Saturday, March 3, 2012

Journey heads home: Lone gray wolf’s epic hunt for a mate or pack

Wandering gray wolf leaves California, returns to Oregon

              Good Day Humboldt County!

  Like humans, wolves sometimes travel a lonely road in life. I’ve been following the exploits of one gray male wolf since last November.

  I wondered what was happening to him during his travels because there was very little chance of finding a mate in the direction he was heading. I thought about his lonely journey, and envisioned adventures that he must be having. Close calls perhaps?

I really didn’t expect an update on the wolf, whose name is Journey. Then I ran across this article:


“The wandering gray wolf who last year became the first wild wolf recorded in California since the 1920s crossed the border Thursday and headed back to his home state of Oregon.The young male, nicknamed Journey by a conservation group, entered California in late December, attracting international attention. He remained on the move, trotting nearly 1,000 miles in three Northern California counties, crossing highways, pine forests, scrubland and even ancient lava flows.

“Biologists say OR7, as the animal is officially known, is doing what young wolves do: setting out on its own to find a mate, establish a new pack or perhaps join another one.”

Photo above:

This Nov. 14 photo from a hunter's trail camera appears to show OR-7, the young male wolf that has wandered more than 2,000 miles around Oregon and Northern California looking for a mate and a new home. (Allen Daniels, Associated Press)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Living illusions: people with tattoos offering optical views

skull tattoo and escher's hands

Above left - Here’s an excellent skull illusion tattoo involving two clowns holding hands while drinking. The tattoo, by Kate Hoogland, just might contain the most romantic skull illusion ever.

Above – right - a brilliant rendition of M.C. Escher’s Drawing Hands illusion. The piece, done by Cheryl Volling, has some absolutely stunning shading, giving it the life-like appearance of the original Escher drawing.


Here’s a great tattoo with a double meaning. Is it a face or a cartoonish man playing saxophone?

For more great examples of illusion tattoos go here.

Winning: Whatever it takes…even maintaining a bounty on foes

The first football coach to be canonized by the sport was Vince Lombardi. It was he who said, “If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?”

Nothing has really changed since Lombardi’s days, and this latest story about the National Football League illustrates that:
New Orleans Saints players and at least one assistant coach maintained a bounty program the last three seasons for inflicting game-ending injuries on opposing players, including Brett Favre and Kurt Warner — a pool that reached as much as $50,000 and paid specific amounts for ''cart-offs'' and ''knockouts,'' the NFL said today. I can’t say I’m really surprised.

I can recall many conversations with other football fans who also wondered if teams purposely targeted other teams quarterbacks over the years. Not one of us thought of a paid bounty plan however. The Saints are the first team caught doing this. Maybe they were the only team that has ever had a bounty program. Frankly, I think there’s other teams out there that have/had similar incentive programs to take out opponent’s quarterbacks.

Remember; it’s all about winning. Especially in this day and age. It doesn’t matter how your crossed the finish line, it only matters that you’re the first one to do so. Second place is unacceptable. Like actor Charlie Sheen said (during a drug crazed rant), “Winniiiiing!”

Fighting Childhood Obesity: not a pretty picture but we can’t ignore it

                Good Day Humboldt County!

It’s a difficult road we’re taking today. One paved with obese children from coast to coast. For whatever reasons, we’ve become an overweight nation, and our future precariously promises a growing population of fat, unhealthy kids.

The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance got pissed off at a new Walt Disney World Epcot exhibit on childhood obesity and demanded they take it down. The exhibit was closed shortly after its unofficial opening in February, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday. The official opening has been postponed.

News Snippet:

Peggy Howell, a spokeswoman for the group, said "These pictures further the stigma against people of higher body weight."

