Saturday, December 3, 2022

It's time...

Time for the annual send me in your favorite photograph or art piece of the year episode. We do this every December, remember? Good, bad, indifferent, funny, stupid, sad, happy - just as long as you took it or created it in 2022. Let it begin! I will start posting them after I get the first five or six submissions...

JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE Los Angeles Forum 4/26/69

Shot Gun

This is Jimi Hendrix's first television appearance, on a show called Night Train in Nashville. It took place in May of 1965, backing up Buddy and Stacey on a hopped up version of the Junior Walker hit. More about the early period and chronology here.

Blows my mind to think he died a mere five years and four months later, in September of 1970. Think about the fierce musical virtuosity and extensive catalogue created and packed into that short time period. He truly changed music and the world forever. In the blink of an eye.

Early December Saturday Mailbag


Jonathan sends an article on the world's longest exposure.


I believe that Thailand has loosened up its cannabis laws. A pal there sent me a picture of our old friend, the thai stick.


I always loved marijuana from Thailand. The aroma reminded me of dried apples, the thai sticks of the late 1970's were such a delight, truly different than anything else around in terms of smell and taste.

Even the seeds were shaped differently, little triangles. But the exceedingly long growing season and meager yields made it unfavorable to domestic growers.

I can talk about this, right? The statute of limitations has expired, hasn't it?

By the way, my friend says that the color cast is overgreen and not accurate. 

When I was a kid, many were a beautiful golden color and immaculately trimmed and tied.


On the subject of sinful pleasures, I don't remember who sent this one over...


Renee sends a rather apocalyptic and nihilistic look at our future, The people cheering for humanity's end.


Ray sends this old shot over from 1954, the cow milking the cat.

Wilbur offers his own excellent photograph of a wood duck.


Jerry's grandkids near Mauna Loa.


J.O. sends this over and I post it in the interest of fair play. 

But I do think that it is absolute bullshit. Not that young people aren't soft today, they are. But there are no bigger snowflake babies than conservatives when they don't get their way, young or old. 

Now they get their wish and we get to see all those mean tweets again. Joy. Today Daily Stormer neo nazi Andrew Anglin is back on Twitter, like swallows to Capistrano. Is that what you folks wanted?

One of those rejoining Twitter, 10 years after he was banned, is Andrew Anglin, editor of the Daily Stormer, for years one the best known openly racist and fascist publications.

In a leaked style guide, Anglin once explained that his goal is recruiting new neo-Nazis, and that blaming Jews was the best way to do that.

“As Hitler said, people will become confused and disheartened if they feel there are multiple enemies,” Anglin wrote in the guide. “As such, all enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews.”

On Friday, Twitter’s software recommended Anglin’s revived account under “who to follow” to everyday users.

I heard something the other day that is generally true; not all Republicans are Nazis but all Nazis tend to be Republican.

Mean tweets do foment violence, no getting around it. And this seems to be the only free speech the right can get behind, the spew of the Kanyes and Fuentes and Anglin types. And they wonder why they are losing market share with the young and suburban housewives? 

You had your shot at a dictatorship, the people weren't buying. Obviously time to double down. 

Did you see this? Republicans think the midterms were a mandate for further restricting abortion. A bizzaro world of cognitive dissonance and a sign that the chasm between our two separate worlds is ever widening...

But if you do get Trump re-elected, all those January 6 patriotic political prisoners who bashed cops on the heads with flag poles and fire extinguishers will be pardoned and released. What a great country!

One, two three, wait, let's hear it... Antifa. Don't you feel better now?

Asshole of the year award - Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Lady Mallet's silver tea set

Most of us that purvey antiques and fine art have a deep love of history. Every acquisition is a small window that hopefully provides some insight and knowledge of our past. Occasionally a piece will grant a dealer the opportunity to learn about something which he knows next to nothing. This is such a find.

I bought this four piece sterling silver tea set from a dealer and dear friend in the Monterey area about a week ago. Although it is lovely enough in a decorative sense, and in perfect condition, the inscription was intriguing and is what unleashed the whole new field of inquiry for me.

Each of the four pieces bears the identical hand engraved inscription - 

Presented to Lady Mallet

 by West Indians in Panama 

May 10th 1919

I must confess to knowing nothing about the English lady but after a little research was amazed by both her enormous legacy and the initial torrent of information that I had uncovered. Lady Mallet was an important figure in both British and Panamanian history. My information is still very sketchy so please pardon me, I am still filling in the blanks. But the more I find, the more I want to learn about this remarkable woman.

