Arcata Resident Randy Markin Missing

(Photo credit: Arcata Union)

The Arcata Police are searching for Randy Markin, who disappeared last Friday afternoon. A friend told authorities that he saw him at the Intermodal Transit Facility between two and three.

Randy graduated from Del Norte High a year before I did. He is a decorated U.S. Coast Guard veteran and is trying to collect a ‘Guinness World Records,’ number of lava lamps.

Randy’s 55-years-old, white, 6’3” tall and 230 pounds with long grey hair, brown eyes and wears glasses. He was last seen wearing a tie-dye T-shirt, long leather jacket, and jeans.

He’s a diabetic and need medication and left both his cell phone and wallet at home. Randy uses an electric wheelchair at times due to his osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, but didn’t take it with him when he left.

If you have any information or see Randy, you’re urged to contact APD at (707) 822-2428.

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Sam Jacobi’s Turn

His head throbbed beyond belief and he was certain that if he could see in the dark, where ever he was, it would be spinning. The air hung heavy with the stench of dried blood, vomit, human feces, fear and death.

Sam Jacobi also realized his wrists were clamps in metal bracelets and attached to a chain and then attached to a wall. The chains were not very long and were attached lower than he could stand up straight.

His knees buckled and he dropped to the smooth stone surface, banging his already aching head against the wall jus’ above the chains attachment. He couldn’t help it and though he fought hard against throwing up where he was kneeling, the urge over powered him.

That was two years ago, and Jacobi’s conditions were jus’ slightly better. At least he had several shafts of light that filtered in from where ever he was being held captive.

This morning he was unbuckled from the wall and given an orange silken robe and pants to put on. He was also allowed a cold-shower, something that only happened when he was to appear before the jihadist’s cameras.

Within an hour his head was covered with a black bag and he was loaded into a small vehicle, bouncing along a rock strewn road someplace in the never ending desert of the Middle East. Jacobi listened intently to chatter among the four men who held AK-47s on him.

Though Farsi was not a language he knew well, he had been deprived the sound of any English speaking people since he was taken prisoner while trying to take video footage of Islamic Militants battle their way through Baghdad. And what words he picked up and only slightly understood, made him feel ill to his stomach.

One had said something about, ‘one way,’ while another laughed at the words Jacobi was certain meant, “chopped off,’ and ‘headless.’ By the time the ride ended, Jacobi was sure he was being taken to his place of execution.

It was the fifth or sixth time he’d seen men, who were also prisoners, given clean orange clothes to wear, before being taken away, never to be seen again. After each time, rumors swirled down the row of cells that that man was dead.

Rumors, then but now it was Sam Jacobi’s turn.

“I’m not gonna beg for my life,” he thought as he was dragged from the vehicle and the heavy black covering yanked from his head.

They were nothing, if not efficient, with three video cameras set up, a sound man ready for recording and a knife-wielding man garbed in black, whose dark, ugly eyes were showing and a leather holster with pistol hanging from his left side. Jacobi felt the bile rise to the top of his throat and rather than swallow, he spit what he could in the direction of the man wearing black.

No sooner had he spit, than he felt the crack of a rifle butt smash into the right side of his head. The blow wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but that didn’t mean it did not hurt all the same or cause him to topple over.

“No!” shouted the man in black, “Do not damage his face.”

Jacobi lifted his head from where he had been knocked down, surprised at the crisp British accent that came from the man in black. The sound of English being spoken meant his captors spoke it too after all.

As he looked towards the voice, two others jerked him from the ground and dragged him, his feet dangling, to beside the ominous figure with the knife. He was forced to his knees in the hot sand, where he looked up at the man whose hate-filled eyes glared down at him.

“Read the placards,” the Brit ordered, “and perhaps I’ll spare your life today.”

Jacobi looked at the first card. It reminded him of the last two times he had been forced through acts of torture, to read threats directed against the United States, the military and other Americans.

