*

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young peregrine

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Kicks keep getting harder to find


The President isn't thrilled with Megan Rapinoe's National Anthem protest. No great shakes there. I can see how the openly gay and "take no shit" player gets under his skin. What I take issue with is his statements that women soccer players don't deserve equal pay with the men.
“I think a lot of it also has to do with the economics,” Trump said. “I mean who draws more, where is the money coming in. I know that when you have the great stars like [Cristiano] Ronaldo and some of these stars … that get paid a lot of money, but they draw hundreds of thousands of people.”
As usual, Trump has his facts all wrong at least as it relates to our country. Our superlative women's team consistently brings in more revenue then the usually mediocre men's team, which by the way, has not been tearing it up for some time. Yet the World Champion women receive a fraction of the financial benefits of their male counterparts.
Rapinoe’s team has long been battling for equal pay, though it tentatively agreed to enter into mediation after this year’s World Cup. For context, per the Washington Post, the women won the World Cup in 2015 and split a bonus of $1.73 million. The men, meanwhile, were trounced in the Round of 16 — and shared a pot of $5.38 million.
The United States Women's Soccer Team is a wonder in their skill, domination and consistency. Our President is also consistent, consistently wrong. As he shows us once again.

Wall around your heart



A nice cover of Reno and Smiley's 1958 hit. Gene made every song his own.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Supreme Leaders

(Supreme Leader) Trump announced the following today:
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order that I’m about to sign will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader’s Office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support. The assets of Ayatollah Khomeini and his office will not be spared from the sanctions," Trump said at the signing of an executive order to impose the sanctions. 
The only problem is that Khomeini died in 1989. Oops. I know that they all look interchangeable but the shiite despot you actually want is Ali Khamenei, dude.

Hey you see one guy with a beard in a turban, you've seen a million, just how the hell are you supposed to tell them all apart? Give the guy a break.

Here's the original ayatollah, the guy who made the job famous and basically defined the position, the one and only Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomenei. The dead one. Dick York, if you will.


Sort of a serious type. Might need some bran, looks impacted. Wonder if the bowels is what finally got him? And here's the current supreme leader, Iman Sayyid Ali Khamenei, who looks more like a borscht belt comic or a lovable homicidal grandpa. Think Dick Sargent, the second ayatollah. No, I won't pull your finger. 


Like who can remember all this stuff?

I found the following joke on an Iranian website.

Ron Wood & Bo Diddley - Crackin' Up



Bo Diddley (1928-2008) wrote and recorded this song in 1959 on the Checker label. Is it the first reggae recording?  The word reggae didn't even get coined until Toots and the Maytals came up with it in 1968. The drum beats of reggae come from an African style called Nyabinghi rhythm. This morphed into a Jamaican folk music called mento which was the precursor of dub, rock steady and reggae and was brought over from West African slaves. It is very similar to calypso.

I love Bo Diddley's playing. He was a Mississippi man, born Ellas Otha Bates. He was so free and natural, obviously had such a good ear. Ron doesn't sound quite as bad here as he usually does.

Female Harrier glide at SJWA


Questions

Is it in poor taste to consider sending our President on an all expenses paid vacation to the Dominican Republic?

Got just the hotel.

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Is Jerry Hollendorfer taking the fall for the entire thoroughbred industry?

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Had you ever heard of Nipsy Hustle before he died? I hadn't.

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Is there anything quite as stupid and pretentious as a person with good vision like Madonna donning an eye patch for fashion? Is she really that desperate?

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Who could blame the Palestinians for rejecting a pact that would buy them off but grant them no real autonomy?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Rick and Levon



This was recorded in Portland on 1/28/83 at the Starry Night Club. I thought I had heard every available version of It makes no difference but this one that starts at 10:30 is pretty special with Levon blowing the harmonica. Great Long Black Veil too. Miss these guys.

Defend the rooster

There's a good article in the New York Times today The Rooster must be defended - France's culture clash reaches a coop. The article is about a rooster named Maurice. Apparently the coq is ruffling a few feathers with some vacationers who would prefer to not hear him crow.

The story takes me back to a rooster story of my own, the strutting Rhode Island Red in my little tale was named Ronald.

Many years ago my ex and I raised a lot of chickens. We always had too many roosters and our usual solution was to take the extras down to the river or creek and release them. We lived in Rainbow at the time.

They would fly up into the trees and eventually would be dispatched by nature, but they would extend their life in the wild for some time and live an uncooped and unfettered existence as was originally intended by the great poultry god on high.

Anyhow this Ronald was becoming a real problem. You see he would take to crowing at any god forsaken hour, usually around midnight and sleep for us became a serious issue. Luckily we didn't have any close neighbors, living in a rural setting.

I had an idea. I called Fred Rasp. Fred was a Rainbow native and he kept an odd menagerie, knew his way around chickens. "Fred, would you like a rooster?" He said he would. "Well, I have to tell you, he crows at inopportune times. I want you to know exactly what you are getting in to." Fred says no problem. "Fred, if there are any problems, give him back tomorrow. Do not whack Ronald." I was emphatic. Fred assents, will not kill rooster, gives us his word. I took leave of my poultry, assured that he was in good hands.

I called Fred the next morning. "How are things going with Ronald?"

