Wading in a pool of abstraction © Robert Sommers 2023

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two from Harwood


Meet the new boss

I had dinner with a couple friends last night at Le Bistro (I had the veal normandy and a caesar if you happen to be scoring at home). The conversation somehow came around to the new Grand Poobah in Egypt, Muhammed Morsi.

Bob thought he might be a pretty good egg, based on his having studied at USC. I wasn't aware that he had and looked him up this morning.

He received a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in engineering from Cairo University in 1975 and 1978, respectively. He then received his PhD in engineering from the University of Southern California in the U.S. in 1982. He was an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge from 1982 to 1985. In 1985, he returned to Egypt to teach at Zagazig University. Two of his children are U.S. citizens.

I understand Bob's optimism, an engineering type, schooled in an enlightened country like America, we got nothing to worry about, right?

I admit that I can be ultra sensitive about certain matters pertaining to the mid east and was tempted to give Mohammed Morsi the benefit of the doubt until I heard his first pronouncement. He wants the United States to release blind terrorist sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the architect of the first World Trade Center bombing and other islamic terrorist detainees that have been convicted in the United States. For humanitarian reasons.

Rahman is serving a life sentence for his role in a plot to blow up the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the United Nations and other targets in the 1990s.  He was heavily involved in the first World Trade Center bombing that killed six people and injured more than a thousand. Morsi thinks that some other group was actually responsible for nine - eleven, the terrorist detainees mere pawns. Must be the zionist entity, I just know it. He wants to be a fierce defender of the Palestinians and I have no problem with that. He also has stated that no women or christians will ever have a place in his government. Interesting.

Morsi's spokesman says that people need to chill about the request to free Rahman and the other detainees. We are told he was just playing to the crowd. But I think we have reason to worry as does Egypt's neighbor Israel. I can understand why the muslim brotherhood was banned in Egypt for so long. And why Israel's border was breached by terrorists in the first week of his reign. Maybe it is time to get the Sinai back. It will be interesting to see how things play out and if the new leader of Egypt will continue to advocate for terrorists or let his country become a base for state sponsored terrorism.

"Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration. Rejoice and rest assured that this people will not accept a text that does not reflect the true meaning of the Islamic shari’a as a text to be implemented and as a platform. The people will not agree to anything else."
Mohammed Morsi - May 12, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jubalaires sing Noah

Swami is under water

I received a funny email from Jim M yesterday regarding my soothsaying abilities in reference to the recent SCOTUS ruling:

Better get a new brand of tea for when you do your next"read".

I guess when I read the tea leaves so publicly, I should expect a certain amount of blowback when my divination goes astray.

However Jim is right, I certainly didn't see this one coming. Roberts rises up a notch in my book with his newfound independent break from the eastern wing of the court . Last time he gets invited to the company picnic.

Of course the toughest part of the Affordable Care Act is the burden it puts on doctors who are already underfunded by Medicare. Where are they going to get the money to take care of these patients?


The Texas GOP has just ascended to a new exalted state with their new platform that opposes the teaching of critical thinking.

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Imagine. A Republican party that is against critical thinking?


I had a fright last month when my water bill on the building where we work came in. It had doubled. The utility district sent Todd, a very nice supervisor out and he put a new highly accurate meter on this month to try to get a more accurate read. For years my bill, which covers three units, one not even my own, rose to $150 last month from the normal $75.

When I got my bill from the Fallbrook Public Utility District the day before yesterday, I just about had a coronary. Take a look.

$8743.76 smackers. For three bathrooms and a sink. I am starting to sweat. Could there be an underground leak destined to scuttle my ship?

Because at 8k a month this boat was going down.

Dark thoughts of conspiracy started dog paddling in my head. Is this what happens when one publishes unfavorable anonymous letters about the local municipality on one's blog? Small town justice? Very old school. I made a few frantic calls. Nine hundred thousand gallons would theoretically submerge several football fields three feet deep and was a feat even beyond whatever karmic debt I have managed to acquire. Got the all clear yesterday. Technical error. Whew!


