Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dolphin species becomes extinct!

One of the only Dolphin species able to survive in fresh water rivers has disappeared here in our lifetime. Rare White Dolphin Declared As Extinct - I remember as a kid the history of the Dodo bird. Dodo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Even though the bird had succumbed hundreds of years ago, it was made as huge news in elementary school in the 60's. Now extinction is becoming common place in our world. When will we see that the Billions of dollars we spend on war could be put to better use in trying to save our environment? Halliburton be damned! Halliburton Watch

Friday, December 29, 2006

Sports and health stuff.

I wanted so much for the Golden State Warriors to be in the running for AI (Allen Iverson). He has the hugest heart for someone his size. The Nuggets just may have stolen this years NBA championship.

Barry Zito is a Giant! This made me very happy indeed. Too bad for the A’s fans.

The Niner’s were actually playing for something the week before the new year. That was enough for me. Frank Gore is going to be something to watch the next few years.

My softball team played without me last week in Redding and made it to the championship game. Shows you my worth. Hopefully we will play again in the next few weeks.

I am now eligible for the Senior’s softball League and Tournaments. Now I am the Young Buck. I will let my wife in on this now…. Uh, my wife said it is ridiculous that I would be considered a Senior. Of course, she is a senior too. Let me quote John Daly: “We love each other more than we hate each other at the moment…”

I have been asked to join a local bowling team. I am not sure I can drink enough beer to qualify. Maybe as a sub?

I brought my Golf Clubs in for the winter. Hopefully they dry out before the next scramble.

Bruce Norton has been using me at Cal Courts playing Basketball on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a self confession that I hope to stop in the next few weeks. He made 11 straight shots over me at one point recently. But he has been doing it to younger others also. The kicker? Bruce is 65 years young. His son David was a star on last years Eureka High’s basketball team. Bruce refs many games locally also.

I have been training for the Senior Games since I am now eligible. I am hoping to compete this summer in track and field and weight-lifting. I hope to be able to bench press over 300lbs at a weight of 200lbs by June. I was able to bench over 300 a few years back, but only a month ago got serious again. I can rep 250lb and top out around 270lb right now. Any hints to get over the top? Any potential lifting partners?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sand Dwellers Got's no Lectricity!

We have been without power fora few days. So I am on dial up. Phone service has been a problem too. Our house dipped nearly in the 40's. Brrrr. Hopefully all are safe and staying warm. My sons made it safely from here back to Sac-Town. If we don't get power in the next few days let me say Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

At Work for the Holidays. Merry X-mas at Evergreen!

I have been working the 7am to 7pm shift for the last few days and will be at Evergreen this Christmas for a 12 hour shift. When I got home my oldest son Jacob was here from Sacramento. I had a message from my youngest son Jordan to call him about a "funny" noise his car was making. I bought him a 2006 Dodge Neon with all the bells and whistles last year so he would have dependable transportation while he goes to school in Sac-Town. Sure enough, a few months later he was ran into on an overpass and the car was totaled. I had traded in my Corvette as part of the down on the car, and needless to say, it was a wash. I looked at buying another new car, but just could not justify it financially. So I paid cash for a used Ford Escort much to Jordan's chagrin. It had been a good car until this. He is driving it home tomorrow from Sacramento so I can check it out. Problem is, I am working until 7pm. I may have to trade him cars (Robin's PT Cruiser) until I figure out what the "funny" noise is. But at least both boys will be home on X-Mas day! They will all be at the In-Laws for dinner while I help make the Pulp. But we will get together later. So it will all be good!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rating your Beer Buddies for the Holidays!

Sometimes you might be in quandary on who to see during the holidays. Sometimes it may just come down to the Buddy with the best beer.

This here is a primer by Samoasoftball to determine who is the top beer worthy buddy to visit. I will use a countdown for a visual.

You open up your buddies Fridge and there is:

10. No Beer and only half empty bottle of wine- This is a message from his wife or girlfriend that you are not welcome. Show her up by going to the local store and buy a 24 pack and pass out on their couch. That will teach her to mess with your buddy.

