Peregrine flight

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Last Ride © Robert Sommers 2015

The Doors - Indian Summer


Light and darkness © Robert Sommers 2015
I have been trying to get a bunch of things done before the end of the year.

I have plans to photograph some magical birds at a far off sanctuary but weather so far hasn't been too helpful or permitting.

 I still think it will happen, insh'allah.

Have been hunting down a new plant for my garden that is rather scarce at the moment in the exact form that I want it, a bluish yucca rostrata. They look like this when they get big. Sort of a cousin it thing.

courtesy: Brian's Botanicals

I can't tell you how much joy I am getting out of my new cycad, palm and succulent garden.

I am very cold where I live (chipped ice off the window this morning), so I can't do a lot of the tropical or more exotic stuff but what I can do still has its own naive charm and will look pretty awesome in about three more years.

Wish the jubea would hurry up, they stay small and get fat and then one day they just spring.

The accent mark said, "See, you have a reason to live" at lunch yesterday. I guess I was pretty down but she is right, the little garden does make me happy. As do a bunch of other things.

Like most couples, after 26 years there are days when we don't see eye to eye and we unfortunately bicker. Yesterday evening was the occasion for just such an occurrence.

Nothing serious but frosty. I always have felt that if a couple never argues, one of the parties is repressing something and eventually Mr. or Mrs. Subordinate will turn into a monster and pull the kitchen shears out of the bed stand.

In any case we go at it more than most, both being fairly controlling people who each knows best. Rarely do we go to bed mad or carry things over, things get worked out or laughed off pretty quick.

Anyhow I called Leslie after my colonoscopy pre-op this morning and I heard a bang as she answered and she said to hold on, that she had dropped her broom. And without skipping a beat I told her to call me when she had flown to her next stop and she said that I was going to die.

I have been reading some heroic stuff of late. I read Heaney's translation of Beowolf this weekend and Tolkein's Lays of Sigurd and Gudrun. You see where a lot of middle earth stuff comes from, especially the philology of the Rohirrim. And where Wagner found his nibelung. Probably will reread Homer next. I loved Gilgamesh, so much human stuff there that is still profound, down to earth and insightful after 2500 some odd years of human de-evolution.

It amazed me that I am still finding brilliant writers like Bester and Kuttner that I had somehow missed. Didn't even know that Zelazny, my literary father and hero, finished the Bester book Psychoshop. I read it recently and it was like chancing upon a hidden 1925 Chateau Lafitte Rothschild, perfectly cured and decanted after a gulf of time, waiting for my personal discovery after a near century.


The GI doctor's office is right over my urologist's. I went to his door to say hi and there was an unfamiliar sign on the door, he had evidently moved out. I asked about it when I met the nurse practitioner upstairs and was informed that John had died some time past.

John Greisman M.D. was a doctor from Toronto that I loved more than any doctor I have ever met. An incredibly brilliant and devoted physician, intensely private, he only truly felt happy and in his element, in his scrubs, in surgery.

Dry, witty, a kvetcher nonpareil, we developed the closest affinity and bond I have ever had with a doctor. He was like family to me, the acerbic uncle I never had. Bitched a lot about how they were ruining medicine, how he was going to quit.

I first met John when I was about 19 when he operated on a major medical problem for me. Seven years later he was my cancer doctor, removed most of my kidney, performed many operations on my bladder and ureter, lived with me through imminent demise and continual dread.

I fired him once, rehired him when the cancer knocked again on my door so many years later. My body is a visceral roadmap of John's handiwork, forty years worth, who knows if I would be alive today if not for him?

I am shocked. I really loved the guy. As did my brother and late father. John would go to Toronto and come back telling me all kinds of stories about the wonders of my brother Buzz's pastries at his Toronto Restaurant, the much loved and sorely missed late David's Bistro. Great guy, devoted son, always liked my wives, he wished that he could meet the perfect woman. Horrible taste in art, the guy loved Patrick Nagel. Never developed the decorative side, mainly he was happy when he was working.

