Egret and crab

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New study finds that conservatives are less likely to buy products that identify as environmentally friendly

New National Academy of Sciences study. Bold emphasis added.

Political ideology affects energy-efficiency attitudes and choices

  1. Richard P. Larrickb
  1. Edited by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved April 9, 2013 (received for review October 23, 2012)


This research demonstrates how promoting the environment can negatively affect adoption of energy efficiency in the United States because of the political polarization surrounding environmental issues. Study 1 demonstrated that more politically conservative individuals were less in favor of investment in energy-efficient technology than were those who were more politically liberal. This finding was driven primarily by the lessened psychological value that more conservative individuals placed on reducing carbon emissions. Study 2 showed that this difference has consequences: In a real-choice context, more conservative individuals were less likely to purchase a more expensive energy-efficient light bulb when it was labeled with an environmental message than when it was unlabeled. These results highlight the importance of taking into account psychological value-based considerations in the individual adoption of energy-efficient technology in the United States and beyond.

Wear a ten gallon hat

Rick Perry tries to change the subject

 “It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon. While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won’t stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans.

“Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster. The Bee owes the community of West, Texas, an immediate apology for your detestable attempt at satire.” 
Texas Governor Rick Perry

“It is unfortunate that Gov. Perry, and some on the blogosphere, [has] attempted to interpret the cartoon as being disrespectful of the victims of this tragedy. As Ohman has made clear on his blog, he has complete empathy for the victims and people living by the plant. What he finds offensive is a governor who would gamble with the lives of families by not pushing for the strongest safety regulations. Perry’s letter is an attempt to distract people from that message.”
Stuart Leavenworth - Sacramento Bee Editorial Page Editor

“The Texas chemical plant had not been inspected by the state of Texas since 2006. That’s seven years ago. You may have read in the news that Gov. Perry, during his business recruiting trips to California and Illinois, generally described his state as free from high taxes and burdensome regulation. One of the burdensome regulations he neglected to mention was the fact that his state hadn’t really gotten around to checking out that fertilizer plant. ...
“Gov. Perry’s name and the explosion have been linked for several news cycles. I didn’t just make this all up. It’s out there. There is a rather stunning report about all this on ProPublica, the investigative news website. I invite you to read it.”
Jack Ohman

Looking Glass War

I had a great ride back from the Bay Area yesterday. Stayed at Kerry's, left early, hit Melissa's for coffee, left Fresno early, garbage burrito at Miguel's Jr. in Corona, home. Stopped at every rest area I passed for a twenty minute snooze. Back quick.

One of the things I did for my amusement was circle through the entire Sirius spectrum, through classical music, outlaw country, porn, Howard Stern, sports, weather, the gamut.

I listened to a lot of the Arias trial testimony on HLN. Your crime station. Heard a lawyer last week say that we don't give beautiful people the death penalty in this country, see Casey Anthony. Snookering the jury to go easy on her, Arias will be able to do the time standing on her head.

News is very gentrified and balkanized these days. If you turn on Fox, it  focuses on the Gosnell abortion trial, christian persecution and Benghazi. MSNBC will key on say, gun control, rapacious bankers and mean republicans. You dial in  your personal politics and you select what news will be presented. Talk about "stove piping."

Newspapers are so dead and getting deader by the day. If the Koch brothers buy the Tribune Co. with their tremendous holdings including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune it will truly be the last nail in the coffin. I have seen what happened in San Diego with Doug Manchester destroying the U.T..

Of course Murdoch and Fox started the whole mess. Newspapers are always a day late these days anyway. Leslie has seen everything I offer up earlier in the day on Facebook. Dead communications vehicle but a real handy partisan megaphone.

The Tsarnaev saga is right out of John Le Carré. Even an operative named Mischa. Where in the hell is George Smiley when you need him?

A close couple friend of mine got divorced last year. As is unfortunately sometimes the case, we had to pick and fell in with one party after the dissolution. I was discussing the vagaries of the relationship with a mutual friend a few months ago and he made an interesting statement.

He said that I could not judge most any couple's particular dynamic because couples are like icebergs. You see the very top but the stuff runs so deep that you have no way to know what is really going on?  I think that he is probably right.

I owe somebody ten bucks. Blog went over a half a million views April 24th. Vlad tells me that the number is meaningless, what is important is unique visitors. Unfortunately Google doesn't let me discern such statistics.

Couple weeks on the run without a rest, I am burnt to a crackly crunch.

Station Man

Stephen Curry

One of the best shots ever. Insane third quarter.

Elizabeth Bernstein

I want to brag about an incredible cousin. I was browsing around the internet looking for something or other and ran across her picture demonstrating outside the Arizona Capitol.

Her name is Elizabeth Bernstein. She is a lawyer and teacher who lives in Bisbee, Arizona. I only met her once, years ago at cousin Jonna's party in Studio City. There are a surfeit of attorneys in our family, it seemed like they filled 70% of the packed room. We are certainly a contentious, if not cerebral tribe.

Elizabeth is a very competent attorney. She represented the Navajo Nation in the Supreme Court, winning a unanimous ruling against Kerr Mcgee in 1984.

I did a quick web search on her and her background and life seems so impressive. Cornell, Harvard Law School - magna cum laude. Spent two of the last few years in Honduras in the Peace Corps.

Here is a screenshot from Linked In.

She sounds like an amazing woman, one who obviously believes in service and helping the disadvantaged. I am so proud to be a member of her clan.