The interactive exhibit (Graphic on right), Habit Heroes, featured animated fitness superheroes Will Power and Callie Stenics and super-sized villains Snacker and Lead Bottom, who eat junk food and watch too much television. Critics said the exhibit reinforces stereotypes that obese children are lazy and have poor eating habits.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield partnered with Disney to create the exhibit. Blue Cross spokesman John W. Herbkersman said the exhibit was meant to be helpful.

"Our goal is to ensure that the attraction conveys a positive message about healthy lifestyles in a fun and empowering way," Herbkersman said. "To work on further improving and refining the experience, the attraction is closed for the time being. We look forward to officially opening it soon."

I’ve got to tell you I have mixed feelings about what happened. I can see both sides point. But,I also know we can’t hide from the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country.

We ignore these kids health at their risk. If there isn’t more programs and information on fighting this problem, the country is doomed in more ways than one. We’ve become a nation of fatties. We’ve got to do something about it.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This Cube Optical Illusion Only Works Once

Keep your eyes on the floating cube…

At first it looks like the checkered cube is floating…

but once you find out the trick, the checkered cube can never fool you again.

You can feel better about your IQ now. Your brain is smarter than you think!

Conservative firebrand Breitbart dies at 43: He was a classic example of what was wrong with our national discourse

      Karma is about reaping what you sow.


In the hours immediately following Senator Ted Kennedy’s death, Andrew Breitbart called Kennedy a "villain", a "duplicitous bastard", a "prick" and "a special pile of human excrement.


Conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart dies at age 43 (Note: check out comment section below article. I’ve never seen so many deleted comments after a story!). Known for saying hateful things, and outright lies about people who didn’t agree with his political agenda, Breitbart seemed to thrive on hate and his critics were quick to point this out.

I have no intention of giving you a summary of his life and times, as I ignored him when he was alive. Instead, here’s a link, and here’s another one. My final thought is about the people who are saying hateful things about him when they hear/read about his death:

A fitting goodbye salute for someone who capitalized on hate, and who set the standard for right wing extremists.

Another victory for corporate power: U.S. judge sides with tobacco companies

                                                        Good Day Humboldt County!

There comes a time in all of our lives when we come to a crossroad that offer us a choice that could change our lives. For good or bad.

For those who smoke cigarettes (I was among that group for 25 years before finally quitting in January 2000) they’re putting their health at risk.

Sometimes Unknowingly at first. My generation is a good example of that.

We had doctors, dentists, movie stars, and famous people endorsing them. Cigarettes were sexy and the smart thing to do.

I remember seeing ads with Ronald Regan singing the praise of Chesterfields.

Brands like Camel, Viceroys, Chesterfields, Pall Mall, Philip Morris, and Lucky Strikes made smoking seem like such a natural thing to do. Since then, however, the truth has come out and the worst thing you could do for your health is to smoke cigarettes.

Countless studies detail the diseases that stem from their use, but people continue to smoke them. The reason why: corporate power trumps Americans health.

In another example of corporate power in America, the death dealers, aka cigarette manufacturers, have chipped away at the warnings they were forced to put on their deadly product. Bottom line, cigarettes can and will kill, but in the name of thinly disguised free speech violation, they will continue to sicken and kill millions of Americans with impunity.

The real issue is: Why the Hell are the damn things still legal after everything we know about them?


“A U.S. judge sided with tobacco companies on Wednesday, ruling that regulations requiring large graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging and advertising violate free-speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. Cigarette makers challenged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's rule requiring companies to label tobacco products with images of rotting teeth, diseased lungs and other images intended to illustrate the dangers of smoking.”

The case is R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co et al v. FDA, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 11-1482.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Forget about that Man on the Moon – how about that Face on Mars?

In 1976 the Viking Or­biter ra­dioed back many im­ages from Mars. Among those form the Cy­do­nia re­gion, one de­picted a rock for­ma­tion that strongly re­sem­bled a human or hu­manoid face star­ing straight up into the heav­ens.

