Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Obey Giant

© Ben Gabbe
Several people suggested I watch ugly delicious the hip, no holds barred cooking show. I watched the first episode on Netflix the other night, Chang's attitude left me a bit cold. Chef's sure like to curse a lot, every other word was fuck. My brother, the late chef, was the same way.

But the Korean born chef's profanity didn't bother me, he just seemed like an a-hole. Loved when the pizza guy from Brooklyn threatened to kick his ass if he ever had Dominos delivered to his place again. I never ate at Momofuko, so I can't judge his food, people I respect certainly love it. Will try to watch it again.

© Shepard Fairey
I did watch Obey Giant, the Shepard Fairey documentary, on Hulu last night. It leads to all sorts of interesting discussions about where artists and photographers rights begin and end when appropriating material from each other, if a "transformation" abrogates the rights of the original creator?

The 2017 film gives you a good look at a guy who I think is a really talented artist, a guy whose work is revolutionary and who never really left the street.

But it also leads to more legitimate discussions about your right to plaster your broadsides on my building without my permission and if there is a public virtue that outweighs private property rights.

Guy has gone to jail a lot for his art. He is very likable. I ended up really pulling for the guy.

Definitely give it a watch if you are interested in this sort of thing.

Tom Paxton

Morbid machina

One of Toyota's self driving cars killed a woman in Tempe the other day while in autonomous mode, a terrible tragedy. She was walking her bicycle and the car evidently failed to see or recognize her, the attendant driver in the car also unfortunately did not react.

The car was part of what was known as the "Chauffer" program and had a connection to Uber. Toyota is now shutting down the entire program. In explaining the cessation, a spokesman is quoted as saying "We feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers."

I am not making light but can't help but thinking of my literary deity and mentor Roger Zelazny. He wrote many stories where the computer gets a little too human and gets pissed off, starts taking matters into its own resistors and finally goes after its human cohorts.

Offhand Last of the Wild Ones and Our Lady of the Diodes in the Unicorn Variations come to mind, both stories where miffed technology seeks the ultimate revenge.

So in the spirit of Roger I have to ask; could the action have been premeditated? Now having feasted on humans, will the car have the desire to kill again? Is this the start of the Human/ Droid wars and do we really stand a chance against such an opponent?

People talk about robots fighting our battles for us in the future, isn't it merely a matter of time before they turn those very same guns on us?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ofra Haza


Leslie and I got up very early in the morning yesterday and traveled to the Long Beach Flea Market to meet some friends and walk around. I bought a print, a nice piece of Fulper and a couple paintings, including this gem by one Albert R. Acott.

The subject of course, is the Encinitas landmark known as "Swami's." A gift from a disciple, Rajarsi Janakananda, the temple was designed by its founder Paramahansa Yogananda and dedicated in early 1938.

I have never seen an early painting of the Self Realization Fellowship before and this watercolor of the early North San Diego coastal icon is simply awesome. I would say early sixties if the Corvair and Falcon are any indication. Note the pristine hillside in the background.

I was told that Acott was an architect but think he might be instead a man who liked to paint temples, possibly a devotee. Found this poster by an A.R. Acott from the 1930's online. Will continue to research the man. He was definitely a very accomplished painter. I believe that he lived in Redondo Beach but as I said, I have just begun my investigation.

I took the picture behind glass so it is a bit murky. It is in the original frame. I am going to change the acid mat out and enjoy the painting immensely while I still have it. Classic North County.

Fallbrook Library Show

Egg and twine © Robert Sommers 2018
I am honored to be exhibiting a few pieces of my photography in the upcoming show "Farm to Frame" at the Fallbrook Library.

The theme is food and I submitted some fairly disparate work, didn't quite get my fingers around it but still managed to get a couple images that I am happy with.

Opening reception March 23, 6 to 8

Be nice to me or you get a slushy rain

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Tom Rush - Come See About Me

Operant conditioning

I got back on Facebook the other day after a four year break. Love hate relationship with the platform but mostly the latter.

The reason I joined up is that I have some asian antiques that I need help identifying and there are some excellent closed groups that specialize in that sort of thing.

