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Off the Record (March 29, 2024)


Re: Known local couple arrested for child cruelty.

A READER WRITES: Writing this as a tip towards an emerging story that I know is the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully if their arrests are publicized more victims will come forward. Jedi and Cassie as they go by, Jedidiah Wolfe Hunnicutt and Cassandra Green, arrested March 17 for willful child cruelty, Mendocino county booking logs. They are both local realtors, and Jedi is also a builder/contractor. Jedi has a long past of violence towards women and children, but through the use of lawyers and aliases has buried a lot of what can be found online. His 2015 Ukiah arrest is still easy to find. He has gotten away with so much, and Cassie has been both victim and co-conspirator. It is well known among the community that they are abusers and inflict harm on their children and others but always get away with it. As public-facing professionals they seem to get away with it every time. Hopefully this time is different. There is definitely a story to be told about these people that the public should know about for their own safety. 

JANICE ENGLAND: I was surprised and saddened tht the AVA will soon only be accessible on line. I will miss holding the the printed page. I send my loving, healing thoughts to Bruce Anderson during his health “challenges.” Through it all he has kept his sense of humor. I was recently hospitalized and strongly relate to his experience of being woken up at all times during the night, poked, prodded, injections, pills… Oy! I look forward to reading that he’s home. Thanks to all for putting out a paper that continues to fan the flames of discontent.

A READER WRITES: Regarding the end of the print edition of the AVA: I need to think it over before making a decision about the on-line version. I already spend too much time in front of a screen. What I will do in the meantime is catch up on back issues of the AVA. Those are fine for people who don’t live in Mendocino County. The AVA really is more my ideal of a non-fiction novel than ‘In Cold Blood.’ It is impressive how many weeks I read the Anderson Valley Advertiser cover to cover. Recent years have been the best, especially since you generously expanded to twelve pages. George Orwell wrote somewhere that some books become part of the furniture of one’s life. That has been my experience of the AVA.

TRUMP'S BLOODBATH: “Let me tell you something, to China, if you're listening, President Xi, and you and I are friends, but he understands the way I deal, those big monster car manufacturing plants that you're building in Mexico right now. And you think you're going to get that, you're going to not hire Americans and you're going to sell the cars to us, no. We're going to put a 100% tariff on every single car that comes across the line and you're not going to be able to sell those cars if I get elected. Now if I don't get elected, it's gonna be a bloodbath for the whole — that's gonna be the least of it. It's going to be a bloodbath for the country. That will be the least of it.”

TRUMP'S always semi-coherent. Parsing meaning out of his meandering remarks is never easy. I agree with the Magas that his bloodbath reference was to the auto industry, not a prediction of mayhem if he loses another election. 

But Trump also gets it both ways. Bloodbath, as Trump invokes it here, can apply to import strictures and mass violence, which the Magas always seem to be up for, perhaps falling asleep at night to bloody visions of mowing down legions of three-foot transvestites. 

So, yeah, bloodbath was both a ref to vehicle imports and also a ref to mass violence. A definite rhetorical twofer for Orange Man.

LINDY PETERS: Bob Dylan is NOT rock music. Come on Tommy!! Here’s what really happened. Rock n’ roll went and hid in Country Music back when AC/DC’s music producer Mutt Lang produced Shania Twain’s first album. And so it is. Rock n’ Roll is still hiding there in the guitar of Keith Urban and the music of Big Country. Don’t kid yourself. Rock is not dead. Now they call it Country Music and the listeners are rebels all right. In fact, a bunch of them stormed the Capitol back on January 6, 2021!!

HERE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, slam-dunk de facto censorship on a whole range of subjects prevails in both the print, on-line, and audio media. Forbidden public discussion subjects on the Northcoast include: the true water situation; the funding of the Northcoast media itself, including that of our bogus public radio stations; labor conditions for most private-sector workers; the chemical dependence of the wine industry and the monocultural inevitability of its inevitable demise; the abysmal state of the Northcoast's schools; the ethical corruption prevalent among Mendocino County's legal contingent, including its judges; public sector nepotism; the folly of the Great Redwood Trail; the persecution of the poor by welfare departments; the deliberate defenestration of the Mendocino County Grand Jury by the Superior Court and County officials; the lopsided, overcentralized and invisible financial arrangements on Low Gap Road; the incompetence in the County Counsel’s office, the weekly dysfunction of the Board of Supervisors, and on and on and on. The point: Bad things happen in a media vacuum. For the most part, there is a media vacuum on the Northcoast, where bad things happening is a way of life. 

