Vermillion flycatcher

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tim Hardin

B & W

Toronto view

Dallas night sky
Bristlecone Pine
Tufa reflections

Terry Reid - Seed Of Memory

Morty knows a lot about music, used to be a music writer in Phoenix. He asked me if I knew Terry Reid's work? I did but very vaguely, never really focussed on him too much. But you talk about a guy with fans. Reportedly had such a great voice he turned down vocal gigs with both Zeppelin and Deep Purple.

Lot of great and talented people and bands flew under the rainbow of notoriety, people like Reid, Fred Neil, John Martyn, Karen Dalton, Judy Henske, Iain Matthews, Moby Grape and Evie Sands to name a few choice examples.

The road to the left

I was supposed to hike yesterday with Beth, we were going to try to take a shot of the Santa Margarita River from the identical hilltop vantage of an early twentieth century photo.

It was cloudy and she was slightly hung over so we tabled the idea and will revisit for a future date.

But I had a hankering to get out and hike so I drove down to the mailboxes and hiked the horse trail towards DeLuz.

It is funny, have lived on or near the river for 38 years but I rarely walk this particular stretch.

Used to ride my horse down there but that was a long while back and the trails weren't exactly managed back then.

Nowadays I walk or hike down either right near my house or towards the northeast. Don't ask me why, creature of habit.

It was nice yesterday. Southern California riparian is Coastal Live oaks and sycamores, has its own hue and charm but is still basically desert scrub and chaparral. Lots of yucca and cactus, sumac, cottonwood, toyon and the like. Some manzanita. Dryer than Northern California, a different and somewhat more modulated shade of green.

I didn't see much fauna yesterday, heard a beaver splash his tail, saw a lizard without one.

Walked through a lot of poison oak. Wiped down with isopropyl alcohol when I got home and left my clothes in a heap. Took a benedryl, hope I head off the itching as I am pretty susceptible,

I did see a bunch of horseback riders enjoying their afternoon. Which reminds me, I followed Leslie home from town the other evening, quite near dark.

I came around a curve and her car was stopped in the road. A truck and trailer was coming up the grade below her. Apparently their horse got away.

It was galloping straight for Leslie, and she jumped out of her car and caught it in a heartbeat. The people were amazed at how calm and cool she was but that is my wife. She shines under pressure.

I know that I sound like a broken record but I count my blessings every day that I live in a place that has not been spoiled or destroyed yet. Am sickened by the Trump administration's new plans to shrink National Monuments and relax clean coal regulations.

I passed some mortero holes. The area is full of them. I wonder what the native inhabitants called themselves? I know further south they called themselves Ipa, the people.

The folks on the San Luis Rey were called Luiseño by the Spanish, the coastal people were Diegueño and so on. Pala, Pauma, Rincon, Los Coyotes, Cahuilla and Cupa peoples to the east.

Ethnographers have identified several indian settlements on the Santa Margarita, they call them the Luisefio.

Near me somewhere was a place they called, in their Shoshonean linguistic dialect, Meha. 

Other native settlements on the Santa Margarita River included Ushmai, Katukto, Awá and Takwi. The large original settlement that now hosts the San Luis Rey Mission was called Khecham. It would be nice to know the exact locations.

The Spaniards were no dummies. They stuck their churches right on top of the original inhabitants' kivas, somehow found a way to appropriate the best real estate. The local inhabitants were eventually evicted by the San Diego County sheriff in 1875 and moved to the Pechanga Reservation.

Somewhere I have a rare signed first edition book by Tom Hudson titled Five paths along a river that really does a good job chronicling the natives' culture, language and habits.

I do remember that they subsisted on an acrid oak acorn paste called waweesh

Add caption
I bought a large Luiseño basket recently for my gallery. Nice lightning iconography.

Mission Indians and the Pauite Shoshone were the only two native groups that used the juncas reed in their basketry and are easily distinguished. Sumac is also used and decorative elements are sometimes made with dahlia and elderberry.

Gavilan Mountain
I live under the eaves of Gavilan Mountain. Native lore says that the local natives would reconnoiter to the top when the area flooded. And it often did.

