female harrier

Monday, January 24, 2022

Floral deception

The Ventures - Slaughter On Tenth Avenue

Fin whales

common dolphin
Leslie and I went whale watching with friends yesterday on the afternoon boat at Oceanside Adventures. 

It didn't take long to run into a relatively small common dolphin pod, about four hundred animals.

We have been spoiled in the past by megapods of over 2000 individuals cavorting all around the boat.

They have been sighting a large number of Pacific white sided dolphins but none were to be seen yesterday.

The captain explained to us that due to our large local anchovy population there are more common dolphins in Southern California than any other place on earth, in fact more than all the other locations in the world combined. Which is great because they are amazing creatures!

Very soon after we found two fin whales surfacing. Fin whales are the second largest whale in the world, right after the blue whale. 

These whales are about eighty feet long. 

They are the fastest whale species in the world.

They take very deep dives so we saw them on ten minute intervals. 

These are not syncopated so they probably don't hang out a lot together underwater, more like trains passing in the deep.

We hung around checking them out for a very long time. 

They are fun to see but they don't exhibit the animated breeching that you see with the gray or humpbacks. 

You don't see a lot of tail or airborne displays with these creatures although we did see a fin whale out of the water on the last trip out, a rarity. 

And one that I was not lucky enough to capture with my camera.

The ocean was beautiful and calm, the air was warm. It was a great day to be out on the water. Never get tired of being out. Great crew, as always. We are still good luck charms on the boat, have only been skunked once in a couple dozen tries. Grays are moving, we will be back.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Hoop Dreams


I got a note from Kent this morning:

Check out the Union Tribune.

The cover picture in the print edition shows us both at the recent Aztec basketball win over Colorado State. I'm the large gent in the white jacket about six rows up. Kent is two seats away to my left.

Not wearing a mask at that moment in time but a triple vaccination required in order to even get in the door. So don't even start.

Kent has season tickets. I used to go with him a lot. Unfortunately for me his wife Heidi really has developed a liking for the game so I don't get a lot of invites anymore but am happy when I do. We are in front of the visitors section. Kent is very good at messing with their fans, in a nice way.

Go Aztecs. Thanks, Kent and Heidi! Have a great game tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Ginned up justice

The Supreme Court, in an 8 to 1 decision, will let the January 6 committee have Trump's records relating to the untoward happenings of that day. The House committee had asked for a trove of documents related to the events surrounding the riot, including records of communication between the White House and the Justice Department leading up to Jan. 6. 

Trump objected, asserting executive privilege, but President Joe Biden declined to back up that assertion. Instead, he directed the National Archives to hand over the material.

Now the court has spoken and the veil will be lifted on the attempted coup and insurrection. Should be interesting. And also interesting is the fact that the only dissenter today was one Justice Clarence Thomas, whose MAGA stalwart wife Ginni once cheered on the rioters.

I don't blame you Clarence. 

Happy wife, happy life and you certainly don't want to piss off your Ginni. 

Hear tell she gets madder than a pubic hair in a pepsi can.


Shameless. Only 13 Republican house members voted for last year's infrastructure bill. Now many of the rest of them are clamoring to take credit for it.


Innocent much? Eric Trump and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg invoked their Fifth Amendment rights more than 500 times when questioned by the New York attorney general’s office for its investigation into the company’s finances, according to a Tuesday court filing.

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun - Pink Floyd

You just can't win

Man, I've been worried to death about global warming and now guess what I have to worry about? Yup. Global cooling. Damn. Wouldn't you know...

Earth's core is cooling at rates faster than previously thought, which could speed the planet's inevitable march toward uninhabitability millions or billions of years from now, researchers said this week.

Earth's interior has been gradually cooling for the entirety of its 4.5 billion-year existence — a generally helpful pattern as the planet evolved into its current green paradise, where humans have thrived for the past 200,000 or so years.

But don't worry. We still got plenty of time I think...

A 2013 projection by Andrew Rushby of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom pegged Earth's viability for life to be good for another 1.75 billion to 3.25 billion years, assuming there's no nuclear holocaust, rogue asteroid or other unforeseen disaster. 

Now if the cooling gets offset by the heating, we just may be able to equalize the temperature and sneak out of this mess and survive. Stay tuned.

