Saturday, November 19, 2022

Our 2022 Christmas Letter

A long time ago when the World was young, two momentous events resulted in Alice and I both reaching eighty years of age this year. Alice, being more impatient, reached 80 first in March, provoking her beautiful daughters, Jeanette and Debbie, to fill our Gualala home with celebrants. 


Granddaughters Josie and Savannah, Me, Grandson Daniel, Alice, Grandson Kevin, Jeanette, First Husband Hans, Debbie, Grandson Jack, Son-in-law Kieran


If asked about this family birthday photo, Alice would say that it “tickles her tummy.” Hans and I are retired, Hans from captaining the Larkspur ferry, me from the Air Force and sundry other activities. Alice is semi-retired from the very successful corporation she founded, Vulcan Wire. Jeanette, Kieran, and Debbie are gainfully employed, as is eldest grandson Kevin in commodities and landlording in Minneapolis. Savannah, Daniel, Jack, and Josie are in a variety of college pursuits. We recently visited Savannah in Charleston, South Carolina, where she is in a graduate nursing program.

Birthday Girl

Each candle is doing the work of ten!


When my turn came in July, Alice pulled out all the stops, rented the Gualala Community Center, had Leslie Bates cater heavy hors d'oeuvres, and hosted a hundred of our friends and family. Almost all family from her birthday attended plus my younger brother Ron and wife Kathy. 

Andy Johnston telling tall tales about our Good Old Days

Also well represented were my Lions and Rotary friends, fellow musical performers, neighbors, and buddy Andy Johnston, who I first “met” in 1958 as we knocked each other around playing high school eight-man football, Laytonville vs. Point Arena. Andy and I faced each other twice, in 1958 and 1959, and my team lost both times. Andy makes sure I never forget.

Birthday Boy is undaunted by the huge candle 
and enormous (full sheet) carrot cake


Leading a Martinelli apple juice toast

With help from Chucky at Gualala Market, guests could also imbibe wine and beer

In January my eldest son Bruce and wife Lisa visited us in Gualala for the first time. Bruce hadn’t been in the area since we all visited my Pop and stepmother Ruth in Point Arena when we came back from Hawaii in 1982. My younger sons Scott and Jeffrey haven’t been here since then, but we hope Jeffrey can visit in January.


During the year we made frequent trips to our closest metropolis, Santa Rosa (75 miles away), for medical matters. Alice fortunately had minor cataracts that required cornea replacement surgery, as I had two years ago. Her eyesight is now that of a 26-year old. However, another problem, a pinched nerve in her back radiating pain to her right leg, is still in the process of repair.

May was a busy month with trips to Chico for Savannah's graduation from Chico State's nursing school and then to Walnut Creek for Josie's graduation from Las Lomas High School.

Savannah's boyfriend Eric, Hans, Jeanette, Jack, Josie, Me, Savannah, Debbie, Alice, Daniel, Kieran

    Good friend and neighbor Donna, Josie the Graduate, Debbie, and Alice


Alice, Jack, Daniel, Jeanette, Donna, Kieran, and Savannah

Ron and I. I was much bigger than Ron - his nicknames were "Peanuts" and later "Runt" - until about age 13, then he passed me and grew to 6' 5" as I stopped at 6' 2". Some much shorter friends still call him "Runt"

In June we visited my younger brother Ron and his wife Kathy at their home in Eureka for his 79th birthday. Every year we spend almost a month the same age because the doctor told Mom that she couldn't have any more children after I was born caesarean. Mom didn't want me to be a lonely, only child, and told that doctor, "Put a zipper in that incision, I'll be right back." Eleven months and four days later brother Ronald was born, the most wonderful gift Mom and Pop ever gave me.

We ended this short trip with a visit to my middle son, Scott, in nearby Fortuna.

A very good friend, Dick Soule, turned 100 the day after I did 80, and my Gualala Rotary Club honored him and his sweet wife Ellen at a luncheon meeting in the Gualala Community Center.

