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Tufas, Mono Lake © Robert Sommers 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Black moon


"And behold," hearkened the sage. "There shall be a time during the Mahayuga known as the black moon. This will signal the end of the age known as Devapara and augur the commencement of Kali's reign of destruction. Woe to those caught in its dark shadow. As the seer Tārānātha once wrote, the occasion of a doubled new moon in the Krishna Paksha will cause the world to tremble and the firmament to quake. Beware.

Son will slay father, parents will destroy their own children, children will see their parents and not know them, lover will betray lover. Does it not say in the Upanishads that the dire wolf feeds on the meek and the innocent? Morality breaks down completely. Cats will chase dogs. Men will be enslaved. The earth, water and air will be plundered and the people sickened.

For the demon Kali कलि works towards the death and not the rejuvenation of our world. He who is named Ghandarva, he who is the color of soot and dung and bears the smell of rotting flesh. 

The book of Purana says that the wicked shall prosper in the time of the Kali Yuga, the righteous in the worlds to come. Look at those who are prospering during the Kali yuga with no small dollop of suspicion, my friends.


Do not fret, my children, the term of the Kali Yuga is only 432,000 solar years, a mere twinkling of time before the good Lord Kalkin, the binder, the tenth avatar of Vishnu, mounts his white steed Devadatta and returns from Shambala with his fiery sword to do battle with his nemesis Kali. Is Kalkin not named the remover of darkness? Are we not promised that he will restore dharma and justice and punish the evildoers? Praise Kalkin.

The world will be utterly destroyed in the resultant cataclysm but like a new shoot sprouting from the stump of an old oak, the Satya Yuga of the next cycle is sure to begin again. 

Devadatta will snort and stamp the earth with his right hoof, causing the tortoise who supports our world to drop it into the unlimited abyss. Then the earth will be restored. Be happy and rest assured. Good times are approaching, albeit in 10 charaṇas or 4,320,000 million years. Chill. This is but a blink of an eye to our Lord Brahma."

"Hide your light, good peoples. Consider the behavior and example of the Prince Chi, who lived at the court of the evil tyrant Chou Hsin. Did not Lord Kṛṣṇa  कृष्ण foretell that the Kali Yuga will be full of extreme hardships for people with ideals and values? Do not proclaim thy righteousness, nor travel through the difficult mountain passes or attempt to navigate the world's waters during this time. All this is foretold in Brahma-vaivarta Purana 4.129."

"Namaste."



Both Of Us (Bound To Lose) - Manassas

We don't need your help.

John Delaney
One of the most nauseating things in the recent political cycles is the part where Republicans decide to handicap the Democrats candidates or debates. Like Guy Benson does here. Make some suggestions. Pretend they want to help. Or that we care what they think.

Invariably they pick the candidate least likely to win and heap all kinds of praise on them, it has the intended effect of marginalizing the more popular candidates.

The GOP used this kind of triangulation ploy when they funneled money to Jill Stein and the Green Party in 2016.

I frankly don't care that Donald Trump thinks that "Sleepy Joe" Biden will be his eventual foe or that his son Junior likes Marianne Williamson better than the other folks running for office. They don't need to give Democrats and liberals their personal tout sheets on the field. It's patronizing, gratuitous, utterly self serving and not remotely believable.

If we want your opinion we will ask for it.

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Tinker to Evers to Chance, Nixon to Reagan to Trump...
The Nixon Presidential Library, motivated apparently by the work of its former director, has released a tape of then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan ranting about African delegates, whom he called “monkeys,” in a racist phone call to President Richard Nixon.
“To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Reagan said, to laughter from Nixon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Western tanager

I saw a male western tanager that looked a lot like this guy near the river on my way home.

He was bouncing around the scrub on the high dirt road in my canyon. Honestly, it blew my mind.

Thirty years here, the first one I have ever seen in the Santa Margarita River valley. And wouldn't you know, I left my camera at the shop.

Had to borrow this picture from the internet. But a dead ringer. Very exciting. Gorgeous bird. Let me know if you other Fallbrookians ever see them around, will you?

Green machine

Both Kip and Dixon complimented and questioned the green background on the hummingbird shots?

Did I manipulate it, or add it in photoshop? Honestly, I did nothing. Just a powerful, fast, prime lens wide open. Dash of the normal spices.

I think you can see the slightest hint of the bird's tongue in this shot, which also shows a bit of out of focus Mexican sage.

Pigs at the trough

Another excellent Ricardo Lara story by Jeff McDonald, New actions by state insurance commissioner appear to benefit another campaign donor.

Wow. Ricardo Lara. The man who promised not to take contributions from industry when he was running for office. He delivers a sweetheart action to a out of state pet insurer the same day the man's family member writes him a big fat check.
One day in April, the California Assembly insurance committee passed a pet insurance bill that critics say could make it harder for consumers to collect benefits.
That same day, Darlene Graber wrote a check to Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara's re-election campaign for $7,800.
Graber is a homemaker from Austin, Texas, according to state campaign disclosures.
Records show she shares an address with Larry Graber, an executive with Independence Holding Co., a New York insurance conglomerate that markets pet insurance and other products around the country. It was not clear if the Grabers are married. 
Further research shows that they are married. At this rate you have to wonder if Lara is incompetent or just doesn't care. Talk about being in bed with the people you are supposed to regulate. And even occasionally promoting their businesses.
On July 10, the Twitter account for the Department of Insurance urged followers to observe National Kitten Day by purchasing pet insurance.
"Let today be a reminder to consider pet #insurance to protect your furry little friend," the department tweeted. "This coverage will help pay for veterinary expenses necessary for taking care of your kitten or other pets."

Fox in the henhouse

Trump’s Interior Secretary Picks Opponent Of U.S. Public Lands To Oversee Them
William Perry Pendley argued that the “Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold.”

The Claypool Lennon Delirium - Little Fishes

Billy Roberts

Monday, July 29, 2019

Grosbeak

The black headed grosbeak is by no means rare but it is a welcome resident of our front yard feeder.

Its lovely song has been likened to that a drunk robin.

The bird is common throughout the entire west. It is in the cardinal family.

I go to New Mexico soon. There I will probably see evening grosbeaks, that are actually in the finch family.

This is a picture of a female evening grosbeak I took in Santa Fe last year.

Woman of 1000 Years

Target practice

Trump went after his old pal Al Sharpton today, called him a racist. Once upon a time they were actually bros. Let's see, who is left? He has pilloried Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, Ayanna Pressley, Don Lemon, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, John Lewis, my god, anybody else left? Trump thinks that blacks are stupid, they originally came from shithole countries and they live in disgusting, rat infested messes. He finds a new black target to pick on every day. His base loves it, his numbers rise every time he launches a racist attack.

John Amos, he hasn't attacked John Amos yet.
(keep your head down, John,)

Little hitlers

When I heard about the Gilroy mass shooting yesterday I am not going to lie to you, I wanted to know the ethnicity of the shooter. My stomach blanched when I found out that his first name was Santino. 

With white supremacy on the rise, an incident involving a black or hispanic shooter can be like a match in a powder keg in this racially charged climate. I hoped not. But it is very rare indeed, the great majority of hate based violence today is promulgated by white people  men.


Turns out that the late Santino William Legan was in fact a 19 year old white guy who railed against mestizos and spouted white nationalist invective on his social media accounts. He suggested on instagram that people read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard earlier that day, a notorious hate screed. Killed three innocent people who didn't have it coming. People that were apparently not caucasian. He himself identified as an Italian Iranian, if it makes any difference.
On Sunday, police officers shot and killed Santino William Legan at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, after he opened fire at the event. Earlier the same day, a post appeared on an Instagram page attributed to him referring to a proto-fascist white supremacist manifesto by a pseudonymous 19th-century author.
NBC News has declined to identify the literature by name in order to limit its spread.
According to extremism researchers, the manifesto is part of a collection of white nationalist literature that’s been pirated and distributed for free on far-right websites. The material is part of a years long recruiting technique by white nationalists to target those vulnerable to their message on forums frequently populated by teenagers.
The book strongly advocates combat, violence and death along racial lines, and is filled with anti-Semitic rhetoric. It is a staple among neo-Nazis and white supremacists on extremist sites such as 4chan’s /pol/ board, National Vanguard, Stormfront and The Daily Stormer. Links to the PDF version of the book have been posted hundreds of times on 4chan in the last several years, including as recently as last month.
The two young killers in Canada are also white supremacists with excessive fascinations with Hitler, according to one of their parents.

I guess our President would call these three killers the bad nazis, as opposed to the good nazis who marched at Charlottesville. I just wonder about the parents here, who exactly raises little monsters like these?

Makes me appreciate my own parents.

Bromberg

A happy story for once.

I sent this to Jeff Olson, might as well share it with you too.

