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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016

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by Aaron ‘Cob’ Martin

I have lived in Boonville since 2009, but I grew up in North Dakota. I recently returned from a month long stay there. My time was split between visits with family and work at the Oceti Sakowin water protector encampment, the focal point of the resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I wrote a previous piece that accounted for some basic camp experiences and concluded just after the well known Backwater Bridge protest which drew national attention to law enforcement’s brutal tactics against peaceful demonstrators. After that event, resistance shifted from local engagements to a broad national media discussion that witnessed the arrival of thousands of military veteran supporters and culminated with the Army Corp of Engineers' Dec 4th denial of an easement for ETP to drill under the Missouri River. Meanwhile, the protector camp focused on maintaining safety through two blizzards that brought extreme wind and snow as temperatures dropped below -15°F.

At daily coordination meetings, I heard estimates of camp population near 12,000 at its peak on Dec 4th. They dropped to less than one thousand before I left on Dec 13th. Maintenance of such a large population was clearly difficult for even the best laid preparations. Winterization and sanitation infrastructure was put to the test during the first sub-zero blizzard from Dec 5th to Dec 7th.

The onset of severe weather began mid-day Dec 5th. Weather conditions compelled all individuals to assess their abilities to remain from a purely physical perspective. Thousands of people prudently chose to leave, but it is a testament to the camp’s organization that so many thousands were able to stay. Most roads, including the major interstate corridors through ND, were closed due to icy, windy, and low visibility conditions. A vigilant medical team worked continuously to keep campers warm and healthy. Winterization preparations included enough extra resources to safely house those who overestimated their capabilities and required assistance after it was too late to depart.

The medical team recruited additional volunteers for accountability ‘search and rescue’ efforts intended to protect campers from hypothermia. Search teams made rounds through the camp to locate anyone in high-risk situations, especially those sleeping in personal vehicles and tents. Hypothermia can onset slowly without the individual being aware of the signs, which include confusion, fatigue, lack of concern, and drowsiness. Many were treated for varying stages of hypothermia, while others were escorted to warmer accommodations.

The overall community was expected to support accountability efforts through check-ins with their immediate neighbors. Small groups with additional space were requested to offer extra sleeping room to others. Anyone camping alone was encouraged to seek out communal sleeping spaces.

The ‘Mendo Stands with Standing Rock ‘group has maintained a winterized tipi for a steady flow of short-term, local supporters since Sept. During blizzard times, the Mendocino tipi provided additional sleeping space for people from the medical warming ward.

Winterization infrastructure relied on a communal approach to maximize the efficiency of insulation, heating, and communication. Large canvas tents, tipis, yurts and domes had insulated floors made of 2x6 lumber stuffed with straw and covered with plywood. Some were given additional straw bale walls to provide further insulation and wind break. Heating was accomplished primarily with wood stoves, and augmented with some propane heat. Meeting spaces, mess halls, and other logistical spaces were converted to warm sleeping areas after nightfall. All work was completed with volunteer labor.

Sanitation became a dire situation as camp population spiked just before severe weather. Sanitation consisted of groups of porta-potties distributed throughout camp that were pumped on a daily basis. The severe weather stopped the regular pumping schedule. Soon after, the septic company completely removed the johns as a composting toilet system was being developed.

The organization, Give Love (, in partnership with the Protectors Alliance (, was hired by the Standing Rock Sioux to develop and implement a long term composting toilet system for all camps. Their contract included the development of 77 composting toilets. This project was just being implemented the day before I left, but I was able to attend a training that described how the overall system would be facilitated.

Toilet stalls were constructed in large winterized military tents. Each toilet consisted of a 5 gallon bucket lined with a biodegradable bag. Sawdust was used as a cover material. Attendants were trained to maintain and empty toilets and to train users unfamiliar with the no-water sawdust covering process. All bags were allowed to freeze after removal and prior to being transported to a location where all waste will be composted in the spring. Plans included distribution of individual toilets throughout camp to minimize distances that people would have to walk under cold and icy conditions.

This process is a clean, no-water method for human waste disposal. I know from years of personal experience that it is a very effective system. Its basic principals can be learned through many sources including Givelove’s homepage.

This compost model represents a valuable opportunity for rural California, especially Mendocino County, where it can simultaneously reduce water dependency while protecting ground water quality through reduced septic leaching.