This one was different – it read like an apology for forcing the extremists to do the thing they were about to do. Jacobi knew at that moment he was as good as dead whether he read it or not.

Looking up at the man the media had dubbed ‘Jihad John,’ and said, “Go to hell.”

Without a word, ‘Jihad John,’ twisted the knife as Sam Jacobi felt the bite of the blade against his neck. He had jus’ enough time to cry-out, “Jesus save me!”

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When Tree’d

About half-an-hour into one of my favorite movies, “Big Trees,” ‘Yukon’ Burns, played by actor Edgar Buchanan, interrupts an outdoor church service. He politely listens as the church elder quotes Luke 10:27, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,” to which Burns calls out, “Amen.”

Burns then explains that when God uses the word ‘might,’ He’s speaking ‘fighting talk.” And though the Elder disagrees, claiming it goes against their belief system, Burns continues: “I believe in turning the other cheek, but you’re jus’ about run out of cheeks,” he then adds, “It’s time you start growing some religious muscle.”

He finishes his testimony by pointing out, “The Lord didn’t make strong backs jus’ to let the wicked seize the Earth.”

There have been many times when I’ve thought about this scene and how it measures up to my faith – which has taught me to ‘turn the other cheek.’ I don’t want you to mistake this for doctrine, but when enough is enough, maybe we need to up our dukes and defend ourselves and others too.

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A Possible Paiute Story

The story, “Tribal Memories of the Flying Saucers,” written by Oge-Make, a Navaho Indian, recounts a Paiute story about flying saucers and extraterrestrial beings, and appeared in a 1948 issue of FATE magazine. Interestingly enough the same story appears in a book by Bourke Lee, called “Death Valley Men,” published in 1932.

There is very little information on Bourke other than publisher ‘Macmillian,’ acknowledges he had at least two book printed by them. Also, Richard E. Lingerfelter, in his book, “Death Valley & the Amargosa: A Land of Illusion,” describes Lee as, “a talented writer-publicist and former Navy flyer Thomas Burke Lee,” who used “the pen name Bourke Lee.”

Here’s Oge-Makes article:

Most of you who read this are probably white men of a blood only a century or two out of Europe. You speak in your papers of the Flying Saucers or Mystery Ships as something new, and strangely typical of the twentieth century. How could you but think otherwise? Yet if you had red skin, and were of a blood which had been born and bred of the land for untold thousands of years, you would know this is not true.

You would know that your ancestors living in these mountains and upon these prairies for numberless generations, had seen these ships before, and had passed down the story in the legends which are the unwritten history of your people. You do not believe? Well, after all, why should you? But knowing your scornful unbelief, the storytellers of my people have closed their lips in bitterness against the outward flow of this knowledge.

Yet, I have said to the storytellers this: now that the ships are being seen again, is it wise that we, the elder race, keep our knowledge to ourselves? Thus for me, an American Indian, some of the sages among my people have talked, and if you care to, I shall permit you to sit down with us and listen.

Let us say that it is dusk in that strange place which you, the white-man, calls ‘Death Valley.’ I have passed tobacco… to the aged chief of the Paiutes who sits across a tiny fire from me and sprinkles corn meal upon the flames…

The old chief looked like a wrinkled mummy as he sat there puffing upon his pipe. Yet his eyes were not those of the unseeing, but eyes which seemed to look back on long trails of time. His people had held the Inyo, Panamint and Death Valleys for untold centuries before the coming of the white-man. Now we sat in the valley which white-man named for Death, but which the Paiute calls Tomesha – The Flaming Land. Here before me as I faced eastward, the Funerals (mountains forming Death Valley’s eastern wall) were wrapped in purple-blue blankets about their feet while their faces were painted in scarlet. Behind me, the Panamints rose like a mile-high wall, dark against the sinking sun.

The old Paiute smoked my tobacco for a long time before he reverently blew the smoke to the four directions. Finally he spoke.

“You ask me if we heard of the great silver airships in the days before white-man brought his wagon trains into the land?”

