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Swami's view through car window

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Young girl with flower, Los Jigueros


The Cure

The blah blahs

I guess that I can't win.

I talked to a friend last night who says he can't stand the blog these days because I am sounding so liberal of late. Excuse me? I did a quick survey of the past month or so of writing after our phone call and failed to see any evidence of my perceived bias towards the dark side. Mostly I put up pictures, figuring that scenery rarely enrages anybody.

Have been getting a lot of similar emails about the dangers regarding that living minion of satan, Hillary Clinton.

Truth is I have done my best to stay off politics whenever I can, it just pisses people off. I have friends and readers that are both liberal and conservative and I would rather talk about policy than party affiliation.

I regularly excoriate Obama on a host of issues, wrote about Benghazi when nobody wrote about Benghazi but how does the Cure song go, it's never enough?

I prefer to think of myself as an honest umpire who calls balls and strikes as he sees them. If I have a bias, it is towards any person in a position of authority who happens to be in power, irrespective of party. Stan says that I don't play well with others.

Dain recently told me at dinner that he used to think I was really off on the left side, now he thinks I lilt too far to the right. Jeez.

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Having said all this in my preamble, we have the clearest national choice in this country in memory and are headed for a landslide not seen since long ago when a little girl was picking daisies apart and throwing them at Goldwater.

When your only hope is the demographic of ignorant and uneducated poor white voters, you are in serious trouble.

The Republican Party is in its own little civil war, between the establishment and the Freedom Caucus. The internecine shakeout might take years. Their party's views, right or wrong, no longer resonate with a majority of the country, especially the young.

Hillary or Shrillary gets a lot of guff for being a supposed liar. I don't know where this comes from, all politicians prevaricate and shade the truth from time to time. I don't see her as any more or less dishonest than the next guy or gal. Maybe it looks worse on a woman, I don't know. I just don't buy it. I like what she said when she started the campaign, that she was not perfect, merely a human being, encompassing all that entails.

I don't blame her for her husband being a no good philandering slut either. Not my business. He happened to be a good president, nonetheless.

She is a serious policy wonk and fairly humorless but she knows the job as well as anybody and I trust that she will do a good job once installed in office. She will still be hated by a sizable portion of the electorate but that is the country we live in today, two balkanized states that rarely talk to each other and mainly throw up roadblocks to keep government in a paralyzed state.

I have followed her opponent since I lived in New York, where he has always been regarded as a buffoon. Trump changes positions like the wind, I can't believe that he really believes in anything except power. If you want an accounting of the man, you only need to follow the companies that he associated with, see how he treats not only the help or the golf course neighbors but anybody stupid enough to get involved with one of his concerns.

Follow the saga of Trump University or the casino bankruptcies. You talk about a guy who has received a free pass. The teflon don. This guy has the evasion skills of Barry Sanders.

I care about a lot of things deeply, especially reproductive and sexual choice. I don't want a leader who may be already on the hook to Moscow. I don't trust Iran. I still believe that the world is a sphere and that as far as we know, Jesus never really had a pet dinosaur. I think that we deserve strong borders and that people that don't respect those borders and commit crimes forsake their rights to citizenship.

I have not yet heard a rational reason to cast a vote for Donald Trump or even a reason to believe a single word that comes out of his mouth.

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Susan Estrich, now a mouthpiece for Roger Ailes, whatever the hell happened to you?

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Snopes. John Kerry turtles on terrorism.

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Porkstakes. Coal country thinks it has a whole mess of handouts coming. First they had to stop growing that poisonous tobacco and now they're after coal and durnit, somebody is going to have to pay for it. They vote Republican and hate communism unless it means more money coming their way, like the cattle men who think they have a right to graze for next to nothing on federal land.
“I’m a lawyer. I rarely get offended by an offering of money to redress a wrong,” said State Senator Ben Chafin, a Republican, who watched the decline of his father’s tobacco farm. “But $3 billion a year won’t even be enough to buy everyone a custard cone.”
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Marco Rubio has the unenviable job of telling Floridians on the front lines of the Zika scare why he believes that they should be forced to give birth to and spend a lifetime raising, microcephalic babies. This is what happens when we put the self righteous moralizers in charge.

