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White light, white heat © Robert Sommers 2017

Monday, September 30, 2013

La danse du bonheur

SRI CHINMOY - MANTRIC FLOWERS .

Yonder Mountain String Band



With the great Darrell Anger.

Roll away the dew


Whenever I write something venturing into or bordering on the political, I am bound to piss off some portion of my readership. There have been intimations made by business colleagues that they have heard rumblings that my partisan blather has cost me money. If that is true, and even more so if I have alienated a future friend, I would hope that the offended can look past petty politics and we can find some other place where we can possibly meet and agree.

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Many of you run from politics like it's a root canal and I can understand that perfectly.

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I have to also say that it has been very hard to write this blog for several months. Oh, I can glance through the headlines and riff all day long but I have not felt like broaching anything approaching literary or personal intimacy. Simply because I am not feeling it right now. Haven't written a fictional piece in ages, since I don't know when? Except for this piece in K.B. Gressitt's opening paragraph contest, which ends today.
Write one opening (as in first) sentence to an imagined work of fiction or creative nonfiction. Your sentence can be any genre, any subject; serious, humorous, romantic, satirical; whatever you like.
And so:

As a seasoned veteran at the whole relationship thing, Blair knew that even a slightly negative mention of Wanda's physical attributes, no matter how well considered and conceived, would assuredly result in a quick and sudden alteration of some of his own most personal and distinctive features.

Robert Sommers

Guess I need for a wind to change. I want to go back to writing speculative fiction. It is very freeing. But I need to feel loose enough to relax. Need to make good friends with my guitar again too. Either solve or disregard any financial neurosis.

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For a guy who doesn't drink anymore, I am surprised by the amount of time I am spending at the new microbrewery across the street. Their IPA's and Stouts are fantastic. My favorite is the Coffee Porter. Thick coffee nose that is worth the price of admission. Some how my allergies have been okay so the problems I was having may have been strictly seasonal.

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Randy Walters dad died. But not until after seeing the new video Randy made for him that I posted a short while back. He sent me a picture of his sweet old dad, smile a mile wide. Love the guy.

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I have had some wild dreams lately. I will share one. There was a time early on in this blog when Grumpy would pull out his dream book and do a spot analysis for me. Haven't done that in a while. Don't need one for this.

I dreamt about my old friend Al, the fellow that took his life a few years ago. Al came to me in the dream or his ghost did the other night. Looking tall and happy and as self determined as ever. "How you doing, Al?" Fine, everything was copacetic. "Where you been?" He confided in me that he now hung out in places where people couldn't see him.

It was a very vivid dream. Could have sworn I made some psychic contact with my old friend. I miss my friends that have passed, Tony D., Al, Liz D., many farther back. Murray. May the four winds blow you safely home.


I have been thinking a lot about the millennials lately. I like the kids by and large, ink, giant ear holes and all. It is merely a matter of branding, they are asserting their independence from the previous norms. Who hasn't done that? 

We saw a lot of bi racial millennial couples in Hawaii, many white men with black women, gay couples, all kinds of variations and blends in their age demographic. They are cooler with shit than their predecessors. Maybe a little more aware.

Don't think that they will indulge in many furrows that my generation hadn't already plowed, deeper, straighter or whatever, but I think that their seeming social acceptance of the slightly eccentric is commendable and they are headed into a bit of fun.

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We had breakfast with some old friends yesterday and he turned me on to the book of aphorisms by John Fowles, The Aristos, written in 1964. Fowles wrote the French Lieutenant's woman. Fairly amazing book. Must find my own copy.
The ordinary man and woman live in an asphyxiating smog of opinions foisted on them by society. They lose all independence of judgement and all freedom of action. They see themselves increasingly as limited special functions, as parts of a machine, with neither need nor right to perform any other than their role in the economic structure of society. The civic sense becomes atrophied. It is the job of the police to prevent crimes, not yours and mine; it is the job of the town councilor to run the town, not yours and mine; it is the job of the underprivileged to fight for their rights, not yours and mine. Thus more and more live in cities, and yet more and more become decitizenised. What began in the suburbs reaches right to the city's heart.
(John Fowles, The Aristos, 1964)

Watermelon Man

Bad Form


"We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost. One of the reasons was because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation."
Arizona Senator John McCain (R)

"Understand we're dealing with anarchists. They hate government."
Utah Senator Harry Reid (D)

"I don't care what John McCain thinks."
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R)

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Is this any way to run a country? This dysfunctional mess we find ourselves in? What I believe we actually have at the moment is two distinct countries of course and the national overlay of those two states leaves little hope for any improvement in the future. Barring secession of course.

I don't have any prescient or inside knowledge but I would be willing to bet that the current grandstand move by House Republicans is doomed to failure. No hope of accomplishing anything but a general alienation of the American populace. All that they are doing is reinforcing the divisions with the few moderates that still exist in their party.

When all is said and done they will probably end up claiming some pyrrhic victory after Obama graciously extends an olive branch promising them a greater voice in some grand budget deal of the future and gives them nothing. At least that is what I am betting will happen. And meanwhile, the nation gets a big headache and the little guy will once again get screwed. Because the righty radicals think it is a good time to burn the house down.

