Friday, August 29, 2008

Respect for our ancestors, good and bad.

Captain Jack, chief of the Modoc Indians, and one of the greatest warriors to ever live.

Keith Pace said:
“I know allot of u will find it hard to believe but my name is keith pace and i am a direct decendent of frank and pierce asbil. and i really didnt know that much about them, but now i know a little more thanx to this site. its crazy to think im a decendant of some crazy indian killing bad ass's!! pretty cool! but i dont think i should ever go to covelo. sounds like the indians there are still a little pessed. Lol.”

I found this comment way, way back in a post that I made in reply to Kym, who had just found out that one of her ancestors was in Jarboe’s Eel River Rangers. I explained to her that she should not feel too guilty about her ancestor killing Indians, and that for the most part, they thought that it was part of surviving. A “them or us” attitude, that almost wiped out the Indian people.

By now most of you know that Spyrocks ancestors were killed by Indians in the area of Cato near Laytonville. Without going into great detail, I have a relative that was raped by two Indian men who then cut her throat and left her to die. She survived and told who her rapists were, and they caught them, and hung them. The story goes that she was impregnated by the Indians, and raised the baby as her own, which indeed it was, along with the rest of her children.

What I’m trying to say, is there was provocation for what happened to the Indian people, and, the white people. They were in a life or death conflict. Many people died unfairly and many people died fairly. Should any of us today bear any burden of guilt for what happened in the 1860’s? No.

What I feel for both of our ancestors is deep respect, both Indian and White, they were doing what they thought they had to do to survive. I owe my present Indian friends the honor of not disrespecting their ancestors, and they do a good job of not disrespecting my ancestors. The people of today have, for the most part, put aside what happened in the past, with the hope that we can get along and share a bright future and respect for each other.

Now, having said that, I want to say that I’m glad that Keith Pace wrote to me. I’m glad that he had the courage to sign his name. The fact that he is related to the Asbils intrigues me to no-end. But, at no point should he feel that it is okay to think that his ancestors were “Indian killing bad asses” or were they in any way “cool” because of it.

He owes all of our ancestors more respect.

Now Keith, if you will forgive me for chewing on you, I really would like for you to tell me anything that you know about your ancestors, and I will be glad to give you volumes of information about the Asbils, if you are interested.

Thank you for reminding me that respect is important. Usually I’m so busy trying to explain what happened back then, and how, that I forget how much respect that I have for them. It is truly great that the White Man and the Indian now walk on common ground.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Old Iron. Machines that you just had to know how to work.

I was spending some time with Harrell Snodgrass the other day, and the subject of his retirement came up. It occurred to me that when Harrell retires, it will truly be the end of an era.

When I was a kid, there was a machine shop in the old wooden building in the lumber yard that the Southern Humboldt Building supply is in today. The place was a bustling, booming business. I don't know how many people worked there, but it was apparent that they needed a larger, more modern building, so they built a new metal covered shed just south of the town of Redway. The company at the time was called the Armfield Machine Shop. They specialized in making things out of machined metal. I’m writing this all from the memory of when I was a little kid, so I guess that I’ll have to warn you that this is mostly “Bullshistory”, in case Jim Baker is reading. He won’t let me get it wrong.

As I said, the business was bustling, there were many sawmills and logging operations in the area, and “The Machine shop” as it was known, was kept very busy. A man by the name of Burrell Lewis and his wife owned the shop. Up until they sold it to Harrell in the early seventies. Back it the sixties, I remember, that is where we went to have our chokers, and bull lines made. We got our welding tanks there. Whenever we had a welding job that was to big for us, the Machine Shop would send out a heavy duty welder. Often we had to have a shaft or a drift pin made, and they would turn one out on one of their lathes. The Machine shop was what kept the sawmills and logging operations around here working.

The reason that I say that it is the end of an era is, much of the same equipment that I remember as a child is still being used today. The machinery is probably more valuable as museum pieces than it is actual value. At any rate, I consider the equipment as being quite valuable. The machinery is so heavy that it would be difficult to move.

When I first started doing refrigeration service back in May of 1964, I would take the worn out belt drive refrigeration motors in to Burrell, and he would pull them apart and put new bushings in them. Then he would turn the motor shaft to true it and line bore the bushings to fit the shaft. He would cut oil grooves in the bushings and put the motor back together again. The motor would be good for another three or four years then we would do it all over again.

If you click on the pictures, they will greatly enlarge, and you will be able to see the detail of the machinery.

These photos are of a large size drill press. The beer can on the drill table was placed there so you could tell the size of the drill bits.

If you look at the object table of the drill press, you can see that it will raise and lower, and it has a large clamp to hold whatever is being drilled in place. As you might guess, a clamp is needed to drill a two inch hole in steel. The machine is a flat belt drive, and if you notice the bottom pulley, it is in many sizes, to change the speed of the drill bit. Different size holes and different metals take different speeds. Nowadays they have a computer to determine those speeds. Back in the olds days you just had to know what speed to use. Harrell knows all of those kinds of things, and they are not being taught anymore.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


A little housekeeping is in order, I’ve skipped all over hell in my posting, doubled back a few times, and moved away from some interesting topics too soon. So, I want to go back and pick up on some interesting comments that got moved away from too fast.

C.P.R. said: ( "...the heller decision by the supreme court still said that the 2nd amendment guarantees an individual right."

This was the product of an "activist court" which was "legislating from the bench."

I had actually hoped that a few more people would try to understand what their rights are, and would want to make a few comments about them. CPR recognizes one of the things that have always absolutely flabbergasted me. “Legislation from the Bench”. Where some foolish old man, or woman, whichever the case might be, decides we need a new law, that dictates what we might need, or not need. In their mind they see themselves as some great thinker that has saved the world from itself. But, in our mind, they have steamrolled the rights of Americans away.

Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, and they are almost untouchable. They are supposed to be the wisest of the wise, the fairest of the fair, and above all self interest. If that is the case, why is it that they seldom, if ever, agree on anything? Most decisions are split somewhere near the middle. The average person on the street could make some better decisions than the Supreme Court justices. So, never be afraid to insist on your rights as an American Citizen!

Spyrock said: “The first tombstone I saw as I got out of the car was Samuel, Charlotte, and Joe Simmerly. Inside my mind, I could feel my ancestors gather around me.
I felt strangely happy for being in a graveyard, it was hard to leave. They've been pulling at me to find out stuff about Spyrock ever since that day. Like they want me to know their story, what happened there and who their part of me is. So its because of a bunch of ghosts that I found y'all, maybe your ghosts are there with them laughing about us talking to each other.”

I have often felt that same feeling in the presence of my ancestors. Like Jim, I agree, a quiet trip back is a great time to reflect on who we are, and who we should be.

