Friday, October 30, 2009

More Moor

I was talking to Donna today. She is the Blond lady that owns the flower shop behind my shop in town. She had looked at my Blog this morning, and she remarked that she was enjoying the Mediterranean history and she also remarked that the Moors built one of her favorite places in the whole world. Alhambra Spain. She loves the Moorish gardens throughout Spain. She's a flower and plant nut. We talked about the young girl in the previous post, Alizee Jacotay. I looked up her bio on the Internet. She is from the French Island of Corsica, off the coast of Spain. She was born in 1984. She started dancing and singing at a very young age. The thing that struck me is, that her dark skin, hair, and eyes, very well may have been from the Moor influence.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella forced the moors to leave Spain In 1492.

With the royal banners and the cross of Christ plainly visible on the red walls of the Alhambra: …the Moorish sultan with about eighty or a hundred on horseback very well dressed went forth to kiss the hand of their Highnesses. According to the final capitulation agreement both Isabel and Ferdinand will decline the offer and the key to Granada will pass into Spanish hands without Muhammad XII having to kiss the hands of Los Royes, as the Spanish royal couple became known. Muhammad XII indomitable mother insisted on sparing his son this final humiliation. The Moorish sultan was received with much love and courtesy and there they handed over to him his son, who had been a hostage from the time of his capture, and as they stood there, there came about four hundred captives, of this who were in the enclosure, with the cross and a solemn procession singing the Te Deum Laudamus, and their highnesses dismounted to adore the Cross to the accompaniment of the tears and reverential devotion of the crowd, not least of the Cardinal and Master of Santiago and the Duke of Cadiz and all the other grandees and gentlemen and people who stood there, and there was no one who did not weep abundantly with pleasure giving thanks to Our Lord for what they saw, for they could not keep back the tears; and the Moorish sultan and the Moors who were with him for their part could not disguise the sadness and pain they felt for the joy of the Christians, and certainly with much reason on account of their loss, for Granada is the most distinguished and chief thing in the world…

Christopher Columbus seems to have been present; he refers to the surrender on the first page of his Diario de las Derrotas y Caminos:
After your Highnesses ended the war of the Moors who reigned in Europe, and finished the war of the great city of Granada, where this present year [1492] on the 2nd January I saw the royal banners of Your Highnesses planted by force of arms on the towers of the Alhambra, which is the fortress of the said city, I saw the Moorish sultan issue from the gates of the said city, and kiss the royal hands of Your Highnesses…

Legend has it that as the royal party moved south toward exile, they reached a rocky prominence which gave a last view of the city. Muhammad XII reined in his horse and, surveying for the last time the Alhambra and the green valley that spread below, burst into tears. When his mother approached him she said : "Weep like a woman for what you could not defend as a man". The spot from which Muhammad XII looked for the last time on Granada is known as "the Moor's last sigh" (el último suspiro del Moro).

Please click on this link to view the Moorish Gardens of Spain

Moor Gardens in Spain
The Moorish Gardens of Spain

Why the Moors Conquered Spain

I've been trying to find the time to finish my post on the brutal conquest of the new world by the Spaniards. All that I’ve read before leads me to believe that the Moors conquest of Spain was more about the women that they fell in love with than the land or the Gold. Conversely, the women of Spain seemed to take readily to the new men that showed up upon the new shores. The men were educated, and sophisticated, they wouldn’t let anyone push them around. Remember that they chopped up and boiled their enemies in cauldrons. Some of them were a little greedy and selfish though. Remember Mohammad I, he built the Palace of Madina Ashara, and stocked his Harem with 6,000 Spanish women?

I watched a story on TV one time, where they were interviewing a group of Muslim girls, and they were giggling about how great it would be to be one of Osama bin Laden’s wives. I was shocked, that any woman would want to be anywhere near that man. Then I realized that women have always been attracted to wealth and power. The Spanish women must have been attracted to the new conquerers of the old world, just as they are today.

I have always been curious about the reasons for conquest of new lands. It always seems to me that the conquest was as much about the women as it was about wealth. The conquerors always took home the women that they found, or took over the women of the new lands that they settled. The men were usually killed or vanquished. That’s kinda’ fair. To the victor go the spoils.
I know that everyone today thinks that the American Indian women were taken as wives against their will, but the stories that I heard as a young man said otherwise. I know that many women were taken as wives without their permission, but few ran away after they got used to living indoors and eating well. Many Indian women desired to marry the new settlers. As I’ve said before, I’m sure that that didn’t settle well with the Indian men, But life has been much the same throughout history.

I was searching the internet to find an example of a Spanish woman to drive my cousin “Oregon” crazy. Because he claims that it only takes one woman to drive him crazy. I figger the following video of a Spanish Girl singing Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” Should do it. Her name is “Alizee”.

Turn your sound on, Turn it way up, and you bass way down low, Then try to imagine what the hell Mohammad I would want with more than one Spanish women!

Thursday, October 22, 2009



Yeah, I know I've been gone a while. But, I have been studying something that I know very little about. So, if I make any mistakes on this post, feel free to set me straight!

In the years of 711 until 1492, the area that is now known as Spain was racked with turmoil that makes the turmoil that happened during the conquest of the New World and America look like a small chapter in a history book. The African Moors took over Spain in 711 and were not completely pushed back out or exterminated until 1492. It was a conflict that involved royalty and serfdom, the religious and heathen, the Catholics, the Muslims, and the Jews.

Moor Photo to the right->

To give you some insight about what happened to the American Indian. You should start at least a little ways back in the roots of the re-discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus. My search through history was to try to find a common thread as to why people fight each other for land, and kill each other with such little regard for humanity. What was the motivation?

