Category Archives: Uncategorized

My favorite “light” jazz musicians…

This list would be sneered upon by “hard,” Blue Note jazz enthusiasts; but they’re all about edge and hardness…

Buddy Collette
Johnny Lytle
Joe Pass
Cal Tjader
Red Norvo
Chico Hamilton
Shorty Rogers
Howard Roberts
Art Farmer
Johnny Smith

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Something They Don’t Talk About in Tyler

Recovered History: Installment 2
A news account of one of hundreds of lynchings that occurred in the first half of the 20th century.

“Negro Burned by Texas Mob
Tyler, Texas, May 25 [1912]–

Dan Davis, a negro, was burned to death at a stake in the streets of Tyler early today after he had confessed to assaulting Miss Carrie Johnson of this city a week ago. Two thousand persons participated in the lynching. “While the girl herself did not identify her assailant, he was identified by a man who is said to have seen him in the neighborhood a short time before the crime was committed.”

Davis had signed a statement confessing to the assault, but before the match was touched to the pile of wood on which the negro had been bound by the mob he was asked again if he were guilty.

‘I am guilty,’ he cried, and a moment later the flames were leaping high about his head. Davis was brought here early today from Athens, Texas. When members of the sheriff’s posse arrived at the jail with the negro, they were confronted by several citizens, who waited until the black had written his confession, then demanded that he turn himself over to them.

Officers and many citizens protested but finally surrendered the negro to the mob, whose numbers made protest useless, the officers say. From the jail the prisoner was lead [sic.] to the public square, where several wagon loads of wood had been piled. He was tied to a rail and after he reiterated his confession, a match was applied and the flames enveloped him. The mob stood around the fire until it had died down and little was left but charred bones and ashes.

The work of the lynchers was done quickly and quietly. The determination of the men who had the execution in charge appeared to have a sobering effect upon them.

In his written statement, Davis told how he another negro attacked Miss Johnson, who is the daughter of a farmer, as she was walking along a railroad track to Tyler, the afternoon of May 21.

The pair left her with her throat gashed, believing her dead. She was later found after an all night search. While the girl herself did not identify her assailant, he was identified by a man who is said to have seen him in the neighborhood a short time before the crime was committed. The girl’s condition is critical. Davis said his partner had been arrested at Waco.”

Source: “Negro Burned by Texas Mob.” May 25, 1912, special wire report.

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Horrible Murder in Dexter, 1878

Recovered History: Installment 1

A lost and questionably reported account of a murder in Dexter, Washtenaw County, Michigan, bringing to focus post-Civil War racial relations in the “North.”

Horrible Murder

On Sunday, at about 11 a. m., Jan. 20, 1878, the little village of Dexter [Michigan] was thrown into terrible excitement, through a rumor that one Thomas O’Grady had been brutally murdered and mutilated by a colored man named W. H. Morand, in the timber about one mile below that place.

The rumor proved to be a sad truth, and not long after the body of the unfortunate man was brought to the village a coroner’s inquest was held, and the principal facts given are as follows: The man Morand had leased a little piece of land in Cullinane’s timber near Dexter, and had been living there for about two months. His hut was near the Michigan Central railroad track, and was made of saplings bent down and covered over with earth and brush.

The boys in Dexter had found out he lived there, and on Sundays used to go up and chat awhile with him. On the day in question, Thomas O’Grady, Steve Cavanaugh [app. age 8], Thomas McLaughlin, Dan Cunningham [app. age 10] and others–in all eight in number–had gone down from the village to see the man, and have a little fun with him. They arrived there, and commenced to fool around his humble abode, when he cautioned them to desist, but they still continued their sport, and one was so bold as to lay a large log against the door.

This made Morand mad and he came out of the hut and picking up an ax struck a blow at Cavanaugh, who was the one nearest. Cavanaugh warded off the blow, and at the same time O’Grady said, “Don’t be afraid, I’ll fix him,” or words to that effect, and pulling a revolver, fired in the air close to Morand’s head, simply to make him desist his murderous intentions.