“Yes grandfather, I come seeking knowledge.”

“We, the Paiute Nation, have known of these ships for untold generations. We also believe that we know something of the people who fly them. They are called The Hav-musuvs.”

“Who are the Hav-musuvs?’

“They are a people of the Panamints, and they are as ancient as Tomesha itself.’

He smiled a little at my confusion.

“You do not understand? Of course not. You are not a Paiute. Then listen closely and I will lead you back along the trail of the dim past.

“When the world was young, and this valley which is now dry, parched desert, was a lush, hidden harbor of a blue water- sea which stretched from half way up those mountains to the Gulf of California, it is said that the Hav-musuvs came here in huge rowing-ships. They found great caverns in the Panamints, and in them they built one of their cities. At that time California was the island which the Indians of that state told the Spanish it was, and which they marked so on their maps.

Living in their hidden city, the Hav-musuvs ruled the sea with their fast rowing-ships, trading with far-away peoples and bringing strange goods to the great quays said still to exist in the caverns.

Then as untold centuries rolled past, the climate began to change. The water in the lake went down until there was no longer a way to the sea. First the way was broken only by the southern mountains, over the tops of which goods could be carried. But as time went by, the water continued to shrink, until the day came when only a dry crust was all that remained of the great blue lake. Then the desert came, and the Fire-God began to walk across Tomesha, The Flaming-Land.

When the Hav-musuvs could no longer use their great rowing-ships, they began to think of other means to reach the world beyond. I suppose that is how it happened. We know that they began to use flying canoes. At first they were not large, these silvery ships with wings. They moved with a slight whirring sound, and a dipping movement, like an eagle.

The passing centuries brought other changes. Tribe after tribe swept across the land, fighting to possess it for awhile and passing like the storm of sand. In their mountain city still in the caverns, the Hav-musuvs dwelt in peace, far removed from the conflict. Sometimes they were seen in the distance, in their flying ships or riding on the snowy-white animals which took them from ledge to ledge up the cliffs. We have never seen these strange animals at any other place. To these people the passing centuries brought only larger and larger ships, moving always more silently.’

“Have you ever seen a Hav-musuv?”

“No, but we have many stories of them. There are reasons why one does not become too curious.’


“Yes. These strange people have weapons. One is a small tube which stuns one with a prickly feeling like a rain of cactus needles. One cannot move for hours, and during this time the mysterious ones vanish up the cliffs. The other weapon is deadly. It is a long, silvery tube. When this is pointed at you, death follows immediately.’

“But tell me about these people. What do they look like and how do they dress?’

“They are a beautiful people. Their skin is a golden tint, and a head band holds back their long dark hair. They dress always in a white fine-spun garment which wraps around them and is draped upon one shoulder. Pale sandals are worn upon their feet…”

His voice trailed away in a puff of smoke. The purple shadows rising up the walls of the Funerals splashed like the waves of the ghost lake. The old man seemed to have fallen into a sort of trance, but I had one more question.

“Has any Paiute ever spoken to a Hav-musuv, or were the Paiutes here when the great rowing-ships first appeared?”

For some moments I wondered if he had heard me. Yet as is our custom, I waited patiently for the answer. Again he went through the ritual of the smoke-breathing to the four directions, and then his soft voice continued:

“Yes. Once in the not-so-distant-past, but yet many generations before the coming of the Spanish, a Paiute chief lost his bride by sudden death. In his great and overwhelming grief, he thought of the Hav-musuvs and their long tube-of-death. He wished to join her, so he bid farewell to his sorrowing people and set off to find the Hav-musuvs. None appeared until the chief began to climb the almost unscaleable Panamints. Then one of the men in white appeared suddenly before him with the long tube, and motioned him back. The chief made signs that he wished to die, and came on. The man in white made a long singing whistle and other Hav-musuvs appeared. They spoke together in a strange tongue and then regarded the chief thought- fully. Finally they made signs to him making him understand that they would take him with them.