Once again I have to think about the zen maxim to not draw your sword until it is time to strike. And after surveying the landscape and divining that you have a reasonable chance at succeeding. I don't see it here, especially with House Representatives squaring off against their Senate party counterparts. The whole country is supposed to lay down for you bastard babies because you're unhappy? Go ahead and throw your tantrum and then take a big timeout. You can come back and play with the adults when you can behave and after you get those pampers changed.

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I am so sick of hearing how the bill was passed (yes, it was passed) without any Republican votes and because of that is now in some way invalid. Brush up on your constitutional law kids, that's the way this democracy thing works. And he hasn't had a Republican vote for any of his policies in 6 years so why should he pretend that he can reach some compromise with you and pander to you now?

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Did you see that the House Republicans slipped a rider in Sunday allowing employers to deny birth control to their employees on moral grounds and religious grounds? Not only that, presence of birth control funding would entitle them to opt out of coverage for a year. This is coupled by a perennial bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

The talking heads, pollsters and mavens all noted that the Republican party failed miserably with women in the 2012 elections. Do they think that they are going to suddenly make inroads into this demographic by doubling down on their troglodyte social agenda?

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The problem is that the House Republicans have all gerrymandered themselves into safe seats in safe districts. Any flak they will receive will be from their right in the primaries. Although I am sure that many are concerned with the health of the nation, at least I hope so, the overriding motive has to be getting re-elected. So there is really no hope for common ground.

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The optics of this debacle are pretty clear.  A CNN/ORC poll found that Republicans in Congress would shoulder more of the blame for a shutdown. Forty-six percent of Americans said that Republicans on Capitol Hill would be mostly responsible for a shutdown, versus 36 percent who would blame Obama and 13 percent who would blame both.

So 25% of Americans polled will blame you more than the other guy and you don't care, because it will play so well for the folks in your district and frankly, what else matters? Bravo!

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I went to the outfitting store to get some straps to hitch my borrowed monopod to my camera pack this morning. The vacation to the National Parks between Wyoming and Montana that are scheduled to be closed at midnight tonight barring an unforeseen stroke of sanity barreling down on the beltway, which you should certainly not hold your breath for.

I will make do, lots of nice state parks I am looking at in the area, there are worse prison sentences than spending a week on a bar stool in Jackson Hole. But it sucks. And it even sucks worse for the man helping me in the store, who is in the naval reserve and ferries Navy Seals around on missions. He is now on no pay as are many of the private contractors who aid our defense effort. Awful thing we are doing to them, not to mention furloughing 800,000 civil servants and leaving millions without pay. Oh, I forgot, we hate the government and the people who work for them.

I heard on the radio that every day of government shutdown will actually cost the country about $400 million dollars, which in itself seems like a terribly sensible thing to do to a cash strapped country. On top of a sequester. Throw a wrench right up their into the gears. So much for your vaunted goal of fiscal sanity to say nothing of our responsibility to those we owe, at home and abroad. This shit will all be on you.

The tea bagging libertarians of course, feel that the free market can take care of most everything given a little time, except for national defense. So if the FDA can't make any of those poison meat inspections and the CDC doesn't have any manpower to combat any pandemics during the shutdown, well, we can take care of that stuff later. If you buy a chicken from Farmer C and your kin is killed by some food borne illness, well, don't buy their chickens anymore. Very simple and empowering.

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What a stupid game of chicken. Are the cuckold Republicans now so emasculated that they have to engage in these theatrics as some sort of self testosterone check? Can you imagine, or better yet, do you ever remember the Democrats  holding the nation hostage and subverting the will of the electorate like the petulant little gop'ers are doing? Very sore losers.

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So take that big blunderbuss you are swinging around teabaggers and just point it right at your own temple. Do yourselves in. Double down, pull the trigger. You owe it to the rest of us. And thanks for fucking up my vacation.

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The Duel
  by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
      The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
      Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
            (I was n't there; I simply state
            What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
      While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
      Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
            (Now mind: I'm only telling you
            What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
      Employing every tooth and claw
      In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
            (Don't fancy I exaggerate—
            I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
      But the truth about the cat and pup
      Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
            (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
            And that is how I came to know.)

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With the GOP already failing to chart with minorities, women and other important slices of the demographic pie, you have to wonder if they have any hope of ever winning a Presidential election again? Well, I am sure they will, but it won't be a tea bagger. The rest of the country is hereby repulsed. Or, knowing that you are forever doomed to junior status, is this all a ploy for parliamentary style power sharing, some type of coalition government? Wither democracy?

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The President would be a fool to negotiate looking down the barrel of a gun.

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One of the unfortunate things is the failure of the House leadership to allow an up and down vote on the Senate bill. It would be sure to pass, enough breakaway Republicans would be expected to join the Democrat House members.

Jesus Just Left Chicago

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last Train to the Big Easy

I got this email from Robin Adler today. She and her husband Dave Blackburn have embarked on quite a train trip. These wonderful Fallbrook musicians will soon be gigging in New Orleans. If you get a chance to see them perform anywhere, do so. Phenomenal band. Best of luck, you two.

Hi everyone,

Well, we head out tonight via Amtrak for New Orleans where we have several performances lined up over next weekend. Barnaby is joining us too which will be great. It's an all-Joni Mitchell weekend and we have our own featured concert at The Little Gem onFriday Oct 4th and then on Saturday we are part of a big fund raising concert featuring many acts at Howlin' Wolf  Many of these folks have become extended family over the years since we began delving deep into Joni Mitchell's music. What a wonderfully communal thing music is!