Went to the best restaurant in North County with good friends last night for the waning days of fois gras. Vincents in Escondido. Such a shame. We had two, a pate with prosciutto and fig and a warm liver with poached pears. Then confit and a tart.

I read recently of free range ducks chasing the farmer around the barnyard, loudly requesting their gullets be filled with the grainy goodness. What will the poor normal sized liver birds do now?


DeGoff sent this over a few weeks ago, worth pondering:

Below is a  brilliant and humorous response to the notion that the
bible is the ultimate justification for any conflicting viewpoint in this day and age.
Owning A Canadian
On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant
Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus
18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.
The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a U.S.
man, and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I
have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that
knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend
the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that
Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other
elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and
female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine
claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.
Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair
price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in
her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24.
The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women
take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates
a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.
They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus
35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.
Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police
to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.
I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses.
Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.
19:27.  How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes
me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two
different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing
garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend).
He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary
that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to
stone them?  Lev.24:10-16.
Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like
we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy
considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and
Your adoring fan,
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum,
Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia
P.S. It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian.

Hopefully this won't sound too snarky but isn't Colorado Springs the headquarters of Focus on the Family? You would think James Dobson would have some special in that could keep these sorts of things from happening...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pablo Casals - Kol Nidrei

Funny system

I was interested to see that Carlsbad detective Michael Koch got a mere three years probation for stealing heroin out of the Police Department evidence room last week. Apparently he had developed a little monkey on his back.

Koch, 45, was an 18 year veteran on the force and has been on paid administrative leave while the charges of burglary and possession were pending and he continued to draw his $86,000.00 per year salary.

Koch was arrested and jailed in January after co-workers saw him taking the dope from the impound room. He was jailed for one night. A six-month jail sentence imposed Wednesday by Judge Kimberly Lagotta was stayed on the condition that Koch abides by the terms of his probation, which include continued drug treatment and testing.

Prosecutors have said there was no indication Koch took the drugs for any other reason than personal use, and that the one-time vice and narcotics detective had developed a drug problem.

Koch was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest and was terminated from the department on May 30.

Weldon Angelos was a 25 year old latino record producer who had worked with Snoop Dog. He made three marijuana sales that totalled about $350.00 to undercover officers in 2004 and received a sentence of 55 years. Because he had a gun in his center console he received one five year and two consecutive 25 year sentences. He will be eligible for parole when he is 80 years old.

Cornell Hood II was a 35 year old low level pot dealer in New Orleans. He got arrested in 2009 and charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute two pounds of marijuana. After a one day trial and two hours of jury deliberation, he was convicted and is now serving a life sentence. Should have been a cop, Cornell.

I am struck by the disparities in these stories. What can we glean from them? It is obvious that prosecutors won't go after law enforcement personnel who run afoul of the law with the same zeal that they will go after a civilian or dare I say it, a minority.

Can you imagine what the sentence would be for anyone else who commited a felony burglary of narcotics from the police, is most certainly in possession of a firearm and is a narcotics user to boot? Have you ever heard prosecutors be so accommodating? Perhaps illicit drug use can be seen as merely a medical issue if you are a white member of law enforcement?

I take no pleasure in either Mr. Koch's addiction or his termination from his job. But I find the draconian and disproportionate sentence of the offenders like Mr. Angelos and Hood both cruel and appalling.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I go to sleep


I have been gone for the last five days. Family obligations. My step sister's son was having his fifth birthday up in the Central Valley and I had told her that I would try to make it. The party was held in one of those bouncy rooms at a McDonalds. I fulfilled my filial commitment and took my leave fairly quickly.

Prior to the party I stopped at the Alzheimers group home where my dad is now living. It was clean and the Filipino attendants were wonderful. Without Filipinos, nursing would collapse. They are a serious cog in the nurturing wheel.

