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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023

Cool Day | Ernest Moretti | Church Roofing | Covelo Sideshow | Caspar Headlands | AV Events | Grange Booth | Electric Firetrucks | Pet SpongeBob | Historical Society | Flower Farm | No Comment | JAG Lawsuit | Kendall Interview | Coastal Cleanup | Mendo Pond | Ed Notes | Norman Wallen | Stumped | Betz Bricks | China 1984 | Yesterday's Catch | Poop Ponder | PreCoffee Era | Muddy Playa | Gummies | Marco Radio | Eggbreros | Right Madness | Suicidal Poets | Waste Not | Strike Support | Loan Racket | Burn Brightly | Dump Joe | Bad Advice | Nation Sequence | Deer Season | Wild Balloons | Alou Bros | Young Mona | Free Joe | Missing Prisoners | Impeach Joe | Rear View | Symbolism | Dem Worries | Hungry Fighter | Ukraine | Head Comix

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ISOLATED TO SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS are forecast to occur across the interior mountains this afternoon, and again during Monday afternoon. Drier weather will then develop early next week, followed by possibly cooler and wet weather late next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): For the 3rd day in a row I have a foggy 57F on the coast. We can expect more of the same today, then maybe a bit more sun next week? We'll see.

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Ernie Moretti passed away peacefully in his home on Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at the age of 95. He has now joined the love of his life, Betty, whom he has missed dearly since her passing in 2014. The community has lost "one of the good ones". With him we have also lost nearly a century of history of the Mendocino Coast.

Ernie was born on June 21, 1928, in Albion, California to Emilio Moretti and Agnes (Eklund) Moretti, Growing up during the depression, the family migrated for work and lived in many towns including Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Cazadero, Rockport and several logging camps. Ernie attended many schools including The Little Red School House on Highway 20 when it was located at Camp 19. Later he attended Junior High at Leggett Valley and graduated from Fort Bragg High School in 1946. In June of 1948, Ernie married Betty Paoli. They welcomed the births of their daughters, Laurna, Cherie and Julie and built their "forever home" in 1954, where he lived until his passing.

Ernie worked while in school as a bowling pin setter and at the Purity Store when it was located on Franklin Street and Redwood Avenue. He began working in the timber industry after graduation where he worked on the mill pond for the Union Lumber Company. He had many jobs for Union Lumber Company before becoming a timber faller. During his long career in the timber industry, he worked for Union Lumber Company, Boise Cascade, Georgia Pacific, Anderson Logging and Carl Wilson. After retiring in 1993, he worked as a security watchman for Georgia Pacific. He was respected by many and his knowledge and history of this industry will be missed.

He enjoyed the outdoors, camping with his family, hunting, fishing, sports and spending time with his friends and family, One of Ernie's favorite places to go was camping on Big River where the family had a cabin for nearly 70 years. He missed the old times on the coast and enjoyed talking about them. He said the town was never the same after they moved the baseball diamond from main street. Ernie loved baseball and coached Little League. He was an avid San Francisco Giants fan, and especially enjoyed the trips he made to San Francisco with his family and friends to watch them play.

Ernie was preceded in death and was deeply saddened by the passing of his wife, Betty and his daughter, Laurna (Moretti) Dempsey, sisters Marie (Moretti) Poe and Berniece (Moretti) Juhola and his longtime friend, Claude Coverston.

He will be deeply missed by his family: Cherie (Walt) Nemeth, Julie Rodgers (Randy King); son-in-law Jim Dempsey; his grandchildren, Carrie Freimuth-Dempsey (Brad Freimuth), Sara Zapata (Kyle Stampfli), Adam Nemeth (Ashley Nieminen), Haylie Bowman, Amy Richter (Matt Richter), Ian Richards (Laurel Richards), Lacey Huck (Anthony Huck) and great grandchildren: Anthony Zapata, Elijah Zapata, Hunter Stampfli, Chase Freimuth, Summer Nemeth, Blake Richter, Addison Richards, Sam Freimuth, Mariah Bowman, Emily Freimuth, Finley Richards, Easton Richter, Averie Nemeth, Mia Bowman and Goldie Huck.

Ernie also leaves behind his dear friend and neighbor, Carolyn Kostick and her sons, Marc and Jay, his good family friend Rusty Coverston, his Breakfast Club at Laurel Deli, as well as many, many family members and friends who will hold him dear to their hearts. He touched the lives of so many in our community.

The family would like to express a heartfelt thank you for the great care provided by his care team: Joe Martin, PA, Adventist Home Health Staff, granddaughter, Sara Zapata and Kyle Stampfli. A special thank you to Eric Burtleson for his kind and gentle care and to April Markus for her expert help when needed.

A Celebration of Life will be held on September 22, 2023, at 1:00 pm at the Presbyterian Church on Sanderson Way in Fort Bragg.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Fort Bragg Little League or Fort Bragg Forever.

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THE NEW ST. ELIZABETH SETON Catholic Church construction in Boonville is continuing apace. As of Saturday, the roof was up and was ready for siding installation.

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MASS SIDESHOW IN COVELO FRIDAY NIGHT. UH, WHERE? COVELO! One of the weirdest events imaginable…

Lazarus (Willits):The population of Covelo is only about 1,400. Either this was a “Flash Mob”-type event with out-of-towners. Or the residents are getting restless…Dealers choice. Be well and good luck.

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Lew Chichester (Covelo):I was in town at the end of the football game Friday night, about 8:30, (Round Valley v Potter Valley), and sure enough there was a very large contingent of vehicles all parading, mostly pickup trucks with Mexican flags flying. I didn’t witness 200-300 vehicles, but who knows how this developed as the night went on? The trucks I saw were not familiar, so perhaps they came from somewhere else? Hard to believe; it’s a long way to Round Valley from anywhere.

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Lazarus: I wonder if the Sherrif will issue a Press Release of how this unusual event in Covelo, of all places, was dealt with and played out.

It may be a stretch to say 200 to 300 local drivable vehicles could participate in a sideshow in Covelo.

If there were that many vehicles, many must have come from elsewhere.

Regardless, it is a very queer story…

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Sheriff Kendall: I will put something out when we are finished with everything that needs to be done.

I was up there most of the night. Lots of arrests make for lots of paperwork and my back side is dragging out my tracks.

Like my pop always said, Hard work is always a guarantee you will get more hard work.

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Mark Scaramella: Looking at Saturday’s Booking Log we’d guess that the sideshow was a combo of some visiting drunk Santa Rosa Mexican knuckleheads and their drunk Mexican knucklehead friends in Covelo. We await the Sheriff’s press release to see if that’s anywhere close.

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Casper Headlands Turkey Vulture (Jeff Goll)

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The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 09 / 17 / 2023 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville

AV Village Volunteer Training
Sun 09 / 17 / 2023 at 2:00 PM
Where: Anderson Valley Senior Center , 14470 Highway 128, Boonville

AV Village Monthly Gathering/AV Museum Friendly Chat Series: Boontling!
Sun 09 / 17 / 2023 at 4:00 PM
Where: Anderson Valley Historical Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville

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“OK gang, best to rest up but keep watering that garden because next weekend is the Mendocino County Fair And Apple Show! You all probably already know that flower and vegetable entries along with feature booths have to be setup a day early. That will be This Wednesday!!

Every year we put out the call for your help, you don't have to be a Granger to pitch in. We'll be in the AG building setting up from 4:00 to 10:00pm this Wednesday afternoon to evening.

Come on down bringing just a few specimens of your different fruits and vegetables. Best is if you can have a list or particular labels, (especially unique names ie Persian cucumbers rather than just cucumbers). It's helpful if they are in a box or bag with your name on it. They don't have to be prize winners either, and if this is all a little too organized for you bring what you want in person and help us sort it all out. It's quite a project to catalogue all this stuff and arrange it.

The AG building is all a tizzy with everyone setting up their displays, everything is fresh, the anticipation and excitement is in the air. For some of us it's our favorite night at the fair. Oh, by the way, the booth will already be set up sans your produce and you can bring your offerings down anytime on Wednesday and leave it on our tables in front of our booth. Please do leave a note with info though.

We have to come up with at least 75 varieties of fruits and vegetables and you guys always come through! If you haven't done this before try it out, share your garden with us, let's show off our fertile valley and county!

For more info call Laura Baynham at the Grange info line 684-9340 or Capt Rainbow 472-9189. We're counting on you as always!”

(Last year’s award winning booth!)

