Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Blues

It is sunday. I am on the way to play the ponies and see Ziggy Marley with Les, no time really to chat. But for those of you whose internal engines like to baste in the fires of perpetual outrage there is plenty out there for you.

Interesting article in the New York Times about the lack of police shooting data, Are Police Bigoted? Race and Police Shootings: Are Blacks Targeted More? by Michael Wines.
Dr. Klinger and Dr. Rosenfeld, among others, examined all 230 instances over 10 years in which officers of the St. Louis police fired their weapons (the city’s police, in contrast to the police in Ferguson involved in Mr. Brown’s shooting).
Their conclusions, presented last November at the American Society of Criminology’s annual meeting, were striking. Officers hit their targets in about half of the 230 incidents; in about one-sixth, suspects died. Of the 360 suspects whose race could be identified — some fled before being seen clearly — more than 90 percent were African-American.
But most interesting, perhaps, was the race of the officers who fired their weapons. About two-thirds were white, and one-third black — effectively identical to the racial composition of the St. Louis Police Department as a whole. In this study, at least, firing at a black suspect was an equal-opportunity decision.In laboratory experiments, meanwhile, subjects who see pictures or videos of threatening activity, and then punch “shoot” or “don’t shoot” buttons befitting their evaluations of the threat, consistently “shoot” black suspects more often than white ones.
The article also cites contrary data, the entire topic worthy of discussion.

Putin slowly ensnares his prey like a cat toying with a mouse that he knows is not capable of  responding, or even surviving for that matter, once he decides to pounce. He is obviously controlling every detail of the events in the Ukraine. NATO is now shown to be a sham, even though Ukraine is not a current member, they wan't nothing to interfere with their gas spigot. Poland could be the next domino in Putin's vision of a Greater Russia. Nobody in the neighborhood is going to step up and meaningfully resist and Putin knows this very well A very dishonest and ruthless man. Russia will remain a pariah until there is a leadership change.

In Hong Kong, all the 1997 promises of democratic self rule by mother Beijing are now seen to be empty bullshit as they vote today that all HG candidates must be pre approved by the mainland. Russia and China, another glowing advertisement for the honesty of communist statists.

Man gets tossed out of an Orlando City Council meeting for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Ah, Sinclair Lewis. "It's not fair to our troops for him to refuse to stand."

I assume most of you are aware of the St. Paul skyway incident. The bank never asked any white people to move from the area that was not evidently marked as private property. But police more and more serve businesses and corporations and the rights of the citizen are now clearly subordinate. Love the cop here, I'm not your brother.

The following audio leads into an interesting dialogue on gender and police dynamics. Some of it is very disturbing, be warned:

Cops seem to get real bothered by the whole topic of individual constitutional rights.

Ted Cruz calls Obama a pussy today. Our President does seem a bit disengaged of late, World is okay, just messy, blame social media, no current policy for Syria, etc. He is plainly disinterested nowadays and appears to be just mailing it in. Unfortunate for everybody.

Cool dermal cultural artifacts department:

Was hanging out in front of the shop with Andre when a guy walked by.

"Excuse me sir," I mentioned to the tall late fifty something. "Is that a freebird tattoo?"

He looked down at his bare arm. "Ya. About forty years ago. I was seventeen."

"You from the south?"



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day Genetics

This is a good weekend to order a DNA test at Family Tree DNA. The complete y sequencing that cost me over $800 is now much cheaper and includes MtDNA and str values as well as snps. Or you can go a la carte and learn a lot. They are listing the Complete Genomics package on the website, it might be a typo. If not it is a deal.

I have found over 3200 new cousins through five degrees of cousinship with the autosomal test, hope they don't all show up for dinner at the same time.

My testing, as well as my cohorts, is helping rewrite the genetic family tree as we currently know it. My 4968-a group, an offshoot of E's L-791, is an endogamous jewish population that appears to split in europe around 900c.e., exact country unknown. Of course, roughly 21,000 years earlier, we all decided to boogie out of Somalia and head to more northern ground.

More and more people are testing their DNA and our knowledge of our genetic past increases by the day. If you want to get tested, do it now with the labor day sale, Y67, MtDNA and autosomal for men, MtDNA and autosomal test for women at a minimum. We can talk about the other stuff. Link to FTDNA here.

Surf Porn

My friend Jerry sent these along. My surfer buds tell me that this is as good as it gets. Enjoy.

