting these moves: “We are often too busy to involve ourselves in pouring over legislation and how it will impact our communities. Let’s try to find some time to ask the hard questions of our state representatives and elected officials. These are good people, I often think they simply aren’t hearing from all of us. If we can all educate ourselves and come together with a reasonable voice, I am certain we can move beyond these issues.”
    One of the issues Kendall referred to was the fireworks over a human trafficking bill that occurred on Tuesday, July 11, when oh-so-politically-correct Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, deceptively argued that the proposed law would contribute to over-incarceration, would needlessly extend already-significant prison sentences, and would punish those at the lowest rungs of trafficking who may be victims of human trafficking themselves. As Kendall pointed out, by Thursday, July 13, the public outcry was so immediate and overwhelming that the Dems were forced to reconvene the Assembly into session, where they re-voted to approve the measure which had already won unanimous approval in the state Senate.
    This morning, I received the following notice:
    August 2, 2023 @ 2pm
    Willits Community Center
    (City Hall)
    City Manager, Brian Bender
    Police Chief, Fabian Lizarraga
    Discussion of the Shoplifting issues our Merchants have been experiencing.

    Obviously, it’s a good thing Willits folks are getting together with local government reps and the cops to try and figure out how to solve what is clearly a state government-created problem. So that’s all good news, let’s see where it all goes.
    Jim Shields

    PS: Great, enlightening piece by Mike Geniella on the Palace Hotel debacle. The City of Ukiah is actually on the right side of this issue. However, once again the city manager is nowhere to be seen or heard. Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley hit all the right notes on what’s at stake with the apparent collapse of the deal. Riley appears to be more than qualified for the city manager post. So why continue to employ someone who, as my colleague B. Anderson regularly points out, is an invisible man?

  12. Marmon July 19, 2023


    Dash Cam Footage Reveals Disturbing Encounter Leading to Lawsuit in Lake County


  13. Margot Lane July 19, 2023

    It’s one of the holy acts of god to see this many pelicans in our lifetimes. Thank you, Rachel Carson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *