*

*
Water and stone

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Burton Cummings & Randy Bachman

Tommy James and the Shondells

Let it snow


I had a wonderful trip to Canada. Cold but not too cold, about 17 below celsius with wind chill at the worst.  Timed my visit perfectly, with the first real dusting of snow. I hadn't seen my brother Buzz in a while, nor his wife, children and grandchild, they were all wonderful company and it could not have been a nicer time.


The trip out was uneventful. I arrived at the airport and was sent to the TSA pre clearance line which means belt and shoes stay on and Bobby walks right through. "Wait a second, how can this be? I'm a nutty, subversive writer and I should have a file this thick?"To my chagrin, my protests fell on deaf ears.

My plane flew into Detroit, I got a first blast of icy air debarking between the plane door and the ramp. Strange to see one's breath again after a protracted absence. Detroit Airport has a tunnel between terminals that is an odd and quite wonderful light show. I also took this picture of an airport restaurant with my cell phone. Rather bizarre message they are sending. Marketing genius, obviously trying to appeal to the large untapped shithead demographic.


Toronto is a special city. Not particularly beautiful, it lacks the copper domed elegance of Quebec and the sheer beauty of British Columbia. Dismal in a way that many northeastern cities appear where the winter brings so few hours of sunlight. Yet it is one of the most advanced cities I have ever visited in many ways. People in Toronto seem to be totally color blind, it is the most blended and tolerant city I have ever visited from a cultural standpoint. Quite commendable. And the people by and large seem pretty hip.


Like the rest of the Canada the people are all so nice, almost fatally nice. I believe that they are inwardly kvelling with delight over the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford's recent implosion. They can finally show the rest of the world a little street cred, that they have the capacity to be bad like the rest of us. Nobody has really acted up since Margaret Trudeau. And now Rob Ford is doing his best Belushi impression at the same time Prime Minister Stephen Harper is embroiled in a big payola scam of his own. You've made it Canada...

I watched a lot of hockey highlights, my nephew is a local sports radio announcer. Discussed the finer arts of curling, the miserable NBA basketball franchise. And ate a lot of good ethnic food. Toronto is such a vast repository of good, cheap, ethnic cuisine, my favorite kind.

The first night we walked over to a neighborhood joint, Pho Spring Garden, Koreans that served vietnamese, thai and korean fare. I had maybe the best bimbimpap of my life, the spring rolls sucked but after all, I was in the middle of the tundra, so what did I expect? Buzz ordered the pho. My brother definitely knows his way around food. A lawyer turned restauranteur,

Yonge Street is chalk full of interesting foods, you could eat at a different place every night and never get tired. Middle eastern, chinese, tea houses, curry, pinoy, kabob, izakaya joints, hungarian, and everything in between, it is a veritable smorgasbord of gustatory delights.


The first morning I woke up and walked to the park across Doris and tromped through the snow. Some kids in the park offered me a toke, which I graciously declined. Didn't want to cause an international incident or anything. It was fun to get my sea legs or should I say snow legs back?

I felt something strange occurring with my left foot and gingerly limped back to the small apartment I had rented, turned out that I hadn't paid proper attention to my toenails and I had a quite bloody toe. One of the worst problems with getting fat, the physiologic and structural impediments to good toenail maintenance.


Buzz drove me over to the venerable St. Lawrence Market. I choked down a peameal bacon sandwich, a local signature dish, pretty much required but not one of the greatest things I have ever eaten. Hey, nobody put a gun to my head. This is one of the world's great markets and I loved looking at all of the varied food, ukrainian, mexican, any cuisine you could think of.

I also ate a portuguese flan at the market, which my slightly younger brother commented was odd because apparently we regularly had a similar dish when we were young boys in El Paso that I don't particularly remember at present.


I had an appointment to talk to a woman about a painting at the University of Toronto and than scurried over to talk to a man about another canvas. As I peered into the gallery, a man walked up to tell me that the man  I sought had passed away. He owned another gallery now at the same location and we exchanged business cards and pleasantries after a bit of requisite butt sniffing.

Zachary came over and joined us, we all went out to an excellent dim sum place for lunch called Pearl BayView which was situated in a mall somewhere. No carts, one orders from the kitchen off the menu.

Food was nice and tasty!


Afterwards Buzz drove me over to Soma in the distillery district. Leslie and I went to this place, my favorite chocolate shop in the world, on our last trip to Toronto ages ago and could never forget it. Soma makes the best hot chocolate you have ever tasted this side of machu picchu anyway, a spicy, chile filled mouth orgasm. I bought a king's ransom worth to bring home.


Soma has this wonderful ninety something year old chocolate press, maybe imported from Spain?


Next door to Soma is the very cool and futuristic shop, Bergo the Gallery of Industrial Design. I missed my wife a lot, she would have really enjoyed herself this afternoon. Very cool place. Check out the link.


I don't want you to get the impression that all I did was eat. I am sure that we did other things too, like discuss Proust and solve the world hunger problem. But I did put it away.

That night we ordered in West Indian from Island Foods. We dined on oxtails and curried chicken. I had the boneless goat. All delicious and simply unavailable in the land where I live. Of course you can't get a decent burrito up there either or so my brother tells me. If you love curries, Toronto has to be close to heaven.


Thanksgiving day, we drove to Waterloo to see my niece and her family, the first time I would ever set eyes on the newest addition to my clan, my great niece Rosalyn, the most adorable girl. Stopped for jelly doughnuts, apparently a Chanukah staple I was never clued into, never celebrating much in my strange childhood.


The family is very tight, loving and supportive and it was an honor to spend time with them, to a person. Sorry I missed seeing my nephew Jake, away at graduate school, I am told a very smart young man.


My sister in law Julia was really great to me and made me feel most welcome. A wonderful visit with the whole family, something that I have neglected for too long.


I took a long walk up Yonge the next day. Watched the cranes operating on the rooftop and enjoyed the very crisp morning. Visited a little cemetery, tombstones topped with winter's frosting.


I love walking in big cities, especially New York, but Toronto is an able substitute. I lose myself in the anonymity of city streets, rediscover a forgotten piece of myself while striding alone across great avenues.

*

The culture of cold is much more developed in Canada. Snow tires, snow pants, these people are professionals. Most American winters pale next to what they experience up here and the folks in Saskatoon have it even worse.

I heard the weather people talk about so many different levels of snow, dusting, blowing and corn. My brother talked of a snow with the consistency of kosher salt. The weather people issued weather statements. It is definitely a new frozen lexicon. I realized how little I actually knew about the subject.

I decided to learn a little something about snow, perhaps something I could share. I started researching snow and found the new terms graupel, firn, névé in my dictionary. Graupel is the soft snow pellet that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on a falling snowflake.

Firn is rounded, compact snow that is over a year old.

Névé is young, granular snow that has been partially melted, refrozen and compacted but still has not had a birthday.

Snow cognoscentis and I assume most Canadians fit into this category, can readily tell you the difference between a snow flurry, squall or burst. I assuredly, can not.

Read this website and you too can understand all the various snow formations, tell a cornice from a barchan and hoarfrost from perennial. And no, you can't get sastrugi at a goulash restaurant.


If I am unable to write after tuesday I wish you all the best of Decembers.

Robert

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Dealer - Chico Hamilton

Thanksgivkuhh

I waited in line after the long flight to Canada, biding my time to talk to  the Customs enforcement agent.

"Where you coming from?"

San Diego.

"How long do you plan to be here?"

Five days.

"Where are you staying?"

With my brother in Toronto.

"How long has he been here?"

About 25 years.

"Vietnam, huh? He looked at me with a nodding acknowledgement. In a soft voice he said, " I don't blame him."

His math was a bit off but I didn't stop to argue, too busy laughing to myself. Buzz the Canadian draft dodger.

