Every day people search for information to opt out of Market Value Place

Opt out of Market Value Place by e-mailing your request to Jenny Jurdana at the Enterprise Record –  jjurdana@chicoer.com 

Every now and then I notice a bunch of searches for “opt-out” information for  “Market Value Place”. I get these searches almost daily, but every now and then there’s  a jump in the action.  My husband theorizes this happens whenever a bunch of new addresses are added to the list, or people who have just moved here start getting it.

MVP is a big wad of newsprint ads published by the Chico Enterprise Record, made up to look like a newspaper, and stuffed into your mailbox every Wednesday. They guarantee their advertisers “total market saturation” by sending MVP to every address in town that does not subscribe to the Enterprise Record.  That way, their advertisers get, well, just about everybody in town.

People have complained to me that this wad of crap takes up their whole mailbox, at the expense of their real mail. They hate it for the same reasons I do – for one thing, there’s never any businesses in there I would use. For another, it’s a disgusting waste of dead trees. And, here’s the thing –  it’s illegal to send this stuff out without including any address or contact information for opting off the mailing list.  

I say they get “just about everybody in town” – they don’t get me anymore, that’s for sure. Years back I decided I’d had enough junk mail. First, I just looked for a “postage paid” return envelope, and if there was one, I’d tear any forms in half, scrawl “don’t send me this stuff anymore”,  stuff it into the postage paid envelope and return it. That worked for a while, but then they stopped including postage paid envelopes, and referred the recipient to a website or phone number. 

There were a few of these ad-rags circulating at that time – some of them just over-sized envelopes stuffed with “coupons”. They never had a return address, but some had a phone number to call if you wanted to advertise with them. I called a couple of these people – the first guy, located in Chico,  apologized and took me off his list! Just like that! But the next guy, from Paradise, called me nasty names and hung up. So,  I started calling the businesses in his little rag – that got me a letter from a Sacramento lawyer!  I called the lawyer and told them to stuff it in their mailbox – I wasn’t doing anything illegal and they knew it. They were just trying to squeeze me. Every business I contacted apologized and thanked me for telling them how I felt about their advertising. I was nice – I told them junk ads were impressing me the wrong way, and they appreciated my “candor.” They were obviously calling this guy, and he got really pissed and tried to threaten me off. I never heard from his Sacramento suits again. 

It wasn’t just me – people loved that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer decommissioned his mailbox so the post office couldn’t stuff junk in it. I’ve been contacted by really angry people, people who were frustrated enough to do stupid stuff. It was turning into a movement, and it finally came to a head. When I finally got the Chico postmaster into the conversation, he told me there was a law that said they had to include “opt out” information, and if they didn’t, I should turn it over to him. And whattya know, I started finding the “opt out” info on junk I received, and I started sending letters to various junk mailers, and slowly but surely, I got my mailbox back.

But MVP kept on coming. No opt out info, there wasn’t even any obvious publishing information. One day I noticed an ad for the Enterprise Record, and I put two and two together. I called the circulation department one morning, and the woman on the phone admitted they printed the thing. I told her I wanted off the list – she laughed out loud and hung up on me. When I called back she hung up again.

I finally decided to go to ER editor David Little about it at some point, but he was not cooperative. I started asking the city of Chico Sustainability Task Force, led then by council woman Ann Schwab, then mayor, but they were also uncooperative. One member, BT Chapman, now on the Airport Commission, warned the group they didn’t want to offend the newspaper! 

So, I started telling people to e-mail ER editor David Little, mayor Ann Schwab, and others. Little finally got my name taken off the mailing list and gave me Jurdana’s e-mail address to hand around – but he wouldn’t publish the information in the MVP.

Folks, that’s the law. 

David Little breaks the law every Wednesday. He shows the rest of us how much respect he has for the common citizen and their puny little rules. 

About a year ago I got a testy e-mail from Little, asking me to stop telling people to e-mail him. He claimed he didn’t have anything to do with the MVP, why were people picking on him. He is an idiot. I told him, I’ve put Jurdana’s e-mail in my newer blogs.  People are reading old blogs, there’s nothing I can do about that, I’m not taking down my old blogs. I used to have a blog with his newspaper, but I used the ‘F’ word and he took my blog away. Well, I can do what I want on my word press blog Dave, and you can stuff it in your mailbox!

 

Bring me MORE ARTICHOKES!

Gettin' steamy!