Fuck, I can't believe, another one gone. You wake up one day and your friends are old and you are older too and they start dropping off. Petey Stephens gone too, never got to say goodbye to either of them. You don't cultivate relationships, just like gardens, you get a weedy bunch of nothing. And then, Bam, they're gone. I have friends in my nineties, how the hell did we get so old? Pretty sharp still, I must say...

Did I ever get to tell John how important he was to me? God knows I tried, did he ever get it? He never wanted to. That is what he did, he fixed people. I still don't know the story but did find out that he wanted to keep his illness private to the very end. I heard that it was cancer.

I told him that I was tired of taking tumors out of my body, I couldn't go through this stuff anymore. We did an experimental surgery with a new device and it didn't go so well. I told him that I needed to stop my malady on the cellular level and I will never forget what he said. He looked me in the eye and said that you come to my office with an arrow going through your head, I remove the arrow, I don't ask how it got there. I said that's not enough.

And we parted ways. Which pissed him off. But we didn't let it interfere with our friendship and he ended up taking the rest of the kidney out and things moved forward without a hitch on every level.

John, there are so many of us that will miss you so much. You were an exceptional man and doctor, truly one of a kind. Such a wonderful, surly mensch.

We had a hawk hanging around on a new telephone pole in the neighborhood, they are starting to look for new spots to nest, Hanging out on my windmill and the redwood too. Will be interesting to see where they finally perch for the next seasonal hatch.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Spirit - Fresh Garbage


Step on it, Pal.

I bargained for salvation an' they gave me a lethal dose.
Shelter from the storm - Bob Dylan

It is getting to the point in the story where I take assessment of my life and year and invite you to look into my magic mirror with me. And then bullshit a little bit. End of year, blah, blah, blah.

It was a dreadful fucking year in many respects.

I don't know of any human being who is sure how we will react to the death of his parents. The confluence of their mutual passing curious to me, since they had nothing but vile, toxic reactions to each other for fifty odd years and then in one of the universe's big dumb jokes they nearly take the same train to the hereafter. Funny. I guess they liked or loved each other once, I don't remember ever seeing it but you have four kids together, my old soft romantic side wants to think you really liked each other once upon a time. I certainly hope so.

I got whammoed by five deaths this year and a couple had me picking up my teeth off the ground. So I went into my cave as much as I could, general hiding as much as possible and took lots of pictures and was alone and wrote and checked out as much as I could. I could have been more productive but my psyche required me pulling the shade down. This did not help business any, I tell you. Add to that a surgery or two and a hawk's nest falling out of a tree and this one was not going into the record books. Plus I stopped going to the gym and the body is on a fast road to hell.

I just wasn't functioning or should I say, I saw a reasonable excuse to go inside and hide?

But thanks to my peeps, I made it this year. Just barely but I did. Thanks again to Gary, Ron and Barbara, Andrew, all the rest of you. The tremendous emotional and financial support. I always get back to thanking people but this was life or death and I have to. Every painting, every piece of silver, every consignment, every sale, no matter how small, every good wish, every prayer, they all mean something big to me.

Actually did say a prayer with Jeff and Gena and it didn't hurt me none. They figured I needed it and I probably did.

Not exactly a religious man, not really what you call spiritual either. Detest a lot of mumbo jumbo. Guess I believe in reality, whatever that means, not that it is not comprised of some really weird shit. I've seen some serious outside stuff in my life but that doesn't mean I can quite get behind the concept of a deity. Many do though, god bless them.

I have watched too many of his or her failed works to get with the program. I think if there is someone in charge they are maybe taking a little too much time off themselves.

I'll spare you the details.

I think that for the monotheists the jews were probably the first tribe that embraced the concept of a messiah.

Strange to me, one interested in biology and science, that another human being could pay off karma and promise one spiritual salvation.

But a lot of people are down with the concept and good for them.

Jews referred to the messiah at the mashiach, the anointed one.

Actually in the jewish creed, the messiah promised a political liberation rather than any sort of salvation.

In fact, the messiah is not mentioned in the torah at all but is held to be an early jewish tenet in an end times scenario.

The Messiah is the king during the end of days in this belief system.

