Saturday, June 30, 2007

I Want REAL Fireworks

I noticed all those booths selling fireworks were popping up around town a few days ago. Now they're being stocked and manned selling those silly safe and sane fireworks. Big whoopie.

I guess in my early days I was probably as amused as any other kid with the lame
safe and sane fireworks, but I really liked the ones that went BANG, like bottle rockets, m80s, firecrackers and such. Those are the real fun ones. Naturally, they're illegal in California.

But not everywhere. I spent a little time on the Hoquim Indian Reservation in Washington back in the late '70s. They sold real fireworks on the reservation. The one I liked in particular was a rocket about 6 inches tall. You'd set it on the ground, light the fuse and up it would go. It would probably go thirty or forty feet, if memory serves me correct, before exploding. Lots of fun those were.

When I lived in Southern California real fireworks were fairly common, people smuggling them in from Mexico.

I did that once myself when we went to Tijuana. I bought a small stash of real fireworks consisting mostly of m80s and those small round, red ball shaped things with a fuse in them. The name of those red ball things escapes me now (cherry bombs?) but they were neat cause they made quite a boom when they exploded and, being round, were perfect for throwing.

I remember being scared to death crossing the border and pulling up to the customs guys. They just asked a few questions of my mom and let us through. Thinking back, I'm sure from whatever look I had on my face they probably knew I had something on me I was smuggling in but let us go anyway.

Later on, when we went to Ensenada, I visited a store with all kinds of skyrockets. They were like a one or two foot firecracker attached to a four to six foot stake. I guess those were the equivalent of the kind used for fireworks shows in the states. Too big to try and bring back home with me but I thought it would have been fun to put on my own fireworks show sometime.

Some people are keeping the spirit of real fireworks alive in California, like
this guy (as always, if asked for a login on the SacBee site, you can use humboldtlib for the username and blogspot for the password).

He had the equivalent of two flatbed trucks worth of illegal fireworks stored in his house. As much I love the illegal stuff, I'm not sure I'd want someone living next door to me with all that many boomers. Sure wouldn't mind getting hold of those m80s, though.
We do have some legal fireworks that are entertaining, but those are expensive and are used by people licensed to do such things.

I believe Security National has been paying for the Eureka 4 July show the last few years.
Arcata didn't think it had the money to do a show this year but it looks like someone found a way to make it happen.

Silly thing about fireworks shows up here is that, all too often, the fog comes in just as it gets dark and you can't hardly see the show unless you're right under it.

Rather than fight the crowds, I used to just go out and sit on the roof of my truck to watch the Eureka show. You could see it just looking north on E street. Not all that well, but you could see it. Seemed like most of the time the fog would come in just before the show started and that would be the end of that.

I think it was a couple of years ago we were invited to watch the Eureka show from on top of the Vance Hotel. First time I'd actually bothered to go down and watch it. It was a spectacular show, indeed.

I'd be a bit leery of spending money on something like a fireworks on Humboldt Bay, if it was my money, just because of the fog.
For people that really look forward to the fireworks shows up here, it's a good thing someone is willing to go ahead and take that risk.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cancer Society At It Again

The local nanny- staters at the American Cancer Society are at it again. This time they want to stop a new business from opening in Arcata- that business being a lounge of sorts where people smoke tobacco using hookas (water pipes).

I can't say much about the business idea. I've never been impressed with water pipes. I've never used them for tobacco but did use them a few times for pot back in my younger days. I wasn't impressed. I guess it might have seemed cool, though.

The Cancer Society needs to back off. This isn't even a business involving other things that just allows smoking. It's a business in which the main attraction is smoking. I have no problem with the Cancer Society's spreading the word about the dangers of smoking but, should people choose to smoke anyway, the Cancer Society should leave them alone.

Run For High Ground

The tsunami drill out at Samoa yesterday seems to have been a success. I can't help but wonder if the drill might actually get some sand dwellers wondering if they should be living out there in the first place?

Nah. I suspect by now most sand dwellers have resigned to just living, or dying, with the threat of tsunamis.

Thanks to Humboldt Herald for the link.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Shop Myrtletown Lumber gives us the heads up today that pickets are up protesting Myrtletown Lumber and Supply. What I don't understand is why the picketing is being done over by the Eureka Costco, way across town from Myrtletown Lumber?

Dan Cruz, of Cruz Plumbing, is mentioned. It makes him sound like he's a bit put off by unions, his business having been the target of pickets for a few years. Actually, Dan told me he was almost sorry the picketing stopped at Cruz Plumbing. He said the pickets were like free advertising and business slowed down after the pickets went away.

If you need some good plumbing done, call Cruz Plumbing. If you need lumber or any other building supplies, head over to Myrtletown Lumber. It's on Hubbard lane over by Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gone By The Wayside

I often enjoy taking a trip down memory lane and remembering things back in the old days that aren't around anymore. Ekovox, over at 299 Opine, got me started on this when he brought up old drive- in movie theaters.

Carol brought up, a few days ago, Fizzies- the old flavored tablets you'd drop in a glass of water to make a fruit flavored carbonated beverage.

I don't necessarily miss having some of those things, especially drive- in theaters, but the memory game is fun.

