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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023

Showers | Classic Finals | Boat Parade | Glass Blowers | Recommended Play | Pet Monica | Lawyer Poaching | Clare's Matchbook | Cubbison/Eyster | Red Tagged | Grange Achievements | Eel River | Rejected Agents | Navarro Estuary | Montgomery Woods | Hell's Ticket | Noyo Sunbathers | Ed Notes | Halt Woodman | Gift Idea | Sportsmanship | Beer Porn | The Hub | Russian Gulch | Pomo News | Fay Lanphier | Old Days | Yesterday's Catch | Marco Radio | No Pants | Bottle Bill | Blonde Badger | Narcan Save | Polly | Censorship Statement | Heaviest Element | Burning Tires | Kissinger Crimes | OpenAI | My Right | Underdressed | American Venus

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RAINFALL (past 24 hours): Leggett 1.68" - Willits 1.21" - Laytonville 0.55" - Hopland 0.42" - Yorkville 0.40" - Covelo 0.36" - Boonville 0.31" - Ukiah 0.28"

A PERIOD OF HEAVY RAINFALL will impact again northern Humboldt and Del Norte counties this afternoon through late tonight. Gusty ridgetop winds will also accompany the heavy rain. Additional light to moderate rainfall is expected early next week, with a stronger system with the potential of heavy rainfall to occur during mid week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): my power went out at 4:51am, this is the outage map at 5:24am - no idea why?

A cloudy 56F with cloudy skies this Sunday morning on the coast. I have another .44" of rainfall collected. Scattered showers today, less rain Mon & Tue ( ? ) then more rain Wed & Thur. Not sure after that.

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by Lucy Espinoza

Today was full of exciting games that kept us all on our toes. Unfortunately, Willits had to back out of the tournament last minute, therefore, our AV boys stepped in to play a back-to-back game against Averroes.

For the final time, I am providing final scores, scores per quarter, and top scorers. At the end you will find the All-Tourney selections

Game 19: CSD v. Potter Valley
Final Score: 45-30
CSD: 10 15 10 10
PV: 5 8 10 7
CSD: #21 J. Lopez 10 points
PV: #12 Johnnie 9 points

Game 20: Lower Lake v. Anderson Valley
Final Score: 54-37
LL: 14 10 12 18
AV: 7 2 12 16
LL: #15 Steven 18 points
AV: #0 Diego Torales 8 points

Game 21: Averroes v. Anderson Valley
Final Score: 68-27
Averroes: 22 12 12 22
AV: 1 11 8 7
Averroes: #2 O. Kahn 17 points
AV: #0 Diego Torales 12 points

Game 22: Pinewood v. Valley Christian Academy
Final Score: 81-69
Pinewood: 24 25 16 16
VCA: 29 11 16 13
Pinewood: #11 B. Ge 23 points
VCA: #1 Ian Glasey 19 points

Game 23: Stuart Hall v. Cloverdale (Third Place game)
Final Score: 87-49
Stuart Hall: 23 21 27 16
Cloverdale: 14 15 9 11
Stuart Hall: #1 T. Rayford 30 points 
Cloverdale: #5 Cole 14 points

Game 24: South Fork v. Priory (Championship game)
Final Score: 51-44
South Fork: 14 12 13 12
Priory: 13 6 11 14
South Fork: #15 Trevor 16 points
Priory: #5 Kasten E. 20 points

All-tourney selections: #1 Ian Gasey, VCA; #2 Thomas Meeleib, Pinewood; #2 Jordan, Cloverdale; #1 T. Rayford and #25 N. Wallace, Stuart Hall; #5 Kasten E. and #21 Michael H., Priory; #1 Broc C, #15 Trevor, and #21 Tommy, South Fork.

The recipient of the Robert J. Mathias Award was David Moseley, Priory Coach.

Here are some pictures provided by Leilani Bucio.

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A lot of folks have missed this Event in past years, so here's a Reminder. The Lit Boat Parade in Noyo Harbor Sunday (Dec. 3) 5:30 - 7:30 pm. I'm guessing the best views will be from along North Harbor Drive, or perhaps the walkway on the Noyo River Bridge. I have no further details.

— Derek [MCN-Announce]

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LARRY WAGNER REMINDS US: Big news at Glass Fire Gallery. Josh Ryan (who Buster taught to blow glass) and Eric Edner have fired up the furnace and are working on a project for a gallery in Yosemite creating glass cairns. Warming up they make Christmas ornaments, pumpkins and the likes and just have it randomly for sale. Trish invites you to drop by and see them at work. They will be here until Tuesday. They usually start about 10 or 11 and blow most of the day. Break and often go ago again until late into the night. They are hoping to come back in January or February. Just a short informal go round this time. Stay tuned for further firings. I'm sure Buster would be pleased to see the furnace at work again.

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The Seafarer playing right now at the Mendocino Theater Co. It is simply an amazing play. Five very difficult roles which the actors pull off superbly. Each of the five actors — Steve Worthen, Byron Greene, Bob Cohen, John Craven and Dan Kozloff — are absolutely perfect in their roles. But John Craven is even more, he is simply spell-binding in his performance. This is not an experience you should let slide by. 

Every Thurs, Fri and Saturday nights and Sunday Matinees through Dec. 17.

David Alden


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Monica is a wonderful small-to-medium dog. She’s uber sweet and very friendly. Monica would love a guardian who will take her out for walks and include her on adventures. Monica enjoys meeting new people and exploring her surroundings. She appears to be very dog-social to boot! Love her? You can begin the adoption process on-line, and then call the shelter to make an appointment to meet Monica. Monica's been hanging out in Redwood Valley with a wonderful shelter volunteer, and we have photos of her enjoying the local swimming hole and basking in the sun. You can check out more about her at

Monica is a Lab X, 1 year old and 34 charming pounds.

For more about Monica and all our adoptable dogs and cats, head to 

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

Check out our Facebook Page and share our posts! And--if you’re looking for a puppy, the shelter is full of the cutest and sweetest pups. Click here to see them all!

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While the Reuters article below is from 2022, the shortage of qualified applicants applying to fill county prosecutor openings has continued through 2023 and is expected to continue through 2024 nationally, statewide, and, unfortunately, here in Mendocino County ... a national staffing shortage which has resulted in the better-off counties engaging in a form of lawyer poaching.

The neighboring county to the south, those in the Bay Area, and even those over in the Valley are offering significantly better compensation packages to our experienced prosecutors, as well as the less-experienced attorneys we have hired and have been training.

In just the last year or two, Mendocino County has lost or will lose local prosecutors to a coastal Oregon county, San Francisco, Marin, San Luis Obispo, Contra Costa, and Sonoma.

Mendocino County's access to nature and quality of life scores high on exit interviews, as does office working conditions.

On the other hand, perceived county budgetary instability and significantly higher salaries and benefit packages offered by competing counties are the two reasons most often given by those moving on to what some have referred to as “greener pastures.”

The salary for an entry-level Deputy DA?

$81,785.60– $99,424 a year

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MARSHALL NEWMAN: Clare's Cafe used to be where The Last Resort used to be in Philo (i.e. across Highway 128 from the Philo Market), but I have not seen this particular matchbook cover previously. It probably dates from the late 1940s or early 1950s.

