Thursday, November 30, 2006


Actually they're already there. The Humboldt State University Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws with be doing its first Conference Day on Friday at HSU. There's one Lefty/ Libertarian type meeting that I can get behind.

The one thing that bugs me about NORML, and even the Marijuana Policy Project, is they're of the "tax and regulate" school of thought on how to deal with the drug war, or at least marijuana. You can imagine how that makes this libertarian's skin crawl.

That said, that's probably the only realistic way to get the vast majority of people to consider ending the marijuana wars. The idea of just leaving people alone who grow or smoke pot is still foreign to most folks and likely will be for some time.
Local Green Party gadfly, David Cobb, always in search of the limelight, seems to have found a spot for himself at the meeting. Hopefully we'll hear something new from him.

I'll have to admit I find his My Word columns a bit old, having heard much of what he has to say before, though not necessarily from him. Then again, I suppose many of you have heard much of what I've said on this blog before, so perhaps I'm the pot calling the kettle black?
Speaking of David Cobb, wasn't there mention on one of the other blogs of the Times- Standard not running his My Word columns anymore? Looks like whoever said that might have been wrong.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Frost Is Here

Finally a halfway decent frost in Eureka. Not that I really look forward to it getting that cold but, if we get a good hard frost, it does knock back some invasive plants, like nasturtiums. This last frost doesn't look like it got cold enough,though.

I always find it interesting that the front and back sides of the house seem to be colder than one another. The back side, facing East, didn't seem all that cold when I got up this morning. The front side, facing West, seemed like it was FREEZING later on when I went to pick up the papers.

Funny how that works.

A Blog Gone By The Wayside

I was disappointed to see the What It's Really Like... blog go by the wayside. I keep checking but he hasn't made any new posts in a couple months. I enjoyed his blog, despite it not being set up for comments.

Anyone have any idea what may have happened to the guy?

Is Glass Like Gas In Humboldt?

Anybody ever have a window on their car replaced outside of Humboldt County? I'm wondering if it's any cheaper than having it done here.

The side rear window on the wife's Geo Metro got shattered a week or so ago. Unknown just how it happened. About the only shopping around I did to find a replacement was calling the auto wrecking yard out on Jacob's Avenue, in Eureka, to see if they had a used one. They didn't.

So I called K&M Glass to see if they had one. They didn't but could order one and it would cost something like $260 installed. Yipes! That much for just a small window? Oh well. I went ahead and had them order it.

It came in after a few days and Connie takes the car in only to have them tell her they needed a seal, or some such, and would have to order that. I believe they said the seal would cost an additional $160, or thereabouts.

This is getting ridiculous, I'm thinking. All this for just a small window? I couldn't help but wonder if we pay more for some things up here, just like we do for gas.

Just out of curiousity I tried seeing if I could get some estimates online from various places around the state. No luck. I found some auto glass places but none had any of those spiffy online programs where you could get an immediate quote.
Years ago vandals broke two windows on my old Ford Ranger pick up. That cost me $400 out of my own pocket to buy the replacements at K&M Glass and install them myself.

Some time later vandals once again broke one of the windows on my truck. Someone suggest I try the wrecking yard for a used window. Great suggestion. I ended up buying a window for $40- a bit cheaper than the $200 I paid before.

But, sometimes our small wrecking yard doesn't have what you need. In fact, from the size of that place, I'm surprised they nearly always have what I do need.

But what about these prices up here? Are they higher than elsewhere? I suppose one could say there's no competition, but there are a few different glass places listed in the Yellow Pages. Maybe this is part of The Conspiracy, those glass folks working together with Da' Man to put us all down?

Or maybe it's just life behind the Redwood Curtain?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Libertarians Go After Humboldt and Mendocino

Just noticed, after looking at the most recent Libertarian Party of California Executive Committee meeting minutes, the LPC seems to have plans for a test project in Humboldt and Mendocino counties.

Dubbed a "Pilot Registration" project, I assume they're going to have a voter registration drive, or some such, up here. Looks like they have around $13,000+ a month that they'll be spending on radio ads, door to door contact and outreach booths.

Gee...first I'd ever heard of it. Wonder why they chose Humboldt and Mendocino?

If any of you hear or see anything ads on the radio or elsewhere, let me know.

Humboldt Air

Something I generally pass right by is news regarding our local airports. For once I couldn't help myself but to check out this item in the Eureka Reporter dealing with the county's airports, most specifically Rohnerville Airport, northeast of Fortuna.

One thing that got me wondering right off the bat was the statement that there are six airfields in Humboldt County. I can only think of five off the top of my head: Kneeland, Rohnerville, Murray Field (Eureka), Samoa and Arcata/ Mckinleyville. Which one am I missing?

I also didn't realize how dependent private air travel seems to be on the availability of hangar space on airfields. I see planes parked on the tarmac on Murray Field all the time. I figured that's where they always stay. Do they really need hangars?

Still, I can't help but wonder if the addition of fifty hangars to Rohnerville Airport might be a bit of a luxury. Then again, I know next to nothing about the subject so I suppose I should defer to others involved in aviation for intelligent discussion on the issue.

Fish Cops Needed

A rather troubling development in the natural resources field, although nothing really new as it's been mentioned here before that game wardens are spread pretty thin around the state:

Game Warden applications in the state are at an all time low. If you've got two years of college, maybe this is the job for you?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Musgrave Goes For State Assembly

This just in from Arcata's, Ed Musgrave, via my West Coast Libertarians Yahoo Group:

I would like to announce my candidacy for the Libertarian nomination
for the 1st Assembly District,which covers the North North Coast from
Oregon to Santa Rosa.I am focusing like a laser beam on the CPS and
Juvenile Court.Within that beam, I am concentrating on the involuntary
separation of children from their brothers,sisters and parents.

Never met the guy, personally, or even spoken with him on the phone. Ed was one of three libertarians that ran for office back in the primary(?). He was the only one that lost, coming in third in some Arcata school district race.

Last I heard publicly from Ed was a letter in one of the local papers endorsing Arcata City Council candidate, Bobby Harris', call for a rent control ordinance- hardly a libertarian position to take.

Don't know that using Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court reform as an issue will get him anywhere. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Quite frankly, I didn't want to deal with a State Assembly race this soon after the election. I'll give him credit for starting early, though.

Robyn Blumner?

I don't believe I'd ever heard of her before reading her column that was published in the Eureka Reporter today. I'm not sure the E/R posts opeds by syndicated columnists on their web page. I didn't see a link to this one, but a quick Yahoo search found the commentary in question.

The Eureka Reporter titled the op- ed differently: Milton Friedman Made Right Call On Legalizing Drugs. You can imagine how seeing such a title in a local paper would grab this libertarian's attention.

It will be interesting to see if anyone writes a letter in rebuttal. Perhaps our very own Prohibitionist from the November 24th Illegals thread?

I'll have to keep an eye out for more of Ms. Blumner's work.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kramer Is A Libertarian?

I don't know about Michael Richards, the guy who played Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld- recently in the news for losing his cool during a live show- but Kenny Kramer, the guy who the character was based on, might be.

I'd actually read the Associated Press article in the Times- Standard this morning, but didn't pay much attention to the picture. Rex Bohn saw me as he was driving by my house this morning and asked if I'd noticed the Libertarian Party sign in the picture accompanying the article. I hadn't.

Taking another look, sure enough, Kramer has the same sign on the front of his podium that I place in my window each election: Enough is Enough- Vote Libertarian.

The Times- Standard doesn't seem to publish Associated Press items on their web site, but Associated Press does. Here's the link to the story.

Thanks for the heads up, Rex.

Did My Vote Count?

I've actually wondered about that, this last time being the first time I voted absentee while actually being in town. It didn't help that the Times- Standard ran this article today going through the reasons some absentee ballots were tossed, or had to be corrected.

But, looks like there weren't really that many ballots tossed out when compared to the total number of ballots turned in. What are the chances mine was among them? Pretty slim, I suppose.

Besides, I've been told that when you vote for Libertarians you're just wasting your vote anyway, so I guess it's no big deal.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Localities Take On Illegals

I've mentioned here before that I'm not an open borders libertarian. Ok, I kind of agree witht the sentiment of that libertarian mantra; Peaceful people should be able to immigrate and emigrate freely..., but I think that's simplistic, to say the least.

I don't know what the answer to illegal immigration is. Nonetheless, I find some proposals to deal with illegal immigration disturbing. For instance, one of the latest posts on the forum lists measures a number of communities have taken, or are in the process of taking, to deal with illegal immigration.

Maybe some make sense. Maybe some don't. My concern is, regardless of the illegal immigration issue, how will this affect those who are already legal residents of the country?