He will be descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5) For more info on the jewish messiah check out Jew 101.
The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as "mashiach ben David" (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.
It has been said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the mashiach. If the time is right for the messianic age within that person's lifetime, then that person will be the mashiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the mashiach, then that person is not the mashiach.
Strange concept, a messiah. Things are so bad, something really big is going to come along and has to fix it. And a couple other religions really ran with the concept. You didn't have to be jewish to be a messiah, mind you. The jews considered Cyrus the Great of Persia to be a messiah for rebuilding the second temple.

Did you know that in Islamic theology, Jesus is the only prophet and messenger of end times? True that. Maybe those boys should be working together?

Kalki, destroyer -10th incarnation of Vishnu

In buddhism Maitreya, fully awakened, is the promised messenger.

Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie is the messiah.

from Wiki - Krishna is the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu, the savior, and is one of the special avatars in Hinduism. The followers of Hinduism expect that there will be a new incarnation of the avatar (the Kalki Avatar) who, in different periods in history was known as Vishnu, Krishna and Jesus. This avatar will fight the apocalyptic snake and achieve the final victory over evil on earth. He will renew humanity and enable people to lead pure and honorable lives. The expectations of all religions will be fulfilled in him as he will be the world messiah that they all looked forward to.[38]

Li Hong (Chinese: 李弘) is a messianic figure in religious Taoism prophesied to appear at the end of the world cycle to rescue the chosen people, who would be distinguished by certain talismans, practices and virtues.

I can't bother listing them all, that would take an eternity. But lots of earthlings think that we are heading for cosmic high noon and it is going to take something supernatural at the gunfight.


Caught Star Wars the other day, 3D. Very impressive. They put Voldemort in this one, on top of a high chair. He's aging well. Not so much the other cast members. Carrie Fisher now looks like Eddie Fisher's Bubbe.

Hamill reminds me of the guy you see pulling plastic bottles out of dumpsters on the corner. Ford looks pretty good. They better get the sequel finished pronto before these guys are in walkers and sporting depends.

The new female lead is excellent, Fin not quite as strong an actor but looks like we're set for the first intergalactic interracial relationship and its about time. Good bar scene, nice new female yoda character.

Best Star Wars in a while but then again the acting has never been great and they've sort of sucked big time of late.

This has been a year of political agnosticism for me. The liberals are often as ghastly as the conservatives. I saw a commenter on a liberal website suggest a boycotting of jewish businesses globally the other day. I thought, this is how it starts.

Obama said something interesting yesterday that I don't know if anyone caught. He suggested that poor and working class people are more likely to be bigots, Obama: Trump is ‘exploiting’ anger and fear over economic insecurities. If you are poor you are apparently stupid too in the eyes of the president. Or at least more susceptible to racist messages. I think he needs to be called out on his elitism, if not his prejudice.
Demographic changes and economic stresses, including “flat-lining” wages and incomes, have meant that “particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck,” Mr. Obama said in the interview with National Public Radio.
“You combine those things, and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear — some of it justified, but just misdirected,” the president added. “I think somebody like Mr. Trump is taking advantage of that. That’s what he’s exploiting during the course of his campaign.”
Perhaps they just feel that you're an incompetent leader and not sufficiently engaged with combatting certain threats which you go out of your way to minimize?

The President has a tendency to frame things as either my way or their way, with no room for nuance or gradation in the great space between. Binary, but casting himself as the only logical and rational player with the only conceivable solution.

Off politics. The year had its plusses as well. I have touched a lot of people with my artwork and writing, more than I had ever imagined. That makes me feel good. I got to photograph so many great places this year and I'm not done yet.

Had a wonderful vacation to the San Juans. Thanks again. Texas, Bandolier. People have been kind and great to me all year. So many of you, you know who you are, but number one my soul mate partner, Leslie. Life would suck without you, Leslie. I love you. You make life worthwhile. Would hate to be flying solo.


Monday, December 21, 2015


I am pleased to report that I am once again a grand uncle.

I present Matilda Jacqueline Cooper, nestled against her older sister Roslyn.

Matilda is Julia and Buzz's second grandchild and my brother Buzz took this wonderful picture.