You can prob­a­bly guess what was made of this… ‘Parei­do­lia’ is the term for neu­ro­log­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal phe­nom­ena where vague im­ages are in­ter­preted by the brain as spe­cific im­ages. Sta­tis­ti­cally speak­ing, it is a type I error, a “false pos­i­tive”.

A nice ar­ti­cle “Para­nor­mal Phe­nom­ena: The Face on Mars: Once and for All” con­tains some back­ground ma­te­r­ial on the en­su­ing ker­fuf­fle, in­clud­ing links to large NASA im­ages of the en­tire re­gions pho­tographed.

In 1998, the Mars Global Sur­veyor (MGS) reached the Red Planet with far bet­ter, more high-res­o­lu­tion equip­ment than Viking had car­ried. Ini­tially, NASA had not planned to re-map the Cy­do­nia re­gion, but pub­lic out­cry was so great that in April 1998, the MGS was pro­grammed to re-pho­to­graph seg­ments of the Cy­do­nia re­gion, in­clud­ing at least one of the face (there was also some­thing on ‘pyra­mids’ there which we will not cover here). If you move the mouse over the ad­ja­cent fig­ure, the newer photo ap­pears, roughly shifted and ro­tated to match the one taken 22 years ear­lier. You can judge for your­self whether you in­ter­pret this as a face – about 2.5 km tall, 2 km wide and about 0.5 km of height – star­ing right out into space…


In early 2006 a new face was found in Peru [GoogleMaps, Reg­is­ter ar­ti­cle]

And in Oc­to­ber 2006 an In­dian with an iPod… GoogleMaps

More: Holy Toast

More on Parei­dola at The Scep­tics Dic­tio­nary

Federal Judge admits sending Racist e-mail - the reason: ‘I sent it out because its anti-Obama’

President W. Bush must be proud. One of his nominations for a federal judge is keeping the “Good Old Boy” mentality alive. 

Montana's U.S. District Chief Judge Richard Cebull (photo right) admitted to sending a racially charged e-mail about President Obama from his courthouse chambers today.

The forwarded text reads as follow:

"Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

"A little boy said to his mother; 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?' " the e-mail joke reads. "His mother replied, 'Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!' "

Here’s the thing:

The judge acknowledged that the content of the e-mail was racist, but said he does not consider himself racist. "The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan," Cebull said. "I didn't send it as racist, although that's what it is. I sent it out because it's anti-Obama." (source)

School Shootings Cast Doubt on Threat of Al Qaeda

“This week’s school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, has predictably raised the issues of gun control and bullying.  In my mind one of the issues these school shootings highlights is the empty threat of al Qaeda.  Some of you are saying, “what the hell is he talking about?!“  Just give me a couple of paragraphs and I’ll explain.

We’re spending billions of dollars a year on fighting a “global war on terror” justified primarily on al Qaeda.  However, since 9/11, American students have killed more people in this country than al Qaeda.                       Consider the chart above:

For those counting, that’s School Shootings 98, al Qaeda 1 (maybe).

I’m not saying al Qaeda never existed, but they clearly peaked on 9/11.  Now either they are dead or have been defeated to the point of incompetence.  How else can you explain why they haven’t come close to matching the terror sown here by a few disturbed American children?  Mere children have been able to exploit American freedom and identify soft targets to strike.  I’m doubting that there is a well-funded international conspiracy that can’t match the horror of a few kids.

I can hear them now saying, “Well, we have to fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.”  I’ll respond that if they were a serious threat we would in fact be fighting them here.  Since we haven’t been able to prevent a few American children from committing acts of terror in their schools, you would think the people who pulled off the 9/11 attacks would have done even more evil on American soil.

Look, I’m not daring al Qaeda to step up to the terror production of American 8-year-olds.  I’m saying the neocons and other hawks can no longer use al Qaeda as a boogeyman to justify outrageous overspending on the defense budget.  I’m done buying it.” – Words from Wisefather

The Vanishing Mind: Life, with dementia behind bars

      Good Day Humboldt County!