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THE ANDERSON VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT is dealing with a recent notice from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) saying that publicly owned and operated vehicle fleet purchases must soon be zero-emission vehicles. Starting in January of 2024 50% of such vehicle purchases are supposed to be zero emissions; and in 2027 all public vehicle purchases must be zero-emission. How this will translate to fire engines and related heavy firefighting equipment and vehicles remains unclear. A quick on-line check shows that all-electric fire engines are just now becoming available. The Los Angeles Fire Department deployed their first one in May of 2022 at a cost of about $1.2 million. There was no information about how or if they will convert their entire huge fleet. Other fire departments are starting to put in orders from a few specialty fire engine manufacturing and assembly outfits, mostly in Europe. The LAFD unit reportedly has a two-hour operating range. Given the difficulties all fire departments are having with rapidly rising prices and longer and longer lead times, we doubt these ambitious timing goals can be met. The last conventional new fire engine Anderson Valley Fire bought was only delivered a few months ago after being on order for years, and it cost well over $300k and locals thought that was expensive. If Fire Departments are going to be required to pay upwards of $1.5 million or more per new engine and prohibited from buying used diesel fire engines, California’s already cash-strapped fire departments will be hanging on to their older equipment for much longer than they used to. The electric vehicles cost less to operate and maintain, but since they typically don’t accumulate that many miles in a year, such savings will not come anywhere near offsetting the higher cost. Some all-electric vehicle purchases may qualify for grant funding from environmental organizations or special government incentives. Then there’s the wildland fire engines which must drive long distances to get to their assigned duties… And the availability and safety of recharging stations… Some models offer “booster motors” for longer distances and deployments. 

(Mark Scaramella)

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The Shelter's first Fall Pet of the Week is SpongeBob – a fun, lively boy who would make a great addition to an active family. He LOVES toys, and in our meet and greet room, he took it upon himself to poke around in the toy box to find his favorite stuffies and squeakies. We think SB would benefit from basic obedience classes, and he might even graduate Doggie Cum Laude.

SpongeBob was all play when he met a female shelter guest, so he might do well with a canine housemate. If you’re looking for a good boy with the best personality, look no further! SpongeBob is a Rottie mix, about a year old and 70 very handsome pounds.

For more, head to 

For information about adoptions, call 707-467-6453. 

Check out our Facebook Page and share our posts! If you're thinking about adding a puppy to your pack, we've got 'em! 

Check out all our adorables at

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Our upcoming South Coast membership meeting is on September 24, 2023. Please join us at 10:00am for self-guided tours of the Gualala Pioneer Cemetery, ( followed by a presentation at the Del Mar Center at 1:00pm led by Kay Martin, Vice-President of the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy. The HSMC team will be sharing updates as well.

The Gualala Pioneer Cemetery has undergone a large restoration process, and the cemetery team has given a lot of attention to restoring the plots, rebuilding fences, and clearing brush. The plots host QR codes that give visitors access to photos of the decedents and fully researched biographies highlighting their contributions to the local community.

There is no cost to attend the meeting, and it is open to the public, so bring a friend!

South Coast Membership Meeting, September 24, 2023

10:00am: Cemetery Tours (Gualala Pioneer Cemetery, off of Old Stage Road in Gualala)

1:00pm: Presentation & Meeting (Del Mar Center - 40600 Leeward Road, The Sea Ranch)

Dessert and beverages will be served.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by email to or call 707-972-9702 by Friday, September 22.

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Earth Spoke Flower Farm, Pt Cabrillo Dr (Jeff Goll)

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ON SATURDAY NIGHT, Deputy Michael Jensen, the south coast deputy who encountered and arrested Ms. Kelli Johnson who later complained to the Supervisors about her arrest and incarceration, responded: “I have received your email requesting a comment regarding Ms. Kelli Johnson. I am unable to comment on its background or the events that had taken place due to it being an active case. I respectfully decline to answer any further questions regarding this matter.”

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Does anybody have the JAG lawsuit that Vince Taylor was involved with?

The Mendocino County court search function is 100 percent worthless. I need to find the lawsuit that was filed by community members, back around 2007 that created the Jackson Demonstration Forest advisory council (Jag) I have wasted hours `trying to find anything in that search engine. You have to hit the lottery and get the correct arrangement of spaces and commas to find anything in the index. For my own speeding ticket, knowing my own name it took me several tries to bring up my own info. You cant search Hartzell or Frank Hartzell. You have to guess the arrangement of spaces and commas they used to get anything. If you search City of Ukiah, you might find 12 different ways it is entered into the court system and chances are you wont find what you are looking for. Anyway, I cant find the lawsuit that created the JAG. I was one of about 100 people who packed into a space at the Presbyterian church that fit half that many at the JAG meeting. I need to read the lawsuit that created the JAG to figure out what the heck was going on Mendocino County has obviously created the most difficult search engine imaginable in order to lock out everyone from the public, private eyes, cops searching civil files which arent in their cop computer, reporters and anyone else who is not searching for the ONE case they are involved in. even so, there is no way for an attorney even to know if their client has been sued or charged before unless they play comman and space guessing games for about an hour. Please send info if you have it on the JAG origins.

Frank Hartzell

Fort Bragg



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Commenter #1: Matt Kendall drives nine hours to LA to be interviewed about marijuana and related problems. I never knew how smart and informed he is.

Commenter #2: Frankly, I was blown away that he would sit down with the California Insider, a far-right international media company affiliated with the Falun Gong new religious movement. I suspect they don't give a damn about Mendocino County but I bet they like the sheriff's story and how it fits into the criminals coming across the border angle. If Matt Kendall traveled to LA for this, he better reimburse county taxpayers for any expenses out of our pockets.

Commenter #1: Just be super careful not to watch it.

Commenter #2: Oh, I watched it. Same tired old cartel refrain circulating for the past 10 years or more. Perhaps because of my stint in the DA's office, but I heard nothing new here. The notion he would go to LA for a sit-down blows my mind. Not even DA Dave would do that, or at least not in that era. Who paid for this trip to the California Insider studio? The county? or the Insider?

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CALIFORNIA COASTAL CLEANUP DAY is Saturday, September 23, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Coastal Cleanup Day comprises the largest single effort to remove accumulated debris from California’s beaches and inland shorelines in the past years. The City of Fort Bragg “adopts” Glass Beach annually as our Cleanup Site and we need your support to make this a successful event. The City invites everyone to help protect our coastline by joining to remove trash at Glass Beach or any one of the 17 Mendocino County Cleanup Sites.

Visit for details about each of the Mendocino County sites or visit to view an interactive map of sites all over California.

If you wish to volunteer, join us at our cleanup site (Glass Beach) or any location of your choosing. There is no need to RSVP or sign up ahead of time (unless otherwise noted on the map), just pick a location, show up, check in, and lend a hand. Supplies are provided on site, but we ask all volunteers to please bring their own work gloves, water bottle, and garbage receptacle (bucket, bag, etc.) to help reduce waste. Even if you cannot make it to one of the planned events, we encourage you to pick up trash wherever you are.

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Mendocino Main Street Pond (Jeff Goll)

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ANDERSON VALLEY, distinguished in so many ways, once counted among its residents two of the country’s best young rodeo cowboys in W.T. Johnson and Patrick Upchurch, both of Boonville. Johnson and Upchurch both qualified for Challenge of the Champions, the statewide junior rodeo to be held in Plymouth, California the last weekend in March. To get to this prestigious event, the two young men had already roped and bucked their way past regional competitors. And they came home with top honors in that rodeo, too.

W.T. JOHNSON still lives in Boonville where he performs the invaluable service of hauling off junked, wrecked, and abandoned vehicles. Last I heard of Patrick Upchurch, he'd done several tours of overseas combat zones and was living in Colorado.