At camp I witnessed a well-organized cooperative effort that was successful at sustaining a common goal under the most difficult circumstances. There was a consistent message to work cooperatively based on the 7 Sioux values of prayer, respect, compassion, honesty, generosity, humility, and wisdom. This intention was explicit at all work projects, trainings, and meetings that I participated in.

First nation’s cultures represent a natural fit for leadership roles regarding civil and environmental justice issues in the U.S. Please support this roll through active education regarding the continued oppression of indigenous people. Help to break this centuries-old cycle by seeking out and supporting indigenous struggles locally and nationally. Local support for the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline is being coordinated by the ‘Mendo Stands with Standing Rock’ group. They can be contacted through Facebook and other social media through searches of that name.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, "I'm hosting New Years for the neighborhood dogs. Most of them are fine at parties, but the Pits from next door, well, they're bad enough sober, but you put a drink in 'em and all they want to do is fight and call me names. I'll invite 'em and hope for the best."

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GERMAIN-ROBIN was recently named the best brandy in the world by people who drink a lot of brandy. It is produced in Ukiah, and may even still be produced in the hills west of the County seat where we once visited and enjoyed a few gratis belts of this wonderfully transporting drink.

I THINK I'd bought a bottle of Germain-Robin's very first batch, circa early '80s, at the Ukiah Safeway at a reduced introductory price of something like twenty bucks. I believe Safeway and a few other local Mendo stores were the only places you could find it. I pounded down that first memorable bottle with friends, all of us agreeing it was the right stuff, and by far the best right-ist stuff then produced in Mendocino County, an opinion I immediately shared with readers of Boonville's weekly newspaper.

DARNED if a free bottle didn't promptly appear by UPS delivery, as did free bottles the next couple years. With the appearance of each free bottle I dipped deeper into my bag of superlatives in the hopes of becoming an annual, maybe even life, recipient of free bottles of Germain-Robin.

BUT THEN WORD of G-R spread throughout the land, then throughout the entire world that this brandy, produced in Mendocino County by old style pot-distillation methods, was the very best produced anywhere, and the editor, stifling back a sob, remembers "Germain-Robin got so big so fast they didn't need the Boonville newspaper to spread the word anymore. No more freebies for Boonville." I've bought a nostalgic bottle every year since, and enjoy it over the holidays as much as I ever have.

Ansley Coale, left, the founder of the micro-distiller Germain-Robin, and Crispin Cain, their absinthe distiller.

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THE SAME DAY I learned Billy Rickman was on his way back to state prison, I learned the Philo native had been picking up a few bucks as a cage fighter in casino matches. Which would make him our first pro fighter, although our community doesn't lack for amateurs. In a legendary non-commercial appearance in front of the Navarro Store, Billy wiped out at least half the biker gang sent after him to collect some money. Always had a soft spot for the guy, whom I've known since he was a small boy, one of the nicest, most mannerly small boys one could imagine in our unmannerly times. He remained mannerly and industrious right up through high school, but after he left here he started getting in trouble, lots of trouble, drug-related trouble mostly. But everyone who knew Billy Rickman before, and lots of people who know him now, me included, keep on hoping he'll somehow recover himself.

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AS OF MONDAY, the CHP had not completed their report on the serious collision last week at the big turn on Mountain View Road, just up from the high school. It happened about 9am on Monday morning the 19th of December. “An older woman in one car, a younger woman in the other. Slid on ice into each other,” we were told. One lady was choppered outta here, the other wheeled over the hill by ambulance.

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UPDATE (received Tuesday morning) . . .

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MORE DETAILS emerged today in the Joshua Ruoff murder case as deputies disclosed that it was Timothy Sweeting’s dog that returned to the pot pharm on Charlie Hurt Highway, Covelo, and dug up her murdered master’s remains.

THIS REPORTER had mistakenly understood that it was a cadaver dog that found Timmy’s remains (everyone called him Timmy except his killer). Timmy's dog had been missing a few days before and after the murder when Sweeting, his master, was listed merely as a missing person. But on June 2nd Jack Overend heard dogs fighting in his backyard — apparently Sweeting’s dog was fighting off the others — and when Overend went out to break it up he saw Sweeting’s dog and a human hand protruding from under the sod where the dog had been digging. The hand belonged to Sweeting. His dog had come back to find him.