In the Eighth Century, Spain, a country on the Iberian peninsula, north of the Mediteranian Sea, was a Roman Catholic country, with a few Jews scattered in. The Moors, who were Muslims, invaded from Africa and conquered the Iberian people as far north as the Basque country. The Moors landed near Gibraltar. The rock of Gibraltar was named after General Tarik ibn Ziyad. The rock was called Djabal Tarik (`Tarik's Mountain'), or Gibraltar. Tarik was the leader of the Moors. Upon his landing in Iberia he gave this rousing speech:

"My brethren, the enemy is before you, the sea is behind; whither would ye fly? Follow your general; I am resolved either to lose my life or to trample on the prostrate king of the Romans."

The Moors, from the North Western Continent of Africa, were black people with curly hair and it is said that many of the people of the Iberian peninsula today are descended from the Moors. The dark skin and curly hair of many of the Portuguese People came from the Moorish influence.

The Green Area to the right is the part of Spain and the Iberian peninsula that the Moors conquered. ->

The initial invading force was only 10,000 Moors. Later, more invaders came, increasing the fighting force to 28,000, but at no time did the invading army exceed 40,000 troops. The ruling class of Iberia was the Goths and the Visigoths. (Goths from the west) The reason that the Muslims were able to so easily defeat the great number of Christian Goths is because nobody much liked the Christians, and people readily joined forces with the Moors to overthrow them. Anyone that would convert to the Muslim religion would be freed, and allowed to remain in Iberia. Then, of course, the Jews looked forward to the defeat of the Christians, so they became the Moors willing ally. That was probably one of the few times in history that the Jews and the Muslims allied. It is thought that the Moors may have been encouraged to invade Spain by the Iberian serfs. The Iberians expected the Moors to take a little booty and go back home, but the wealth and power kept the the Moors in Spain.

What the moors actually did is take some of the wealth that they found, and a fine bevy of Spanish beauties back to Africa, as proof of the great wealth and beautiful women that they had found in Spain. In short order, many of the Moors were scrambling to get to Iberia. It is said that Many of the Moors built log rafts to cross the Straights of Gibraltar, to find their own wealth and women. Not many of the Moors took their women with them. They found and married the Spanish women after arriving. I wonder what the Marriage ceremony was like.

The conquest of Spain by the Moors sounds a lot like the American Gold Rush, doesn't it?

After defeating the Iberians, the Moors chopped up the leaders of the defending Iberian armies and boiled them in cauldrons, the Goth King Roderick was thought to be among those pieces in the cauldrons. They then send the rest of the armies back home to spread the word of what kind of people that the Moors were, and they were not to be challenged.

The battle to get rid of the Moors from Spain started as soon as Spain was conquered. The retaking of Spain was called the “Reconquista”. (reconquest) It took 800 years, but it was complete, and it was thorough. The Pope encouraged the cleansing of the Iberian Peninsula.

”The Reconquista was originally a mere war of conquest. It only later underwent a significant shift in meaning toward a religiously justified war of liberation The papacy and the influential Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy not only justified the anti-Islamic acts of war but actively encouraged Christian knights to seek armed confrontation with Moorish "infidels" instead of with each other.”

There were several focuses in removing the Moors from Spain. First there was The Reconquista, then came the Inquisition. It would seem that it was one and the same to the lay person. But, the Reconquista was to take back the land from the Moors, whereas the inquisition was to reestablish Christianity. The Catholic Church wanted to control the people, control the wealth, and collect tithing for the Pope. The church demanded ten percent of the wealth that was gained by the serfs, they explained it thusly:

Timothy 6:17-19 states:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

(Give some of your money to the church, your money will help you get to heaven, where you will be richly rewarded for your "tithing".)

It becomes obvious that the more people that were paying tithe, the richer that the church became. The Inquisition was not so much about spreading the word of Christ as much as it was collecting tithe. During the inquisition it was demanded that a person renounce their beliefs, and swear loyalty to the church. In fairness they gave that person three days to think about it, and at the end of the three days the person would be killed if they refused to convert to Christianity. Not only were they killed, but also all records of them having ever existed were expunged. It give a whole new meaning to the term, "If you aren't a Christian, you aren't anybody"... Literally.

Refusing to convert to Christianity was punishable by death. If a person would campaign against the church, or publicly renounce it, the person would be tortured and burned at the stake. I've read before that far more women were killed during the Inquisition than men. I was not able to find any varification of that fact, but I think that it may have been that women held to their religious beliefs stronger than men.

From Wikipedia:

"The Spanish Inquisition can be seen as an answer to the multi-religious nature of Spanish society following the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors (Muslims). Much of the Iberian Peninsula was dominated by Moors following their invasion of the peninsula in 711 until the thirteenth century. Following the Christian victory at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), and the fall of Cordoba (1236) and Seville (1248) most of peninsula, including most of the south, came under Christian rule. Only the small region of Granada remained under Muslim rule, which was ended by a final Christian victory of 1492. However, in the medieval period the Reconquista did not result in the expulsion of Muslims from Spain, since they, along with Jews, were tolerated, although treated as inferiors, by the ruling Catholic elite. Big cities, especially Seville, Valladolid, and Barcelona, had large Jewish populations centered in "Judería

It appears that much of Spain was recovered in the three major battles, and all religions lived amongst each other peacefully. That is until the Church was so encouraged by the regaining of Spain from the Moors that they continued the battle to completely make Spain a Christian Country. And, of course, collect their pound of flesh in the form of tithe.

I wonder, if the American Indians had organized a "Reconquista," and were able to regain their land from the greedy interloper, the interloper that moved to California in great hoards, and didn't even bother to bring their women with them, because there were women in California, in the form of native women? Would they have wanted to live in peace? Or would they have started their own inquisition to demand that the interloper adopt the Indian ways or face execution.

