Plant Trees SF Events 2011 Archive: 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Event

 
TO MY READERS:  I have at long last opened a blog:  http://naturenewssf.blogspot.com/

It will eventually replace these emailed newsletters.  I expect to have teething problems until I become more practiced and comfortable; have patience--I'm a stranger in a strange land.  I will continue mailing newsletters for awhile; some recipients may be on vacation and miss this message.

When I dispense with emails I expect to increase the frequency and shorten the content of each posting.

1.   The truth about population
2.   Action needed to make wind power bird-smart
3.   A better vision for Central Subway funds
4.   San Mateo County voters - Dave Pine for Supervisor
5.   Pt Reyes Birding and Nature Festival April 29 - May 2
6.   SF Veterans Administration Medical Center - a proposed monster overlooking the Golden Gate.  A dinosaur to boot
7.   East Bay news from Friends of 5 Creeks
8.   Living with coyotes - May 12 in San Francisco
9.   Creosote bush, an interesting plant from South America and California - and oldest-known living organism
10. Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want Heaven to be, and God to come again
11.  Prepare to go on - or sponsor - Muir's March
12.  Mission blue butterfly on Twin Peaks - Chron story
13.  Improvements to the Presidio Coastal Trail corridor and Lincoln Boulevard bike lanes
14.  Feedback: Utility boxes/bees and buckeye trees/buckeyes on Yerba Buena Island/archy & mehitabel
15.  Perils of extreme democracy--California offers a warning to voters all over the world
16.  Congressman Paul Ryan on fiscal consistency
17.  Born 27 April 1822 - Ulysses S Grant
18.  Fort Sumter falls.  It will soon be all over
19.  Bioremediation:  oyster mushrooms clean baby diapers
20.  Tongues cannot tell - fine wines
21.  If you go to San Francisco, be sure to bring your walking shoes - and make your will first

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Population

1.  You cannot preserve the environment by accepting the population growth and the increased affluence that are destroying the environment.

The Great Challenge: Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population locally, nationally, or globally?

-Albert A. Bartlet, Professor of Physics, Emeritus, University of Colorado, Boulder.
Alice Polesky:
> Hi Jake, I was wondering if you've ever seen the Michael Wood series, "Legacy, the Origins of Civilization." The first program in the series, about Iraq, the so-called "Cradle of Civilization," makes the point of how human civilization, with its vast populations, devastate the environment. He's a brilliant, brilliant, historian, writer, and presenter. His historical documentaries are among the best I've seen. I was thinking of you when I watched this program last night (for the second time).
>
> I googled the documentary to see if I could provide you with more info, and I see it's possible to watch it online, though I'd recommend the DVD for quality, since stunning images are as powerful as his words -- his history, his analysis, which is both deep and broad, and his writing, which verges on the poetic.
>
> http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/legacy-the-origins-of-civilization/
>
> I guess you can tell I like the guy.
Thanks for the tip, Alice.  I may have to wait for another lifetime, although it's not out of the question I could get to it in this one.  Sounds like up my alley.

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2.  Endangered Habitats League - Action Needed to  Make Wind Power Bird-Smart
 
A conundrum facing environmentalists is that wind turbines – felt to be a big part of a strategy to stop global warming – can kill large number of birds and bats, particularly when badly located. By 2030, there will be more than 100,000 wind turbines in the U.S., and these are expected to kill at least one million or more birds each year. We must act to reduce this harm! Wind power can be "bird-smart" if developed appropriately, but industry will not do this unless mandated. 

 
Please send an email to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an official public comment on Draft Wind Guidelines that will soon be issued. These guidelines should be strengthened and made mandatory.

 
Please use this link provided by American Bird Conservancy, and fill out the website forms. Take action before May 19 at:
http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5400/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6259

(JS:  And there are severe impacts beyond birds.  Ecosystems are like fabrics, and the fabric is being torn; shredded, even.  I hear little talk of conservation, using only the energy we need.  I see waste all around me, at all levels and in all walks of life.  Although heretical, I also advocate lowering the standard of living for those of us who have much more than we need.  Dream on, Jake.)

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3.  A BETTER VISION FOR CENTRAL SUBWAY FUNDS
The Congressional continuing resolution of April 2011 shows a trend for cutbacks in Federal New Starts Funding---with cuts from the 2010 and 2011 federal budget.

