A WEAK FRONT will bring some light rain to mainly northern portions of the area this [Saturday] evening. Occasional light rain will continue through Sunday night. Monday heavier rain and possible thunderstorms are expected. The remainder of the week is expected to be mainly dry, but some light rain is possible again Wednesday. (National Weather Service)
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Sleek and shiny Lucy is a 2 year old, spayed female, cat. She came to the shelter with an injury sustained from a fall from a tree. Lucy is all healed up and ready to go home. Perhaps an indoor only home would suit her best! Lucy loves to snuggle up into a fluffy ball for her daily naps and really enjoys belly scratches. We were told she gets along with other cats and will probably be a child's best friend.
Speckles is a shy dog, but he's also very sweet; he has a wonderful mellow energy. During his evaluation and meet and greet, we noted that Speckles is quite treat-motivated, which always makes training a lot easier. Speckles needs more socializing with people and other dogs so that he can be the social butterfly he wants to be. This speckled guy is 10 months old, neutered, and weighs 31 pounds. Speckles has a totally unique coat--his back looks like a photo of a snow-covered forest. For more on Speckles, visit his webpage at http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com/dogblog/speckles
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, please visit us online at: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
MASSIVE POT RECALL AFTER NORCAL LAB ALLEGEDLY FAKED TEST RESULTS
Bay Area cannabis vendors and distributors may have to destroy millions of dollars worth of marijuana due to a recall over falsified test results at a Northern California lab. The recall affects some 29 distributors that worked with Sacramento-based Sequoia Analytical Lab, according to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.
FILMED IN HUMCO
I was absolutely riveted by BIRD BOX (Netflix). Don’t believe the lukewarm reviews, which may in part have been caused by reviewers’ ambivalence to the streaming platform, as opposed to theatrical releases.—Stephen King
BIRD BOX, a new movie filmed, they say, in northern Humboldt County. And maybe it was but I didn't watch long enough to make sure, but the river depicted was too clean and too healthy looking to be the Eel. Stephen King, King of Scary, advised on-line not to mind the negative reviews that the thing is really pretty good. And scary. What I saw made me laugh, especially since it bore no relation to anything I've ever seen anywhere in the Emerald Triangle, which is a consensus scary place, or certainly can be once you're off the pavement. The lead people are all up market-looking, and you can tell a rote lib mentality made this baby, with two black guys, an Asian, an insane white guy (older model), an old white lady (you know the one, the one with the neo-Betty Davis eyes; she's always a hoot as deranged or dangerous, and a slur on old ladies everywhere, but like I said there's a lib mentality at work here so it gets immediately sloppy, reality-wise), two gay guys married to each other, a groovy white guy tatted to the max with dyed yellow hair, his babe of a girlfriend, and so on down to two pregnant women. The idea is that some sinister force — the North Koreans and Iranians are named while the Chinese aren't because they might stop shipping to WalMart — has suddenly caused the world's people to become suicidal, hence death in the streets via all manner of macabre car crashes. Sudden mass insanity, if you think about how close most of us individually are in our daily lives, probably only needs a slight push, the possibility of which occurs to me regularly while I'm watching the Chuckle Buddies deliver the Evening News on television, or listening to NPR. What if they didn't stop laughing? What if all that forced laughter didn't stop? What if it became, arpeggio by arpeggio, more and more hysterical until it became mass, terrified screaming and our tv screens exploded? Anyway, Bird Box didn't even offer up a bona fide North County bush hippie. Instead, a generic fat guy comes crashing out of the bushes trying to help a fleeing woman and her two children only to be hacked up by the woman wielding a machete. Maybe the movie gets better, but I tuned out right there.
ISLAND MOUNTAIN HOME INVASION
At around 2035 hours, a male victim called 911 reporting that he and his daughter had been robbed at gun point at his residence located on Sesame Loop Road in the Island Mountain area of Southern Humboldt County. The victim stated he and his daughter were confronted at gun point by two young Hispanic males in their early twenties who knocked on the front door. The two men duct taped the victims and forced the male victim to open two safes in the house and garage. The male victim and his daughter were both beaten with firearms and then placed in a closet that was barricaded by the suspects to prevent the victims from escaping. The male victim was eventually able to get he and his daughter free and called 911. Cash, gold and silver coins and seven firearms were taken. The male victim then discovered his 2016 GMC Denali had been stolen by the crooks. OnStar was contacted and located the vehicle travelling south on Bell Springs Road. CHP and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were notified to be on the lookout for the vehicle. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle south of Laytonville on US 101 and OnStar disabled the vehicle.
