first light © Robert Sommers 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019

Big league play

I love this story about Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. Stories like this one always make me tear up. Good for him.

Poor kid with cancer has been in the hospital for three years. I can't even imagine.

Pro words

Ken teaches me a lot. Long time pilot and military man, flight operations manager, ace photographer, computer expert, ham radio operator, eagle scout, the guy is a veritable encyclopedia.

When we were out shooting the other day he said something to me and I said "Roger that." I thought I was assenting, he told me it meant nothing of the kind. "Roger", according to my friend, simply means "I hear you, or received." "Wilco" means I will comply. So "Roger wilco" means I hear you and I will comply.

These radio communication terms are called procedure words or prowords. They derive from early Morse code transmission. The NATO communications manual ACP-125 contains the most formal and perhaps earliest modern glossary of procedure words.  They are still used by many organizations including the Civil Air Patrol and Coast Guard.

Another proword is over. It means my transmission to you is complete and I expect an answer. You never say over and out. Out means my transmission to you is finished and I require no response. There are many more of these words. You can see a good glossary here.

And the phrase 10-4? Where did that come from? It is one of the ten codes, or radio signals, invented by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO.) It means okay. These codes are the brainchild of Illinois State Police Communications Director Charles Hopper for use by the police in their radio transmissions in 1937.


The Youngbloods

Geocoxxyx Californianus

The greater roadrunner is one of two species of terrestrial cuckoo found in the western hemisphere. The other species, G. Velox, lives in Mexico and Central America. The roadrunner can achieve speeds of 20mph and can fly if they have to. I took the shot that you see above and did absolutely nothing to it, save a crop. Required nothing.

From wikipedia:
The Hopi and other Pueblo tribes believed that roadrunners were medicine birds and could protect against evil spirits. Their unusual X-shaped footprints are used as sacred symbols to ward off evil in many Pueblo tribes—partially because they invoke the protective power of the roadrunners themselves, and partially because the X shape of the tracks conceals which direction the bird is headed (thus throwing malignant spirits off track.) Stylized roadrunner tracks have been found in the rock art of ancestral Southwestern tribes like the Anasazi and Mogollon cultures, as well. Roadrunner feathers were traditionally used to decorate Pueblo cradleboards as spiritual protection for the baby. In Mexican Indian and American Indian tribes, such as the Pima, it is considered good luck to see a roadrunner. In some Mexican tribes, the bird was considered sacred and never killed, but most Mexican Indians used the meat of the roadrunner as a folk remedy to cure illness or to boost stamina and strength.
Indigenous peoples of Central America have developed numerous beliefs about the roadrunner. The Ch’orti’, who call it t’unk’u’x or mu’, have taboos against harming the bird. The Ch'ol Maya believe roadrunners to have special powers. It is known to them as ajkumtz’u’, derived from the bird's call that is said to make the listener feel tired.
Beep, beep!

Sittin On Top Of The World

Flaming pies

Loved this NYT story about the Kurdish pizza maker in New York,  ‘I Know the Struggle’: Why a Pizza Mogul Left Pies at Memorials to 4 Homeless Men.

I thought that the optics were priceless for the recent P.G.E. shutoff. The high brass was toasting each other over at Silver Oak right before they hit the switch.

Now I have to commend them for their taste, Silver Oak was my favorite cab back when I was drinking and could afford it.

But there was definitely a bit of a Marie Antoinette "let them eat cake" to the whole thing, especially after a man died a mere twelve minutes later when he lost power to his oxygen.
PG&E confirmed that 10 to 12 employees on the gas side of the business were mingling with 50 to 60 of their top customers at a winery in Sonoma County on Monday and Tuesday. It was in the run-up to PG&E’s unprecedented power shut-offs for hundreds of thousands of customers this week, a highly controversial act that could cost the California economy $2.6 billion by some estimates and even put people in harm’s way.
Did you see that the new acting BLM Director is calling wild horses the biggest threat to public lands in the west? This is patently ridiculous. William Pendley may be the worst appointee yet, in an administration full of horrible appointees.
The silliness of this statement becomes obvious when one considers that wild horses don’t exist on more than 85 percent of BLM lands, and where they do occur, they have to share the range with domestic livestock which typically have an even bigger impact on the land. 
The BLM is all about protecting private oil, gas and livestock interests at the expense of American public and public lands. Pendley is a guy who wants to sell off all the public land, an admitted bigot who claims that climate change is fiction and compared undocumented immigrants to cancer. This guy is the absolute worst.