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by Mark Scaramella

A reader sent us a copy of the formal court filing submitted by former Auditor-Treasurer Chamise Cubbison’s SoCo attorney Chris Andrian. It’s over 100 pages long.

The main elements of Andrian’s submission have already been reliably covered by reporter Mike Geniella: Ms. Cubbison's attorney, Chris Andrian, argues that District Attorney David Eyster should recuse himself from the prosecution of Ms. Cubbison because of his bias against Ms. Cubbison for challenging a Broiler Steakhouse Dinner/Training Session reimbursement claim.

Andrian includes dozens of pages of local media coverage of the dispute going back to when Ms. Cubbison was up for appointment as Interim Auditor-Controller. (This was before that office was combined with the Treasurer-Tax Collector office.)

Also included in Andrian’s filing is an extensive email string between then-Assistant Auditor-Controller Cubbison and the DA’s Administrative Services Manager Carmen Macias in which they debate at length and in great detail whether the DA is “exempt” from county reimbursement documentation requirements because in the past CEO Angelo had said the DA was exempt, sort of. At the time of the exchange Ms. Cubbison was Assistant Auditor-Controller and Lloyd Weer was Auditor-Controller.

There are two interesting points that emerge from the Cubbison-Macias email exchange.

1) Most of the DA’s claims are legitimate training expenses, including the Broiler Dinner. The DA went to some trouble to arrange for job-related off-hours training presentations to his staff during the dinner which probably was cheaper than sending his staff to comparable formal trainings, and such trainings as the one at the Broiler were legitimately reimbursable. The other disputed claims were also for what appear to be additional legitimate job-related training that wasn’t accompanied by the proper supporting authorizations. The DA didn’t think he needed to submit full documentation for such “mandatory” trainings because of the exemption he had received from the CEO.

2) Ms. Cubbison was correct in calling for accompanying paperwork showing that trainings were authorized and that the amounts claimed were correct. She was also doing her job in questioning whether the guests of the DA’s staff at the Broiler dinner should have their dinner costs included in the DA’s claim.

Cubbison even went so far as to request a legal opinion (from outside counsel since the County Counsel’s office declined the question) on the dispute.

Ironically, the same attorney who engineered Cubbison’s abrupt suspension on October 31, 2023 (attorney Morin Jacob of SF-based Liebert-Cassidy-Whitmore) issued a detailed (and undoubtedly costly) two-page opinion on the question: 

“Conclusion: The Auditor-Controller’s office has limited authority to deny the District Attorney’s claims. For purchases of goods or services, the Auditor-Controller can deny claims or reimbursements that are outside County Policy and not specifically authorized by law. The Asset Forfeiture fund is specifically authorized by Government Code 11489 and therefore claims 9169228.1 ME380-001 stemming from that fund should be considered with an eye to Government Code 11489 and not merely County Policy. The District Attorney has likely not been completely exempted from the County’s Travel Authorization requirement. Per County Policy, the District Attorney’s office must obtain Travel Authorizations for expenditures that are not directly related to a case, and are either (1) out of California or (2) over $1000… Sincerely, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Morin I. Jacob.”

Which seems to support Ms. Cubbison’s position.

Who’s right? We still don’t know. 

What we do know is that the dispute was over a very minor issue and both parties were doing their jobs as they saw them and that the amounts involved were pretty small, probably less than the cost of the opinion from attorney Jacob. We also know that this entire seemingly minor flap simmered over the years to the point when it boiled over with the DA's now-famous October 2021 speech to the Supervisors, demanding that because of this exaggerated dispute Cubbison should not be appointed as Interim Auditor-Controller. Eyster’s pique, in turn, merged with the Board’s unfair complaints about Ms. Cubbison’s job performance and ultimately to the Board’s rash decision to suspend Cubbison (for doing her job) but without due process.

The entire matter could and should have been easily resolved early on if the DA had simply paid for the extra (non-staff) dinners (these are all well-paid attorneys after all), and provided basic authorizing paperwork. But the DA, it seems, famously stubborn, is more interested in being “right,” than the bigger question of what’s best for Mendocino County.

It reminds us of the pointless $400k fight the Supervisors and the CEO picked with the Sheriff over who controls his computer system and ordinary budget overruns. This squabble between Eyster and Cubbison has grown into another avoidable but costly court battle that will do nothing to solve the County’s ever-larger budget woes, and will probably make the budget deficit worse.

We doubt Eyster will voluntarily recuse himself. He’s become too invested in the case to back down. We hope we’re wrong.

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ANDERSON VALLEY GRANGE #669 CELEBRATES REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENTS in 2023, Thanks to Generous Support from Community Foundation of Mendocino County

BOONVILLE, CA – [11/29/23] – Anderson Valley Grange #669 is thrilled to announce the successful completion of its ambitious project, "Respite in a Time of Need," funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County This initiative aimed to fortify the Grange's role as a community hub, particularly during power outages and disasters.

Throughout the year, the Anderson Valley Grange #669 has made significant strides towards enhancing its capabilities to serve as a vital resource during challenging times. Some of the noteworthy accomplishments include:

  1. Internet Connectivity: Recognizing the importance of staying connected, especially during emergencies, the Grange has successfully installed internet services. This enhancement will not only aid in communication but also provide access to essential information during critical situations.  This will be a free service and available inside and out of the building during an emergency or sustained power outage.
  2. Enhanced Food Service Area: The Grange has dedicated efforts to improve its food service area for community distribution. This upgrade is crucial for efficiently providing a hygienic food service area for public food distribution.
  3. Generator Installation: Currently underway is the installation of a generator to further fortify the Grange's ability to function independently during power outages. This addition will ensure continuous operation of essential services and provide a location for continued operation of activities within the community and safeguard the food storage of the Anderson Valley Food Bank.
  4. Public Charging Station: In line with the commitment to community welfare, the Grange has procured charging stations, towers and cables to facilitate cell phone charging and medical device charging.  In addition, there are a limited supply of portable lithium battery packs and a smaller gas generator for loan to those persons who need medical device support at home and that periodic charging at the Grange does not meet their need.
  5. Emergency Preparedness and Water Supply: The Grange has taken proactive measures to be a reliable resource during power outages by increasing its water supply. In times of need, the Grange will be equipped to distribute non-potable water to community members dependent on electricity for water supply.  This water will be for use within their households and meet small livestock and pet needs.  Instructions on purifying water in times of emergency will be provided in English and Spanish.

The Anderson Valley Grange #669 extends its heartfelt gratitude to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County and countless local businesses and individual community members for their support. The success of the "Respite in a Time of Need" project would not have been possible without their generous funding and commitment to community well-being.

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JEFF GOLL: My mechanic's house mate had an acute medical problem and he had to go to SF for treatment and the rings for the pistons were for a half year later engine and as Roseanna Rosannadanna said: "It just goes to show ya. It's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another." I've got one photo today for the AVA and carry on, Jeff

South Fork Eel River- Wilderness Trail Drive  (Jeff Goll)

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This is what I remember the most of that visit to Gloria: "1989, New York City, Mrs. Trump (The First Mrs. Trump)

After reading The Book of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, Gloria Steinem invited me to New York City to find an agent. Alice Walker, who lived near Mendocino had read it and sent it to Gloria. The book I was working on then was Son (which for many reasons I am finishing only now). Gloria sent me to three top literary agents in the city, and to her dentist. At the dentist’s, when my name was called I started down the hall to his office. Out of it stormed Ivana Trump, the wife of the probable destroyer of the USFL, Donald Trump. Dressed in the latest, but wearing only one high heal, she came close to knocking me over. Blond like me but bleached, a semi-ratted hair style I wouldn’t be caught dead in, older (it seemed), heavier. She was raging, her high heel stomping, her shoeless foot causing her to bop up and down in an irregular rhythm. Snarling, cursing. The dentist, when I got there, shrugged his shoulders, lifting his arms in a I-don’t-know-what-happened gesture. While he poked around inside my mouth I noticed Mrs. Trump’s other high heel on the floor. She’d thrown it at him!

