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MOSTLY DRY WEATHER is expected for the next seven days. Some patchy coastal drizzle is forecast Monday morning. Temperatures are forecast to remain near normal today through early next week and then warm above normal mid to late next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): Another foggy start with 52F this Sunday morning on the coast. I expect the usual clearing later. Less fog & some wind is forecast to start the new work week.
BOONVILLE FAIR SUNDAY COMMUNITY CHURCH SERVICE
September 24th 2023, 8:30am
Apple Hall Auditorium, next to the Fair Office, Pastor Dave Kooyers from Country Bible Church will present: What did Jesus mean by “born again”?
Free admission/Everyone Welcome. Please come and worship with us, and then enjoy the fair for the rest of the day.
For additional information, please feel free to call Pastor Dave Kooyers (707) 895-2325, or the Fair Office at (707) 895-3011, or visit their website at mendocountyfair.com — 10:00 am Sheep Dog Trials - Rodeo Arena, and Car Show 2:00 pm CCPRA Rodeo Finals - Rodeo Arena
ANDERSON VALLEY EVENTS
Free Entry to Hendy Woods State Park for local residents
Sun 09 / 10 / 2023 at 7:00 AM
Where: Hendy Woods State Park
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3012)
AV Grange Pancake and Egg Breakfast
Sun 09 / 10 / 2023 at 8:30 AM
Where: Anderson Valley Grange , 9800 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/2857)
The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 09 / 10 / 2023 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville , CA 95415
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/2929)
DOZENS GATHER TO HONOR THE FALLEN LAWMEN OF MENDOCINO COUNTY
by Matt LaFever
Yesterday afternoon, members of local law enforcement, elected officials, tribal leaders, and Mendocino County residents gathered to honor those who have lost their lives protecting the citizens of Mendocino County.
The dedication ceremony centered around the installation of a granite memorial for Fallen Peace Officers. Bouquets of yellow roses were laid, bagpipes were played, and respect was paid to those lawmen who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Speakers included Sheriff Matt Kendall and former sheriffs Tom Allman and Jim Tuso.
Here are some of our favorite photos from the ceremony.
A READER WONDERS: Any chance Carmel Angelo is related to a Frank Angelo, a seedy saxophone playing environmental health supervisor in the 60s and late 70s in the Contra Costa County? I recently made the name connection because I worked under this guy as a county health inspector back then. I don't think he ever paid for a meal in exchange for grating an eating establishment a "clean bill of health" through his inspection reports. The culture back then in that department was rife with free meal corruption which was led by the Angelo namesake...just asking.
ED REPLY: Spiritually, if not genetically.
KEVIN MURRAY TAKE TWO? Murray was the Ukiah cop against whom multiple felony charges were magically reduced to no jail time and probation. Serious charges against former Willits cop Derek Hendry have been pending for a year with no prosecution by District Attorney Eyster.
LORNA ALLEN, 41, alleges that between 2015 and 2020, Hendry, a former member of multiple Mendocino County law enforcement agencies, deployed physical violence, threats of incarceration, and his badge to force Ms. Allen into sex with him.
MS. ALLEN is a former drug addict who has a criminal record. She says that Hendry took advantage of her and other similarly encumbered women because he was confident her charges against him would be ignored. Hendry was last employed by the Willits PD in 2022 when he was fired for undisclosed reasons.
A READER REPORTS: FYI: Philo-Greenwood Road going over to the Boonville area has been resurfaced from beginning to end and it is FANTASTIC! We went over today and they did a great job on it. Beats Mountain View Road any day of the week…
THE READER seems to be referring to the freshly re-surfaced Greenwood Road from Elk to Philo. You aren't a full-fledged Mendo Person until you've driven Fish Rock to the Coast and back, a long, lonely road but beautiful all the way.
$379,000 AND PEARL THOMASSON'S BUILDING in the virtual center of Boonville is yours.
Way back, and I'll hear from an older old timer if I'm wrong, the antique-stuffed structure served as Zittleman's Market. We also had a bank and a drug store and other amenities we don't enjoy these days.
REFS A NO-SHOW FOR LAYTONVILLE GAME LAST NIGHT (FRIDAY):
Football update: Due to a lack of officials at the game, AV football had to return home from Laytonville last night without playing. We are awaiting a possible update on refs for tonight and will be heading back up if a sanctioned officiating group agrees to do the game. There is a terrible shortage in officiating in our area. If you or anyone you know has any interest in becoming a referee to make some extra money and help out your local communities, please contact AV’s athletic director and football coach John Toohey to get you information on how you can help. firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPERINTENDENT SIMSON ON THE AV VS. LAYTONVILLE SNAFU: I had a long conversation with the owner of the officiating company. He related to me that officials are assigned on a first come, first served basis when teams present their schedules. Schedules are requested in May but most schools don't turn them in until just before school starts. I asked if it was possible for the visiting team to view the referee assignments for an away game in the Arbiter system. He related that was a good idea but had never been requested before. He is going to look into it. My point is that between the two A.D.s one of them would catch there were no refs assigned and stop the arrangements early. He is going to look into the software and get back to me Monday to see if that is possible. He swore up and down that 11 man teams were not assigned refs before 8 man teams and that is strictly a first-come, first-served basis for schools presenting a schedule. He is highly interested in partnering with local districts to develop referees and will be sending me more information related to that.
