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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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DAVID SEVERN WRITES: It is sometimes almost unbelievable what kind of information a suspicious mind can glean from the social grapevine even when language tends to be a barrier. But two days ago I heard two words of a farm worker conversation outside Lemons Market in Philo, "aqua" and "Weentzeel" along with an arm flapped in the air in the southeasterly direction that would roughly point toward Roland and Barbara Wentzel's property out behind the Philo Saw Works that set me wondering. Back in February I had made mention that the Wentzels had removed their pumping apparatus from the river seemingly in response to a previous mention that they had repositioned their pipes for better access due to low flow conditions. At that time the Navarro River was flowing at about 85cfs. Generally the California Water Resources Control Board cuts off water appropriations at 200cfs where no pumping is allowed below that flow rate. Because of drought conditions this year they cut off all fishing in all Mendocino coastal streams as well when the Navarro gauge got below 200 cfs. Having heard those two words I became suspicious and decided to visit the Wentzel Vineyards again. Sure enough my hunch was right. The Wentzels have replaced their pumping equipment and they certainly have not done so in early preparation for the next rainfall. The pump was not running when I visited Monday afternoon but a simple flip of the switch is all that it will take. The River, by the way, is again at historic lows at 8.3cfs. and most of the ponds I see are pretty low as well. About all we can do is pray for the fish and, as in my case, grumble.

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FORT BRAGG RECALL — THE BATTLE BEGINS

Subject: Fwd: No Recall - Lend us your name and maybe walk a couple of blocks

From: "Norma Watkins" <watkins.norma@gmail.com>

Date: Mon, May 25, 2015

Whether you live within the city limits or not, Fort Bragg is OUR town -- Hope you will join us to stop the few and angry from recalling our mayor Dave Turner. Apologies if you received this more than once. Norma

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As you probably are aware there is a petition that will be circulating soon to Recall Dave Turner.

A group of residents dissatisfied with the City Council’s decision to allow Hospitality House to move into the Old Coast Hotel, have decided to recall Mayor Dave Turner.

  1. Dave Turner did nothing wrong; he is representing the best interests of Fort Bragg citizens. He is our elected representative.
  2. The threat of a recall election lessens the independence of elected officials, it undermines the principle of electing good officials and giving them a chance to govern until the next election.
  3. This recall if it goes to an election will cost the City $20,000 to $25,000
  4. The democratic way would be for these citizens to put their time and energy into vetting a viable candidate to replace Dave Turner when he’s up for re-election. We are looking for help in fighting this petition, ways you can help:
  5. If you’re willing to: be a signator on a letter against the recall that will be published in the Fort Bragg Advocate
  6. If you can help us call folks and ask for their support to NOT sign the petition;
  7. If you can help us go door to door speaking to Fort Bragg residents on this subject;
  8. If you would like a no recall sign for your window, come by FloBeds the print shop is open.
  9. If you can donate money to this movement.
  10. Download a NO Recall 8-1/2 x 11 inch sign to post in your window at http://gofortbragg.com/No-Recall-Signs.htm

Please email Anne Turner anne@flobeds.com with your name and what you are willing to do, I am amazed at the people stepping up we already have many people that have said use my name, we have over 30 volunteers and we do hope these numbers grow.

To run a campaign takes a lot of energy and we did this in November, this is completely different this is an attack on Dave’s character and his ability to be an effective leader. This is wrong.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY PROCLAIMS MAY 24 AS JUDI BARI DAY

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors declared May 24 as Judi Bari Day.

The proclamation was approved at the May 19 meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of Redwood Summer.

Bari, who died in 1997, was an environmental activist, labor organizer and feminist who organized and participated in many campaigns for environmental and social justice, according to the proclamation text.

She was an Earth First! organizer and participated in a campaign that led to the expansion of the Bureau of Land Management’s Cahto Wilderness Area. She was also an organizer against liquidation logging in the redwood forests of Northern California, most notably Redwood Summer in 1990, and the decade long campaign to protect Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County.

The board noted in the proclamation that Bari sought to build bridges among loggers, mill workers and environmentalists. She practiced non-violent civil disobedience, the proclamation stated.

In 1990, Judi Bari was the victim of a bomb placed under her car seat that nearly killed her. She pursued a civil lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Oakland Police Department, which she claimed sought to blame her for the incident.

After 12 years, a jury found that the FBI and Oakland Police Department knowingly violated Bari’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and Fourth Amendment rights to be protected from illegal search and seizure, the board proclamation said.

Judi Bari returned to the front lines of environmental and social justice activism as soon as her injuries permitted, including the Albion Nation uprising in 1992, the proclamation stated. She advanced the causes of environmental and social justice and shares credit for protecting thousands of acres of forest, most notably the Headwaters Forest Preserve in Humboldt County.