My father is back in the mnemonic incantation phase. Shnaim, shnaim, shnaim, shnaim shnaim shnaim shnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaimshnaim shnaim , "Mr. Sommers, what does schnaim mean?" I had to explain to them that shnaim means time in my father's native hebrew tongue. Best as I can tell, he is telling the world that it is in fact time. But the body seems pretty strong still, fortunately or unfortunately. He is getting on mostly okay but won't stop pissing in the closet.

I tried to make some inroads. Cut through and make contact. He was an army photographer, transmitted the first atom bomb photo while in the service during the big war. I showed him my new camera and he took a picture of me. Discussed his old Hasseblad rig. He fades in and out, in one rare lucid moment he confided that he didn't know exactly what had happened and how he had gotten there. I can relate. He said I looked good. I must confess that I am starting to see him at certain times when I look in the mirror.

Hard for me not to cry when I leave my dad's.

I drove up to the Bay Area that evening. Had decided to spend a couple days visiting friends that I never get to see much when I am up because I am usually working.  Kerry is a very old comrade and audiophile friend and his place was my first stop. He has made some subtle adjustments to his system and we listened to some classical reference music, marches and woodwinds and a great recording of Jonas Starker playing cello. The big shot. A shtarker is a "big shot" in yiddish. Phenomenal system, the acoustic instruments seemed real and alive in the room. He built his own speakers with a variety of horns and ribbons and has successfully plugged a subtle midrange hole.  

Kerry's world is fairly small and mine can be overlarge at times and it was great to spend some time with him. BigD and his wife, an incredibly smart molecular biologist stopped by after dinner and hung out.

The next day I got a call from my mother and then my brother. I am now officially a great uncle. My younger brother Buzz's daughter Rachel had a child, a large baby girl. Not being a breeder myself, I can get corroboration as to my advancing age now from my siblings. Congratulations to the whole family.

I have been giving some thought to age and this peculiar "life" business. I think that it is a watershed moment in a person's life when they have the realization that life is truly finite and quite exhaustible. I had my first brushes with mortality at 14, 15 and 16 when the chronic active hepatitis fought me to near death. I was given three days to live during the lattermost episode. My pancreas emptied out and I threw up pure bile, my feet started itching and I actually started the initial phases of dying. The doctor called it necrosis. Somehow thanks to my mother's constant care, I pulled through. I believe that having been smacked in the face with death so early gave me a unique perspective on the flip side of the equation.

Having cycled through a whole list of infirmities since then, I see why the scribes thought that youth was wasted on the young. Because as temporal as it is, it is quite precious. As far as I can tell you get one shot, so make sure that you make it a good one. I think that you will be able to mention at my funeral that I left little on the table and squeezed as much out of the damn thing as I possibly could. Such a cruel and bittersweet game. In the end you lose everybody that you have ever loved, unless of course you were lucky enough to go first. No wonder they had to invent heaven. Pretty raw deal.

Kerry and I headed over to the park the next day. A whole bunch of tai chi people were moving through their slow paces in the grove between the DeYoung and the Science Museum.

I don't want to go off on a big negative riff but the DeYoung is a pretty rotten museum at present. Used to be on the of the greatest egyptian revival architectural wonders anywhere, now it is a perforated, teflon modern box with a lot of stupid stuff inside.

It does have two of the nicest chilean wine (jubea chiliensis) palms you will ever lay eyes on out in front. 

I went in and took this picture of two ladies under a giant piece by german uber artist Gerhard Richter which he took of 600 badly photographed pictures of electrons that he potchkeyed together from the newspaper.