In 1492 the Christians had finally defeated the Muslim Moors for the control of Spain. Many events in history have parallel paths. Some paths join together for a new purpose. The Reconquista was started to regain control of Spain, then the Crusade was started and paralleled the Reconquista. After the Recoquista was accomplished, The Muslims were able to live amongst the Christians peacefully, but the church wanted to be rid of the Muslins, so they continued the crusade for many years.

I had intended to use this background in a complete post, but is is beginning to get to be too long. So, as many of you already know, 1492 was a pivotal point in the history of the world. So I'm going to break here and continue the story in my next post.

To be continued:

The Moorish conquest of Spain

Spanish history, the Moor period

The Reconquista

Monday, October 19, 2009


One of the most dreaded of emergency calls is “vehicle rollover”.

Years ago, when I joined the volunteer fire department, we were just that, a fire department. Nowadays, we are “Emergency first Responders”. We have mutual-aid agreements with all other emergency agencies and we are no longer called firemen or firefighters, but simply “First Responders.” We are expected to do it all. If it's an emergency we are most likely on it.

The “rollover” call is one of the most dreaded because of the technical aspects of rescuing the victims. If you are a First Responder, a lot of the rollover calls come in when you are sleeping the most soundly. Early morning calls, when people have been drinking too much, or have simply gotten too tired and fallen asleep, or rocks and debris in the road. Whatever the reason, frequently a vehicle will end up rolled upside down.

While you are sound asleep. Your pager will be sent a tone that turns in on, followed by a loud beeping sound that wakes you up. Then there will be a voice message something like; “Vehicle rollover, Briceland-Thorn Road, cross street Oakridge. Over the bank. Multiple trapped occupants. C.H.P. on scene, Garberville ambulance, Redway Fire, Technical rescue, and Cal-fire responding. Time out 0411.”

Your ears tell your brain, “wake-up, Emergency!”. Your brain kicks in. It screams to your Adrenal Glands, “Hey, wake-up down there! We need a shot of Adrenalin!” Immediately, before your feet can hit the floor, adrenalin is squeezing into your system. Your training kicks in, because you have placed this scenario in your brain at every drill that you have ever had before. Even though you are not awake yet, you realize that it is a real emergency. You know to put on your lighter “wildland firefighter gear”. Because, it is lighter-weight and easier to move around in. If it was a structure fire call, you would be putting on your “Bunker Gear,” which is very heavy fire protection gear, but difficult to move in well.

You are actually moving at a very fast pace, but it seems like you are just crawling. Your brain chews out your adrenal glands again; “Hey more adrenalin, we need to get moving, send me a double-shot-espresso adrenalin, I can't think, I'm still sleepy!” Hurry, hurry, hurry! Move, move move! Go, go go!

Finally, after you have your gear on, which seems like it takes you an eternity, but usually take about a minute, you get into your truck to drive to the fire department. The first thing that you tell your self is; “Slow down! Things are moving faster than you think!” “Drive like you have your baby daughter in the truck with you”. Your most important task, once you get behind the wheel, is to get to the victims safely. It may very well be somebody else's baby daughter that you will be saving. The last thing that you want to do is involve yourself in an accident. That will distract from the rescue at hand, and jeopardize not only yourself, but the victims that you are trying to rescue. Every responsible First Responder knows that.

Once you get to the fire department, you check your gear, get in an emergency vehicle, and respond “Code Three”. Which means full-on red flashing lights and siren. The flashing lights and siren are only asking for the right of way, it in-no-way gives it to you. If you run a red light and crash into someone, it is still your fault, and you will bear the responsibility of the crash. The only thing that the vehicle that failed to yield to you will be responsible for is; “Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle”. Which is still a violation, but not as serious as being responsible for a crash.

On the way there, some of the responders might say; “Whatta' we got”. Often the radio transmissions are weak, all we know is that we have a call. In our training we are drilled; Acknowledge all communications. So we are already in answer-all-questions mode. Somebody will say; Rollover, Oakridge”. Usually two or three words will give the outline of our call. Which will engage the thought process; “What will we do when we get there?” It's always a good idea to “chat it up” on our way. Somebody will say “ABC”. Which means, “Airway, Breathing, Circulation.” ABC is the first job of the First Responder.”

If the victim says; “Help”. You have just checked, they have an airway, and they are breathing. Sometimes it's simple. Then you move on to check all of the extremities for circulation. If circulation is cut off, the victim could lose an arm or leg. Sometimes all you have to do is remove the object that is laying on the victim, or reposition the limb. A real simple but important thing to do.

The reason that a rollover call is so scary is sometimes the victim will have a head injury and be bleeding. Hanging upside down is not the best position to be in with a bleeding head injury. To get the victim down is critical, but you will have to get him down without injuring his neck spine. Or, anything else. You have to rapidly put the victim in a C-Collar to stabilize their neck, gently lower them onto a back board, strap them on, and move them out.

Usually, the fewer words you can use the better, If the vehicle doors are jambed, you may hear the call; “Make a hole”. The person inside, with the victim, needs to know that you heard them. You always acknowledge. You say; “Make a hole”. That's much better than. “Okay”. "Okay" doesn't mean a darn thing. You could be replying to someone else. The other emergency people need to know, without any doubt, what you are doing, and if you heard them. Repeating their request is the best method to let them know that you heard them.

First responders are always trained to repeat the command. It's a very important habit to gain. We coach each other on that command often. I wish that I could teach my wife that little trick. I'm always saying as gently as I can; “Did you hear me???” Which always gets me chewed out at home. But, sometimes she doesn't hear me, and I get chewed out for not making myself clear. Sometimes a guy just can't win.

In the first responder business we keep things as simple as we can. “What” and “where” is all we need to know to mobilize. Usually two words get the job done. We leave “why, where, and when” to the news people. But, we need to know those two things.