"45 caliber," he says. "1:30 a.m."

*
Another Fred story. I think all the statutes of limitations have expired. Had a sketchy, meth addict,  neighbor in Rainbow. Actually a couple of them. This particular one was sort of a bad hombre. Scary. And he had a pig. Not just any pig, a huge pig, 400 pounder I think. A  disgusting creature, always something foul running out of its nose. Pigs are kind of gross if not well maintained, wormy and disgusting.  This one was outre horrific.

This particular pig would get out of its pen and terrorize the valley. And he would come over to my ranch and knock over the garbage cans filled with dog kibble and eat all the food. My dogs were mean and tough but they wanted no part of this porcine invader.  Who was costing me a lot of money.

I called the speed freak miscreant once, twice, three times but the same thing happened over and over, he would not restrain his porker and he would not replace my dog food.

So the last time it happened I called Fred. Who showed up in thirty minutes with his two brothers and his father Norbert with a truck and a winch. I tell you they had that pig shot, butchered, trussed and on the truck and out of the valley in the wink of an eye. Makin' bacon. Frontier justice. Guy comes over the next day asking if I had seen his pig? Shook my head. Nope.

*
Fred's dad has passed. Actually a long time ago. He was a hell of a guy. Taught me how to beekeep. Had been a foundry worker in Los Angeles. Strong, tough as nails. Soft spoken. Used to see him and his wife at the Grange pancake sausage breakfasts.

I miss the old country folk. Now the valleys in these parts are full of plastic fencing and people to match.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Blue Heron Anthology

© Robert Sommers 2019
My old friend Denis wrote the other day, hadn't communicated in ages.

Retired and living amongst the fossils in the burbs of Walnut Creek, he misses his long time haunts in Oakland. More of a street guy really, that Denis.

Denis taught greek and latin for decades at St. Mary's, wrote several outstanding cookbooks, is a poet, knows how to eat and drink, just a true renaissance man.

And he wants a Blue Heron Anthology someday or broached the subject anyway. Likes what I do here. Keep all the short stories and pictures from going down the drain.

I told him that people could worry about that sort of thing when I am gone. Please somebody rescue it all before Google puts it down their garbage disposal.

Lesley Duncan - Love Song

End of the week

It has been a very challenging month for my business, especially with the hospitalization and rehab, however abbreviated it may have been. If I hear another person tell me that the most important thing is my health I might actually commit a homicidal act. Which won't be good for anybody's health, least of all mine, easy to say when the mortgage is paid, not necessarily what I want to hear when I am scrambling.

Anyway, I am working a little harder every day, trying to plant seeds wherever I can, take advantage of every opportunity to sell merchandise, just not quite happening. And I have had a couple doozy clients this month.

First one has a Kim Wiggins painting she wants to sell. Nice. Modern regionalist. But she thinks it is worth 20k. I show her the comps, maybe 4 to 6k at best. She finally relents, brings it over to consign before she heads to Europe for a few months. And it is big, 36 x 48."

So I look it up and see that there is a pretty much identical painting on line but it was bigger, was cut down after an accident. The title was Voice of Jealousy. 

I started looking at this one more carefully, nothing on the back but a number but hey, I couldn't make any sense of the signature. Was it right? Kim Wiggins paintings don't get faked.

I decided to call Bob Nelson, who has been Kim's dealer for ever, sent him a picture. He thought it looked right but gave me the artist's phone number, just to make sure.

Kim told me that he had once done a smaller study; to send him a picture. He was a great guy, called me right back after looking at the image. My fears were justified, a good copy of a painting he created in 2000 but not his work, signature or impasto technique. I laughed, thanked him, told him he should be flattered by the imitation.

I tried to call the consignor and email her but she must be already gone. Now I have another big painting I can't sell to trip over this summer.

The other situation was a little more toxic. A woman brought a collection of her late husband's Japanese pottery over. She insisted on taking a picture of me with every piece, I got a bit of the third degree. She knew I was having a minor heart operation but kept calling every couple days and bugging me throughout my rehab anyway. And sent me a card, she was even praying for me.

Anyhow she calls up the other day and said that there was one item that she forgot to get my fingerprint on and take a picture next to, would I mind? Of course not.

Then she called back and asked for condition reports. I explained to her that three of the pieces had Japanese glyph signatures, that I was not fluent in said language and that I had written two experts, including one in Japan but as yet had had no response. These things can take time.

"Well can you have them and give me valuations by next week?

"Ma'am I told you, I am researching them, it is difficult to know when it will prove fruitful. Hopefully not too much longer."

She huffed, "Well then I will pick them up tomorrow."

I was ecstatic and mentally offered to pack them up for her but knew that she would want a total inspection  of each piece and I didn't bother. She called me back the next day and let me know that she had once again changed her mind, I could sell all but three or something like that but I stopped her mid-sentence.

I said, "No, pick them all up. I don't really have time for people like you in my life. That little exercise we went through yesterday." Harsh yes. But I did not need the aggravation and her lack of trust and pushy manner was all the indicator I needed to know that working with her would be ultimately impossible. Spare myself the crap. Which could only get worse.

I never do that, always exceedingly nice, but she pushed me to my limit and I just couldn't take it anymore. Had my Network moment.

She came and got her stuff. Never been so happy to see merchandise leaving my store.