THE SUPERINTENDENT added that she was impressed by the calm with which the Laytonville and Boonville (Coach John Toohey) worked out a postponement of the football game between the two schools.
COUNTY EMPLOYMENT. Another reason there are so many vacancies in Mendo County employment is that it takes an average of five months between application and hire, by which time lots of qualified people have found employment elsewhere. Additionally, many County employees, after being trained and on the job for a while, leave for better paying jobs in HumCo, SoCo and even Marin.
THE HAGIOGRAPHY OF RBG continues unabated, even though her selfishness helped give us the current court, which is taking a sledgehammer to everything she professed to believe in. Even worse is the legacy she left from the bench. Each Supreme Court justice gets four clerks per term. These are highly sought positions that are a launching pad for future federal judges. RBG hired one black clerk. Not one a term, mind you. But only one in 25 years–one out of more than 100 who clerked for her! (Jeffrey St. Clair)
FROM the inaugural edition of County Highway: “… Mel the driller taught me something else. We had a one-legged seagull, a pet, who hung around the cookhouse. ‘A seagull has the most powerful stomach acid in the world. It liquifies fish bones,’ said Mel. He claimed to have won a thousand dollars from a timber faller, betting the man couldn't hold his fingers down a seagull's throat for one minute. Mel loved recalling this event. I can still remember the look of pure delight on his face as he told how the faller reached five seconds, started sweating, his moan turned into a scream and he jerked his finger out of the bird's throat and stuck it in a glass of milk…”
POSTSCRIPT to our item yesterday about the County’s poor response to the Grand Jury’s Human Resources Department Review. Yesterday we said that the County had agreed to implement only one Grand Jury Recommendation, #R17, which the County says “has been implemented.”
Grand Jury Recommendation R17: Set timeline expectations and track the hiring timeline with a standardized report from year to year, and report on them at department level and to the HR Director. Key metrics should include:
• Time elapsed between when job was requested by department and approved, and when job was posted for hire.
• Time elapsed between when listing is posted and when list of approved applicants is given to hiring manager.
• Time elapsed between when the hiring manager receives a list of eligible applicants and when job offer is extended.
County Response: “Has been implemented. Annual reporting has been implemented with the exception of when the job offer is extended due to current system capabilities.”
Mark Scaramella Notes: Although the County says that Annual reporting has been implemented, no reports have been provided to date, so that one, although the County agreed to implement it, remains unimplemented and since it involves a report with specific information, is unlikely to ever be implemented.
The County claimed that several other Grand Jury recommendations will be “implemented in the future” and in some cases even provided specific dates by which the recommendation(s) will be implemented. But since the County has a very poor track record on following through with such promises, we categorized them all as “will not be implemented.” We will, however, save the response and check back on the dates promised by the County and will be happy to report any recommendations that are implemented, if ever.
Here’s a typical recommendation and response.
Recommendation #R11. “Look into the feasibility of creating an Ombuds program or similar by March 2024. Responsibilities of the Ombuds would initially include training of all management staff on the process of appropriate handling of reported issues, underlining program principles of impartiality, confidentiality, independence, and informality to build trust that those raising concerns are legally protected.
Response: “Implement in future. Look into Ombuds program feasibility by 11/1/23.”
Mark Scaramella: An “ombuds” program is the gender neutral term for what was previously known as an ombudsman program. It’s right up there with changing the names of manhole covers to personhole covers, or hole covers, or drainage system access portals. The Grand Jury only recommended that the County “look into” an ombuds program and the response promises that the County will “look into” it by November 1, 2023. This is about the same as promising to look into a drainage system access portal. So we can’t credit the County for “implementing” a recommendation to look into something.
Grand Jury Recommendation #R20: “Collect data on why applicants decline job offers. This data should be reported to the HR Director every six months. If there is a trend in reasons for declining, this must be reported to the BOS and to the CEO.”
Proposed response: “Requires further analysis. Assess ability to collect data by 12/31/23.”
Grand Jury Recommendation #R21: “Assign a relocation support person for new employees within six months of publication of this report. Similar to a “concierge” type concept, they will help new employees adapt to, get connected with, and settled into our County.”
Proposed response: “Will not be implemented. Not reasonable. Professional assistance is available through realtors, Chamber of Commerce, online sources such as Visit Mendocino and Visit Ukiah.”
Grand Jury Recommendation #R24: “Track vital staffing statistics such as job vacancy rates and turnover rates in the County and include those statistics in the public CEO report.”