9. Any beer with the name “Ice” behind it-This is beer for people looking for trouble. You may have a few with your buddy, and then he is looking to pick a fight. And “YOU” may be the only one around handy with a likewise buzz. Since you are probably in the garage with him, yell inside the trailer for his girlfriend, to come get him under control. (You didn’t think this type guy gets married do ya?)

8. Olympia- This buddy obviously wants to drink alone. If he offers you one, turn it down and tell him you need to find your wife to go shopping.

7. Hamm’s- Sky Blue water less the taste. This buddy is in need of a loan, if he is working at all! Drink what you will, but you will have to listen to his sob story.

6. Keystone-Yes, you will have to endure the “it takes like Coors” BS. His wife will only let him spend so much a week on beer. Only drink one. This guy needs it more than you.

5. Natural Light-Drink to your hearts content. I am not sure if there is any alcohol in this stuff or not.

4. Pabst-This stuff got a blue ribbon? When, the 1800’s? You remember the Lay’s commercial, “Bet you can’t have just one?” This one works just the opposite, I bet you don’t want to drink more than one.

3. Budweiser-The King of beers. For the football fan, upper-middle class, boring married buddy that hides his beer in the back of the Fridge. Heck, you had to push two casserole dishes aside just to find the stuff! Just visit long enough to finish off his six-pack. (His wife won’t let him buy more, and she is trying to eye you out the door the whole time your there. Does she really need to go to bed by 11pm? Come on, the newscast is just starting.)

2. Coors Light-The Nectar of Humboldt County. Stock car drivers, bowlers, softball players, hockey fans and mostly the working middle class go for this choice. And in the counties case, the most popular empty beer can to throw out the window of a car. You notice that most of these people keep their fridges well stocked? Call a designated driver and bar-hop BC’s and Myrtlewood Lounge. They are jumping on a Wednesday aren’t they?

And the #1. Foo-Foo Beers-Corona/Lost Coast/Sierra Nevada/Heiniken/Mad River Brewery- The Motherlode of Buddies. This Buddy is to be your friend for life! Make sure you tread lightly and don’t cause waves with his women. And this one usually is going through a few of them! This is the buddy your wife says to stay away from, but you never do.

I know my buddies who are recognizing who I am writing about are probably putting me on their do not invite list. This may not be a good idea.

Now seriously, if you drink during the holidays, please do so in moderation. Keep everyone safe for the New Year. And have a Very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hamburger's Eureka style. Top ten!

Sometimes you just want to sit down at a place and have a nice juicy Hamburger. No, not the fast food types, but a serious burger. Kinda hard to really mess up a burger I figure. Just make sure there is plenty of Mayo and catsup handy. Here are the best stops in Eureka according to Samoasoftball:

1. Stanton’s-If you get one with everything, this is a good spot. Chili burger is Robin’s favorite.

2. Mike’s Hamburger-The local neo-con hangout. Don’t go here with any Democratic paraphernalia on. Try the chili burger with the garlic fries. Stay away from their bulletin board if you don’t want to lose your appetite. Unless you are a Republican, then go ahead.

3. Lost Coast Brewery-Maybe after a pitcher of IPA anything would taste good, but they serve a great burger with their seasoned fries. Consistent.

4. Fresh Freeze-Old fashion burgers with great shakes! Be ready to wait awhile though.

5. Coney Island-Another good old fashion burger place, just a notch under Fresh Freeze.

6. Waterfront Café-Good atmosphere. Clean up scale yuppie burger with fries.

7. Bev’s Cafe-Better bring a huge appetite. Just don’t check out the kitchen or you may walk out.

8. Adel’s-Consistent burgers on the boring side.

9. The Marina-Stanton’s without the same flavor for some reason.

10. Denny’s-Lot’s of choice’s, but it is a Denny’s.

Honorable mentioned but not on my fill-em up list: Go Fish, The Bistro (C’mon break out some fries!), Applebee’s (Better give me another one of them tall beers to wash this dry puppy down), Sizzler and Marie Callander’s. What is the best in your town?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Democracy and the middle class.

