hummana hummuna

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Food shapes speech

A new study, Human sound systems are shaped by post-Neolithic changes in bite configuration
suggests that with humans' change from hunter gathering to farming, our food got softer and our bite and speech changed.

As one commenter pointed out in the New York Times, presumably some sibilants were lost to the world as well.

And on a similar front, how you pronounce the letter R might say a lot about your familial origin. Rhotics.


Unmasked by your fricative phonemes - One day soon, Siri will be able to distinguish you from your speech patterns.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Fill the frame

Loggins and Messina

Thanks, pal.

Two very nice female deputies showed up after my phone call. Did I wish to press charges if the culprit was found and hauled in? Yes, I did.

The graffiti miscreant known as Mase decided for some unknown reason to etch his initials deeply into the plate glass window in front of my store. What a wonderful person.

Swear it wasn't there that morning, I had just stepped out for a second. I think I might have even seen him sitting on the bench outside.

Too deep to rub out, it will probably cost me a grand or so that I don't have to replace the window. Not enough to submit to insurance, in any case.  Like a stupid dog pissing on a tree stump to mark territory, this delinquent a-hole left his cursive calling card right on the front of my shop window.

What kind of idiot criminal signs their work?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Space Hymn

Beto O'Rourke denied ever taking LSD yesterday. I have no way of knowing if he was telling the truth or not and frankly don't care. It's really none of my business. Well I think it would have been nice for him to admit if he had but I don't blame the guy for lying, considering the circumstances. He can always repent later on or go to tripster confession.

I do think it shows you how far we have come, ten years ago, it was have you ever smoked weed? Now that's pretty much a given.

The new politico taboo is obviously psychedelic exploration, although that makes little sense. We have no problem with you if you are a hard core lush who beats his wife but if you took acid before, horrors! Not sure I want a glazed president juggling the nuclear football while listening to Dark Star but I have no problem with a little youthful exploration.

Early adherents like Steve Allen and Cary Grant were administered acid by the good Dr. Janiger to cure and heal them and the substance did surprisingly well, was quite effective actually, especially with the treatment of alcoholism.

Not really sure why the subject was even broached but there are reports that a younger Beto once wrote fiction online under the nom de plume "Psychedelic Warlord." Hmmm.


West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Eighteen Is Over The Hill

Spring colors

The approach of spring has touched my Santa Margarita River valley. Ceanothus, or purple lilac bushes, are starting to paint the hillsides in their lovely shades of aubergine. Echium, the pride of Madeira, are starting to flower in the gardens with their towering blue purple spikes. As you can see from the picture above, the wisteria has opened its lilac spikes high in my oak tree. Canterbury bells and lupine grace the boundaries of our canyon road, accented by the ubiquitous golden California poppies.

I had a house call in town in the early afternoon and decided to pick up my camera gear and take a few shots in my garden afterwards.

I had bought a bunch of ranunculus and Icelandic poppies and planted them when I got home, along with some salvias and leptospermum.

The orange and yellow hues seem quite congenial with the dominant purple rubric.

Southern California is awash this week with painted lady butterflies, the remnants of which dot many a windshield. I set my camera up in the garden and caught a cavalcade of birds, bees and butters. Even a friendly mockingbird.

Hunting with a camera is a lot like hunting with a rifle or hunting anything else in life, if you are going to have wins, you are damn sure going to have a bunch of failures.

I had a mess of them yesterday. Didn't care a bit. Saw plenty and don't have to record everything I experience. Not a paying gig.

I do wish that I had stopped my aperture up to ƒ22 when this red tailed hawk flew by the moon.

But I didn't. I wasn't expecting it, didn't have the presence of mind. The hawk was being mobbed by a couple of crows. Here's the photoshopped version anyway. A little sloppy. Same moon, seconds later.

Live and learn. The hawk itself was very lovely.

I was thinking about corvids and raptors, how funny that fierce hawks allow themselves to be dominated by crows with their superior brainpower.

At that moment a kingbird flew out of the cedar and attacked the crow. So maybe the kingbird is the actual king? Or more likely, every dog has his day, nature merely a gigantic game of rock, paper, scissors.

Watched the feeders for a while, the house finches always willing to put on a comical show.

