Zero hour

Friday, August 23, 2019

Murder of Maria Marten

Leslie with dragonfly, Two Bunch Palms

Happy Birthday Leslie!

It is my wife, Leslie's, birthday today. A nice round number birthday.

She is awesome and beautiful inside and out and always will be.

And she sure has a knack for meeting rock and rollers.

Here she stands between Martha Davis from the Motels and Johnny Christo from the Escape Club at a recent concert.

Love my baby.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Doc and Merle

Julie Miller - Broken Things

Green green grass of home

Today's broadside from the NRCC:

I hope the Danes will get a little sense before we have to go over there and take what's rightfully ours! Greenland the fifty first state, now and forever! We obviously need something new to fuck up.

Leon McAuliffe & His Cimarron Boys - Eating Right Out Of Your Hand

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Jim Pepper - Witchi Tai To

Santa Fe dreams

Interior view, Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula - Pecos

The shows in New Mexico were okay. Started off with a bang, ended with a fizzle. Could have been much, much worse and also a whole lot better, like everything I suppose. Planted a few seeds, left some irons in the fire, will see if anything sprouts.

The night before the first show I had a very strange dream. They wheeled me into the show in a wheelchair. Asthmatic and grossly overweight but even worse than the present actual reality. John Morris, the promoter and my great old friend, famous of late for his work long ago as technical director at Woodstock, wheeled up on his own scooter, took one look at me and quickly assessed my situation. "Wait here," he said demanded. I must have really looked like shit.

The next thing I knew he returns with two tall Plains Indian fellows, in retrospect I guess you would call them medicine men or healers of some type. They took several large eagle feathers out of a pouch and started wiping them over my body from a distance of several inches, head to toe. This went on for about two minutes. Pushed the air around. Cleaned me up a bit, I suppose, I don't know, definitely not my area of expertise.

For some reason or another I felt instantly purged of my illness and sadness, healed if you will. One of the Indians sees some chromatic colors radiating off my body at my right hip. He looks me in the eye and says "Oh, you're one of those." At that moment I woke up, not sure what it all means. But I definitely felt better when I woke up. Dream felt so real. Alive again. Hope it took.

heard about another dream later on on my trip

Another dealer, who shall go nameless, evidently lost his girlfriend fairly recently, I think to cancer. She came to him in a dream, some months later. Said that she had bad news, that he also had cancer. He needs to check it out. Dealer wakes up, shakes the dream off, weird, he felt fine. At some point or another he looks in the mirror, might have been brushing his teeth. Notices a lump on his tonsil, better get that looked at. Turns out he has throat cancer.  Got medical treatment. He was bearing a scar across his throat when I saw him. Did he save himself or was he helped by something outside himself? Did this woman who loved him reach through the stars? Amazing. He would never have been checked out if not for the dream. What an incredible world we live in. I shook his hand at the show. We had never spoken before, but were now part of the cancer survivor fraternity together.

Our buddy Stan has been in bad shape, lost his vision a couple years ago. Stan has had an illustrious career, bass player in the Incredible String Band, manager of Muddy and Janis Ian, Fillmore roadie, ace photographer and teacher, so many things, so talented.

But he had a bad bout of cancer and then the eye thing with his vitreous humor which totally blinded him.

Doctors at Columbia said there was nothing they could do. So he spent a couple years in the dark. But the doctors at Sloane Kettering thought differently.

They fixed our Stan, in fact he is driving again. From blindness to sight, what a story and blessing.

Drove to Williams the first night. Had breakfast at Lilos in the morning in Seligman and decided to take the 66 to Kingman, one of my favorite side roads.

Saw a huge buck pronghorn right out of the gate with a gigantic antler rack. Few minutes later saw the golden eagle on a pole, not far from where I saw one last year.

Didn't jump out fast enough to get a decent shot before it flew away but it is still fortunately ensconced firmly in memory.

Flyin' Shoes

Va en Shalom?