A Change Is Gonna Come

Personal Foul

In the black is white and up is really down department, I was a bit bemused by some of the reaction to journeyman professional basketball player Jason Collins's coming out yesterday.

ESPN analyst Chris Broussard, who happens to be african american, had this to say: ""Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly ... like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says 'you know them by their fruits.' It says that, you know, that’s a sin. And if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality -- adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals -- whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian."

Now Broussard is entitled to his opinion. He might want to think about the stridency of his condemnation next time he say, decides to order a shrimp or a ham sandwich. Could get you killed in certain quarters. And some churches today still think that god considered blacks to be an abomination, "Cursed be the sons of Ham" and all that. Here is a page of curriculum taught in some Texas schools today that is quite instructive:

Conservative columnist Michele Malkin had the best tweet of the day. She tweeted that Broussard's critics were part of a "Tolerance Mob." So exactly who here is being intolerant?  Do we have to tolerate intolerance? It is all so confusing...


I guess a little housekeeping is in order. I am back from my latest journey, a bad show on the heels of a bad show. A few more of these and you might see me on the corner with a cup of number two pencils. I don't think that I will do any April shows next year, the month is much too flat in our brave new world, I obviously have to apply a few tweaks to my business model.

Perhaps decorative arts are moribund in a world where a permanent underclass now serves a few scattered apex predators. I don't know. It does seem like all of my peers are reporting similar results, and the young do not as yet have much appreciation or resonation for anything beyond the mid century danish teak that they have been served up on Madmen.

To cap the show off, at the very end I had an expensive painting, which was unfortunately consigned. fall over on another painting, putting a neat little cross 'tween cloud and sky, obviously a sign from god warning me of my perfidy and the coming apocalypse.

The view above is from Skyline Drive in Woodside, looking at the hills above the fogbank. One of the most beautiful views around, I arrived a bit late to take pictures. I was headed up the hill with Cam to take our semi regular supper at the Bella Vista, the 30's roadhouse nestled in the redwoods up top the hill. Six of us made the trip up the hill, reservations a bit late at 8:30 but what the hell?

I have written about the place before, a traditional linen and tuxedo joint where we were waited on by the venerable septuagenarian server Walter, an excellent and stalwart emigré from Crete.

Bella Vista is always good, charming in its outdatedness, a place where they still light the meals up table side and where one can get fresh abalone and sand dabs.

I had a lamb shank that could have turned over Fred Flintstone's car, nestled on a dual purée of potato and sweet potato and green beans. The shank could not have been better.

I wish that I could say the same regarding the caesar salad,  which was once famous and now sort of lame and not resembling a traditional caesar in any way, shape or form. We all got sorbet along the way and finished the meal off sharing luxuriant soufflés of chocolate and raspberry.

Would have been nice to celebrate a victory but one still has to eat.


I drove back yesterday, first stopping in Fresno to see my father at the alzheimer's group home. My stepmother is a godsend. Dad looked good and is very sweet. Didn't know me but knew me, if that makes any sense?

Shela is worrying that he isn't getting enough to eat and brought him a bag of his favorite Barnum and Bailey animal crackers. If you are of a theological persuasion, please join me in a short prayer that he does not outlive his longterm health coverage because I don't know what we will do if he does.

I went through my mnemonic checklist, all of my brother and sister's names. No go. I tried to speak to him in his first language, ivrit or hebrew, but didn't get more than a possible flicker of cognition. It doesn't really matter. He's not in a bad place, in any sense of the phrase.


Shame this one was deleted...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Black Flower

Continuing the oriental dining theme, after our long day at the show, Cam and I decided to go back to the Hong Kong Flower Lounge and eat some weird stuff for dinner. We have been eating there for years, none of our friends will join us there because the food is so funky and the place is frankly sort of a shithole, but there was still some food there that we wanted to try.

We walked into the joint, located at Millbrae and El Camino Real, and the first thing that I noticed is that the fish tanks didn't smell as badly as usual and that most of the fish lacked the tumors and weird contorted looks on their little fish faces that I had seen on past occasions.

We were the only round eyes in the joint, except for the black couple that they had already seated in the crappy table on the side they normally put us.

We looked at the menu, the obvious honkey version, and didn't see some of the strange fare that I remembered from before.We considered the clay pot braised frog with Chinese sausage but suddenly got skittish when my dinner companion asked me to consider what goes into an American sausage and then think about what might go into its asian cousin? We passed.

Considered ordering the Foo kin rice because it would be so cool to order the fucking rice but did not. Didn't see the duck tongue or the goose web. We ended up getting some more standard stuff. A barbecue platter of roast duck, pork and jellyfish. Won ton soup. Combo noodle platter.

This was one of the worst meals in history. Place was filthy, glasses and silverware crusty. They were wheeling tables around the floor like tractor tires at the repair shop. Cam wondered what the kitchen looked like. I shuddered at the thought.

There was a compulsory dish of peanuts and a limp try at pickled vegetables that had seen better days. Cam took a too large bite of the jellyfish and almost hurled. The won ton broth tasted like dirty bathwater. We left most of the noodle dish on the table after picking a couple semi edible things off the top as it was totally inedible.

Service was atrocious. Once the food was presented we never saw our server again. Would have been nice to have my water glass refilled to wash down the slop.  Hong Kong Flower Lounge is the asian equivalent of Carrows or the Waffle House, without the attendant southern charm. We finally hailed and caught the eye of the cashier who was ensconced in her little covey behind a tall pile of bills.