AND: a comment worth quoting from, believe it or not, Anonymous!

"... I’m not going to stop “Anonymous” from commenting because some of the most thoughtful and interesting comments come from that source."

Thank you, Ernie. I'm glad you appreciate your Anonymous posters.

Some of us strive to make our contributions interesting, thought-provoking, respectful, humorous, and even a little crazy (in a good way) from time to time.

I firmly believe that when "Anonymous" becomes synonymous with courtesy in commentary, our entire nation's well-being will be enhanced.

It is a heavy responsibility, but I do not shrink from bearing it.

I promise to do my part until, one day, "Anonymous" does in fact become synonymous with courtesy in commentary, and the nobility inherent in every human soul is finally and completely realized by all of humankind!

Hope your weekend is a fun one, Ernie!

Thank-you Anonymous! And, I Willy will have a good weekend. (Going to see Willy Nelson Sunday)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Amendment.

Amendment VII (1791)
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

This amendment guarantees every Americans the right to a trial, with a jury of their peers.

Amendment VIII (1791)
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

More basic human rights.

Amendment IX (1791)
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This is the Amendment that I’ve been wanting to get to. On the surface, it is just another say nothing, do nothing amendment, but actually I think that it is one of the most important amendments of all.

Back when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were being framed there was heated controversy over what they should say and mean. Some federalists claimed that there should be no Bill of Rights, because they were afraid that if they specifically listed those rights, that it would imply that Americans were not entitled to rights not listed. But the Anti-Federalists insisted that they wanted a Bill of Rights that list those rights that should not ever be taken away. The compromise was the ninth amendment, stating that if it is not listed anywhere that you don’t have a certain right, you indeed do have that right.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that; “You don’t have a right to privacy”. By extension, some scholars say that the ninth amendment guarantees your right to privacy.

One of the decisions made under the ninth amendment was Roe V Wade: “the District Court that heard the case of Roe v. Wade ruled in favor of a "Ninth Amendment right to choose to have an abortion."

Further: "Gun rights activists in recent decades have sometimes argued for a fundamental natural right to keep and bear arms that both predates the U.S. Constitution and is covered by the Constitution's Ninth Amendment; according to this viewpoint, the Second Amendment protects only a pre-existing right to keep and bear arms. In the related case of United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), the Supreme Court held that while Congress has broad lawmaking authority under the Commerce Clause, it is not unlimited, and does not apply to something as far from commerce as carrying handguns".

While the Ninth Amendment - and indeed the entire Bill of Rights - originally concerned restrictions upon federal power, the subsequently enacted Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the States as well from abridging fundamental personal liberties. And, the Ninth Amendment, in indicating that not all such liberties are specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments, is surely relevant in showing the existence of other fundamental personal rights, now protected from state, as well as federal, infringement.

Amendment X (1791)
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This gives the States the right to enact their own laws, as long as the don't conflict with federal laws.

And those folks, are your Rights! If you want to chime in about freeing the slaves or giving the women the Right to Vote, now is the time to chime in, because we are now moving away from the American Constitution.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Digress, some more, again.

White Deer Skin Dance, photo taken by Pliny E. Goddard, in 1906, in Klamath.

Spyrock brought up the subject of the "Ghost Dance" that I always thought of as a later day Invention by the Indian People, that was kind of like a prayer for the White man to go away, and good hunting, and good times to return.
I don't know how far back in history it may go, but the Ghost Dance was a late Eighteen-hundreds invention, and was mostly practiced by the Lakota.

The more I learn about the Indian dances, the more confused that I get. From what I understand the Indian dances were all directed toward renewal, for good things to happen again. The White Deer Skin Dance was a prayer for good Salmon runs and good acorn crops to happen again. They were done at the full of the moon in August or September.

The Ghost Dance was a dance done by the plains Indians and was something that an American Indian Prophet, the prophet of peace Jack Wilson, known as Wovoka among the Paiute, dreamed about and called for his people to follow. Wovoka was not unlike Mahatma Gandhi. He told his people to remain peaceful to themselves and the White Man. But, it was the Ghost Dance that precipitated The Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, which resulted in the deaths of at least 153 Lakota Sioux. The white man misunderstood this dance of peace and renewal for a war dance. A Good description of what happened at wounded knee is in this article.

The Ghost dance only became popular after most of the north coast massacres had already happened. (Late eighteen hundreds)

Circle dances are popular throughout history, in all cultures, and go back so far that it has no historical beginning. The Druids did circle dances, Ring Around The Rosy is a circle dance. Every culture gives the circle their own meaning or twist but they have happened since the beginning of humankind.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

Amendment V (1791)

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This means that no person can be charged with murder unless a panel of people called a Grand jury see’s that there is enough evidence to allow it. It helps avoid false charges.

This is the amendment that protects you from having to testify for or against yourself. Most lawyers tell you to use it, whether you are guilty or not. The reason being that, you might inadvertently say something that might make you look guilty, and you might not get a fair trial because of it.

"nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. "

This part was superseded by the fourteenth amendment. Discussion. Which was superseded by George Bush.
Quote: "...for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken."

Amendment VI (1791)

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

This amendment is pretty straight forward, and has not been changed much, if at all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dwelling on the Fourth Amendment

More thoughts on the Fourth Amendment, because it is seems like it is in the news a lot lately.

I wonder if where our individual rights stop and where others rights began can ever be clearly defined. If I own my own property and I decide that I don’t want to live in the rain, so I build myself a simple shelter, what business is it of anyone else’s? What business is it of anyone if I build a greenhouse? I shouldn’t even need a permit, unless it is going to affect someone else, like a septic system that may fail onto other properties.

I can understand that my problems shouldn’t extend beyond my property lines, but if they don’t, nobody has the right to step on my property without my permission.
I really don’t believe that any of us has given our government all of this control over us, I think that they took it while they were busy picking on people that we don’t like anyway, and we didn’t feel sorry for. Now they are after us, and checking our property without permission. This is what happens when we don’t defend the rights of ALL of us.

Same as with helmet laws, who cares about bikers anyway, and we don’t want to pay for their medical expenses. Seatbelts are the same, everybody should wear their seatbelt, so we don’t feel sorry for them. Sex causes venereal disease, when they pass a condom law are we going to feel bad? How about when you can no longer cook chicken without washing your hands before and after, that should be a law, think of the lives that would be saved with that one. You cant make a u-turn on the freeway, no matter how safely you do it, can not being allowed to cross the street be far behind? Just think how many people are killed in crosswalks. I know I’m off subject!