“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”Donald Trump
I would like to spend a few moments on the Jew thing. You see, I am one of those ignorant, disloyal American Jews that President Trump was talking about yesterday. I don't consider Benjamin Netanyahu my Prime Minister, as Trump suggested earlier this year, or even my king. I think Israel is going down the wrong road and has been for many years and even plays a nasty, double game. I have much more in common intellectually with a Jew from for instance, Cleveland, than I do with the average Israeli.

And I think it is a fast, slippery slope from being a legitimate victim to becoming a victimizer.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. Friedrich Nietzsche
I appreciate the founding of Israel. Not to fulfill some messianic biblical prophecy but to provide succor and a haven for the jews in my family and other families to escape from the gas chambers and pogroms. They had nowhere else to turn. My grandfather, who fled from Poland, was a founding member of the Histadrut and helped build the original electrical grid in Palestine, but left in 1939 with my dad, who was himself born in Tel Aviv.

Why? Because he couldn't handle the oppressive religious stuff. He didn't believe in it, or even in god frankly, and he saw that it would only get worse over time. And I have seen with my own eyes that it has, having lived in Israel through two periods of war and conflicts, having personally faced multiple barrages from Katyushas to Scuds. The change and movement to the orthodox right in the country in two decades was astounding to me and has only got worse over time.

For base political reasons, the Prime Minister has ceded all power to the religious right. The Orthodox Rabbinate has total control over marriage between Jews in Israel, marriages consecrated by Reform or Conservative rabbis in Israel are not legally recognized, and there is no option for civil marriage for Jews in Israel. Ditto conversion, which is also under the exclusive control of the Orthodox Rabbinate, which does not recognize non-Orthodox converts as Jews. The Yeshiva students and haredi don't serve in the military, under a concept known as Torato Umanuto, they recite the torah instead. The right wing, guided by a biblical map of conquest of Judea and Samaria, is now absolutely running the show.

King David plays the harp - Gerard Van Honthorst - 1622

Netanyahu and Trump have a bromance going that is causing more and more American Jews to consider their support for Israel. We know who the people chanting "The jews will not replace us" at Charlottesville will vote for. We also know the overwhelming political affiliations of the young men shooting up the synagogues. Netanyahu supporting vicious anti semites in Hungary and elsewhere like Viktor Orban is equally pernicious. If Netanyahu does in fact lose the total support of liberal American jewry, he will only have himself to blame. Of course Trump is under his own messianic allusions or should I say delusions...

Forgive them father, they know not what they do...

I could go on and on but I won't, I don't have time. I have not left Israel, Israel is leaving me. They paid lip service to Oslo and the two state solution and slowly and by attrition have put enough holes into a future contiguous Palestinian state as to make it utterly unworkable and impossible. Just as they planned.

Do the Israelis have an existential right to exist and live in dignity and self determination? Of course they do, as do every people, including the Palestinians. Yet the thought of living in a "Jewish" state is frankly as nauseating to me as living in a "Christian" state or a "Buddhist" state.

I would much prefer living in a "free" state where people are able to worship and believe, or not worship and believe, as they personally choose, than a theocracy of any kind.

Once upon a time, I had many friends in Israel, both Israeli and Palestinian. I went back for the entirety of the Desert Storm War and found that the two peoples were basically no longer speaking. The Palestinians had been conveniently dehumanized and put into a handy invisible box by the occupation. I met Israelis who lived a mile apart from Israeli arabs and had never engaged in conversation with them their entire lives. That is not healthy.

Of course neither side is blameless, both sides have made plenty of mistakes. In some twisted way they deserve each other, both intent on playing a sick and pathological end game that can only result in utter catastrophe. What do psychologists call it in marriage counseling, the dark dance? They are playing it in spades.

I am proud that roughly 76% 79% of American Jews voted Democrat in the last midterm election. It tells me that they have not lost their jewish heart. The Israelis I am not so sure about.

Gram Parsons

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Rover Schmuck

We are all humans and we all have our prejudices. Sad but true. Even me over here at the Blue Heron Blast. I admit it. I am beginning not to be able to stand the majority of people that buy, rent, lease or drive black Range Rovers.