East Cape Baja Sur July 2014.
Photos of Jeff King by L. Bujold


How soon before we can expect Dick and Liz Cheney to explain that the Islamic terrorist group Isis's use of waterboarding and mock executions on its doomed western captives does not actually constitute torture?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dennis Larkins- Sacred Gallery

When I was in New Mexico I had the pleasure of seeing an artist comrade, Dennis Larkins. Dennis went back a long way with the Grateful Dead, designing their Dead Set album cover and the Radio City poster as well as a bunch of other stuff. An old friend of John Morris.

He has done some really great work for the band Moonalice recently and I always enjoy seeing what he is up to. Moonalice, thanks to Roger McNamee, has been responsible for some of the best work in the  psychedelic genre for the last several years.

Larkins shows at some very hip galleries and has a new book out. I detect hints of Robert Williams and the Juxtapose guys but he has managed to craft out his own unique corner and vision. 

His image bank is decidedly 50's with a space age twist, think Elsie the cow doing the cha cha with the creature from the black lagoon.

Dennis has a new show opening up in New York and forwarded me a press release that my computer may not let me share. Here is the jist:

Sacred Gallery NYC is pleased to announce:
“Road Trip to the Fourth Dimension” - The Art of Dennis Larkins
Curated by Les Barany

Opening Reception:
Thursday, September 4th 8-11pm
Exhibition Dates September 4th - October 31st.

If you are in New York and have the inclination and a taste for this sort of imagery, do your brain a  favor and give it a visit.

Leslie West - If I Were A Carpenter

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Buy stuff, kill monsters, win gold

Salome - Aubrey Beardsley
I have wanted to write a little essay for some time but I just haven't been able to get it together. You see, I am mentally and physically exhausted and I feel like my life is only held together at present with a little tape and bits of bailing wire.

Now I can do this two ways, I can go to the library and find my source books and give you exact quotations and foot notes or I can just throw it all at the wall from memory and see what sticks.

(suitable moment of pause…)

I think that we are going with the latter. Fabulous and acclaimed author Ann Patchett once remarked at a lecture that I attended that an author should do no research until a book is half completed and I see a bit of truth in that.

So I am winging it. This will be somewhat circuitous and disjointed. Please bear with me.

I have been involved in the buying and selling of fine art and antiques since the late 1970's. I have made my principal living at this vocation since the mid 1990's. I have been through booms and busts and have seen tastes change and stay the same, every possible permutation imaginable.

And I have noticed a few things.

When people come into the gallery (assuming that it is suitable for guests and that the door is unlocked) I have seen something strange over the years. They rarely look at what is on the walls. They are usually much more interested in what is packed away in the office or lurking behind a closed door.

I have pondered this behavior at length and now think that I know why people act this way. Hunting for strange and exotic items must scratch some early atavistic hunter gatherer itch. Some of us are, unfortunately or not, attracted to the rare, hidden and arcane.

I started reading and researching this phenomenon and it led me to B.F. Skinner's work and the science of behavioral psychology. Behavioral psych tells us that there are several types of rewards, constant, progressive and intermittent being the principal three that we will discuss today.

To understand a constant reward let's imagine a lab chimp who pushes a lever and has a Kool menthol fall down the chute every time. For some reason, being constantly rewarded is a bore.

That is why some wealthy people get a little crazy with so many options to pleasure themselves. Nothing satiates the itch after a while if you always get what you want.

The second reward type we will discuss, progressive, is when the payout (and sometimes the work requirement) gets larger as you go along. Although this is a very powerful reward, people in progressive reward scenarios are said to get quickly desensitized and burned out. I am not exactly sure why and will have to do some further research on the matter.

The most powerful reward, apparently, is the intermittent reward, the reward that is sometimes granted and often never appears at all. An essentially random reward. You never know if and when you will get that hit. Intermittent reward psychology is the basis for gambling and for much of our addictive behavior.

If I went out looking for paintings and found one every day, it wouldn't be very fun after a while. But not knowing which rock to turn over and when I will win that prize, that is a truly enchanting proposition and what drives my business, seller and customer alike. The good old intermittent reward.

So let's look at the business. If one wants something, anything, lets say for illustrative purposes a Miro lithograph, all one has to do these days is ask google or ebay.

1413 results today on Ebay. I could easily buy one, maybe even a real one but how fun is that? The reward is too easily obtained now. I don't get to separate myself from my comrades and have no chance to reinforce my superior discriminatory faculties and powers of discernment. It is now a constant reward and not an intermittent one, hence not very much fun. Hunter gatherers engaged in these pursuits have a command imperative to obtain the unobtainable. Ebay is like shooting boring ducks.

