Grizzly cub, Snow

Friday, July 19, 2019

Eric the Redstein

A funny thing happened on the way to the pillage...

As you probably know, I study genetics pretty closely. Was intrigued yesterday when I heard about this new study, Population Genomics of the Viking World.

They sequenced the genomes of 442 unearthed Viking skeletons and guess what? They found an L-792 individual, my people. A genetic ancestor of Napoleon. A member of a very small haplogroup, by the way. Branch of E-M34.

Notated as E1b1b1b2a1a4 . An endogamous jewish clade, this particular individual purportedly autosomally characteristic of a Polish jew, the Y-DNA definitely a yid from my little genetic line. Boy, did he wander off.

Found in Sweden, around 900 to 1050 ce.

Here's the abstract:

The Viking maritime expansion from Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) marks one of the swiftest and most far-flung cultural transformations in global history. During this time (c. 750 to 1050 CE), the Vikings reached most of western Eurasia, Greenland, and North America, and left a cultural legacy that persists till today. To understand the genetic structure and influence of the Viking expansion, we sequenced the genomes of 442 ancient humans from across Europe and Greenland ranging from the Bronze Age (c. 2400 BC) to the early Modern period (c. 1600 CE), with particular emphasis on the Viking Age. We find that the period preceding the Viking Age was accompanied by foreign gene flow into Scandinavia from the south and east: spreading from Denmark and eastern Sweden to the rest of Scandinavia. Despite the close linguistic similarities of modern Scandinavian languages, we observe genetic structure within Scandinavia, suggesting that regional population differences were already present 1,000 years ago. We find evidence for a majority of Danish Viking presence in England, Swedish Viking presence in the Baltic, and Norwegian Viking presence in Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. Additionally, we see substantial foreign European ancestry entering Scandinavia during the Viking Age. We also find that several of the members of the only archaeologically well-attested Viking expedition were close family members. By comparing Viking Scandinavian genomes with present-day Scandinavian genomes, we find that pigmentation-associated loci have undergone strong population differentiation during the last millennia. Finally, we are able to trace the allele frequency dynamics of positively selected loci with unprecedented detail, including the lactase persistence allele and various alleles associated with the immune response. We conclude that the Viking diaspora was characterized by substantial foreign engagement: distinct Viking populations influenced the genomic makeup of different regions of Europe, while Scandinavia also experienced increased contact with the rest of the continent.

Sample   Y_haplogroup   Laboratory_ID   Country   MajorDivision   MinorDivision   Finer_age   AvgDepth(X)   Sex   mtDNA_haplogroup

VK474   E1b1b1b2a1a4   Gotland_Kopparsvik-137   Sweden   Gotland   Kopparsvik   900-1050 CE   1.591   Male   J1d

Maybe they needed a tailor? Maybe he came for the whitefish? I hear they also called him Eric the Kvetch. Studied talmud between plundering...


Marvin Joseph - Washington Post
Mona Charen is a conservative writer at National Review that wrote an excellent piece today, False Racism Accusations Don’t Excuse the Real Thing.
Every Republican who is reflexively defensive of Trump’s blatant nativism and racism should put him or herself in the shoes of immigrants and minorities. How can they not feel frightened when he is willing to stoke such ugly flames? How can they avoid remembering the Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Japanese Americans, and going back to pre–Civil War days, the repeated efforts to deport African Americans through colonization?
That is part of what Trump has dredged up. It seems that he is out to prove that there is no bottom to what Republicans will accept.
I rarely agree with Mona but I think she hits it out of the park here. Her opinion is both objective and courageous and I am sure she will be lambasted for it by those on the right. Liberals need to stop calling out everything as racist in such a kneejerk fashion and conservatives need to cop to it when it actually occurs.

Collateral Damage

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
The EPA announced yesterday that it would not ban the poison chlorpyrifos, Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage.

I was bored last night. I read the entire report. It is a document riddled with twisting and wiggling, the administration doing everything possible not to honestly address the existing scientific studies and warnings regarding the pesticide. They kicked the can down the road a little ways.

I have written about chlorpyrifos several times before. Not going to rehash it. Study after study points to it being extremely damaging to childrens' nervous and endocrine systems. But Dow, now named Corteva, is a big contributor, what are you going to do?

I noticed that the announcement was signed by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. I looked her up.