Contrived, ironic, pretentious, trite, pick your own adjective. Modern art, to me, is someone drawing on the lavatory walls in their own excrement. Quite thin. We went to see the Trevor Traina collection of photography. Most of the work was simply awful. There was a fantastic Arbus, a really great portrait of Queen Elizabeth, a gentle shot of a bride at Niagara Falls and next to it a wonderful campy florida photo of a family sprawled out over their station wagon. Maybe a couple others.

docent, deyoung tower
Mostly it was poorly composed, out of focus shots that begged the question why? Did the photographer click the shutter because he could, or because he or she should? Was it merely the random selection of a petulant chimpanzee with a stopwatch? I thought it was  in need of a great edit. If that was great photography I am ready for my screen shot, Mr. DeMille.

The problem with modern art is that I always think I will see somebody snickering when I pull back the curtain. 

There was a nice collection of alaskan art that we enjoyed. Went up to the ninth floor tower and caught magnificent views of the city in all directions. An absolutely, stunningly gorgeous weekend. I really liked the Ruth Asawa wire creations and the neat shadows they cast in the vestibule.

There was a Jean Paul Gaultier show downstairs but the photographs had already given me a headache and I just couldn't take anymore. 

We walked past the rose, japanese and botanical gardens and bopped into this segue tour tooling through the redwoods. Kerry and I painted together in college and he was always very good. Think he stopped as I did, somewhere along the way. We decided to go up to the sister museum Legion of Honor and see some great paintings and get the bad taste out of our mouths.

The Legion is such a great museum. Rodin's Thinker is perched in the courtyard. Great place, one of my favorite views of the city.

Newly wed, Legion
Rooms upon rooms of masterworks from baroque through impressionism. A lovely Manet, the Absinthe Drinkers. A very atypical, understated Picasso landscape done late, I think in 1932. A shack in Montmarte by Van Gogh that is of course, perfect.

Mostly I thought about my father as I walked around the place. How lucky I was to be his son, especially on the aesthetic level. There are rooms there that resemble him at the height of his collecting, in spades.

How many other kids had a Van Dyke, a Sir Joshua Reynolds, a Sir Peter Lely canvas in their living room? Exquisite blue and white oriental and ivory. People ask me where I learned about art, if I got my eye from my mother? The truth is, and it took a long time to admit this, but I got it all from my dad. I thought it was normal for a family to have a Gainsborough in the hallway. My father helped me develop my eye immeasurably. And now it's too late to tell him.

I, of course ran in the opposite aesthetic direction, fleeing from his patrician tastes towards my more egalitarian notions. I saw little use for the inlay, the marquetry and gilding. And now as I get older find that I am fleeing back towards him, wonder of wonders?

Docent, Legion.
tower shadow , treasure island
Went to Dave's decent dim sum restaurant Tong Kiang for lunch with Kerry. Cruised over to the East Bay and spent the midday with Robert Bijou who has recently moved from Montecito to a new perch high over the East Bay. 

A wonderful spot, we had a Thai lunch that was great, an espresso and then visited his new work space. He is flourishing and exuberant in his new locale.

Ended up at Gary and Melissa's. She bought a monster cowboy ribeye and we feasted on it and the truckload of potatoes left over from last night's big catering gig. Saw Denis Kelly and Kathy and watched him tend his lovely community garden. Talked about life and the market.

Next day I drove up to Marin and had breakfast with Ron at Miller's Deli. The place that asked me what kind of bread I wanted my corn beef on last time. Thought I would give the restaurant a second look. I asked for pastrami and eggs. The latino server looked at me like I was from the moon. I had to direct him. "Take the pastrami and mix it with scrambled eggs. Am I the first that has ever asked for it?" I think he comprende'd. It was allright I suppose, eggs kind of dry, but the latke was rubbery and hard like a hockey puck. Completely inedible.

Ron says that the Marin jews are basically so lame that the only thing they know how to order is a corned beef sandwich so I needed to have a little understanding. After breakfast we drove around to China Camp and looked out on the gorgeous bays.