Texas Bullcrap

The Lonestar State is one of the few states that requires its voters to use paper forms in order to register to vote. Strange, tangible media is so twentieth century. But it is true, you can no longer register online with their new restrictive voting laws. And guess what, the Texas Secretary of State now says, "Sorry, we are out of paper."

The Texas Secretary of State’s office is having more trouble than usual getting enough voter registration cards to groups who help Texans register to vote.

Sam Taylor, assistant secretary of state for communications, said supply chain issues have made it harder and more expensive to get paper, which means the Secretary of State's office will be giving out fewer voter registration forms to groups ahead of elections this year.

“We are limited in what we can supply this year, because of the paper shortage and the cost constraints due to the price of paper and the supply of paper,” he said.

Sure you are.

"My friends, this is what voter suppression looks like." — Dana DeBeauvoir

Officials say 50% of applications for mail-in ballots in Travis County, Texas have been rejected as of January 13.

Take the Money and Run

Dead Woman Walking

There's an interesting opinion at the WaPo today, Joe Manchin finally admits that he favors minority rule. Sounds a bit strident but probably accurate. And so the Voting Rights Act and election reform dies an unseemly death. 

Sinema and Manchin put on a public show of pining for the ideal of bi-partisanship but as we have seen, these days it tends to be a one way street where the dems do all the giving. All these holdouts are really doing is protecting the status quo.

Anyway I am not going to draw this out but will say that I think that Sinema's political career is officially kaput. Toast. Because she now finds herself without a base.

The one time Green Party progressive, who was elected by liberals, has turned her back on her constituents, sold out to the big money interests and she finds herself on an island without ideological friends of any kind. As I said a few months ago, some times you might even need an ally or two.

She is now reduced to a useful idiot for the opposition. Emily's List cut the cord with her this week. More to follow. 

In the long run she didn't stand for anything. And she knifed her fellow democrats in the back in the process. Took the money and ran (as did her aides apparently.)

I think Manchin is a different story in heavily red West Virginia. He has never had a liberal ideology, he's a known quantity good old boy. Arizona is pretty purple. And I don't see Republicans crossing the lines there to vote for her when there are more crazy people on the far right to take her place. I would say she is now toast and can take some fat cat lobbying job for some patrician coffers that she has enriched.

Should be a textbook example of what happens when you alienate your base and throw a wrench in to the machinery so that nothing can get done. It pisses people off and they remember. You had your chance Kristen and you will not be missed.

The Kinks

Clutter king goes down for the count


Everything was going along so swimmingly. And then I fell.

It was so stupid really. I was in the back room, grabbing two new paintings that Jennifer needed to remat and frame.

And with my hands full, I didn't see that I was stepping through the step ladder that I had moved in the day before.

Before I knew it I was flat on the ground. So fast. What hurts? Let's see, might be easier to identify what doesn't hurt.

Sprained wrist, ankle, hip and knee, small abrasions. Really lucky I didn't break something.

Totally my fault. I have been putting off cleaning up the store room for so long. It was only a matter of time. Have to do something  soon, next time I might not be so lucky.

Having a difficult time walking, downing the ibuprofen, this one is going to hurt for a week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Barton Hills Choir

Black bat lilies and other treasures

Shawn in Thailand is a masterful botanist. I got this note from him this morning:

After 10 years experimenting, we finally cracked germinating these. Black Bat lilies from seed are now blooming! Approaching 500 transplanted!

Congratulations, Shawn!

My pink spiked bromeliad balensae has a bunch of mature fruit on the ripened spike, does anybody want to germinate and try growing it? Shawn?

Lena sent over some pretty sunset pics from Cardiff.

Ray sent a picture of him recuperating with his puppy pal.

Pat in England offers the Grateful Dead Time Machine. Hopefully nothing post 1979.

I got this great photo from Doug in New York today with this note: I don't always read. But when I do, I read the blast.

A few more pics from Shawn:

My friend Nigel saw this bird down in Puerto Vallarta and asked me if I knew what it was.
I didn't but my expert says that it is indeed a Chachalaca. New one on me. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Pardon my planet

Vermilion flycatcher


Walsh, Ringo & Co - Funk #49


It is funny. 
I had no idea if this latest Del Mar Antique show would fire, deep down I was set for disaster. 