TWENTY OR SO years ago, three of us set forth from Boonville to see “Hidden Truths,” an exhibit having to do with the Irish civil war at the Somar Gallery in San Francisco. It used to be on Brannan between 8th and 9th and not easy to find. The missus and I and our good friend Jackie Potter-Voll blithely bopped on through a door which seemed to lead to a gallery of some sort only to peer uncomprehendingly at paintings of giant penises being inserted into the giant buttocks of giant men on giant leather motorcycles before it occurred to us that the exhibit we were looking at didn’t seem to have much to do with the civil war in Northern Ireland, although I did speculate to Ms. Potter-Voll that maybe we just didn’t get it; maybe we were looking at metaphors for the British occupation of the North. The gallery we were looking for was to the rear, no pun intended, of the one we’d entered, so to speak. A very pleasant young woman named Elaine Brotherton met us and showed us where we should begin our circumnavigation of the exhibit. It’s a very moving collection of photos and artifacts from Bloody Sunday, the infamous January 30th, 1972 when British soldiers, without provocation, opened fire on a peaceful civil rights protest march at Derry. Ms. Brotherton’s uncle was among those shot down. She has become the exhibit’s curator, which was begun as an antidote to a preposterous British report on the episode clearing themselves and blaming the slaughter on the victims. As we three rustics walked around the room looking at the photos of the atrocity, a tape recording from the scene that day of screams and gun fire played at full volume. It wasn't an easy experience, this show, and unlike much of the blandly conventional art saturating Frisco, but it did capture much of the terror of that infamous day for people who weren’t there.

WE WERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD because we had also attended the “32nd Annual California International Antiquarian Book Fair.” Of course almost everything on display was way, way out of my financial league but I did managed to persuade the missus to cough up $20 for a mint condition, February 1950 copy of Horizon devoted entirely to Mary McCarthy’s novella, “The Oasis.” It was the only Horizon the guy had and, never having seen an actual Horizon, and being a big Cyril Connolly fan, and a big admirer of Mary McCarthy’s essays but less big on her fiction, I forked over. It was a huge show. Five long aisles worth. I spotted books I once owned (sold for a pittance in times of desperation) going for $350 each. The most ordinary stuff was going for big money. Salman Rushdie for $75 already? Impossible. Ridiculous. And there must have been 50 booths selling first editions of Catcher In The Rye for $3,500. (Has anyone looked into price rigging in the used book biz?) If you’ve never been, go. The event has been revived. It’s very interesting, if frustrating, walking around beating back the acquisitive desires. My aim with books is less not more, but it’s always been a terrible struggle.

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Norman Earl Wallen, son of Richard and Madge Wallen, and brother of George Wallen, was born August 19, 1929, in East Rochester, New York, where he grew up. He graduated from the University of Rochester and served in the US Navy Reserves. He received his Ph.D from Syracuse University and taught courses in research design and statistics to master's and doctoral students for many years. His distinguished career as a professor of Interdisciplinary Education began at the University of Utah in 1957. 

In 1965, he moved to California to teach at San Francisco State University where he remained until his retirement in 1992. He was a leader in the field of educational research design and statistics. 

After his retirement, he moved to Flagstaff with his wife Lina where he became very active in the community. He was a member of the City Council of Flagstaff from April of 1996 to June of 2000; was a volunteer with the Northern Family Health Center and the Coconino Literacy Center; and was active in non-profit organizations including The Diablo Trust, The Sierra Club, Dry Lake Coalition, and many others. 

He had strong ideals and values, was a political activist, and had a love of travel and adventure. An avid hiker, tennis player, and cyclist, he was also a ping-pong player extraordinaire. A lifelong reader, he took up painting in retirement. The paintings he gave his children and grandchildren are cherished treasures. 

He will be remembered for his love, acceptance, and support of family and friends; for his warm smile, big hugs, quick wit, and sense of humor. Norm is survived by his wife Lina of Flagstaff, and his five daughters, Kathy Gordon (Greg) of Petaluma CA, Cindy Anderson of Plymouth, CA, Michele Janette (Robbie Bear) of Manhattan, Kansas, Lisa Petersen (Stephen Hester) of Salt Lake City, UT, and Ratna Veronica of Jakarta, Indonesia, and his 14 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. 

He was deeply loved and will be sorely missed. A Memorial Service was held on Friday, August 25, 2023, in Flagstaff. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hambali-Wallen Scholarship at Coconino Community College Foundation, 2800 South Lone Tree Street, Flagstaff. 

Donation link:

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ED NOTE: Norm Wallen was a long-time reader and occasional contrbutor to the AVA. Here’s just one example of his contributions, from 1998:


by Norm Wallen

People defending art mostly make the wrong arguments: that art makes us feel good — “Ah Beethoven” or is self-actualizing (well, maybe) or creates jobs — “Don’t you think Johnny is talented?” or makes us better people — not much luck so far. The point is that if anything is going to save us from the robotization and ultimate irrelevancy created by runaway corporatization it will be art — music, literature, dance, drama, drawing, painting, ceramics… It will not be science which has mostly sold out to technology in the service of money. It will not be religion which has mostly sold out to rigidity — and money. It will not (sorry) be education which must always cater to the prevailing order — and money. It will not be the press, mostly eagerly sold out and the rest struggling to be heard — against money. It will not be radicals fighting to survive against persecution and apathy — and money. It will not be intellectuals, even if they overcome preoccupation with self and all the noise in communication. Certainly, it will not be government which, even at the local level, has mostly caved in to precedent, greed, apathy, ignorance — and money.

Art is our only hope — because even if individuals are bought off, art itself refuses to eliminate emotion. We have become so afraid of our fear, our anger, our vindictiveness, our selfishness, our sadness, our despair (all good things to be afraid of) that we are willing to deaden ourselves in order to avoid them. Art is the only thing — from country western to rap to opera to the outrageous to the disgusting that reminds us that the price is too high; that the answer is not to deaden ourselves but to recognize and fight our destructive emotions with compassion, joy and laughter.

To do this, art itself must overcome our avoidance of the unpleasant. Historically, this has been accomplished by artists famous (or rich) enough to get away with a “Guernica” or “Don Giovanni” or clever enough to couch their outrage in subtlety (Shakespeare) or humor (Vonnegut, Heller, Ivins). Others (Vidal, Morrison) keep their politics separate from their art — mostly. How art can continue its vital function in the face of the repressive repressed — try Helms, Gingrich and Pat Robertson for starters — is a tough one.

Our mental health professions aren’t much help. It used to be that you got labeled “manic-depressive” only if your mood swings from despair to franticness endangered yourself or others. A fairly recent diagnosis — bipolar syndrome — can’t get tacked on to anyone whose cycle is considered a little more severe than normal. Since no one knows what normal is, we can all qualify if it suits our purpose, or someone else’s. Too bad because these moderate cycles are a good thing. 

Check it out; see if after a few really lousy days when everything seems worthless you aren’t likely to have a few particularly good days — maybe even joyous, and maybe accompanied by a few new ideas and enthusiasms. The notion that we can have the gain but not the pain is just another example of how we’ve been sold the idiocy that we can “have it all” — the fun without the payment. 

It doesn’t work that way, in economics or psychology, though it does in what passes these days for economics and psychology. The fight to avoid deadening ourselves at the individual and societal levels may well be the biggest challenge we face. It’s really art for our sake.

Norm Wallen

Flagstaff, Arizona

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On this day in Mendocino Coast history…

September 16, 1914 - Brickmason Isaiah Betz died in Sacramento at the age of 85, following a stroke. Born in Ohio in 1829, Isaiah and his family arrived in Mendocino County in the 1870s, first settling in Ukiah, where he manufactured bricks and constructed brick buildings.

In 1891, Isaiah and his only son Fred moved to Fort Bragg and established a brickyard near Pudding Creek. The Fort Bragg Advocate described the location, “a couple miles out of town on the Sherwood road at what is generally known as "Belgium Frank's Opening." It would indeed be hard to find a more suitable place for such purpose. The clay is thought to be of first class quality, water plentiful, although it has to be carried about a quarter of a mile in a flume, and wood abundant.” The Betz brickyard operated with modern steam machinery, and six men produced about ten thousand bricks per day.

The father-son team also built numerous brick structures, including residences, stores, a bank, and the Odd Fellows Lodge (the first brick building in Fort Bragg). In 1899, they constructed a new store building on Main Street for Shafsky Brothers. “The main building is two stories high 25x90 feet, with a warehouse in the rear 25x40 feet. Mr. Betz and son, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, made fast progress in erecting the building, and the brick work and inside finish are first-class.”

On April 18, 1906, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck the north coast of California, and Fort Bragg was particularly hard-hit. A fire destroyed more than 30 buildings, and nearly every brick structure in town was badly damaged, many falling down. The Shafsky Brothers store collapsed, and the falling bricks killed restaurant owner Lee Poi, who was in the building next door.

The following year, Isaiah and Fred left Fort Bragg and returned to Ukiah. The Ukiah Daily Journal noted that, “Mr. Betz was doing a big business in Fort Bragg before the earthquake, but the people there are afraid to erect brick structures and are building frame houses instead.” The Betz family moved to Sacramento in 1909. Isaiah was buried in the Ukiah Cemetery next to his father Samuel Betz.

