*

*
Lion and sparrow

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rock Island Line

Life is for the birds

My neighbor Stephanie yelled out to me when I got home the other afternoon that the resident Great Blue Heron was flying over the house.

I had already seen our flying friend, this modern day avian pterodactyl, but still appreciated the heads up. Felt fortunate that I had been in on the loop. He sailed over the chimney and I lamented not having my Nikon at hand. Cell phone cameras suck.

This is a picture of a grey heron that we took when we were up in Algonquin.

Yesterday, Stephanie called me on my cell phone to let me know that she saw the magnificent osprey I saw some time back. It flew over her suburban with a fish in its mouth.

So I have entered the stick the camera in my car at all times mode. Have the 300mm lens at the ready.

My sensor is dirty again and ruins every shot and I have to do this photoshop dance. I want to buy a Nikon camera body with a self cleaning sensor but my Canon pal Stan says they don't work. And I am broke and the last thing I can justify is a new camera. But I have paid a fortune in cleaning and its a real pain in the ass and wallet. Don't need anything fancy, probably a D 90 because I love having a super light camera and I can do so much in post production. Kerry brought his super fancy and expensive Canon 5D over last month and the resolution is truly incredible but I think you sacrifice something in terms of utility with all of the extra weight. I take a ton of shots and like to set up and shoot fast.

We are waiting to see if the red tail hawks will nest in last year's nest, where we all watched the three juveniles grow up. Such a great vantage for photography. Red Tails were the best part of the year for me and all the neighbors gave each other the heads up when anything was going on. Even the neighbors that no one can stand were included like one big happy valley.

I have high hopes for this osprey. An uncommonly gorgeous specimen. Write if you find birds.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Delmore Brothers - Blue Railroad Train


Doc Watson does a beautiful version of this song but I love this one. Soulful guitar.

Ralph Stanley


Great Iron Horse footage.

Train I ride...



I have had a run of cool train paintings come into the gallery. They are all of good size and well executed. The first two are by a rather obscure artist from Encino who was painting as early as the forties named Thomas G. Harcus. The last by movie illustrator Ken Sawyer. If you know any devotees of the locomotive that might want a nice inexpensive painting please let me know.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Loan Me A Dime


Allman Brothers Band with Boz Scaggs




Derek Trucks has such an amazing plucking technique. Lyrical, emotive and mature. He has the chance to be 
one of the best ever.

Kohno

I was supposed to put my Kohno Concert guitar up on ebay today. It is a very fine and responsive classical guitar made by the Japanese master Masaru Kohno in 1982. Made of indian rosewood and european spruce, these guitars were played by Bream and Parkening and are among the finest in the world.  Supplanted at some point with a few of the cognoscenti by Thomas Humphries models. But still treasured by the classicists. I don't know why I hate to give it up, I hardly ever play it. Like the Ferrari in the garage that never gets driven. But somehow just nice and reassuring to have it in the quiver.

I bought it from a guy in Portland. It was his late father's guitar and it was babied. Complete with a brown diaper and top of the line case. Gotohs. I started grinding on potential clients yesterday and managed to manufacture enough business to keep the wolves temporarily at bay. So I can maybe wait and not sell it this week. This guitar I hardly ever play. First in line in my thinning herd. We all leave this spinning orb naked of our possessions, it's just a matter of timing.

***

A friend came in today who had to give a house back to the bank. Wash his hands. He had someone willing to step in and pay the full price owed on the mortgage but the bank said no, they could get more money under foreclosure. Sort of like the story of the guy who bulldozed his house last week after the bank refused to take the money owed (170k) in the foreclosure.

John Corzine, ex Goldman Sachs Prez and Democratic Governor from New Jersey was interviewed yesterday and defended the bank and Blankfein as just being smart and surmised that people were merely acting from envy. I just hope that Americans have longer memories than these financial institutions that the American taxpayer bailed out not so long ago. Because we have just received the back of their hand. And they appear to have sowed the same line of bullshit in Greece and Europe.

***

I have been thinking a bit about sports the last few days. La Dainian Tomlinson, San Diego Charger icon was relieved of his duties and unceremonially shown the door.  After my latest diatribe on the Clipper owner, I have to wonder if some organizations merely fall victim to rancid ownership. The Spanos family happen to be the second biggest contributor to the Republican party, after the Jet's Woody Johnston, not that that means anything, mind you.