Gene Clark

Friday, June 21, 2019

Self portrait with caution tape


David Lee Roth - Soul Kitchen

Compassionate conservatism

The Trump administration is in action again today, in the most gruesome way. A Justice Department lawyer, Senior Litigation Counsel Sarah Fabian, is trying to defend not giving incarcerated migrant children toothbrushes, soap and beds.
The government is not required to provide migrant children in custody on the border with soap, toothbrushes, or adequate bedding, a lawyer for the Trump Justice Department insisted in court Tuesday. A consent decree guaranteeing “safe and sanitary” conditions, the government argued, is too vague to be enforceable. The assertions left a panel of three judges for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals incredulous, with one stating plainly: “I find that inconceivable that the government would say that.”


Every time I think that we can sink to no further depths as human beings this administration surprises me once again.
The U.S. Justice Department argued in federal court this week that government agencies like Customs and Border Protection have no responsibility to provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap to migrant kids who are currently held in America’s vast network of concentration camps. Human rights organizations have previously reported that migrants don’t have access to these and other basic toiletries while in U.S. detention, increasing the individual health risks and the potential for outbreaks.
The U.S. government also argued on Tuesday that making immigrants sleep on a cold concrete floor with a Mylar blanket doesn’t violate the Flores Settlement, a 1997 federal court judgment that dictates what constitutes humane treatment while in custody. The Flores Settlement says that any living facilities for migrants must be “safe and sanitary."
“You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of safe and sanitary conditions?” U.S. Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon asked DOJ lawyer Sarah Fabian.
The DOJ lawyer argued that the Flores Settlement doesn’t say anything explicitly about sleeping, and therefore the government doesn’t need to provide anything like a cot or a bed. But the judges weren’t having it.
“Or it was relatively obvious,” said U.S. Circuit Judge William Fletcher. “And at least obvious enough so that if you’re putting people into a crowded room to sleep on a concrete floor with an aluminum-foil blanket on top of them that it doesn’t comply with the agreement.”
Ms. Fabian has to win some kind of award for this performance. Just leave your decency and humanity on the counter on the way in.

*
In other news reports of 250 migrants living in filthy, inhumane conditions at the Texas border.
Doctors and attorneys say hundreds of young people are living under inhumane conditions at a border control station in Clint, Texas. They say they found about 250 infants, children and teens locked up for weeks without adequate food, water and sanitation.
A researcher told "CBS This Morning" that at the Clint facility, about 20 miles southeast of El Paso, more than a dozen children had the flu, and that some were in quarantine cells without adult supervision. The researcher added that young girls were taking care of a sick two-year-old boy who was in filthy clothing without a diaper, and that the children said they were fed uncooked frozen food and had gone weeks without bathing. CBS News reached out to immigration officials, and has not yet heard back.
Remember that old Tea Party debate where the bastards were all whooping it up talking about cutting off people's access to health care? What were they screaming - Let them die? Still sounds like the party mantra. Children should never be taking care of other children. Or paying for the purported sins of their parents. Of course Trump says he is doing these families in detention a great service. He is, after all, bringing them back together. In jail.

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4 Severely Ill Migrant Toddlers Hospitalized After Lawyers Visit Border Patrol Facility.

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Kill the queers says Tennessee pastor and law enforcement officer Grayson Fritts.

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ICE’s planned deportation raids in 10 big cities: what we know.

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Two more Sarah Fabian stories. She was too busy dog sitting on the weekend to worry about orphan children. And she disobeyed a judges order not to destroy Border Patrol video evidence.

Steve Kimock

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Crosses and Supremes

San Diego Mission de Alcala
The Supreme Court is allowing the continued display of crosses and religious symbols on public land.

It ruled that a large cross on government land in Maryland does not have to be moved or altered in the name of church-state separation.

The 40-foot cross was erected nearly a century ago as a World War I memorial.

The opinion by Associate Justice Samuel Alito concluded that the display does not violate the Constitution's establishment clause because of its longevity and the multiple messages these crosses may represent. The vote was 7-2, with Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.

I agree with this decision. Crosses don't bother me, in fact I think that properly placed they can be quite pretty. And like them or not, they are a part of the historical fabric of our land, especially here in the southwest where they predate our constitution by about two hundred and thirty years, since Cabrillo landed his boat.

SCOTUS refers to them as "passive religious displays." I am not a person of faith, personally preferring to study psychology and anthropology but why should they be a threat to me? Unless you come for me with torches and pitchforks or try to overly restrict my behavior, your belief system if of no concern to me. And I must say, I lived on Mt. Helix for a while as a kid, always thought the cross was lovely.

When I was in boarding school as a thirteen year old I guess I got my first spiritual teacher. Later turned out to be a real prick but that's another story. Anyway he was reading buddhist tracts and introduced me to the concept of dualism. If you are virulently against something you are probably still very attached to it. People freaked out by crosses need to examine their personal motivations.

If you are a member of a religious minority in this country and feel outgunned by all these christian symbols you are fighting a losing war. But take solace that for better or for worse the number of those that state nonbeliever in polling are the fastest growing religious demographic. Or should I say, the cavalry is on the way and the calvary is in retreat?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Carpet Crawlers


I knew it was my late brother Buzz's birthday today, didn't give it that much thought. Not over it but keeping it more at arm's length. Until Barbara texted me this afternoon. She was having a hard time. He would have been sixty today. I started playing his favorite music tonight, Phoebe Snow, Cat Stevens, Genesis. Lost it a little bit myself. Life has not been the same without him, I lost an essential pillar as did the rest of the family. It totally sucks.