When my Pager goes off, it gets my complete and undivided attention. Almost as much as my wife saying; “Honey we need to talk”.

This morning at at 4:10 AM my wife yells “Rollover”. My Brain says; “Quick, adrenalin!!!” annoyed that she didn't give me the second part: WHERE! I jump and hollar; “where???” She doesn't say anything. Annoyed that she isn't following protocol, I shout at her; “Where??? Brain to kidneys: “Quick, more adrenalin! I can't wake up!!!. Something is wrong, I didn't hear my pager, I was sleeping so soundly. Usually, I hear my pager, even as my wife sleeps through it, so it caused me to sightly panic. Nothing was happening according to plan... Brain to down there; “Help! I need adrenalin, now!” Finally adrenalin starts to kick in. My eyes are wide open, and I'm ready to dive into the “Hero business”, as we like to call it in the first responder business. No time to lose. Go, go. Go!

By then I'm getting very annoyed, and not really being careful to not step on my poor wifes delicate little toes, I shout again “Where??!!” not that I really need to know that. It's just part of protocol. Go, go, go...

My wife says... again!... “Rollover.. you are snoring.”

Whaaa.... I'm snoring??? Sometimes the hero business can be real simple, this time all I have to do is... “rollover”.

Now, with about four quarts of adrenalin in my veins, all I have to do is try to go back to sleep. I think that the confusion added more to my adrenalin than I normally would have summoned. So, I thought I might as well share some of my excitement with you. Anybody need some adrenalin??? I'll trade you a quart of adrenalin for a pound of sleep...

Friday, October 16, 2009

California Indian Tribes in pre-history.

Native Tribes, Groups, Language Families and Dialects of California in 1770
(after A.L. Kroeber 1925). Adapted from Heizer (1966: Map 4).
(See Key at bottom)

I have a blogger friend up north that is interested in local history. She has asked me to see if I can get some information for her.

Hi Ernie,
I know you have a lot of readers in SoHum and was wondering if you might be willing to do me a favor.
I have a friend with "Numsoose" listed as the tribe of an ancestor. Other records say wylacki (sp?).
Would you mind posting something asking folks if they've heard about the Numsoose, where their territory was, etc.?
Or maybe put me in touch with someone down there that might know--if you don't want to take up room on your blog...?

Thanks for considering it.
Regards, Lynette

I have indeed heard of "Numsoose", but I'm not familiar with their territory. They are listed as "Race Number 30" In the list of Federally Recognized California Tribes. (How utterly endearing) So, I thought that I could make this an exercise for all of us to find the Numsoose.

Many of my Indian friends dispute the names and the territories of California Tribes, so there is always room for much error. I would always give the benefit of the doubt to the Indian person directly involved. They should be in charge of their own history. I have a few Indian friends who consider themselves to be “Wailaki” and they have been told that there was a “Sinkyone” tribe in Bear Creek in the Sinkyone Wilderness. They say that according to their ancestors that there was no such tribe, and that it was “made up by the park people”.

Much of what we know is from the mid 1800’s on. As everybody already knows, 80% of the American Indians were wiped by the “discovery” of the New World by The Old world. Many of the California Indians must have been dying out from disease before the white man ever saw them. The Spaniards started the occupation of the New World as far back as the 1500’s. That is three hundred years of suffering Old World diseases before the Indians even saw the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Hoard from back east during the Gold Rush. I expect that many tribal territories changed during those early years of pure disease. Then, many tribal locations probably changed during the occupation of California.

It’s difficult to tell “who” was really from “where”. before 1870. The map of California Indian Tribes In 1770 had to have been a bunch of very good guesses at the best.

I know that somebody out there can give us a good guess as to where the “Numsoose tribe” was located.

(Note: some designations have changed since Kroeber's 1925 compilation)
Athabascan FamilyOregon Group 1a. Rogue RiverTolowa Group 1b. Tolowa.Hupa Group 1c. Hupa 1d. WhilkutMatole Group 1e. MatoleWailaki Group 1f. Nongatl 1g. Lassik 1h. Shelter Cove Sinkyone 1i. Lolangkok Sinkyone 1j. Eel River Wailaki 1k. Pitch Wailaki 1l. North Fork Wailaki 1m. KatoBear River Group 1n. Bear RiverAlgonkin FamilyYurok 2a. Yurok 2b. Coast Yurok 3. WiyotYukian Family 4a. Yuki 4b. Huchnom 4c. Coast Yuki 4d. Wappo
Hokan FamilyShastan 6a. Shasta 6b. New River Shasta 6c. Konomihu 6d. Okwanuchu 6e. Achomawi (Pit River) 6f. Atsugewi (Hat Creek)Yana 7a. Northern Yana 7b. Central Yana 7c. Southern Yana 7d. Yahi 8. Karok 9. ChimarikoPomo 10a. Northern 10b. Central 10c. Eastern 10d. Southeastern 10e. Northeastern 10f. Southern 10g. Southwestern 11. Washo 12. EsselenSalinan 13a. Antoniano 13b. Migueleño 13c. Playano (doubtful)Chumash 14a. Obispeño 14b. Purisimeño 14c. Ynezeño 14d. Barbareño 14e. Ventureño 14f. Emigdiano 14g. Cuyama 14h. IslandYuman 15a. Northern (Western) Diegueño 15b. Mountain Diegueño 15c. Southern (Eastern or Desert) Diegueño 15d. Kamia 15e. Yuma 15f. Halchidhoma & Kohuana (now Chemehuevi) 15g. Mohave
Penutian FamilyWintun Dialect Groups 16a. Northern (Wintu) 16b. Central (Nomlaki) 16c. Hill (Patwin) 16d. River (Patwin)Maidu Dialect Groups 17a. Northeastern 17b. Northwestern 17c. Southern (Nisenan)Miwok 18a. Coast 18b. Lake 18c. Bay (Saclan) 18d. Plains 18e. Northern Sierra 18f. Central Sierra 18g. Southern SierraCostanoan 19a. San Pablo (Karkin) 19b. San Francisco 19c. Santa Clara 19d. Santa Cruz 19e. San Juan Bautista (Mutsun) 19f. Rumsen (Monterey) 19g. SoledadYokuts Dialect Groups 20a. Northern Valley (Chulamni, Chauchila, etc.) 20b. Southern Valley (Tachi, Yauelmani, etc.) 20c. Northern Hill (Chukchansi, etc.) 20d. Kings River (Chionimni, etc.) 20e. Tule-Kaweah (Yaudanchi, etc.) 20f. Poso Creek (Paleuyamni) 20g. Buena Vista (Tulamni, etc.)Modoc 20h. Modoc
Uto-Aztekan (Shoshonean) FamilyPlateau Branch Mono-Bannock Group 21a. Northern Paiute (Paviotso) 21b. Owens Valley Paiute 21c. Mono Lake Paiute 21d. Monache (Western Mono) Shoshoni-Comanche Group 21e. Panamint Shoshone (Koso) Ute-Chemehuevi Group 21f, Chemehuevi (Southern Paiute) 21g. Kawaiisu (Tecachapi)Kern River Branch 21h. Tübatulabal (& Bankalachi)Southern California Branch Serrano Group 21i. Kitanemuk (Tajon) 21j. Alliklik 21k. Möhineyam (Vanyume) 21l. Serrano Gabrielino Group 21m. Fernandeño 21n. Gabrielino 21o. Nicholeño Luiseño-Cahuilla Group 21p. Juaneño 21q. Luiseño 21r. Cupeño 21s. Pass Cahuilla 21t. Mountain Cahuilla 21u. Desert Cahuilla