(Assembled by Fort Bragg Advocate Staff)

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IN THE LATEST WILLITS WEEKLY reporter Mike A’Dair writes about the Supervisors Judi Bari Day Proclamation last Tuesday:

“In comments made after the proclamation was read and approved, [Darryl] Cherney thanked the board for the proclamation, adding he is continuing to work to expose the person or persons he believes planted the bomb that injured him and almost killed Bari. Cherney said he is presently having discussions with members of law enforcement in Mendocino County including Mendocino County Sheriff's Office's Filed Services Commander and Public Information Officer Captain Greg van Patten and Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster.

“Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg, who, together with Second District Supervisor John McCowen, sponsored the proclamation honoring Bari, said this to Darryl Cherney in relation to Bari and to her attempted murder: ‘It wasn't the Lord's Avenger (who planted the bomb),’ Hamburg said. ‘Judi Bari was regarded as a very dangerous person and a very charismatic leader, by persons who were very high up in the United States government of that time. God bless Judi Bari for being that dangerous person and that charismatic leader. And best of luck to you in your efforts to prove who bombed Judi Bari’.”

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HAMBURG apparently thinks Judi Bari was bombed by the same government he served as a Congressman. Hamburg, a cult guy, also believes a crackpot who called himself Adi Da was a diety and that the US Government arranged for replacement planes on 9/11 to cover-up the government’s involvement. According to the supervisor, our government did it.

HAMBURG ON 911: “I’m on record re 9/11. ‘The New Pearl Harbor’ by Massimo Mazzucco, merely provides further confirmation that 9/11 was a shameless and unspeakably evil hoax perpetrated on the American people and the world. Perhaps most interesting in the Mazzucco documentary is the technical information that explains why the two hijacked planes couldn't have been flown into the WTC buildings at the speed they were traveling. Turns out that when a plane is flying near the ground it must drastically reduce speed or it starts to come apart because of increased air resistance. The planes that hit those buildings were replacements. Quotes from aeronautical engineers at Boeing seal the deal here. Part of the horror of this scam is that they offloaded passengers and forced them to ‘call home’ on their cell phones and read prepared statements. That's how we got the fiction behind ‘Let's roll.’ (Latest ‘Loose Change’ [an earlier conspiracy film] reports that Cleveland Airport was evacuated that morning due to ‘terrorist threats’ and that the news media reported that Flight 93 landed there and offloaded passengers to a cleared building.) At the end of one of the recorded cellphone calls (which, you recall, could not have been made from the hijacked plane's reported altitude), a flight attendant whispers ‘it's a frame.’ The cabal didn't notice this. The financial report is devastating. Turns out part of the motive was 220 billion in bogus Russian bonds. Web savvy people have written several articles about YouTube suddenly zeroing out viewing statistics on controversial 911 videos. And the one on ‘911 & Operation Northwoods’ has just plain old disappeared. Dan”

DARRYL CHERNEY, in living fact, has done everything he can to impede the investigation into who bombed Bari, forever steering attention from Bari's ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, to vague implications that the feds or Big Timber or male chauvinists or religious zealots or, or, or anyone, everyone but the ex-husband.

AND JOHN McCOWEN, who owns the building housing the Mendocino Environment Center, has also done his share to impede investigation of the Bari case. Both Sweeney and Bari made the MEC their headquarters as did, presumably, the FBI who were certainly in town for the Redwood Summer period. Sweeney was the only person who knew all his ex-wife's movements. I think it's quite likely that the FBI made McCowen's MEC their listening post during the Redwood Summer period (ala the sixties when the feds did the same thing in black neighborhoods), and I also think it is quite likely that Bari's husband, Sweeney, was a snitch for the feds. Nothing else explains Sweeney's exemption from Suspect Number One status.

OF COURSE no one from Judi Bari's family attended the furtive, hurry-up event in the Supervisor's chambers and, as anything involving Cherney, the whole show was covered with a light coat of sleaze oil. Cherney's guest was Louis BigFoot, the sage of Sherwood Road, and not to be confused with Louis Big Brain. But Cherney, according to our No Questions Asked leadership, like OJ and Scott Peterson, is still out there trying to figure out Who Bombed Judi Bari. Now he says he has new evidence. Let's see it, not that we will. And next year McCowen and Hamburg will be back with Mike Sweeney Day, Ex Husband of the Millennium. Ah Mendocino County. No place like it, where everyday history starts all over again, and you are whatever you say you are.

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SOPORIFIC HEADLINE from Monday's Press Democrat: "Leon Panetta speaks at Rep. Mike Thompson celebration." Leon Panetta. Mike Thompson. Panetta's name alone is like someone's just slammed a chloroformed sock down over my head. Followed by Mike Thompson, well, if surnames were lethal, here's two killers.

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A READER WRITES: The tales we tell to cope with unwinnable wars. Doomed to constantly repeat? The mythology of Vietnam is now distorting accounts of the Iraq war.