Like my friend said when they inspected his greenhouse, it’s funny at first, then it makes you mad. I’ve often laughed myself about what would happen it they raided my house. I speculated that I would invite them in offer them a cup of coffee and admonish then to not make a mess. But after the following true story it makes me shudder to think what might have happened to me, if things were a little different.

A few years ago, my wife was going through unclaimed packages that had been returned or damage through our shipping department at the store. Most things just get tossed into the garbage, but this one package was filled with some local coffees, and some herbal teas that she especially likes. So she took them home. They sat in the cupboard for quite some time, then one night she ran out of tea, so she open one of the packages that was tightly sealed. When she got the package opened, she discovered that it was loose-leaf tea. She started to make some tea out of it, then she sniffed it. She woke me up laughing. When I asked what was up, she said that we have had a box of Marijuana in our cupboard for over a year!

The next morning I took the stuff out and sprinkled in in the berry brush, and put the box in a State Park garbage can. I shuddered at the thought of my cavalier attitude about searching my house. That night I got to thinking about the other teas and coffee that she had brought home. Sure enough, more pot. What ever kind of critters lived in that berry bush must have had a high time for awhile.

What would have happened if I had been searched? Would they have shot my dog? Would they have held my mother at gunpoint? Would they have handcuffed me in my underwear? (All stuff that I have read about lately)

How would I have claimed that I was innocent? It would certainly have entailed significant lawyer fees, even to be let off. Shouldn’t people be entitled to make a mistake in their own homes?

Friday, August 22, 2008

The third and fourth Amendments.

We are reviewing the amendments one by one, in case you came in late, now go down and start at the beginning.

Amendment III (1791)
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

This amendment is pretty straight-forward, and not controversial. Back during the Colony days Great Britton housed their soldiers in the colonist’s houses under the “Quartering Act”. The Colonists so disliked having to house soldiers that it was presented as the third amendment, and it has never been questioned.

Amendment IV (1791)
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This amendment is probably the most misinterpreted amendment of them all. I have a friend that just had his greenhouse searched while he wasn’t at home. He has no contraband growing in it, and he simply grows hydroponics vegetables, and he grows them inside to control insects and disease. Mostly he does it because he enjoys it and parttly because he can. He has never done anything that should bring “Probable Cause” down on him. He doesn’t even use marijuana.
At first he thought that it was funny, because he knew that there was nothing in there. I asked him if he knew whether or not they had a warrant. He said “based on what” I’ve grown vegetables in my green house for years. Why would they just show up, look in my greenhouse while I’m not home, then not even have the courtesy to leave a note, so I would know who was snooping around. He saw the deputy drive up his driveway, then about twenty minutes later he saw him come out. He went up later and saw the deputys foot tracks in the dirt to the greenhouse.

He said after he got through laughing about it, it started to make him mad.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Second Amendment

Amendment II (1791)
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

This amendment has been widely, and wildly, interpeted. Most people think that the law means that a person should have the right to have a gun to protect themselves.

When I was a young man everybody had a gun rack in their pick-up truck rear window, the theory being that if it was in plain sight it wasn't a concealed weapon. Most hunters would walk down the street to the sporting goods store with their sidearm on their hip.

An old gentleman that I knew told me once that he thought that the reason that the American Citizen had the right to arm themselves, was to protect themselves against an unreasonable government that got out of the common mans control. Well I guess that there is not much danger of that happening, is there.
Sometimes I think that we are already out-gunned.

Goose Quills and Onionskin, and your rights.

Okay here we go… How many people out there know what their rights are, under the Constitution of the United States of America?

More importunately, as we have been told, the rights for the “Little People” like you and I, are derived from the “Bill of Rights” or the first ten amendments. Then they did such a good job on the first ten that they gave us a bunch more. We now have twenty-seven in all.

The Constitution of the United States pretty much sets up how the county is to run and how to do it. Because this is going to be educational for people like you and I, that all have their favorite amendment, and don’t know a whole lot about the rest, we will discuss what we think about the amendments in layman’s terms. I hope people will ask dumb questions, and I hope that they will get good answers, because we are all skating on many edges these days, and it might be a good thing to know what rights that we are entitled to.

I know that your rights don’t make any difference, if our government won’t respect them, but what the hell, wouldn’t you like to know, just for kicks, what you’re losing?

I know that there are people that know the Constitution and Bill of Rights by rote, and can recite them all, and know what they mean. Most of us are not like that and we would appreciate your learned opinion on the Amendments. But, remember we are amateurs, so use simple language that persuades us to think that you know what you are talking about, and not just trying to slip past us simple folk. I know that it can be done, I’ve seen it happen.

I know that people will be anxious to rush ahead to their favorite amendments but let’s take them in the order that they are presented. If the cat has a litter of kittens and you are anxious to tell us, please interrupt. We always like fresh news. Otherwise try to stick to the amendments as we come to them.

I should do this backwards, because all of the really good ones came first, but I wont, and we start the first course with dessert.

Amendment 1, passed in 1791:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
I guess that means if you want to start your own church, and you think that Elvis is God, the government can’t stop you. Many of phony religions have hidden behind this clause, but what the heck, if you want to go to the trouble to start a religion, go ahead, it’s not against the law.

“or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;”
Ah, This is the one that most people have heard blathered on about endlessly. This is the one that the professional wordsmiths point to as the most important of all of the amendments. I’ve heard reporters, and news people carry on for absolutely hours about “their rights” to say anything that they want, protect all their sources, reveal plots, and keep all of their information to themselves as to who the guilty parties might be, because they might need them for another juicy story.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I always heard that “with great privilege, comes great responsibility”. You never hear the reporters quoting that.
“or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
To me, this is the most annoying part of the first amendment, I don’t think that we are allowed much of a chance to peaceably assemble, and strangely, it is always far away from anyone we might want to talk to. Our government is out of touch in more ways than one.

What would you change about the first amendment? Do you think that it is clear enough? Is it time to start over? Remember, this thing is written on onion skin. maybe it IS time to start over.
Okay, I’ll start. Under the first amendment. Did you know that is okay to burn the American Flag in a public protest? It is considered to be a form of speech.
Did you know that pornography is not very limited under the first amendment, but obscenity is?
The definition of obscenity is:
“the Roth test for obscenity was “whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.”

In other words if you are interested in it, it is obscene. Or as Justice Potter Stewart put it: "I know it when I see it."
But mostly, the first amendment is your right to say what you want.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I understand that there is going to be a meeting tonight about the rail and harbor.
Rail and Port Revitalization Forum
Wednesday, August 20 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way, Eureka.

As one who loves trains, I would like to present as sound of an argument pro-train as I can. Without saying how I might feel about ANY proposed project, I would like to propose my own “rail down the Eel”.