What do you know, the EPA administrator is not a scientist at all but was a lawyer and political scientist who was once counsel for the American Chemistry Council. What a shock! Bought and paid for, as they say...

El Chapo

Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo, is complaining that his accommodations in prison are inhumane. The President of Mexico agrees.

The powerful drug lord said incarceration was "physical, emotional and mental torture" and "the most inhumane situation I have lived in my entire life."

Guzman's legal team has filed requests for better prison conditions at the MCC, where he is kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day in his 10 x 8 cell. His attorneys say that since he was brought to the US he has spent more than two years without any access to fresh air or natural light, adding that he must sleep with the light on in his cell, conditions that attorneys say are "psychologically scarring." He also asked for two hours of outdoor exercise a week. The judge denied Guzman's requests for improved prison conditions.

Now this is coming from a guy who used to personally shoot his drug couriers in the head if they were late.

He once offed a Roman Catholic Cardinal, Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo. In 2014 he claimed to have killed between two and three thousand people. During his trial witnesses said that he liked to murder people in creative ways — such as blowing them up with grenades or burying them alive.

According to his secretary, Guzman used a woman known only as “Comadre Maria” who sent Mr. Guzmán photographs of girls as young as 13 for him to choose from. For a $5,000 fee, Mr. Cifuentes said, the kingpin and members of his entourage had the girls brought into the mountains to rape them.

Mr. Guzmán considered the youngest of the girls to be “his vitamins” because raping them gave him “life,” according to court documents.

And he is complaining that the windows in his cell are too small and that he is psychologically scarred? Wow.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Sad and deep as you

Truths and half truths

My buddy Brett Stokes is having a show at Cafe des Artistes on Saturday. Bunch of new paintings. Mostly abstraction I think. Wish him well. Sell lots.

I asked him to send me a picture for the blog and he did. I am not sure if the iphone frame is part of the act or not.

Michael does an incredible job there with such a little kitchen. Some of the tastiest soups in town, always fabulous.

Cafe Primo / Espresso Lounge / Geds/ Brooktown, you know the place. It sold again. Going to get a new name, which is good, Brooktown seemed a little too hip hop to me.

I met the new owner and told her how bad the coffee was and she has quickly changed it for the better. Hope she can do something about the food, the morning stuff in the case is pretty inedible.

I thought Cuban would be tough in Fallbrook and frankly the entrees were skimpy. God, I miss Jim Tudor. Dude came in and made us s.o.s. (shit on a shingle) on New Year's Day...

Some say that talking about the best food in Fallbrook is like talking about the prettiest pig in the barnyard. But you can eat here pretty well if you pick your spots.

Scampi / Servianos / Village Inn is also rising from the ashes as La Cucina. Just what we need, another Mexican restaurant.  I miss Charlie and Brigitta's German apple pancakes. Maybe they need to paint it pink again?

postscript: Kathie Morris-Mathieu tells me, not Mexican, Italian. Great.

I talked to Robert from Le Bistro about eight months ago. Still alive, or was then. Another place I miss. Pork Normandy. Beef Wellington. And what a guy.

Can't even go into the old La Caseta any more, really bad last time I tried it.

Winchells is moving into the old Radio Shack. We have a great donut shop in Fallbrook, Donut Pantry near Major Market. Killer apple fritters and raisin rings. Winchells has to be nuts to want to compete with them. There is another donut shop too, near Don Vincents, used to have great macaroons. Haven't stopped there in years. Think we'd be better off with a Radio Shack.

I miss Aydees, the Guatemalan joint across from El Toro that moved to Vista. The replacement can't hold a tortilla to Robertitos. Which by the way, has the best fish taco deal in town. Better than Pedros and it's open all night.

Bruce Taylor told me that he had tortilla soup at El Jardin the other day that was incredible. I have to try it.

Delos has really invigorated the menu at Firehouse Que and Brew.

Leslie and I hardly ever go to 127 but we had an excellent fennel sausage pizza made by Faro the other night.

Still haven't made it back to Smalltown. Need to, want to support them.

New Yumi Sushi near Major is really good. I think the fish quality is superior to the other place in town. Now if they only sold Bimbimbap... So many Koreans around who have no problem pretending they are Japanese but won't serve Korean food, which I love...

Rosas is still my favorite Mexican food in town but they have really raised their prices significantly.