Can you imagine being a renter and having to register with city hall to obtain a residency permit so the city can do a background check on you? Hazelton, PA has just passed an ordinance requiring just that.

Some time ago, when the idea of a National I.D. card was in the news (I hope I'm note mixing subjects here. I think it was the National I.D. card), I read that all citizens would be required to show proof of citizenship when they apply or re- apply for drivers licenses. That got me to thinking: How the heck would I be able to prove I'm a U.S. citizen?

Not that I couldn't prove it, but the hassle of gathering the paperwork would be just that; a hassle. And what if I couldn't locate some of the necessary paperwork?

Those favoring such ideas need to think about how they'll feel when they have to prove their own citizenship. And keep in mind, this would likely just be the beginning of the hassles. You can bet that, once started, these identification requirements will take on a life of their own, just like most other government projects do.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I'm So Proud...

of myself. I fixed it.

I mentioned earlier on how I'd upgraded to Internet Explorer 7, despite switching to Firefox as my browser of choice. Ever since I'd upgraded, I've been getting an error message when I'd boot the computer up.

I did a little searching and found it was a common problem with the IE7 upgrade. A couple different solutions were given. I gave up on one and tried one of the others: Renaming a file in my DSL software package.

I was a bit nervous about renaming files as I'm the kind of guy that often makes things worse when he tries to fix them. This turned out ok. Changed the name of the file, rebooted, and the error message was gone.

If any of you upgrade to IE7 and end up with the same problem, here's a place to start looking for the solution. If that's too complex or time consuming, let me know and I'll tell you what I did.


So what are you gonna do: Should someone be able to live however they want?

I guess this place is just outside the Blue Lake city limits. No mention of whether there's any other houses nearby. If not, isn't the condition of one's home their own personal business?

I don't know, at least when it gets to the point that house has. I can't imagine why anyone would want to stay in a dump like that. Then again, I guess home is where the heart is. Of course, she also doesn't seem to have anywhere else to go.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

North Coast Travelogue: 11/19-11/21

I'd read an article in the Sacramento Bee not long ago about how deer are more likely to be on the roads this time of year. It seems this is the Fall mating season so the bucks will be roving around with reckless abandon in search of Miss Deer.

I hadn't thought much about it, until reading the article. Even then, I was somewhat surprised as in the spring and early summer I'd seen umpteen dead deer along the road while driving back and forth to San Francisco. It couldn't get worse than that,could it?

I saw fewer dead deer this time around than I'd seen back then. I did finally almost hit one, though.

I was keeping the warnings about the deer hazard on my mind. Still, it surprised me when I turned a corner down around Myers Flat while heading south. A doe had jumped off the hillside and was halfway across the freeway. I panicked. Well, kinda.

She was probably less than 70 yards in front of me and, by the time I reacted, probably less than 50. I wasn't sure I could stop in time, especially with anti- lock brakes.

To make matters worse, rather than get accross the freeway, she stops and turns to go back when she's over half way to the other side. Luckily, she immediately did another about face and trotted towards the west side of the road. Then I realized I could easily manuveur around her to the left. More luck involved as no traffic was coming the other direction.

All's well that ends well.

I probably overreacted, although I'm not sure if I jammed on the brakes hard enough to lock them up if I didn't have anti- lock. I don't recall feeling the anti- locks come on.

I'm not sure if I like the anti- lock feature, or not. Most of the time the brakes seem to grab when I try to slow down at high speeds, rather than just slow me down.

Maybe I'm just getting used to them as that doesn't seem to happen as much anymore. Whether the anti- locks helped save that deer, I have no idea.
Finally managed to follow Erik Kirk's advice and ate dinner at Tommy's Joynt, in San Francisco. He'd suggested it some time ago. Last time we tried to eat at Tommy's, it looked like there was a line going out the door. We didn't want to wait so we passed it up.

Turns out the lines are kinda normal there as this is kind of like a cafeteria: You walk in the door and the line starts there. Then, you walk along, see what you want and tell the guy or gal on the other side what to put on your plate.

Pretty quick, actually, and we actually found a seat nearby. I get the impression the place is always packed.

Fairly inexpensive, too. When we eat at Jack Tar's, at the Cathedral Hill Hotel, right across the street from Tommy's, it can cost between $20 and $30 for the two of us, and that's getting the cheaper meals. At Tommy's, we both ate for less than $20. I had the Buffalo Stew, $7.50. Connie had the Buffalo Chili, or whatever it's called, $5.50.

Not bad. I guess Tommy's will be the lunch and dinner place of choice from now on, when we're staying at the Cathedral Hill Hotel.

Oh, as an aside, some of the sales routines you run into are so predictable. First time I recall the guy at the hotel front desk bring this up:

He noticed we were "Medical Foundation Folks", or some such, and pointed out the Jack Tar Bar and Grill had a Healthy Heart menu. He gave us a brochure with the Healthy menu.

I noticed a few things on the menu I'd seen before on the regular menu. I mentioned to the wife that we should check and see how much they cost on the regular menu.

Sure enough; Most everything on the Healthy Heart menu was on the regular menu, and it was cheaper by two or three dollars on the regular menu. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

Monday, November 20, 2006


In honor of our very own Heraldo, I'll post this link for all of your consideration.

Let the flaming begin. Keep in mind the L.A. Daily News Online accepts comments. Scroll to the bottom of the article for the Comment link.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Good Bye, Farmer's Market

Ok. Here we go again. Feel free to call me a curmudgeon.

I was wondering when the Farmer's Markets would be closing for the season. I guess Saturday was the last day for the local Farmer's Markets. I'm glad.

I actually think they're kind of neat, except the one time I actually went to the Henderson Center Farmer's Market everything seemed fairly expensive. As I've said before, I don't see how growers can make any money coming to Farmer's Markets, especially if they drive all the way from Hoopa, or thereabouts.

I always forget about them, though, probably because I'm often not concious of what day of the week it is. So I'll drive to Henderson Center, for whatever reason, and find there's nowhere to park because of the Farmer's Market- A rather unpleasant surprise. I've actually drove over to the Eureka Mall to take care of business when that happens.

It will be nice to have the open parking spaces on Thursdays for the rest of the winter. Shame for the growers. I was surprised to read in the E/R article that one grower gets a fair amount of his income from the Markets.

Not to worry. I'm sure those that depend on it can take advantage of the Farmer's Market the Eureka Co- 0p is setting up. Looks like this is a good thing for those that like the Markets, as now they'll be available all year.

That's a good thing for all involved: The growers and buyers get their Farmer's Market and it's not going to be in my neighborhood, at least for the winter.

Did You Feel It?

The earthquake that hit around five minutes before 7am this morning?

You'd think I'd be used to them after over 30 years up here, but they always put me on edge. You just never know if it's going to be just a short shaker or keep on going and end up being a big one.

This last one was just a couple second jolt that I could hear and feel as the house moved. Went to one of the earthquake web sites and they don't have this last one listed. I guess it wasn't a significant event.

This USGS map shows it. I guess it was only a 2, or so, on the Richter Scale. No big deal, except when you feel it and wonder if the big 'un is just behind it. Looks like the epicenter was a few miles east of Eureka.

Doesn't look like anybody's filled out the report form for this latest one, so I guess I will.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NIMBYism is alive and well...

in Arcata, which the Times- Standard points out in today's editorial. Nobody seems to want The Endeavor in their back yard. The Times- Standard is right in pointing out Arcata shouldn't have the NIMBY label pasted on them alone.

They could have included Eureka. Looks like someone complained about one of those clean and sober houses in their backyard, one on Buhne Street in Eureka generating at least one complaint. Jerry Droz, were you the one complaining?

Thing is, I see both sides. Nobody likes the kind of traffic places like The Endeavor or the clean and sober houses generate, but those people need to eat and sleep somewhere, don't they. What the heck you going to do?

I have no idea.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Santa Rosa 101 Work Moves Ahead

For those of you that travel regularly to the Bay Area, some sign of progress will be seen early next week. Looks like they've completed at least one side of the new bridge and traffic in the southbound lane of 101 will be diverted to the new bridge section.

Now, they'll start tearing down the old bridge of southbound 101 you've been driving on all this time. Looks like congestion will stay the same for now, though.

Scum Sucking Gold Mine?

Maybe for someone. I don't know.

I was glad to see the North Coast Journal's, Heidi Walters, give us a look at the end of the line for the stuff being dredged out of the bay.

I'd paid scant attention to the dredging issue, only vaguely remembering some mention that depositing the spoils on the west side of the North Spit had been approved by some powers- that- be. I hadn't realized they were already doing it.

Something I'd been wondering for years, was whether the stuff they dredge up had anything of value in it? Might there be all kinds of clams and/ or mudworms in it?

