Monument Valley color study

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Going Going Gone

Drill baby drill!

I read about this story a few months ago, big out of state corporate farms moving into the Arizona desert, drilling really deep in an unregulated environment and wouldn't you know it, the locals' wells are now running dry?

I meant to write about it before. This was the excellent NBC article that alerted me to the situation.
...After living in the state for 32 years, she finally bought a house in the small town of Elfrida that had “million-dollar views” and farmland to grow crops.
A few years after moving in, in 1997, though, her well went dry. Like all homes in Cochise County, hers depended on underground water, so she took out a $15,000 loan to deepen her well. Seven years later, it went dry again, and she couldn’t afford to borrow the $35,000 to drill a new, deeper one.
“I saved all my life, I saved in the military, I saved as a teacher, I saved, and saved, and saved — that's the way I was brought up,” Reynolds, 73, said. “And I lost everything.”
She was forced to abandon her home, move back to Bisbee, a city 30 miles southwest where she had lived previously, and put her house on the market. Eleven years later, it’s still for sale, and she’s still paying off the loan on that dry well.
More here.
Arizona’s groundwater law largely does not apply to rural areas like Willcox, which means that land is particularly attractive to large farms. Companies can pump as much water as they want; they don’t even have to monitor how much they use.
And they appear to have the local politicians firmly in their pockets.
...additional regulations have faced opposition from some agribusinesses and the Cattle Growers Association, a lobbying group, as well as elected officials including state Rep. Gail Griffin, a Republican who chairs the Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee in the Arizona House of Representatives. Thomas Buschatzke, director of the Department of Water Resources, said he couldn’t convince the legislature to consider the water monitoring bill.
The latest:

In southeastern Arizona, farms drill a half-mile deep while families pay the price

You don't miss your water... until your well runs dry.

Wilson's Warbler

Dopey regs and chazers

Investment banker Lloyd Blankfein says that he might have a harder time voting for Bernie than Trump.
“Look, it’s crazy not to acknowledge the economy has expanded under Trump,” Blankfein said, attributing the growth in part to the 2017 GOP tax law and Trump’s elimination of “dopey regulations.”
The ex Goldman Sachs CEO and self professed democrat is certainly entitled to his opinion. I have my own problems with Bernie's policies but I don't need to go into that now. While you can argue about the magnitude of Trump's effect on the economy and there is certainly room for legitimate disagreement, it is easy to forget that Obama was tasked with rescuing the country from a devastating Bush recession. You didn't clean up our mess fast enough!

What I take issue with is the "dopey regulations" part of his statement. Trump has dismembered environmental regulation and protection in this country and left a trail of tears too long to delineate. The effects will be felt throughout the world for generations and I think will really endanger our planet in a critical way. But by the time it enters the calculus of money people like Blankfein it will probably be too late.

Water. (from Earthjustice)
On Jan. 23, 2020, President Trump unveiled his administration’s Dirty Water Rule. In one fell swoop, the administration plans to declare that a significant proportion of the streams, lakes, bays, lagoons, wetlands, headwaters, and more across the nation no longer count as “waters of the United States.” For those excluded waterways, federal protections under the Clean Water Act will no longer apply, and few protections will remain to stop polluters from dumping toxic byproducts into our waters.
More Mercury, More Problems: Another proposal, dubbed the “Toxic Water Rule,” would weaken pollution controls for coal-fired power plants. Power plants are by far the largest contributors of toxic pollution into our waters, dumping a toxic stew of mercury, arsenic, lead, and selenium into waterways, even though there are affordable solutions to clean up these discharges before they reach our surface waters. Earthjustice has long been involved in this issue.
Skip This Part if You’re Eating: Yet another anticipated Clean Water Act attack concerns a regulation with a viscerally gross title: the “Sewage Blending Rule.” This would make it easier for wastewater treatment plants to release raw sewage blended with treated wastewater into waterways, if their treatment systems get overwhelmed by major “wet weather” events. (In related news, the climate crisis will bring more of these events.)
Another Crappy Loophole: Finally, the Trump administration has adopted a radical new interpretation of some facets of the Clean Water Act, creating a water pollution loophole. The Trump administration’s EPA issued guidance that pollution discharges into protected waters via groundwater are categorically excluded from Clean Water Act regulation. In other words, polluters can get away with sullying clean water by indirectly disposing of their waste through groundwater. Earthjustice went to the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2019 on a case related to this very issue.

