Short Ribs and Random Thoughts- Nov 14, 2017

WHAT’S A FINIAL???  If you know what it is, you’re one of the few. Recently I knocked a lampshade off its lamp and when I tried to find the finial-  the thing that fastens the shade to the harp-  it had vaporized or been stolen by a goblin or something.  It was GONE.  Very weird. I went online and saw that Joann Fabrics claimed to carry finials so I went over there. The clerk didn’t know what a finial was  and couldn’t find what I had just found on the website so I spent awhile waiting and talking with two women who knew exactly what a finial was.  They advised me to try Shafer’s.  The clerk at Joanne eventually gave me what turned out to be a faux final,  wooden,  with no hole and no way to attach it to a harp or anything else. It was kind of like a little chess piece. I ended up at Shafer’s and was turned over to the estimable Chuck Goodwin. He proffered a selection of finals of which I picked the smallest, which came in pairs and looked like thimbles. It was cheap, worked fine and saved me a trip to Pierson’s.  I have ransacked that room and still cannot figure out what happened to the original and this time I can’t blame it on the dog.

CHRISTMAS WITHOUT KFC-Are you ready to admit you miss them?  The holidays  were  MADE for takeout chicken and WINCO’s is pretty bad.  There’s no relief unless you want to drive to Redding or Healdsburg.  Or Costco, whose chicken is good but not as festive as good ole KFC.  BTW, the Chic-Fil-A on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa DID make it through the fire.  Let me know if you’re making  a run. 

CRACKER BARREL- Speaking of food, is anyone excited about Cracker Barrel moving into California?  I didn’t think so. They are opening in Victorville, then Rocklin,  good redneck neighborhoods both.  I’ve had two meals at CB. The one in Knoxville was awful the one in Joplin was terrific. Go figure. 

PORE WITTLE PUTIN-His buddy Trump wants to save him from being insulted by

questions about the attempted (and maybe successful) hijack of the American election of 2016. Trump’s nose is so for far up Vlad’s ass it’s not only an embarrassment, it’s an indicator that he has no judgment when it comes it comes to America’s prime enemy. And this is the President who’s supposed to keep us safe?   He doesn’t have the guts to confront Putin (Or China OR the Mexicans).  Today he defended Putin while calling our intelligence personnel “hacks”. He believes what that KGB thug says over our generals and security experts. This man is not fit for his office and it becomes clearer every day.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT-  I’m not an expert but  know one thing: Some employers tolerate sexual harassment, some don’t.   l’ve always been lucky enough to work for the latter, or maybe I just gravitated  toward work in government and nonprofits. My first job out of college was with Blue Shield, a government contractor.  My friend who worked upstairs in the corporate HQ was harassed by one of the VPs.  She got him fired and the whole company knew about it. I never felt I had to put up with anything offensive but  I’ve had more choices than most women. And I’ve never been an aspiring actress who depended on the perp for employment.  God bless the women who are coming forward, however belatedly.

FINNTOWN VS FINNETOWNE:  What the heck is going on over thereWednesday’s Times-Standard was the time I saw the “new” spelling and frankly I am nauseated.  What are they planning over there? Shoppes?  Bars and Grilles?  Gentrification is raising its ugly head!. This reminds me of the old joke about the guy who built houses on Billy Goat Hill and marketed them as Angora Heights. Something tells me the rugged sailors and  shipbuilders who settled our Bay would not appreciate the effete spelling. Stop it now!

IF I THOUGHT I COULD GET AWAY WITH DECKING  HIM, I WOULD TOO:  Rand Paul has got to be the most annoying politician in the country, yet he managed to spend 17 years living next door to that doctor (in a gated development in Bowling Green OH). without incident.  Mark my words, this has the smell of an HOA gone wrong. When I was still living in Honolulu, Chris’ parents bought a gorgeous penthouse overlooking Diamond Head and the Zoo. One Sunday we went over to visit and shortly after we arrived they were visited by the  president of their tenants’ association. They settled in to talk and TWO HOURS LATER they were still going on and on about leaves in the pool and whose kids were making noise. I remember telling Chris on our way down in the elevator that I would NEVER live in a place with an HOA. And I never have.