I WAS INTRIGUED by photos of the old Ukiah ball park which appeared in a recent Ukiah Daily Journal. Dated August 17th, 1950, the photos showed the wooden grandstands, said to have been erected in the 1930s, as they burned to the ground in what authorities suspected was a deliberately set fire. The ball park dated from a time when baseball was the dominant rural sport. Ukiah's — the beautiful old affair someone burned the summer of 1950 — was at the northeast corner of Gobbi and South State where the mammoth Safeway now stands. There was another meticulously maintained ball park out at the State Hospital at Talmage where, as I vaguely recall from a semi-pro expedition north when I was a devoted teen ball player, a strong team made up of inmates and staff pounded us Frisco Grotto 9 boys, prompting a teammate of mine to a memorable non sequitur, "Those guys sure don't play like they're nuts." Most of the communities of Mendocino County fielded weekend baseball teams. Fort Bragg's was legendarily competitive and, at one time, managed by Vince DiMaggio who, like a lot of the ringers Fort Bragg imported to play baseball, worked at the mill when he wasn't engaged at Fort Bragg's ball park, then located on Main Street near the center of town. The greatest of them all, Joe DiMaggio, came north with teams from San Francisco to take on his brother's Fort Bragg nine. Baseball was an important part of Mendocino County life for so many years — the 1920s through the early 1960s — I've always wished that someone with access to these innumerable latter-day grant funds would collect as much of its history as still exists and collect it in a book.

CASEY HARTLIP: I see very little optimism in the Mendocino wine biz. With bulk inventory at such high levels and overall consumption dropping… as baby boomers get older/die off/and drink less for health reasons I’d say its going to be quite some time before things improve. Increasing labor and operating costs are also huge issues. A good friend of mine in Hopland had his insurance premiums increase by 60% in one year, as did my homeowner’s insurance here in Arizona. This is nothing new: the grape and wine business has always been a boom-and-bust industry. As supply gets tight, more acres are planted to satisfy the shortfall. When oversupply occurs, like now, prices will drop and older vineyards will be removed. The bummer for my Mendo friends is much of the local fruit is only desired by our friends to the south, when they need it. It kind of reminds me of a mistress. When the wife is out of town the fella just can’t get enough of her. When the wife comes home, the phone doesn’t ring. I’d say lots of phones have fallen silent and will be for a while.

COGNITIVE DISCONNECTS, I happened to watch an unintentionally hilarious documentary called “Plane Lying” presented on MSNBC Television not so long ago. It was about airline travel and how comprehensively unpleasant it has become, which is hardly news to anyone who's been aloft in the last 25 years or so. One brief segment presented a hidden video recording of an angry exchange between several indignant passengers and a pair of flight attendants as the plane apparently began its landing descent. A furious voice is heard asking the two attendants, “Why would you show a two-hour movie on an hour-and-a-half flight?” The male attendant, complete with a heavily gay affect, responds, “Some people want everything, don't they?” I couldn't tell if he was being deliberately funny or not, but his response was perfect.

THE IN-FLIGHT MOVIE was a romance starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder called, “Autumn In New York.” How could the thing end? I suppose it might have wrapped up with a pack of wild dogs attacking the mooning couple as they strolled through Central Park, as Jeff Dahmer runs on screen and chows down on their remains. Hell, we'd all line up for that one, especially if it was a documentary. But a movie called “Autumn In New York” with Richard Gere and Winona Ryder in it can't possibly end other than in a huge pile of weepy, filmic mawk, and anybody who has to wonder how it ends should be tossed out the cargo hatch at 30,000 feet. Pulling the plug on “Autumn” with 10 or 15 minutes to go was absolutely the right thing to do, and I commend the airlines and the flight attendant for their brave service to art.

