Friday, September 23, 2011

Vented frustrations and needed information.

Spam and spammers:
 Lately, I have been getting a lot of junk-type email, and comments on my blog. I know, I set myself up for it. Having a blog-site opens doors for many spammers. I do what I can to eliminate Spam. I have all comments forwarded to my email account, so I can see what has been placed in the back pages. When I find them, and I have the time, I delete them. But, some get through anyway, so hopefully you can just ignore them.

The spammers have a bunch of “pat” comments that will readily fit any blog. They will say something like, “Very thoughtful post, thank-you!” then they sign it something like, “Ralph’s Tea Cup Shop”, which is a link to an online tea cup sales site. Most people don’t bother to click the link, but there are other people that just have to click that darn link, like the people that can’t stand to ignore a phone call. If the phone rings, they have to answer. When somebody clicks that link a computer records that a successful forward came from “Ernie’s Place”. That read-out encourages the spammers to put more ads in my blog. So, don’t click on obvious spam, unless you just can’t resist.

Joining face-book was a big, big mistake for me. Yes, I enjoy getting back in touch with some of my long lost friends, but I get emails from people like “Lady Madonna” who wants to be my “friend.” Lady encloses a very provocative photo of herself. She doesn’t look like anybody that I know, and she probably wouldn’t like to know me either unless I paid her well to know me…. Oh!, That’s it… She’s in some kind of business….

Then I get notes from face-book that all my friends have some game going with farm animals and I should join them in the fun. I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound like more fun than I’m all ready having. My friends must have pretty boring lives. Sometimes I wish that I could just go back to not being a face-bookie.

Post office closing:
All this brings me up to the post office. The post office claims that they are losing big-time money, because everybody started using email. That’s probably true. I never send letters to my friends, but I do email them because it works so well. So, maybe it’s just a sign of the times, and we need to get over it.

I know that it is not true of everybody, but my life would be better-off if the post office would disappear from the face of the earth. They send me more junk-mail than you can ever believe. All of the junk is cleverly disguised as “IMPORTANT MAIL” or “check enclosed”, or something else that you know full well is nothing but advertising B.S. But, some of us have to open it anyway, and be mad that we were so stupid, and that we were duped again.

At least when I open a letter, I know that it isn’t that dang tricky Nigerian that emailed me and almost talked me into sending him money to ship me his poor dead fathers gold, the gold that the government won’t let him keep unless he shares it with me. I had the shipping money in an envelope, ready to send, then I found another person in the post office had gotten the same email from Mr. Tricky. I was so mad that he was trying to share his money with everybody that I figured out that he didn’t have enough money to share with me. So, I didn’t send him the shipping money. What a dummy he was, to tell EVERYBODY… Duhhh.

The dratted homeless:
But of course, I have to start out a post like this with a few disclaimers. I probably have more experience with the homeless than most of you, after all they live on my business doorstep. Now, I’m not without compassion, I’ve also probably helped more of the homeless than most of you, so I don’t owe anybody an apology. I call them “homeless” because that is a term that everybody understands. Recently, I’ve heard some very nice names that seem to sooth peoples sensibilities. “Houseless”, “Pre-employed”, and other confusing labels. The one I like best was “alter-sheltered” Whatever anyone calls them, it will eventually become derogatory, so we might as well stick with “homeless” because it sounds better than “bum”.
Lately, I saw a very indignant post about how it would be if I were put on the street, The poster called herself “Den Mom”, which bothers me right off. It seems to me that if you have something to say, you should sign it, especially if you are suggesting that you can solve the homeless problem. You remove half of your credentials with most people when you don’t sign something.