Shafsky Brothers’ Demolished Store, 1906. (Photographer: W. T. Fitch)

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BOB ABELES (Boonville):

I visited China during the summer of 1984. My neighbors had been teaching English there the previous year and encouraged me to take one of the tours that were being offered. So, I made a detour on my way home from business in Japan and flew into Hong Kong. From there, I arranged a three day package tour of Guagzhou and its environs. Arriving in Guagzhou at the White Swan hotel I was met by my own personal guide and driver. We spent the next two days driving around the countryside. Scenic but still quite primitive. Farmers working the fields with hand tools and odd little tractors that resembled a lawn mower engine hitched to a pair of 2x4s for handles. The restroom at one of the scenic sites was interesting. A pair of ladies in a white uniforms handed out little patches of cloth that were steaming in a big pot of disinfectant. When you were done with your patch, back in the pot it went! One evening I took a walk and got a good look at how the urban folk lived. Ground floor apartments that featured dirt floors resembling caves. It was beastly hot, so people were preparing their meals over charcoal fires out of doors. Lots of friendly chatter that washed me along on my ramble. I passed by the charcoal works, which was easily identified by the black dust that marked the way out. A sparsely stocked department store with mannequins that dated to before the revolution, tiny stalls selling soft drinks. Everyone on foot or bicycle. A happy looking fellow peddling along with two small pigs lashed by the back wheel like a pair of saddle bags. Looking at photos of China today, I doubt I’d recognize any of it.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, September 16, 2023

Acosta, Campos, Cerda

HEDIBERTO ACOSTA-GUERRERO, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-drugs&alcohol.

SELENA CAMPOS, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

SEVERIANO CERDA-ARMAS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI with priors, suspended license for DUI.

Espinosa, Gaspar, Jones

HECTOR ESPINOSA-BRAVO, Covelo. Controlled substance, disorderly conduct-alcohol, bringing controlled substance into jail.

ROBERTO GASPAR-MATEO, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-drugs&alcohol.

KIMBERLY JONES, Ukiah. Trespassing, failure to appear.

Moore, Pardo, Rojas


JOEL PARDO, Ukiah. Stolen property, loaded handgun-not registered owner.

VILLALBA ROJAS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.

Romero, Santos, Travis

DANIEL ROMERO-RAMIREZ, Gualala. Battery, false ID, bringing controlled substance into jail.


KENDALL TRAVIS, Ukiah. Arson of inhabited structure, possession of device for arson.

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What kind of person takes the time and makes the effort to pick up and bag their pet’s poop, only to leave it beside the trail they are hiking? Just asking.

Dave Heaney


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by Katy Tahja

All things considered this annual Burn wasn’t that bad. If Burners in Black Rock City stayed put in camp during the rain and didn’t try to bike or drive they did not become clay mud encrusted. But—there are always those yahoos who ignore sensible advice with a “it can’t be that bad—” attitude that resulted in their vehicles so deeply sunk in mud it was obvious they were not going anyplace for a long, long time.

Of the 11 days I was at Burning Man it rained only two and the other eight days were bright and sunny, but that was not newsworthy. Veteran Burners used the rainy day down time to get to know their neighbors better and investigate near by art. The yahoos complained, got drunk, and spouted off to reporters.

Yes, the restoration crews the Burning Man organization uses to help rehabilitate the playa have their work cut out for them this year but my 50 member camp left our campsite immaculate. Mobility Camp makes the playa and its art accessible to disabled people. We offer rides in an adapted trailer five times a day to see the wondrous examples of human creativity scattered over hundreds of acres. I’ve been a Burner 10 years and love it.

Each year I find some aspect of what makes Black Rock City hang together and look more deeply into it. This year it was a real simple concept—the history of the Trash Fence. Now you might ask yourself “How can anyone get excited over a fence?” While it’s not a snazzy piece of art like some stuff on the playa it fills a variety of needs serious and silly.

First, imagine Black Rock City—70,000 people camping in a semi-circle over two miles wide. Encircling it is a nine mile fence enclosing 3,935 acres or over six square miles. Then imagine a wind storm and what could blow away. The Black Rock Playa is a thing of stark beauty. It does not need a potato chip bag, a hat, or your dome tent you forgot to weigh down littering the landscape. The idea is to stop the trash before it blows miles away. The fence is orange plastic netting held in place with T-stake metal posts and it’s not pretty but it does the job.

There’s a man with the playa name of Coyote in charge of it. I asked him how far trash blew before there was a fence—he said Winnemucca, about 90 miles away. The first trash fence was built in 1995. Nowadays it takes 200 well coordinated people a day to get it installed. One of Burning Man’s principles is Leave No Trace and the Trash Fence was the brainstorm of Lawrence Breed and a tribute to that idea. Burners call trash MOOP—matter-out-of-place—and the fence stops trash.

The lore and legends of things that happen along the Trash Fence are epic. Start with the rumor the music group Daft Punk played in the dark of night years ago by the fence. WRONG. Never happened. Yes, a marathon runs along the fence every Burn. Yes, one year drone barns along the fence held hundreds of drones before they took to the skies and enchanted the crowd. Yes, a drunk stole a porta-potty sanitation truck, a pooper-scooper, and crashed it through the fence one year—but NO Daft Punk ever—

With 70,000 people behind me and wilderness in front of me I stood at the Trash Fence one year and watched a fully operational full-size Viking sailing vessel on wheels skimming across the playa. Another year I was serving coffee and croissants at dawn at the Trash Fence to folks who had been up all night and up walked a member of the Comptche Volunteer Fire Department. We lived a few miles apart in Comptche and found each other in that madhouse. Go figure.

The man called Coyote told me he was in a bar in Gerlach when he was confronted by several local cowboys after a Bur. Expecting there might be hard feelings he waited as the cowboys spoke—”You might be a bunch of damn hippies and nerds but you folks sure as hell know how to build a good fence—” Coyote smiled gratefully. So enough about the Trash Fence—I’m glad it’s there and I appreciate what energy goes into making it work. Now about my discoveries this year—

I didn’t get out into the playa to see as much art this year due to rain and muck but I had fun within Black Rock City. Food offerings abounded and everything is gifted freely. Want a breakfast taco? A camp was offering them with meat, or vegan, or gluten free. How about a chocolate covered frozen banana on a hot afternoon, or Avocado Toast and a Mimosa for brunch? One day 1,500 slices of Lobster Pizza was available, or a Fried Bologna sandwich with Bourbon. Cereal Thrillers gave out breakfast cereal and milk. There were five camps offering bacon in some way, shape or form and another five offering pickles or pickle juice, If I’d wanted a spaghetti burrito or taco I could find it. A CBX was a cold beer exchange, bring in one of your unopened warm ones and exchange it for a cold brew and there were numerous home brew camps.

I laughed at a camp with Irish Yoga. You did yoga for a half hour, got a shot of Irish Whiskey, then meditated (or fell asleep) for 15 min. There were “Meet Up’s” for Chinese speakers, Ukrainians, Native Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Europeans and people from around Yellowstone. If you walked through the muck you could find workshops on lock-picking, flight instruction ground school, knot tying, and hints on building your own bagpipe. I could have been introduced to fire spinning or learned how to flavor infuse vodka and saw redheads gathering for a “Ginger Appreciation” party.

As a sensible senior I avoided the Naked Pub Crawl and I could care less about Sensual Floggassage. In Black Rock City a camp offering Hot Holes could have many different interpretations but this one was serving hot donut holes with your choice of frosting. I wished I’d found the Black Rock Observatory with its telescopes and the Balloonists camp with 10’ wide weather balloons lifting Burners 80’ over the playa to enjoy the view.

A Fairy Shrimp Museum introduced Burners to the tiny playa life forms that hatch and breed after rainstorms like the one we had. Knitting with the Boys introduced men to the craft of knitting in one camp and you could sing with the Playa Choir and enjoy the Playa Pops and Black Rock Philharmonic. Special thanks goes out to Rootpile, the Bluegrass Music camp. They took their music into the city since the city couldn’t get to their camp’s performance area. Mobility Camp had a first time camper in a motorized wheelchair with tiny front wheels. He couldn’t leave his tent in the wet so Rootpile’s musicians came to the doorway to his tent and played foot-stomping music for 20 min. It brightened everyone’s day and we thank them.

