“Getting the Led Out”

November 5, 2017


They turn 50 next year.

It was and remains the very best concert ever.

Such lofty placement atop the hierarchy of Rock & Roll is surely a matter of subjective taste, but the band was really on that night and played for an uninterrupted three hours and forty-five minutes. It was precision and perfection.

I had been curious as to how closely they could duplicate their heavily produced studio sound. It was surpassed in every instance. I was concerned they might be a little fatigued from their long road tour and/or excessive consumption of various substances rumored to offer relaxing measures of succor and solace during their travels.

It was at exactly 8 p.m. on Friday, January 31st of 1975, that the lights at Olympia Stadium in Detroit dimmed and four tall figures strolled confidently onto the stage. Launched with a roaring, soaring explosion of sound, the mighty Zeppelin took flight.

Led Zeppelin had been formed nearly seven years earlier in July of 1968 by guitarist Jimmy Page, who had just left The Yardbirds. Page added singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham from the little known British group “Band of Joy” and completed his assembly with a leading British session musician named John Paul Jones as bassist and keyboard player. Led Zeppelin had quickly stormed into the forefront of heavy Rock with the release of their first album.

Keith Moon of The WHO had suggested the band’s name.

As was true of WHO, Led Zeppelin had always been essentially a musical trio with Robert Plant limited primarily to vocal contribution.That the sound had always been as big as it was with only three basic players had been an awesome realization.

I had always believed there are a number of consciousness levels accessible through and evident within Led Zeppelin music. Zeppelin’s primary definition and function as a “Rock & Roll Band” was beyond dispute, offering an enormously evident primal beat that powerfully throbbed throughout their more high volume efforts with unfailing distinction. They were incredibly tight as a unit and could sweep through dimensions of intensity with total command. Their highly accomplished use of acoustical instrumentation offered yet greater focus, depth and unique musical originality. And I found them supremely spiritual. Through Led Zeppelin, I sensed a timeless magic finding expression and release.

In the ancient blood of some flow the genes and genius of masters, teachers, physicians and priests from a time when Druids walked the land and even long before. Celtic mysticism enveloped the night. With both conscious and subconscious awareness, masterful words unveiled an absolute reality, both universal and beyond. Lyrical poetry and sweeping imagery spoke of many parallel worlds — all joined. With vibrant sexuality, flesh and spirit became as one in an exuberant celebration of timeless existence and exaltation. In Led Zeppelin, rock music offered eloquent articulation of the unknown as merely unrecalled, expressing passionate human desire in both physical and metaphysical terms.

I remain amazed that this unique transcendence has never been fully appreciated nor extensively explored.

Zeppelin never stopped. In addition to all of their most familiar material, the group introduced large segments of a soon-to-be-released double-album. It was thus I first heard much of “Physical Graffiti” with virginal ears as they first introduced “Kashmir” to an American audience.

That night in Detroit I was ruined for life. The measure of excellence established on stage by Led Zeppelin became the absolute standard.

As of 2017, “The Song Remains The Same.”




“His Excellency Lord Cavanaugh”

October 29, 2017

Lord Cavanaugh

It’s getting fever swamp crazy.

Trump’s in raw panic mode. Keep him away from the codes.

Recalcitrant Republicans are circling their wagons in wild abandon. The center no longer holds. Honest hope is gone.


We can always unplug and “leave this world for a while” as Tom Petty enticingly suggests in “Free Fallin’” “Not necessarily stoned, just beautiful” echoes Jimi Hendrix.

I have often suspected a strong personal genetic predisposition to altered state adventure. It’s come in handy more than once as a matter of internal intuitive guidance. Right now it’s telling me to leave terrifying politics behind for everyone’s sake and free fall into associated memories. No problem.

It was twenty-five years ago this week that Eileen and I returned to America after spending our first extended time in the Emerald Isle.

1992 was the 100th Anniversary of my Great-Grandfather’s death. He had left Ireland during The Great Famine years in 1848 and had crossed the North Atlantic to the green fields of America. He lies buried under a fine Celtic cross in a little churchyard just north of Syracuse. His name is engraved in sharp and bold lettering, still clearly distinct with a century and a quarter gone. “Peter Cavanaugh.”

Family records indicate the subject of the following newspaper story in the New York Times was quite possibly this original Peter, who was said to head 20 miles south from Fulton, N.Y. to the fair city of Syracuse, where he would spend much time and treasure indulging in various pleasurable pursuits while consuming copious quantities of “The Holy Water.”

