General News


Sunday’s Western Weekend parade in Point Reyes Station as always included a lively bunch of dancers, such as the group Esforco seen here, which won the Adult Drill Team entry award and took the Grand Prize trophy.

Western Weekend had a good crowd for a joyous return after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This posting is just a superficial look at events. My wife Lynn and I shot numerous photos, but for unknown reasons, my blog’s computer program is refusing to load most of them.

 

The group of political progressives, Indivisible West Marin, was well represented in the parade, joining with Mainstreet Moms, a group of female activists, made up of both real moms and honorary moms. Sitting in the vehicle driven by Charles Gay are (left to right) Kathy Hunting, Wileen Sweet, Pam Ross, urging everyone to vote.  

 

Founded as Mainstreet Moms Opposed to Bush, aka the MMOB, the group carried signs that recalled key victories in the struggle for equality, such as: “1920, WOMEN CAN VOTE,”  plus “1952, ALL ASIANS CAN VOTE,” and “1971, EIGHTEEN YEAR OLDS CAN VOTE.”

Indivisible West Marin is a chapter of the nationwide grassroots movement that began as a response to the Trump election and continues to engage in “bite-sized” actions for democracy, especially electoral work, via telephone calls, texts and/or postcards. Local activists do as much as they feel comfortable with and support each other’s level of involvement.  A parade sign to “Join Us” means just that; they are always looking for more local participation. IWM produces weekly action suggestions and has a publicly accessible Facebook page.    

This weekend’s celebration began in 1949 when a women’s group, Companions of the Forest, Circle 1018, held a festival, fashion show, and cake walk in their hall, the Foresters Hall on Mesa Road. The following year, members of the local Lions Club, many of whom were married to Circle 1018 members, added a parade and a junior livestock show. The event was called a “junior” livestock show because all those showing animals were 4-H and FFA members.

Rabbit showmanship — Junior Livestock, so to speak. As usual, Chris Giacomini made Toby’s Feed Barn available for Saturday’s contests and showmanship events. Here are the awards given out at the rabbit show: •Novice 1st Place: Hannah Slocum, •Intermediate 1st Place: Ricky Kelley, •Intermediate 2nd Place: Danielle Breeden, •Intermediate 3rd Place: Nick Kelley, •Senior 1st Place: Grace Perkins, • Senior 2nd Place: Tammy Kelley,          • Best of Show Rabbit: Tammy Kelley for her Mini Rex Senior Buck, •Reserve Best of Show Rabbit: Grace Perkins for her White Mini Senior Buck. Pictured are Trixie, a nine-month-old French Lop held by Danielle of Petaluma with her friend Hannah.

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Landscape painter Thomas Wood is in the midst of a four-Saturday show at his small studio on the square in Nicasio. The show will wind up from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 25, and anyone who hasn’t seen it yet really ought to take a ride to Nicasio.

“My paintings are meditations on nature,” Wood comments, and indeed all the works on display are landscapes (with a bit of the Petaluma River thrown in). Morning, the painting at the upper left, portrays the morning fog in the trees.

 

Wood <twoodart.com> has taken part in more than 150 exhibits. Works by Wood and Point Reyes Station photographer Art Rogers were shown together at West Marin galleries in 2008 and 2009. Last year he held a well-received show in Toby’s Feed Barn Gallery and sold a number of paintings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Petaluma River in downtown Petaluma.

Redwoods.

The marsh at Schooner Bay.

Nicasio Reservoir changing hues. On our way home from Wood’s exhibit, my wife Lynn Axelrod Mitchell, and I stopped beside Nicasio Reservoir to try to figure out what is making a cove look light blue. It couldn’t be art. Could it be chemistry? (Lynn, by the way, shot all the photos in this posting on her Iphone because the battery in my Nikon was dead.) The shoreline at left is lined with foam, so I called Marin Municipal Water District, which owns the reservoir, to find out if it knew of anything dangerous in the water.

Update: I got a call back Tuesday morning and was told what looks light blue is probably some form of algae, which also occurs at Bon Tempe Reservoir. District staff, however, took water samples to confirm that the reservoir was safe.

 

 

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

We’ll begin with a bunch of the jokes that are now circulating in West Marin:

• Wi-fi went down for five minutes, so I had to talk to my family. They seem like nice people.

• My doctor asked if anyone in my family suffers from mental illness. I said, “No, we all seem to enjoy it.”

• I told my wife I wanted to be cremated. She made me an appointment for Tuesday.

• I’ve reached the age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me

• Camping: where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person.