Next day I went to the Giants game with the gang and sat in the Silver Oak seats, courtesy of Matt. Sea of orange, thought it was Halloween. Took the 400mm lens and got right in there. Stopped the ball in its tracks several times. I don't like the Giants, being a Padres fan but like the Dodgers even less. Zito threw a dominating shutout. Should have taken a picture of Boche's weird eyebrow with the incredible lens which I suppose Doug is going to want back some day.

I did a lot more stuff, went to the Alemany flea market with Kerry, explored Treasure Island for the first time. I knew a zillion people at Alemany and they all thought I had some secret motive for being up in the bay, some secret auction or painting. Wouldn't believe that I was just a tourist.

I accomplished everything I wanted to do except I didn't get to see Isak. Pride week, I thought that the Castro would have been a zoo. Hopefully next time. Did catch Warmboe for a second on my way out.

Met Cam (at the bar of course) in Salinas yesterday and drove down to Pebble Beach on a wild goose chase. Drove the rest of the day and made it home late last night, happy but very exhausted.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Larry Garner - Dog House

drips and lips

Looks like Obamacare is about to get snuffed out by the Supreme Court. I am not a betting man but would be willing to make a small wager that most, if not all of the act, will be struck down by a 5 to 4 vote. Not really too hard to read the tea leaves. Ginsburg spoke warily last week of dissension on the court, Scalia has just published a new book wherein he has a convenient shift of mind and retracts earlier positions that would support the healthcare act.

In the new book he states that the 1942 Supreme Case Wickard v. Filburn, which featured a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause that has been key to pro-Obamacare legal arguments, was wrongly decided.

Scalia cited Wickard in his 2005 concurrence in Gonzales v. Raich, holding that the Commerce Clause gave Congress the authority to prohibit individuals from growing their own marijuana for medical use. In the opinion, Scalia stated that "where Congress has authority to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective."

Now he says that his wisdom has come late. The reality is that he is merely another ideologue, on the most intellectually dishonest and activist panel of ideologues that have ever sat on the august court.

John Boehner sent out a call for his troops to refrain from "spiking the ball" after the act is overturned. No endzone antics, please. The reset may prove very difficult and may leave a lot of people in the health insurance hole. He is asking his boys not to gloat too audibly.

I must have been really bored today. I watched some of the Federalist Society debates on the bill. Beware.

Purple Insights, a bi-partisan polling group, conducted a survey of 58 experts and ex Supreme Court clerks. Where they once saw little or no chance of an overturn, now they are predicting the worst. Or best, depending on your point of view.


This anti person, pro corporate Supreme Court, excuse me I forgot, corporations are people, has a perfect record of deciding for the let's ship american jobs offshore and get more lucre for our fat cat members who don't pay american taxes U.S. Chamber of Commerce cases.  Seven straight victories this term. Congrats. Quite a run. Read about it here.

Lord of the Flies
The poor woman bullied on the bus in New York is going to be enjoying a pretty nice retirement, thanks to the global viral reaction to the cell phone video. One of the kids involved has already received over 100 death threats. People may not be happy until the young miscreants are publicly drawn and quartered. Her own behavior, restraint and forgiveness has been laudable and I hope that she enjoys her half a million. But she should have kicked their ass long ago.


Nick Hall was a ranger on Mt. Rainier who died yesterday trying to save a climber, the second ranger to die this year. 10,000 people try to ascend the peak every year, half of them make it. I would tell climbers that try these risky ascents that they are on their own. Saving them costs money and sometimes lives. You want to risk your life, risk your life.


The North Carolina State Senate says sorry to the poor folks that were forcibly sterilized for a variety of reasons, including (dogwhistle) "feeblemindedness." The eugenics program was designed to weed "defective" humans out of the population. There will be no reparations now. "Cause if we give you any money we might have to go back and pay for all sorts of other things, like slavery."