Take a look at the current leadership in Texas, Abbot, Patrick and the whatshisname AG who was indicted on felony fraud charges. Look at their anti-woman policies, at the machinations of the Texas Education Board, the Railroad Commission, the environment.  Does anyone in their right mind think that this is how we want to live in the rest of America? If you do, you know who to vote for.

Vote for anybody the hell you want. Maybe we'll get what we deserve.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Go monkey go

It's alright we know where we've been...

Untitled portrait of Queen Elizabeth by Damien Hirst

There was an interesting article by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times yesterday, Can old masters be relevant again?

It seems that those that have been anointed the titans of painting for the last six or seven hundred years are being largely abandoned in today's modern oriented marketplace, shunted off ignominiously to the dustbins of time.

As I have been saying for years, the millennial generation was destined to forsake the classical. Where it all ends up is anybody's guess. How we got here is another story. No more art or art history in the schools, to go along with no more music instruction, no more physical education, what is it again that they are actually teaching? And a celebration of the naive and infantile as opposed to the craft and tradition of fine art that has been handed down since Michelangelo and Leonardo.

Who do we blame? Wet behind the ears curators swept away in the latest fad or the next best thing? A public shift towards modernism that has lost its power to discriminate between decent and godawful? An aging collecting class that is giving way to, I daresay, an ignorant new generation seemingly without the slightest interest in either history, scholarship or acquisition?

Remember when proficiency in art required one to even know how to handle a brush?

Banksy - keeping it spotless - sold for $1,870,000 2/14/08

Now we are back to the caves, I suppose.

Here is an example of where we are;

Keith Haring (1958-1990) untitled, an acrylic from 1985 sells for $3,749,000 at Christie's in 2014.

Contrast that artistic tour de force with this small drawing by one of the greatest renderers of the human figure of all time, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867). This sketch, Study of an anguished woman, for the martyrdom of St. Symphorien brought a mere $13,540 the same year at Sotheby's.


The first artist engages in a conceptual sight gag of sorts, the latter is in  an intimate and sensitive visual relationship with his subject.

The incredible Italian renaissance painter Ghirlandaio has a painting coming up early next year at Sothebys, “The Holy Family With the Annunciation to the Shepherds Beyond, Italian Renaissance” oil on panel, circa 1500, $80,000-$120,000 that probably won't make reserve. His last painting didn't make 57k and it was a beauty.


“They want to be associated with the new and the now,” said Edward Dolman, chairman and chief executive of Phillips auction house, who spent much of his career at Christie’s chasing works by old masters but now focuses on contemporary art.
“We have no intention of selling old masters pictures or 18th-, 19th-century pictures, because these markets are now so small and dwindling,” he added. “The new client base at the auction houses — and the collecting tastes of those clients — have moved away from this veneration of the past.”


Moved away from the veneration of the past? Well, fuck meVery sad indeed.


Eli Broad and friend
As a footnote I should add that I will be in Florence at the end of the month, admiring such has beens and rejects as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Titian, Rembrandt and Raphael.

Don't know how I will be able to stand it really. The world we live in today really being truly divided up as pre and post Scharf.

Stupid shits that we are.

God and Torah

Friday, August 26, 2016

Mind if I kvetch?

I haven't really been too bitchy of late. Sorry. Let me see what I can do. My coffee shop of the last ten years or so is closing today. My peeps mentioned Starbucks as a possible replacement, I hate $tarbuks. The coffee, the phony smiley corporatism, the special starbucks language...

My deli across the street is gone too as of last Monday. I have been deserted.

Electrician hasn't shown in two days. Think I am missing a circuit leg.