Lady Mallet

Lady Matilda Obarrio Mallet (1872-1964) was wife of the British envoy to Panama, Sir Claude Coventry Mallet (1860-1941), British envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Panama, Uruguay and Costa Rica. I saw a citation that stated that he was Lord Balfour's Secretary but have not corroborated or verified that fact as yet.

Lady Mallet was expressly forbidden to keep a journal but being a copious chronicler, wrote many very important books anyway including Sketches of Spanish Colonial life in Panama, 1915. I believe that she wrote over 47 books in her lifetime but it is possible that I am conflating her biography with another Lady Mallet so you will have to excuse me until I can nail this down.

Lady Mallet, seated center

The breadth of her contributions far exceeded the literary. She founded the Panamanian Red Cross and worked tirelessly championing the rights of the oppressed in her native land. Much of the following information was gleaned (and somewhat clumsily translated) from Wikipedia:

Of Ecuadorian and Panamanian descent, she was born in Guayaquil in 1872. Her maternal grandfather Ramon was a hero in the independence movement from Spain and signed the Independence Act in 1821. Her paternal Grandfather, Pedro de Obarrio y Guerrero, was Governor of the Province of Panama from 1836 to 1840 when it, with Columbia made up the Republic of New Granada.

Her siblings were Fania de Obarrio Vallarino, María de Obarrio Vallarino, Alberto Belisario de Obarrio Vallarino, Nicanor Arturo de Obarrio Vallarino (general and hero of the Separation of Panama from Colombia in 1903) and Dr. Pedro de Obarrio Vallarino, superintendent of the Hospital Santo Tomás from 1905 to 1911. Life in Panama was tough after freedom from Spain was won. Land was confiscated, the people were poor.

In 1900, after the Battle of the Calidonia Bridge broke out, in the so-called War of the Thousand Days, on July 25, the liberal commander Emiliano J. Herrera, wrote to her husband Claude Coventry Mallet, consul of the United Kingdom, to request the ambulance of HMS Leander, which was anchored on the Isla de Taboga, to pick up the hundreds of dead and wounded, 5 together with Doña Matilde. The use of English ambulances and a Chilean ambulance are considered the first humanitarian activity carried out in Panama, 6 under the emblem of the Red Cross. 

The war spread poverty and disease throughout the area. Large numbers of itinerant West Indian workers were unemployed due to the completion of the construction works of the Panama Canal . Many did not want to, or could not return to their countries of origin, which caused them to crowd into the old wooden houses built when construction began for an interoceanic canal. This resulted in many gastrointestinal diseases, tuberculosis and pneumonia due to a high level of unsanitary conditions, in addition to several victims due to the recurring spread of fires.

Aware of the great health limitations that plagued the first years of the country's independence, Lady Mallet began a series of negotiations with the Panamanian Government, private entities and generous people in order to establish an institution in the new Republic that would be in charge of care for families affected by the aforementioned situations.

Doña Matilde, covered a whole range of works in favor of the most humble and needy classes of her country. She was a promoter of the fight against tuberculosis, infant mortality, the treatment of prisoners and a host of humanitarian activities that included fire prevention and sanitation of the unhealthy popular sectors of the marginal neighborhoods.

Lady Mallet established with her husband subsequently in England, the buildings at Sydney Place, Bath 207 in Somerset and during the First World War she worked with the British Red Cross.

At the Star and Garter hospital in Richmond, she paid for a room that was named “Lady Mallet Panama Room” and made the “Costa Rica Reading Room” a reality in the same hospital.

Doña Matilde also cooperated with works in Panama City, such as the restoration of the Santa Ana Church, the Metropolitan Cathedral in which she ordered mother-of-pearl shells to be found from the island of Taboga to cover the domes of its towers (which are still preserved), as well as the arrangement of the altar in the churches of San Francisco and Santo Domingo. She also participated in the conservation of the "Altar de Oro" in the Church of San José , together with William C. Gorgas and prevented the termite from damaging it, placing on it, with the help of the community, sheets of 20-carat gold leaf. In that Church is the image of Our Lady of Grace, patron saint of his ancestors and property of the Obarrio family. Lady Mallet, she never limited her activity to what she called her homeland.