I know mudworms are a great bait for rock fish and spent a little time years ago- as much as I could tolerate, anyway- out in the bay mud digging for them. If they're getting sucked up by the dredge, might some entrepreneur out there find a way to screen them out of the dredgings?

Looks like the outflow pipe is pretty high up, but maybe you could get a fine mesh screen, put it on the end of a pole and stick the screen under the pipe when it's dumping the spoils. Might be messy, but if you got enough worms, you could make some money.

Anyone know if there's worms in that mud?

Walters Looks At Ahnold's Bonds

The Sacramento Bee's, Dan Walters, takes a skeptical look at the Governor's claims that the recently passed infrastructure bonds will improve the economy enough to overcome our chronic deficits.

An interesting view from someone who refuses to raise taxes, believing taxes are harmful to the economy. Let's hope the Governator's right, but I'm not holding my breath.

K.C. Sheds Light On Vroman Warrant Fiasco

Editor of the the Ukiah Daily Journal, K.C. Meadows, sheds some light on the suspicions cast on the late Norm Vroman, District Attorney of Mendocino County, in her blog.

For those of you new here who might not be aware of what transpired, shortly after Vroman's death, news was leaked of some warrants that supposedly were to be served on Vroman's residence and property seeking illegal firearms and marijuana. Supposedly, since Vroman died, the feds decided not to serve the warrants.

This seemed rather odd to me since, if they were looking for illegal weapons, the weapons would still be there and wouldn't be something the feds would ignore. I couldn't help but wonder if there was some pre- election political skullduggery involved.

Whether there was political skullduggery involved still can't be said, but K.C. explains what's known at this point regarding the investigation(s).

Find A Candidate

Just got the heads up on this candidate search website. You can find out what state and federal candidates ran in your district all the way back to the 1800s. Might be useful for some of you media types, assuming you don't have something like this to refer to already.

One eye opener for me was I vaguely remembered Democrat, Doug Bosco, but I'd always thought of him as being a State Assembly dude. I guess he was in congress, not the State Assembly.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mountain Lion Captured

Did I miss it or did the other papers not catch this story? The Arcata Eye reports on a mountain lion that was captured at HSU last week.

The Perils of Skateboard Parks

The Arcata Eye reports on an accident at Arcata's skateboard park. They also mention other things that come along with the creation of skateboard parks, like people misusing them, graffiti and such.

Hate to be like this but it seems such things aren't given much consideration when projects like this are planned. Seems there's always someone that wants to screw things up for everyone else.

Makes me wonder if Eureka's proposal for a skateboard park is such a good idea.

As an aside, if find it difficult to believe a bicycle causes more wear and tear on the park than a skateboard.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Plenty Of Oil Out There

for now anyway, at least according to this guy. Of course, what he's saying is pretty much just theory, or speculation, just as much as what others claim. He seems to be making a fairly educated guess, though.

If you're a devotee of Jan Lundberg's Peak Oil Crisis Club, this may not be one you'll enjoy reading.

As usual, if asked for a login, use humboldtlib for the username and blogspot for the password.

Eureka In Top Ten?

Who'd a thunk it? It's hard for me to imagine Eureka being in the top ten of U.S. travel destinations. I guess I forget how much in awe of the place I was when I moved up here in '73.

Still; I can't help but wonder if these TripAdvisor guys get paid to give you a rating.

Did You Pay Attention In High School?

This test tells me I paid attention to 86% of high school. How well did you pay attention?

The thing that gets me is they don't tell you what questions you got wrong.

Warning, Warning!

First time I ever saw one of these. I was checking and noticed a severe weather alert. Clicked on that figuring it would be something about the rain that's on the way but got this instead:





Notice it says "No watch or warning is in effect". Was this a test? Was there an earthquake somewhere. Haven't checked the news yet this morning so we'll see. Still...kinda interesting, to me, anyway.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Limousine Liberals?

Pun intended.

Love seeing the occasional story on public officials espousing one thing and doing another.

In fairness, I can see how mass transit wouldn't really fit in with Villaraigosa's lifestyle.

NCRA Rears Its [Ugly] Head

Once again, the North Coast Railroad Authority is in the news. Looks like the Califoria Transportation Commission is giving them something like $43 million for repairs of the rail line from Willits southward.

At first glance I thought the money would be for the line north of Willits to Humboldt Bay. Let's hope not. Why throw good money after bad?

But, not to be disappointed, reading further we see that the NCRA will be trying to get their piece of the pie of recently passed Prop. 1B. I wouldn't be surprised if they end up getting some of it- Millons of more dollars thrown into the bottomless pit of the Willits/ Eureka rail line.

This rail line sure has a life of its own. I don't know how functional the line is down in Mendocino and Sonoma counties, but Humboldt's line has ran its course, as far as I'm concerned.

Unless our line can magically come up with millions, if not billions, of dollars worth of cargo to make it worthwhile to maintain, we should just lay it to rest. I'll never understand the push to revive this rail line. Somebody must be making all kinds of money on it even without any traffic.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mayo Speaks Up and The Good Old Days

Dennis Mayo gives a thumbs down to David Cobb and a thumbs up to Richard Marks in his op- ed in the Eureka Reporter this morning.

Looks like Dennis' front yard will be a definite spot for your yard signs in 2008, Rich.

Speaking of Richard Marks; Checking his blog this morning, I was saddened to hear of the permanent closing of the Manila Market. Now there's no neighborhood store on the peninsula. Shame to see that happen.

To add insult to injury, one of his commentors lists some other stores and restaraunts that have shut down in the area, never to open again. I don't know about you but, when you get older, more and more things you knew and enjoyed go away, never to be seen again.

Change is inevitable, but that doesn't mean it's always pleasant.

This got me to thinking about the 33 years I've lived up here and what changes have taken place over that time. Are things better now than they were 33 years ago, or worse?

Hard to say. I can think of a few places that went by the wayside up here that I'm sorry to have seen go and will likely never be replaced.

I mentioned in the comments on Rich's blog the A&W Root Beer on the corner of Myrtle and West in Eureka, where that Mexican Restaraunt now stands. Ever have the tacos they made? Those were the best I've ever had in my life. Slimy, greasy things you could almost suck the innards out of with a straw. They were great. Now they're gone. Forever.

Tom's Sourdough Pizza, on Myrtle Avenue in Eureka. That used to be one of my favorite hangouts when I lived in Myrtletown. I used to walk down there, grab a seat near the window and drink beer. A nice informal place to hang out.

Great pizza at Tom's, too, although I'll admit towards the end I probably didn't buy pizza there more than once or twice a year. It was a couple bucks more than other pizza in town, but worth it, if you could afford it. My favorite was the combination with anchovies.

The best thing about Tom's, though, was the deep fried potatoe chips they made. They sliced up big baker potatoes, dipped them in some kind of batter and deep fried them. Those were the best- a meal all by themselves.

I tried to talk one of the guys working there into giving me the secret of how they were made. He wouldn't say, except to mention that buttermilk might help. I tried making the batter a few times but never came close to what Tom's put out.

Tom's Deep Fried Chips. Gone forever.

I miss Sabrina's Restaraunt, too, if only cause I used to like to hang out there, having worked there for three years, or so. It used to be across from the Eureka Theater. I believe there's some Mexican restaraunt there now.

Interestingly enough, the original Sabrina's mother, Babs, was trying to start up a restaraunt in the same building a few years ago. I was looking forward to that, going back to the good old days. The deal feel through, though, and they opened in the old Tom's Sourdough Pizza building in Myrtletown as Babbetta's. Sabrina even works there.

Still, not the same as Sabrina's.

Then there's the stores that come and go. Some are easily replaced. Some aren't.

My biggest loss was Food Mart in friendly Henderson Center, right up the street from my house. Rite Aid has the building now and comes nowhere close to replacing Food Mart.

That was a great store. A real community center. Even had a bulletin board for posting local notices and stuff. Everybody hated to see that place close down. I can't imagine anything could come close to replacing Food Mart there. Gone forever.

Things come and go. That's life. Good changes happen as well, but I don't know that the good changes always make up for the bad ones.

Low Tech- Tech Talk

Low tech, because I'm not very hip to computer technology. Nonetheless, I do try to keep things updated.

A week or so ago I finally upgraded to the Internet Explorer 7 browser. Not that I really needed to. I've actually switched to using Mozilla's Firefox browser for most things, except entering my sweepstakes.

I can't remember what the problem was that kept me using Internet Explorer for sweeps. I believe it had something to do with my form filling program not working quite right with Firefox. So, when it comes time each morning to enter my sweeps, I close Firefox and open Explorer, then switch back when done.