Here is an article by Thom Hartman of interest: Sentient Times Oct/Nov 06 Mr. Hartman observes that our Democratic structure was based on the Iroquois Confederacy of 5 Native American tribes that helped build our Constitution. It is ironic that the Native American Supreme court that had final say was made up entirely of women. Of course, they had been practicing Democracy for thousands of years. Basically Mr. Hartman outlines how the middle class came about and the dangers of having a society of Rich vs. Poor. I can see a dangerous correlation with what is happening nation wide. We are starting to see a great chasm of people who have to those that have not. The middle class seems to be shrinking and we need not look any further than the percentage of people who can afford to buy homes to those who can not locally. Humboldt Association of Realtors Search properties And the trend becomes disturbing nation wide. - Fewer families can afford a home And we are seeing an escalation of people in need. Think Progress » Working Americans ‘Still Can’t Afford To Eat’ and Some Americans Lack Food, but USDA Won't Call Them Hungry - What are the answers? We need to get back to focusing on raising wages by organizing or at least coalition building against corporate greed. We need to cultivate and grow the middle class and get back to our democratic roots laid down by our Native American forefathers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More notes of note from Robin.

My wife Robin is the queen of notes. Most of them are just reminders of household activities needing addressed and some just general life observations. Now that the boys are at school in Sacramento, they are generally addressed to me. Here is one worth sharing:

“Life wasn’t meant to be a journey to the grave with the goal of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather a race to the finish line, used up, totally fulfilled, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bush Administration helps supply drugs to USA!

So what good have we done in the Afghanistan “War” with the Taliban? Well, since the U.S. have become intimately involved in the “rebuilding” of the infrastructure for the Afghan people, we have somehow helped drugs to flourish. The Bush administrations invasion in 2001 has done nothing but cause an escalation of activity. 5 years ago heroin “poppy” farm lands used 7,600 hectares of Afghan land. Today cultivation has risen to 165,000 hectares or 408,000 acres to you people from Ferndale. And get this, Afghan supplies 92% of all the heroin in the world! Just another reason to end our invasion of other countries. War. What is it good for? That’s right, absolutely nuttin! Drug war, Taliban, poppies are all in full flower / Opium, thugs bloom under U.S. policies in Afghanistan war

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Most remembered X-Mas Gift.

For a short period of time after the big divorce, my mother decided she needed to get out of Eureka. So she moved the 5 of us children (my mother and father had 10 kids between them) to Petaluma in the early 60’s. (We moved 10 times by the time I was 12.) My mother had no real marketable skills, as she was a housewife. She ended up a clerk at Western Auto in downtown Petaluma. The winter of 64’ was slim finances for our family. We lived in front of a chicken farm in a 2 bedroom house. I had an Army cot in the dining room. (I was youngest in the pecking order. My mom slept on the couch. When X-mas rolled around there were really no big expectations. But my mom came through with a stocking of candy and oranges and gifts to boot. She gave me a miniature steam engine. For the life of me, I had no idea what the purpose of the machine was, and I could never get it to work. Everyone received some sort of eclectic gift that my mother had bought out of the stores clearance bin. I am sure it was one of the hardest X-mas she had to endure. God, I loved that woman. She ended up moving us back to Eureka and was able to land a union clerk’s job at Baza’r and ultimately buy a house at 2491 Russ St on the corner of Harrison in Eureka. Her union status changed our life immensely, but to this day, out of all the other gifts I received through the years, I remember that gift most of all.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Ok. What's the message here?

My wife left this note by the computer: "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." Ben Franklin. Hmmmm.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Best laid plans go awry.

Robin had yesterday off so we had a chance to go to Babetta’s for their buffet after we had worked out at Cal Courts. Good stuff I tell you. We made plans to help gift wrap presents for the children of the Peninsula at 4pm at the Samoa Peninsula Fire District in Fairhaven. There must have been over 20 volunteers to wrap! Good community showing.