Then, on Nov 9th at Dizzy's in San Diego we have our biggest show of the year, performing the entire Hejira album (1976) with an incredible line up of musicians and in celebration of Joni Mitchell's 70th birthday (which is actually on Nov 7th.) Months in preparation, this promises to be an unforgettable night of lush and poetic music.

In addition to Dave Blackburn and myself, we have Grammy winner Jamie Kime on lead guitar, our old buddy Kevin Hennessy on fretless bass (flying in specially for the gig from Columbia MO and shedding his very challenging Jaco Pastorius parts for you all), and Danny Campbell on drums and percussion. 

Plus, just added are special guests Jeffrey Joe on harmonica, and our backup singers Lisa Hightower-Kibbe, Sheryl Goodman and Mo Mullins; These ladies have a harmony vocal trio that's just fantastic, called The Harmonettes

Rehearsals are already sounding amazing and advance tickets are selling fast. Admission can be paid at the door but if we sell out ahead of time the seats paid in advance will get priority. 

  • Sat. Nov 9th 2013 at 8pm
  • Dizzy's 
  • 4275 Mission Bay Drive at Rosewood Street (the room is San Diego Jetski rentals by day in case you think you're in the wrong place!)
  • San Diego CA

Admission is $20 at the door or in advance via PayPal (recommended): http://www.robinadler.com/products.html 


Bitches Brew



Read Sorcerer's Brew.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I'm still sorting through a lot of my shots from Hawaii. I think I have my four shots picked and printed for my upcoming Fallbrook Shutters group show, really I have five, but I need to figure it out and jettison one. Different stuff, not these. Might grab some picture in Yellowstone that rises to the top. Who knows? I took a lot of pictures of tropicbirds in Hawaii, they are so elegant.


The Waimea Canyon is an endless source of beauty and inspiration.


Taking decent pictures in Waimea Canyon is hardly sporting, sort of like shooting ducks in a barrel or a poor pachyderm in the punim.


If you click on a picture, you will see all of the photos in the post at their largest size.




This shot is of the lithified cliffs to the east of our hotel on the old Koloa Trail. Great spot for sunrises!

Black and white view of the Kalalau.

King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

The continuing story of General E.D. Townsend

October 28, 1852

Today we have had the first rain of the season. It has laid the dust and in some places made terrible mudholes. Probably no American city is as dirty as San Francisco. Old clothes, boots, and rubbish of every kind are thrown into the plank pavement and the municipal regulations do not contemplate any police of streets.

In the lower parts of the city near the wharves, the tide water comes in, but there is not sufficient influx to carry off the filth. No wonder that from this cause and the stirring up of miasina by filling in water lots, there should be much typhoid fever in town. Physicians say that San Frs. is an exceedingly unhealthful place, and that but for the presence of strong winds in the summer, it would be more so.

I strolled out to the cemetry(sic) a few days ago. It is a little valley between some low sand hills. People of all nations occupy this city of the dead, and considering that the oldest date on any store was 1850, the number of graves is startling. To be sure 3000 victims of the cholera were buried there two years ago, and that fatal scourge was very fatal while it raged here. Another feature in this cemetry is the comparative number of persons under 40 years of age. Where young persons compose so large a proportion of the population,they must make up a large part of the bills of mortality.

Since California became a state the government of the State and of this city have been in the hands of a set of swindlers and knaves whose sole object seems to have been to enrich themselves, even by ruining the State. The degree of corruption is appalling, and it extends to agents of private companies as well as to U.S. Civil officers. Bribery is regarded as a part of lawful business... 

There is no end of this corruption and men who once stood well in high places have yielded to the tempter and amassed large fortunes in this way. The office holders are making a desperate attempt to retain their places. They have a branch of the Democratic party supported by gamblers and what are called "shoulder strikers"- another name for bullies. When the primary elections went against them, they sent a part of these ruffians to the polls to break up the ballot boxes and scatter the votes. Respectable people are not disposed looger to submit to this misrule, and Whigs and Democrats are uniting on a ticket which includes only worthy and proper men...

Jose Forni, the murderer, was hung Friday Dec. 10. He continued to deny that he had acted except in self defense. This was the first public execution under the law in this state. The Vigilance Committee hung many men but not for murder.

You Don't Miss Your Water

Majority Rules


With the House Republican leadership poised to push the country into imminent default, possibly by this monday, I decided that I had better check my facts and figures and set my wayback machine to the 2012 national elections.

Well, what do you know, my brain did not deceive me, Democrat Barack Obama won the damn thing. By a whopping margin, 332 to 206 electoral votes. He won the popular vote as well, 65,915,796 to 60,933,500. My rudimentary math skills seem to show that victory as a 4,982,296 vote margin. Let's call it 5 million for the sake of brevity, shall we?

We should look at the House elections as well. Democrats received 1.4 million more votes than House Repubs and gained 8 seats. Democrats won 2 seats in the Senate yet swamped their opponents in the popular vote by an over 10 million vote margin, 49,998,693 to 39,130,984.

President Obama ran his campaign largely on the prospect of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. He won the election. He has a mandate, Republican obstructionism notwithstanding. The elephants, rather than accepting the people's decision in a mature fashion, are acting like petulant babies who didn't get their way and now want to take their ball and bat and go home, after first setting fire to the whole place. This is the worst kind of bad sportsmanship.