I finally decided to switch everything over to Firefox. Main reason being Firefox is supposedly a more secure browser. The main thing that made me decide to go completely to Firefox was a computer glitch that started after I upgraded to IE7. Who'd a thunk you'd get a glitch from a microsoft upgrade. :-)

Now, whenever I boot up the computer, I get some error message. I finally looked into the message by doing an internet search and it's because some DSL service files have changed and either IE7 or the DSL program can't find them when the computer starts up.

Everything runs fine. It's just annoying getting that error message all the time. I guess you can fix it by changing the name of some files somewhere in the computer. I'll have to try that one of these days.

Someone in one of the Microsoft forums said if you had the SBC Self Support Tool installed, part of their DSL software, the Support Tool would fix the problem. Well, that doesn't seem to work for me, but I'm not sure I have the whole Support Tool on my system as I tried to delete it a while back.

Anyway, give Firefox a try if you haven't already.

Speaking of internet security, just yesterday I ended my long and relatively happy relation with Norton Anti- Virus. My yearly upgrade contract runs out in a couple weeks and I had to decide whether to renew.

I had both Norton Anti- Virus and the free ZoneAlarm firewall on this computer. On the laptop I just went with the ZoneAlarm firewall with the added anti- virus. That costs you like twenty or thirty bucks but it covers intrusions and virus protection with one system rather than two as I have on this computer.

I'm not sure you can legally use the same registration on two different computers, so I just paid to upgrade my free firewall into the firewall plus antivirus.

It's kind of nice not to see that Norton Anti- Virus icon on the bottom of my screen all the time. That, and I hated NAV doing a search of my system on start up. It wouldn't do a full search, just a quick one that took a couple minutes, but it was still annoying having a little window pop up telling you everything was ok.

For those that don't use firewalls, I'd strongly suggest you consider it. You'd be amazed at how many intrusion attempts are made on your computer. Of course, not all of these attempts are malicious, some are just pings from some computer somewhere wanting to see who's out there.

But there are a lot of malicious attacks. I've gotten a number of them from that non- existent, or whatever the numbers are, IP address. That was someone trying to get into my computer that didn't wan't to be identified.

One problem with- I'm thinking it was Norton Anti Virus- was it would shut down my internet connection when it intercepted certain attempts at stuffing worms on my computer. The NAV window would pop up saying it had intercepted a worm from somewhere, and give the IP address. Then, a lot of the time, I'd have to reboot the computer to get back to the internet.

One Sunday, earlier this year, I kept getting attacked by the same worm over and over again. NAV would disconnect me, I'd reboot, and as soon as I was connected the worm would hit again and shut me off. Finally, I unplugged the data cable from the DSL modem and plugged it back in, which I believe gives you a new IP address. Problem solved, but took about half an hour to deal with it.

I strongly recommend a firewall, folks. There's some nasty things going on in cyberspace.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Best Way To Vote

I was having an e-mail chat with Heather Mueller, of the Eureka Reporter, just the other day. We broached the topic of different ways to vote. I was wondering if it wouldn't be better to go to a mail ballot only vote system, like Oregon has?

Whad'ya think? Seems to me it might help avoid a lot of the pitfalls of in- person voting. If nothing else, we wouldn't expect immediate results.

I'm not sure just how Oregon does theirs. Regardless, seems to me you could have the ballots mailed out to a certain deadline. Then, accept the ballots over a certain time period- perhaps two or three weeks- with none accepted after the deadline.

Then, maybe have a deadline, of sorts, for the results to be tabulated.

We wouldn't have any of the back and forth quibbling over what ballots are being counted or who's in the lead at any given time. Hopefully, we could have some kind of rule that would prohibit partial vote count releases.

So, maybe six weeks after the start of election period, the results would be released to the press and powers that be.

I realize some think that we have a duty to show up in person and vote. I used to feel that way myself. In fact, this year is the first time I've ever voted absentee, except for some local special election that took place while I was in Saudi Arabia.

Anybody have some good talking points against mail- in- only voting?

Low Turnout Hurts Lefties?

Some are suggesting that. I don't know. As has been brought up here and elsewhere, including this article from today's Times- Standard, we had a relatively heavy turnout on Tuesday. If everyone showed up to vote, would the tables been turned?

No way of saying that for sure, seems to me. Sure, voter registration in Humboldt leans to the Left, but I'm not so sure that would of changed the outcome, in and of itself. As we've seen here, just because someone leans left, doesn't mean they're going to march lock step to the voting booth on issues such as Marina Center.

As an aside, I was surprised to see Richard Salzman say the community was evenly divided on the issue. For some reason I would have expected him to come up with some kind of conspiratorial reason for the close vote totals.

Greenhut's Rant

Steve Greenhut has a post- election rant in today's Orange County Register where he covers a couple issues.

First, he bemoans the loss of the eminent domain reform initiative, Prop 90. Good news, if there is any, is that there's talk of a similar initiative- this time eminent domain only- for the 2008 ballot.

Then he rags on the GOP, echoing the sentiments of many in the libertarian community, that the Republican losses nationwide might well have been a good thing. He goes on to suggest Scharzenegger's blow out victory wasn't such a good thing.

I don't know about that. Seeing Angelides get whooped made me feel good, although I didn't dwell on it. Whether there would have been any difference in the end after four more years of Ahnold, as opposed to four fresh years of Angiledes, there's no way we'll ever know.

In closing, Greenhut does something I don't believe I've seen him do before: Suggest possibly voting for a third party, or creating a new one.

Greenhut's never been a fan of the Libertarian Party, or at least its candidates. Still, I think trying to come up with yet a another third party would be an excercise in futility. We've already got dozens of political parties to chose from. Why try and re- invent the wheel.

Time might be better spent convincing more people to think libertarian.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Show And Tell

My latest sweepstakes win. I've been entering this Methadent Instant Win Sweepstakes since, it seems, at least the beginning of the year. I finally won something: A coupon for a free tube of Methadent toothpaste. Doesn't get any better than that, does it.

Life is good.

More Gun Control On The Way?

The short back and forth about locking blade knives and the fact that some on this blog think they should be illegal got me to thinking about something in the back of my mind: Now that the Democrats gained the majority in congress, will we see a resurgence of federal gun contol proposals?

One thing I'll say about the Republican majority: We haven't heard much in the last few years in the way of new gun control proposals. In fact, we even saw the glorious sunset of the so- called Assault Weapons Ban, no thanks to President Bush- him being in support of the ban.

I've read where a lot of Democrats have recongnized gun control has been a losing issue for them, some saying that issue was what brought about Al Gore's loss of his own state of Tennessee when he ran for President.

We shall see. Our very own Senators Boxer and Feinstein are rabidly anti- gun and I'm of the impression Feinstein might end up in some Senate leadership capacity.

As far as the House is concerned, it's been a while since we've had to worry about Democrats there pulling any gun control shenanigans, although there are more than enough anti- gun zealots in the House.

So what do you think: Will gun control rise to prominence as an issue again?

And what about knives? I hadn't realized lock blade knives were illegal for kids to have on school grounds. Will knife control become a bigger local, state or national issue?

I'd be hard pressed to think that there'd be any concerted effort to outlaw knives in Humboldt County, with the possible exception of maybe, maybe Arcata. Sure, Arcata's been involved on the wrong side (at least to me) of gun control issues a couple times before, but I've never heard any past or present Arcata City Councilcritters propose any sort of knife bans.

We've seen here at least a couple people that seem to be in favor of such laws. Whether they live here, or in the Bay Area, more and more people from down south who might favor such laws are moving here. Will we see knife control on the local council agendas?

Let's hope not. But, Jolly Old Authoritarian England has had suggestions of knife restrictions for some time. Next time I see any news articles on the issue I'll try and remember to post them here. Seems like a lot of the nanny state government stuff that goes on in England makes it's way here, eventually.

Hey, regardless of being on the opposite side of the issue from the knife and gun banners, I'm always here to help. Here's some places to get started with your knife ban proposals.

Just a few web sites. Find the kinds of knives you want to ban, either locally, or state or nationwide. Then make a list of them and send the nuts and bolts of your proposal to your representatives at all levels of government.

Let's just see which ones get right on it.

Buck Knives Gerber Knives Dante Knives Yahoo Search Results For Knives

A Plug For Asian Workmanship

Got my laptop back from the shop yesterday. As some may remember, I mentioned having a problem with my laptop. Our very own Leonidas gave me the heads up as to what was likely wrong: The backlight was going out.

I'd never even heard of backlights before, although I'd heard of screens being backlit. What happens is the screen ends up so dark, you can't see any of the desktop icons. Well, that was indeed the problem, I found, after doing further research and identifying the symptoms of backlight outages.