Until they were chased away by the super macho doves anyway. Never figured out how they got this peaceful reputation, doves? They can be little bastards.

I sat for hours, tried to lure the hummingbirds in with a sprinkler, never fails.

Until yesterday.

I adjusted my vantage, sat for hours in different spots, managed to grab a few shots. Grabbed a few super sweet navel oranges off the tree for sustenance. Didn't go inside until evening.

Shooting hummingbirds is actually quite humbling.

You hear this little mechanical snick or a rush of their wings and you turn around and they have just done a figure eight around you and flew into the sunset.

If you do manage to get a decent shot it is either because you were lucky or they decided to allow it.

Could swear I've heard them laughing at me...

You have to be very patient, in any case. Little green gems.

Not sure what this guy is, have to get my book or ask Ken or Beth. He says California Towhee, I should have known...

Not a bad day, me hanging around the garden with my friends.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The American Metaphysical Circus

from wicki: 

Among the musicians featured on the record are prominent West Coast studio musicians Tom Scott and the late Ted Greene, who is credited with the album's stellar guitar work in one of his few recorded appearances. Meyer Hirsch was a member of the Buddy Rich Big Band and is an experimental composer. Vocalist Victoria Bond has gone on to a prominent career as a classical composer, conductor and vocalist. Fred Selden, a student of Byrd's at UCLA, joined the Don EllisOrchestra (led by Byrd's partner in the UCLA New Music Workshop), received a Grammy nomination, and later returned to UCLA to receive his Ph.D.

House of cards

As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

North Carolina Republickan Senator Thom Tillis was certainly adamant in his opposition to Trump's National Emergency declaration. It was bad policy and would likely come back to bite the party in the future.
Republicans need to realize that this will lead inevitably to regret when a Democrat once again controls the White House, cites the precedent set by Trump, and declares his or her own national emergency to advance a policy that couldn’t gain congressional approval. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Capitol Broadcasting
Empty words. Tillis's opposition lasted about as long as a fart in a windstorm. When push came to shove he caved like a cheap hooker chasing a sawbuck. So did Corey Gardner, Martha McSalley, Joni Ernst, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Ben Sasse.

Why the change of heart? Tillis claimed that he heard serious discussion that would prevent future left wing presidents from using the insidious power that he was now allowing Trump to use. One time only.
The concerns I’ve raised were never about what President Trump is trying to accomplish but rather with setting a precedent that a future Democratic president would exploit to bypass Congress to implement policies well outside the mainstream. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
As in; it's only okay when we do it. Purple state Republicans voted with Trump in every case except for Susan Collins of Maine. They were obviously more afraid of the GOP Trumpites and getting primaried than they were afraid of losing a general election, as Jonathan Bernstein articulately points out at Bloomberg.
There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach — that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Oops, changed his mind. These folks are a bunch of gutless wonders. They are so afraid of Donald Trump that they would sell out their mother, cross any ethical line for the opportunity to give their leader a fat smooch on the hind quarters.

Salon has a good article that explains the phenomenon.
A national Quinnipiac University poll, released March 6, found that 66 percent of voters disapproved of Trump’s use of emergency powers to fund a border wall. But a different survey taken a few days later by Morning Consult found that seven in 10 Republican voters said they would be more likely to vote for senators or representatives who supported Trump’s declaration.
Rather than working on a moderate position that appeals to the majority of Americans, the GOP wants to double down on the hard right. Party over nation. It will be interesting to see if and how they get burned during the next election cycle.


Stretchy face

I didn't follow Katherine Helmond much after Soap but really admired her work as an actress.

This surreal image from the movie Brazil always tripped me out.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Say what?


Fun while it lasted

Sharp eyed blog readers will notice that there is no longer a link to my photography page Past Captures on Google +.

I stored roughly 800 best of shots there for my readers' viewing pleasure.

I had several thousand followers, alas, the number is now 2449 and shrinking every day. Because Google + will soon be no more. April 2, 2019, it is pow.

Google has this way of pulling the rug out from under platforms just when they were settling into a good groove.

Now its one time adherents are in cyber free fall. I lose followers now on a daily basis, at the end of the month the whole platform will be toast.