I'm over at Ohoris Coffee near Kaune's Market the other day. The one that used to be Capitol Coffee. My go to coffee spot in Santa Fe. I parked in an open parking space and ventured in to enjoy a cup of java and read my emails. Had some time to kill before the show.

I left to go to work and I see that a shiny black Range Rover has parked about four inches from my door. No way in hell to get in, the other side of the van was full, I'm screwed. Parking lot was near empty but no matter, Mr. or Mrs. Important can obviously do what they want. Utter lack of consideration.

Oblivious man could have parked in fifty other spaces without troubling anyone. But no matter. It is after all, their world. And I drive a lowly Chrysler that has admittedly seen better days.

I stormed into the joint and demanded in a rather pissed voice to know which a-hole was driving the sparkling clean, anthracite hued, status symbol on wheels that would probably never touch a dirt road in its entire lifetime. This typical, entitled, thirty something douchebag, looks up in the air with palpable disgust and consternation and finally consents to move his car. Wouldn't even look at me as we walked outside.  I was wasting his very valuable time. Lord Fauntelroy was dressed like a young bond trader.

No apology, no nothing, he just exuded punk ass entitlement from every spoiled little pore on his cross trained, Kambucha laced, millennial body. How dare I be put out? I had embarrassed him at his local coffee shop. It was probably a good thing that he kept his mouth shut. I was in no mood. My anger at his lack of consideration was starting to mix with the serious class envy chip on my shoulder and the results would not have been pretty.

Ran into another black Range Rover at Willy's Arco in Fallbrook here before I left. Young guy going around the pumps because he didn't know what side his tank was on decided to cut me off while I was pulling into #3. Like I didn't exist. Because he could and didn't give one shit about the consequences of his actions. Typical selfish brat. Willy watched the whole thing play out and we had a laugh together at the guy's boorishness. What is with these jerkoffs? Do they make you submit to and pass a sociopathic personality test before they will give you the fob?

And I'm not the first. Google range rover and asshole and see what comes up.

About to invoke the dreaded curse, may your stupid Range Rover spend more time in the garage getting fixed than in your driveway and my mechanics tell me that they usually do. Mess with me, I dare you. You've seen my car, I don't care, I will take serious damage to dole it out at this point. War is declared.

Desperados waiting for a train

Asphalt philosophy 101

I was driving towards Albuquerque when I saw my favorite road sign, Gusty Winds May Exist. I called Morty to share.

"Morty, I just passed the sign Gusty winds may exist. Who the hell writes this stuff, Jean Paul Sartre?"

"That's nothing, Shecky" he said. "In ten minutes you'll get to Nothingville. That town's moniker was chosen by Neitzsche."

In California we would just say Gusty winds ahead or Gusty Winds present, none of this Zen/Kierkegaard type stuff. It's hard enough to stay safe and sound on the roads without having to ponder the existential aspects of weather related phenomena. Way above my pay grade anyway.

I consulted my dictionary. Existence is the fact or state of living or having objective reality. Is the wind alive? Alone and unperceived can its reality be said to be objective by any metric?

I mean, what is existence anyway? And if the wind did in fact exist at one time, does its short life span grant it lifetime perpetual status on this earth? And once it dies down, does it still exist? Or do we? And if the wind may exist may it also not exist simultaneously in the quantum world, like Schrödinger's cat?

This is heavy shit, man. I really don't need to be intellectually challenged like this at this stage of my life. I just want to get where I'm going so I can hopefully empty my bladder.

Looking forward to soup and shuffleboard, let's leave weighty topics like this for the kids to ponder.

Old dogs, children, and watermelon wine

Pecos bound

After I left the upper Pecos River I decided to head down to the historic pueblo church. You pass the beautiful Forked Lightning Ranch to get there, a 13,000 acre spread once owned by the rodeo impresario Tex Austin.