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article/APTA-outlines-latest-budget-cuts-aimed-at-transit-highspeed-rail--26317
The House GOP 2012 Budget emphasizes transportation cuts---unfortunately favoring highways instead.
http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/04/06/gop-budget-would-slash-transpo-spending-entrench-oil-dependence/
http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/04/15/%E2%80%9Cpath-to-prosperity%E2%80%9D-or-road-to-ruin-either-way-the-house-says-yes/

We need to inform legislators about the $200 million for the Central Subway Boondoggle in the President’s 2012 Budget.  Comparing capital costs per new rider, the Central Subway’s $316,000/ new rider is the most inefficient light rail project in the United States.  Comparing capital costs per mile, the Central Subway’s $928,000/ mile is the most ineffective light rail project in the United States.  Comparing new riders as a percentage of total riders, the Central Subway’s 14% is the lowest of any light rail project in the United States.
Because we need to save existing public transit and social / health programs, bad transit projects are derailing the American dream.  The optimal compromise is to reallocate wasteful transportation funding to transit-priority street and surface transit projects----pumping millions of jobs into the bottom base of the economy.  Let’s continue to write and engage our public officials.
Regards, Howard  Wong
Www.SaveMuni.com

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Mary Keitelman:
4.  San Mateo County voters - vote by mail before May 1
Enviros could do no better than to vote for Dave Pine. Vote by mail only.  Ballots were mailed to all San Mateo County voters in early April, and are due back by May 3. 

Why vote for Dave Pine over the other candidates in the hotly contested San Mateo County Supervisor race? 
Thanks to Dave Pine's efforts on the San Mateo County Charter Review Committee, the County has changed its policy and vacancies Board of Supervisors are now filled by county-wide election, not appointment by the sitting board. Dave Pine supports limited buildout on the coast, which has tremendous environmental value - to share with all for future generations.
 
Learn more about Dave at www.davepine.com

(JS:  I have declined to endorse candidates in the past, and for the most part will continue that policy.  However, this seems a pretty clear choice, as opponents are developer-friendly.  I am trusting Mary's judgment.  It may be a one-time deviation from my policy.)


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5.  Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival April 29 Thru May 2

This is a fun weekend of field outings, both bird and plant oriented. You can check out the website at pointreyesbirdingfestival.org. The event is a benefit for the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.

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6.  The San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center occupies 29 acres at Clement Street and 42nd Avenue.  It is surrounded by national parklands (GGNRA), the City’s Lincoln Park, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and a quiet residential neighborhood.  Over the next 20 years, the SFVAMC intends to build 1 million square feet of new construction and parking for up to 3,440 cars on this fragile site.  Most of this development is for research or administration – not for clinical services for our veterans.  This “city within a city” will be visible from the Marin Headlands.
 
Attend the meeting Tuesday, April 26 at 6pm
 
A Public Meeting will be held Tuesday, April 26 from 6pm-7pm in the Auditorium, Bldg. 7, 1st Floor of the SFVAMC campus, Clement Street between 42nd and 43rd Avenues.
  
Written or verbal comments can be provided during the April 26 Neighborhood Meeting.   Submit written comments by Friday, April 29
 
If you cannot attend the meeting but would like to submit written comments, please direct them to (please copy julieburns@aol.com ):
 
John Pechman
Facility Planner
San Francisco VA Medical Center (001)
4150 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94121
John.Pechman@va.gov 
 
The  comment period  will close  April 29, 2011.
 
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7.  From Friends of 5 Creeks
Monday talk on city hawks and creeks

 
Coopers hawks are amazing fliers, wheeling through forest clutter or flying low in a stealth pursuit. Find out much more about their surprising life near city creeks at F5C's meeting Monday, May 2, 7-9 PM at Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin. Allen Fish, director the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, will speak on "East Bay Cooper's Hawks -- Sentinel Species for Happy Urban Creeks." Free, all welcome, and delicious refreshments!

Tomorrow, Wed., April 27, Bob Doyle, new General Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, speaks on "Progressive Transitions: The East Bay Regional Park District in 2010 and 2011," at the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society's meeting, 7:30 PM at Orinda Public Library Auditorium, 24 Orinda Way. Free and open to all!

 
New Bay Trail segment opens Saturday: The loop trail around Richmond's landfill at the mouth of San Pablo Creek opens Saturday, April 30, with a bicycle parade from the newly restored Plunge pool in Point Richmond and much more. Information here. Map of trails linking this new loop and the marsh at the mouth of Wildcat Creek (a historic restoration milestone) here. 

 
Sunday, May 1, 11 AM - 3 PM, Albany's Arts and Green Festival offers music, dancing, food, fun, work of local artists, workshops and information workshops on local environmental efforts at Memorial Park, 1331 Portland at Carmel (free valet bicycle parking).  

 
jpeg.jpg
Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge needs help surveying for the rare Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose, 8:30 AM - 4 PM Wednesday and Thursday, May 25 and 26.  This is a fascinating chance to explore the refuge and help save rare species. Information and RSVP to 510 521 9624 or susan_ewing@yahoo.com.