Gettin’ steamy!

Things are moving fast this year – I was surprised to find a bunch of artichokes in my yard the other day.

There's one.

There’s one.

And another.

And another.

Keep digging.

Keep digging.

We’ve been eating them for dinner every night, and intend to do so until they are all gone. They aren’t big – exactly the right size for one person. And sooooo goooood!  I might get bigger ones if I put them on a dripline instead of hand watering them when I notice them drooping, but who has time for everything?

Of course, all around my house, my neighbors are growing them as ornamentals. What’s with that? I mean, full size eating artichokes, just sitting in their yard, bolting! One neighbor uses them as an exterior fence – I watch the neighborhood dogs pee on them, then I watch them go to flower, wondering, “what do these people eat?” 

There is an ornamental variety, I have those too. The fruit are so small and “horny” – they look like those old fashioned weapons, a mace.  I have never tried to eat them. I keep them in the front yard, where they get about 10 feet tall, producing a half dozen or more spectacular purple flowers per plant. I like them because they look so exotic, and they take up a lot of space where annoying stickers would grown. They also grow with little or no attention and very little water. I’ll try to get some of those when they come out.

Look at this lettuce patch – can you believe we get our dinner salad out of this bed almost every day?

I pick lettuce from this bed almost every day, it's amazing how fast it grows. Next year I'll fill the whole bed, this was a half-assed project.

I pick lettuce from this bed almost every day, it’s amazing how fast it grows. Next year I’ll fill the whole bed, this was just a last-minute, half-ass project. I had seeded the cilantro in the bed, but it wasn’t growing, so I put it in pots and it’s taking off.

Gardening is hard for me, I always have a lot of things going on at once, nothing ever goes perfect. I’m always amazed when something turns out at all. I’m so happy with my lettuce – it’s not as hard as I thought. I got sick of buying it at the store, paying a lot for an inferior product. Next fall I’ll start my aeroponic set-up early in my greenhouse, then I’ll plant a crop in my garden early in Spring. I’ll keep you posted.

This year a lot of our drip equipment was shot, needed replacing, so we went out to OSH to buy some odds and ends. We were driving home through the avenues when we saw this old wooden bench, sitting in the median in front of somebody’s house with a “FREE” sign. There’s a word that sticks out in NEON. We made a quick U-turn and nailed it. Here it sits in our garden, where my husband has just moved the old wire fence out and tilled a new section for more artichokes.

A garden bench - who says we ain't got class?

A garden bench – who says we ain’t got class?

Sure, it’s rickety, but so am I. We were just sitting down to enjoy a beer when things started to get exciting.

Suddenly the sky clouded over and started to look angry.

Suddenly the sky clouded over and started to look angry.

The big cloud moved across the sky like a big ship, and then we started hearing the cannon fire.

The big cloud moved across the sky like a ship, and then we started hearing the cannon fire.  The wind picked up, and we could feel little rain drops pelt our faces.

And  then, ka-POW!

And then, ka-POW!

We sat on our rickety bench and watched the storm unfurl around our heads. I tried to get a picture with lightening – no luck. 

It was a beautiful storm.

It was a beautiful storm.

This was the biggest storm I remember for a long time. I don’t remember seeing so many clear bolts – the sky didn’t just light up, there were bright electric charges running all the way across the sky, like cracks in glass. 

I wish I had video - the huge oaks around our yard were doing the hoochie-coochie.

I wish I had video – the huge oaks around our yard were doing the hoochie-coochie.

When it really started ripping loose, we went to the patio. What a dumper! I think it went on for a good 40 minutes, then all the sudden, CALM. The eaves are still dripping this morning. 

At last, time to open the windows!

 

 

 

Gardening with less water and more imagination

My nopals are growing out of the tiny garden I made for them.

Hey, can you tell I got a hair cut?  Short hair takes less water.

Another order from the governor to conserve water – well, where you been Jerry? We’ve been cutting back on our water usage here since 1991.  I’ve been killing lawn for a couple of years now, rocking flower beds, planting cactus instead of flowers, and just trying to hold on to my big trees. 

Frankly, it’s bad to get in a rut, get too comfortable doing the same things all the time. I enjoy gardening, and using less water has made me use my imagination.

I planted these pink valerian along the fence and over the years they've moved up this crack in the patio slab.

I planted these pink valerian along the fence and over the years they’ve moved up this crack in the patio slab. I never water them, they survive on rain water. 