Anyway, Den Moms advice is as follows:
“I think we should do a study. Why don’t we pick 5 people from all walks of “SHELTER”, and place them on the streets of So.hum. with no money, We will give you a very nice sleeping bag, and a back pack if you really want one (which is a sign you are homeless).No contact with any of your love ones, u are on your own and at the mercy of your community. We will keep a journal on how each day went and how easy it was to do the basic human rights, sleep, eat, and we already know we have no public bathroom, so write about how it went for you when your body wants to function. Write about how you feel alone and how you are looked at and judged by the way you look. how many times you were told to move on by our local sheriff. How hungry you got? How you survived….how it feels to live every emotion in front of your community. I think we would learn so much about this topic and what So.hum is lacking. Just skip the thought of a shower, not going to happen. I know this experience will be life changing, and some of us on here need our thoughts about this topic adjusted…
Any takers?”

I did take the liberty of correcting a few typos above, but I assure you, I never changed anything besides changing a few forgotten spaces and the like.

Den Mom's suggestion looses some of it's brilliance when you stop to figure that most of us live our lives in panic, and work very hard NOT to become that person on the street… But, thank you for the clean sleeping bag, and the back pack, I will need them. The thought of no shower wouldn’t be possible for me. I wouldn’t get dirty in the first place, but if I do get dirty, I will swim in the river and scrub myself with sand before I stay dirty. The same goes for my clothes.
I don’t know of one single homeless person that doesn’t know about welfare or homeless shelters, I would access both of those sources right off. I would not starve, I would follow all of their rules about no drugs or alcohol. Any money that I got would go to making myself clean and presentable. I would shave, and be clean, and stay sober, and seek work. Most homeless understand that people don’t like filth. Filth spreads disease and illness, so it is human instinct to drive away pestilence. Folks don’t want to bring any disease home to their families.
By far, the most of the people out there work hard to be part of society and help each other. The people on the streets choose that life, or they let the drugs they use choose for them. Most people were warned to stay away from drugs, so it isn’t like they didn’t make the choice themselves. But as Dave Kirby says:

“Having worked some 30 years in G,ville I have come to the conclusion that there is no set “type” of street person . I don’t think anything is gained by supporting or condemning them as a group. You have a diverse group here. Many are impaired. And some of these folks are heart breaking. They are not getting away with anything, they are barely holding on. Separating the truly needy from the Jr. dead heads and various scammers is difficult at best. I don’t have any easy answers other than to try and treat each other as individuals.

I see people who genuinely want to get homelessness behind them, they generally do so. Oh… the other thing that I would do is, get the heck away from Garberville. The only opportunity here is to become more deeply ingrained in becoming a loser. Garberville is the worst enabling town that I’ve ever seem. Just watch any homeless group on the sidewalk and you will see people give them all sorts of marijuana, cash and other goodies that make their live better in Garberville. What people are doing is helping them stay in their drug addled hand-out dependant life style.

The Dirtiest Man In The World
Oh, I'm Dirty Dan, the world's dirtiest man,
I never have taken a shower.
I can't see my shirt--it's so covered with dirt,
And my ears have enough to grow flowers.

But the water is either a little too hot,
Or else it's a little too cold.
I'm musty and dusty and patchy and scratchy
And mangy and covered with mold.
But the water is always a little too hot,
Or else it's a little too cold.

I live in a pen with five hogs and a hen
And three squizzly lizards who creep in
My bed, and they itch as I squirm, and I twitch
In the cruddy old sheets that I sleep in.

In you looked down my throat with a flashlight, you'd note
That my insides are coated with rust.
I creak when I walk and I squeak when I talk,
And each time I sneeze I blow dust.

The thought of a towel and soap makes me howl,
And when people have something to tell me
They don't come and tell it--they stand back and yell it.
I think they're afraid they might smell me.

The bedbugs that leap on me sing me to sleep,
And the garbage flies buzz me awake.
They're the best friends I've found and I fear they might drown
So I never go too near a lake.

Each evening at nine I sit down to dine
With the termites who live in my chair,
And I joke with the bats and have intimate chats
With the cooties who crawl in my hair.