I had wanted to finish by at least 6pm so I could watch the 49ers against the Sea-Chickens (Hawks). When I got home and turned on the TV it was no where to be found! I looked in the paper and the game was on NFL Network! Argh! But it was alright, I had plan B. Always need a back-up. The Warriors came on 7:30 against Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets. But the stinking Shark’s were on instead! So I ended up listening to both broadcasts through the internet. The good news? They both won! So the night was not a total loss.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Time for the 50 year check-up.

My wife had a rough summer as far as her health. She had two surgeries but is now healthy once more. Since her deductible was used up, it was suggested that she have a colonoscopy. So yesterday morning I took her to General Hospital and Dr. Loncar performed the procedure. It took around 1/2 hour and Robin was in recovery for around an hour. They gave Robin enough medication that she does not remember any of it. Robin was given a clean bill of health and we left the Hospital around an hour after the procedure. She had no pain, but was pretty loopy the rest of the day. We came home and watched a couple of movies, Nacho Libre (funny, corny I'll give it a 2 out of 4) and the De Vinci Code (which I will give a 3 out of 4.) Robin had a friend who had the procedure done and she wanted the doctor to verify in writing for her husband that her head was not stuck up her ass as her husband was claiming. If you are 50, you should consider having this done, as colon cancer is one of the slower moving cancers. This is something that should be available to all people regardless of the finances. We need universal health care for all.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

That Helicopter over head is not a good sign.

On my way to play basketball tonight at the Adorni, I noticed the Coast Guard Helicopter cruising the Samoa Shoreline. I hope they were not searching for a brave soul who decided to take a chance out there to crab. Thank God for our local Coast Guard. They have saved many people out there risking their lives to save others. They could have stopped by the Adorni and tried to help my team tonight. We were spanked all over the court and suffered a season ending loss. Oh well, there is always the open league.

Monday, December 11, 2006

More eating controversy. Pizza style.

My wife and I disagree greatly on this subject and we had quite the dialogue, but here is the Samoasoftball Top 10 Pizza parlors or pizza choices in EUREKA to take home:

1. Angelo’s- I like their crust and potatoes on all their choices. My favorite. Buffet is great!

2. Round Table-This choice is determined by my wife. She loves their crust. All their food is consistent. And good wings!

3. Big Louie’s Pizza-I love their breadsticks and their ribs. I have ate way too much of their pizza. That is a good thing.

4. Babe’s Pizza-They are a great place to get together on that side of town after a game. Good selection for other pasta also. Great hosts!

5. Babetta’s-This is a place you should order the pizza to stay. Fancy stuff for a special date. Classy type pizza.

6. Lost Coast-Bet you did not consider this. Make a pizza to order. Really good stuff.

7. Smug’s-Quick eating stuff with class.

8. Papa Murphy’s-Lots of trial and error cooking. Calazones are good.

9. Domino’s Pizza-Consistent. And brought to you!

10. Costco-Available now. Cheap!

Winco? No. Pizza Hut? No. Eat somewhere else instead.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Local Blogs help save Western Grebe

Hey, you can helpful learn stuff from these blogs! I was at work this Sunday to work a 16 hour shift from 7am to 11pm and we had water all over the Chip Handling area at Evergreen Pulp, because of the heavy rains. During the storm a Western Grebe must have gotten disoriented and made a home out of one small pool that had formed from a clogged drain. The problem was that the pool was actually part of the road normally, and trucks were having to dodge the bird or run it over. I went out and used a long pipe pole to unclog the drain and that upset the bird. It was obviously distressed. I tried to nudge the bird with the pole to get it to take off and vacate the pool, but it was not going to budge. The water eventually drained from the ditch, but the bird was not going to leave on it’s own. Then I remembered reading a post on House of Sand and Fog. House of Sand and Fog: another injured bird Jennifer Savage had rescued a bird and mentioned the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. HWCC: Humboldt Wildlife Care Center (HWCC). I called their Hotline 822-8839. I was surprised to have a person call me back within the hour on a Sunday, and two young ladies came out and retrieved the bird. One of the rescuers explained how the Grebe may have been put in situation where it was in water that was to shallow to take off. A Grebe has trouble with takeoff on land I was informed. So I am sure that the Grebe would like to say “thanks” to Jennifer and the HWCC.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eureka: Really Hot Tourist Destination. Limited Hotel rooms available.