Trying to think of some other things. I need to get up and go now but I'll try to add some old things that have gone by the wayside later. In the meantime, feel free to post your own rememberances.

Oh, for one; Motor oil when it came in a can.

Quail Bus In Trouble

Where'd they come up with that name?

Kind of a neat little service that I don't believe I'd heard about before. Did somebody mention it a while ago when we were discussing medical transportation in Humboldt?

This Quail bus drives seniors from Southern Humboldt to Fortuna and Eureka. Apparently the ridership is too low and the powers- that- be are considering giving it the axe [again].

Hard to believe you couldn't fill a bus that size for a trip north from the Garberville area. There was an article in yesterday's Times- Standard Business(?) section (can't find it online) about Humboldt's medical transportation companies going under, partly because of the price of gas. Could some of the current meditrans users switch to the Quail line?

There should be more than enough people around SoHum to fill up the Quail bus.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Another Narc Switches Sides?

We hear more and more of former narcotics officers who end up disillusioned with the war on drugs. Here's yet another one who gave up on it and is making some money selling CDs to his former opponents.

Humboldt Needs a Goodwill

I was reading the letters to the editor in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat this morning and found out that Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire accepts old televisions, printers, cd players and such for free. They use them in some kind of jobs program.

Unfortunately, despite their name, they don't seem to have a presence in Humboldt County. Too Bad. I have a television and some other stuff I need to get rid of and don't want to pay to dump them as e- waste.

Maybe I should take the tv with me one of these times when I'm heading to San Francisco and drop it off at the Goodwill place in Ukiah?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No More Dumping Treated Wood

The Eureka Reporter gives us the heads up this morning: Starting next month, you won't be able to take treated wood to the dump, at least temporarily. Looks like Eureka City Garbage will be the first to enforce the rule but other dumps, including Tom's Trash (where the heck is Tom's Trash?), are likely to follow.

All this because of some new regulation that takes effect on July 1 and, of course, policies need to be established to comply with the regulation. What people will do with treated lumber until the new policies are established is anyone's guess although illegal dumping is likely to increase, as the Reporter article notes.

What gets me is that, currently, treated lumber is taken to a landfill in Anderson. After the regulation takes effect and policies for disposal are established, the lumber will still be sent to Anderson but with more costly paperwork involved. Boy, that sounds like progress to me.

Cancel The Elections!

Should we just cancel any upcoming elections since Lindsey McWilliams, our current county elections guru, is moving on to greener pastures?

Times- Standard reports that, with Lindsey's departure, the county will suffer a great loss in institutional knowledge in regards the nuts and bolts of holding elections, never mind the Elections Department already being short staffed.

This does seem somewhat troubling, but what we need to keep in mind is that, assuming the situation with the Elections Dept. stayed the same, the situation would be no different had McWilliams not moved on but simply retired.

What bothers me is when one person in any organization becomes the supposed linchpin of the operation.
Any organization should do its best to keep the talent and knowledge spread wide enough so everything doesn't hinge on one person, although I know that's easier said than done.

As far as McWilliams replacement, how about Lou Leeper, the current (is she still there?) Elections Assistant, or whatever her title is? She's been in the office for quite some time. Why not give her a try? She knows her way around the office and might appreciate the raise.

The Winner

of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest held yesterday in Petaluma. Agreed, but they didn't show pictures of any of the competition. Not sure I'd really want to see them, though. Yuck!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is Hotel Work For Me?

Having been staying at hotels and motels fairly regularly over the last couple years, I got to thinking that working the front desk at one might be a good job for me. After all, no more dealing with the weather and probably little, if any, physical labor involved.

I started thinking twice when I read about the guy working at the Budget Inn in Eureka being attacked. I suspect that wasn't work related, though.

Isn't the Budget Inn the old Carson House Inn?

I was half seriously thinking of applying for a job at Eureka's Quality Inn. I keep seeing ads in the Help Wanted section of the papers for front desk positions there.

Not sure just how nice a place Quality Inn is. You also have to wonder when you see ads up for the same job all the time. Why is the position so hard to fill?

Anyone know if Quality Inn is one of those places the county houses homeless people? From what I've seen just by driving by, it doesn't seem to be.

Blog = Milk Carton

In the spirit of all those faces of missing people on milk cartons, here's my attempt to do the same. Have you seen this girl?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When Animals Attack

Plenty in the news lately about animals attacking people. We've had mountain lions attacking people and domestic animals and a kid was killed the other day by a black bear while camping in Idaho(?).

Now, from Florida, comes this story of a guy attacked by a bobcat. I think he's lucky he came out of it alive. The bobcat was rabid.

Just playing around with my own cats I've been cut up a bit at times. I've always felt, if a house cat really wanted to hurt someone, they could do some damage. I figure it wouldn't take much effort for a bobcat to kill someone.

Just one more thing for me to worry about when out in the woods.

Policy For The Sake Of Policy?

Should we be surprised at this? Somebody, or some group, in San Francisco apparently isn't happy with PG&E's plans to build a wave power project of the Humboldt coastline.

