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White light, white heat © Robert Sommers 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Who with Leslie West - 1971

Don't do it


San Diego is all over the national news, three suicides in two hours. Set some sort of record.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Three people have committed suicide and a fourth jumped from a freeway bridge but survived during a single two-hour period in San Diego County.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a woman ran in front of an Amtrak train in Oceanside shortly before 9:30 a.m. Friday.
About two hours later, a woman jumped from the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. About the same time, a man shot himself on Interstate 8 near Alpine.
There's no word on their identities.
Meanwhile, police say a 38-year-old man closed down a portion of Interstate 5 in San Diego for 21 hours before jumping from the edge Friday morning.
He landed about 15 feet below on a landscaped slope and had minor injuries.
Police negotiators had been talking to the man since Thursday afternoon.
We had another couple yesterday I think, or was that Temecula? Do we get to count that one? Obviously a lot of depression and hopelessness out there, some people are broke, people are getting seriously hooked on narcotics, some people are giving up entirely.

I don't recommend suicide, of course it is your call, but if you are contemplating it you are probably forgetting that there are people out there who love the hell out of you and would miss you deeply. Don't be selfish, think of them.  Thinks will probably look better in the morning. You might call the San Diego County 24-Hour Crisis Line at (800) 479-3339 if you are even considering it.

But I will say that the guy who fell 15 feet and landed on the landscaped slope wasn't trying very hard. If you are going to go through with it you don't need to look like an idiot.

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I won't say it drove me to bleak desperation or dark terminal thoughts but I did spend an hour with the phone company trying to figure out why I was getting separate monthly bills for somewhere between one penny and thirteen cents. They say it is for a cloud service which I had never requested and don't want. Three different departments, numerous dropped calls, finally didn't get connected with a group in New York that had gone home for the weekend. Suicide no, homicide, well, was thinking about it...

Golden Brown

Doctor Strange

Health and Human Services Secretary and medical doctor Tom Price has announced big cuts both to his department and to research funding at the National Institute for Health.

As a cancer survivor who has benefitted greatly from experimental research I find this very sad. It will be very interesting to watch Price do all he can to decimate Obamacare, but there are a lot of eyes on him and he may just slow walk it for a while until he finally finds a way to do it in. Hey United States of America, you voted for these people, now smell the glove.

America, including increasing numbers of Republicans, is now apparently appreciating the ACA more and more, according to recent polling, perhaps after seeing the Keystone Kops style bumbling and alternatives offered by the backers of Trumpcare.

This is below my normal low standards of journalistic fairness and integrity but this Price guy creeps me out. The sheer looks of him.

The smile, which reeks of false sincerity, reminds me of several things, including a creepy homicidal doll on one of the early Night Gallery television shows, Lone Survivor/The Doll. The one that was brought over from India and killed all the little girls playmates; aka Tom's doppelgänger.

And even worse, his anesthetized grin makes me think of Dennis Rader, the BTK killer. Remember the Kansas murderer, a cub scout leader and President of the Lutheran Church council?  The guy who was loved by his neighbors but hid the most gruesome obsession.

People who smile a certain way freak the heck out of me. There is a lack of honesty plastered all over his mug. I am not in any way intimating that Price is a torturer or killer but I for one, would not feel comfortable visiting his medical practice.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lost Highway - Clarence White

The Wave


I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again

The other side of the fence.

Mark Foley and friend
I get the same dumb mail and chain letters that you get. Because I read both the left wing and the right wing publications, they both figure me as one of them and I get tons of partisan junk mail from both sides.

I got this one from three different right wing friends and it wins some sort of stupid prize. I am not going to take the time to go through it line by line but jeez, I don't know any democrats that want to ban everyone else from meat eating, that's a new one.