Leonidas also sent me a link to some folks in Southern California that seemed to specialize in replacing backlights, along with a link to a how- to demonstration for those that might want to do the replacement themselves. Looked like a little much for me to do, knowing my own capabilities.

So, I tried the quote form on They never responded. After about three days, I tried submitting the form again. No response.

So, I look in the local Yellow Pages and didn't see anyone locally who advertised laptop repairs, much less replacing backlights. I try again, this time biting the bullet and calling their 1-800 number. Hate it when I have to do that.

Someone finally answers the phone and, call me xenophobic, I get a bit nervous about this deal when the guy speaks in fluent, but accented, english. He's obviously asian.

I really didn't care if he was asian. I just wondered if this was another one of those outsource deals that so many companies use nowadays. Is this guy actually in Singapore?

But he was cool. Told me he didn't know why I hadn't got a response to my e-mail inquiry and gave me a quote of $135 to replace the backlight and it should take a day or so for them to do the job.

I figured $135 ain't bad as the Dell Tech Support page mentioned somewhere that they'd charge $150 just to look at the laptop. I decided to go ahead and send it to, just hoping I'm not sending it to some forwarding address that actually ships it to somewhere in the Pacific Rim.

I figured I could buy packing materials at the FedEx terminal in Eureka, across the street from Costco. Nope. Not much selection there, at least none that I deemed suitable for the laptop. So, I quickly drove home, found a box I figured would work and did the packing using old packing materials I had laying around.

Went back to FedEx and off it went.It only cost $6.50 to ship it FedEx Ground. I forgot to get insurance on it, which I really should have done. Then I got to track it online using the FedEX tracking number. It went out on Nov. 2 and arrived on Monday, Nov. 6. Then I could only wait, and hope this wasn't some ripoff.

Tuesday came and went and no call from them. They'd told me that once the work was done they'd call me and arrange for payment. Came home around 1pm on Wednesday and there was an message on my answering machine saying they completed the work and asking me to call them back.

Tried to call them back using the number he left on my answering machine but got one of those disconnected number messages. Tried it again. Same thing. Hmmm...I was sure I wrote the number down right.

So, I went back to their web site and found the first 800 number I used. It was the same one he gave me, with one number being different. I'm sure he said that number was an eight, but it was a nine. Tried that number and connected, but he was on a cell phone out of the office and said he'd call me back in about a half hour.

He called about a half hour later and asked me how much I paid to ship the laptop to him. I wrongly told him about $8.50 when it was really $6.50, or so I found out after looking at my FedEx receipt.

The guy almost sounds like he's trying to dicker with me on the shipping prices and says he'll charge me $135, as earlier quoted, for the work and something like $14.00 for shipping, as he has to pay for shipping insurance.

I had no problem with that. I felt it was fair enough. He says he'll ship it out that day. Couldn't believe how quick this was.

So, the next day I check the FedEx web site to see where the laptop is. No indication of it having been picked up from them. I try again on Thursday. Still no record of pickup.

Now my earlier fears about some credit card rip off come back. Was this some clever plan to get my credit card number? I check my credit union's web site and no outlandish credit card charges, at least not yet.

Suddenly it came to me that the tracking number I was checking was the one I used for shipping to him. That won't be the same one used when he ships it back to me. Silly me.

I thought about calling him and asking him for the current tracking number but thought better of it since I already got the phone number he gave me wrong. There's more numbers in a tracking number than a phone number and it would probably be a fiasco going back and forth with him trying to get the number right.

So, I wait, and FedEx arrived about 3:30 yesterday. Not bad at all: Eight days from shipped out to returned, and he'd even put it in a better shipping container: Perfect size for the laptop with some kind of foam insert/ padding that matched the laptop and the box exactly. Even had my A/C power converter in a separate slot in the foam.

Very professionally done. I would have paid ten to fifteen bucks just for the box and foam. I'll keep them for future use.

I couldn't even tell the laptop had been worked on, but plugging it in and turning it on, it booted just like it always did and works just fine.

I'm stoked. A job well done on their part for sure. It may seem expensive to some, for that kind of repair, but I felt I got a decent deal.

Only problem now is, whenever I stay at the Cathedral Hill Hotel, in San Francisco, I'll have to pay the extra $25 for internet access. Didn't have to worry about that without the laptop.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Local Dems Go After Security National

I've already mentioned the finger pointing going on regarding supposed intimidation at the polls by some that took exception to Marina Center supporters' activities at the polling places.

Now the Humboldt Democratic Central Committee has gotten into the act asking for anyone that witnessed any intimidation tactics to step forward and contact the District Attorney's office.

I told our very own Greg Conners- who sent me a copy of their release- I felt this was a bad move. Why? I don't see how it does anybody any good to get involved and drag out what I believe to have been simply an unfortunate situation.

I have a hard time believing there was any deliberate intimidation. Some innappropriate or maybe rude behaviour? Perhaps. I don't know. I wasn't there.

I could actually see how some of the Arkley and Marina Center hater types might feel a bit intimidated by a bunch of "uniformed" opposition present at their polling place. I suspect- and we've seen a lot of that anti- Marina Center vitriol here- some of the antis probably felt having the Marina Center supporters present was akin to having the Ku Klux Klan there.

But the Klan they weren't, and I can't imagine anyone, who was involved politically enough to wear a campaign button, being intimidated enough to not go ahead and vote.

If they weren't wearing any campaign related material, how would the Marina Center supporters know enough about how they were going to vote to single them out and intimidate them?

I think this is silly finger pointing by opponents of the Marina Center to try and throw more dirt on Security National and Marina Center. The Democratic Central Committee would have been wise to stay out of it.

As an aside, I noticed mention on a few other blogs a couple days ago that, since the Democrats did pretty well nationwide, we haven't heard much from them as far as accusations of voter fraud, as we've heard so much of the last so many years. Can't be any fraud involved when you won, can there?

I can't wonder if this intimidation finger pointing might be our local version of the voter fraud game? If Neely ends up just barely losing, will her supporters claim it was a result of intimidation at the polls and take the election to court?

I should hope not, but it wouldn't surprise me. Politics do seem to have gotten ugly around here over the last few years, haven't they?

NCJ Does Burgess

Some of you might have seen the North Coast Journal's cover story this week: A history on the late Chris Burgess, kind of along the lines of the story the Times- Standard wrote not long a go but a bit more detailed.

I don't think you even really need to read between the lines in this story to see the kid had a tendency towards violence.

One thing I don't understand is the part about his first arrest. We've been told it was in regards to possession of a knife at school. The Journal relates that he threatened some other, older kids with the knife. Then it goes on to say "that the knife Chris had had a locking blade, making it a more serious weapon than a simple pocket knife.".

Any law enforcement types out there? I don't remember any difference in the law between a folding knife with a locking blade, or without. I know there's laws against switchblades and "gravity" knives, but never heard anything about knives with locking blades.

Maybe I'm forgetting something? It has been a while. Seems to me, if the kid threatened other kids with a knife, that's "Brandishing A Weapon", or whatever the crime is called. He could be arrested and taken to Juvenile Hall for that alone, regardless of the type of knife used.
As an aside, with regards to knives, I remember one time a girl was brought into The Hall for various offenses. First time she was ever in there, I believe. While inventorying her stuff someone finds a teeny little switchblade in her possessions- must not of even been two inches long opened.

The deputy that brought her in charged her with Possession of a Switchblade Knife. I was thinking to myself at the time, "Lame!".

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Droz Cleans Up

I'll have to admit, I didn't think he was going to bother with it, but it looks like Jerry Droz has someone out pulling down those little Droz For Eureka Mayor fliers he put on telephone polls around town.

It Must Be My Fault

For advising you all not to vote.

Figures. Seems after every election there has to be at least one commentary chastising us for the low voter turnout- the turnout in Humboldt on Tuesday being around 53% (doesn't sound all that low to me).

So what? Why should people who pay scant attention to what's going on in the world around them vote?

Why should I want other people vote, unless their views are similar to mine? This seems to be a shallow theme, especially among the Left, that if everyone would just turn out to vote, the people will have spoken and our country's ills will be on the mend.

Democracy: Two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for lunch.

The Times- Standard refers to Iraq and how some people think the Iraq War was worth it because Iraqis can vote now. So what? Is Iraq a better place now that people can vote? I can't say because I'm not there, but from what I've seen, probably not.

Beating People When They're Down

I think this is a bunch of crap. Seems like Eureka P.D. is hanging out in traffic court. When someone's drivers license is suspended, they follow him and see if he gets in his car. If he does, they stop him and seize his car.

Hey, I don't have a problem with suspending people's licenses, but can't they at least let the guy drive his car home? If he's at the courthouse he's most likely in time limited parking and he can't just leave it there.

I know a lot of these guys go ahead and drive with suspended licenses. They can always catch him driving later.