Dominicks is still purring like a top. His spaghetti and large meatball is not a bad way to go for lunch. Good deal. Some of the prettiest counter girls in town too.

Haven't hit Oink and Moo for a while. Jonesing for their gorgonzola stuffed pork chop.

Thai Thai is still great but Jennie is so busy opening new restaurants that we never see her anymore. Try the mango and sticky rice dessert sometime.

I hear that the purple building that housed El Meson may be reborn as a steak house. Cool, we could use one.

My current favorite sandwich in Fallbrook is Harry's grilled cheese with bacon and a fried egg on top.

I am addicted to the fresa paletas at El Toro. But what happened to the fried chicken drumettes?

Peanut butter stuffed deep fried jalapeños with raspberry dipping sauce at Pala Mesa still the most disgusting culinary offering in town.

Chris at Main St. Cafe had a birthday yesterday. Wish him well. I love that guy. 💕Try his gyros or beefeater sandwich. Exceptional. A place to see real Fallbrookians. Like Big Dave and Larry Sinclair. And Sue Price. Great breakfasts too.

Brunch wasn't as good as dinner at Finch in Wildomar.

Alex says that there is an amazing Banh Minh sandwich takeout on Oceanside and College with a bakery next door that makes the bread perfect.

Had a terrible tri tip sandwich at Phils in San Marcos. Don't waste your time.

Leslie and I both got sick at the same time on Northgate carnitas. Cuidado.

You newcomers probably don't know this but Fallbrook's nickname for many of us used to be Frogbutt. Would be a great name for a restaurant. This is my fortieth year here, but who's counting?

If you could have any new restaurant open in this town, what cuisine would you pick? I think a nice continental establishment like the Packing House or Grandmas would be a good addition. Not too trendy or progressive. Comfortable for all demographics. And if you say what or where it means you really haven't been here that long.

You think we have a homeless, indigent problem in Fallbrook? Try Temecula. I went to Valero to gas up the other night on the 79. Young people with tombstones in their eyes, as Steppenwolf once sang. ☠ Feral.  Souls extinguished. They are living right there in the creek. Scary. Make our street people here look like Salvation Army carolers.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Richie Furay

I saw yesterday that Richie Furay and Dave Mason are touring and playing in El Cajon in October. I really love both performers. I saw Richie play at the Buffalo Springfield reunion and he still sings and plays beautifully. It takes a lot for me to go see music but this might do it. They are also playing at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside two days earlier. That might be just as cool.

Dave Mason and Richie Furay
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
8:00 PM  9:00 PM
The Magnolia Performing Arts Center
210 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92020


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I've been loving you too long

America and Trent

I bought an interesting painting this week, an older man was moving out of town and he just wanted to get rid of the thing. No longer had room for it in his life for some reason.

What I found intriguing was that it pictured a ship and a dirigible in the same painting. Not something you see every day.

The painting is in a beautiful original frame and there is a placard on the bottom that says America and Trent.

A few things struck me about the canvas. The owner told me that he had once had it restored and the work around the edges is truly awful. May have also been put on a new stretcher.

I need my ace restorer Gary Hulbert to take a look at it.

I love these early marine paintings because they open a little window to history. My mother was a history teacher for a time and I am always fascinated in the subject. This one captures a rare window of time, when man was attempting to travel and circumnavigate in airships prior to plane and jet travel.

Marine artists, especially in the era before photography was dominant, were very exact in their eye and attention to detail. They had to be, because they were essentially documentarians. This was painted before the major advent of impressionism, at least in America. Most good boat paintings from the era are representational and historically correct.

So back to the painting at hand. I don't know the artist but I have a scant clue or two. I will deal with that in a moment. Almost immaterial. It is what it is. Not by a major marine painter, a Buttersworth, Salmon or Jacobson so would not be a painting for the autograph hounds who are only interested in big names.

So what exactly does it depict? What were the America and Trent?

The America was the first airship to attempt an Atlantic crossing. It was piloted by two men, Walter Wellman and Melvin Vaniman, who helped comprise a crew of six. The dirigible left Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 15, 1910. The crew abandoned both the flight and the airship after 72 hours and were rescued by a passing steamship, the Trent.

Wellman (1858-1934) was a journalist and newspaper man from Nebraska. Previous to this incident he attempted three polar expeditions by land, in 1894, 1898, and 1899. He failed each time and decided to do try with an airship that he had commissioned and built in France instead.