Nice snow last night, cold as hell. Walked through the park and took pictures when the sun came up.Will hopefully have time to write about the trip when I get back.

Presidential turkey

President Obama made headlines the other day when he mentioned that he was not particularly ideological. I agree, he does not appear to be. My problem is that he campaigned rather fervently as a person with a strong ideological bent, especially in some of the areas I am interested in like civil liberties. Now it appears that he is not as committed to a progressive agenda as he once presented himself.

Huffpo pointed out today that he has pardoned far more thanksgiving turkeys than low level marijuana smokers. I am not going to waste your time with a long laundry list of grievances, I have done that many times before. I only wish that he had been more honest with his constituency when he gave us his initial sales job.

I have friends that are pained by my negative view of Barack Obama. I look at him as a very good opportunity wasted and a man who has a hard time taking responsibility. While the ACA was definitely obstructed at every term, his signature program was so fatally flawed and executed that it obviously had no business being launched before it was ready. Amateur hour. His backtracking on his promises to the american people regarding this program will badly tarnish his legacy forever.

It is admirable that we have a President that can be so non ideological and objective. But as I said several years ago after one of his many betrayals, some day he will need his alienated base and they will no longer listen or respond to his clarion call. I believe that day has come.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blues for Roy



Michael Bloomfield was 21 years old when he recorded this tune in 1964.

Recorded by Norman Dayron. Michael Bloomfield, g; Michael Johnson, g; Sid Warner, b; Norm Mayell, d.
Big John’s, Chicago, IL; October 15, 1964

Beware the bots!


Every day a new disclosure and more dismay and revulsion. Today dutch newspaper NRC.nl lets us in on the United States government's latest dirty little secret; they have infected 50,000 computer networks with infectious and malicious botnets merely awaiting their master's signal to create mayhem and destruction across the web
NSA SPECIAL DEPARTMENT EMPLOYS MORE THAN A THOUSAND HACKERSThe NSA computer attacks are performed by a special department called TAO (Tailored Access Operations). Public sources show that this department employs more than a thousand hackers. As recently as August 2013, the Washington Post published articles about these NSA-TAO cyber operations. In these articles The Washington Post reported that the NSA installed an estimated 20,000 ‘implants’ as early as 2008. These articles were based on a secret budget report of the American intelligence services. By mid-2012 this number had more than doubled to 50,000, as is shown in the presentation NRC Handelsblad laid eyes on.
‘SLEEPER CELLS’ CAN BE ACTIVATED WITH A SINGLE PUSH OF A BUTTONThe malware can be controlled remotely and be turned on and off at will. The ‘implants’ act as digital ‘sleeper cells’ that can be activated with a single push of a button. According to the Washington Post, the NSA has been carrying out this type of cyber operation since 1998.
Who will protect us from our own government? Thank you Edward Snowden. With every new disclosure, I am more appreciative of the necessity of your lifting the veil on our country's arrogance and perfidy. Come back, cut a good deal and run for office. It is obvious that the NSA is totally out of control. I hope that Feinstein, Mike Rogers and all the other surveillance enablers are soon handed their walking papers.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Boogie Woogie Blues - Hollywood Fats Band with Roy Brown

Blue Heron Blast readership favorite shots - 2013

Here are some of the blast population's favorite pictures taken this year. Please do not use these images without the photographer's permission. Let me know if you want me to inquire. I will continue to add to this post as long as I am able, so please keep sending me images!  Once again, very nice stuff.

Kip Peterson

Zion National Park - Sigma DP2- Merrill
 

Ted Fleming

Beauty and the beast


Mike Reardon

Oceanside Pier


Jonathan Hill

Ladder, Santa Fe

Bill Olson


From April to November, almost every time I rode my bicycle to Oceanside I took a 10 second video with my iPod. This is a montage of frame captures from most of those clips.