I found out, a lot of the plants I already had are very happy in Northern California, made to grow with less water. They are thriving in this weather.

Echinacea do better in a pot - their roots are apparently delicious.

Echinacea do better in a pot – their roots are apparently delicious.

For years I toted one little echinacea in a pot, every time I’d try to set it in the ground the gophers would come after it. I finally decided to stick with pots, got a much bigger one, and wow, look out, echinacea explosion! The flowers on this pot got so tall last year I had to stake them with bamboo. This year I moved it to a spot next to the patio where it gets less intense sun – and you guessed it – I only have to water it a couple of times a week instead of having it on the drip system. 

I’ve put out pots in various locations around the yard, see who does well.

I nuzzled a few of these smaller pots of echinacea into my cactus /succulent garden. I think the contrast of pink flowers on rocks is going to be lovely.

I nuzzled a few of these smaller pots of echinacea into my cactus /succulent garden. I think the contrast of pink flowers on rocks is going to be lovely.  The cactus shade them during midday, so they only need water a couple of times a week.

My nopals have loved this weather, they are growing nodules all over.  

Here's the mother plant. There's Biscuit enjoying a refreshing drink out of her swimming pool. Don't tell Jerry Brown what a bunch of hosers we are!

I’m expanding my cactus garden this year, putting some little succulents in my strawberry pots.  There’s Biscuit enjoying a refreshing drink out of her swimming pool. Remember your dogs this summer. They cool off through their mouth and their feet, keep plenty of water around your yard and change it often.

I took all the strawberries out of my strawberry pots - they require constant watering. But, this little fellow and a few other stragglers have grown in around the base of plants that get water, and they will probably put off a few tiny berries to be eaten by bugs. I don't mind.

I took all the strawberries out of my strawberry pots – they require constant watering. But, this little fellow and a few other stragglers have grown in around the base of plants that get water, and they will probably put off a few tiny berries to be eaten by bugs. I don’t mind.

Here's my helper - he reminds me, "let's play before it gets too hot..."

Here’s my helper – he reminds me, “let’s play before it gets too hot…”

Marooned, Part II – good news – Garden still standing, Backyard Barbershop, Merry Standish to the rescue

Wow, look at this lettuce my husband found in the garden this morning.

Nice salad for dinner tonight.

Nice salad for dinner tonight.

When the greenhouse got too hot for my aeroponic lettuce, I set some plants out in a box in the garden. I expected the bugs to get  them right away, that was the first surprise. I expected the stormy weather to pummel them into the dirt, that was the second surprise. And then I’ve expected these last few days of higher temps and bright sun to burn them out, that was the third surprise. We’ve been getting a colander full of crisp, tasty leaves every other day or so.

I’m sitting here listening for that wind, I keep wondering – when will it go? Kuyper says it’s hanging around a few more days! And the temps are going up – hot, dry North wind! 

Again, Welcome to Northern California. 

When I think back over the last few summers in my memory, none are the same. One Summer it was so rainy and cloudy in June, our garden didn’t take off right away – we didn’t get our first tomato until August. We got hardly any that year, nothing for the sauce pot. We bought canned tomatoes that Winter – yech, how the other half lives!

Yesterday I got a hair cut – my husband takes me out in the back yard and gives me a shearing with the “Hair Cut Kit for Dummies” we bought at (chorus) Walmart. He’s getting good, got the side burns even this time, no skid marks. Last time Badges jumped up on my lap at a crucial point and I got a big skid mark over my right ear, took it forever to grow out. Like anybody cares – my husband works to please himself, he says I look younger and healthier with short hair. When my hair gets too long my old turtle face starts to shrivel up under it – I look like Bitter Beer Man. Today I feel all fresh and young again –  high and tight!

I’m trying to sit here for five minutes and not think of anything negative. After a CARD meeting last night and the city Finance Committee agenda I found shoveled into my e-mail box this morning, it’s uphill all the way.  This is helpful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJvbeGluj0E

Yeah, I know – LaPado is dead – he will not be available for the upcoming Red Bluff gig. Dry your tears, the rest of the gang will be there. 

Aaron Standish hosts a stand-up comedy showcase at The Red Bluff Elks Lodge on Friday,  April 24th at 8pm. 
 