Congratulations and mazel tov to Rachel and Justin and the entire family.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bye Bye Bird

A foodie's best of Fallbrook

Leslie at Spicy City in San Diego

I eat a lot, probably eat out too much. Thirty six years in town, I think I have a pretty good sense of the culinary possibilities. Fallbrook is notoriously tough on restaurants and anyone that manages to survive gets a tip of the chef's hat from me.

Rather than talk about specific restaurants I think I would like to talk about some of my favorite entrees in town.

My favorite dish in town is La Caseta's shrimp diavalo. We ask them to hold the onions. Heavenly dish. Rich, piquant, creamy, decadent. Try it if you haven't. We actually split the plate. We top the meal off with the pumpkin flan, which DeLos offers on a seasonal basis. Fantastic dessert.

Right up there with the diavalo is Rosa's shrimp and garlic, featured on the back page, camerones con mojo de ajo. A finger licker. Served on a sizzling iron plate of potatoes and zucchini, finished with rice and beans. The sound and smell alone is worth the price of admission. People move to town, I immediately send them to Rosas. Can't beat the chicken tacos and their green sauce.

We really like the thai restaurant Thai Thai. We order the duck fried rice, without vegetables, just duck and rice and chili and my god is it good. Lately we have been ordering the very seductive spicy noodle with beef as well. The wide rice noodle really hits the spot. Kind of like thai chow fun.

Try the Guatemalan tamale at Aydees just once at least. Unforgettable. Served on a banana leaf, rice instead of corn based, with currants, a dish both light and succulent. Not your run of the mill Mexican tamale.

I snuck into Oink and Moo the other night and ordered a custom variation of their duck burger that was delicious. I had them hold the blueberry sauce, which was a touch overpowering for me and added cheese and sauteed mushrooms instead. Epic. Their mac and cheese is outstanding too. Maybe not quite up there with 127 but you don't have to wait a half hour to order it.

I like two soups in town a lot, one of which I have just discovered. First is the old standby, the imperial seafood soup at Peking Wok. Love the various textures, the minced celery. The Lettuce Cups work too. Greek Chicken has quietly really upped their game with new ownership. Try their thick lemon chicken soup, it is fantastic, especially when it is cold outside.

Michael at Cafe Des Artistes does a consistently excellent soup as well, carrot, tomato and celery to name but a few. And speaking of Chinese I really love Shanghai in Temecula but I know that's out of the area and cheating.

Want to try a nice sandwich? Order the #17 at Dominicks, the hot sausage with spaghetti sauce. He has a mild and hot, I favor the mild. He flies the incredible sausage in from Chicago and it is truly addictive.

Still lacking a place to get a good steak. Closest is Rainbow Oaks. Is that Fallbrook? Banh Mi sandwiches at Pechanga?

I guess I better stop. I am not really an Estrellas guy, some swear by it and the place is definitely packed. I guess I could bring up the fried chicken burrito at Pedros, the beef yakisoba at Yamas but do I really have to? My go to burrito might surprise you, El Toro Market. Marinated chicken, rice, beans, sour cream, cilantro, lettuce and tomatoes, huge and the real deal.

Fallbrook is no culinary oasis, there are some serious holes in its game. Some might say that picking the best of Fallbrook is like picking the prettiest pig in the barnyard. I don't think that is fair. You have to look around but there are some good eats here.

And it definitely is a great place for cheap mex and that is not such a bad thing.

Please dish, what's your favorite hometown dish? What am I forgetting?

Until next time, from the groovy gourmet...

Friday, December 18, 2015

Born under punches

dream sequence - birdman

Sacrada Familia in paper, Barcelona

Another strange dream last night. I was driving my van west on the interstate forty from New Mexico into Arizona, right past the funky tourist stop with the cheesy teepees.

Suddenly there was a flash of lightning. My car mysteriously morphed into a low slung vehicle, my field of vision was now just higher than the road, which had somehow turned to a rough dirt track and scrub.

I was careening through the desert, somehow now on the south side of the interstate, at a much too high rate of speed. I was out of control. I would soon crash.