 The path to prison life is littered with mistakes – or intentional unlawful actions – that result in a rapidly growing prisoner population.

  Do you know that we incarcerate more people than any other country in the world? That we are prison central?

  This results in many problems, as you can surmise. Today, we’re going to look at one aspect of prison life that not too many of us are aware of. Have you ever wondered what happened to those prisoners who have Alzheimer’s disease and  other types of dementia. The following story first appeared in The New York Times on Feb. 25th, and has since been picked up by numerous other outlets.

I think you’re going to be surprised when you read this story. It’s a tale of redemption for the very worst behind bars. It’s a sneak peak at a world none of us would ever see otherwise. Compassion and understanding coming from convicted killers makes you realize they are still human beings.


“Secel Montgomery Sr. stabbed a woman in the stomach, chest and throat so fiercely that he lost count of the wounds he inflicted. In the nearly 25 years he has been serving a life sentence, he has gotten into fights, threatened a prison official and been caught with marijuana.

Despite that, he has recently been entrusted with an extraordinary responsibility. He and other convicted killers at the California Men’s Colony help care for prisoners with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, assisting ailing inmates with the most intimate tasks: showering, shaving, applying deodorant, even changing adult diapers.”     (read the whole story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monkeys snatch cocktails from beachgoers, get wasted

Do you recall the phrase, “More fun than a barrel of monkeys?”

Imagine then, a barrel full of drunk monkeys! Now that would be entertaining.

Seeing as they are getting free drinks the least the silly simians could do would be to tip the waiters!

News Snippet:

“A video of monkeys getting drunk in the Caribbean might sound like it's solely for entertainment, but this BBC "Weird Science" footage of intoxicated vervet monkeys snatching drinks from unsuspecting beachgoers is unexpectedly informative.

While some monkeys go straight for the mai tais, others will only drink Fanta -- it turns out this group's population of nondrinking monkeys is roughly proportional to the teetotaling population in humans, which suggests that our alcohol preferences and tolerances are largely determined by our genetic makeup.

The scientists also observed that monkeys who are heavy drinkers might become better leaders; maybe they'll be mixing their own drinks soon.” (Source)

Part II: Rat bastard’s eventual fate and Viking sendoff…


After a barrage of emails inquiring what happened to the rat bastard, the answer is we discovered his body rolled up in the shower curtain (it had been thrown up over the rail to avoid touching the tub) when we pulled it back down looking for him. An anti-climatic plop! Then it was over. Well, not quite over…

We both felt kinda bad about killing him. Because of rat bastard’s Norwegian lineage it was decided to give him a real Viking fiery sendoff.First however, we looked up his ancestral backround. !cid_558F2784048C43A6BC805D0100CA4C4C@DavePC

Note the family coat of arms.Rat bastard descended from a long line of rat bastards whose roots in castles make them royal pains-in-the-asses!

We lovingly made this replica (above) of a Viking ship for rat bastard’s final send off. It too!cid_47B5C51E74F5475E8F05441B807E670D@DavePCk hours of dedicated work and attention to detail - dee tail. 

It was a real challenge trying to find an albino rat bastard willing to dress up and do the ancient chants for our deceased rat bastard. I won’t even go into how much cheese it took to pull this deal off other than to acknowledge he’s getting a life supply of sharp cheddar.

Because we knew there would be a large turnout for rat bastard’s funeral, we opened a small Rat Bastard Souvenir stand.

                                  Here are a few of the items we had for grieving mourners:


!cid_BAD8E7C964F94EA795EB5FDC19BA1EF2@DavePC The hottest item was the packets of rat bastard poop at five bucks a pop.


The rat bastard stuffed doll was another item that was snatched up by saddened attendees.

The kids really liked listening to the old vinyl record playing the Adventures of Rat Bastard’s younger years.

Probably one of the most creative items offered were these tiny rat bastard masks made from slivers he chewed off of a our bathroom door!