Did you see that climate change is now threatening two thirds of our North American bird species with extinction? I better keep taking pictures so that we will have something to remember them by.

Goodbye Columbus? Remember this one?

Cereus business

The marvelous hylocereus undatus flowers continue to put on a spectacular show underneath our jelly palm.

Many years ago we stuck small branches of the epiphyte into the crooks of the palm. They took off.

There have been so many of the foot wide flowers this year it has been unbelievable.

The fruit of the jelly or pindo palm, the butia capitata from Brazil, is one of the scrumptious delicacies of our garden.

Sweet and slightly astringent. Have to fight the bees for them sometimes, they love it too, in fact the tree often has a slight hum!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Everybody's been burned


I am on a heavy duty antibiotic, cipro, and I have to watch my dairy consumption which is now pretty much nil.

So what have I been dreaming of all week? Real New York cheesecake, like Lindy's or Juniors. You know, dry, creamy and perfect. In five days I can start eating again and drinking coffee with cream and I am fantasizing.

I can order a Juniors sent to me, would go for the original, no toppings, but it is $42.95 delivered. Pricey, even for a rich guy like me.

But you think that is bad, Ferrara's Bakery is $95.00.

I could order from a place in Chicago called Eli's but I don't tend to like Chicago hot dogs, pizza or cheesecake. The people however are wonderful.

Anyone know where to get a decent cheesecake on the west coast?

Sip the wine

White bird

Kudos and brickbats

Yupik mother and child - Edward Curtis
Governor Gavin Newsom has just signed a bill outlawing the sale of new fur in California.
The new fur law makes it illegal to manufacture, sell or distribute a fur product in the state. It applies to clothing, handbags, shoes, slippers, hats or key chains that contain fur — providing a civil penalty for violation. The law has a few exceptions, including the use of fur products for religious purposes and taxidermy.
Notwithstanding the fact that my mother's father was a furrier, I think this bill is patently ridiculous, an obvious over reach from the nanny state. What is next, leather products? Meat?

I feel the same way about fur that I feel about reproductive choice, if you are against abortion, don't have one. If you are against fur, don't wear it. But be careful when you tell other people what they can or can not do.

The fur trade in California arrived long before statehood, the first trade began as early as 1784 when the Spaniard Vincente Vasadre y Vega traded abalone shells, beads, and various metal articles to the Bay Area Indians for sea otter pelts. Call me strange, I like fur, certainly more environmentally conscious than plastic and synthetic fabric.

On the plus side, Newsom has signed a bill countering the Trump administration's push for more oil and gas drilling in our state on public, protected land.
The measure bars any California leasing authority from allowing pipelines or other oil and gas infrastructure to be built on state property. It makes it difficult for drilling to occur because federally protected areas are adjacent to state-owned land.
This comes on the heels of Newsom firing the head of the newly christened Geologic Energy Management Division in July, when it was still called the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Ken Harris was dismissed over an increase in state permits for hydraulic fracturing and allegations of conflicts of interest among senior government officials. It is alleged that state officials had financial interests in the companies that they were supposedly regulating.

Good for Gavin on this one.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Fairport Convention

Health update

I got a third opinion this week. Very highly regarded oncologist, much closer to home. She actually trained the wonderful doctor I met at USC. She says that time is of the essence, wants to accelerate everything, re-resection, immunotherapy. If it doesn't work there is always the dreaded plan b. Going to give it a shot.


Fallbrook has a pretty cool scarecrow tradition. Lots of retailers have them outside their shops. These three are in front of Leslie and my establishments.

A crying Lady Liberty.

Notorious RBG.
Nancy Pelosi.

Somebody wondered if we were worried about offending conservatives but we are way past that.

People stop by and have their picture taken with Ruth many times a day.

Not sure if they made all of them but the Fallbrook Democratic Club at least had their hand in making a couple of them.


Show must go on.

The urologic oncologist called yesterday afternoon. Could I come in for surgery next Friday? For real.

I said, "What, and miss Palm Springs Modernism 2019 ? No Way.  Cancer, shmantzer, we'll simply have to reschedule."

So if you are in the desert for Modernism Week next week, please stop by the convention center and say howdy.

Opening night Friday, 6 to 8. Saturday 10 to 6 and Sunday 10 to 4.