Trump administration slashes funding for Climate Change centers.

NEPA rollback.
The Trump administration is proposing to break new ground in its efforts to de-emphasize climate change, in this case involving the landmark 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its provisions requiring environmental impact statements. A Trump Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposal would allow review of environmental impact statements without consideration of projected impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and effects on the global climate.
Climate change is drying up the Colorado River, putting millions at risk of 'severe water shortages.'

Mercury pollution. Trump's EPA takes a position that is more pro-pollution than the position of polluters themselves.

Trump tries to roll back Obama Era fuel efficiency standards.


Trump proposes slashing funding for Superfund clean up.
The Associated Press reported in January, the Trump administration has built up the biggest backlog of unfunded toxic Superfund clean-up projects in at least 15 years, nearly triple the number that were stalled for lack of money in the Obama era, agency figures show.
Executive Orders. Trump simply does an end around to get around environmental safeguards when he finds them inconvenient. Hence the decimation of Border wall environmental analysis. And then there are the executive orders.
The Trump administration, as part of their "Energy Dominance" initiative, has consistently sought to streamline the domestic energy production process. These two executive orders follow in that pattern.
The first order directs the EPA to reconsider a part of the Clean Water Act. "Section 401" of the Act requires any oil or gas project that could potentially contaminate waters regulated under the act to receive state-level certifications and approvals. In the past, states have occasionally denied those certifications, preventing pipelines and other infrastructure from being built. If the EPA re-evaluates this section of the act, companies would be able to sidestep the state certification process, streamlining the pathway to construction.
The second order asserts that the president has the authority to “issue, deny, or amend” any permits for pipelines or other infrastructure projects that cross international borders. Previously, that authority lay with the secretary of state. Most notably, this decision would apply to permitting decisions concerning TransCanada Corporation's controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a project that, if completed, could carry some 800,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast each day.
I could go on and on, the problems at Interior, the sell off of public lands to mining and grazing interests, the diversion of water to corporate farming interests that will decimate California fish populations.

Drill 4 million more acres in Alaska, harvest half the pristine 16 million acre Tongass, the largest rainforest in North America.

The problem with these dopey regulations is that they don't seem so dopey at all when you finally realize how necessary they are to protect us from Trump and the corporate criminal class.

And how someday they might just save you or your loved one's lives.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Running up that hill


We are in that nice stage of Southern California winter, if Southern California can be said to have a winter, with a straight face anyway. The camellias are in full bloom in my yard, the blue ceanothus lilacs are starting to color the hilly walls of our native landscape, a bit earlier than usual, I might add. The red tailed mother is starting to sit in her nest and then she disappears for a few days, not really sure what is going on there.

Leslie saw a long tailed weasel pop out of a hole today in the front yard, not sure we have seen one take up residence before. Also known as the big stoat, this critter will wipe out a gopher population pretty quickly and I happen to have one that needs taming. I read once that the subspecies that lives near the Santa Margarita River is pretty rare, usually very blonde in color.

red shouldered hawk

Supposed to get a little rain tomorrow, we are a bit wetter than usual for the season and the rain is welcome, it has been timely this year and we haven't had to water too much.

Leslie bought some niger for the feeder and the finches seem real happy, the Cooper's hawk has been a regular visitor too, shrieking by in the morning looking for a little birdie snack.


I have been on a little bit of a downer, for a variety of reasons. Post anesthesia black and blues, the interminable waiting for results, a show in the desert that didn't really fire so well, one in which I bought a little too much and took in too little, woke up this morning to an overdraft notice from the bank. Pulled some money out of savings, money that was designated for the next catastrophe but will have to deal with that one when it comes...

Yesterday I went to the DMV to get a Real I.D. I brought a 1099 with partial social security numbers and a letter from the I.R.S. with the whole number. Haven't seen my social security card in about thirty years. The girl that checked me in said that what I brought was sufficient, I waited about three hours for the girl at the counter to contradict her and refuse to accept it. Called for her supervisor and then blew up at the inanity and insanity, in living color with f-bombs and more, probably on some permanent civil servant blacklist now.