Rain Man, Muddy Man, mud wrestling capital of the world, whatever you wish to call it—it was still fun. As long as body, mind, spirit and finances hold up this senior citizen will be going back again. Every visit reaffirms my belief that it’s the best party on earth—even when mucky.

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SF Center for the Book Roadworks Printing (Jeff Goll)

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Sign here in blood. And here. And here.

"A Bargain of Blood is awarded to players who complete the Blood Gate storyline, which starts after players complete the criteria of Horde Achievement Raid [The Throne of Zuldazar] and Horde Achievement Nazmir Zone [The Dark Heart of Nazmir]. Upon earning this achievement, in addition to Horde Achievement Allied Race [Loremaster of Zandalar], the final quest is offered. Zandalar forever!"

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2023-09-15) eight-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and

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 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:

Headlights. (via TackyRaccoons) The first one is the best: the Buick Cylon-Cyclops.

One dog's happiness skill.

1930s Soviet flying aircraft carriers. Like other airplanes of that era, and once we have unlimited power for electric motors, these would be great again, even greater than before because not for war use anymore, but for beautiful retro-art transportation. There's a small 1950s airplane, a biplane, in an episode of Torchwood that's stunningly attractive. It's like with architecture: once you have the materials and the power, it doesn't have to just do what it does, it can be a shape that your eye is drawn to, and that's good to be around and in.

And the dream of a dead universe, printed on the singularity of an inside-out black hole. That's the most likely thing we all are, according to experts in the industry.

Marco McClean,,

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BRUCE MCEWEN: I saw this poet read The Right Madness on Skye after he returned for fly fishing trip when he won a Guggenheim for poetry. He was old and dying of leukemia and the old Carnegie Library in Kalispell rang with his voice as he read it….

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EDWARD ABBEY: “Our suicidal poets (Plath, Berryman, Lowell, Jarrell, et al.) spent too much of their lives inside rooms and classrooms when they should have been trudging up mountains, slogging through swamps, rowing down rivers. The indoor life is the next best thing to premature burial.”

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File this under Waste Not, Want Not. That is what I heard growing up. And while that is still good advice for you and I, our governments just shrug their shoulders and mumble "meh".

$40B of covid money was lost to fraud in CA. Meh. Now the WSJ reports that the estimate at the federal level is $135 B. Nearly 15%. Meh. A couple billions of aid to the Ukraine cannot be accounted for. Meh.

When OPM runs out, the Fed creates money out of thin air. The reaction in the media? Meh.

What can't go on, won't.

* * *

* * *


Talking about the economy, I was speaking to a young man the other day, very young, probably early twenties.

He mentioned needing to buy a new car, and the problems he was having with that.

I mentioned that “they” don’t really want us having cars anymore, and although this was not a political conversation by any means, he seemed aware that there were plans afoot to get us all on the bus.

He also spoke about the cost of living comfortably in this state, compared to what most people actually make.

He brought up something I had just started to become aware of.

He told me that when he went to a local dealer that advertises being able to find you credit to put you in a vehicle (this is a formerly reputable family business that now seems to be making it’s money through subprime loans) he was told he had no credit!

He told me that he had paid off his student loans. He also had a steady job with not a high income but not especially low. That should count, right? Having steady work and a record of paying bills?

This is the second time I’ve heard this, that someone who paid their student loan back has damaged their credit.

The student loan racket badly needs a RICO investigation.

* * *

I WOULD RATHER BE ASHES than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

Up to a certain point, it is necessary for a man to live his life in the world in which he finds himself, and to make the best of it. But beyond that point, he must create a world of his own. And the greatest thing about life is that it is always giving us the opportunity to create something new. It is never too late to start over, to make a fresh beginning, to blaze a new trail.

Life is short, and we have but a brief time in which to explore, to learn, to experience, and to create. Let us make the most of that time, and let us burn brightly, like meteors across the night sky, leaving behind us a trail of light and inspiration for those who come after us. 

— Jack London

* * *

NEIL: A certain conventional wisdom about the 2024 presidential race has dominated political discourse for much of this year: Donald Trump is unstoppable when it comes to winning the Republican nomination but cannot hope to retake the White House come the general election. What endears him to his party's base repels the independent and moderate voters he needs to win the presidency. So, Joe Biden is the clear favorite to be elected for a second term. That conventional wisdom is now smashed to smithereens - and not in a good way, for those who don't want to see Trump back in the Oval Office. Indeed, he is more than ever a shoo-in to win the Republican nomination: Four indictments and 91 criminal charges have only served to rally his party's base tighter around him, leaving rival candidates in the dust as also-rans. No, suddenly it's Biden who's perceived to be the loser with an increasing number of Democrats now fearing that if he runs again the likely outcome is the unthinkable - a Trump victory. For the moment very few have the gumption to go public with such fears. But it is being whispered whenever top Dems gather behind closed doors. Take my word for it: a nascent 'Dump Joe' movement is in the making and it will be a serious political force before the year is out. It is being propelled by two interlinked factors: Biden's age (he will be 82 next year) and his dire poll ratings, which have sapped Democratic confidence that his re-election up against Trump would be just a formality.

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A democracy can not exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until voters discover they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority will always vote for the candidate promising the most benefit from the public treasury. With the result that democracy will always collapse ultimately over loose fiscal financial policy and will then be followed by dictatorship.

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations has been about 200 years and each has passed through this sequence:


Spiritual faith

Great courage







Written over 200 years ago while the United States was still an English colony by Alexander Tittler (Professor).

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by Claire Fonstein

Avid hiker Alyssa Johnston was exploring a trail in the High Sierra when something in the distance caught her eye. She approached the bright colors and realized they were Mylar balloons — and did not belong in the wilderness.

Mylar balloons, which have a metallic coating and are filled with helium, have become a concern for biologists and nature lovers, disrupting the enjoyment of outdoor spaces and posing harm to wildlife. Their ability to travel long distances in the air means they are polluting extremely remote areas, although responsible balloon shops are working to educate customers on safe disposal.

Johnston has pulled balloons out of lakes numerous times. Often, she said, “they’ll just disintegrate and I’m just trying to pick up all the little pieces because it’s this beautiful, pristine lake and then now you have this ‘Happy Birthday’ balloon.” 

In Yosemite National Park, a Wilderness Restoration crew found six Mylar balloons in the backcountry during an eight-day trek, according to a Facebook post last month from the park.

Alyssa and her husband, James, who live in Alameda, have seen balloons in Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

“I would say it’s probably a 50/50 chance on every single trip that we end up finding some Mylar balloons,” James said.

The couple frequently explores in the deep backcountry, which is where they find the balloons, James said. The well-trafficked trails are typically cleaner since people often pick up litter, he said.

Sunnyvale resident Steve Meier has also found Mylar balloons while hiking near Yosemite. He has also seen them in a wildlife preserve, Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge, near his home.

“Nearly on every trip I find a Mylar balloon,” Meier said. 

He said Don Edwards tends to be clean except for the balloons. 

Lisa Erdle, Director of Science and Innovation for environmental nonprofit 5 Gyres, said balloons can persist in the environment for a long time and degrade into tiny pieces. 

“When particles get that small, less than 5 millimeters in size, they’re not easily cleaned up and we know from a lot of studies that they can cause harm,” Erdle said. 

The microplastics, she said, get into some of the smallest animals at the base of the food web, like zooplankton, and then are carried up the food web through different species. 

Erdle said large balloons can also be mistaken as food and eaten by animals. When consumed, the plastics can cause gut blockages and lead to early death. The chemicals in the plastics are harmful to consume, and the strings on the balloons can entangle animals, she said. 

Another danger is that the balloons are electrically conductive, prompting a law last year regulating them. AB847 adds warnings to foil balloon labels and ensures the balloons gain approval from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, with total compliance by 2031.

“Metallic balloons are a threat to power infrastructure. If they come into contact with power lines, they can cause power outages, fires, and downed live wires,” bill author Assembley Member Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, posted to Facebook. 

Around times of seasonal celebration, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. posts reminders of the hazards Mylar balloons bring if they fly into a power line, including outages, fires and injuries. A person can get electrocuted if they try to retrieve a Mylar balloon entangled in power lines, according to a PG&E spokeswoman Megan McFarland. The utility says the balloons can last in the air for two to three weeks.

Ray Smith, president and CEO of the Sacramento Balloon Company in Sacramento, arranges foil balloons on display for sale on Friday. The company gives customers guidance on how to discard the balloons.

Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle

Ray Smith, the owner of Sacramento Balloon Company, said his store sells Mylar balloons with an attached weight to prevent them from floating away. 

He said the balloons are popular, and the legislation adding restrictions to them has the potential to impact his business if foil manufacturers stop producing them. 

All balloon sales at Smith’s store include a “Balloon Care Tips” card, with reminders to not release balloons outdoors, to reuse foil balloons and to properly dispose of the waste. 

Mylar balloons can be recycled, Sacramento Balloon Company employee April Marskell said. 

The balloons can also be reused, for years. Marskell said one customer comes in once a week to re-inflate the same dolphin balloons.

“He’s re-used it for five years. I’ve never had to give him another one,” she said. 

At cleanup trips organized by 5 Gyres, Erdle said she can often tell the most recent holiday just by the litter — whether it be Valentines Day, graduation or Fathers Day. 

“These lands are otherwise pristine and almost untouched by human development, and they’re supposed to be kept that way,” James said. “It’s really kind of saddening and sobering to me that even though this land has been set aside and is such a beautiful place, we still find ways to mess it up as humans.” 

(SF Chronicle)

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by John Shea

Sixty years ago Friday, the three Alou brothers played in the same outfield for the San Francisco Giants. In a game at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, Matty, Felipe and Jesús, left to right, appeared in the final two innings Sept. 15, 1963.

The Alous played a combined 47 big-league seasons, amassed 5,094 hits and made glorious history as the only brothers threesome to play together in a Major League Baseball game.

Easily, however, we wouldn’t be in position today to celebrate that historic feat. Easily, we could have been deprived of knowing about the Alou family royalty. Easily, none of the brothers could have played a single inning in the majors.

“It almost didn’t happen, the three brothers playing together,” Felipe Alou, 88, told the Chronicle this week. “I really wanted to go back home, back to the university that I was attending. I had a ticket back to the Dominican. If I went home that day in 1956, I wasn’t going to return.”

Alou seriously considered quitting baseball in his first professional season in the New York Giants’ farm system because of extreme racism surrounding his first farm team in Lake Charles, La., where he spent a month of the 1956 season in the Class C Evangeline League and appeared in only five games, getting nine at-bats.

Alou wasn’t allowed to play more because of the color of his skin. He couldn’t go to restaurants with teammates. For games at Baton Rouge, he and two African American teammates couldn’t even enter the clubhouse and had to sit in the bleachers with the Black fans. The language barrier was an issue for Felipe, too.

“First time I went on the field, beer bottles were thrown from the stands,” Alou said. “We were three Giants farmhands waiting for a referendum to let us play. The team itself was nice to me, nice people. But we had to get the hell out of that league.”

Alou was reassigned to the Cocoa Indians of the Florida State League, and the two other Black players, Ralph Crosby and Chuck Weatherspoon, who also saw limited action, were sent to the California League and Pioneer League, respectively.

Alou got on a bus to Cocoa Beach but knew it was going to Miami, and he considered staying aboard because it was the next step back to the Dominican Republic. He could return to the University of Santo Domingo, where he had been in the pre-med program. His parents wanted him to be a doctor.

On that long road to Cocoa, Alou thought of Horacio Martinez, the bird-dog scout who recruited him and had faith in him. He thought of his parents and big family and knew his financial support would greatly help. And he thought of his country; no born and raised Dominican had played in the majors.

Alou got off in Cocoa.

“I didn’t want to let him down. He had begged my parents to let me play,” Alou said of Martinez, who played with the Negro Leagues’ New York Cubans and worked under longtime scout Alex Pompez, who fed many players to the Giants in those days.

Unlike in Lake Charles, Alou got to play in Cocoa, and he emerged as the team’s best hitter, leading in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and stolen bases while finishing the season with 100 RBIs, 99 with Cocoa and one with Lake Charles.

Felipe, who still had to deal with segregation in Florida, speaks highly of his Cocoa manager, Buddy Kerr, a former New York Giants shortstop who “knew all of my sufferings from that first month in Lake Charles. What a kind person. He turned me loose.”

The Giants signed Matty before the 1957 season and Jesús during the 1958 season. Felipe and Matty played in the 1962 World Series, the Giants’ first on the West Coast, and Jesús joined his older brothers in San Francisco in September 1963.

The Giants were out of the pennant race by then, and manager Alvin Dark was open to playing all of the Alous together. On Sept. 10, it happened at the Polo Grounds in New York, then the Mets’ home, as all batted in the same inning (going 0-for-3), but only Felipe played the field that day.

Five days later in Pittsburgh, a more momentous occasion developed. The starting outfield alignment was Willie McCovey, Willie Mays and Felipe Alou, left to right. In the seventh inning, Jesús entered as the right fielder, and Felipe moved to left. In the eighth, Mays came out of the game. Felipe moved to center, flanked by his two kid brothers, Matty in left and Jesús in right.

“All three of us were playing out of position,” said Felipe, noting he would play most of his career in right, Matty in center and Jesús in left. “That wasn’t important. What was important is that we were together.”

As the story goes, Mays pushed Dark to form an all-Alou outfield and volunteered to exit the Sept. 15 game — it says so in Alou’s 2018 autobiography, “Alou: My Baseball Journey.”

All these years later, Felipe still appreciates the gesture and said, “Willie was a nine-inning player, and I know him as a nice guy.”

The Alous played two innings in the outfield together in a 13-5 win — when history was made, Felipe was 28, Matty 24 and Jesús 21 — and gathered in the outfield again Sept. 17 and Sept. 22, also one-sided wins.

They never started in the same outfield. That would have been a challenge with Mays playing every day.

“At the time, it wasn’t a big deal to us because we played on the same team in winter ball, Escogido,” Felipe said. “We used to bat 1-2-3, Matty, Jesús and me. Our uniforms were red, and they called us ‘the three red devils.’ One game, we were all on base, and one of us almost got picked off, and after the rundown, no one got out and we scored two runs.

“It was no big deal for my mom and dad, either, because they were used to seeing us play together. I’ve got to say, every year after that, it became bigger and bigger.”

An all-Alou outfield was not seen again in the majors because the Giants dealt Felipe to the Milwaukee Braves after the 1963 season, one of their many regrettable trades of the era.

Felipe had spoken out against racism and the way Latino players were treated and viewed in MLB, including with the Giants, and he thought it was a reason he was traded, especially in the wake of his powerful first-person account on racism in baseball that was published in Sport magazine shortly before the trade.

With one transaction, the Giants broke up the Alou family. Felipe spent the next six years playing alongside Hank Aaron. The Giants traded Matty, a career .307 hitter, after the 1965 season, and he won a batting title his first year in Pittsburgh (Felipe was the runner-up). Jesús was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 1968 expansion draft and quickly was traded to Houston; he later won World Series rings with the Oakland Athletics in 1973 and ’74.

Felipe retired with 2,101 hits, including 206 homers, and should be in the Hall of Fame, considering all his contributions as a player and manager. Matty had 1,777 hits and Jesús 1,216. The combined 5,094 topped the total for the three San Francisco-raised DiMaggio brothers, Joe, Dom and Vince, who had 4,853.

“When the Giants traded me, they told the three of us we couldn’t play every day because of Willie Mays,” Felipe said. “I understood that. It hurt because I was the oldest brother. We were not just brothers but good players. One thing we had in common, all three of us hit fastballs, and Moisés (his son, also a longtime big-leaguer) murdered them.”

Matty died in 2011, Jesús died in March. It’s easy to tell in Felipe’s voice how proud he is of his younger siblings.

On Matty: “He might’ve been the best player among the three because he could run, play center field and hit for average. He was a fast runner and artist bunter but could hit doubles and triples.”

On Jesús: “He didn’t have the speed Matty and I had but could really put the bat on the ball. No power but a good contact hitter. He swung at everything, so he might not have had a chance to play now with the metrics they use.”

Though former Giants utilityman Ozzie Virgil was born in the Dominican, he wasn’t raised on the island like the Alous, so Felipe is considered the first who was born and raised in the Dominican to play in the majors. And first to manage in the majors, including four years with the Giants (2003-2006).

Sixty years after the three Alou brothers played in the same Giants outfield, we can give thanks to the eldest brother who was so influential in fighting racism and continuing his professional career after he left Lake Charles; otherwise, we might not have been treated to this fascinating history.