The owner said that he rarely made friends with players but that he had actually, horrors, socialized with Tomlinson, quite a stretch on his part. San Diego has a history of treating its stars like crap and sending them down the road. Usually to New England where they go on to great extended careers like Junior Seau or Rodney Harrison.  Or Drew Brees or Michael Turner. Its a long list and in San Diego loyalty seems to be a one way street.

San Diego Chargers got a zillion dollars from the city not too long ago for stadium renovation and then had the chutzpah to immediately demand a new one so that they could get a taste of that luxury box money. On the public dime. Make the billionaires richer.

I am over fifty and don't watch television. So I get my sports second hand in the newspaper largely. But really have to lull myself into pretending that I give a shit. There are certainly those middle aged oddities in every community that are consumed by sports but I would rather participate frankly. Played basketball, baseball and soccer in high school and then a lengthy stint with martial arts. This notion of fandom and supporting your local team is so ludicrous. Leave already. Los Angeles has done great without a team and we can too. Take Fabiani with you when you split. But it's like you are being unpatriotic if you don't rah rah for the local team that are picking your city's pocket. Saw this interesting study about the foolishness of public financing of stadiums and how they never work out for the community. Actually found scads of studies that all poo poo the idea of subsidizing these owners. But they get the local sports radio stations involved and make like it's your civic duty to keep your team. Who really just want your money and most of the adjoining real estate for their stadium side condo projects.

***

Speaking of sports, the Padres might just as well just become a minor league affiliate for the Red Sox. Steinberg, Lucchino, Hoyer, Werner, McLeod, the incestuous relationship between the two clubs is nauseating. Next we giftwrap Adrian Gonzales and send him back to our plantation masters in Massachusetts. Jeff Moorad looks like just another crook who wants to do it on the cheap.

***

Got this interesting feedjit search today. Isn't there a pluot out there called a flying saucer? Is Pluot in fact a planet?


Sampaloc, Rizal arrived from search.yahoo.com on "Blue Heron Blast: May 2009" by searching for what are the basis of the scientist to declare pluot is not a planet?.  


***


Kudos to the Vatican for trying to oust the in house bioethicist who decided to pardon the doctor in the abortion case. You know the one starring the nine year old south american girl who had been raped by her stepfather and was going to give birth to twins, an event that would apparently endanger her young life.  The higher ups wanted to excommunicate the doctor and pardon the perpetrator in a real life show of family values.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

elvis-mystery train/tigerman


You can have your Sinatra, your Marvin Gaye, your Al Green, great singers all. For my money Elvis had the greatest voice of them all. He looks very toasted for this performance but yet still in control. His pure intense sexual energy was only rivaled by one singer and that was Otis Redding imho. Plus he had a great sense of time and consummate musical ability. The human voice, the greatest instrument of them all.

The Tigerman segment has an interesting psychedelic strobe sequence. Don't see a lot of strobe today, do you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The darker side of women


A woman was in town on a shopping trip. She began her day by finding the most perfect shoes in the first shop and a beautiful dress on sale in the second. In the third, everything had just been reduced by 50 percent when her mobile phone rang. 

It was a female doctor notifying her that her husband had just been in a terrible car accident and was in critical condition in the ICU. The woman told the doctor to inform her husband where she was and that she'd be there as soon as possible. 

As she hung up she realized she was leaving what was shaping up to be her best day ever in the boutiques.   She decided to get in a couple more shops before heading to the hospital.  She ended up shopping the rest of the morning, finishing her trip with a cup of coffee and a beautiful chocolate cake slice, compliments of the last shop.  She was jubilant. 

Then she remembered her husband.  Feeling guilty, she dashed to the hospital. She saw the woman doctor in the corridor and asked about her husband's condition. The doctor glared at her and shouted, "You went ahead and finished your shopping trip, didn't you!?  I hope you're proud of yourself!  While you were out for the past four hours enjoying yourself in town, your husband has been languishing in the Intensive Care Unit! It's just as well you went ahead and finished, because it will more than likely be the last shopping trip you ever take!  For the rest of his life he will require round-the-clock care. And he will now be your career!" 