The suspect, Franklin Molina, 21, refused to comply with orders to exit the vehicle and a standoff ensued with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team being mobilized with their BearCat. Molina was eventually taken into custody by deputies for P.C.148 and C.V.C.2800 and transported to the hospital for treatment and medical clearance. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s office authored a Ramey Warrant for P.C.211, 236, 207, 245(a)(2) and C.V.C.10851(a). The stolen GMC Denali was secured and towed for evidence.
The second suspect is still on the loose and his whereabouts are unknown at this time. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office at (707) 445-7251. Refer to case 201806595.
We would like to thank the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for their invaluable assistance in taking Molina into custody.
MOTHER BEAR LOOKS BACK. GRRRRRRRR!
My segment of the Promise of Paradise will be aired today, Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 3:30 P.M. Short excerpt at 7:45 and 8:45 am and 6 pm, and the longer piece at 3:30 pm (along with Tom Liden).
See the description below. The Greenfield photo at Easter is there, with Troll and me, and the younger kids. Trynt and LaSara were not there, sorry to say. I sent some photos in with all of us, but not sure what will be published.
Enjoy the interview — 3:30 on KZYX.
To see the page, Here’s the link: kzyx.org/programs/promise-paradise
To tune in live, Here’s the link: kzyx.org/term/live-broadcast
Marylyn Motherbear Scott
THEIR ADS are everywhere, saturating Bay Area TV.
The Shen Yun (divine rhythm) dance troupe, according to dance experts, expertly carries out a flashy but repetitive routine with the whole show being a recruiting ploy for the Fulan Gong cult, banned in China but growing among overseas Chinese. It's based on a kind of Tai Chi, meditation, and straight-edge morality — no smoking, no drinking, no smoking, no extra-marital or same sex sex, a program unlikely to get much traction among round eyes.
* * *
HAVE TO WONDER if the talking heads who repeat endlessly that "inflation is under control" ever go shopping? Inflation isn't yet out of control to where it takes a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a lottery ticket, but grocery prices go up and up, a 15% increase since 2010, hence more and more people at least partly dependent on local food banks like the Fort Bragg Food Bank established in 1979, "now feeding about 1,600 people each month," according to their website. And the public schools operate breakfast and lunch programs for several thousand children around the County. Millions of Americans are getting seriously squeezed, with no political hope for them in sight beyond a few freshly elected leftwing Democrats.
* * *
I MIGHT NEED an intervention but Trump's looking better all the time, at least his foreign policy. Israel remains sacrosanct of course, but withdrawing from Syria, and threatening to pull out of Afghanistan, has upset all the correct people and institutions, from Wolf Blitzer spinning in his big chair in CNN's "Situation Room," to the jive-o's in the "think tanks," the generals with their chests full of medals for staying a hundred miles from the shooting, and, of course, the mainstream media. Even by their craven, lock-step standards the unanimity of all of the above is startling, and one more dramatic illustration of how dissenting views are shut out except for a few publications and rad individual websites.
A FEW LONELY VOICES, all left radicals, said at the time that George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq was based on a lie (the non-existent weapons of mass destruction) and would destabilize the entire Middle East. Sure enough, and here we are two decades later with more fanatics than ever but none presenting nothing but a theoretical threat to the United States. Trump is correct. Out! If the Arab countries can't handle ISIS and kindred movements their governments deserve to fall.
* * *
TRUMP is also correct about criminal justice reform. Sentences are too long and too often out of all proportion to the crime, especially nonviolent crimes. My late friend Dannie Martin, a self-described "career criminal" who spent more than half his life in prisons local, state and federal, said he thought sentences should be a lot shorter but prison time a lot harder. Martin recommended hard labor and few comforts to make prison a place no one would want to go. He said he never liked going to jail but it held no real dread for him.
* * *
NOT QUITE on the other hand, and according to an important and shocking piece in the current New Yorker, only random American and European presence in today's Iraq prevents the Iraqi government from committing even more ISIS-like atrocities on thousands of Iraqis suspected of ISIS sympathies. "Shallow Graves — ISIS has been destroyed, but will Iraq's campaign of revenge help bring about its resurgence?" Author Ben Taub's answer is a resounding Yes! Taub's story is depressing in the extreme, filled with excruciating instances of grotesque cruelties, the whole of it summarized by a poignant but emblematic quote from a 25-year-old woman: "I have not seen happiness at any moment in my life."