Proposed response: “Has been implemented. Scheduled reporting to be included in CEO reports.”
Simply false. There is nothing of substance in the CEO report, especially not any meaningful “statistics.”
It will be interesting to see if the Grand Jury revisits this report and grades the County’s response next year.
CALIFORNIA INSIDER INTERVIEWS SHERIFF MATT KENDALL
Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall sat down for a long-form interview with Siyamak Khorrami, the host of California Insider, an interview series that focuses on California politics, drug policy, and immigration.
Their conversation explored drug cartels and cannabis, opioid deaths, policing tribal lands, and problematic policies emanating from Sacramento.
For a broader context, consider the fact California Insider is a YouTube channel associated with the Epoch Times, which many describe as a far-right media company associated with the Chinese Falun Gong religious movement. California Insider has a tendency to interview figures critical of California's Democratic supermajority.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, September 9, 2023
HERBERT ACOSTA, Fort Bragg. DUI.
KERRY CAMERON, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
JOEL COWAN, Ukiah. County parole violation.
MARK GRANT, Covelo. Countrolled substance, suspended license, failure to appear.
CASSIDY GRIFFIN-MILLS, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI.
GARRICK HORNLEIN, Fort Bragg. Concentrated cannabis, paraphernalia, county parole violation.
JOSE LEIVA, Ukiah. Defrauding an innkeeper.
JOHN MCCOY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, resisting.
ROSAMOND OWSTON, Point Arena. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, contempt of court.
TY SIMPSON, Potter Valley. Leaded cane, controlled substance, paraphernalia felon with stun gun, contempt of court.
MEGAN SPAIN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-under influence.
TERRON STRASSER, Laytonville. Controlled substance, suspended license.
ANTHONY TALIAFERRO, Point Arena. Failure to appear.
ALESHA TUTTLE, Ukiah. Criminal threats, resisting.
ASHLEE WILSON, Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, protective order violation, probation revocation.
KIRK VODOPALS WRITES:
Subject: Hay Joe!
$34 for a bale of alfalfa-grass mix in Ukiah at Rainbow!
I recall it being half that price maybe eight years ago.
Sleepy Joe, please tell the Saudis that we ain't gonna let them farm alfalfa in Arizona anymore and ship it out to the Middle East. You know that they aren't going to increase oil supply anyways. Might as well try to get some of this insane inflation down.
At this rate I'll never take my family out to eat again. Well stay home and eat alfalfa.
Hey Joe, bow down and let someone under the age of 70 take a crack at it. But not Kamala or Gavin please.
Both national parties are so full of hacks and quacks. The ridiculous political circus continues.
One newspaper recently provided its readers with “6 Bay Area sports bars to suit every type of football fan.” (Mercury News, 9-6-23) Need I remind Californians that your state is going up in cultural, political, and economic flames every day except alternate Tuesdays . . . and yet the cream of your college educated citizenry are encouraged to abandon the homestead and the public square for the better part of every Saturday afternoon?
It seems an obvious truism that California media, business, and political leaders are way too interested in the forward pass and the backward fumble to make any effort to unite the country around any other principle than, well, football. They seem unable to figure out how to engage the citizenry the rest of the week either, other than entertaining them with the exploits of a surfboard riding otter.
The fact that fentanyl is the #1 cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45 seems not to have even entered our thought processes, the exception being Mr. DeSantis, who promises if elected President he will make sure to leave drug dealers “stone cold dead.” In that event, the Constitution may be reclining six feet under as well.
Woods Cross, Utah
MEMO OF THE AIR: A boy or a girl and his or her dog.
“The truth has to be melted out of our stubborn lives by suffering. Nothing speaks the truth, nothing tells us how things really are, nothing forces us to know what we do not want to know except pain. And this is how the gods declare their love.” -Aeschylus
Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2023-09-08) eight-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0557
I'm happy to read your writing on the radio. Just email it to me and that's all you have to do.
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:
Rerun, because he (Jimmy Buffett) just died. The story of Peanut Butter Conspiracy.
Paramotoring over Slovenia.
And Miss Cellania posted a link to the 1992 Robert Downey Jr. film about Charlie Chaplin. The part that stuck in my mind back when I saw it on VHS was where he's in a bedroom with a fourteen-year-old (?) girl and it's implied that they're about to have sex. From across the room she's acceptable to him, but up close he doesn't seem to be feeling it. She says, "Charlie, what's wrong?" He mutters, "I need some more, ahem, you just need lip rouge." She hesitates a moment. Is he serious? Yes. "It's over there," he says. She fetches it. The camera moves in to fill the screen with the lipstick being applied. Ick, now I recall a movie where Steve Martin can't feel sexy toward his wife until she puts lipstick around her nostrils.