And understand the most important axiom; it is never about the material and always about the chase.

So how do some people who deal in the rare and arcane counter the data revolution, our current time when every auction result is public information and where markets have been effectively destroyed by seller/end user strategies like ebay and the auction houses?

Data flattens out markets, both in a financial and a fun sense. Art becomes a commodity like carrots and potatoes, strictly for the muggles. The data revolution has made life courser in many respects, you don't need me to tell you.

One thing that I have done, perhaps unconsciously, is to become more hidden and perhaps less approachable and accessible. Sounds counterproductive, doesn't it? Not necessarily the most logical strategy but a way to remodel my wares and paradigm into an intermittent reward. Skinner called this sort of modification shaping.

Because you see, my customers require big payoffs. They can't win all the time, there is no psychic benefit in that. See what happened to Mexican silver a few years ago? A lot more of it suddenly showed up than anyone knew existed and a market that was predicated on rare became less so.

Fakes entered the equation and some trust was lost. But basically there was no more payout for the rare breed who both had to have the best stuff but also wanted few others to share his or her bounty.

We all know somebody like that, those of us in the business anyway. All of the big payoffs and obsessive types need intermittent rewards. If I had to deal with merely those of us that are sane and psychologically balanced, I would be quickly broke.

Another example is caucasian rugs. 19th century, vegetable dyed, tribal flatweaves from the Caucasus regions used to command very hefty sums in the many thousands of dollars. Collectors loved them for their design and craftsmanship.

Well, when the Soviet Union broke up, many more of these rugs found their way to market than anyone had assumed existed and they are now selling at a fraction of their former price. Still great weavings but suddenly no interest. Markets and market prices are firmly tied to availability and rarity.

What drives people to wake up in the middle of the night on Sundays and drive to their nearest flea market for their hunter gatherer fix? Beats me, beyond my pay grade. But it is certainly a strong impulse that deserves further study.
 And it is possible that the predilection that some of us have for hunter gathering is embedded deep in our genetic makeup - MIT Technology Review. Early crux, do we farm or pillage?
Now to the topic of compulsion loops. From a video gaming company primer on creating dopamine charged loops guaranteed to ensnare the errant gamer. These loops are really ghastly, cocaine to cake to porn. A real bear trap.

 Compulsion Loop: A habitual, designed chain of activities that will be repeated to gain a neurochemical reward: a feeling of pleasure and/or a relief from pain.
There are three key notions to understand comprising this definition:
Habitual: The purpose of the loop is to create a long lasting and constantly repeated habit
Designed Chain of Activities: The compulsion loops should consist of a set of specifically designed activities within each step in the chain
Neurochemical Reward: Compulsion loop theorists believe that human free will does not exist and that the creation of habitual behaviors can be instituted and programmed.

These compulsion loops are ugly. We need to recognize them and try to stay out of them. Similar to getting hooked on a facebook or internet hyperdrive link that takes you farther and farther out from your location and somehow spins you into space for perpetuity.

I have several friends addicted to cortisol and adrenaline, and instead of ever coming down their lives are engineered to stay up. Forever. Not good for mental or physical health. As Mike Tyson once so aptly put it, "You can win the rat race but you're still a fucking rat." Stay tuned. More behavioral psych and game theory to come.

And lastly re: our friends in genus rodentia, scientists can now turn icky mouse memory into happy mouse memory using light, according to a study in Nature published on Wednesday.

I have been reading some interesting books. A book on Thermopylae, the fall of Sparta by Paul Cartledge. While the Spartan women were excoriated, by no less a figure than Aristotle, as being sybarites, the men were consummate warriors who fought to the death.

When the Spartan man let down his considerable tresses, it meant he was preparing for the last battle. A fantastic book, the story of King Leonides, 300 b.c.e. and one of the most remarkable fighting forces in history.

Another book that I enjoyed this summer was Charles Duhigg's The power of habit, why we do what we do in Life and Business. Duhigg studied at Yale and Harvard before becoming a journalist and is a very interesting read.

In this book he breaks down the science of memory and habit formation, introduces us to the brain's interesting ganglia corpus  (a somewhat primordial organ that performs a lot of what would be time consuming autonomic responses) and shows how many successful advertising campaigns were launched by creating an element in a product that caused a human craving.