The woman, overcome with guilt, broke down and sobbed. 

The woman doctor chuckled and said, "I'm just messing with you. He's dead. Show me what you bought."

American wealth distribution by religion.


Column Five media published this nifty little transparency today that breaks down wealth in this country. Click on the graph and it will magically expand. Well, it looks like they were right the whole time, the jews do control everything. Do we win a prize or anything? Can't get complacent, notice the Hindus breathing right down our skullcaps. They're already ahead in the important 75 to 99k demographic.

Imagine my shame in being one of the poorest yids in america?  You think you could handle this kind of pressure?  I am not sure who the orthodox are, but they seem to be outpacing the christians as are the buddhists. And where in the hell are the atheists? How about throw me a few sheckels and let me find my way into the plush, deep green strata.

St. James Infirmary

That funny reefer man.

Jesse Fuller

The original San Francisco one man band. Wrote the Monkey and the Engineer, great tune covered later by the dead.




Monday, February 22, 2010

Backtracking

I engaged in a rare moment of self censorship and removed my last blog. I went off on the man that stole my family fortune and the pain it has caused my family. We won the lawsuit but lost the war, impossible to prevail in court when you are financially outgunned.

My ex lawyer brother had a slight problem with a few sentences that may have been misconstrued as a solicitation of murder. Jim thought I sounded out of character and more bitter than usual. So it's gone. Poof. I never said anything, unless it's in somebody's cache memory.

***

Jim was railing about the proposed warning labels on hot dogs. I agree, jeez, can't people take a little responsibility without interference from the nanny state? I resent the warnings on my garbage bags. If you are so stupid as to commit gross bodily harm with a garbage bag, we shouldn't be breathing the same oxygen.

***

Obama, who promised to respect state laws on marijuana, went and hired a rabid anti pot warrior at the DEA, Michele Leonhart, who appears to disregard his and Eric Holder's dictates. Good article today by David Sirota in the Denver Post on the President's seeming inability to control his troops.

***

What was your first thought when you heard that Cheney was in the hospital again?

***

I guess the company that was on 60 minutes with the bloom box energy sources that one day may take us off the grid is the one my brother John, the fuel cell specialist works for. You know, the brother who won't speak to me.

***

Amazing that the University of Alabama shooter could traipse through Harvard and engage in so many violent and bizarre episodes and still keep her job all these years.  In California she would have probably received tenure.

***

Watched an interesting film tonight where Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins states that we go to a mental ward and meet an individual who has faith that he is Napoleon we say he is looney but if 100 million people have faith in an equally irrational god we say that they are sane. Even though there is no more evidence than that the first guy was Napoleon.

***

Chimpanzees will do favors for each other, knowing that they will be returned in the future. This is called reciprocal altruism.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Extreme Skydiving

video

Thanks to Shawn for sending this one across the pond. It was titled extreme redneck skydiving but I never could envision german rednecks. Brownshirts, yes.

Me and my uncle.

David Petraeus - Meet the Press 2/21/10

"I have always been on the record, in fact, since 2003, with the concept of living our values. And I think that whenever we've perhaps taken expedient measures, they've turned around and bitten us in the backside.


We decided early on, in the 101st airborne division, we just said, we decided to obey the Geneva Conventions..."


"In the cases where that is not true [where torture takes place or international human rights groups aren't granted access to detention sites] we end up paying a price for it, ultimately." 


"Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non biodegradable. They don't go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick.... Beyond that, frankly, we have found that the use of interrogation methods in the army field manual that was given the force of law by Congress, that that works."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In the Court of the Crimson King

333

We were invited out to a nice dinner last night by Retha and Doug. They wanted to try 333 Pacific, the relatively new Cohn family restaurant at the Wyndam in Oceanside. The Cohns' own many fine restaurants in San Diego including the Prado and Corvette Diner.

I can honestly say that the half evilly titled 333 had flown beneath my radar screen in the almost two years that it has been open. And readily admit that it was the best meal I have ever had at any of their locations.

We met at our hosts' house and R cracked a bottle of excellent Moet Imperial champagne to lubricate the passageways for our upcoming feast. What a delicious champagne, full bodied, perfect round fruit, if it was an omen for our night, it was clear sailing!