The way that America got out of the last depression, was with work projects that put Americans back to work. Instead of just hiring people to break rocks and pay them for it, they paid them to build, or rebuild, America’s infrastructure. The railway down the canyon should be thought of as a work-project, an enviromental project, an infrastructure bebuilding project, and with the side benifit of gaining a railroad.

With all this talk about legalizing marijuana, they very well could legalize it. If that does happen, it is my opinion that it will drain Humboldt’s economy. We are going to need an economic boost in Humboldt County if we are able to remain here and survive. I know that there are those people that already “have theirs” and don’t care about the working people, but there are still people struggling to make an honest living, and need jobs.

They say the Eel canyon is too unstable to put a rail line through, if that is so, that would mean that there are many slides that now simply slide into the river and wash away. With an active rail line, those slides would have to be stabilized or hauled off if they landed on the tracks.
In Europe, their rail system does not make a profit, and is not expected to, it is part of the subsidized infrastructure and it is understood that it is a benefit to have. The whole world raves about the Euro-rail and their travel passes, and most of the freight in Europe is moved on their rails.

With good engineers the slides could be stabilized, bypassed, via ducted, and otherwise be dealt with in an environmentally sound way. Although expensive, think of the expense of it all, being spent right here at home on American workers that need good jobs! Call it economic recovery if you want. It is far better than spending our money off-shore to do the same thing in another country.

My point being, I would rather see American workers working to stabilize and clean up the Eel canyon, and end up with a working Railroad, than to pay them to sit on the couch, smoke dope, and bitch about the environment and stop progress.

As for what would happen to keep the rail alive. We have the worlds most erosive river, and an abundant supply of rock and gravel to ship out. I don’t anticipate the United States sucking the great industrial tit of China forever. Our forests are rapidly maturing and they could become a sustained industrial base for lumber. Yes! logging can be done in an environmentally sound way. We already have a large dairy and Cattle industry that needs the rail. Who knows, fishing might come back.

All that I know is that we can’t survive without producing something to make a living from.

Can a freight train really move a ton of freight 436 miles on a gallon of fuel?
Yes, and some do even better. The figure used in the rail industry's advertising is a national average.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ernie goes home.

We all gathered at the Harwood Memorial Park, located south-west of town, down by The Little Ten Mile Crick. Yep it’s a crick this weekend. If crick was good enough for my Gramma, it’s good enough for me! We call it “The Little Ten Mile Crick, because the Big Ten Mile Crick is over by Fort Bragg. Some of the old family words pop up, and pretty soon we’re all speaking “Pioneer Laytonvillian”, just like the good old days, before the English Majors showed up to correct us.

The Willits team is wearing green and the Laytonville team is wearing blue. I was horror stuck when I witnessed players wearing their caps during the Presentation of the Colors. I thought, I can’t believe that it has finally come down to this, that they don’t know any better. While under the Presentation of the Colors, the son of Diana Elliot gave a very moving remembrance of his mom, who was a major player in the Harwood Park Association, and after that he sang the Star Spangled Banner. I noticed that all the players took their caps off during the singing, after I got through being thoroughly disgusted by the lack of knowledge about respect to the flag, I remembered to remove my hat. (I hope none of the busybodies noticed)

Annually, we all meet on the third week-end of August, for the Laytonville town team to play the Willits town team. They have a big chicken barbeque developed years ago by the old timers. They built two big pits at least four feet deep, I remember them deeper but my sister say’s that I can’t embellish if I’m talking about something that might be accepted as history. So, I think they are deeper than that, but maybe I remember them as a kid, when I helped my dad Everett, and Eddie Downing make the sauce and swab the chickens, everything was bigger when I was a kid. But, what happens if they are really six feet deep and I report them as four? My sister would probably be upset about that too. So, very accurately they are big deep barbeque pits that are deeper than you would think that they would be. I’m sorta’ glad that my sister stays in Pacifica and leaves this story telling stuff to me.

The rest of the food is done like a big pot luck, everybody brings their favorite dish, and everything is delicious. It’s pretty obvious that they all try to out-do each other. Having a little history with this group of people, you MUST take a little bit of everything, even if it is only a teaspoon full. Every now and then on of the ladies will tip her hand, and she will say something like, “You should take a little bit more of that, it’s delicious”. Then you are required to add just a little bit more and rave about how delicious it looks and smells and make a hasty retreat before the rest of the “girls” can add more of their stuff on your plate. The meal is truly delicious and everybody eats too much.

After the game, when nobody really caught what the score was. We headed back To “Mary’s House”; Mary is my cousin Roys Wife. She can even start a Charcoal Briquette fire, without even a man in sight. Most all of our families are from pioneer stock and things like building fires just come naturally! So, we showed back up to the house (Mary’s House) with fire for the tri-tips already blazing! After we let the coals settle for a few hours, we put the tri-tips on. (Sis, I know that it wasn’t that long, but it’s a lot funnier when I don’t have to explain my jokes!)

I made fried zucchini like has become another tradition at Cousin Mary’s. My cousin Ella and Brad usually brings the Zucchini, but this year there was a rumor of a crop failure. As is normal with our family we started a phone tree to see who could bring Zucchini, We always come through for each other in an emergency. I had heard that my cousin Roy’s mother’s brother’s son would be there, and he had plenty of Zucchini. That problem being solved I decided to marinate a couple of tri-tips just in case somebody extra showed up. My one of my other cousins showed up with some barbequed chicken just in case. My Aunt Roberta made this big chocolate whatchamacallit, complete with whipped cream. She made enough for three family reunions. When the meal was over there was enough food to feed an army, and there was enough zucchini for everybody to take some home. It doesn’t look like any of us will starve for at least a week.

While at the family reunion, I took the opportunity to do a little storyteller housekeeping. My mother criticized me for saying that Ernie Erickson had a pet fox in one of my stories. She said, “He might have, but I don’t remember it”. Both my mother and sister think that they have to remember it, or it probably didn’t happen. So, I asked my aunt Roberta, if her dad Ernie Erickson had a pet fox. Her answer, and I gloriously quote (As near as I can remember). She said, Quote: “Oh heavens yes, he had a pet fox and I helped raise it!” The exclamation mark was hers! I then asked if the Fox had the run of the house. Her answer was: “Gosh yes, my dad wouldn’t have it any other way. He loved that little fox like it was his kid” I sensed a bit of wistfulness in her voice that caused me to wonder if she was jealous of the fox or just missed the cute little critter. Then I said “I heard a story about the fox having an outside cage”, and she said that was true, her dad would put him in the cage while he was gone or wanted him out of the house for some reason. The fox was allowed to run loose sometimes and one time he took off. They speculated about what might have happened to him, and every critter that was run over on the road was checked. After about two months the fox came trotting up the driveway A happy reunion ensued. There was a story that was the only time that anyone saw the tough old guy cry. God I love reunions, sometimes I get to prove that not all my stories are wrong!