THE MORE I STUDY RELIGIONS the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.— Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1885
HUMBOLDT COUNTY PURSUES CANNABIS GRANT PROGRAM, TAX APPEALS
by Daniel Mintz
Humboldt County’s formation of a Cannabis Advisory Committee is focusing on a micro-business grant program and leaving other aspects for industry-based groups to handle.
In addition to helping small-scale cannabis businesses with the start-up costs of permitting through the micro-grant program, the county will consider development of a process to allow cultivators to contest excise tax bills.
Those updates were part of a December 18 presentation from the Board of Supervisors’ Ad Hoc Cannabis Committee, whose work is now over.
Requests for a Cannabis Advisory Committee have been ongoing and gained a sense of urgency last summer, as the county enforced its cannabis abatement ordinance. The local law applies fines of up to $10,000 per day for code and environmental violations.
Supervisor Estelle Fennell, one of the ad hoc committee’s members, said some cannabis industry participants have suggested that an advisory committee’s scope should be broad. But the supervisors’ ad hoc committee has concluded that the advisory role is best suited for making recommendations on distribution of the micro-grants.
Fennell said that as regulation continues, “There will undoubtedly be concerns raised from time to time about various related county policies or other issues” but a government committee isn’t the preferred venue for lobbying.
“As the industry matures, business owners and those contemplating entering the cannabis economy will be better positioned to form industry associations that might either work in tandem with Economic Development and other departments or bring concerns to the board directly,” she continued.
Establishing the Humboldt cannabis brand is another piece of work some thought would be fit for an advisory committee but Fennel said it will be done with the help of the Economic Development Department and the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.
The plan is to form a five-member advisory committee for the micro-grants, which will be funded through the county’s cultivation excise tax.
Another prong of the ad hoc committee’s work has been to evaluate the county’s cannabis taxation, which is based on cultivation area size. Board Chair Ryan Sundberg, the other member of the ad hoc committee, said some cannabis farmers get permits for a specific cultivation area but end up using a smaller area.
Sundberg said the idea is to develop an appeal process, possibly involving the Board of Supervisors, where farmers can provide proof that their cultivation was at a lesser scale and have their tax bills reduced accordingly.
The county’s approach to the advisory committee is based on what other counties have learned. Sundberg said some of the counties that have set up advisory committees to deal with marketing and taxation issues were contacted and “their report back to us was that it didn’t work very well and they cautioned us against it so those parts we think would be better served by the industry forming groups.”
During a public comment session, Lelehnia Du Bois, whose industry work includes assisting cannabis business start-ups, thanked supervisors for advancing the grant program but questioned whether it should be the sole focus of the advisory committee.
“When you discuss that cannabis organizations are representing our community, we have a problem there because we only have one cannabis organization that only represents their paid members – they’re not representing our whole community,” she said, adding, “That’s one voice for a lot of problems.”
Sundberg responded, saying that the expectation is that multiple organizations will emerge “as the industry matures” and “it will come from the community instead of from this way to you.”
Fennell acknowledged that “there is a sense of unease because of the change that has come about” but added, “It’s amazing to see how happy people are once they’ve gotten through the process.”
She said that those who’ve navigated the process have said they’re ready to help others and “that’s how I see it evolving.”
County staff is already working on developing plans for cannabis-related economic development and the micro-grant program. Supervisors added the taxation appeal process to the staff work, which is expected to be done and ready for board consideration in March.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec. 22, 2018
ASHLEY AZEVEDO, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
ANTONIA BAUTISTA-DALSON, Covelo. Failure to appear.
RAFE BJORKLUND, Ukiah. Stolen property, conspiracy, failure to appear, probation revocation.
MACKENZIE CAPEHEART, Ukiah. DUI.
JANTZ CLINKSCALE, Calabasas/Willits. Transportation of controlled substance, parole violation.
CHESTER COLLINS, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
ERNEST ELLIOTT, Hopland. Stolen vehicle.
KEITH GLUCK, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DEREK HADDON, Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.
THOMAS KENNEDY, Hopland. DUI.
JAIME MARIN, Ukiah. Battery.
MICHAEL NEWBOLDS, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.
OLEKSANDR SKOMAROKHA, Sacramento/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
RANDALL SMITH, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
NEIL WALDRON, Covelo. Burglary, brandishing, smuggling controlled substance or liquor into jail, disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear, probation revocation.
HOW SMART IS SMART?