First map is Algic Language Groups, second map is Athabaskan Language groups.

Native tribes, Kroeber, 1925
Federally recognised California Tribes

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Road Trip!

Western Bluebird, From wikipedia
Today, I had the serendipitous good fortune to get out of my office and out of Garberville. I had a service call to New Harris. I always look forward to a trip out the Harris ridge anytime that the sun is shining. Actually, I enjoy a trip out the Harris Ridge anytime at all. I always seem to see something interesting.

Today as I drove out the ridge I watched the cattle along the road. They looked a little on the poor and hungry side. The grass this time of the year has few nutrients. It's dried out, and most of the seed has dropped long ago. The rain washes the sugars out of it, and there is not much food value left. Eating the grass only keeps the cattle busy with something to do until the fresh green grass of winter comes back. I looked for green grass, and sure enough, this short rain storm that we had the first part of this week has already sprouted the seed. I didn't notice any of the cattle trying to get to it, I guess that it is still too short. But, I felt good about the promise of good food for the poor cows that will soon be mamas.

I noticed the spot where the grass fire was this Fall, It has young grass sprouts all through it. The fresh smell after the rain was intermingled the damp smoky smell that is in the air after a grass fire. Two of my favorite odors. The yin and yang, the fresh and the dank

I was pleasantly surprised to see numerous Western Bluebirds. They would fly up into the bare oak snag trees, and then back to the ground. As I drove along I saw many Blue Birds make the trip to the ground and back. I don't have a clue what they were doing, but I assume the were finding things to eat. I was glad to see so many. I worry about them, because other birds rob or kick then out of their nests. I've heard that they have been driven out of some places. I would miss them greatly if they were gone. They are the sweetest of the sweet birds.

I saw a few Redhead Woodpeckers. The woodpeckers seem to rather use power poles for nests nowadays, rather than their traditional Fir snag. They are one of the showiest birds that we have here on the coast. They are brightly colored, and they are as pugnacious as the are beautiful. We used to feed the birds off our deck railing until we got tired of the coons 'possums and squirrels fighting all night and day and night for their UN-fair share. The Woodpeckers always cleared out the other birds as soon as they appeared. No other bird wanted to challenge them, not even the Blue Jays who are normally the rulers of the roost.

I drove through the wooded grove at the top of the ridge. Just before starting down the other side, I saw a couple of half grown pigs rooting under the oak trees. They were in good shape. They must be finding plenty of feed. I was ashamed of myself for thinking how tasty they might be.

One my way back, I watched a small buck with about four inch long spike horns trying to charm and herd two small yearling does. I stopped my truck and watched him for a while. There is nothing more sad than young unrequited love. I felt a little bad about laughing at him, but he was so comically full of himself that I just had to laugh.

As I watched the deer, I was thinking how well Mother Nature has been rewarding me lately. I've seen a few unusual sightings this week. About ten o-clock Saturday I saw a Ringtail Cat run across the road just south of the Machine shop in Redway. You would have to know what you were looking at to recognize one, they are very nocturnal. I have no idea what it was doing out in daylight, but it was running like it was panicked.

As I crested the ridge again, there was one large Raven perched on the top of a rock on the top of the hill. I expected him to fly away as I approached, but he just sat there with his feathers ruffled staring at the sunset. I was reminded that the raven is my Totem bird, and the derivation of my name. “Bran” in Branscomb stands for “Raven”. I wondered if he was enjoying the day and the setting sun as much as I was.

Some days just go better than others!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Columbus Day! Or, if you are an indigenous person, Oh No!

Christopher Columbus on bended knee, claiming the New World.

Columbus set foot in the “New World” on this day in 1492. That is a historical fact. No matter how you feel about the event, it is unchangeable. It was only a matter of time that the eastern hemisphere would find the western hemisphere. Only a fool could not see that inevitability. Sadly, no matter who set foot in the new world, the events would have been much the same. Many thousands of people would have died from disease. I often wonder how the new world might have been different if it had been discovered by a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Pagan. It gets to be a very complicated exercise. The only thing that I'm absolutely sure of, is that the two worlds would have inevitably found each other. Look at the technology that we have today, much of it would have happened independent of finding any new lands, but can you imagine them not finding America before today? Columbus found America, and to protest that fact, just seems ridiculous. Yet many do.

