Thursday, October 14, 2021

Calexico

Love revisited

 

Because of my Palm Springs show, I am going to miss one of my favorite bands down at the Casbah this Friday. 

If you have the time and inclination, they put on a great performance and the Casbah is intimate and fun.

We have seen some great Love performances there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

MARISA MONTE - PALE BLUE EYES

LJ

San Juan Island

My wife Leslie rarely if ever puts pictures of herself up on Facebook. I stuck some up last week, unbeknownst to her, just waiting for her to delete them, as she usually does. She surprised me and left them up and has had a startling amount of positive response and likes.

Truth is, she is a beautiful woman and her face radiates joy. As you can plainly see from these shots which I repost here. Luckily for me, she will be gorgeous forever!

I have posted most of these here before, enjoy the repost. Her smile still melts me, love waking up next to her every day and seeing this beautiful face.

Mezquita Mosque, Cordoba


Madrid street shot

Most of these shots were taken when we were traveling. I hope that we can take some more voyages soon, Covid has definitely cramped our joy meter. 


Pike Street Market, Seattle


Parma, Italy

Lamoretti Vinyard, Emilio Reggiano


Queen Mary

Grandview Beach


Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada


Two Bunch Palms

She is not only pretty, she is smart as a whip. She is sincerely happy and can be sincerely pissed. Trick is to keep her happy.


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Mobius Rock, Alabama Hills



Neural Filter Test

 

This is a picture I took of a friend of mine, educator and antique dealer Robert Galvez.

Robert is a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor.

This particular picture shows him in what I would call a neutral to happy emotional state. 

Up but not giddy. 

Perhaps a hint of suspicion, what the hell is this guy doing with a camera in my face at this hour of the morning?

I was poking around in Photoshop yesterday and I saw that there was a whole new rabbit hole to fall into called neural filtering

Neural filters go into the cloud and assess your subject with a bazillion similar images in order to make suggested alterations with AI or artificial intelligence.

This really isn't my bag but I did write a course book on Photoshop that still sells very well and I like to keep up to date with what is going on with the Adobe product. 

So I thought I would have a look.


The smart portrait neural filter allowed me to adjust various (three) emotions in my subject that did not necessarily exist in my original capture (or that quaint and antiquated notion we call reality) as well as make a whole assortment of other modifications. 

pass
The first thing I did was dial Robert's happiness quotient up a whole mess, a whopping 45 points. 

A naturally happy guy, his neural simulacra took to happy like a duck takes to water.

fail

Anger was a whole 'nother story. Try as it might, the end product looked forced, unrealistic and not angry in the least. Somewhat pinched. Truth is, Robert is just a hard guy to get to look miserable and unhappy because that is not him. He's pretty up. Even his pissed off version looks a little joyful although mostly strained. More like happy after a root canal.

This is not going to be a tool I spend a lot, if any, more time with. I keep thinking of the movie Wag the dog. With manipulative tools like this, people can ultimately look and feel and emote any way you want them to and no one is the wiser. Or will be able to, when the technology matures anyway.

I am not sure that I am down with that, from an ethical standpoint. But it is interesting in an academic sense and it will be something to watch the technology evolve. Gracias, Roberto, for the shot.

Roxy Music - Out of the Blue

Young Mennonite couple, Bodie

 


Lazy Waters - The Byrds

Tuesday Quickie


Ray H. sent a picture of this tasteful mascot over that he saw at the car show.

Hudgins offers: The Migration Patterns of the Privileged: On 21st-Century Climate Gentrification ‹ Literary Hub

Wild Bill shares this interesting column from Pharyngula - When blogs ruled the internet.

Michael offers this choice tidbit from France, Culinary animation:


Hylocereus Undatus flower from my garden.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Johnny Are You Gay?

Guess it was only a matter of time

 

Superman's kid comes out.

Clark and Lois's son Jon is now a confirmed  bisexual.

Word is that his new boyfriend is less than impressed. 

"Man of steel? Fecch! 

If I had wanted something this pliable I would have looked up Mr. Elastic over at the Fantastic Four.