Kerry Vernon Johnson


Jeanne

Robert Sommers

Ken Seals



Jon Harwood




Ricardo Neumann


Thai parking space

Len Baron


St. Marks Place



Randy Walters



Brett Stokes





Lou Nidorf





Dominic Grossi



Lena Leichtling




Tim Hardin

Lake on the mountain

Nihau overlook, Kauai
This has been a very productive year blogwise, at least in a number's sense. Not sure if it has been very satisfying on a personal level. Haven't written any decent fiction in two or three years. The Blast has reverted to a pretty clinical and reactive beast. Just haven't felt much like sharing so I am reduced to playing current events referee and not dishing much personally. Not feeling it.

I am reminded of one of the i ching commentaries, the third line of the 31st hexagram hsieh, a passage that I have often paused to consider:

First, a man should not run precipitately after all the 
persons whom he would like to influence, but must be able to hold back 
under certain circumstances. As little should he yield immediately to every 
whim of those in whose service he stands. Finally, where the moods of his 
own heart are concerned, he should never ignore the possibility of inhibition, 
for this is the basis of human freedom.

Sorry about the paucity of communication of late. And what has been a slow drip is about to grind to a dead stop. I am flying to Canada and upon my return will soon go under the knife. Hope that I can type again before the end of the year. We will see. Probably one or two at the end of next week.

In any case, I really enjoyed your best of 2012 pictures last year and would like to encourage all of you to send me a favorite picture or two from this year. Don't have to be artistic or professional, maybe a snapshot, or even a drawing. Let's try that again.

Thanks to all of you for reading, thanks to the occasional commenters, thanks to all of you who make my life such a blessing. Let's remember the immortal words of Robert Hunter, "without love in the dream, it will never come true."

***
Got this message and photo from Ted this afternoon:

Took this picture looking the opposite direction of where you took a picture of Leslie and me with Niihau in the background on the 550 near the call box pull off.



Bombs away

"The majority in the Senate is prepared to restore the Senate's traditions and precedence to ensure that regardless of party, any president's judicial nominees, after full and fair debate, receive a simple up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. It's time to move away from ... advise and obstruct and get back to advise and consent." Mitch McConnell 2005

The pissing match over the filibuster was a laughable study of hypocrisy on both sides. Flip back to 2005 and the roles are completely reversed. However I have to go with the dems on this one. It is a President's prerogative to fill executive offices, including justices.

The reality is that the 2nd district Court of Appeals is the second most important court in our land. There is a reason that the Republicans made such a strident stand in blocking the three nominees. Their insistence on not filling the vacancies because of weak caseload is laughable. They understandably do not want to alter the court's ideological balance which now stands four to four. They do not want a court that decides so many constitutional issues to tilt left. But that is what a President gets to do when he wins an election.

Republicans promise hell to pay when the roles get reversed, which history tells us is eventually bound to happen in our divided country. But defenders of the nuclear option say that things couldn't get any worse than they are at present.

A pessimist will tell you to be careful when you say something like that, things can always get worse. But it is hard to imagine a scenario where things could be as bad as they are now, with the minority power having such a power to stop any movement or progress in its tracks.

Advise and consent is one thing, the Republicans have overplayed their hand and if Obama is smart he will pack as many vacancies as possible before the next election. We are engaged in a major game of tit for tat as the distance between red and blue grows ever wider.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sunny Side Of Heaven

Dial a swami

I shan't bore you too much with the details, time being assuredly short for all of us at present, but I recently traveled to see the proverbial yogi at the top of the mountain. It is hard to find a bona fide card carrying guru these days, let me tell you, and just do yourself a favor, save yourself the hassle and take my word for it.

I trolled the Khumba Mela, thumbing through the various gurus, fakirs and charlatans that reside in the icy waters of the Ganges, nagualed with Castaneda, double domed with Owsley, played ping pong with Ouspensky and his funny sidekick Gurdjieff. That rascal Yenur in New York bored through my skull with his little third eye gazing trick. Wasson thought I might enjoy a little fungal chat with Maria Sabina but honestly the woman scared the heck out of me and I hooked the first cab out of Huatla. Being a seeker can be exhausting.