• I really don’t mind getting old, but my body is having a major fit.

• If you see me talking to myself, just move along. I’m self-employed; we’re having a staff meeting.

• Life is too short to waste time matching socks.

• A dog accepts you as the boss… a cat wants to see your resume.

• I thought growing old would take longer.

• At my funeral, take the bouquet off my coffin and throw it into the crowd to see who is next.

• The officer said, “You drinking?” I said, “You buying?” We just laughed and laughed…. I need bail money.

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The following sounds like a joke, but it’s really a news item from The New York Daily News and occurred in the State of Washington on April 19:

“Washington firefighters rescued a woman after she fell headfirst into an outhouse toilet last week.

“The incident occurred at Mount Walker as the woman attempted to grab her phone, which she dropped into the toilet during an outing last Tuesday, the Brinnon Fire Department said.

“The department’s chief says the woman took apart the toilet seat and tied dog leashes to herself as she went to reach for the phone.

“They didn’t work very well, and in she went,” said Chief Tim Manly…. “After falling in, the woman grabbed her phone and managed to contact authorities, who saved her.

“‘I imagine that she was probably very fortunate,’ Manly said. ‘I don’t have any experience with that kind of a rescue, except for now, but I know that is not a good place to be.’

“Mount Walker is in the Olympic National Forest, which is about 55 miles northwest of Seattle.”

 

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Russia’s attempt to annex parts of Ukraine upsets many US citizens; we’re horrified by Russian massacres of Ukrainians; many of us wish we could counter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cruel policies. Well, one Point Reyes Station resident has been moved to try.

Betty Grinshtein, an assistant cheesemaker at the Cowgirl Creamery, this summer will fly off to Lviv, Ukraine, which is at the Polish border and is the city where she was born.

Betty Grinshtein (left) at the Rotary Club’s Peace Garden. The garden on the main street of Point Reyes Station these days is frequently adorned with Ukrainian flags.

Grinshtein, 44, hopes “to volunteer with the International Rescue Committee and help them with translation work,” as well as “any projects they may have for me.” Her ability to translate should prove invaluable, for besides English she speaks Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, French and some Spanish.

She holds a BA in modern history with a minor in linguistics from UC Santa Cruz plus a master’s degree from San Jose State in teaching English to speakers of other languages. She has already spent six years teaching English to non-native speakers.

One of her goals for traveling to the war zone is to help some of the millions of Ukrainian refugees “navigate their stay in Poland.”

This summer she plans to fly to the Polish side of the border first for “safety…. I feel the Russians may still bomb Western Ukraine, and I’d like to come back alive.”

For those who would like to contribute to Grinshtein’s endeavor, a GoFundMe page has been set up at <https://www.gofundme.com/f/going-to-poland-to-help-ukrainian-refugees>.

 

 

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Can events in nature foreshadow events in the human world — e.g. a devastating storm before a  big battle?  The storm may not cause the battle but merely symbolize events to come. 

 

Mass burial. The first nine days of Russia’s shelling of Mariupol in Ukraine led to bodies of civilians being dumped in mass graves. It’s a horrid scene. Widespread death is certainly becoming a metaphor for our time.

Appropriately enough, a vulture swooped down outside our front window today and put on an impressive display. My first thought was: that’s one big buzzard! My second was: this carrion eater reminds me of Vladimir Putin hovering over Ukraine. It’s hard to get that war off one’s mind.

A true diversion. Seven blacktail deer outside our kitchen door today.

The deer made Newy, the stray cat we adopted, curious, and she wandered over for a closer look. The deer were obviously curious about her too. Newy arrived at Mitchell cabin last year with a family of raccoons, and she enjoys watching wildlife as much as we do. In fact, sometimes she seems to think of herself as wildlife, but Lynn makes sure to get her in at night and makes her bed nice and cozy.

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Vladimir Putin likes to be photographed without a shirt, and this picture of him horseback riding barechested in Siberia in 2009 circulated worldwide. 
Perhaps it inspired this well-publicized spoof showing Putin riding a bear. “I have seen ‘photos’ of me riding a bear,” the Russian president has said. “I have not ridden a bear yet, but there are such photos already.” Is yet the operative word here?

In his apparent quest for Russia to regain its Soviet Union hegemony over much of Eastern Europe, Putin may yet be gobbled by a bear, for not even all Russians are happy with his invasion of Ukraine.

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Who’s waffling?

I bought a pint of “Organic Maple Syrup” to go with my daily waffle, but when I brought it home, I noticed it didn’t taste quite as I expected, so I examined the tub it came in.