The most powerful of the three agents said I had to agree with her rewrites, cuts, basically all her conditions. I don’t remember the second. I liked the third and as I sat there in front of her desk I could see the books of a Mendocino novelist on her shelves. But at the end of the week I declined all three. I wanted the freedom and morality that the small press scene gave. I believed in the small press revolution.

I called the first agent from the airport, politely declined her offer to represent Son. Not only could I not accept her conditions, I had felt her dislike for me. I couldn’t accept the conditions of the other two either though they were less objectionable. In New York I longed for the individualism valued in California.

What did the dentist do to Mrs. Trump to make her so crazy? Find cavities? I’ve read that as Mr. Trump’s ex she lives now on the top floor of the Trump Tower.

Evidently I pissed off Gloria for not accepting any of the three agents because she’s never answered my letters or acknowledged my books I’ve sent her through the years in thanks. I’ve been sorry, dismayed and a little hurt for this. But I’d never throw my shoe at her. Only thank-yous and big love for all the good she’s done for our world, and tried to do for me."

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In 1989 Gloria Steinem had me come to New York. She sent me to 3 top literary agents (and to the dentist)! The first one offended me so badly that I was turned off to all of them, came home (the West Coast) and proceeded to conduct my own literary career, writing other books, going on the road, giving readings and taking temporary Creative Writer teaching positions. I have finally finished Son (which she had me come to NY for on my argument that the feminist movement needed to address the issue of raising sons). It's a different time now, so who knows...? But it should get to her tomorrow! I know I wrote a similar post very recently but you know, I'm excited!

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Navarro Estuary (Falcon)

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MONTGOMERY WOODS State Nature Preserve is a 1,323-acre (535 ha) state park located in the Coast Range in Mendocino County, California, United States. The Preserve occupies the headwaters of Montgomery Creek, a tributary of the Big River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at Mendocino Headlands State Park. The virgin groves of Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in Montgomery Woods are examples of a now rare upland riparian meadow habitat; most other preserved redwood groves are on broad floodplains. A moderately steep trail from the parking area climbs along Montgomery Creek about three-quarters of a mile. Once in the woods, the trail makes a winding 3-mile loop, with substantial use of boardwalks to protect the fragile forest floor. The preserve was started by a donation of 9 acres (3.6 ha) from Robert T. Orr in 1945, with 765 acres (310 hectares) donated since 1947 by the Save the Redwoods League.

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After reading the Economist’s recent assessment on what a Donald Trump victory in 2024 would mean for the rest of the world, it becomes obvious that difficult times require difficult/unusual solutions. I firmly believe that a Joe Biden-Hillary Clinton ticket is the answer and would lead to a runaway victory. It’s never been done before? Well, we’ve never had an obvious would-be dictator running for president before. We must take whatever drastic measures we can to ensure that this man does not become president. I only pray that Clinton will be willing to take on this assignment.

Pearl Seymore


ED REPLY: Pearl, this is the most terrifying letter to the editor I've seen in my forty years in the newspaper business.

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Noyo Harbor Inn (Falcon)

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THE MONSTROUS ASSAULT on Gaza was described by an Israeli spokesman as “The mother of all thumpings,” as if the anonymous murders of innocent people without the means to defend themselves is something to joke about. A real joke is the Biden Administration's advice to the Israelis to avoid civilian casualties, as if that's possible during heavy shelling and carpet bombing. 

IT SEEMS like yesterday, but then everything tends to seem like yesterday as short term memory disappears and long ago events crowd to the front of the eroded cerebral cortex…

“Was that Tanya Brannan who just walked by?” Jim Martin asked as we stood out in front of Walden Pond Books in Oakland on a long ago Saturday night when a slender, pleasant-looking woman of middle years walked past us, a smile on her face. “If she was smiling, I don’t think it was Tanya,” I said. “And if she was smiling at us it definitely wasn’t Tanya.” 

But it was Tanya. We could see her down the street talking to two other women too far away to recognize beyond their gender identifiers of garment and feminine contours. 

I hadn’t seen Tanya in a while. I restrained an impulse to shout down the street, “Tanya! Tanya! Do you remember me, Tanya? It was spring, the grass was green, the birds were singing and we were young and carefree among Mendo College's Nautilus machines.”

But Tanya seemed to have bid reality a final farewell. She wore a permanent, prozac-like grin, laughed at no audible provocation and confidently made statements remote from any known reality.

Karen Pickett was the second of the three women rendezvousing on the sidewalk with Tanya. She looked terribly aggrieved when I first saw her years before and she still looked aggrieved on that Saturday night in Oakland. 

The third person greeting Tanya on the sidewalk, I learned later, was Noelle Hanrahan, then a big wig at KPFA. She wore an SEIU jacket along with some kind of urban combat outfit. Her belligerent forty-ish puss looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place her. Hanrahan’s contribution to the ensuing evening’s discussion consisted of bellowed “Well, Duhs!” in the exasperated tones of a twelve-year-old whenever I tried to speak.

When Welda plopped herself down next to Irv Sutley, a round of butt-bongo commenced. Welda, who comes in around 205, butt-winched Sutley, 230, a full buttock to Sutley’s right, shoving him uncomfortably up against another gent. Sutley responded with a forceful butt-nudge of his own that knocked Welda about a buttock-and-a-quarter off her end of the bench. Listing badly to her left, Welda wobbled precariously on a three-quarter moon before heaving both her buttocks, reinforced by an ample shank, laterally back at Sutley, who by now had both his buttocks fully and firmly settled on the bench, resolute and immovable. 

The butt combat didn’t seem to improve Welda’s mood any.

Shave their heads and tattoo X’s between their eyes and there were the Manson Girls. True believers, laughing contemptuously at almost everything said but unable to refute any of it. The three of them settled themselves strategically around the room so they could do their disruption thing in stereo, a sort of unhinged Surround-Sound.

Noelle Hanrahan shouted out sarcastic “Well, duhs” whenever she heard statements she didn’t like. And there were lots of them. Karen Pickett kept shouting, “But we’re being trashed!” whenever she heard something she didn’t like. And Brannan, who sat laughing to herself at unheard jokes, occasionally jumped to her feet with aggressively confident statements that were not pertinent to anything said. 

The three Bari cult commandos had appeared at Walden Pond Books that Saturday night simply to deride and disrupt our presentation. Which they did but also repelled most of the people present.

Unfortunately for Welda and Co., the audience was mostly older people with many years experience distinguishing fact from fiction, and just as many years listening to little lenins shout down opponents and attempt to wreck meetings. Hitherto, the entire Bari cult had been heavily invested in keeping skeptics from speaking. Fortunately, book store people don’t take kindly to prior restraint, which is why our little truth team had been pretty much confined to book store appearances.