I am not going to belabor this brief biography but I found newspaper articles from the day where she stepped in to save these black workers from being oppressed and killed by whites in her country. She definitely went to bat for these people. It was a time of great social upheaval. From the Hispanic American Historical Review:
Power—social and political—had long been in the hands of a few wealthy families. This small elite segregated itself in an area of the colonial Panama City surrounded by walls that symbolized in subtle but real ways its power and social position. In 1915, Matilde María de Obarrio de Mallet, granddaughter of one of Panama’s most prominent merchants, Pedro de Obarrio, commented on the enduring image and meaning of the walled sector: “Inside lived the nobility with their slaves, outside lived the people, and even at the present time when the barrier of the fortifications no longer exists, the idea remains and the best families prefer to crowd inside in discomfort.”34 She referred to the barrio of San Felipe, which politically, economically, and socially was “The City.” Beyond the walls, in Santa Ana and La Ciénega, lived a growing number of “outsiders” who had begun to challenge the elite’s monopoly of power. 
I found another book in my research, Letters from the trenches during the Great War, written correspondence between Lady Mallet and what I assume are these very same men, from the British West Indies Regiment. 

The notation is written - "LeHers ... addressed to [M. Mallet], principally, by the coloured West Indians who volunteered in Panama." Obviously the love and comity that she shared with these people never waned.

This silver tea set is a gift to her from them and a beautiful show of gratitude. World War I ended in November of 1918, this is a token of appreciation presented some six months later.

The set itself is sterling silver, the tray 11 & 1/2" wide x 6 & 3/4" deep. It is hallmarked and was made by the Webster Company in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. 

I hope to find a history museum or ngo in London or Panama that is interested in purchasing it.

I found out a bit more about her.

She studied at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, now Manhattanville College, in New York, between 1884 and 1888. Later she moved to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in ParisIn the course of her studies, once she had mastered the Spanish language, she studied English and French. After completing an educational tour of Italy, she returned to Panama in 1890 and her maternal brother Rodolfo Halsted Vallarino took the opportunity to introduce her to the British consul in Panama, Claude Coventry Mallet.

She married in 1892 Claude Conventry Mallet, who was serving as Consul for England in Panama and Costa Rica. They had two children from their marriage: Matilde "Dita" Mallet de Obarrio, born in Panama in 1893, and George Mallet de Obarrio, born in London in 1894, who suffered from meningitis for the first three years of his life after his birth.


I have to wonder how this incredible silver set ever found its way to California? That is the part of the story we will probably never know.

Nick Lowe

Sacre Bleu!

How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese? – Charles de Gaulle

I read today that Joe Biden is feting the French premier Macron with a cheese board at the upcoming state dinner. Is he nuts? Are you ready for the the patronizing condescension coming our way? You know how the French are about their cheese. I predict this is going to be an absolute disaster. I can hear the superior sniffing already from across the pond.

Purportedly the dinner will feature a goat cheese from California, a Wisconsin cheddar and a Rogue River blue cheese from Oregon that won the World Cheese championship in 2019. Wait, no velveeta? 

The entrees will be butter-poached Maine lobster, American Ostera Caviar, beef with shallot marmalade and squash from the White House garden. Tres' bon.

I think American cheese is pretty good but my favorite cheese is from France, Cantal, and you can't buy it here because it isn't cooked or pasteurized. Did find it in Seattle once, not sure how they got away with it? Honestly, French cheese is light years ahead.

This is like inviting Larry Bird over and challenging him to a game of horse. We are playing their game here. Trying to teach Mosconi how to shoot pool. As good as our cheese is, I think we are way out of our league. Why not try a barbecue or beenie weenie, something we are really good at? Hoagies.

I am sure they will be smiling and complimentary, but I predict the behind the scenes sniping will be surgical and deadly. You don't invite Julia Child over for a frozen Sarah Lee cheesecake.

Photo - A.P. - Andrew Harnik

For dessert, the international group will indulge in orange chiffon cake, roasted pears and crème fraiche ice cream.  Sounds okay, not particularly daring.

Three California wines — a chardonnay, a cabernet sauvignon and a sparkling brut rose — round out the drink list. 