We had the SuperGirl surfing championships in Oceanside this weekend. Here is an article in the Union Tribune.
The picture below shows surfing star Bethany Hamilton with young adaptive surfer Liv Stone.  Bethany of course lost her arm in a shark attack many years ago. She is now a serious role model for many surfers and disabled people.

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Charlie Neuman - U.T.

I was lucky enough to shoot her at Trestles a few years ago. What a beautiful person, inside and out. Here are a couple shots I took below.

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An incredible role model for girls like Liv, and what a positive legacy she is creating and leaving in this occasionally awful world of ours.


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Sorry kids!

The Trump administration wants to undo rules that allow states to raise food stamp eligibility requirements, which make it easier for families with high housing and child care costs, as well as those with savings and other assets, to receive the assistance.
“Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” Perdue said in a statement on Tuesday. “That is why we are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it.”
Anti-poverty advocates say they believe the changes will harm families struggling to make ends meet, explaining that free school meals are vital to addressing hunger.
Food is the easiest thing to cut out of a household budget,” says Lisa Davis, senior vice president of the No Kid Hungry campaign at Share Our Strength, an advocacy group. “The parents start missing meals to avoid that impact on the kids. And the older kids — the ones in middle school and high school — they often will skip meals to make sure there’s food for the little ones.”
Pennsylvania school district tells parents to pay their lunch debt, or their kids will go into foster care.


Don't ever punish the children. Even for their parents' sins.

Bryan Sutton

Einstein in the sack.

Attorney General William Barr issued a decision today reversing previous Justice Department policy and severely restricting asylum claims for families facing violence and persecution.
In a precedent-setting immigration court opinion, Barr said that simply being part of a nuclear family targeted for persecution doesn’t qualify as a “particular social group” eligible for asylum in the United States.

“The fact that a criminal group — such as a drug cartel, gang, or guerrilla force — targets a group of people does not, standing alone, transform those people into a particular social group,” the attorney general wrote.

I was thinking about this this morning, wondering what such a policy would mean to relatives of mine fleeing the pogroms and the holocaust when I started thinking about our President and his wife and her family. See Melania Trump's parents become U.S. citizens, using Chain Migration Trump hates in the New York Times.
Melania Trump had sponsored her parents for their green cards, Mr. Wildes said in describing the process by which the Knavses had become United States citizens. “Once they had the green card, they then applied for citizenship when they were eligible,” he said.
Even as his in-laws were going through the process, Mr. Trump was denouncing it. In November, he tweeted, “CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!”
And how did Melania herself become a citizen?
According to news reports, she entered the country in 2001 on a so-called Einstein visa for “individuals of extraordinary ability” as a model. She became a United States citizen in 2006.
Since when did being a pretty model make somebody an individual of extraordinary ability?

As this article points out, brilliant astrophysicists were denied citizenship under the Einstein Rule but if you were lucky enough to be fucking Donald Trump it was apparently a slam dunk.

What a great country!

Home on the range

There is an area in my front yard I call the pond.  Lots of sage and lantana. An occasional bauhinia flower.

In the afternoon of late, I have been trying to land the "afternoon bite." Sit out there on my chair and wait for something to hit.

The critters have been elusive and my own performance has been frankly marginal.

Probably because I quit drinking. You have to drink to be a good fisherman.

The failsafe fallback is to blame my equipment.


But that is hard to do when you get an occasionally good or decent shot.

Equipment failure tends to be relatively consistent. So operator error is usually the actual culprit.

I will keep at it.



You know how I know that a hummer is near by? I listen for clicks. These little jeweled messengers of the Trochilidae species make the strangest noises.

Herding cats is nothing. Trying to take a photograph of a creature that can fly around you three times before you can even blink, now that's something.


Them


I was listening to the radio the other day and the disk jockey played Bonnie Raitt's version of It's all over now Baby Blue and declared that it was the greatest version ever. Now her take on the Dylan song from the film Steal this Movie is definitely wonderful. But so many have done excellent covers, the Dead, Baez, Byrds, Leroy Van Dyke, Animals, the song's author, how do you pick the best? For my money, this is my favorite, Van's version from 1966.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Ricardo Lara

It is an old adage that money is the mother's milk of politics. Governor Gray Davis was beholden to the prison guards union, Jerry Brown played footsie with the utility companies, there is nothing new or novel here.

Of course this happens on the left and right. Remember Chuck Quackenbush?

But the good ones at least learn how to hide their larceny.

