*

*
Water and stone

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Family Business

Having to hear about another person's genealogy and family history must be a bit like rooting through a stranger's underwear drawer. Extremely personal at times, mostly boring, and not stimulating in the least. Long time readers will hopefully agree that I have tried to keep my personal and commercial business to a minimum on the blog, notwithstanding my usual groans about how sucky the economy is.

On the other hand, the internet allows us to use wondrous communication tools that were undreamed of even a few years ago. It is a treasure trove of information. There is so much information waiting mere keystrokes away. Yesterday, I found two accounts for my late paternal grandfather Israel sitting in the unclaimed catacombs of the Michigan Department of Treasury. Today I found my Maternal Grandfather Mondko Weinrober's (Martin Roberts) entry information from Ellis Island on July 11, 1920. Martin and his brother went on to join the family business, the Roberts Paper Box company in Providence, Rhode Island. He came from a town in Moldava called Yedintsy or Yedinitz.  He and his wife Sobel Steinberg were the parents of my mother, Adelle Rhoda Roberts and her older brother Norman. I never met either maternal grandparent, both leaving their earthly vessels shortly before I was born.

So I put this information out in hopes of snaring a bit of information that I do not have as of yet. I beg for your understanding. Connected with an unfamiliar branch of my mother's family the last several days and Uncle Norm has agreed to get tested so that I can chart the Y - DNA on my mother's side. They don't quite know what to make of this genetic thing.



It was so beautiful today. Had brunch with Renee and Leslie at Le Bistro and then the three of us walked the Farmers Market. Took some hopefully great photographs and bought a few pretty succulents. I got the most interesting calancho. I was talking to Michael and Carmen Maas about Benoit Mandelbrot and his fractal theorems when up pops this calancho with each leaf form fractalizing and then the entire plant mass sweeping around in the same fractal set. Too bizarre. The rains have caused all the weeds to go off and I see heavy yard work in the near future.  Spent the afternoon watching films for the next film festival. Hope that you all have a great week.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Beatles - A day in the life (studio outtake)


My favorite Beatles song.

Moharebeh

Iranians being hung for the crime of being gay.

News from the friendly folks in Teheran hasn't been too good lately. They hung two opposition figures last week for "monarchism and counterrevolutionary activities." Today word comes that 18 more people are charged with a multitude of similar charges, including rioting and conspiring against the state.

Two of those being brought up are charged with Moharebeh, or defying god, a charge that could carry the death penalty, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported. The other individuals include an alleged communist, a student leader and a Ba'hai.

The hard line government has been quashing opposition rallies and has tried more than 100 political activists in a mass trial that started in August, sentencing 11 people to death and more than 80 people to prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years.  The authorities are apparently trying to stifle a planned February protest.

Say what you want about America, for all of its warts, we aren't quite up to trying people for defying god yet. Another great illustration of why a country should always separate the church side from the state side. I am sure that many here would like to but we are not quite there for defying god yet, and a good thing for me, I think.

As for the people of Iran, I don't know what to say. I have met many wonderful Persians and they deserve better. No matter what their religion. Revolutions and overthrows don't work unless they go all the way and the way it sits now, the opposition are sitting ducks waiting to be picked off by the security apparatus one by one. The ayatollahs are not going to step down because of poor public opinion polls. They are going to crush any resistance.

It is really frustrating on a human level. As is the situation in much of the world, Africa, the middle east, Myanmar, North Korea, People's China, the list goes on and on...

Bahai house of Bab, most sacred site of the Bahai faith, destroyed by Iranian authorities.

Its a small world, after all.

Life is amazing some times. When you least expect it, it can throw you a gift from the heavens. This one is wonderful and poetic in its possibilities and import.


Since I got my initial genetic marker testing back a few days ago, I sent out some emails to those individuals that I suspected had a strong genetic linkage. This is an extraordinary letter chain that I have been involved in the last few days.






Dear Gentlemen,
I am new to this process but was informed today that we are a genetic
match to 25 markers, with a genetic distance of 2. I thought that I
would give you a little history and hopefully compare notes. We  have a
29% chance of a common ancestor in 8 generations and a near 90%  chance
in 24. My name is Robert Sommers, son of Amos, grandson of Israel.
Israel was originally from Plock, near Warsaw. He may have moved to
Wyzkow, where my grandmother Pesa Shkarlat was from. His father was a
veterinarian. The family name was originally Sommer. He had a
relation, Sam Sommer, who was a very wealthy man in San Francisco and
helped bankroll Twentieth Century Fox. Sam had a son named Julius. My great grandfather
returned to Poland after the earthquake and then emigrated to
Palestine. Changed his last name to Kaitz. Some family still extant  in
Israel named Kalusky. If any of this information sounds familiar,
please contact me. I live in California with my wife Leslie.