Lot of energy in Palm Springs for both Modernism Weeks. Cool, hip stuff. Always a lot of fun. Watch me try to get through the weekend in one piece. My great friend Bill Warmboe will be sharing the booth and helping me out. Looking forward to a great show and a good time.

Peace Bird

Art Blakey with Jon Hendricks

Judge Dwarf Tosser

Conservative judges like to tout their originalist approach to applying the laws set out in the Constitution.

In a dissent yesterday, D.C. Circuit Appellate Judge Neomi Rao turns the constitution and the concept of originalism on its head. Her dissent starts on page 67.

It is the most ridiculous, ignorant and un American legal opinion I have ever read, contrary to all known constitutional precepts and legal history since the founding of our country. All designed as a nice payback for the clown who got her the job.

Judge Rao castrates the Legislative branch in her dissent, inputing all sorts of new limitations that are not written in our constitution. She strips Congress of executive branch oversight, except through the impeachment process. She evidently believes that it is up to the Federal judiciary to set out what is an impeachable defense and that the high court can quash impeachment proceedings if they do not live up to her standard of what constitutes "high crimes and misdemeanors."
The House of Representatives ... shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Article I, Section 2, Clause 5
In her dissent she writes “Investigations of impeachable offenses simply are not, and never have been, within Congress’s legislative power.” This is pure baloney. Congress has always had legal oversight of the Executive branch. The constitution is clear that it is up to the House to set its own standards for impeachment. A formal vote is not required although it has been customary. Rao plainly differs:
Because Congress has failed to vote on a “formal impeachment investigation,” Rao argues that Trump and Mazars are free to treat Congressional subpoenas as if they don’t exist.
This woman, a Trump appointee and ex clerk for Judge Clarence Thomas, is an obvious shill for the President, bereft of a scintilla of intellectual integrity. I can't imagine her taking this stance if the roles were reversed and a GOP house was investigating a Democrat President.

By the way, Rao made her mark in law school by taking a stand on the propriety of dwarf tossing, writing at least two law review articles and a blog post in which she defended the practice, apparently popular in Florida. If you are not familiar with it, here is a definition:
Dwarf-tossing, also called midget-tossing, is a pub/bar attraction in which people with dwarfism, wearing special padded clothing or Velcro costumes, are thrown onto mattresses or at Velcro-coated walls. Participants compete to throw the person with dwarfism the farthest.
This is my favorite line from her law review abstract:
By focusing on values such as human dignity, modern constitutionalism deprives rights of their special force. 
God forbid we think about human dignity. Or apparently the constitution. What more havoc will this woman wrought?

Grow old with me

Friday, October 11, 2019

Bird Brain

Black crowned night heron
The Santa Ana winds blew pretty heavily in my valley last night. Everybody is on a bit of a slight edge worrying about fire. Rather than driving all the way to San Jacinto to shoot on my regular Friday photography tour I instead stuck closer to home. I called my buddy Ken and we drove down to Santee Lakes to see what we could scare up.

Ken has been favoring his shoulder and hasn't had his long lens out too much of late so it was good to get out with him.

green heron
Wasn't an epic day for photography but it was definitely beautiful and nice to be out at the lakes.

Afterwards we drove over to Lindo Lake. It was rather slow too but we snapped a couple shots.

One of the highlights was seeing this pretty green heron. I don't see enough of them.

I was talking to somebody the other day that said that if you want to be good at something, work at it for several hours every day.

That mastery is a matter of repetition and work.  They may be on to something. Do something long enough, you are bound to gain some level of proficiency.

So it is important to just keep plugging away. Music, writing, art, photography, fishing, skydiving, whatever, we all have to put the time and mileage in.

About the journey, not the destination.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Browns - Blues Stay Away From Me (1959).