Republican Senator Larry Craig, liked to play footsie in airport bathrooms 

Well, I didn't forward it but I am blogging about it, mostly because it is so stupid. I sent back this note last night - I certainly fall to the pinko side on this one. Don't need to forward them to me . Although I am a happily married straight guy, the following stanza is total bullshit:

Legislated respect? How about simple fairness in survivorship benefits, the freedom to rent an apartment without discrimination or a hotel room for that matter, or the right to obtain employment regardless of sexual orientation? We can legislate respect later.
Let's change it to - If a republican is homosexual he quietly leads his life, that is unless he is a conflicted and closeted queer congressman and than he will eventually get busted in some airport bathroom committing an obscene act or in a hotel room with some underage page like the State Senate guy in Oklahoma last week. After they make life miserable for everybody else, not to mention all the gay people they help persecute, of course.

Oklahoma State Senator and member of Trump leadership team Ralph Shortey with underage male.

Brooding sky - White Sands and a clear day at Mono Lake



Couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

“That was some weird shit.” 
George W. Bush, commenting on Trump's inaugural address 

The news is so nutty these days it will make your head hurt. But that doesn't mean you can't laugh. You can and you should, just don't take any of it too seriously. So we're on a first class ticket to armageddon, might as well enjoy the ride.

A lot of smoke and fire regarding the incredibly bumbling Tulare dairy farmer turned congressman Devin Nunes. You want a primer on how to f*ck up a bipartisan investigation, watch this guy.

I like what Frank Bruni, or rather what his anonymous source said about the Central Valley congressman; “No one is asking him to bring the potato salad to the Mensa picnic.”

I don't think rural people are any less intelligent that city folks, I just think this particular one is.

Sean Spicer had a good one today, commenting on the latest New York Times revelations of the White House spoonfeeding their boy Nunes classified information that he could publicly share with the President the next day in a big silly show.
“I never said we would provide you answers. I said we would look into it.”
Have you read about the strings Nunes pulled for his relatives back in the Azores? Pushing treasonous if you ask me for a politician trying to deliver one so hard for the hometown folks, especially when they live an ocean away.


The Trump craziness hits all levels, especially the alt-facts war on established science. Yesterday Rep. Lamar Smith, chairing a little clusterfrick of climate deniers and skeptics, said that Science Magazine was not a credible or objective publication. Science, which is both peer reviewed and a publication of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science.

These people, paid shills of the Mercers and the Heartland Institute, want to throw just enough faerie dust around to stop legitimate inquiry in its tracks and allow their industrial polluting compadres to run roughshod over America and the rest of the world.

Map of the flat earth - scripture condemns the globe theory

Yesterday came word from Scott Pruitt at EPA that he was over ruling his own scientists and allowing the usage of the banned insecticide chlorpyrifos, which has been found to cause major health problems including learning and memory declines. This strikes particularly hard at farm workers applying the insecticide and also young children who may be exposed through drinking water.

Chlorpyrifos is made by the friendly folks at Dow Chemical. According to this article at Scientific American, it fundamentally changes children's brains. Now we are getting downright evil.
The brains of 20 children exposed to higher levels of chlorpyrifos in their mother's blood (as measured by serum from the umbilical cord) "looked different" compared to those exposed to lower levels of the chemical, says epidemiologist Virginia Rauh of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, who led the research published online by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on April 30. "During brain development some type of disturbance took place."
The 6 young boys and 14 little girls, whose mothers were exposed to chlorpyrifos when it was commonly used indoors in bug sprays prior to the ban, ranged in age from seven to nearly 10. All came from Dominican or African American families in the New York City region. Compared to 20 children from the same kinds of New York families who had relatively low levels of chlorpyrifos in umbilical cord blood, the 20 higher dose kids had protuberances in some regions of the cerebral cortex and thinning in other regions. "There were measurable volumetric changes in the cerebral cortex," Rauh notes.
Hudgins sent something over worth reading.  A little cerebral for me but you smart folks will probably get it.  Situational Assessment  2017 - Trump Edition


Schiff and the concept of information laundering. Schiff is an ex U.S. Attorney. He will dismember Nunes a sinew at a time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hummer


Gram



Undulatus Asperitas

Did you know that there was a cloud appreciation society? Well neither did I, that is until Shelley forwarded this link to Shawn. And we now have a new cloud on our immediate horizon, the asperitas or asperatus (not sure which) has been deemed a new classification. Welcome to our sky, friend!



