Monument Valley color study

Thursday, February 20, 2020

School Days

Ray Gomez on lead, a classic! I still remember seeing Stanley Clarke for the first time, at the old San Diego State Open Air Amphitheater. What a treasure! Great sounds, amazing graphics behind the stage. I miss seventies fusion, seems like we have been digressing a bit, musically.

In the mail

In time

Checking in

I had my cysto yesterday. Had to come in an extra hour early so that the blue light solution could be infused into the bladder.

The nurses had a problem getting enough blood for all the tests, missed and poked, prodded and finally got enough, although you could have given Keith Richards a transfusion with what was spilled on my body and bed. A mess. I felt like a human pincushion. Was accidentally infiltrated once many years ago, almost lost my left arm during an IVP procedure and I am bit touchy about such things, especially pokes and long term venipunctures in the hand.

The anesthesiologist came in, a relatively young, tall, Jewish guy named Cohen. Sounded east coast, dour, little evident sense of humor. He asked if I had anything to eat since midnight and I told him just a tab of acid.

He said, "Really? I'm sorry but I have to make sure." I assured him that I was just kidding. Couldn't find a tab of acid these days if I tried. But then I asked him if I could have some music to fall asleep to.

He asked me what I wanted to listen to and I said Grateful Dead as it always relaxes me when I go under in these kinds of operations and I also think it has a good effect on the doctors and nurses. Hopefully get them grooving.

They put on Sirius Channel 23 and as I started to go under to the sweet strains of Jerry plucking the dulcet tones of The harder they come he asked me if I was sure I hadn't dropped the acid?

The procedure went well, I was out for a couple hours. The doctor took a bunch of what she termed were "little bites" out of the bladder wall and will get them analyzed for the presence of the nasty intruder. Unfortunately I won't get word for another five or six days so I am still in the waiting game, as you are. She wants me to take it easy, no lifting or straining and that is what I am going to do.

I was hungry and we stopped at Spicy City on the way home for takeout. Cumin lamb, tea smoked duck and homemade pickles and bamboo shoots from the cold bar. They were closed but they love my wife and cooked it up for us anyway. Great food which we devoured when we got home.

Will let you know when I know something.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Call Me The Breeze

The road taken/not taken

This will be a very interesting day for me, like few I have experienced in my life. A crux, a coin flip. The last personal equivalent may have happened forty six years ago. I was sixteen, I had dropped out of high school and gone hitchhiking for six months, ending up on a school bus of crazy musicians traipsing and tripping across the northwest from Oregon to Wyoming. Sex, drugs and rock and roll.

I was having maximum fun but knew that I had to make a decision; I would/could go back home and finish school and rejoin my mother and kid brother or I would/could be permanently lost to the wild in my late term, extended summer of love. Things weren't so good at home at the time. The pluses and minuses were about even on either side of the equation and I had no idea what to do. I was clearly torn and the weight and the gravity of the decision was frankly crushing. I remember it vividly to this day.

I was somewhere on the highway near Ashland, Oregon when I pulled out my trusted yellow copy of Wilhelm's translation of the I Ching, grabbed three pennies and threw them six times on the pavement on the edge of the road. I don't remember the hexagram now or even the changing line for that matter but I do remember that the direction was quite clear. I was to go home. It was time to say goodbye to my extended summer of frivolity. Fun time was over.

I stuck my thumb out and the first truck that passed actually stopped for me. Lo and behold, he was traveling to my hometown at the time, Oxnard, heading a mere few blocks away from my final destination. Funny how things work sometimes. How the universe gives you that little extra push and direction when you make the right decision. I knew that I was supposed to return. I took it as a sign from the heavens. Although with all respect to Robert Frost, I have no idea how the other road would have worked out in the long run.

Today I find out if the immunotherapy did the trick and if I am cancer free. Or not. I have a blue light cystoscopy in a few hours down at Scripps Mercy. It is a gamble, I have no ideas which way things will go. If I get snake eyes I lose my bladder, will deal with the remaining kidney issues later. It's a crapshoot. Hoping but I have no idea. Just know that two other doctors and the folks at UCSD said that it was fait accompli that I would be pissing through a port in my belly button about now with my nasty tumors in the lamina wall. I took the last remaining shot I had.

So I have given it my best and we will see what the future holds. I will deal with whatever hand I am ultimately dealt as best as I can. I have absolutely no clue either way. I am at a major crossroads.

Wish me luck. 

Don't call me, email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Not today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Palm Springs Modernism 2020

Karen Barone

I have just returned from my show in Palm Springs. I did alright, sold some things, it certainly was not stellar for me but still decent. Crowd seemed to be much more viscerally and decoratively oriented than in prior years but I suppose that that is the way things are going. There was definitely a lot of cool and quite interesting material at the show.

Leslie came out to join me for Valentines Day and we had a blast. Got a room in Desert Hot Springs and soaked in the pools. Our group ate lots of good food, we discovered some new places, had lots of laughs. Bought some neat things, had a great time with some of our best pals.