“It was ugly, the race problem,” Felipe said. “I don’t believe Matty or J. Alou (Jesús’ nickname) would’ve played. Or Moisés (another son, Luis Rojas, is a former Mets manager). But I got off the bus. I didn’t go home. That was big for the three brothers. It was kind of a miracle. We survived all that stuff, thank God.”

(SF Chronicle)

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Mona Lisa, Age Twelve, 1959 by Fernando Botero was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961 while the original "Mona Lisa" was being shown uptown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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by Maureen Dowd

President Biden gave a speech on Bidenomics at a community college in a Washington suburb on Thursday.

He ended without taking questions. He said he wished he could, “but I’m going to get in real trouble if I do that.”

Dude, you’re the leader of the free world! Who sends the president to the principal’s office?

At least this time, his staff didn’t play him offstage with a musical interlude as though he were an Oscar winner droning on too long. That’s what happened last Sunday in Vietnam. His press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, gave him the hook, abruptly ending the press conference as he was talking about his conversation with a top Chinese official. Oh yeah, nothing important.

Seconds earlier, he had said “I’m going to go to bed.” Republicans, naturally, jumped on that as evidence of senility. But that was silly. The president had had an extremely long day, on a five-day trip to India and Vietnam. The press conference was after 9 p.m. local time. I’ve been on plenty of those trips with presidents, and they’re exhausting.

Since he became president, Biden has sharply curbed how much he talks to the press, rarely giving interviews. He limits his press conferences mostly to duets with foreign leaders, where he can put his foreign policy relationships and experience on display. Even then, White House officials preselect questioners and aggressively approach reporters to ferret out what topics they would focus on if they were picked. On Friday at the White House, after backing the autoworkers in their strike, he didn’t take questions.

There’s something poignant about watching a guy who used to delight in his Irish gift of gab be muzzled. In interviews when he was a senator and then vice president, Biden could easily give a 45-minute answer to the first question. Heaven help anyone who tried to nix the prolix pol back then.

But now, when I watch him cut himself short, or get cut short by his staff, I get an image of a yellow Lab gamboling smack into an electric fence. When the president stops himself and says, “Am I giving too long an answer?” or “Maybe I’ll stop there,” or “I’m going to get in real trouble,” he seems nervous that his handlers might yank his choke collar if he rattles on.

He no longer seems a Happy Warrior. The pol who has always relished talking to people, being around people, seems sort of lonely. When he campaigned in a limited, shielded way during Covid, he was dubbed “the Man in the Basement.” But now, even without the mask, it’s as though he’s still hidden away.

He knows his staff thinks he has a problem of popping off, and I think that has made him more timid and more cloistered. And when he’s more isolated, he seems sadder maybe because he’s not drawing energy from crowds and journalists the way he used to; perhaps his overprotective staff has gotten into his head. I know he gets frozen on Hunter questions, but he can’t hide from that forever, either.

Is his less-than-stellar inner circle undermining the boss and giving ammunition to the nasty conservative story line about how the 80-year-old president is losing it?

Biden’s more ginger gait makes Democrats flinch, but his staff reinforces the impression of a fragile chief executive by overmanaging him and white-knuckling all his appearances. By publicly treating him as though he’s not in control of his faculties, by cutting him off mid-thought as though he’s faltering and needs caretaking, they play into the hands of Trumpsters. His vulnerability becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’ve covered Biden for 35 years. He has always been a babble merchant, prone to exaggeration and telling stories too good to be true, saying inexplicably wacky things. It was often cleanup on Aisle Biden. So when he acts like this now, it shouldn’t be attributed just to aging. Certainly, he has slowed down. But his staff has exacerbated the problem by trying too hard to keep him in check. Americans know who Uncle Joe is, quirks and all, slower and all. Let them decide.

The president’s feelings were no doubt hurt the other day by The Washington Post column by David Ignatius, a charter member of the capital’s liberal elite, saying that Biden should be proud of “the string of wins” from his first term but not run for re-election because he “risks undoing his greatest achievement — which was stopping Trump.”

I don’t disagree, but I doubt it will make a difference.

If Biden has a chip on his shoulder, it’s justified. Barack Obama blew off his vice president in 2016 in favor of Hillary Clinton, and a lot of Democrats wrote off Biden during the 2020 primaries after he lost Iowa and New Hampshire.

It was amazing, given his trajectory, that Biden fought his way to the presidency. And he thinks he has done a great job. Besides, being an underdog is his sweet spot. And he’s got a point that he is the only one who has beaten Trump.

But Biden needs to start looking like he’s in command. His staff is going to have to roll with him and take some risks and stop jerking the reins. Let Joe out of the virtual basement.

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THE MEDIA CANNOT SAVE LYIN’ JOE BIDEN — even with his demands

by Michael Goodwin

Hunter Biden has been indicted and House Republicans have now formally turned their sights on President Biden by opening an impeachment inquiry.

Those are major developments, but perhaps the most important thing Americans learned last week is that the media is immune to embarrassment. 

The White House letter demanding that news outlets “ramp up scrutiny” of the GOP revealed the unspoken assumption that the Washington press corps can be counted on to rescue a failing Democratic president.

As such, it is a giant insult to the outlets that proclaim themselves free of both fear and favor. 

How strange, then, that there was nary a peep of media protest over the expectation they would do the president’s bidding.

If there was outrage at being outed for rank partisanship, it remains a secret.

Most media treated the letter as no big deal. 

In truth, it was a very big deal, and the SOS from the Biden White House tore the cover off any claim the media is fair.

No Republican president would dare make such a demand, knowing he would be ripped to shreds. 

The strangest reaction came from Axios, which used the letter to give friendly political advice to the White House.

It warned the missive “could backfire” because any media attacks on Republicans “will now look like they’re kowtowing to White House pressure.” 

In other words, make such demands privately! 

‘Protection’ wavers 

A quick quiz: Does the press corps attract leftists, or create them? 

The answer of course is both, but here’s the good news: Even if the letter boosts biased coverage, the benefit to the White House will be temporary because the media can no longer save Joe Biden and his family from their own dirty deeds. 

For all its noisy, sweaty effort, the protection racket has failed. 

Look at it this way: If the media had won, Hunter Biden would have walked free instead of facing up to 25 years in prison on federal charges involving his illegal purchase of a pistol while he was hooked on drugs.

He also would have skipped on everything else; but now that his preferential treatment and proposed sweet-heart plea deal have been exposed, additional charges on taxes and other matters are likely. 

And if the Grand Pooh-Bahs had absolution power, there would be no GOP impeachment inquiry at all.

Media censors, including Big Tech and even the FBI, did all they could to bury reporting by The Post showing that the president was involved in his family’s foreign business schemes, and yet the public has managed to see through the cover-up and believes Joe is crooked. 

A YouGov/The Economist poll conducted in August, after the collapse of the plea deal, found that 72% of Americans think the son personally profited from his father’s positions in government, including — get this — a majority of Democrats. 

And a CNN poll in the first week of September found that 61% of respondents believe Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings with Ukraine and China while he served as vice president. 

Overall, 42% believe Joe acted illegally, while an additional 18% say his actions were unethical but not illegal, CNN reports. 

Clearly, the keyboard warriors with press passes haven’t done a very good job of protecting the “Big Guy.” 

That’s not to say they’ve given up, and the usual suspects are trying to kill the impeachment probe before it gets going. 

The New York Times carried a Friday story headlined, “Witness Testimony Casts Doubt on Some Biden Impeachment Allegations.” 

Read a little more and you learn the story was based on “notes taken by Democratic congressional aides and summarized in a report they released this week.” 

Similarly, an Associated Press reporter questioned Speaker Kevin McCarthy about the lack of an “impeachable offense,” a line of questioning faithful to the White House letter. 

McCarthy, after noting some of the damning evidence already gathered, reminded the reporter that the impeachment probe is about finding answers, not starting with them.


Still, the challenges are instructive about what it will take to make the case to the public: Compelling evidence the president either shared in the $20 million his son’s schemes yielded or took official actions to reward the family’s foreign paymasters. 

Either one would be game over. 

While I have little doubt such evidence exists, finding and exposing it remains the Republicans’ challenge. 

If and when that happens, Biden’s support among Democrats would collapse and there could be 67 Senate votes to convict and remove him. 

But it’s possible, and more likely, the process will never get that far because Biden will abort it.

He is on thin ice with voters, the vast majority of whom believe he is too old for a second term, and it would make sense for him to voluntarily move off stage. 

His obvious mental and physical decline, combined with the unpopularity of his policies, especially on the economy and border, are leading even many Dems to urge him to drop his re-election campaign. 