OLIGARCHS-  Do we have oligarchs in Humboldt?  The dictionaries define an oligarchy as government by the few. The first name that comes to mind is Rob Arkley but you can’t be a oligarch by yourself. There have to be other oligarchs to plot with. Personally, I don’t think we’re very well set up for oligarchs. Your opinions welcomed.

ROY MOORE-  Poor Alabama! Routinely in the bottom two or three States in all the  numbers that count, they can’t catch a break.  They even have a ballet festival in Birmingham but they’re not fooling anyone. Harper Lee was no Faulkner and Roy Moore is an ignorant creep who admits to fondling a fourteen year-old. Is there another State in the Union where this guy would be running for Senator?   But wait!  There’s more!   The GOP’s nominee for a lifetime Federal judge position  has never practiced law!   And Mitch & Co are okay with this. Check it out HERE.

TRUMP ON PUTIN- “I can’t stand there and argue with him”.  Yes, you can!  That’s your job! Start doing it!

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING- Do you fall for that BOGO stuff?  You can’t tell if it’s a bargain unless you know what the regular price is. And if the product is new  to you, you can get stuck with two of something you don’t  like. I’m one of those annoying people who give popcorn tins as presents. I love them! I’m working on a whole wall of them in the garage filed with Christmas stuff, lights, etc.  They’re great for storage. As long as you don’t have to look at them.

Rolling Stone did a really nice piece on Jerry Brown in their October 19  issue.  As their piece by Tim Dickinson  points out ,”When Brown returned to (Sacramento) in 2011, California’s finances were a horror show..But with a combination of tax ahikes and temporary belt-tightening, California eliminated a $25 billion deficit, paid off $32 billion in debt and has stocked away a rainy-day fund that will soon top $8 billion…. In the past five years, with just 12 per cent of the US population, California has driven one-quarter of America’s economic growth. The state’s greatest challenge today is a downside of  a hot economy :  an affordable-housing crisis and a spike in homelessness.”  Hard to believe there are still people who call him Moonbeam.


Here’s How A REAL Governor Does it

God bless Jerry Brown, again. All we need is eight of him. The SF Business News covers his trip to China, including who paid.  BTW, the latest IGS Berkeley poll shows Jerry with a 59% approval rating even though the gas tax increase he supported is opposed by about that many.

Read about the trip HERE. And here’s a take, emphasizing jobs, right HERE.  For info on the Bay Area Council,  click HERE.

Fun in the Sun

As the cold November winds prepare to blast us into winter, wouldn’t you like to fly away to a land of perpetual sunshine? Someplace like Maui?

Well,  two dozen California legislators have packed their swim trunks and sunscreen and have flown to Maui.  These lucky folks are being treated to a five-day conference at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea,  where the rooms cost $350 per night. But they won’t see a bill. Their expenses ($2500 per lawmaker) are being paid by  a non-profit called the Independent Voter Project.  Who are they? They include:

Occidental Petroleum and the Western States Petroleum Association

Eli Lilly

the Altria tobacco firm

the California Cable and Telecommunications Association

the State prison guards union 

the California Distributors’ Association tobacco and other products).

Just to make sure our legislators get enough rest, a mini-conference from Nov 19-23 will be held just down the road at the Grand Wailea. The sponsor is the Pacific Policy Research Foundation whose supports include Eli Lilly (again), PG&E, and Amgen.

Who attends these gatherings? That’s a semi-secret but legislators from both parties routinely show up as well as power brokers like former assembly speaker John Perez. The only people who don’t get a seat are you and me. Patrick McGreevy lays it out in the LA Times.  

Every year they have these elitist parties with the public left out and every year people bitch about it, but here we are again. And Jerry Brown,  who doesn’t make many mistakes, vetoed a bill  that would have required nonprofits that pay for legislators’ travel to meetings like this, to disclose their donors.