The tales we tell to cope with unwinnable wars

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BOONVILLE FARMERS' MARKET IS UNDERWAY!

The 2015 Boonville Farmers' Market season has opened with vendors offering their just-picked, very local spring produce, garden starts, berries, eggs, meat, olive oil, splendid mushrooms, and jars of jams, chutney, soups, and sauces. Various craft vendors, including knife sharpeners, also display their wares throughout the season. Each week talented local musicians spice up the shopping and conversations of community members. A wide variety of summer vegetables and fruits are anticipated soon!

New managers, Amanda Bontecou and Valerie Kim, are primary orchestrators of the market this year and are planning events for market goers to learn about and celebrate the bounty. You can look for announcements about chef demonstrations with the local produce available, upcoming Boonville General Store pastries, and special events. The managers' table features BFM T-shirts, hats, canvas bags, bumperstickers, and reusable shopping plus the local Secrets of Salsa cookbook to help support the market.

Amanda and Valerie are initiating the EBT Matching Program which is a market cost matching program that works to strengthen farmers' markets, diversify access to healthy and fresh food, and empower the local economy. Since access to local food can seem to be out of reach for low-income shoppers, market matching assures that farmers get the prices they deserve while shoppers can afford to eat healthily and support local farms. Here is the way it works: shoppers who receive government assistance in the form of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT, or food stamps) swipe their EBT cards at the market. When a market match program is in place, shoppers will then receive double their money in their purchases. For instance, Ukiah's market match program allows shoppers to spend $30 but only takes $15 out of their EBT fund. Ukiah's program brought in about $40,000 of EBT money last year! That's money that stays local, and in turn promotes health and wellness, fresh food access, and supports small farms and other sustainable food enterprises.

The Boonville Farmers' Market is open for your shopping pleasure every Saturday until the end of October in the Boonville Hotel parking lot from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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ASTON VILLA FA CUP SUPERFAN HAS SPENT £10,000 TO BE AT WEMBLEY — AFTER KEEPING HIS SEASON TICKET DESPITE LIVING IN THE US

An exiled Aston Villa fanatic in the United States has been renewing his season ticket for a quarter of a century – just to guarantee a day out at Wembley.

SuperfanSparks

Steve Sparks might well boast the most expensive Cup Final ticket around because he estimates it has cost him more than £10,000 over the past 25 years.

The 58-year-old, originally from Erdington, has continued to buy a season ticket for Villa Park since 1990 – despite emigrating to the States and living 6,000 miles away.

He attends a couple of games a year when he returns home to see his parents Alan and Margaret – and this season one of those matches will be the Cup Final against Arsenal on Saturday.

“I had two season tickets for years which my dad and a neighbour or friend, or whoever, would use on the understanding that if we got to the final it would be me and my dad,” he explained.

MadDog97
Villa stars including Mark Bosnich, Dwight Yorke and Stan Collymore at The Mad Dog in the Fog pub in San Francisco in May 1997.

“My Dad and I did go to the final in 2000 but since then he’s had a stroke, so now I have just the one season ticket in the Holte End.

“There’s five friends who go together and there’s my floating sixth ticket for anyone else, which is mine for whenever I’m here.

“I’ve had my season ticket for decades – the main reason is so that I can virtually guarantee a Cup Final ticket, but I also feel like I’m contributing in some way.

“I can’t be there chanting and cheering them on and I know it’s a drop in the ocean but it’s a commitment to the club which I’ve always had, basically since I was conceived.

“I was born into a Villa family. We’re Villa through and through and that’s the way it is.”

Steve’s wife Patty is back at their home in Anderson Valley, two hours north of San Francisco, and has given her blessing for him to miss their 28th wedding anniversary on Cup Final day.

She takes a passing interest in his football passion and has been over to attend games, even though she gets little confused between the Premier League and the FA Cup.

“She’s fine about it, she’s a very enlightened American woman,” he smiled.

“But to be honest, my wife has very little interest in football.

“When I contacted her to say I was in the Swan and Mitre pub after the West Ham win a couple of weeks ago, she said: ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it, I’m so happy for you’ – she thought we’d won the cup final!”

Steve is hoping for an afternoon as memorable as a May day in 1997 when his Villa heroes visited his California pub during a close season tour.

The former Handsworth Grammar School and Aston University student enjoyed remarkable success with his popular Mad Dog in the Fog pub, which became a must-go venue to watch football in San Francisco.

Villa were invited there for a barbecue after a friendly match and Steve had to chauffeur manager Brian Little and new record signing Stan Collymore from the airport.

“Collymore bought a round because I can remember Doug Ellis saying ‘I, for one, know he can afford that’,” recalled Steve.

“I spent most of the afternoon with Brian Little and Allan Evans.

“That was one of my life highlights to have my beloved Aston Villa in my pub.”

The Sparks family’s Villa associations go back a long way.