I would think we should be surprised since wave power sounds like a dream come true to those concerned about the country's energy needs. You'd think the people in San Francisco, that supposed bastion of environmentalism, would welcome wave power research.

But nope, they're opposing the Humboldt project saying it's too early and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to set policies on such research before a permit is issued.

Never mind that San Francisco already has the preliminary permit to begin a similar project in San Francisco Bay. It's not only mentioned in the article I linked to. There's an Associated Press story on page A3 of the Times- Standard hard copy that tells of San Francisco's plans. Couldn't find that story online.

What's up with that? Ok for them but not for us?

One has to wonder what the motivation is behind this move by San Francisco. Do officials there think they'll gain some competitive advantage by holding up the Humboldt project? Or is this just a case of big government San Francisco simply wanting policy for the sake of policy?

No way of knowing at this point but I suspect it's a little of both.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I forgot to post to the blog this morning. So, to give you all something to ponder and argue about, here's today's post. Let the arguing and flame wars begin!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Humboldt Eagles

John Driscoll reminds us this morning that we have bald eagles in Humboldt County. I often forget about them because they're not all that common.

I've only seen one in all the years I've been up here. It was sitting on top a power pole on the east side of the freeway opposite the Humboldt Bay Power Plant. It was an immature bald eagle like the one in the picture.

That was back in the early eighties. I haven't seen once since.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wordmeisters On The Prowl

Why am I not surprised that local libertarian, Godfrey Tudor- Matthews, responded to Dave Russo's earlier commentary in the Eureka Reporter on our misuse of written words? Probably because he sent a correction to me some years ago regarding a letter to the editor I had published. I believe I'd written "like I did last year", instead of "as I did last year".

I'll admit it drives me nuts when I see someone using their instead of there, or it's instead of its. But I make the same mistakes myself sometimes regardless of how many times I proofread.

Some of the things Godfrey points out I don't think I'll ever get right, just like what he caught me on in that letter to the editor .Hmm...should that be written just AS he caught me on?.

The phrase Godfrey uses for one example:
“none of the people involved in the accident were injured”. That's supposed to be WAS injured, according to Godfrey. Doesn't sound right to me that way.

I'll never get stuff like that down. I guess I can only try to do my best.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dems Oppose 101 Widening

Local papers reported this morning on Democratic Central Committee Chair, Pat Riggs, stepping down from his position.

That wasn't news to me, it having been reported earlier on at least one local blog. What was news was the DCC having written a letter to powers- that- be in opposition to the removal of trees to facilitate widening of Highway 101 at Richardson Grove State Park.

I was somewhat confused by the Eureka Reporter version of the story. I guess I missed this part:

Riggs spoke about the possible cutting of Richardson Grove trees after seeing reports in media about Caltrans considering such plans.

The E/R split the story on two pages, starting on A8 and ending on A10. When I got to A10 all I saw was some mention of the widening of Highway 101 at Richardson Grove. Not having noticed Riggs mentioning the widening, I got the impression the E/R made a layout goof and put the wrong story on A10 where the Riggs story was supposed to be.

It wasn't until I read the Times- Standard's online version of the story that I realized the 101 widening and the DCC opposition to it was part of the story. I guess I'll have to read more carefully in the future.

It will be interesting to see how opposition to the widening of 101 will play out with the DCC. Will it hurt them, or help them?

Friday, June 15, 2007

They Feel Your Pain?

The Contra Costa Times reports today that California lawmakers are among Congress' wealthiest members, with Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi leading the pack.

I found some of the info on Barbara Boxer interesting. I'd never heard she wrote and published a book. She didn't seem to make much on it. Not much effort must have been made in advertising, I guess. Either that or maybe because it was fiction. I would think people would be more interested in non- fiction from a senator.

Interesting stuff. I wish they'd included details on more congresscritters.

Bay Oysters Safe

So says a fisheries biologist for Humboldt Bay Oyster Company in response to an earlier letter to the Eureka Reporter that asked the question. I guess that means you can all stuff your faces at the Oyster Fest this weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oyster Fest Coming Up...

but what about those oysters?

How timely that announcements for Arcata's upcoming Oyster Festival are starting to pop up and
someone writes in to the Eureka Reporter asking what I've asked a few times here: Just how safe are Humboldt oysters to eat?

Maybe someone in the know will see that letter and let us know?

But, in another timely coincidence, also in the Eureka Reporter today, is a story on oysters that includes the following statement: " The occasional exception occurs during rainy periods, when state-mandated water samples might deem oysters unsuitable for harvest, a regulation Humboldt Bay Oyster Co. owner Todd Van Herpe said ensures oyster quality".

Followed with this, "
Areas we grow them on have to be certified for an edible product. We have to assume people will be eating them raw,” Van Herpe said.".

So, that would suggest that the oysters are ok since the water is tested occasionally.

Has anyone tested the actual oysters, though?

Humboldt Illegals On The Run

In the almost thirty four years I've lived up here, this is the first time I can recall hearing of an illegal immigration sweep. Hmm... I wonder why? Happens fairly often in Southern California.

I worked at the Costa Mesa Car Wash in Orange County just before I moved up here. I wasn't there the day it happened but my roommate, who also worked there, was there when a border patrol bus drove into the car wash and nearly the entire car wash crew took off a runnin'.

