Entries tagged with “Rob Roth”.


#ShutdownCanada, Friday’s nationwide protest in Canada calling on the government to investigate the murders and disappearances of indigenous women, was a bit of a disappointment, failing to garner as much public participation as expected.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a branch of the Organization of American States, last year reported that First Nation women in Canada are being murdered and disappeared at four times the rate of white women.

Although more than 7,000 people had said they would take part in demonstrations planned in Calgary, Espanola, Edmonton, Fredericton, Halifax, Hamilton, Kamloops, Lethbridge, London, Moncton, Montreal, Niagara, Oshawa, Ottawa, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg, according to Ontario’s Two Row Times, fewer than 700 showed up, Warrior Publications reported.

Unist’ot’en camp (Warrior publications photo)

Also joining the demonstrations were several groups trying to stop environmental damage. One of them, Unist’ot’en Camp, describes itself as a “resistance community in Northern British Columbia, whose purpose is to protect sovereign Wet’siwet’en territory from several proposed pipelines.”

The Unist’ot’en clan says, “Wet’suwet’en territory, which extends from Burns Lake to the Coastal Mountains, is sovereign territory which has never been ceded to the colonial Canadian state; the Wet’suwet’en are not under treaty with the Canadian government.”

Since July of 2010, the Wet’suwet’en have established a camp in the pathway of the Pacific Trails Pipeline.

On Friday, protesters also blocked a main entrance to the Port of Vancouver. In Winnipeg, a number of protesters blocked a road. In Regina, a small group blocked a railway line. And in Montreal, protesters temporarily blocked a major intersection and then briefly occupied a branch of the Bank of Canada.

Despite police limiting the protesters’ movements, #ShutdownCanada did cause some disruption in Regina, noted Daniel Johnson, who took part in demonstrations there. “But it was not the success it could have been.” ________________________________________________________________

No St. Valentine’s event, of course, is likely to ever get as much public attention as the 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago.

This was during Prohibition, and in a fight over territory, Al Capone’s South Side Italian Gang  captured five members of Bugs Maron’s North Side Irish Gang, as well as two of its accomplices.

The seven were lined up against a wall inside a garage and executed with Tommy guns. (See photo at left.) One member of the North Side Gang, Frank Gusenberg, lived for three hours after the shootings. Although he received 17 gunshot wounds, he refused to tell police who the gunmen were. ____________________________________________________________

Canada on Valentine Eve Friday was lucky to escape its own massacre, which had been planned for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Before the carnage could occur, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took a 23-year-old woman from Illinois, Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, and a 20-year-old man from Halifax, Randall Steven Shepherd, into custody on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

The woman subsequently told authorities about plans to attack a mall. Two other men, 17 and 20, have also been taken into custody, and a fifth person, a 19-year-old man, committed suicide when police surrounded his home.

Police said the plotters were not involved with Islamic terrorism and merely wanted to kill as many people as possible before taking their own lives. Luckily the Mounties received a tip and found that on social media, the group had revealed an obsession with mass killings. ________________________________________________________

Tony’s Seafood Restaurant.

Also on Valentine Eve, the band Rusty String Express packed Tony’s Seafood Restaurant in Marshall. “The musicians play a mix of jazz, Celtic, and other styles — some traditional and covers,” said West Marin musician Ingrid Noyes.

“But they also write a lot of their own material. They give it all their own unique spin, and they have a unique sound with that mix of instruments.”

The restaurant offered plenty of meal specials, and barbecued oysters were served for only $2 apiece, which is the best restaurant price I’ve seen in West Marin in a very long time.

A Buckeye butterfly on Saturday paused for a rest on bamboo that grows in a half wine barrel on Mitchell cabin’s lower deck. Other parts of West Marin matters were less tranquil on Saturday. In Point Reyes Station, so many tourists crowded into town that a couple of restaurants ran out of food. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

No Name bar

The Michael Aragon Quartet on Valentine Eve played what I call “modern jazz” (think John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley) in Sausalito’s No Name bar, as it does every Friday evening. From left: Rob Roth on sax, KC Filson on keyboard, Pierre Archain on bass, and Michael Aragon on drums.