Columbus discovered the new world by sailing a fleet of three small ships, smaller than most modern fishing boats. Columbus' ships were hardly even seaworthy by today's standards. Yet he sailed them across the Atlantic ocean, and was able to make the return trip. If his fleet of ships had sunk, who knows who would have discovered the new world. His ships were the Nina the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

Columbus Day was originally celebrated on October 12th, now in the United States it is celebrated on the second Monday in October. We do that so we can take the day off as a paid holiday, thereby proving that celebrating the holiday is more important than the honoring the man. Many of the foods that the world likes came from America. You probably already know most of the foods that came from the new world, but some surprised me. The items listed are links, you can click on then for more information.

Pre-Columbian Distribution of Native Organisms with Close Ties to Humans.

New World to Old World.

Domesticated Animals:

alpaca guinea pig llama turkey

Domesticated Plants: coca cocoa chili pepper maize (corn) manioc (cassava, yuca) peanut pecan pineapple potato pumpkin quinoa rubber squash sunflower sweet potato tobacco tomato vanilla

Diseases: syphilis

Old World to New World.

Domesticated Animals:

bee cat camel chicken cow goat goose horse rabbit (domestic) pig rock pigeon sheep silkworm water buffalo

Domesticated plants:

almond apple apricot artichoke asparagus banana barley beet black pepper cabbage cantaloupe carrot coffee citrus (orange, lemon, etc.) cucumber eggplant flax garlic hemp kiwifruit kola nut lettuce mango millet oat okra olive onion opium peach pea pear pistachio radish rhubarb rice rye soybean sugarcane taro tea turnip wheat walnut watermelon amaranth avocado bean bell pepper blueberry cashew chia chicle chirimoya huckleberry papaya

Infectious diseases:
bubonic plague chicken pox cholera influenza leprosy malaria measles scarlet fever smallpox typhoid typhus yellow fever yaws

It's strange, but I always thought that Syphilis was an Old World disease. I wonder what the old world used for a venereal disease before finding America?
From Wikipedia:
"Three theories on the origin of syphilis have been proposed. It is generally agreed upon by historians and anthropologists that syphilis was present among the indigenous peoples of the Americas before Europeans traveled to and from the Americas. However, whether strains of syphilis were present in the entire world for millennia, or if the disease was confined to the Americas in the pre-Columbus era, is debated".

Research links:

Old world foods
New World Crops
Columbian Exchange

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How smart are you?

What's intelligence? According to the dictionary Intelligence is:

a. The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.

b. The faculty of thought and reason.

c. Superior powers of mind

It doesn't say anything about common sense. It doesn't say anything about how out of balance you might be. It doesn't talk about whether you use your intelligence for good or evil. So, intelligence can mean many things for different people.

The smartest person in the world may or may not believe in God. The smartest person in the world is capable of making foolish choices. Most intelligent people get married. Is there intelligence in getting married? What good would intelligence be if you are incredibly lazy? Some very smart people use their intelligence to get out of doing their fair share. Others use intelligence for the betterment of mankind. Still, others use their intelligence to fulfill their incredibly greedy ambitions. I often envy very intelligent people, but most often I admire wisdom and accomplishment.

Marilyn Vos Savant was, at one time, listed as the most intelligent person in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. Her Intelligence Quotient is 228, for what ever that's worth. Most likely Vos Savant has spent her entire life answering other peoples stupid questions. What fun would it be to be intelligent if the whole population of the world is trying to think up questions, just to see if they can be answered. Then, if she does answer them, could the asker understand the answer?

But of course, the number-one question that everybody asks will always be; “Is there a God?” Vos Savant has always given a politically correct answer. When it appears that someone is sincere in asking, she gives an acceptable answer. Rather than just say flatly that there is, or is not a God, she says that it is best to believe. If there is a God, you get to be right, and enjoy everlasting life in heaven. If there isn't, you will just turn to dirt anyway. So there is no harm in believing in God. In fact she says, that it is best to believe in the religion that offers the most. That way, when you die, you get the most bang for your buck. Some religions preach that if you die for a holy enough cause, you not only get to go to heaven, you get 27 virgins. I don't want to believe in that one. First, I don't want to have to die for any “cause”. Second, living with 27 virgin women would make a person insane in short order. Think of all of the virgin women that you know. Could you live with twenty seven of them? I'd rather spend all of eternity with just one woman that loves me. And, I don't hold virginity in all that high of regard.

To understand what Vos Savant truly believes is subject to conjecture. She shows no outward signs of believing in any God, or religion.

Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking are both very intelligent people. Neither have been tested in any form for intelligence. But, they are estimated to have I.Q.s in the 180 range. Einstein gave us the most information about how the world around us relates to itself. And, he gave us many theories, yet to be proven, about very small particles. He was best at telling us how time, mass, speed, and distance related to each other. Most of his theories have proven to be correct.

There is more than conjecture that Einstein had Asperger Syndrome. (Autism) Einstein had intense intellectual interest in limited areas, but had difficulty relating in social settings, and he had great difficulty in communicating. He often became so interested in his work that he would not eat. What value is intelligence if you cannot apply it to your own personal world? He had difficulty in his marriages, and with his acquaintances.