It’s the whole truth that matters when it comes to SMART’s performance, not the cherry-picked information SMART staff has released to the public. And since the truth matters, surely SMART’s chief financial officer can easily provide answers to these questions (“SMART riding on community support,” Press Democrat, Close to Home, Sunday):
What are the total expenditures spent by SMART since its inception?
What is the average ridership per weekday, and how has that changed by week since August 2017? How does average ridership compare with the forecast made by staff prior to starting service?
What is the average ridership per train for each of the 34 trains operating on the weekdays? What is the average ridership per train for each of the five trains operating on the weekends?
On an average weekday, what is the breakdown between Sonoma and Marin residents taking the train?
How much will it cost SMART to operate trains from San Rafael to Larkspur, and will the additional fare revenues cover those costs? Same question for the extension to Windsor.
What is the impact on SMART’s budget from a moderate recession that reduces sales tax revenues and ridership? Will SMART consume its reserves to maintain 34 trains a day or cut rail services and increase fares?
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
It’s not surprising that Mattis left. There’s more coming. The basic problem is that the American upper-crust in the Deep State foreign policy establishment, and in the military, and on Wall Street, etc, pretty much agree on the broad strokes of economic and military and foreign policy and trade and investment policy. The disasters that you’ve seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc are all brought to you by this same upper-crust that see things synoptically. Same with the multi-decade degradation of Fly-over America. After all, membership requires adherence to doctrine.
The problem as I said in a prior post is to NOT have a fifth-column of globalists in government which is what exists now. But with each departure, that fifth-column dissipates. The problem naturally is that each new addition to replace those departed will necessarily expose themselves to the wrath of the Deep State that for its own interests and reasons wants a continuation of the status quo. It doesn’t matter if this status quo is disastrous, they want it because they can’t bear that anyone call out their idiocy and gross incompetence not to mention rank treason in selling out the US and its citizens. And of course it’s also a matter of money. Always follow the money.
UPCOMING EVENTS HAPPENING AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY in January: At the First Friday Art Walk, we'll enjoy felted art pieces by Tim Easterbrook and Manzanita Services Artists, participate in a tea mixology hands-on program, be entertained by live music, savor pizza bites, and browse a book sale by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.
BLACKHAWK JAZZ CLUB - 1949-1963
The City was blessed indeed to have a premier jazz club at the corner of Turk and Hyde Streets that over its 14-year reign hosted the creme de la creme of the Jazz world including the likes of Lady Day herself, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young, Art Tatum, Dave Brubeck and a host of other stellar artists. Johnny Mathis was discovered at the Club during a Sunday afternoon jam session by Black Hawk co-owner Helen Noga who recommended the 20-year old singing sensation to George Avakian an A&R head at Columbia Records who impressed with what he heard signed Mathis to a contract. Jazzbos flocked to the venue loving the 200-seat intimate environment. The Black Hawk was the spawning ground for some historic live recordings among which were a pair of Miles Davis's albums: " In Person Friday Night at the Blackhawk," an "In Person Saturday Night at the Blackhawk," both recorded in 1961, Thelonious Monk's "Quarter Plus Two," (1960), and Cal Tjader's "Live and Direct," (1962). If my memory serves me correctly, the Club welcomed 18-21-year-olds who were cordoned off in a special section. I was aware of the club in high school and heard music wafting out into the street on a few occasions when I happened by, but was too young to enter. Over time, like so many other jazz clubs in the city, the Black Hawk shuttered its door forever in 1963, ending a golden era. It can take its place with other notable San Francisco Jazz Clubs such as Jimbo's Bop City, Club Hangover, Jazz Workshop, El Matador, Earthquake McGoons, Club Alabam, Bimbo's 365 Club, Basin Street West, and others, that satisfied jazz buffs from around the Bay. It was a wonderful period in San Francisco music history.
— Tom Henneberry
WHEN A DETECTIVE DIES, he goes so low that he has to climb a ladder to get into Hell — and he is not a welcome guest there. When his Satanic Majesty sees him coming, he says to his imps, "Go get a big bucket of pitch and a lot of sulphur, give them to that fellow and put him outside. Let him start a Hell of his own. We don't want him in here, starting trouble."— Big Bill Haywood
“EVERYONE IS AT WAR, except for me. One uncle is fighting with the other. My aunt’s not talking to Grandma. Grandma isn’t talking to anyone. She said that nobody’s coming to her house this year. Christmas is cancelled. I guess it’s always been like this. But now everyone’s old enough that they don’t have to pretend for the kids anymore. All of it’s out in the open. I miss the ignorance of childhood. When we’d all go to church, cook a big dinner, gather in a circle to read the Polar Express, and I wouldn’t notice that the adults were talking to the children more than each other.”