OVER THE YEARS we’ve seen lots of exampes of Mendo County's Stalinist-like approach to recording local history. The chain papers/website run antiseptic remembrances every so often about past places and people: Some of them are ok as far as they go, but often they leave out critical events and criminal activity. The Fort Bragg Advocate, for example, ran a short article about life inside the town's old Piedmont Hotel called “Remembering the Piedmont” by Jean Stoenner. Ms. Stoenner concluded with a paragraph beginning, “The Piedmont is now gone but not forgotten…”

IN FACT, THE SPLENDID old structure fell to an arson fire as part of an insurance-for-profit conspiracy mounted by local Fort Bragg businessmen, at least two of whom continued to thrive just down the street from the vacant lot where the Piedmont once stood for a raucously memorable century. In its time, the Piedmont say some of the roughest coast working men and hosted some of their wildest parties. The Piedmont was torched the same night the evil ones burned the old library and Ten Mile Justice Court not three blocks away. One of the young arsonists, Kenny Rick, was murdered by the arson shot callers, in my opinion, the day before he was scheduled to talk to a federal grand jury in San Francisco. Law enforcement knew almost immediately who did it, but then-DA Susan Massini managed to avoid the obvious long enough for the statute of limitations ran out, and Fort Bragg, to this day, suffers from the aftermath of some people who will kill you if you get in the way of their money.

I’M STILL ANNOYED by a discouraging front page headline of the Chronicle’s now-long gone Book Review section heralding a review of new biography of Robinson Jeffers: “The Whitman of Big Sur.” Shouldn't that have read, “The Pound of Big Sur”? Jeffers and Whitman both celebrated wild vistas, but politically Jeffers wasn't much of a democrat. He made it real clear he preferred rocks and trees to people. Walt was a people person all the way. A better poet, too. And Whitman’s poetry still holds up to this day.

GRADUALLY, Califronia's power system has been raffled off to private individuals, or syndicates of private individuals, at bargain prices. About 25 years ago now, the process of donating the public power system that gramps and gran built for us was “privatized,” which is quite a nice gift considering that it didn't cost its present owners anything to build. 

THE GIFT gift of our public power system to The Wolves was a bi-partisan effort by the Wes Chesbro-Mike Thompson-Bill Clinton-Nancy Pelosi era political personality type which, for those of you who require further elucidation, is personally ambitious, venal, cynical, and generally sociopathic. In other words, perfect tools for The Wolves whose interests the Chesbro-Thompson-Clinton types faithfully serve. A well person certainly wouldn't pimp his family and endure the range of base humiliations made necessary by the money-perverted, present-day electoral system simply to install him or herself in public office to protect and advance the interests of the people who now control America's collective light switch. Only a fundamentally flawed citizen would thus lower himself, which is why we have the politicians we have and the government we have. We haven't had a first-rate person in the White House since FDR or a first-rate governor since Olson, the progressive from the days when people often got elected to do good, not to get rich. Hell, here in Mendocino County, there's been exactly one (count 'em) progressive to hold elected office — the late Phil Baldwin formerly of the Ukiah City Council. 

AS THE CRISES multiply, there is literally no leadership in place to intelligently, fairly address any of them. And we all know it, don't we? Do you know a single sentient citizen with an income under $75 thou a year who truly believes any of the major probs facing us on the local, state or national level are going to be intelligently resolved? 

THE SF CHRONICLE once ran a piece about Clint Eastwood getting something like the “Kurosawa Award” for Eastwood's contributions to film art. Kurosawa and Clint Eastwood. Think of it. Hell, go for it, Frisco! The Tchaikovsky Award for musical composition to Eminem. The Frank Lloyd Wright Award for Architecture to Sam Walton. The Tolstoy Award for the Novel to Phillip K. Dick. The Auden Award for Poetry to Rod McKuen. The Sierra Club Award for preservation of the environment to Charles Hurwitz!