“You just can’t rewrite history. It was a sorry time in this country. I’m so sorry it happened, but throwing money don’t change it, don’t make it go away. It still happened.”
Republican Senator Don East

“If you could lay the issue to rest, it might be one thing. But I’m not so sure it would lay the issue at rest because if you start compensating people who have been ‘victimized’ by past history, I don’t know where that would end.” Republican Sen. Austin Allran


A friend of mine told me of his revulsion the other day when he saw the christian fish symbol on the back of a car that was filled with the American flag. The blending of patriotism and religion is a potent brew. I saw something similar today, pray for our troops. If I was a religious person who was in the habit I could see praying for all the troops, or all of humanity but not necessarily our team. Isn't god really super busy already deciding all the scores of the local high school football games?

Can't stand the Miami Heat. Hate the anti competitive edge teams that put themselves together like this. Feel the same way about the Yankees or certain english soccer teams. Back the underdog.


We get a lot of Not of this world merchandising in these parts. Well hello, you alien life forms. Exactly what world do you hail from? And have you given any thought to going back to the home planet?

Great Michael Musto piece on New York in the Village Voice. Ten things that used to be better in the city. I concur heartily.

Accent aigu brought over this latest cosmetic invention - the lip pump. For fatter lips... Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. What will they think of next? Pump it up, baby!


Not all bad news. Yesterday driving in to work past the old Pebbles place, I had a long tailed weasel run in front of the van. This is a weasel native to the Santa Margarita River valley but I have never seen one before.

Pale blonde, a youngster about a third the size of a ferret, very thin, dark band on nose, upright ears, extremely cute. Very cool. Couldn't fire the camera in the millisecond.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gods and Monsters

"True science will never contradict the Bible because God created both the universe and Scripture...If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded."

I have a confession to make. I hope that you don't believe any less of me. I believe in evolution. And gravity. And the big bang. I know that it is heretical in this day and age but I am willing to stick my neck out and say it. The bad s word. You know the one. Science. I believe in it. Come burn me at the stake, I'm waiting.

An interesting article over at AlterNet showing the pitfalls of letting the faith folks back in charge of education. Here are some nuggets from the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education), A Beka and Bob Jones University curriculum being taught in some schools for you to consider. Public money purchased many of these textbooks through vouchers:

I love this one - still being taught today.

Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence.

Have you heard of the `Loch Ness Monster' in Scotland? `Nessie,' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.

Could a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles. This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all."

Extract from Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc. (1995)

More from ACE:

Some scientists speculate that Noah took small or baby dinosaurs on the Ark.... are dinosaurs still alive today? With some recent photographs and testimonies of those who claimed to have seen one, scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence...

From Bob Jones and A Beka:

- Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists.

- "the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross... In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians."  

- "God used the 'Trail of Tears' to bring many Indians to Christ."

- It "cannot be shown scientifically that that man-made pollutants will one day drastically reduce the depth of the atmosphere's ozone layer."

- "God has provided certain 'checks and balances' in creation to prevent many of the global upsets that have been predicted by environmentalists."

- the Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.

- "Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created."

- Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential win was due to an imaginary economic crisis created by the media.

- "The greatest struggle of all time, the Battle of Armageddon, will occur in the Middle East when Christ returns to set up his kingdom on earth."
Top five lies taught by ACE.

All drugs are bad

Dave Clark Five

Merry on the Mersey

First post from my great pal, the musicologist Vlad, getting ready to walk across England:

Hey buddy...sorry to hear about Victor.   We are in Liverpool, and it has already exceeded my expectations.    I am a block from the Town Hall, where the Beatles waved to the largest crowd ever assembled in Liverpool history.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd3q-HZUxeM      The place vibrates.....The River Mersey, The Cavern Club, Grapes Pub (where they were regulars after lunchtime gigs at The Cavern,  every site I have seen in photos since I was little.  I am so lucky to be here....The architecture is beautiful, the pubs are like heaven, as well as the Ales.....They use pumps to draw the ales from casks instead of new-fangled taps with too much pressure.  The weather yesterday (wed) was fabulous,  and the people are nicer than nice.  For the most part they don't resemble "British" people.  The women are so hot, you would think you're in france or something.  The food so far has been exquisite - due to Natasha's great restaurant planning and instinct when ordering pub fare.....This should never be missed.
Today we slept in until 9 am (12 hours).  The flight was LONG, but the train station is outside a terminal at Manchester.  The 1.25 hour ride to Liverpool winds through the city, and melts into English countryside, becoming more beautiful as the anticipation builds for arrival at Lime Street Station in Liverpool.  When you step off the train you are in the city center, with Fab energy pulsating around you.   Un fucking real Rob.
Natasha is working out as I type, we will grab a bite for lunch and do a bit more exploring before our private tour of the Beatles landmarks begins.  We will see all the birthplaces, boyhood homes, schools, Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, and St. Peter's Church  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter%27s_Church,_Woolton,_Liverpool , where John met Paul at a fete in 1957.  I don't know if you can sense my excitement!  
We leave for Saint Bee's by train tomorrow, where we will drink, eat, get a good night's sleep, and nervously await the start of our journey walking across England.
I will be in touch my brother....until then - love to the both of you,


Popular art, expired.

LeRoy Neiman, the king of sixties shlock painting, has died at the age of 91. It would be hard to think of any artist more defined by their era.  Discordant colors, guaranteed to sear your retina. Above is a painting of Sonny, Cher and pre op Chastity done in '71, without his customary hot pink signature hue. Rather somber, Cher is doing her best Morticia Adams impression for this one.

Neiman was evidently a pretty good guy. He endowed a number of institutions, donating $6 million in 1995 for the creation of the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University and $3 million to his alma mater, the Art Institute of Chicago, where he taught for a decade.

He also donated $1 million to create a permanent home for Arts Horizons, a community art center in Harlem.

Millard called and pointed out that Thomas Kinkade and Neiman had both died within a couple months of each other. Can Art Survive, he asks?

Kinkade was actually a pretty talented painter. This is a painting he did called Campfire at Night that sold at Bonhams and Butterfields in 2000.

Fairly subdued, touch of Sharp and Sydney Laurence.  Here is another one that sold at Bonhams, bit cheesier and more saccharine but still competent.

There is a saying in my business, "there is an ass for every saddle."


Blackburn and I were talking about Kincade, the Painter of Light at the gym this morning and he pithily offered that Thomas might be the Kenny G of the whole movement.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fast, furious and incredibly stupid

It is rare for me to so completely agree with the other team but I am siding with the Republicans on this Fast and Furious business. Whoever dreamed up the misbegotten scheme that allowed over two thousand weapons to cross the border and end up in the hands of the narco cartels needs to be severely horsewhipped.

Not only have their been zero arrests as a result of this program, except for some very low level stooges, the feds managed to lose track of most of the guns, which keep ending up at crime scenes on both sides of the border. About 700 had been recovered by the end of last year. This weaponry included some big fifty caliber machine guns, which were used late last year to fire on the Mexican Police. Serious stuff. A great way to deal with our sovereign neighbor to the south. Very respectful.

President Obama has invoked executive privilege for the first time, refusing to allow Attorney General Eric Holder to testify in this matter in front of Issa'a House committee. I think that is not only a shame but that it frankly stinks. We need to get to the bottom of this fiasco. Sure the Republicans are merely using it to score political gain, it's that ugly season. But the american public deserve to know what happened, how the plan that was hatched in the United States Attorney's Office in Phoenix went so incredibly awry.

Fast and Furious was in fact merely a continuation of a Bush era plan called Project Gunrunner  that started in 2006. The Bush ATF allowed straw purchasers to buy automatic weapons and sell them to Mexican drug lords in an operation called Wide Receiver. Brilliant. The poor drug lords don't have enough weaponry.