I've never liked lipstick, from as far back as I can remember, from when I was a little boy. The idea of it has always nauseated me, just to see it... the texture, the smell. One of the plays I made sound for at Mendocino Theater Company in the 2000s had a scene of several over-made-up middle-aged women sitting on folding chairs, legs crossed, wiggling their shoes. It was a rehearsal. The director of the company at the time, Doug Warner, was near me. I don't remember what I said, but it might have been a question about the fright-mask level of makeup they all had on; was that intentional? Doug said, "I think they look kinda hot." I said, "Are you kidding." He said, "No."
Young women in offices and on sales floors now use less makeup than they used to but they have whole sleeves and calves of tattoos, and metal ornaments stuck through holes not only in the flesh of their ears but in their cheeks and noses and lips. Or a whole zipper of earrings across the length of an eyebrow. I went in for lab work today and the young technician who drew blood had one arm covered with tattooed outlines of various seemingly unrelated objects, maybe to color in later… People can do what they want, of course; it's their body. I don't like it, but it's not up to me. But here's what I just noticed: none of any of those rather extreme levels of self mutilation are anywhere near as creepy to me as Charlie Chaplin calmly, anticipatingly instructing that girl to put lipstick on.
Later when the same actor played Iron Man I had an uncomfortable feeling whenever he was in a scene with Gwyneth Paltrow. I think my memory mixed her with the girl in the Chaplin movie. I liked that they eventually gave her superpowers of her own. Iron Man didn't have a superpower. He just had a flying suit. My favorite superhero is a tie between Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Or maybe Powder. Or The Great and Powerful Turtle in the Wild Cards series of books. Or Ned in Pushing Daisies. Or Supergirl. Or Magneto. Or Tom Strong. Or Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood (an anagram for Doctor Who). Jack has the same super healing power as Wolverine of X-Men but no super strength, and he has a special wristwatch to travel through time.
Here's the whole Chaplin film. The lipstick scene will be somewhere in the middle.
Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
by Doug Holland
For a year, I've rented a room in a comfortable but semi-dilapidated shared house, in a neighborhood that's too quiet for my tastes. I dream of moving someplace louder and more alive.
Meanwhile, someplace quieter and deader has been coming in. There's construction across the corner, and all along a sloping hillside, where hundreds of new houses have been hammered together and painted on ten blocks that had previously been who knows what — woods or wetlands, I'm guessing.
Now, it's a hundred new houses, in six designs and six slightly different shades of bland. Along the development's new, weirdly winding streets, they've made sure that identical designs are never next door to each other.
Recently, sawdust has been scattered around the tiny, transplanted trees in front of some of the finished houses. Wooden fences have been added, separating this house from that one. There are still no rails on the porches, but people have started moving in.
At the corner behind my bus stop, about half a house worth of real estate was given over for a very tiny park. It's only a patch of grass surrounded by concrete, and in the center are some painted rubber bars for children to climb on. When they reach the top, there's a slide for coming down.
The mini-park intrigues me. It's not a public park, it's private, part of the development, and it's so small. There's no fence around it, though, no gate to prevent kids from down the old streets from playing there, even though some of those kids are black.
I predict drama in and around that tiny parklet, from people who bought the new houses and don't want the local kids on their slide, but so far there's been no hubbub. Some kids I recognize as long-timers up the street were climbing the bars and sliding the slide yesterday. It's nice.
Behind the parklet, Bekins and U-Haul trucks have infiltrated the streets over the past week, and now families are living in a dozen of the new houses. SUVs are parked in front of driveways, and so far, only SUVs — none of the new occupants drives a sedan, a motorcycle, or a bike, apparently. I doubt that any of them will be riding the city bus with me.
I strolled their new streets yesterday, streets that weren't there a year ago. There are no oil stains on the asphalt yet, no gum blotches on the sidewalks.
They're public streets, I think, but walking the sidewalk I felt like a trespasser. All the streetlights are of a quaint, matching design that looks old-fashioned, but I knocked on one of the poles, and as suspected, it's made of plastic.
There's no other word for it, so it's a neighborhood, but it looks and feels like a movie set. Where are the cameras?
I watched a 30-something couple carrying boxes from a truck to their porch. When they noticed me, I waved, and they waved back. Hello, neighbors, I didn't say.
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same
There's a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same
Malvina Reynolds wrote ‘Little Boxes’ 60 years ago, and the only thing that mismatches her song is that these these boxes are not little. They're not full-fledged McMansions, but the smallest of the six designs is bigger by far than any house in the real neighborhoods surrounding this artificial one.
Beyond the cluster of now-occupied houses, construction continues. Nearest the newcomers, concrete walkways and steps are being poured. Further away, the houses are still exposed boards, the lawns remain dirt.
It's the grand opening of a shiny new neighborhood, fresh from the factory. Looming over it, a billboard brags about all the new houses, in six different designs, with all the conveniences and luxuries.
“You can’t afford to live here,” the sign doesn't say, “but you wouldn't want to.”
