Egret and crab

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jimmie Rodgers - Froggy Went A Courtin'

One pig, three ducks and ten sheep.

Leslie and I were joined by seven friends last night for a big Chinese feast up at Shanghai in Temecula. Supposed to be two more but they never showed up. After a mannerly wait for the latecomers we went ahead and ordered a pretty amazing meal! Orgy of food.

Shanghai style is my favorite of all the Chinese cuisines and several couples had never tried it before so we decided to show them the ropes.

We started off with a couple platters of xiao long bao, perfectly steamed dumplings which we dunked into our chili soy mix.

I ordered the pork rib clay pot, which is more of a soup with a lot of delectable things inside and a quite flavorful broth.

We ordered a couple servings of onion pancake. A steamed pomfret, a flattish fish. Two kinds of shrimp, sweet and sour and shrimp in tea leaves, the latter of which was heavenly.

A roast duck. Beef with broccoli. Pork ribs in garlic. Large pan fried dumplings. And more. Everybody got stuffed, me almost uncomfortably so.

Everybody yakked and had a good time. The only weird food we ordered last night was the griddled bullfrog which was truly delicious, take my word for it.

Not like chicken, more subtle. I didn't croak and neither will he, at least not any longer he won't.

The bullfrog dish is on the left. Right is duck and plum sauce. Drank tea and ate our fortune cookies. Wonderful to chow down with good friends.

I dropped Bill and Jean off at their home and she had made peach pie earlier, my favorite and I didn't want to be rude so I had a piece. We drove home and Leslie opened up her horoscope for the day which counseled her on the wisdom of eating Chinese food that day. Hmmm.

My friend Chris B. is a successful entrepreneur who has done business in China for many years. As fate would have it, I got this email letter from him when I got back from dinner last night.

My assistant, Abby W is a very cute girl, quite accomplished, great personality, etc.  She is 29 years old and works hard/travels a lot due to our work.  She doesn’t have time nor the inclination to ‘play’ the dating game.  In China, her family are all alarmed that she has no significant other/husband.  In her village, she is the last girl from her high school class without.  Every time we meet her parents, siblings, extended family for dinner, her being single is the topic of conversation and the biggest ‘problem’ in her family.  Truly a Chinese cultural phenomena.

Last Saturday, I invited her father to Shanghai – home village is about a three hour train ride away – to attend the marriage market with me.  He was so happy, it is hard to explain in writing.  The day was great, I am attaching some pictures for your reference.  Over 100,000 bereaved parents walking around Peoples Square park (similar to Central Park in New York) looking for mates.

Anyway, a fun day, interesting, etc.


Chris B

He sent along some pictures of his protege and the Shanghai marriage market at People's Square. Very cool. I saw something sort of similar in Greece once.

Chris sent me this note:  It was a hoot!  And successful, 16 real contacts/interactions between her father and other parents that resulted in exchanged information as well as over 100 people taking pictures of the sign – complete with her father and sisters' cell phone numbers...

She seems like a great gal. And if you are interested and she digs you, they'll sweeten up the bargain with one pig, three ducks and ten sheep!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Grapple and Grope

Ex House Majority Whip Tom Delay has asked the judge to go easy on ex Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

Hastert, a long time champion of "family values," has pled guilty to illegally structuring bank withdrawals to hush up one of his ex students that he had apparently been buggering when he was a teacher and high school wrestling coach in Chicago.

The prosecution wants six months in the pokey, defense wants probation. Perfect time to play the jesus card.
DeLay, a Texas Republican, recalled in his letter that Hastert started a Wednesday Bible study that the two men took part in.
"So I know his heart and have seen it up close and personal," DeLay wrote. "We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few. He is a good man that loves the lord. He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn't deserve what he is going through. I ask that you consider the man that is before you and give him leniency where you can."
Please. He does deserve what he is going through. And worse. Hastert is said to have taken the worst kind of advantage of at least five young grapplers under his supervision. Doesn't the good lord care about them too?
Prosecutors allege that Hastert abused or had inappropriate contact with at least five minor boys during his time at Yorkville High School, touching them in the "groin area and genitals" or having oral sex with them. The statutes of limitations have long passed on the alleged sexual misconduct. He taught and coached at Yorkville for about 16 years before launching his political career in the early 1980s.
I actually had a teacher that liked to wrestle in boarding school that creeped me out, he ended up with a very similar story. Lets say he got a little too happy with his ground game. Luckily I sensed something weird and amscrayed before I got "pinned."
“The actions at the core of this case took place not on the defendant’s national public stage, but in his private one-on-one encounters in an empty locker room and a motel room with minors that violated the special trust between those young boys and their coach,” prosecutors wrote.
Witness A demanded three and a half million bucks not to divulge the sexual perversions.
Prosecutors have painted a disturbing portrait of Hastert that contrasts with the many letters that described him as fundamentally decent, pointing to accounts of how the then-coach often sat in a recliner chair in the locker room with a direct view of the boys shower.
Hastert abused at least four boys at Yorkville High, prosecutors said in an April 8 presentencing memo that detailed the allegations for the first time. Individual A says he was 14 when Hastert abused him in a motel room after telling the boy he wanted to check a groin injury.
I say throw the book at the sick bastard. Jesus can love him in jail, hopefully in a cell that he shares with Tom DeLay.