BACK IN 2001 when the Editor and his wife took a week-long trip to the Editor’s mother’s hometown in Illinois, he wrote the following announcement of how things at the paper would be handled in his absence (—ms):

“The Editor and Mrs. Editor will be gone for a week as of Tuesday evening, which isn't to say our premises and all the muy cool stuff therein will be left undefended. In our absence, Mr. Chris Jones, Ms. Jackie Potter-Voll, Misses Olga and Augustina Mendoza, and Mrs. Ruth Anderson will remain in vigilant residence. During office hours, the premises will be patrolled by Major Mark Scaramella, a former Air Force commando and author of the definitive military manual on hand-to-hand combat, “How To Kill Quickly And Silently With A Strand Of Piano Wire.” The paper will be produced by the Editor’s son, Zack Anderson, Ms. Potter-Voll, Dandelion Severn-Walsh, and Major Scaramella. If it is noticeably improved in my absence, please let me know and I'll stay permanently in Hillsboro, Illinois, my first destination on this, a rare outing from the often confining confines of Boonville. My second destination is Alton, Illinois, where I plan to honor the memory of the great abolitionist editor, Elijah Lovejoy, whose offices were stormed one grim night in 1837 by an ignoble mob of pro-slavery oafs. (19th century oafs were a lot more active than the lynch mob personality type is these days, tv and cheap beer conspiring to render them mostly housebound and sedentary.) Lovejoy gave a good account of himself before he was hanged by the glorious Sons of the South, managing to shoot several of them, including, I believe, the mayor of Alton. (Always a good idea to take a final shot at the highest-ranking official handy in an objectively hopeless situation.) Having strung up Lovejoy, the mob threw his printing press into the Mississippi River from where it has since been retrieved by a black historical society and made the centerpiece of a small Alton museum dedicated to the memory of this truly great man. I also hope to look around Springfield, not far from my Hillsboro headquarters, where Honest Abe, another great man produced by pre-Lilliput America, made his headquarters for many years.”

* * *

[One week later…] 

JUST RETURNED from a week in Southern Illinois, where half my family comes from. I was able to confirm one piece of family lore, which I'd always assumed was non-verifiable. Or myth. My aunt dug up an old clipping from the long-defunct St. Louis Republic that reported the death of one of my great grandfathers: “John W. Major, who was buried at Chapel Cemetery, near here, was well known through out this section of Illinois as one of Quantrill's men. In the Civil War he served as companion-in-arms to the James and Younger brothers. So great was his reputation as an expert horseman and crack shot with the revolver that when the Grand Army of the Republic held its celebration at Coffeen, Mr. Major was invited to give an exhibition. He complied, and his skill, even in advanced age, astonished his old neighbors. Mr. Major was among the best citizens of the state, and no man possessed more of the confidence of the people. After the war he applied himself systematically to business, and was so successful that at his death he left his widow and two children in very comfortable circumstances. The Lost Cause was always to him a memory of sadness and his heart was always warm for his friends of the Confederacy. Yet he accepted the defeat as final, and so lived that he attached to him the veterans of the Union Army, as well as the general public and his death was regretted by all who knew him.”

THE OLD MAN was particularly close to Frank James who, as it happens, once visited Boonville where other Missourians had settled in the post Civil War westward exodus. Major grew up with the James and the Youngers in Missouri. Many of their subsequent adventures were partly inspired by devotion to the Confederacy, partly bloody settlings of old feuds. I don't know if Major was with Quantrill when Quantrill's Raiders killed all the males they could find in Lawrence, Kansas then burned the town down in reprisal for raids on their neighborhood in Missouri by Kansas-based guerrillas opposed to slavery. The adjective Major applied to Jesse James was “cruel,” which I believe was the euphemism of the time for “psycho.” The old man went out to Oklahoma several times to visit Frank James, returning from one trip east with a prize horse.

ABE LINCOLN practiced law at Vandalia, an hour from Hillsboro. Settlement of Illinois was south to north, pioneer farmers walking out on Jefferson's national highway whose terminus was Vandalia. Lincoln often stayed in Hillsboro on his way to Springfield when he was first elected to office and before it became the state capitol and he moved there permanently. 