Has some mammatus characteristics I think. Remember the clouds I shot at the Griffith Park Observatory? More info on these new cloud structures here.

Marianne Faithfull - With You in Mind

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Michael Evans, Light Sculptor

I decided to play with this and adjust it a little bit.

Michael is a sculptor as well as a toy designer. His very far out geodesic forms were sold for many years at the Smithsonian Museum.

If I needed a cover for a science fiction novel I am yet to write I would have no problem using this one.

Save It for Later

You can go home again.

I'm sort of worthless this week (month, year). No focus, inability to sequence and proceed with tasks, etc. Knocked off my perch on so many levels.

Finally got my car back from Chrysler, a couple grand later. Should be good to go, knock on simulated wood veneer.

Kind of feel bad about all the weeds in my yard but I realize I shouldn't, driving around town, all of the yards look like mine, after the major rains. In my case, hard to cut into the weeds without destroying the grand gladiolus experiment.

I had to go to the People's Republic of Ocean Beach yesterday to return a necklace. Leslie and my friend Tom joined me on the excursion and we all got something accomplished in the big city.

Tom informed me that we have been friends for a long time, thirty three years to be exact. That is a long time. Jesus got a lot done in thirty three years, or so I am told. Got a lot of catching up to do.

Ocean Beach is like Telegraph Avenue with waves and more skin. Young hitchhikers with requisite dog and guitar, flower children of all vintage. Wayback machine but mellow, far superior community to Pacific or Mission Beach. We stopped off at the Black after we saw my friend Joan. Black is a headshop that has a really weird bookshelf, anarchist cookbook type stuff, books on how to be a successful junkie or tweaker, low brow art. No ring through the nose, no job at the Black. Definitely on their own frequency.

Afterwards we went to El Indio for lunch. It is a San Diego institution and I hadn't been there forever, it was pretty good.

We then visited Tom's mom at their ancestral digs near Morena.

Really nice lady, super sharp for eighty seven years young. I hope I look that good at seventy.

Tripped down to Market St. to pick up some supplies for Leslie at Farkas Displays. Place has some great manikins, one day I am going to get serious down there with a camera. Very good folks.

Tom used to live in Sherman Heights, a place littered with gorgeous restored Victorians and we went to see his old house, which recently sold for a small fortune. Phenomenal homes in his old block. Zipped back up to Fallbrook before traffic could kill us.

Donal Hord, Guardian of the Waters, 1939
Tom and I are both native born San Diegans, he at Mercy, me at Sharp. We swapped stories about Carino's, Chicken Pie Shop, all the old haunts. He didn't remember Azteca Taco in Point Loma, to my knowledge the first of its kind. But he is older than me and his memory probably not quite as sharp.

Next time we are going to climb the tower at the Museum of Man, now that it is open again after an eighty year slumber. Always fun when the rubes make it back to the big city.

Living in the Past

Snuggle, not struggle


Shawn sent something quite interesting over:

Shawn Mayes
Mar 26 (2 days ago)

I've come to enjoy reading research papers that look into inter-species symbiotic relationships in various forms. My project with 'BioTec' involves trying to track down "who's responsible" for the creation process of the anti-bacterial/fungal/cancer/etc agents in the pitcher fluids...(latest theory we have is that it is perhaps the endrophytic fungi/bacteria residing within the plant tissues themselves, perhaps re-coding the plants' own digestive glands' production of enzymatic fluids).