HE RAN OUT OF GAS ON CALIFORNIA'S HIGHWAY 101, AND VANISHED FOREVER
by Andrew Chaming
In 1996, a 19-year-old California man headed down Highway 101 from Humboldt County to Southern California, where he said he planned to visit his girlfriend. After a mysterious string of events in and around Redcrest — a small town near the Avenue of the Giants scenic highway — he was never seen again.
California authorities are now seeking the public's help to solve the 27-year-old mystery of missing person Scott Paul Hayes.
"Were you in Humboldt County January 1996? Please keep reading," the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office wrote in a plea on Facebook this week.
On Jan. 8 that year, Hayes loaded everything he owned into his maroon Chevrolet Sonoma truck, and told his unnamed roommate he was heading to SoCal to see his girlfriend. The next day, his truck was found on the edge of the northbound lane of Highway 101 near Redcrest. The vehicle was out of fuel and locked, with Hayes' belongings still inside, but Hayes was nowhere to be found.
A witness in Redcrest later told detectives a man matching Hayes' description told them he was out of gas in the early morning hours of Jan. 9. The witness gave the man a ride for around 10 miles until he reportedly started acting "strangely," so the witness left the man under the Stafford overpass, "out of fear for their safety." The witness did, however, leave to get a some fuel for the man. When they returned to the overpass, Hayes was gone.
Another possible sighting of Hayes came from another witness at a motel in Rio Dell, a community five miles north of Stafford, later that day. This witness also said the man was acting strangely and was denied a room. After this, the man matching Hayes' description was spotted walking north on Wildwood Avenue in Rio Dell, and never seen again.
A Times-Standard story in 2009 reported that no credit or debit card transactions were recorded at gas stations in the area, and no hotel receipts were found by police at the time. "I mean, (he) just dropped off the face of the earth,” retired sheriff's sergeant Dan Paris told the outlet.
Public records reveal that Hayes previously resided in Poway, near San Diego, and was born on Jan. 7, 1977. His disappearance came days after his 19th birthday. If alive, he would be 46 today.
After nearly three decades, authorities say that all leads have now run dry. "The Sheriff’s Office needs your help to bring closure to Mr. Hayes’ family," the sheriff's post read.
Hayes is described as a white man, weighing 150 pounds and standing 6-foot-1, with blond hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information regarding Hayes’ whereabouts, or who may have seen Hayes in 1996, are urged to contact sheriff's office investigator Mike Fridley at 707-441-3024 or the sheriff’s office tip line at 707-268-2539.
LIVING AND DYING IN 3/4 TIME
by Maureen Dowd
Whenever I take my young researchers on celebrity interviews, I give them the Warning: No matter how well you hit it off, don’t feel bad if you ever run into the stars again and they act as though they don’t know you. That’s usually how it goes. Think of them as elusive, shimmering creatures from another planet.
One of the few exceptions to this rule was Jimmy Buffett.
I don’t think I ever met anyone as warm. He had no airs. One night, Carl Hulse, our chief Washington correspondent, and I were out at dinner with him here — he loved to pump us for the latest info — and an inebriated woman interrupted him and declared, “You’re not Jimmy Buffett!” With that euphoric smile that could light up an arena, he pulled out his driver’s license for her.
Maybe he liked reporters because he started as a journalist, writing for Billboard magazine. He thought of himself as a writer — not only of songs but also of best-selling books; he was one of just a few to scale both the fiction and nonfiction lists at The Times. It was more than that, though. He was blessed with an irresistible Southern, devil-may-care charm. Usually, joie de vivre is a sign you’re not paying attention. But with Jimmy, it was ensorcelling. I went with him to Walter Reed medical center when he sang for wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. He was able to transport them to a beach with no cares. During the Covid years, he did “cabin fever Zooms” with health care workers from across the country who were Parrotheads.
We both loved pirates, mermaids, jukeboxes and the glamorous era of Pan Am flight attendants, and we built a friendship on those mythical objects. When I asked him when his birthday was, so I could send him a Pan Am sweatshirt I’d found, he replied: “I’ll give you a hint. Same day as the baby in the manger, but I was not born in a manger. I was born in Pascagoula.” As he was dying, said his brother-in-law, the writer Tom McGuane, he was talking about going home to Pascagoula, Miss.
His druggie past was not something to emulate, although he said he had no regrets. As he sang in “He Went to Paris,” “Some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way.” But in one sense at least, he was a model for how to live: Build your life around what you love. When he was a young scalawag, he found the Life Aquatic and conjured his art from it, making Key West the capital of Margaritaville. He didn’t waste away there; he spun a billion-dollar empire out of a shaker of salt. What could be more American than that?
In the end, having packed a thousand lifetimes into one, he was a model for how to die.
“Well, I have learned one thing from my latest in a series of the ever-appearing speed bumps of life — 75 is NOT the new 50,” he emailed me. “Thinking younger doesn’t quite do it. You still have to do the hard work of, as the Toby Keith song says, ‘Don’t let the old man in.’ And that is my job now, the way I see it.”
