Guest Posts

Los Angeles, City of Water…

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From Janie Sheppard
Mendocino County

[If Los Angeles can hugely reduce its water consumption it’s worth a few minutes to consider the claims of Claude Lewenz that MendoVito could indeed further show us the way forward.  Surely if Los Angeles can reduce its water usage, a new community that doesn’t have to retrofit can reduce per capita water use hugely as well.  It’s at least worth considering.  I recommend reading the article in the New York Times via the link below.

“One sign of Los Angeles’s earnestness is its success in conservation: The city now consumes less water than it did in 1970, while its population has grown by more than a third, to 3.9 million people from 2.8 million. Two projects — a nine-acre water-treating wetland constructed in a former bus maintenance yard and a water management plan devised for a flood-prone district of 80,000 people — won awards this year from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. The city itself won one of the first water sustainability awards given by the U.S. Water Alliance, in 2011.” -JS]

LOS ANGELES is the nation’s water archvillain, according to public perception, notorious for its usurpation of water hundreds of miles away to slake the thirst of its ever-expanding population. As a character in “Chinatown,” the noirish 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson that churns through the city’s water history, puts it, “Either you bring the water to L.A., or you bring L.A. to the water.”

Recently, however, Los Angeles has reduced its reliance on outside sources of water. It has become, of all things, a leader in sustainable water management, a pioneer in big-city use of cost-effective, environmentally beneficial water conservation, collection and reuse technologies. Some combination of these techniques is the most plausible path to survival for all the cities of the water-depleted West.

Breakfast for Acorn Gatherers…

Acorns.

From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

I’ve just finished my morning bowl of acorn mush, and is it ever way better than it sounds or looks – you do not want to see its photo, trust me on that. Here’s the method I used…

First I put my harvest in a pail of water to sort out floaters. I’d skip this step next time, as there was only one. Then I dried them in the sun a few days. I cracked the shells with a hammer – lots of acorns ricocheting around the kitchen – then switched to a regular nutcracker, which works fine. There were a few worms, and a few more that had begun to mold (perhaps due to the unnecessary immersion in water).

I put the shelled acorn meats through the blender with water – one cup acorns / three cups water. Then I poured the mixture into a quart jar and set it in the refrigerator. The next morning, the acorn meal had settled to the bottom, and the water was dark orange with tannin. I poured off the water and added more, screwed the lid back on, shook the jar, and replaced it in the frig. I did this daily for a week, by which time the water was only barely discolored. This is really easy, and takes no more time than it does to read about it.

I’ve used the resulting glop as a thickener for soup and pudding as well as a breakfast. The taste is mildly nutty, like chestnuts. Today I added raisins, pecan bits, cacao nibs, and just a taste of maple syrup and coconut oil, and heated it until it bulked up into the consistency of oatmeal. I poured it over fresh pear chunks. Satisfying. Warming. Divine.
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Please also see Acorns and Eat ‘Em PDF
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Antonio Andrade: I will not be opposing Syrian air strikes…


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From ANTONIO ANDRADE
Ukiah

September 10, 2013

I will not be joining my friends by signing petitions or protesting in the streets due to President Obama’s proposed air strikes against the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against his own people.

I have spent the last couple of weeks reading up on and intensifying my knowledge about the Syrian conflict, the pros and in particular the passionate well-articulated cons of military action, the horrific brutality of this conflict inflicted by all sides and the incredible price the Syrian people have paid, are continuing to pay, and will continue to pay as far into the future as the eye can see.  I abhor war and put my personal convictions on the line in the early 1970s, resulting in my conviction in federal court as a convicted Vietnam war draft resister.

The debate raging in this country is perhaps the most important one we have engaged in since the Vietnam war.  This has now become the defining moment in the Obama presidency, one which will determine the success or failure of his overall agenda for his remaining years in office but also largely how his presidency will be judged in history.

To take a phrase from moderate Republican New York Times columnist David Brooks, losing this initiative will

Nobody Looks Like Who They Are…


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From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

When I look at myself in the mirror, and try to see myself the way others see me, the person I see is not at all like who I am. The qualities that I think really distinguish me are not evident from my appearance. And when I meet people for the first time, and become aware of my judgements and assessments of them, often automatic and sometimes cruel, I invariably discover that, when I get to know them better, they are not like that at all. The women I’ve come to love in my life do not look like the women I imagined, and they do not look like who they are. And when I’ve met women who at first appear to have some of the qualities I love (e.g. exceptional intelligence, curiosity, playfulness, emotional strength, gentleness), I almost always discover my assessment was completely wrong. They don’t look like who they are.

James Lee comments on Wealth Inequality…


bFrom JAMES LEE
Anderson Valley

“The easiest way to steal money from someone is for them to never know they had it in the first place.”

The Great Debt Scam aka The Biggest Lie

“Over the past weekend, Gov. Jerry Brown of California took to the safety of YouTube to reveal that the Golden State’s budget deficit is now $15.7 billion, far greater than the original $9.2 billion estimate in January. (CNN, May 15, 2012)”

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The Simple Truth

The State Government of California has $100′s of billions in liquid investments and assets, could easily pay off all of its debt tomorrow, and would have $100′s of billions left over.

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The Really Sad news is that a great scam has been perpetrated on the American people for decades by denying the existence of vast sums of money we have paid into our government systems and that the 99%’er’s have no idea this has/continues to occur.