I was sent the following article (which only cites various research) for a completely disassociated reason, but found it it interesting in those respects.

http://trueviralnews.com/survival-of-the-friendliest-issue-46-balance-nautilus/

best,
S

We tend to think of darwinian evolution in terms of violence and struggle. And if you are a factory farmed chicken headed for the grill I don't blame you. But new evidence suggests that there is an adaptive benefit to getting along, being nice and cooperating. What a concept!
"The relief of an easier life can inspire new biological forms just as powerfully as the threat of death."
"For those most invested in the old-school Darwinian view of the survival of the fittest and violence as virtue, then, the message is clear: Just relax."
Here's to getting along.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Brinsley Schwarz - Egypt

The gang that couldn't shoot straight

Old dock, Salton Sea
People said he was just a clown. But I’ve learned that you should always pay attention to successful clowns.
Pat Caddell

There is an interesting article in the current issue of the New Yorker about Robert Mercer, one of the principal architects and financiers of the current Trump regime.

It is titled THE RECLUSIVE HEDGE-FUND TYCOON BEHIND THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency and was written by Jane Mayer.

The thing that hit me reading this last night was that it appears that the principal disruptors, Mercer and Bannon, really have their targets set on both the Democrats and the Republicans. They are trying to bring the whole system down, a new anarchist billionaire subset, an iteration that we have never dealt with before. Agitprop and backstabbing on an unbelievable level that hearkens back to prewar Stalin.
“Bob thinks the less government the better. He’s happy if people don’t trust the government. And if the President’s a bozo? He’s fine with that. He wants it to all fall down.”
The administration has borrowed a handy mantra from Silicon Valley, move fast and break things. I hope that the country can stand being the alembic plaything for this twisted group of sadistic sociopaths. Then let them go back to pulling the wings off bugs.
But honestly, judging from the ineptitude shown by these folks last week, perhaps there is little need to worry. It appears they can't even get out of their own way.

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Even after their loonie leader Alex Jones apologized for and disavowed the whole Hillary Clinton satanic child molestation story that is Pizzagate, his fringe, in the words of Fleetwood Mac, just won't stop believing.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nobody's Child

Bahamian splendor


Vlad and Natasha are sunning themselves down in Eleuthera and sent over some pics. I am quite jealous as I am sure the rest of you are too. Could use some sun, stoli, sea and sand myself.





Friday, March 24, 2017

The messiah will come again

Horsefeathers

This one takes some sort of cake for hubris. Your President is now blaming democrats for the failure of his precious health bill.

Dems who were never once approached for help by the administration, an administration that would never even consider fixing the problems of Obamacare because they were going to repeal it and replace it and it was going to be so easy.

Guess what, as I called it, it wasn't easy. Because Republican moderates and the hard core conservatives loathe each other like nobody's business. They agreed on one thing, disliking Obama but there is really no ideological there there.

So this is how the great legacy begins. Create a bill that gets 17% support from the American people, which gave rich folks a fat tax break and started the ball rolling to destroy Medicare and leave 24 million American without health care.

The Congressional Budget Office assessed the most recent version of the bill and concluded that it would still take coverage away from 24 million people, like the original version of the bill, but would cost an additional $186 billion to do so. A bill so startlingly bad and ill conceived that it had to be pulled so that the GOP could stem political fallout. Thank god the American people saw through it.

Can't wait to see what he does next.


Unfortunately Obamacare can not survive without the mandate, which Trump is intent on killing. So he will have a direct hand in its failure but will certainly take no personal responsibility for its demise. Because his kind never does.

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Gee Wilbur.