America being towed in Denmark after ill fated Polar try. 
Tried three times, but it didn't work. There was one problem after another. The ship was forced down on the last go after only forty miles.

He shipped the airship back to America on the freighter Oceanic and gave up on his dreams of getting to the pole. He would cross the Atlantic instead.
At a speed of 20 miles per hour it was expected that the airship could cross the Atlantic in six days, but just four hours after departure one of the ship’s two engines failed, likely due to the lack of a flywheel to dampen vibrations. The crew decided to proceed with just the remaining engine but additional problems soon became obvious; when the darkness of Saturday night fell it became apparent, for the first time, that the hydrogen airship’s engine threw significant sparks. Because the ship had been traveling through a thick fog the fabric of its envelope was wet, reducing the danger of fire, but the hazard was obvious.
America made reasonable progress for the first two days of its flight, eventually reaching a point northeast of Cape Cod by Sunday afternoon, but as the flight progressed it became necessary to jettison gasoline to reduce weight and when the cool air of Sunday night shrank the gas inside the envelope it became necessary to drop even more fuel, along with the damaged engine, just to stay aloft.
On Monday morning the hot sun warmed and expanded the airship, causing it to ruse. According to Wellman’s account, Vaniman accidentally valved air rather than hydrogen, causing the ship to rise even more rapidly to 3,000 feet, with the ultimate loss of 1/17th the ship’s hydrogen.
The wind then changed direction and strengthened, and with only one engine the airship was pushed southward, off course, toward a point south of where it had departed.
It became obvious that the flight could not be continued: Even if the airship survived the next day, when the cool air of Tuesday night contacted the airship’s hydrogen it would not be able to stay aloft.
Vaniman and Kiddo
They sent out a distress call on Monday night, the first radio distress call ever sent from an Aircraft. On Tuesday they attracted the attention of a British steamer on its way to Bermuda from New York, the S.S. Trent. The Ship sent out a lifeboat and rescued the men and the ship's mascot and cat, Kiddo.

Explosion of the Akron
The aviator Vaniman (1866-1912) was also known as the "acrobatic photographer." Born in Illinois, he specialized in airborne panoramas. He unfortunately lost his life in the explosion of the airship Akron in 1912.

As I said, I am not sure of my painting's author. The frame and style lead me to believe that it was painted at the time of the crossing. The name I discern is Carr with another letter in front of it, possibly a J.

There is a Connecticut marine painter named J. Gordon Carr. But he didn't paint this well, wasn't born until 1907 and conjoined the J with the C on his signature. So this might remain a mystery.

A cool painting in any case, irrespective of the painter's identity and more importantly for me, a portal to the past that I was totally unfamiliar with. Perhaps it is new for you as well.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A request

You can start me up.

I had my titration study for my sleep apnea last night in Temecula. I showed up at 8:30. A girl leads you into a very nice and clean suite and starts attaching sensors all over you.

You get fitted with a variety of masks in hoping finding one that you can live with or at least sleep with.

I went through about five or six different ones in the course of the night.

They continually increase your oxygen level until you land in the safe zone. I evidently suffer from hypoxemia amongst other things.

It was a difficult night. I have allergies and got very congested with the nose breather.

Then I got very dry. The study assistant is on call for any noise in the room. Get this thing off me, I need water!

She adjusted the gear but I never found anything that really worked or that I think I could live with through the normal night.

They release you at five in the morning. I have a client coming in in twenty minutes to look at a painting so it has been a long day, a day that I have spent with an awful  lot of adhesive residue in my hair. Can't wait to get home and get a shower. And hopefully a decent night's sleep.

She said I was in deep rem sleep for much of the night and I should feel refreshed. I don't.

Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Birding San Luis Rey

I went out birding with Ken Weaver and four other birders including my friend Beth yesterday morning. Ken is one of the most expert birders around and a very nice man. He often helps me identify birds, as does Beth. A retired science teacher, he is both patient and helpful. It was an honor to be with him in his native element.

We birded the old and defunct San Luis Rey golf course property which is now owned by the County of San Diego. We met early in front of Major Market and piled into Ken's van. It was a gray morning, not real conducive to photography. I brought my slower zoom and it unfortunately needs light to operate.