His grandmother Gladys Hunter used to wash the kits for the club in the 1930s, while Alan Deakin, captain during the 1960s, is his uncle.

Steve will travel down to Wembley with 15 of his pals in a minibus, stopping at a pub in Ruislip for refreshments, and is predicting a Villa victory on penalties.

“They never make it easy! I was born in 1957 the last time we won the FA Cup,” he said.

“Most of my friends are a year or so younger so unlike them I can say we’ve won it once in my lifetime, but I was only three months old!

“Before the season’s even started I often sign off my emails to my friends over here writing ‘Oh well, we’ll win the FA Cup anyway, as if!’

“It’s that Brummie self-deprecation.

“But we’ve been talking about it and joking about it for so long. ‘This is our year, we’re going to win the cup,’ those sort of comments.

“Let’s hope this year we’re right.”

Steve, who now writes a column for his local newspaper the Anderson Valley Advertiser, is currently working on a book about former Villa players Joe Beresford, Alan Deakin and Dion Dublin comparing how football and the lives and times of those who played it has changed over the years.

Here's the full interview with Steve

When did you move to the States?

I’m born and bred in Erdington. I went to Handsworth Grammar School and Aston Univeristy. In the early 80s I went off to America for just a trip really with no real plans and ended up staying. I was 26 at the time and it was 1983. It’s odd when I think about it that I’ve spent more than half my life in America, even though I never doubt my Brummiehood or Englishness. I guess those formative years are the key years.

How often do you return home?

I’m in touch with several friends that I’ve known since we were 12 or 14, all fellow season ticket holders, thanks to email and the internet we’re in regular touch. I come over every year for three or four weeks to see my family and stuff and hang out with my friends. I normally go to three or so matches.

Tell us about renewing your season ticket from afar...

I had two season tickets for years which my dad and a neighbour or a friend, or whoever, would use on the understanding that if we got to the final it would be me and my dad. We did go to the final in 2000, me and my dad, but since then he’s had a stroke.

So now I’ve gone down to one season ticket and one of my friends uses it. There’s six of them go and there’s a floating sixth ticket which is mine for whenever I’m here. I’ve had my season ticket for decades.

Why do you renew it when you live so far away?

The main reason is for occasions like this cup final to guarantee I can go, but I also feel like I’m contributing in some way. I can’t be there chanting and cheering them on but I know it’s a drop in the ocean but it’s a commitment to the club which I’ve always had since I was conceived. I was born into a Villa family. We’re Villa through and through and that’s the way it is.

Will the fan who usually uses your season ticket miss out on Wembley?

My season ticket is in the Holte End, the lower Holte. We used to go in the Trinity with my father, but once he stopped going we went into the Holte with these five lads. It looked like a couple of them who were the main users of it might have to miss out, but they’ve managed to get tickets through various sources. It’s the main topic of conversation in the pub, people scrambling for season tickets.

How long have you been a season ticket holder?

I originally got a season ticket in the 75-76 season in the Holte End. I think it was twenty quid to stand in the Holte End for a year. Then I didn’t get one for a few years. I remember getting it for that 75-76 season when they returned to the first division, so that was my first investment of many in the Villa.

I went to the States in 83 and I didn’t have a season ticket for the first seven or eight years while I was over there, but pretty much ever since so it’s been about 25 years.

Tell us about the popular pub you launched in San Francisco...

The main thing that I’ve been doing over there, not any more, but for a chunk of the time was running a very well known pub. It became the home of football - and I mean our football - in San Francisco. It was called the Mad Dog in the Fog and it just took off. It was the right place, right time, with an English pub scene and English beers imported. We were very fortunate in a lot of ways with a lot of hard work. The link to the Villa was that I made it the Villa supporters club in Northern California.

And you had some special visitors one afternoon?

The big link was in 1997 when Villa did their tour. Before they came over I was in touch with a few people at Villa Park so they came and had a barbecue and a few beers after one of their matches. This included Doug Ellis and players at the time were Ugo Ehiogu and Dwight Yorke and people like that. Brian Little was the manager with Alan Evans helping him.

They arrived the day after they’d signed Collymore so they chose to leave Brian Little behind in England for a while to sort that out. The rest of the squad arrived at San Francisco airport and I met them. They were in the coach and I chatted to them. They asked what’s going to happen about Brian and Stan Collymore.

They went back to the pub, the barbecue started and then I had to go back to the airport in my car to pick up Brian Little and Stan Collymore. So there I am driving back thinking I’ve got Brian Little sitting next to me and Villa’s biggest signing in the back seat. It was surreal. We had a great time that afternoon, they were good company all had a few drinks.

Stan Collymore bought a round because I can remember Doug saying ‘I, for one, know he can afford that’. That was one of my life highlights to have my beloved Aston Villa in my pub.

How successful was the pub?

As the home of football we showed the live football every Saturday and Sunday mornings, which was 7am, city coast time. For the big games, Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool we’d have 200 people in there at that time buying a beer and having a full English.