Gehry Building, Seattle

 

This is one of my favorite architectural shots that I have ever taken. I love the way light and color flows around the rounded and aberrant forms of the Hendrix Museum. And I am glad that I took the shot when the building was young because the shot no longer exists, the form now unfortunately obscured by trees and foliage.

The next picture is a non obstructed later view that catches a bit of the late afternoon sun reflection from a slightly different angle. I always felt that it had a futuristic, science fiction quality. Fritz Lang, Metropolis. Which is fitting really as the building once housed (and still might house) a science fiction museum.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Tin Soldier

Doctor, Doctor

 

The last couple weeks have been pretty brutal. I have had a terrible infection raging since my last immunotherapy treatment. 

I complained that something was not right immediately after the procedure and they gave me antibiotics but they didn't work and I have been in pretty much constant agony. 

I have literally had to urinate every five minutes and it was very painful. Urinary tract was totally inflamed. Still not right. Has made it very difficult to work and function.

Had to keep a coffee cup in my car in case of accidents and thought I would be arrested a couple times for being a pervert when I had to relieve myself at an intersection. Thankfully nobody saw me.

It happens pretty often with me, insert an instrument or foreign agent in my body and something goes wrong. The gerbils are definitely out now. The worst was prostatitis. That was an eleven on the ten scale. This was only a seven + but still plenty painful and irritating.

I went in for my cystoscopy on Friday and when they got inside with a scope (they put a tube down your penis and coat it with lidocaine) the doctor said it was impossible to see anything in my bladder because of the intense irritation and infection. She said we would have to reschedule when things clear up.

I had told them things weren't right down there but you know medicine these days, people are very busy and texts don't always get answered. So I have gutted it out.

She gave me a stronger antibiotic and has rescheduled the lookaround for December.

I have to be happy really, looking at the great scheme of things. If you had told me two years ago that I would survive stage four cancer in the lamina wall without losing any more parts, I would have told you you were crazy. Lucky to be alive right now, honestly, after the last dire prognosis.

In a way it is good that I didn't have to go through with the cysto because that normally knocks me out of the box for four or five days too. I have a show in Palm Springs this week and I was wondering how I could bear to set up and do it. Now I get a mild reprieve. Show must go on.

Alhambra pool, Granada

 

Here is a shot that got away from me. Try as I might, it really can not be fixed. Because like many of the architectural marvels in our world, it suffers from hominid overdose. The pesky little bipeds are everywhere, scurrying around like ants, not to mention the presence of scaffolding from the renovation.

Really a beautiful place, second in my eyes only to the Alcazar in Sevilla visually in España. Not like I have the juice to ask a guard to clear all the mortals out of my way so I can take a shot. You have the same problem I would imagine at the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower or even at Yellowstone at this point. Humanity overrun. What to do?

Now I suppose one could take every single human out in Photoshop if he or she had the patience but who has that kind of patience? Like the Uffizi Gallery in Florence it is really difficult to score a ticket here and you stand in line for about four hours so it is not like you can time your entrance for an off hour.

I have about ten shots from this vantage and none of them work particularly and they all raise a certain sadness in me for failing to get an adequate capture. Do you know my only solace in this particular one? The figure dead center with hands upraised and his or her reflection. In the portico it reminds me of the eye of a peacock feather for some reason.

So, absent another trip to Southern Spain, I will take some small comfort in that.

The following shot is our closest corollary to southern Spain in these parts, the Laguna de las flores at Balboa Park. You can still find that spot empty if you arrive early enough.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

everybody's gotta live

Happy Birthday John Lennon!

Palm Springs Modernism 2021

Palm Springs Modernism is back.

 


Hope to see you there! And free parking this year. The fall show is not as big as the spring but still always fun.



Sheila Hylton

So tell me...

What the hell is this guy eating?






Native dancer, San Luis Rey Pow Wow

 


A beautiful story in the New York Times

 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/09/us/politics/son-finds-father-sam-anthony.html

No perfect people

I was at the bank yesterday and the young teller said something about the bank being closed Monday for Columbus Day. "Oops," she said, "I mean native indigenous people's day." "Oh really," I said. "Has Columbus Day now been put on the official scrapheap too?"