In fact they told the anglos that their railroad would one day be underwater but were not believed. Three times. The installation of the Vail Dam in 1948 radically restricted the water in the river.

It was fun getting out yesterday, Trail terminates two ways, Rock Mountain and De Luz. I would like to do the whole route one of these days.

Lucky to be here. Beats concrete.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Clown lives matter

Image from The Warriors
First they came for the clowns...

I admit I have been blown away visually by the artistry and creativity I see in the images from yesterday's Insane Clown Posse march in Washington. Also love that it dwarfed the stupid nearby Trumpfest, if not in attendance than at least in media exposure.

The face paint, the signage, the message of inclusion and the rap duo's appeal to the alienated, they all strike a chord with me.

Think Marcel Marceau meets John Candy and throw in a little psycho Heath Ledger and you get a juggalo. Where all are welcome, irrespective of one's color, religion, orientation or body type.

When looking at the fans, I also can't help thinking about one of my favorite cult movies, the 1979 film The Warriors, filmed by the late Hungarian cinematographer Walter Laszlo, specifically the chilling gang of face painted, bat swinging, baseball players the Warriors run into on their way back to Coney Island.

The ICP fans have been designated a criminal gang organization by the federal government on the basis of the flimsiest and most numerically insignificant of incidents.

Just your basic garden variety government harassment. But they have taken people's kids away on the basis of a tattoo or other supposed icp affiliation.

I was a serious fan of the Grateful Dead in my youth. We looked weird, acted weird and were also specifically targeted by the federal government.

The wearing of tie dye and dead shirts was probable cause for search in airports and dead concerts were quite often attended by undercover federal agents trying to bust people for LSD or other psychedelics, which is really quite ironic because there probably never would have been a psychedelic revolution without the CIA, MKUltra or Colonel Al Hubbard. The beast that got away.

I had friends that spent a significant time in jail for their attempts at personal inner exploration.

I also know what it feels like to be different and not to fit in. Maybe that is one of the reasons I feel solidarity with the juggalos.

I hope that the Insane Clown folks win this struggle and keep up the incredible imagery. Probably gained a lot of new converts this week.

Whoop, whoop.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

2018 Anza Borrego Photo Contest

They are having their annual photo contest out at Anza Borrego. My wife saw it in the newspaper. Although I rarely if ever enter anything like this, Leslie asked me to so I did.

Long eared owl - Tamarisk Grove
You can too, you photographers out there. Here is the link.

Whenever you're ready

Although I think that the whole idea of hall of fames is pretty stupid, I still think the Zombies not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is downright criminal. If you are going to have one, find room for what might be the most beautiful voice in rock, Colin Blunstone.

You think ELO, Journey, the Sex Pistols, NWA, Green Day or Donna Summer are really more deserving? They are all in the hall. Ditto Rush, the Beastie Boys and Tupac.

Simply ridiculous.

Friday, September 15, 2017


Laura Nyro

I wasn't familiar with this cut even though I love Laura Nyro. It's a doozy, Duane Allman on guitar, might want to have a listen.

Keeping it straight

If you are amongst the politically confused these days, don't worry, You've got a lot of company. It used to be so easy.

You were either a Republican or a Democrat. Usually because that is what your folks were. Liberal or conservative.

Paul LePage
Nowadays not so easy. That's all changed. Let's take the GOP:

You might be a hawkish republican, a la Lindsay Graham.

Or on the flip, a non interventionist, isolationist Republican, think Rand Paul.

Or a nativist anti immigrant sort, like Steve King. Build a wall, ...calves as big as cantaloupes...

Or a big business needs an adequate migrant labor pool supporter like Tom Donohue at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Jeb Bush. Big business needs bodies.

Or a fiscal conservative firebrand like the Freedom Caucus types, Meadows and Jordan. Drain the swamp. Against everything. Slash spending.

Or an establishment GOPer like McConnell. People who have been around the block and remember how things used to work, don't necessarily want to blow everything up.

Or a social conservative anti abortion anti gay Repub like Louie Gohmert or Roy Moore.

