Monday, April 24, 2017
The weekend had its high points. I saw a big bobcat coming back home Wednesday, thought it might be a coyote but the gait was slightly different as it dived into the chaparral. Saturday it sat on the side of the road in the darkness and waited for me. I stopped the car and we stared at each for about a minute. A beauty.
Then I got home and there was a big owl on the wire but no light at all so no photograph. Was worried because I couldn't find Puma, my little girl kitten. She finally came in late that night with a mouse.
I drove over early on Sunday and decided to take a short hike around Lake Hodges. Very beautiful and peaceful, I want to get back out there soon. So many great places we just seem to drive by and never stop for in our oh so busy lives.
The show wasn't all that great for me but I had a decent week considering and think I can pay the bills and that is what I always hope for. When life deals you a losing hand there are times you have to think of making a little chicken salad out of whatever it is that you are dealt.
For many years the Calendar Antique Show in Del Mar has been visited by a costumed troupe that arrives in full regalia, Lady Mari's Costume Walkabout. This year's theme was obviously the circus and I think it was their best effort yet.
My great friend Lena stopped by the show the other day and mentioned that I always seemed to have a camera close bye. I think she is accurate. I like to be able to capture random moments such as these. These performers gave me an opportunity to grab some interesting portrait shots.
People seem to be freed up to express a different part of their being when in costume.
I want to thank the group for coming. A lot of fun and creativity expressed. I enjoyed the picture taking.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
|Emperor of the Abyssinians|
It is such an interesting story, largely corroborated and free of much embellishment, following the Venetian man and his father and uncle around the farthest reaches of the globe starting in 1271 ce .
You learn a lot about the world, which 13th century land where a man might offer up his wife for you to sleep with, what to eat, where to find the best musk perfume and the finest silks, Marco certainly got around the world.
Just an amazing character, who made himself invaluable to the great Kubla Khan.
Prester John or John the Elder was a powerful Christian ruler of the east, certainly one of legend.
John, a wealthy and powerful “priest and king,” reputedly a lineal descendant of the Magi who had visited the Christ Child, defeated the Muslim kings of Persia in battle, stormed their capital at Ecbatana, and intended to proceed to Jerusalem but was impeded in the last goal because of difficulties in crossing the Tigris River.John was said to rule over a Nestorian kingdom which included parts of India. His legend reportedly hearkens all the way back to the New Testament.
Polo is now in Thibet (Tibet) in the course of my reading. He says the idolatrous inhabitants are murderous, dirty and disheveled and that the young girls are encouraged to engage in sex before marriage as nobody wants an inexperienced bride. Will let you know if I uncover anything else interesting.
"Mike ran out of family long ago and is survived by his ex-wife and best friend, Teresa Elliott. Though their marriage ran aground, their friendship only grew stronger and hers was the last voice Mike heard. And the last thing she said to him was "Donald Trump has been impeached." Upon hearing that he took his final, gentle breath, his earthly work concluded. Mike will be forever missed but never forgotten."
I'm pretty psyched this morning. My yucca rostrata is about to spike its first bloom.
This plant is also known as the Big Bend or Silver Yucca and is native to Chihuahua and Coahuila as well as West Texas.
The native people called it Soyate. It is a welcome and beautiful addition to my palm and succulent garden.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Since I have temporarily swore off politics I can almost function as a full time obit writer. So many musical heroes biting the dust these days. Allan Holdsworth Saturday. Was just talking about him at the Seder, Saturday night. Our host is a recording engineer and had worked with him.
Holdsworth lived in Vista. No less a luminary than Frank Zappa said that he was the best guitarist there was. I first caught him playing with Jean Luc Ponty. Wonderful.
I like this cut because it features the faboo vocalist Annette Peacock, not to mention a stellar cast of musicians. Give it a listen, if it is your bag.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
I am not sure if this shot is successful or not. It was shot long ago with a low resolution camera. Its inherent limitations afforded me the ability and freedom to play and paint with its color. I like to take past mistakes and turn them into more graphic images. Reduce clarity and add grain as necessary.