(Humans of New York)
SLICK, VERY SLICK
Mr. Arnold from Fort Bragg is a stupid SOB. If he thinks that guns are not something that will be used in the next two or three years, he is crazy! People are going to be coming up here and over here, globalists and whatever, and they will try to move us out. Wait and see, mister. People like you are ruining our country. 16,000 homeless people living in squalor in Los Angeles and another 14,000 in San Francisco. You must be sick to think that it's not going to come to a fighting situation in a year or two as long as you people keep doing what you're doing. There will be problems. Lots of problems. Especially in California. Will anyone fight back? Who knows? Doesn't seem like it. But thanks to people like Mr. Arnold we will have a war.
The only way we can get out of this is a new California. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for letting the Liberals take over in the election. Sorry to see that just seven out of 53 congressional seats in California are held by Republicans. How about that? Liberals control all the agencies, they hide their taxes, they make the agencies out of their own committees and little organizations here and there, they put tax money in it, they don't use it for that, they use it for something else. The cities don't have a clue where tax money goes. Highways, bridges, infrastructure -- no tax money being spent there. Are you happy, Republicans? Lying, cheating, rotten liberals are taking over. I told you to vote and you hid under the bed! And we know that the Democrats cheated..
Caltrans. They have their thumbs up their ass. And the road department in Mendocino County as well. They are doing nothing. Equipment sits in parking yards while they drive new pickups doing nothing. They used to pave the road with stuff called macadam, it was granular and it stop you from skidding on turns and when the road was wet. Now they use tar. Macadam costs too much, $2 a yard more. So if you drive down the road and the surface looks black and shiny you better slow way down or not make any sharp turns because you will go off the road. It's really slick. They do it everywhere. Even on turns. They let trees hang over the road. It's pathetic. The county of Mendocino used to come out and clear off the fog lines. They used to clear the ditches. But now the ditches are full of leaves and grass and stuff so you can’t even see the fog lines anymore. The centerline is so dim you can't even see it. Thank you Mendocino County, you're doing a hell of a job! Actually doing nothing!
Taxes will get worse and people don't care. State and county hide the money. Gruesome Newsom will be twice as bad as Jerry Moonbeam Brown, if that's possible. No one knows how many agencies and organizations the state and county have that take our money for their own use.
The Liberal Democrats hate President Trump because he beat the mother of all corruption, crooked Hillary Clinton. He is not a politician. He's not part of the corrupt ring running our country for the last 24 years. He is his own man doing it the right way, bringing America back to where it should be.
God bless Donald Trump
TO THE MASTER OF THE ANTI-CAROL & HOLIDAY JEER
by David Yearsley
Against-the-grain singer and piano man Bob Dorough died this past April at the age of ninety-four. His singular approach to song will always be associated for me—and countless others—with the season. So here, just in time for Christmas, is a tribute to the departed bebopper after a long life, richly lived and sung:
An armchair psychologist might say it could only be a December baby born in the Great Depression who could have devised a song so devastatingly critical of the contradictions between consumerist Christmas and Christian charity as Bob Dorough’s “Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern).”
The song was released on the Columbia label’s potpourri LP, Jingle Bell Jazz for the Christmas season in 1962. Featuring the likes of Duke Ellington doing “Jingle Bells” and Dave Brubeck stomping through “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the record’s last track on the B-side is Dorough’s “Blue Xmas” as recorded by the composer himself and an ensemble led by Miles Davis.
Born December 12th, 1923, Dorough’s childhood birthday parties in Plainview, Texas may or may not have been overshadowed by the chaos of holiday shopping, but either way, the brilliant bitterness and incandescent inventiveness of his song repays many times over any real or perceived injury done by Santa and his elves. So timeless is the song’s shape and sentiment that it is hard to believe there have been only fifty-six Blue Xmases since its conception. Each year at this time, Dorough’s mirthful miniature is born again in all its glowering blue glory.
In 1962 Columbia got a jump on the holiday season, issuing Jingle Bell Jazz on October 17th—right in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Many feared that the world might not make it to another Christmas. If the Apocalypse had come that fall, Dorough’s text and its recalcitrant melody of off-kilter intervals and distorted scales would have been a fine way to cap a millennium of Christmas jeer: wherever there have been good tidings of great joy, there have also been bad tidings issued by ill-wishers and naysayers, grinches and grouches.