Just as a side note: I found out that Black Bart Rock moved again. I asked a friend of mine that was raised in The Ridgwood area one time, he said that he knew of four or five different “Black Bart rocks”, and he laughed about it, and he said that he was not sure exactly where Bart held up stages, but it was done in more than one location, so it’s possible that everybody’s right about where Black Bart Rock is. So, I have to concede this battle to Mom. But, I do wish that she would stop moving the rock on me.

More reunion stories to follow,,,, I’m going to bed!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

link to Bloggers picnic official voting blog

Click here for info and voting on bloggers picnic.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Brace yourself, we are in for a dry spell...

Whatcha gonna do when the well runs dry

you gonna run away and hide

I'm gonna be right by your side

for you, pretty baby, I'd even die.

An old Ricky Nelson tune, stolen from and old nursery rhyme, about an old drought.

It occurred to me that this is the time of the year when the days start getting shorter, and the trees start sucking the sap back out of the leaves, and they get ready to drop. The evergreen leaves harden for winter, and they stop drawing moisture from the air and ground. The water sometimes comes back to the springs even before the rainfall, just because the trees have stopped drinking. It’s the time of the year that we usually have our worse wildland fires, because everything gets tinder dry, and the days are still hot enough to cause the fire to flare out of control. This year we had 100-plus-degree days in May. The dry lightning storm set the State of California on fire, and the most of them will burn until the next rainfall, and there isn’t one in sight.

Back in the early seventies, before Al Gore invented the Internet and Global Warming, we had a drought that only gave us twenty-two inches of rainfall. Back then all of the weather experts were predicting a “New Ice Age”… Yep it’s true. You could look it up!

Most of the springs, on land that the real estate people sold to the newcomers as “year around springs”, dried up. The people in the hills didn’t know what to do, so they bought a bunch of pickle barrels from Burrell Keating, at the old Eel River Salvage Yard, next to the drive-in theater. That was down behind the Renner Union 76 plant for the people that wonder where this all took place.

The people with pickle barrels went begging for water, they were met with much reluctance. Nobody wanted to give up their water. Outside faucets were locked, or removed, to keep people from stealing water. Finally the hill people started stealing water from the fire hydrants in the middle of the night.

Later in the summer, when it was realized that we had a dire water emergency, one of the emergency service groups set up a coin-operated water dispenser at the Redway Fire Department. The dispenser was connected to the fire hydrant in front of the fire hall. As I recall a quarter bought fifty gallons of water. (I may be wrong) It was a very popular feature. It was back before there was drinking water trucks operating in the area, and everyone hauled their own water. I remember one fellow that hauled his water in a water bed mattress in the back off his old half-ton truck it would squat and waddle like a duck going down the road but he got his water home.

The way things are shaping up it looks like we had better brace for a dry spell. Quite different from the last drought, the Redway Water District had their board of directors pass a resolution that the Redway Water Company could shut off the contract water haulers at any time that they deemed it necessary. Just so the people know that they may have to learn to drink dust if it gets dry. So, you have been warned.

My grandmother, who had an uncanny ability to know what the weather was going to do just from watching the wind and the direction that the clouds were moving, used to say that “a dry winter is a cold winter”. She was remarkably right. The year that we only had twenty-two inches of rain, the winter got down to 14 degrees in Redway. All of the wet barrel fire hydrants froze and broke. The old-timers had all of the storms of the winter season named, the storm that caused the fifty-five and the sixty-four floods were called the “December storms” or the “Christmas storms". I don’t recall them having any name for a drought, other than a dry spell. They never thought that anything could change the weather and they just took what they got.

Just like the Redway water Department, the Russian River people are trying to decide what they are going to do for water when Lake Mendocino dries up. They are now down to less than fifty percent of what the lake will hold. The Lake Mendocino gets some of it’s water from the headwaters of the Eel River. They acquired it a long time ago by contracts that were signed giving the Russian river people Eel River Water. The Eel River water serves a twofold purpose of generating electricity for them, and watering their grape fields. The water is also used for municipal water supplies. Our ancestors were probably caught at a weak moment, like the Klamath people were when they signed the contracts with the Klamath potato farmers to take their water away.

I had an old friend that said; “Whiskey is fer drinken’, Water is fer fighten”. After we get through fighten’ about water we will look back fondly on the days when all we fought about was who grew too much Marijuana.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

And you thought Marijuana was harmless...

I picked up the Times-Standard this morning and read with stunned outrage that the Berwyn Heights, Maryland, police broke into the Mayors home and killed his dogs, handcuffed him in his underwear for two hours while they sorted out that they had made a mistake. (Actually, it was 8-8-08’s paper; I hadn’t sent my dog up to get Saturday’s paper yet.)

Apparently drug smugglers were addressing packages of Marijuana to random recipients. When the packages were delivered, an accomplice would scoop the package off the porch before the homeowner could take it in, thus allowing the smugglers to remain anonymous. (“Anonymous“, another word that I’ve come to dislike in certain contexts.)

The Police are still holding the Mayor “Under Suspicion”, because they still haven’t been able “rule out their (his) involvement”.

Now, take the time to hug your dog, as I did. The Mayor’s dogs were gentle pets, (Labradors) but they were reacting as any dog would when their people or territory was being threatened. One dog was shot as it was running away! I hugged my dog again, and went up to get my own paper this morning.

I’ve always felt safe from the Marijuana industry because I don’t use it, I don’t grow it, and I don’t buy or sell it. Maybe I ship a little through our shipping service, but my involvement is not intentional. I know full well that it is the main source of Garberville’s economy. If and when I see it, I think of it a fern. So, I think of myself as a completely innocent bystander. See no evil, hear no evil, say no evil. That’s me! Innocent Ernie…

I would like to think that this could never happen in Humboldt County. I have many friends that are law enforcement officers; indeed I have often been impressed with their wisdom and discretion in dealing with our local miscreants However, with rogues like the “Code Enforcement Units” being asked to find things with no search-warrants, and they are out there with no supervision, we are forcing the possibility similar mistakes.

My dog is friendly and loves people and children, but that only complicates things when she thinks they are threatened. She will instantly ask a person to freeze in their tracks if she thinks that they are a threatening interloper. One more hug for my dog and then I’ll move on.

Chapter one: From my prospective.