Sincerely,

Robert Sommers

Thanks for the note, but none of the information matches up with  me.  My father came from Gomel in what is now Belarus.  I have  reason to believe that one of his direct ancestors was adopted since  I am not a genetic match with any of the large B----- family  primarily in Israel.  Of course it is possible one of their  ancestors was adopted and my true family name is B----.  Gomel  is a good distance from Warsaw, making the genetic match difficult.


I am somewhat interested in your Kaitz family in Israel.  Were any  of them living in LA in the 1940s?  I had, at that time, a teenage  friend from, at that time, Palestine, named Amos Kaitz.  I have no  idea what happened to him.


I too live in California, in Claremont.


Adar

Amos is my father. He changed his name to Sommers at UCLA. He is getting older now and lives in Fresno. I will forward this email to his wife.


thanks,


Robert


Of course - Kaitz is summer!!


Now a story:  In the late 1940s, I was very active in Habonim which is where I met your father.  At one point many of us wanted to adopt Hebrew names.  I did not want to be called by my given Hebrew name, Yitzchak, but wanted a modern "new Hebrew" name.  It was Amos, who, after a long search, came up with Adar, which is what I have been universally called since.  The world gets smaller all the time.


Please send a drishat shalom to Amos from me.


Adar



Dear Adar,

I am not an expert, but we were a wandering people. Our genetic
relationship suggests strongly that not only were you friends with my
dad, but also close relatives.

Robert

I take it that is him on the right. Attached is a recent picture of me. I have somewhat less hair now but otherwise the picture is reasonable.
Adar



This whole dialogue is a gift to me. Not only the possibility of finding a new relative but the amazing fact that these two friends, my father having such an instrumental impact on his life, turn out to be close genetic relatives with an extremely high likelihood of sharing a common ancestor in a very few generations. And they never knew it.


And I have just started my quest! What else will turn up?

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Kinks - Apeman

Missing Link

I am hip deep in my new genetic research, trying madly to digest it all. Today I got my mitochondrial DNA results which chart my maternal chromosomes. It came back as a K haplogroup. My 497T mutation gets me into the major K1a subclade which is about 60% of K. My 16234T mutation probably indicates membership in the largest Ashkenazi subclade K1a1b1a. It will definitely take a while for me to learn enough to put it in perspective.



















  • HVR1 differences from CRS








    • 16223T








    • 16224C








    • 16234T








    • 16311C








    • 16519C








  • HVR2 differences from CRS








    • 73G








    • 114T








    • 263G








    • 315.1C








    • 497T

I did discover something quite strange during my research on the Y- DNA. I mentioned that I had very few genetic matches. I uploaded to Ysearch and there were five subjects that I at least shared partial Y results with. One of them is apparently an ancient Cro Magnon Man found in England! We are identical according to the available DNA.


 Cro Magnon's were very similar to modern humans but had a larger cranial capacity. (interestingly enough, I have an extraordinarily large 7&7/8" size noggin.) I have to wonder if I am a strange offshoot of a little inter special hanky panky with our hirsute ancestral kin? Next time my wife asks me if I got my manners in a cave, I can reply with a sense of assurance.






















DYS 388DYS 459aDYS 459bDYS 455DYS 437DYS 448DYS 464aDYS 464bDYS 438
1299111420141411
Haplogroup:Unknown
Last name:cromagnon
Variant spellings:   
   
Tested with:Family Tree DNA
Contact person:Researcher    

Most distant known paternal ancestor on the direct male line








First Name:
Last Name:
Year Born:
Year Died:
Country of Origin:England 256/9
Here is a side by side comparison with my 25 marker set:

Research Tools > Comparative y-DNA Results

User IDLast NameOrigin3
9
3
3
9
0
1
9
3
9
1
3
8
5
a
3
8
5
b
4
2
6
3
8
8
4
3
9
3
8
9
|
1
3
9
2
3
8
9
|
2
4
5
8
4
5
9
a
4
5
9
b
4
5
5
4
5
4
4
4
7
4
3
7
4
4
8
4
4
9
4
6
4
a
4
6
4
b
4
6
4
c
4
6
4
d
4
3
8
UXGVHSommersPlock, Poland 14251391619111212131130169911112014203014141517
7BF8Hcromagnon256/9, England 1299111420141411





I swear I am not making this stuff up - please send bananas!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

D.A. Doldrums

What is it about San Diego County and District Attorneys? It seems like it has been so long since we have had a normal one. Witness Bonnie Dumanis, who has declared war not just on medical marijuana patients, but apparently the County Judiciary and the Public Defender's Office as well.