Good vibes

People that come to my wife Leslie's shop Caravan on most Thursdays often see a nice lady in the back named Penelope Richards sitting next to a very special bed.

The bed is a Vibe machine, short for Vibro Acoustical Sound Healing. Penelope's official title is Vibe Ambassador. The literature says that it interacts with your largest organ, the skin, with custom “transducers” that are rated to vibrate between 15-200 hz.

Leslie has been using the technology for a while. Last Thursday was a trial run for me. There are about forty different programming modes. I think I did one called Cell Cleanser.  Another is named Transformation and Abundance.

You lay down, don headphones and blinkers and sail into another dimension. Soundwaves course through your body and seemingly electrify every cell. I think that twenty minute sessions cost about a buck a minute.

I literally lost track of time. it was much more powerful than I expected and I tend to be quite critical about such matters. I encourage everyone to give it a go and make an appointment. Penelope can be reached at 760-468-8738. She won't be there tomorrow but will be back in a week. Caravan is located at 109 N. Main Ave. in Fallbrook.

Left right

Joe Biden is in hot water from some circles for once making nice with the segregationists. But it would be helpful for the aggrieved parties to read the entire quote and context.
Mr. Biden, speaking at a fund-raiser at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City on Tuesday night, stressed the need to “be able to reach consensus under our system,” and cast his decades in the Senate as a time of relative comity. His remarks come as some in his party say that Mr. Biden, the former vice president, is too focused on overtures to the right as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.
At the event, Mr. Biden noted that he served with the late Senators James O. Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, both Democrats who were staunch opponents of desegregation. Mr. Eastland was the powerful chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Mr. Biden entered the chamber in 1973.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” said Mr. Biden, 76, slipping briefly into a Southern accent, according to a pool report from the fund-raiser. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”
He called Mr. Talmadge “one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys.”
Well guess what?” Mr. Biden continued. “At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
Many of those staking a claim on the far left hand side of the Democratic party like Cory Booker have an issue with Biden here. I don't.

Because he is absolutely right. You have to talk with the people who don't agree with you. You don't make deals with your friends, you make deals with your enemies. I am so sick of the current shortsightedness and self righteousness from both Republicans and Democrats. And nothing is getting done in our country. And it looks like it won't for the foreseeable future.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working with political opponents that you disagree with and we have a long history of doing so in this country. Look at Hatch and Ted Kennedy. We need to stop looking for perfect people who would never compromise. Because we are basically split right down the middle.

*
I was at a gathering the other day and was heavily outnumbered by conservatives. Tried to have some meaningful exchanges and was mostly successful.

But one stood out.

A man complained that dems were doing everything they could to obstruct the President. And I pointed out that Obama was treated the very same way by a Republican congress, pointing out McConnell's famous one term in office quote and the failure of them to back him on anything.

"That was different," he said. "That was about policy."

And I had to sillily point out that we on my side had a problem with the Republican's policy too. But I had heard the same argument from Mitch McConnell himself last week. He is not going to take up any House votes because the left is full of creeping socialists, etc. Mitch, that left you so greatly despise represents a majority of Americans right now. And you are abdicating your position and responsibility to your office and the citizens of the United States by not respecting that majority.
For the first time in my memory, I'm going to agree with Nancy Pelosi. I am indeed the grim reaper when it comes to the socialist agenda that they've been ginning up over in the House with overwhelming Democratic support and sending it over to America, things that would turn us into a country we've never been. Sen. Mitch McConnell
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We discussed this situation at K's house today. Kip thought the Biden bashing was unfair, D preferred a more progressive candidate. I personally don't think a Bernie Sanders is what our country needs right now, free this and free that and we'll worry about paying for it later. Prefer a Biden or Buttigieg type that is more centrist or moderate in their views, that might track with the great undecided block that floats down the middle.

D said something interesting, that Obama tried to take a middle position and got screwed by the right, no matter how accommodating he tried to be it was never enough for the conservatives and strategically a failure.

An interesting and horrible conundrum but not one that looks like it will get fixed anytime soon. A Democratic President and House with a Senate that refuses to take up any legislation is still a big zero.

Scam the scammers

I'm a bit tired. I was up late last night watching YouTube videos. From this guy, Scammer Revolts.

He finds online scam artists in India engaging in phony tech support extortion schemes and destroys them, albeit temporarily. He is an obvious computer whiz.

While the bad guys think they have another rube on the line, he is breaking into their own systems and deleting their files.

After he tells them what is up and confronts them with their sins they freak out and he engages in some wonderful swearing in hindi. Very addictive, don't say I didn't warn you. Guy is doing a great service. Hard to say where to start, you might try this one. Or this. But they are all great. Don't say I didn't warn you. Benchod.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Simple Twist of Fate


This is a version from the 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. There is a new Bootleg series album from the tour and a Scorcese bullshit movie opening. I am a bit of a Dylanologist and it is one of my least favorite tours, material wise. I was overseas for much of the year Desire came out and the album was really overplayed and ultimately rubbed me the wrong way. The Rolling Thunder renditions were very jangly and disjointed, quite uneven. Different lineup every night and my guy Mick Ronson was sent to the bench early in the tour. Having said that, it had its little gems. I hear the next Bootleg will be John Wesley Harding/ Nashville Skyline material and I am really looking forward to that. Nashville is my second favorite Dylan album after Blood on the Tracks. He sang so beautifully when he wanted to.