 
Coastal Stewardship stories wanted: If you have helped care for California's coast or ocean, the Coastal Council wants your story, with a chance to win prizes and have your account posted on their web site. Opportunities for classrooms and youth groups, too. Deadline is May 31 -- information at www.coastforyou.org.

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8.  Living with Coyotes:  May 12, 2011 (6:30pm PST)
Gina Farr- guest speaker; presentation- Living with Coyotes. Sponsored by San Francisco Recreation & Parks and Project Coyote.  San Francisco County Fair Bldg, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.  more info.
l

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9.  Creosote bush
From Mike Wood:
> I just heard this on KQED’s Perspectives series. Thought you might be interested. 
>  
> I’ve seen the plains of Patagonia, which are dominated by two species of Larrea, (creosote bush) as well as the penguins burrowing beneath it on the Atlantic coast.  Incongruous, indeed.  But I wasn’t aware of the fact (if true) that Larrea is thought to have moved from south to north.  Interesting.
>  
Likewise.  The thought popped into my head as to how this would be known.  If you find out I'd be interested.
> This was especially relevant for me as I’m doing surveys in the desert again this year and spending long days walking through creosote bush scrub.  
>  
> Creosote
> Naturalist Michael Ellis examines the most common bush in California
> http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201104220735

Thanks for sending, Mike.  I love and admire this bush; anything that can cope the way it has deserves our deep respect.

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10.

WANTING SUMPTUOUS HEAVENS 
No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.
Robert Bly in The New Yorker

 
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11.  RESTORE HETCH HETCHY

Thinking about joining us on Muir's March but wondering who your fearless leader might be? 

 
The following is an introduction to just a few of the guides who work for our guide company, Balanced Rock.  They are the folks who will guide you towards O'Shaughnessy Dam, prepare your meals, fix your boo-boos and tell you stories.  Indeed these are the folks who will keep you safe and insure you have the experience of a lifetime.

 
Muir's March is about commitment and passion.  RHH is committed to and passionate about creating an event that not only generates much needed resources for our campaign but that also creates an extraordinary learning process for those who participate.  These individuals embody that commitment.

 
Sign up today for Muir's March!

Muir's Marchers Speak Out 
Hear what last year's Muir's Marchers have to say about their experience.
http://vimeo.com/21650797

Kids' Video to Restore Hetch Hetchy
Watch this short video made by second graders Gabriel V. and Dylan N. These kids have some great facts and information, please share their video with others to inform and inspire! 
http://vimeo.com/21942163

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12.  Twin Peaks/Mission Blue Butterflies on SFGate
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/04/22/Butterflies_relocated.DTL

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13.  This summer, the National Park Service, Presidio Trust and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy will begin improvements to the Presidio Coastal Trail corridor and Lincoln Boulevard bike lanes south of Merchant Road.  The following is a brief description of the work to that will be accomplished. All of these improvements are contained within the existing Presidio Trails and Bikeways Master Plan.
 
-          The first phase of Presidio Coastal Trail improvements will begin in June with new bike lanes along Lincoln Blvd.
-          Work on the Golden Gate Overlook (above Merchant Road), the Pacific Overlook (along Lincoln Blvd.), and trail improvements will
                   begin in August.
-          A new multi-use trail will be established to connect the Merchant Road parking lot to the Golden Gate Overlook and along
                   Lincoln Boulevard to the Pacific Overlook.   This trail will also be designed to meet new guidelines for accessible trails.
-          In addition to bike lanes, improvements to Lincoln Blvd. will include crosswalk at Washington Blvd., to connect to a future trail to the Rob Hill
                  campground.
-          All of these improvements are contained within the existing Presidio Trails and Bikeways Master Plan.
 
We are inviting the public to a series of public walks to learn more about the project, including the improvements to public access and the resources the project will protect and enhance.  The walks will be led by staff with key expertise in the project and the natural and cultural resources in the area.
 
The walks will occur on Saturdays from 10 am to Noon and will cover include the following topics:
 
      April 30 – Cultural Resources, Coastal Defense Batteries, and the new
      Golden Gate Overlook
      May 21 – Natural Resources, Vegetation Management and Stewardship
      Activities
      June 11 – Pre-Construction/Project Details
 
To RSVP and learn the meeting location, write to trailsforever@parksconservancy.org or call 415-561-3054.