But what good does disclosure do? These people have no shame.  Next year they’ll do it again. Even with a series of recent scandals, they’ll do it again unless someone stops them. Write to Mike McGuire, write to Jim Wood, join California Common Cause.

Maybe next year we should crash the party? Or at least get them to hold it in-state?  Box lunches at the Wharfinger should be good enough for those who are really doing the people’s business. 





Election Thoughts, or The Silly Season

Herb Caen used to refer to election time as the Silly Season.  I do not write a political blog (as I’m sure you’ve noticed) but politics certainly affects business and I don’t mind going public with my biases. The following is NOT intended  to start a debate about the various candidates.  Do that on LOCO. Or somewhere.

DA’s race: I volunteered for Paul Gallegos from the first recall attempt. My motive was the outrage of having a rich man try to buy his own DA.  This time I have a Fleming sign on the lawn. I’m not going to be upset if Dollison or Firpo win. Dollison is a heckuva nice guy.  I wish Firpo had more judicial experience. 

4th District Supervisor:  This one tears me up but I have to go with Kerrigan. What’s that old saying, “If you always do what you’re always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got” or something like that. I’m tired of the 4-1 split of the BOS and the fact that the developers are controlling the Planning Commission. Virginia is a very nice and very hardworking  person but I fear for the future of this county if we have more appointments like McKenny or more gutting of the GPU. 

5th District Supervisor: this race is so lopsided I really don’t have much to say. It’s Ryan’s to lose.

Finally, Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey is running unpposed. I don’t know whether this is because  the entire HCSO backs him enthusiastically or not, but since he’s in a no-loss situation I suggest you do what I’m going to do. Leave your ballot blank.  This would serve as a gentle reminder to the Sheriff that the People are unhappy with such policies as midnight releases and tired of hearing the same excuses (“no money”) when change is needed.  Every family in this county is having to cope with rising prices and shrinking incomes. Let’s see some creativity.

Finally, I will vote enthusiastically for Jerry Brown for a fourth term. I will not vote for Gavin Loathesome, never have and never will. I will vote enthusiastically for Kamala Harris and John Chiang and for Rep Jared Huffman on the basis on his appearance on Rachel Maddow a few days ago when he addressed the ridiculous GOP proposal to rename most of the American coastal waters after REAGAN. Huffman suggested cutting to the chase and just naming the whole planet after Reagan and demonstrated a flair for deadpan comedy. Might come in handy if the Congress thing doesn’t work out. 

Okay, now back to normal. 

UPDATE:  This afternoon it was announced that the Sheriff is making substantial changes to the midnight release policy. That’s good news but my advice would be the same.  Don’t let them take us for granted. 

Jerry’s on Top; Padilla coming to town.

Jerry Brown’s job approval rating has climbed to a new high for his third term in the Governor’s office. (Some of you may not have been born yet during his first two terms.) The Field Poll dated April 9 shows 59 % of registered voters approve of his job perfomance. Of likely voters, Field showed 57% planning to vote for Brown, 17% for Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, 3% for Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount, and 2% for businessman Neil Kashkari. Looks like Jerry’s got a lock.

If anybody can be said to have benefitted from the disgraceful antics of about-to-be-ex-Sen. Leland Yee, it would be his competition for the Secretary of State position (Leland was planning to run). Sen. Alex Padilla is currently the front-runner.The Field poll has a good analysis of that race here. And if you want to meet the Sen. Padilla up close and personal, the Humboldt Democrats are holding a meet ‘n’ greet with refreshments (RESERVATIONS REQUIRED) on Wednesday, April 16 at noon at the Labor Temple, 840 E Street, Eureka. Make your reservations at the HCDCC website by clicking on the “Meet N’ Greet” poster.  This may well fill up, so don’t delay. Maybe some of Alex’ good luck will rub off on you.

Have a great weekend! 