6/18/19

Last year Donald Trump reneged on President Obama's 2015 nuclear JCPOA deal with Iran. He reinstated heavy financial sanctions, broke with his international allies and called it the "worst deal ever." Tehran has largely held to the deal but has just announced that it would soon exceed the nuclear enrichment limits.

And wouldn't you know it, Trump is pissed at Iran and demanding that the allies pressure them to hold to an agreement that he himself breached. I don't know the farsi word for chutzpah but that definitely rates the farsi word for chutzpah.

*
When Hong Kong ended the 99 year old lease with Britain in 1997 and Beijing instituted the "one country, two systems" policy the place was giddy and the nationalism was as thick in the air as Chinese fireworks. Mainland China promised not to interfere, to let Hong Kong do its thing until 2017. The Basic Law was supposed to protect peoples' rights.

I was worried at the time, having seen what the Chinese have done in Tibet and to the ethnic minorities in the Western provinces. And there has been a steady erosion in those Hong Kong people's rights ever since. Things have obviously come to a head in Hong Kong this week, with demonstrations bringing out a reported two million protesters.

The people of Hong Kong have received an apology this week from Carrie Lam, the mainland appointed titular head of Hong Kong. But they should not get too giddy. This is the most ruthless dictatorship in the world this side of North Korea. The iron hand awaits to swoop and I fear for these people. Beijing brooks no opposition and an incorrigible Hong Kong would be a signal to an even more hated Taiwan. Tiananmen Square would pale compared to the horrors they could rain down on these people.

I have written before about the horrible treatment of the Uighers. I was sick to my stomach today reading about how the Chinese government is now killing and harvesting its enemies and political opponents' organs. Is there a more perfidious and reprehensible regime on this earth? And yet we do business with them and turn a blind eye. They need to be reproached and isolated.

Mona

Walk in beauty

One of the things I counsel new photographers is to always have a camera around. Of course a phone will do in a pinch but if you are buying a more sophisticated or expensive camera and can keep it at arm's length you will be amazed at the shots that will come unlooked for over life's transom.

And it helps to have a beautiful model, like this paisley clad lass with the aubergine mane.

I live in a rural area, on a rough road and have a habit of carrying around a long lens at times or multiple cameras and gear. I got tired of having things roll around in the car and risking damaging expensive gear so what did I do?

I bought a catbed at CVS for eight bucks.
I place the camera in the bed and it stays snug and safe behind my seat when I am careening around the backcountry.

Get so intimate with your camera that you can make any necessary adjustment in total darkness. Know where every specific button sits blindfolded and which way to turn a dial for speed, iso and aperture.

I tend to shoot in two different digital modes these days. If I am out in the field shooting birds in flight with my 400mm 2.8 fl I usually shoot manual with auto iso. I set the aperture, usually quite wide open and the shutter speed to somewhere between 2500 and 3200 depending.

The auto iso gives me perfect exposure. If the subjects are stationary I pick the depth of field I want to achieve or separation from the background and adjust the ƒstop and speed accordingly.

For landscapes or in the studio I tend to use aperture priority with the lowest possible iso manually set depending on the light conditions.

Helps to be on a tripod. I rarely use shutter priority and never use P or program modes. Have not found a need with the things I shoot. Get off automatic as soon as you can. More fun without training wheels.

The most important thing about recording or capturing a photographic image is that it speaks to you in some way.

Composition and intent usually trump technique and hardware. Learn the rules and break the rules.

The Navajo have a saying, Walk in beauty.

Photography helps me define and embrace the beautiful in this life. Here is the Dineh chant or song.


Walking in Beauty

Today I will walk out, today everything unnecessary will leave me, I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body. I will have a light body, I will be forever happy, nothing will hinder me. 
I walk with Beauty below me.
I walk with Beauty above me.
I walk with Beauty all around me.
My words will be Beautiful.
In Beauty, all day long, may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen, may I walk. 
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With Beauty before me, may I walk.
With Beauty behind me, may I walk.
With Beauty below me, may I walk.
With Beauty above me, may I walk.
With Beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering a trail of Beauty,
lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering a trail of Beauty,
living again, may I walk. 
It is finished in Beauty.
It is finished in Beauty.
Aho.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Arthur Lee and Love

Babies and bodhisattvas

I had a nice weekend, in the context of both fun and hanging out with my pals and taking a couple photographs too.

We went to Bill and Jeans for their family reunion and a feast and I got a chance to take pictures of Robin's grandchild.

Babies are cool because they are like humans that haven't been screwed up yet.

Sweet, innocent and beautiful.

Fun to shoot.


On the way home I noticed this crazy home on Minnesota St. with all these cool sculptures on the fence. Snapped a quick one moving through the car window. I have to go back and stop and take some proper pictures. I wonder who lives there?