Bankruptcy King Wilbur Ross

Did you read the article in the Guardian about Trump getting loans from a German bank financed by Russian criminal money? Quite interesting. See Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam.
The German bank that loaned $300m (£260m) to Donald Trump played a prominent role in a money laundering scandal run by Russian criminals with ties to the Kremlin, the Guardian can reveal.
Deutsche Bank is one of dozens of western financial institutions that processed at least $20bn – and possibly more – in money of “criminal origin” from Russia.
The scheme, dubbed “the Global Laundromat”, ran from 2010 to 2014.
Law enforcement agencies are investigating how a group of politically well-connected Russians were able to use UK-registered companies to launder billions of dollars in cash. The companies made fictitious loans to each other, underwritten by Russian businesses.
And who ran the show for Trump with the Russian oligarchs? None other than Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Wilbur Ross, the Trump administration’s new commerce secretary, presided over a deal with a Russian businessman with ties to Vladimir Putin while serving in his previous role as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus.
The transaction raises questions about Ross’s tenure at the Cypriot bank and his ties to politically connected Russian oligarchs. It comes amid confirmation by the FBI that it is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow to influence the outcome of the presidential election.
He's a real beaut, old Wilbur.
Ross is an old school Wall Streeter, someone tied up in their secret societies and rituals. He’s a private-equity baron who scoops up failing companies (much like Mnuchin did with IndyMac), squeezes every last nickel out of them by firing workers and shipping business lines offshore, and manages to profit in the exchange, usually by navigating the companies through bankruptcy. His firm was in charge of the Sago Mine in West Virginia when it blew up, killing 12 workers; the mine had a history of safety problems. He moved Cone Mills overseas, eliminating about 75 percent of its US jobs. He invested in the Greek banking system and encouraged the fire sale of the country’s assets.
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Guess Steve Bannon is taking names of recalcitrant no votes. Let the internecine bloodshed begin.

Aubrey Beardsley

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Donald's worst deal. Must read article on Trump's deal with the Azerbaijanis at the New Yorker.
Alan Garten, the Trump Organization lawyer, did not deny that there was corruption involved in the project. “I’m not going to sit here and defend the Mammadovs,” he said. But, from a legal standpoint, he argued, the Trump Organization was blameless. In his opinion, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act doesn’t apply to the Baku deal, even if corruption occurred. “We didn’t own it,” he said of the hotel. “We had no equity. We didn’t control the project. The flow of funds is in the wrong direction.” He added, “We did not pay any money to anyone. Therefore, it could not be a violation of the F.C.P.A.”
“No, that’s just wrong,” Jessica Tillipman, an assistant dean at George Washington University Law School, who specializes in the F.C.P.A., said. “You can’t go into business deals in Azerbaijan assuming that you are immune from the F.C.P.A.” She added, “Nor can you escape liability by looking the other way. The entire Baku deal is a giant red flag—the direct involvement of foreign government officials and their relatives in Azerbaijan with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Corruption warning signs are rarely more obvious.”In May, 2012, the month the Baku deal was finalized, the F.C.P.A. was evidently on Donald Trump’s mind. In a phone-in appearance on CNBC, he expressed frustration with the law. “Every other country goes into these places and they do what they have to do,” he said. “It’s a horrible law and it should be changed.” If American companies refused to give bribes, he said, “you’ll do business nowhere.” He continued, “There is one answer—go to your room, close the door, go to sleep, and don’t do any deals, because that’s the only way. The only way you’re going to do it is the other way.”
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The late Alexander Litvinenko
Russians have been busy. Here are 10 critics of Vladimir Putin who died violently or in suspicious ways

Guy Clark

Some humans ain't human

Flower Power

Slot Canyon, Anza Borrego
Everybody has been talking about the magnificent bloom out in the Anza Borrego desert but due to a confluence of events beyond my control I was a little bit late to the party.

My photo cohort Ken has been laid up sick and I have been super busy so yesterday was the first chance we had to check it out. A little recon mission.

Unfortunately the rumors of the bloom being now off the bud were true, we had probably missed the peak. As one of my neighbors said, who visited last week, "Frankly it is prettier in Fallbrook."

Which isn't putting the desert effulgence down, it was great. Fallbook is just exceedingly pretty right now, many valleys resembling Granville Redmond or John Gamble paintings with their lupines and poppies.