In August we went to Claremont for a Celebration of Life memorial for Alice's dear friend of almost sixty years, Miranda Chan, hosted by her daughters Yun-Lan and Oi-Lan. Then we went to Beverley Hills and the La Brea tar pits that have fascinated me ever since I read about them in grammar school over seventy years ago. Although Alice was an early Valley Girl, living in Tarzana and going to school and college until she married Hans in 1962, and I was born in nearby Torrance and lived a couple of years in Long Beach, we didn't recognize anything but agreed that Hollywood had seen better days. And we had fun regardless. We continued our Gualala routine of walking about three miles every day.


We went to Madame Tussaud’s and recognized almost all the celebrates depicted as long as they were famous over fifty years ago. 


As I was making moves on Marilyn – watched by Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart - Alice and John Travolta were steppin’ out.


The travel bug bit again – it’s actually been attacking us since we got the first of our five Covid shots in January 2021, so in September we went to Kiawah Island near Charleston, SC. Besides many miles of sandy beaches, the island is composed of golf courses garnished with tennis courts. Since we don’t indulge in golf and tennis, we had the most interesting parts of the island all to ourselves – especially when Hurricane Ian arrived, as a tropical storm, and all the restaurants and the premier hotel closed. What was left of Ian passed directly over us with some strong wind gusts that blew a few branches off trees and delivered 3.5 inches of rain. A stronger storm hit Gualala in mid-September and did not cause us to change any of our daily walks and playing ball with Radar on Cook’s Beach. 


With the empty prestigious Sanctuary Hotel behind Alice, we awaited what was left of Hurricane Ian on an otherwise totally deserted eight-mile sandy beach

The view from our villa. Alice loved the screened deck, but especially valued having two bath rooms, so that will be a requirement for future trips like our Barbados vacation this coming February.

 The view from our deck. The fawn didn’t molest the alligator.

 We spotted Albert sunning near a bike path as we peddled 

I assembled and mailed out over 225 Christmas cards and hope that none will be returned with the notation "No forwarding address on file."

Vulcan Wire, Inc., the company Alice founded in the 1970's, had its annual Christmas party at Paradiso Restaurant, San Leandro. hosted by CEO Mike Graffio. You can read all about it in Alice's memoir, The Lady With Balls.

From left, me, Alice, Jennifer Stafford and Edward Valenzuela (across from each other), Nicole Clark and her Mom, Mike Graffio, Chuck and Teresa Rodrigues, Steve and Cindy Brandt

From left, Deena Shine across from husband Nick, brothers Salvador and Gerardo Martinez, 

brothers Victor and Hector Hernandez

From left, Nate Rowland, Smita Patel and son, Kenji and Shauna Rodriguez, Pepe Balderrama

Of course I will be updating this Christmas letter as we celebrate Gualala Rotary and Lions holiday festivities, and wrapping up this Christmas with family cheer in Walnut Creek and Lafayette.

To my schoolmates from Point Arena High School, I plan our reunion July 22 at the Gualala Community Center and hope to hear from all who can make it - and from those who can't.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good year!


Radar says "Woof (Party!)"

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Lancet response to Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg Wall Street Journal article (Climate Change and the Lancet’s ‘Heat Death’ Deception With COP27 approaching, {Lancet} claims rising temperatures have killed people but ignores that they appear to have saved far more.) criticized a Lancet study that found a increasing heat deaths among old people without adjusting for the fact that there are a lot more old people now, thanks to medical and environmental progress as a result of fossil fuel use.

Lancet then responded by going wildly off topic: "Behind this discussion lies an ethical conflict. Older generations have enjoyed enormous benefits from industrialization, mostly based on fossil fuels. But global heating from fossil-fuel greenhouse gases leads to extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, wildfires, reduced crop yields, increased risk of infectious disease, biodiversity loss and sea-level rise, all with effects on health and survival. We are putting our children’s future in the balance. The generational injustice can’t be ignored."

Now it's not the old people, who are actually doing better because of fossil fueled progress, but the young in a distant future who are threatened by climate change events that, with all the scrutiny today, still haven't materialized. In fact, this chart shows that our children's risks caused by climate change have declined dramatically over the past 100 years of rapidly expanding fossil fuel use.

Heat and cold deaths?

The Lancet is hoist on its own petard.


Floods and droughts?

Extreme weather events?