It’s a great irony, and also a measure of the deterioration of the American left, not to mention literacy, that people who have no regard whatsoever for the free exchange of ideas, and certainly have no regard for skepticism generally, dominated KPFA at the time, a sad development considering that fm radio was founded and fought for by people who not only took real risks for their ideas and their opinions.

Well, that was then and now is now.

Thank the goddess for bookstores.

WHATEVER happened to Funk Shui, pronounced FunkShway, the musical group that their flier said played "sounds of the tropics and the heart." I remember them appearing at the Hill House in Mendocino long ago, but then they disappeared. About the same time I suffered through a few tense encounters with a grim social worker who called herself Feng Shui. When she answered her phone I ordered beef chow mein to go, hold the msg. She wasn't amused. 

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MALCOLM MACDONALD: Nothing says the holidays more than children, and what better read than the “Tire Baby” chapter of my book, Mendocino History Exposed, about little known stories of our county's history. You can pick this book up at almost any independent bookstore throughout Mendocino County. An easy online order is available through the good folks at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino:

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I DON’T GET THIS STUFF ABOUT SPORTSMANSHIP. You play to win, don’t you? Say I’m playing short and Mother is on first and the batter singles to right. Mother comes fast around second with the winning run — Mother will have to go down. I’ll help her up, dust her off and say ‘Mom, I’m sorry, but it was an accident’ — but she won’t of scored. Nobody asks how you happen to lose. All they want to know is did you win. If I’m spitting at a crack in the wall for nickels I still want to win. Anybody can come in second. Nice guys finish last.

— Leo Durocher

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New AVA, beer Porn…

…those are some fine-looking beers in the latest AVA! From Andersen Valley Brewing and Tall Guy Brewing, respectively. They have AVBC – Boont Amber and the Stout - on tap @ TORONADO, but of course there’s nothing like drinking them at the source!

Another compliment due brewpubs: in this modern age in America they’re as likely a source for a Good Meal as Hotel restaurants have been for a Bad one! It may be the SAME meal (fish and chips, everyone?) but a good meal none the less! 

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I WENT TO THE CALIFORNIA STATE ARCHIVES in Sacramento last week, and was able to get my hands on the first copy of Pomo News from May 11, 1948, which was the old Mendocino State Hospital's "newspaper". At this stage, it was just five pages of mimeographed legal-sized paper stapled together.

Since this was the first issue, there were no patient names in this one (which is why I feel comfortable sharing it), but later ones did accept written patient submissions which were partially anonymized (first name and ward number shared, but only the last initial). Later issues were printed professionally by the Ukiah Daily Journal's press.

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December 2, 1925 - Nineteen-year-old Fay Lanphier, recently crowned Miss America, arrived at the Mendocino home of her aunt, Jennie Swanson, for a visit. Fay was born in Elk on December 12, 1905 to Casper and Emily Lanphier. When she was a young girl, the Lanphier family moved to Mendocino, and Fay and her siblings attended the first Mendocino Grammar School on the corner of Pine and School streets. In 1919, Fay’s father found employment in a shipping yard, and the family moved to Oakland.

Tragedy struck in early 1920 when Fay's father contracted influenza and died of pneumonia, leaving his widow Emily and their six children penniless. The Oakland community rallied around the family, providing food, clothing, and housing during this challenging time.

Despite the hardships, eldest daughter Fay continued her education at Oakland High School, planning to become a stenographer to support her family. However, she soon saw an opportunity for fame and fortune in a new phenomenon in the United States: beauty contests.

In 1924, while working as a stenographer, Fay won her first beauty title, "Miss Alameda,” and went on to win the State pageant. At the national contest in Atlantic City that year, she came in third. The following year she competed again and was crowned Miss America in the fifth annual Atlantic City beauty pageant.

Following her victory, Fay rode in President Calvin Coolidge's private railroad car, "The Constitution" to New York City, where she was given a ticker tape parade. She was toasted at parties thrown by Will Rogers and Rudolph Valentino, the film idol. Afterwards, she traveled the country on a personal appearance tour, earning an estimated $50,000 (about $880,000 in 2023).

After months on the road, the December visit to Mendocino offered Fay a brief respite with family and friends. She enjoyed afternoon teas, played bridge, and attended a grand ball given in her honor on Christmas Eve. On December 26, she left Mendocino to return to her tour. Her next stop was Pasadena where she was the Rose Queen at the 1926 Tournament of Roses.

With aspirations beyond beauty pageants, Fay next set her sights on Hollywood. She was the first Miss America winner to star in a feature film, "The American Venus." She played the title role in this silent movie, the story of a western girl who won a national beauty contest. The film received mixed reviews, and her movie contract was dropped, leading her to take a clerical job at Paramount Studios. In 1928, she married Sidney Spiegel, the son of Joseph Spiegel who founded the Spiegel catalog. That marriage ended in divorce after only 6 months.

In 1931, Fay married her childhood sweetheart, Winfield J. Daniels, the owner of bookstores in Berkeley and San Jose. Fay and Winfield had first met as children attending Mendocino Grammar School, and their paths crossed again during her visits to Mendocino. The couple settled in Orinda and had two daughters. Sadly, Fay passed away from pneumonia at the age of 53 in 1959.

Rhododendron Festival Parade Car, 1937. Five ladies in a flower-decorated car at the first Rhododendron Festival. The women are identified as Elna Erickson of Fort Bragg, “Queen” Dorothy Dutton of Greenwood, Deluce Wilson of Point Arena, Grace Mattos of Mendocino, and Fay Lanphier Daniels. Fay was the first Miss California to become Miss America, winning both titles in 1925.


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Dear Editor,

I remember a single person who was interested in a relationship put a AD in saying: Single Adult Male who is a senior in age would be so inclined towards meeting a single lady in interest for the purposes of romance. Please respond to AD is this possible? 

Sincerely yours, 

Greg Crawford

Fort Bragg

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, December 2, 2023

Amador, Fenton, Garcia

JULIO AMADOR, Willits. Protective order violation, contempt of court. 

SHAWN FENTON, Ukiah. Battery, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

Hall, Hann, Larvie

CRAY HALL, San Francisco/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ALLYSSA HANN, Vacaville/Ukiah. Suspended license, false ID, forgery, resisting.

ALDEN LARVIE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Morris, Philliber, Rodales

FRANKLY MORRIS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

CYNTHIA PHILLIBER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation violation, unspecified offense.


Schleich, Scott, Whitman

AARON SCHLEICH, Healdsburg/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

PETER SCOTT, Albion. Domestic battery.

RYAN WHITMAN JR., Albion. Failure to appear.

C.Williams, L.Williams, Zook

CODY WILLIAMS, Covelo. Suspended license for DUI.

LEONARD WILLIAMS SR., Covelo. Disobeying court order.

SAMUEL ZOOK, Willits. DUI, controlled substance. 

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Rain dogs.

“Then haue amongste ye once againe, faint harts faire ladies neuer win. I trust ye will consider my payne, when any good venyson cometh in.” — W. Elderton (1569)

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2023-12-01) 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.