ALSO REVEALED were the text messages from Joshua Ruoff to Jack Overend reading, “Eternal sleep is the cure-bird, and this fucking kid is a leech.” Ruoff sent a picture of the murder weapon, a baseball bat, and Overend, the owner of the property where Sweeting was found, who was in Lake Tahoe, sent back a text that read, “Let the babe sleep.”

THE SHALLOW GRAVE where Sweeting was found was only five or six feet from the deck of the house the pot pharmers shared. When Sweeting's body was exhumed it was taken in for an autopsy, attended by Detective Matt Croskey who told the court that not only had the forehead been “severely battered” but also there was “a wide slash or gash across the throat.”

SWEETING'S mother identified her son’s remains by a tattoo on his left breast.

WHETHER Timmy Sweeting’s dog was named Lassie or not, she pretty much solved this horrendous pot-related murder.

DETECTIVE LUIS ESPINOZA testified that he’d been at the scene on May 19th and walked around (he and other investigators must have walked right over Timmy Sweeting’s grave near the deck) and that he saw what appeared to be dried blood puddles in the lawn and traces of spatters and smears on the deck and threshold of the door.

DETECTIVE ESPINOZA interviewed Brock Rodgers (who had been seen dropping Ruoff off at the U-Haul business in Willits) in the driveway to the Overend house and learned that he’d been helping with the tarps used in the light-depravation grow. Mr. Rodgers told Espinoza that Jack Overend had called him from Tahoe and asked him to go check on Sweeting just after 8:15 on May 18th and that when he got there about five minutes later, the deck was wet and there was no sign of Sweeting or his vehicle. He could see Ruoff inside, through the windows, “frantically throwing things” and packing up. He asked Ruoff to help him take a tarp down from the greenhouse, and Ruoff told him no. When he asked where Timmy was, Ruoff said he was out looking for his dogs.

AFTER RODGERS got the tarp down he called Overend back and was told to go in the house on the pretext that he needed to wash his hands, and look around. He did so, and said he found the place abnormally clean, and smelling strongly of bleach. He said Ruoff offered him some marijuana but he turned it down. Then he told Rouff that Jack said he needed to leave. After that Rodgers left but wasn’t gone more than 20 minutes when Ruoff called him “begging” for a ride to the U-Haul place in Willits.

THE PRELIM was postponed again, and set to resume after the first of the year. There didn’t seem to be any hurry, so the process of the law was proceeding at a pace set to accommodate the schedules of the witnesses.

— Bruce McEwen

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by Mary Callahan

In any other year, the large bins of Dungeness crab that are loaded dockside in this busy fishing village and rolled out by truck to be sold and served during the holidays would seem like no big deal.

But after an unprecedented delay in the 2015-16 commercial season forced local crabbers to leave their boats tied up through winter and on into spring, the tons of meaty crustaceans landed in port this month have been a welcome sign of normalcy restored, if only for a moment.

For here on the edge of the Pacific, where commercial fishing remains a way of life, once reliable ocean rhythms have been seriously unsettled of late, confounding those who depend on predictable, seasonal cycles and highlighting future uncertainties.

Even the current Dungeness season lurched off to a bumpy start, with the fishery opening piecemeal and mostly behind schedule, a symptom of widespread marine anomalies that have prevailed for the past three years, threatening everything from seabirds and sea lions to treasured catches such as salmon and abalone.

“The ocean is changing,” one glum crabber aboard the vessel New Horizon said while waiting to unload his catch recently at Tides Wharf. Offshore a strong storm was building and the fisherman summed up the fishing industry’s environmental troubles with hard-earned experience.

Irregularity “is starting to look like the new normal,” he said.

Scientists and fishermen alike are unsure about the degree to which recent upheaval fits within the ocean’s normal rhythms — which are complex — or is part of some longer-term trend, perhaps linked to global climate change and its many ripple effects.

It’s likely a bit of both, given the context of the Earth’s warming, though more immediate atmospheric conditions have been the primary suspect, scientists say.

“Climate change syndrome is definitely having an impact,” said John Largier, professor of coastal oceanography at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. “...What is very difficult to tell is how much.”