Doctor told me to take it easy and not to stress, not to lift, but it is hard to chill right now. I took the van in to the dealer today, smelled like it was ready to burn up on the way back from Palm Springs. They couldn't figure it out but I had a recall notice to take care of and they had to reprogram a valve or something so I had another two hours to twiddle my thumbs today and not get anything accomplished.


I think I need a vacation. Haven't had a real one in a serious while. Leslie and I haven't gone anywhere together in ages. Feeling the wanderlust, want to get away. Can't afford it but need to do something. Would love to be in Yellowstone for the early spring, or in Costa Rica shooting birds, or in Hawaii staring into Waimea Canyon or just about anywhere beautiful that doesn't involve lots of people. But first I have an existential crisis to deal with and then I need a ship or two to come in.

I have some really interesting material that has come in recently including a magnificent and large Alson Clark oil painting, a wonderful Emil Kosa Jr. modernist work and a rare Michael Kabotie bracelet. I will get it all photographed and put a link on the blog to my website so that you can all check it out.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

School Days

Ray Gomez on lead, a classic! I still remember seeing Stanley Clarke for the first time, at the old San Diego State Open Air Amphitheater. What a treasure! Great sounds, amazing graphics behind the stage. I miss seventies fusion, seems like we have been digressing a bit, musically.

In the mail

In time

Checking in

I had my cysto yesterday. Had to come in an extra hour early so that the blue light solution could be infused into the bladder.

The nurses had a problem getting enough blood for all the tests, missed and poked, prodded and finally got enough, although you could have given Keith Richards a transfusion with what was spilled on my body and bed. A mess. I felt like a human pincushion. Was accidentally infiltrated once many years ago, almost lost my left arm during an IVP procedure and I am bit touchy about such things, especially pokes and long term venipunctures in the hand.

The anesthesiologist came in, a relatively young, tall, Jewish guy named Cohen. Sounded east coast, dour, little evident sense of humor. He asked if I had anything to eat since midnight and I told him just a tab of acid.

He said, "Really? I'm sorry but I have to make sure." I assured him that I was just kidding. Couldn't find a tab of acid these days if I tried. But then I asked him if I could have some music to fall asleep to.

He asked me what I wanted to listen to and I said Grateful Dead as it always relaxes me when I go under in these kinds of operations and I also think it has a good effect on the doctors and nurses. Hopefully get them grooving.

They put on Sirius Channel 23 and as I started to go under to the sweet strains of Jerry plucking the dulcet tones of The harder they come he asked me if I was sure I hadn't dropped the acid?

The procedure went well, I was out for a couple hours. The doctor took a bunch of what she termed were "little bites" out of the bladder wall and will get them analyzed for the presence of the nasty intruder. Unfortunately I won't get word for another five or six days so I am still in the waiting game, as you are. She wants me to take it easy, no lifting or straining and that is what I am going to do.

I was hungry and we stopped at Spicy City on the way home for takeout. Cumin lamb, tea smoked duck and homemade pickles and bamboo shoots from the cold bar. They were closed but they love my wife and cooked it up for us anyway. Great food which we devoured when we got home.

Will let you know when I know something.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Call Me The Breeze

The road taken/not taken

This will be a very interesting day for me, like few I have experienced in my life. A crux, a coin flip. The last personal equivalent may have happened forty six years ago. I was sixteen, I had dropped out of high school and gone hitchhiking for six months, ending up on a school bus of crazy musicians traipsing and tripping across the northwest from Oregon to Wyoming. Sex, drugs and rock and roll.

I was having maximum fun but knew that I had to make a decision; I would/could go back home and finish school and rejoin my mother and kid brother or I would/could be permanently lost to the wild in my late term, extended summer of love. Things weren't so good at home at the time. The pluses and minuses were about even on either side of the equation and I had no idea what to do. I was clearly torn and the weight and the gravity of the decision was frankly crushing. I remember it vividly to this day.

I was somewhere on the highway near Ashland, Oregon when I pulled out my trusted yellow copy of Wilhelm's translation of the I Ching, grabbed three pennies and threw them six times on the pavement on the edge of the road. I don't remember the hexagram now or even the changing line for that matter but I do remember that the direction was quite clear. I was to go home. It was time to say goodbye to my extended summer of frivolity. Fun time was over.