“Unhireable” is an intimate,  limited seating evening of stand-up featuring three of the best comedians from the Chico Comedy Scene (Don Ashby, Jason Murry, and Jerm Leather). Plus Merry Standish Comedy veterans John Bertoli and piano man Roland Allen as well as Red Bluff’s own Weston Mccoy and Marty Trendler. 
 
“Unhireable” contains adult language and is suggested for a mature audience.
 
 $10 advance tickets for “Unhireable” are on sale online (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1391975)
They are also available at Wild Oak (328 Oak St., 527-7347) and Plum Crazy Hair Design and Boutique (645 Main St., 529-5566) in Red Bluff. 
 
Admission at the door is $15,  but seating is limited (less than 100) so we recommend buying tickets in advance.
 
Here’s a link to the FB Event page with a poster, photos, and comedian biographies-https://www.facebook.com/events/1563995170522188/
 
For more information go to www.merrystandish.com or Merry Standish Comedy on Facebook.
I’m glad to see Marty Trendler back in action – after Marty lampooned Tim Russert, I can’t remember what Russert looked like. I couldn’t find a “Press the Meat” bit, but I found this, with Marty as Ralph Cramden – WARNING! This stuff is INAPPROPRIATE! Get your kids away from the computer! 
Don’t worry, nobody saw you laughing. 

 

 

 

Sometimes I just feel like sitting around on the blogs

Today I woke up to the smell of last night’s cooking odors –  still got the house shut up tighter than a drum to keep out that North Wind. Get OOOOOUT!

This wind takes the moisture out of everything, my porch plants are all droopy and beat up, Biscuit is skittery. Yesterday I watched a late flock of honkers beat their wings against it, frantically going nowhere, circling again and again for another charge. I have watched them mount the Sierra, circling and circling for altitude, but this wind seemed to have them beat.  They finally straggled off, having gained a group big enough to make a go of it. 

I’m beat-up and straggly, and I’m staying inside today. I will have to satisfy my gardening urge with a trip to Belmont Rooster:

https://thebelmontrooster4.wordpress.com

He’s been talking about some of my favorite flowers – lilac and viola. Purple viola grow wild here, my grandma had so many the scent would fill the yard in Spring. My neighbor’s front lawn is made up almost entirely of viola – she lives at a four way stop, and you can smell them in your car as you wait. Lilac is a wonderful smell too, a “grandma” smell. These are two flowers that don’t annoy my sinuses. 

When I need a good laugh I go to Bloggess:

http://thebloggess.com/

If you don’t find this woman and her friends very funny then my sympathies to you. Laughter is the best medicine. Are you up on your meds?

For more commentary on life, the man’s point of view,  I go to MikeisHappy:

https://mikeishappy.wordpress.com/

As Mike says, it’s okay, I don’t get it either.

Sure, I’ll be working around the house all day, but when I get bored, I check in with one of these guys, and then watch a quick episode of South Park, or Key and Peele, both of which are available free online. I know, they are both inappropriate as Hell, and you know that too! 

All work and no play make Juanita bitchy.

There are other solutions to weeds beside poison and mowing

A morning's work in my tenant's sideyard, already withering in the heat of the morning sun.

A morning’s work in my tenant’s side yard, already withering in the heat of the morning sun.

This weather is perfect for growing stuff, especially weeds. Just over the past few days the weeds in our yard and at our rentals have gone to head, bolted! Grown like a foot over night, with stickers all over them. They’re green now, and the ground is still somewhat soft from that last rain, so wherever my husband can’t get with the lawnmower or the weed whacker, I glove up and pull ’em out by the roots.

Yeah, they come back, but if I get on it at the right time, and do a good job, I won’t have to look at them until next Spring.

This area is much improved since I weeded it good and brought in some chips a few years ago. The weeds don't grow in as thick and they're easier to pull out.

This area is much improved since I weeded it good and brought in some chips a few years ago. The weeds don’t grow in as thick and they’re easier to pull out.

Foxtails and other grass stickers are bad for your pets, especially if they get into an animals nose, ears or mouth. They are built to burrow in, whether to the soil or an animals flesh, they’ll grow just fine. Every sticker head has about a gazillion seeds, and it seems like every damn one of them sprouts and will grow into a full size plant.

You know this plant - commonly called "Wild Parsley" - at least by association. You've picked the stickers out of your socks, your kids' socks, or your pets' fur every time you've taken a walk in Bidwell Park.

You know this plant – commonly called “Wild Parsley” – at least by association. You’ve picked the stickers out of your socks, your kids’ socks, or your pets’ fur every time you’ve taken a walk in Bidwell Park.