Dorough’s lyric starts off with an attempt at empty courtesy, but then quickly leaves that scripted sentiment behind for a tour of the dark side of the season; once you hear his wonderfully scrimping, mean-spirited melody you’ll be unable to read the words without hearing in your head the composer’s distinctive voice singing them:
I hope you have a white one, but for me it’s blue
Blue Christmas, that’s the way you see it when you’re feeling blue
Blue Xmas, when you’re blue at Christmastime
you see right through,
All the waste, all the sham, all the haste
and plain old bad taste
Sidewalk Santy Clauses are much, much, much too thin
They’re wearing fancy rented costumes, false beards and big fat phony grins
And nearly everybody’s standing round holding out their empty hand or tin cup
Gimme gimme gimme gimme, gimme gimme gimme
Fill my stocking up.
All the way up.
It’s a time when the greedy
give a dime to the needy
Blue Christmas, all the paper, tinsel and the fal-de-ral
Blue Xmas, people trading gifts that matter not at all
What I call
Lots of hungry, homeless children in your own backyards
While you’re very, very busy addressing
Twenty zillion Christmas cards
Now, Yuletide is the season to receive and oh, to give and ahh, to share
But all you December do-gooders rush around and rant and rave and loudly blare
I hope yours is a bright one, but for me it’s blue.
The genesis of “Blue Xmas” is related in the eponymous book—a slender paperback—written by Dorough and published by Circumstantial Productions in 2005. In the Summer of 1962, Dorough was working in the Pennsylvania hills some two hours outside of New York City when he got a call from Miles Davis, who asked him to write a Christmas song that Dorough would then sing (with Davis playing trumpet) for the Columbia Christmas record. Whether it was out of contractual obligations or just for the money, Davis seems only reluctantly to have agreed to participate in the Columbia project. Rather than re-roasting a Christmas chestnut as the jazz musicians on the disc planned, Davis turned to Dorough for original material.
Like so many young musicians, Dorough had long been dazzled by Davis’s mystique and music. After saying hello to Davis on a NYC street in the early 1950s and being completely snubbed by him, the two hung out in Los Angeles in 1959 when Dorough was living there and Davis and his sextet arrived in town for an extended engagement. When Dorough came to the club one night, Miles was at the bar while the band played. Davis then led Dorough up to the bandstand and had John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, and Wynton Kelly stand aside so that Dorough could sing Hoagy Carmichael’s “Baltimore Oriole” accompanied only by Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. This vignette in Dorough’s book has the ring of one of those many examples of Davis’s unique talent for humiliation. Dorough admits that he had no idea how his impromptu performance went over in the club, and as always, Miles said nothing afterwards by way of thanks or approbation. Nonetheless, the two began to spend some time together after Dorough’s return to New York some months later.
Then in 1962 came that summer evening’s call for a Christmas song from the singing, piano-playing composer. Utterly surprised, Dorough first stammered that he’d think about it, but such was his awe for the great man that he immediately set to work. Davis’s persona exuded contempt for eggnog and carols, never mind yuletide glee. So Dorough decided that his song should have a “very Dicdensian ‘Bah! Humbug!’ sentiment” riffing on the idea of “commercialization of the fine holiday.”
When Dorough brought his finished song to Davis’s place in Manhattan later that summer Gil Evans was waiting in the trumpeter’s basement music room. Dorough played and sang “Blue Xmas: for Evans and Davis several times, the latter eventually proposing a slight reshuffling of the sections. Evans then spent all night throwing together his angular, nagging arrangement for the recording session, which was to take place the next day, August 21st—the height of the sweltering New York summer.
That session began with yet more humiliation. When Dorough arrived he saw no one at the piano: “I kept looking to see which piano man was coming to the date,” writes Dorough in Blue Xmas, “and had a glow inside that maybe I was going to play piano.” He was soon disabused of that idea when forced to stand by while Miles telephoned Wynton Kelly then Bill Evans. Neither was available. (The scene recalls a similar one orchestrated—probably malevolently—by Davis for one of the two 1959 sessions for Kind of Blue in which both Kelly and Evans had been summoned when only one was needed.