Some stars are such natural performers, they don’t look as though they’re working very hard. Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe never won Oscars. Jimmy was not garlanded with awards. He sent me his thoughts on that last April, on the occasion of “Margaritaville” being enshrined as “culturally significant” in the Library of Congress, sharing what he had told Howard Cohen, a Miami Herald reporter.
Jimmy loved the Library of Congress and visited it often back in the days when he was working on a musical, “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” with Herman Wouk, holed up at Wouk’s house in Georgetown. (The musical had a brief run in Miami in 1997.)
“I have always loved books, reading and libraries, a gift from my mother,” Jimmy said. “The Library of Congress is a monumental treasure you don’t have to dig up; you just walk in the door of American history. ‘Margaritaville’ in the Library of Congress. I just have to giggle, but with pride. I haven’t received many awards in my profession, but I am OK with that. I think the best reward for a performer is to please the audience.”
He offered the story of how he came to write his biggest hit: “I started writing it on a napkin in a Mexican restaurant in Austin, Texas, with a friend who was driving me to the airport, to fly home to Key West. On the drive down the Keys, there was a fender bender on the Seven Mile Bridge, west of Marathon, and I was stuck, overlooking Pigeon Key. I sat on the bridge for about an hour and finished the song there. That night, I played it for the first time at my job at Crazy Ophelia’s on Duval Street. The small crowd in the bar asked me to play it again. And I did. So, I guess it is a pretty good three-minute song that has stood the test of time.”
He was well-read but unpretentious. When I told him I was getting my master’s in English at Columbia University, he dryly asked, “Did ‘y’all’ ever make it into the English books?” One of his favorite signoffs was “Let’s ketchup soon.” I wrote to tell him about a course at Columbia on grammar and syntax called The Comma Sutra. “I need it, and maybe one on semicolons,” he replied. “Would that then be semicolonography? JB.”
A passionate Democrat — I met him through Caroline Kennedy — Jimmy despised Donald Trump but made sure his shows were “an oasis” for fans of any political stripe.
Privately, he referred to the Trump era as “the Big Cheeto Follies” and told me he hoped I was “having fun sticking pins into the Trump voodoo doll.” Watching “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix during the pandemic, Jimmy noted — with an octopus emoji — that the inquisitive cephalopod in the film was “way smarter than Trump.”
Jimmy asked if the Trump impeachment for demanding a quid pro quo from Ukraine would be “the rotten piece of bait that finally hooks this sleazy bottom feeder? I hope so. Smart people seem to learn from their mistakes and move on. Something the bottom feeder never got.”
When Trump trundled back into the arena in 2022, Jimmy recoiled: “He never figured out that no show lasts forever, and it looks like this will be the last season, thank God.” Always the optimist.
He wrote happily about “Uncle Joe”: “Looks like I am welcome back at this White House. I have known Joe a long time, and his favorite song is ‘Come Monday.’ I am honored. OK, sun’s up, and the wind is down. Off to surf. JB.”
His texts and emails came from many locales in paradise — St. Barth’s, Sag Harbor, Palm Beach, Paris and Cojímar, a small fishing village in Cuba.
But in the last couple of years, he often wrote from less exotic places, Boston and Houston, where he was being treated for an aggressive form of skin cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma. (Was there a price for trademarking the sun? Even so, I bet he wouldn’t have changed a thing.) He stayed upbeat on the “juice,” as he called his infusions to treat the cancer, and spoke proudly about his “all-female doctor team dedicated to keeping the old man out” on the road. He would say he had to “go into the pits for some adjustments” and reassure me that he was getting “weller.” He called it an irritation, a Southern fingernail on an English chalkboard.
He said he was burrowing in at his Sag Harbor house with his wife, Janie, and his kids and dogs. His younger sister, Laurie, who also was battling cancer, came around. He loved having his band members over to play music, calling it “therapeutic to me.” He talked about binging on “The White Lotus” and sent the titles of new songs he was working on that were so Jimmy: “Conch Fritters and Red Wine,” “Fish Porn” and “My Gummy Just Kicked In,” which featured a turn by his Hamptons pal Paul McCartney.
Jimmy urged me to keep after the bad guys. “Keep trolling out there; as a longtime fisherman, I can say with some authority, you never know what is going to wind up on the end of your rod. Fins up and see you soon.”
THE BIG BANG DIDN'T HAPPEN
What do the James Webb images really show?
by Eric Lerner [11 August 2022]
To everyone who sees them, the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) images of the cosmos are beautifully awe-inspiring. But to most professional astronomers and cosmologists, they are also extremely surprising—not at all what was predicted by theory. In the flood of technical astronomical papers published online since July 12, the authors report again and again that the images show surprisingly many galaxies, galaxies that are surprisingly smooth, surprisingly small and surprisingly old. Lots of surprises, and not necessarily pleasant ones. One paper’s title begins with the candid exclamation: “Panic!”