All nice people but nothing really seemed to click. In matters of marriage and enlightenment one can't be too careful. So I did what any smart soul seeking siddhis and satori would do in the present day and age, I hit the internet. Swami, swami, swami, there it was. Bingo. I found the magic website. I am sworn to secrecy about some of the minutia but I believe that the chap was located somewhere near Cleveland, in a strange and wondrous land called Shaker Heights.

The enlightened one sorted through all of my lives, past, present and future. I am now officially certified through seven bardos and a thousand incarnations, whichever comes first. Read my palm, cleansed my aura, even gave me a manicure. And just when I was feeling like I was riding pretty high on my psychic high horse, I even got a few words of wisdom, something that I have been thinking about quite a bit of late.

It's not really about what you may have attained and achieved in this life time. Stop and also consider the gifts you have squandered.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cephas & Wiggins

Wickigram

After we returned from Kauai I wrote about the pitched battle over GMO seed crops and pesticides that had divided the island. Wicki sent this along the other day:

For this island, an unbelievable struggle.  I know you understand that , culturally, stepping into conflict is not encouraged......other more subtle problem solving processes exist to preserve the peace in this tiny place.  Well, the people stood up to big biotech's and biochemical's push to divide and conquer did not prevail.....there is a long road ahead, but I am so proud of our people.  Love, Wicki


Bill 2491 Passes into Law

Bill Marks a "Turning Point" in Dealing with  
the Impacts of the Chemical Industry on Kauai
On November 16, Kauai County Council voted to override a Mayoral veto of Bill 2491. 
The bill, which is now law, mandates pesticide disclosure by the agrochemical companies on Kauai, and establishes moderate buffer-zones between their operations and schools, hospitals and residential areas. It also requires a health and environmental impact study.
The rulemaking process will begin immediately, with strong commitment from the Council and community to work collaboratively with the administration in order to ensure that enforcement and implementation are effective. The Mayor is also being encouraged to continue his efforts with the State towards voluntary disclosure in the immediate term, until more comprehensive and mandatory disclosure takes effect.
The final passage of Bill 2491 into law is being called a victory for people, health and the environment in the face of incredible pressure from the world's largest chemical corporations. 
The chemical companies have fought strongly against Bill 2491, threatening to sue Kauai, and using divisive and misleading tactics. 
As bill supporter Fern Rosenstiel commented: "It's remarkable how hard we've had to fight simply for our right to know what pesticides are being sprayed in massive amounts right next to homes and schools. We've met every possible obstacle, but we've been persistent and stayed grounded in our values of protecting our people and land."
Dustin Barca, pro-surfer and pro-fighter who has been working to raise awareness about the chemical industry in Hawaii, stated: "Through conscious actions and dedication from the people of Kauai, Bill 2491 has moved us towards a healthier future. We have asserted our right to self-determination, especially when it comes to health and life."  
  
Randi-Li Dickinson, whose family is being impacted by the chemical companies' pesticide use, expressed encouragement and gratitude for the progress made: "Now we will be able to get the information we need to move forward. This is the first step to understanding the impacts of these dangerous pesticides on the health and safety of our keiki and the land."
Despite differences in opinion, all Council Members and the Mayor reiterated their commitment to taking action to address concerns around the chemical industry.
While the bill itself has been controversial on Kauai, the island's people have continued to express a marked amount of unity in the values of prioritizing protection of health and environment. There has also been a strong desire and steady call to maintain the aloha spirit, and to insure that differences in opinion do not create divisiveness.
As Council Chair Jay Furfaro commented prior to the override vote, about a yellow police barricade tape that had been placed across the council lawn to divide bill supporters from opponents: "... I went down ... with the police and I removed the tape and the divider that was downstairs. [applause] That is something that Kauai is known for."
West side resident Kaulana Poe testified at the final vote, "Aloha and respect are why I am for this bill... People have gotten sick, and we would like to make sure that it's not because of them [the companies]. And that is just real simple. [It's about] showing aloha and respect for us." 
#    #    # 

Sittin' on a fence

11.20.13

Black kid gets caught with crack, he is going to Rikers Island. If you are a Republican congressman like Florida's Trey Radel, you get a year's probation. What makes it doubly sweet is that this is one of the guys that wants to drug test welfare recipients. Typical GOP hypocrite.