Printed on a label atop the tub is a “California Proposition 65 WARNING: Consuming this product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/food.” I checked the warning and found: “Lead and lead compounds are on the Proposition 65 list because they can cause cancer.  Exposure to lead and lead compounds may increase cancer risk.”

Yet the syrup is promoted as “organic” and “non-GMO” (without genetically modified organisms). How can something that sounds so healthy also be dangerous?

It’s all craziness.

 

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Standing with Putin.

During Donald Trump’s controversial presidency, it was never a secret how much he admired Russia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin, whom he described as a friend. Amazingly, Trump’s fawning admiration only grew when Putin this week sent troops into the Ukraine, and Russia fired missiles into its cities.

Putin’s strategy has been for two political districts (oblasts) of the Ukraine, which are dominated by separatists, to become independent statelets friendly to and dependent upon Russia. On Tuesday, members of Russia’s parliament officially adopted Putin’s plan and recognized the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent of the Ukranian [sic] government.

“Russian MPs Greenlight Putin’s Recognition of Rebel Ukranian Regions,” A Moscow Times headline noted.

Russia meanwhile claims its troops in the Ukraine are only there as “peacekeepers” to defend Donetsk and Luhansk from the Ukrainian government.

Numerous people have been killed, and several Ukranian cities have been struck by Russian missiles this week. Putin’s imperialism offends much of the world, but Trump on Tuesday praised it as “genius” and “very savvy…. Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?”

By Saturday, however, Trump had decided Putin may not have been so smart when he directed an invasion of the Ukraine. “I just think it’s a shame that this is going on. It’s something that should not be going on,” Trump said. “Thousands of people, I mean, this can lead to much bigger than this one area,” Trump warned.

“This could lead to a lot of other countries and can lead to world war…. You never know how it starts, in a world war.”

Trump, meanwhile continues to portray public events as all about himself. Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, he claimed, “all happened because of a rigged election.” If Trump had been declared the winner of the 2020 national election, he told Fox News, “this would have never happened.”

 

Trump toadying up to Putin on a 2020 political pin.

When Russia appeared to be preparing for an amphibious landing in the Ukraine, Trump mistakenly commented on Fox News that US troops had carried out an amphibious landing and criticized Fox correspondent Laura Ingraham for reporting on this supposedly top secret US military action.

“You shouldn’t be saying that because you and everybody else shouldn’t know about it. They should do that secretly, not be doing that through the great Laura Ingraham,” he said sarcastically.

“No. Those were the Russians,” Ingraham corrected him. “Oh, I thought you said that we were sending people in,” Trump responded. “That’ll be next.”

Putin’s charm offensives seem to work.  In 2010, for example, he promoted himself as a good guy by singing Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill (click to watch) for a charity fundraiser. This Russian Television video of the event shows how he charmed celebrities like Kevin Costner, Goldie Hawn, and Gérard Depardieu, all of whom are a clearly more sophisticated than “the Donald,” as his first wife, Ivana, called him.

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To ressurect one of my Valentine’s Day photos, I’ll start off with a skein of Canada geese flying past Inverness Ridge.

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This posting is late because I’ve been grappling with interference from some hacker, who’s dropped hundreds of odd symbols seemingly at random in posts I recently put online and posts from years ago.

Some examples:

—Journalist!
 
— Salvadoran
 
 the Gibson
 
 
 The author

 

I suspect the hacker is Vietnamese since the symbols also show up in foreign-language comments, which Google identifies as Vietnamese.

 

 

 

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The oddest West Marin news in the past fortnight came in the Feb. 3 Point Reyes Light. Here it is word for word.

Sheriff’s Call — Sunday, Jan.10: 

NICASIO: At 7:42 p.m. a woman who said she was moving to town from Southern California reported that someone who works at the post office was shooting metaphorical arrows, meaning witchcraft and sorcery, and that God had told her she needed to eradicate witchcraft and sorcery. She said the man was going to make her have demonic serpent offspring and she could not report him to his supervisor because the supervisor was likely in the same region of warlocks, and she wanted to assure deputies that she had not been struck by the arrows because she was protected by the blood of Jesus — she had an X-ray to prove it.

When I showed this to a friend in San Rafael, what he found equally amazing is that tiny Nicasio has its own post office.