I'd brighten my life if I just found a wife,
But I fear that will never be
Until I can find a girl, gentle and kind,
With a beautiful face and a sensitive mind,
Who sparkles and twinkles and glistens and shines--

And who's almost as dirty as me.
-Shel Silverstein

Monday, September 19, 2011

Newsy Notes about Humboldt

News in Southern Humboldt is a little sketchy lately. But thanks to Skippy, I have a new link to news about Humboldt County, The Humboldt Sentinel. I'm not familiar with it, so hopefully Skippy will fill in the Blanks. He sent me this link: Humboldt Sentinel. Thank-you Skippy! You can even make comments back to the news articles. I put a link over there on your left, ( my right, stage left, if you know what that is).

As many of us, that have been around here for awhile know, news sources have gradually dwindled through the years. Not so many years ago, we had drop dead great news. Channel 3and Channel 6 both had superior news. They had such good news stories that it was hard to decide what to watch. Usually I would watch the evening news on one channel then watch the nightly news on the other. Cable news sources took the local markets away. We used to get great U.S. and world news on Cable, but to anybody paying attention, the cable channels lately are nothing but partisan politics anymore. Changing the channel from Fox News to CNBC is like stripping major gears, I keep expecting the television to explode every time I change Channels.

Now, the latest, The Times-Standard doesn't even want to deliver the news to us in SoHum. The only thing that they will deliver in SoHum is the Sunday paper,with a little bit of yesterdays news, and a horse choking supplement of advertisements. I'd give you a link to the T-S but you can only read a few articles, then you have to pay, so if they offer to pay me,I'll put a link up for you. So far this blogsite is purely amature, and I would hate to give up that status.

Most of us down here in SoHum land depend on Kym Kemp and The Redhead Blackbelt to supply us with "What's Happenin' Now". She has great news, but between news stories she talks a lot about Marijuana. Some of us prefer beer, maybe she could do a few great beer stories?

To be honest, my amature status is in jeopardy, I inadvertently accepted a bribe from Skippy. I came back to my office one of those 102 deg days,that we had a while back,and there was a quart of cold Pepsi sitting on my desk. I drank most of it before I discovered that it was from Skippy. Now I owe him. So don't forget to stop at The Corn Crib in Pepperwood, the home of the worlds most famous corn and fine produce.

Dang! I almost forgot the news about The Rotary District Conference! Click on the YouTube below.
All of the cast is in the bleachers at the end. If you look in some of the background, you will see people running like crazy to be in the next scene. The funny thing is, all of the animals hammed it up. The goat was dancing with the tune. If you watch the ladies horse about halfway through it is singing along with everybody else. I'm the guy at the end of the river-side scene holding up one end of the blue Rotary banner. Then I point to cue Suzy. Fun was had by all! The most fun part was, my wife and I tricked Erin Dunn and Ross Rowley into buying us breakfast! I hate to think what that bribe is going to cost Me!

Second video: Fortuna River Lodge ad

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Random thoughts about marriage.

A couple of friends of mine asked the rhetorical question: "Should we get married?" Question like that really concern me because the answers have the potential implications of phrases like "until death do us part". Anything with a death vow should be taken seriously! Before I was married, I had a lot of trouble deciding how to make a proposition not sound like a proposal. Apparently they sound very much alike.

I was 25 when my second wife and I started dating. Now, 25 is relatively young, in the scale of marriage and stuff like that. Big things are being considered, like children, education, business careers, where to build a house, and other major considerations. Being partners in ALL things is a big step. Older people don't have to consider building a life together, because for the most part, they will both have their own separate lives, already be educated, and already having satisfying careers. There is not much that will change with marriage. Maybe I'm being to pragmatic about "love" issues. I understand that is one of my "faults".

When Janis "and I" decided it was time to meet her folks, who lived in San Jose, we drove down for the weekend. Janis warned me on the way down that her family was a very traditional Mormon family. I started wondering, what is a "traditional Mormon?" We got to her folks place in the afternoon, so the evening meal was already being prepared. When it came time to sit at the table to eat, I was wise enough to know that there would probably be a "Blessing". I was right, we all bowed our heads and heard her fathers very fervent blessing. I have no problem with that. Even though I'm not religious, I honor other peoples beliefs, and indeed, I enjoy the tradition, and it gives me time to consider all the things in my "real" life that I'm grateful for.