Thursday this and that

I have exactly ten four minutes to shpiel so you are going to get a rather rushed string of non sequiturs. I was thinking about things I could definitely do without in the new millennium. There is a cottage industry sprung up of people writing me telling me that my website sucks and they can fix it. Hey guess what, if I need help I will ask. Please get lost. * Also reaction videos on Youtube are really stupid. I don't need a rapper telling me what he thinks of Cat Stevens or anybody else. Some people have made this their new gig. Pointless. * As is anything to do with Kanye, the Kardashians, Jenners, Beyonce, Rihanna, Cardi B., etc. I don't give a shit, neither do any of my peers.* Never click on Clickbait or sponsored content. Not worth the time. ever. * President Trump is bagging on Steve Kerr and Popovitch for holding their tongue on China. This from a guy who agreed not to say anything about Hong Kong in order to get his trade deal. Hypocrite.* I get the GOP not wanting to make a stand on the Ukraine thing and staying mostly mum. But they certainly have made themselves heard on the Turkey/Kurd thing. Very bad calculus on Trump's part to sow division in his party right now. This small split could lead to a bigger split and a breach on the domestic issues. Very stupid politically and awful timing.* If ever a sector begged to be nationalized it is the energy utilities. A true monopoly, it is not like you can have dueling power grids. They socialize debt and privatize profit, the consumer always loses. To prophylactically cut off power to 2,000,000 users ahead of an actual crisis seems to be a big, excuse the expression, power play to me. Some opinion writers have noted that P.G.E. has been raking big profits rather than maintain its system. I know the government can screw everything up but I wonder if it could do any worse than these robber barons?* It is ridiculous for self righteous liberals to bag on Ellen De Generes for being friends with George Bush, a republican. A huge number of my friends are Republican. Why should they think like I do? Are we going to require our celebrities to submit to an ideological litmus test now? Crazy.* Wonderful story about a great human being at NYT.* Horrible anti semitic killing in Germany. And almost as bad are the people who followed it livestreaming on Twitch.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Aladdin Sane

RX minefield

Life has been a real roller coaster, seems like one major medical battle after another. I woke up Sunday night at four in the morning with my heart beating out of my chest. I checked my blood pressure and it was pushing 200 over 135 with an extreme resting heart rate of 95. Way high. I got on line and tried to figure things out. Turns out that I had done something very stupid.

With so many health problems hitting me at one time, it can be like navigating a pharma minefield trying to figure out what to do. I had an ablation a few months ago for my atrial fibrillation. I have been on sotolol, amlodipine and xarelto. Got off the xarelto because my post surgery bladder won't stop bleeding. When I got the post surgical infection last week, the urologist took me off bactrim and put me on cipro. The pharmacist was concerned because it has a known contraindication with sotolol.

So I looked up the other drugs I was taking and amlodipine also had a negative interaction with cipro so I stopped that too. On my own. Turns out that was the wrong thing to do. According to what I read, amlodipine is one of the worst drugs to dead stop on and it caused my bp to skyrocket. Have to wean off it like prednisone. I took a pill early that morning to try to drop the bp and called the cardiologist, saw him later that morning and finally got straightened out. He also told me that I can't start the potassium channel blocker again until I have been on the blood thinner for three weeks.

I thought that I might have a dvt in my left leg the other day, have had terrible pains in my upper thigh and took a blood thinner just to be sure I wouldn't have an embolism. Doctor said it was muscular skeletal, which is a relief. But not sure when I can start the xarelto again, have another surgery coming up very soon. Guess the heart will have to wait for some other things to get better.

Now everything is pretty copacetic but I now know that I should never should have tried to manage these complicated drug interactions on my own.

I learned something.

Tennessee Stud

Bring it.

Alhambra steps
Elisabeth Kubler Ross (1926-2004) was the pioneering Swiss American psychiatrist who first articulated the concept of five stages of grief in her seminal 1969 book On death and dying.

The five stages in what has become known as the Kubler Ross Model are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

We all face hardship and the prospect of a potential life ending event differently.

I have faced a lot of existential crisis in my life, actually started dying and the physical process of necrosis during one particularly bad event back in 1974.

The doctor told my mother and I that I had a damaged liver somewhat akin to what an eighty year old alcoholic might have, he predicted I would not make it even three more days, my pancreas emptied, I threw up bile, feet started itching incredibly.

I was a goner. Dying. But somehow, with my mother's help and the blessings of providence, I pulled through. There have been many such events in my life, unfortunately. The rumors of my impending demise have been greatly exaggerated.

My dear friend Kerry called me a cat the other day, said I obviously had nine lives. I asked him to stop with the nickname, said it bothered me and when he asked why I said because I've already cycled through nine lives at least. Need to try to find another metaphor that will give me a fighting chance.

When faced with such life and death questions, my go to reaction in regards to the Kubler Ross Model has been anger. Not proud of it, it is just me. I don't think I need to recount specific instances, take my word for it. But serious illness has a way of really pissing me off.

I saw a Rice University study many years ago that said that strangely, the angry people lived the longest. Must be a matter of will, I don't know.