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

This weekend I rediscovered a trove of old t-shirts when a knob came loose on a dresser drawer in the bedroom. The drawer, which I had rarely opened, turned out to be full of badly worn shirts I’d collected during the past four decades but then forgotten about. In picking through them, I found many of these t-shirts were souvenirs of places I’d been and things I’d observed. T-shirts are often sold as such, but what I discovered is they can be arranged to tell stories.

This Synanon t-shirt, which an ex-member of the cult gave me, was an instant reminder of the late 1970s when I edited and published The Point Reyes Light and when Synanon was headquartered in Marshall. As The Light revealed, Synanon’s focus had evolved from drug-treatment to making money. It claimed to be a church in order to avoid regulations, as well as taxes on that money. Its lawyers began referring to Synanon as a “cult.” From there it was a short step into becoming a criminally violent organization. This history makes the shirt’s “Synanon the People Business” message all the more ironic.

Now here’s a souvenir I can use some help with. The shirt commemorates “The First Annual West Marin Oyster Festival.” I vaguely remember such an event, but I don’t recall where it was held nor whether there were more West Marin Oyster Festivals. Any reader who does remember is encouraged to let us all know know in the comment section.

“It Was Another Safe & Sane 4th in Bolinas.” What year was this? What prompted the boast?

How about this t-shirt from  the Gibson House, once a highly regarded bar and restaurant in Bolinas? Was there a particular issue that inspired this? If so, when?

The Marshall Tavern had its own shirt. Does anyone remember when this came out?

The Point Reyes Light distributed a number of t-shirts. This one from the 1970s is a reminder of the days when the cover price was a tenth of what it is today.

One of The Light’s particularly popular features was Tomales cartoonist Kathryn LeMieux’s Feral West. As seen, there was a time that graffiti artists frequently scrawled “SKIDS” along West Marin roadsides.

The vast majority of Mexican immigrants in West Marin are from Jalostotitlán. Beginning in the 1980s, The Light sent reporters to southern Mexico three times to document the historic immigration from Jalos.

As for my own foreign reporting, in the early 1980s, I took a two-year leave from The Light to report for The San Francisco Examiner. The then-Hearst-owned daily sent me to Central America for three months to cover fighting underway in El Salvador and Guatemala.

Surprising acronym. One of my favorite t-shirts from these adventures was from the SPCA Salvadoran Press Corps Association.

Because unfamiliar people showing up during a firefight can easily be suspected of being enemy personnel, the back of my SPCA shirt carried the message: !PERIODISTA! !No DISPARE! Journalist! Don’t shoot!

An example of  the violence in the air when I was in Central America. However, since “your country” referred to El Salvador, why was the message in English and not Spanish?

 

 

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

This week I’ll reprint a bit of the humor that’s been emailed to me in the past week, including a few unlikely photos.

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A good looking man walked into an agent’s office in Hollywood and said, “I want to be a movie star.” Tall, handsome and with experience on Broadway, he had the right credentials. The agent asked, “What’s your name?”

The guy said, “My name is Penis van Lesbian.” The agent said, “Sir, I hate to tell you, but in order to get into Hollywood , you are going to have to change your name.”

Just a pinch

“I will NOT change my name!” the man replied. “The van Lesbian name is centuries old. I will not disrespect my grandfather by changing my name. Not ever.”

The agent said, “Sir, I have worked in Hollywood for years… You will NEVER go far in Hollywood with a name like Penis van Lesbian! I’m telling you, you will HAVE TO change your name or I will not be able to represent you.” The guy responded, “So be it! I guess we will not do business together,” and he abruptly left the agent’s office.

Five years later, the agent opens an envelope sent to his office. Inside the envelope is a letter and a check for $50,000. He reads the letter enclosed: “Dear Sir, Five years ago, I came into your office wanting to become an actor in Hollywood. You told me I needed to change my name. Determined to make it with my God-given birth name, I refused. You told me I would never make it in Hollywood with a name like Penis van Lesbian.

“After I left your office, I thought about what you said. I decided you were right. I had to change my name. I had too much pride to return to your office, so I signed with another agent. “I would never have made it without changing my name, so the enclosed check is a token of my appreciation. Thank you for your advice.”

Sincerely, Dick van Dyke

 

 

 

Praising the sun

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CNN (click to read full story) — Former President Donald Trump railed against his one-time close ally Benjamin Netanyahu in a new interview series, saying he felt betrayed by the then-prime minister of Israel’s video message to Joe Biden congratulating him on winning the presidency.

“It was early. OK? Let’s put it this way; he greeted him very early. Earlier than most world leaders. I’ve not spoken to him since. Fuck him!”
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Duck surfing a dam.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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