I can not see ever returning. After the superlative meal at Koi Palace, this was truly the agony and the ecstasy. The Kaplan brothers told me that it was the worst Chinese meal they had ever had and I believe that I had defended the place. Dan Flynn got sick when I took him there. Hospitalized sick. I wrote it off to his tender constitution. Charmed and intrigued by the verité and authenticity of the culinary experience I had trudged forward and was now paying the price. Cam said that he would rather eat the ass out of a goat than return to the place.

I woke up at two in the morning with the sudden urge to puke jellyfish. My stomach still aches. Would rather eat prison food than go back to the Hong Kong Flower Lounge.

Hong Kong Flower Lounge Restaurant 香港香滿樓海鮮酒家
51 Millbrae Ave., Millbrae, CA 94030 Tel (650)692-6666 - Fax (650) 692-0522

All Fall Down

Friday, April 26, 2013

Binh Minh Quan

Binh Minh Quan
338 12th St
(between Harrison St & Webster St) 
Oakland, CA 94607
Neighborhood: Oakland Chinatown
(510) 893-8136

I drove into the city last night to see Big Dave. We hung out for a spell and then headed to the East Bay to have dinner with Melissa and Gary. Our destination was a vietnamese restaurant that I had heard good things about, Binh Minh Quan. It is located at Twelfth and Webster, not too far from one of my serious favorites, Le Cheval.

Elizabeth the poster lady had recommended the place, although she said that the servers could be a bit rude at times. "Better than Le Cheval," she said. Right...

We started off with roasted quail, chim cut ro ti. Just okay, pale little guys, hate to say it but they couldn't compare to Le Cheval's. Drab, like most of our food last night.

We shared bites of the vietnamese pancake that BigDave had ordered. Tasteless and boring. not full of much filling.

We followed that up with a combo steam rice vermicelli plate. With this one you dip rice paper into a hot bowl of water and roll your own spring rolls. I fumbled around and Melissa took pity on me and showed me how to do it.

This dish contained lettuce, mint, chicken, shrimp, shrimp cake, egg rolls and meat balls and was actually pretty good. Specially when you dipped your creation into one of the nice sauces that were provided table side.

Dave sucked down a bowl of pho. I nursed a too sweet thai iced coffee.

Great to be with friends but the food was truly underwhelming. Staff was fine, the food was just not very noteworthy and I can't see ever going back again. Maybe it was just a bad night but there are too many good places to eat up here to settle for mediocre.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Koi Palace

Koi Palace
365 Gellert Blvd.
Daly City, CA 94015

kissing the squab...
I had tried to get into Koi Palace last year but the place was so packed that particular night that we left and found our supper elsewhere. Not to be denied, I returned tonight in the company of my pal Kerry and we were lucky enough to get seated.

Located in the somewhat plain and nondescript Serramonte Mall in Daly City, upon surveying the building my dinner companion confessed to extremely low expectations for the quality of our dining prospects.

But I had done my due diligence. More than a few websites had said that the dim sum was the best in the Bay Area. I had even seen a credible review calling it the best Chinese restaurant in the United States. I was frankly not not leaving without a meal this time.

Upon entrance we were quickly directed to a table near the entrance, right next to the spare plate station, but a table nonetheless. A favorite of the asian community, we were incidentally the only occidental faces to be seen anywhere in the restaurant.

Koi Palace is one of four restaurants in a small family, two are located in Dublin and one in Lincoln, near Sacramento somewhere. This is Hong Kong style chinese food, a bit more opulence than many of us are used to.

The dim sum at Koi Palace ends at 3:00 so we were on for a regular dinner. There were at least three menus on the table, one was for parties of 10 or better. Lots of chef specials on another. The regular menu is so extensive that it was hard to make a choice.

Like Hong Kong Seafood Lounge, a lot of shark fin, abalone and rather strange fare on the menu as well but I decided to focus on delicious rather than esoteric tonight. If it was good I could always come back and try the weird stuff. Goose intestines with tubers, that sort of thing.

And boy was it good...

I was frankly starving. It was close to six thirty and this was my first meal of the busy day. We started out with a pot of hot jasmine tea and a round of steamed pork dumplings that arrived in a wooden dim sum basket. On the table were bowls of homemade pickles and a peanut sardine or smelt appetizer combination that tasted much better than it sounds.

The dumplings were only so so. Incredibly hot, the bland pork filling fell out of the noodle cover every time I tried to take a bite, splashing the table with soy sauce. Not too interesting, wouldn't order them again. 

The entrees soon arrived at table side fast and furiously. First was a large crab cooked in ginger and scallions, sweet and succulent. It was split into parts and we quickly decided to screw propriety, jettison our chopsticks and dig in with our hands.  This was very messy work but quite delicious. Unfortunately, even though it came cut up in pieces, it was quite a digging expedition and I felt like I left a lot on the table and in the shell.

Next came korean style barbecued short ribs that had been fried. Small gooey, crunchy bites stuck on the bone with an unbelievable chewy texture and wonderful slightly sour flavor. 

The manager came out and told us that they were unfortunately out of the drunken squab. It had been a squab or duck toss up and I went with the less common squab. With no drunken squab, we decided to have the sober squab. Amazing, apparently tea smoked and five spiced, plump and juicy. Gave the squab a quick peck on the beak and dug in to a little cranial meat. Now as a supposed birder I must confess to not even really knowing what the hell a squab actually looks like. How do I know I was being served the genuine article? Lets just say we didn't see a lot of pigeons on the telephone wires outside the restaurant. Very tasty in any case...