Reduced crop yields?


Increased risk of infectious disease?

Apparently the Lancet physicians never heard of the pandemics that killed hundreds of millions in colder periods of past centuries: the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) that killed 200 million over six hundred years ago; Smallpox killed 56 million about 500 years ago; Spanish Flu killed almost 50 million only one hundred years ago; the Plague of Justinian killed perhaps 50 million 1,500 years ago; and AIDS/HIV so far has killed around 30 million. 

Of the roughly 259 pandemics spanning the past several thousand years, the probable link to climate change is rapid increase in population and cities after the end of the last glacial period (Ice Age) about 11,700 years ago.

Sea level rise?

Historic sea level higher for most of the past 3,000 years.

Honolulu sea level?

Honolulu rate of sea level rise is six inches per century and steady.

The key points of the Lancet response are all unsupported.

So I wrote a letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal:


The Lancet response to Bjorn Lomborg’s article (Climate Change and the Lancet’s ‘Heat Death Deception’” was breathtaking in its deceptions. Its portent of fossil fuel doom didn’t acknowledge the 99% decrease in climate related deaths during the past 100 years due to wealth creation and development as a result of fossil fuel use. Placing the present in the context of the last 1,000 years, we find in the past greater weather events such as droughts and floods and over ten times the acreage burnt by wildfires annually. Rather than “reduced crop yields”, the world now produces record harvests without increased acres planted on an almost annual basis. Sea levels, now lower than during half of the past 10,000 years, are increasing at a rate of six inches per century with no signs of acceleration, per the world’s tide gauge records. 


The Lancet letter then goes off tangent about deaths caused by small particulate matter air pollution. Unmentioned by Lancet, these deaths are primarily due to burning wood and dung to cook and heat in enclosed spaces and have been since humans mastered fire. The growing use of natural gas and electricity generated from burning fossil fuels reduces these deaths dramatically.


“ Physician (Lancet), heal thyself!”

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Violent Crime Highest in Blue Cities - Paul Krugman's Pants on Fire!

Lately several liberal columnists – Paul Krugman is one – have written that the crime rate is higher in many Red than in Blue states. So I decided to check this out, and since in many large cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco many crimes go unreported or not charged – a Liberal thing that reduces crime rates while actual crime soars – I decided to examine murders. 

And I found that Krugman was right – in a way. Many of the highest murder rates are in Red states, Mississippi (20.5) and Louisiana (19.9) leading the way. (Link)


However, a nonstate, Washington, DC, has the highest murder rate by far, 32.78 murders per 100,000 people. I had already done some research about murder rates by race in 2019 and found that Blacks, who are 14.2% of the population, commit 49% of murders. (Link)


On that basis, I created a hypothesis that a state’s crime rate – at least for murder, the most heinous crime – may have more to do with where persons who murder at a high rate reside versus whether those states are Red or Blue. That led me to tread on ground that only few would dare, the race aspect of the crime of murder.


A comparison of homicides with Black populations by state showed a strong correlation of density of Black population and murder rate. Washington, DC, Mississippi, and Louisiana were numbers 1, 2 and 3 on both lists, and only two states with murder rates over 12.3, Oklahoma and New Mexico, were outside of the South and Mid-West areas with high Black population percentages – over the US average of 14.2%. (Link)


At this point I was tempted to add Krugman and several other Liberal columnists to a category “Liars by Omission.” But there’s more.


Krugman et al also charged that crime was higher in many Red state cities, and again they were right – sort of. A list of the twenty cities with highest violent crime rates in 2022 included eight in Red states and a dozen in Blue, but eighteen of the twenty cities had Democrat administrations, one was non-partisan, and one (Anchorage) was Republican. More Liberal columnists lying by omission, thereby earning a place in the Liars category. (Link)

By exposing the obvious racial component in violent crime, in the eyes of Liberals I’ve earned a place in the Racist category. Even if I’m right I’m wrong, judgmental, and thoughtless too. They are sure that White systemic racism is the cause and I guess that is why ninety percent of murdered Blacks are killed by other Blacks, and both victim and murderer are usually young males. Only eight percent of Black murders are by Whites, so “Black Lives Don’t Matter” seems to be the real Blacks’ slogan.