I stuck my thumb out and the first truck that passed actually stopped for me. Lo and behold, he was traveling to my hometown at the time, Oxnard, heading a mere few blocks away from my final destination. Funny how things work sometimes. How the universe gives you that little extra push and direction when you make the right decision. I knew that I was supposed to return. I took it as a sign from the heavens. Although with all respect to Robert Frost, I have no idea how the other road would have worked out in the long run.

Today I find out if the immunotherapy did the trick and if I am cancer free. Or not. I have a blue light cystoscopy in a few hours down at Scripps Mercy. It is a gamble, I have no ideas which way things will go. If I get snake eyes I lose my bladder, will deal with the remaining kidney issues later. It's a crapshoot. Hoping but I have no idea. Just know that two other doctors and the folks at UCSD said that it was fait accompli that I would be pissing through a port in my belly button about now with my nasty tumors in the lamina wall. I took the last remaining shot I had.

So I have given it my best and we will see what the future holds. I will deal with whatever hand I am ultimately dealt as best as I can. I have absolutely no clue either way. I am at a major crossroads.

Wish me luck. 

Don't call me, email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Not today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Palm Springs Modernism 2020

Karen Barone

I have just returned from my show in Palm Springs. I did alright, sold some things, it certainly was not stellar for me but still decent. Crowd seemed to be much more viscerally and decoratively oriented than in prior years but I suppose that that is the way things are going. There was definitely a lot of cool and quite interesting material at the show.

Leslie came out to join me for Valentines Day and we had a blast. Got a room in Desert Hot Springs and soaked in the pools. Our group ate lots of good food, we discovered some new places, had lots of laughs. Bought some neat things, had a great time with some of our best pals.

Bill Warmboe

I shared a booth and room with Steve, as usual. He got saved by a couple clients with some good sales at the very end.

Steve Stoops

Vincent Vallarino

Randy from Colorado generously gave us opening night tickets to the art fair next door and I brought my camera.

Great people watching, the art was spotty but it did have a few great dealers and I was able to see some wonderful clients, compatriots and friends.

Phil Keiffer
People in Palm Springs dress with a freedom and élan that I never see approximated elsewhere. The fashionistas are so much fun!

I mentioned that I would hate to have the local socks concession because very few people out there ever seem to wear them.

The next night our own show opened and it was equally sartorially splendid. I picked off interesting looking people with my camera as they came into my booth.

Michael Ostrow

Lots of our old friends stopped by, Vickie, Roger Genser, Dennis Boses, Zinner and Marty, Stan and Dan, Maurine and Chuck, Mark Hilbert, Ray Redfern, Jeff Olsen, Jim Snidle, Bob Kaplan, David Rago and Suzanne Perrault, Jim and Janice Swan and Joy Purcell, was really a happening. The city goes all out for Modernism week.

A woman walked into my booth sporting an outrageously large pear diamond. We will call her Mrs. Glaubman.

I timidly asked her if the stone was real and she said that indeed it was.

But then she offered that immense stones like hers often came with a curse.

"Oh," I inquired. "What is that?"

"Mr. Glaubman," she responded.

Always a gas. Hope that you enjoyed my people shots. I didn't have a flash so I had to wing it. Just unpacked and I am planning to enjoy the rest of my day. Hope that you enjoy yours as well.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Alejandro Escovedo

About time

Conservative judge Frank Easterbrook stands up to DOJ and William Barr. Worth a read.
In a jaw-dropping opinion issued by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on January 23, Judge Frank Easterbrook—a longtime speaker for the conservative Federalist Society and someone whom the late Justice Antonin Scalia favored to replace him on the U.S. Supreme Court—rebuked Attorney General William Barr for declaring in a letter that the court’s decision in an immigration case was “incorrect” and thus dispensable. Barr’s letter was used as justification by the Board of Immigration Appeals (the federal agency that applies immigration laws) to ignore the court’s ruling not to deport a man who had applied for a visa to remain in the country.

Swelling itching brain

Brain damaged

Bagging on the Trump administration gets to be a bore after a while. There is so much weird shit that goes on that you sort of have to shut it all off to keep your sanity intact.

Separated at birth, William Barr and Tom Hagen?
Frankly it operates more like a criminal crime syndicate than a government branch these days. Don the Don.