Kim Peek has an I.Q. Of 73. He doesn't grasp the meaning of a metaphor. If he asked you if you wanted a beer, and you said “Does a bear poop in the woods?” He would be able to figure out that certainly a bear poops in the woods, but he couldn't figure from that, that certainly you wanted a beer. He never learned to walk until he was four. He can't button his shirt or dress himself. He can't tie his shoes, or take his own bath. But, maybe you've heard of him. He is the person that the movie “The Rain Man” was about. He was the man that was Dustin Hoffman's character's brother. He can remember vast amounts of information. He can read a book in about an hour. He reads the left page, top to bottom, by scanning down the middle with his left eye. He then reads the right page with his right eye. He reads at the rate of 8-10 seconds to the page. He retains an astonishing amount of what he reads. He has almost total recall of 12,000 books! Neither Einstein nor Vos Savant can do that. So, I think that all of the above only proves that everybody is smart in their own way.

The Real Rain Man - Kim Peek - The best bloopers are a click away

There is a young man in Garberville that frequents our store. When we have a keyboard on display, he will often began to play. He plays with great depth and feeling, just as you are busy being being amazed at how beautifully he plays, he will abruptly switch to another tune which he also plays beautifully, then soon to be followed by something poorly played. The simpler tunes that he plays seem to be the ones that he plays the poorest. When you ask him why he doesn't play the tunes all the way through he will reply “I did”. Soon you realize that he is playing tunes that he has heard. He replays them exactly like he has heard them. It shivers the spine.

One of my personal failings is that I am a terrible speller. I have noticed that my spelling has improved remarkably since I started this blog. I don't think that makes me any smarter, just more practiced. My wife can spell any word that she has ever seen in print, I often envy that. I worked as a Refrigeration consultant for Harold Murrish when he was going to build a new store in Willits. We were comparing six different bids. He would lean back in his chair, rest his arms on the armrests, touch all of his finger tips together in front of him, slightly look at the cieling, and slightly close his eyes. As I compared the value of each item on the bids, he would mentally add them up in his head. When we were all through, he would pick up his pen and write down how much each bid out-valued another. I couldn't do that if I had a pen, paper, and an adding machine. Even if I tried, it would take me all day. They were not simple bids. I was so amazed at his ability to compare large columns of numbers in his head that it actually gave me chills. Yet, to talk to him on the street he appeared to be a very common man.

Often, I am made to feel very insignificant when I am in the presence of someone who is remarkably talented in some way. Feeling my grinding inability to rise-above in so many ways used to bother me greatly. One day my wife told me that she could never understand electricity, or how a refrigeration system works. I told her that it was so simple that I was embarrassed to say that it was my profession. She told me that it must not really be all that simple, because a lot of people have tried to learn it and failed. I realized that she was right, that I'm able to do something that many others can't.

So now, when I read something that some genius or another has written, and I'm amazed by their talent, I wonder to myself whether or not they could build a refrigerator. I enjoy the gloat. I'll bet Vos Savant would break a nail just trying!

I went on to develope my own R.Q. test. (Refrigerator building Quotient) You've seen it here before, but I enjoy repeating myself so much that I going to post it again.

RQ rating system:
70-You can wipe your forehead with a wet cloth.

80- You can build an air-conditioner.

90- You can build an ice cooled box.

100- You can build a refrigerator.

110- you can build a freezer.

120- You can build a walk-in cooler.

130- You can build a walk-in freezer... and the drain works.

140- You can build a complete supermarket.

150- You can build a supermarket, and even know what the engineer designed wrong.

160- You can explain why you are too busy to fix a refrigerator while you are really playing on your blog.

Now that I know how smart Vos Savant is, maybe I should extend my rating system to larger numbers. But, as much as some of us would like to be smarter, it seems that most smart people are out of ballance in the world that they live in. Would you trade who you are to be smarter?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Frost on the Punkin'

I got up this morning and came to town to go to work. I noticed right off that it was chilly, but I didn't see any frost. By the time I got to the top of Benbow Hill the grass looked a little grayer, like it might be frosty. When I got to town, a few roofs were obviously frosty. So the fall weather is definitely here. I'm anxious to catch up at work so I can enjoy the Indian Summer. So, instead of doing a big complicated post, I'm going to leave you with an old-timey poem that I've always liked.

It reminds me of the family farm in Laytonville, and my days as a wee lad. There always seemed to be a great push to get everything done before winter set in. Sometimes when a rainstorm was threatening, the old folks would work late by the light of The Harvest Moon to get the garden and the orchard "in".

"When the Frost is on the Punkin"

James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,

With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Makes you just hanker for some souse and cornbread, doesn't it?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vehicle over The Infamous Garberville Bluff

Well, last night somebody drove off of the bluff and LIVED! Not one, but two lived. One of the guys walked down the river to get help for his trapped companion. I can't say who it was, or any pertinent details, because it would not be appropriate for me to do so. I was only there as a rescue person. But, I guess that I can tell you it was two 20-30 yr old males. Only two occupants.

The view above is Garberville looking toward the North-East. The bottom view is a zoom of the bluff. The bluff is often referred to as "The two-hundred foot bluff." But, if I were to guess, I would say that it is only 173-3/4 feet to the bottom. The bluff is a shear 90 deg angle straight down. I should tell you that the bluff is much, much taller than the view shown. The view above is merely a Google Earth projected image of what the terain might look like. As you can see, the bridge across the freeway seems to barely clear the roadbed. But, it's a quick way to come up with a photo. The coordinates are at the bottom of the picture if you want to take Google Earth to get there.

There is a guard rail that protects traffic from going off the bluff. There was a white van parked at the south end of the guard rail. The accident happened at about 2:00 AM. The vehicle that went over the bluff was coming from the north, up the hill into Garberville. He rear-ended the parked vehicle hard enough to knock it clear across the Redwood Drive and into the bank by the southbound off-ramp. The vehicle with the two occupants was then deflected over the bluff, eventually to end up as a crumpled ball at the bottom of the bluff, upside down in the river, between a rock and the river bank. Rescue personnel removed the trapped occupant, placed him in a stokes litter, packed him through the river and on to the west side. He was then transported to the ambulance in the back of a four wheel drive pick-up truck.