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is apparently remarkably clumsy at the game. Strange because he was a darling of Brown, Harris and Newsom. The first openly gay person to hold statewide office, Lara is also responsible for bills allowing illegal immigrants to be eligible for Medi Cal benefits.

Read these two excellent articles by Union Tribune writer Jeff McDonald. Here and here.

It is the old play, intervening for clients who put money in your pocket, something Lara promised not to do.
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s office intervened in at least four proceedings involving a company with ties to insurance executives and their spouses who donated tens of thousands of dollars to his re-election campaign, records Lara, who was elected in November after promising not to accept campaign contributions from people he regulates, last month overruled two decisions by Department of Insurance judges and ordered the reopening of cases which involved Applied Underwriters.
It appears that it gets worse.
For the second time in two weeks, a senior California Department of Insurance official has overruled an administrative law judge and reversed a decision that could have cost an insurance company hundreds of thousands of dollarsRecords show Special Counsel Bryant Henley intervened Monday in a case against Applied Underwriters, a workers’ compensation insurer whose executive and spouse donated tens of thousands of dollars to Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s reelection campaign. Henley signed a 47-page amended order just below Lara’s name in the case filed by RDR Builders of Lodi. The action came days after Lara, elected in November, pledged to no longer participate in proceedings involving Applied Underwriters due the campaign donations.
Lara's actions are costing California businesses serious money.
Attorney Larry Lichtenegger, the lawyer representing RDR Builders and Oceanside Laundry, said he was “extremely concerned” about both amended orders. He said Lara was acting outside the scope of his elected powers.“In return for their campaign contributions, he exceeded his authority under Reg. 2509.69(c) by changing the recommendations of the (administrative law judge) in order to give Applied Underwriters a bonus for their illegal conduct,” Lichtenegger said.That specific California Code of Regulations section says the insurance commissioner “may make technical or other minor changes” to an administrative law judge’s decision “or a change of a similar nature that does not affect the factual or legal basis of the proposed decision.”Lichtenegger said Lara’s rulings would cost his clients $500,000 or more.“What the commissioner did was change the result,” he said. “That is not a minor change.”Lara told KQED that he met with Applied Underwriters president and CEO Steven Menzies, a conversation that some say could violate state rules against ex parte, or private, meetings between regulators and people with business pending before the agency.It was a very casual meeting,” the commissioner said. “He wanted us to see if we could, and staff could, meet with him to review the cases before him and I said ‘Absolutely.’ Anyone can meet with our department staff.”
Casual meeting? Of course it was. This guy sounds like very bad news. Kudos to McDonald for his reporting. I hope Lara has a very short tenure in the job.

Alone Again Or


Leslie and my favorite live band is making a rare appearance stateside at the Casbah in October. Love revisited 🏩, aka Baby Lemonade has been touring Europe of late, where they are much beloved. I think they only have two California shows scheduled, the other in Los Angeles. Playing with the Loons here.

Republicans and Democrats can't even agree on the weather.

Interesting Reuters article.
"Nearly two-thirds of Democrats believe severe thunderstorms and floods have become more frequent, compared to 42% and 50% of Republicans, respectively, according to the poll. About half of Democrats, meanwhile, think droughts, hurricanes and tropical storms are more common in their region, versus less than a third of Republicans, according to the poll.'

Terminally stupid

Such a weird story, two teenagers from Marin County travel to Europe, steal an Italian guy's backpack in Rome, demand money and a gram of coke to return it, then stab a plainclothes cop investigating the robbery to death.

Stabbed him eight times, a beloved guy in the community who recently returned from his own honeymoon.

And these idiots didn't seem too poor either, they were staying at the four star Le Meridian Hotel. Somebody wealthy put up the money for that for sure, the place ain't cheap. "We're sending you to Italy, kids. Don't kill anybody."

Bet these guys never had a struggle in their entire short privileged lives? I guess they were trying to buy drugs. Recent graduates of Tamalpais High School. Now busy pointing their fingers at each other.

Who goes to Europe and engages in this sort of horrible behavior? Once again Americans look like horrible beasts to the rest of the world. Over entitled Mill Valley brats destroy their lives and extinguish the life of another in one fell swoop. I'm sure they will have the best legal defense team money can buy.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Molly Hatchet


I post a lot of different music on this blog, from classical to techno and pretty much everything in between. Besides polka, dixieland and banda, the genres I tend to stay away from are the Foreigner, Styx, 38 Special, REO, Journey, Aerosmith stuff that was popular in the 1970's and which I generally loathed. Face it, I'm a snob. But I was listening to this tune on Deep Tracks this morning and I had to admit, damn, that sounds really good. Great Allman Brothers cover, very tight.