Been hard to get my act together post New Mexico. Finally have the gallery put back together. Now I need to make some money. It's getting harder and harder to recuperate after these extended excursions, although I only have myself to blame for pushing it so hard. Would do it again in a second, of course.

Planning an eastern sierras Mono lake trip next, I think.

Booked my reservations for the Uffizi Gallery today. Yippee!

I have never promoted my gallery in the last nine years of bloggery. But this is a beautiful navajo weaving that somebody should buy and I need to kvell about. 111" x 67". A rare Bisti regional black background circa 1930's/40's. Valero stars, crystal hooks and scalloped shells. Great for a living or dining room, perfect in a ranch house. $5200
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Are you not sick to death of this Presidential election? Have it already so everybody can finally shut the f*ck up and we can all stop trying to defend the indefensible.

Obama is just holding his breath trying to finish out his term before the Iranians make a complete fool out of the United States. They buzz our warships and we piss all over ourselves. He doesn't dare say a thing to expose this faked and phony rapprochement. Now word comes that he sold out the noble Iranian opposition in 2009 in order to get his plum nuclear deal.

I hope to god that when we get a new president she will have the presence of mind to reboot our relationship with a few of the mideast allies that we have done our best to alienate in the last eight years.  Of course, the stupid and simplistic Jill Stein/Bernie voter sees the whole drama as a titanic battle between those who want war and those that want peace. Like anybody wants war? I feel like Kerry and Obama's actions re: the Iranians are the classic textbook definition of the phrase getting punked. At least Hillary has some huevos.

When it all goes to hell with the Iranians, and it eventually will, Obama can point to the next responsible party and tell them that they ruined a beautiful relationship.

The reality is that we live in a nasty old world and certain bad actors still think it is copacetic to try to swallow up their neighbors. Like in the Ukraine. And forget about the Ukrainians that have been supplanted by the Russian invasion, we forget they nailed the Tatars first. Beijing sits back with wolf eyes seeking to devour its neighbors in the South China Sea.

And the United States, as trite and quaint as it may sound, is still looked  upon in some circles as a global superpower that will enforce a modicum of civil behavior and guard against predacious bullies if it has to.

Or make sure they have enough hard currency to do their thing, whatever the case may be. Next Iranian ship makes a pass at one of ours, they are hopefully picking themselves up off the bottom of the ocean.

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These whiners in Louisiana who are bitching that Obama didn't move fast enough with the 148 million; weren't you the state whose three congressmen voted against Hurricane Sandy relief? And have kissed so much oil industry ass that you have lost 1900 square miles of coastline in the last eighty years. You have lost 16% of your wetlands to open water and saltwater is killing the delta. You've practically done everything in your power to destroy your state and now you want the rest of us to come save you.

In addition, rising water is currently threatening the entire energy  pipeline system, which was designed for marshes and not open water. Your governor is an exorcist who wants to spend state money to help teach creationism in private schools.

And you want somebody to save your ass.

Own it.
Oy vey.

Trump Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon is taking a lot of heat because an ex wife pointed out that he didn't want his twin daughters to go to school with a bunch of "whiny jews." He also wanted to know how many books about chanukah were in the school library.

I really don't think this is such a big deal. And I think I can safely speak for most jews, Stephen, whiny or not, we really don't want to hang out with you so much either.

Roland Kirk's Vibration Society - Volunteered Slavery (Live France 1972)

Good habits and sensible shoes


Elvin Jones - Ray Nay



The great audio engineer Rudy Van Gelder has passed away at the age of 91. The recordings of Van Gelder, many of which were made in his New Jersey living room, are legendary and have a sense of depth, clarity and space that were unequalled, to my ears, by any of his contemporaries, before or since.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Troy Lindsay


I met this fine chap when I drove through Flagstaff on my recent trip. We were both having our complimentary breakfast at the Ramada Inn East.

He confided to me that he was on his first trip west and that Flagstaff was the most west he had ever been. In fact Troy had never been west of the mighty mississip.