Brut Rose? Really? Were we all out of white zinfandel? Hope they got a good cab, a Silver Oak, Caymus or Opus, then all will be forgiven. They may not like it but what do the Frenchies know?

Should be interesting.

Caitlin Rother

My friends at the Friends of the Fallbrook Library have an exciting program planned for their upcoming January Community Read. They are honored to showcase their first "True Crime" writer, New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother.

The subject of her book Death on Oceanside Blvd. is the Coronado Mansion killing.

I hope that you will join me in attending her talk and book signing.

Saturday January 21, 2023

Doors open 11:30 a.m.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Rhymes with Orange


Mean Old World

Rioting Robins


I was on the San Diego Birding Yahoo site this week and two responders wrote in about both a flock and a treat of robins.

I sent this in but it would not go through for some technical reason:

This week I have read here about both a "treat of robins" and a "flock of robins" in our province. I had not heard of the treat appellation before. I looked up a venery website and found these terms used, not sure if it is comprehensive.

robins – a blush of robins

robins – a bobbin of robins
robins – a breast of robins
robins – a carol of robins
robins – a gift of robins
robins – a reliant of robins
robins – a riot of robins
robins – a rouge of robins
robins – a round of robins
robins – a ruby of robins

robins (American) – a worm of robins 

Not a treat or flock to be found. I sort of like the "riot of robins" one.

Robert Sommers


Blowing up in Gottenberg

Google must be tweaking it algorithms again. The blog is what, going in to its fiftteenth or sixteenth year? I forget now. In the beginning nobody read me, then about 400 people a day, then 600, 800, suddenly it cascaded into several thousand a day.

It was ridiculous frankly. All the attention and exposure increased my internal pressure, was no longer writing for a captive audience. I would look some fact up on the internet and often be directed to something I had written and I know I ain't no authority.

But then about ten years back, they changed the way they did business. They ratcheted the Blast down. The blog has now been in a six hundred to 1500 view a day pattern for over a decade, with occasional spikes and lulls.

I am not sure what happened but the hit counter is climbing again. Over 5000 6000 today.

Big jumps in attendance. I'm spreading like a virulent, heeb virus. I am not sure why, since feedjit went under it has been tough to see exactly where the hits are coming from? I used to love my peeps from Ulanbatar and the more remote stations on this earth, can't track the micro hits anymore.

But there has been a lot of new traffic from Israel, Japan and Sweden of late. These people obviously can detect brilliance when they see it.

It is certainly flattering to have people (not to mention a few bots) paying attention. I put a lot of work in and thank you for sharing time with me.



Sushi Camp

If you are tired of your normal sushi bar and want to try one that is now our new favorite, visit Sushi Camp in Temecula. The main guy behind the counter, Donny, is a true artist, white kid originally from Chino. He has a real gift. Fish is incredibly fresh.

Loved the lemon drop roll last night and my favorite hand rolls.  Donny tweaks them with a flourish and makes them his own.

Tony Z took me there the first time years ago when it opened. I wasn't smitten. Now I am. Blows the competition away in Temecula and Fallbrook. Located in the small strip mall past Home Depot.

Sushi Camp



(951) 302-1330

Jake obviously weren't the marryin' kind... 


I didn't know they were endangered.


Smart fart technology.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Grateful Dead - Early Morning Rain (11-3-65)

I had heard a few early Dead renditions of the Lightfoot song but never paid much attention til I heard this one recently. Recorded at the Golden Gate Studios in November of 1965. Obviously Phil on vocals. Honestly a pretty faithful and folky version that might be the most Kingston Trio-ish that I ever heard the Grateful Dead in rhythm and treatment. The organ is a bit ham handed and uninspired.

I like Phil's voice here, wasn't pushing his range, sounds good. No pretensions of psychedelia in the cut either. Doesn't come close to the original or Eva Cassidy but what does?

Keep on talking...


No color adjustment. You know, my trusty old dslr still does a fine job. I see remarkable shots from Ken's mirrorless but I don't have to go there. Would cost twenty or thirty grand to replicate the camera and lenses I have. Why spend the money? Good technique and a little imagination trips fancy gadgets, expensive new technology and ai any day of the week.

Storm Windows

Sad goings on at Soho

A friend mailed me this story. 