Oceanside is a town that has enjoyed a real renaissance. When I moved back to North County in 1975, Oceanside was a dark foreboding place. The words "The Strand" brought terror to many a mother's ears as Oceanside back then was a dilapidated assortment of seedy strip clubs, junkies, hookers and marines living at the poverty line. That has all changed. Except maybe the last part. Tough to live in SoCal on serviceman's pay.

333 is located right across from the Oceanside Pier. When we entered the busy restaurant at the bar, I was immediately struck by how young, vibrant and good looking the crowd was. I was almost underdressed but my leather jacket covered up for a multitude of sartorial shortcomings. We sat down at the aqua lit table near the bar and considered their lengthy list of vodkas and martinis, settling on almost too sweet meyer lemon drops.

We were quickly seated at our table on the heated patio. A server, who was drop dead gorgeous, brought us our menus. We started with pot stickers and calamari with a sweet chili sauce. D. brought along a 2003 Papapietro Pinot Noir, which they graciously uncorked for us.

The menu was quite interesting and not pretentious in the least - southern fried game hen with a white cheddar biscuit and greens, kobe beef meatloaf, this place was going to be fun. I settled on a special, a bone in rib eye with a topping of lobster claws that was at least twice the expected weigh in. Cooked absolutely perfectly, and as you know, I am a critical SOB. Leslie and I both ordered the huge and reasonably priced house salad which was a bit underdressed for my liking. We got broccollini and asparagus for the table. Leslie had seared diver scallops with a white bean garlic sausage cassoulet accompanied with chunks of bread pudding.  R had a trio of differently prepared filets, sporting peppercorn demi, bleu cheese and Oscar and D went with the crab legs.

Everyone's meal was delicious and there were absolutely no complaints, except maybe one itty bitty one from me, when I questioned my dinner companions about the bread roll, which I found squishy and uninspiring with a too sweet maple butter. They basically told me to shut up and that it was fine but I prefer crusty bread nine times out of ten. This almost felt microwaved and might have been. And the martini glasses, while hip and asymmetric, were prone to tipping and I had a brief thought about some old architectural credo regarding form following function.


Dessert was a strawberry cobbler with ice cream which we shared and a mousse cake, both superb. If you are looking for a nice, fancy, moderately expensive meal, surrounded by beautiful people in north county, by all means try 333. Hipper than anything else around with exceptional food. And a big thank you to our companions for picking up the check!


Click on the following link to check out the menus.

333 Pacific
333 N. Pacific St.
Oceanside, CA 92054
p: 760-433-3333
Lounge Daily at 4pm
Dinner Nightly at 5pm

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ruthann Friedman - Piper's Call

Whole Foods Organic Ripoff?




Robert DeGoff sent this over. Very interesting. So not only is the 
food twice as expensive at Whole Foods, it's possibly not really 
organic. With a fake organic label. Or maybe filled with melamine. The Chinese have such a great record in these matters.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blast RX

I had a cholesterol check a few weeks back and the cardiologist wasn't thrilled. High was low and low was high and never the twain shall meet. Worse than the last checkup. I react poorly to statins. He suggested fish oil and red yeast rice. Anyone have  a good, consistent, reliable source of the latter?  I have been doing some research and it appears that it is no longer legal to sell it in this country. According to WebMD:  


Small scale studies using pharmaceutical-grade red rice yeast have continued to demonstrate efficacy and safety. However, in the United States it is no longer legal to sell supplements of red yeast rice that contain more than trace amounts of cholesterol lowering substances. For example, the active ingredients of red rice yeast have been removed from Cholestin marketed in the United States. (Hypocol, another product containing red yeast rice is no longer being sold in the United States.)


The reasons the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that it is illegal to sell red yeast rice that contains more than trace amounts of the cholesterol-lowering substances and to promote red yeast rice for lowering cholesterol levels.
  • First, statin drugs are associated with muscle and kidney injury when used alone or combined with other medications. There is concern that patients who already take statin drugs with or without these other medications may increase their risk of muscle or kidney injury.
  • Second, the FDA considers the products containing red yeast rice with high levels of cholesterol lowering substances to be new, unapproved drugs for which marketing violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. 
  • Anyone know the real skinny?  It appears that a natural cure might cut into Big Pharma's pocketbook. Read this.