She said, "Oh yes. Do you know what a terrible human being he was, raping twelve year old girls and all?"

Now I indeed do know what a miserable swine the Genovese explorer was, I have written on the subject before but guess what? If you are looking for perfect human beings in the past history of the world, it may be a very long wait. 

Columbus was simply a man of his time.

I told her that it was unfair to judge people of the past by the "woke" standards of today. For instance, Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln were terrible in their treatment and opinions of Native Americans. 

We won't even talk about Luther, Kipling or Lovecraft. Harry Truman loved to tell racist jokes and use racist slurs but the greater question is, should one be defined by their casual speech or their actions?

Mark Twain on the extermination of Native Americans


I try very hard not to be a bigot. But have I ever voiced bigoted views? Of course I have. And I doubt that there is a man or woman, black, white, brown, purple or yellow that has ever walked this earth that has never been guilty of saying something offensive at one time or another. Just the way it is. We are imperfect beings. So it is unfair to look at the past with twenty twenty hindsight and vision.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson got into an interesting repartee the other day defending Winston Churchill, who someone had called a white supremacist. Well, Churchill certainly was, if you take the man at his word. He was a man of his time, like most of us and harbored the racist sentiments of his time.
In 1937, he told the Palestine Royal Commission: "I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

Plainly racist. What Johnson said the other day was that Churchill could not have been a white supremacist because he helped defeat the greatest white supremacist of all time, Adolf Hitler.

“When they began to attack Churchill as a racist, I was minded to ignore them as it was only 20 years ago that BBC audiences voted him the greatest Briton of all time,” said Johnson. “He helped defeat a regime, after all, that was defined by one of the most vicious racisms the world has ever seen.”

How is that for cognitive dissonance and false causation? As if one racist could not defeat another. But the point is, we can acknowledge and celebrate a human or historical figure even if they have not led a life without blemish. 

We should not seek to bury our racist past like those that would advocate for a banning of the teaching of critical race theory, but having brought our failures into the light of day, we should neither forget them or give them too much weight in the present moment and allow them to dictate our future. Progress has been slow but it has been made in our lifetime, be wary of those that advocate for instant and unequivocal change.

Israel is certainly the next big target amongst liberals, read the recent opinion from the local American Federation of Teachers branch from the U.T.. They can hang gays in Iran, behead sisters in Afghani honor killings but by all means keep the focus at all times on evil Israelis defending themselves. Thankfully the Union Tribune balanced the piece out with this opinion, which is a bit more even handed.

I dread the Tlaibs and Omars with the same trepidation I fear from the AOC's, Gaetz's and the Gohmerts. What we need in this world, is more balance.

Traditional music from Taiwan

Stand with Taiwan

Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping says he seeks a peaceful reunification with Taiwan. 

"Achieving unification through peaceful means is most in line with the overall interests of Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots."

This is quite rich considering he has been breaching Taiwanese airspace with fighter jets for much of the last week. It is obvious that they are preparing to wipe them out, albeit as hygienically as possible.

China made all sorts of sweet promises about freedom and autonomy to the people of Hong Kong too and then proceeded to break them all, leaving them in the thralls of the mainland dictatorship.

If I was Taiwan I would buy one special nuclear weapon, you could call it the Masada or something like that and train it on Beijing. When China makes their move, the whole neighborhood meets mutually assured destruction. 

Only thing that will possibly keep these lying bastards at bay.

In response to Xi’s speech, Taiwan’s presidential office underscored the territory’s sovereignty, saying that its future “rests in the hands of Taiwan’s people.” It added that Taiwan’s people had clearly chosen to reject China’s offer of unification under a “one country, two systems” arrangement similar to that used in Hong Kong, and instead supported “defending our democratic way of life.”

I hope that we here in America continue to stand with Taiwan and not buckle under to a country that is so savage with its own people and neighbors in places like Tibet and the Uighur regions. There are still principals and allies worth fighting for. The people of Formosa have no illusions about the integrity and true intentions of the enemy that they have long faced.