There are a lot of issues with which I disagree with this president. But in this instance, for the good of the country, the opposition needs to stop their childish sniveling and respect the will of the American people, who have plainly spoken. This dancing on the default precipice is gamesmanship of the worst order and will only further alienate the deluded GOP from the American public.

Just Like You

Friday, September 27, 2013

Spooky



"The leadership of your agencies built an intelligence collection system that repeatedly deceived the American people." Senator Ron Wyden

NSA is collecting and compiling all of your social network data.


Senators blame public and media for NSA fallout, ask patsy questions.

Senators push to preserve NSA status quo - NYT

Christopher Boyce on Snowden - Wired

Feds Targeted Snowden’s Email Provider the Day After NSA Whistleblower Went Public - Wired

NSA spied on Senators, political enemies, scribes, Buchwald, MLK, Ali, etc.

Official sidesteps questions on NSA and cellphones - My hero, Senator Ron Wyden, master of the leading question.

Sen. Ron Wyden: NSA 'repeatedly deceived the American people' - Glenn Greenwald

NSA employees spied on personal love interests - Guardian

We tried to stay for the better part of seven years inside the government trying to get the government to recognize the unconstitutional, illegal activity that they were doing and openly admit that and devise certain ways that would be constitutionally and legally acceptable to achieve the ends they were really after. And that just failed totally because no one in Congress or — we couldn't get anybody in the courts, and certainly the Department of Justice and inspector general's office didn't pay any attention to it. And all of the efforts we made just produced no change whatsoever. All it did was continue to get worse and expand.
Ex NSA Official Bill Binney


Never rub another man's rhubarb - The Joker

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Call

Ow.


I spent the morning in an MRI tunnel. My shoulder has been hurting so bad lately that I practically wake up crying every night. Can't lift it. After six months of excruciating pain, I finally visited the noted orthopedic surgeon several weeks ago.

"When did it start hurting?"

"1974."

"You really rushed in here."

I was telling the truth actually, got jumped in high school, kneed in the shoulder and it has never been right. Never got around to seeing anyone. Idiot. Now I have a large calcium deposit on top of the ball and it may have deformed the underlying tendon. Really bad. Haven't been able to do a lateral extension for months.

The doctor, who is the top man in his field, said, three to five months rehab after surgery "not weeks, I said months." Now I am trying to finesse a few shows, try to create a much needed cash reserve before what might prove to be a long layoff. Very scary, although I have certainly came out of similar straits fairly rosily in previous crises so I am not wanting to give you the impression that I will not rise up and conquer, I just don't know how yet.

He says that it is like a large ball of calcified toothpaste on the joint.  Very curious. Cross your fingers. This is going to require quite the slick dance moves on the part of your favorite blogthur. Frankly the whole thing is turning me into a neurotic mess.

There are a couple other minor problems that I am not really going to divulge, at least here, my mother is out of the hospital and reading the blog again. Even gave me a nice compliment the other day. Nothing to see here, Mom. Let's keep moving along... but I love you and am glad that you are home again."

I hate the thought of another fucking surgery. I'm working late at the office printing up large proofs for my upcoming group photo show. Possibly pleased. Got to get home before dinner gets cold and Leslie gets sore.

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Got this from Shawn today. Good article, I had a similar experience in Israel trying to facilitate communication as the author in 1990.

Hey, just came across a site and one of the 'other' articles (besides the one I was searching for) was titled; 

New Book Questions Effectiveness of Peace-building Workshops


Somer thoughts on the Middle East conflicts...but when finished, go to the 'home' page...not everything is of great interest, but scroll through it and have a look...there are quite a few articles (a good ways down the page) that would seem to be 'up your alley'!
Alohahaha,
S

PS PLEASE WRITE/BLOG MORE! I'm sick of looking at Al Jazerra, etc., but every time I check your blog there's nothing new to occupy me! ;>))) Haa, haa, haa - look - you addicted us, all, now you're responsible!

Sorry Shawn. Lot on my plate right now.

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Feinstein and a bunch of other Senators dropped the ball at the NSA hearings. Blame the public and the media. Because only you politicians know what's good for the rest of us, right? My Uncle evidently doesn't feel the same way I do.

Robert,
      I read through much of your "Blast" writing this evening.  You and your spouse still seem to be having a great time--restaurants that are special, hotels in Hawaii, and lots of interesting stuff.  More than me--but I am living the life I chose--so I can't gripe--though I do wonder if it is worth buying municipal bonds with my discretionary income; there must be better ways to have fun.
      
         I mostly enjoy your blog--sometime you sound too much like Fareed Zakeria.  My view is that the world must  realize it is at war with a cult that wants anyone who believes differently from them to be exterminated.  So, in my view, many "abuses" must be tolerated.  Enough.  UNCLE Norm 

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Will try to keep writing, might be left handed.

Oscar Pettiford Quartet 1959 - Blues In The Closet

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Herbie Mann

The Box

Jonathan Hill sent this interesting video over, a production from the San Francisco design team, Bot and Dolly.  Give it a little time and I think you will see that they are doing some cutting edge stuff.




This is what you get when you combine robotics, the projection-mapping of 3D computer graphics, and an actor all working together in perfect synchronization. It's a five-minute short film called "The Box" — and it's nothing short of revolutionary.
The short film was produced by San Francisco-based design and engineering firm Bot & Dolly. It's the first of its kind — an achievement the producers believe will "radically transform theatrical presentations and define new genres of expression." The creators describe the film as being both an “artistic statement and technical demonstration”, one that explores “the synthesis of real and digital space through projection mapping on moving surfaces”.
To create this stunning effect, Bot & Dolly used an actor, two high-resolution projectors, two 2D monitors, and three industrial robots (one for the camera) that were synchronized and controlled by integrating their own software with Autodesk's Maya.
And yes, this live performance was all captured in camera.