This show has an expanded obit section (Henry Kissinger's appears an hour after that, followed by instructions for permanently magically sealing away an ancient horrendous evil). Various local pleas for medical money, please. Announcements of this and that service or item or opportunity. A steamy, sweaty chapter of Eleanor Cooney's next book. Further of Kent Wallace's latest book The Blind Steal. Sebastian Iturralde. R.D. Beacon's Markov-chain-like, Last-Words-Of-Dutch-Schultz-like discourse against furriners from the Big City who can leave his bar right now and don't let the door hit their ass on the way out. Louise Mariana with a nurse's perspective of bodily waste and a patient's wry, illuminating comment. Genocide in Gaza. Mazie Malone. Flynne Washburne. The usual petitions against puppy mills and gay panic laws, and like that. Byron Spooner's childhood neighborhood-and-school recollection of the aftermath of JFK's assassination. King Rudolph's obsessive collection of oddities during the 17 Years War against the Ottoman Turks, including microscopically engraved gemstones, an albino rhinoceros that could add, subtract and count to nine, trained cheetahs to hunt stags with, a quizzical cassowary, deformed and posed-as-deformed humans kept as pets and used for lawn-chess pieces, etc. Dream journal. David Herstle Jones. Major Mark Scaramella. A fully accoutred joke department, with an essay on jokes by Garrison Keillor himself. Recovered megachurch pastor Jim Palmer explains about toxic religion in fourteen steps. The Comtesse DeSpair on 200,000 kidnapped Korean and Chinese World-War-2 Comfort Women. Ezekiel's continuing interminable story of being sworn at by the meth-head master of Flaco and Lucky, this time including an encounter with his (Ezekiel's) modern-day-Scott-and-Zelda fellow tenants alcoholically baffled by the concept of stairs. And a Soviet-era plan to put out gas-field fires with little atomic bombs, which actually did the trick some of the places they tried it. But when all you have is an atomic bomb, everything looks like a gas-field fire, or an incipient harbor, or cheaply leveled mountain, and this was recognized, so they stopped before it got out of hand.

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:

8 levels of jazziness. 8! Ah-ah-ah!

Toylike tools to learn musical theory. The overly-cautious computer I was using last week wouldn't shake hands properly with this site, for some reason, but it works great on the phone; click to install the app and it's instant.

And the saw lady. A Chopin nocturne. I imagine her playing this in the subway. Nobody's around but two crooks. One crook moves to snatch away her upturned tip hat with three dollars and change in it. The other, the smart one, sees the mongoose poised to spring look in the saw lady's eye, understands the danger, and calls his friend away just in the nick of time.

Marco McClean,,

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by Dominique Williams

California is making changes to its bottle deposit law — ones that could put extra money in your pocket.

Residents can soon turn in wine bottles, liquor bottles and other large beverage containers for cash.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed one measure amending the so-called California Bottle Bill into law in September 2022 and another in October.

The changes go into effect at the start of January.

“Adding more alcohol and juice containers on Jan. 1 is the first of several changes we’re rolling out to make recycling easier for Californians,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said in a news release.

How does California bottle recycling bill work?

The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, as the California Bottle Bill is formally known, was enacted in 1987, according to Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization.

It created a deposit program in the state, known as the California Redemption Value program.

According to CalRecyle, consumers pay a CRV fee when they purchase glass, plastic or aluminum beverage containers.

This deposit is either returned to consumers when they recycle their containers, or is “donated” to a curbside operator or nonprofit recycler, Californians Against Waste said.

Containers under 24 ounces have a CRV value of 5 cents, CalRecycle said, while larger containers can be redeemed for 10 cents apiece.

Beverage distributors pay the deposit money into a state fund that in turn pays recycling centers taking part in the redemption program.

How is California Bottle Bill changing?

The changes to the CRV law will make wine bottles, wine boxes, liquor bottles and large juice containers eligible for deposit. That includes the plastic pouches found inside boxes of wine.

The wine industry had resisted placing deposits on its containers.

However, The Wine Institute based in San Francisco, said in 2022 that several amendments to the bill made it palatable. The amendments include allotting money to add more redemption centers and to expand the capacity of recyclers.

California will use $285 million from new funding for recycling expansion projects, including beverage container recycling business start-up costs and hassle-free redemption methods —such as reverse vending machines, mobile recycling and bag-drop recycling, according to the CalRecycle news release.

How much can you get for redeeming wine, liquor containers?

Under Senate Bill 1013 and Senate Bill 353, wine, liquor, alcoholic cooler and juice containers holding less than 24 ounces are each eligible for a 5-cent deposit, according to CalRecycle. Those holding 24 ounces or more can be redeemed for 10 cents.

Pouches, boxes and cartons holding wine and liquor can be redeemed for a deposit of 25 cents.

The deposit can be redeemed whether or not the containers have the CRV label, according to the release.

Retailers in California are required to have a recycling center within a specified area around the store — called a “convenience zone,” according to Californians Against Waste.

All retailers in areas without recycling centers must redeem the deposits in-store, or join new dealer cooperative systems starting Jan. 1, 2025, the release said.

When do CRV changes go into effect?

The measures reforming the California Bottle Bill go into effect on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2024.

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by Dominic Fracassa

A rare American Badger with leucism — a condition marked by a partial loss of pigmentation — was recently spotted and photographed at Point Reyes National Seashore, officials with the National Parks Service said this week. 

A photo of the cream-colored creature posted to the Point Reyes park’s Facebook page that showed the badger trundling down a path included an explanation of leucism. 

One giveaway: Unlike animals with albinism, the badger’s eyes appear brown or black, not pink. “Its nose also has some pigment to it,” park officials wrote. 

 “Leucism is a genetic mutation where there is only a partial loss of pigmentation, while albinism is when there is a total absence of pigmentation,” park officials wrote. 

The Point Reyes badger would ordinarily have brown strips, but for its leucism. 

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I JUST SAVED SOMEONE’S LIFE on San Francisco’s streets. I wish I didn’t have to.

by Nuala Bishari

Earlier this week, as I was leaving the San Francisco Chronicle building, I saw a woman slumped in an uncomfortable position on steps across the street. I called out, “Hello!” as I walked up to her, but got no response. Something was wrong. Her face was ashen, and when I shook her and asked her to wake up, I realized she wasn’t breathing.

As the gravity of the situation hit me, I tried not to panic. Only one other person had bothered to stop, and he looked nervous.

 “Call 911 and tell them we have an overdose on Fifth and Mission,” I told him as I unzipped my backpack and sifted through it for naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. I’ve carried it everywhere I go for five years after three young people overdosed and died near my house in the Haight. The day their bodies were discovered I went to a drop-in clinic and got trained to respond to an overdose.

I swore as I realized I only had one dose of brand-name Narcan with me. Would just one work? Depending on how long she’d been there, more than one dose might be necessary to block the opioid receptors in her brain and start her breathing again.

I broke open the packaging, pressed the plunger into her nose, and then I shouted at the top of my lungs into the street.

“I need Narcan! Does anyone have Narcan?!”

A couple of people stopped, looked at me quizzically and kept walking.

Realizing I had to do this alone, I pulled her into my lap and gave her a firm sternum rub, seeing if pain could bring her around.

“Please wake up,” I begged, starting to cry a little. “You are loved, and we want you here. Please come back to us.”

Slowly, the color came back to her cheeks, and then she took a deep breath in. But her eyes stayed closed. As the noise of sirens grew closer, I stroked her hair and told her she was going to be OK. First responders poured out of a fire truck.