Bill Warmboe

I shared a booth and room with Steve, as usual. He got saved by a couple clients with some good sales at the very end.

Steve Stoops

Vincent Vallarino

Randy from Colorado generously gave us opening night tickets to the art fair next door and I brought my camera.

Great people watching, the art was spotty but it did have a few great dealers and I was able to see some wonderful clients, compatriots and friends.

Phil Keiffer
People in Palm Springs dress with a freedom and élan that I never see approximated elsewhere. The fashionistas are so much fun!

I mentioned that I would hate to have the local socks concession because very few people out there ever seem to wear them.

The next night our own show opened and it was equally sartorially splendid. I picked off interesting looking people with my camera as they came into my booth.

Michael Ostrow

Lots of our old friends stopped by, Vickie, Roger Genser, Dennis Boses, Zinner and Marty, Stan and Dan, Maurine and Chuck, Mark Hilbert, Ray Redfern, Jeff Olsen, Jim Snidle, Bob Kaplan, David Rago and Suzanne Perrault, Jim and Janice Swan and Joy Purcell, was really a happening. The city goes all out for Modernism week.

A woman walked into my booth sporting an outrageously large pear diamond. We will call her Mrs. Glaubman.

I timidly asked her if the stone was real and she said that indeed it was.

But then she offered that immense stones like hers often came with a curse.

"Oh," I inquired. "What is that?"

"Mr. Glaubman," she responded.

Always a gas. Hope that you enjoyed my people shots. I didn't have a flash so I had to wing it. Just unpacked and I am planning to enjoy the rest of my day. Hope that you enjoy yours as well.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Alejandro Escovedo

About time

Conservative judge Frank Easterbrook stands up to DOJ and William Barr. Worth a read.
In a jaw-dropping opinion issued by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on January 23, Judge Frank Easterbrook—a longtime speaker for the conservative Federalist Society and someone whom the late Justice Antonin Scalia favored to replace him on the U.S. Supreme Court—rebuked Attorney General William Barr for declaring in a letter that the court’s decision in an immigration case was “incorrect” and thus dispensable. Barr’s letter was used as justification by the Board of Immigration Appeals (the federal agency that applies immigration laws) to ignore the court’s ruling not to deport a man who had applied for a visa to remain in the country.

Swelling itching brain

George Benson - Newport 1966

Brain damaged

Bagging on the Trump administration gets to be a bore after a while. There is so much weird shit that goes on that you sort of have to shut it all off to keep your sanity intact.

Separated at birth, William Barr and Tom Hagen?
Frankly it operates more like a criminal crime syndicate than a government branch these days. Don the Don.

Trump called it early on; he could shoot an innocent person on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight and it would not make a lick of difference to either his sycophants and enablers in Congress or the MAGA faithful.

History shows that he was unfortunately quite correct in his prescience.

But just when I thought I had lost my capacity to be revulsed by this lying worm, something else comes out of his piehole that makes me shudder.

When an Iranian missile hit an American base in Iraq on January 8, Trump declared that no American servicemen were injured. Soon it came to light that, in reality, dozens of servicemen sustained traumatic brain injuries when the nearly one ton payload of explosives hit the base.

Instead of admitting that he made a mistake he doubled down in true Trumpian fashion, he dismissed the injuries sustained as essentially minimal. "I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, that it is not very serious," Trump said.

Trump is wrong. TBI is very serious.
According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, for persons under the age of 45, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability, and the economic impact has been estimated in the United States to be $76.5 billion.
In the military, TBI is an especially big problem. Since 2000, more than 400,000 members of the military have been victims of TBI, according to the Department of Defense. Of the 64 service members diagnosed with TBI from the Iranian missile attack so far, 39 have returned to duty after being treated, likely indicating a milder form of TBI, such as a concussion. However, even a mild TBI can result in long-lasting consequences, which must not be diminished.
Post-concussive syndrome is a common condition of mild TBI and can result in headaches, cognitive impairment and psychiatric and mood changes. It is not uncommon for patients to suffer from fatigue and an overall increase in irritability. For members of the military, these "not very serious" symptoms can slow reaction times and lead to sleep deprivation and an inability to perform assigned tasks—all symptoms that are particularly concerning considering the high-risk environments where they work.
New word from the military that the number of affected troops is now up to 109 service members. President Shit for brains needs to think before he spouts off with this sort of inane garbage. It is an awful message for Commandant bonespurs to be sending to the troops.
Speaking after Trump’s remarks, Michael Kaplen, the chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, said that the condition is a “life-altering” injury.
“It’s physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences affect every aspect of an individual’s life,” he said. “A brain injury is only ‘mild’ if it is someone else’s brain. There is nothing ‘mild’ about a mild brain injury.”