*
Obama may be a decent orator but he definitely stinks as a manager. Horrible with relationships, even with his own party, he apparently never asked the most important question regarding the ACA rollout, "Will this thing work?" I thought that his statement last week was so weak, "I wanted to fix health site myself but I don't write code." Talk about passing the buck. Word is that there were only 10 programmers trying to write the entire system which is simply ludicrous considering the size and scope.

It is a shame because the goal of insuring the many uninsured people in this country is a good one. But now it gets lost in the miasma of technical difficulties. Gives the people who hated the concept something else to harp about and there is definitely plenty here to criticize.

My own plan is going to cost me an additional 26% next year. I meet my health advisor tomorrow. My coverage will be much less broad on the exchange, with a higher deductible. Obama's pronouncements that people would be able to keep their existing health plans will be remembered for a long time, further damaging his already suspect credibility.

Of course Republicans, champions of repeal and replace, really have nothing to replace it with. The cost of funding high risk pools would be as expensive and unachievable as their prospects for coming up with a realistic immigration plan. Don't hold your breath waiting for either to happen.

*
The Canton, Ohio Walmart's food drive to help poverty stricken employees is certainly interesting. Kind of reminds me of the McDonalds directive a few weeks past instructing their employees how to get food stamps. Or maybe sell their christmas presents. Perhaps if they paid their employees a sufficient livable wage...

*
I had a conversation with the guys at coffee a few weeks ago that stuck. Sometime back the government was giving away surplus cheese to the poor and indigent. A guy pulled up in his cadillac and said that he paid ample taxes and had earned that cheese four times over, driving away with the jack. The crux of their argument was that he deserved it more than some poor schmuck. And I guess that is the dividing line, would you give the cheese to somebody that was actually hungry or some guy that said that he had earned it?

*

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Debbie Davies

11.18.13

It has only been a week since I have written but somehow I feel like I am so far removed that I have forgotten how to speak. My four show grind has come to an end and I am mentally exhausted. Toast. The shows were fruitful and I am both satisfied and proud of my ability to manufacture business at a time when many are having a tough go. Nevertheless I am seriously frayed.

One of the dealers, after a miserable three show run with zero sales, was found unconscious in his hotel room, the victim of possibly a heart attack or stroke. Stuff definitely wears on you when things aren't going the right way. Luckily this guy's sister had the authorities bust down the door and he is going to make it. Our best wishes to him.

Not going to go into a lot of the minutia of my week. Big Hillsborough client bounced a check. The Collector antique magazine ran a story on me and my upcoming surgery that probably divulged more about my personal history than was necessary. A red tailed hawk spent the better part of one afternoon inside the exhibit hall, which has an official new moniker, the Sleep Train O'Brien Building. Least it wasn't brought to you by Tidy bowl.

Had a lot of people come up and introduce themselves as regular readers of the blast and I want to thank all of you for tuning in. You probably have something better to do.

I am officially resigning from at least the administrative duties of my photo group, Fallbrook Shutters. At times it was like herding cats and I don't need it right now. Need to focus on my own stuff at the moment.

My brother is about to go through a pretty serious medical procedure so soon I will be off to Toronto. Then I come back and get my own surgery and an indeterminate decommission. Toronto, what a mayor. Makes Bob Filner look like a choir boy.

*
The microphone on my new phone went dead and I need to now go and exchange it. I will try to write something more salient and personal the next go round. Bye for now.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Stan Getz and Chet Baker

Tin to Tiffany

Lot of cops around of late. Something's been going down. Got a call on my way home that cops chased a car up on Vista Del Rio and two guys jumped out and ran for it into the barranca. One got caught but I don't know about the other guy, who was supposedly somewhere in the brush headed in my direction.