There were huge crowds the World Cups, all sorts of people, it was a very well known place. It was even a Trivial Purusit answer at one point. The question was ‘where are these three establishments?’ and we were one of them. I have spent most of my time over there in San Francisco. I did live in Austin, Texas for a couple of years.

I was over there and just felt there was need for a pub in San Francisco. A friend of mine from college had a little bit of money, I had the legality because I was married and we just tried this pub. It was the right place, right time, in the late 80s with the import of European beers.

On a Tuesday night there would be lines of people outside the door. For no reason! It wasn’t like there was a band. We did have bands and pop quizzes and DJs and all sorts of stuff going on, but not in those early days. Just being a pub seemed to be enough. San Francisco is quite an erridute crowd and somewhat sophisticated in terms of accepting other things. But we were at the cutting edge of it. If you put 60-70 hours a week in and you’re somewhat competent then hopefully it’s going to be a success.

Did you always have the entrepreneurial spirit?

Not particularly. I’ve always been an organiser and an event planner with friends. Even just organising five-a-side tournaments I was always the lad who would do that. So that’s always been in my DNA I suppose.

My degree was in business so that was vaguely relevant. Not really though, it’s more just people skills. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Stay on top of it because in the pub business you can lose control of it.

Before we launched the pub I did different things. I worked on an oil rig in Texas, built swimming pools in Texas. I was in construction in San Francisco. A variety of jobs you just do and don't mind doing.

And your whole social scene is something you thrive on hopefully. If you’re working in a place like San Francisco you’re probably earning decent money and can have a full social life.

What does your wife Patty think of your Aston Villa obsession?

We met in Austin in 1984 and got married in San Francisco in 1987. It’s our 28th year anniversary on the day of the cup final and she’s over there. She didn’t come with me. She’s fine about it, she’s a very enlightened American woman. She has very very little interest in football.

When I contacted her to say I was in the Swan and Mitre after the West Ham win a couple of weeks ago she said ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe it, I’m so happy for you’ thinking we’d won the cup final! I’d been trying to explain that the league is one competition and the cup’s another. But if you don’t have any real interest in it you don’t know.

It’s nice for me to have my thing and she has her interests and that’s fine. She’s very supportive of my football following. She knows Villa chants and she’s been to Villa games when she’s been over. Many people have heard her chant there’s only one Ian Taylor in quite a nice singing voice!

What do you do in California now?

I’ve got six border collies and 30 sheep - that’s my hobby. I’m semi retired, I write for the paper, the Anderson Valley Adverstiser. I do a social commentary on life in this valley, this unique spot, it’s in the wine country, so I write about social events going on.

I coach the high school football team - or soccer team as they call it. I’m president of senior centre and do a lot of voluntary work. I’m really fortunate but I feel that those 15 years in the pub were probably 30 years worth of work. I present a pub quiz and I write for the newspaper, that’s my income.

What do you miss most about Birmingham?

I do miss the banter. It’s probably THE thing I miss. When I come back over here it’s just like I’ve been away for the weekend it’s straight back in. Brummie humour can’t be replicated. I do have good, close friends over there and everything’s fine, but there’s an edge here.

Americans, particularly Californians, don’t get the sarcasm and dark humour that Brummies do. I’m always having to explain ‘I’m joking, I’m joking!’ Bless them. It’s refreshing sometimes that they can always look on the bright side, but to a 58 year-old Brummie it can be a bit too nice. But they do mean it sincerely, it’s not put on.

And you have a couple of Villa connections from down the years?

My grandmother, Gladys Hunter, on dad’s side used to wash kits in the 1930s. The biggest link for me and my family is my dad’s cousin is Alan Deakin, Villa captain in the 60s. He was my Uncle Alan and he gave me his No. 6 shirt in 1964 and I used to sleep in it.

He’s been a lifetime hero of mine. We lost touch with him and I got reacquainted with him two years ago when I started to write a book about Villa players. The changes in football and their lives from three different eras. Joe Beresford in the 30s, Alan Deakin in the 60s and Dion Dublin in the 90s.

I’ve been working on it for two years and have met Harry Burrows, Vic Crowe’s kids, all sorts. I’m writing it with the grandson of Joe Beresford, Dean Beresford. It’s about history as much as football, talking about the lives of these three people and how very different it’s been for them.

The last year Villa won the cup has a special significance for you...

I was born in 1957. All my friends are a year younger. I always say we’ve won it once in my lifetime, but I was only three months old! Before the season’s even started I sign off half my emails to my friends over here writing ‘Oh well, well win the FA Cup anyway!’

Again, it’s that Brummie self deprecation, as if. But we’ve been talking about it and joking about it for so long. ‘This is our year, we’re going to win the cup,’ those sort of comments.

What’s your prediction for the final?