I had wrenched my knee the day before trying to do something in my yard. While my knee felt okay on our excursion, due to compensation, my back was killing me. It got a little grueling in the end.

It was of course, lovely to be out in nature in the early morning, before things start to get really hot, which they eventually did on this four hour trek. Lots of nice oak, sycamore, cottonwood and riparian habitats.

All of the birders were far more expert than I. Beth and Ken have a remarkable auditory memory, they each know hundreds of bird calls and can quite easily identify an incredible number of species by sound and song. I can't begin to do that.

I was surprised how many birds we saw and heard, 54 species, according to Beth's Ebird report. Definitely helps to bird with the pros.

San Luis Rey River Park--Bonsall area, San Diego, California, US Jul 15, 2019 6:51 AM - 3:42 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.8 mile(s)
54 species

Mallard  10
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  13
Eurasian Collared-Dove  4
Mourning Dove  20
Anna's Hummingbird  3
Allen's Hummingbird  3
Virginia Rail  1
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  1
Cattle Egret  12
White-faced Ibis  4
Turkey Vulture  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  3
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Acorn Woodpecker  1
Nuttall's Woodpecker  8
Northern Flicker  2
American Kestrel  3
Pacific-slope Flycatcher  2
Black Phoebe  12
Vermilion Flycatcher  5
Ash-throated Flycatcher  3
Cassin's Kingbird  4
Bell's Vireo (Least)  6
Hutton's Vireo  1
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  1
Common Raven  3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  3
Cliff Swallow  25
Bushtit  10
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
House Wren  1
Bewick's Wren  5
Wrentit  4
Western Bluebird  19
Northern Mockingbird  10
European Starling  27
Phainopepla  3
House Finch  12
Lesser Goldfinch  14
Lark Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  13
California Towhee  3
Spotted Towhee  2
Yellow-breasted Chat  4
Hooded Oriole  22
Red-winged Blackbird  21
Common Yellowthroat  10
Yellow Warbler  2
Black-headed Grosbeak  3
Blue Grosbeak  6
Scaly-breasted Munia  4

I am used to shooting with my big lens and forgot the lesser quality of the 600mm in less than optimal light. Hard to get focus. Lots of dumb operator error too.

Not very happy with my pictures. The avian highlights for me were the vermilion flycatcher and the blue grosbeak. Lots of hooded orioles around but they have been everywhere this year.

Here's a few pictures of our excursion. Thanks to Beth and Ken for inviting me. Hope to go out again.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Harvest Moon - Reina del cid

Kerry B. suggested this. I have posted them before, the guitar player Josh Turner has been posting cool tunes since he was a very young kid. Nice version here.

Terra Unfirma

Presidents and congressmen and congresswomen, commies, patriots and bigots, they all come and go. 

You can work yourself into a tizzy worrying about the latest outrage and get yourself tired out real quick. Have to pace yourself in this troubling world of ours.

I think it is important on to focus on that which will hopefully still be here when all the players are gone and many if not most are forgotten, I am of course speaking of our beloved third planet, earth.

Because what we do to this earth thingie can have repercussions that will outlive us all.

Today the E.P.A. announced plans to curtail the ability of communities to oppose pollution permits.

They can put a big power plant next door and individuals or community advocates can no longer appeal against E.P.A. issued pollution permits before a panel of agency judges.

But power plants can appeal to increase their pollution output if they want. Ouch.

And while we are on the topic. Last month the administration announced plans to replace Obama era carbon reduction rules in favor of new standards that will let coal plants pollute more if the states they are located in don't have a problem with it. Like West Virginia or Wyoming would ever utter a peep?
Environmental groups say the Trump rule will slow the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at a time when scientists warn that countries must rapidly decarbonize to avoid the most severe effects of climate change, including heat waves, extreme storms, droughts and floods.
An early Trump administration analysis of its own plan also found that it would lead to hundreds more premature deaths and hospitalizations because of that increased air pollution.
On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, issued a new analysis that estimated, based on established E.P.A. methods of calculating the harm from pollution and industry trends, that the new plan could lead to as many as 5,200 premature deaths annually by 2030.
Today the EPA announced that it was allowing the sale and manufacture of a chemical that kills bees, even in low doses. See EPA Approves Bee-Killing Pesticide After U.S. Quits Tracking Vanishing Hives.