We tied the whole meal together with the routine steamed rice. Kerry loved the tea which got a little too strong for me after sitting on the table too long. As usual I craned my neck with every passing dish to see what the other diners were eating Whole fish looked very good. Many things to consider the next go round.

We finished the meal and asked for the check. They brought us a couple extremely light and tasty donuts gratis. I must say that I can not wait to go back and try more food at Koi Palace. It was if anything, better than described. Kerry felt the same way. Best I have had in the area. Clean, well appointed and most importantly, they serve some really great food.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Analog Man

Nothing to get hung about

Del Mar was a real loser for me. Worst show I have ever had there. Attempted to buy my way out, with a modicum of success. I tried to get a bit edgier, younger, more chromatic, but for whatever reason, they just weren't buying. Ended up pretty much in the hole. Maybe it is too close to tax time, who knows? Maybe I just suck? BigD points out that my winning percentage is still pretty damn good but the reality is the older clientele aren't buying anymore, the middle aged are broke and the young frankly don't care. Maybe the new red paper did me in?

It has been a decent month thankfully so I am not going to freak out too much. Leave soon, will hope for better luck at the next stop.

I've missed a lot of good bird shots and will continue to miss them this week. Catch them when I get back. Managed to snap a couple hundred last week, nothing exceptional.

People who believe in free markets are more like to be science deniers, according to a recent study:

NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax

An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

  1. Stephan Lewandowsky1
  2. Klaus Oberauer1,2
  3. Gilles E. Gignac1
  1. 1University of Western Australia
  2. 2University of Zurich
  1. Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia E-mail: stephan.lewandowsky@uwa.edu.au


Although nearly all domain experts agree that carbon dioxide emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence. Internet blogs have become a platform for denial of climate change, and bloggers have taken a prominent role in questioning climate science. We report a survey of climate-blog visitors to identify the variables underlying acceptance and rejection of climate science. Our findings parallel those of previous work and show that endorsement of free-market economics predicted rejection of climate science. Endorsement of free markets also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that, above and beyond endorsement of free markets, endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the Federal Bureau of Investigation killed Martin Luther King, Jr.) predicted rejection of climate science as well as other scientific findings. Our results provide empirical support for previous suggestions that conspiratorial thinking contributes to the rejection of science. Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.

Two United States officials believe that the suspects in the Boston bombing were probably motivated by religion.  No shit.

Dixon's son in law, David Strasberg, had this article published in Zocalo, The day Obama didn't bring it.

George Bush said earlier this week that he doesn't have to defend his record. He also said that people think he is so dumb that he can't even read. My wife said the The Pet Goat doesn't count.

My new friends Jeff and Gena are back home in Alaska. He sends this picture in front of his plane.

Hudgins sends this along. If aliens visited they won't stay long...

Had a strange dream last night, has mostly disappeared. I was amongst a charismatic commie type and his flock and challenged and denunciated him in some way. Suddenly I found myself hurtling upwards in an elevator, forced out of the roof. In another flash of speed, I was descending deep, so deep that the compartment filled up with water. I realized that I would soon be unable to breathe and didn't have the strength to continue to fight. That is when I woke up.

 I am now at 498,941 views. Looks like the day after tomorrow I crack a half a mil. Haven't been exactly pushing it.

Fiddle while Rome burns. Americans less concerned with the environment. Happy Earth Day.

Richie Havens died suddenly today of a heart attack at the age of 72. Maybe the greatest power strummer the world has ever seen. 

I called my pal John Morris and broke the news. He was the manager of the Fillmore East and both the technical director and booker for Woodstock. The dude with the caveman vest. He put a lot of careers on the map and certainly helped Richie, the opening act. First Alvin Lee and now Havens. Not a great month for Woodstock alumni.

Call me, I'll be driving.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains

Interesting read

Were the Chechens an asset of the United States?