Arsenal should win by two goals and that’s what the bookies would say, I’m sure, but for all those reasons we saw against Liverpool in the semi final anything can happen and that’s why we play the game - things can happen. But you watch games like at Southampton against a team that’s an Arsenal second team.

They're a good team but not at Arsenal’s level when it comes to tidy football. It’s tough, very tough things can happen. I thought you might ask me so my answer is Villa might win on penaltlies because it’s never been easy to be a Villa fan.

What’s your plan for the day?

We’ve got a 15-seater mini van going down to north Ruislip where they went for the semi. There’s a nice pub there so we’ll have a couple of beers and get the train in.

After the game we’ll either drown our sorrows or celebrate. We could go straight back to a local pub where we can get in late, or go to that pub in Ruislip. I’ll know everybody in that mini van and some of them I’ve known for 40 years or more.

It’s great I’m very appreciative of it, given all this excitement that’s going on. I find it very emotional. I’m very attached, history is a big thing so being in Birminghan and Erdington brings back so many memories, I focus on them quite introspectively. I thoroughly enjoy my visits here every time, despite the hangovers. I extended my holiday by a week for the final so I now leave on Tuesday after the final.

(Courtesy, the Birmingham Mail.)

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LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF CHERRIES

People are queer, they're always crowing, scrambling and rushing about

Why don't they stop someday, address themselves this way?

Why are we here? Where are we going? It's time that we found out

We're not here to stay, we're on a short holiday

 

Life is just a bowl of cherries

Don't take it serious, it's too mysterious

You work, you save, you worry so

But you can't take your dough when you go, go, go

 

So keep repeating it's the berries

The strongest oak must fall

The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned

So how can you lose what you've never owned?

Life is just a bowl of cherries

So live and laugh at it all

 

Life is just a bowl of cherries

Don't take it serious, it's too mysterious

At eight each morning I have got a date

To take my plunge 'round the Empire State

You'll admit it's not the berries

In a building that's so tall

There's a guy in the show, the girls love to kiss

Get thousands a week just for crooning like this

Life is just a bowl of, aw, nuts!

So live and laugh at it all!

— Lew Brown

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AMERICA TAKES PAUSE on a big holiday weekend requiring little in the way of real devotions beyond the barbeque deck with two profoundly stupid movie entertainments that epitomize our estrangement from the troubles of the present day. First there’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which depicts the collapse of civilization as a monster car rally. They managed to get it exactly wrong. The present is the monster car show. Houston. Los Angeles. New Jersey, Beijing, Mumbai, etc. In the future, there will be no cars, gasoline-powered, electric, driverless, or otherwise. Mad Max: Fury Road is actually a perverse exercise in nostalgia, as if we’re going to miss being a nation of savages in the driver’s seat, acting out an endless and pointless competition for our little place on the highway. The other holiday blockbuster is Disney’s Tomorrowland, another exercise in nostalgia for the present, where the idealized human life is a matrix of phone apps, robots, and holograms. Of course, anybody who had been to Disneyland back in the day remembers the old Tomorrowland installation, which eventually had to be dismantled because its vision of the future had become such a joke — starting with the idea that the human project’s most pressing task was space travel. Now, at this late date, the monster Disney corporation — a truly evil empire — sees that more money can be winkled out of the sore-beset public by persuading them that techno-utopia is at hand, if only we click our heels hard enough.

— James Kunstler

* * *

I WAS IN WASHINGTON on the morning of September 11, 2001. When the telephones started working again that afternoon, I called my children and parents, and my then-editors at The Atlantic, Michael Kelly and Cullen Murphy. After that, the very next call I made was to a friend who was working inside the Pentagon when it was hit, and had already been mobilized into a team planning the U.S. strategic response. “We don’t know exactly where the attack came from,” he told me that afternoon. “But I can tell you where the response will be: in Iraq.” I wrote about this in The Atlantic not long afterwards, and later in my book. My friend was being honest in expressing his own preferences: He viewed Saddam Hussein as the basic source of instability in the region. But he made clear that even if he personally had felt otherwise, Iraq was where things were already headed.

Four days after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush held a meeting of his advisors at Camp David. Soon after that meeting, rumors emerged of what is by now settled historical fact: that Paul Wolfowitz, with the apparent backing of Donald Rumsfeld, spoke strongly for invading Iraq along with, or instead of, fighting in Afghanistan. (For an academic paper involving the meeting, see this.) The principals voted against moving into Iraq immediately. But from that point on it was a matter of how and when the Iraq front would open up, not whether.

Anyone who was paying attention to military or political trends knew for certain by the end of 2001 that the administration and the military were gearing up to invade Iraq. If you want a timeline, again I refer you to my book—or to this review of Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack, which describes Bush’s meetings with General Tommy Franks in December, 2001, to draw up invasion plans. By late 2001 forces, weapons, and emphasis were already being diverted from Afghanistan in preparation for the Iraq war, even though there had not yet been any national “debate” over launching that war.