It appears that an expanse of high-temperature water along the coast of North American known as “the Warm Blob” is mostly to blame for recent disturbances affecting the coast of California, causing significant redistribution of wildlife, disruptions in the food web and large-scale mortality in a variety of animals.

First observed in the Gulf of Alaska in 2013, the blob was linked to a high pressure ridge parked over the north Pacific in 2011 that diverted winter storms, contributing to California’s drought and weakening winds that normally would help absorb heat from the ocean and stir up the cold water that makes the North Coast immensely productive breeding and feeding grounds for marine wildlife.

The blob was reinforced by warm El Niño waters driven north from the equatorial Pacific last year, contributing to what some scientists now think of as a “multi-year ocean heat wave,” with temperatures around 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in some locations, but up to 10 degrees above normal in the most extreme examples, said Nate Mantua, a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz.

“One of the things that is clear is there’s a lot of variation from year to year along the Pacific Coast, and some of that is tied into natural patterns, like El Niño,” Mantua said. “But what we saw in 2014, ‘15 and the first part of ‘16 was warmer than anything we’ve seen in our historical records, going back about 100 years.”

Notable impacts for the North Coast included last year’s persistent, widespread “red tide” — a bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia, a single-celled organism that thrives in warm water and produces a neurotoxin called domoic acid. In addition to contributing to fatalities among sea lions and other pinnipeds, the toxin shut down last year’s Dungeness crab fishery for 4½ months, including the lucrative holiday season, pushing many in the North Coast’s commercial fleet to the brink of insolvency.

The crisis isn’t over. Lingering toxicity along the California coast continued into early fall this year, though in a more localized distribution pattern, UC Santa Cruz Professor of Ocean Health Raphael Kudela said during an October public hearing on fisheries and aquaculture.

Warmer than usual water also is believed to have contributed to the collapse of the bull kelp forest off Sonoma and Mendocino counties, along with an explosion of purple urchins that have devoured remaining plant life. The urchins, in turn, are out-competing red abalone, the shellfish that attract thousands of sport divers and pickers each year to the Sonoma and Mendocino coast.

Evidence of starvation in abalone populations prompted authorities to impose new restrictions in the sport abalone fishery next year to limit the catch. The commercial red urchin fishery is suffering, as well, as the larger, marketable red urchins starve.

Meanwhile, the commercial salmon harvest, California’s most valuable ocean fishery, continues to suffer, with spawning populations reduced significantly by the state’s prolonged drought.

Mass-starvation events have hit a spectrum of other West Coast marine wildlife, mostly due to the collapse of food chains brought on by warmer ocean water.

Large dieoffs of Cassin’s auklets, a tiny seabird, were first noticed when dead birds began washing ashore in fall of 2014. A year later, it was malnourished and dead common murres that were found adrift.

Juvenile California sea lions, Guadalupe fur seals and other marine mammals have suffered for several years, as well, both from starvation and, to a lesser extent, from domoic acid poisoning.

The dieoff California sea lions, declared an “unusual mortality event” by scientists in early 2013, has taken a toll on the population, especially the young, with Southern California strandings peaking last year at a record-breaking 4,000, according to the NOAA Fisheries. About a third of the sea lions rescued received treatment at the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center.

Researchers believe nursing mothers had been unable to find enough forage, like sardines and anchovies, to properly nourish their young.

The situation for sea lions and seals — mammals known as pinnipeds — appears to have improved somewhat this year, though sea lion strandings were still above 2,000. And there’s been encouraging news on the condition of pups surveyed this fall at Southern California birthing colonies, suggesting food availability may have stabilized somewhat as the warm blob relents, researchers said.

“The short story is that the warm ocean temperatures have moderated, but it’s still noticeably warmer than normal in a narrow strip right along the coast, the entire coast, of North America,” said Nicholas Bond, a research meteorologist with the University of Washington who first coined the term to describe the huge mass of warm water offshore.

There’s some reluctance among scientists and fishermen to predict what comes next.

Washington state fisherman Ron Anderson, who came south to catch crab because northern fisheries remained closed, said the ocean temperature had dropped 6 degrees since he and his crew arrived in the North Bay around Nov. 1.