The Great News is that we are not broke, not in the least!!! In fact, it is estimated that if just the CA government alone were to sell all the investment class assets it held, our debt would be eliminated and every resident would receive nearly $50,000. Think about that for a minute.

Big Government has taken money

Gina Covina: Is anything gained by starting vegetables early?



Apples and pears are blooming – here’s Pink Pearl apple

From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

Is anything gained by starting vegetables early? Lucinda set up an experiment to answer this question some forty years ago. She planted seeds of various vegetables at one-week intervals, and charted their performance and yields over the entire season. Results across the board: no advantage in starting early.

“So does that mean you’ve never since tried to get a jump on the season?” I ask her.

“Well, no,” she admits.

I too find premature planting irresistible in spite of all past experience. Last year our sweet peppers, started in early April and transplanted to the hoop house in early May, just sat there dumbfounded in the cold, unable to grow at all. Finally we replaced most of them in early June with younger more vigorous starts that had never known the chill of April. Did we start the peppers later this year? Yes, but only by a week. And I’m moving them to the hoop house tomorrow, when night temperatures rise into the 40s for at least a few days.

We’ve planted out forty tomatoes (half the total), and Lin direct-seeded half the Dark Star zucchini a few days ago. Its sprouts emerged yesterday – that’s a month earlier than I’ve ever planted squash here. We’ll see how Dark Star lives up to its reputation as cold-tolerant.

Will Parrish: ‘America’s Last Newspaper’


Bruce Anderson, Editor/Publisher, Anderson Valley Advertiser
From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

I decided to enroll in the journalism program at my alma mater, the University of California Santa Cruz, during the run-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, circa late 2002 and early 2003. UCSC was home to a trenchant anti-war movement, far more than in most of the country. For example, a 2,000-person demonstration against the impending US invasion of Afghanistan took place there on October 11, 2001. It was the first event I covered as a student journalist.

The experience of these actions — which reached their pinnacle on February 15, 2003, when more than 15 million people protested throughout the world — gave me my first sense of belonging to a force capable of transforming history. We jumped on the earth, as Abbie Hoffman once put it, and the earth jumped back. With each demonstration, the repressive and heavily militaristic post-9/11 political climate thawed a bit more. Several US-allied countries responded by backing out of the invasion. Though the movement tragically failed to stop the war, many thousands of people — me included — were compelled to continue on with political resistance of various kinds.

Most journalism programs at US universities are feedlots of mediocrity. Their underlying purpose in most cases is to prepare the students for careers propagandizing on behalf of corporate and state power. By contrast, the lure of UCSC’s journalism program was that it encouraged advocacy journalism and dissident thinking. The course instructors were accomplished investigative reporters, authors, and academically-inclined people from various backgrounds. Yet, their lessons and assignments tended to be based on an unapologetic left-wing slant on news reporting and the functions of mass media.

The program’s main architect was a member of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most fascinating Irish political family, Conn Hallinan. His grandfather, Patrick, was a member of the revolutionary Irish National Invincibles who fled to the US to avoid persecution, then became a leading San Francisco labor agitator. His father, Vincent, was a famous Communist attorney best remembered for successfully defending union leader Harry Bridges against perjury charges

Todd Walton: Yes, But…


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

“If there’s not drama and negativity in my life, all my songs will be really wack and boring or something.” Eminem

For many people, December is the most neurotic month; and Christmas marks the apogee of shame, jealousy, disappointment, and self-loathing. Indeed, most psychotherapists aver that Christmas in America might as well be called Crisismas. One can theorize endlessly about why Christmas/Hanukah (and the attendant mass gift buying) inflame the dominant neuroses of so many people, but the picture that sums it up for me is of a child surrounded by dozens of presents she has just frantically unwrapped, not one of which satisfies her craving to be loved.

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

When I embarked on my first experience of formal psychotherapy, I knew my parents had abused me, but I could not clearly elucidate the rules of behavior instilled in me by their abuse. My therapist suggested I try to write down the basic rules governing my behavior so I might gain a more objective view of how those rules impacted my life.

One of the most deeply entrenched rules I uncovered was: Nothing I do is good enough. Sound familiar? I ask because I subsequently learned that this rule runs many people’s lives. And though I doubt our parents ever came right out and said, “Nothing you do is good enough,” I know that in myriad other ways

Todd Walton: When Is It Done?

William Everson

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

(This piece appeared—twice!—in the Anderson Valley Advertiser in 2008-2009. I recently got a request for this article, thought it was on my blog, but could not find it herein. So here it is now. Enjoy.)

Thirty-five years ago, I was hitchhiking from Santa Cruz to San Francisco on Highway One, and I got a ride with the poet William Everson, also known as Brother Antoninus, one of the more esoteric Beats. He sported a wispy white beard and a well-worn cowboy hat, and his old car reeked of tobacco. Recently installed as a poet-in-residence at UC Santa Cruz, he was going to a party in Bonny Dune but had no idea how to get there.

I knew exactly where he wanted to go and offered to be his guide, though it meant traveling many miles out of my way. I was obsessed with poetry and wanted as much of the great man’s time as I could finagle. He accepted my offer to be his Sancho Panza and did me the honor of asking, “So what’s your thing?”

“Guitar. And I write stories and poems, too.”

He nodded. “Who do you read?”

“Philip Whalen. Lew Welch. Faulkner. Kazantzakis.”

He lit a cigarette and seemed disinclined to continue the conversation.

And then, without consciously intending to, I asked, “So…how do you know when a poem is done?”