This enraged Morand still more, and he struck again, this time at O’Grady, and felled him to the earth. The other boys were so paralyzed with horror, that they ran in all directions. O’Grady–though stunned by the blow–heard them and said, “For God’s sake, boys, don’t leave

O’Grady was then on his knees in a stooping position, and as soon as he had said this, the Negro struck him a second blow, which killed him instantly. With fiendish glee, he raised the bloody ax and dealt him two more blows, entirely mashing his skull, and mutilating his head in a fearful manner. He then took the dead body and carried it 10 or 15 feet and threw it over a fence into a ditch on the other side.

The alarm was given immediately by O’Grady’s companions, and his wife, being one of the first to hear of it, was soon on the spot, and found the Negro trying to bury the fatal weapon that had performed the bloody work.

Morand then walked toward the village, and meeting a couple of officers on the way, gave himself up. The officer, thinking that violence might be done him, took him to Ann Arbor the same evening.

On the Wednesday following the prosecuting attorney questioned him in the presence of witnesses, drawing out the fact that he believed himself to be the Savior, possessing unlimited knowledge of past, present, and future, and therefore declined to prosecute the case. Morand was afterward taken before a jury, judged insane, and sent to Kalamazoo [Michigan Asylum for the Insane].

The murdered man left a wife and a babe seven months old to mourn his sad and premature loss.”

Source: History of Washtenaw County. Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman & Co., 1881: 241-242.

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Jim’s Burgers

Jim’s Burger, 765 East Foothill Boulevard, Rialto, California

7:04 am — The day starts at Jim’s Burgers, an underrated Route 66 eatery in Rialto, California, with the Orkin Man tapping on the west-side door.

He is dressed nicely: long-sleeve shirt, pressed pants, Oxford shoes. Aside from the blue latex gloves and the company cap, no one would know he kills bugs for a living.

Today, his job is to spray the perimeter of Jim’s Burgers, a one-time Burger Chef Restaurant on the south side of Foothill Boulevard, former Route 66.

Inside, Jim’s is authentic greasy spoon: vinyl booths, some with their seats slit and healed with duct tape; old-school video games tucked away in a dusty corner; and the ever-present sheen of burger grease.

Trailing the Orkin Man is the first customer of the day; a regular who shouts his order from his booth, newspaper spread across the table.

Being this early in the morning, only a quarter of the lights are on. But the mood is bright as the Beach Boys burst into “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” on KOLA, the area’s “classic hits” radio station.

Ray, the regular, now with eggs and bacon on a plastic plate comments, “What happened to the Lakers last night?”

The cook, owner and front man, Jim, doesn’t reply; he’s busy at the grill. With a metal-against-metal sound, he takes an oversized spatula and shuffles three eggs across the sizzling field of grease.

The waitress, a woman in her fifties answers the customer with another question, “Did you see that woman get punched by a cop?” “Yeah,” Ray answers.

And so the day’s banter starts as a new customer edges to the counter to order a breakfast burrito.

With so much not working in San Bernardino County these days, Jim’s is a bright spot on this stretch of Route 66.

You just have to turn a blind eye to the roach dashing across the condiments basket to enjoy this real road-food stop.



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A Modern Motel Ghost Town

Report From a Motel ‘Ghost Town’
May 6, 2010
By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer

Hawkins' Court, Lordsburg, New Mexico

LORDSBURG — Spring weeds have shot up through cracks in the pavement and a swimming pool sits filled in with concrete, a surrealist’s vision of summer fun.

The wind persuades some hanging metal to break into a tuneless song while faded paint advertises a menu lost to the passage of time, as well as the grammarian’s pen: “Truckers Special $5 Super Breakfast Anytime.”

Life along Motel Drive in Lordsburg can be pretty lifeless.

Oh, there are things happening along the three or four miles of the drive, which stretches from the easternmost offramp of Interstate 10 to its westernmost on-ramp.

Chile is being ladled out to a lunchtime crowd at Ramona’s Cafe. Downtown,they’re just putting this week’s issue of the Hidalgo County Herald to bed. And the TVs are on in a few of the rooms of the handful of motels still open for business.