“I gave her one dose, it’s all I had,” I said, stepping back. “But I got her breathing.”

“Good job, that’s exactly what she needed,” said a paramedic.

Everyone was calm and gentle, and in a matter of minutes, they had her conscious. She was loaded into an ambulance. The paramedic looked around for me, gave me a thumbs up, and drove away.

I stood on the sidewalk, surrounded by Narcan packaging and pieces of an oxygen kit. Traffic sped by and people walked around me, moving through their day. I felt stunned by how fast the scene wrapped up — and shocked to be reminded how quickly and quietly a life can be lost on our streets without passersby knowing the difference.

That was the first time I’ve had to administer naloxone. I’ve stood at the scene of countless overdose reversals, been that bystander on the phone to 911 and held people’s hands as others have brought them around. I know how to load syringes, inject into muscle, do a sternum rub and breathe for somebody when they can’t do it on their own. I walk slowly through San Francisco, checking on people as I go, watching for the rise and fall of their chests as they sleep in doorways. I was as ready as anyone could be.

Despite this, nothing prepared me for what it felt like when someone needed help, and I was the only person around who knew what to do.

Standing on the sidewalk that day, I didn’t feel like a hero. I just felt sad.

I carry naloxone because I want people to live and be happy and experience love, regardless of whether they use drugs. I check on people in the streets because our city fails to care for them.

We have no cohesive, citywide plan to save lives, and it shows: 2023 is on track to be San Francisco’s deadliest year on record for accidental overdoses. At this pace, more than 800 people will die of overdoses. I believe every single one is preventable.

Overdose prevention centers save lives, and yet San Francisco closed its only one nearly a year ago. More people want and need drug treatment than can access it, but as a city, we’re utterly failing to meet demand. Our street drug supply is toxic and unpredictable, but we could learn from Canada’s program that distributes controlled, tested drugs to reduce overdoses. 

Without this infrastructure, it’s left to regular people like me to either intervene or let people die in our periphery. Many city workers trained to help are patrolling the streets. But absent centralized infrastructure, San Francisco is too big a danger zone for only those with professional training to be tasked with responding to overdoses.

All the while, our politicians have turned the overdose crisis into their personal battlefield. Grand plans are announced and then fizzle out. There are neverending, circular arguments about whether we should invest in policing or treatment, harm reduction or abstinence. As deaths rise, the conversation has only grown more bitter, with fewer and fewer people willing to reach across the aisle in service of pragmatic solutions.

In the face of such weak leadership, the rest of us are left to step up.

Processing what happened in the days since the overdose, I realize I’m OK because she’s OK. I did everything I could, and this time it worked. Next time, we might not be so lucky. I worry about that. I do not feel equipped to handle the grief of trying to save someone’s life and failing. I feel angry that a city without a plan hands the responsibility of saving lives to its residents, but I also feel that in the wake of its failures, we have a moral obligation to act. We can arm ourselves with naloxone, learn how to do rescue breathing and check on those we pass as we walk down the street. We can choose to care about strangers and act with compassion when people need us.

Because if we don’t take action, who will?

(SF Chronicle)

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The key question in censorship is always the same. Who's doing it?

by Matt Taibbi

Chairman Jordan, ranking member Plaskett, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak. 

Exactly one year ago today I had my first look at the documents that came to be known as the Twitter Files. One of the first things Michael, Bari Weiss and I found was this image, showing that Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya had been placed on a “trends blacklist”:

This was not because he was suspected of terrorism or incitement or of being a Russian spy or a bad citizen in any way. Dr. Bhattacharya’s crime was doing a peer-reviewed study that became the 55th-most read scientific paper of all time, which showed the WHO initially overstated Covid-19 infection fatality rates by a factor of 17. This was legitimate scientific opinion and should have been an important part of the public debate, but Bhattacharya and several of his colleagues instead became some of the most suppressed people in America in 2020 and 2021. 

That’s because by then, even true speech that undermined confidence in government policies had begun to be considered a form of disinformation, precisely the situation the First Amendment was designed to avoid. 

When Michael and I testified before the good people of this Committee in March we mentioned this classically Orwellian concept of “malinformation” — material that is somehow both true and wrong — as one of many reasons everyone should be concerned about these digital censorship programs.

But there’s a more subtle reason people across the spectrum should care about this issue.

Former Executive Director of the ACLU Ira Glasser once explained to a group of students why he didn’t support hate speech codes on campuses. The problem, he said, was “who gets to decide what’s hateful… who gets to decide what to ban,” because “most of the time, it ain’t you.”

The story that came out in the Twitter Files, and for which more evidence surfaced in both the Missouri v. Bidenlawsuit and this Committee’s Facebook Files releases, speaks directly to Glasser’s concerns.

There’s been a dramatic shift in attitudes about speech, and many politicians now clearly believe the bulk of Americans can’t be trusted to digest information. This mindset imagines that if we see one clip from RT we’ll stop being patriots, that once exposed to hate speech we’ll become bigots ourselves, that if we read even one Donald Trump tweet we’ll become insurrectionists. 

Having come to this conclusion, the kind of people who do “anti-disinformation” work have taken upon themselves the paternalistic responsibility to sort out for us what is and is not safe. While they see great danger in allowing anyone else to read controversial material, it’s taken for granted that they’ll be immune to the dangers of speech.

This leads to the one inescapable question about new “anti-disinformation” programs that is never discussed, but must be: who does this work? Stanford’s Election Integrity Project helpfully made a graphic showing the “external stakeholders” in their content review operation. It showed four columns: government, civil society, platforms, media.

One group is conspicuously absent from that list: people. Ordinary people! Whether America continues the informal sub rosa censorship system seen in the Twitter Files or formally adopts something like Europe’s draconian new Digital Services Act, it’s already clear who won’t be involved. There’ll be no dockworkers doing content flagging, no poor people from inner city neighborhoods, no single moms pulling multiple waitressing jobs, no immigrant store owners or Uber drivers, etc. These programs will always feature a tiny, rarefied sliver of affluent professional-class America censoring a huge and ever-expanding pool of everyone else.

Take away the high-fallutin’ talk about “countering hate” and “reducing harm” and “anti-disinformation” is just a bluntly elitist gatekeeping exercise. If you perfer to think in progressive terms, it’s class war. The math is simple. If one small demographic over here has broad control over the speech landscape, and a great big one over there does not, it follows that one group will end up with more political power than the other. Which one is the winner? To paraphrase Glasser, it probably ain’t you.

It isn’t just one side or the other that will lose if these programs are allowed to continue. It’s pretty much everyone, which is why these programs must be defunded before it’s too late. 

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In responding to my recent comments, Steve Elliot brought up matters not germane to them. In addition, he provided information both in inexact and/or incomplete.

One of those comments, in which he quoted me inaccurately and incompletely, read “Having picked this fight, Hamas and the Gazan people have lost the right to dictate the the terms of the consequent battle.” Gazans are suffering the fate Hamas hoped for in attacking Israel (destroyed infrastructure and civilian deaths – all to garner international headlines and sympathy), but likely to an extent Hamas never imagined. If Hamas wants to end this, it can begin by releasing every Israeli hostage at the Rafah Crossing. In truth, Hamas does not care; it is content to hide behind Gazan civilians and sacrifice them.