I am out of the woe is me, whacked out stage with the current kerfuffle. Not in denial, no longer depressed, some anger. I guess I am now mostly in the acceptance stage with a touch of bargaining.  Been here before, will roll up my sleeves and deal with it. I know how to as well as anybody. Have no idea what the universe has in store for me? But I am an old hand. Bring it on but bring your lunch, fucker.

Because I never stop fighting and I'm not laying down. You are dealing with one angry son of a bitch. I bet on me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Shouldn't have took more than you gave

Dave Mason

Leslie and I saw a fabulous concert last night up in Riverside. Accompanied by a bunch of friends we saw a double bill of Dave Mason and Richie Furay at the elegant Fox Performing Arts Center in downtown Riverside.

This is one of the most beautiful venues I have ever witnessed a concert, rivaling and perhaps exceeding the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara. Splendidly renovated in its early Spanish Revival style, the decorated beams, tile work and fixtures are simply breathtaking. Before the show we had a nice dinner next door at the Food Lab and walked around the historic and magnificent Mission Inn. This part of Riverside is looking great these days.

Richie Furay started the show, accompanied by Mason's band as well as his daughter and another guitar/harmonica player. We were treated to his fine, strong voice and a great selection of work from the Buffalo Springfield and Poco. He really seems to be enjoying playing again.

I have not seen Mason live, saw Traffic after he left the band, but have caught a lot of his performances on line. He seems to only get better with time. His touch and feel are impeccable and reach right in to my personal wheelhouse. I love his music.

I can't break down the setlist, every song was fabulous. Highlights for me might be the rework of Low spark of high heeled boys and Shouldn't have took more than you gave.  Excellent performance of Watchtower. The Feelin' Alright encore with the band and Richie and his players, as well as an active audience participation, was joyful and robust.

Dave is in his seventies. He sat on a stool part of the time and people brought him cups of tea throughout the performance. He played a lovely red stratocaster and waxed about it prosaically. He mentioned at one point that you had to learn to sing to get gigs but that he was really about the guitar. I think he sings beautifully.

But his guitar work is stellar. His command reminds me of Jerry, it always has. A very well rounded and lyrical tone. Would rather see Dave play guitar than just about anybody out there right now. His music speaks to me; and I am a rather critical sort.

Hope to see him again one day and can't wait to return to this beautiful theater to see more music.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Friends like us...

Like clockwork, America screws the Kurds again. With Turkey allowed to enter Syria unabated in order to vanquish their enemy, things could very ugly and horrible. Our empty words and alliances once again mean nothing. The Kurds were the only stabilizing force in the area, instrumental in the fight against ISIS and now we abandon them and throw them to the wolves. The Ottomans destroyed ancient Kurdistan, talk about a people that deserve a homeland. Of course to the Turks, they are simply "terrorists." Just in time for the opening of the new Trump Tower in Istanbul.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sacred spot

I have a lot on my mind, a lot of crucial decisions to make. I would be lying if I said that they were not wearing on me. They are.

So I ducked out to my sacred spot yesterday to be alone in nature, to consort with the birds and the bugs in the solitude.

Seems like it is becoming the normal thing to do on a Friday. Go to the place where it usually all gets sorted out for me.

Saw one other person, a girl on a horse, far out of lens shot.

Gave me plenty of time and space to think. Took a little hike.

I decided that I like the San Jacinto Wildlife Area at any time, any season. Even now, the down time before the ponds are filled. I am always touched by something beautiful while I am there. Like the lovely kestrel on the dead branch.

Or the magnificent jeweled plumage of this white faced ibis in flight.

I went out on the dog training road, looking for burrowing owls again, got skunked. Not much near the Walker Ponds either.

But I didn't care.

This guy to my left just might be a tri colored heron. I can't decide.

Just felt good to be back in my natural element.

If I had to do it all over again and none of us ever are given the chance, I might have leaned towards becoming a wildlife photographer. What a great gig that would be, traveling to great spots all the time and shooting nature.

If I ever hit the lottery I will buy an old jeep and never wash it once and just travel the back roads, record, ponder and take it all in. Guess I better buy a ticket.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Tried so hard

Buying time

Leslie and I traveled to Los Angeles yesterday and met with the esteemed urologist from Keck USC. We waited in the waiting room for two hours and we were finally ushered into a room with a P.A. or an intern, not quite sure what she was? Young and a little too confident for my taste. An attractive woman, the vibes with her were terrible from the getgo. Not sure why, but it just didn't click between us.