Navajo bodies appeared in a conclave below me. At terminal velocity I had somehow pitched the car and shoulders pinioned to my side, was flying about forty feet above the crowd as if by magic.

Most of the natives were unaware of my invisible presence but the elders looked into the sky and I felt a hint of recognition. The next thing I know I was in a parking lot being queried by a large tribal cop with a  billy club. He wanted me to repeat some pointless phrase for a recording device. I whiled my way out of my predicament somehow and was eventually released. The rest of the dream blurs out and I soon awoke.

I love flying dreams, they definitely invigorate my soul. Think maybe I made contact.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Horseshoe Bend

Otis Redding

Vortices #3

Vortices #3
Strange dream last night. My psyche was throwing every one of life's uncomfortable moments, every personal failure of will and intelligence and a flotilla of errors in judgement right back in my face.

It is fading out of my cognitive grasp now but I have managed to retain a snippet or two.

I was at a hotel, trying to sell american indian rugs in a crummy banquet room to people who were no longer interested. Big L on my forehead.

All of my bad antique seller dreams revolve around cowboy and indian shows, don't ask me why but there seem to be more down and out people in that world selling their last bit and spur off a card table.

Of course I was in my underwear when the hotel elevator door opened, the door quickly shut as the passengers were obviously having none of it.

I looked in the mirror  nestled over the plastic flower arrangement and saw that my haircut resembled Scrooge McDuck's oversized pompadour, the same haircut that my wife says that the stylist recently botched in real time. No wonder the door shut. At least I wasn't exposing my junk this time.

Somehow I found my car and in leaving the hotel parking garage, gouged the entire top of the vehicle on the low hanging fruit in the undersized ramp.

When I got to the top of the grade the car stalled and I had to get out and push it, only to find that the pace of my vehicle quickly increased out of my control, not allowing me to jump in, instead sending it careening down a hill at breakneck speed right into an expensive luxury car.

There was a torrent of other bad decisions as well, now lacking in episodic structure and context, fuck ups in school, wasted opportunities, drug addled nights, wanton hussies, personal betrayals, the normal stuff. If I hadn't squandered so many blessings maybe I could have really been somebody?

It would be a shame to try to make sense of it so I will just let it be. You take your best shot, try to obey the secret promises that you once made to yourself that meant something and then see what happens.

I can't believe that my gallery has now been physically open for nearly 19 years. Second oldest tenant on the block. Where the hell does time go?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Captain America Calling

I could go off but am not quite ready to unleash the torrent yet so you get a few snippets and disjointed non sequiturs.

First came Paris, than we had the Prez, saying, I got this, Isis is contained, J.V. team blah, blah, blah. America, you've got nothing to worry about.

I was driving to Pasadena as the events in San Bernardino unfolded. Very scary, sounded like three terrorists initially, armageddon coming down pretty close to home.

When I heard about the body armor and the high caliber weapons, like most of us, my first reaction was islamic terror. I know, its unfair, we just had a white boy godsquader shoot up a Planned Parenthood, but this one just felt like Islamic terrorists to me.

When the news initially came in, both the President and his attorney general, Loretta Lynch, cautioned that it might merely be a workplace dispute. And anyone objectively perusing the facts knew that it wasn't, the planning, the caliber of the bullets, that explanation didn't feel right at all. Sort of reminded me of the initial administration spin on Benghazi, a reaction to a movie. We all knew what went down was terrorism.

God the President was hoping that it was a workplace dispute.

So we all know the upshot. The refugees people were worried about weren't the problem after all. It was a home grown radical and his mail order bride. Someone forgot to ask her to check the "are you a jihadi? box"on the handout on the plane. Another Nidal, Boston, Chattanooga.