Want some proof that we, at The Atlantic, took seriously the fact that the Iraq decision had already been made? By late February, 2002, our editors were basing our coverage plans on the certainty of the coming war. That month I started doing interviews for the article that ran in the November, 2002, issue of the print magazine but which we actually put online in August. It was called “The Fifty-First State” and its premise was: The U.S. is going to war, it will “win” in the short term, but God knows what it will then unleash.

All this was a year before the invasion, seven months before Condoleezza Rice’s scare interview (“We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”), also seven months before Rumsfeld’s “trained ape” quote (“There's no debate in the world as to whether they have these weapons. We all know that. A trained ape knows that”), and six months before Dick Cheney’s big VFW scare speech (“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction”). It was long before the United States supposedly “decided” to go to war.

In the late summer of 2002, the public began hearing about the mounting WMD menace as the reason we had to invade Iraq. But that was not the reason. Plans for the invasion had already been underway for months. The war was already coming; the “reason” for war just had to catch up.

— James Fallows

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, May 25, 2015

Ammerman, Buenrostro, Cooper
Ammerman, Buenrostro, Cooper

MORGAN AMMERMAN, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

CHIRSOPTHER BUENROSTRO, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, saps or similar weapons, suspended license, probation revocation.

SHAYLYNN COOPER, Ukiah. Violation of court order.

Mariani, Rangle-Rodriguez, Rider
Mariani, Rangle-Rodriguez, Rider

PATRICK MARIANI, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.

JOSE RANGLE-RODRIGUEZ, Sacramento/Ukiah. DUI.

ERIC RIDER, Portland/Ukiah. DUI with injury.

Slater, Torres, Williams
Slater, Torres, Williams

VALERIE SLATER, Boonville. DUI.

ANTONIO TORRES, Ukiah. Burglary, vehicle theft, possession of ammo by prohibited person, possession of burglary tools, possession of controlled substance, possession of fireworks, conspiracy.

ARLEEN WILLIAMS, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.

* * *

SPAM HAIKU

SPAM frying in lard

The whir of the kitchen fan

Summer of my youth

 

Drunk crippled Ewok,

Dead on sidewalk, piss-drenched fur,

SPAM just out of reach

 

Slaughterhouse product

The screams of a thousand pigs

Silent within you

 

Old man seeks doctor:

"I eat SPAM daily," he decries

ANGIOPLASTY

 

A business dinner.

Unknowing wife serves up SPAM.

The contract is lost.

 

"Slow down," she whispered,

now guiding my trembling hands.

"Turn the key slowly."

 

Queasy, greasy SPAM

Slithers without propulsion

Across a white plate.

 

Napping on sofa,

SPAM aficionado.

Bubbles on the rise.

 

Roseate pork slab,

How you quiver on my spork!

Radiant light, gelled.

 

At the abbatoir

Scythes and grinders groan. Outside

Hormel's barrow waits.

 

SPAM glistens pinkly;

Cat taps it with wary paw

To see if it's dead.

* * *

SEPARATING EARTHQUAKE FACT FROM FICTION IN 'SAN ANDREAS'

The San Andreas Fault awakens, unleashing back-to-back jolts that leave a trail of misery from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Skyscrapers crumble. Fires erupt. The letters of the Hollywood sign topple. Tsunami waves swamp the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hollywood's favorite geologic bad guy is back in "San Andreas" — a fantastical look at one of the world's real seismic threats.

The San Andreas has long been considered one of the most dangerous earthquake faults because of its length. At nearly 800 miles long, it cuts through California like a scar and is responsible for some of the largest shakers in state history.

In the film, opening this Friday, a previously unknown fault near the Hoover Dam in Nevada ruptures and jiggles the San Andreas. Southern California is rocked by a powerful magnitude-9.1 quake followed by an even stronger magnitude-9.6 in Northern California.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough accompanied The Associated Press to an advance screening of the film. Despite the implausible plot, she said the San Andreas will indeed break again, and without warning.

"We are at some point going to face a big earthquake," she said.

Just How Big?

The San Andreas is notorious for producing big ones, but a magnitude-9 or larger is virtually impossible because the fault is not long or deep enough, Hough noted.

The most powerful temblors in recorded history have struck along offshore subduction zones where one massive tectonic plate dives beneath another. The 1960 magnitude-9.5 quake off Chile is the current world record holder.

The San Andreas has revealed its awesome power before. In 1906, a magnitude-7.8 reduced parts of San Francisco to fiery rubble. Nearly five decades earlier, a similar-sized quake rattled the southern end of the fault.

In 2008, the USGS led a team of 300 experts that wrote a script detailing what would happen if a magnitude-7.8 hit the southern San Andreas. They wanted to create a science-based crisis scenario that can be used for preparedness drills.