MY MATERNAL GRANDFATHER was a coal miner descended from families who'd fought with for the Union with Company B, 117th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, among whom the lion of the Confederacy, Mr. Major, settled. My grandfather was affiliated with the Progressive Miners of America, the anti-John L. Lewis miners whose membership often contained Wobblies and Debs Socialists. John L. Lewis grew up in a place called Panama, Illinois, just down the road from Hillsboro in whose environs that side of my family, who fought on both sides of the Civil War, have lived for 175 years. Lewis was accurately assessed by my grandfather as a management-type union guy. I was able to visit nearby Mount Olive where Mother Jones is buried and where there's a well-maintained monument to her and a number of other radical coal miners shot down in various confrontations with rural capital. I was also able to spend a day in Alton on the east bank of the Mississippi, less than an hour from Hillsboro, where the great newspaper man, Elijah Lovejoy, was murdered by a pro-slavery mob. Lovejoy's paper set the mob literally howling, especially his comments that there wasn't a black female in the South over the age of twelve who hadn't been “violated by a noble son of the South.” That one got him killed. It was Lovejoy's martyrdom that inspired John Brown to commit his life to the destruction of slavery, which Lovejoy described as “the sum of all evils.” It's fair to say the Civil War started in Southern Illinois, a small area of America as crucial to everything that has happened since as there is in this blood-soaked country.

PRINT EDITION SUSPENSION NOTES (carefully handwritten and mailed to the AVA by US Postal Carriers):

• Inmate Alan Crow: For the honor of having a seat at your table for the past 35 years I thank you, sir.

• Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham: You have done good work! Like Eugene V. Debs and the IWW, the AVA’s spirit will live on. Thank you. 

• Billie and John Crowley (Trinidad): We have been subscribers to the AVA since 1985 and have anticipated the arrival of every issue. Thank you for keeping the paper paper alive as long as you have! Happy Trails.

WHATEVER ELSE this season may hold for the SF Giants with their new lineup including several players who need their own private translators, it’s fun to see Pablo the Panda Sandoval back on the hot corner for the Giants. Sandoval had a great throwing arm, even taking a few turns as a relief pitcher in late innings for the occasional one-sided game during his previous Giants stint. Years ago during the 2010-2014 three-series championships days, one of the Giants commentators casually mentioned that he once watched Pablo during batting practice warmups at Oracle Park take a running start from home plate and heave baseballs into McCovey Cove — with either hand! Has anyone else heard of this? It’s hard to believe, but given Sandoval’s cannon arms and his switch-hitting ability, it could be true. (—ms)

LOOKING BACK on the surprisingly lop-sided election results in the First District, several readers have wondered how the heretofore unheard of but heavily-wine-industry funded Madeline Cline got such a high percentage of the Redwood Valley/Potter Valley/Hopland vote up against two serious challengers and one non-serious challenger who had the unanimous endorsement of all five sitting supervisors. The most obvious answer is the amount of on-line ads Cline had her well-paid professional campaign consultants buy. Ads featuring her obviously air-brushed blonde visage were everywhere: The Ukiah Daily Journal, facebook, MendoFever, and most other area sites. (Funny, her campaign consultants didn’t approach the AVA for ads even though we would have been happy to run them.)

Do such on-line ads really have that much impact these days? Are Mendolanders that easy to sway? Or do they actually think a kid like Cline could be even marginally effective as a Supervisor? Or are they just not paying attention? There were also Cline’s district-wide mailed flyers. At present Cline has just over 57% of the District 1 votes. The candidate the Supervisors unanimously endorsed, the equally inexperienced Trevor Mockel, only got 9.5% of the vote. The most experienced and serious candidate, Adam Gaska, only got about 25% of the District 1 vote. And close supes watcher Carrie Shattuck got only 8.5% of the vote. 

Gaska was endorsed by the Mendocino County Farm Bureau. But so was Cline. We don’t know how that split endorsement was engineered, but we suspect that the Farm Bureau board probably preferred the more experienced (and real farmer) Gaska, but they couldn’t resist the endorsement pressure from long-time Farm Bureau stalwarts and former First District supervisors Michael Delbar and Carre Brown who both endorsed Cline without offering any substantive reason. We never heard from or saw 26-year old Madeline Cline at any Supervisors meetings or commenting on any issues before the Board except for the one time she opined about the irrelevant subject (Board-wise) of the free-range perv chasing teenage girls in Ukiah last January. Among other things, Cline naively promised to “fight” against PG&E to get some kind of favorable water outcome for inland grape growers but she has never made any public statement about what that fight would involve. Next year we will see how that obviously empty promise plays out since whatever is going to happen on that subject is already underway and no amount of “fighting” as a Mendocino County supervisor starting in 2025 is going to have any impact on PG&E who is on record as not caring a whit about what Mendo thinks. . (—ms)

LOOKS LIKE CHRIS ROGERS will be the next Assemblyman for District 1. As a Democrat running against a token Republican in the sprawling Northcoast District, Rogers is a virtual shoo-in now that carpetbagger Democrat Rusty Hicks has officially been declared to have fewer votes than the Republican and thus will not go into the November runoff. Rogers, a Santa Rosa City Councilman, is likely to have as much impact on Mendocino County affairs as his predecessor, Healdbuirg dentist Jim Wood. 