Blog reckoning


Gee, I wasn't paying attention and I just surpassed last year's post production on the blog, my highest tally to date. My, have I been on a tear? Just think what a wealthy and possibly miserable man I would be if I had put the commensurate amount of energy into my business... 611,510 page views. Of course, as I have said in the past, if I blogged cute kitten pictures, I could do that in any off tuesday.

Thanks to all of you readers, commenters, contributors, lurkers and miscreants for keeping this thing moving forward.

Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

Man Shoots An Elephant In The Face



It amazes me what some people do for fun. The preceding video, broadcast on NBC, shows a National Rifle Association lobbyist named Tony Makris in Botswana getting his jollies taking down a bull elephant and then celebrating with a little bubbly. I have no problem with people hunting for food but the thought of trophy hunting makes me very ill. I personally like to do my hunting with a camera, and give the magnificent quarry a chance to walk out of the frame unscathed.

Humans are really such horrid animals. In researching this, I read a comment that I liked, wouldn't it be neat if we had a show where the animals could instead hunt defenseless NRA lobbyists? Would pay to see that.


A few weeks ago I read a story about a Rhode Island man talking about his son, a son who had been mauled by a grizzly bear. I decided to take a closer look at the story.

Rhode Island man says it's a miracle his son survived a grizzly mauling in Alaska

    Article by: RACHEL D'ORO , Associated Press
    Updated: September 11, 2013 - 3:05 PM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The father of a Rhode Island man who was mauled by a grizzly bear in Alaska said Wednesday it's a miracle that his son is alive after suffering bites to his head and leg.
John O. Matson Jr. of Charlestown, R.I., was listed in fair condition Wednesday at an Anchorage hospital.
"He's got a hell of a headache," said his father, John O. Matson Sr. of Hopkinton, R. I., adding that his 46-year-old son was recuperating after head surgery. "His spirits are great."
The younger Matson was attacked by the bear Monday during a guided bear hunt near Beaver Mountain, about 40 miles southwest of the interior town of McGrath. Bad weather prevented rescuers from quickly reaching Matson's party of three. Matson was finally rescued from the remote spot on Tuesday.
Matson's father credits the two other hunters, also from Rhode Island, with saving his son. The guide, Steve Persson of Charlestown, and another man the father wouldn't identify were packing to leave the hunting camp. They planned to visit their wounded friend later at Providence Alaska Medical Center.
"He's very grateful to his friends," the elder Matson said.
His son, a construction contractor, does not want to speak with reporters about his ordeal, but he does want people to know he's OK, the father said.
Matson Jr. was attacked about 90 minutes after first wounding the bear.
Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said the hunters had initially seen the bear feeding on berries. They were about a mile away and approached the animal for the first time.
Matson shot at the bear and saw it roll into bushes, Peters said. The grizzly ran off into heavier brush after it flailed about in the brush for a while.
Peters said the hunters waited about 90 minutes, then went after the bear again in some thickets. That's where Matson was attacked. The two others were a short distance away, and the guide heard Matson scream and fire his weapon.
The grizzly ran off after Matson's friends fired shots at the animal. The three men then headed back to their camp about a mile away.
The others used clothing to wrap Matson's profusely bleeding head and took care of him the best they could, according to Peters.
"They kept him awake all night talking to him," she said.
Bad weather prevented a flight from reaching the injured hunter on Monday. On Tuesday morning, the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center sent an Alaska Air National Guard team to the area in a Pave Hawk helicopter. Rescuers initially couldn't find the hunters because of bad weather and their inability to make contact with the men. They had to halt the search for a while so they could refuel in McGrath before resuming the search.
They found the hunters early that afternoon. But because of the terrain and low visibility, the team was dropped off in a different location and then had to hike in to the injured hunter, the Guard said.
Matson was first flown to McGrath and from there a LifeMed Alaska flight transported him 225 miles southeast to the Anchorage hospital.
"I'm sure he's got one heck of a story. He'll have awesome scars to go with it," Peters said. "He's certainly lucky."
Let me get this straight. A guy finds a bear in his native habitat minding his own business eating berries, shoots it and then heads into a thicket to find it. The bear sees him and carves the guy up. Why do I find myself rooting for the bear? What is sporting about taking on a basically defenseless, clearly outgunned mammal from a safe distance with a large caliber weapon? What kind of human being finds pleasure in the undertaking? And I am supposed to feel sorry for this guy or consider his survival an act of providence?

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Here in California there is a brouhaha going on over attempts to ban lead ammunition. Opponents of lead bullets point to the problems people and wildlife have in ingesting lead particles left in game. Hunting advocates made two ludicrous points in the Union Tribune article I read the day before yesterday, one, that we should only be concerned if an entire animal species population was jeopardized, e.g. California condors, as opposed to individual animals and two, we shouldn't be concerned because overall habitat loss was a greater threat to the species than lead ingestion. Simply ridiculous.