Now the D.A. is trying to get respected Superior Court Judge Harry Elias to recuse himself from a case, saying that he has made '"highly critical and accusatory statements" about the Prosecutor's office. The judge has been a little bit miffed lately about the D.A.'s office illegal conduct in not sharing evidence with the defense, in one case not turning over exculpatory fingerprint evidence. In another case, they failed to share evidence of a bloody knife that could have helped the defense. The judge apparently chastised them for encouraging witnesses to give false testimony.  The prosecutor says that they don't need to "go back in history, or cite other cases in other contexts," preferring not to answer for their malfeasance.

This is on the heels of a contretemps with Judge John Einhorn, another popular jurist who was boycotted by Dumanis office in the last several months for reasons that were never publicly divulged. Her office had a peremptory blanket challenge against the justice. Einhorn is widely respected and was voted Judge of the Year but has sat idly by of late in a crowded docket because he wouldn't step in line with our District Attorney.

Judge Elias is a former prosecutor who is somehow being characterized by the D.A. as being hostile to the prosecution side. The D.A. is being accused of trying to bully the bench. Elias cautioned in a hearing yesterday that the Prosecutor's office's reputation is not good among either judicial officers or the defense bar.

Now the California Supreme Court has dismissed the charges against the five defendants in the pension case, another cause celebre for Dumanis in 2005. Another costly prosecution case goes down the drain. She has repeatedly refused to charge policemen in officer shootings like Officer Frank White.

Dumanis has reportedly increased the budget for her office by over 65%, hiring five public affairs officers to her predecessor's two and even installing an office historian. On our dime. She outspends the Defender's office by 47%. She built a snazzy gym at the Hall of Justice. The office deflects criticism regarding her largesse by claiming that the improvements were funded with forfeitures. A good reason for them to want to continue the war on pot. So she can decorate.

The one thing she has not done is to try cases like her predecessor, who implemented rigorous performance standards and had a much more productive tenure.  Makes you long for the days of Paul Pfingst. Bonnie Dumanis has been an unmitigated disaster. The citizens of San Diego County need to send her packing.

Robert Williams' New Show

I got this brochure today for the new Robert Williams show at Cal State Northridge. The show is entitled, Conceptual Realism in the Service of the Hypothetical.

The show starts February 20 and runs through April 3rd. It is on its west coast swing after debuting at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York last October.

The paintings and sculptural pieces that illustrate the brochure are beyond description. Some of this amazing artist's greatest work ever. He has always been far in front of the curve and a step quicker than the pretentious fine art geeks.

I especially like a piece that is titled "Wooden spirits persist where termites fear to tread." It is a nice tribute to Native Americans, a bit sentimental almost for this hardened artist.

I met Williams many times in my younger days and he has an intimidating genius. His technical skill is flawless. His mind is light years ahead. Definitely looking forward to this show.

Here is the artist statement for the exhibition:



Applying Realistic Art to Conceptualism – A Statement of Intent


For many years modern artists have intended to create paintings that fit into the understood explanation of conceptual art, and not all of it has simply been pop art. However, the majority of modern paintings have tried to slip under the safe recognized title of “pop.” Although pop has been the most obvious refuge, there are some real problems with this idiom. Pop art needs, and totally depends on appropriation – copying something popular. The need to reference itself back to the population’s common favoritisms encumbers art’s ability to experience the entire spectrum of the hypothetical. In other words, it’s very limited. Copying, or just recreating an object in a larger size suggests an atrophied imagination.


With the exception of pop art, there is a problem with the acceptance of realistic fine art painting into the formal art world of conceptualism. Basically it’s the contemporary art world’s hatred of craftsmanship. Facie dexterity has been frowned on and discouraged for almost sixty years. At best, it has been classified as the quaint expression of a hobbyist, more suited in the quest for a blue ribbon at a county fair. Unfortunately, because of many artists who have timidly restrained their imaginations this dim view has proven justified.