Bruce Langhorne, legendary Village guitar sideman, has passed away. Langhorne plays guitar on these cuts but also played with Dylan on a lot of stuff including Corinna, Corinna and Maggie's Farm. Here he plays the great guitar part on Peter Paul and Mary's version of Lightfoot's For Loving Me. Interesting life story, a childhood prodigy who lost three fingers in a fireworks accident and had to stop playing violin.
I have nothing but respect for groups like the Weavers and Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary and the New Lost City Ramblers, all of that wave. They sang and played beautifully and they sang with a message. They sang songs of a topical and political message while the Chuck Berry's and Little Richards were writing about dumb teenagers in the back of a chevy. I think they accomplished more than they are given credit for.
|Dutch sterling pitcher circa 1890.|
The Blue Heron Gallery will be bringing an excellent selection of early San Diego paintings and some wonderful old masters from an incredible Rancho Santa Fe estate.
The show runs this Friday through Sunday April 21st through 23, 2017.
Show hours are Friday & Saturday 11am to 7pm; Sunday 11am to 5pm.
Here's a link for more info.
Hope to see you there.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
We lost so many great musicians last year. Everyone laments Bowie, Prince, Merle Haggard and Frey as they should; but I hope that people will remember the greats Paul Kantner, Dan Hicks and Larry Coryell too. Here the latter is playing with Santana's wife Cindy on drums, who is just brilliant, as is the rest of the band.
Are you bored with the same old lunch? Perfunctory tacos, burgers and burritos getting you down? I suggest that you try something wonderful and fresh, at Aydee's Garnacheria in Fallbrook. I wrote about Aydee's last year when it opened, a Guatemalan restaurant in a sea of Mex. And no, the cuisines are definitely not the same.
First one that we have ever had here, that I recall, in a town with a fairly sizable Guatemalan population.
I still love it. In fact I'm loving it more than ever since I discovered a new item there that I am just crazy about, the gordita. The gordita is a deep fried masa pocket, like an empañada or arepa in a way. At Aydees you can get it stuffed five ways. My favorite is the piquant chorizo potato but they were out of that today so I had a beef and a chicken. They also have cactus (nopales) and a relleno version whose exact name I momentarily forget, something like rasas.
The beef gordita was excellent too. $3.99 per gordita, eat them piping hot and tell me if you don't get addicted. These gorditas pair beautifully with their homemade y muy delicioso red and green salsa.
And be sure to try the rice tamales served on banana leaves as well as excellent sopes, soups and birria. They also serve the best and freshest smoothies in town. Place is clean and the food is delicious. Gorditas will make you a little gordito but it will be a fun ride.
110 E Mission Rd
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Friday, April 14, 2017
I have a long list of personal deficiencies, those that know me well certainly do not need me to point them out for them. One of the things I most known for in my town is having a perpetually dirty car. In fact year in and year out, one vehicle or another, I believe that I have the dirtiest car in Fallbrook.
You see, I live miles out on a dirt road and have spent approximately 62% of my life down one dirt road or another. Two trips a day on said road makes things pretty dusty. If I cared (and I don't) and wanted to keep the thing clean, at the cheapest do it yourself carwash, let's see ...figuring... three bucks a day, would add up to a little more than a thousand bucks for a year. Lot of money, lot of work.
I'm not going to do it. Have no one to particularly impress and better things to do with the money, not to mention time. But in a more and more wealthy and tony Fallbrook, I stick out like a curly haired bohemian at a klan rally, which come to think of it, is about right. I am sure that it has not helped my social standing one bit in this land of mercedes coupes and lexuses and immaculately manicured ranchettes.
The reason that I bring the whole matter up is that I read this article about a Fallbrook Sheriff's Deputy who got an award for tracking down lawbreakers and miscreants. Deputy Evan McCormick is quite good at tracking down stolen cars. And how does he spot them?