He sort of picks up where Dan Ariely left off in his  Predictably Irrational book. I recommend both of them. We humans are, if nothing else, easily manipulated. We like to pick the prescribed default, as Ariely explains. Practically guaranteed.

Which brings us to my last topic for the day, toothpaste. Duhigg has a great section about the invention of pepsodent. The inventor couldn't get anywhere until he introduced a discordant taste element that had absolutely nothing to do with clean teeth; a craving, soon no toothpaste could be sold that lacked that specific flavor.

He expounds on shampoo, must have a shampoo that lathers, even though lathering serves no function in the cleaning of hair. Remarkable book really.

So back to toothpaste. Read the other day that Crest was in hot water when it was discovered that certain Crest toothpaste products contained little blue plastic pellets that are ingested, specifically formulated from a plastic called polyethylene 8.

These plastic bullets are not biodegradable, they don't dissolve in solvent and hygienists are reporting that they are seeing more and more of them embedded in patients gums, even resulting in canker sores. Proctor and Gamble says not to worry you get more of the dangerous chemical in soy milk.

I heard anecdotally that Crest also said, so what, humans already ingest a lot of plastic. We do? I wrote a few years ago about the problems with phthalates and other plastics that wreaked havoc on the endocrine system and in some cases, changed the sex of fish. I don't think I get a vote but I am going to bet that plastic ingestion is not a good thing. And don't think that you are home free is you don't see polyethylene on the box. They don't list it.

And these microbeads are ending up in high concentrations in our rivers.

Here is a list of crest products that contain plastic:

Crest 3D White Radiant Mint
Crest Pro-Health For Me
Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh
Crest 3D White Enamel Renewal
Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White
Crest Sensitivity Treatment and Protection
Crest Complete Multi-Benefit Whitening Plus Deep Clean
Crest 3D White Luxe Lustrous Shine
Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast
Crest SensiRelief Maximum Strength Whitening Plus Scope
Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield
Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection
Crest Pro-Health For Life for ages 50+
Crest Complete Multi-Benefit Extra White+ Crystal Clean Anti-Bac
Crest Be Adventurous Mint Chocolate Trek
Crest Be Dynamic Lime Spearmint Zest
Crest Be Inspired Vanilla Mint Spark
Crest Pro-Health Healthy Fresh
Crest Pro-Health Smooth Mint

But hey, I know what you are thinking. I'm home free. I use Colgate. Not so fast. Ever hear of Triclosan? This chemical has been linked to all sorts of diseases and problems including fetal bone malformation and cancer. The FDA suggests that it is not currently known to be harmful to humans. Mayo Clinic thinks that you might want to use something else. Read more about Triclosan here.

Now as a person who has fought various forms of cancer for now decades, I must tell you that I choose to live a life as free from poison, pesticide and toxic substances as possible. And I don't trust scientists who work for big multinationals, don't ask me why not. I think I am going back to baking soda.

As I learned recently from Freedom Feens' Michael Dean, the hero must have a recovery in the third act. We shall see.


Big Wednesday

The waves in Southern California are as big as they have been since 1997, due to the storm effects of Hurricane Marie in Baja. Perhaps the largest waves could be found at Newport's famous Wedge.

A couple friends of mine were heading up north for a dentist appointment yesterday and on the spur of the moment I asked if I could tag along. I threw a couple lenses in a backpack and we made our way to Orange County.

We grabbed a bite in Newport and then attempted to drive to the pier. Newport was a zoo and many of the streets were shut down to help restrict the estimated 4 to 5000 people who were congregating at the Wedge. They got me as close as they could and we made arrangements to hook up later on Balboa Island. It would be a long walk.

It was stupid of me. Wrong clothes, wrong shoes, intense 90 degree heat, not to mention a very long distance to my destination. I tromped on the sand and finally made it to the famed bodysurfing spot. The Wedge was a freaking zoo.

I watched clean 8 to 10' surf with the occasional 20' monster sets peal in with regularity. Lifeguards were scrambling to keep people on the top of the slope and off the beach and out of the water.

Nobody but an experienced bodysurfer or a person with a bent towards suicide should have attempted to go out yesterday. The form of the surf when I got there at 1:30 was really good. Lots of nice tubes. Perfect big surf.

I wormed my way into the crowd and took some shots. Sweat poured off my brow and occluded my viewfinder eyepiece. I lamented my lack of water and preparation. Didn't get any great big wave shots. I probably saw three gigantic sets come in but really didn't have the fortitude or time to properly photograph the big day and decided to split. Had a very long walk ahead of me back to the ferry. Never got a money shot. Maybe next time.