Acceptable or not, craftsmanship and the ability to draw and paint without the aid of computer or photography is a positive human compulsion, and is just as valid a virtuosity as singing with a beautiful voice, or a piano concerto played with nimble fingers. All representational painting should not be categorized with sentimental and innocuous works that placate the requirements of modest morality, something on the order of eyewash.


A well executed oil painting with intelligent purpose should not find itself the exclusive trappings of the interior decorator of the sanctimonious moralist espousing public and family values.


The key word is supposition, It must be suggested that art inspired by over-imagination, rendered in precise clarity, and compelled to masquerade as conceptual art can only flourish if it represents itself honestly in the service of the purely hypothetical.

As an art dealer who has been around for a while, I must say that I do not find much room to disagree. Too many "fine artists" never learned how to handle a brush. Our great craftsmen, painters like Wyeth, Pyle, Rockwell, Griffin and Williams, are derided by the intelligencia for not being sufficiently vague and au courant or for merely being illustrators. Williams' art smacks you right in the head. Also he has the coolest website.

A perfect day for bananafish


J.D. Salinger (1919-2010)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monkey Man

Human Jigsaw

I have always been interested in Genealogy. I went through an intensive phase in the early nineties where I was pouring over records at the national archives and bothering my family incessantly in order to fit pieces of the puzzle together. Got involved with Jewgen at the time and took most of the leads as far as I could.

On New Years Eve, my friends Tracy and Stanley gave me a gift. They scraped my inner cheek, three times to be exact, and sent the findings to the laboratories of the FamilyTree DNA website. These folks have the most comprehensive database in the world for individual dna testing. They work with Dr. Michael Hammer, a leading geneticist at the University of Arizona and his research labs.

Yesterday my initial results came back. I can feel the obsession returning.  I got the first twelve genetic markers codified. These markers reflect male paternal DNA. I await the results of my mitochondrial maternal DNA as well as more involved Y-DNA testing.


Locus
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
DYS#
393
390
19*
391
385a
385b
426
388
439
389-1
392
389-2
Alleles
14
25
13
9
16
19
11
12
12
13
11
30

(If anyone wants to play my allele numbers in the lottery, I demand half of the booty.)

This allowed me to search for initial matches. Now most people have hundreds if not thousands of matches for their first 12 loci. Not I.  I found one, possibly two. The known match, a Doctor from Seattle, had consented to make his information accessible to me, and I emailed him. We both come from the same general area near Warsaw. We have a 33% chance of a common ancestor in 4 generations and a 55% chance in 8. I emailed him a picture and we briefly discussed family history. I have a sneaking suspicion that our grandfathers were brothers and that they were both conscripted into the Russian army at the same time. I need to find my genealogy papers.  He had doubts about his actual last name and so do I.

I uploaded my findings to Ysearch and found another possible match, an attorney whose family comes from the same area. I have not contacted him as of yet.

I also tried to download my haplotree, but it came back unknown, which is highly unusual, I think. The human genome, which all traces back to the same adam in africa, has at least 26 distinct haplogroups with a number of smaller divisions called sub clades. Haplogroups are like branches on a family tree. Lineage is identified by both known genetic mutations and genetic drift.

The three of us potential relatives are a subgroup of a clan that is loosely called E1B1B1*. Today they have sent me some additional confirmation and a tree that suggests an E M-35 designation. This is known as the "ancestral state" of the haplo, a sort of factory model free of subsequent mutations. Old school, if you will. This haplotype is shared with a significant percentage of Moroccan Berbers, Andalusians, Sardinians and Italians, according to Levy - Coffman. I may have to send additional money to now do what is called deep clade testing to see if my sub clade can be positively identified.

I have looked at the trees of the other individuals and they are still labeled as unknown haplogroup subjects. Perhaps they have not had the deep clade testing, but I see that one has been tested out to the 67th marker. My results are being checked to the 37th marker.

The upshot is that I am off on a new treasure hunt. The thought of having a unique DNA profile is seductive, and would certainly explain the unusual precognitive and shapeshifting abilities. The family lore of sephardic heritage has been pretty firmly debunked, the Eb3 being mostly ashkenazic folk who started off in the horn of Africa about 22,000 years ago.  I can see a benefit to future generations by identifying genetic anomalies and traits through this type of study.