I've always been surprised at the number of hispanics in Humboldt County. Don't know why. I guess it's probably just because we're so far from the border. Then again, I suppose it would make sense, if you're in the country illegally, to get as far from the border as possible.

I'd never really thought about how many of the Mexicans in Humboldt might be illegal. I usually just figured if you run into a Mexican that speaks little or no english, he's probably illegal. Not sure if that's a valid way to tell but I know some people seem to be able to recognize illegals just by appearence.

I was speaking to Benita Roman at Roman's Restaurant a few years ago. She and her husband moved up here from Mexico probably thirty years ago. We were talking about the legal vs. illegal thing, probably cause I kidded them now and then about sneaking over the border. They didn't sneak, though.

She was telling me about all the illegals up here. She referred to that place at the Bayshore Mall, the ??????? Saloon (the name escapes me right now). It closed down a few years ago. She said something like,
"Fred, you know all those people working at the ******* Saloon? They're all illegal....". She didn't seem to approve of people being here illegally.

It didn't occur to me to ask just how she could tell they were illegal.

I guy I worked with at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant was raised in Texas. He was saying the Border Patrol could often spot illegals just by appearance. He'd say the Border Patrol would come into a bar, look around, and then head for a certain group of Mexicans. Somehow they could tell.

Anyway, I wonder if this raid was just a once every 30 or so year thing, or will we be seeing more of it in the future?
Some people might be curious how I feel about immigration, the Libertarian Party being one that advocates open border policies. Well, I'm not an open borders libertarian. Sure, I might agree with that libertarian mantra that peaceful people should be allowed to immigrate and emigrate freely, but there's more to it than that as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not sure just how immigration policy should work, but there should be some control over who or what comes into the country. Besides, isn't that how Mexico ended up losing California and Texas? They let too many gringos immigrate?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

King Heraldo?

I suppose I should appoint Humboldt Herald King of the Humboldt Bloggers now that he got highlighted, all by his little lonesome, in James Faulk's Bully Pulpit column today. I'm not sure I can, though, as I already gave Eric Kirk that honor earlier this year, didn't I?

I'll leave it up to Eric. When he gets back from his camping trip he can pass the crown to Herald, should he choose to do so. If not, Herald will just have to wait until next year.

Just thought I'd mention that since I didn't have anything else to write about this morning.
Except I was thinking about this story. How awful. Not just having a mountain lion eat her cat, but right on her porch. It's getting dangerous in these woods.

Being the paranoid guy that I am, I do tend focus on bad things happening. Naturally, with more and more stories of mountain lion attacks in the news over the years, I'm wondering if such a thing might happen to me?

Luckily, I don't work much out by wooded areas, except for one place. That place is on Herrick Avenue, over on Pine Hill in Eureka. It's got a kind of wild area outside the back yard overlooking Elk River where deer tend to frequent. I go out the back gate to dump grass there.

I've been thinking lately it wouldn't be too far fetched that a mountain lion might show up there. Never thought about it for years but now every time I go out there I make sure and take a good look around before opening the gate and leaving the yard. Then, once I'm done dumping the grass, I hurry back into the yard.

Haven't seen a mountain lion yet but it could just be a matter of time.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Roller Derby Comes To Humboldt

I never watched roller derby much as a kid back when it was on T.V. all the time. When I did, I think I just liked the fights, even though I was never quite sure whether the fights were staged, or not.

For the most part I thought roller derby was lame. For once I must not of been alone as roller derby pretty much fell into obscurity over the years and I hadn't heard much of it for decades.

But it's making a comeback. The
Times- Standard story in today's paper wasn't the first time I'd read about the resurgence of roller derby, and there's new teams and leagues popping up all over.

When I saw the headline I was thinking they can't be serious. But they are, and after reading the story, and the full back page of A section explanation of the game and some of the lingo, my interest was piqued a bit. Now that I know how the sport is played, it almost seems like it could be fun.

Still, the idea of watching a bunch of guys or girls skating around a small track doesn't get me too excited. They need a bigger track, maybe four times bigger than the ones they skate on now, but I'm sure the size of the track is dictated by the rules of the game.

The question for Humboldt is where will the sport take place: At the Blue Lake skating rink? Isn't that the only one in the county? I don't know as I'm not a skater. Any ideas?

Adding Video To Online News

I was a bit disappointed when I read this story in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. From the title,Video catches SR robbery, beating, I expected a video clip of the robbery to be included. Hey, everybody likes real life videos of intense or scary events, don't we?

But, nope. No video. All they do is mention the video was "released". I'll assume that meant to local T.V. stations and newspapers. I wonder how hard it would be to add the video to the P-D web site?

YouTube is free, isn't it? I'm sure we've all seen news web sites that provide video clips. I know the CNN site regularly has videos available.

Just something for local news sites to consider.

Besides, some crooks turn themselves in when they find out their picture's been plastered all over the place. If even more people had access to the bad guy's picture through online videos, it might get a few more tips to law enforcement or even get a few more of the bad guys to turn themselves in.