And before Blacks can say, to paraphrase Flip Wilson, “The (White) Devil made me do it!”, about 90% of the Black vote goes to Democrats, and Democrats run those high violent crime cities. Black Votes Matter!


In 2019 the Blacks killed by police total was 251, or 10% of the total of 2,574 Blacks killed by other Blacks. (Link)


The Washington Post disputes this statistic and publishes a study showing that police kill about 1,000 per year, of which about 270 are Blacks. The Post found that “The rate at which black Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans.” That would seem justifiable, since Blacks commit murder at a rate 3.45 times the rate for all others. (Link)


It would be informative to know how many of the Blacks killed by police were in the course of violence being committed by Blacks on other Blacks.







Friday, October 14, 2022

Blissful Intentional Science Ignorance - Encouraged and Promoted by Big Media

Over six years ago our local weekly newspaper, The Independent (big laugh) Coast Observer, emailed me that my letters would no longer be published. However, on rare occasions one of mine slips through, and this is the latest.


Believers in human-caused climate change argue that they follow the science, but then don’t. For example, sea-level increase; many Bay Area scientists predict a six-foot increase by 2100, but these predictions lack mention of San Francisco’s tide gauge, installed in 1854, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. Its history is easily accessed online, as are those of all the world’s tide gauges, at Per San Francisco’s 166-year record, sea level has risen six inches, at a steady pace of 3.6 inches per century. At the end of 2021 sea level was at its lowest for the past eight years, and 4.6 inches lower than its peak in 1983.

San Francisco tide gauge record since 1854 showing the 1983 peak 
and lack of significant change since then.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website shows sea level at Los Angeles increasing at a steady rate of 3.8 inches per century. Neither San Francisco nor Los Angeles show any increase in the rate of sea-level rise for the past century, and if their current rates are sustained the forecasted six-foot increase will be reached after the year 3800.

The Los Angeles rate of increase of 0.96 millimeters per year is less than four inches per century (3.8 inches)

The San Francisco rate of increase of 1.94 millimeters per year is less than eight inches per century (7.6 inches ) and was achieved by a curious adjustment by NASA at ~1896 not found in the tide gauge data. 


Many scientists also ignore Greenland ice core studies that indicate that we now live in the coldest 1,000-year period of the past 10,000 years. 

(It's a pity that I wasn't able to put these charts and links in my letter to the editor, because as you can see, a picture is worth a thousand words.)


For (human-caused global warming) scientists, ignorance is bliss.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Point Arena Time Capsule, 1950


    Facebook is often maligned, and I suppose rightfully so, but I'm grateful for Facebook more often than not. In the case of this photo, it's special to me in a way that it would be for few. It was taken by a family friend, Jimmy Morrison, from his light airplane flying over the south end of Point Arena sometime in late 1949 but more probably in 1950. So far I'm the one providing the estimate of when it was taken based on my knowledge as a seven-year old at that time with familiarity with certain Point Arena landmarks. 

    But let me devote some words to Jimmy Morrison. When we arrived in Point Arena September 10, 1949, Jimmy was an auto mechanic at the Union 76 station, owned and operated by Jack Pelascio and his son Jim. At the time the Pelascios owned quite a lot of Point Arena, besides the Union 76 station the Point Arena Theater on adjacent property, and the old high school building and its land. 

    The picture was posted on Facebook by Jimmy's stepson, David Weymouth, who added: 
I couldn’t have had a better stepfather. His parents were so poor in New York City that they had to give him to a farm family in upstate NY to work for them when he was in the fourth grade. That was the extent of his schooling. But he always read a lot and saw a bit of the the world in and after the war in the military and Coast Guard. He never went far financially but was a fine person and wonderful for my mother.

    At the photo upper left, just above the open fields, stands the former Point Arena High School building. When we arrived from Southern California, we parked our trailer on the left (east) side of the building on a concrete slab which may have been a combined tennis and outdoor basketball court. I feel certain that the silvery object by the building is our trailer, which in 1951 we moved to the front of the building after we had moved into one large room at the left front of it. 