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14.  Feedback

Stan Kaufman:
>> 5.  Act Now to Halt Utility Box Blight: Be there on April 26th!
> "Act now to make sure that your Internet connection remains slower than in most third world nations" more like. This is the stupidest and most annoying position that these various organizations have ever taken. If you want fiber to your house, it has to get there somehow. Otherwise we're stuck with DSL that in SF is barely faster than dial-up. These boxes go on ugly concrete sidewalks right next to the unscooped dog shit, not in Significant Natural Resource Areas. This campaign isn't progressive. It's Luddite.

Peter Vaernet:
> Hi Jake, A thought on utility boxes: I am no lover of utility boxes or graffiti/tagging, but what if AT&T paid local artists to paint mini murals on the boxes - a possible condition for permits to place the boxes and a plus for local artists:
> Dan Weaver has arranged for students to make beautiful mosaics on some utility boxes at Tara Street & Geneva Ave in the Ingleside.    Also a beautiful wood stick utility box cover exists behind the Charlie Sava pool on 20th Street & Wawona.  It would make a lot of sense for AT&T and other utility box owners to make art on them...maybe we should ask John Avalos to sponsor such legislation. 
That still leaves the boxes, which are cluttering our streets and impeding pedestrian traffic.  In some streets that isn't a problem, but the day is coming when we will be walking again.

Kathryn Mazaika:
> Hi Jake,  Thanks for highlighting this film in your list.  I've seen it and highly recommend it.  It highlights so many of the unrealized dimensions of the emerging problems honeybees face in our increasingly pesticide-polluted environment.
>   If you haven't seen it, please try to.  Next steps . . . . . bee boxes in the City.  Please keep us posted of future events focusing on these efforts.
> The outpouring of support for ‘Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?’ has been astounding. We are so very appreciative of any help you were able to give spreading the word about this important independent film. Queen of The Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? - Official Trailer
>
> Due to popular demand, The Rialto Cinemas in Elmwood has agreed to EXTEND our run.
> Rialto Cinemas Elmwood
> 2966 College Avenue
> Berkeley, CA 94705
>
> We will be screening 4:45pm matinees from April 22nd-April 28th 
> The link to the theater website is here.
> Another honey bee documentary will be playing on May 15th called "Vanishing of the Bees". 
> www.queenofthesun.com

Susan Schwartz, Friends of 5 Creeks:
> Hi, Jake, I am a huge fan of California buckeyes, a tree smart enough to lose its leaves in our dry season; dramatically gorgeous in bud, bloom, and leaf; haunting in its gnarled, witch's claw bareness, and yet kindsly and obliging in so often growing great places for kids to climb and hang out. (At one of F5C's projects, a big old buckeye serves as a sort of clubhouse for a gaggle of kids who sit in its branches being teens. They drop their cigarettes and beer cans -- but I'm happy they're doing it out in nature.) Also, as you know, used by Native Americans in oddly contradictory ways, both to stun fish and, with the poison leached out, as lean-times food.
>  
> So I was somewhat shocked to learn that a lot of people hate buckeyes, at least in cities: Beekeepers because the blooms apparently poison the (non-native) honeybees, homeowners because they make a mess at the wrong seasons (they say year round), park personnel and even some bicyclists and skateboarders, because the balls can be treacherous if you are using a weed-whacker or your wheel hits one wrong. I saw this at a hearing just last night, with lots of folks objecting to plans to plant buckeyes along a planned bike path.
>  
> With bay trees the villains in Sudden Oak Death, and the oaks themselves being taken off by SOD or the hordes of beetles and fungi that the pathogen invites, cottonwoods brittle, Oregon ash messy ... it's hard to feel hopeful about our native trees.  Susan Schwartz (Friends of Five Creeks). 
Susan:  The reaction I am aware of is overwhelmingly friendly to buckeyes.  I am not dismissive of legitimate concerns--eg, honeybees.  I forget at the moment whether it poisons the bees or if the honey is poison to their larvae.  (I'll ask my bee man at tomorrow's farmers' market.*)  

[*  Written three days later, after getting the word from my farmers' market bee-man:  He told me that honeybees are aware of the buckeye flower's chemistry and avoid visiting its flowers unless there is nothing else for them to feed on.  So perhaps this may be an exaggerated fear.]
  
Nor do I immediately dismiss some of the other concerns you list.  However, I have learned to turn a deaf ear to many complaints, as some people object to just about any tree.  How many times have I heard (you name the tree) "They're messy."  Yes, children are messy too, but people consider they're worth the trouble.  Any tree you name has its detractors.  I pay attention only to the legitimate ones, such as honeybees.  