I'm sure our local news web sites will get right on it and give KIEM T.V. a run for their money.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Montage

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat takes a look at the increase in marijuana cultivation this morning. They focus on Northwest California and Humboldt County is included. They even quote Humboldt Sheriff's Deputy Wayne Hanson who opposes ending the war on pot. He also says controlling marijuana cultivation in Humboldt is like trying to control Baghdad.

No surprise to me that Sergeant Hanson would oppose ending the pot wars. He makes a good living doing it.

It did come as a bit of a surprise that recently elected Mendocino County District Attorney, Meredith Lintott, supposedly opposes legalization of marijuana. What little I heard from her during the pre- election debates seemed to suggest she would be somewhat sympathetic to ending the pot wars.

Then again, most of the debate dialogue concerned medical marijuana law and all candidates said they would follow state law regarding Prop 215- a slightly different issue. And, in fairness to Lintott, it's not really clear to me that she personally opposes legalization, at least from the way I read the article.

She's quoted as saying, "
"It is the position of the district attorney to enforce, not make laws,"- any easy way to dodge the question. One has to wonder if the writer of the story simply took that statement as oppositing legalization when it might have just be an official position statement coming from the district attorney's office?
Most of you have seen 299 Opine by now. This guy puts out some great stuff. I'm gonna add his blog to my local blog list right away, rather than give it a one to two month trial period as I usually do before adding a site to my blog list.

Fun stuff on that blog.
And speaking of Iraq (which I rarely do here), I bumped into this blog by Michael Yon the other day. I've added that blog to my list too. Yon is a former special forces soldier, now a journalist that covers action in Iraq. I found his Death or Glory series good reading, but it probably wouldn't be of interest to pacifist types.

I'll admit I've only read part 2 of Death or Glory and having a hard time navigating through that blog. Can anyone find part 1?

But I did find this story: The Last Device. Another fun read, albeit a bit lengthy, where he talks about setting off a homemade bomb at a high school(?) party as a teenage prank. I guess it's just one chapter in a book he wrote called Danger Close. After reading that chapter, I'm damn tempted to buy the book.
Reminded me of some of some of the pranks and experiments I tried as a kid and young adult although none of mine were anywhere near as dangerous.

Like the time there was a party in the house behind us when I lived in Tustin. We went around the block to the back gate and tossed M80s (maybe it was just firecrackers?) over the back gate to where the party was. We took off running back towards my house with many of the party goers chasing after us.

They were catching up with us so I ended up ducking into some bushes about a house away from my own. The were right on my tail but didn't see exactly where I was hidden. If I would of waited them out they probably would have left, but I got scared and gave up. They didn't do anything when I came out of hiding. They just wanted to know who we were and went back to their party.

It was fun for a few minutes, though.

Then there were all the stupid things I'd try to make playing with smokeless powder a few years after I moved to Eureka.

Back then I'd bought the Poor Man's James Bond, written by local author, Kurt Saxon. He used to live on Union Street in Eureka back then. I met him briefly at the post office on H Street, downtown, once.

He had all sorts of fun plans compiled for weapons and such. I tried and tried to get one to work. I forget what it was called, but it was something like a "nut buster". It was supposed to be a shotgun shell that could be turned into a flying bomb, of sorts, by adding a tail and fins to it. I tried and tried and, no matter how I did it, the shotgun shell would land on the top side where the lead shot is- the lead shot being the heaviest part of the shell. It was supposed to land, by virtue of the tail you add to it, on the primer side to set it off.

Never got that to work, but according to Saxon, when it worked right the shotshell would explode sending shot in all directions. Thinking about it now, I have to wonder if it would be much more than a firecracker since the shell really needs to be confined in the chamber of a shotgun to develop any pressure.

But it was fun trying.

Also tried to make my own homemade bottle bombs.

I'd get smokeless powder, used in reloading ammunition and put it in a small bottle. I'd insert some canon fuse and try to compress the powder so it would go BOOM when the fuse lit it. Never had a good one. Usually the top of the bottle would just pop off and then the powder would burn like a roman candle or any of the other assorted, lame crap we call fireworks on 4 July around here.

It's probably a good thing I never got any of my homemade boomers to work. I was living on the corner on Del Norte and Albee Streets in Eureka at the time. There was small dilapidated shack down at the end of Del Norte street near the bay. I believe it used to be the old ticket house for the ferry to the mill on the Samoa Peninsula.

I started thinking, if I could ever get my powder bombs working, maybe I should see if I could blow up that shack. I could see it from the living room window of my apartment. That might be fun and it's just sitting there wasting away.

Never would of happened, though. I got too nervous at the thought of lighting a long fuse, getting back to the house, and then seeing some transient walk into that shed just as my big boomer was about to go off.

Didn't matter. I couldn't make a decent bomb for the life of me. Wonder how Michael Yon made the bomb in his Last Device story? I guess I'll have to buy the book.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Letting People Know

Not much in the news today, so I guess I'll have to deal with the internet outage yesterday.

What I'm wondering is why companies like sbcglobal don't send announcements out to the media when they have an hours long outage? I would think it shouldn't be too hard to call a few local T.V. and radio stations and let them know of the problem and expected time for repairs.