Chechen terrorists and the neocons - Colleen Rowley

Marcus Miller

Richard's post

This is an exert from an article published in the Huffington post today. I took exception to it and responded.
New York state Sen. Greg Ball (R) suggested using torture on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, in a tweet Friday night.
Tsarnaev was captured by authorities late Friday evening in Watertown, Mass., four days after the Boston Marathon bombing. Authorities say the suspect and his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed an MIT police officer, severely wounded another lawman and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle.
Ball isn't the first to send a questionable tweet regarding the events in Boston.
Arkansas State Rep. Nate Bell (R) sent out an insensitive tweet Friday morning, asking "I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?" Bell later said he "regrets the timing" of the tweet.
"I really didn't think about it going to Boston and was generally expressing my personal view of how I would have felt in that situation myself," Bell said.
Robert, you will notice that he does not regret the comments he made. He merely regrets  the timing of those comments. Being the coward that he is, he misrepresents his true beliefs by saying that he was just stating what he would have done in that situation. A typical display of political and personal cowardice.
My response to Mr. Bell. I sent this to his Arkansas state government office email address: nate.bell@arkansashouse.org.
Mr. Bell,
       I grew up in Massachusetts and went to undergraduate school there. I live elsewhere in the country now but I am very proud of the place where I grew up. I have also spent a  great deal of my life in the south. My ancestry goes back to Jamestown South Carolina in the late 1600's. In my six decades on this planet I have gained perspective on who is tough and who whimpers. If you had the lack of intelligence to make this ignorant statement on your twitter account about Boston and New England in general then maybe you can take your brave person to Boston and tell that to their face. If you think you are so tough you will find out how much of a pathetic wimp you really are when you meet the toughest people in this country.
       You are an elected official in the state of Arkansas. You are supposed to be a responsible individual yet you laugh at the fact that terrorist have killed innocent people in Massachusetts. You are a pathetic excuse for a human being. Seek forgiveness in you Grace Bible. I bet you love Jesus. You remember him? You know, the guy who had the courage to say, "blessed are the peacemakers." Do you think he was a disgusting liberal wimp? Maybe you can find a passage in your 'Grace Bible' that exalts in the slaughter of peaceful yet courageous people. People who lay down their lives for this country everyday. People who are more patriotic than you can conceive of, despite your military service and you bail bond business. People who were celebrating Patriotism and heroic athleticism with their families on Patriot's day. A young 8 year old boy from Dorchester who loved sports and had the audacity to suggest that people no longer hurt other people. A young boy who asked for Peace. Does your church ask for peace? That young boy was murdered and you mock those people? Repeat your comments to the people of Dorchester and you will discover people who are not cowering under their beds. I try to defend the south as being a wonderful place that does not have a disproportionate percentage of hateful, racist, ignorant people. A place where my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins taught me to have respect for others by saying 'Yes Sir' and 'Yes Ma'am' and mean it. You just made my job more difficult.
You bring shame on yourself, your constituents and your faith.
Richard Carpenter, RN, DC


The country has suffered through another catastrophic contortion with the events in Boston, they seem to now arrive with much greater frequency as if we flit from one disaster to another.  One of the guys at coffee uttered one of the better but more tragic lines of the week, " The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a bomb is a good guy with a bomb."

It is apparent that the collective mental health of our globe is at its all time nadir. One hopes that we can recover our moorings somehow.

I am too busy to really write, being presently engaged in an effort to pay my bills at an antique show, an effort that really isn't working just yet, so the comments I offer will be scattershot and brief.

People are offering up a narrative that the surviving younger brother was powerless and entranced by his svengali older brother's grip. I think that people might want to hold on with these cheap dime store assessments of the psycho dynamics of the relationship. How do they know that this occurred? It is often the case that the seemingly passive member in the dominant/submissive dyad is actually pulling the strings.

I am still not convinced that there are not more players lurking in the background or that this whole terrorist action wasn't scripted by some foreign master on the older brother's trip back to the motherland.

But a brother that is willing to drive over and drag his own brother's corpse in order to make an escape seems to have his own ample store of grit and fortitude.

The lunatic aunt in Toronto is certainly a piece of work as is the brothers' father who is ready to declare war on America if Dzhokhar dies. I hope that he survives, if only to quell the nutty conspiracy theories that are now starting to simmer. You know Obama did this, so that he could aid the Zionists and punish the poor, peace loving muslims and that sort of thing.

I thought that the father's minimizing of Tamerlan's assault on his ex girlfriend was instructive. "He only hit her a little bit , only for a half hour. Now he can't get his citizenship." Poor Tamerlan. Blame the victim and not the precious son. "Hey, this is the way we tenderize all the women back home."

Great way once again to show your gratitude to America for granting you asylum and putting you in a position to buy your fancy white mercedes, blow the hosts up. How often have we seen that happen lately? Too often.

YouTube has pulled Tamerlan's posting of the "Black Banners of Khurosan" business, you know where the muslim warrior from asia fulfills the ancient prophecy with his sword and restores the global caliphate. Certainly looks like an ideological grudge.

My friend Tracy, a budding violinist, was slightly disturbed to learn that the older brother was also an accomplished classical pianist in addition to being a superlative boxer. Odd dichotomy.

The loss of life was so unnecessary, from the innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon to the innocent policemen doing their job and paying the ultimate price to protect us. Unfortunately, the whole tragedy will give further ammunition to the state in their efforts to fulfill John Poindexter's DARPA dreams of Total Information Awareness. Detailed information of every citizen's personal communications, location and actions. The genie was already out of the bottle, now I am afraid that it will be permanently sealed.

The first crowd sourced public investigation, amazing how much video and information was out there. Fools thought that they could just cruise home. Interesting to see them watch their work and then slowly skulk off into the shadows while everybody else was in such a frenzy. Completely desensitized to the pain that they caused, to the poor little girl, or the guy with his legs blown off.

Younger brother was partying a day or two later, supposedly smoked pot. Now we can go after marijuana as the culprit. Maybe it would be a better idea if he had smoked a joint prior to the killing spree, perhaps he would have had second thoughts and chilled. They probably drank water, brushed their teeth, did a lot of normal stuff. Perhaps it was the toothpaste that turned them into killers?

I was very impressed with the articulate Governor Deval Patrick, I'm staying at a friend's house and one of the rare moments when I watch television. Not so impressed with U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, she of the Aaron Swartz witch hunt. Didn't strike me as particularly sharp. Sounded like a typical politician.

In another matter, Senator Cruz of Texas showed remarkable hubris asking for federal aid after denying aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The president was very gracious. I would have told him to pound sand.

Senator Lindsay Graham couldn't wait to call for the suspense of the U.S. citizen's constitutional rights and wants the suspect tried as an enemy combatant. Somebody else suggested that we send a drone up and blast him out of the boat. Laws don't mean much at times like this, easily discarded.