I heard from a volunteer Fireman that said the fire in Old Town was hard to fight because of the hidden “hot spots” in the walls. Ashes were blowing all the way to the bay. The person said they saved as much property as they could under the extreme conditions. Kudos to the efficiency and preparation of the Eureka Fire Department. By the way, Eureka Fire Chief Eric Smith is an old time softball player.

Wow. I guess we all kind of figured the standoff at Super 8 was going to end up like this. If I was just a tourist for the last few days here in Eureka, I would not put this at the top of my list for destination next year. Not great PR the last couple of days.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I hate safety BS!

I am sure you have heard the rethoric at your workplace, "Safety First!" But where does safety really rank in your workplace? Over production? No. Over profits? No. Safety is only a concern when someone is injured at work, and then it is your employers job to line up the facts to "blame" the employee for their own work "action". I hate our loose safety program at Evergreen Pulp. We are supposed to attend some kind of safety meetings which are not regularly scheduled for shift workers or we are supposed to participate in "Computer Based Training (CBT)." Physical meetings have not been an option lately, so you have to do the dreaded CBT's. I told my wife Robin to not expect me home for awhile after day shift, because I was going to try to do my last of the year catch up on the CBT's. So the other day I worked 12 hours and at 7pm went over to the safety work station and tried to log on. Mind you I get paid around $40 an hour to do this and still hate the process. I tried to log on but did not have the proper password. It was not posted anywhere in the room and is usually some easy thought up subject matter about safety. I gave up after awhile and went into our Shift Supervisors office and told him my problem. He told me what he thought the passwords were, and they did not work. He then lead me into a room by the shift supervisors office that had a computer to do the tests. I went through the prompts and was lead through the exercise to the first test. I will let you now, I hate tests in any form even though I tend to do well. I was already for the stress, and then boom! The computer failed and froze up at the beginning of the test! Here I was on the second computer doing tests I did not want to take and then this. I went and clocked out and went home. I found out the next day they have been having problems with our Evergreen Intranet and they were working on the safety program. So I guess I will try to catch up later. I still hate this program!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor day. Remembering James Edward Marks.

I mentioned earlier in my blog that my dad James Edward Marks was a major in the army. Served in World War II and was at Pearl Harbor during the big one. My mom said he had a quick move up in the ranks that day because of the atrocity. I have a picture on my wall here at home with him and his troop standing in front of the Scofield Barracks before they were blown up. I heard his war stories and was in fact an Army brat. My dad made a decision when he was in his 40's to become a lawyer. He only had an eighth grade education at the time, so he had an uphill battle. But he prevailed and passed the bar while serving in Korea. Once he was discharged he moved the Marks family to Eureka to start practicing law. My dad was the commanding officer of local lawyer Jim McKittrick and followed him up this way. My dad also knew attorney James Scott in Eureka. His loves were bowling and pool. After a divorce from my mom, my dad started law offices in San Jose. He passed away 25 years ago on his way to fight for one of his brothers defiance to pay federal taxes. My dad told me to become a preacher, because "that's where the money is." Didn't take that advise, but he was fine with me just being a blue collar worker.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You never know when your time is up.

When I was an organizer for the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) I met the local President of Fox River paper in Ripon, John Goeringer. He was full of life and was a leader. I had some good times with John. He was witty and very smart. He was voted Trustee from California for the AWPPW in his early 30's. He had lots of energy to be successful. I was called by my Organizing partner and buddy from Washington, David Herrera, who informed me that John had passed away in an industrial accident. The Modesto Bee John had left Fox River and was working for the county of San Joaquin. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Are you hungry?