And telling tales.

I am passionately persuaded this was my most recent incarnation.

From The New York Times   – September 12, 1884



Syracuse, N.Y., Sept. 11. 1884.

Lord Cavanaugh, a tall man with a military carriage, stepped up to the railing before Magistrate Mulholland today and denied he was a vagrant as Detective Becker, who arrested him last evening, charged.

The detective said Cavanaugh had been annoying tenants in the Wieting Block by going into various offices and representing himself to be a dentist, physician and lawyer, according to the profession of the person in whose presence he happened to find himself. This the prisoner stoutly denied, declaring at the same time that he had only been seeking suitable employment, and had made no statements as to his qualifications which he was not fully prepared to substantiate.

To a reporter he said he was the son of Lord Chief Justice Cavanaugh of India, who died at Gibraltar a number of years ago, and that his mother still lives in India. He was born, he said, in Waterford, Ireland 35 years ago and was graduated from Trinity College.

He entered the British Army and was promoted to a Captaincy in the Eleventh Zouaves. He sold his commission for £ 450 and afterward served as a private. He declared that he went through the Zulu Campaign, was under General Roberts in Afghanistan, and became a coffee planter in Southern India, but was unsuccessful.

Then he returned to Dublin and was a writer for the Freeman’s Journal. Thence he went to Quebec where he did newspaper work. From there he went to Montreal and finally came here. He has been in this city for a month. He denied that he is a drunkard, but admits he occasionally takes a glass of beer.

The New York Times — September 12, 1884

 “What dreams forget – the whiskey remembers” – Eric Church – “Creepin’” (2012)

“Blind Faith”

October 22, 2017

McC--Lynn       McClintock Town Hall Meeting — Minarets High School Gym

“Blind Faith” — An English blues rock band, composed of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech – one of the first “super groups” from the late 60s. .

“Blind Faith” – Unquestioned confidence or trust in a particular system of belief or given leader in which faith may equate to acceptance without readily evident rational proof, perhaps even contradicted by generally recognized reality.

“Blind Faith” – An astounding display of unqualified obeisance accompanied by dog-like loyalty demonstrated by Fourth District Congressional Representative Tom McClintock last Thursday night during his Town Hall Meeting in O’Neals. Upon the altar of political expediency, before a scattered crowd of concerned constituents and bored security guards, Thomas M. McClintock offered his eternal soul to Donald J. Trump, praise his name.

It seemed to come out of nowhere.

A gentleman asked Tom in a respectful, diplomatic tone what would happen if the President went nuts and started a nuclear war. McClintock said there was no need to worry since such a thing could never happen.

He then proceeded to offer several minutes of polished prose explaining why numerous constitutional safeguards, levels of command authority and traditionally accepted safety guidelines would protect us all. Tom spoke with casual, persuasive confidence. He may even have quoted Lincoln, Jefferson or Thoreau – someone of classic stature. That’s standard in the McClintock playbook. I’m not sure — being thoroughly shaken by what came next. It’s like when you’re in an accident and just remember part of it?

All legalities aside, the questioner further pressed for a simple “Yes” or “No” on whether Trump could technically pull the trigger. It was then McClintock reluctantly admitted — in these exact words; “I believe he could — but he wouldn’t.”

Echoing the immortal words of Larry Verne in his 1960 classic, “Please, Mister Custer” – Please, Mr. McClintock, I don’t want to die!

Anyone who chooses to think a mad man is incapable of insanity may be legally free to offer his faith blindly, but should not be allowed to conveniently abandon our safety with it. Save the solicitous sanctimony for suckers, Tom. This is for life on the planet. It’s sudden death hardball.

Against this unnerving blind belief that Trump is not clearly and presently dangerous in terminal terms, other frightening specifics on the immediate McClintock horizon are rendered pale by comparison.