The bomb itself was made with the pressure cooker of choice, Fagor. Instructions for the bomb construction are readily available on the internet. Hobby shop parts for radio controlled cars. Once again, like the 9/11 terrorists with box cutters, we see that low tech weaponry utilized by people willing to die for their cause can be extremely effective.

Lord protect us from our enemies and ourselves.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hometown Press

Thank you Debbie Ramsey and the Village News. Nice article today. Now where is that pic of the hawk building the nest? Guess it didn't make the cut. I appreciate the ink in any case. Very cool. I received a phone call today from another hawk photographer who wanted to chat. Maybe swap some nest locations.

This has been a very unusual hatch. Only one chick as far as I can tell, and no presence of a male bird at any time. In prior years, the male has always stuck around and helped but this mother is on her own.

The article makes it sound like it is the same female laying eggs very year but I believe that it has been different mothers and their progeny returning. Have to analyze the pictures but the color markings are always different. Article says that I take hundreds of hawk pics every year. It's really closer to a thousand.

Saw another head pop up this morning. Two chicks!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Can you take me back?

Bullock's Oriole

While I was out hunting raptor quarry yesterday, this little guy alighted on a nearby branch and started singing a sweet song.

For a person who spends so much time taking pictures of birds, you would think I would know a little something about the subject. You would be mostly wrong.

I figured that it was an oriole or tanager of some kind but didn't have a clue. He was sure a pretty bird.

I showed the picture to the guys at coffee and Wild Bill, the official keeper of the ipad, quickly looked it up.

Turns out that he is a Bulllock's Oriole. Quite common. Icterus bullockii. From the family Icteridae. They are sexually dimorphic, his plumage is more colorful than the female of the species. Once thought to be a cousin (recently disproven by phylogenetic testing ) to the more famous but in no way more regal Baltimore Oriole, the Bullock's Oriole was named for the english amateur naturalist William Bullock.

Both species are part of a family known as the new world blackbirds. The bird is native to Western North America, although sometimes vagrants can be found in the east, and the species likes woodlands near bodies of water. You can hear his song here.

As I said, I am not really a birder, have never kept a list. My knowledge of birds is like my knowledge in most areas, a half mile wide and a half an inch deep. Recently I made the mistake of confusing a striker's jay with a blue jay in front of a hardcore birder and caught hell, don't think I will ever live it down. The Bullock's Oriole said that he didn't care.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hit the road jack

I want to let the daily and casual readers know that I will soon be out of commission for a while. Show this week, show next week, one soon thereafter. No real time to write. My life starts to get complicated starting wednesday.  Not that the last couple weeks haven't been slightly tumultuous themselves with job related discussions and things I don't want to really get into.

Looks like I will have to drop out of college, actually for the first time. I am on my fourth week out of ten weeks with the Duke University Behavioral Economics class but there is just no way to put the study time in on the road. What I have gained so far from the course has been incredible and life changing. Sorry that I can't complete it.

While the lens problem has taken all the wind out of my sails today, I do know that I can't borrow any body else's gear and need to budget for my own long glass. Maybe the Sigma 130-500mm or a Tamron equivalent that I can take back to the Rockies in October. If you know anybody selling anything long and affordable that will fit a Nikon mount, please let me know.


Freddie Hubbard - Crisis

Freddie Hubbard: trumpet
Bernard McKinney: euphonium
Wayne Shorter: tenor sax
McCoy Tyner: piano
Art Davis: bass
Elvin Jones: drums

"Keystone XL: All Risk, No Reward"

Is the language in this broadside about oil being transported through the U.S. and not to the U.S. accurate? Is this another gift for big oil? If the language is inaccurate, how important should we rank environmental concerns relative to the benefits of having more crude?

When You Awake

For the birds

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;  For loan oft loses both itself and friend,      And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.  This above all: to thine own self be true,  And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare - Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3
It was a nice weekend. Sold a painting Saturday. Got taken to lunch by some nice ladies. I bought a painting or two. Yesterday morning Leslie made me coffee and her special pecan banana pancakes with flaxseed. I drove the van the two mile ride down the canyon to my mailbox in my bathrobe so that we could read the newspaper while we ate. On the way I caught this Osprey on a high bough with my 300mm.

I have been watching the hawk nest pretty closely. She had been exhibiting some strange behavior, a back and forth shuffling motion that I hadn't seen before, almost like she was laying an egg.

I needed a new pair of tennis shoes, I go through New Balance about a pair every three months, not having a lifestyle that really lends itself to clean shoes. We decided to drive to Temecula and see what they had at the Nordstrom Rack if not Big 5. We found a pair at the latter and decided to catch a movie, settling on Life of π in 3d. With my advance into senior citizenship, it cost $11.50 for the both of us. We enjoyed the movie, I would like to think that he made the trip with the tiger, thank you. You can believe what you want to. Loved the effect of the fish creating his mother's face, although there was almost too much cinematic trickery and it tends to get fatiguing. New digital toys, everybody's fighting it. Just because you can doesn't mean you necessarily should...

I drove out to work a little before seven this morning and saw the little hawk head popping out of the nest. I pulled the tripod and Doug's 400mm out of the trunk and snapped away for a half hour, hundreds of sharp shots of feeding. One chick this time, a first, unless there is one hiding somewhere.