Motel Drive has not been entirely forgotten, but it sure can feel that way.

In the 1930s, when cross-country car travel was young, Lordsburg — jammed into the bottom-left corner of our map — was sitting pretty on U.S. 80. The “Broadway of America” linked the East Coast and San Diego and was more traveled than Route 66.

By 1964, Lordsburg had 31 service stations, 21 motels and 20 cafes, mostly clustered along U.S. 80, and it was the biggest travel stop between Texas and Arizona.

What happened?

Two things: An interstate highway replaced Highway 80, spelling a familiar doom.

And, maybe because it’s harder to find rhymes for U.S. 80 than it is for Route 66, nobody wrote a famous song about the road that passed through Lordsburg, depriving its ghostly remnants of nostalgic cachet.

This is not ancient history. The interstate was completed in the 1970s, so thedecay of Motel Drive is only about 30 years old.

Still, it qualified recently for the Society for Commercial Archeology’s list ofthe 10 most endangered roadside places in the U.S.

John Murphey, a board member with the Society for Commercial Archeology and architectural historian with the National Park Service in Santa Fe, nominated the drive for the designation after taking a lonesome trip down the road.

“I was struck — for lack of better words — by this modern ghost town of motels,”Murphey tells me. “And I’ve watched them dissipate over the last 10 years.”

That dissipation has included some examples of important architectural styles, especially “cabin courts,” falling down or being torn down.

A few motels are open for business, catering mostly to long-term rentals, and a few still stand vacant. But most live on only in photos.

Lordsburg has been tied to transportation since its beginning. It was founded in 1880 on the route of the Southern Pacific Railroad and named for a train engineer, Delbert Lord.

When U.S. 80 was being replaced by Interstate 10, Lordsburg did not just roll over. Its townspeople knew that traffic flying by at high speeds did not mean good things for the town. One property owner built herself a shack on one of the proposed ramps, moved in and held up the project for three months. Her sit-in ended when she was arrested and thrown in jail.

The town won some concessions: The highway was elevated slightly so travelers could look down over Lordsburg, see its amenities and be encouraged to stop there. And three exits — one at each edge of town and one in the center — were
supposed to draw people through town.

They didn’t. They stopped them at the edges, where chain motels and truck stops now sit. People who study transportation patterns call these “interstate villages” — places where travelers jump out of their cars for a bathroom break,a fuel-up and some fast food.

Debbie Greene bought the old Vendome Hotel building in downtown Lordsburg on Motel Drive and is running her bookkeeping business out of it. She would like to renovate and open to interstate travelers, but she suspects that would be futile unless something changes in tourist patterns.

“You get off (I-10) and go to the bathroom and get your stuff and go. And you don’t see Lordsburg,” she says.

What you miss when you stay in that interstate bubble, according to Murphey, is a good collection of vernacular architecture of the 1920s and ’30s and 1950s and ’60s. The one remaining little cabin court with its Mission Revival parapet is a gem, and the big “spreaders” with their pools and neon come-ons conjure up images of family trips taken at a more leisurely pace.

“It’s a fairly good representation of the full spectrum of roadside accommodation in New Mexico.” Murphey says. “If these were along Route 66, they would have been nominated to the National (Historic) Register years ago. But that hasn’t happened here.”

When you roll along Motel Drive, it’s not that hard to envision the properties rehabbed to their historical glory and tourists making a destination of the old road in their classic cars. Route 66 through Tucumcari easily comes to mind.

Will it happen here? Is it too late?

The Society for Commercial Archeology distinction comes with nothing but attention. It’s going to take local action to make anything happen.

Edmund Saucedo, a Lordsburg native who returned home after a 35-year hiatus in San Francisco and was saddened to see the downfall of downtown and the rest of Motel Drive, has tried to ignite interest in preservation and revitalization. He
has, frankly, been frustrated by the response.

In City Hall, there’s a new mayor — Frank Rodriguez — who says he loves nostalgia, but knows there is little money available for rehabbing an entire street.

He hopes some moneybag is out there with an eye for neon and cabin courts, someone who can see all those potential customers zipping by on I-10.