Or a socially liberal republican like...well, we used to have some, give me a minute. I know, Susan Collins. Maybe the lady from Alaska. Not the one who can see Russia from the back yard, the other one.

Or a Trumper. What does he stand for again? The populist types that back the man, not necessarily any specific ideology. Thinks we are living in a reality television show.

Or a Bannonite. Someone who will stand up for White Americans of European stock. A Breitbart Republican. A voice for the powerful, poor uneducated white demographic.

Steve King
Or a dino like Joe Manchin.

Or an Ayn Rand Republican like Paul Ryan.

Or a Tea Party Republican.

Or a pro Russia Republican like Dana Rohrenbacher.

Or a commie hater like a John McCain.

Or a supply side Republican like Sam Brownback. (that went over really well)

Or a law and order guy like Jeff Sessions.

Or Neocons. The William Krystal wing. George Will, the intellectual Buckley descendants.

Or a Wall Street Republican. The market's good, that is all I care about. AKA Main St. Republicans. Cut taxes.

Or a Christian right Republican. A Trent Franks type.

A free market Republican.

A protectionist Repub.

A Federalist, strong central government Republican.

A log cabin Republican like Peter Thiel.

Or Fossil Fuel republicans like Inhofe, the climate change deniers. Gut the EPA.

Or a Koch Brothers Republican like Judd Gregg. Heartland Institute.

Sheriff Joe
Or a straight libertarian, like a Justin Amash or Paul again. Usually very bullish on weed, some concern for civil liberties.

There used to be a group in favor of bipartisanship, but they are now extinct. People like Rudman and the Concord Coalition. Now it is strictly let's do this alone.

Damn, that is a lot of flavors. The point of all this is that all of the aforementioned groups have just about one thing in common.

They hated Obama. And Obamacare.

But after that, nothing. As much alike as a pig and a parakeet. Antithetical positions, down the board. So it is no wonder that this party, which currently controls every branch of government down to the rank of dogcatcher, has been as worthless as a tit on a boar. Has accomplished exactly nothing short of Neil Gorsuch in nine months. With no prospects in sight.

You really can't blame the Donald for his most recent infidelity with Chuck and Nancy. It's not like his current pals are capable of agreeing on anything, not to mention enacting actual legislation. You think the orange one wants to go another three years in a continuous circle jerk, accomplishing exactly nothing?

Now its not like the Dems don't have their own factions, I have to be fair. But the split seems simpler.

The Bernie people want lots of free stuff, including free health care but show little concern for who is footing the bill. The socialist brigade. And then the rest of them, the standard issue garden variety libs, they haven't changed all that much since FDR. The bi coastal, urban majority that wins the popular vote but gets reamed by the heartland sticks most elections thanks to the electoral college, the closest most of these hayseeds will ever get to college.

Louie Gohmert
So there you have it. I was at Jack and Jill Nursery School in La Mesa when I made my fateful political choice. Maybe four years old. I remember it well, I had just eaten half of an overripe banana and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread when my life's political die was cast.

This was back in Nixon versus Kennedy days (for those of you that don't know, Kennedy won). We lined up in two lines, donkey or elephant. I went with the jackass. The kids in that line seemed so much more chill.

If you still call yourself a Republican, it would be real helpful if you told us what kind. But please don't b.s. me with any of that socially liberal, fiscally conservative stuff. That strain long ago ceased to exist.


Another day at the office

My paper restorer moved to Hemet and I had to bring her a couple things yesterday. Might as well see what was happening at my favorite place to get lost, the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. Just happened to have a couple cameras with long lenses in the van.

It was by no means an epic day. But it was a nice day. More kestrels around then I have ever seen in my life, maybe close to fifty. No mosquitos, plenty of dragonflies.

They are starting to fill the ponds again. Should be great in another month or two.

I would pretty much rather spend a bad day there than a good day anywhere else.

Didn't see another soul for over two hours and had 19,000 acres of unspoiled beauty to myself.

Me and the coots and the ibis and the egrets and the kestrels and the red winged blackbirds.

We were all doing just fine.