STATE SENATOR MIKE MCGUIRE, former Healdsburg councilman/mayor and former Sonoma County supervisor, will term out of his state senate position in 2026, and another claque of Sonoma County Democrats will jockey to replace him starting next year.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was McGuire’s predecessor as State Senator for this senate district? Multiple choice: a. Mike Thompson, b. Noreen Evans, c. Pat Higgins, d. Wes Chesbro, e. Frank McMichael, f. None of the above.

TRIVIA QUESTION #2: What year was the last year that State Senate District 2 was represented by a Republican? a. 1928, b. 1958. c. 1966. d. 1978, e. 1986.


LOCAL JUDGES promised to keep cases in their home communities when the county's justice courts were “re-organized” into superior court berths nearly 40 years ago. But re-organization of the county's courts hasn't worked out as promised. The controversial, dangerous, painful cases still all go to Ukiah where justice may or may not be done.

AND IN UKIAH, if none of our nine judges prefer want to hear a case they call the judicial bullpen for a visiting judge, Our judges routinely claim conflicts of interest where none exist, or exist only in terms of their possible re-election interests. Who's going to call them on it? They're the law, and they long ago convinced the Grand Jury it had no power whatsoever to actually investigate county operations, let alone subpoena people and indict the eminently indictable. The first priority of Mendocino County's over-large judicial cadre is its own comfort and welfare. Look at upcoming new courthouse for a prime example. Nobody but them wants it, nobody but them defend it… (I know, I know. This is your basic sweeping generalization, but you can confirm it for yourself by putting a couple of drinks in any local attorney who will hoist a couple with you and ask him or her for the verification.) 

THE COUNTY'S JUDGES SOLD re-organization and elimination of local courts to us as a way of making the courts more accessible to us. The judges said if there were more of them, they could more easily come to us by being dispatched from Ukiah. After all, it's a lot easier for one of them and a court reporter to travel to Fort Bragg or Point Arena or Boonville or Covelo than it is for cops, victims, their families, witnesses, and the interested public to travel from any of the outback places to Ukiah.

BUT RE-ORGANIZATION of the court system to enhance our access to them hasn't worked out as the judges promised. They got their big promotions from justice court status to the nice money and comfort of superior court berths, and we haven't seen them since. 

THE TRUE REASON the county's judges prefer Ukiah and their new courthouse is that they don't care to face the home town folks when inflammatory local matters are being tried. Moving cases far from their origins is a way for the judges to avoid the political and personal consequences of bad judicial performance. 

THIS ALL HAPPENS in a press vacuum. Nobody covers the local courts anymore since the AVA’s Bruce McEwen got married and moved to the Bay Area. Hence, all we get are the occasional self-serving abbreviated press release from the DA’s office and nothing, ever, from the defense side.

A READER WRITES: I always liked John Pinches’ no-nonsense observations about things. And it was hard not to notice how inordinately inflamed they made our county’s pseudo-intelligentsia. It was almost a trial run for Trump Derangement Syndrome that currently rules the land, but with even less justification. Look where local government is now. Top heavy and fumbling over everything. We could use him again, and four more like him.

YOU KNOW what’s probably behind the newfound interest in women’s basketball lately? (Besides the obvious high quality of play, of course.) The doubling of attendance at underutilized but expensive basketball facilities and the associated increase in gate receipts. Is that too cynical? Why has it taken so long for team owners and high-profile colleges who own the fancy basketball venues to figure out how to do the math? Do they really care about women’s basketball? Or their fatter bank accounts? (—ms)


I had a dream. No, not the MLK kind.

My wife called to me from the kitchen. As I entered, I saw her looking through the window to the back yard as she said: “Honey, there’s a naked old man swimming in our pool”.