There were tons of muggles of all ages enjoying the wildflower show, older people in their khaki, young girls in their spandex and yoga pants. Did you know that yoga pants are now affecting the ocean's health? Their microfibers now constitute about 83% of the ocean's plastic pollution.

We drove out to the Slot Canyon that Jerry Kalman suggested we shoot. We had a choice, go right or left and ended up going the wrong way but will be back to shoot another day. Now we have our bearings. Expect to nail it next time.

In the evening on Di Giorgio Rd. we saw the birder group charting the Swainson hawk migration. We then drove out to Henderson and the Desert Gardens. Ken got bit lightly on the knee by a cholla.

Ocotillas are starting to bloom and that was nice. Should never count the teeth of nature's offering I suppose. Wonderful in any measure and will be better when the humans have left for the year. Looking forward to returning when the place is as dead as a GOP health care bill.


We hit Carmelitas right when their power shut off but it was quickly restored.

The invasion has caused serious food shortages in the area, the favorite restaurant was temporarily out of salsa but I managed to get my favorite mole enchiladas. Actually my favorite mole anywhere.

I am sure the locals can't wait for the flowers to totally dry up so that they can get their home back.

I am looking forward to going through my shots and seeing if there is any gold to mine. I saw enough of the Slot Canyon to want to go back. And soon.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Queen of soul

Bizzaroworld

In a sure sign of the impending end of the universe, Nickie Minaj passed Aretha Franklin today for the number of Hot 100 singles ever at Billboard. She has 76, the Queen of Soul had 73. Lil Wayne leads all men with 135.

I tried to listen to one of her songs today and made it about seven seconds before turning it off. She's no Lil Wayne, know what I'm saying?

John Fahey - Sunflower River Blues



I love the music of the late John Fahey. it surprises me how many guitar players are unfamiliar with his work. Or can't get into it. I think he inhabits his own special cosmos up in the platitudes.

Nature mort dans cloisonné vase et un ouef


Christine McVie

Scotus

I had a person go through an exhaustive list of my defects and deficiencies lately. Wow, I had no idea. In any case, I will be the first to admit that I am often wrong. And I might be wrong on this. But I think we could do a hell of a lot worse than Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Gorsuch is not Merrick Garland, nor can he ever be. That ship has sailed. If democrats play the same dishonest game on Gorsuch as the Republicans did with his predecessor, they will be engaged in a stupid game of tit for tat and little better than their opponents. Not a liberal, he is vehemently opposed to assisted suicide and that might be a clue as to his leanings on Roe. But he seems like the most intelligent and balanced of all of the president's appointee's by a long shot. With Trump, we could have easily had Michael Cohen or Judge Judy. And they did win the election, albeit with a little help from the Russians.

His explanations on the freezing trucker case and his work on Bush torture statutes seem believable to me. He is trying to faithfully interpret the law, albeit from a more conservative vantage than I personally favor. Bright and independent, I have a feeling that he might turn out to be a pretty good judge. The kind the conservatives rant about after a few years on the bench. If I was a liberal congressperson I would keep my powder dry and hold fire on this one. Could have been much, much worse. If he turns into Scalia 2.0, my bad.

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The House Republicans have to decide who they hate worse, the Senate Republicans or democrats.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Albatross


Here Peter and Danny engage in some beautiful Allman Bros. style Les Paul syncopation while Jeremy plays some very enchanting slide counterpoint on the Fender.

Nature Mort


I had a little free time this afternoon and decided to play around with my soft light box.

I brought along a common tool from back in art class (a hen's egg) and a few items I had plundered from friends and snapped a couple shots.

Used a 55mm ƒ1.2, a sharp, fast lens that requires selective focus at its widest aperture.



I think that this might be a vein to mine with some potential and will give it a few more whacks.

Not satisfied by any means, but happy to embark on a new field of visual inquiry.