Reports from San Francisco, the show I missed last week, were mixed if not bad. 

I steeled myself and was frankly prepared for the worst. 

My thoughts were, if nothing else, provide a beautiful backdrop of paintings and be proud of what you brought. 

Let the chips fall and take your lumps like a man.

Lo and behold, the show was scary good, maybe the best ever for me at this locale. 

A couple great clients came through in a big way.

Ten paintings sold in the first hour, all substantial. 

While it slowed down a little, buying continued throughout the weekend, culminating in the largest monetary sale of my show in the last ten minutes.

I restocked every morning and am now faced with a new problem. 

All of my best merchandise is gone and how will I find great paintings again to replace them? Sold all my best stuff.

It actually is not easy finding good material right now and I don't want to press. Will see what the universe delivers. I did manage to find some wonderful things at the show to purchase.

But bye bye Braun, Fries, Bischoff, Orrin White, Sayre, Milholme, Hudson, Geerts and Koller. It was nice having you around and you will be missed. Thanks to all of my clients, my promoter and my fellow dealers. Hang in there, all, it can always get better.

Lady Rain

Friday, January 14, 2022

Sunrise through the garden

The Fallbrook sunsets and sunrises have been quite beautiful lately.

I have been really busy, Del Mar show starts this morning. So I only had time to snap this cell phone shot and the intensity only lasted for a few minutes. For how many thousands of years do you think hominids have marveled at sunrises?

Perhaps that first instance is the moment we became fully human.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022


Sung by the late, great Dave Torbert.

Have a toke and stay safe

A new study from Oregon State University shows that cannabis can keep covid from entering human cells.

According to a press release from OSU, Van Breemen and collaborators, including scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and the spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. A drug target is any molecule critical to the process a disease follows, meaning its disruption can thwart infection or disease progression.

“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans. And our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.” Those two variants are also known the alpha and beta variant, respectively.

Well, shit, I will get right on that. Ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure, I always said. Nip covid in the bud. Or with the bud. Stay safe and happy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Take the A Train

Lunar corona

Beth texted me last night and asked if I could see the moon?

I went outside and the halo was really incredible, just magnificent and farther away from the moon than I can ever recall seeing. Took up about a third of the night sky.

I wish I had brought a good camera home. Maybe I will take one home tonight and try to get a proper shot.The cell phone does not cut it.

Hopefully we will get a reoccurrence tonight. I think it has to with the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Whatever the cause, it was really something.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Special dispensation

I am not a religious person. Probably not a very spiritual person either come to think of it. What am I? Who the hell knows? Let me know if you figure it out. I can't. I like the golden rule part and then everything else seems to get a little blurry.

I knew a bio-ethics professor at Stanford once who said that if hell does not exist it would have to be created or people in our society would start eating each other. I think he was on to something. Without an occasional smiting or two the whole place goes to crap.

Anyway, not being a belief system sort of guy, I have to be careful because many of the people I love are people of intense faith and I don't want to make any of them uncomfortable through my skepticism that sometimes might seem as bordering on outright hostility.

Please. Some of you might genuflect to the Trix Rabbit in the morning, or worship Wink Martindale, that is your right and prerogative. Except for a very brief period in my life where I was probably trying to sleep off some exotic foreign substance, I never was able to fully surrender to the faith thing. You people are very lucky, seriously. Wish I could go there but I have this rational shadow that keeps whispering bullshit in my ear whenever I seem to get close.

In any case, if religion is your thing, I support you and am happy for you. I defend your right to have any relationship with the almighty you can muster.

But I do have a few reservations on the subject I would like to share with you. Because, after all, we all share the same planet and we all need to have a little give and take in order to respect each other's pov. And we should have one set of rules.

Mike Lindell sued the January 6 panel requesting his phone records because he argues that his false claims of massive fraud in the 2020 election have a "scriptural basis." 

Now this is a slippery slope that I don't think he should be allowed to embrace.

The suit contends that Lindell's promotion of the false fraud claims were "are motivated, in part, by his strongly held religious beliefs," noting that Lindell has said there is an unspecified "scriptural basis for" the claims.