Suspicions about his role in the family’s lucrative schemes are certain to grow, with Hunter likely to face trial during the campaign. 

Besides, Joe knows the extent of his own misconduct, and he can’t stand still as the proof emerges and he becomes the first president to be impeached, convicted and removed from office. 

Hence the growing talk of potential escape routes. 

President Harris? 

One way out is for him to pardon Hunter, and announce he will not seek a second term.

A speech where he falls on his sword while defending his troubled, surviving son could satisfy his media defenders, and might make him sympathetic enough to buy time. 

However, it’s also possible a tearful performance and a promise not to run would be seen as insufficient half-way measures.

Dem leaders would also fear his continued presence in office could lead to a red wave on Election Day. 

In that case, he would have just one more card to play: resign to try to avoid a Republican sweep and, possibly, prosecution. 

Anybody ready for President Kamala Harris? 

An additional factor is timing.

The primaries begin in January, giving Biden only a few months to make up his mind so alternatives can get going if he withdraws. 

To be sure, none of these scenarios is certain.

Republicans could shoot themselves in both feet by provoking a lengthy government shutdown, which could make the president appear sympathetic and give the media a fresh excuse to change the subject and demonize the GOP. 

And there’s always the slim chance Biden was so careful about helping his son’s schemes that the GOP can find no clear evidence of a quid pro quo or that Joe financially benefited. 

That’s unlikely, but in politics, as in life, nothing is guaranteed.

* * *

* * *

THERE ISN’T ANY SYMBOLISM. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy. The fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks, no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. 

— Hemingway on his The Old Man and the Sea

* * *

SURVEYS RELEASED LAST WEEK suggest further reasons for Democrats to worry. An analysis of Times/Siena College polls found a sharp drop in support for President Biden among Black and Hispanic voters, particularly younger ones. A CNN poll, meanwhile showed Biden not only trailing Trump, among registered voters, but behind or tied with every other major Republican contender, except Vivek Ramaswamy. What’s more, only 36% of Biden supporters said that they were more “for Joe Biden” than “against Donald Trump.” Trump supporters had a different answer: 62% were “for” him, which may reflect a different degree of commitment. The poll numbers are a reminder that the Biden boosters may be missing something. There are clear sources of discontent: the dearth of affordable housing; problems managing the influx of migrants; the surge in fentanyl use, which pushed the number of overdose deaths above 100,000 in 2021; fear of crime; economic stress; the mental-health crisis among young people. And when Democrats in the CNN poll were asked their biggest concern about Biden “as a candidate,” half of them mentioned his age — he turns 81 this year — and another 20% mentioned related issues such as mental competence and health.

— Amy Davidson Sorkin, “The New Yorker”

* * *

'WHEN I WAS A YOUNG FELLOW I was knocked down plenty. 

I wanted to stay down, but I couldn’t. I had to collect the two dollars for winning or go hungry. I had to get up. I was one of those hungry fighters. You could have hit me on the chin with a sledgehammer for five dollars. When you haven’t eaten for two days you’ll understand.'

- Jack Dempsey

* * *


Recapturing the village of Andriivka gave Ukraine a key position in the fight for the eastern city of Bakhmut, a Ukrainian commander said. Kyiv's forces released stark video Saturday showing that little remains of the town.

The EU has canceled restrictive measures against Kyiv's agricultural exports, promising Ukraine will address concerns about cheap grain undercutting farmers elsewhere in Europe. Unconvinced, several countries say they'll defy the decision.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected warplanes and toured an airfield on the latest stop of his trip to Russia. The visit has raised speculation that Kim could strike an arms deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, boosting the war in Ukraine.

Russia is likely able to stockpile a significant number of cruise missiles, which could be used to once again bombard the Ukrainian power grid this winter, the UK's defense ministry warned.

* * *


  1. Bob A. September 17, 2023

    Re: Electric Fire Trucks

    Is it just me, or does this not make the least bit of sense to anyone else out there? Emergency vehicles are specifically designed and built for emergencies. Like, you know, fires, earthquakes, and other catastrophes big and small. Now imagine, if you will, taking a shiny new electric fire truck out for several days of fire fighting in the wilds. Where are you going to charge it up? Suppose you bring in some powerful diesel generators on flat bed trucks? Well, then you’ve just defeated the whole purpose of the electric conversion, and added additional costs and hazards to boot. Not to mention the fact that diesel can be stored in bulk against a rainy day, but not so electricity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m strongly in favor of reducing green house gas emissions, but come on, let’s go after the low-hanging fruit and not make hampering emergency services part of the plan.

    California used to lead the nation. It still does, only now it leads it in stupid.

    • Carrie Shattuck September 17, 2023


    • Stephen Rosenthal September 17, 2023

      The two biggest enemies of the people of California are CARB and CPUC. Memo to all California emergency service agencies: JUST SAY NO!!!

    • Lazarus September 17, 2023

      A friend who is far more environmentally correct than I explained the destruction and environmental abuse that occurs when mining the minerals needed to make the batteries. The human toll the mining takes on the population where the minerals exist.
      Then there’s the lack of recycling options and the added weight to a vehicle using a battery.
      Then, there is additional inertia involved when a collision occurs. The claim can be that the damage to a vehicle after a wreck guarantees a total loss due to the excess weight of batteries, much more than with gas-powered cars or trucks.
      The synopsis concluded that battery vehicles aren’t eliminating anything from the environment. In fact, they are adding to the already existing problems.
      As with most things, time will tell, but my initial feelings are less than optimistic about any electric vehicle.
      Be well, and good luck.

      • Bob A. September 17, 2023

        There are a myriad of hidden problems with electric cars as they are presently conceived, including but not limited to the two you mention. Two that jump out at me immediately are the twin problems of power conversion and hidden green house gas emission. Consider charging an electric vehicle. First, you have power generation. According to California figures for 2021, more than half of the state’s electricity is generated from natural gas and other greenhouse gas emitting fuels. The conversion from chemical to thermal to electric involves large energy losses. According to the US Energy Information Agency, that loss runs to about 60%. Next up is power transmission, and the loss there is about 10% on average from the power plant to your charging station. Finally, charging your car’s battery involves an electrical to chemical conversion that loses another 15%. Compared with the 50% thermal efficiency of a conventional internal combustion engine, an electric car may be indirectly burning as much fossil fuel and emitting as much greenhouse gas per mile as your neighbor’s Subaru.

        • Eli Maddock September 17, 2023

          Exactly right! It’s as if folks believe that buying an electric car then plugging it into a vending machine suddenly means that energy comes from a magical emission-less source. “Cuz it’s not gas dude it, like, has zero emissions!”

          • Bruce McEwen September 17, 2023

            The AVA’s Marilyn Davin has exploded the very same sophistry exhaustively in at least one article and yet on the ET (electric trans) myth lives, freakish as Mary Shelly’s poor electric doll, Frank…!

            Perhaps lightning rods could be attached to the electric fire engines so they could recharge in thunderstorms…?

  2. Stephen Dunlap September 17, 2023

    “ARF! Editor:
    What kind of person takes the time and makes the effort to pick up and bag their pet’s poop, only to leave it beside the trail they are hiking? Just asking.”
    Dave Heaney Petaluma

    I have seen this many times along the coast, very odd indeed ?

    • Kathy Janes September 17, 2023

      It’s possible the dog walker intends to pick up the bag on her way back. It’s easier than carrying the thing around. But I know that’s probably not the case all the time.

      • Harvey Reading September 17, 2023

        I rather suspect that what you described is true. I do it all the time if my dog poops (less than once a month on average) when I walk him around the block 4 times every morning. I pick up the poop-filled bag on the last lap.

    • Gary Smith September 17, 2023

      Same in the suburbs. They bag it and leave it on your lawn. I wonder if they’re among the virtue signalers who display their poo bags tied on their dogs’ leashes.

  3. Craig Stehr September 17, 2023

    Warmest Spiritual Greetings, Please know that I’ve been discharged from Adventist Health-Ukiah for emergency treatment for a blood bacterial infection and pneumonia, and am presently at a nursing rehabilitation facility in Cloverdale,CA. I may return to Building Bridges after being discharged from here. Spending most afternoons sitting outside chanting vedic chants and bird watching. Craig Louis Stehr (707) 894-5201, Room #14.

    • Bruce Anderson September 17, 2023

      We — the ava family — wondered why you’d been incommunicado. We hope you’re back in Ukiah soon, Craig.

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