When Davis said there would be no piano player at all, Dorough told him that he sang from the keyboard—and he did so into his nineties—and needed the guidance of his hands on the keys to keep his voice in tune through the chromatic, purposefully awkward grumblings of the melody. He’d neither rehearsed with the ensemble nor heard Evans’ just-completed arrangement. Davis granted Dorough only a single opening chord and not another note on the piano. Attempting to buttress his sagging self-esteem, Dorough reminded himself that Thelonius Monk had been forced by Davis to lay out—or stroll, as the argot of the day put it—on the latter’s Bags’ Groove session back 1954.
After this potentially dispiriting start to the 1962 proceedings, Dorough marshaled his remaining confidence and plunged in. Things went smoothly. It happened also to be the first Davis date for tenor player Wayne Shorter, who confidently strode through several choruses of swinging but still-standoffish minor blues that framed the disjointed declamations of Dorough’s bebop baroque. As for Davis, his muted horn is heard only in an almost taunting dialogue with Dorough’s vocals. That cool sarcasm brands the piece a Davis production, but also adds a moodier, more malevolent tone to the disaffected, but spry humor of Dorough’s song.
Davis thanked Dorough by giving him union scale wages, falsely grabbing a share of the composition credit, and—a quarter century later in his autobiography Miles—by claiming that the record company had forced him to work with the “silly singer.”
In spite of these affronts, Dorough remains in his book touchingly thankful for having had the chance to record with Davis. We can hardly blame him for his loyalty and undying reverence. Or perhaps Dorough is clever enough to let the historical record—and the vinyl one—speak for itself without resorting to the trademark put-downs of Davis’s life and memoir, one of the most mendacious in the history of the genre.
Dorough relates that the last time the two saw each other, Davis cadged twenty bucks and disappeared: the trumpeter was more likely to take a dime from the needy than give one.
The superficial listener might judge “Blue Xmas” to be negative in intent and affect, a goofy if momentarily engaging, oddity. This is a mistake. The song’s evanescent dyspepsia is far from the arid irony of so crucial to contemporary attitudes and ersatz counterculture. Dorough’s music is far cooler than what now counts as cool in the so-called hipster precincts of Brooklyn and beyond. His is the rarest and best kind of social criticism that both expresses unwanted truth, while refreshing, entertaining, and uplifting. One laughs at its cruel-kind wit and savors its bittersweet aftertaste. Dorough’s “Blue Xmas” raises the spirits far more than the smarmy warmth of a pick-any-popstar’s white one.
Soon after the 1962 session Dorough, his wife and young daughter left New York City. Among other accomplishments, he went on to compose and sing many of the songs for the Saturday morning educational cartoon of the 1970s School House Rock. He also wrote “I’m Hip,” a hilarious send-up of cool—perhaps also an unconscious retort to Davis’s treatment of him—done by David Frishberg, then Blossom Dearie.
But it is Dorough’s Christmas anti-carol that will longest outlive him: it’s a piece that is, for those who really listen to it, both a cutting plaint and a melancholic love song to the season.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His recording of J. S. Bach’s organ trio sonatas is available from Musica Omnia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Freedom, life and liberty, memoirs of a man condemned?
Free Bret Bengston! (Or should it be "save"?) I guess either one would be sufficient considering the circus like purgatory my life has been so far. To generalize, we can say that I am one of two things: a, mentally ill "bipolar delusional" denied any imaginable treatment. Or b, a superhuman multidimensional revolutionary activist trained and guided psychically through vigilante style rescue missions. I do not wish I were joking. My whole life I have known, wished and prayed to be the most special being I can be. I am a dichotomy of dichotomies. I have been referred to or labeled almost anything imaginable. Most of my loved ones and many friends take every opportunity to lecture me on what I do wrong and how I should act. They don't realize that the behavior they are criticizing is usually my attempt to comply with the last constructive criticism I received. When I try to explain this push and pull existence, I am instructed to "just be yourself!" I have taken another step further by explaining that I am not sure that I have a self as the character I portray is simply my best guess as to how to relate to other people. Then of course I'm accused of acting to which I respond, "Well yes."
To me, most people's actions and behaviors are so strangely incorrect considering the outcome they seek that I am left to choose between a myriad of incorrect actions and behaviors. I know from much experience that trying to do things in a way that I think will work results in an almost spontaneous locked up stalemate between myself and the world around me. If you are with me this far you may wish me to explain myself!
That seems simple enough. But the longer I live the more I learn that I seem to be literally speaking a different language from everyone else although constructed of the same words. Vocabulary, spelling and grammar, linguistic communication in general have never been my strong point. It usually takes an intellectual with some mirth to understand me at all. But you have to be wary of the deception which concludes my having to be a genius because I have long assumed that: it takes a genius to work with retards. (That's my saying.)