With all the public meetings and blog posting on diesel spills, I though that this might be a good time to discuss the “them and us” surrounding the marijuana industry. A much respected person in our community, Jonelle Freidkin Monschke, stated at the Diesel Spill Meeting at the Garberville Vets Hall that; “We are all us”. Meaning that what hurts one of us hurts all of us, or we are all in this together. The best description of that situation is “WE are all in the same boat”. Jonnelle is married to Jack Monschke, an old high school classmate of mine. Jack has always been a trusted and natural born leader. He was our student-body President. He has history and knowledge of this country from logging, ranching, road building, to seeing all of the new people move into this area. I would trust Jonelle or Jacks opinion on anything local.

Unfortunately a better description of what is happening right now is; “WE are all in the same Donner Party” and the major growers are going to survive no matter what. They have huge investments and need to turn huge profits to fill their needs. They are coming dangerously close to swamping our boat, and they have begun throwing the environment and us overboard in order to survive. There is absolutely no reason that they cannot use safe containment tanks, yet they don’t. I’m sorry, that is not a ‘us” attitude, it’s a ‘me” attitude, or, as I said before, a Donner Party attitude, or survival of the toughest.

I had the good fortune of running into Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman the other day at the Reggae Rising event, I asked him about the bust that they made south of Island Mountain, in Northern Mendocino county. This was a very large corporate style grow with many people involved. They had large groups of greenhouses. I know Tom personally, he is a friend of mine. I know all of his family. He went to school here, and knows most of the local people. He knows people, that knew people, that went back to the bootleg alcohol days, before Marijuana. Tom was in the local Volunteer Fire Department with me, we fought fires, and trusted each other together. He was a volunteer “Peacekeeper” that went to Kosovo. He is a good and decent person. I’m telling you this so you will know why I trust him.

I asked Tom this question. I said; “No bullshit Tom, how much processed marijuana did you get at Island Mountain”? Toms reply was “No Bullshit Ernie, eight-hundred pounds”. He went on to say that not one single person that he has met tried to justify that size grow to him. Not the “215 growers”, not the indoor, or outdoor growers, not Ma and Pa, not the recreational user, nobody was sorry to see this operation go. So, why do we tolerate that size grow in our neighborhoods? I am led to believe that size operation is surrounded by violence, and contempt of the law.

They are not “us”.

Chapter two: Fair warning.

In the Shelter Cove Grotto, in a time long ago, there was a young sheriffs deputy that came to be the program for our local Rotary Club. In his presentation, he stated that if we tolerated the growth of Marijuana in our area, that there would be “Hell to pay”. He went on to state that the Marijuana industry would ruin the environment by using up all of the available water. They would fill the creeks with fertilizer that would choke what water that was left with algae. They would stop people from buying land and houses in our area for retirement purposes. He said that they would run off any kind of industry that might try to move here. He stated that we would look just like Italy does with regards to the Mafia. We would look up to the wealthy growers and be tolerant of them because of their benevolence.

After that, I watched the timber companies spray their timber with herbicides, with the two-fold purpose of eradicating the worthless hardwood timber, and the tongue and cheek purpose of getting rid of the Marijuana growers that were growing on their land. The growers immediately organized as an “Environmental Group”, designed to rouse public sentiment to stop the spraying. Some were honest environmentalist. Others were not so honest, but only concerned about their weed. There were good guys and bad guys on both sides. Out of this wildcat environmental group grew other environmental groups, with the dedicated purpose of stopping logging all together. They used rumors about all of the stillborn babies that were “happening” they included photos of afterbirth looking stuff and said that it was what was left of a baby that was born after timber companies sprayed.

Soon we had movements like “Redwood Summer”, Earth first, and Epic. All dedicated to stopping logging. Again, some were honest and dedicated people, but most of the participants of these groups were marijuana growers and users. Most of them know nothing about the growth cycle of a forest, or even the life cycle of a single tree. All they knew is that they were involved in saving “Mother Earth” and they had really, really good drugs that were readily available to the groups. That was just a major plus for them. Most of them had no life anyway, and there were people willing to provide food and drugs for them to be part of the “Environmental Movement”. How cool, and the warm friendly social life was new and exciting to them. They formed heroes, and heroines in their groups. They did things that to regular people seemed quite bizarre. Their behavior was not understood by many. The locals questioned the need for a “drum circle” and were confused about it’s purpose. These strange people were attacking the local loggers way of life, and the loggers didn’t understand that it was all retaliation for spraying their marijuana. The activists fantasized about the time that the logger would be gone and they could grow their marijuana on the warm fertile hillsides that would be left behind, and they would dream about how good life would be without the logger. It was obvious that most of them were in love with the “Movement” more than the “environment“.

Chapter three: conclusion

Well, the deputy was wrong on some counts, but he was right about the water disappearing, the creeks drying up, and the algae bloom. He was right that the grower would drive off legitimate industry, he was right that we would all look up to them because of the good things that they do for our community.

Most of us smugly thought that we were safe from all the lawlessness, because we weren’t involved. Now we are dangerously close to having our lives invaded by both the grower and the cops. It is no longer a safe world. There is no longer enough sand to hide our heads in, and the turmoil is closing in from all sides.

I hate to think what I might do if my dog or my family was the innocent victim of either side!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Carson Helicopter Manufacture their own blades.

Reprint from Fronteir India, Strategic and defence.

The main rotor blades on the aircraft have been replaced by modified Carson composite blades (produced by Carson Helicopter inc) and the tail rotor was replaced by an AgustaWestland 5‑bladed tail rotor system. A rigorous and intensive series of performance evaluation and flight testing was then conducted by ATEC using a QinetiQ-owned Sea King test aircraft. These confirmed initial predictions that the new system generates up to 2000lb increase in maximum hover mass at high altitude plus enable a significant increase in the maximum forward speed.

Carson blades first came to the MOD’s attention six years ago during a Sea King maintenance symposium and the SK IPT was keen to investigate the technology further, but funding and other operational commitments did not immediately allow the idea to be developed. Some time later however, the MOD had to look at extending the life and capability of its current medium lift Sea King and Puma helicopters. Funding was made available to investigate Carson’s claims of increased performance and QinetiQ was tasked with conducting a feasibility study. The results confirmed that Carson blades were indeed a cost effective upgrade that delivered real performance improvements, so the MOD moved to bring them into service quickly for use in operational theatres.

The project was formally declared as an UOR on the 21st December 2006 and the SK IPT immediately selected QinetiQ to act as the prime contractor responsible for integrating both modifications. The demanding trials programme developed by QinetiQ focused on delivering specific capability enhancements in a staged release and due to the extremely tight timescales QinetiQ used one of its own Sea King trials aircraft for the test programme. This aircraft (XZ575) was extensively instrumented in a short timeframe and deployed via RAF C17 to Gunnisan, Colorado in the USA for an exhaustive flight test programme that maximised the ‘hot and high’ conditions at the trials site. Both Carson Helicopters and AgustaWestland, supported QinetiQ and ATEC throughout and both phases of the service modification and all supporting documentation were delivered on 10th October 2007.