There’s no cover charge; the music is inevitably great; and at times virtually every seat in the bar is taken. When that happens, some customers inevitably retire to a covered garden in the rear to talk, smoke, meet people, or play chess.

She’s appreciated.

One of the attractions of the No Name on Friday nights is its unceasingly cheerful waitress, Sarah Burke. Just placing drink orders with her is part of the fun. I’m hardly the only person to notice this, and as a way of saying thanks, her regular customers signed a Valentine’s card, which she received Friday, along with a potted red rose.

Hunters-gatherers: Two migrating robins forage outside Mitchell cabin last Wednesday.

There are more robins in West Marin than usual this winter. Wildcare, the wildlife-rescue group in San Rafael, reported last week, “It’s songbird migration time…. In the past few weeks, we have admitted 11 thrushes and six robins with head trauma from hitting windows.”

In order to feed these patients, the Birdroom at Wildcare “needs earthworms (good from your compost) and frozen berries (wild blueberries, the small ones, are best).” The group can be reached at 415 453-1000.

It was time for the Christmas tree to come down. At Mitchell cabin, however, it not only comes down but is thrown down.

Our Christmas tree was only four feet tall this year, so once Lynn had removed the ornaments and I had taken down the lights, I could easily pick it up and toss it off our deck. That way, I didn’t have to awkwardly carry it through narrow walkways and down a couple of dozen steps, scattering needles the whole way.

Back when I lived in cities such as New York, Council Bluffs, and San Francisco, I could never have gotten away with throwing trees from my deck. The neighbors would have had conniptions. Nowadays, no one complains when I toss Christmas trees off my deck. This year, the only neighbors around were three horses, and they didn’t even whinny when old tannenbaum dropped out of the sky few yards away.

(Blog trivia: In the November 24 posting, I mentioned having developed a muscle spasm in my back as a result of trimming daisies with a chainsaw — as unlikely as that sounded. For the record, the bushes above with yellow flowers are those very daisies.)

Like many other West Marin residents, I dispose of my worn out Christmas trees at the bin behind the sheriff’s substation (Fourth and C streets in Point Reyes Station). Again this year, the number of Christmas trees dropped off at the bin far exceeds its capacity, and many have been discarded on the edge of C Street. It’s always an unceremonious farewell to Christmas.

Replacing weltschmerz with  jazz at the No Name bar in Sausalito last Friday. From left: Rob Roth on sax, KC Filson (barely visible) on keyboard, Pierre Archain on bass, and Alex Aspinall on drums. In a green jacket at the far right is Sausalito artist Steve Sara.

Finding peace of mind can be difficult these days, what with massacres of thousands of innocent people around the globe: from Paris, to Nigeria, to Yemen, to Iraq, to Syria, to Afghanistan, to New York City, to Boston and so on. It’s not only horrific, it’s frustrating because there’s very little each of us alone can do to stop any of it.

People use many remedies to relieve the frustration. For me, the best are the traditional “wine, women, and song.” As a result, Lynn and I drive to Sausalito about once a week to listen to jazz at the No Name, have a few drinks, and talk with strangers.

The music is great, the bar well tended, and as for the women — there is a covered garden in the back of the bar where one can coo, drink, smoke, play chess, or get into fascinating conversations with other customers. On Friday, I heard about Sartre from a man who knew him in Paris. A transplant from Montreal, who had lived near the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, told me about the Canadian government’s relations with its First Nation peoples. ______________________________________________________________

The artist Steve Sara (seen above) can often be found evenings in the No Name, inconspicuously sketching the scene.

Usually his subjects are unaware they’re being sketched. I certainly have had no idea when Steve was sketching me.

He surprised me last Friday with this oil painting of my listening intently to the blues on a previous Friday.

Steve says his art is “influenced by Social Realism, the Ashcan School, and California School Artists such as Emil Kosa and Phil Dike.”