“It’s just driving around and running license plates mostly,” said McCormick, who has been with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for more than nine years. “You drive around and look for a car that looks like it’s out of place. It’s dirty or cobwebbed and just doesn’t belong. Run plates all night long and you’ll find cars.”Now I am not suggesting that my dirty car smacks of criminality, I'm certainly no angel, but I had never made the nexus between my dirty van and being a lawbreaker. The whole time I thought I had been projecting soccer mom.
I drove up to Malibu to deliver a painting to day, after a quick stop in Brentwood. Driving down Wilshire I really felt conscious of my sloven appearance. Young hip men and beautiful women in tight pants that ended five inches above the ankle, no socks, looked at my dirty rig like I was the second coming of Jed Clampett. I tried to stare straight ahead in my shame, my Falltucky sticker now almost unreadable under a thick veneer of dust.
No longer fit for civilization, he's reasonably intelligent and occasionally funny but did you see his dirty car? Do you think he's a criminal?
After ten years of writing this blog I know a few things. I check the analytics occasionally, know how many people are reading what. And I have to tell you, you people are sick of politics. Music you like, in fact it outpolls politics three or four to one. Pretty pictures you like. But my political opinions? You'd rather get a contagious case of whooping cough.
I don't blame you. It's an onslaught out there. Too real. We are all sick of it. I hear you. Going to dial it down unless there is an absolute imperative. Like this. If you aren't interested in reading it, no point talking to myself.
I'm not sure what they blew up on Camp Pendleton this morning but have never heard anything that loud in thirty seven years. They had a noise alert so it was planned. My guess is a bunker buster or a MOAB. Sounded like a giant industrial explosion or bombing.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
There is a Cooper's hawk that lives in the sycamore on the crook of the road near the Maurers. Been there for years.
I shot this red tailed guy to your left across from Tinkers and Latimer's place early this morning. He is a familiar sight too but I've never taken his picture until now.
Walt Perry was taking his walk and wanted to know what I was doing.
I leave in the morning in pretty low light and my lens isn't fast enough to get a real sharp shot in those conditions but it gives you a good idea anyway of what's up.
Too high up to get a decent vantage but took a shot anyway. For posterity if nothing else.
Or the Hawks of Fallbrook Calendar. Miss April.
And here's a hummer I shot in my bauhinia last night.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
A lizard whose scales behave like a computer automaton - New York Times. Or maybe a game of go?
Don't even think of crapping on Jeff Bezos spaceship. Which reminds me of the time we were sternly admonished not to take a dump on Eric Clapton's Tour Bus. Leslie's friend Mitch was his videographer, well it's a long story, you'll have to ask her...
Generative adversarial networks or the artificial intelligence wars - Google’s Dueling Neural Networks Spar to Get Smarter, No Humans Required - Wired
This christian kid thinks like a computer and might be playing the most inspired chess in the world right now.
And a chess problem that stumps A.I., proves that humans still might have an edge. For now. http://interestingengineering.com/can-you-solve-chess-puzzle-ai-software-cant/
The puzzle, released by the Penrose Institute, was recently devised in order to study human consciousness through physics. The Penrose Institute founder, Sir Roger Penrose, Emeritus Professor at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford, devised the puzzle to distinguish between human and artificial intelligence machines. The puzzle is said to be solvable by humans but not by AI software.Nostril size, climate adaptation and human evolution.
“If you put this puzzle into a chess computer it just assumes a black win because of the number of pieces and positions, but a human will look at this and know quickly that is not the case,” said Sir Roger.
Engrams and circuits are critical for building strong neocortical memories. Don't leave your hippocampus without them.
Pink floyd shrimp is louder than Deep Purple.
New study shows six to nine month olds displaying racial bias towards members of own ethnicity.
Caravan but I should. It is great, lots of cool stuff. Like 3D socks that come with their own 3D glasses. She just got a great selection of socks in, like you've never seen before and incredible quality for cheap $. Tell her you heard about it on the blast. I will put some shots up tomorrow.
Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA, is asking for ten bodyguards for 24/7 protection. Word is that he is worried about getting fragged from somebody inside the building. Can't say I blame him. I could see a scientist dedicated to preserving the environment taking a crack at him, I really could.
|GBU 43 b - 8500 kilogram warhead|
And the battle, at least in this country, is not really even ideological. You can see this because the two sides have been known to completely switch positions on a dime and not even pause for a breath in their rancor. Take Russia for instance. Coulter, Paul, Spencer and the Alt Right now pleading for nonintervention and John Kerry and Tom Donnelly applauding the Trump administration for its Syria strike. One week Putin is best pal, next thing you know relations are as cold as a Volga winter.
Hard to keep it all straight. Almost seems like our problems are more tribal and genetic than having to do with any real ideology. Or Jungian. And it is a verifiable fact that we tend to adopt the religious convictions and politics of our parents, who inherited the convictions and politics of their parents, whose parents did the same, back back back to our simian like ancestors fighting over that last bunch of bananas. Perhaps we are encoded to fight our ancestor's wars until the end of time.
People don't really tend to change too much or to want to break the chain of their conditioning. Rarely happens and extremely difficult thing to do.
I disagree with most every position of this administration, most vehemently on their environmental bent and their position concerning science. Not real keen on privatizing medicare or dismembering the safety net, or giving the rich a really fat tax cut. Worked so well in Kansas.
But even a broken clock is right twice a day. And I think that Tillerson may turn out to be a pretty good Secretary of State in the long run. I found a lot of fault with Rice and Rhodes and the Obama administration's timidity and cruel calculus in certain areas. I would like to stick it in the nutty North Korean's eye, a regime that seems to only exist because of its constant petulant threats.
The problem with Trump is that his positions change with the day or hour and without a consistent vision we are forced to get the vision of his underlings, whether they are Sessions, Haley, Pruitt, Mulvaney or Pence. I don't think the President has thought about these sorts of things altogether too much. Nato was obsolete last week, today it's not. Obama was crazy to bomb Syria, now we have to bomb Syria. Makes you wish for a James Baker or George Schultz, somebody steady at the helm to steer the ship. Somebody who actually knows what they are doing.
We need to meet in the middle but I just don't see it happening. Neither side has a stranglehold on truth or righteousness. Both sides need to shut up and listen to the opposition without demonization. Entitlements are increasing faster than our ability to fund them. Obamacare could certainly use a tweaking. Some regulations are ridiculous and unnecessarily burdensome to business. But our congressional districts are so gentrified that we have to elect extreme candidates on either side just to win a primary. And politics today is strictly slash and burn.
Now, more than ever in my lifetime, there is no middle. I hope that we are able to fix that one day.
Lets try to right the ship, no matter what our belief system or political affiliation might or might not be.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
I had a hole in my week suitable for a small deviation and drove out to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area to see what was up? In the air, that is. And the answer is not so much, although I still had a marvelous time and it looked beautiful with all the spring color.
Old Mt. Gorgonio still had a faint snowy cap in the distance.
One of these days I will figure out the cycles of the Wildlife Area, need to look at the dates of past shots of mine and see if I can make rhyme or reason of the whole thing.
There was nary a raptor in the midday sky. Lots of red winged blackbirds and swifts.
And a male ruddy duck, with its beautiful and idiosyncratic blue bill.
My old friend the butcher bird, better known as the loggerhead shrike. Look at its deadly curved bill.
I thought that it might be the banded one I shot pictures of a few years ago but upon further inspection, doesn't look like it.
Caught coots and plovers, starlings and crows.
This long legged Avocet high stepping around for lunch.
And a pond turtle doing its thing.
When I am nearly alone on 19,000 acres of beautiful wetlands, I feel pretty good about things. Forget about aches, pains and politics. These critters don't care either.
Even the rather plain black phoebe is deserving of our love.
Red winged blackbirds were everywhere, will be hard to pick a shot, they look so pretty against a mustard background.
Saw a few red winged blackbirds chase a red tailed hawk, you don't see that every day. Fight in the dog, not the dog in the fight.
Saw some white faced ibis on my way out. Love them.
My camera is working well. I've had way worse days.