I caution everyone:  Don't plant trees where they're not appropriate; be thoughtful about siting and choose the appropriate species.  Inappropriate plantings are common, and little thought is given to how large a tree will become.  I have for >40 years been encouraging more trees on San Francisco streets.  (In 1970 I personally initiated a neighborhood project and planted 34 trees in my block and adjacent blocks; 15 still survive.)  Buckeyes spread too wide for our narrow streets, and then there's the honeybee problem; we have lots of hives in the city.

You say "it's hard to feel hopeful about our native trees".  I would say it's hard to be hopeful about native plants in general.  We have so upset natural systems and processes that these systems are coming apart.  Every year there are more and more weeds, fewer and fewer native plants.  The animals that depend on these natives are also in decline, and many (most?) of them will disappear.  I don't know how people can be indifferent to this.  Part of the answer, I suppose, is that they are unaware of it and too preoccupied with other problems.  So much for our sense of values and our concept of an educational system.

Whoops, I'm getting on my high horse again.  Better stop.

Mike Wood:
> Hi Jake, Regarding your notes on buckeyes…don’t forget the fabulous specimens at the former cemetery site on YBI.  Could these trees predate the establishment of the cemetery in 1852?
JS: As to your question about whether indigenous or not, it's hard to say.  Remember what I said about a few-decades-old tree looking ancient.  However, my gut feeling is that these probably are indigenous--or at the least planted from the indigenous stock.  It seems exceedingly likely.
>
>  
> excerpt from
> THE LEGEND OF YERBA BUENA ISLAND
> Known originally as Sea Bird Island,later as Wood Island, and quite commonly as Goat Island
> Stories of an inland island collected by
> MARCIA EDWARDS BOYES
> Sketches by ALEX CAZET
> 1936
>
>  
> The Island Cemetery
>
>  
> But Indian graves are not alone found on the island. There is at present, a fence-enclosed area on the west end of the island, dedicated to those who have reached their life's sunset.
> All cemeteries are like pages from the past, and these orderly, uniform, flat gray granite headstones are headlines for stories, romantic and sad, with dates going back to 1852. There are
> service men, whose permanent relief from duty has thinned ranks of sailors and marines, and there are names that write "finis" to island claims.
>
>  
> Time was, when older headstones marked graves individually, but some, becoming mutilated by time or vandal, made re-marking of the graves necessary. The new, uniform, granite markers arrived, but in the interim the old ones had been removed. Then was the denouement! The plot naming the different graves had been misplaced and could not be found. The assignment of replacing the headstones had been given to one sergeant of marines who was not without resource in this emergency. They found him with all the gray polished slabs carefully laid out ready for installation in alphabetical order. Fortunately, if it mattered to those who slept on the quiet slope overlooking the Golden Gate, the navy files at Washington had the correct plot for proper identification, and thus they were installed.
>
>  
> The Double Grave
>
>  
> Visitors to the cemetery have their interest piqued by the double headstone which reads, "Edward F. Lindsay, Died Aug. 24, 1842" and "Edward L. Lindsey, Died Jan, 10, 1855." The original tall marble tombstone read

> Sacred
> To the memory of
> Edward F. Lindsey,
> Formerly of England
> Died in San Francisco
> Aug. 24, 1842
> Aged 38 years
> Also
> Their beloved son
> Edward L. Lindsey
> Died in San Francisco
> January 10, 1855
> Aged 17 years
> Erected by the bereaved widow and mother
> Life, how short; Eternity, how long.
>
>  
> The date of the father's demise, 1842, proved to have been an error of the stone cutter, as Captain Lindsey was born in London on February 11, 1813. He was credited with the command of his uncle's ship "Edward" at the age of 21, and was engaged by the English government to transport prisoners, the first lot of female prisoners being sent to Tasmania. Later he settled with his family in Hobardtown, Australia and engaged in shipping, circumnavigating the earth four times. The discovery of gold in California lured him to the new country. His wife and six children accompanied him on his own ship the "Palmyra", and on June 4, 1850, he arrived in San Francisco with a cargo wisely chosen to dispose of in the new land, namely, bricks and lumber.  Acquisition was made of a water lot at the foot of Greenwich Street, where his ship was moored, and served as the family residence up to the time of his death. He also purchased property in the vicinity of Greenwich and Sansome Streets with the profits of his sale of cargo.
>
>  
> Family outings and entertainment of visiting sea captains were frequently planned by Captain Lindsey, with a trip in his yacht "Glide" to Yerba Buena, or Goat Island, as his favorite
> excursion. His oft-repeated suggestion that when he died, there would he like to lie, was followed in the funeral arrangements.
>
>  
> Funeral Cortege in Boats
>
...

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