A prudent person would probably go get the handgun. I'm too lazy but I think I did lock the door.

*
Along with cataracts and shoulder aches, I think I may be starting to lose my hair a bit, an ever petulant prostate. This is the point in the story where I usually start beating my breast and bewailing the onslaught of age and my imminent decline. But the truth is that many of my pals have fifteen or twenty years on me and seem to be doing just fine and don't bitch so much. So I will stfu.

*
They delivered the Los Angeles Times instead of the Union Tribune on sunday for some reason. What a pleasure it was to read a decent newspaper again. Our newspaper, owned by one Doug Manchester appears to be swallowing up a bunch of local weeklies for some ungodly reason. Control all the media outlets and you can shape the information stream. Word is that they tried to buy the Reader and Holman said no, bless him.

I have a lot of friends that won't even look at the Union, they loathe Papa Doug so badly. I hear that he has even purged all the anti takeover comments on the Sign on San Diego website.  The U-T is pretty much close to unreadable, serving the most self serving corporate and parochial agenda.

*
The cost of the extended Y DNA test has dropped below $500 and I am going to do it, the first L792-a1member on the planet to have his DNA analyzed at this level, with over 10,000,000 chromosomal base pairs charted. My research will hopefully uncover new downstream single nucleotide polymorphisms (snp's) and provide new information about my branch of the E3b clan, the Sea People.

I, of course, share this haplogroup with my more famous genetic cousins Napoleon Bonaparte, Hitler, Louis XVI and Stalin, I was obviously born to a despot be.

*
Miley Cyrus may not be the most talented performer but she sure has a keen flare for packaging, self promotion and media manipulation. We haven't seen this sort of thing since, well Lady Gaga, a woman that actually has some talent as well.

*
credit:Momsdemandaction
Worst story of the day. Worse even than smelloscopes and throwing puppies in the river.

*
Del Mar this weekend.

Robert Palmer



11.11

If there is one thing that I hate these days its politics. Almost as much as I hate religion. More on that later. They had a couple elections last week. The guy that wanted to outlaw blow jobs, Ken Cuccinelli, lost in Virginia. Go figure.

Down in Tony Soprano country, Republican moderate Chris Christie won. Big. 22 points including a lot of bipartisan democratic support. This guy is one stuffed pork chop away from cardiac arrest, don't know if he'll even make it to the starting gate but he is an interesting figure. And everybody loves a fat guy, call it the John Belushi, Candy, Farley syndrome.

Christie made headlines and raised the ire of fellow repubs when seen playing footsie with President Obama during Hurricane Sandy. He is a very calculating sort, can play the bipartisan angle when it suits him and so many of his party don't trust him. Inhofe came out swinging against him today, Perry yesterday. Not conservative enough supposedly for the base, although he tacks pretty hard right on most social issues including the gay thing and abortion.

I think that he would be a formidable candidate in a general election but don't think that a Republican party dedicated to such an extreme social agenda would ever allow this guy to make it through the primaries. Good thing. He is also a believer in immigration reform, apostasy to your Steve Kings and Louie Goobers.

*
I heard various conservative talking heads say that Cooch failed in not going on the offensive on the social issues, he allowed himself to be defined by the opposition. From Politico:
“Being pro-life is a majority position in this country or at least close to it,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring. “Candidates have to explain their positions without getting stuck getting nitpicked to death. … We fully expect the ‘war on women’ politics to be used and exploited by Democrats, [and] we fully expect our candidates to be fully prepared for it.”Democrats took to the Virginia airwaves and the campaign trail this fall to note Cuccinelli’s opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, and to say he backed legislation that would have effectively banned certain kinds of birth control, drawing on his record in the statehouse and as attorney general.“Really, given that God does judge nations, it’s amazing that abortion has run as far and foully as it has,” Cuccinelli once said, one of his many comments seized on for campaign ad fodder.
For some reason I found this line interesting, "a majority position or at least close to it." Hey, it's either a majority position or its not, barring a statistical tie of course. And like the old saying says, if you are not the lead dog, the scenery never changes. Enjoy the view. Americans are a curious bunch, they say that they are pro life but they consistently vote to allow women the right to choose. But by all means double down on the conservative social stuff, people just never get tired of it. LIsten to Gary Bauer. Time to tack right.