Social Media death is emotionally debilitating to most of us. I was on the Well and Prodigy way back when, sort of an early adopter. Watched them die and then did Facebook for a tour or two.

Wasn't for me, nor was Twitter. But I learned to pull the plug. Sort of liberating to get away from the chatter.

But it hits some folks real hard, especially those of us that are prone to oversharing.

Google + was great because for some reason, its patrons were unfailingly kind and supportive of each other. No slagging. The forum allowed photos to be put up in high resolution uncrunched and uncompressed.

I learned a lot about the world of ours. There are talented people on every continent, island and archipelago and they are every shade you could think of and also members of every clan and creed too. From Sri Lanka to Iceland I met a lot of people online I respect greatly, both as people and artists.

People are running scared now. Many are going to MeWe. I think that I will lay off social media for a while, do my blog thing and see if an even better forum shows itself. I don't like the instagram aspect ratio. Don't like the closed and insular nature of Facebookland.

Really liked Google +.

The Blues Project - Goin' Down Louisiana

Hodges shoreline

I saw Garry Cohen in a dream the other night. He was very nonchalant and relaxed, growing a beard. I miss my late friend a lot, driving through Del Dios makes me quite sad.

Was nice to talk with him again, even if it was in my own head.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hal Blaine (Usa, 1967) - Psychedelic Percussion

Trump makes fun of Beto's hand gestures

“Well, I think he’s got a lot of hand movement. I’ve never seen so much hand movement. Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?” Donald Trump on Beto O'Rourke.


Remember this one? Seems to be a habit with this guy, mocking other people.
So very classy. Anybody think he is remotely funny? People in glass houses...

Not to belabor but the it better not get violent because I have the cops, military and bikers on my side argument is a new low in the already putrid legacy of this man. Sounds like he was emotionally arrested in junior high and thinks we are actually living in a West Side Story fight scene.

Flying High

Happy Pi day but don't forget the circle constant

Google employee Emma Iwao has used a program called ychuncher to figure pi out to 31.4 trillion decimal places, or π * 1013. A new world record.

Good for her. Quite a feat. Took four months of calculating on 25 virtual machines run through Google Cloud's Compute Engine.

Pi, the ratio of a diameter to a circumference admittedly gets a lot of love. And it should. But some say that Tau 2π is a more accurate arbiter of the ratio.


Tau gets a day too but it is in June sometime and nobody really gives a hoot about it. Not sexy like pi. I will leave it to the mathematicians to deconstruct:
It should be obvious that π is not “wrong” in the sense of being factually incorrect; the number π is perfectly well-defined, and it has all the properties normally ascribed to it by mathematicians. When we say that “π is wrong”, we mean that π is a confusing and unnatural choice for the circle constant. In particular, a circle is defined as the set of points a fixed distance—the radius—from a given point, the center (Figure 1). While there are infinitely many shapes with constant width (Figure 2),3 there is only one shape with constant radius. This suggests that a more natural definition for the circle constant might use r in place of D:

Easy as pi.


scientists reverse time

Quantum scientists have just manipulated Schrödinger's famous equation and managed to reverse time.

When the authorities broke into the highly secured mountaintop Swiss lab where the secret experiments took place, they were confronted by a bunch of drooling infants crawling around in oversized lab coats.

Spouses and where appropriate, parents, have been notified of the odd developments.

More on this story yesterday.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bruce Cockburn

Black necked stilts

Mail call

Shawn sent a pretty picture over from Thailand that he titles natural geo'me'try.

Michael Calvanese sent this one over, pretty extraordinary footage -
Wife:  Hi Honey.  What did you do at work today?
Husband: "I changed a light bulb today!"
Wife:  "That's  all"? I did the laundry, vacuumed the house, washed windows, cooked three meals, and more, and you just changed a light bulb?
Husband:  "Yea, watch this, I filmed it."

Retha sent a picture of a tub of chicken feet from Korea. She is sort of rubbing it in because I once bet her twenty bucks she wouldn't eat one at dim sum and she did.

Steve Saylor recommends this Bill Moyers interview with Mike Lofgren. He also sent me a book by Lofgren - The Party is over.

Ricardo sends over an article from the Atlantic,  If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists Will.


Loughlin sends over a picture of his family's new dog. scout. What a beauty!