Lot of questions. Did the mother think it was at all unusual to have a bomb factory in the house? Was the baby a prop? The dopey neighbor who cleaned up vomit at the tavern, Marquez, intimated that there were a whole bunch of sleeper cells here, when do the other guys get the secret dog whistle?
Jerry Morgan, owner of the tavern, said Marquez worked at the door to check IDs on band nights.
“People ask me, ‘What did he do?’ ” Morgan said. “I say, ‘You stand at the door and ask him for his ID.’ There’s his job description. Vomit on the carpet? He was the guy that cleaned it up. Cigarette butts in the parking lot? He was that guy. Quiet guy.”
I thought it was interesting that Farook Syed's dad said not to argue with the jewish guy at work, Israel had two years left, tops. Not sure if that was word from this administration. But I did think it was funny that Lynch told muslims to call her if they felt they were getting bullied.

According to FBI statistics, jews have born the brunt of recent hate crimes and bullying, approx. 56% with Muslims at 11% in 2014. How come we never got her phone number?

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports: Hate Crime Statistics, 2014, there were 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. in 2014. “Of the 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes: 56.8 percent [56.8%] were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.” That amounts to approximately 647.52 instances where Jewish individuals, businesses or institutions were targeted.
A mere “16.1 percent [16.1%] were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias,” amounting to approximately 183.54 instances where Muslim individuals, businesses or institutions were targeted.
In the U.S., Jews were targeted an astonishing 40.7 percent (40.7%) more than Muslims in the year 2014.
Anti-Christian bias (including both anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant bias) came in fourth at 8.6 percent (8.6%), behind anti-other religion bias (11.0%). According to FBI statistics, “6.1 percent [6.1%] were victims of anti-Catholic bias” and “2.5 percent [2.5%] were victims of anti-Protestant bias” respectively. There were approximately 98.4 instances where Christian individuals, businesses or institutions were targeted.
6.2 percent (6.2%) of the 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes “were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-mult
iple religions, groups),” and “1.2 percent [1.2%] were victims of anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
In fact there have been horrible hate filled and violent acts perpetrated against jews recently in Brooklyn. Will you ever hear a peep out of this administration? Doubtful. Lynch is after all, the woman whose HBLSA organization invited the PLO to come to Harvard and then forbade jewish students from participating and asking questions.

Neighbor said that she thought it was weird that the woman next door was running around with the burkha and the automatic weapons. But she was afraid of being called a racist. And she was probably right, Lynch would have been in her face in no time.

One of the things that bothers me is that in the blanket denial from the CAIR types and the usual muslim advocacy groups where we hear the same old blah, blah blah about the behavior not being part of islam, something else creeps in.
The L.A. Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Hussam Ayloush said on CNN’s New Day Friday that the United States was partly responsible for terrorism carried out by Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS.
Ayloush made the comments live in San Bernardino, California, the site of a recent shooting attack that left fourteen people dead. Authorities now believe one of the shooters declared their allegiance to ISIS during the attack. “Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism,” he said.
The victim, in this case the United States, is at least partially responsible according to the advocacy groups. You hear the same sort of stulyot from CAGE UK.

Short of Boko Haram, I can't think of anybody as barbaric as ISIS. To think that any of their behavior can be at all justified and that any civilized person would take that road simply boggles the mind. But the radicalization sounds reasonable to Hussam Ayloush. Because we were mean to Morsi, who himself was guilty for a host of abuses that the Islamists conveniently forget.

Anyhow we have our share of mass murders in this country and you can't pin the lions share on ISIS sympathizers but they  are responsible for a lot of the ideological killing. You have your stray abortion doctor killing and Eric Rudolph or Tim McVeigh but when I hear of a terrorist incident killing innocents I'm just not looking for errant methodists or lutherans.

I heard William Cohen, the ex defense secretary and Senator on the radio decrying our war readiness last week. In our haste to beat sword into plowshare he said we were in the 35% readiness range. Things are broken and much of our military has been mothballed. This general says it's more like a 50% readiness level.
Gen. John Paxton, the assistant commandant of the Marines, told senators earlier this year that half of the corps’ units in the United States are not at “readiness levels needed to execute wartime missions, respond to unexpected crises and surge for major contingencies.” At the same Capitol Hill hearing, Admiral Michelle Howard said the Navy is “at our lowest surge capacity that we’ve been at in years.” And while presidential candidates of both parties have called for the United States to use its air power to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer said that when it comes to the “combat air forces that we have right now, less than 50 percent are fully spectrum ready.”
I think the President should level with the country. We can't go to Syria because we let the military go to hell. Sorry.