Lonnie Mack - Oreo Cookie Blues

The host of the program, Cleveland's Scott Newell, does a damn fine job accompanying the now late legend.

Turkey tail mushrooms, San Juan Island

Friday, April 22, 2016

Keep your eyes open

I get a lot of birding emails. Whenever an unusual bird shows up in Southern California, word gets around real fast.

I got this email this morning from the Yahoo birding group:
Date: Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 10:48 AM
Subject: Swallow-tailed Kite sighting 22 Apr. 2016
To: [snip]
Hi folks,
Daniel Driscoll is in the field, and just called me to let us know that he
watched a Swallow-tailed Kite this morning from 0934 - 0937 near the Navy
NOLS site at Tijuana Estuary. He told me that it was right in front of
him, so he had a positive and confirmed ID.
Great sighting Daniel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great Earth Day memory!!


*Joel E. (jeep) Pagel, Ph.D.*
*Raptor Ecologist*
*National Raptor Program*
*Division of Migratory Bird Management*
*U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service*
*2105 Osuna Road*
*Albuquerque, NM 87113*

And then a follow up or two later:

Here's a little more info I've heard now second- and third-hand. A 
raptor biologist reported a Swallow-tailed Kite around 9:30 AM somewhere 
near/over/under Ream (Naval Outlying) Field bordering Imperial Beach and 
the Tijuana Estuary. He reported the bird to refuge staff, who passed on 
the news to local birder researchers working in the saltworks, as the 
report also said that the bird was last seen farther to the north 
somewhere over residential Imperial Beach. Matt Sadowski was in the 
saltworks so once he heard about it he then kept looking up, a lot (!), 
but saw nothing. News got out further (including my first hearing about 
it) when Gjon H. forwarded the report to CalBirds almost two hours 
later. We don't know any more details on what the bird was doing 
exactly or what it looked like, etc. From the sounds of it, it was 
moving north in mid-morning, after the thermals got going, but that is 
mostly conjecture. if one wanted to try for it, it would likely be a 
needle in a haystack, and whether one returns to the original site or 
perhaps to slightly better habitat for this species inland near 
Dairymart Pond, or literally they start driving north up the I-5 and 
hopes to maybe intersect with it somewhere between here and Los Angeles, 
is anyone's guess. At least one or two birders will be scanning the 
skies over the TRV and IB for the next couple hours. Or maybe try down 
there late in the day and see if the bird is still around and comes in 
to roost somewhere???

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

And finally this:

Reported to the Orange County listserve a few minutes ago:
I received word though the grapevine that the Swallow-tailed Kite was
spotted by base biologists at Camp Pendleton at roughly 1:30pm. This means
that if it keeps up its current flight path it should be flying somewhere
over Orange County right now where it should roost. Keep an eye out
overhead if you're out this afternoon!

Tom F-H
Irvine, CA

Guess I should have followed my own suggestion and driven north toward 
Los Angeles!!

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

What is odd is that when I looked up the bird it looked suspiciously like the strange raptor we saw near the Lake Hodges dam last week.

Lovely bird. Very unusual in these parts I think.

Canyon study

Ten years after

Eskimo Blue Day

Stems And Seeds

Weed follies

The Illinois Senate passed a bill this week to legalize recreational marijuana. Canada has signaled its intention to do the same in 2017.  Smoking weed is now legal in one form or another in over 23 states and the District of Columbia. Quite a few more are in the hopper.

Finally an Obama administration that has been not friendly at all to pot smokers is actually talking about maybe dropping the schedule classification down to a more sane level, Schedule 2. Way past time but I won't hold my breath. The original choom ganger done sold out his peeps.