This was puzzling to me for several reasons, one being that we don’t have a pool. Nevertheless, I went outside and — by cracky! — my wife was correct. A naked old man emerged, with difficulty, out of the pool, his wrinkly skin pale and ablaze in the mid-day heat.

It couldn’t be! But … but it was, it was Joe Biden, and he looked pissed.

“Hey, kid, get me a double scoop, chocolate, with raspberry sprinkles, and make it snappy!”

Irritated at being addressed in this fashion — I’m only a little over a decade younger than him — I ignored his command and instead asked him:

“Joe, when are you gonna quit sending weapons and supplies to the Israelis?”

Joe’s response was immediate and pointed:

“Listen, you lying, dog-faced pony soldier …”

But before he could finish his splenetic outburst, he evaporated in a snowstorm of pixels, taking with him the small puddle of water at his feet.


THE CHILDREN NOW LOVE LUXURY. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers.

— Socrates

ONE DAY Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. His response was a question: “Where do you want to go?” “I don't know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn't matter.”

— Lewis Carroll

I WAS IN JAIL in Juarez once, right across the border from El Paso. They only feed twice a day there, at ten and four, and the guys who're doing the most time take half your beans. All you get is tortillas and beans twice a day, and the guys who've been there longest need the extra calories. They presume that a man who just got in's been eating good already, and they need to keep up their strength. There's more of them than there are of you, so you have to give up half your beans.

— Charles Willeford, ‘Sideswipe,’ 1987

ALEXANDER COCKBURN once replied to a critic as follows: “If you want to continue this correspondence you have to make a major turn in your life’s chosen path. In the future, please take the trouble to re-read something that upsets you. It’s obvious to me that like many people you read about every fiftieth word and then invent what the other forty-nine words might have been, all nicely tailored to suit your expectations, aka prejudices. This time you’re scampering off after another demon of your own invention: my supposed derision of Christianity, merely because I cited one of the endless little notes of a trial physician, pretentiously printed up in plastic envelopes and posted on the chainlink fence. My own house is loaded to the point of excess with Christian iconography, so much so that a Mexican matron visiting the Mattole valley a few years ago, visibly petrified at the thought of being in partibus infidelium, crossed herself with relief when she entered my living room and saw the plenitude of images of the mother of the Redeemer. Whatever you may think of J. Christ, he was perfectly capable of looking straight on at the facts, however unpalatable.”


Poplar Forest near Lynchburg. Nov. 12. 1816.

To George Logan 

Dear Sir:

I received your favor of Oct. 16 at this place, where I pass much of my time, very distant from Monticello. I am quite astonished at the idea which seems to have got abroad; that I propose publishing something on the subject of religion. and this is said to have arisen from a letter of mine to my friend Charles Thompson, in which certainly there is no trace of such an idea. When we see religion split into so many thousands of sects, and I may say Christianity itself divided into its thousands also, who are disputing, anathematizing, and where the laws permit, burning and torturing one another for abstractions which no one of them understand, and which are indeed beyond the comprehension of the human mind, into which of the chambers of this Bedlam would a man wish to thrust himself. The sum of all religion, as expressed by its best preacher, “fear god and love thy neighbor,” contains no mystery, needs no explanation. but this won’t do. It gives no scope to make dupes; priests could not live by it. Your ideas of the moral obligations of governments are perfectly correct. The man who is dishonest as a statesman would be a dishonest man in any station. It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million human beings collected together are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately. It is a great consolation to me that our government, as it cherishes most its duties to its own citizens, so is it the most exact in its moral conduct towards other nations. I do not believe that in the four administrations which have taken place, there has been a single instance of departure from good faith towards other nations. We may sometimes have mistaken our rights, or made an erroneous estimate of the actions of others. But no voluntary wrong can be imputed to us. In this respect England exhibits the most remarkable phaenomenon in the universe in the contrast between the profligacy of its government and the probity of its citizens. And accordingly it is now exhibiting an example of the truth of the maxim that virtue and interest are inseparable. It ends, as might have been expected, in the ruin of its people. But this ruin will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall, on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing the catastrophe. I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and to bid defiance to the laws of their country.

Present me respectfully to Mrs. Logan and accept yourself my friendly & respectful salutations.

Th: Jefferson

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