A vote for McClintock means you are:

  • Supporting a Republican budget that will slash social spending to disproportionately reward the rich with billions of dollars at the expense of the poor, sick and elderly. The Middle Class will be left in the still shrinking middle, heading ever downward with increased velocity and no meaningful cut in taxes. Regulations? Who needs ‘em? Take down those traffic lights.
  • Endorsing without qualification a mumbling, bumbling, narcissistic oaf who permanently stains and tarnishes all he touches with egregious arrogance, fumbling foolishness and graceless grabs. I agree with Tom Woods, author of “The Seven Signs of a Sociopath.” Donald J. Trump is a malevolent toddler.
  • Aiding in the eventual gutting and/or elimination of many social safety nets, even those dating back more than seven decades to the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his “New Deal.” In time this would even include Medicare and Social Security. Health care? It’s cash or crash. If you don’t earn for it, you will yearn for it. No pay. No play. Those who have get more – while those who don’t stay poor.

Horses wear blinders. Congressional Representatives shouldn’t — unless they’re the south end of a horse heading north.





“Tell Tom Tonight”

October 15, 2017


Your presence is needed to guide our nation.

Join us tonight for a Town Hall Meeting in O’Neals with our 4th Congressional District Representative, Tom McClintock. He wants your thoughts.

6 PM is the starting time in the Minarets High School Gymnasium at 45077 North Fork Road in O’Neals, but I’d get there plenty early. A bunch of folks are coming. It’s only 20 minutes from Oakhurst. Head south on 41, then turn left on Road 200. Go two-tenths of mile and there you are. Mapquest says if you reach Road 8063 you’ve gone 1.9 miles too far. Look for all the cars.

Regardless of where you consider yourself politically, Tom McClintock exclusively represents you and your neighbors on the Federal level. That’s how a Democratic Republic works. He is your most important local voice in Washington. His official words and actions should reflect your will – choosing people over party when necessary and treasuring collective security far past personal gain.

Only a fool would deny our current President is —— unique. Tom McClintock is no fool.

Should you concur with my general summary that Donald J. Trump presents a clear and present danger and is brutally unfit for the presidency, it is critical you make your resistance, persistence and insistence evident tonight.

Here’s the hard part.

Let’s keep it cool.

The last thing we need are loud mouth, loutish, wanna-be “activists” who like to scream, whistle, stomp and shout as a means of political expression. Passion not tempered by propriety is the mark of a – — moron.

Opposing viewpoints are certain to emerge tonight. We should listen with respect in order to expect the same.

Mr. McClintock is fully aware these are not normal times. Although the Fourth District has elected many more Conservatives than not since Half Dome was whole, four viable opposing Democratic candidates have already emerged and are actively engaged in hoping to bless Tom with early retirement.

By alphabetical order they are —

Regina Bateson — Regina was a class valedictorian at Granite Bay High School, later earning a BA from Stanford University and an MA and PhD from Yale. She also studied abroad in Latin America, where she learned to speak Spanish fluently. As a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department, she studied terrorist travel and border security.

Roza Calderon – Ms. Calderon is a geoscientist, activist and single mother who believes “we need leaders who represent real people’s needs over party interests.” She advocates combating climate change, providing Medicare for All and building an inclusive economy.

Jessica Morse – Having spent over a decade as a national security strategist, Jessica is a fifth generation northern Californian. As Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Military Headquarters for Asia and the Pacific, Jessica strengthened the U.S.-India defense relationship using renewable energy. She has a Masters Degree from Princeton University.

And Rochelle Wilcox — Rochelle earned a full scholarship to law school at the University of Utah, where she graduated first in her class.  She is currently a partner in one of the top-rated First Amendment practices in the country, working for businesses in a variety of industries and involved in dozens of cases fighting to make sure journalists have the protection they need.

One of the above will eventually emerge as a consensus Democratic candidate fully supported by the other three. But Republican Tom gets our ears tonight. Let’s have our voices resonate with reason, not roar like rhinos.

As my old Irish-American Grandfather used to say – “You get more with sugar than you do with spit!”

Something like that.











































“A Very Cool Group”

October 6, 2017


The darkened bar was surrounded by intense players, collegiality and attention to the game harshly intruded upon by a stranger of unknown origin and unappreciated purpose.

He wanted to meet “Steve the Clamper” and quickly learned such a request was inappropriately phrased and indelicately presented.

When I decided I wanted to write a column on “E. Clampus Vitus”, folks around town who knew said Steve Schermerhorn was the guy with whom to speak. They also disclosed where and when to find him. They were right.

After observing that he knew I was in “The Sierra Star” and mentioning that he appreciated what Dr. Bill Atwood wrote each week, Steve added that he especially liked those opinions expressed by the late J.R. Froelich and other conservative writers. I felt right at home.