"Mr. Lindell's activities are widely known," the suit states. "His speeches and publications regularly articulate his religious belief and the scriptural basis for it. He regularly associates with others holding similar religious beliefs to organize 2020 election integrity activities."

Mike, just because you think the bible gives you carte blanche in such matters does not mean that you can defame other people and get away with it.  God told me I could do it is not your get out of jail free card, or shouldn't be anyway. An "unspecified scriptural basis" for your prevarications just ain't going to cut it, at least not in my church.

While you are entitled to whatever belief system you may have, it does not trump other people's rights and due process and I don't think we really want our judges evaluating your understanding of what scripture says in order to determine your relative innocence or guilt. Don't use god, or Jesus, or Moses or Buddha as a cover so that you can be an asshole and slander people.

Of course, this Supreme Court goes out of its way to grant religious folks special privileges in the guise of "religious freedom." The upcoming rulings on religious exemptions for covid mandates should be quite edifying as will the rulings on hanging christian flags at government buildings. 

Some people are even talking about establishing official state religions. Michael Flynn, former President Trump’s National Security Advisor, is calling for us to have “one religion” in the U.S., Christianity. And there is a case before the court which is threatening to make the public pay for private religious school education in Maine. We are becoming more and more like Pakistan or Afghanistan, this road that we are embarking on.

How many people have been infected with Covid 19 because the courts ruled that it was unfair to let people shop at Costco but not allow them to congregate maskless in church? How many people have died? 

Is it fair to equate shopping for basic foodstuffs with congregating in a religious setting? I am not going to answer the question, I have an opinion about the comparable necessity of the two activities but it doesn't really matter what I think, does it? You can pray at home but it is a little harder to shop at home.

We need to have mutual respect, both the godless and the god fearing, but you have no right to get others sick, or destroy the environment, or lie about somebody's voting machines, because you think god told you it was okay. I respect your rights to your beliefs and opinions but don't force me to buy in.

The show marches on...

I tested negative for covid today. Hallelujah! I am thankful for that. And thanks to Jill Cole for loaning me the rapid test and to all the rest of you who offered to loan me theirs. They are really hard to find right now and as you know, Omicron is exploding.

I think it would be prudent to stock up if you see them back on the shelves as this pandemic doesn't look like it is ready to throw in the towel anytime soon.I still don't feel that well but at least it is not covid.

Stalwart citizen

 How Trump screwed over a public school. Daily Beast.

For seven years, the Trump National Golf Club Westchester just north of New York City battled with the local government to lower its property tax bill—while simultaneously inflating its value elsewhere by millions. Then in August, emboldened by another golf club’s victory in court, the Trump club pressured locals to strike a deal and cut its assessed value by a third.

That means the Trump club can claim it overpaid taxes, so local governments are forking over cash. But of all the local entities stuck paying fat refund checks worth about $850,000, the worst hit was the tiny suburban Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District. The public education system—which consists of a single elementary, middle, and high school—has picked up the biggest tab, worth $588,155.12.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Soul Makossa

Northern harrier female


Afro Blue

Thanks a lot

 I sent this letter out to a few local friends this morning. It says it all in a nutshell.

I had an inconsiderate person coughing and sneezing next to me Friday morning at the coffee shop. I asked him if it was covid and he said no, but I believe he is antivax, anti mask and untested. 

I called him later that afternoon and asked him if he was sure he didn't have covid and he said that he was. He looked pretty head cold sick.

Yesterday I got the wet eye, runny nose, sneeze, slight sore throat thing. I feel much better today, pretty much back to normal, I am double vacced and boosted. I know omicron transmits really quickly but can symptoms come on this fast, in one day? 

My problem is that I have an antique show that starts Wednesday. I loaned my last home test to a friend that needed it a week ago. They are sold out in the stores. Even though it is only the third day tomorrow I want to take the test as soon as possible in case I have to cancel the show. I want to do the right, responsible, prudent thing and that means not transmitting the disease to loved ones or the general public in the oft chance that I am indeed infected.

Does any kind soul out there have a home test I can borrow with the promise to replace as soon as I can find another one? I am sending this letter to a bunch of my friends in Fallbrook in hopes of finding a test.