Why do the JWST’s images inspire panic among cosmologists? And what theory’s predictions are they contradicting? The papers don’t actually say. The truth that these papers don’t report is that the hypothesis that the JWST’s images are blatantly and repeatedly contradicting is the Big Bang Hypothesis that the universe began 14 billion years ago in an incredibly hot, dense state and has been expanding ever since. Since that hypothesis has been defended for decades as unquestionable truth by the vast majority of cosmological theorists, the new data is causing these theorists to panic. “Right now I find myself lying awake at three in the morning,” says Alison Kirkpatrick, an astronomer at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, “and wondering if everything I’ve done is wrong.”
It is not too complicated to explain why these too small, too smooth, too old and too numerous galaxies are completely incompatible with the Big Bang hypothesis. Let’s begin with “too small”. If the universe is expanding, a strange optical illusion must exist. Galaxies (or any other objects) in expanding space do not continue to look smaller and smaller with increasing distance. Beyond a certain point, they start looking larger and larger. (This is because their light is supposed to have left them when they were closer to us.) This is in sharp contrast to ordinary, non-expanding space, where objects look smaller in proportion to their distance.
Smaller and smaller is exactly what the JWST images show. Even galaxies with greater luminosity and mass than our own Milky Way galaxy appear in these images to be two to three times smaller than in similar images observed with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and the new galaxies have redshifts which are also two to three times greater.
This is not at all what is expected with an expanding universe, but it is just exactly what I and my colleague Riccardo Scarpa predicted based on a non-expanding universe, with redshift proportional to distance. Starting in 2014, we had already published results, based on HST images, that showed that galaxies with redshifts all the way up to 5 matched the expectations of non-expanding, ordinary space. So we were confident the JWST would show the same thing—which it already has, for galaxies having redshifts as high as 12. Put another way, the galaxies that the JWST shows are just the same size as the galaxies near to us, if it is assumed that the universe is not expanding and redshift is proportional to distance.
But from the standpoint of the Big Bang, expanding-universe hypothesis, these distant galaxies must be intrinsically extremely tiny to compensate for the hypothesized optical illusion—implausibly tiny. One galaxy noted in the papers, called GHz2, is far more luminous that the Milky Way, yet is calculated to be only 300 light years in radius—150 times smaller than the radius of our Milky Way. Its surface brightness—brightness per unit area-- would be 600 times that of the brightest galaxy in the local universe. Its density (and that of several other galaxies in the new images) would be tens of thousands of times that of present-day galaxies.
Big Bang theorists have known for years from the HST images that their assumptions necessitate the existence of these tiny, ultra-dense “Mighty Mouse” galaxies. JWST has made the problem far worse. The same theorists have speculated that the tiny galaxies grow up into present day galaxies by colliding with each other—merging to become more spread out. An analogy to this hypothetical merger process would be to imagine a magical toy car a centimeter long that nonetheless weighs as much as a SUV and grows up into a real SUV by colliding with many other toy cars.
But the JWST has shot through this far-out scenario as well. If you could believe the toy car story, you would at least expect some fender dents in the colliding cars. And Big Bang theorists did expect to see badly mangled galaxies scrambled by many collisions or mergers. What the JWST actually showed was overwhelmingly smooth disks and neat spiral forms, just as we see in today’s galaxies. The data in the “Panic!” article showed that smooth spiral galaxies were about “10 times” as numerous as what theory had predicted and that this “would challenge our ideas about mergers being a very common process”. In plain language, this data utterly destroys the merger theory.
With few or no mergers, there is no way tiny galaxies could grow to be a hundred times bigger. Therefore, they were not tiny to begin with, and thus the optical illusion predicted from the expanding universe hypothesis does not exist. But no illusion means no expansion: the illusion is an unavoidable prediction from expansion. Thus, the panic among Big Bang supporters. Tiny and smooth galaxies mean no expansion and thus no Big Bang.
Too old and too many galaxies mean the same thing. The JWST uses many different filters to take its images in the infrared part of the spectrum. Thus, it can see the colors of the distant galaxies. This in turn allows astronomers to estimate the age of the stars in these galaxies because young, hot stars are blue in color and older, cooler stars, like our sun, are yellow or red in color. According to Big Bang theory, the most distant galaxies in the JWST images are seen as they were only 400-500 million years after the origin of the universe. Yet already some of the galaxies have shown stellar populations that are over a billion years old. Since nothing could have originated before the Big Bang, the existence of these galaxies demonstrates that the Big Bang did not occur.
Just as there must be no galaxies older than the Big Bang, if the Big Bang hypothesis were valid, so theorists expected that as the JWST looked out further in space and back in time, there would be fewer and fewer galaxies and eventually none—a Dark Age in the cosmos. But a paper to be published in Nature demonstrates that galaxies as massive as the Milky Way are common even a few hundred million years after the hypothesized Bang. The authors state that the new images show that there are at least 100,000 times as many galaxies as theorists predicted at redshifts more than 10. There is no way that so many large galaxies can be generated in so little time, so again-- no Big Bang.