Yesterday we went to Bob and Sheelas' pad in Encinitas and hung around with them and Ron and Lena. Bob's glass art is getting better every time I see him. He has an amazing assortment of beautiful buddhas and boddhisatvas hanging around the splendid yard and I decided to document a few of them.





Really way too many to share, extremely visually rich environment.

I like this still life with flyswatter too.

Managed to shoot a hummer or two too.

We had a delightful day. There was a thirty percent off sale on wine at Vons and we all stocked up.

Leslie is an amazing shipper and ended up saving over 60% somehow. Bought a beautiful sancerre.

We stopped at Panca for dinner on the way home, both jonesing for Peruvian.

I started the meal with anticuchos. Anticuchos are an ancient pre-columbian dish. I've never had them before and was curious.

Tender beef heart portions marinated in cumin, aji amarilla and who knows what else? Extremely flavorful and just the ticket to get my heart back on track. They are served skewere , with a side of Peruvian corn, salsa criolla and grilled potato.
From Wiki: Although Anticuchos are of Pre-Columbian origin, historically Anticuchos can be traced as far back as the 16th century, when they were first encountered by the Spanish conquistadors. It was at this time that European ingredients such as garlic were added, and beef began to replace the traditional llama that was used at the time of the Inca Empire. It was a popular dish among the inhabitants of the Inca Empire, and it is currently popular throughout most South American countries. Americanized versions of anticuchos are sometimes made of non-organ meats.
According to the text file from the National Library in Lima (Peru),[citation needed] it is believed that the term comes from the Quechua antikuchu (anti: 'East' + kuchu: 'cut' or uchu: 'porridge, mix'). The writer Erika Fetzer mentions that according to tradition, anticuchos were prepared with meat and flame. The Spanish strung the meat on sticks as skewers.
The Spaniards also brought enslaved blacks, which were established in Lima and the coast of southern Chico de la Ciudad de los Reyes of the Vice-royalty of Peru. They adopted this dish.
In those days the Spanish dismissed offal as food for slaves, using non-offal meats out of the desire to have a dish that was more attractive to them. The presently used recipe, with its traditional flavor, specifically uses beef heart. In Peru, the tradition continues with the traditional name and ingredients; anticuchos are consumed by all social classes of Peru, and is especially popular as a street food.
Leslie had aji de gallina, the parmesan, potato and chicken dish that just kills us it is so good. They put pecans in their aji sauce here, up north it is walnuts. The server explained that it really doesn't matter what you use, it only acts as a thickener. The rice and potatoes at Panca are simply over the top good.

Why did it take me so long to discover Peruvian food?

I had their half chicken plate. No one does chicken like the Peruvians. Their whole flavor set is so different than what we northern hemisphere types are used to.

Always fabulous, as were the sweet potato fries. We split a coffee that was very flavorful too. Way too full for dessert.

We noticed that Tambo, their dulce shop two doors down, has permanently closed. Bummer but I get it. Cost benefit ratio, undoubtably. If you have not tried Panca yet, give it a shot.

Hope that you had a great weekend too.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Purple one

Checks and balances.

I don't want to get too far into the impeach/not impeach debate. With this particular Senate, there is no way that it will ultimately be anything but a pyrrhic exercise.

However it would be a way for people to register their dissatisfaction with this President's conduct in office, and I can see some value in that. An impeachment inquiry would allow the House to get information that they have been heretofore denied access to.

I think that there is a greater problem at hand than impeachment. I believe that we are in a constitutional crisis in this country. We are founded on the principle of checks and balances, with all three branches of government normally engaged in a grand exercise of rock, paper, scissors. But checks and balances are on life support.

President Trump does not believe in being checked. He claims executive privilege at every turn, instructs his minions to not cooperate with congressional oversight and feels he has the right to "run the country" even if it means obstruction, lying or illegality. His Attorney General also believes in the concept of an over strong unitary executive branch. He and his underlings regularly shred common norms and boundaries regarding things like the Hatch act, personal enrichment, the census question and emoluments.

The Treasury Department says that Congress does not have an appropriate "legislative interest" to see Trump's tax returns. Other departments have been making similar refrains in order to stymie investigations.

Now I personally can see a lot of value in having this President's returns. It might answer the question of why he has always been so beholden to the Russians and Saudis.

The process does not work if the person being checked can decide what constitutes proper legislative interest or intent on the part of the investigator. We have turned the whole system on its ear. I guess that the courts will ultimately have to sort it out. But what did we have, a hundred Benghazi hearings? Obama never tried to shield himself like this, neither did Clinton. Always different when the shoe is on the other foot.

Our Republic may have not been designed as a true democracy but it was certainly not designed as an authoritarian dictatorship either. Congress needs to be able to do its job and investigate the President properly without these roadblocks. The Executive branch can not decide what are proper intent and motives on the part of the Congress in their hunt for information. It would be like Boeing telling the FAA that they don't have proper or legitimate reasons to inspect their 737s.

Trump said this morning that his supporters might demand that he serve more than two terms. With a Trump friendly, ultra conservative Supreme Court that splits regularly on ideological lines, it will be interesting to see if there is anything that now legally stands in his way of becoming President for life.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cortez the Killer



Willie Waldman on trumpet.