Tex hit a bad streak somewhere along the way and checked out, it was eventually bought by the actress Greer Garson and her hubby Fogelson, the Texas oil tycoon. Later a portion of the ranch was sold to Jane Fonda.

Pecos Pueblo is like god's gift to a photographer. I can not be in the general area without running over to take a shot or two.

It always delivers something. The pueblo was first inhabited around 1100 a.d., the church was built by the Spaniards in 1619. Originally the place was known as Cicuye.

two tourists with black umbrellas

The way the majestic clouds roll in from the north is just spellbinding.

I didn't have a lot of time and didn't feel like dragging my tripod up the hike to the pueblo, decided to stick with hand holding.

Didn't see any of those end of the world clouds I have captured before.

Still always wonderful to capture its intriguing form and lovely shadows.

Such a picturesque building!

Road Food

For some particular reason people are often interested in what I have been eating. This road trip was a mixed bag, the agony and the ecstasy, as it were. Started the thing off with a Tommy's Burger in Barstow, a culinary repast that usually christens every journey eastward on the Interstate 40.

You either love Tommy's chiliburgers or you hate them, I happen to love them.

The best meal I had in town was by far the proscuitto wrapped trout at Il Piatto with Joseph and Linda.

Served on a crisp polenta cake with wild mushrooms, it was superb, as was the rest of the meal which included calamari and I forget.

Haven't touched a drop in nine months but had to have a sip of the most excellent Italian valpolicella.

Tried Himalayan food for the first time with Michael Horsley at Tibet Kitchen. Decent and interesting, not exactly thrilling. Had the momos and some other stuff. Would give it another go and see if there was something else on the menu that I liked better.

Had a great meal at Denny's after the show one night with Eich, Jeter, Friedman, Bradford and Musial.

I had the pot roast and I am not kidding, it was pretty damn good. Plus they are putting jalapenos in the creamed corn now as a special. Would eat it again in a heartbeat.

Ate a lot of meals at the Pantry. Corned beef hash has gone way down hill, sorry to say. Durango omelette is the ticket there, with a light dollop of green chile. Most boring sopapilla I have ever tasted.

Ate at La Fonda one morning for good luck. I always get the trout but stayed with fruit and yogurt this time. It is a tradition for me to eat there and the one waiter has been there for a thousand years. Love the room.

Big crew one night at Gabriel's in Tesuque. I had never been really crazy about their food but my carne adovada this night was incredible, a rich, piquant sauce. Most Fallbrookians don't get really excited about table side guacamole, yawn.

Had smoked duck hash at the Tuneup one morning that sounded better than it tasted with Barry and Sarah. Ate at Harrys a couple times, always good, turkey enchiladas once and turkey meatloaf another time and I forgot what I ate on the third try.

Best strawberry scone I have ever tasted out at Cafe Fina on the old Las Vegas Highway. Had decent Peruvian at Sabor Peruano at DeVargas Mall.

Had a great night and meal with the girls at the Grille at Quail Run. I went for the chicken schnitzel. Talked long into the night with Vicky and Terry, Jan retired early. We dug deep.

Ronnie Guy brought me an Arby's Roast beef and cheddar sandwich one day, practically inedible. I don't know what that stuff was but it was not cheese. Carl's burger was better the next day.

Feldman and Bowman joined me for a wonderful meal at the Duke City Kitchen on the way home.

I guess I will save the worst for last. Stopped at the Hopi Travel Plaza near Holbrook. Restaurant now shuttered, place pretty beat up. But there is a Burger King inside. It looked really dangerous but I was hungry. Ordered the mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets. Tasted like they deep fried the stuff in forty weight motor oil, perhaps hadn't changed it out since the Clinton administration. There was a white fungal looking chemical bubbling up on the side of one of the extruded chicken kabobbers that had me a little worried. I threw half of the thing in the trash but confess to eating a few of them out of shear sheer hunger and desperation. Waited a few minutes to see if I would expire and got back on the road.