    I wrote about our life in the Old High School here.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Our 2021 Christmas Letter

 We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

About 2021, as Yogi Berra was reputed to have said on a different matter, "It's deja vu all over again."

But years are like snowflakes; no two are alike. Maybe. But given an infinite number of snowflakes...

So where am I going with this?  

Beats me.

But I continue. At the first instance, with all that we didn't do we still continued to never being bored, a pattern of our lives that hasn't changed for either of us for 79 years. We both always have something that interests us and often wonder how retirement can be so busy. 

Maybe we can blame it on Radar, our little boy in a doggy suit. He wakes me in the morning - early - and I walk him into the trees so that he can do his necessaries. Then still in the morning it's time for his pee-pee-poo-poo walk for over a mile amongst the redwoods, taking us over a half-hour, and yes, Radar still talks baby talk. Then Radar has us take him to Cook's Beach at low tide to play ball for an hour and walk another mile+. 

Sunset at Cook's Beach

Finally the sun goes down and we grab our mountain lion beating sticks for Radar's pee-pee-poo-poo walk, another mile and another half-hour roaming through our neighborhood. 

On our night walk we observe many animals - numerous deer, occasional foxes, raccoons, and too many skunks - Radar has been sprayed twice - but so far no mountain lions.

Radar in a Christmas party mood.

Besides indulging Radar, we've stayed active doing "people" things too. Alice loves her book club meetings, reads a "good" book - a classic or best-seller - every five days -twice through if it's for the book club - and studiously tags key points, new words, interesting passages - each of the books she's read is festooned with colorful tags.

Alice's book club met outdoors

The company Alice founded in 1975, Vulcan Wire, Incorporated, continues to operate successfully with very loyal work employees. Vulcan's Christmas party at Club Paradiso was attended by all sixteen plus spouses, dates, and other family, and the photos were taken at opposite ends of the table to feature everyone.

Alice's company,Vulcan Wire, was central to her memoir,
The Lady With Balls

Alice signed copies of her memoir at Barnes & Noble Book Store in Santa Rosa.

Our 2021 travels were modest but very satisfying. We attended two weddings. The first was my grandson Michael marrying Brittany, who is the mother of one of my great-granddaughters. 

Michael and Brittany, and daughter, in Crescent City

Michael and I

Then Michael Bonham married Sarah. Michael invited us to his wedding because twenty years ago Alice tutored him in reading, and her efforts met with such great success that Michael wrote that "she changed his life."

Alice and Michael Bonham

Michael and Sarah

A highlight of our year was the family gathering in Lafayette to celebrate the 80th birthday of Alice's first husband and father of her two daughters, Hans Stiller. Their families were joined by Han's sister's family from Southern California. 

Alice treated her daughters and their families to a Black Friday dinner after a wonderful Thanksgiving at daughter Jeanette's home.

Other good times were involved with my Gualala Lions Club and Rotary Club activities, as we find ways to have in-person meetings and activities. We just completed an outstanding Project Santa involving funds raising, then identifying about two hundred needy families in the area and delivering them toys for their children and vouchers for food of their choice at our local supermarkets. While wearing my Rotary hat I handle the money collected and issue checks, then put on my Lions cap and fill my truck and trailer with bags of toys to deliver to the Horicon Elementary School for distribution to the families. Project Santa is a complete community effort, from donations from over two hundred families, purchasing the toys and food vouchers, wrapping the toys, and organizing dozens to transport it all on the delivery day. 

I'm writing diligently on two projects, a sort of a memoir, sort of a local history, about growing up in Point Arena in the 1950's, titled Strong as an Ox and Nearly as Smart, and another proving that climate change is natural and can be adapted to, entitled It Ain't Necessarily So. I've written a lot, the easy part, now I need to organize it all, which ain't easy. I need to crack the whip on me like Alice did on herself when writing her memoir. 

I also hope and plan to have a Point Arena High School reunion of the classes of 1967 - my class was 1960 - back to the beginning of time. The reunion website is Point Arena High School Reunion.

Maybe Alice and I can collaborate on a book about how to keep busy in retirement. But I'm afraid that we're too busy at the moment to take it on as a new item.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!