After the blessing I noticed that all of the food on the table was placed in front of her father. He served each person in his own order. I was honored to be the first person served. It was because I was the guest in his house. The next was Janis's mother. Then Janis, who was older than her sister, then her sister, then her brother. And, of course, her dad served himself last. I wisely watched Janis to see what she did, then I watched the men to see what they did. After everybody started eating, and it looked like the blessing had chased away any pestilence from the food, I started to eat. It seemed to go pretty well, but it was obvious to me, that the man of the house was providing the food for the family table. I left the table a little hungry, because I was a young, working, country boy at the time, with a big appetite. I was proud of myself for just getting through dinner without calling down the wrath of God upon myself for some unnamed and unforgivable food sin.

Separate bedrooms that night, of course, I was also thankful for that.

The next morning, I was silently congratulating myself for staying quite and not doing anything wrong. We were called to the breakfast table where her dad had already put cornflakes in our bowls. They looked delicious, I was still hungry from the night before. Blessing? Yep! We had the breakfast prayers and started to eat. Her dad noticed that there was no milk, he said "Oh milk!" He jumped up and went to the kitchen and poured a big glass of milk. He sat the milk in front of me and sat back down. I thought that Janis must have told her father about my love for a large glass of cold milk with my meals. Being very honored, I lifted the milk to my lips and took a nice deep drink. The milk was very tasty, and very welcome, especially if all that I was getting for breakfast was a small bowl of cereal. I sat the milk back down appreciatively. As I looked around the table, every eye was on me. Her father said "the milk was for our cereal..."

It gets worse... That was the last of the milk. Everybody agonized as to "what to do.. oh, woe is us". I said, rather quietly, that when I ran out of milk at home, I would open a can of canned milk, then mix it half and half with water, it makes a reasonable substitute for milk. They had a can of milk, and I was semi-redeemed. Janis raved about how much she liked canned milk... that's when I knew that I loved her.

The only advice that I have for my friends is, don't marry anybody with parents!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Plane crash at the Reno air show

(sorry, for a short time I had a video here of the crash, but youtube removed it) Many of us have attended this air show, it's always a risk that someone may crash. Those of us that have been in the crowd knows the gut wrenching fear when something goes wrong. The last time that I attended the Air show, a stunt pilot by the name of Jimmy Franklin was flying a bi-wing Waco with a Pratt and Whitney 450 engine. He was in an inverted spin when his engine failed. He got it started and pulled out of the spin at a very low altitude. Everybody thought that it was just part of the show, but nobody with any common sense whatsoever shuts their engine off while being upside down and near the ground. I remember the feeling of nausea that I experienced, seeing someone come that close to dying. To just go on performing for the crowd must take nerves of steel.

The plane was a modified P-51 Mustang. A World War Two fighter plane. The name of the plane was the Galloping Ghost. The pilot was 80 years old.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who came first...God or Man?

This is a tale for the smartest of my friends, people who have led simple lives, but are the smartest people that I know. It often amazes me the things that simple people can figure out, or just seem to know, that some very educated people never seem to get.

Did you hear the one about the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac? He laid awake all night wondering if there really was a Dog… I know, most of you have heard the joke before, some of you don’t get it, some of you think that it’s funny. Some of you worry that it’s sacrilegious and worry that God might be offended.

Myself? I’m the one that the joke was written about. My life has been completely filled with worry and wonder. I know that my brain doesn’t work like most people’s brain. I worry that something might be wrong with me, and I wonder if it might be okay to not be like everybody else. I’ve always had a deep desire to fit in. But, strangely, I’ve always wanted people to accept who I am rather that try to be what they want me to be, so sometimes I fit, and sometimes I don’t. I had a friend that once said “ The tail follows the hide”, so I am what I am. Shakespeare said: “First, to thine ownself be true”. Shakespeare is as close to being a God in my life as anybody, so I try to adhere to his wise philosophy on life.