“Wild Parsley” is an innocent, almost pretty plant, with it’s lacy leaves, and graceful, Queen Anne’s Lace-like flowers. Don’t let it run wild in your yard – every little teeny flower head grows into one of those dam-ned stickers, those tiny little velcro-like balls that get into socks and pets’ fur.  One burrowed into my cat’s coat and was making a little ulcer in his skin by the time I dug it out.

Once these areas are cleaned of weeds they'll be pet and people friendly all Summer.

Once these areas are cleaned of weeds they’ll be pet and people friendly all Summer.

It’s nice to do something to keep the weeds out – that usually means, plant lawn or other plants to push them out. Lawn is the easiest, cheapest way to get rid of weeds, but now, with the drought hanging over us, lawns have got a bad rap. I’ll say, it’s hard to keep them at all over a Northern California summer, especially with water cut backs.  I keep lawns where it’s shady, and have just let them die in sunny parts of the yard. But weeds don’t need a lot of water to grow a couple of feet high, die, and turn into an ugly brown fire hazard full of stickers.

You see a lot of “xeroscape” or “drought tolerant” gardens going in around town – these are heavy maintenance, and take more water than people believe. Most of my neighbors who went this route have found out how much work it takes to maintain these “xeroscapes” and have let theirs go by the wayside, sprinkler heads failing after a couple of summers in the hot sun, domestic plants dying, weed patches moving in.

I think it’s the wrong approach to go with nursery plants. At my house I’ve found a lot of native plants that are non-offensive to people and easy to maintain. Once you remove the competition of the weeds, these plants flourish and multiply, and pretty soon you have some helpers in your war for civilization.

Here's one of my latest experiments - I put some dandelion seeds in a container of dirt, sprouted them, and now I've laid them into a clean section of dirt. I put out about half dozen little clumps, we'll see if they set in.

Here’s one of my latest experiments – I put some dandelion seeds in a container of dirt, sprouted them, and now I’ve laid them into a clean section of dirt. I put out about half dozen little clumps, we’ll see if they set in.

I love dandelions – Tampopo!  The flowers are beautiful, the seeds heads are magical, and the roasted roots make an excellent diuretic tea, good for women’s health. I encourage them around my yard, and lately I’ve propagated some seeds to get them into parts of the yard where they haven’t made their own way yet. After I pulled some weeds under a big oak tree, I popped the seedlings out of the six-pack I had them in and planted them in the ground in little plugs.

This is one of my favorite native plants, the bigger variety of Mullein. This plant is about twice the size of a dinner plate in circumference, and will grow as high as 14 feet tall. The entire stalk is lined with tiny yellow flowers, which are used as a antiseptic in herbal medicine. The leaves are so soft, people have used them in lieu of toilet paper.

This is one of my favorite native plants, the bigger variety of Mullein. This plant is about twice the size of a dinner plate in circumference, and will grow as high as 14 feet tall. The entire stalk is lined with tiny yellow flowers, which are used as a antiseptic in herbal medicine. The leaves are so soft, people have used them in lieu of toilet paper.

All over our yard mullein flowers grow, the big ones reaching as tall as 14 feet. They make a nice liner along fences. They are very invasive, but easy to pull out by the roots. The best thing is, they have a very wide base, and smother out other, pesky weeds.

My favorite natural ground cover are California poppies.

A "volunteer" poppy, shown here with some of this pretty blue ground cover plant Whipple gave me. I don't know what it's called, but it keeps the crab grass out, and it's amazingly drought resistant.

A “volunteer” poppy, shown here with some of this pretty blue ground cover plant Whipple gave me. I don’t know what it’s called, but it keeps the crab grass out, and it’s amazingly drought resistant.  I love the way it climbs over the rock wall.

 

NBC news report – US power grid is failing, “getting worse all the time…”, due to “aging infrastructure”

Interesting story yesterday evening on NBC news:

http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/washington-d.c.-experiences-widespread-power-outage-424501315772

A power outage in Washington DC, whattya know! Traffic lights out, whole government complexes shut down, the White House on a generator. Big talk of TERRORISM!

In the end, the real problem – aging infrastructure.  The NBC report says the US grid is getting less reliable all the time, 3 times more failures than 1984 – the worst of all the industrialized countries. 

the problem is “money” – estimates run into the billions. Where should this money come from?