The other occupant had waked to the ambulance area to get help at the homeless camp that is at the mouth of Bear Canyon. He was not it great shape, but he was able to get help. He was badly chilled after wading the river. I'm sure he will be in great pain this morning!

I was not the med-tech, so I don't know how badly injured they were, but after a 175 foot fall, they had to be hurting. Time will tell.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gandhi's Birthday

King's trip to India
Gandhi in glasses
Harriet Tubman

Today, October the 2nd is Gandhi’s birthday. He was born in 1869, Just ten years earlier, in 1859 the United States was in the midst of trying to abolish slavery, and there was a great effort to eliminate the north coast Indian population.

1859 was the period just before the Civil War. A woman by the name of Harriet Tubman was helping slaves escape to Canada, with what was called the Underground Railroad. Tubman, herself an escaped slave, made about a dozen trips from the south to the north with rescued slaves. She lead them through a series of safe places and safe houses until she reached a safe place for the escaped “Negroes” to live. She was able to rescue almost her entire family. To insure that her route, and the people that provided her with safe houses and passages would not be revealed, she carried a pistol in her pocket. Any slave that wanted to return when the going got rough was threatened with her gun. She told them that she would not allow anyone to turn back and reveal their route, and that she would surely kill them if they tried. No one tried, and no one died by her pistol. Now that’s my kind of woman. No peaceful resistance there. It was do it her way or die. In the end nobody will argue with her results, or the methods that she used to achieve them.

The extermination of the American Indian is another story. For the most part they only offered peaceful resistance. A few Indians tried to fight the white man, but they were the first to die. The rest tried to get along peacefully and co-exist with the white man. The rogue white man, and the greedy white thugs, set out to just plain get rid of the Indian. Their excuse was that they were not being protected from the “predations” on their farmland and cattle. They formed groups of “rangers”, and killed the Indian people indiscriminately. The killing was finally stopped by white people with sore consciences. Anonymous letters were written to outside newspapers with the news of the slaughter. The killing was finally stopped by the outrage of the general populace. But few Indian People were left.

It has always been my theory that peaceful protest will only work against peaceful people. Gandhi was only successful, (if you want to call getting people killed during his protest against the British Empire “success”), because he was protesting against peaceful people. That, and India was not worth fighting for. (Sorry, but true)

Dr. Martin Luther King visited India in 1959, and was convinced to try Gandhi's Non-violent resistance in his fight for equal rights for his followers.
"Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation."

Dr. Martin Luther King was wise enough to know that peaceful resistance was a plan that would work in America at the time of his protests. In 1869 he would not have even had a chance to hoist his banner before surely being killed. He was a great and wise man that took advantage of his time and place.

Gandhi on the other hand was somewhat foolish in his peaceful protest, and sacrificed many lives. I believe that he was extremely lucky to have lived as long as he did. With very minor differences in circumstance, it would have been “Gandhi who?”

I think that some things are worth fighting for. I also believe that non-violent protest will only work against peaceful people. It is interesting to note that Dr Martin Luther King, whom I greatly admire, and Gandhi both met violent deaths at the hand of assassins. Neither packed guns.

Both Harriet Tubman, whom I greatly admire, and most of the north coast thugs died of old age. Both packed guns and stood up for what they believed in. Right or wrong.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just another “I love this canyon” post.

Last week we had a whole stream of 100 deg plus days. The last few days has been “watermelon mornings, and strawberry wine afternoons.” They say that Spring is the best time to fall in love, but if you are already in love in the Fall, you’ve got all Winter to enjoy it. Spring and Summer just seem to be too busy, and there are just too many interesting things to do without having to fall in love in the middle of it all.

I’ve got my four cord of wood already split and stacked. The wood heaters are all clean and ready to use. I just cleaned the roof and all the gutters and downspouts. I even have most of the tools that I have scattered all over the yard picked up, so I’m ready for the “Mud Season.”
As soon as the rains start, I can sit in front of the heater with my feet resting on the hassock, toasting in the warm glow of the fireplace, while staring out the window and bitching about the %#$*&^% RAIN!
Frickin’ rain… I hate the rain, and the cold. Give me a day with sunshine any day. They say that we need rain to make the Redwoods grow, but I think that I could settle for smaller redwoods and less rain. I’ve never seen an ugly small Redwood, have you. See… we could use less rain.

I do like the smell of the first rains of the fall. The wet leaves and grass make the air smell so sweet that you want to drink it in the place of your morning coffee. The deer seem to look forward to all the young sprouts that shoot up. Last year I saw one nibbling on a Redwood sprout. Is that legal? Most evenings you can still hear the evening bugs sending out their love signals like they are saying “this is your last chance, if you want me, come get me, it’s now or never”.

The buzzards have already “towered up” and headed south. The locals will know what that is, the newcomers will wonder what the hell that I’m talking about, or have another name for it. I’m already seeing a few fall birds coming back for the winter. The South Fork of the Eel canyon is one place that the Robins leave in the summer and come back in the fall to get drunk on our fermented Pyrocantha, and Madrone berries.
They say that ducks and geese are coming back, but I don’t see the great flocks of them flying over Garberville like I used to. They are all over the place in Eureka, but they seem to stop there now. Maybe they stopped flying over Mendocino because of the large human population that is in the area that they have there now.

Back when there were fish in the South Fork, my wife and I would choose an Osprey nest to watch for the season, but the nest sites seem to be going away also.
I guess that I’d better go gather some acorns before they get wet and start to rot, or start to sprout. I’m going to add some clay to them this year just to see if it really makes them sweeter.

So… are you ready for Winter?