Save Mother Earth

According to an article in today's North County Times, Mother Earth Alternative Healing Cooperative is no more.

Fallbrook's sole medical marijuana cooperative was apparently the victim of county code enforcement, who accused them of operating without a permit. And, shudder, building an interior wall without a permit.

They were gunning for them. I guess it was just a matter of time. God forbid that one store in this town was doing any business!

The cooperative, of which I am a member, had always been open about its operating intentions with the county of San Diego. But code enforcement says that pot dispensaries are not legally permittable because their use is not mentioned in county codes as currently written. Even though the permit was applied for before any moratoriums were written.

Mother Earth was a member in good standing of the local Fallbrook Camber of Commerce. They had a float in the Christmas Parade. The local sheriff admits that they had no link to any rise in crimes. But he is glad to see them gone.


San Diego sheriff's Lt. Phil Brust, who runs the Fallbrook station, said there had been no increase in crime related to the shop since it opened, and he said Riedel had come into the station to share his plans and invite deputies to tour the place.
Still, Brust said, the shop "raised his eyebrows" and he was glad to see it shut down.
"I am leery of these establishments, even if their motives are good," Brust said. "I think people (some medical marijuana users) are getting carried away and it has become a free-for-all."


What the good sheriff and the county continue to fail to grasp is that medical marijuana is the law in California and has been since the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996. It is a matter between a patient and a doctor and believe it or not, the law is scrupulously adhered to by the clinics I have visited. The County of San Diego has lost on this issue at the United States Supreme Court not once but twice. Oh ya, why was I there anyway? I lost a kidney and ureter and a piece of bladder to cancer in May of last year. Marijuana kept me off of narcotics and helped me to recover.

The Federal government has stated that they will respect state laws in respect to medical marijuana, which currently exist in 14 states. Yet the will and plurality of the people apparently means nothing to our tin horn Board of Supervisors and our vengeful District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis.

Of what purpose are propositions if they can so easily be thwarted by elected officials who choose to so selectively follow their edicts?  Guess sick people can't get their medicine if we refuse to permit any dispensaries.  The county is even taking the position that any sale of marijuana is illegal even though the two pot propositions clearly state that reasonable fees can be charged to recover costs.

I for one, hope that someone with deep pockets will file a massive lawsuit to hold the county's feet to the fire until they adopt a reasonable policy and start permitting medical marijuana dispensaries. Or better yet start taking names and throw the scallywags out of office.

End of the rope

The guy who flew the plane into the building in Austin today prefaced his action by writing a pretty sober and cogent letter of explanation and printing it online. Read it here. He had all he could take and took it out on the building that housed the Federal Tax Agency. He also intentionally set his house on fire. I can understand his anger but you don't vent and hurt the innocent people in the building who had nothing to do with his alleged persecution. It's kind of like the movies Falling Down or Network. He was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. End of story.

More mail

Robert DeGoff sent these along.


Being Jewish...
Q:  What is a Jewish ménage-a-trois

A:  Two headaches and an erection.

Q:  Why did Adam and Eve have a perfect marriage?

A:  He didn't have to hear about all the men she could have married, and she didn't  have to hear about the way his mother cooked

Q:  What business is a yenta in?

A:   Yours.

Q:  How do Jewish wives get their children ready for supper?

A:  They put them in the car.

Q:  What is the technical term for a divorced Jewish woman?
A:    Plaintiff


Q:  What does a  Jewish woman do to keep her hands soft and her nails long?

A:  Nothing at all 

Q:  Define "genius"

A:  An average student with a Jewish mother

Q:  If Tarzan and Jane were Jewish, what would Cheetah be?

A:  A fur coat

Q:  What do you call the nipple on a Jewish wife's breast?

A:  The tip of the iceberg

Q:   What mechanical device causes the most arousal in a  Jewish woman?

A:   A Mercedes 550 SL convertible

Jewish proverb: "A Jewish wife will forgive and forget, but she'll never forget what she forgave."

One of life's mysteries - how a 2 Ib. Box of chocolates can make a Jewish woman gain 5 lbs.

Another of life's mysteries is when a Jewish woman hangs something in her wardrobe for a while and it shrinks two sizes!