The honeybee population is already near total collapse and Trump decides to put the final nail in the coffin.
The controversial insecticide sulfoxaflor, manufactured by DowDupont’s Corteva agricultural division, can now be used on a wide range of crops, including corn, soybeans, strawberries, citrus, pumpkins and pineapples, the EPA said.
Sulfoxaflor has been found to be “highly toxic to honey bees at all life stages,” according to the EPA’s own studies — and harms wild pollinators like bumblebees even at low doses. Yet Alexandra Dunn, head of the EPA office that oversees pesticides, said the agency was “thrilled” to approve new uses and lift past restrictions on sulfoxaflor, which she called “highly effective.” Dow contributed $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee.
The EPA’s action could be catastrophic for honeybees, environmentalists said. Honeybee colonies, which pollinate a third of all the crops Americans consume, have plummeted from 6 million in 1947 to 2.4 million in 2008
Who the fuck needs bees, right? Don't they sting people?

Trump has been fond of saying lately that we have the cleanest air and water here in the United States.

Unfortunately it is a lie. Whatever we do still have is in spite of him, not because of him.

Good editorial today at NJ.com, Trump’s environmental record is smoke and mirrors. But mostly smoke.
He did say, with wrist-slashing frequency, that America has “among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet…and that’s what we’re doing,” which is not only a non-sequitur, but a lie.
Actually, the US trails most industrialized nations in both air quality (10th overall) and water (29th), according to Yale’s Environmental Performance Index. As for greenhouse gas emissions, don’t ask: We’re behind the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia and Canada, the Yale EPI reports.
And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. This administration has already repealed 83 regulations protecting the air, water, and land (49 are already in effect), according to research from Harvard and Columbia, and civil penalties for polluters are down 85 percent last year compared to the decade average, the EPA admits.
So please don't tell me that you are a Republican but you still really care about the environment. This is your boy. Own him. Your 401k is moving up, you're loving the Dow past 27k, if push comes to shove, you really don't give a shit. Let's be honest. All about the Benjamins. Hopefully your children and grandchildren will be able to work it out. Because you're fucking worthless.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Harvey Mandel

Fallbrook Kid at Pala Mesa

I saw Anthony Cullins aka The Fallbrook Kid at Pala Mesa last night.

Joint was rocking, people were dancing, there were multiple acts, everybody having a good time.

Some people were dancing whose lives had already taken many revolutions around the sun. Good for them.

It was the promoter Ken Rexrode's 50th show and I felt like listening to some music. I don't get out much but I had the urge. Surprised the hell out of my wife.

Anthony is a prodigy, plays blues the way they should be played. He won the prestigious Dallas Guitar competition under 20 group last year and his career path is deservedly on a real apogee. Sky's the limit.

Anthony had an excellent band and a great drummer, didn't catch his name but talked to him for a bit.

He had a studio session in Corona after the set, a real hard worker. Plays in several bands including a funk band and a church band too in San Diego.

Anthony played a set with Bruce his regular bass player and then my buddy Pat Raymond came out and played with him for a short set.

Pat has been a bit of a mentor to Anthony.

I had never seen Pat play before. He is a very successful businessman but also a very talented musician.

Sort of blew my mind. I had no idea he was that good. Damn.

Lighting was scarce on the patio and obviously I am not a rock and roll photographer but I had a really good time!

I had not seen Anthony in over a year except for one time he sat in with Daring Greatly. He has improved in his command by leaps and bounds. If I could liken his sound to anybody the name that pops into my mind is Harvey Mandel. And it makes sense because Anthony, like me, loves Canned Heat.

The whole world is going to know about this guy and I think real soon.

I was very impressed with his original composition.

He's helping keep the blues alive. I wish him the very best.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

What you gonna do about the weather? Peggy Watson

More shots from breakfast

This is Jim, my ex marine fighter pilot pal aka Logan's grandfather. I'm titling it straight shooter and he is. I thought about taking the cholula bottle top out in photoshop but wanted to keep that natural verité as they say. He hates his picture usually but is actually pretty photogenic.

Kip, another great guy, better known as "he who dies with the best toys wins." Wonderful, genuine laugh and smile. Wish I was half as smart.

Paul Beach,  musician extraordinaire and another all around great guy.

Playing in Carlsbad tonight.