There were about two dozen diehards braving the waves.

How Wolves Change Rivers

Many of you have probably seen this video and are already familiar with the concept of trophic cascades. The video is fascinating and reemphasizes the importance of apex predators value in the eco-system, an ecosystem that we humans have proven time and again that we are incapable of governing responsibly.

Give it another look if you have a second.

Sheep manage the land.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's the message?

Let's play pretend for a second. You are a television producer, an electrical engineer, USC, Harvard Business School, you have received multitudes of acclaim and commendations for your work as a consultant and manager. But in this case, unfortunately for you, you are also still black and you walk into a bank in Beverly Hills at your own peril. Because in Beverly Hills, you're just another ----er.

The story of Charles Belk:

Charles Belk

It’s one of those things that you hear about, but never think it would happen to you.

On Friday afternoon, August 22nd around 5:20pm, while innocently walking by myself from a restaurant on Wilshire Blvd, to my car up LaCienega Blvd my freedom was taken from me by the Beverly Hills Police Department.

Within seconds, I was detained and told to sit on the curb of the very busy street, during rush hour traffic. 

Within minutes, I was surrounded by 6 police cars, handcuffed very tightly, fully searched for weapons, and placed back on the curb. 

Within an hour, I was transported to the Beverly Hills Police Headquarters, photographed, finger printed and put under a $100,000 bail and accused of armed bank robbery and accessory to robbery of a Citibank.

Within an evening, I was wrongly arrested, locked up, denied a phone call, denied explanation of charges against me, denied ever being read my rights, denied being able to speak to my lawyer for a lengthy time, and denied being told that my car had been impounded…..All because I was mis-indentified as the wrong “tall, bald head, black male,” ... "fitting the description."

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know at the time that I was a law abiding citizen of the community and that in my 51 years of existence, had never been handcuffed or arrested for any reason. All they saw, was someone fitting the description. Doesn't matter if he's a "Taye Diggs BLACK", a "LL Cool J BLACK", or "a Drake BLACK" 

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was an award nominated and awarding winning business professional, most recently being recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal at their Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards. They didn't need to because, they saw someone fitting the description.

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a well educated American citizen that had received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, an MBA from Indiana University (including a full Consortium Fellowship to business school) and an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School. Hey, I was "tall", "bald", a "male" and "black", so I fit the description.

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a Consultant for the NAACP, a film and tv producer, a previous VP of Marketing for a wireless application company, VP of Integrated Promotions for a marketing agency, ran Community Affairs for the Atlanta Hawks, was the Deputy Director of Olympic Village Operations for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, was a Test/Quality/Mfg Engineering Manager for IBM and was a Bond Trader on Wall street. Surely, folks that fit the description wouldn't qualify as any of those.

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that throughout my entire life I have been very active in serving the communities that I have lived in, including Chapter President and National PR Chair for NSBE, a USC Student Senator, a USC Trojan Knight, a USC Engineering Student Council Member, a USC Black Students Council Member, and a Resident Assistant; as well as a founding board member of the RTP NBMBAA, a member of Durham County Transportation Advisory Board, Durham City / County Planning Commission, Atlanta House of Love for the Homeless Board, Cobb County Transportation Advisory Board, Georgia CASA Board, United Way of Greater Atlanta VIP Selection Committee, Jomandi Theater Board, Silver Lake Film Festival Board, Downtown LA Film Festival Board, Chaka Khan Foundation Fundraising Dinner Committee, and the USC Black Alumni Association Board. Nawl, not a "black male", especially a "tall, bald" one.

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that just hours earlier, I was at one of the finest hotels in their city, handling celebrity talent at a Emmy Awards Gifting Suite, as part of business as usual, and, invited to attend a VIP Emmy pre-party that very night in their city. The guy doing that, just DON"T fit the description.

What I don’t get………WHAT I DON”T GET, is, why, during the 45 minutes that they had me on the curb, handcuffed in the sun, before they locked me up and took away my civil rights, that they could not simply review the ATM and bank’s HD video footage to clearly see that the “tall, bald headed, black male”… did not fit MY description.