And an awful lot of my friends and cohorts live on Facebook. Its really hard talking swahili when all your bros are speaking esperanto.

I can already hear the clock ticking but we will see. It is the only way I can communicate with some of these folks, some of whom are important to me. Third time is the charm and all that.

I had to disable the Facebook notification alert on my phone. I felt like one of Pavlov's puppies or a chimp reaching for a cigarette every time I heard that bell. Never liked feeling like I was undergoing behavior modification by my own communication devices.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Don’t get around much anymore


I ran into one of my earliest blast readers the other day and they candidly admitted that the blog is sort of birding them out. And I don't think I really need to defend my bird shots but thought I might add a bit of background and justification for my recent avian slant.

The President is an awful president and an even worse human being. A given. I think that with a couple exceptions, most Americans and certainly most of my readers can agree on that at this point. He is a liar, a manipulator, an adulterer and suffers from a major case of gross narcissism.

Vital institutions like the EPA, State Department and Education and being eviscerated are dismembered before our eyes during this inglorious reign of terror. It is like we are in the middle ages and faced with an insane king.

With a McMaster termination bubbling about, the White House now says it wants to infuse a little chaos into the mix. How do you shake something up that has always been a shaking mess since day one?

This administration is frankly tiring me out. The people that support this man no matter what tire me out as well. And I can not live in a permanent state of outrage. It is not good for my mental health to use the Blue Heron Blast as a scorecard detailing the daily sins of these horrible people. There are plenty of people doing that, if that is what you want, may I suggest Rachel Maddow?

Birds keep my blood pressure down. Try them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mike Bloomfield

I'm not sure that I have ever heard Michael play in a Travis/Hurt/Cotton "freight train" finger style before. He does it with some facility. Very cool.

White House Ruins

Set your controls for the heart of the sun

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Saccone sheared by Lamb

Eldorado Sunset and mud hole

Sisters at Qurai

Steve Howe & Annie Haslam

Pecos strike #648

Birds of Fire

The excellent Rick Laird on bass, an Irishman who had previously worked with Stan Getz and Wes Montgomery, among others.

Boom Boom Bench

Fallbrook/Rainbow sculptor and artist Michael Stutz has been very busy of late, securing and placing public monument work across the country.

This is the Chattanooga born artist himself on a wonderful modern bench he recently built and installed in Laguna Beach. Looks a bit like a moebius strip integrated into a stylized wave form.

I think that it is a pretty fabulous piece. A unique design, constructed with stainless steel.
The bench commemorates a famous gay club in Laguna, now closed, the Boom Boom Room. The installation was dedicated in February.

The project was funded by a local Laguna gay couple and is located above the Peace and Love Garden, where many AIDS victims ashes are scattered.

The site is located at the beach access at the End of the Mountain Rd.

Great job, Michael!

Acorn woodpecker, female

We know that this is a female bird because the red color is restricted to the crown. It would carry forward to the sinciput in the male. Shot this with the D7200 and a smaller zoom on the ride home through the canyon yesterday.


The late Ian Kilmister on bass and vocals

Ardea Herodius

In the Sack

Chet Atkins said that he was his favorite guitar player. As Jerry Reed shows here in this simple jam, he could literally do anything. Rock, blues, country, guitar playing was simply effortless with him. A natural talent. He got goofy sometimes but he could sure play when he felt like it. What a pleasure to listen to the late Jerry Reed!

Monday, March 12, 2018


The new camera equipment is changing the way I process. More often than not, I just leave the image alone.

No added color, no noise reduction, no sharpening, very little of anything altered. The D850 is the ultimate point and shoot.

I processed this osprey shot this morning. I shot it wide open at ƒ2.8 but at 1/3200th of a second, extremely fast for a sitting bird.

The thing about sitting birds is they have a tendency to fly and that can catch you off guard.

Didn't make a lick of difference. And click on it and look closely, it froze the bugs flying around the raptor.


Renee likes to tell me that it is no wonder I get good pictures, I have really good equipment. I cringe when she says this. Maybe she is right.