Troy is the father of five boys and hails from Talladega, Alabama. We started talking about Alabama, what little I know of it anyway and I asked him if he knew Charles Barkley.

He said that he not only new him, but that Barkley was a cousin, they both had the same roots in the old Lindsay Plantation. I started thinking about the implications of carrying on the old slavemaster's family name, not sure that I could do it myself.

Troy was cool with it all, a very happy fellow with a very easy laugh.

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I had a little time this afternoon to go back and look for the plantation and its original owner. Found this page that contains a slave census from 1860, Russell County, Alabama. Might be the patriarch.


Sherwood Lindsay, owned 73 slaves. The average slave owner only owned 10 slaves so this man had quite a few.  But nowhere near the large slave owners as you see here.

In 1860 the Russell County population included 10,936 whites, 18 "free colored" and 15,638 slaves. In ten more years the white population had practically halved.

Benjamin Williams' A Literary History of Alabama: The Nineteenth Century  recounts some drama associated with the patriarch which I can not download or read in full for some reason. Just caught this snippet on pg. 173:


Might be fictional, I will continue to dig.

I also found a Sherwood Lindsay in Georgia who owned 477 slaves. Wonder if it could be the same man? Russell County borders Georgia.

And a citation with a Lindsay in Hodes White women, Black men.









Of course, I may not have the correct original spelling. There are certainly citations for the name Lindsey in Alabama that might fit my search as well.


There were many slaveholding plantations in the Talladega area. Researching the Lindsay/Lindseys might take a little time. There does seem to be a surfeit of slaveholding Lindseys in Alabama prior to the Civil War.

According to Sellers Slavery in Alabama, the Lindseys were a large slavery concern in Alabama, at least prior to 1850.


I might continue to nose around. This might prove to be interesting research. One never knows...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Luísa Sobral e Márcia — River

Bibimbap

I have had a real hankering for Korean food lately. Went back to Seoul Galbi in Temecula yesterday for the second time in a week and ordered the exact same thing, dolsot bibimbap 돌솥 비빔밥.

I was not disappointed. My wife had a birthday yesterday and she was eager to dine there with me. Leslie had the dish too, without the customary raw egg on top and loved it, although it is a lot of food. We took a good portion home. Probably could have split it.

Bibimbap is served in a thick stone pot, filled with rice, korean vegetables (namul) and beef. It comes to your table sizzling. You add chili paste (gochujang) and sesame oil to taste. The trick is to not touch the rice until the end of the meal. With time it caramelizes to the side of the pot and comes off with a wonderful golden crunch.

This dish, which literally means mixed rice, dates to the Joseon period in the 14th century. It was first mentioned by this name in a 19th century cookbook. The dish may have been first partaken after mixing the offerings at an ancestral rite.

You get unlimited side dishes here at Seoul Galbi, pace yourself.

A truly wonderful meal!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Landacre's ghost


Ross Traut / Steve Rodby

Early Television


Pecos landscape with cloudburst


Courtyard, Quarai


Flatlanders

Kitty, kitty



My friend Steve from Santa Fe sent me these pictures of a couple felines that wandered through his neighbor's courtyard in El Dorado the other evening. I guess they are bobcats but at first I thought they might be lynx. Tails are too long for lynx.

We get bobcat here from time to time but I have never seen them as rangy and possibly so emaciated as this mother and kitten. We have lots of rabbits and squirrels here and I think our bobcats are frankly better fed.  Much more compact. Once saw a mom and five kittens in tow, haven't seen another one for a couple years now.

You've got dust on your sensor Steve. Might need to blow it out or have it cleaned. Thanks for sending the great capture along!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dave Van Ronk

Faces from New Mexico, 2016












Seldom Scene

Google self driving car

This car drove by me on my way to Las Cruces two mornings ago. I did not see a driver inside the car but didn't have a great look so it may have indeed been manned.

Technology is certainly moving at light speed these days.

Dusk, White Sands