Glass Full/Glass Empty

Music teacher Michael Fecskes has performed in venues, living rooms, amphitheaters and outdoor spaces across the Bay Area and beyond for over 15 years – but recently his renowned woodwind work has been silenced. Fecskes teaches music at El Verano Elementary School in Sonoma and Live Oak Charter School in Petaluma – but, as Jenny Perillo reported recently to the Index-Tribune, his $8,000 cello was “badly damaged in a classroom accident.”

But parents like Jenny are showing their appreciation for Michael’s career spent giving “the gift of music to K-12 students in the North Bay” and have so far raised more than $5,000 toward the purchase of a new cello for Sonoma’s hometown bowmaster.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before Michael is, as Jenny writes, “encouraging students to find their own musical path and work together to create beautiful sounds.”

For those who’d like to contribute, Lucy Clark has organized a Go Fund Me campaign; visit and search for “cello rescue.”

Just when we thought we knew about all the local fauna of Sonoma County, Daniel from Fetters Hot Springs reminds us it’s still a great big undiscovered country out there.

Daniel wrote on a neighborhood social media page this week about a recent Trione Annadel State Park encounter with a horsehair worm – 18 wriggly inches of “gloriously horrifying” parasite swimming around in a puddle.

Explained Daniel in grim detail: Horsehair worms begin their lives as microscopic larvae in water. The larvae allow themselves to be swallowed by aquatic insects only to become cysts inside the insect. When the small hosts are eaten by larger insects, continued Daniel, “the cyst hatches as a tiny worm and starts to dissolve and absorb the host from the inside.” As it feeds, it avoids the most vital organs, so as not to kill the host too quickly.

Then things get weird. “Over time it grows to be many times the length of the host, but all balled up inside it,” Daniel said. “Finally, it manipulates the brain of the host, causing it to find water and drown itself. The worm makes an exit hole and unravels itself out into the water, repeating the cycle.

“They’re not anything to be alarmed about (for humans),” added Daniel at the end of his woeful tale.

Sonomans were hardly soothed by Daniel’s calming addendum. Denise commented that the post had given her nightmares. Linda described it as “truly horrifying” and that she was “sorry I read it.” Though, to be sure, not as sorry as the host insect of the horsehair worm.

Jason Walsh

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