According to Wikipedia:

E1b1b (E-M215) and its dominant sub-clade E1b1b1 (E-M35) are believed to have first appeared in East Africa about 22,400 years ago. The ancient dispersals of the major E1b1b1 (E-M35) lineages. The map shows the earliest movements of E1b1b lineages as described in the most recent articles.


All major sub-branches of E1b1b1 are thought to have originated in the same general area as the parent clade: in North Africa, East Africa, or nearby areas of the Near East. Underhill (2002) believes that the structure and regional pattern of E-M35 sub-clades potentially give "reagents with which to infer specific episodes of population histories associated with the Neolithic agricultural expansion". Concerning European E-M35 within this scheme, Underhill and Kivisild (2007) have remarked that E1b1b seems to represent a late-Pleistocene migration from North Africa to Europe over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.



Concerning E1b1b, Coffman-Levy (2005) wrote that although E1b1b "arose in East Africa, approximately 25000 years ago, certain sub-clades appear to have been present in Europe and Asia for thousands of years" and so it is "often incorrectly described as 'African'" in a sense that creates a "misimpression regarding the origin and complex history of this haplogroup."


A large majority of E1b1b lineages are within E1b1b1 (defined by M35). Exceptions discovered so far are M215 positive/M35 negative ("E-M215*") cases found in two Amharic Ethiopians and 1 Yemeni.


The E-M215 derivative, E1b1b1 (E-M35) is defined by the M35 SNP. E-M35 includes individuals with the "ancestral state" (no known sub-clade forming mutations). These are referred to as E1b1b1* or E-M35*. As of 2009, there are seven known branches that have resulted from different mutations on M35: M78, M81, M123, M281, V6, P72, and M293. In order to show what is known of their relationships to E1b1b1 and other related clades, these are also currently referred to as E1b1b1a to E1b1b1g, respectively (see image). The more frequently described sub-clades are E1b1b1a and E1b1b1b. Both are found in Mediterranean & West Asian peoples. These two sub-clades represent the largest proportion of E1b1b. E1b1b1a is found over most of the range where E1b1b is found excluding Southern Africa. E1b1b1b is found mainly in the Maghreb. E1b1b1c is less common but widely scattered, with significant populations in specific parts of the Horn of Africa, the Levant, Arabia, Iberia, and Anatolia. E1b1b1g is a fourth major sub-clade that has been found in parts of Eastern and Southern Africa, includes the majority of unique E1b1b1 lineages in sub-Saharan Africa (those that lack M78, M81, or M123 mutations).[8] Two smaller sub-clades are defined by mutations M281 and V6 appear to be unique to the Horn of Africa region.






So here I stand, a lonely african without rhythm. You can actually track the migration patterns of the different haplogroups. The amount of new discoveries in the realm of human genetics is truly remarkable.

I will continue to post new information as I learn about it and will correct any of my misconceptions. I can see that I am about to plunge into a major study of genetics.

My biggest question at this point is how unusual is it to be part of an unknown subset? Why are there so few of my line extant? Was Hitler so successful that he managed to wipe out the whole sub group except for so very few survivors? Did overweight, near sighted yids with atrial fibrillation have much chance out on the veldt?

If anyone is interested in this new technology, I encourage you to check out Family Tree DNA. The initial testing will set you back less than $200.00. Women will not be able to chart Y-DNA and will have to tackle the mitochondrial DNA or get male siblings scraped. Happy hunting!



Interesting article on Jews and DNA by Ellen Levy Coffman.

Levites and Cohens. - Khazaria

Phylogeographic Analysis of Haplogroup E3b (E-M215) Y Chromosomes Reveals Multiple Migratory Events Within and Out Of Africa - Cruciani








Exact Matches
CountryYour MatchesCommentMatch TotalCountry TotalPercentage
England1-119,968< 0.1%
Poland1Ashkenazi13,021< 0.1%


Ancestral Markers

The Y-DNA contains two main types of ancestral markers:

   1. SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). SNPs are a change in a single nucleotide in a chromosome and occur infrequently; once they occur they are stable and typically define a whole chromosome and become its signature.
   2. STRs (short tandem repeats, aka microsatellites) (see Figure 2). STRs change by the number of repeats and change at a much faster rate than SNPs.