Anyway for the last few months I've been doing my best to accumulate an internal reference of translations focusing on my way of saying things versus their way of saying things. Keep in mind that everyone speaks a different language constructed of the same words to one degree or another.
Here's what I think I'm going to do:
I have finally translated “just be yourself” to “be real and tell it like it is.” I am 40 years old. I've spent way too much time incarcerated for breaking our broken laws. I have a world to change. I have a family who deserves my loving influence and care. I am an artist of yet unseen unparalleled depth and proportion. You deserve what I have to offer. I have never committed the crime of victimization. I have never committed a crime for monetary gain. My rap sheet is an injustice. My court minutes are a memoir of my 20 years of activism. I believe in personal liberty. I'm against injustice and victimization. I know that I did change the world for the better. I need help, I need friends, I need a lawyer, I need an author, I need a rest, I need support. I am calling on all those courageous enough to help and here's how:
Write to me at 951 Low Gap Road Ukiah 95482. Or you may attend my court dates. Or visit me by calling the sheriff and making an appointment. You can donate financial support electronically -- send money to Bret Bengston@mycarepack.com or by using the kiosk at the jail. Anything will help. I will correspond with all of those who write, visit or donate and I will share free artwork of various media.
Here is an example of my songs/poetry:
Release me from this bondage. Release me from these chains. Release me from the shackles that are making me insane.
Release me from the prison walls, I am asking your name. Release me from these bonds that maybe I'm the one to blame.
I know there was a time, I knew that you were in my heart. I am not sure how I lost you or how my world fell apart.
I have been struggling through such painful change, I thought I was alone. I am sorry that I could not see the signs to me you have shown.
Through trials and tribulations I have been struggling so long. Despite feeling so alone and lost I still know right from wrong.
What made me think I had to bear the weight of this world alone? I can now see you have been carrying me. I am sorry I did not know.
The power that I draw on I forget where it was from. I'm sorry that I could not see you always were the one.
You gave me everything I asked while chasing down my dreams, but I did not know to ask your help to deal with these feelings.
29 AVAs TO GO
Merry Christmas and happy new year! Thank you for sending me the weekly AVA. I enjoy all of the information and updates. The AVA is the only thing I look forward to each week. I use it to count my remaining time. For instance, I have 29 AVAs to read until I'm released. May 2019. Blessings to all.
Lake County Jail
PS. I liked last week's story about the Lake County Lady who is an activist in the forefront of local affairs. I would like to get in touch with her to discuss a wide range of issues. I can be reached at Lake County Jail on Helbush Road in Lakeport.
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO
Friday, 9pm to 5am, I read Memo of the Air by live remote from Juanita's apartment, /not/ from the back room of the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar, so make plans to show-and-tell there next week, Dec. 28.
Deadline to get your writing on the air tonight is around 7pm. If you're still working on it after that, just email it whenever you're done and I'll read it on the show next time. Or save it yourself for next time and come in and read it yourself in person, see above.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org and click on Listen.
Also you can always go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's show, and shows before that. By Saturday night, tonight's MOTA magically becomes last week's MOTA, so if you wait till then to look you'll find that too. It'll be right on top.
Some amusements for while you wait for tonight:
"Have you recently purchased a bar in Brooklyn but are completely bereft of original ideas of what to name it and what to cook there? You can use this handy tool to generate those things."
Bad Lip Reading does Apple product launch events.
And a performance on musical straw.
* * *
AN XMAS IDYLL. The recording of Friday night's (2018-12-21) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here: tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0312
Anyway, also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you can find a double-size fresh batch of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
We all have something we like very much to look at and think about, maybe a little too much, some of us, with some things, and where’s the harm? I like old microphones, and I think you do too. Come on, you do. And there's one modeled on a stage mic in Girl Genius that’s wrapped around a vacuum tube, technically not old, but look at it. And one spewing Spielbergian god-light from its grill in soft-focus like something in a dream. Carbon-button mics hanging in an intricate filigree of springs. Ribbon mics. Rocket mics. Excuse me, I'll be in my bunk.
This sort of behavior was exactly what management put the camera there to stop in the first place. Now when people complain what are they going to do, put more cameras?
Tom Waits - 9th and Hennepin.
And mouth-beatbox: Nicole Paris. Bass: Elin Sandberg. Drums: Helen De La Rosa. Pure magical happiness. It's like the Jews used to say: "The whole world isn't crazy."
Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com