Got to keep on trying.

Trying to break yesterday's bad spell I set up the tripod in the early morning light and tried to grab a few hummingbird shots. Not fabulous but better than yesterday. Will keep trying. The bush is a Mexican bird of paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii.

to every thing there is a season...


The day started off crappy and it was unfortunately destined to get worse. Normal end of the month tsoris, nothing would click, running on fumes. Can be so frustrating.

I decided to head for the wildlife area up in Perris, my happy place, in hopes of a needed tailwind.

I had invited two friends to go with me, both experienced birders. They both politely declined, Beth was going to Idyllwild and Ken was busy and said to try him in the fall.

They were smart. This is the slow time out there but I figured something would turn up. It always does. After all I was up a month ago and got some fabulous shots. Never get skunked at this place. Until yesterday that is.

Took an hour to get through Temecula Friday afternoon traffic. When I got to the reserve, wandering around in the 105˚ heat, it was dryer than a Sunday revival meeting in Utah. Nothing avian to be seen.

You know, intelligent people figure out that all things have seasons. You don't go looking for polar bears in the Gobi desert, smart people pick their spots. I ain't too smart.

The famous Owsley Stanley once told me that my problem was that I was always trying to play poker at a pinochle game. In any case, there were hardly any birds around. An egret or two, a few kestrels. Not even any ducks in the ponds, the few ponds that were left anyway.

I did get a picture of a shrike, or butcher bird, I think it is one of the oldest specimens I have ever seen. Looked almost emaciated, like it too was running on fumes. He is banded, could it be the same individual I wrote about several years ago? If so, life has not been real kind.

I decided to cut the afternoon short, there was nothing happening and the horizon line looked no more promising. Van needs an alignment so bad I thought the tires were flat. I headed home. And a few minutes into my return I got a call from Jeff - Did I know that Michael Johnson had died of a heart attack that morning? [Ed. note : According to Nick, he actually died of an aortic dissection.]

Michael Johnson was a preeminent art dealer, larger than life. A bear of a man with a deep hearty laugh, he treated me like a brother from the first day we met.

An ex cop and detective, he was legendary for both his exploits and the incredible art collections he had put together in his long career. For people like Jane Fonda and Joan Irvine among many others. And my god, did Mike have stories...


I work in a business where many people will stab you in the back with regularity, Michael always treated me like a prince. Never once in twenty five years did we have a cross word. And he had ample opportunity to be a prick and he refrained. He obeyed the code, even when it cost him money. Was a gentleman when it counted, a man's man.

Never politically correct and if you didn't like it, you could kiss his ass.

We did some great business together and occasionally would drink together. He owned every room he walked into, including our favorite haunt, the late, great Moose Lodge. He liked to laugh, he liked to have a good time. Hated phonies.


He taught me a couple things early on that have stuck with me for decades. Gave me the two best pieces of advice I have ever received in the art business. Which will go unsaid and unrepeated for now. When I was down or he happened to be down, we would often have a drink and commiserate, when he was up, he never rubbed it in.

Mike, Gary Lang and I worked together on occasion, put on a hell of a show in 2003, Native Palette. He was a pioneer in the California Style movement with a few other people, put the work of Sheets, Kosa, Dike and many others on the map at a time when it had very little traction in the market.


Mike, for all of his brash bravado, had a very soft, kind, gentle side too. He kept it mostly hidden. I think I am one of the few people who ever saw his paintings from college in Santa Barbara. They were, of course, excellent. He had a great eye, which you would think would be a prerequisite in this business but unfortunately is not. Sold figural work when practically no one else was doing so, was happy to go his own way, confident in knowing what was good. Didn't have to run with the crowd. Was a learned man, informed and conversant on any topic you cared to discuss.

He was also an excellent photographer and had dreams at one time of becoming a cinematographer.

This one is going to take a while to process.