Rotten attitude to have towards the men and women serving our country. They deserve better. We all do.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Calling Lafcadio Hearn

It has been an interesting couple of days. I photographed and catalogued an art collection for a friend. I managed to get my weed eater running and with Tom's help put a dent in the burgeoning weed population at my ranch. I smogged the van. I went to a kosher deli in Orange County and had a corned beef and tongue sandwich and knish and Stan accidentally poured a glass of water over me. I got most of my paintings and objects packed for the Palm Springs Modernism show this weekend. I found a scratch on my new car. I bought a drop in circular polarizing filter for my good lens. I binge watched the first four episodes of Better Call Saul Season 4 on Sunday. I need to dial it back and pace myself considering the fact that it will be at least another year until I get Season 5 on Netflix. Finished the Brautigan, caught up on the New Yorkers. God I wish I had Hannah Goldfield's job... Blog on the electoral college got picked up by Crooks and Liars yesterday, un submitted, lots of hits. Had to chip ice off the van window to drive to work this morning,

And I had a strange dream last night. very fuzzy at this point but I was communicating with the stars, or some heavy astral intelligence beyond the stars in any case. And it kept giving me the same message, Lafcadio Hearn, Lafcadio Hearn, the instructions will be delivered through Lafcadio Hearn. The dream was peppered with strange seven and nine character number sets.

Now I have read Hearn in the past but it has been many years frankly. Lovely ghost stories with a Japanese twist if I remember. If he has something to say to me from beyond the grave, I will surely listen. I don't get too many somnolent directives like this. And he was an expert at communicating with the other side. Will take this one seriously.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Phoenix dactylifera rises

Interesting news for palm and fruit lovers. Israeli researchers have germinated and are growing seven plants from a long extinct judean palm that was prized in antiquity and noted for its luscious and large sweet fruit.

Date palm cultivation in Israel goes back at least 19,000 years before present. Date production in Judea was written about by Pliny the Elder, Herodotus and Josephus among others.

The seeds for the newly growing Phoenix dactylifera were approx. two thousand years old and found at ancient sites including Masada, Qumran and Wadi Makukh.

Scientific paper here. Should be interesting to see what future fruit they bear.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

So much for representative government.

I saw an interesting statistic today, will try to fact check it. The 48 Senators who voted to convict President Trump represent 18 million more voters than the 52 Senators that voted to acquit.

Count me in with those that think the electoral college system is broken. It has left us with a de facto tyranny from the minority. Read about the astounding advantage the electoral college gives to Republicans.
The study, by three economics researchers at the University of Texas, quantifies just how often the Electoral College will produce an “inversion” — that is, an election where one candidate wins the popular vote but the other walks away with the presidency. The numbers are simply astonishing.In modern elections where one party prevails by just 2 points in the two-party popular vote, “inversions are expected in more than 30% of elections.” That number rises to 40 percent in elections with a 1 percentage-point margin.Republicans, moreover, are far more likely to benefit from an inversion than Democrats. “In the modern period,” the study suggests, “Republicans should be expected to win 65% of Presidential contests in which they narrowly lose the popular vote.”
We have to stop penalizing people who live in highly populated states. Their vote should be equal to that of every other citizen. Time to do away with the electoral college. I am tired of being ruled by a minority of my fellow citizens, especially parasitic red state voters who suck so much of the Federal tax money that States like California provide and who give back so little in return.

Here, here. Sixty-two percent of New Hampshire Democrats said they would prefer to see a large stray shooting star crash into Earth and end all human life than suffer through the reelection of President Trump, according to a UMass-Lowell poll.

The moon is a harsh mistress

Female harrier

I just looked at and processed this shot for the first time.

I like it.

I added no sharpening or clarity or anything else from my bag of tricks.

Sometimes you don't need to.

I could have shot it a little more wide open and a little faster.

But she's cool.

Click on it for a bit more resolution.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Gee baby ain't I good to you?

Polia Pillin

A few of you have asked about my great flea market find. Rather than keep you in the dark or guessing, here they are:

These are two giant wall plaques by the late Los Angeles artist Polia Pillin (1909-1992). Pillin was an artist who was born in Poland and emigrated to this country in 1924. She eventually met and married the Ukrainian poet William Pillin, who became her lifelong companion and co artist. In the depression era she worked for the WPA and painted watercolors.

She had her first notable exhibition in San Francisco in 1939 at the San Francisco Art Association and then two at the Chicago Art Institute in 1947 and 1948. She learned the craft of making pottery in Chicago in 1946. She went on to have a very storied career and exhibition history and she enjoyed a very loyal and devoted following.

Pillin was known for her fanciful decorations, which on occasion included fish, birds, horses and women amongst other things. Her style was a little bit reminiscent of Marc Chagall.

These plaques may be the largest Pillin plaques to have ever been produced or to come on to the market, both approximately 17" square and in plexiglass shadowboxes. My expert friends have never seen work this large.

They should be perfect for the Palm Springs Modernism Show next week. I like them both very much and hope to find them a new home there. I also have a nice large ceramic wall plaque from the seminal Arizona artist Edwin Scheier (1910-2008) that should fit very well with them stylistically.

If you can make it to Palm Springs it is a wonderful show with a lot of energy. The whole town is pumping for modernism week. I hope to see you there. I will be bringing a wide assortment of paintings to fit any wall or budget.

Wharf Rat

Black necked stilt