Although he’s a “Greybeard” and “Ex-Noble Grand Humbug”, Steve is actually a bit younger than I. Showing respect for an elder and quickly bonding through our mutual appreciation of Led Zeppelin, I asked that he send me a few notes about his group. I have decided to simply pass along much of what Mr. Schermerhorn provided since it is assuredly authentic, quite inclusive and self-explanatory.

Here’s Steve:

“The Grub Gulch Chapter of E CLAMPUS VITUS is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada at the end of the Gold Chain Highway. Our chapter encompasses all of Madera County. Called the Order of the Rose, the original Grub Gulch Rose was growing wild near the gold rush town of Grub Gulch. The town was named this because any miner who would stop and work was almost guaranteed to gather enough gold from the river to stake him on his way to the gold fields further north. Today our Chapter continues to uphold the traditions set forth by our forefathers.
Since the major ore producing mines have all but played out, the Clampers of today are dedicated to the preservation and recognition of these historic sites. This is accomplished through the erection of monuments.

There are 56 monuments in Madera County.

  • Grub Gulch Chapter #41-49 was Chartered in 1979.
  • ECV motto, “Credo Quia Absurdum”, “Because it’s absurd I Believe.”
  • There are currently over 600 members in this Chapter.
  • All members are Officers, and all Officers are of Equal Indignity.
  • Our President is called “Humbug”, The Treasurer is the Gold Dust Receiver, the Cook is “The Gutrobber”. Other board members may be referred to as: “Greybeard”, “Clamp Patriarch”, “Clamp Matrix”, “Playtrix or Vitrix”, “Damn Fool”, “Doorkeeper” and “Hangman.”
  • ECV was born in the mining camps of California.
  • Based on absurdity, and shunned by the pompous “Stuffed Shirts” of the Odd Fellows, Moose or Elk, Clampers would adorn their red union suits (long underwear) with the cutout bottoms of a bean can. They would parade about and make fun of the upper crust. This was referred to as wearing the tin. Today Clampers wear red shirts depicting the union suits once worn in the camps as well as adorning our vests with badges, buttons and ribbon to represent the tin.
  • ECV is still the number one fraternal order that continues to steadily grow year after year. Currently there are over 43 Chapters of ECV throughout 9 States. Exact numbers of Redshirts is said to be around 50,000.”

Thanks, Steve!

And guess who created and operates the worldwide website www.eclampusvitus.com?? Steve Schermerhorn! Right here in Oakhurst!

You’ll find tons of California Gold Rush links, dozens of localized monument site pictures and much more intriguing Clamper Information.

“Ipsum Fasciculum Frigus” – A Very Cool Group!








“Counting Your Vote So It Counts”

September 30, 2017


The next meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club will be held this coming Saturday, October 7th, at The Best Western Plus Yosemite on Highway 41. An “All You Can Eat” hot breakfast buffet for $8.00 will be available at 8:30 AM with the meeting and program starting at 9:30.

Rebecca Martinez, Madera County Clerk/Recorder/Registrar and former President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, will speak on “Counting Your Vote So It Counts.” This will include a discussion of recent changes in election law, voter system modernization and a recap and review of the November 2016 election.

Ms. Martinez has just completed a series of community workshops aimed at familiarizing Madera County voters with a proposed new county wide balloting system.

Rebecca “Becky” Martinez is a lifelong Madera County resident, a devoted mother, and a proud grandmother.

After graduating from Madera High School, Becky started her career of public service with Madera County in 1973 in an entry-level position where her work ethic, attention to detail and dedication to duty earned her several promotions.

In 1990 Rebecca was elected the Madera County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, the first of seven times Ms. Martinez has been elected to this position. Until September of 1998 Ms. Martinez held the position of ex-officio Clerk of the Madera Superior Court. Ms. Martinez holds the distinction of being the longest serving elected official in Madera County, an honor she is mindful of every day as she continues to serve the residents of her community.

From July of 2008 through July of 2010, Rebecca served as the President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, the statewide association of County Clerks, Clerks of the Board of Supervisors and Registrars of Voters. In July of 2010 Secretary of State Debra Bowen presented Ms. Martinez with the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award in recognition of her “intelligent, open-minded and enthusiastic dedication to making our democracy work better.”