Get back

cheetahs © Robert Sommers 2019
I don't know how many years I have left on the planet. Who does? I'm definitely not one of the guys planning to live to one hundred and twenty. Will gratefully take what I am given.

I have largely been able to write my ticket and accomplish many things in my lifetime although it certainly has its share of ups and downs. Happy so far.

I have a bucket list but it's not that extensive. Patagonia, Antarctica, Alaska, Portugal. Chile. Easter Island. The Rhine. Hokkaido. A few more places. Like to go back to Glacier, see Jasper too some day. And I think I want to get back to Africa. Been spending a lot of time on YouTube watching people on safari.

My trip in 1989, even with my choice of travel companion at the time, was pretty epic.

Masai Mara meal © Robert Sommers 2019
I shot slides with a Konica Ft2. My longest lens was probably 135mm. What I could do today, he says wistfully... I would sure like to go back to Kenya and Tanzania, visit Botswana and Kruger someday.

Masai boys undergoing initiation © Robert Sommers 2019
Truth be told if I had to do it all over again I think I might have tried to become a travel and wildlife writer and photographer. I love to explore, to learn, to discover new things. Love to hunt, just not kill. Would have been a great gig.

The birds I saw in Africa, from Maribou storks at Mt. Kenya to the crested eagles, it was simply amazing. I hope that I can one day return to man's motherland, that is, if things ever open up for me again.

Leitz 10 x 40 trinovid binoculars

I tried to shoot Jupiter's moons last week at opposition. It was a big fail, both with my longest lens and with my field glasses. Much of my problems can certainly be ascribed to poor technique but the fact of the matter is that I didn't have ample focal length with the camera and that my current binoculars are basically little toys, they plainly suck.

I put the word out to a few friends that I needed to upgrade my binoculars. Started to do a little research. I do way too much birdwatching to not have a decent pair.

I stopped by my good friend Bill's yesterday to get some woodworking done. Bill used to be a great picker and I told him I needed binoculars. He pulled out about eight pairs, Nikons, Bushnells and more.

I fell in love with this vintage pair of Leitz Trinovids. With the original leather case and straps. Looks like they were hardly ever used, if at all. He sold them to me for a very fair price.

Just what I was looking for, in the size I wanted. I think from the serial # 736195 that they were made somewhere between 1969 and 1970.

I am told that the quality control was superior back then. This binocular uses a sophisticated Uppendahl prism system, which is thought to be superior to the systems available today. The field of view is 7 deg, 122 yd / 1000 yd. Near focus is 25'. Relative brightness (glv) 16.0. They weigh a bit over 500 grams.

Leitz has been making binoculars since 1907. The company became Leica in 1986. Incidentally, their founder, Ernst Leitz, helped many jewish workers escape the holocaust.

Their products are known for their superior optics. I just tried them out outside my shop and the clarity is startling!

This product was introduced in 1963 and stopped production in 1975. It is light and sharp, and has a wide field of view. It lacks some of the modern features of current field glasses, like phase coatings and waterproofing. But I think that it will be a wonderful new addition to my favorite hobby.

Thank you Bill!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sam Cooke - Little Red Rooster


A smooth counterpoint to Howlin Wolf's prior hardcore rendition. Recorded in Los Angeles in 1963 with session guys. Billy Preston playing incredibly well and expressively on the Hammond B-3, Ray Johnson tinkling the keys, Hal Blaine on drums. Although not listed, many believe that Barney Kessel is playing guitar on this track. Not sure of the bass player. Carol Kaye? I really like the occasional tasteful repartee between piano and organ.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

biff boff

Stage four cancer patient sentenced to four years in jail for buying edibles to self medicate. State legalizes the next day. * Baboons raise dogs as pets. * Hung jury for Scott Warren, who saved migrants from dying in the Sonoran desert. WWJD? * Stone age stoners in ancient China. * Migrant kids housed at ex Japanese internment camp. * Steinway and Sons airdropped pianos in World War II.* Roundup in your Cheerios. * Lets mine the land next to the Grand Canyon for Uranium and let the energy companies do it for free.* Seventeen years, no trial - indefinite detention and the Supreme Court.* David Bernhardt and Glenwood Springs mining.* New offerings from the Blue Heron Gallery. * Repubs join Dems in rebuking Trump on Saudi deal.* Key and Peele - Sex Detective.* Trump steamrolls GMO regs.* Trump signs executive order, curtails states' ability to block dirty energy projects.* Crime to oppose pipeline construction, even indirectly?* More on anti-protest bill, welcome to Beijing, USA.* Four woman convicted of giving thirsty migrants water.* Iman says beat your wife but don't leave any marks. It will remind her she misbehaved."

puppy braid


I was lucky enough to run into these fine fellows walking their pooches behind my store this morning. Little guy was having a problem, the three pups kept getting tangled up into a knot. Dad was pretty patient, tried his best to keep him untied.

The raptor's perch

I've been up and down the last couple days recovery wise.

Energy, blood pressure, motivation. Have had some problems with dizziness and headaches.

I saw my cardiologist yesterday, back in sinus rhythm thankfully.

Will take somewhere between six weeks and six months to find stasis again.

Left early yesterday. Caught this red tailed hawk on a pole by the mailboxes on the way home.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Funky Revelation

The Straw Hat

I moved around quite a bit as a kid and one of the things you find is that every small town has its toughest guy, the legendary thumper that nobody wanted to mess with.