Another crabber, Bob Monckton of Santa Rosa, said he’d recently seen another harbinger of cooling conditions. “I’ve seen more anchovies out there than I’ve seen in a while,” he said.

But it’s unclear how quickly or if the ocean will return to “normal,” or even what normal would be, given the relatively short period of time during which scientists have monitored conditions historically.

“Even when temperatures moderate,“ Bond said, “it takes a while for the biology to respond, so it’s still a fairly disrupted ecosystem.”

“But all that being said, I think the event is winding down, and — probably some time at the end of winter, spring next year — it will be kind of just a distant nightmare, rather than a current bad dream.”

(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 26, 2016

Barber, Morgan, Pacheco, Torres

APRIL BARBER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

BRENDAN MORGAN, Arcata/Willits. DUI-drugs.

MATEO PACHECO, Ukiah. Drunk in public, vandalism, resisting, county parole violation.

CHRISTINA TORRES, Hopland. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

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Lots of people have commented on the election of Donald Trump as our next president. But most of them do not represent the perspective of either an active-duty service member or a veteran. Combined, veterans number more than 21 million, nearly 94% of them veterans. Many of us are concerned about a Trump presidency which will directly affect our benefits and our healthcare. We also worry about the threat of even more saber-rattling and war-waging, the burden of which will be borne by our children and our grandchildren. Our nation has had other Commanders in Chief who have not served in the military. But none of them, I daresay, invoked five draft deferments during a war (Vietnam) when each and every time another young man was drafted to serve in his place. Nor has a Commander-in-Chief ever publicly insulted a prisoner of war such as Senator John McCain or bragged about wanting a Purple Heart but didn't want to make the sacrifice necessary to earn one.

Doug Bradley, Specialist 5, US Army (ret.), Madison, Wisconsin

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A college degree cannot be the only option that we as a nation value. 70% of Americans who lack a college degree have been forsaken. That's because we have created a college for all culture where alternatives to "professional" work are not respected or encouraged, instead of supporting programs that would give high schoolers vocational paths strategically aligned with both evolving and steady workforce needs. College for all has resulted in an inadequate education for most. We boosted high school graduation rates at the expense of rigor, resulting in 68% of community college students requiring remedial classes and most of them dropping out. Meanwhile all over the country we have aging plumbers earning a good living as few prepare to take their places. The path to the American dream needs to be rerouted.

Sheela Clary

Housatonic, Massachusetts

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You must keep in mind the fact that throughout history, MOST of the people that lived it were always at risk of death, doom, disease and disaster yet, for the most part, most of them grinned and bore it and actually thrived. This new American Excess has created a breed of lazy cowards that could seriously use a large fire lit underneath their sorry asses to bring them back to the real world. Life and it’s struggle against death has always brought out the best in mankind. That is why humans to this day mark history by which number war we are on and which one is next. Let us rise off of our divans and greet the next reality like the bold, brave pioneers that built this nation in the first place. It will be invigorating.

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by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)

In the clandestine bar, Jack and Charlie's, where rivers of alcohol flowed during Prohibition, Dorothy Parker sat down on one of the bar stools and lit a Chesterfield.

— What would you like to drink? —asked the bartender.

—No more catastrophes —the writer answered.

In the middle of her convoluted life, Dorothy Parker had discovered that Paganism contained a fundamental error: "Drink and dance, laugh, lie, and love for your entire tumultuous life, for tomorrow we must die," she had written in one of her poems; but she couldn't manage to die despite having tried to do so on two occasions prior to that moment: once by cutting her veins with a razor; another time, with an overdose of Veronal.

Anyone unfamiliar with her inner turmoil would think she had no reason to abandon this world since at that time she was still the queen of a group of exquisite and privileged intellectuals, journalists, literary critics, and New York actors, who in those days, between the two world wars, had their places at The Round Table of the Hotel Algonquin for a daily luncheon which was followed by a tertulia that lasted until mid afternoon, during which her caustic tongue made her famous.

At that time, croupiers in the gambling dens of New York wore top hats and had gardenias in their lapels and gentlemen wore pants with a crease in the waist for the first time and brandished the first Borsalino hats with soft rims. Vanity Fair dictated the fashion, and Dorothy Parker was the theater critic of Vanity Fair, who wrote in an unsettling and amusing style with the precise dose of acidity required for her to be feared--and praised by her very victims.