Not the usual trip for me culinarily speaking. No cashew mole enchilada at the Plaza Cafe. No Jambo, no Santa Cafe, was invited to Geronimo once but gracefully declined. I decided not to treat myself to one of those places unless I had a major victory and they were unfortunately not forthcoming. But Il Piatto was as good as I remember either of them at their best so I am not complaining.

The main thing was not to overdose on green chile. I stuck with the hotter red most of the time, it is ultimately more forgiving to my tender constitution. I can eat so much green chile and all is fine and then I hit the tipping point and it ain't pretty.

Hit Tommy's on the way back too.

Bon Appetito!

Blaze Foley - Big cheese burgers and good French fries

Nature's creatures

Terry DeWald is arguably the top Indian basket dealer in the world and a heck of a nice guy to boot. He has always been an easy and exemplary guy to deal with.

The ex professional baseball player is lucky enough to live near the marvelous Sabino Canyon near Tucson, a part of the Coronado National Forest. Sabino Canyon is famous for having near year round water that brings in a lot of large mammals.

He sent a story and some great pictures over from his backyard.

Each morning upon awakening I like to go out on our upstairs deck adjoining our bedroom to check out the new day.  Since the creek is presently dry I first check out our fountain, which is a small 3 metate waterfall coming  from the overflow of our artesian well.  When I turned to look at it…..I did a double take….then slowly walked backwards inside and sprinted downstairs to get my good camera, telling Peggy not to go outside until I darted back upstairs.  Then we both slowly crept out on the deck and I started taking these photos.  It looked like the classic shot you would see in Tanzania of lions drinking at a waterhole.  They were extremely thirsty.  I don’t know how long they had been drinking before I first opened the door but as we stood there they drank consistently for the next 45 to 60 seconds until one peeled away, but the other two kept on drinking for another  minute or more.  Maybe they are Irish cougars.  Upon showing these shots to Josh Taiz, the wildlife biologist at Sabino Visitor Center/Coronado National Forest, he concurred that the cat on the left was the mother and the other two were her two twins likely about a year and a half old.  If you look carefully at the first two shots you can see small dimple spots on their twins’ coats attesting to their youth; as compared to the darker and more consistent chestnut coat of the mature mother.  

We could not believe they didn’t notice us. They were  perfectly lined up there, like at the drive thru at an In-N-Out Burger with the one intent of getting a cool and refreshing drink…. and nothing was going to distract them.  Josh said that a mature cougar need one deer a week to survive, and that these three cats likely were killing three to four deer each week.  Maybe less, depending on random hors-d’oeuvres in the form of poodles and fluffy cats fatally using their pet doors in the middle of the night.  After the one twin strolled to the right and stretched it came back as you can see, and then the mother caught sight of us and slowly went down into the creek bed.  Take a look at the second to the last photo to see how big her upper legs are compared to her twins (highlighted by the BLUE ARROW).  Her tail is also much beefier.  Once she got down to the sandy bottom she just plopped down and relaxed for another few minutes before all three of them slowly and silently went back into the desert.  

We’re having the grandkids over to spend the night this weekend.  

We are not going to be camping out in the backyard.  

At least until the creek starts flowing again after the monsoons.  Terry

Amazing to have three big cats in your back yard, no? My friend Paul Parker lives in Santa Fe and shared the following shots of his recent backyard visitor, a large black bear.

Kerry Olson showed me pictures of an even larger bear gingerly walking around her place in Santa Fe. I am going to text her and ask her to send them to me so that I can share them with you. She was worried that she had not locked her front door. The black bear had massive paws. I would have been freaked.

Here they are (she has even better ones):

Monday, August 19, 2019

Death don't have no mercy in this land...

I guess the best place to start is the end. Let me put this in proper context and setting for you. The time; yesterday afternoon.

I am crossing the Mojave. I mistakenly never got gas in Kingman. If my temperamental gas gauge is correct I can probably get to Barstow with about twenty miles to spare. But is the gauge ever correct? Showed about 145 miles left if I have some luck and a tailwind or two.