It was a guy named Stanley in Syosset, never actually met the man but the mere mention of his name caused people to quake in their boots. The apex alpha male phenomenon is very strong when young men are in their teens and twenties.

San Diego has a couple little burgs that have always been special places, known for their unusual inhabitants. I think of Ocean Beach, Descanso and that quaint little lakeside hamlet by Escondido, Del Dios. Del Dios has been under a no growth sewer moratorium since the 1960's and the people that live there are a slightly different breed, the Dons of Del Dios. Artists and bohemians, working men and women, unconventional types. It is a special place.

Life in Del Dios long revolves around the Del Dios Country Store, a place that has been open for I don't know how long but certainly back to the 1940's. Store often has included a bar and that is where this story starts.

The toughest guy in Del Dios back in the 1970's was a guy named George. Don't remember how to spell his last name, might have been Gerlichy. That is what it sounded like anyway. George was a friend of mine and the least likely looking tough guy one could ever meet. He was maybe 150 lbs. soaking wet. Not conspicuously muscular. Wiry and lean, liked to wear a straw hat. Very pleasant, never went looking for trouble but had his share of scraps.

George ran a drywall taping crew, worked for me for a while when I was building. And he had a reputation of not being a guy to mess with. Originally hailed from the mean streets of Cleveland, he might have been Czech or Hungarian.

Anyway, as my friend the late Garry Cohen told the story, one day a biker pulls into town with a girl on the back of his chopper and stops at the bar. He was typically drunk and belligerent, making a general ass of himself and started chirping about wanting to fight the toughest guy in town. People ignored him for a while but the name George slowly started to percolate up from the shadows. The biker hears the name and issues a challenge. "Where is this George guy?"

Fast forward an undetermined period of time. Word gets around to George, he shows up at the store.

"I hear you've been looking for me."

The biker pulls out a knife and brandishing it menacingly says,"I have."

George smiles and says, "Oh good, a knife." Now George always wore that wide brimmed straw hat.  He pulls the hat down off his head with his left hand, obscuring his face and shoulders and with the other hand, in one simultaneous motion punches right through the crown, landing on the miscreant's chin, knocking the Harley riding putz out instantly with one straight right.

"Damn," he says. "Have to buy me another hat."

George moved to Pauma Valley, eventually passed away due to a medical problem, as did Garry. He was the nicest guy you could ever meet but you would be foolish to ever fight a guy like him. Never fight a guy from Cleveland or Youngstown or Philly unless that you are very sure that you know what you are doing. These guys grew up on the veldt, they learn to jab right out of the crib.

Vaya con dios, Jorge y Geraldo.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sour Milk Sea (Esher Demo)



Another song of Harrison's, along with the djangoey Not guilty, that George should have been allowed to put on the White Album. Eventually it was given to Apple protege Jackie Lomax. No wonder George had a chip on his shoulder. They wouldn't record his songs.

The called the White Album the Tension album. Paul pissing everybody off. Yoko doing her thing. John and Yoko taking heroin, Paul drinking. George Martin quitting, Ringo quitting (at least for a week), Geoff Emerick quits, interminable retakes of Paul's songs upsetting the apple cart.

Even so, these Esher demos from May of 1968, recorded at Harrison's estate Kinfauns, for one of the greatest Beatle's albums, are a revelation, all twenty seven of them. I think the Dear Prudence is far superior to the finished product, as are many of the raw tracks.  Each song is fresh and a new peak inside. The guitar playing on the entire demo album is simply sublime, imo Prudence is much better without Paul's booming bass.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Felinous assault

I was saddened to hear that the African male lion M'bari recently passed away at the San Diego Zoo. He was fifteen. His mate, Etosha, still lives.

As a native, I have been going to the zoo since I was an infant.  It was a different place when I was a kid, there were roosters and chickens freely strutting all over the grounds, the biggest stars back then were the black bears Yogi and Boo Boo.

Most of the subsequent changes to the zoo have been for the better but, in my opinion, not all of them. And the worst change of all was the lion enclosure situated by the gigantic Steele Elephant Odyssey.

The two lions were in an incredibly small cage, behind chain link wire, they always looked severely stressed out, as do the leopards pacing around down in cat canyon. The lions would walk the perimeter of their incredibly confined pen, spray onlookers, just never looked happy. The original multi level lion enclosure was definitely more spacious and chill. It was built in 1922, don't know why they made a downgrade change.

I have friends that hate zoos, I am a big lover and defender of my hometown zoo. But their current lion enclosure is a big fail. And adding to the stupidity was putting all the bronze dinosaurs next door in the fossil portal and adding the rattlesnake enclosure. Was that really necessary? Why waste the room? Why conflate zoology and archaeology in a time of limited funding?

We have plenty of rattlesnakes all over the place in San Diego. I personally think space for cats should trump an archaeological exhibit at a zoo. The elephants have all this room at the Elephant Odyssey and the lions get cooped up in this horrible and tiny enclosure. Having been on safari in Kenya and Tanzania, I know how much these big cats need space.

The zoo did such a great job with the Malayan tiger exhibit, hope they can one day grant the king of beasts the same sort of love and care.