She reviewed my records and said that with my particular T1 cancer there were three options available in the accepted protocol and that they all involved complete removal of the bladder. Said the doctor was an expert at creating a new bladder out of a bowel section but that I would have to wear rubber pants at night until I got the hang of the whole thing. Did I want the internal, the external or perhaps a nice port through my navel?

The short story is that I flipped out, internally anyway, mostly, said it was unacceptable to me, argued strongly for a more incremental approach. I am not sure why but I was incredibly angry, irrationally so. She took stock of the situation, stood up and got the doctor.

My rapport with him was fantastic. Night and day. He actually agreed with me, and came up with a plan. He will reevaluate the blue light pathology slides and make sure that the reads are accurate. In six weeks they are going to resect the old tumor locations. If they don't find cancer cells in the new pathology reports than I will start an immunotherapeutic regimen as I have before and if it is BCG, which is now incredibly hard to obtain because of global scarcity, I jump to the head of the list because of the nature of my carcinoma.

I can't ask for more than that. I can't guarantee that we will ultimately be successful but I am not psychologically equipped for another organ removal at the moment and am not willing to say goodbye to my bladder without a fight. Bought some time. Resorted to hard bargaining but it is the only body I have and at times you have to be your own fierce personal advocate.

USC is the number one rated urology school in California, rated fourth nationally. If you are ever in serious medical straits, go to a teaching hospital. I feel very good about this doctor. This turn of events will allow me to exhibit at the majority of my shows in the next two months and keep everything going. Hopefully I will gain strength and energy in the days ahead. Thanks again for all of your prayers and good thoughts.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Pozo Seco Singers

A little tribal humor

A longtime sufferer of depression, Murray, was on his deathbed, surrounded by friends and family. Murray turned to the crowd and said, "At least I'm gonna die doing what I like the best." His son replied, "What's that?"


Anne Murray

Born under a bad sign

There is something about describing your aches and pains and medical travails to the public on the internet that is both tawdry and distasteful, I admit it. I take no pleasure in being a drama queen.

Many of my friends and family depend on the blog to stay informed so I will give it to you in a nutshell and try to spare you any unnecessary theatrics. It is easier than taking phone calls. But I agree, who wants to read about a guy that is sick, bummed out and whining all the time?

Been feeling poor all week. Weekend was beyond miserable. Couldn't get a hold of the doctor Friday, urination is excruciatingly painful, very unproductive, pee a bright cranberry. Major pain in low back. Can hardly walk.

Finally saw Doc yesterday, Full blown bladder infection, prostatitis, I am retaining pee, he wanted to re-catheterize me, I begged him off. Got on a heavy antibiotic, hopefully it will do the trick. He says the back pain location confirms that the prostate is not happy.

Doctor wanted to send the sample for further dna analysis, insurance company refused.

Leslie has had a dry cough the last couple days, been going around I guess. I woke up with a full scale bronchial problem today, not helped by my asthma, not much I can do. Totally congested, can't breathe.  Going to borrow an old inhaler from a friend. I don't think it is good to mix two antibiotics at the same time, hoping from some carryover relief from the Bactrim, not sure that is possible. Coughing up serious loogie. Five baths a day, try to keep some moisture in the lungs.

So now my upstairs and downstairs are both in awful shape. How does the song go; if it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all?

The issue of the health of my remaining kidney is still greatly on my mind. Three tests showed a tumor, which consisted of two catscans (with and without contrast) and a renal ultrasound, the last MRI with contrast did not. Should I feel secure here, worry about the bladder and deal with the rest of it when I have to?

I made an internal management decision today. I am not going to wait, I am going to Los Angeles Thursday and I am going to see the USC Keck urological oncologist Juma recommended, at his Wilshire office. Supposed to be the top man in the field. Why wait and give the aberrant cells a chance to settle?

If they fast track me then the wheels will just come off the wagon. All of my fall shows (and all of my income) will be wiped out while I recuperate after a week in the hospital and who knows how much time at home. But I may have no choice. It beats croaking. I want this guy to give me information and let me know exactly how much time I have got if I choose to do nothing for a while? What is the word I am looking for? That's right, options. Do I have any options? See if there are any intermediate, incremental steps. Mostly just listen. 

Maybe find out what the latest craze is in artificial bladders, see if I can find one that will match the carpet and drapes or my newest pair of New Balance.

Rubber is about to meet the road. I can't wait to see what will happen next.