Out here in the boonies we recycle everything.Needless to say it was a touching event as we launched the ship with rat bastard’s noble little ass in it! We soaked it in gasoline, after it floated out for a few feet, the guests shot miniature flaming arrows at it. A loud poooof!!!! And it was off to Vermin Valhalla.



Along with Shirley’s high wailing cries of grief, some of us chanted:

 Hail Odin! Hail Thor!

  This is what you get when you sneak through our back door!”

So now you all know...the rest of the story!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Things I hope never to see in public - Part I: Large naked women stomping through driver’s windshields


I don’t know about you, but there’s things I hope to never run across while I’m out in public. The list is quite long, so I’m going to have to share examples one at a time to give each full exposure (pun intended).

My first example ( story below) scarred my brain (I admit it was the photo) even though I wasn’t personally there! It also cured my recent case of chronic hiccups!


“It's hard to know who's having the worse day here: the naked woman stomping on this car or the guy the car belongs to. “The woman had been removed from a light-rail train wearing nothing but her shoes and was being evaluated by medical personnel when she "threw off the blanket that had been wrapped around her," according to SFist, and climbed on the hood of John Knight's Volvo before kicking in his windshield.

Knight won't be pressing charges against the woman; his biggest challenge might be convincing his insurance company of exactly how the damage occurred: "They didn't really know what to make of it," he said.”

Photo by Paula Maxa of said woman in action. [SF Gate]

The adventures of a rat bastard and his eventual fate…


           Good Day Humboldt County!

 How’d you like to walk down memory lane with me to read a short story that will hopefully amuse you today? I broke it up into two parts for quick reads. Here’s Part I:

  It all started last March when one big-assed Norwegian rat migrated from our Conex box and slunk into our house through the back door!

We had the Conex box open – airing it out – because I had discovered rat shit droppings near a plastic trash can that had a hole eaten through the base! Bit’s and pieces of plastic, and garbage were strewn about as the little rat bastard had feasted! It was my first time dealing with a rat, and I intended to make sure it would the last time. I found a hole gnawed through the wooden floor and plugged it up.

As fate would have it, the back door to our house was open because my wife, Shirley, was doing some early spring cleaning, and was going back and forth with small rugs to be beaten into submission. Sometime, in a six hour stretch, the rat bastard slunk into the house. We didn’t know it that day. The next morning, as we sat and enjoyed our first cup of coffee, nature called and I went into the downstairs bathroom located in the rear of the house. Oh, the horror! There was rat shit on the floor and in the bath tub! I was stunned and aware that the rat in the Conex box had somehow invaded our house!


White-faced, I walked out into the living room and informed Shirley about our new house guest. She understandably freaked out. We both went back to the bathroom for further investigation. I went in and shut the door while Shirley gave words of encouragement from the other side. I moved the cupboard, looked behind it.

Nothing but rat shit. No holes. I then checked the walls around the baseboard for entry ways. Nothing. I opened one of the drawers and a big fat-assed Norway rat wrinkled his whiskers at me! His beady black eyes stared me down defiantly while his long whiskers waved obscenely – seemingly testing the air and my mood. Then he dove underneath the stack of hand towels. Okay. That verified that. I really had a rat, and it looked like he was preparing to take up permanent residence!

During my inspection, and upon my discovery, I was giving Shirley a running commentary – “Okay you rat came inside the wrong house! When I see you...wait! What’s that stirring under the towels? Arrrrggggggrat#1gg! Shirley! I found the rat and it looks like he has an attitude!

Loud moans outside the door as she heard the news. If there’s one thing Shirley hates more than snakes, it’s rats.

I stepped back outside, carefully closing the door. The rat bastard didn’t get by me. I went and got a pair of heavy gloves and a steel pot with a lid. Yes, I was going to give him a chance to live and catch him, then take him outside. I intended to free him about a mile down the street in one of my neighbor’s yards. But Nooooo!