As Mr. Elliot says, between March 2018 and December 2019, Gazans staged weekly Friday marches to the Gaza border. What he does not say is that the “right of return” was not the only reason for these protests; they were in part staged to protest Israel’s tight restrictions on the movement of trade across the border. What caused those restrictions? Sustained Hamas missile attacks against Israel in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021 and the consequent Hamas/Israeli battles caused by at least two of these periods of missile attacks. And make no mistake, these protests were not peaceful; they frequently included Gazans breaching the border fence, making incursions into Israel and burning tires to obscure their actions, all of which provoked Israel to take the action it took against the protesters.

Last, but by no means least, based on all available evidence, Israel had NO role in creating Hamas. Whether Israel ever financed Hamas is doubtful, though there was a period where it allowed the transfer of funds to Hamas to provide basic services like electricity and water. It was a pragmatic act on Israel’s part; Hamas was the only authority in Gaza and thus the only one that could keep those basic services functioning.

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by Maureen Dowd

My favorite “Twilight Zone” episode is the one where aliens land and, in a sign of their peaceful intentions, give world leaders a book. Government cryptographers work to translate the alien language. They decipher the title — “To Serve Man” — and that’s reassuring, so interplanetary shuttles are set up.

But as the cryptographers proceed, they realize — too late — that it’s a cookbook.

That, dear reader, is the story of OpenAI.

It was founded in 2015 as a nonprofit to serve man, to keep an eye on galloping A.I. technology and ensure there were guardrails and kill switches — because when A.I. hits puberty, it will be like aliens landing.

When I interviewed them at their makeshift San Francisco headquarters back in 2016, the OpenAI founders — Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Ilya Sutskever and Greg Brockman — presented themselves as our Praetorian guard against the future threat of runaway, evil A.I., against bad actors and bad bots and all the lords of the cloud who had Mary Shelley dreams of creating a new species, humanity be damned.

 “We are explicitly not trying to enrich ourselves,” Sutskever told me.

Brockman was equally high-minded: “It’s not enough just to produce this technology and toss it over the fence and say, ‘OK, our job is done. Just let the world figure it out’.”

But OpenAI is tossing a lot of alarming stuff over the fence. Musk is gone, and Altman is no longer casting himself as humanity’s watchdog. He’s running a for-profit outfit, creating an A.I. cookbook. He’s less interested in peril than investors, less concerned about existential danger than finding A.I.’s capabilities. “When you see something that is technically sweet,” Robert Oppenheimer said, “you go ahead and do it.”

The government has nibbled the edges of regulation, but the quicksilver A.I. has already leaped ahead of the snaillike lawmakers and bureaucrats. Nobody, even in Silicon Valley, has any clue how to control it.

OpenAI’s wild ride two weeks ago was farcical — a coup against Altman that collapsed and turned into a restoration. But it was also terrifying because it showed that we are totally at the mercy of Silicon Valley boys with their toys, egos crashing, temperaments colliding, ambition and greed soaring.

Whatever you want to say about Musk’s recent unraveling — his manic edge, his offensive tweets, his strange, angular cybertruck — he has been passionate in working against rogue A.I. The perhaps quixotic quest of aligning A.I. progress to protect human values has caused Musk many a sleepless night and many a fractured friendship.

He lured Sutskever, a dazzling Russian engineer, from Google to OpenAI. Larry Page, a co-founder of Google and an A.I. accelerationist, was furious at his good friend Musk for poaching Sutskever and broke with him. Page dismissively told Musk he was “a specist” for siding with the human species in the A.I. argument.

Musk also scrapped with Altman. As Walter Isaacson wrote in “Elon Musk,” the mercurial mogul summoned Altman in February, asking him to bring OpenAI’s founding documents. Not too long after, Musk tweeted: “I’m still confused as to how a nonprofit to which I donated $100M somehow became a $30B market cap for-profit. If this is legal, why doesn’t everyone do it?”

Speaking to Kara Swisher, Altman called Musk a “jerk.”

As with Shakespeare, personality clashes are shaping life-or-death decisions in the battle over A.I. One thing that may have touched off the rebellion against Altman was that he diminished Sutskever’s role at the company.

We still don’t know exactly what happened. Did the board see some progress in the A.I. algorithm that jolted them enough to fire Altman for fear he was pushing products without enough regard for safeguards?

Certainly, the A.I. is getting better at reasoning, making fewer mistakes, hallucinating less — the term for making up stuff — and doing complicated math puzzles.

Musk recently praised Sutskever for having “a good moral compass.” Was the young engineer, who joined the doomers on the board and delivered the bad news to Altman before recanting, influenced by his mentor at Google, Geoffrey Hinton?

Hinton, the so-called godfather of artificial intelligence, was stunned by OpenAI’s miracle baby, ChatGPT, realizing we may be only a few years from A.I. being smarter than we are. Hinton gloomily told “60 Minutes” in October that A.I. could malevolently turn on us, manipulating us with what it has learned from being fed all the books ever written, including works of Machiavelli.

Unlike Musk, who can be awkward and go into “demon mode,” according to Isaacson, Altman is smooth in his dealings with investors, techies and lawmakers, comfy in T-shirt and jeans. One top Silicon Valley scientist described the 38-year-old Altman as “weirdly adorable.” Friendly with many reporters, he has assumed the role of the upbeat face of A.I.’s future.

But do we want someone with a sunny disposition about A.I.? No. Not when, as Musk warned last Thursday, “The apocalypse could come along at any moment.”

(NY Times)

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by Doug Holland

When I was young, Seattle was a city of rain, frequent and sometimes ferocious. The very heavy rains I remember from decades ago don't seem to happen very often any more. Maybe because I don't get out much.

We had a rare doozy downfall a week or so ago. I was waiting for a bus at the Burien Transit Center, and it was raining so furiously I had to come out from the shelter and stand in the deluge. It was excellent, coming down harder than the shower at home, which has a lazy nozzle.

Drenched but wearing a slick jacket that bounced most of the water off me, I stepped onto my bus when it came, settled into a sideways seat near the front.

I used to hate sitting in the sideways seats. If the driver is brake-happy, you gotta hang tight to keep from sliding off. Most drivers have a soft touch, though, and the sideways seats give you a good view of almost everyone on the bus. I enjoy the people watching, much more than I enjoy people. Look at that bum with all his bags, and that old lady all dressed up like she's headed to church on a Tuesday…

“Put your shoes on!” the driver shouted before we'd even left the station. I quickly doublechecked, and yup, I was wearing shoes, but he wasn't yelling at me. With only ten or so passengers aboard, I quickly spotted a barefoot woman, toward the back of the bus.

In the heaviest downpour I'd seen since returning to Washington, this woman was showing her toes and carrying her shoes. I had two wonders — first, of course, was wondering why a grown-ass human would be out in the rain barefoot, but almost as baffling, why would a bus driver care?

The second one's easy: Ride the bus often and you'll see plenty, and the drivers see everything eight hours every day. My guess is, that driver had seen that woman before, and she did something more outrageous than going barefoot in a downpour.

She was black, about 30 or 35, and dressed sexy for summer — but it's December, in Seattle. Most days hit 50°, but some days don't, and she was wearing only a sports bra on her upper half, cargo shorts, and the shoes she was lacing up, as instructed by the driver. No socks. No jacket.

