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click to enlarge Wiener on a stick at the Humboldt County Fair


Wiener on a stick at the Humboldt County Fair

Humboldt is short on a great many things — housing, OBGYNs, Portuguese restaurants — but 2023 had no shortage of dick moves. Dick moves are by definition avoidable but are they fixable? Can a selfish, malicious and petty act of destruction be undone? Reversed? Even redeemed?

Last December, thieves snuck in under cover of darkness — and just past the Journal's Dick Moves deadline — to steal the wooden Rainbow Bridge outside Sunny Brae Animal Hospital, where it had been a sweet memorial, comforting those who lost their pets. The heist was caught on camera, but despite a communitywide search and a promised reward, the hospital had to replace the bridge with a new one. Then one night last month, the pilfered one was returned by a truck. Was it an act of remorse? The work of a pet vigilante? We don't know but it gives us a wee spark of hope for some of this year's dickery.

10. Nonprofit embezzling.

Sometimes it's not about what you steal, it's about from whom you steal it. Maybe you need the cash for an operation or gambling debts or collecting creepy Victorian dolls — I don't know your life. But surely there are plenty of nefarious corporations to target. Siphoning funds from not one but two nonprofits, as Nina Tafarella is alleged to have done at the Humboldt County Fair Association and an unnamed Eureka dance studio, is a county-fair-jumbo-corn-dog-sized dick move.

9. Vandalizing the Jardin Santuario.

In June, hate-crime enthusiasts made a mess of the sunflower-filled sanctuary garden in Arcata. Again. Since July of 2022, bigots have torn down plants, stolen security equipment, padlocked the gate and spray-painted the welcome sign at the community garden. May they reap what they've sown: a bumper crop of dickus moveus.

8. Lead Ammo Hunters.

We've talked about this, people. Lead ammunition is illegal for hunting in California and has landed people in this column before. This time, the Elmer Fudds in question left enough lead to poison newly released condor A6, aka Me-new-kwek, (I'm bashful or I am shy), who was treated at Sequoia Park Zoo. The shy one, for flock's sake. Some of the other condors had elevated lead levels, too. Here's hoping the whole cohort paints your vehicle from the sky.

7. Toys for Tots Thieves.

In a list such as this, it truly behooves/ one not to forget such a glaring dick move/ as the theft of a semi-truck loaded with toys/ meant for the neediest of girls and boys/ It makes our teeth gnash and our foreheads pinch/ that Toys for Tots was hit by a Grinch/ That's what we can't stand, what give us the ick/ It's ick of the dicks! The dicks! Dicks! Dicks!

6. Cal Poly Humboldt's sudden parking enforcement.

Did the university have to reverse its longstanding policy of turning a blind eye to students living in their vehicles parked in campus lots? There's a history of students camping and van-life-ing their way through college in Humboldt to make ends meet, after all. But the timing, just weeks before finals, was more than an inconvenient time to move. It was a dick move.

5. "Housing for All" initiative.

Be serious. If you have to create confusion with the name of your ballot initiative to get people to sign, you know you're committing a dick move. The so-called "Housing for All" initiative actually seeks to block building low-income housing in Old Town and Downtown Eureka parking lots. And if you notice you're standing shoulder to shoulder with Dick Moves alum Rob Arkley, well, that's another sign you might be on Team Dick Move.

4. Wildberries manager cheering section.

When video of Wildberries manager Aaron Gottschalk pulling, shoving and pinning a 16-year-old girl suspected of shoplifting surfaced on Reddit, it was disturbing and scary. And then the dicks came out to not only laud a grown man's roughing up of a minor, but to trot out their toxic "spare the rod and spoil the child" takes. Real talk: If you were hit as a kid, that was wrong and you don't have to justify the abuse you suffered. As much as you say you turned out fine, if you're out here perpetuating the intergenerational cycle of abuse, you're not fine. It's a dick move and you can end it here.

3. Rex Bohn puts the gun in the basket.

The rules for the Rural County Representatives of California's auction baskets are clear — no guns, no live animals, no weed — and yet, not for the first time, Supervisor Bohn ignored them. Along with some beef, a barbecue grill, a jar of Larrupin' Sauce and a bunch of other stuff, he tossed in a 9 mm handgun. To represent Humboldt. Which is struggling with stolen guns and historically high rates of gun deaths. And evidently high rates of dick moves.

2. Rex Bohn's "topless" comment.

Our boy was busy this year, just edging out the auction foul above with a misogynist comment at another fundraiser. This time he was auctioneering on behalf of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce when he suggested that the owner of a restaurant might serve topless if the bidding on a dinner she'd donated went high enough. But it was the half-hearted, vague non-apology following the incident that made it a double-decker dick move. Bohn, a frequent flier on this annual list and the first to double dip in a single year, should be better at apologies by now.

1. Anti-LGBTQ+ enablers.

The April Ferndale City Council meeting was like an onion, with layer after layer of dickish bigotry. Public commenters using their time and the council's platform to spout anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and lies to shout down a proposed "kindness resolution" was only the dusty outer film. What really drew tears was the cowardice of the council itself, allowing each hateful tirade to pass without pushback. It was a test of leadership the council members failed as spectacularly as they failed the residents and reputation of the town. The people of Ferndale and its visitors (which, of course, include plenty LGBTQ+ folks) deserve better. It's called the Victorian Village, councilmembers, not the Dicktorian Village.

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she/her) is the arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at (707) 442-1400, extension 320, or [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram @JFumikoCahill and on Mastodon @jenniferfumikocahill.

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About The Author

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal. She won the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2020 Best Food Writing Award and the 2019 California News Publisher's Association award for Best Writing.

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