I reluctantly drove off and drove to coffee. I pulled the rig out and decided to inspect my visual swag. To my horror, every shot was blurry. I had shot both automatic and manual focus, wide open and bracketed, this couldn't be. Ken was the one that broke the news, the fall off the tripod had obviously screwed the lens up, although there was no visible sign of damage. I had assumed everything was okay. Wrong. Here's what the pictures looked like.

A little bit dizzy, huh? A disaster. I am totally disconsolate. I had borrowed the lens from a dear friend. I called Nikon and they estimate that it will cost at least $600.00 to fix, if it can be fixed. It sold for a couple grand new and this is not the best possible timing. If not I get to buy my buddy a new lens. What did Vladimir Ilyich say, or was it John, Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans?

I had wanted to get pictures of the first day and drove back and swapped my undersized 70 to 300mm. I waited for an hour. The baby never appeared and it finally started to rain. Perhaps I will have better luck this afternoon. Looks like I am in for one of those days. Beats getting hit by a bus.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sigma DP-2 Merrill

I am not going to even try to hide my envy. We have gone over this before. Kip has the best toys around. Bike, stereo, camera, he is a truly discriminating chap. Not only that, he is taller, richer, thinner and smarter than I am. In short he really pisses me off.

Kip's latest acquisition, not made without a considerable amount of mental agony and soul searching, is the new Sigma DP-2 Merrill camera. I don't talk a lot about tech stuff on the blog but this camera rates a mention. It is like a Frankenstein's monster that should never have been born.

Imagine an ugly duckling of a camera that looks like a point and shoot, comes packed with dreadfully buggy software, takes 10 seconds to write to a card, can't be practically handheld, has crappy battery life, lacks a flash, has a fixed focal length lens and can't shoot very well in low light. Raw files are huge, 45 to 55mb behemoths. Most sane people would run the other way. But this camera was made by some really sick minds. Imagine taking three 15.6 megapixel Foveon sensors and stacking them together, giving you a 48 meg beast that shoots like a ridiculously expensive medium format camera.

Sigma has done just that with the three cameras in this series. This one comes with a 30mm f/2.8 lens equivalent to 45mm focal length in a dslr. The line was named Merrill for Richard Merrill, one of the inventors of the sensor technology, along with Dick Lyon and Carver Mead.

Kip brought the camera to our Saturday morning photo group meeting at the coffee shop. Reardon was explaining and demoing his Larry Vogel six part workflow with the Nik filters for the group and Kip and Tom were a-b testing the new Sigma.

Let me just say that this camera is beyond impressive. You can read the reviews in Luminous Landscape here. The level of detail and color saturation is freaky. This camera originally sold for just under 10k, they evidently forced it on some dealers who couldn't sell it due to its inherent limitations and had to dump them. Now it sells for around eight hundred bucks.

Kip didn't need to do this. He already had the killer Leica with the ridiculous .95 lens.

We did a test, taking pictures of the same headlamp with my Nikon 7000 and the Sigma. While there was a little chop to his image, the level of detail and saturation was far greater. And it turns out that it was on some sort of reduced RAW setting (there are three of them and it is difficult to dial in the largest RAW setting), the Sigma ostensibly had one arm tied behind its back.

The Sigma photo is to the left, Nikon on the right. Note the paint deformation that is captured by the Sigma that fails to register with my camera and the incredible richness of the yellow.

Now this was a seat of the pants a-b, we could have been much more scientific and made sure that apertures and speeds and iso's were matched. I would like to be more precise in my comparison next chance that I get.  But to say that I was impressed is an understatement.

After he found out that he wasn't even in the full RAW mode he sent this image along last night.

Frankly, the level of detail in the images produced by this camera are well, freakish. I went online and saw some of the photographs that are being created with this beast and they are stunning, on the order of Hasseblad or Mamiya's. This is a camera for geeks if there ever was one.

This camera's deficiencies have been well described and duly noted. If you are willing to put up with them I think that the rewards outweigh them in spades. Kip, you did it again.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I Won't Mention It Again

Obanocchio and other topics

James Carville thinks that Obama likes pissing off the liberals. Maybe he does, interesting that he can break campaign promises with such ease, the social security cpi reversal only the latest example.

Add that to the ever growing, long list of broken promises and betrayals, you have to wonder if he stands for anything at all? Let's see, we've had five long years of the war he was going to get us all right out of, the constitutional law professor has instituted a privacy and civil rights policy to the right of his far right predecessor, he expanded the Patriot Act, he failed to deliver an immigration bill in the first year as promised, he promised to set a hard cap on all emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming, promised to close Guantanamo, promised to lead an effort to change the bankruptcy laws so that people could stay in their homes, promised to respect state's rights in regard to medical marijuana, promised to seal the revolving door for government workers and lobbyists, signed the Monsanto Protection Act, promised to strengthen the whistleblower act instead of punishing whistleblowers, failed to deliver on any of these promises, said he would bring Americans together, maintains that he has the right to assassinate americans abroad and on american soil without a trial, the list goes on and on.

Politifact estimates that he has broken about 22% of his promises on it's Obameter.

I am not going to belabor this, politics is certainly the art of the possible and compromise is needed in this polarized world of ours. But this guy never seems to ever get anything back in his quid pro quos. Zeno's law in action. Gives but never gets.

And eventually, in trying to please everybody, he will please nobody and once again we are looking at Jimmy Carter all over again. I know Bill Clinton and Obama's certainly no Bill Clinton. Everybody not liking you is not a good recipe for success. And when you continually alienate your supporters, well you just might find out that you may need them once again one day and don't be surprised when they simply tell you to piss off. His press secretary said something the other day to the effect that if everybody is mad at you, you must be doing something right. It also might mean that you suck.