The Untouchables

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It Makes No Difference

The Diary of General E.D. Townsend


I am reading a great book that I would like to share with you, The California Diary of General E.D. Townsend, 1851 to 1856. This is a rather fascinating tale that I recommend to any history buff. General Townsend was a fairly nondescript general, it appears that he was mostly a bean counter, had helped relocate the Cherokee, a pious latin learned, episcopal fellow who left his native Boston on a ship for California as a captain. This journal is very well written and gives the reader a good unvarnished look at early California. I will probably just copy a few entries and if you folks enjoy reading it I will periodically find my way back to the well.

The book was edited by Malcolm Edwards and published by Ward Ritchie Press. Townsend ultimately became the Adjutant General for the Pacific and later the Union Army. He worked with Grant, Sheridan and Sherman and later as Adjutant General to Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, was responsible for the defense of our nation's capitol during the Civil War.

Townsend twice acted as Secretary of War and had the mournful duty of leading the Honor Guard that accompanied the assassinated president's body back to Springfield.

I would like to share some random excerpts of the book with you, just to give you a flavor. In order to make his journey clearer to you, I should point out that Townshend left Boston, sailed to Havana, then Panama and Acapulco before continuing around the Cape of Baja and up to the Alta California coast.

Saturday November 22, 1851

Special Orders No. 141 - Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant General's Office 
Capt. E.D. Townshend, Asst. Adjt. Genl. is assigned to duty in Pacific Division, and will repair to the Head Quarters thereof and report accordingly.
By command of  Major General Scott:
/Sd./R.Jones - Adjt. Genl.

This is the order under which I started from Washington this morning at 6 o'clock for California. I leave all my family behind, and go into, to me, a new world. I had no agency in the matter and although it is not an agreeable thing to leave one's home for an indefinite period, I am now inclined to think it will prove one of the most fortunate events of my life...I bid adieu to all who are dear to me, commending them also to that kind providence with whom I feel they are safe...They were just taking in the mail when Clem put on my smallest trunk. He was staggering under the weight of the heavy one when the cars were in motion- my hurrying him did him no good, he had not strength to run.

In this dilemma a strong porter seized the trunk & just had time to get it into the mail car, leaving me no more than time enough to jump into a car before we were off with a whiz...

November 26, 1851

Last night was the longest I have passed in many a year. The ship rolled terribly & I was kept awake much of the night with a pain in my back, arising no doubt, from bile. I ate nothing after breakfast yesterday, and having eaten nothing today, being obliged to keep still to keep from being sea sick. I threw off a quantity of bile this morning but am not quite right yet.

November  28, 1851

... Judge Thornton has suffered much for the lop of his arm. Some months ago he struck another man in a quarrel. His hand was lacerated, and mortified so he was forced to have it amputated. After his arrival in Washington the inflamation traveled up his arm, and he had to lose a part of it to save his life. It had but just healed over when he was forced to come off. he has had several falls in the rolling of the ship and has paid dearly for his passion. He is an elderly man too, and seems very mild and gentlemanly.

December 1, 1851

We came off Havana at 1 o'clock last night and lay to 'till just after day light in the morning, when we got under way. I turned out to see the entrance to the Havana. What a glorious sight! There lay the "Pearl of the Ocean," with the sun rising over the land in a sea of liquid gold. Presently came the Morro, or castle, on the bluff round which we have to shape our course to enter the harbor. Nothing can, to my fancy, be more picturesque than the entire scene...

At about 8 o'clock in the evening I had finished my rambles, and Mr. Morrison was kind enough to accompany me back to my ship. I found out from him that the Spanish boatmen, volante drivers and others are as servile to those than can abuse them in their own lingo, as a foreigner who has been imposed on them could possibly desire. They hate los Americanos since the invasion of Lopez and take delight in fleecing them. 

December 5, 1851

One of the second cabin passengers lost a child of two or three years old, and the little thing was thrown overboard while the ship was under way. I may be oversensitive but the utter want of feeling which was shown on the occasion would certainly be faintly described by Lady Coortley in the little value Americans show for human life...

December 8, 1851

I rested indifferently last night between the rats which were running and squeaking round the room all night, and my nearest bedfellows. They are if the better sort of Californians, strong and heavy young men, and in their sleep they were constantly turning over to me, obliging me to keep awake to push them off with my elbows.

Sunday, December 14, 1851

Panama

Looking in at the cathedral this morning I saw at Mass a dozen Señoras and Señoritas, and half a dozen negroes, one a child of about four years, in a perfect state of nudity. This is no uncommon sight in the streets or the doors of houses, but I was not prepared to find it in the best "Sunday, go to meeting" dress of those sable urchins.

December 27, 1851

We made Cape St. Lucas last night. The head wind still continues and retards us thirty miles a day at least. I fear that Mr. Minturn will lose his bet of $25, that we shall reach San Francisco by noon of the 1st. We passed today by the bay lading to San Marguerita, where are the celebrated pearl fisheries. Occasional glimpses of the shore betray nothing but barren volcanic hills.