*
I went out for dim sum with some friends yesterday that were approaching giddy about Hillary's chances. I feel pretty lukewarm on everybody, so sick of a failed system that only promises more acrimony and stalemate. Something is clearly not working.

I got a call from the Democratic National committee looking for money and I laughed at them and hung up, but not before letting them know that I was leaving the party and registering as an independent. I am sick of voting for the lesser of two evils, incredibly disappointed in this president on so many levels, but principally his treachery in regards to civil liberties. Could never pull the lever for Senator Feinstein again either. Who seems to be much more concerned about the evils of international spying then what might is obviously happening to Americans.

Elizabeth Warren's name came up and native american issues notwithstanding, she seems a more interesting candidate than another Clinton.
*
I went down to the Veteran day rally at the Village Square and just like the swallows at Capistrano, I wasn't there two minutes before I heard the Veteran speaker start talking about his coming to Jesus. I hear it every year at the memorial. I am all for veterans but if I need testimony I am sure that I can find it at a church. We got a mess of them around here.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Boytalk


Rogers - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
One of the most riveting stories of late is the drama going down in Miami with the Dolphins, the Incognito/Martin saga. For any of you that don't keep up with such things, Jonathan Martin was a biracial offensive lineman on the Fins and  has alleged that team mates have both bullied and extorted money from him. Things got too strange for him and he either had enough and left or thought the time was ripe to cash in, depending who and what you believe. But he apparently couldn't take it anymore.

The Dolphins portray Martin, who left the team and sought counseling and a high priced attorney, as a somewhat soft human being, who was both strange and aloof and never quite fit in with the boys and the frat house atmosphere that apparently is the NFL locker room. A beta male in a world of alpha gladiators.

Management is alleged to have asked one piece of human excrement named Richie Incognito to toughen Martin, a Stanford grad born of Harvard grad parents, up. Incognito has long been known as an asshole, a dirty player and now even worse, with hushed up sexual molestation allegations coming to the fore.

*
I don't know what the dealio is down in Miami. The NFL's upcoming review should be illuminating. Jonathan Martin had the foresight to tape some quite damning messages he received, including racial epithets and one suggesting that his mother get slapped and that a bunch of teammates were going to have unprotected sex with his sister. Now boys will be boys, especially when they are the coddled neanderthals that make up the National Football League. People in combat like to play rough. Martin couldn't handle it. The average NFL player, or at least the majority that I have seen interviewed, dismiss the banter as normal sophomoric hijinx.

Be that as it may, Martin, a cerebral type who may have been a loner, couldn't hang with it. And subsequently  blew the doors off the locker room, landing another blow on a league that has already had another player arrested for murder this year.

*
In a way I think that Martin resembles Edward Snowden, they both joined an old boys club but never really fit in and both ultimately lifted the inviolate institutional veil of secrecy in a very calculating way and now no one can ever put poor humpty dumpty together again.

Real hard to keep anything secret these days. Watch out for those intellectual dudes that can't seem to get along. They might be taking notes. You can bet we will have more Snowdens and Martins coming down the pike real soon. Some people just have no respect for tradition.

Out Of The Blue

Day at the Drags


I went with some friends to the NHRA Winter Finals drag races in Pomona yesterday. I struggled with my gear all day, evidently have a contact/mount issue with the 500mm Sigma. Not super happy with my shots but will play around with them when I have some time.

In any event I had a nice time, ate a few Pinks kraut dogs, dug the crowd.

It was hot so I bought a cap and also a Moon Speed Equipment t-shirt. My wife said that I instantly lowered my i.q. 40 points.