While Big Bang theorists were shocked and panicked by these new results, Riccardo and I (and a few others) were not. In fact, a week before the JWST images were released we published online a paper that detailed accurately what the images would show. We could do this with confidence because more and more data of all kinds has been contradicting the Big Bang hypothesis for years. The widely-publicized crisis in cosmology has drawn general attention to the failed predictions of the Big Bang hypothesis for the Hubble constant relating redshift to distance. But our papers, published over the past decades, have pointed to far more contradictions, each individually acknowledged by other researchers.
The Big Bang prediction of the abundance of helium is off by a factor of two, the prediction for the abundance of lithium is off by a factor of 20. In addition to the absence of the larger-more-distant optical illusion, there is also the existence of large-scale structures too big to have formed in the times since the Big Bang, wrong predictions for the density of matter in the universe, and well-known asymmetries in the cosmic microwave background that should not exist according to theory. There are many more contradictions. In early July I published two comprehensive papers summarizing the situation. Based on the published literature, right now the Big Bang makes 16 wrong predictions and only one right one—the abundance of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen.
Readers may well be wondering at this point why they have not read of this collapse of the Big Bang hypothesis in major media outlets by now and why the authors of so many recent papers have not pointed to this collapse themselves. The answer lies in what I term the “Emperor’s New Clothes Effect”—if anyone questions the Big Bang, they are labeled stupid and unfit for their jobs. Unfortunately, funding for cosmology comes from a very few government sources controlled by a handful of committees that are dominated by Big Bang theorists. These theorists have spent their lives building the Big Bang theory. Those who openly question the theory simply don’t get funded.
Until the past few years, if researchers could self-fund cosmology research as a sideline, as is the case with me, they still could publish “heretical” papers, although those papers were often ignored by the cosmological establishment. As recently as 2018, the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), a leading journal, published one of my papers showing how the sizes of galaxies contradicted the expanding universe idea.
But as the crisis in cosmology became obvious in 2019, the cosmological establishment has circled the wagons to protect this failed theory with censorship, because it now has no other defense. It has now become almost impossible to publish papers critical of the Big Bang in any astronomical journals. An anonymous senior editor rejected my survey papers, writing “There are many journals which would be interested in publishing a well-argued synthesis of existing evidence against the standard hot big bang interpretation. But MNRAS, with its focus on publication of significant new astronomical results, is not one of them”. The replies from several other journals were similar.
Such censorship is now, as always, inimical to the progress of science. Two dozen researchers in astrophysics, astronomy and space science have signed a letter of protest to the arXiv leadership. I have personally called on leading Big Bang theorists to openly debate the new evidence. For cosmology – as for any research area - to advance, this debate must happen openly in both scientific journals and the public media.
These scientific questions matter in the here and now. Over decades scientists, starting with Physics Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfven, have shown that if the Big Bang hypothesis is thrown out, the evolution of the cosmos and the phenomena that we observe today, like the cosmic microwave background, can be explained using the physical processes we observe in the laboratory—especially the electromagnetic processes of plasmas. Plasma is the electrically conducting gas that makes up nearly all the matter that we see in space, in the stars and in the space between the stars. Only the Hubble redshift relation would still need some new physical process to explain the loss of energy as light travels huge distances.
One of the key processes in plasmas that Alfven and his colleagues identified, and which has been studied for 50 years, is plasma filamentation. This is the process by which electric currents, and the magnetic fields they create, draw plasma into the lacy system of filaments that we see at all scales in the universe from the aurorae in the earth’s atmosphere to the solar corona to galactic spiral arms, even to clusters of galaxies. Together with gravitational forces, plasma filamentation is one of the basic processes in the formation of planets, stars, galaxies and structures at all scales.
That process of plasma filamentation is also key to the enormously important effort to develop fusion energy here on earth. To use fusion energy, the power that drives the universe and gives light to the Sun and all the stars, we need to understand the processes that drive cosmic evolution. Just as the Wright Brothers developed the airplane by studying how birds controlled their flight, so today we can only control the ultra-hot plasma where fusion reactions occur by studying how plasmas behave at all scales in cosmos. We need to imitate nature, not try to fight it. We at LPPFusion have been applying that knowledge concretely to the development of a cheap, clean and unlimited source of energy that can entirely replace fossil fuels starting in this decade.
While many researchers have been funded to study these processes on the scale of the sun and the solar system, work on larger scales has been hobbled by the straightjacket of the Big Bang hypothesis, which has diverted hundreds or thousands of talented researchers into futile calculations of the imaginary entities, like dark matter and dark energy, that have been invented to prop up a failing theory. Open debate can clear away that failed theory and lead to the reorientation of cosmology to the study of real phenomena, advancing technology here on earth. It is time to end the censorship and to let the debate begin. Cosmology can emerge from its crisis once it is recognized that the Big Bang never happened.