December 30, 1851

Another poor fellow was thrown overboard last night. He drank hard on the isthmus, got the fever and died at about 10 P.M. Scarcely was he cold before they sewed him up and launched him! He leaves a wife and seven children in the States. Is this humanity?...We entered the Harbor of San Diego this evening at about 7 o'clock. The Channel is narrow and tortuous, but the Harbor, or Bay, is a very safe one, extending two or three miles in from the sea... Here I was agreeably surprised to meet Kendrick, Sitgreaves & Parke, who are going with us to San Francisco... They have come through from New Mexico under the guide of Leroux, a famous guide of N.Mex. They have had a hard time, living for ten or twelve days on mule's flesh and being often without water for two days... The indians beset them constantly & picked off one man of the escort. There  is much excitement about a combination of indians in considerable numbers, for the purpose of cutting off the Americans & destroying San Diego & other towns in the South of California. Two men, leaders of the conspiracy have been taken and hung by lynch law. They both confessed that many of the principal Californians were implicated, and that the ground of the trouble was the operation of a certain law for taxing the indians. Our troops, not much over one hundred in number, have gone out towards the site of Warner's Ranch, which was burned a short time ago... 



December 31, 1851

The Irishman died between 12 and 2 last night, and was buried this morning. His wife is still too ill to be told of her loss. We passed up the channel of Santa Barbara this morning and saw some queer looking islands near to our course. Two have arches in their side and one resembles a buffalo mired.



It is a funny sensation that we are now in the United States. When it was first mentioned in the Harbor of San Diego, I could scarcely realize it. We saw the monument marking the Southern Boundary of California, on the top of a large table mountain, about 14 miles from San Diego, & nearly south of it. San Diego consists of three distinct towns - the old town is at the extreme inner end of the Bay- the new towns are nearly opposite each other on the north and south sides of the Bay...There is said to be much rivalry between the three places & it appears absurd to one who does not see in the small collections of low frame buildings, hardly worthy the appellation of "town," the future great city which is to arise on the shores of the Pacific. Yet San Diego is already a name much celebrated, and who shall say it is not to be the terminus of a great railroad from the East?

January 1, 1852

A happy new Year to all my good people, at both my dear homes! May we all meet as we parted, only better if possible, before the close of this same year! I dare not indulge in recording my home thoughts, or feelings, for strangers sometimes read journals!

We ran into the Harbor of Monterey at about noon today. A fine large bay, a very pretty little town, plenty of wood on the trees around, but no appearance of much activity in business.

Perhaps to be continued...

Romeo Void

Davanti Enoteca Del Mar


I had a great meal with cousin Stanley and Tracy at Davanti Enoteca in Del Mar this weekend.  I had heard rave reviews last year about their Little Italy restaurant but didn't know this one even existed. They love the place and I can see why although I need to go a few more times and get the lay of the land before I make any grand pronouncements.

Davanti is located in a large upscale suburban shopping center. Tall ceilings, lots of wood, pretty servers, we were quickly seated in the glassy room up front.

We started off the meal with the foccacia di recco, a giant foccacia filled with a combination of three cheeses and served with fresh honey comb on top. It is pretty much a must order. Can't put it down as you can see in the picture above, which I incidentally took with my new HTC One, un retouched. Anyway, the dish is served on a large tomato can, a nice touch.

Stan and Trace split the polenta with mascarpone and pork ragu. I tasted it and it was pretty amazing. This is served with a different type of ragu every day.

I had the uovo barzotta, pork belly hash with poached eggs and avocado and what was said to be hollandaise. I am not so sure what it was, kind of orangey, a bit over sweet and cloying. The pork belly bits were just heaven. A nice dish that I would have again.


For dessert we all went for a tiramisu lemon cake that was light and terrific.

I really like this place and want to return and find new discoveries on the menu. Food was great, staff was great, just an excellent addition to our area. I believe that it is a small chain that started in Chicago. There is a sister restaurant next door as well. Check it out and let me know what you think.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

Global Groove

Single Wing Turquoise Bird



Having been on at least the back lines of the psychedelic revolution, I was privileged to see some wonderful light shows in my time, even at the tail end. Most of the metropolitan areas had people that were creating these visual masterpieces, in the early days in New York you had Joshua White, San Francisco was known for Glen McKay and Jerry Abrams HeadLights and Bill Ham's Light Sound Dimension. Fillmores, Avalon, Carousel, Winterland, Electric Circus all had light shows of some kind.

I was privileged to see Bill Ham's work at the Tribal Stomp in Berkeley and I have never before or since seen such such sublime mastery. Zen sutras morphed into indian chiefs that exploded in the dawn of creation... Of course I may have had a serious buzz on at the time that some would say calls everything I experienced into question. You can trust me or not. Your choice. It's my story and I'm sticking to it.



I mean under the right circumstances, mixed in the proper chemical alembic, I suppose your belly button lint could like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel but that is a topic for another day. We must take some things on faith. These were symphonies of the single moment, a momentary synaptic flash that has now flickered into the eternal void, never to be recaptured. Talk about multitasking...Everything lined up perfect once and I ain't going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen again. But as a very visual guy I have to take my hat off to these lysergic pioneers and admit to pining for that kind of truly magic experience that a few of us once shared.



Later on Candace Brightman did some very marvelous things with the Dead, they were a touch more formulaic than the earlier work that I was privileged to catch but still quite wonderful. The moment had changed.


I lived in Texas mid sixties when the local flower was at the height of its psychedelic power and people were making some strange contraptions called zots. You wound plastic dry cleaner bags tightly around wire hangers, suspended them from the ceiling, placed a pie tin on the floor and lit the thing up under an industrial strobe. My sister Liz was quite good at this. The rushing whoosh was fairly protean and definitely mind expanding. Anybody else ever play with these?