As a very young person, I started questioning everything. I had an uncle that called me “Yabbut the rabbit” because whenever somebody tried to tell me something, I would almost always come back with questions. I would start with “Yeah, but…” so I was called “Yabbut the Rabbit. I never really believed in Santa Claus, because I had a lot of cousins around that were both younger and older than me. They were anxious to trick me, so I was always suspicious of everything that they said. It was easy to ferret out of them that, yes indeed, Santa was really mom and dad, and not a “real person” at all.

Smug that I couldn’t be tricked, it never really occurred to me to wonder if Mickey Mouse was real. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Mickey wasn’t real. Everybody laughed at me that I was dumb enough to think that Mickey Mouse was real. Can you imagine the feelings of a small child that believed fervently in Mickey Mouse to find out that he was not real? I was filled with grief, like I had a best friend that had just died. My grief alone was bad enough, but on top of that, I had to put up with being ridiculed by my cousins and school friends. I vowed that I would never be fooled again. I started to be suspicious of everything.

You know where this is heading, we’ve been there before. At a certain point in my life, I started to question God, and double-especially religion. People that walked on water, turned water to wine, lived a thousand years, hung out in the sky with their winged angels and stuff like that. And, other wildly far-fetched things, that looked like another trick to me. Just like always, I only accept things that are tangible. My euphemistic phrase is, “things that can be hit with a hammer”. If it doesn’t pass my “Hammer Test”, it isn’t real.

Now, this is my same old-saw that you have heard way too many times, but I have a new twist… They are doing a scientific study about belief in God. I turns out that it is a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” story. The new theory is that God did not invent man, but conversely, man invented God. That has always been my conclusion. I often wondered why man would make up such far fetched stories as a person hears about religion and Faith. I was at a funeral one time where the young mother of a young child had died. The minister was telling the child that her mother was in the arms of God, and that someday, years from now, the child would be reunited with her mother. I was watching what I would call a deliberate lie, it occurred to me that maybe the myth about God was invented to give us assurance where there really was none to be given.

I have often admired Godly spiritual people, people with a strong faith, and a deep belief that God’s will was the best option. What ever happens, it is Gods will, and God works in mysterious ways. Too many times though, I find myself wishing that there was a God up there in that cloud that really does listen, because a have a few real bones to pick with him. I don’t care how mysterious his ways are, he is simply not fair to the children that he supposedly loves.

The scientists think that man is basically benevolent to their fellow humans. Man’s instinct is to aid mankind. I have a firefighter friend that describes being a first responder as “The dues you pay for the life you get”. I think that mankind makes up “God” as the mythological father that is always there to take care of the things that we can’t.

Here is some pretty interesting reading on the subject of “Who came first, God or Man

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Arthur H. "Bud" Harwood, 9-8-1926 9-1-2011

When I was a young boy in the town of Laytonville back in the 1950's, there were two main proffesions. Most people either made logs or they made lumber. My dad always prefered to be a logger for some reason. My uncle Ben Branscomb always liked being in a sawmill. My dad always smelled like pitch, fir needles and dust. My uncle Ben always smelled like pitch, bearing grease, sawdust, with a slight metalic smell, like fresh filed sawblades. So, of course, my heroes were people that made lumber from the forests. There were no greater people to me than men like Ben Mast, Shine Sherburn, Frank Ford, Jack Crawford, my dad Everett, my uncle Ben Branscomb, or anybody connected to the timber industry, top among them was always Bud Harwood. Although he knew who I was, he always knew me as Everett and Elsie's boy. My mother and dad, and my aunts and uncles, went to school with Bud Harwood. Bud's mother, Belva Harwood, was one of their teachers at the Laytonville school.