“If somebody came in with the right ideas and some financial backing, that would be great. That would be great for our city,” Rodriguez says.


UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Reach Leslie at 823-3914 or

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Filed under Broadway of America, Road Trip, Route 66, Uncategorized, US Highay 80

One Small Depletion of the Plains-Ogallala Aquifer

Found Document: Field Observation, October 21, 1957



Date 21 Oct [italics handwritten in red ink] 1957 Record by D.R. Mecca
Source of data Field Obs
1. Location: County Roosevelt Map [left blank]
SW ¼ SW ¼ NW ¼ Sec. 18 T. 2S R. 35E
2. Owner T.L. Lancaster
3. Driller [left blank]
4. Topography Flat Elev. [left blank]
5. Type DRiLLED 19 [left blank] Use IRR
6. Log [left blank] Filed [left blank]
7. Depth. [left blank] Report: 104 ft. Meas. Ft. [left blank]
8. Casing [left blank]
9. Equipment: Pump, type TuRBINE make COOK
ser. no. model 11331 size of dischg. 8 ins.
Power, kind ELEC make GE H.P. 80
10. Distribution System EARTH DiTcHES
11. Water Level: [left blank] ft. rept/meas [left blank] 19 [left blank] above/below [left blank] Which is [left blank]ft. [left blank] above/below
12. Discharge Measurement [left blank]
G.P.M. [left blank] Temp. [left blank] F. [left blank]
13. Remarks could not Replace access plug for measurement
Well No. 8 on Photograph RCA-7-44
File No. P-213 Location No. 2S-35E-18-133

[end of document]

Depleted Springs, Belcher, Roosevelt County, New Mexico

[“By 1907, the U.S. Land Office at Roswell had granted 200,000 acres (representing 20,000 entries) of public domain in the Pecos Valley, an area of approximately 4,200 square miles and more than three times the size of Rhode Island…. To avoid the appearance of sheer speculation, the real estate agents marketed to “the man who is in good faith looking for a home where, at a nominal or moderate cost, he may enjoy the comforts of life and maintain the independence of himself and family.” But when they arrived, all the puffery fell flat when they found only “prairie, no trees, no houses or anything as far as one could see; nothing but prairie, and soapweeds and mesquite.”]


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Road Sustenance

Greasy burgers
Cheesy enchiladas
Star Bites
Dole orange juice
Pringles, Tabasco flavored
Bags of carrots
Broasted chicken
Flaxseed or fish oil, 1,000 MG
Gator tails
Super B-Complex
One-gallon jug of purified water
Light yellow pills with “V” imprinted on them
Coffee, of course



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Route 66: the Garbage Highway


Fifteen easy chairs, four couches, nine mattresses, two television sets, a pink cowboy boot, a fuzzy slipper; these are the roadside flowers of old Route 66, the garbage highway.

Take your truck on Oklahoma Highway 48/66 north of Bristow. About 3,000 feet beyond Magnolia Cemetery and the sign announcing “Future Home of Schumacher Funeral Home,” turn right down a dirt path; it will dump into a concrete road—old 66.

Head back toward town, and where the road makes a curve, slow down; look in the rearview mirror. Coast clear, stop.

I you’ve got a lot of un-bagged garbage, back up until your tailgate is perpendicular to Sand Creek. Open the gate and push out the crud with your flat shovel.

Don’t worry; it will join a regular Juarez-style landslide of filth, all slithering together.

If you got bigger stuff—a washing machine or a couch—drive farther until you see an abandoned trailer. Here you can dump your big stuff to mix with the refrigerators and 50 gallon barrels of who knows what.

Do your business quickly. But if you are curious, stick around, and poke through your neighbor’s garbage.

Flip over a couch and down flutters a Polaroid of a recent Halloween party. Open that bulging bag and there is a Masonic yearbook (2007), with photographs of tassel-hatted men doing various civic acts of goodness.

Mark Levin, broadcasting from the Ronald Reagan Foundation, harasses me to organize against the “radical ideologues,” as I use a stick to rip open another bag.