Standing Up While You Work Is Good, Facebook Is Depressing, Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton Thrive

In the first few hours of our Federal government shutdown, it would be nice if I could come up with some POSITIVE things to say about Our Current Situation but I really can’t think of any. The impact on Humboldt County, with our huge Federal holdings such as Six Rivers National Forest and Redwood National Park, plus all that BLM land, will be huge. Anything that hurts tourism hurts us all.  Let’s hope for a quick resolution. Elsewhere in the news…

STAND AND DELIVER: Have you been getting a lot of online ads for treadmill desks? The ads I get are for models starting at about $1200 and I see one in my future. I had a couple of colleagues when I worked for the State who used standup desks because they had back problems but I’ve seen about five articles lately indicating that working on your feet is a healthy choice for everyone. Churchill, Hemingway and Leonardo da Vinci did it.  The evidence is mounting that, as the Economist puts it, “Prolonged periods of inactivity are bad regardless of how much time you also spend on officially approved high-impact stuff like jogging or pounding treadmills in the gym.”  Even just standing up instead of sitting is a low-level activity that uses a different set of muscles than does sitting.

The evidence is scary. A study from England found that the individuals who are least active at work or otherwise are twice as likely to develop diabetes as the most active, are twice as likely to die of a heart attack and are 250% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. These results seem to be independent of the amount of hardcore gym exercise that the study subjects did. A different study, on rats, indicated that immobilizing them led to a dramatic drop in their HDL levels, which is undesirable as low levels of HDL promote heart disease. The good news for humans is that breaking up long periods of sitting with two minutes of walking every 20 minutes can lower your blood glucose level by 30%.

So what does this mean to an employer?  You might want to speak to your workers’ comp carrier about a break in your rates if you install standup desks and walking paths. Anything you can do to encourage your employees’ low-level activity, like walking, may turn out to be a lifesaver.  Now I’m going to get up and walk around.

FACEBOOK IS DEPRESSING:  I never miss a chance to bash Facebook, so here’s this week’s news. Two recent studies studied Facebook users. The first was a joint venture by the University of Michigan and Leuven University in Belgium, which studied 82 teens and young adults over a two-week period by means of questionnaires.  They found that the more an individual used Facebook during the study period, the worse they reported feeling.  On the other hand, the more real-world interaction they had, the more positive they reported feeling. The  other study, by social scientists at Humboldt University (NOT Humboldt State) and Darmstadt Technical University, both in Germany, surveyed 584 Facebook users in their twenties and found that the most common emotion associated with Facebook use was: ENVY. I don’t doubt it, since looking at all those doctored photos and “status updates”  which consist mainly of bragging could well affect a person. So, employers, Facebook is not only stealing your employees’ time, it’s making  them feel inferior. Try to encourage something more positive. Like Angry Birds. 

JERRY BROWN: A new biography  by Chuck McFadden, Trailblazer, reminds us that when he was elected Governor he was the youngest Governor in the nation. Now he’s the oldest, at 75, and is apparently planning to run for another term. He’s still jogging three miles several times a week and his Prop 30 has apparently calmed the States’ budget crisis. His wife, Anne Gust, former CAO of the GAP, is a strong partner in his administration.  The “crazy” ideas he espoused in his first term that earned him the nickname “Governor Moonbeam” – communications satellites, space exploration, solar energy etc etc- have become mainstream.  The book makes the point that Brown’s three (or four) terms as Governor added to his father’s two terms back in the ‘fifties (he left to become Chief Justice) are a very long run. And he shows no signs of slowing down.

BILL CLINTON: I may have been the last to hear about it, but it has been brought to my attention that Bill Clinton- the Bill Clinton of the fried chicken and pork rinds – THAT Bill Clinton has, for the past three years, been a VEGAN. I’m still trying to process this, but if that’s the reason he looks so good lately, I may become a convert. Cheaper than a standup desk in the short run. Last October, on a road trip, we passed through Little Rock and  I insisted on visiting  his then-favorite lunch spot, Doe’s Eat Place, ( I’m not kidding) .  It was closed but I’m willing to bet they don’t serve vegan. All things change. Both Jerry and Bill are inspirations for those of us who are, shall, we say, getting on in years.  More power to both of them. 

Now if we could just resolve this darn shutdown…