They don't seem to do that, although later in the day yesterday the radio station I was listening to mentioned the outage. The news guy said he'd heard it might have been a backhoe that severed our main DSL line, but he wasn't sure so he probably didn't hear about it from sbcglobal.

I usually try to not clog up the phone lines for things like this if I think it's an area wide outage, but I called twice yesterday. Each time I got some message all the lines were busy and to call back later. That reinforced my impression that I wasn't the only one affected which also meant there was really no reason to call.

It would have been nice, though, if somehow they could screen calls to their lines by area and have a message for people in the area of the outage describing the problem and when they expect it to be repaired. Not sure how hard it would be for them to do that but, if anyone can, it should be them. After all, they're the phone company aren't they?
Reminds me of the now defunct West Coast Internet. That was my first Internet Service Provider. I signed up with them at the suggestion of a friend after buying my first computer. They were actually located not too far way from my house, between E and F streets on Everding in Eureka.

They started out rough, which is to be expected. Gradually they got up to speed and seemed to only have an outage occasionally.

The years seemed to take their toll, though, and they eventually started having fairly regular problems. You might go two or three months with everything working great then, all of the sudden, their system would start screwing up and it would be a week or so before they got it all straightened out. To add insult to injury, it seemed to get harder and harder to get hold of them when something was wrong.

At first there was usually someone there that would answer the phone. Over the years it became more and more likely to just get an answering machine. You rarely heard back from them and didn't really know if anyone ever got the message.

I finally told the owner I really didn't want to bother him if they were working on the problem, but would like to know that at least they were aware of a problem. I suggested he get an answering machine with the capability of multiple answer messages, like the one I have. Heck, it only cost a little over fifty bucks.

I told him he could avoid hassling with all the customer calls when an outage occurred by simply switching to a message stating that there was an outage, they were aware of it and were working on it. Nope. He wouldn't go for that.

Things kept going downhill with West Coast Internet until they gave up and shut down. They did that in traditional style, too.

Had the increasingly usual outage one day. Internet was up when I left the house about noon. An hour later it was down. I told myself they were probably working on it and didn't call. Wasn't all that concerned at the time since I'd subscribed to one of the free internet services as a back up- Netzero, I believe.

Still out the next day but I didn't call. By Friday I was getting a little tired of Netzero, the outage starting around noon Wednesday. I finally called and just left the message: "You know the internet's down, don't you?". Never received a response.

It was still down on Saturday. I was going to work and decided to drive by their office, for some reason thinking I'd see people running in and out of the office frantically working on repairs. Nope. Looked like they were closed. Hmmm....

As I turned the corner I noticed there was a piece of paper on the front door that wasn't normally there. I pulled into the parking lot, got out of the truck and took a look. It was notice that they'd decided to close their doors, permanently, and Humboldt Internet would be taking over all the accounts.

How rude! At least they could have sent out an e- mail to give a little bit of warning. If the internet was actually down, they could have sent out post cards.

Probably just as well they closed down though. I ended up being very pleased with Humboldt Internet. Probably never would have left them except for I moved up to DSL and, back then, Humboldt Internet didn't provide DSL service. They do now.

I'll have to say I had fewer outages with Humboldt Internet than I ever did with sgcglobal. Then again, since it was the main line that caused at least two of my last three outages, I'm sure that would have affected Humboldt Internet as well.

I suspect, though, it might have been easier to find out what was going on with Humboldt Internet if I was using them yesterday- or would it? No way of knowing, I suppose.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Leave Them Pups Alone!

I think this is kinda bogus.

The guy's getting hammered by the feds for trying to help out a seal pup. Sure, it might not have been the smartest thing to do. Not so much because of the law, but because people often take what they think are abandoned baby animals when the animal might not have been abandoned at all.

Seems to me this is another one of those cases where the situation got out of hand with the feds investigating it and then literally making a federal case out of it when they should have just dropped the whole thing.

They can't do that, though, can they? They're from the government and they're here to help you. Right?

Let's just hope all they do to the guy is give him a symbolic slap on the wrist.
I actually caught a seal pup myself years ago. It was back in the late '70s, I believe.

I used to go fishing now and then on the sea wall outside the outflow canal of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant. It was a good place to catch serf perch.

I was fishing there one day with a friend, Don Mckenna, with not much action with the fishing, and this seal pup came swimming by all by itself.

It was just off the rocks and kept swimming back and forth. We got the impression it was looking for a place to crawl up out of the water and lay down.

So I get up and step down a couple rocks and get close to the water. The pup keeps swimming back and forth, just barely out of reach. There was a rock just about a foot under water between me and the pup so I stepped on it, getting my boot all wet but placing me right near the seal.

I reached down and snagged it. It didn't struggle or anything, just flapping his arm flaps a bit. Didn't seem at all scared. It felt like a short haired "real" puppy, but all wet.

I brought it back up to where I'd been sitting and placed it on a flat rock next to me. It didn't seem interested in laying down and immediately started crawling back towards the water. I picked it up and put it back on the rock and it kept trying to crawl back to the water- a somewhat precarious situation I'd put it in since it was a rough enough traverse even for humans there on the sea wall.