“Within the MOD, the Carson blades programme is recognised as being demanding with regard to the short timescales involved and there has been a lot of admiration for the way that QinetiQ has tackled the programme and the amount of hours and effort that have been put in,” commented Lt Cdr Dave Maude from the SK IPT. “Looking from the outside, the amount of work that individuals have put in and their dedication is incredible.”

Lt Cdr Maude went on to praise the work of the design instrumentation and manufacture team and squadron engineering. When asked about QinetiQ’s working relationship with other organisations involved in the programme, he stated: “QinetiQ has attained a good working relationship with AgustaWestland and also with the SK IPT, the Combined Helicopter Force (CHF) and Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), who have been involved in all aspects of the programme.”

The delivery of the service modification was made just in time to allow 846 Naval Air Squadron to conduct operational training in Cyprus with the newly modified aircraft. At a briefing given to the SK IPT, CINCFLEET, JHC and CHF shortly after the Cyprus deployment Cdr Mario Carretta (CO 846 NAS) confirmed hover performance was found to have increased by 2000lb and a forward speed increase of up to 49 knots had been demonstrated. Cdr Carretta concluded by stating that “846 NAS was eager to deploy the new capability.”

Small World

The other day, when I got news of the Helicopter crash in Trinity County, I wondered if it might have involved anyone that I knew in the firefighting community. I knew that the helicopter was from Carson Helicopters based in Grants Pass Oregon, and I had never worked with that company before on any fires .

I don’t know why it makes a person feel any better, or worse, when you don’t know anyone involved in a tragedy, but I guess we all know that it makes us, somehow, feel differently. So it was with some relief that I assured myself that at least I didn’t know anyone. But today, when they released the names of the people involved, there was a William Coultas, from Cave Junction listed. I remember thinking that I knew the name from somewhere, but I just couldn’t put the man in a fire-fighting situation.

This morning Janis’ Radio shack Rep, Laine, called and asked if we had heard about Bill. She said no she hadn’t, and Laine said he was the pilot that had survived the fire-fighter helicopter crash in Trinity County. I don’t know Bill that well, but we visited with he and his wife Chris several times at radio shack conventions. He had just got through building a new store in cave junction. They are U.S. Cellular dealers, the same as us. He also sells and installs a lot of TV. equipment. The few times that I talked to him it was about “techie stuff”.

We had dinner at Reno together in the theater of the Nugget Hotel. Somehow the subject that he was a helicopter pilot didn’t come up. He and his wife Chris, are friendly intelligent people, and are fun to be with. The conversation was kept to small talk and Radio Shack talk, which is maybe good or we would probably been sharing fire tales.

When ever a firefighter is hurt or killed it is resounding in the firefighting community. We all seem to identify with each other, and we feel the tragedy a little bit deeper than if it was just another person on the street. I know it is not fair, but you know what I mean. You always feel the loss a little deeper when there is a connection. This time the connection is through Radio Shack, and our families are suffering with Bill and Chris’.

We wish them both well and a speedy recovery for Bill.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trinity Fire-Fighting Helicopter Crash


UPDATE, 8/8/08 NOON + SF Gate
 Helicopter story

LA Times, helicopter crash story

SF Gate

Story from SF Gate:
(08-06) 16:23 PDT REDDING - -- Nine firefighters were presumed dead and four were seriously injured when their helicopter went down Tuesday night after they battled a blaze in remote Trinity County.

If the deaths are confirmed, the crash would be one of the deadliest U.S. firefighting incidents.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration dispatched teams to the crash site in a remote, forested area northwest of the small town of Junction City, roughly 70 miles west of Redding.

The U.S. Forest Service said one individual was confirmed dead, and eight were unaccounted for. The Federal Aviation Administration indicated there were 13 people on board the aircraft and told the Forest Service there were nine fatalities.

Cynthia Sage of the Forest Service said the accident occurred at about 7:45 p.m. as the helicopter ferried firefighters back to a staging area after they had worked on a fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

She said medical evacuation personnel came to the scene but could not get the injured people out until about 9:30 p.m. because the crash was in a remote location.

"We would like to ask the public to keep their thoughts and prayers for the fire personnel involved and the families," Sage said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the Sikorsky S-61 chopper was destroyed by fire after crashing "under unknown circumstances" in a remote mountain location. The nine dead were presumably killed in the fire that destroyed the helicopter, Gregor said.

The aircraft had a crew of two, both employees of Carson Helicopters of Grants Pass, Ore., and was carrying 11 firefighters. The pilot is among those injured, and the co-pilot is listed as missing and presumed dead.

The four injured men first were transported to Mercy Medical Center in Redding. Medical center spokesman Michael Burke said three of them later were transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Ten of the firefighters on the helicopter worked for a private contracting company, Grayback Forestry of Merlin, Ore., said Leslie Habetler, who works for the company. It was unclear who the 11th passenger was.

4 firefighters injured
Habetler said Grayback employees Michael Brown, 20, and Jonathan Frohreich, 18, both of Medford, Ore., were at UC Davis, and nursing officials said a third crash victim, William Coultas, also was being treated at the medical center. Habetler said employee Rick Schroeder, 42, also of Medford, remained at Mercy.

Brown was upgraded to fair condition Wednesday night; while both Frohreich and Coultas remained in critical condition.

Forest Service workers joined the victims' families at the hospital Tuesday night.

"We're here so the families wouldn't have to go through this alone," said Frank Mosbacher of the Forest Service. "A tragedy like this ripples through the fire-fighting community."

Habetler said company officials, including Grayback President Mike Wheelock, were notifying relatives of those missing and asking them for items that would help authorities determine identities.

"This is a very difficult time for everyone," she said.

Grayback lost four firefighters in 2002 when the van they were in overturned on its way to a fire in Colorado.

The crew in Tuesday's crash had been fighting a fire that is part of a complex of fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest caused by lightning strikes. Those fires, which have been burning since June 21, have consumed more than 86,000 acres of grass, brush and trees.

To battle wildfires, firefighting agencies around the country are increasingly using private contractors. The Forest Service spent $127 million on contractors to fight California wildfires in fiscal 2007, said spokesman John Heil. Private companies provide everything from aircraft to water trucks to catering and portable hand-washing stations at base camps.

Deborah Miley, the executive director of a private firefighting industry group called the National Wildfire Suppression Association, estimated that 40 percent of the personnel and equipment used to put out wildfires across the country comes from private contractors.