In November of 2014, Ms. Martinez was appointed by the President of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials to the transition team for newly elected Secretary of State Alex Padilla. As a part of the team, Ms. Martinez was asked to provide essential input as Secretary Padilla transitioned from the position of a State Legislator to the role of California’s Chief Election Official.

Becky has two children and three “perfect” grandchildren that she enjoys spending her free time with. In addition, Becky enjoys traveling with friends and family and serving as a member of the Madera Noon Chapter of Rotary International where she has chaired the Rotary Health Day event and was selected as Rotarian of the Month.

Chief Assistant Clerk/Recorder/Registrar Justin White will assist in the presentation.

The Oakhurst Democratic Club is pleased to welcome Ms. Martinez to Eastern Madera County. All are invited on Saturday regardless of party affiliation with questions encouraged from those in attendance.














“Ridicule? Us?”

September 24, 2017

Cavanaugh Coat of Arms,jpeg

 “Letters. We Get Letters. We get stacks and stacks of letters.” – Perry Como (1957)

While I and fellow columnists Brian Wilkinson and Bill Atwood don’t quite receive “stacks and stacks of letters” every week, a few do come our way, especially poor Editor Brian who, as “the one in charge”, fields all sorts of random observations, then prints as many as space allows. We look forward to hearing from our readership. That’s a fact.

One particular note came in today I thought I would share. I receive this observation rather often, consider it genuinely valid, and feel it now deserves pubic response.

Our Sierra Star reader writes:

“I usually agree with most of what you say, was a Bernie Sanders supporter also, and find your column entertaining and/or informative. However, perhaps those who don’t agree with you might be able to “listen” to you better if you toned down the put-downs, name-calling and sarcasm. Of course (these) can be part of what makes your column entertaining. Somewhere there’s a balance in there. I think we have a responsibility to speak and write with thoughtfulness, intelligence, and wit that’s not accompanied with denigration.”

This reader is 100% right on the desirability of seeking fair balance, but also correct that “put-downs”, name-calling and sarcasm functionally work in attracting interest and attention. Consider the phenomenal acceptance of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Mark Levin and that Donald What’s-His-Name. You can’t argue with success, but you don’t have to like it.

This criticism is timely. Since mid-June I’ve been trying to include more “General Interest” material than keep everything primarily “Political” — that being the original reason for this column. My first serious attempt was “Senior Sex in Oakhurst”. It worked like a charm getting reaction, but there are only so many seniors in Oakhurst having sex. More importantly, It now seems clear Trump supporters back the man, not any particular mission, and are consequently impervious to attempts at reasonable dialogue. To believe otherwise seems ill advised. In fact — dangerous.

After the President used his Oval Office once again as a killing ground, stabbing both Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan in the back without warning in his capitulation to Democratic demands from Nancy Pelosi a few weeks ago, subsequent polling showed that his core base of support was just fine with that. Life is less complicated when you let others do your thinking. It’s an ancient drive enshrined in certain DNA coding. Even so, evolutionary forward motion in advancing civilization has depended much more on questions than answers through time. In fact, the very best outcome good answers can hope to generate is simply the eventual creation of better future questions.

With the “Russian hoax” looming ever more scandalous and probably term ending for Trump, it is difficult for any serious opinion column to avoid embracing and endorsing traditional values and national standards – and to do so in a clear and effective manner.

There is this Irish word – “Magadh” – pronounced “Mah’Gah.”

Magadh is the Celtic word for ridicule. The Irish have classically regarded ridicule as an art form onto itself. True “Magadh” requires negative evaluation in a comedic form with colorful scorn and clever denunciation darkly presented in a mocking tone. Even the English word “mocking” reflects “mah’gah” ancestry. The joy of laughter not only vindicates, but verifies common, instinctive truths.

So, this Caom’hanach’ (Cavanaugh) ends his dissertation on content with a salute to and acceptance of genetic predisposition, ascribing much of what he writes as being faithfully reflective of and honoring to all who’ve come before.

Nothing more.



“Fears of a Clown”

September 17, 2017


That Trumpy. What a scamp.

There he was honoring the Lord’s Day early Sunday morning by sending his minions a Trumpy the Clown cartoon. It was this gag video of him taking a really hard golf swing. Pow. The ball rockets through the air and hits Hillary Clinton right in the back as she boards an airplane. Clunk. She falls down hard. Kerplunk. The End. It worked. It made me gag.

No one can ever tell what’s real and what’s not when Trumpy says it.