I am the trough feeding king. Haven’t seen a buffet I didn’t like. My motto is “I don’t care if it tastes good, as long as there is lot’s of it!” Other words, quantity over quality. So to lighten the mood from my last post, here are my top 10 load em up hot spots with comments:

1. Hometown Buffet-Lots of variety. Consistent. I like their meatloaf and Salisbury patties. Just comfort type food.

2. Angelo’s Buffet-I love the pizza and hot wings. They are a bit inconsistent on filling the troughs though.

3. Jalisco’s Buffet-The wings are great and the enchilada’s wonderful. And you can put whatever suits your Mexican taste.

4. Blue Lake Casino-Prime Rib night is the best, but I also am fond of Friday fish night.

5. Babetta’s-If you did not know they had a buffet, you have got to at least try it once. Great macaroni and salad stuff. Don’t show up on Monday though, they are closed.

6. Bev’s Café-Order their Chicken Fried Steak and eggs and have the one pancake instead of the toast. And then try to eat it all. For under $9. For the mega hungry.

7. China Buffet-Lot’s of filling stuff here. Need bigger plates so I don’t have to keep going back.

8. Big Louie’s-If you are just a straight up pizza freak, here is your place. Less than $5 to boot.

9. Stanton’s-Big Boss. Just the right size for the big breakfast freak not wanting to over do it.

10. Sizzler-Maybe the best salad bar for when you want to load em up but feel guilty about the calories.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Out of Iraq now!

Let me go on record as being opposed to the current situation in Iraq. But I am in support of our troops who are serving for their country. Please check out this article in Newsweek for some pretty scary information. How Al-Sadr May Control U.S. Fate in Iraq Because of poorly thought out processes, we are playing referee in a civil war we should not be involved in. Relying on information from National outcasts, we have been put in a very difficult position by our current administration. As a country we supported a minority Sunni leadership in the form of dictator Saddam Hussein, and now are paying the huge consequences. We now are seeing divides we can not mediate and should count our losses and come home.

Am I being ruthless and uncaring? No. I am being a realist in seeing that we can not heal wounds that go back centuries and have nothing to do with our occupation. The Shiites have held a populace majority for some time but have been politically and financially oppressed by their fellow countrymen. It comes down once again to fanatical religiosity. The Sunnis are fundamental Islamist and the Shiites believe that a 12th prophet is due to emerge soon to help their “jihad.”

The new leader of this cause is a scary personality we have helped form. Moqtada al-Sadr is an adolescent Shiite leader in his twenties who was once obsessed with video games. Moqtada's father, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, had been a leading ayatollah, a rival to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and other top clerics. But gunmen—assumed to be working for Saddam—murdered the elder Sadr along with two of his sons in 1999. Moqtada was 25 at the time. And now he has been a scourge to our army.

Our current administration needs to cooperate with the process of withdrawal. We need to focus on why our intelligence information was wrong and rectify it for the future.

We are not going to win no matter who we leave in power.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The elections are over. What happened and what does it mean?

Finally we can say that the general election of 2006 are over. Congratulations to all the victors. GEMS ELECTION RESULTS Moderate Republican BONNIE NEELY barely survived her re-election bid over moderate Republican NANCY FLEMMING. Have the Democrats lost their clout locally? In Arcata it does not look like it. Two moderate Dems won with ALEX STILLMAN, MARK WHEETLEY winning and fellow Democrat MICHAEL WINKLER a close third. In Eureka, moderate Republican VIRGINIA BASS won the mayors race over progressive Democrat incumbent PETER LA VALLEE in a close race. Conservative Republican MIKE JONES won by around 300 votes over progressive liberal Democrat NAN ABRAMS. Moderate Democrat JEFF LEONARD squeaked by progressive Democrat RON KUHNEL. Progressive environmentalism Democrat LARRY GLASS beat out moderate Democrat MARY BETH WOLFORD and Libertarian TISH WILBURNE. No real pattern here to measure the Democrat influence. One local race total shocked me though. ARNOLD beat PHIL ANGELIDES 48% to 41%. Here in Humboldt County? How did this happen? Who was the progressive candidate in that race? I have already ranted about ARNOLD'S anti worker tactics and policies. I just did not think Humboldt County would fall in line with the rest of the state. Maybe we are leaning more to the conservative or right now and that is what is causing the close races?