And the military is reporting a serious bomb shortage.
The US military says its 15-month bombing campaign on the Islamic State is depleting its munitions supply and that additional money and other support is “critical” for “the long fight.”
"We're expending munitions faster than we can replenish them,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday. “We need the funding in place to ensure we're prepared for the long fight. This is a critical need."
The Air Force has reportedly fired more than 20,000 bombs and missiles in Syria in the fight to dismantle the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Air Force officials say they have enough munitions right now but project a shortage and want more long-term planning and funding to meet future needs.
“B-1s have dropped bombs in record numbers,” Welsh also said. “We are able to manage inventories to sustain operations against ISIL at this time. We do need funding in place and the ability to forecast for production to be ready for the long fight ... We continue to work on a longer term funding strategy which is absolutely required."
The Air Force now has an estimated 142,000 "smart bombs," or guided munitions, and 2,300 Hellfire missiles, used in drone strikes to kill terrorists.
I have to go and so I will leave with one last thing. I don't like the way this administration wags its fingers in Americans faces and lectures them about not being scared and not alienating the poor muslims. Cue the high minded idealism. All of these politically correct platitudes. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Playing right into the terrorists hands, they tell us. The truth of the matter is this administration would rather sit on its hands and do nothing about the ISIS problem, short of complaining that Germany isn't ponying up enough money and pout that Putin won't change his mind about Assad. Oh ya, and why are we the only ones calling them ISIL when the rest of the world uses the term ISIS? Are we continuing to display our intellectual superiority?

50 Special Forces fighters, to go with the four men it took a half a billion to train, they should turn the tide, that is if Captain America is leading the charge.

ISIS has declared war on us, they are serious, wishing them away won't work. The visa program is a joke, it is obvious that it won't work either. Americans are quickly losing faith in their government's ability to protect them. I get it, not all muslims are islamic terrorists, but I'm pretty sure that all islamic terrorists are muslims. We get to figure out who is who. Bill points out that you are far more likely to be killed by a cow than a terrorist and that may be. But the psychic terror that these events cause is still palpable.

It is apparently so easy to become a beast. I heard a commentator on MSNBC seriously ask another talking head if they thought that the San Bernardino pair may have been radicalized by listening to Donald Trump? Huff Po has a primer today out on how to avoid islamophobia.

The President is admittedly in a tough spot and he has put the military in a tougher spot. No targets that can incur environmental or collateral civilian damage. What percentage of sorties are scrubbed? Very tough to fight a hygienic war.

Bacevich disagrees with the threat, interesting viewpoint. Go to go. More later.

It pisses me off when people come to my country and kill innocent people for ideological reasons, even worse when Americans do it. I want my President and the left to be pissed off about it too.

Minnie Riperton

I love Minnie. If you don't know her brilliance and would like a taste, tune in around 28:35 and catch her blazing psychedelic on Tales of Brave Ulysses with the wonderful Rotary Connection. Minnie had an incredible octave range, she was a coloratura soprano.

She was discovered by a blind pianist while in an a cappella choir. She started out as a backup singer for Chess, backing  Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters among others. Listen to Want you to know and watch her venture into a vocal strata that few can visit.

1. The Gems - All Of It 2:45
2. Andrea Davis - Lonely Girl 3:05 (2:45)
3. The Gems - Happy New Love 2:36 (5:50)
4. Rotary Connection - Magical World 4:24 (8:27)
5. Rotary Connection - Christmas Love 3:13 (12:52)
6. Rotary Connection - Silent Night 5:58 (16:06)
7. Rotary Connection - We're Going Wrong 3:23 (22:04)
8. Rotary Connection - Respect 3:07 (25:27)
9. Rotary Connection - Tales Of Brave Ulysses 4:34 (28:35)
10. Rotary Connection - The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp 4:42 (33:09) 
11. Rotary Connection - A-Muse 4:03 (37:51)
12. Rotary Connection - Love Me Now 2:49 (41:54)
13. Rotary Connection - Living Alone 2:56 (44:44)
14. Rotary Connection -They Call It Stormy Monday 4:00 (47:41) 
15. Rotary Connection - Want You To Know 3:06 (51:41)
16. Rotary Connection - If I Sing My Song 3:39 (54:47)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

save the country

For whatever ails you

Manufactured in Baltimore, 1888. Note the early preference for indica as opposed to sativa. Skip on the chloroform, thanks.