By testing the combination of SNPs and STRs in our Y-DNA, we can gain information on our paternal ancestry, ranging from ancient history (thousands and tens of thousands of years ago) with the much slower mutating SNPs, to recent history (100-1000 years ago) with faster mutating STRs.  More simply, SNPs allow us to track ancient or deep ancestry, while STRs allow us to track recent ancestry in the range of immediate family history over several generations and the relatively modern use of surnames.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bob Marley - Dem Belly Full



them belly full but we hungry
a hungry mob is a angry mob
a rain a fall but the dirt it tough
a pot a cook but the food no 'nough

you're gonna dance to jah music dance
you're gonna dance to jah music dance

forget your troubles and dance
forget your sorrows and dance
forget your sickness and dance
forget your weakness and dance

cost of livin gets so high
rich and poor they start to cry
now the weak must get strong
they say oh what a tribulation


them belly full but them hungry
a hungry mob is a angry mob
a rain a fall but the dirt it tough
a pot a cook but you no 'nough

we're gonna chuck to jah music chuckin
we're chuckin to jah music we're chuckin

them belly full but them hungry
a hungry mob is a angry mob
a rain a fall but the dirt it tough
a pot a cook but the food no 'nough


Tuesday Afternoon


In the George Tiller murder case, Judge Warren Wilbert has decided to allow a voluntary manslaughter defense, opening the door for the defense to mount a case that the killing of the abortion doctor was justified. He will have to show an "unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force," according to Kansas statutes.

Scott Roeder will also be required to show that he believed it was "necessary to defend ... a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force."

There is some interesting scuttlebutt regarding the judge's ruling on TalkingPointsMemo. Khalid Sheik Muhammed could put on a similar defense, claiming that he was trying to protect Palestinians or Sunnis. Ditto the Ft. Hood shooter. John Gacey could get off the hook because he felt that homicidal clowns were in imminent danger. Juan Corona might make a claim that his beer was skunked.

I say the guy gets off and it becomes open season on abortion doctors. A bible belt jury lets this guy walk. Hope that I am wrong.

****

In other news notorious killer Carlos the Jackal is suing to protect the rights to his media image. His wife, the attorney Isabel Coutant-Peyre is demanding that he be given the right to review a documentary about his life and make changes as necessary. A thirty cent bullet and all of this bullshit would be moot.

****

The late pontiff John Paul practiced self mortification and would whip himself with a belt, even while on vacation, according to a new book. Kinky.  "Let the rest of the tour bus go on without me. Johnny's got some 'splaining to do..."


****


A 16 year old Bangladeshi girl has been sentenced to 101 lashes for conceiving after being raped. Her attacker has not been charged. She was also fined and village elders have issued a fatwa that her family must go into isolation if she does not pay up. Nice religion.


****

A judge has ruled that inmates do not have a constitutional right to nerd out and play dungeons and dragons, perhaps fearing a meteoric rise in acne in our prison population.

****


John Travolta has flown a passel of ministers of Scientology to do a little free auditing of the downtrodden people of Haiti, no doubt unlocking a whole mess of nasty engrams in their poor reactive minds. Think the survivors would rather have a little food in their stomach, but will probably listen to the rap and strap on the e-meters if they have to. Shame on the Scientologists for peddling this crap at this time, trying to score points when people are at their weakest.


****

And finally, Paul Davies, a physicist at the University of Arizona, thinks that the search for extraterrestrial aliens should start here on earth. H-m-m-m, that would explain a lot. Anybody from Xenu?



Monday, January 25, 2010

Have You Seen the Stars Tonite - Paul Kantner

California Dreaming


Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516) - The Last Judgement
Central Panel


I had a strange dream last night. I can only remember snippets at this point but remember waking and thinking that I should write it down. It came in a string of powerful dreams.


I was of adult age back in the sixties and some sort of psychedelic secret agent. As the forces of Moloch attempted to snare and enslave the populace, I was part of a team of freaks who stayed one step ahead of them and thwarted their plans of evil and repression.


I remember standing in front of a large canvas by Rick Griffin that changed and morphed before my eyes, constantly opening up windows to new universes. It was painted in shades of browns.


We were artists and musicians and every musical note and every hue and brush stroke was like an elixir to free the human dna from its stupor and bondage. Because the transformational juice was in our very chromosomes by this point, the bad guys were powerless to stop the inevitable lysergic liberation. But it got hairy there for a while. Hope that I can visit again some day. Agent Lightbeam, over and out.