The lesson: It doesn't take a magnitude-9 or greater to wreak havoc. Researchers calculated a magnitude-7.8 would cause 1,800 deaths and 50,000 injuries. Hundreds of old brick buildings and concrete structures and a few high-rise steel buildings would collapse.

Computer models show the San Andreas is capable of producing a magnitude-8.3 quake, but anything larger is dubious.

Will There Be A Warning?

In the film, Lawrence Hayes, a fictional seismologist at Caltech (a real university), notices spikes in "magnetic pulses" that light up California like a Christmas tree, heralding a monster quake.

Despite a century of research, earthquake prediction remains elusive. Scientists can't predict when a jolt is coming and are generally pessimistic about ever having that ability.

Every warning sign scrutinized — animal behavior, weather patterns, electromagnetic signals, atmospheric observations, levels of radon gas in soil or groundwater — has failed.

"We wish it were as simple as the movie portrays. It isn't. Researchers have scoured every imaginable signal trying to find reliable precursors, but nothing has panned out," Hough said.

The latest focus has been on creating early warning systems that give residents and businesses a few seconds heads up after a quake hits, but before strong shaking is felt.

Japan has the most advanced seismic alert system in the world while the U.S. is currently testing a prototype.

A Tsunami In San Francisco?

Unlike the film, the San Andreas can't spawn tsunamis.

Most tsunamis are triggered by underwater quakes, but they can also be caused by landslides, volcanoes and even meteor impacts.

Giant tsunami waves are formed when the Earth's crust violently shifts, displacing huge amounts of seawater. The larger the magnitude, the more these waves can race across the ocean without losing energy.

The San Andreas is strike-slip fault, in which opposing blocks of rocks slide past each other horizontally. A big San Andreas quake can spark fires and other mayhem, but it can't displace water and flood San Francisco.

Hough said the movie got one aspect right: The tide suddenly ebbing out signals a tsunami is coming.

More than 80 — mostly small — tsunamis have been observed along California's coast in the past, triggered mainly by faraway quakes.

Will The East Coast Feel It?

In the movie, the scientist warned that shaking would be felt on the East Coast.

Even the largest possible San Andreas quake won't rattle the East Coast (Sorry New York).

While seismic waves from great quakes can make the Earth reverberate like a bell, the ringing can only be detected by sensitive instruments because it's so low.

Historical accounts show shaking from the 1906 San Andreas quake was barely felt in western Nevada and southern Oregon, Hough said.

Drop, Cover And Hold On!

When the ground starts to shake, the seismologist played by Paul Giamatti makes the ideal public service announcement: "Drop, cover and hold on."

Since 2008, millions of people in California and elsewhere have participated in yearly disaster drills in which they practice diving under a table and learn other preparedness tips.

If you're outdoors when the ground moves, experts recommend bracing against a wall, similar to what search-and-rescue helicopter pilot Ray Gaines, played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, told scared survivors in the movie.

"Having Paul Giamatti shouting, "Drop, cover and hold on!" and The Rock telling people to crouch against a wall if they can is one heck of a PSA," Hough said.

Alicia Chang, Science Writer

(Courtesy, the Associated Press)

4 Comments

  1. Charles Brandenburg May 26, 2015

    Response to no recall – We are not a “few angry people”. Within 2 weeks of the public finding out about the old coast deal Dave Turner was handed 1200 signatures of folks against this project. 1200. The entire town constantly speaks of how Scott Mayberry was treated and about how John Naulty was passed over as our new police chief. You boast of 30 volunteers but keep saying we are few??? Dave is going to be recalled unless he resigns. You blame “a few angry people” we blame Dave Turner and have spelled out why. You keep bringing up the cost of the recall…25k vs. 300k just to plan the unwanted quashed Main Street Merge. 25k to headhunt for a new police chief when the appropriate one could just have been offered the job. O’yeah those dollars are all important but more important the sense of disfunction and poor governance Dave has created by standing firm against a “few angry people”. If Dave had only a few month left – no recall- but 3 1/2 years of this to follow? Resign Dave Turner

    Charles Brandenburg
    Of Fort Bragg

  2. Lazarus May 26, 2015

    “Judi Bari Day Proclamation last Tuesday:”

    WTF is this…? Ever see the PBS show on her and her ex? She was an enviro terrorist…straight up!
    And these idiots are having a Judi Bari Day!?
    Then there’s the shoplifting incident at, of all places…Mendo Mill.
    And there are many in this County that remember the sugared gas tanks, the sabotage, and then there’s the spiking of all those trees that put mill workers in harms way…Judi was not a nice person. This proclamation is shameful…revisionist history.

    • Harvey Reading May 28, 2015

      PBS? Are you kidding?

      • Lazarus May 28, 2015

        No I’m not Boy, but I hope you are…Oh I know, you don’t believe in TV either…or even have one cause you’re so cool and intellectual and important that it’s beneath your highness…keep smoking it, you need it…HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

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