The Strypes - (What's so funny 'bout) peace, love and understanding?

Flying feathers

Note the fishing line now forever entwined around the poor bird's foot.

Koufax was not a globalist but I am pretty sure that Drysdale was.

One of my bird photos on Google was shared by a nazi woman last week and then found its way to another nasty page where the commenters were ranting about the jews. In the former the woman embellished every sentence with swastikas and vileness, the whole thing majorly creeped me out.

I disabled the shares for the picture, not wanting to provide any grist for the hate mill.

Anyone with eyes and ears can see that that racial animosity and temperature has been seriously ratcheted up in the past year. Trump, Putin, Bannon, Nehlen, Farrakhan, Jobik, all focusing on an old and very convenient target. I had another Kristallnacht dream last night, barely escaping the tormentors. Unfortunately, I am one of the minority that thinks that it can always happen again.

I was wondering how jewish people like Sheldon Adelson, Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn can help perpetuate a Trump machine that has so deftly fostered and enabled hate groups and anti semites? I didn't include Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, he seems more like a whore who would screw anybody for a buck. History shows that you hitch your wagon to hate, you usually end up incinerated. You can't go to bed with dogs and not end up with fleas.

But the people like co-founder Larry Solov or Senior Editor at Large Joel Pollak at Breitbart, Harvard educated, who like to remind people that they are jewish and then provide a forum for people like Coulter to espouse hatred? Her last diatribe Racial quotas kill kids, she decides to demonize blacks and hispanics instead but she recently went after the "globalists" and made it perfectly obvious who now had the target on their backs.

There was once a very bright jewish guy named Jesus who said something that I have tried very hard to digest - Resist not evil. It is a smart admonition, because when you wrestle with a pig, you only get dirty and they seem to enjoy it. But like Hobbes said, always a smart move to also look down the road.

I have been experiencing a dark sense of foreboding in recent weeks, like the wheels are off the wagon and anything can happen. Several of my friends report the same near apocalyptic twinges. Hope we get a serious course correction, and soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Ford Leary

from DeGoff

Soft and lovely

My cat Tiger is at least half bengal but inside he is still a kitten. He brings gophers, lizards and rabbits in but never harms them, just plays with them and lets them loose in the house. Leslie is on constant vigilance.

Here is a sweet, soft little bunny she rescued this morning.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Keep On Dancing

I thought that the Gentrys wrote this but I was wrong. Still like their version better.

Beat it on down the line.

I forgot that the Blast had a birthday last week, eleventh year. On March third, specifically seven thousand plus posts ago.

Here is a screenshot of my first post:

As I said, we will see where it goes. Glad to still be laying it down. Happy Birthday y'all.

I FOUND YOU - Yvonne Fair [King 5594] 1962

Pantless in Fallbrook

Although I am feeling crappy today I decided to look nice for a client that is supposed to drop by.

Put on my spiffy silk shirt and my skinny pants. I was doing the where is my wallet, keys and glasses routine?  when my wife came upstairs this morning.

"You look nice."

"Thanks, Honey!"

"I like your skinny jeans."

"Thanks." The truth is that I am a big guy and these particular types of pants tend to constrict your legs and circulation but it was early in the morning and I had no brook for confrontation so I just decided to run with the compliment.

"Because you have no ass. The Levis look big and shlumpy and they just fall off in the back. These look better."

I was forced to engage. "Honey, you know my ass was shot off in the war. I asked you never to bring that horrible incident up."

"More like the 1980 fart eruption, Mt. St. Robert," she chortled.

Funny woman.

This is the second time that my pants were a topic of conversation this week with the spouse. She looked at me the other day and noticed the blue stain on my right front pocket where the pen cap came off and stained the faded 501's. I have several pairs like this, slow learner.

"Your pants have a stain on them."

"I know. My pen cap came off."

"Why don't you buy another pair?"

"Because jeans are expensive."

"You'll spend god knows how many thousands on camera gear but you won't buy a pair of jeans? You cheap ..."