Currently marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, "the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence."

In any case, pot is a billion dollar industry in Colorado and money talks loudly to cash strapped municipalities. Pot is everywhere and prohibition seems to be in its death throes. Everybody and their kid sister is getting on board. The people have smoken.

Is it safe yet to out myself as a pot connoisseur, a weed gourmand with an encyclopedic knowledge of the glorious herb? A near fifty year veteran? Maybe, maybe not. But here goes anyway.

Today we are awash in a world of weed, vape pens, tinctures, edibles, top shelf buds, etc. Kids have no clue what it was like in the dark ages. Ol' Uncle Rob is here to tell them. Today I guess the kids go out to buy a "bag." Well before there was a bag, there was a "lid" and before there was a lid there was a "can." Don't ask me what was before a can because I frankly don't know. Find an old bluesman. Ask Cab Calloway.

A can cost ten dollars. It was a measurement of marijuana of either four or five fingers in height in a quart zip lock bag. No scales necessary.

The pot itself was very ugly. A can was comprised of an assortment of marijuana byproduct that was at least 50% seeds and stems. Cans came from keys, a colored cellophane one kilo block of yellow, red or blue. They were usually wrapped with a lot of moisture left in the packet, and so you got a smoke that was slightly ammoniated and quite foul by today's standards.

I was in junior high when I scored my first can and remember switching it to five or six locations on my person before I finally got it home and hid it away in an American flag throw pillow so my parents wouldn't find it.

Anyway the stuff was pretty crude and it was pretty harsh. We used double album sleeves to separate the seeds from the tops, often with a card of some kind.  The roaches ended up soaked in an oily black tar.

You hear rumors and anecdotes of Acapulco Gold and Panama Red but most young heads never saw anything like that. But what we did start to see in the early seventies was beautiful gold and reddish Colombian from an area called Santa Marta. This was some of the sweetest, most pungent marijuana that has ever been smoked. A very chesty expansive smoke with a singular perfume. Doubt it even exists anymore for reasons I can go into later.

Then in 1971 or 72 somebody back east imported some stuff from Nicaragua that supposedly produced so much resin that it killed the mother plant. That part might be bullshit but that was the advertised line. The marijuana was given the name Wacky Weed or wacky tabacky. A one time shot, I was lucky enough to try it. Pretty amazing stuff.

And I will tell you that I was the hit of my high school when I managed to score some cuban weed. I visited New York decades later and an old comrade told me that it was still the best that he ever had.

Things marijuana stayed in a commercial doldrums for many years. Pot was decidedly low grade, some Oaxacan and what were known as long "mohawk spears" showed up and doubled the lid price to $20. Crappy Jamaican weed appeared on the east coast, not the vaunted lamb's bread that nobody on my puny level ever saw.

Somewhere around 1973 or 4 a new wonder appeared, "Thai Sticks," thai marijuana wrapped tightly with thread around a bamboo stick. This stuff was really good, had an almost apple fragrance, a curiously triangulated seed which was half the size of a Mexican seed and a powerful buzz. The flower tops were accentuated and definitely more loved.

Sometime about 1976 I got a call about this great new thing, sinsemilla. People in the North County of San Diego and the hills near Santa Barbara were taking the seeds of that Mexican bag weed and growing them properly, and separating and vanquishing the males. Ball jars of the luscious herb appeared for sale, for $100 a jar. Much classier delivery system. You'd break the seal and get hit with the most lovely aroma.

The weed was strictly sativa strains and it was glorious. A gamut range of honey, grape and all colors of the rainbow in between. It became a thing of legend. Home growers even resuscitated some of the Colombian strains but the long growing season made them impractical, since they couldn't be harvested until early December.

Later people were bringing more asian varieties in, including "Cush," an indica strain and also fat leafed cannabis ruderalis. This was good and bad. Indicas, many of which came from Afghanistan, were skunky and savory and had a much higher thc content. But they lacked the sweetness and cerebral qualities of the fine sativas.

So many growers hybridized to the indicas that the early purply sativa strains were lost, probably never to reappear again. Commercial growing operations have taken over and you can't even find Santa Marta Colombian in Colombia anymore, they are all growing imported indica strains, which are heavier and fetch more in the market.

A person would have to find the original strains from Mexico and start a very laborious process to ever taste those flavors again. Doubt it will or could happen.