*

The many signals China is sending - Vox

Snowy egret and snack

 

Friday, October 8, 2021

One bad day

Amazing, the MAGA faithful had one bad day, just give them a break. So they were chanting that they wanted to hang Mike Pence back on January 6, erected a gallows on the Capitol steps. No big deal. Tried to kill the Vice President? No problem, everybody is entitled to a bad day or two. Remarkable detachment, the way he can slough this off.

It is incredible that these people say that they are pro police and that they respect the thin blue line and the next thing you know they are bashing the cops over the head with flagpoles and breaking into the Capitol.

Same type of people that threaten the lives of teachers and school board members and call them rapists because they want kids to be masked and vaccinated.

What a country we live in.

And I am astounded by the light charges and sentences being given to these insurrectionist cretins. Dawn Bancroft threatened to shoot Nancy Pelosi in the head and gets a single misdemeanor charge. Unbelievable.

China Doll

Elizabeth - not forgotten


Luther Allison & Bernard Allison - Life is a bitch

Four way bypass or bust

I made the mistake of watching this Manny's video and subscribing to the Travel Thirsty channel. Oh my god, I need one of these sandwiches so bad! Honestly, does it get any better than this?

Now I am getting all sorts of great food videos on my feed, mostly from Chicago, some from New York.

I have only visited Chicago a couple times, tried the hot dogs, not really my style. Where I come from in New York, they come one of two ways, with or without kraut. None of this salad on a bun thing. But I have come to respect them for the quality of the raw ingredients, I will just skip the peppers and onions, thank you. Over time I have actually come to really like the dogs honestly.

Anyhow I have come to the realization that Chicago might be the king of good ethnic food and street eats after watching some of these videos. Like this one, steak and plantain sandwiches at Jibaritos y Mas. Are you kidding? Looks so amazing. 

With such a huge ethnic population, how could they not be at the epicenter of gluttonous scarfing in the Windy City? You have Mexican, Greek, Polish, Czech, Italian, Puerto Rican, Filipino, literally every conceivable population group is represented there food wise.


I love how they film these videos without scripts or dialogues. I am planning on going back to Chicago next year with some college buds originally from the area. Do a four day massive feed and catch some blues music if there is any left. But how will I decide where to go? So many choices. I would like to visit a classic chop house too. Any recommendations?

Will go to Romas for Italian beef. Or Jim's for Brats and sausage, please hold the onions. Lou Malnati's for Deep Dish Pizza. Marie's Pizza for thin crust. Or Uno or Dua's or as Shawn suggests, the Homerun Inn. Might even grab a steak at Gene and Georgetti, although I hear they are getting somewhat long in the tooth. Maybe grab me a fry sandwich at Harold's Chicken Shack.

The truth is, a great majority of my best friends for the last forty years or so are Chicagoans and I have heard about all these places, and Portillos, Johnnie's and Al's ad nauseum and I really want to see how good they are for myself. Will have to train for this, work up my endurance and stomach capacity because I am going to be pigging out from the moment my feet hit the tarmac and I grab my first Superdawg. Wish me luck.

And you might also check out these two places if you are in New York, they also look very promising.


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Gigging


I had to meet my accountant on the coast today and also pick up some drawings at the restorer. 

Afterwards, I stopped by to see a couple of friends, Ron and Lena. 

These highstepping birds are not them.

They are actually human.


I had lunch with my friend Bruce at the Encinitas Cafe and ate my customary hot turkey sandwich. Since I had already blown most of the day I decided to go back and take a brisk walk around the San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff with my pal Lena.


I saw some cool stuff, it was a nice and cool day for a walk, with little reflective light. 

Didn't see the bat rays, the water was too murky but did catch this snowy egret gigging a crab? bullfrog and later spearing a small fish.


I took a lot of shots, some are pretty cool but don't really have time to go through them and process right now and I have a medical procedure tomorrow. Shots would have been a lot sharper with my faster lens but frankly I just wasn't up to hauling the 400mm f 2.8 around.


I did see something I have never seen there before, a peregrine falcon pair perched together on a pole. 

The ranger there said that he had not either.

Also an assortment of kestrels, belted kingfishers, phoebes, ducks and other cool flying creatures including a bittern. 

Will post some more shots when I can catch up.