So the GOP should not exactly crow here. But I have to wonder how the supposedly enlightened Obamaites managed to get co-opted and continue such a ludicrous gamble? Obama once again falls prey to the institutional, centrifugal forces in the Justice Department, just like he changed his tune and started taking orders from his own DEA on medical marijuana. He once again says one thing and does another. And the buck never stops here.

What makes it worse was the fact that his Attorney General initially denied that the gun walking ever took place. I think that light does need to be shined on this particular matter and believe that this President, who supposedly believes in transparency should expose it completely, in all its ugliness. We need to know exactly what happened so that we can be sure that nothing this stupid ever happens again.

"In sum, the gringo (American) government has been sending weapons to Mexico in a premeditated and systematic manner, knowing that their destinations were Mexican criminal organizations."
Manuel Jauregui, Reforma

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Guess I should shpiel a little. Lazy afternoon. Couple interesting things out there. Google Trends show that not only are more countries trying to regulate and censor the internet but now we find out that the muslim countries seem to be the most infatuated with sex. Weird, perverse sex.

Not really news to me, I see why they land on the blast, figure out the strange search requests, many are looking for something quite sordid. Not exactly coming for the profundities or photography.

Anyway, seven out of the top ten countries searching for sex sites are muslim. Pakistan has long been the global porn search champ. Can you say repression? The term "Men kissing" was once most sought out in Utah of all places but the new king of the hill is Pakistan. How the hell did they find the time to build a bomb? The top five countries for animal sex are Pakistan, India, Morocco, Algeria and Indonesia. If you are visiting any of those places I suggest you leave your pets at home. What the hell is wrong with you, Pakistan?

I got on Google trends for a little of my own trend spotting. Pastrami is most sought after in Honolulu of all places in the United States and Hungary globally. Hungary? Denver is the new weed capitol.

Puerto Rico is the obvious Clonopin champion. What do they have to be depressed about? The top ten searches in the world for armageddon are all in Brazil. What gives there? Lighten up people. Sky ain't falling. The Brits are the big time seekers for transvestite, eight out of ten.

The Philippines are the world's current hemmorhoid champs, followed closely by New York. Don't get into a zit popping tussle with anybody from Minneapolis, they have the market cornered. Albany is the number one city for queries about the Grateful Dead, followed by Rochester and Denver. Chart shows a steady decline since 2004. Finally.

Grateful Dead search graph
Country rank for queries looking for the term fuck:
1. Pakistan
2. India
3. Malaysia
4. Egypt
5. Greece
6. South Africa
7. Indonesia
8. Australia
9. United States
10. Canada

All I've Got To Do

When we were fab

I have been on a Beatles kick of late. Mostly the early stuff, With the Beatles and that ilk.

I am reading the Beatles Anthology again. This book is so big and heavy that it is bruising my knees. Makes me kind of wish I had a kindle.

Anyway reading a lot of stuff I had forgotten or maybe never knew in the first place.

Trivia question, what is Ringo Starr's real last name. If you answer Starkey, you fail.

Did you know that none of the Beatles read music nor considered themselves technical musicians? Kind of amazing.

I remember Carlos Santana once saying that he didn't really care for "technical" guitar players, he wanted to hear someone who played from his cajones and he preferred people who had learned their craft on the street like he did.

Interestingly, John came from the most affluent area, Ringo, the worst, Dingle.

So I am reading my Beatles Anthology last night, waiting for Leslie to come back from Mah Jong when synchronicity of synchronicities, I get a call from the eminent musicologist and Beatles expert Vladimir Smythe. Vlad is leaving tomorrow for Liverpool of all places, the Ireland of England, according to George in the book. Vlad and his wife Natasha Dollink are walking across England. Two hundred miles, about ten to fourteen a day. I wish them both well and hope they send pictures.

By the way, Ringo's real last name was Parkin. He didn't find out until the Beatles boom had hit because his grandmother didn't want to advertise her relationship with his real grandfather, Johnny Parkin. Ringo couldn't figure out why his genealogy only went back two generations.

FYI, George was always my favorite Beatle.