Myself, I had two layers of sweatpants, a heavy sweatshirt, wool socks, shoes without being told, the aforementioned waterslick jacket, and a hat borrowed from Colonel Blake on MASH — and I was still a bit shivery.

Why was that woman so underdressed?, I wondered, while also wondering why should I give a damn? I am not my brother's keeper even among my own brothers, so I sure can't be caring about kooky black women on the bus.

But jeez, if she goes around like that through a Seattle autumn turning to winter, she'll be dead by spring.

Staring is rude, so I looked elsewhere, but glanced back at her too frequently, wondering, what's her story?

Well, why don't I walk back there, take an empty seat within talking distance, and ask her, “What's your story?” That's the human thing to do, and it might make an interesting page in this diary of a fat slob I publish daily.

Mulled it over for several blocks, but, nah. I'm not a guy who starts conversations. Plus, she was fairly attractive and I'm a man, so what could I say that wouldn't sound like I was hitting on her? And I am not hitting on a black woman half my age who's barely dressed in December, and needs a nudge from the bus driver to wear shoes in a rainstorm.

Also, the floor of the bus was wet and the bus was moving, so I might slip and fall. That's never happened, though — the bus has handrails all along the interior. Just another rationalization that keeps me from saying anything.

That's my whole life. Often I'm thinking I should say something, but saying something risks saying the wrong something, so usually I'm the quiet guy in a sideways seat who's hoping you won't talk to him, and who's highly unlikely to say anything to you. Even if you need someone to talk to. Even if I do.


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  1. Marmon December 3, 2023

    “By claiming ‘Trump will be like Hitler,’ neocons & Dem establishment rationalize their weaponizing of govt agencies, embolden those in power to further abuse their power, and may encourage a lone wolf to do what people say should have been done to Hitler before he took power. We must send a very direct & clear message at the voting booth that we completely reject these anti-Americans.”

    -Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 @TulsiGabbard

    • Chuck Wilcher December 3, 2023

      Trump yesterday in Iowa:

      “That’s why it was one of the great presidencies, they say,” he speaks of himself. “Even the opponents sometimes say he did very well, I have to say. ‘Take it back,’ they scream. his people say ‘Take it back.’ From that day on, our opponents, a lot of opponents, but we’ve been waging an all-out war on American democracy.”

      When people tell you who they are, believe them.

      • Steve Heilig December 3, 2023

        I’ve long scoffed at the “fascist” labels aimed at Trump. Not scoffing anymore. It’s undeniable.
        But at this point I don’t think even he believes much of what he says. He’s just trying to escape legal consequences of his acts, keep conning his cult followers out of money, and yes, get revenge on some who have dared cross him. In the end it’s mostly pathetic, but at this point, until he’s vanquished once and for all, still very dangerous. And, unAmerican for sure.

        • Kirk Vodopals December 3, 2023

          Is it fair to say Trump has a lock on the “deplorable” vote in 2024?

          • Steve Heilig December 3, 2023

            “Delusional” is a more fair label. There are good/bad reasons many are so disenchanted with things, including government. But feeling that Trump will solve this, and help those who need it, is just ignorant. There’s ample evidence of how his term hurt those who supported him. He’s done nothing positive except for the wealthy, which should surprise nobody.

    • Marshall Newman December 3, 2023

      Consider the source and keep reading. Nothing of importance here.

    • peter boudoures December 3, 2023

      These guys have it all Figured out.

  2. Mazie Malone December 3, 2023

    Re; I just Saved Someones Life…..

    Bless you for acting quickly and saving this person..

    A moral obligation to act on behalf of another in a crisis whether drugs/mental illness or physical should be the norm, …compassionate quick response across the board.

    mm 💕

  3. Harvey Reading December 3, 2023

    “My favorite “Twilight Zone” episode is the one where aliens land and, in a sign of their peaceful intentions, give world leaders a book.”

    Mine, too, though I didn’t get to see it until I was in my 40s and had cable service. My dad related it to me the morning after, when I was a kid, one who didn’t get to stay up late enough for TZ.

    • Stephen Rosenthal December 3, 2023

      That’s a great one, but how to pick a favorite among the many phenomenal episodes? Two of mine that remain etched in my memory are “The Invaders” with Agnes Moorehead in a tour-de-force performance and “Nothing in the Dark” with Robert Redford in one of his first roles. I’ve got a partial DVD set and it’s amazing how many actors and actresses who appeared in The Twilight Zone went on to become legendary performers.

      • Marco McClean December 3, 2023

        When I was a small boy I liked The Twilight Zone, but I preferred The Outer Limits. It was longer, slower, felt more like –and blended with– real life at start and end. People who remember it now have way different favorite episodes. Mine are The Borderland, Controlled Experiment, and some whose names I lost but can look up, I suppose: The one where a scientist makes a machine that evolves him forward into having a huge head and godlike powers of intelligence but this has consequences, and he (and the world) are saved by his pretty girlfriend, who pushes the lever the wrong way and restores him so he’ll be stupid/normal enough to love her (also so he won’t kill people just by looking at them). I remember feeling that she didn’t have to restore him all the way back but could have left him just a /little/ more intelligent than he was, so something good would come of it, but good enough is good enough. And the one where a man from another planet educated a human genius boy to make a machine to change Earth’s atmosphere so the man’s people could come here and take over, but the boy turned on him, saved his own mom and dad, drove away the alien and /kept the education and machine/, which could do wonderful things– power spaceships, make air from nothing, etc. The Zanti Misfits, about jerky-motion cat-size ants with angry human faces– that one terrified several people I know, but it bored me, for some reason. Odd. And some of the episodes, I remember enjoying all the way through simply because of the title, which stuck in the mind: The Keeper of the Purple Twilight, for example. The thing about the Outer Limits was, you couldn’t always figure out what an episode was about. I mean, it had a plot, and tension, and action, but –again, like real life– you could imagine that it had a whole range of different contradictory points to make. It was rarely a simple lesson with a punchline like Twilight Zone was. It had an enjoyable confusing flow to it. You can watch the old black-and-white Outer Limits episodes for free now on the web. I’d start with the first episode, The Galaxy Being, to get the flavor, then The Borderland, and you’ll be hooked.

  4. Adam Gaska December 3, 2023

    My first medical call as a volunteer for RVCFD was two guys who had overdosed. We gave them narcan, performed CPR. One we were able to revive, the other died. The guy who passed, I straightened out his clothes, closed his eyes and put a blanket on him. The other guy I helped load into the ambulance.

    It was pretty traumatizing.

    • Mazie Malone December 3, 2023


  5. Chuck Dunbar December 3, 2023

    Photo: “South Fork Eel River- “Wilderness Trail Drive”

    Jeff Goll–Another great photo, I love this one. No worries–AI-generated “art” will never top your work.
    (And, yes, carry on Jeff, and hope problems are bested, things better.)

  6. Stephen Rosenthal December 3, 2023

    AI reminds me of Cryptocurrency. Hopefully it and it’s adherents will suffer the same fate.

    • Harvey Reading December 3, 2023

      Me, too, but this country has gone absolutely nuts.

      • Marmon December 3, 2023

        You and the AVA should take some blame for that.


        • Harvey Reading December 4, 2023

          Plenty of blame to go around, especially for trumpies, not to mention neolibs, and yuppies, who finished off the fasciocrats.

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