The husband and wife team at the helm of a high-profile San Diego nonprofit ignited a bitter controversy by taking charitable donations valued at nearly $70,000 out of the state for their personal use. The conflict strained San Diego’s insular historic preservation community, led to a board member’s resignation, sparked retaliation concerns and prompted an overhaul of the institution’s policies.

With no permission and little documentation, the longtime leaders of Save Our Heritage Organization shipped a trove of antiques to their private mansion in Mississippi, where the objects stayed for more than two years, until complaints were made.

SOHO manages historic house museums and fights the destruction of historic properties throughout San Diego County. The nonprofit, which oversees more than $4 million in assets, has helped preserve some of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the region, including the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park and the Western Metal building in Petco Park.

If the allegations are true, it is a pretty despicable breach of trust and responsibility. I have known the principals for many years, although we have never been particularly close. They should have and did know better. SOHO has done a lot of admirable work for the community but this is clearly an ethical breach. Power corrupts.

A San Diego nonprofit’s historical antiques landed in Mississippi. A bitter conflict followed

7 takeaways from our investigation into San Diego’s premier historic preservation group

What I learned reporting on a high-profile San Diego nonprofit


Happy birthday, Dad.


My late father Amos Sommers would have been 97 today. I love and miss him and owe him a lot. I drive around San Diego and see how much he accomplished in his lifetime, his incredible productivity his whole life, even when he was in his early thirties. Del Cerro Highlands, Alvarado Estates, The Collwood Apartments, Lakeside, Santee, Claremont, San Marcos, Escondido, La Mesa, he created affordable housing for so many people in the area. An amazing, brilliant man, he was a good dad to me. Did the best he could.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Takanakuy: Fistfighting in the Andes

Thought this was interesting.

Nextdoor Shots

Ferruginous Hawk

Northern Harrier

Loggerhead Shrike

Red tailed on Saguaro

Vermilion flycatcher

Here are some pics I have put on Next Door recently. I have to assume that they have been horribly compressed as I lifted them off the site. Oh, well! Best I can do tonight.


Man, do I miss being in Hawaii. It has been way too long. One day...


Somehow I came down with a stomach virus, probably the nonavirus. I was running  a 101 degree temperature yesterday, I felt a little better today, still not back on solid food. There is never an opportune time to be ill, my shop is still three or four days away from being navigable and a hell of a long way from being organized.

I have been trying to put three hours a day in minimum, even feeling crappy and managed to put half the boxes away this morning before I hit the wall. Paid some large necessary bills that were gnawing on me. Trying to keep my distance from people, maybe still contagious.

So my brain is a bit scattered and I am going to still let it rip, with a stream of consciousness Monday blast, disjointed, unproven and full of non sequiturs. About all I am capable of in the present state.

I listen to the Beatles channel on Sirius quite a bit but can't tolerate Mondays. Why? Because it is all McCartney and my body can't tolerate that much syrup. Lennon, George, the fabs, no problem. But Paul overload is like being trapped in a wayward disney ride, way too much glycemic index. It's a small world after all...

Andor must have really seeped into my consciousness. I had a dream the other night and was a valley over from Ferrix, now a town. I had to watch Rogue One again, it was no better than the first time I saw it but you can see what Gilroy has done when he had full creative control. Brilliant.

If you want to see another fun whodunit movie, try the Outfit on Prime. Randle recommended it and he was spot on.

Many of my appliances are revolting or having their last gasps of air. I had to buy a new router today, hope I can hook it up without having a breakdown.  Nostril trimmer kaput.Television is also on the fritz, a 15 year old Bravia. They don't make too many televisions in 32" anymore, we have a small space, but looks like we need a new tv. Prices have certainly dropped, not sure what we will do.

My Bird Buddy smart bird feeder came in. Have not quite dialed it in yet but it did send me a picture of a scaly breasted munia perched on it this morning. 

I just ordered the optional solar roof, now making it officially the most expensive bird feeder in the world.

Took two years for delivery, damn birds better like it. Not real happy with the software at present, bit counter intuitive, but it is supposed to identify birds at the feeder and deliver pics in real time.

I had some comments taken down on Next Door last night where I recounted some of the bigotry I have witnessed and experienced in the Friendly Village over the last forty years. A man was bemoaning the loss of the friendly village of Fallbrook. I mentioned a few anti semitic incidents that I had endured in my life here, talked about Metzger, about the poor innocent black kid murdered a few years ago by the street gang, mentioned that our past was not perfect. Lo and behold, my comments were scrubbed off the site this morning. Go figure?