Very disappointing. I think that he just might be bringing Americans together. In their dislike and distrust of him. A shame really. I am a liberal and I thought that I had a standard bearer. Turned out to be gutless.

Strange new bumper sticker, are the babies supposed to shoot back?

Obama made one more promise that I would like to point out. He said that he would cut the average family's health insurance premium by up to $2500.00 a year.

"I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."Barack Obama - June 23, 2007.

I don't know you but my premiums go up, up, up every year, how about yours? He definitely gets a pinnochio for this one.

Now I am a loyal democrat and I realize that the supreme leader has been obstructed at every turn by the opposition. But shouldn't we at least consider that the Affordable Care Act might turn out to be a poorly written and constructed piece of crap in the long run? That the detractors may well have been right.

I talked to the people who arrange for my health care policy the other day and the general consensus is that premiums will go up 30 to 50% across the board next year for Californians. "But they will cover more stuff" they tell me. Well great, my plan already looks like a catastrophic coverage plan, I had to push my deductibles so high. What is so great about Obama care again? I had some heart tests last week and was tempted to tell my cardiologist to forget it because I feel fine and it would be a large out of pocket expense since I haven't hit my deductible. So forget preventive medicine now, who can afford it? Who can afford to even go to the doctor for anything?

And the doctor's of course hate it too, since the government is wanting to cut reimbursement costs that their payments already don't cover. Is socialized medicine supposed to make medical care a freebie from the doctor?

And why in their right mind would anybody hire new employees if they were responsible for taking on such bloated medical care responsibilities? Did the Obama health plan ever make sense or pencil out? I am curious, if anyone knows, please clue me in.

Hawaii is Monsanto's little guinea pig - Alternet

A client came in the other day and asked me if I knew that Brad had died. I did not. Four or five months back. He didn't go into details but we both narrowed it down to his liver, Brad having lived outside one bar or another in his truck for at least the last six or seven years by my count and having a textbook case of blood in the alcohol stream.

He was a smart guy, a vietnam vet who never got the care he needed afterwards and made it a point never to see the noon hour sober. Had a real bad case of the shakes. He was rolling pretty good for a while there, when he had the shop on Coast Highway but life took a couple of wrong turns and spit him out and he could never recover.

I bought stuff from him every once and a while just to keep his alcohol transfusion going but the material got worse and worse and it mostly became an act of charity.

Lynne said that he was originally from Kentucky, he wanted to go back there but she didn't think he  ever could ultimately make the trip. A shame.  She said that he knew fine food and libations and was a true southern gentleman. He was intelligent and had a good eye and was a nice guy. Smart and well educated. Life just caved in on him. Adios, Brad.


My wife Leslie is having her annual sale at Caravan. Everything is marked down. If you have never been to Caravan, you are missing out. She is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 5, and sometimes later.

She has never painted her windows like this for a sale and several people have asked if she is going out of business. No, she is not. It is a sale. Not sure how long it will run.

Leslie carries a wide range of women's clothes, including tops, dresses, shoes, belts, hats, jewelry, jackets and all sorts of other accessories that are too extensive for me to list. If she is not there, the lovely Juleen is happy to help you.

They got in some amazing clothing from Citron this week. Citron is my favorite company, they do the phenomenal oriental prints, she even snagged me a couple of men's shirts.

Caravan is located at 109 N. Main Avenue in Fallbrook, suspiciously close to my store, the Blue Heron Gallery. Her phone number is 760-731-4890. Pop in and see what she is carrying. You might just leave with something great. She doesn't know that I am promoting her on the website so let's keep it our little secret.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Saint Dominic's Preview

Elizabeth Warren talks to the regulators

Thank god there is one person in Washington not afraid to speak up. What a couple of putzes these guys are.

Published on Apr 11, 2013
Senator Elizabeth Warren's opening statement and Q&A at the April 11, 2013 Senate Banking Committee, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Hearing. Panelists include:

Mr. Daniel P. Stipano
Deputy Chief Counsel
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Mr. Richard Ashton
Deputy General Counsel
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve

See Emily Play

The Modern World

Cat in a hot tinned box

Two places at once?

First quantum experiment in space proposed by europeans.

Quantum Illumination.

Spooky quantum action with a twist.

Quantum encryption?

Quantum entanglement.

"Repent  Harlequin," said the Tick-tock man - © James Steranko

Faster than the speed of thought.
"...Strange events that Einstein himself called "spooky" might happen at least 10,000 times the speed of light, according to the latest attempt to understand them.
Atoms, electrons, and the rest of the infinitesimally tiny building blocks of the universe can behave rather bizarrely, going completely against the way life as we normally experience it. For example, objects can sometimes be said to exist in two or more places at the same time, or spin in opposite directions simultaneously.
One consequence of this murky realm of quantum physics is that objects can get linked together, such that what happens to one instantaneously has an effect on the other, a phenomenon dubbed "quantum entanglement." This holds true no matter how far apart these objects are from each other. "
EPR Paradox.
   One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of the hour, one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges, and through a relay releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat mixed or smeared out in equal parts. It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a "blurred model" for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.
    —Erwin Schrödinger, Die gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik (The present situation in quantum mechanics), Naturwissenschaften
    (translated by John D. Trimmer in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society)

Quantum tunneling.