She took her surname from her first husband Eddie Parker, a stockbroker and the descendent of Presbyterian ministers, who became an alcoholic early in his life and died from an overdose of assorted pills.

Her maiden name was Rothschild, but she was unrelated to the famous bankers. Her father was a Jewish tailor, who was wealthy on a small scale and had an inflated sense of self-importance. He married a gentile girl from a good family, which allowed the family to spend summers on Long Island next to the mansions of magnates. During their summer vacation of 1893, Dorothy was born. Thus she was half Jewish and half New Yorker.

Every summer, her parents returned to that same beach and it was there Dorothy began to write her first poems, developed her wicked charm, and grew up. Her height never surpassed five feet, but no one had a longer or sharper tongue.

While she was still very young, Dorothy Parker initiated a frenzied descent toward seduction: drinking, clearing her path to fame by stinging like a wasp, outdoing herself with her wicked, intelligent remarks, and dividing her affection in equal portions among her dogs, husbands, and lovers; scorning the rich but yearning for their money, killing her self to be in the right place at the opportune moment, getting accustomed to writing with a hangover, and hoping the prohibited whisky was unadulterated scotch, which fueled her inner fire everyday.

She couldn't bear not being surrounded by friends every minute until she finally burned out at the foot of her own altar in the late hours of dawn.

The divine creatures of New York would pass through her tertulia at the Hotel Algonquin at 59 Forty-second Street East and Dorothy wound up living there in a suite, where her lovers would come and go as if it were a post office.

There were years of glory in which this woman was in the conversations of everyone. The public repeated her witty remarks. Her life was always above her work, but she was the juncture for celebrities and popular writers.

In her travels or returns, with or without lovers, everything and everyone converged around this writer: Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Dashiell Hammett; Hollywood during the end of the silent film era, the golden years of Montparnasse, or vacations on the Riviera. She would always be invited to visit rich friends, who required her sagacity during after dinner conversations or while having drinks in wicker chairs in the garden, in order to make them feel wonderful, wicked, and evanescent.

One day she ran into James Joyce on Boulevard Saint Germaine and upon seeing him walk so stooped over, she commented, "It looked like he must have feared that he had dropped a pearl."

Scott Fitzgerald took the characters for The Great Gatsby from the parties in the mansion of the magnate Swope on Long Island. Dorothy Parker would be there: many of those characters had passed through her bed.

In the same way she dissipated her life by behaving like a spoiled child, she also spilled out her literature. She spread her stories and poems through all the magazines that deserved her talent: Vanity Fair, Vogue, Life, Harper's, The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire; however it was The New Yorker, in which she was a stockholder, where she poured out her entire being from the first issue. One day, she kneeled down and prayed: "Dear God, I pray that you make me stop writing like a woman."

Her lyrics lent glamour to the songs of Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. The first recording of Glenn Miller's Orchestra in 1932 was one of her poems called "How Was I To Know That This Happiness Was Love?" And in Hollywood, she wrote scripts at a set price per page in the pits of MGM, challenging the biggest drunks to duels with hard liquor when Scott Fitzgerald, who had become a complete wreck, only drank Coca Cola to purge himself.

Although she appeared frivolous, perpetually with a Pomeranian in her arms, willing to continue being that very smart little Jewish girl who dreamed of drinking champagne in a bordello, she never stopped being a radical whether in pursuit of pleasure or of justice. Immediately after the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927, she was seen in the streets next to John Dos Passos in an act of protest, singing the Internacional while wearing an embroidered skirt and flaunting a silk scarf.

Years before that, she left Paris for an exploration of Spain with Hemingway and his entourage; but her stomach was too delicate for such strong fare. She vomited at a bullfight, commiserated with the poverty she saw, and returned to Montparnasse.

However, not long afterwards, she was an activist of the left and in the middle of the Spanish Civil War she returned to Madrid with her latest husband, Alan Campbell--a second rate writer, to visit battlefield hospitals and to share cigarettes and the explosions of artillery shells with the militia in Valencia.

"It's not suffering so much as it is no longer enjoying," she would say to herself upon seeing her fate reflected through the looking glass of alcohol. Those divine creatures of the Round Table of the Hotel Algonquin had died and she was alone. One Wednesday on the 7th of June in 1967 she ceased to exist because of a heart attack that she suffered in the solitude of a hotel in New York sitting beside her dog Troy.