The trouble with some Jewish women is that they get all excited about nothing; then they marry him.

A Bar Mitzvah is defined as the day when a Jewish boy comes to realize that he is more likely to own a professional sports team than he is to play for one.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dale Hawkins/Roy Buchanan-My Babe-1957

Mr. Hawkins has recently departed this mortal coil.

Viral Mail Call

Chrome Dog © 2010 Robert Sommers

Somebody sent this today and it happens to be really good. Everyone in the western world will probably have it by tuesday and then it will be trite and oh so passe but I reluctantly post it anyway - whoever wrote it - thanks anonymous one.







1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

 2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

 3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

 4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

 5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

 6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

 7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

 8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the
  Person died.

 9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

 10. Bad decisions make good stories.

 11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

 12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

 13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper
 that I swear I did not make any changes to.

 14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

 15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times
 and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

 16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

 17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

 18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

 19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

 20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option

 21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

 22. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

 23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

 24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

 25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

 26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

 27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

 28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

 29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

 30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate
 cyclists.

 31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

 32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'll bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed,
 first time, every time!




Flying Burrito Brothers - Sin City

There and back again - notes from the northern slog



The northern campaign was a satisfactory affair. In the new recessionary lexicon that means that if a couple of things go right, I will be able to cover my bills this month.  By yesterday's standards it might have sent me scurrying for the sharp objects and anti-depressants but in today's economic reality, it was not too bad.

And while it may have not had a big payoff, I did get to meet some very memorable people. That is probably the best part of my job. I like to engage people. If I didn't I would probably be content to merely play the auction game or throw things up on Ebay.  And a large antique show like Hillsborough is a perfect alembic to mix with interesting folks, dealers and customers alike. Even met a bookie.

I arrived at the show having crashed at Cam and Birgit's pad in Salinas the night before where they concocted some of their cutting edge culinary fare. They have been hunting wild mushrooms lately and made an excellent soup. Along with that we had vietnamese sandwiches on homemade bread and vegetables from their garden.

I scooted around the show looking for deals, nursing a bad back and a cold that was getting worse by the minute. My thoughts changed from victory to merely surviving the weekend. I managed to load all my crap in and get my lights put up before I hit the wall of physical exhaustion. I tried to find my old chiropractor from Redwood City, James Diaz, but he was evidently long gone. I decided to check into the hotel early and take a nap. I looked all over and couldn't find the Hilton I had booked on Priceline. The valet at the Westin pointed me to it. Lo and behold, it was the same Sheraton I normally stay in that had undergone a name change and a marginal facelift. Took my nap and then went to the bar and had a cup of soup while I listened to a lobbyist banter with a union steward. Loudly and with a generous helping of self importance. Hotel bars are really weird lonely places and the people that congregate there can sometimes lean to the bizarre.

I won't bore you to death with a blow by blow. I bought a nice painting by an artist best known for having his works in mortuaries and old folks' homes. Found a nice set of modern sterling flatware. Sold a painting or two. The pricier one was interesting. The woman said that she really shouldn't buy the canvas because her niece was getting foreclosed on and needed her help.  Then she pulled out her checkbook and said what the hell, 4200 bucks wasn't going to save the kid anyway. I grimaced but took the money.


The consumer base at the shows is showing its age as are we dealers.
Very few clients seemingly under thirty. Of course, the Blue Heron has a theory, which I have probably previously offered up. Robert's dictum says that we reject the art of our parents and embrace the art of our grandparents. The great warm ambience of the twenties and thirties has now been rejected for the plastic and cheap mass market humdrum of the sixties and seventies. The warmth of mother's breast has been overtaken by the reassuring synthetic smell of the plastic bottle  and attendant biphenyl pacifier.

A thirtysomething cohort showed me pictures of his new house the other day. He pointed with pride to the Howard Johnson's style orange front door, with its horrid mass market stamped lion hardware, and the hideous but outre authentic brass pulls in the kitchen which match the pulls I use to have in the double wide I unfortunately used to inhabit with wifey number one.  The indians had a saying that where a man first places his feet (moccasins?) will be his place forever and the reality is that whatever epoch you stepped onto this globe for this great adventure we call life gives you that same feeling of reassurance. Kind of like Stockholm Syndrome I guess, yeah - its a jail cell, but it's my jail cell godamnit and I feel comfortable here. So there is a sea change in taste. Wood is out, big paper lanterns and white shag and Johnny Walker coke trays and badly constructed veneered furniture are in.