Sommers takes the final sand nap, Mojave

To make matters worse I only had a slight sip of water left, having a personal rule that you never take the last sip, ever. I know, I know, should have had an ample supply of water but I didn't so please give me a break. Run out of gas? Check. Die of thirst in the middle of desert? Check. Finish my novel? Damn, I never even started my novel.

Did I mention that it was really freaking hot out? How ironic that a well timed breakdown at that moment would have rendered all idle thoughts of suicide so pointless and futile... I cut the air conditioning off, if I was going to die in the desert I wanted to go out like a real man and not a pampered poodle. Parched but proud.

I ambled along steely on my journey through death's doggy door. After an interminable purgatory in the vast desert wasteland, I finally decided to cut my losses and apprehension. I stopped at the Indian clip joint in Newberry Springs for a single gallon of gas, priced to sell at a mere $4.93 a gallon. Would make my survival a near certainty. And let me make myself clear, when I say Indian I am talking red dot, not feather, although this guy may have been born on the other side of their own particular Mason Dixon line.

One of these places out here in Newberry, Amboy, Ludlow, Essexland used to have a sign behind the counter that said any complaints about the prices and you were 86'd. So you learn to grin and bear it. Take your whipping silently and skedaddle. Not like you have any options.

The gas I would say was a bargain at twice the price. I would survive and be able to live comfortably through both global warming and the next Presidential sweepstakes. I splurged for water to boot, attractively retailing in Newberry Springs for a bit over two bucks a pint. Had been dreaming about a popsicle but none could be found. I grimly settled on an ice cream sandwich but there was no way it could satiate my craving in the intense desert heat. What craven oasis from hell can't even sell a goddamn popsicle?

Did I mention that said establishment smelled like the worst abattoir in Calcutta? That the curry smell at the front door that mingled in a hellish symphony with the pungent body odor of the swarthy cashier was so strong that corpses on the Ganges would have jumped off their rafts and started dog paddling for the exits at one whiff of the place. You see there is a makeshift Punjabi restaurant next door or what passes for one in this lonely land of scorpions and crank.

Your devoted scribe will pretty much eat anything. But I would sooner suck the pig poop out of a chitlin than eat Indian food. Garam masala makes me hurl. And here I was trapped inside the desert's own fetid tandoori oven from hell.

To be continued...

The Rifters

I caught this band, the Rifters, on the plaza too, the wonderful Don Richmond and cohorts.

Flora and fauna

scrub jay

calliope hummingbird

I had less time than usual to get out and explore this year but still made do the best I could. I didn't bring my premium equipment, no room in the van and too valuable to haul around. I did the best I could with the old Sigma zoom.

The fast prime really spoils you but that's the way it goes. I took a bunch of shots up at Randall Davey Audubon Center one morning, up at the top of Canyon Road, always a mandatory stop for me. We don't get many calliopes where I live and their gorget color is a gorgeous pure purple.

black capped chickadee

rufous hummingbird

broad winged hummer 
hummingbird hawk moth

On my off day I traveled up the Pecos River, stopping at the Tererro General Store. Multiple feeders, more hummingbirds than I have ever seen at one place at one time. Literally hundreds. Will take a while to process.

Went a little further up the road towards Cowles. Last time I saw red crossbills but the bounty was meager on this trip. Had too much fragile stuff in the van and decided that discretion would beat valor this time around.

Eliza Gilkyson

I caught this fine Austin based performer free on the plaza one of my first evenings in Santa Fe this month. Her father and brother were also great musicians. Very enjoyable if a bit dark.

Faces from Santa Fe

I just got back from New Mexico yesterday, did two shows in Santa Fe, the Objects of Art and the Antique American Indian Shows.

They were both lovely shows with very high quality ethnographic merchandise and excellent dealers.
Assemblage by Victoria Roberts

These shows are produced by Kim Martindale and John Morris.

I made a little money and had a good time, will elaborate when I have a chance. Ate pretty well for sure.

For now a few pictures of fellow dealers and visitors to the show. Beautiful week in New Mexico. I didn't take a lot of shots on this trip, wasn't really feeling it but will share what I got.