Thanks and stay safe,

Robert Sommers

(by the way, blog is still broken, hope it can be fixed) 

My friend and blog reader Jill C. thankfully came through with a kit. There were several offers from various people. Thanks, all! I will test tomorrow. I feel really good now and am keeping my fingers crossed that I am okay. Please stay safe and be considerate to your fellow humans. Don't hang around other people if you feel sick or are coughing and sneezing.

Down the rabbit hole

As many of you know, the blog has been down for a day. 

I have been fielding emails from all points of the nation and globe.

I think the issue has now been satisfactorily resolved after an interminable period of countless calls to various tech centers in which both Enom and Google pointed fingers at each other and said, the "other guy should fix it."

Thank you for everybody at tech support that helped, no thanks to the one or two people that could not figure it out and preferred to be obstructive. Thanks to my readers for hanging in. We don't ever actually die in this life, we just get the dreaded 404 message.

Same Old Thing

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Strange apparitions

Yesterday, a man in De Luz reported seeing three energy balls that looked human on Next Door. He included some fuzzy pictures. He was predictably ridiculed for seeing aliens and the like. I wrote a comment that linked to this old blogpost of mine, Takwik which is a link to an even earlier 2011 blogpost titled Fat heads, the angel of death and other strange phenomena.

For while white men have seen the same phenomenon going back to the late 19th century at least, the local natives believe that it is the manifestation of their balancing spirit, Tacuic, who can appear either as a man or a ball of fire.

And I once, in the company of my ex wife and a friend, actually saw it myself. Honestly the most powerful and incredible thing I have ever seen in my life.

Next Door took the man's comment down, for some unknown reason. Can't ruffle feathers, I guess.


For more on local lore and rituals, read my old blog Devil's snare.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Get your head out, Ron...


I was sort of startled to read this quote from Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson the other day:

"Why have we assumed that the body's natural immune system isn't the marvel that it actually is.... Why do we think that we can create something better than God in terms of combating disease? There are certain things we have to do, but we have just made so many assumptions, and it's all pointed toward everybody getting a vaccine."

If we would have had troglodytes like this running the show a hundred years ago there is no way we would have stopped tuberculosis, smallpox or polio. 

Of course this is the same guy who suggested recently that covid could be stopped by gargling mouthwash so one must consider the source.

With this kind of attitude we would have no medicine whatsoever, we would still be sending people to barbers to get bled and reciting mystic incantations. Our tetanus ridden jaws would be permanently clenched with lockjaw. 

The idiocy of both our elected officials and a major swath of the electorate makes me shudder. The first rule of the colony is we protect the hive. Vaccines keep us from dying. It is very simple. You may get infected but the probability is that you won't die. God wants you to take the shot.

Bird Buddy

Those of you that are into bird watching might be interested in this rather expensive but cool new contraption, the Bird Buddy.

Shawn sent me this video link from Thailand, alerting me to the new technology. I think I am going to get one as soon as they are available ordered one. The company is now taking pre-orders. I believe that initial delivery is set for June of this year. Comes in two color options.

The Bird Bunny is a smart bird feeder that recognized over 1000 species and sends the pics of new avian visitors to your phone.

This feeder was crowd funded on kickstarter by over 48k backers who have contributed over eleven million dollars.

It is not yet in final production, they are fine tuning the software, but I understand that it is getting really close.

It notifies you on the bird's arrival, organizes your species and keeps a history.

You can even order a nifty solar roof to keep it powered up and save on batteries.

At a little less than two hundred dollars I think the Bird Buddy is expensive but should be worth the money, at least to me.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Spanish Johnny

Full moon, Red Mountain


I got a call at lunch, was in a meeting, couldn't talk. A friend but not a super close friend, I told him I would call him back. I did so, a few minutes ago. Apparently, he found out that he has liver cancer about six weeks ago. Inoperable. The disease that took out Buzz.

They are giving him two or three weeks. He wanted to know my thoughts. Even though I have dealt with it myself, I really didn't know what to say. Call the people you love and let them know you love them? Stay pain free. What else can you say? Life, such a temporary and finite proposition. Enjoy the moments you have and make the most of them. Tomorrow can be such a long time.