Several large wildfires broke out, apparently last night, in the Santa Rosa and Napa areas. Not having checked the news, I heard about it from B., who could smell the smoke at her workplace, some 70 miles away.
Yikes. We get wildfires in the deep forest in Northern Cal, but these are LA-style fires of a kind previously essentially unknown here, where it breaks out in the rural hills just above town and then moves in on inhabited areas. (The 1991 Oakland fire, which was also a mid-October fire driven by dry winds, was not quite in that category.)
Here's the best maps I could get. That's the first thing I look for, to learn exactly where the fires are and thus who might be in danger. There's one relatively small one in the hills west of Napa, a few miles west of the home of B's sister G, but I'm more worried about the one reported to be in Glen Ellen. Has anyone heard from Alan and Jeanne? The map shows the fire closer to Kenwood to the north and east, and they live on the SW side of Glen Ellen, but there's no indication of how big it is and close is not comfort.
Even more shocking is the huge one on the north side of Santa Rosa, which has moved in on a fully if not tightly settled area of homes, businesses, hotels ... all of which have gone ... hospitals (evacuated). I was just up in Santa Rosa last week. The hall I attended a concert in is not in the evacuation area, but the nearby grocery where I grabbed lunch first is ... and so is the Charles M. Schulz Museum and its next-door Snoopy's skating rink ... and the evacuation boundary has expanded on that side since I first checked it earlier this morning. Evacuation areas are much bigger than fires, as I learned from Oakland, but there are places I drove through last week that have definitely been hit.
In news disturbing in a different way, there's Harvey Weinstein's excuse for his obnoxious behavior. He says he “came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”
What kind of excuse is that? Harvey was born in 1952. He was still only 10 years old when Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique was published, and 19 when Ms. first hit the stands, well back in his formative years. There was plenty of feminism in the air already. I know enough men his age who picked up on it. And he was a secular Jew from Queens, a cosmopolitan man. There's still lots of sexism around and probably always will be, but something so noxious as the retro-Hollywood "casting couch" line, in which career advancement is a quid pro quo for sexual favors, is so egregious by this point in history that no appeal to the ways of olden culture can explain it, let alone excuse.