The sky is falling.


It has been an interesting weekend. A bit apocalyptic, if I believed that sort of thing. Trying to do a show in a torrential downpour is always fun. I broke a large piece of glass on a framed chinese embroidery driving over to Del Mar. Unloaded in a driving rain and a half a foot of water. Left that night and there were boats on the road two miles inland and three foot of water, which I drove through on the way home. The mud on my road was near impassable.

The show itself was about as good to be expected in a soggy recession so I won't snivel. Did a little better than break even.




I went by the shop yesterday morning and saw that the rain had caused a large section of plaster to fall off my back porch ceiling, exposing some dry rot. Need to cleanup and replace some of the structural elements and install a bunch of new roofing. As well as replaster. I will start cleaning it up after I write, trying to put it off as long as possible.

On the way home I broke the glass on the companion piece of the embroidery that I broke on the way in, with a piece of cardboard no less. Perfect symmetry to my disastrous sandwich. Coupled with the traffic
ticket, I really feel like I am making progress, if not paying off scads of past due bad karma.




Did make it to the cat show, which was purrfectly fantastic. Siamese Cats, Tonkinese, Burmese and Curls, Abyssinians, Rex's, both boys and girls. Exotics, domestics, Maine Coon's and Mau's, both Persians and Egyptians with cute little paws. Angoras and Sphinx's, Ragdolls and Manx, Norwegian Forest's for which I gave utmost thanks. Javanese, Havana, some skinny, some flabby and a contingent of Russian cats, blue, white and tabby.



There were cat houses and agility courses and sparklers and food. And cat fanciers everywhere grooming their brood. Judges and ribbons and snobby purebreds, and an old fashioned alley cat asleep in his bed.




Everyone looked happy and there was really no smell. I wasn't planning on going but I said, what the hell. If you, like I, had never been to a cat show, definitely check one out if you get the chance. Lots of rescue cats there as well. The people were as neat as their critters. Really fun!

I bought a snow leopard finger puppet from a girl that was there raising money to protect the cats in Mongolia and Khazakistan.





Lat take a cat and fostre hym wel with milk
And tendre flessch and make his couche of silk,
And lat hym seen a mouse go by the wal,
Anon he weyvith milk and flessch and al,
And every deyntee that is in that hous,
Suich appetit he hath to ete a mous.
Chaucer

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Del Martian Chronicles


Not to kvetch. The bright side is that I am helping the cash strapped county work its way out of a severe economic morass. The teensie weensie downside is that my benevolence is the result of getting stopped by a cop in front of Milton's Delicatessen for talking on my cell phone. While driving. To Cam. Who by all  rights should bear half of my financial hardship. For it does take two to tango, as they say.

Thank god my wife and protector, the lovely Leslie Jane, just had my lapsed car insurance reinstated. I would have really been sodomized. Hartford's computer accidently spit us out of the system, they said, and then wanted an exorbitant price to put it back on line. Timing is everything.

Speaking of sodomy, a fellow just walked by my booth who sniffed during the last show that none of my paintings were up to the standards of his collection. I think my feelings towards this particular individual either got back to him or resonated through the ether, anyways, he made it a point to diffidently avoid me like the funky green jello in the buffet line.

This on top of being one of those shows that I have recounted too many times in recent memory, where the money merely flows out in the opposite direction. I don't know how long I can keep doing this show if this keeps up. Very expensive advertising with little or no reward.


I am set up next to the lunch court so I leave this affair smelling like the tri tip that is grilling all day. Gonna wash that beef right out of my hair...

Dave Heller came by and showed me a picture he recently took of his new grandchild, Duncan Oliver Smit. Congratulations, Dave.




There is a cat show next door today. I am going to walk over there and check it out if I get a chance. Hope to get pictures of the people if nothing else. Wonderful article in the Union Tribune today about a county resident's prize winning Turkish Angora and the chicanery that goes on in the business.  People salting the competition with lesser feline examples so that they can score more points. Stalking judges around the country. Best of Show squared. Why is it that the prize winning cats always look so freaky? Give me your standard alley cat any day.





Stayed with friends near bye last night and had a very nice evening. We all had our laptops out and were in serious power user mode. Got to read the real New York Times, and not its noncorporeal counterpart. Thanks Lynne, Richard, Stanley and Tracy!