There is a sign there that cautions you to watch out for mountain lions.

I thought about it, just hope that I could click the shot before I got et and that somebody would find the camera and figure it all out. Congratulate me posthumously on my wonderful capture.

Hard to have a bad day when it is beautiful out and you get to share it with so many flying friends.

Caught some hawks in my valley on the way home and snapped this red tailed canyon resident with the nikkor 400mm 2.8 early this morning on my way to coffee.



"I see the irony of making an apology in a ball gown."
Louise Linton

News came out the other day that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requested a government plane to fly the secretary and his new bride Louis Linton on their European honeymoon. Request denied.

The Air Force jet was scheduled to stop in France, Italy and Scotland. Reports are that it costs $25k an hour to fly this plane. Two week trip. You do the math.

Now this news comes on the heels of the disclosure that the couple did use a government plane, at government expense, to fly to Fort Knox to watch the eclipse and pal around with Mitch McConnell.

A third of the nation's gold is stored there and Mnuchin thought it was high time someone made sure it was still there. Somebody had to do it.

“We have approximately $200 billion of gold at Fort Knox,” said Mnuchin. “The last time anybody went in to see the gold, other than the Fort Knox people, was in 1974 when there was a congressional visit. And the last time it was counted was actually in 1953.”

Excuse me but I find it more than a little delicious if not outright Scrooge McDuckian that this power couple wants to go play in big piles of gold at Fort Knox during the solar event. Now Mnuchin didn't actually count all the bars when he was there but he says not to worry.

“I assume the gold is still there."

Saul Loeb
Mnuchin is the guy that is so rich that he "forgot" to list over a hundred million dollars in assets on his financial disclosure form.

How he got so rich is a story for a different day but let us just say that the so called "Foreclosure King" was accused of some very questionable and shady practices.

His new Scottish bride is no stranger to luxury herself, spending weekends during her childhood at the family's idyllic Melville Castle.

Scrooge McNuchin
Linton took a lot of heat for her now famous and deleted instagram post in which she touted all the mad designer wear she was wearing, the 10k Hermes Birkin bag, the Tom Ford, the Roland Mouret and Valentino.

Seems the poor and jealous folk in the hinterlands couldn't quite relate. Remember, she called the infamous instagram commenter who commented on her post "adorably out of touch."

She has since apologized for her tone. Count me as a minority but I actually thought that it was one of the most honest and sincere apologies I have ever read from a dignitary or celebrity.

Wish more people would take responsibility for their tone and actions this completely.

"I don't have any excuses, nor do I feel any self-pity for the backlash I experience," Linton said. "I sincerely take ownership of my mistake. It's clear that I was the one who was truly out of touch and my response was reactionary and condescending."

There is something cartoonish about all this sybaritic excess. It smacks of 18th century France. Gluttonous patricians parading around with all of their baubles and finery while the serfs seethe and sharpen their pitchforks. Makes you wonder what happens next.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Once bitten, twice shy

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band.

I was dead tired and already home when Leslie informed me that we had a concert later that evening, emphasis on the we. Oh shit, Ian Hunter, I totally forgot. I drove back into town and we took off for San Juan Capistrano. At least the Coach House isn't too far.

And Ian Hunter, the lead glam man from the famous Mott the Hoople, the Britisher turned Clevelandite, never plays in these parts. In fact there were only three shows on the whole U.S. tour, one in Los Angeles and one at the Fillmore in San Francisco tonight, then he plays in Europe.

Leslie Sommers photo

The place was packed, older mostly of course, Ian Hunter fans in t-shirts brought their kids in Ian Hunter t-shirts, the band was incredibly tight and powerful and a good time was had by all. I sipped Jamisons for my sore throat and had a really nice time after all.

Leslie Sommers photo

Towards the end of the set his pal Johnny Depp joined him onstage for a few songs. Couldn't really hear him much, not sure if he can play any better than I can but he definitely looked cool up there and that is ninety percent of the deal, right? Had a beautiful guitar anyway.

Great All the Young Dudes encore. If you get a chance to see the band, do so, before we all get too old.