Someone I met in town said he once caught his neighbor dumping along the road. He “hasn’t talked to him since.”

While I’m poking around, a white Ford F-150 approaches silently. It stops; the two figures behind the windshield watch me. A hand on the passenger side taps a slow beat on the roof.

What the hell can I tell them?

Hopefully they can see my car is too small, too new, to be dumping.



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Something They Don’t Talk About in Pawhuska

In downtown Pawhuska, Oklahoma, county seat of Osage County and the capital of the Osage Nation, is a small plaque that reads “ON THIS SITE IN 1897 NOTHING HAPPENED HERE.”

Well something did happen here 24 years later, when the Klu Klux Klan attempted to roust all the “idle negroes” out of town.

December 8, 1921:

“Thirty negroes boarded a Midland Valley passenger train here yesterday after Ku Klux Klan warnings had been posted in all sections of the city instructing idle negroes to leave town and order all other negroes in the white section to immediately moved into the colored district.


The warnings painted in red ink read: ‘Warning–All idle negroes art to leave Pawhuska at once. All negroes residing in servants quarters in the white district must immediately move south of the railroad tracks.

These notices posted throughout the white residential section, the business district and in ‘negro town,’ bore the signature ‘The Ku Klux Klan.’

A letter received by a local newspaper asked for fullest publicity in the matter and said ‘The Klu Klux Klan’ meant business. The paper was instructed to inform the negroes that severe punishment would be dealt to negroes who failed to abide by the warnings.

It was the contention of the letter that negroes are becoming too numerous in the white section of the city and that negroes employed by white people and housed in servant quarters have been harboring idle negroes.

Raids this week by police officers on servant quarters in the rear of prominent citizens homes have resulted in the seizure of considerable booze and goods stolen from Pawhuska stores have been found in the possession of these negroes, this letter declared.”

Source: “Negroes Warned by the Klan.” Oklahoma Weekly Leader, Guthrie, Oklahoma, December 8, 1921: 1.


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Looking for the Ocean, cont. 4


At the top of the stairs sat a quartet of classical musicians, laboring at their cellos and violins. Two of the men wore ponytails.

At the bottom of the stairs, sat a young woman behind a trestle table loaded with pamphlets, lists, announcements and two plastic boxes stuffed with colored ribbons

The ribbons were embossed with gold letters announcing SECRETARY-TREASURER, SPEAKER, VENDOR, and dozens of miscellaneous acronyms, one being CAPPO, standing for the California Association of Public Purchasing Officers, Inc.

The young woman behind the table handed out programs and ribbons to members of this esteemed group who were assembling for breakfast in the Music Room. With a fancy camera around my neck, I walked in without incident.

Inside hundreds of purchasing officers sat at round tables with a glass of orange juice and a folded red napkin in front of them.

The officers, for the most part, were dressed formally, but not like the Ocean to Ocean men with their bowlers and top hats and discrete lapel buttons. Instead, the purchasing people wore lanyards weighted down with name tags, business logos and gold-lettered ribbons.

I walked down the central aisle, nodding to a few people. They must have thought I was the event photographer.

I strode to the front of the hall, where a huge screen displayed an image of an exploding firework. I took a few pictures in each direction and then exited.

With 20 minutes to kill before I left for the airport, I walked to the back of the inn and was surprised by its expanse. While shooting an architectural detail, I heard someone yelling behind me.

A couple hundred feet away sat a man on a bench, who yelled again: “Why don’t you take a picture of me.”

The yeller turned out to be a middle-aged guy, dressed in black, with an unfashionable brown leather jacket and a Scion cap covering his gray hair.

He clutched in his right a crumbled paper bag containing a can of Keystone Light. On his left sat a newspaper; on the opposite side, a black backpack. He told me his name was George.

Making small talk, George said he was waiting for his settlement to arrive. Settlement for what, I asked. “For getting butt-fucked by a priest,” he replied.

George was an Okay guy. He spent his productive years moving palettes for a grocery distributor, “the toughest work a human can do,” he said. But he had bad memories of Catholic boys’ school. I told him about the plane and the airport, and said I had to go.

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