He took one quick look at me when I opened the drawer, wiggled his whiskers, and jumped out! The race was on (in a very confined space). It was over as suddenly as it started when he dashed around the baseboard and suddenly disappeared! Perplexed, and pissed, I carefully got down on my arthritic knees and studied the entire baseboard on all three walls. I took all three drawers out of the cupboard and carefully searched the contents of the top shelf. No rat bastard! Nothing. I took the entire closet out of the bathroom. There was nowhere to hide when I was done. The fourth wall was the tub.

Still nothing. Oh shit! Was I going crazy? It was time to step outside and consult wimagesCAK2ESCSith Shirley who was muttering, “The little f**ker... f**ker...f**ker!

Throughout this process I was encouraged by Shirley’s constant reminders to “Get the little f**ker!” Now, it’s only fair to point out Shirley doesn’t use the “F Bomb” often, but when she does it flows like a river....”The little f**ker! He’s invaded my house! F**ker! F**ker! F**ker” It wasn’t pretty to hear.

Meanwhile, I’m having my own issues. As most of my family, friends, and readers know, I have PTSD. Certain things sometimes bother me so bad I have flashbacks. When I came face to snout with that rat bastard I flashed onto some very terrible experiences I had in Vietnam where I saw rats feasting on NVA and VC bodies. My stress level peaked in seconds. But the worst was yet to come.

I couldn’t find the rat bastard. Where was he? How was it possible he could just disappear like that? I had peered up the bathroom facet (shades of staring down holes in the ground that led to tunnels) and turned the hot water on thinking maybe he was hiding up there and I’d scald his furry ass! No such luck. Shirley went from swearing directly into a cleaning frenzy. She bleached the living room floor, and the hallway adjoining the bathroom. That was just a warm-up. All the dust covers came off the couch, love seat and chair, and were marched upstairs and put in the washer – set on sterilize.  All the furniture was moved and both big floor throw rugs rolled up and taken outside.

Bleach went on the kitchen table, counter, and the cupboards near the baseboard. All food that was on the counter (fruits and such) was thrown out. All walls were wiped down. Who knew where the rat went last night before settling in his comfy bed in the bathroom closet? The very thought drove her to distraction. Nothing was safe now, until she bleached it. Our slippers and socks. End tables and lamps. Bar stools and chairs that went with the kitchen table were wiped down thoroughly. Anywhere she suspected that rat might have gone was bleached with a vengeance.


By now, I was pissed off enough to go out and buy a rat trap, and rat poison cubes. I set the trap. A while later we checked on it. The cheese was gone. The trap still intact, waiting patiently to snap shut. Yet, the rat pellets proved he had a quick meal with no repercussions! So I set it again, thinking I missed something the first time. The same scenario resulted.

Then I tried peanut butter. Surely the little rat bastard would set it off when he tried to get that sticky bait ...right? Hell no. He licked it clean - and if rats could write, he would have left me a thank you note for the tasty treat.

It became obvious I wasn’t setting the trap correctly, or this was one smart-assed rat like in the book “Willard.” I gave up on the trap and hoped Plan B – the little block of rat poison I put in one corner, would work. We continued to check the bathroom the next day, but the poison block remained untouched. Understandably I suppose, as I had served up a three-course meal on a platform he didn’t fear. During one of these inspections Shirley made a discovery!

She found the spot where the rat bastard must have been hiding! Beneath the sink counter, along the floor board, there’s a tiny opening (you have to look up underneath the cabinet to spot it) that leads into a crawlspace (about four inches deep) at the base of the cabinet. Busted! Now we knew where the rat bastard was hiding. We decided to give the poison a chance overnight, and went to bed with rat bastards dancing in our dreams!