I remember many stories from the Harwood mill, about good times and bad. My uncle Ben told me that Bud always tried to keep his mill going, even when the mill was loosing money. Bud always felt responsible for the workers and their families, many times Bud keep the mill going when he would have been far better off to have closed it. My unlce told me about at least one time that Bud couldn't even make payroll, he called the crew together and asked them if they wanted to stick through the rough time together and hope to come out when lumber prices went back up. The crew stuck with him, and true to his word, everybody got paid and they had saved the mill and their jobs together like a family might do. Bud has always been one of my most admired of men. He was a captain of his industry, and he did better at it than most.

I have copied his Obituary from the Press Democrat below:

Arthur H. 'Bud' Harwood

Arthur H. “Bud” Harwood
PressDemocrat.comSeptember 6, 2011 6:17 PM
Arthur H. “Bud” Harwood, a key figure in the Mendocino County timber industry, died at his Branscomb home Sept. 1.
“He and the Harwood family have been important players in the timber industry for many years,” said Chris Rowney, unit chief for CalFire in Mendocino County.
His death came just five days after another iconic timber industry figure, Jere Melo, was gunned down in the forest near Fort Bragg.
“It's been a tough month,” said Rowney, who recalled being in awe of both men when he was starting out in the timber industry in the 1970s.
Bud Harwood's father, “Big Bud,” established a planer and grader operation in Branscomb in 1940. Bud Harwood assumed management of Branscomb Enterprises in 1949. He was later joined by brother Jack and sister Suzanne, and then his children: Liz, Art, Jack and Calvin.
The company was renamed Harwood Products in 1972. In its heyday, the company employed nearly 500 people.
It survived the industry peaks and troughs that grew the number of mills in the county to about 600, then cut it to fewer than six.
But in 2008, the Harwood mill fell victim to the housing collapse. It was dismantled and sold in pieces.
Even as the business declined, Harwood stuck with his ethical and moral beliefs, which meant trying to keep his community employed, even to his financial detriment, Rowney said.
“He fought to keep that mill running and to provide employment in the Branscomb area. From a straight economic point of view, it didn't necessarily make sense,” he said.
“You don't find many people like that today,” said Mendocino County Supervisor Carre Brown. “The loss to the town of Laytonville is very big.”
Harwood also showed he cared for his community by serving on numerous boards and donating generously to causes, including $60,000 to help launch the Long Valley Health Center and to the renovation of Harwood Park, family members said.
Bud Harwood was born Sept. 8, 1926 to Arthur Harwood and Belva York Harwood at their Ukiah homestead and in the same room as his grandmother, Mary Gibson York.
The Gibson's were pioneers who settled in the Ukiah Valley in the late 1850s. They migrated from Canada to Oakland, where Bud Harwood's grandfather served as assessor, according to an obituary written by family members.
Harwood's father moved to Laytonville in the 1920s, met and married Belva York, and raised a family.
Bud Harwood graduated from Laytonville High School in 1944, then joined the U.S. Navy. He trained to fly airplanes from aircraft carriers but. World War II ended before he saw combat.
When he returned from military service, he attended Santa Rosa Junior College, then U.C. Berkeley where he majored in business, played baseball and met his future wife, Virginia Zinn. They married in 1951 and together raised four children. They have nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The couple enjoyed traveling, dancing and entertainment. They continually looked for ways to improve sawmill and forestry operations, according to the family's account.
“He never quit thinking about tomorrow,” the family's statement said, adding that he cherished his community, baseball and a good political argument.
For years, he held an annual fish fry in Branscomb that drew political leaders. He formed the Branscomb Blues baseball club and would bring in “ringers” from his old college team to play with local players. He also played for the Laytonville Loggers, which competed with teams from Oakland to Eureka.
A believer in public service, Harwood served on the boards of the Redwood Regional Logging Conference, Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee, Willits Unified School District, Laytonville Lions club, Howard Memorial Hospital foundation, Bank of Willits and the Laytonville Little League.
Harwood is survived by his wife, children, brother and sister. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Harwood Memorial Park in Laytonville.
The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Harwood Park Association in Laytonville or Phoenix Hospice in Willits.