Millard sends over a cautionary tale of what not to do when your ship comes in. Penis enlargement is now officially off the table.

Reneé sent this - Brady Cobb, the son of a smuggler for Pablo Escobar, out front with the Republican establishment in support of legal weed.

From Cam Wilde:

Man Accused Of Dipping Testicles In Salsa As Revenge For Low Tip

From Jeff Olsen:

A young woman brought her fiancé home to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother told the girl's father to find out about the young man.

The father invited the fiancé to his study for a talk.

"So, what are your plans?" the father asked the young man.

"I am a biblical scholar," he replied

"A biblical scholar, hmmm?" the father said. "Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?"

"I will study," the young man replied, "and God will provide for us."

"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?" asked the father.

"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replied, "God will
provide for us."

"And children?" asked the father. "How will you support children?"

"Don't worry, sir, God will provide," replied the fiance.

The conversation proceeded like this...and each time the father questioned, the young idealist insisted that God would provide.

Later, the mother asked, "How did your talk go, honey?"

The father answered, "He's a Democrat. He has no job, he has no plans, and he thinks I'm God."

From Bob DeGoff:

Jerry Hall recommends the following 1973 acoustic version of Aladdin Sane. Beautiful vocals.

Keep em coming folks!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Goodbye Hal Blaine

The greatest session drummer in the world has passed away. Hal Blaine is said to have performed on over thirty five thousand recordings including this one and played on a slew of number one hits, over 140 by one count.

He wasn't about flash, he was about music. Didn't overplay but was arguable the most trusted and creative timekeeper the world has ever seen.

Hal was born Harold Belsky in Holyoke, Massachusetts, he died yesterday at the age of 90 at his home in Palm Desert, of natural causes. He idolized gene Krupa as a young man and learned to play drums from Roy Knapp, Krupa's teacher. Blaine played with Count Basie before he joined the Wrecking Crew. Incredibly innovative, his contributions to music will certainly live forever. Here is a link to an excellent Blaine interview in Modern Drummer.

Monday, March 11, 2019


The Rowan Brothers

Northward ho

I have just returned from a short visit to Northern California. A friend invited me to deadhead with him on a Gulfstream jet headed north and how could I turn him down? We would rent a car and cruise around Sonoma, Napa and Marin. Hell, yes.

It was a great weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, the trip and the good company.

We flew to Santa Rosa from Palomar Airport on Thursday. I had never been on such a luxurious plane before. Fast and smooth and free M&Ms to boot. Disembarked and rented a midsize Toyota.

We made our way to a dumpy hotel in Rohnert Park, you basically had to enter through the Burger King. It was supposed to be non smoking but evidently many occupants never got the word, the place stunk of camel non filters. Place was so classy every print on the wall in the room was exactly the same.

Oh well, a toilet and a bed is all a man really needs, right? We went out for a steak dinner and plotted our upcoming weekend.

We were originally going to go to Napa the first day and sightsee the second day. The weather report was forecasting rain for Sunday so after a middle of the night conversation we decided to switch things around and travel to the Sonoma coast first, on Saturday morning. Found a coffee shop and leaded up and then made our way to Occidental.

I had called my friend Rick Petteford for a little advice about where to go and he of course delivered in spades. He said that soon after he had moved into the area forty years ago he discovered the wonderful but seldom traveled Coleman Valley road to the Sonoma coast. We took small back roads out to Occidental and found our bucolic and verdant windy road after a short comical interlude. Basically asked a man for directions to a road we were actually parked next to.

Made our way up and over the ridge. It was truly a beautiful and pristine area. Harriers and red tailed hawks soared gracefully on the thermals above us.

We drove north a few miles and parked near Arch Rock.

I walked out on the bluff at the beach and noticed a peregrine falcon flying around, the speedy raptor eventually landing on a large rock jutting out of the ocean ahead of us.

I stuck the long lens on the camera and took a few shots. Didn't take my best lens but did take my longest lens. Wasn't going to bring the lens but finally did anyway, luckily. You know how much I love raptors. Would have been s.o.l. without it.

I watched the banded male fly to various abutments to perch. I never get tired of watching these gorgeous birds, the fastest creature on earth short of a rumour.

Afterwards we drove up to Fort Ross so he could see what it looked like north of the river's end.