Tuesday's crash was the worst involving firefighting aircraft, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. In 1972, seven firefighters perished in a crash in the Los Padres National Forest.

"I've flown a lot of helicopters and they've all been really safe," said Ken Palmrose, spokesman for the fire center. "Fatalities involving aircraft are rare."

Between 1990 and 2006, California had the highest number of wildland firefighter deaths in the nation - 64, according to the Boise fire center. Colorado was second at 25, followed by Texas with 19. Prior to Tuesday's crash, the deadliest incident in California was the October 2006 Esperanza Fire that killed five federal firefighters.

Weather not a factor
Bob Madden, spokesman for Carson Helicopters, said preliminary indications suggested that neither weather nor visibility should have played a role in the crash.

Madden said the company's 12 helicopters are working in firefighting capacities in Oregon and California. The company uses a military-style Sikorsky S-61 heavy helicopter, which is outfitted to carry water or fire-retardant chemicals to drop on a fire and also to act as transportation for people and supplies. But the aircraft can perform only one of those missions at a time, Madden said. The helicopter can carry up to 15 passengers.

A Sikorsky S-61A owned and operated by Carson Helicopters crashed and burst into flames during a logging operation in Tennessee in March 2003, killing the 56-year-old pilot and seriously injuring the co-pilot, NTSB records show. Investigators blamed the crash on the malfunction of a component that was overdue for repair and on the pilot flying too low.

Madden said Tuesday's accident was the first time one of the company's helicopters has crashed while working a wildland fire.

Jeff Gilbert, a director of the Northern California division of the California State Firefighters Association, has been fighting fires in Tehama, Shasta and Butte counties for 21 days out of the last 35. He said the intensity of this year's fires came so early and have been so erratic, that crews are at more risk than ever.

"It's devastating," Gilbert said. "It doesn't matter if they're private guys or professional contractors. Everyone's out there trying to do the same job.

"We shouldn't be out there doing this until late August or September. With the lightning storm we just had roll through out here last night, there are probably going to be a lot more."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opened a Sacramento news conference on the budget Wednesday with a few words on what he called "a terrible tragedy."

"This is a tragic day for firefighters everywhere," the governor said. "The people of California are profoundly aware of the tremendous sacrifices these heroes and their families make day in and day out to keep us safe."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No more!

I have just joined the ranks of many other bloggers that have become tired with the "Anonymous" hate posters.

Personal attacks, or attacks that are just plain not fair, against me or any other person, place, or thing, will no longer be tolerated. Their posts will disappear like a fresh spring wind has come in and blown them away.

I have done a lot of soul-searching about what I should do about unfair and unsigned comments. I have come to the conclusion that I would not allow a smelly pile to remain on my walkway just because someone put it there. My friends don’t like having to walk around something like that, and neither do I. So, why should I feel that I have to leave anonymous comments, or for that matter any unfair comment? They will no longer linger.

If you have something that you feel is important to say, sign it, and it will have a better chance of remaining. I am the last arbiter of what remains in this blog. This is a place where my friends and I come to talk and play, and school-yard bullies will disappear. I don’t like having my friends be made to feel that they have to defend me.

I have seen many blogs spin into oblivion. Some with dozens of nothing but anonymous posters prattling on like children. The blogs become dull and uninteresting. The kind of people that I know, and like, soon stop reading them. I don’t care if I only have one comment per post, as long as the comment is from a sincere person that wants to say something pertinent and non-hateful.

I'm not sure how this change will be received, but we’ll find out together. No more garbage!

Friday, August 1, 2008

At Reggae

It started off in the morning with thick smoke.
It cleared off a few hours later. By evening it was clear again.
This is my "Ol' Buddy" Milt Anderson. He is asking me "Will the date show?". You can click on the photo to enlarge it. It reads 1984. The second year of Reggae.
The tip jar on the left was "Cash Only". The tip jar on the right was "Buds Only".
These are a few of my beer camp friends.
Some people just didn't realize that no matter how long they left the door open, that it never cooled off the outdoors.
This is suposed to be a picture of the crowd, but it turned out to be a wiggley picture of the stage.
Early Saturday morning, the beginning of a great day.
A new vendor this year that seems to be fairly popular, Burning Man Bicycles. I saw quite a few riding around in the crowd.
V.I.P. tent.
V.I.P. bar.
Backstage ambience.

Kim Sallaway kissing my wife Janis. Never tell Kim that you are going to count to three and take the picture. Ummm... I forgot the name of the girl on the left. Do I lose my bloggers credentials?
Stage before concert.

Crowd at closing.
One side of beer walk-in, kegs of beer are stacked two deep. That is the "Punch Bowl" in the middle.
Beer booth at night.
A beautiful day in Southern Humboldt. 85 degrees and sunny.
Pretty girl with very full, highly decorated tummy. Of course I asked her if I could take this photo and she proudly consented.

This is my two-hundredth post. I had intended it to be something deep, thoughtful, and moving, like a photo of the 20x40 foot beer walk-in cooler at 34deg, with 240 kegs of beer, and the (?) gallons of hurricane punch. The photo that is included here is from last years Reggae. I will include new photos every evening.

The Reggae inspired lawsuits have all been settled, and agreed upon by all sides, and happiness has spread across the land. Except maybe a few sad lawyers that will now have to find other fools to fleece.

Although the agreement was a lot like General Lee surrendering at Appomattox. The Ceremonial Swords have all been laid aside, but just below the surface of the calm pond, or in this case the “River®”, lays some unresolved conflict that will either be let go eventually, or it will consume the souls of the grudge holders. There is some fairness in life, if you pay attention.

I sincerely hope that this is a new beginning, and that the Mateel will now take “Reggae on the River®” which ever direction that they deem it should go, because they now own it "lock stock and barrel®”. They now have the opportunity to steer the concert in any direction that they choose, without interference or conflict. I wish them good luck, and good fortune, and they have my offer of my assistance in any of their refrigeration needs. (As they know, I always have provided their refrigeration at Reggae.)

From the community’s standpoint the lawsuit settlements have been a huge win. There has been more Reggae concerts and small gigs than Garberville has ever seen before. The town has been kept somewhat full by concert goers, and business is definitely on the rise. I’m not sure that it is all related to Reggae concerts, but it has to be a plus.

Myself… I’m glad the fight is over! There are people on both sides of the Reggae conflict that have been dear friends for years. It hurts me to be looked at like I am judging them, or that I might have some kind of a preference. As you might guess I can see right and wrong on both sides. Before all this happened it was acceptable to offer criticism, or praise without it being questioned. That openness needs to return to this community or we can never progress from here.

It’s time to heal!

Photos to follow nightly……………..