Leslie and my love and condolences go out to Mandy, Nick, Greg, Beverly and the rest of the Johnson family as well as to all of his dear friends and associates. He will be greatly missed and never replaced.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Steppenwolf - Earschplittenloudenboomer

Das ist gut


Trump invented another new word the other day, infantroopen. As in, "Der infantroopen ist sehr punktlich heute, Melania wunderschönen."
The president misspoke during a speech at the Pentagon to welcome his new defence secretary, Mark Esper, appearing to get confused over the word “infantry” and coming up with his own term instead.
Referring to Mr Esper’s distinguished record in the US armed forces, Mr Trump said he was awarded “the bronze star and the combat infantroopen badge for his service”.
Slurring his words slightly as he spoke at the welcome ceremony in Arlington, Virginia, the president also referred to lawmakers as “lawmurkers”.
Sort of an Nazi F troop vibe. I kind of dig it, in a covfefe sort of way.

Hooteroll?

Causal?

Terrible story. A more cynical or should I say theological person might wonder if it was ultimately part of a greater plan?

Seriously, a person can't even go into the water any more without seemingly fighting a gator, shark or flesh eating bacteria. I worry about my own bathtub. The EPA did relax the limits for rocket fuel in the water, maybe I will have a little more get up and go.


Some awful parenting stories lately. Either the kid is getting tossed in the air by a bison you allowed them to get way too close to, falling out of a ship porthole or riding around on an airport baggage carousel.

Or you let your two year old toddler wander the neighborhood while you are blasted on vodka.

What is it with you people? Are they doling out stupid pills or is it something in the water?

Don't look around for someone to blame, parents, look at yourselves. You're a bunch of idiots. Watch your kids. It's not our job. And don't let them drive your car when you are drunk if they are only nine years old. Wait a year or two. Then they can drive their electric scooter on the highway.

The bison story was too much. A year or two ago Ken and I were at the Grand Canyon and I had to stop a bunch of stupid french people from petting the elk. I heard they were petting the bison the other day. Are people really this dumb? Like this entitled and thoughtless ignoramus.

Where's Darwin when you need him? Evolution Charles, lickety split.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Pacific Vibrations

original painting - Pacific Vibrations

I am moving some things from my personal collection, they do no good after a certain point, too big and pointless to throw in my coffin in any case. I decided to photograph this work the other day, an uncut handbill sheet from the iconic surf movie, Pacific Vibrations.


This is a poster by my favorite artist when I was growing up, Rick Griffin. Rick was the king of surf, psychedelic and later christian art. Eventually he became a very dear friend. He left us long ago.

But when I bought this poster from his agent Gordon McClelland about 44 years ago, I was just a kid, right out of high school. Some of the first work I ever bought, at least I knew what I liked. Has hung in a rather dark corner of my hallway for forty four years.

For some reason I had this thing laid down way back when, not sure why at this point, as I said I was very green. But I also obviously had Rick sign it at some point. I thought I had but couldn't remember and be sure until I pulled it off the wall and removed the mat the other day. Bingo.

 I wrote Gordon a letter about it, we are still friends to this day four decades and change later. I knew the thing was rare but how rare? He sent me back a note which I will share with you:

Robert, Thanks much for sharing this. I kept one and sold this one to you. They came to me from John Severson in the mid 1970s. John may have kept one but as far as I know that would make only 3 known. Pretty rare indeed and really cool looking. Gordon

Severson is gone now, can't ask him, but this is either one of two or one of three in the universe which makes it pretty rare. I may be putting some of my original Griffin material up for sale very soon. If I do I will include a link on the blog. I am talking to a museum or two but we will have to see if anything pans out. Just a few things left. Life got in the way.


I felt bad when I sold Sail on Sailor, Rick's beautiful album cover and equally sad when I sold Water to Wine

But another part of me thought that the stuff is meant to be shared, not fair to keep the stuff all bottled up for myself in my little cubbyhole, artwork that the world should be able to embrace and enjoy.

Besides what good is it if I get hit by a bus, I eat a bad oyster or a plane falls out of the sky? In one sense we are all just caretakers. And caretakers are sometimes called to let go of the things they cherish. Can not take it with you.

We will see.

In a hundred years or so the world will maybe have finally figured out what a brilliant and unique painter Rick truly was. 

The late Garry Cohen, who was a great friend of mine who Rick and Ida introduced me to, grew up with him since grade school, and once told me that Griffin was in fact a spiritual medium. 

These sorts of platitudes are a bit out of my pay grade but I think I know what he meant and agree. Because I spent many hours and nights watching him work in silence. He was tuned into something extraordinary.

I wish I knew what Rick meant by this instigator business? I can't imagine... It has been a privilege, I know that. Rick, Roger Z, Jerry, Allan, Sam, not everybody gets to meet their heroes. I'm a lucky guy.