I guess it's not just in Eureka, either. Today's Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports on the same thing going on in Sonoma County. At least one difference in the cases they report on is that some of the people they stopped had driven to the courthouse with their licenses already under suspension.

I can see how that would be a legitimate concern of the police and courts, but still, this seems like adding insult to injury.

I'm not an open- borders libertarian, but you have to feel some sympathy for guys who'll likely lose their cars since the impoundment fee will be more than their cars are worth, and likely don't have the money to pay impoundment fees anyway. On top of that, many of these people can't get drivers licenses because of their immigration status. These guys are really stuck.

I don't know what the answer is to dealing with unlicensed drivers but, at least in Eureka, they should let them take their cars home after they get their license suspended.

Prop 83 Already In Court

Prop 83, that Jessica's Law initiative that so many of you voted for, is already in court. I personally hope the court guts it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It's 5:38 pm. It's raining. Just wondered about this weather quote from

"Rain showers early becoming more intermittent overnight.".

Becoming more intermittent? Whatever.

It's Over

Well...almost. Looks like we'll have to wait a while to see who wins the contest for Eureka Mayor. The Times- Standard seems to suggest Bass is already the winner with the Eureka Reporter saying it's too close to call.

Seems to be the same with the Neely- Flemming race, with the T-S giving the win already to Neely.

One thing's for sure; With the close votes in all the Eureka races, Eureka is a sharply divided community. Of course, there's still no way of saying what people are divided on. Some people might well have voted for one candidate or another simply because they got to shake one candidate's hand.

As an aside, one good thing about close vote counts like this is the winners certainly can't claim any sort of mandate. If it's one thing that raises the hair on this libertarian's head, it's when I hear any politician say he's got a mandate.

Oh, and time to take all the yard signs down folks. I actually blew it and took mine down this morning. I usually take them down as soon as the polls close, but I fell asleep on the couch and never got around to it. Let's get those signs down.

One thing frustrating about being a third party voter is getting quick election results. Most media tend to ignore third party election results, some not reporting them at all.

Not that it really matters, as we know we're not going to win anyway. But, unlike major parties, third parties can lose status as a state recognized party if they don't get high enough vote counts in statewide races and they don't have enough registered voters in their party.

I can never get this down right but a party has to get something like 2% of the total votes cast in at least one statewide race to maintain ballot status.

The Peace and Freedom Party lost their status a few years ago by a low vote count, then regained it the next election, but that was due mostly because of low voter turnout thus making the overall vote count lower.

I just checked the Secretary of State web site and it looks like they made it again this year with their State Controller and Insurance Commissioner candidates getting over 2%.

The Libertarian Party seems to have made it again, too, with a few candidates getting 2% or more of the vote. State Treasurer candidate, Marion Smithson, got 4%(!). Go figure.

She was one of a few of our candidates that had no campaign web site and didn't campaign, at least not enough to speak of, although she did have some sketchy information on the League of Women Voter's Smartvoter web site.

I was actually considering not voting for any Libertarian candidates that didn't even at least have a rudimentary campaign web site. I'm getting a little tired of paper candidates. In the end I ended up voting straight Libertarian in all the state wide races, with the exception of voting McClintock for Lt. Governor.

Tom Reed, LP canidate for State Assembly, got over 4% of the vote. That's about what's to be expected up here, in a three way race. If there'd been another candidate he'd likely have gotten half of what he got, at least that's the way it usually works.

A couple pleasant surprises in the propositions, with the tobacco and oil taxes going down in flames. On the downside, looks like we've acquired a bunch of new debt with more bonds being passed.

I know Eric and Heraldo will be sleeping easier with Prop 90 failing. I figured it would, despite polls saying otherwise. I ended up voting for Prop 90, if for no other reason that, with so many organizations saying the end of the world as we know it would occur if it passed, it must be worth voting for.

No biggie, since I almost chose not to vote either way in that one.

Oh, and I agree with the Times- Standard editorial regarding the Marina Center people hanging out at the precincts. What were they thinking? I'm sure the accusations of hostility are overblown. Regardless, they should have at least been a little more incognito and not worn the Marina Center shirts while taking care of business.

So, it's over. We'll still be hearing some more about all this as the recounts continue, I would think. After that, what will we talk about?

Oh, and for those of you that don't visit the other blogs all that often; Our very own, Richard Marks, says he'll be running for State Assembly in 2008. That ought to be fun to watch.

Good luck, Rich, but how you think you're going to beat Wes Chesbro in the primary when the local Democrat machine wouldn't even support you against two Republicans in the Board of Supervisors race is beyond me.

Godspeed. You've got your work cut out for you.

Bobby Harris On Local Government

Is it just me? What is he talking about?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't Vote!

Yes I know it seems hypocritical, since I voted twice this election and three times in March, but I don't think any of you should bother voting today.

Oh, how did I vote twice? I voted absentee a couple weeks ago and today the wife gave me her sample ballot and I filled in who to vote for. I'm kinda bummed to only vote twice because usually Lady D, and old customer of mine, would call up and have me go through her ballot with her, as well. Didn't hear from her this time around.

But the rest of you shouldn't bother. It doesn't make any difference. All you'll be doing is causing more work for the poll workers but the sun will rise in the East tomorrow just like it always did whether you vote or not.

So give it a rest. Don't vote... unless you're voting Libertarian.

North Coast Travelogue 11/5-11/6

Got to actually see the mechanical and human dynamics of a fire in action while in San Francisco yesterday.

We pulled into the parking garage at UCSF yesterday morning and parked on the second floor. As we’re parking we heard a bunch of sirens. No real surprise there since they’re common everywhere. But we kept hearing more of them, and they seemed to be staying put on the street below us.

Finally I notice a couple of people looking out of the parking garage down at the street below us. By the time I go to look, I can see a fire ladder going up the side of the building. Hmmm… something’s happening here, says I. For some reason I didn’t think fire. I figured maybe some suicide case was threatening to jump, or some such.

As we made our way to the elevator, I see a fireman with a Scott Air Pack on his back and realized there must be a fire somewhere in the building.

I was under the impression the elevators wouldn’t work if there was a fire in the building. I guess they do. We got in the elevator and took it to the top floor. When the door opened, there was a closed door in front of us. The fire doors were closed.

Kinda startled us, at first, thinking we might be stuck in the elevator. Then I noticed a lever on the door for opening it. It opened right up and we go into the hallway. That’s when we could see smoke billowing up the north side of the building. Not a whole lot, but obviously from a fire somewhere in the parking garage below.

Everything seemed ok otherwise, except the hallway, restaurants and businesses in the building were empty and their doors were closed. There were flashing lights from the fire alarm. The noise from the alarms wasn’t as loud as I would have expected it to be.

An employee from the Subway was looking out at the smoke and seemed concerned. We just headed out to the street and noticed the businesses upstairs were all closed as well. When we got to the street, all the evacuated people were milling around on the sidewalk and there were yet more fire trucks on the street.

I’d say there must have been six to eight fire trucks there altogether and someone, I don’t know who, had put signs up in front of the parking garage entrance saying, “Parking lot temporarily full”. I was getting to wonder if I should have taken my truck out of there. Might this end up being a big deal after all?

I guess not. Went down there maybe twenty minutes later and everything was back to normal and no fire engines were in sight. Must have been a small fire.

Still, I think that was the first time I’d been involved in a real fire, rather than a drill, and got to see how everything worked.

We listen to the radio while traveling. One thing I don’t normally do, but started a habit of, is listening to talk radio while in the Bay Area. I’ve found it keeps me more alert than listening to the same music all the time. That, and some of it is funny.

I don’t listen to the right wing political stuff on AM radio, as some of you would expect. I listen to those guys, and gals, that talk about just about everything else. I found 106.9 FM, in San Francisco, seems to have those people on non- stop during the day.

After a few days of listening to them, I found most talk about the same stuff and most are funny now and then. My all around favorite, one I stumbled into a while back and actually got me to stay on 106.9, is Leslie Gold aka The Radio Chick.

Her web site makes her look like she’s real racy and obsessed with sex, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard her get real nasty. I don't know that I've ever heard her talk about sex much, either. She has a couple co- hosts and, between the three of them, they can be real funny.

Problem with The Radio Chick is they seem to have changed her time slot. Seems to me when I first started listening to her, she was on earlier in the day and we’d regularly pick her up when leaving San Francisco before noon. Now she’s on from 1 to 4(?)pm and we don’t get the chance to catch her very often.

The other problem with 106.9 is it’s a Bay Area station so we can only listen to it for an hour or so, usually losing the signal around Healdsburg or Cloverdale. Yesterday we weren’t much north of Santa Rosa when the signal got so weak it was more pain than fun to listen to and we switched channels.