Guess it was a bit too much for the censors. I screenshot it, just in case. Always perfect here in Pleasantville.

We had great plans for my birthday before I left. It has been twenty years since I was home on my birthday. Leslie promised stroganoff. But she got really sick and I ended up at Dennys, fairly miserable.

Their pot roast was not quite as good as I remembered it but the server said it was a real favorite. Quite forgettable.

Disgusting actually. But I ate it, stewing happily in my intense misery, enjoying a dinner that I probably wouldn't feed a dog.

Leslie cooked me a real stroganoff birthday dinner when I came home.

The agony and the ecstasy.


I never had the opportunity to be a parent, not sure what kind of Dad I would have become. I have my father and grandfather's worst attribute, an anger that flashes white hot on occasion.

But who knows what kind of father I would have made?  I like to think a good one, who knows? 

One thing I have noticed is that some of my peers aren't doing such a good job. Many of my friends never had kids, some had wonderful kids, responsible and able to support themselves. Unfortunately many are near worthless, unable to navigate the slightest trauma, still at home in their twenties and thirties.

My theory is that they are overprotected. I was on my own by the age of fifteen and knew that there was no safety net or anyone to catch me when I fell. If we live without the possibility of a hard fall off the precipice I believe we do not receive the tempering needed to get tough and survive.

I know boomer and hippie parents now that are having such a tough time with their worthless kids. Not only are they dysfunctional and incapable of supporting themselves, many have, horrors, become very conservative. They listen to Rogan and all this right wing crap and then blame their parents for not giving them the skills they needed to adapt. They smoke pot all day and then complain about the liberals. Nature of rebellion I suppose.

One friend of mine's sister actually sued her parents because they never told her that she would have to get a job one day and support herself.

Completely worthless. Maybe it's a good thing I never became a parent. Would definitely be a tough love sort of dad.

Tres Cheesy. A woman in Florida is suing Kraft because her velveeta wasn't prepared in three and a half minutes. First we shoot the attorneys...

I haven't tweeted in over a year but deleted my account yesterday anyway because I can't stand the company and don't want to share a universe with the barbarians.

QAnon back on Twitter.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u

Unleash the kraken

Old David Duke may be getting his cherished spot back on Twitter. The unrepentant nazi is about to be sprung from social media jail on account of Elon Musk's new "Vox Populi" policy. 

The people get to vote on who is heard or not heard and the new Twitter owner is talking a general amnesty for everybody currently in Twitter jail that is not named Alex Jones.

The right wing blogosphere is ecstatic. Read this piece at Fox, Much ado about nothing. Most of the reaction is your typical right wing/ libertarian blather but one comment caused me to pause and call bullshit.

This is the sort of inane statement that Marjorie Taylor Greene and others of her ilk and limited intelligence have been trumpeting. A social media post never killed anybody, only deranged people kill somebody. 

But this is entirely not born by reality. Again and again during the hearings of the January 6 defendants who went apeshit at the capitol and attacked the policemen you heard the same thing; we were brainwashed by social media, by Nick Fuentes, by Alex Jones, by Joe Rogan or the right wing wackadoodle of your choice.

Same for the school and synagogue shooters, 4 chan, Gab, Parler, people are being fed a steady diet of hate on social media and people do end up getting killed. The boy who killed his schoolmates in Brazil yesterday while wearing a swastika armband, you don't think he was weaned on social media?

Speech, both written and spoken, has consequences. We all need to be mindful. I fear Elon Musk is opening the gates of hell.


Good article at the New York Times - How a faction of the GOP enables political violence.


We live in a world of dual and dueling media silos and whataboutism is rampant. Everybody should try to be as objective as possible but we all see things in our own way. The rational path is usually apparent if you take the time to educate yourself and figure out what is actually going on in our world. Then take a stand.

And I was thinking the other day about how much I honestly dislike "neutral" people and countries. Take Switzerland, for instance. Earlier this month, for the second time since June, the Swiss refused a request by Germany to send Swiss munitions to the embattled Ukraine. They are afraid this will tamper with their vaunted "neutrality."

Neutrality has been very good to Switzerland. It has allowed them to bank gold for the worst nazis and dictators known to man. I see nothing moral in their stand but it cetainly does look very convenient.