But maybe he’s not lying. It’s quite possible he believes it too. Even the extra crazy stuff, like three or four million secret illegal aliens voting for Hillary Clinton, or Obama “wiretapping” Trump’s Oval Office, or building a giant, spectacular, breathtakingly beautiful wall for thousands of miles at a cost of billions which Mexico will pay for. Or maybe you. He’s certain it won’t be him. You can borrow the money, then declare bankruptcy. Trumpy’s done it five times. The rascal.

Oxford Dictionary.


[ˌskitsəˈfrēnēə, ˌskitsəˈfrenēə]


A long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

There’s something in the air. “It” is breaking box office records around the world as the highest grossing September film ever released. “It” cost $35 million to produce. After two weeks, the film has scored a global gross of $371 million — more than ten times the original investment. Young kids take on an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of mayhem and murder dates back for centuries. It’s not a Broadway musical. No La La Landing for this one.

“It” is based on a 1986 novel by perhaps the greatest supernatural genre writer of all time, Steven King. He clearly perceives and effectively portrays the fundamental essence, energy and emotion of evil. King gets extra points from me for being a major fan of AC/DC — and for this comment last week on our 45th President — “Trump’s control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is worse than any horror story I ever wrote.”

King also tweeted on August 11th at 7:25 AM — “Donald Trump is unfit for office. Needs to be removed.”

 With Congress having returned to Washington, here we are back at the intersection of Sham and Shame, pretense of function still supplanting proper penitence for having done this to ourselves.

There’s help on the horizon.

Recent polling indicates strong concern among Millennials for conservative political positions in general and an even greater personal dislike for Donald J. Trump in particular. Just watch the talk shows. Stephen Colbert. Jimmy Kimmel. Jimmy Fallon. Seth Meyers. Conan O’Brien. Trevor Noah. It might be called comedy, but they’re not kidding. John Stewart still shows up every so often following retirement from “The Daily Show” and even the outrageously bearded, fashionably unkempt David Letterman surfaces from time to time hither and yon. Would someone kindly find that man a sandwich?

For the first time in the coming 2018 midterm elections, Millennials (roughly 18 to 34 years of age) will outnumber Baby Boomers (51 to 69 years and aging) – American’s dominant generation for decades. Importantly, indications are the younger demographic will be voting in a much higher percentage than their predecessors. They’re paying more attention, genuinely care and are eager to act.

Evil clowns beware.

Especially clowns like you, Trumpy.

Here come those kids.






“Away Out Here”

September 10, 2017


 “Away out here they got a name

For rain and wind and fire

The rain is Tess, the fire Joe,

And they call the wind Maria”

From “Paint Your Wagon” – Lerner & Loewe (1951)

“Paint Your Wagon” was a fabulously successful Broadway musical about a miner and his daughter in Gold Rush-era California. It could have been Fish Camp or North Fork. More likely Mariposa.

Last week away out here we also called the wind Harvey, Irma and Jose, all catastrophic hurricanes charging out of the Caribbean like a Kardashian on Rodeo Drive. “Yes, please. I’d like a Lamborghini to match my cat.”

 At the same time, an 8.1 earthquake struck Mexico, Texas remained severely flooded and dozens of wildfires burned throughout the West, including four or five pouring smoke into Oakhurst. It was like sleeping with a campfire in your tent.

Perhaps the one positive benefit of all these slights from Mother Nature is that it’s temporarily driven Trump and his troubles out the headlines. He’ll be back again soon, at least until those aliens hiding under the Talking Bear make a run for it. But away out here we have been missing interesting developments.

Surly Sarah Sanders has replaced Sean Spicer as White House spokesperson, adding a meaner, grimmer (if not slimmer) attack dog motif to daily press updates.

Junior now shocks a Senate Committee with yet another major revision to what happened at his meeting in Trump Tower in June of last year. Donny finally admitted that all along he was looking for dirt on Hillary from the Russians – the same folks he asked about securing a private line of confidential communication with pals at the Kremlin. You know – to keep important understandings safe from the FBI, CIA and other American intelligence agencies. A young 39 year-old barely out of the cradle can’t be too careful.

The wildest surprise to me and I’m sure to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan was the President’s awesome display of artful dealing in the Oval Office last Wednesday.

There was our Republican President. There were Republicans Mitch and Paul. There were the Democrats — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Leader Nancy Pelosi. They were all together at a customary “after summer recess” session to set the course for the next few months. It’s a tradition.