“Many weeks after his people had mourned him for dead, the Paiute chief came back to his camp. He had been in the giant underground valley of the Hav-musuvs, he said, where white lights which burn night and day and never go out, or need any fuel, lit an ancient city of marble beauty. There he learned the language and the history of the mysterious people, giving them in turn the language and legends of the Paiutes. He said that he would have liked to remain there forever in the peace and beauty of their life, but they bade him return and use his new knowledge for his people.”

I could not help but ask the inevitable.

“Do you believe this story of the chief?”

His eyes studied the wisps of smoke for some minutes before he answered.

“I do not know. When a man is lost in Tomesha, and the Fire-God is walking across the salt crust, strange dreams like clouds, fog through his mind. No man can breathe the hot breath of the Fire-God and long remain sane. Of course, the Paiutes have thought of this. No people knows the moods of Tomesha better than they.

“You asked me to tell you the legend of the flying ships. I have told you what the young men of the tribe do not know, for they no longer listen to the stories of the past. Now you ask me if I believe. I answer this. Turn around. Look behind you at that wall of the Panamints. How many giant caverns could open there, being hidden by the lights and shadows of the rocks? How many could open outward or inward and never be seen behind the arrow-like pinnacles before them? How many ships could swoop down like an eagle from the beyond, on summer nights when the fires of the furnace-sands have closed away the valley from the eyes of the white-man? How many Hav-musuvs could live in their eternal peace away from the noise of white-man’s guns in their unscaleable stronghold? This has always been a land of mystery. Nothing can change that. Not even white-man with his flying engines, for should they come too close to the wall of the Panamints a sharp wind like the flying arrow can sheer off a wing. Tomesha hides its secrets well even in winter, but no man can pry into them when the Fire-God draws the hot veil of his breath across the passes.”

I must still answer your question with my mind in doubt, for we speak of a weird land. White-man does not yet know it as well as the Paiutes, and we have ever held it in awe. It is still the forbidden ‘Tomesha – Land-Of-The-Flaming-Earth.”

Oge-Make is actually science fiction writer L. Taylor Hansen, who contributed a lot of material for Amazing Stories in the late 1940s and probably used the pseudonym to further give the tale an aura of mystery. She passed away in May 1976.

Stranger still is the fact that most Paiute elders in the Northern Nevada area know of this same tale. Many of them were young children when they first heard it from their elders.

As one woman, who lives on the Hungry Valley Reservation, jus’ north of Reno, Nevada said to me: “This could be a White-man’s tale that has found its way into our lore, since most of us were kids back in the 30s and 40s.”

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Life Lesson #8

Stop beating yourself up over old mistakes.
We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.
We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.
But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.
Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.

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While hanging out in the backyard, early Sunday morning, trying to catch a view of the comet named ‘Siding Spring,’ I recalled an event from July 1995. At the time Mary, Kyle and I were living in an apartment on Sutro Street in Reno.

During the evening of the third, I sat outside with my friend Gene and his three girls, Elyse, Renee and Lauren. The five of us lay back in the grass watching the sky.

We were looking for the U.S. and Russian space ships to zip through the darkened night. The two ships were docked together and visible for only a few minutes as they were traveling so fast that they were out of sight in no time.

It was such an amazing sight that wrote about the event in my private journal that night: “I am still in awe of the space program, knowing that man can leave the gravity of this Earth and go beyond the limits of what was once considered imagination…”

It’s those small bits-and-pieces of memory that make life worth living.

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What Would My Final Message Be?

Sitting on my front porch, enjoying an autumn zephyr that felt more like a winter breeze, I got to thinking about what wisdom I could impart if we had no more time left.  Politics, civil liberty, historical essays, family stories and old photographs would no longer matter.

So what’s left?

Then that tiny voice, I often call my conscience, but is really the Holy Spirit we each have, whispered in my head. Despite the rushing of God’ breathe across the valley, I heard His message loud and clear: “Love and care for each other.”

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