To bad they couldn’t put a satellite up over Northern California to relay all my favorite radio channels.

Speaking of travel radio, I’m always amazed at how hard a time I have finding KMUD. They’re based out of Redway and sometimes it seems I can’t find them even right near their station.

And nothing against the guy, but that classic music show KMUD has just drives me nuts. It seems we always get stuck with that show when we can’t pick up any other stations.

That’s what happened yesterday. We couldn’t get anything but the KMUD classical music show. I was about ready to just turn the radio off but tried one more time and got KHUM. A relief as we were down a ways and it’s a toss of the coin what radio stations you’ll get on any given day down there.

KHUM had some fun music. Then, when we were just around Shively Road on 101, the radio guy tells us about some phone calls he was getting. Apparently, people from Fortuna to Ferndale were calling in reports of a commercial style jet plane was flying real low to the ground, one lady saying it was flying below tree top level.

Wow. Gotta see this, says I, but we still had some miles to go and the sun was almost down. I was thinking this would be wild to see but also thought it likely something might be horribly wrong if this is true.

So we kept going and the last word on the radio, from a caller in Ferndale was the plane was flying in low circles just off the beach. You couldn’t help but wonder if it was going to crash.

The radio guy makes some phone calls and both the Coast Guard and Fortuna P.D. say the plane was out of some Boeing factory down south and was on some test flight. Ok. Still sounded kinda weird to me but, whatever.

Then, to prove that even if The Conspiracy didn’t exist, someone would make it up, some lady apparently called into KHUM and said she’d just "talked to someone who just talked to the Fortuna P.D." and they said the plane was just off the coast dumping fuel in preparation for an emergency landing at Rohnerville Airport.

I thought that a bit weird. If they could do all the flying they were supposedly doing, why wouldn’t they have gone up to Mckinleyville Airport rather than Rohnerville? I don’t know that Rohnerville is long enough for a jet to land on anyway.

So the radio guy calls Fortuna P.D. again and they tell him once again that, as far as they know, it’s a test flight from Boeing and they weren’t concerned about it. End of discussion, with the radio dude going a bit overboard trying to reassure people that was the story as he knew it.

Just as well, I suppose. We never did get to see the plane.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Letters That Say It...

like it is. Sorry. I'm trying to get over my one day blogging withdrawals. Hard hitting letter to the editor of the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat about the upcoming tobacco tax initiative. Well said, Will!

Easy targets

EDITOR: Proposition 86 — what a no-brainer. Finally, a perfect way to help out the struggling health care industry at no cost to 85 percent of California, all under the heading of anti-tobacco. Now if that doesn’t feel good, I don’t know what does. It’s right up there with declaring your city a crime-free zone. And the real beauty is the tax base is pretty well locked in since little, if any, of the money goes to stop-smoking clinics. Just a bit for don’t-start campaigns.

The ramifications are enormous. If we can slam this through, think about what else we can accomplish. Take alcohol, for example. Everybody knows the financial, physical and moral decay inherent in consumption of that product. A huge tax on that would be absurdly easy since, like cigarette smokers, hard liquor drinkers tend to be pretty low life and don’t vote anyway. Think of the financial effect of a $50 bottle of rot-gut or a 20-buck six-pack.

Then having sucked these two evils dry, we could take on the monster — obesity. If set up like Proposition 86, it wouldn’t actually make any fat person stop eating or help treat his multitude of health problems. It would just make donuts five bucks a piece. Then the rest of us could lean back on our exercise machines in our rubber rooms, tune in some soothing music on our iPods and pat ourselves on the back for doing good work by punishing these evil people.



Recorded Campaign Phone Calls

Just got yet another one of those pre- recorded campaign pitch phone calls, this one from Bruce McPherson (what's he running for?).

Get back home from Frisco and the answering machine had a couple messages, both of them a couple other pre- recorded campaign messages from whomever. I erased them as soon as I heard it was a recording.

These phone calls are ridiculous and shameless, but I guess they must work or campaigns wouldn't use them? Any of you actually listened to the whole message on any of those? I'm too proud.
Addendum: I've noticed Eric and Herald blogging about supposed vote suppressing activities by the Republicans.

I don't know about that, but I just noticed this item mentioned on Dan Weintraub's California Insider pointing to a lefty blog saying Republicans are using "robocalls" to piss people off by calling in the middle of the night under the guise of being from a democratic candidate's campaign.

Pretty neat idea, actually, and it seems to me I've heard accusations of campaigns doing this before. If this is actually happening, and it gets out of hand, maybe campaigns will give up on the auto- calls because of the negative feelings people have of them?

Then again, if campaigns are using robo- calls for such nefarious purposes, they won't really care about people hating them. They're banking on it, aren't they?

How Government Destroys Character

So, we're standing in line at the reception desk at the UCSF Oncology Clinic. In all the time we've been going there I've never seen a line this long- an unpleasant surprise, to be sure.

The lady in front of us had a San Francisco Examiner newspaper and was browsing through it while waiting. I couldn't help notice the title of what she was reading, or about to read; How Government Destroys Character.

I was surprised to see that in a Bay Area paper and figured I had to read that one. Unfortunately, after she checked in, she wandered off and I never bothered to track her down and see if I could have the paper when she was done.

I think that was partly because the Examiner stopped charging for their paper some time ago and I figured I could find one somewhere. If nothing else, I figured I could find the commentary on the internet.

Did a quick search on UCSF's public access iMacs and came up blank. Tried it when I came home and found it quick enough, the mistake I made earlier on being looking under Politics, rather than Opinion.

So here it is. Actually, I was somewhat disappointed. I thought- or at least was hoping- it might be some hard- hitting commentary from some average Joe who came upon an epiphany and changed his views of the world as he knew it. Nope, the author is a member of The Independent Institute, a libertarian oriented think- tank.

While I agree with his writing, I suspect that, while the commentary may appeal to his fellow libertarians, it won't hit home with Joe and Jill Sixpack. Nonetheless, good to see major papers publishing libertarian thought. Now, if the libertarians could just write stuff that non- libertarians could take to heart.
Oh, and a short piece by one of my favorites, Steve Greenhut, of the Orange County Register, on a slightly different topic. Might as well throw this one in with my last ditch pre- election campaigneering. Steve shows his skepticism about electoral reform- something we both share and a worthwhile message to spread around, imo.

Due To Technical Difficulties...

...I'm unable to post anything but a short note, like this one, right now. We'll get up and running as soon as able.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Times- Standard Goes Blue?

No real surprise in the Times- Standard's endorsements for State Assembly, Senate and federal offices.

One thing I'll never understand, as I keep saying here, is how anyone could support U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, an authoritarian if ever there was one. I love the T- S thinking on this one: There's no viable alternative.

Whatever. How about, if they really feel that way, they suggest that everyone stand aside and not vote for any of the candidates for U.S. Senate. Myself, I voted for Libertarian Michael Metti.

Speaking of Libertarians, it does add insult to injury to have them quote Libertarian State Assembly candidate, Tom Reed, as a reason for endorsing Patty Berg. Oh well. At least they heard what he had to say.

The Burgess History

Kudos to the Times- Standard for their story in today's paper covering the late Chris Burgess' background. Still, it left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I still want to know just what he was like in Juvenile Hall. Unfortunately, the Probation Department, the ones who can answer that, aren't speaking.

It sounds like Burgess might have started out ok, from listening to his family and friends . Assuming that's true, it's no surprise to me. I've mentioned before how some kids in Juvenile Hall would be pretty fun to deal with then, when they return to the Hall some time later, their whole attitude changes.

It's also true, as the article mentions, that all it takes is one criminal offense, often a minor one, for the juvenile justice system to get hold of you and it can take years to get it to let go. Burgess' start into the world of crime being in possession of a pocket knife on school grounds- Something that wouldn't have even raised an eyebrow twenty or thirty years ago.

I question some of the references made to Burgess' Juvenile Hall stays, like a friend saying Juvenile Hall staff didn't try to get to know him. Well, sometimes you can't "get to know someone", if they won't deal rationally with you.

Burgess' friend also says he was kept in his room 23 hours a day because he was threatened by other detainees. I find that a bit hard to swallow although, if he was such a nice kid, why were other kids supposedly threatening his life?

I don't know how it is in The Hall now, but back when I was there a kid could spend considerable time in his room if he was on segregation for any number of reasons. Usually some accomodation was made for a segregated kid to spend time in the dayroom, where at least they could watch TV.

The most likely reason for a kid to spend a lot of time in his room was due to disciplinary action which, reading between the lines of the T- S article, I suspect Burgess got his fair share of.