Pinnacle - John Van Hammersfeld
Los Angeles had a concert promoter named Pinnacle that my bud Rick Griffin and John Van Hamersveld did a lot of work for. They produced shows at the Shrine and elsewhere in the LA area. Single Wing Turquoise Bird did the lights. I never saw their shows live, I am sure that many of you have, lucky people, but the work that you can now find on Youtube gives you a taste of what many of us largely missed.

Rick Griffin - Who
When the mtv video thing broke, whenever that was, seventies I guess, I had high hopes for it but I think it has largely been a big let down and waste. Enya and Peter Gabriel, XTC did some neat stuff early on  but it quickly became the lowest common denominator medium - big hair head banger gets the blonde with the big rack, lives happily ever after, ho-hum...We enter the big sleep.

It could have been so much more, something rotten must have happened to consciousness somewhere along the way. I don't know. Burroughs and Gysin were trailblazers. Give this acid test record a little listen, Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were way out front.

My sister hung out with Nam Jun Paik in New York in the early days, the Dead were doing those far out things with Morton Subotnik, people had a respect for the visual circus back then that seems pretty lacking these days. Honestly, people have become very boring.

It took a microdot to make a microchip and we had to trip before we could hyperlink. Maybe in 50 or 100 years things can start vibrating again. whooosh!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fallbrook Shutters - 4th Annual Photographic Exhibition


Pocket Thunderbird


Pocket Thunderbird from randyman on Vimeo.

Blast member in great standing Randy Walters shot this video for his ailing father with his new Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera and a 10mm f/1.6 Kern Paillard Switar lens.  GREAT JOB, RANDY!
I shot 99% of this piece over about an hour on the evening of 9.11.13, using the wonderful Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera and a 10mm f/1.6 Kern Paillard Switar lens.
I had no plans for the footage while I was shooting, but when I realized how well it would go with Marc Cohn's song "Silver Thunderbird", I immediately knew what I had to do.
My nearly 90-year-old father is dying of cancer, and it's very unlikely he'll see his next birthday. So this is my early birthday present to him, with gratitude for all he's done for me.
Graded in DaVinci 9/10 and edited in Final Cut Pro. Just a couple shots - the sky, a cornfield - used a Kern Paillard Switar 25mm f/1.4 lens. One bokeh shot used the "bokeh monster" Meyer-Optik Orestor 135mm f/2.8 lens.
The 10mm Switar is full of character, and vignettes just a touch. Sometimes it's visible, sometimes it isn't - but I like it a lot.
The Pocket Cinema Camera is a joy to use, though I'm still investigating stabilization techniques that will enable greater handheld freedom, for less static shots. It's still in the early days... this little camera has a big future in store.

Mike Bloomfield



Recorded live at the Old Waldorf in 1974. The late Roger Troy on vocals, my pal Barry Goldberg on the organ. Bloomfield shows his incredible touch.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Prisoner - Fall Out

NSA Skullbuggery

How Doth The Little Crocodile
by Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
    Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
    On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
    How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
    With gently smiling jaws!

There was one moment last week when I was tempted to break my literary fast and blog away but finally thought better of it and decided to instead just chill and relax. It was something I read regarding a classic recent moment in governmental doublespeak. I can't find my original source material but here is a synopsis from EFF.
In a March 2, 2009 FISA court opinion, the Court noted that the program collects "communication of U.S. person who are not the subject of an FBI investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, and are data that otherwise could not be legally captured in bulk by the government." (first emphasis by the court, second ours).  "Ordinarily, this alone would provide sufficient grounds for a FISC judge to deny the application."
The Court noted that, nevertheless, the spying was approved, based on the Court's confidence in the NSA's assurances of a good process and strict controls. By March 2009, however, "The Court no longer has such confidence." The Court's particularly scathing statement about its distrust in the NSA can be found on page 12 here.What happened was that the FISC required the NSA have a "reasonable articulable suspicion" before conducting a search on a phone number.  The NSA decided, independently, that it could run searches on the database to develop the basis for the reasonable articulable suspicion.  Hence, the NSA was conducting suspicion less searches for information to obtain the court-required basis to search for that information.
So let me try to get this straight, the court says you have to have a reasonable suspicion in order to search the data of the normal american citizen so the government says well, if we institute a search, maybe we can find a reason to search. Get it? Ouch, my head hurts...

From Forbes:
"...From 2006 to 2009, the NSA was found by its judicial regulators in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to be illegally surveilling thousands of phone numbers both inside and outside the United States without reasonable suspicion, according to documents released Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. On a daily basis, NSA analysts searched massive records of phone call metadata for matches with a so-called “Alert List” of 17,835 numbers, of which only 1,935 met the legal requirement of “reasonable articulable suspicion” necessary to track those numbers."
The Forbes article is very interesting. What a percentage we are batting. By my calculations we only get it wrong 89.9 percent of the time. Not bad.
It appears to me that we have some highly ranked muckety mucks telling some very big, and very convenient lies. And of course the bullshit doesn't stop at the Oval Office's door. Obama says that he disclosed released these documents because of a desire for transparency and that big open debate thingy he likes to talk about. The reality is that he was forced to disclose the material by a judge's ruling. Clapper basically says that this whole brouhaha shows you how well the oversight system works and its merely a complex data issue. The big new tech review panel sounds like a total joke, the spooks refusing to break bread with the civil libertarians. Politicians, they have no shame. And they don't give two shits for the rights of normal Americans.
Franz Kafka