There are times in our lives when we must make a moral stand and pick a side. One day Switzerland, the blue meanies may be coming for you. Who will your friends be then? 


Friday, November 25, 2022

Your Mouth - Zappa

Motel Miseries

Honestly, it was a tough couple weeks hotel wise. Maybe I am just losing it, I don't know. I stayed at a friend's house the first night in Burlingame. The next night I went to check into my hotel, the Hilton.

"Uh, sir, your four day reservation doesn't start until tomorrow."

Oops. That's right, I had booked the Vagabond Inn for the in between night. I checked the address and gave them a call. 

"Mr. Sommers your stay is scheduled for next week."

I didn't? I did. I had made it for the 16th, smack dab in the middle of Santa Barbara. I asked them if they could change it or give me a refund? Nothing doing, pay the late cancellation fee. So stupid, and entirely my fault. I gritted my teeth and paid the exorbitant rate.

Went back to the Hilton the next night for the rest of my stay, it was great.

Fast forward to the next week. I am staying at the Black Oak in Paso Robles when I had the strange impulse to check my upcoming room in Carpenteria for the next four nights. This is at about 1:06 in the morning. I fumbled around and turned the light on near the bed.

I looked at the reservation on my phone. I couldn't have. I did. I had not made a reservation for Carpenteria, I had somehow accidentally made a reservation in Camarillo, about an hour and change away from the show. The price rankings don't worry about distance and I had screwed up mightily and booked the wrong town. I had dire visions of sleeping in my van for a week. What an idiot I am. Santa Barbara is the toughest town in California to get a reasonable room. It is way out of my budget.

I was up for an hour with a nice lady in Manila sorting things through, luckily the Motel 6 North in Carp still had a room available. 

Since the Sandman changed hands and raised their rates, the Motel 6 is my go to in the area. Still can cost you $135 and up but what else is there? Nothing. Tried the Super 8 once in Goleta and it was an absolute zoo. Never again.

I loaded my stuff in and drove the twenty five minutes or so down the coast to the room. Getting back the next morning would take three times as long, on account of the never ending freeway construction but that is another story.

And for a entirely different story, in the old days as a kid, Santa Barbara was the only stop on the 101 in all of California, with traffic lights, called, funnily enough, the lights. I hitchhiked through there a time or two and there might be thirty people in front of you, you waited your turn. I have spent over three hours waiting for a ride there, even with my lucky half dollar in my hand.

But I digress.

It is dark, I am hungry and tired and I go to check in.  The girl behind the counter has purple hair, a paunch and a lot of ink. Very nice and sweet actually. I ask her for a downstairs room and she says she only has one fronting the freeway. I don't care, give me the room, 108.

I get the key and open the door and a foul smell hits me like a ton of bricks. Not only that, the bed is unmade, everything is piled up and I wonder if there is a dead body in the room? Seriously. I go back to the office and tell the girl that something is strange and maybe there is someone else in the room and I follow her back, in case she needs backup. She closes the door, checks it out, wordlessly comes back and gets me a room two doors down.

This room is okay, loud but okay. I actually like Motel 6 because you know what you are going to get and not get. No kleenex, shampoo, paper thin towels, but the floor is better than carpet and all I really need is a bed and commode. I'm pretty low maintenance. 

You look around the parking lot and see a lot of work trucks, the only place for the landscapers and electricians and plumbers that make Santa Barbara run can stay but like me, they can't afford a three hundred dollar room. These guys tend to be hispanic and the barbecues get a lot of usage.

I actually like their shower setup, with the reverse head that shoots away from the door. Ingenious. The only problem with mine is that there were a couple small cockroaches living in mine. But that is cool, after a half hearted try at washing them down the drain, we forged an agreement to live and let live and to stay out of each other's way.

So it was not a terrible stay, no worse than the South facility anyway. a friend tried to stay at mine and checked out in five minutes on account of a dead rat that stunk to high heaven. I like to think that I am made out of sterner stuff. Will probably be staying there for the next ten years or more, I know the drill. Anyway somebody told him that the owner doesn't put a penny into the joint. Who knows, out of my pay grade?

They asked me for a review today on I was as honest as I could be, don't want to piss these people off, not like I have options. Here's my shpiel:

Beats the hell out of sleeping in my van.

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