He paints both en plein-air and from photos in his Sausalito Studio. ________________________________________________________________

A pair of crows were keeping watch over the lower field at Mitchell cabin on Saturday until I played the role of human scarecrow. The moment I focused my camera on them, the bird on the left took flight.

Since Lynn’s birthday is tomorrow, we decided to take an outing today and ended up along the Petaluma River near downtown.

One of the attractions of the Petaluma River is that a number of good restaurants have clear views of the water. Lynn and I found a table with an excellent view at Dempsey’s Restaurant and Brewery, where we ate outdoors beside the river.

Dempsey’s bills itself “Sonoma County’s oldest brewery,” having been founded 22 years ago. The attractive, dark-wood restaurant is at the right end of this pedestrian bridge over the river. Downtown Petaluma is on the left end.

So what if the Golden Gate Bridge was shut down Sunday? This was the only bridge we needed in order to keep wandering.

Marin County, and especially West Marin, have come to seem like a coastal refuge after last week’s Congressional elections, the conundrum of ISIS, California’s drought, and Stanford’s losing to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl.

In order to provide a respite from this world of troubles, I’m presenting this week a collection of happier scenes from around Marin.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Nicasio Square. Using locally milled redwood, townspeople in 1867 built the church for $3,000 (about $48,000 in today’s money).

I spent some time in Nicasio late last month, attending the opening of the new Nicasio Historical Society Museum and MALT Day at Nicasio Valley Farm’s Pumpkin Patch. While walking around the square, I was again struck by how unexpectedly well the New England architecture of several buildings fits with the old-west architecture of others, such as the Druid’s Hall and Rancho Nicasio.

Rob Roth on sax, KC Filson on piano, Píerre Archain on bass, and Michael Aragon on drums at the No Name bar in Sausalito. At far right, prominent Sausalito artist Steve Sara sketches the scene.

Last Friday evening, Lynn and I again ended up at the No Name bar  where we often go on Fridays. That’s the night the Michael Aragon Quartet performs modern jazz, much of it in the vein of John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley.

When the quartet performed Adderley’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy a month ago, they inspired me to see what I could find out about the late sax player (1928-75). Perhaps the most-intriguing trivia I turned up was the origin of his name.

Here’s the story. Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley, a hefty man, already had a voracious appetite by the time he reached high school, and this led his classmates to call him “Cannibal.” The distinction between cannibals and cannonballs is, of course, so minor that most of the public didn’t notice when Adderley evolved from one into the other. __________________________________________________________________

The view out our bedroom window Sunday of a horse from Point Reyes Arabians grazing in the neighboring pasture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doe, a deer, a blacktail deer. Ray, a drop of golden sun…. A young deer in a spot of sunlight outside our kitchen window last week pricked up her ears as if the hills were alive with the sound of…. ?

Wild turkeys and deer coexist surprisingly well at Mitchell cabin. Obviously neither looks threatening to the other. The biggest dangers to them come from cars and hunters.

In the pine tree, the mighty pine tree, the raccoon sleeps tonight. In the pine tree, the quiet pine tree, the raccoon sleeps tonight. Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh…. ________________________________________________________________

A mother raccoon and her kit at our kitchen door.

Young raccoons are recognizable by the time we get to see them notwithstanding their having been delivered in kit form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lynn and I hear coyotes around the cabin every few days, but we seldom get to see them. Here a coyote takes cover behind our woodshed.

The sloe-eyed coyote emerges from behind a clump of — appropriately enough — coyote brush. Coyotes are close relatives of gray foxes.

Keeping an eye out (and ears up) for coyotes and other predators, a jackrabbit sits in the field outside our kitchen window.

Among the other predators around here are bobcats. They don’t try to stay out of sight, but they trot off when they see humans.

And then there are the gray foxes. They live and breed on this hill, and until recently would show up at the kitchen door most evenings hoping to be fed just about anything — bread, nuts, dog food, whatever.

The foxes still show up occasionally in the afternoon to sun themselves atop the picnic table on our deck. Their nighttime visits, however, have come to an end for now, and I miss their vulpine partying.