The next morning came. The tension built. I slowly opened the bathroom door watching the floor intently. A quick scan of the room. No rat poison block! It was gone! Disappeared, and I knew where. I hoped he enjoyed his last meal (it takes between 3-4 days to kill them, according to the instructions). Of course, as you probably have guessed by now, I’ll have to take the cabinet apart to get his dead rat ass out. That’s okay. Shirley is already talking about getting a band new cabinet that will go better with the paint job in there!

This is NOT THE END of this story. Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow: Because of rat bastard’s Norwegian lineage it was decided to give him a real Viking send-off. Special sidebar: you’ll never guess where we found him!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cash Mobs: Reprieves for struggling Mom & Pop businesses

 By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
I enjoy living behind The Redwood Curtain. National trends usually take time before they penetrate our backwoods paradise in northern California, but that’s okay. In Humboldt County we lead a slower way of life for numerous reasons.
To name just three; fewer people, only one major highway that seldom has traffic jams, and we don’t have all the entertainment and shopping found in more populous part of the state.
 When I recently discovered a growing phenomenon called “Cash Mobs” it was one of the few times I regretted our isolation. I quickly recovered however, and am thrilled to share with you what they’re about.
  The first took place in August at City Wine Merchant in Buffalo, N.Y., organized by Chris Smith, an engineer who also writes for ArtVoice, a Buffalo arts blog. Since then, the idea has spread to cities like San Diego, where cash mobbers converged recently at Fiesta De Reyes, a mall in a state historic park; Warwick, Rhode Island.; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; and Austin, Texas.

  A cash mob is the modern equivalent of a community barn-raising, like those in the old west when a community came together to help one of its members build a house or barn.

The story that inspired me to pass on this new trend started on a stretch of Chapman Road in Knoxville, Tenn., where locals rallied to help Emery's 5 & 10 store (photo below left). It’s believed to be the oldest family-owned five-and-dime store in the U.S.
The recession had been hard on the store, and when a bridge construction project diverted traffic away from it, the store was deserted, according to Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

But fortune smiled when Mayor Burchett watched late-night TV and saw a report on "cash mobs" — flash mobs that organize to bring customers to struggling locally owned businesses.  He told NBC station WBIR, “A light bulb went off. Somebody was doing something at a hardware store in the Northeast, and I just thought: 'Dadgum. We ought to do that right here in Knoxville.’”
 A light bulb went off for me too, when I read this. Why can’t we have “cash mobs” here to help our small businesses? I’ve always supported the local economy in every way possible, and I’d love to see some of our struggling businesses get a break.
 It’s easy to do. There are actually unofficial rules. They’re available at Cash Mobs blog. I highly recommend visiting the site if you want to know how an event like this can be organized.

On March 24, 2012, Cash Mobs blog is calling for National Cash Mob action. The idea is to organize mobs in small communities across the country for the day. It can be all day (like Chagrin Falls, Ohio plans) or more Flash Mobbish (like Bellport, Long Island, New York).
I’m not suggesting this is a long term solution, but it could mean staying open when the wolf is at the door. It might make the difference to a Mom & Pop store and buy time to come up with a strategy to stay in business.
I’m appealing to anyone who wants to show their appreciation for our lifestyle to help the local  business community and organize a Cash Mob. How about a community group? I’d think something like this would fit in with service organizations like Rotary really well.

I seldom ask readers to get on any bandwagon. I’m not a “joiner” myself. Yet, there are times when I’ll ask readers to support a cause. Supporting local business is one of those times.
It’s no secret. The Great Recession has staggered the business community on the north coast. Take a stroll through the Eureka Mall to get a feeling for the impact. Empty storefronts outnumber active businesses. Look around where you live. Is there a Mom & Pop business you think deserves help in these troubled times?
  As It Stands, I’d also like to give a shoutout to Humboldt bloggers - ‘What do you say? Would you like to make someone’s day?’

Here’s some websites that have picked up this column:

1) California Newswire (Page 6)

2) New York Messenger Service

3) Water

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...