She left her remaining $20,000 to Martin Luther King.

Her ashes were scattered in the garden of a villa in Long Island, where the only thing that remained was the smoke from far off parties.

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25th Annual Professional Pianist Concert January 6-8

UKIAH CA. – The weekend of January 6 - 8, 2017 marks the 25th Anniversary of The Professional Pianist Concert. In celebration of this momentous occasion, there will be three concerts featuring 12 different pianists. Featured performers this year are Spencer Brewer, William Beatty, Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, John Gilmore, Frankie J, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart, Paula Samonte, Charlie Seltzer and John Simon. The music will range from classical to jazz, boogie-woogie to Cuban, Broadway to ragtime.....each performance will be different! A special treat this year will be vocalist Paula Samonte joining different performers each evening.

The series features seven pianists on stage each evening in a living room environment throughout the event trading stories and songs with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. This popular event is an annual sellout because of the diversity, quality of a multitude of styles of music and humor that takes place throughout the evening. There will also be a special 25 year retrospective video presentation.

Friday, January 6 will feature Spencer Brewer, William Beatty, Elena Casanova, John Gilmore, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. Saturday, January 7th’s performance will feature Spencer Brewer Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall and John Simon. Sunday afternoon’s performance will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Tom Ganoung, Frankie J, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall and Ed Reinhart. No two concerts will be the same, so if you love piano and piano music, enjoy more than one performance, as they all will be different!

Tickets are on sale at Mendocino Book Co. and dig Music! in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and Watershed Books in Lakeport. Tickets are $15 general admission and $25 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call (707) 707-391-8374.

The Ukiah concert benefits the Mendocino College Foundation and the Allegro Scholarship Program. Sponsors are Sparetime Supply, Ken Fowler Auto, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Mendocino College Foundation, Ukiah Civic Light Opera, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. There will be autographed CD's by the artists for sale in lobby. Refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Civic Light Opera.

Styles Of Music

  • William Beatty- Originals, Jazz, Classical
  • Spencer Brewer- Contemporary Classical & Original Compositions
  • Elena Casanova- Cuban Classical & Jazz, Classical
  • Wendy deWitt- Boogie Woogie & Blues
  • Tom Ganoung- Originals, Rock, Classical
  • John Gilmore- Traditional Jazz & Bebop
  • Frankie J- R & B, Soul, Gospel
  • Chris James- Traditional & Swing Era Jazz, Originals
  • Elizabeth MacDougall- Classical
  • Ed Reinhart- Boogie-Woogie & Blues
  • Charlie Seltzer- Broadway & Show tunes
  • John Simon- Contemporary Jazz



  1. Jeff Costello December 27, 2016

    Bravo, Louis.. and thanks for the Dorothy Parker translation. I’ve been a “fan” of hers all my life.

    • LouisBedrock December 27, 2016

      Thank you Jeff.

      It’s a shame she died. She would have been the perfect soul-mate for a certain friend and colleague of ours who writes for the AVA. To wit:

      1. Dorothy Parker…wrote in an unsettling and amusing style with the precise dose of acidity required for her to be feared–and praised by her very victims.

      2. …no-one had a…sharper tongue.
      3. While she was still very young, Dorothy Parker initiated a frenzied descent toward seduction: drinking, clearing her path to fame by stinging like a wasp, outdoing herself with her wicked, intelligent remarks, …scorning the rich but yearning for their money, killing her self to be in the right place at the opportune moment, getting accustomed to writing with a hangover, and hoping the prohibited whisky was unadulterated scotch, which fueled her inner fire everyday.

      4. …challenging the biggest drunks to duels with hard liquor when Scott Fitzgerald, who had become a complete wreck, only drank Coca Cola to purge himself.

  2. Bruce McEwen December 27, 2016

    While I was brushing my teeth and sharpening my tongue, my ears started ringing, and — excuze-moi — what do I find on the comment page?

    And to think, Grandpa McEwen always used to tell me, “Boy, don’t worry about what people think about you because they probably don’t.”

  3. Nate Collins January 4, 2017

    Someone give that dog a job or a retirement plan. Bravo Lassie!

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