I can't stand the rain

breakfast shot

I met my Saturday group for breakfast today at Main Street. It started off as a photo group but evolved into a group of friends of all persuasions. We usually have the big table on the back porch.

This morning there was a huge table of hispanic men next to us. Got there before we did. Very nice and polite as these folks generally are. My guess is that they are all involved in agriculture. Before their meal they got up for a very fervent and heartfelt prayer. I think they might have been a Pentecostal group or fellowship, they may have been speaking in tongues.

My Nikon D7200 camera was sitting there next to me. Quickly and unobtrusively as possible, I took a shot.

I have been having problems with this, my backup camera and wanted Ken, my friend, mentor and teacher, to take a look at it. I stuck my old nikkor 55mm ƒ1.2 film lens on it in the car. It is an old school metal lens, heavy and solid, had it milled so it would work on newer digital bodies. Manual focus of course and manual exposure.

The lens has some obvious flaws, soft in the corners, lots of chromatic aberration but there is something I can't put my finger on about it, that I still love. And ƒ 1.2, though unforgiving, can be a lot of fun. This shot was taken at ƒ2.8. It has not been processed by me in any way. postscript: Jon Harwood suggested a small left margin crop and I did and he was right.

I got to thinking after I heard their prayer. ICE is supposed to start sweeping tomorrow in ten cities. Going to try to throw a million people out of the country, many hard working, god fearing people like these folks, who are merely trying to better their lot in life and feed their families.

Perhaps their prayers were offered for the safety of themselves, their companions and families. I wish them well also. As a fellow human being, of course.

Friday, July 12, 2019


Kawhi Baby

Kyle Kuzma
I am a fairweather Laker fan. I loved Wilt, Goodrich, West, Baylor, absolutely adored the Pat Riley Showtime Lakers of Magic, Wilkes, Worthy and Kareem. Ditto Fish, Byron, Coop, McAdoo and Thompson.

I was never a fan of Phil Jackson and the Triangle, in any city it operated in and had a tepid appreciation at best for Shaq and Kobe. The last few years have been really terrible, so happy the Ball experiment is over and now somebody else's problem.

I have been shifting allegiances the last couple years, followed Ok City for a while and the Spurs. When LeBron went to the Lakers I looked forward to their resurgence but the roster had no shooters and they absolutely sucked. Kevin Durant was my favorite player until he went to the Warriors, a team I despise.

I was happy when the Lakers obtained the services of the talented Anthony Davis, although they had to mortgage their future to do it. Less happy when Magic took his leave.  When it looked like they were going to get Kawhi Leonard, an Aztec I regularly saw up close and personal in college, I was stoked.

But it now looks like Kawhi played them, in the most dishonest and manipulative way possible. He pretended to be interested but never had any intention of signing with them, got Anthony Davis to give up $4,000,000 so that he could sign, money that he would never get back, and caused the Lakers to sit on their hands and miss all sorts of free agents in the interim.

It was almost like he had already signed with the hated Clippers, and was intentionally harming the Lakers by feigning interest since they would soon be his crosstown opponent, even though he was still technically a free agent.

It seems like very bad form to me. Definitely bad faith. Many of his cohorts, from Chase Tapley to Danny Green, said that he would never have even considered playing with LeBron, but he sold the fabricated interest perfectly and hurt the purple and gold as best as he could. This seems beyond the pale of normal sportsmanship to me, to "do" a team that is sincerely wooing you.

So he looked for a Robin for his Batman, tried KD and Kyrie, was rebuffed and then settled on Paul George. I am sure that the Clippers will be great. I just don't think I can root for him again because it seems like he is so clearly dishonest and unethical. He crossed the line with Anthony Davis. He took advantage of his altruism and generosity. It was selfish and mean spirited and I doubt that the Lakers will ever forget it. Kawhi has left a bad taste in San Antonio and probably now in Toronto. Karma is a funny thing.

Heron in shadow

Generation Landslide


My two favorite science or speculative fiction writers are the late Philip Dick and Roger Zelazny. While I tend to favor the latter in my recreational reading, with his beautiful floral prose and the incredible power of his myth mining, Dick had a cold prescience of the future that was startling in both its accuracy and dark foreboding.

Philip Dick
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was the real father of cyberpunk, Gibson, Stevenson and the dystopian like that followed owe much to him. Bester may have had a glimpse beforehand but Dick fleshed out the coming darkness thoroughly.