The morning light made the environs look far different than they did in the afternoon gloom I saw when I was there last summer on the way back from Oregon.

We went back to Jenner and then headed east along the river, through Duncan Mills and Forestville and various other quaint and historic towns on the Russian River.

Unfortunately the recent floods had pretty much devastated the place. Huge piles of refuse were pushed to the street everywhere you looked, waiting to be removed. River region got hit hard. Flood had to have been wicked.

We made our way to Healdsburg. Jim had not been there for a while and enjoyed the new exploration. We had a great lunch at Korbel. I bought Leslie a couple champagne bottles that you could only buy at the winery, the pinot rouge and the sec, the latter which they started making sometime in the 1880's.

We stopped at Twomey as well and Jim bought a bottle of Silver Oak for his daughter. We also stopped at the ultra trendy Rochioli but they will not see visitors without an appointment. Oh well. I guess I don't have to drink snobby wine.

Speaking of which, Silver Oak cabernet is my personal favorite wine but because of my recent cardiac problems I am not drinking at all and kept dry and sober all weekend. Can't afford it these days anyway, to be honest.

One thing I love about Sonoma and Napa is the dearth of stucco and twentieth century blah, the number of great homes from the 19th century into the 1930's that still exist and are kept up. We pretty much stayed on the back roads all weekend and I loved the beautiful old farmhouses. The only drawback to the area that I could see was that the quaint little country roads are in pretty terrible shape with steep drop offs and many potholes. They are so narrow that I don't think they would be very forgiving if you were a drinking person and had to navigate them at night.

After Sonoma we traveled to Napa. Tooled through Calistoga and then found our way to Rombauer Vineyards and bought some chardonnay for Jim's wife. It is a very popular wine and the place was packed. Had enough of wine and wineries and started back to our hotel. The GPS on my phone took us over the mountain from Yountville on a pretty hairy road but we survived somehow. Grabbed a burger and we both crashed out very early, exhausted.

The next morning we decided to head back home. We were going to go down the California coastline to San Simeon and Hearst Castle but had not cancelled our preliminary Los Banos reservation in time so we were forced to eschew the coastal route. Oh well, we would make the best of it.

We headed to Bodega Bay, had a great breakfast at The Tides, he, corned beef hash and eggs, me, Dungeness crab cake benedict with hollandaise. Drove around Bodega Bay and then down to Point Reyes and Tomales Bay, catching more epic California coastline.

This cow horse was on the wrong side of the fence on our way to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. (Unfortunately my comrade was born in the city and obviously hasn't spent a lot of time in the country. He thought that these here critters were horses. Not wanting to correct him and cause him to lose face, I played along for the trip. If you see him and he insists that this is a horse, please say nothing.)

I was not really that tuned into my camera all weekend. More like grab some decent snapshots. You get what you get but not really my finest effort. Light and providence only gives you so much sometimes.

Loved the Muir Beach Overlook. Had a great afternoon.

Finally drove through the city. I personally hate making the transition from trees to concrete.

We started thinking about dinner plans. Decision to make. He finally decided Creola sounded too good, I had been bragging about the filet all afternoon.

Unfortunately it would not open for several more hours so we stopped at the Hiller Aviation Museum to kill some time. Cool museum in San Carlos dedicated to Northern California aviation. Drove by a million times and never saw it. Lots of hands on stuff for kids of all ages and an excellent staff.

Jim is an ex Marina aviator. Thought it was fun to see him in an A4 cockpit since he flew one for a long time at work. Was waiting for him to crash the simulator but he declined to give me the pleasure. He is obviously better with planes than he is with livestock.

Creola did not disappoint. Edwin was glad to see us, turned out he was once a helicopter mechanic in the navy. Another brown shoe. Jim had the filet, I had the flounder with shrimp etoufee. Superb. I had wanted to try the basque restaurant in Los Banos but it would have to wait for another trip.

Stayed at the La Quinta. It was a step up. No garbage trucks making noise in the middle of the night.

A happy and cherubic beekeeper from Minnesota gave me a container of his vaunted basswood honey the next morning. He was making a thrice annual bee run to the west coast. Much appreciated!

We made our way home on the 5 without difficulty. All good. Thanks Jim!