I didn't really know what to tell my friend, since there really is no right answer but suggested he pay attention to good construction and materials. Who the hell knows what will stand the test of time? My parents' generation liked victorian and eastlake and that style set is largely dead in the water as well. Things come back around cyclically eventually with a slightly different twist. But one thing no house should be without is a large stuffed wild boar, that goes without saying.

I am a critical person but I appreciate a lot of elements of modernism, Nakashima, Maloof, Esherick, Natzler. I have tried to hitch my horse to the wagon before, if only temporarily. Unfortunately, it tends to be a closed shop, a gay shop for that matter, and whenever a guy of my persuasion got close to the goal or finish line, the line was uprooted and moved to a different location. It tends to be flavor of the month and can get a little tedious, not to mention snipey. Boy, do I sound bitter.

So many of us honestly feel like anachronisms with a definite due date. Young people do not care about art and do not seem terribly intrigued with the past. Beyond maybe early generation video games. Not that they appear to be engaged in the present or future either. I blame television for one thing. Thank god I killed mine. It just leaves you lolling around in so much static. Now who wouldn't want a nice painting of a monkey choking a chicken?

I did, as I said, meet some really neat people. The first guy that pops into my head is the security guard, Bosco. Bosco is a handsome man from Africa. I asked him if he was from Uganda and he stared at me suspiciously, being only the second person ever to deduce his accent. I had dinner with a prominent Ugandan coffee exporter last year and it's not so hard. But he was amazed.
Bosco is a law student who kind of did not want to be photographed in the lowly uniform of a security guard. Incredibly bright and well spoken, with a vocabulary that probably surpasses my own. He has his own radio station and dreams of going back and helping improve his country, probably by running for political office. I would not bet against him. A brilliant guy but young. Married to a Yale student. We were talking about Africa and I mentioned South Africa's Zuma getting caught with a love child from a mistress who was not one of his many legal wives but Bosco shook his finger at me and said it was appropriate behavior for an african male. Viva la difference.

Met a really neat artist as well who was 90 years old. Mrs. E was a lady from Philly married to a prominent Pennsylvania artist. She was the child model for Giuseppe Donato's epic winged justice at the
Philadelphia Court House. She said that she bared her 14 year old bare bosom. She also was a young leftist, not an unusual thing in her day. She described being a teenager at a Trotskyite meeting when the Stalinists showed up and somebody broke a bottle and things got rough. She made an impassioned plea for people to stop fighting each other and go after the fascists and she was asked never to return. It was the heady time of Spain and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Fascinating woman, sharp as a tack, still plays duplicate. Wonderful, really.

A Polish guy who I had mistakenly engaged a few years ago that wanted to give me a lecture on why the jews in Poland who got whacked had it coming because a) they kept to themselves, b) were communists, in league with the Russians, c)inhospitable guests, came by and talked to me about Babel and wants to send me some material from a Polish perspective. It was a little tedious. My friend Byron once told me that I shouldn't go around fighting my grandfather's battles.

I was in a mild kerfuffle with an Iranian couple. I was sussing them out regarding the recent hangings of dissidents and the crackdown on the opposition in Persi and they turned out to be loyal Achmedinijad supporters who blamed everything on Israel. I tried to imagine the woman surrendering her american freedom and donning a bhurka. When I brought up Hama, Black September and the kurdish genocide, they were pretty silent. Of course they didn't hate jews only zionists, people have always lived so well together. The real jews, not the pretenders from europe. I decided to save my breath.

Hardly went out to eat. Best thing I had was Chicken pot pie soup from the concession at the show, believe it or not. Went into the city once and got hammered with Dave and Amy. Whiteknuckled like Mr. Magoo on the way back. Ate breakfast every day at the wonderful Christie's in Burlingame, a place run by a trio of Palestinian sisters. Fantastic small town cafe.