Exactly. Because I am living in a bygone era in my mind where now defunct Mervyn's jeans still cost twenty five bucks, which I thought was expensive even then. I sure as hell don't want to spend sixty dollars on jeans.

Besides everybody knows that real men hate shopping and trying on pants.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Peter Green

More bird shots from Lake Wohlford


Blue Heron

Black crowned night heron

Red shouldered hawk

Genya Raven

Oceanside Pier 3-8-18

Pat, Mike and I went out to shoot the great sunset last night. I forgot my arca swiss plate so I didn't get to do any long exposure work, mostly messed around, talked to people and had fun. Was a pretty lovely night.

Afterwards Pat treated us to a chicken dinner at Carlitos. Yeah, Pat.

I haven't had a chance to really go through my shots yet but I kind of like this campfire shot.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Johnny Burnette - -- Train Kept A Rollin'

Sweet Child O' Mine

My little brother Johnnie, who now prefers to be known as Jack, was in town recently on business. Besides being a very nice fellow, John is a brain, a senior engineer fuel cell specialist at Bloom Energy. This is one of his favorite bands, Metalachi. I dig it, see where he is coming from. We went out one night to Oceanside, with Leslie, walked the pier, started our crawl at Urge, the whiskey bar, had good irish whiskey, red breast, skip the expensive and marginal food, then went to Panca for fabulous peruvian chicken and sweet potato fries with the beautiful aji amarilla sauce, chicharone sandwich and a lovely rose colored flan. Panca isn't fancy but it is really good. Had been there before but they are much better now. Afterwords we wandered across the street to the pour house for a nightcap and a really good cover band, Joe Wood and the Lonely Ones. I'm now old and don't get out much but we had a really good time nonetheless.

Western Grebe

The Undertakers

Wednesday scamper

Northern Harrier

Last week I was talking to a friendly ranger at Lake Wohlford in Escondido. He suggested that I stop back by yesterday, the day that the fresh fish gets stocked in the lake. He said that raptors would oftentimes follow the stocking truck overland from Dixon Lake to Lake Wohlford, in hopes of getting a fat, tasty meal.

Sounded fun and I made preparations. I decided to rent a bass boat and my friend Tom agreed to come along and pilot it while I snapped pictures. It was a gray day but also not too hot. Soon after we got out on the water the fish tanker showed up. We watched as the man first netted fish from the top porthole.

Afterwards he affixed the pipe to the side which would quickly drain the tank of teeming trout.

The birds didn't rush in for the tasty booty but the fishermen sure did, quickly heading over in their boats.

We watched the fish jumping around in the water in their newfound freedom and quickly headed for the less crowded shoreline.

Hang out with my more chill raptor friends.

It was a fine day on the lake. I saw all manner of ducks, raptors and shorebirds.

I thought that I had brought my light and nimble Sigma 150-600mm C but unfortunately brought another smaller, unusable lens instead.

Western Grebe

Rangers George and Greg

Because of this I shot the nikkor 400mm 2.8 E fl all day off the D850, about a third of the time on my tripod. Would have to go with phenomenal optics and heavy over convenience.

red tailed hawk on oak branch

This presented a problem because invariably the bird would land behind me and I just couldn't swing far enough to get the shot, let alone motor the boat around.

So I ended up handholding the heavy rig for close to four hours, like chest pressing a small anvil. Very tiring!

My back and trap muscles are killing me today.

My eponymous bird

Will let the pictures speak.

My first shot ever of a beautiful green heron!

Black crowned night heron

Going to a place like Wohlford, or Cuyamaca or any of the remaining pristine backcountry oak riparian habitats is soul enriching to me.

But they are of course always under attack.

Lilac Hills has reared its ugly head again and there is a new development being talked about right next to Lake Wohlford.

One only has to look around Temecula or Carmel Valley to know that once it is gone, it is gone forever.

This osprey got a meal but had to tell off a raven first!

New camera combination worked perfectly all day.

Hope to come back and try it again.

I missed this next shot. Oof. Perhaps some serious birder will tell me what it is if they can discern?

Ken Weaver and another anonymous person
tell me that it is in fact a sora rail. Thanks!
A life bird.