So, hard to say just what kind of guy Burgess really was. He certainly seems to have had his fair share of friends, save those that wanted to off him in Juvenile Hall. Then again, even hard core criminals usually have some friends, so still no way of knowing just what kind of kid he was.
As an aside, there were few "threats" made against kids while I was at Juvenile Hall. The only real "death threat" I recall dealing with was a kid who kept coming to us with notes he said were slipped under his door- a difficult thing for kids to do to each other there, at least with any regularity.

So one early evening, after the kid brought us yet another note, I began discussing the issue with Senior Counselor on the shift, Kristy. Something just didn't seem right about this to us.

I went to the kid's room and went through his papers, looking for a handwriting sample and found a few things he'd written. Sure enough, those threats that were supposedly left under his door were obviously written by him.

I don't remember how we ended up dealing with that. I think we just let him keep doing it until he got tired of it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Blame Game

Why do the front page headlines about the late Chris Burgess having meth in his system bother me? Probably because it seems to simplify the issue and now a lot of people are going to say something like, "Oh, he was on meth. That explains it. Case closed...".

Sure, meth can alter one's judgement and cause someone to do something he might not normally do. But shouldn't there be some individual responsibility involved here?

On the flip side, does the fact someone is on meth dictate what actions police should take when dealing with someone? First, none of the law enforcement on the scene knew for sure he was on meth. They might have suspected, but they didn't know for sure.

Regardless, actions taken were in response to actions Burgess initiated, whether he had meth in his system, or not, response should (and I assume did) remain the same.

I realize there are serious problems with meth in this county, and across the state. I realize this makes good news showing how serious the problem might be, but I think it clouds the issues involved with the Burgess shooting.

Meth was a player, but there's no way we can say he [or law enforcement] would have acted differently had meth not been involved.

He Waits 'Til Now?

What is this guy thinking? Bob Parker, from Mendocino County, decides at even after the very last minute to throw his hat in the ring for the State Assembly race.

Can he do that? I'm not sure he can. He still has to file paperwork. Isn't it too late for that?

I can understand people getting annoyed with people filing paper candidacies for frivolous reasons, but this seems to go way beyond that. If he's serious, this makes no sense and he should have waited until the State Assembly seat is up for grabs again in a couple years.

Whether he bothers with filing two years from now, only time will tell. I'll have to say, though, declaring a candidacy a week before the election shows a kind of goofball judgement that should prevent anyone from taking him seriously.

In fairness, the Times- Standard doesn't say when he filed, assuming he filed at all.

Oh, a hint to any other potential candidates out there: Don't bring up federal issues- the article mentions his position on troops in Iraq- when you're running for a state office. That can just get you into trouble that you had no reason to get into in the first place.

Conners Goes After Eureka Reporter

Our very own Greg rants on the Eureka Reporter's coverage in his letter to the editor published today. He's not happy with the way they reported on Citizens for Real Economic Growth's fundraising activities.

I tend to think, for the most part, we tend to claim bias in media just because something isn't reported exactly the way we'd like it reported.
Speaking of bias in the Eureka Reporter, check out their endorsements in today's paper. I guess you'll need to get the hard copy as they only have the top section of that column on their web site.

For those who don't have access to the hard copy, the E/R editorial board, whoever they are, endorsed the following: Wheetley and Stillman for Arcata City Council. Ok, that might be about as right wing as you can get in endorsements for that race.

Lawrence Weisner for State Senate. I guess that would be the right wing pick.

Split, for State Assembly: Two choosing Berg and one opposed to her with no alternate choice mentioned. I'd hardly call that a right wing vote.

Mike Thompson for Congress- another left leaning vote.

Tom McClintock for Lt. Governor. We'll call that a right wing vote.

That's four democrats endorsed and two republicans. Hardly call them a right wing enclave,the folks at Eureka Reporter. I certainly can't imagine Rob or Cherie Arkley voting along those lines.
Speaking of bias, or irregularities in reporting, I missed this item in this week's North Coast Journal. Only noticed it when I picked up a hard copy while I was at the credit union yesterday.

Marcy Burstiner, professor of journalism at HSU takes a look at differences in reporting on the same issue between reporters from the Eureka Reporter and Times- Standard. I think we could really end up beating ourselves over the head with all this nitpicking, but a look from someone in the industry itself might be of interest.

I'm especially intrigued with Burstiner because she's aware of The Conspiracy, or as she calls it, The Grand Conspiracy, and I thought I was all alone in knowledge of it. I'll be looking forward to reading more of her stuff.

Greg, she's taking requests for news coverage to analyze. You might want to send her an e-mail.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Strange Animal Hoarder

Some of you animal folks may be interested in this follow up on a guy in Sonoma County who was charged with having a whole bunch of rats in his house a while back. Pretty colorful, if not bizarre, character. I mean, what's this thing about way back in the '60s his apartment being used as a hideout by the kidnappers of Frank Sinatra Jr?

North Coast Journal Stuff

All kinds of stuff in the North Coast Journal this week, and I'm just looking at the online version.

Our very own Hank Sims is back with his Town Dandy column after a one week hiatus. He's ragging on Howard Rien and the Humboldt Taxpayer's League again- The Taxpayer's League for their somewhat low key campaign against the extension of Eureka's Utility Tax.

Sims laments that the League doesn't have a spiffy campaign slogan this time around like they did back in their campaign against the county wide sales tax, Measure L. He suggests the League use something like F**k U! as the campaign slogan.

Cute Hank. Real cute. Do we really need the nasty language though? Hey, I've got a dirtier mouth than most but I still think swear words look bad in print, most of the time anyway. How about Poo On U instead?
Then the Journal almost witnesses an elections test snafu involving County Elections dude, Lindsay McWilliams, testing the our voting machines. Turns out it wasn't a malfunction of the machines but he'd inserted the wrong test ballots. Wonder if Dave Berman was there?

I'll be the first to admit I'm not all that fired up about either elections reform or issues of accuracy in tabulating votes. As long as they're run by people, things are going to get screwed up. Still, I want to have accurate vote counts as much as anybody else.

Here's an interesting, albeit lengthy article on voting problems around the country. It mentions, in a sidebar, the suggestion by some that voting officials, like our Secretary of State position, be "non- partisan professionals".

Come on now. Does anyone really think that making a position non- partisan makes the person holding that office non- partisan? Sorry. You're just kidding yourself. Sure, there are people that are even handed and don't take partisan sides on issues, but just making the position non- partisan doesn't really do anything in ensuring that.
Now here's one that caught my eye: The Journal is looking for freelance journalists to submit items for publication, and they'll pay you for them. I'll have to see if I can come up with something. Maybe I can make a few extra bucks?

I always hated having to write stuff in school. Didn't know what to write about and hated the deadlines. Doesn't look that this deal would really require a deadline, unless you were writing about something that required timeliness in publication. I'll have to keep this in mind, although not sure that I write well enough for the Journal's high standards.

So how much money could I make doing this? I just counted the words I've written above and that's 433. Boy, that doesn't even make it to their Short Story category, which pays $40 for five to six hundred words. Oh well, I'm sure that's not cast in stone. Besides, I've written stuff way over five hundred words here before.

I'll find something to send in one of these days.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Like Polls?

Then maybe you'll want to bookmark this site. I forgot all about them until I received an e-mail this morning asking me to participate in some online poll. Polling Point pretty much does what Zogby and some of the other polling outfits do, but I don't recall ever seeing their poll results reported anywhere.

The one I particpated in today was the first poll I recall being asked to participate in from these folks. This one asked about your political leanings and then went on to ask how you felt about various representatives on the federal level; Feinstein, Boxer and Thompson. Then they did a few questions on what seemed to be Feinstein vs. Mountjoy.

I get a little frustrated with polls like this one. They basically break the political spectrum into conservative and liberal, then ask if you consider yourself either of those or "middle of the road". What's a Libertarian to do? I chose Middle of the Road.

I suppose most people view politics as that simple, so that might work. Still, at least Zogby realizes there's more to it than that and includes libertarian as political ideology.

Even more frustrating was their bar scale representing political ideology with Liberal on the left and Conservative on the right. They asked you to pick the place on the scale where you felt the various representatives stood in regards their philosophy. Dianne Feinstein is an Authoritarian. How could you possibly rate her on a scale that just includes Liberal and Conservative? Place her in the middle?

Towards the end they asked for any suggestions as to how to improve their polling process. I suggested they try and do away with the Liberal vs. Conservative thing and try to include other options, pointing them to the World's Smallest Political Quiz as an example.

I suppose I wouldn't blame them for not going along with that suggestion, and I'm sure they've heard it before. If they did, they'd probably have to go into a big explanation of what the various ideologies stand for.

Anyway, if you want to be included in their polls, there's a place to sign up to be sent invites on their web site.