Don't make me go jewish mother on you.

Morning fog, Gavilan Mt.
So you don't want to send a picture in this year? That's all right, I'm not going to bug you. Too much.
Or are you going to wait until the last second? When I'm really busy...Ya, that's it. Are you going to let this annual blast ritual die? Fine.

One measly picture.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Behold the counterstrike, agents of the third millenial

Hassasins jumping off the Alamut fortress to their doom
You ever wake up one day and figure out that you are actually still sleeping? That you are really a two bit player in an early William Gibson cyberpunk novel, remember the one?

Goes like this; islamic death cult, antagonistas hopped up on Captogen, an amphetamine that gives the user feelings of invincibility, use play stations and dark world social media techniques to communicate and foil the cyber bulls and in a hashishin move that would please the illustrious ancient Hassan i sabbah, simultaneously embark on a suicide war against all of the leading world powers.

The rag tag band of warriors, welcoming death, comes perilously close to success, controlling large swaths of land in Iraq, Syria and now Libya as well as pledges of fealty from Somalia, Mali and Nigeria.

They have a continuous supply of willing recruits flooding in from Chechnya, China and Europe, with a large contingent from the United States as well, many of them conversos seduced by the heady thrill of violence and a seeming way to play a video game for keeps rather than having any actual belief in allah and the virginal isle.

Derided as a "j.v. team" by the President, aided by a manchurian sleeper cell network of walking time bombs, the ragtag misfits, funded by high level Saudis and Bahrani salafists, they master the asymmetric fighting tactics of Ho Chi Minh and Che and cause major casualties to soft targets globally and in the heartland.

The esteemed leader cautions that we have nothing to fear but fear itself but the people are legitimately concerned and they've heard that one before and there are more and more "incidents" but nothing that raises the magic bar to the level of existential threat since no television stars have yet been whacked and the casualties are still within the bounds that the administration and the Rand Corp. finds acceptable.

All the calculus changed of course when they managed to get their hands on the Pakastani nuclear arsenal. A few payments and looks the other way and civilization's course sat perched on the edge of a scimitar. The cyber hassishins had called their shot on every instance in the past, you would have thought that the leaders of the West would have addressed their threat more carefully and rationally. 

Who would have predicted that aid would come from such an unlikely source and at such an unlikely time?

to be continued...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lucinda Williams - Jackson

photos from the blast readership - 2015

Two bit Museum - Kerry Johnson
Kevin Kinnear

Karaoke at the Dragonfly Lounge - Bruce Taylor

The Bean, Chicago - Dixon Fish

Prescott - Dominick Grossi
Young boys, Lome, Togo - Helen McHargue

Solovino - Brigitte Schlemmer

Kip Peterson

Moon Tree - Bill LeMasters
Church at Acoma - Ken Seals

Amos Sommers by his son

Sacred Pool, Bali - Lena Leichtling

Bradford, Pickup broke down in Santa Fe

Today's surprise, Santa Fe - Steve Saylor
March of Civilization - Art Young 1906 - Glenn Bray

Rooster tail - Mike Reardon

Dave Blackburn

Morning, Visitation Valley - Kerry Brown

Suckouts, Cardiff - Jerry Hall

Batton Lash
Brett Stokes

East Texas sunrise - Linda Kohn Sherwood

Maui vacation, Terry Schurmeier
Jeff Barney

Cam Wilde
Silver Temple - Chiang Mai - Ricardo Neumann
Pitchers worth a thousand words - Shawn Mayes
Michael Loughlin

After the rain, Fallbrook - Jon Harwood

Lost souls of Fallbrook - Bill Olson

self portrait in Paris - Barbara Finwall