Eventually it actually made it off the rock and fell to the one below it. OUCH! That must have hurt.

He made his point. I picked him up and put him back in the water. He slowly paddled his way out towards the center of the bay and we eventually lost sight of him.

Good thing I didn't try and take him home. I could have got in trouble.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Myths of Ethanol

I've made it well known here before that I'm no fan of ethanol, especially when it comes from corn. Here's another short and sweet slam of corn based ethanol by John Stossel.

I see 1988 Libertarian Party of California gubernatorial candidate, Richard Rider, posted a comment in the comments section.

Supes Mull Tsunami Preparedness

Folks in the know have been getting the Board of Supervisors up to speed on what's being done and what needs to be done to warn people about impending tsunamis. This is a good thing.

Looks like there are plans for signs along roads in tsunami zones to let people know of the potential danger and what to do if a tsunami might possibly be on its way. I have to wonder about the main message, though. To paraphrase: If you feel strong earth shaking [or hear the tsunami warning sirens], head to higher ground...

I suppose there's nothing really wrong with that but there's something I've heard about tsunamis that often gets ignored.
Seems to me in most of the stories I've heard there's something even more common than just the earth shaking, and sometimes the earth doesn't shake at all: The water level of the ocean drops real fast right before a tsunami hits.

I would think that would be an even more important thing to point out since tsunamis can often strike thousands of miles away from the earthquake that spawned them.

I remember watching a T.V. show a while back about the tsunami that struck Hilo, Hawaii back in the 60s(?). They had some gal on the show that was a school kid when it happened.
She was saying it was during a break and the kids were out by the beach.

All of the sudden, the water started receding, eventually emptying out the tidepools, and fish were flopping around on the rocks and sand. The teacher points out all the stranded fish to the kids and tells the kids to go grab the fish.

You can imagine what happened shortly thereafter when the water came back with a vengeance.

The Times- Standard article points out towards the end that, during the 2004 Sumatra tsunami, the inhabitants of one island survived pretty much intact- at least the people did- because they had a tradition of seeking higher ground after earthquakes.

I read a similar story right after that quake and it said it wasn't necessarily the ground shaking that would get villagers fleeing to higher ground, but the water receding, which was what happened during that quake.

It was wisdom passed through the generations that, if the ocean levels drop real fast, head for the hills. Why this wisdom seems to be unique to that island only is beyond me.

Years ago, a retired Eureka Police officer, Pete Davenport, was telling me he was down by the waterfront during the '64 tsunami in Crescent City. He said he'd never seen the water level in Humboldt Bay drop so fast before. Luckily, we didn't get hit by the tsunami or, if we did, it was too small to be of significance.

Funny I don't recall hearing about the water level dropping in Crescent City Harbor before their last tsunami. I wonder if it did and maybe that wasn't mentioned as is often the case?

I think that's the thing people need to keep in mind when in coastal areas: If the water level seems to go down real fast, get the hell out of there. Then again, I suppose feeling the earth shake, especially for an extended period, should be a warning as well.

I'd like to think people can keep both warnings in the back of their minds. Let's hope so. Any proposed sign ideas I've seen never say anything about the water levels dropping.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Where Should We Put This One?

Yet another controversy over where to put something:

This time it's a proposed mental health
Wellness Center. The Redwood Community Action Agency wants it to be at Fourth and F Streets in Eureka. Naturally, local businesses object.

Myself? Seems to me there's plenty of nut cases already down in the Old Town area, so what's the big deal?

Then again, perhaps they should find a building closer to the welfare center on Koster Street? If it was close enough it could be more of a one- stop- shopping thing, assuming the seriously mentally ill are already visiting the welfare office.

What say you?


Some of you military types might remember that command: Inspection, being the preparatory command and Arms being the command of execution. The command was used during weapons inspections and you had to go through a certain movement to make your weapon ready for inspection.
That's District Attorney's Investigator, Mike Hislop, in the photo. The caption in the hard copy version- not available online- says something about him "checking the clips of SWAT team members...".

What I'm wondering is if D.A. Investigator, Mike Hislop, gave that command before the picture in the
Times- Standard was taken, or, did he just quickly move into camera range to take advantage of the photo op. The photo certainly makes a compelling case for the purchase of AR-15 rifles by the District Attorney's office, doesn't it?

What exactly was Hislop was doing there? Maybe he's part of the Critical Response Team? I don't know. Perfect timing for the photo op, regardless.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Challenges To Teen Challenge?

Hey! They stole my headline... almost. Nah, not quite the same, but close to the title of my last post.

Not copying me. I don't think. I had a hard time figuring out what to use for the title of my last post on Teen Challenge. They probably did too.

Good article on the Teen Challenge situation, though. About the only thing missing is a link to my blog. :-)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Teen Challenge Challenged Again

Naturally, the idea that Teen Challenge needs a government license and needs to follow all sort of government requirements to operate their recovery centers rubs me the wrong way.

Teen Challenge, you'll remember, is the faith based organization that runs some local substance abuse recovery centers and is planning on opening a large one on Wabash Street in Eureka.

I say if it works, don't try and fix it.