I was thumbing through the Philip Dick Reader the other day and I reread the story Paycheck. It was written in 1952, published in Imagine in June of 1953 and is remarkable in its predictive vision. I understand a crappy movie was once made of it that had little resemblance to the short story, I never saw it.

Dick visualized a future world where the rights of the citizen were largely extinguished but the powers of the corporation were basically unfettered. A man wakes up after being used for a two year job with his brain scrubbed and finds that he has kept the random keys to his awakening and memory close at hand.
...But the real problem right now was not a problem of speculation. It was very concrete. The Security Police were looking for him. They had his name and description. There was no use thinking of going to his apartment -- if he even still had an apartment. But where, then? Hotels? The SP combed them daily. Friends? That would mean putting them in jeopardy, along with him. It was only a question of time before the SP found him, walking along the street, eating in a restaurant, in a show, sleeping in some rooming house. The SP were everywhere.
Everywhere? Not quite. When an individual person was defenseless, a business was not. The big economic forces had managed to remain free, although virtually everything else had been absorbed by the Government. Laws that had been eased away from the private person still protected property and industry. The SP could pick up any given person, but they could not enter and seize a company, a business. That had been clearly established in the middle of the twentieth century.
Business, industry, corporations, were safe from the Security Police. Due process was required. Rethrick Construction was a target of SP interest, but they could do nothing until some statute was violated. If he could get back to the Company, get inside its doors, he would be safe. Jennings smiled grimly. The modern church, sanctuary. It was the Government against the corporation, rather than the State against the Church.
It is hard for me to read this short story now and not think of the Citizens United SCOTUS case, where Corporations were granted the free speech privileges of human beings in order to deliver unlimited donations and shield their donors from public eye. The rights of corporations have been greatly extended while the rights of regular citizens have tended to suffer.

Philip Dick saw it, or something very much like it, coming way back in 1952. Like he saw so many other things. He had one thing wrong, he didn't get that the government and the corporations would, rather than fight with each other, tend to consolidate their power and work together against the individual citizen but Ike wasn't there yet to tell him to beware the military industrial complex. That wouldn't happen until 1961.

Frank Zappa - Bolero in Barcelona

Per Patrick Raymond. The concert was in 1988, the video and audio are from two different performances.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Skinned for posterity

I had to go to Walmart this morning to pick up some bubble wrap. Like it or not, Walmart is a great spot to take stock of the human condition. Ground zero.

Actually had a great salesperson and didn't see too much to sear the retinas, it is what it is. Unvarnished.

But looking at all the plastic and rubber and cheap Chinese crap, I got to thinking about just how I fit into the whole picture? To think I used to write about and sell fine silver. Way out. Never coming back. Artwork and antiques? We have been down that road before, not this current generation anyway.

You can go down the list yourself, you know this one by heart if you read me regularly.

And I'm thinking, the millennials really don't buy much of anything besides disposable electronics, vaping pens and tattoos, how do I function and thrive in this brave new world of ours?

And then it hit me. Tattoos. It was right under my nose the whole time. Some of these people are spending a literal fortune decorating their epidermis, why should their loved ones be deprived of their masterworks after their eventual passing?

We take a note from Ed Gein and merely perfect our skinning and tanning technique. Stretch them and frame them. And enjoy our dearly departed for ever, or at least until they really start to smell!

You miss Uncle Albert's giant battleship tattoo on his chest? Or Crazy Larry's spiderweb and SS elbow?

We at Blue Heron Taxidermy™ will send them home with you so you can view them hanging on the wall right next to the wide screen. Skinned and stretched in the time it takes to see a preview and a matinee.

I saw what is maybe the third full face tattoo I have seen in Fallbrook the other day. What a great idea and investment that is. Nothing screams proclaiming your own individuality like covering your entire face with indelible ink.

And I'm thinking "what a pity that one day all this beauty and creativity will go to waste." But it doesn't have to.

No-sir-ee. Blue Heron Head Mounts.™ Keep your loved ones close and at hand long after they expire or are one day maybe unfortunately shanked in their holding cell.

During the holidays you can put funny hats on them and put cigars in their mouths like we used to do with the big antlered guy at the Moose Lodge.

I really think I am on to something here. And if you think that I am just jealous because I am too scared to get a whole face number myself, well you are right.