Trump called it early on; he could shoot an innocent person on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight and it would not make a lick of difference to either his sycophants and enablers in Congress or the MAGA faithful.

History shows that he was unfortunately quite correct in his prescience.

But just when I thought I had lost my capacity to be revulsed by this lying worm, something else comes out of his piehole that makes me shudder.

When an Iranian missile hit an American base in Iraq on January 8, Trump declared that no American servicemen were injured. Soon it came to light that, in reality, dozens of servicemen sustained traumatic brain injuries when the nearly one ton payload of explosives hit the base.

Instead of admitting that he made a mistake he doubled down in true Trumpian fashion, he dismissed the injuries sustained as essentially minimal. "I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, that it is not very serious," Trump said.

Trump is wrong. TBI is very serious.
According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, for persons under the age of 45, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability, and the economic impact has been estimated in the United States to be $76.5 billion.
In the military, TBI is an especially big problem. Since 2000, more than 400,000 members of the military have been victims of TBI, according to the Department of Defense. Of the 64 service members diagnosed with TBI from the Iranian missile attack so far, 39 have returned to duty after being treated, likely indicating a milder form of TBI, such as a concussion. However, even a mild TBI can result in long-lasting consequences, which must not be diminished.
Post-concussive syndrome is a common condition of mild TBI and can result in headaches, cognitive impairment and psychiatric and mood changes. It is not uncommon for patients to suffer from fatigue and an overall increase in irritability. For members of the military, these "not very serious" symptoms can slow reaction times and lead to sleep deprivation and an inability to perform assigned tasks—all symptoms that are particularly concerning considering the high-risk environments where they work.
New word from the military that the number of affected troops is now up to 109 service members. President Shit for brains needs to think before he spouts off with this sort of inane garbage. It is an awful message for Commandant bonespurs to be sending to the troops.
Speaking after Trump’s remarks, Michael Kaplen, the chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, said that the condition is a “life-altering” injury.
“It’s physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences affect every aspect of an individual’s life,” he said. “A brain injury is only ‘mild’ if it is someone else’s brain. There is nothing ‘mild’ about a mild brain injury.”

Rotten attitude to have towards the men and women serving our country. They deserve better. We all do.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Calling Lafcadio Hearn

It has been an interesting couple of days. I photographed and catalogued an art collection for a friend. I managed to get my weed eater running and with Tom's help put a dent in the burgeoning weed population at my ranch. I smogged the van. I went to a kosher deli in Orange County and had a corned beef and tongue sandwich and knish and Stan accidentally poured a glass of water over me. I got most of my paintings and objects packed for the Palm Springs Modernism show this weekend. I found a scratch on my new car. I bought a drop in circular polarizing filter for my good lens. I binge watched the first four episodes of Better Call Saul Season 4 on Sunday. I need to dial it back and pace myself considering the fact that it will be at least another year until I get Season 5 on Netflix. Finished the Brautigan, caught up on the New Yorkers. God I wish I had Hannah Goldfield's job... Blog on the electoral college got picked up by Crooks and Liars yesterday, un submitted, lots of hits. Had to chip ice off the van window to drive to work this morning,

And I had a strange dream last night. very fuzzy at this point but I was communicating with the stars, or some heavy astral intelligence beyond the stars in any case. And it kept giving me the same message, Lafcadio Hearn, Lafcadio Hearn, the instructions will be delivered through Lafcadio Hearn. The dream was peppered with strange seven and nine character number sets.

Now I have read Hearn in the past but it has been many years frankly. Lovely ghost stories with a Japanese twist if I remember. If he has something to say to me from beyond the grave, I will surely listen. I don't get too many somnolent directives like this. And he was an expert at communicating with the other side. Will take this one seriously.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Phoenix dactylifera rises

Interesting news for palm and fruit lovers. Israeli researchers have germinated and are growing seven plants from a long extinct judean palm that was prized in antiquity and noted for its luscious and large sweet fruit.

Date palm cultivation in Israel goes back at least 19,000 years before present. Date production in Judea was written about by Pliny the Elder, Herodotus and Josephus among others.

The seeds for the newly growing Phoenix dactylifera were approx. two thousand years old and found at ancient sites including Masada, Qumran and Wadi Makukh.

Scientific paper here. Should be interesting to see what future fruit they bear.