Why, at 11:59pm (approximately 6 hours later), was the video footage reviewed only after my request to the Lead Detective for the Beverly Hills Police Department and an FBI Agent to do so, and, after being directly accused by another FBI Special Agent of “…going in and out of the bank several times complaining about the ATM Machine to cause a distraction…” thereby aiding in the armed robbery attempt of a bank that I never heard of, or ever been to; and within 10 minutes……10 MINUTES, my lawyer was told that I was being release because it was clear that it was not me.

The sad thing is, prior to my freedom being taken from me for an easily proven crime I did not commit, I was walking back to my car, by myself, because I needed to check my parking meter, so that I wouldn’t get a ticket and break the law. In fact, if it wasn’t for a text message that I was responding to, I would have actually been running up LaCienega Blvd when the first Beverly Hills Police Officer approached me. Running! 

I want to thank GOD, Robin Lola Harrison of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, Robert Dowdy and Attorney Jaaye Person-Lynn , without whom, I am certain that I would still be locked up in the custody of the Beverly Hills Police Department. Based on comments made by a Beverly Hills Police Officer during my booking, and an FBI Special Agent, it appeared that they had tried and convicted me.

To everyone, especial black males (regardless of height, hair style or particular shade of "black") - Hari Williams, Michael Marcel, Reginald L Shaw, Shawn Carter Peterson, Devon Libran, Aaron D Spears, Cedric Sanders, Cornelius Smith Jr, Catfish Jean, Ashford Thomas, Drew McCaskill, Carlton Jordan, Jawn Murray, AS Lee, Bertrand L Roberson Sr, Deron Benjamin, Hawk Oau, James Alan Belk, Juhahn Jones, Darryl Dunning II, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Stephen Bishop, Logan Alexander, Brandon Dmico Anderson, Jon Covington, Lamar Stewart, David Mitchell, Gerald Andre Radford, Gerald Edwin Rush II, Gerald Yates, etal, - I have always stayed as far away from being on the wrong side of the law as much as possible; so please, be careful. If something like this can happen to ME, it can certainly happen to ANYONE!

Time has come for a change in the way OUR law enforcement officers "serve and protect" us. 


Peace and Blessings...
 —  with QurRahn Battle and Karega Bailey

Statement from the Beverly Hills Police:

Beverly Hills Police on Friday arrested 47-year-old Brianna Clemons Kloutse of Los Angeles immediately following an armed robbery at a bank in the 8400 block of Wilshire Boulevard. Police believe that Kloutse is the “Purse Packing Bandit,” responsible for nine recent bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies in Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. She will be arraigned today at the criminal court building in downtown Los Angeles.
Witnesses to the robbery said Kloutse was most likely working with a man who was distracting the other bank employees while the robbery was carried out. Within minutes of the robbery call being broadcast, police detained a subject less than a block away from the robbery who closely matched the clothing and physical characteristics of the male suspect. After an eye witness positively identified the subject in a field show-up, police arrested Charles Belk for suspicion of robbery. A follow-up investigation by detectives ultimately determined that Mr. Belk was not involved in the robbery and he was released from custody without charges.
The Beverly Hills Police Department deeply regrets the inconvenience to Mr. Belk and has reached out to him to express those regrets and further explain the circumstances. However, based on witness accounts, and his location close to the bank, officers properly detained and arrested him based on the totality of the circumstances known at the time of the field investigation.
The Police Department protocol requires that they go through the process of thoroughly verifying that Mr. Belk was not the suspect before releasing him. That process included taking witness statements, coordination with the FBI and Los Angeles Police detectives who were investigating the earlier bank robberies, and examination of the surveillance video from the bank. Police are still searching for the second suspect.

Speaking of jackboots, I know that I am a little late to the party with this one but I must bring up the good folks in Electra, Texas, who don't mind bending the constitution a little bit when they need to. Lucky Mr. Belk wasn't arrested down there. No telling what would happen.

Robert Pete Williams - Thousand miles from nowhere

Native Fauna

A friend of mine, who shall by necessity remain nameless, lives on the edge of civilization in Santa Fe. At the fringe of the veldt. A mountain surrounded by pristine nature. He has a 24 hour still/video camera hooked up on his back porch. I stopped up there one day and took some bird pictures.

Lots of wildlife come down daily to drink out of his fountain. When I was there he showed me some incredible video of a bear visit in the middle of the night.

This morning a mother deer brought a fawn down for the first time this year.

 He is regularly visited by a gray fox, a gorgeous animal.

A coyote and bobcat wait their turns for a drink.

The black bear around there can get huge, this is a little one. He showed me pictures of a big one.

I'd say my friend is pretty lucky to live where he does.