Went out to Sushi with a caddie from Pebble Beach who said that Vijay Singh was a prick. Treats his caddies like crap. When he hits a drive there, he says the caddies will mutter Oscar Bravo left under their breath, or out of bounds left as in the Pacific Ocean. Heard some good stories about some of the broads that follow the tour.

Not much else - watched the stupid olympic opener. A flabby three hours of bad native american dancing and technical difficulty. Had a great time as always with my buddy Cam. Didn't drink.

Met a friend who is getting nastily aced out of a 40 year multimillion dollar gig and we discussed going to the mattress rooms and triangulation concepts in game theory. Suggested he watch the first two parts of the Godfather a couple times. Tell Mike it was only business, as Tessio once said. Best of luck, Pal.

Have taken a little shit for my valentine's to the missus. A buddy of mine suggested that I had broke some guy code for being so schmaltzy. Also thought I must have f*cked up in a big way. Had to publicly fall on my sword. No, just being my normal sweet self, sorry fellows....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jackson Browne - Rock Me On The Water

Abba

I am going to hopefully write a trip journal tomorrow. It worked out okay and I am grateful for the business that I did do. Okay is the new great. The really best part of the trip was getting a chance to visit my father Amos and my wonderful stepmother, Shela, who takes such incredible care of him. She loves him and says that they have had a wonderful life together. Thanks to both of you. I sleep so much easier knowing that he is being taken care of so well.

I should point out that both of my parents are mighty Bruins. My father warmed the bench with Waterfield but also wrestled and was on the soccer team. U-C-L-A, fight, fight, fight.



Mavericks Surf Contest - 2010

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4698634

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love Song - Elton John, Lesley Duncan

To my valentine

I first met my lovely wife Leslie twenty years ago. I was married to another woman at the time. The wrong woman. Leslie was managing a shop called the Good Karma Trading Company back then in San Diego. She had moved out years prior to Coronado from Detroit where she had worked as a Disc Jockey and Program Manager. She was a part of the famous Idiot Show with M. Dung.  Good Karma was a cool shop that sold eastern objects and concert tickets.

I walked into her store and my heart sunk in her presence. I had never met a more radiant, angelic beauty. Her dark long hair, her perfect fair skin, the most heavenly eyes in creation. I was smitten. Like I have never been smitten in my life. And I am still smitten.

We developed a platonic friendship, she having no interest in a married man, and me at least partly successfully burying my longing and not throwing off any signs of being in a long failed marriage.

Leslie had been wooed by many suitors, including some rich doctor types but had never assented.

Life, as it is prone to do, managed to turn itself upside down and put me out on my street. The ex called it quits while I was on a trip to the middle east. God bless her. I cried and licked my wounds for a few days and then called Leslie up and arranged a date.

Things didn't go so well at first and she thought I was a jerk but my strategy was to show her the bad side first, thinking things could only improve from there. Her mom told her to give me another shot and thankfully she did.

She suggested that I go someplace and get clear and clean and I went to Kauai, hiking into the Kalalau for a week and bathing under waterfalls. She met me in San Francisco upon my return and the rest as they say, is history.

We have now been together for twenty great years. Some of them have been tough, we suffered through a bankruptcy and financial distress, but they have all been great years. We respect and admire each other and she chooses to mostly overlook my many deficiencies.  We are soul mates and mirrors and sympatico down to our distaste for onions and our common love for purple.

Leslie is the rare woman who combines exceptional beauty with common sense and a great mind. She is fiercely loyal and has a nurturing heart and helps many in need.

We have raised some fantastic cats and dogs and developed a wonderful community of friends around ourselves. Things haven't always been easy but we have enough love and respect for each other to make it through the tough times. Back to back, she is the perfect person to face life's struggles with and to enjoy its pleasures.

So I am sad to be apart from her on this Valentine's Day, and now proclaim my never ending love, fealty and admiration. I know how lucky I am to have found a partner for life.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The sun also rises...hopefully

Faithful blast readers know that I love a good quote. Twain and Will Rogers are titanic quotesmiths.  But my new champeen is Hemingway.

I was searching for a quote and Ernie's little truisms just came spilling forth from the display screen like freshly poured cream.

I include a few for your amusement and reading pleasure.

A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.


An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.


Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.


Never confuse movement with action.


Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.


The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.


The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.


Develop a built-in bullshit detector.


The first draft of anything is shit.