The Democrats went first. They read off their list of wants and needs. In a race to surrender, the President quickly agreed to virtually everything important, including the top priority item for Democrats of establishing a limited three-month extension of the debt ceiling. Trump even interrupted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the middle of his presentation rejecting the Democratic positions to throw in the towel. Cool it, Steve. Go home to your $400 million dollar nest egg and that hot third wife. Meeting over. Who wants a Coke? What? Huh? D’oh!

A lot of old liberal hippies possibly thought they were having some sort of acid flashback. Many old conservative Goldwater backers might have wished they had dropped a tab or two back before drug testing.

I only hope that a few of my many old friends and acquaintances who keep bellowing his name in unison like a bullfrog in heat will finally allow that Donald Trump is, was, and forever will be utterly unworthy of trust. This also goes for those who might delude themselves into fantasizing that Trump has suddenly and transformatively undergone a miraculous epiphany. Or is playing “Multi-dimensional Chess.” This man is all foam – no beer.

Let’s drink to that.








“My Summer Vacation – Part Two”

September 4, 2017


In a previous episode of “For Your Consideration” — Sierra Star columnist Peter Cavanaugh recounted his abundant lack of enthusiasm when suddenly confronted with an unscheduled four day hospital stay while vacationing with Eileen in their hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. This was precipitated by a combination of COPD driven pneumonia and a newly experienced “Atrial Flutter.” It felt like a naughty butterfly was stuck in his heart.

Treatment provided, the Cavanaughs then flew home to Oakhurst. Unfriendly skies charged more for their one-way return than the entire prepaid round-trip fare. It was compassionate conservatism – also known as gratuitous greed. The airline’s CEO made only $18.7 million dollars last year in salary and bonuses, best in the industry. Ka-ching.

“Chandrasekar Palaniswamy” – Definition:

(a) Guaranteed tiebreaker in National Spelling Bee Championship.

(b) Difficult reciting backgrounds while eating peanut butter crackers.

(c) The name of a brilliant young Fresno Electrophysiologist who performed a successful three-hour catheter ablation procedure on Cavanaugh two weeks ago when the butterfly flutter returned, suddenly accompanied by atrial fibrillation. These are separate, although related situations. The flutter rate was around a speedy 150 beats per minute, while fibrillation was estimated at 450 beats. This is at the high end of frequency. I’m amazed I didn’t fly off into space.

I had a hard time breathing. The reemergence of “Smokehurst” didn’t help. Deadwood kept disappearing.  Dr. Palaniswamy was confident we had great chances for extended success. He was correct, as was primary cardiologist, Dr. Michael Gen. He’s kept me around longer than I deserve. Dr. Palaniswamy was Dr. Gen’s idea.

Things kicked off with a Transesophageal Echocardiogram taking pictures inside the heart, immediately followed by the introduction of thin, flexible wires called “electrode catheters” moved ever so gently in an extensive electrophysiology study (EPS). An electrical map of the heart was created — determining the type and location of arrhythmia experienced. Finally, defined “problem cells” were destroyed with ultra sound.

From start to finish, I was never scared a bit and hardly felt a thing.

A delightful anesthetic cocktail provided at various intervals consisted of four separate drugs expertly applied. I’ve been telling everyone in amazement it was like one single, unbroken, uninterrupted thought no longer than seconds in duration. “I wonder how long it will take – wait! I’m awake!”

I spent two days of my “Ablation Vacation” in a lovely private room at Fresno Heart and Surgery Hospital. The staff was excellent and couldn’t have been more accommodating. A visiting friend even said he wouldn’t mind living there.

Next Monday is 9/11/17. For the 15th year, Sierra Tel Patriots’ Day will be held starting at 9 AM, this time again scheduled at Yosemite High School’s Badger Stadium. The Commander of the California Air National Guard, Brigadier General Clay L. Garrison, will be keynote speaker. General Garrison is responsible for mission readiness across a wide spectrum of programs and more than 4,500 military and civilian personnel in California.

Eileen and I attend “Patriot’s Day” every year. It is a joy to be with others in our little mountain community in faithful remembrance of those we’ve left behind; recognizing unity, celebrating freedom, and renewing commitment to shared goals, critical values and points of national pride.

“Remember the hours after September 11th, 2001 when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.”

— Senator John Kerry.