That said, I have no idea how successful they are. I also have no idea how successful their counterparts in the government sector are. It would be interesting to compare the two and see who actually comes out ahead in the substance recovery effort: The maverick christian outfit, or the highly regulated, politically correct government one.

And I love the not so subtle suggestion in the Eureka Reporter article that, since Teen Challenge receives government money via various programs its participants are in (participant's social security income, for instance) it therefore falls under government purview.

Scary stuff indeed to suggest that simply because one receives government money, no matter what the source or how far down the line it comes from, they should bow the The State and submit to whatever The State wants.

As far as lack of accountability, as Tim Flemming suggests would be a problem, seems to me they can always deal with that one way or another through the conditional use permit granted by the Planning Commission. The question is what Teen Challenge should be held accountable for?

As far as I'm concerned they should simply be held accountable to running their operation as they said they'd run it- at least in regards to how the operation interacts with the neighborhood.

Other than that, it should be hands off, except for instances of violations of local or state law.

When Trees Attack

Well, this one hasn't...yet. I mentioned back when the news covered the leaning tree last year that I get the willies every time I drive past that thing. I figured it had to fall down sometime. With my luck, it would happen as I'm driving by it.

I wonder which would be worse: Having the tree fall right on top of you, or having it fall in front of you and running into it at 65 miles per hour?

Paranoid am I? Hey, just cause you're paranoid...
Trees do attack, though, and it's often unexpected. Just ask Uncle Enore. Luckily, no one was on his front porch when the branch fell off his tree.

Then there's that guy from around Sacramento I reminded Enore about. This happened a few months ago, if memory serves me right;

The guy had gotten done fishing in on the American(?) River and was sitting down for lunch at a picnic table. Without warning, a big branch from the cottonwood tree he was sitting under breaks off, falls on him and kills him. Just like that.

Keep a close eye on the trees around you, even though that may not help much if the tree really wants to attack.

In any case, I'm glad they're taking that leaning redwood tree down.

Bohemian At The Mateel

If anyone has the time and inclination, Bohemian Mermaid will be having a booth at the Mateel Summer Arts Festival today and Sunday. I believe that's down by Benbow. Stop by and check out her stuff and say hi for me.

Just thought I'd give her a plug.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Tribune Lives?

Just been advised of a relatively new Humboldt blog. Looks like he's trying to fill in the hole left by the late Cap'n Buhne. Just like the formerly anonymous Cap'n Buhne, the fellow who blogs the North Coast Post is anonymous and seems to follow Buhne's style pretty well.

Looks pretty good to me, although in the sidebar his suggestion that he's got the most comprehensive list of Humboldt blogs seems to fall short since all I can see is Eric's Sohum Parlance on the list. Oh well. I'm sure he's working on it.

Bad Doggies

I know these aren't the only bad doggies in the county running around chasing people but it sure looks like an unsettling set of circumstances for people in that neighborhood. The story says this is on J Street, Eureka, but no mention of what block. I wonder if it's anywhere near the 2300 block?

I was working on K street one day when the gal delivering mail asked me something about a pit bull that had been in the area. She said it almost attacked her. I'd actually seen the dog but it didn't act threatening towards me.

Shortly thereafter some guy came around looking for a pit bull, also wondering if I'd seen it. At that point it seemed to be long gone. The guy said he was worried he might have to "put the dog down..." if it was threatening people. Seemed a pretty concerned guy to me.

Wonder if he's the same one the has the bad doggies in the news article?
I'll never understand why he would insist on keeping these dogs after all the problems they've created. This doesn't seem like a healthy situation and, heck, I've known people with dogs that caused even less problems that got rid of the dogs.
The druggie house just up the street from my house took in some mixed breed dog some time ago. It continually broke out of the back yard and would prowl the neighborhood growling at people.

Eventually, they gave up on the back yard and just chained it out in the front yard, making the dog even more aggressive. It would still get away, one way or another, and start pestering people.

The final straw was when a neighbor was walking her little pug dog down the street and the bad doggie was off its leash and started really pestering them. I heard her yelling and saw what was happening. I was thinking of grabbing my old police academy PR-24 and maybe thumping on the dog, but Marc Matteoli drove up about then and chased the dog off with his car.

I could hear Marc tell the lady something along the line of "We've had enough of this...". I might add, during the whole affair, no one from the druggie house came out to take care of their dog or see what the ruckus was all about.

Within about fifteen minutes, Eureka Animal Control showed up at the druggie house. The dog was still untethered in the front yard but didn't get too riled up with the puppy policeman. Right after he gets out of his truck someone finally comes out of the house and puts the dog inside the house. The puppy cop spoke with the gal for a minute or so, then left.

Never saw that dog again.
So what is it with the guy on J Street that he keeps hanging on to these dogs? I'll never understand it.

Let's hope it doesn't come to this, but if those dogs do end up attacking someone, hopefully the owner will be dealt with in the same manner as a dog owner in Petaluma whose vicious dogs finally went too far.

Why the Sonoma County DA took a month to charge that guy with the attacks is beyond me. From what I remember reading about that case earlier on, it was pretty much the same as what's going on with this case. Shouldn't have had to think twice about charging him.