Leslie and I once stayed at a hotel in British Colombia called the Sativa Sisters, location undisclosed. Many years ago. The manager would bring you a menu and you would pick the pot you wanted to smoke. The freezer was full of pot waffles. Our fellow residents sometimes would never leave the hotel. It was there that I discovered the blueberry strains. Aromatic, grapey, beautiful, a distant relative to todays Blue Dream. It was a thai blueberry cross to be exact. Tasted a lot like Snowcap.

I don't want to sound like a Cassandra but things really went down the hill somewhere along the way. Many fantastic strains have been lost as people started relying on the same old Diesel, White widow, Ak47 and similar strains. Never to return.

Where once there was an organic process where some brave grower mixed sunlight, seeds, water and soil, the move to indoor created a whodunit where massive fertilizers are pumped in, toxic mite spray is applied and plants are inadequately flushed. I rarely smoke at all nowadays but if I did I would make sure exactly what I was getting and make sure that I trusted the grower implicitly.

People are using a product called wax that has been linked to brain lesions due to improper reduction of butane inherent in one type of production process. Why would anybody risk their health ingesting something like that? I am so old school on the weed thing...

I am pro pot. I fought cancer for over twenty years with the help of the herb, was able to undergo three major operations and completely forgo the use of pain killers and narcotics, have seen so many people help themselves medicinally in the least harmful manner imaginable.

But a world where practically everybody is toking, many of them legally, where things are so commercialized, well it sounds like a little something has been lost too. The danger is gone. Its kind of become boring. Something's missing. Pot's a big yawner. Perhaps I'm getting old. F-f-f-f-t.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blodwyn Pig

Hubble Bubble

The Hubble team has released this shot of a wonderful blue interstellar bubble that they captured in space.

Taken by Wide Field Camera Three, the subject is the Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, an interstellar space cloud that was first noticed in 1787. The center sun has ten to twenty times the mass of our Sol.

Previously the nebula was so big that it had to be photographed in multiple sections.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I used to be a king

This, that and the other thing

I know a lot of you hate when I jump around with the stream of consciousness stuff. Well, sorry, I suggest that you read no further. I just wrestled a hundred plus lb. yucca rostrata into the ground in a hundred degree weather and I'm whipped. Can hardly swipe the keyboard. So you get what you get and don't bitch about it.

Fallbrook is a remarkably efficient town. The alcoholics anonymous meetings are held right under Ron's Red Eye Saloon, a very short trip.

I just got a new cubic zirconium tooth this morning. I feel so fake.

The birds won't go near my black droll yankee thistle feeder, filled with nyjer. Perhaps they are not down with the black on black motif but they seriously won't go near the thing.

I would have won my bet if anybody had been foolish enough to take me up on it. The McDonald's was cleaned up within two days of my post. Somebody actually told me that they thought that it was a hell of a coincidence.

The Huffington Post went on a rampage about taking that nasty, slave trading, genocidal Andrew Jackson off the twenty dollar bill in favor of a black woman, former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Jackson happens to be one of my favorite presidents and responsible for a lot of our modern day democratic institutions.

You might as well denude Lincoln from the popular realm too for his attitude towards native americans. Mark Twain too. Throw in Jefferson. He was a slave owner. The apostles Peter and Paul favored slavery too. Bit fanciful to think that we can apply modern day conventions and thinking in evaluating historical figures but have at it, you stupid fucks. No more Kipling or Churchill either.

I really don't get the sudden lionization of Alexander Hamilton, a patrician swine if there ever was one.

All the incredible brainpower in our intelligence services and we have to pay a hacker a million to crack an iPhone?

Whether you are pro, anti or somewhere down on the middle regarding President Obama's policies is immaterial. His "interview" with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic that laid out the so called Obama Doctrine was unnecessary and very damaging to the United States and its allies. Needless, a stupid touchdown dance in his fourth quarter that served no purpose except for displaying his hubris and arrogance.

Poor Anders Breivik. A judge in Norway says that his palatial prison cell conditions are cruel and unusual punishment, the country is violating his rights. He has a lot of gall bitching after murdering seventy seven of his innocent countrymen.

I lose friends on social media faster than anybody you know. I'm cyber kryptonite. 1650 friends at present on Google + but every time I write something half way challenging a few more drop off. Oh well...

Regarding the Charger stadium issue. Who the hell ever appointed Corey Briggs? Just who is he supposed to represent?

Good article here. What's for breakfast? Monsanto weed killer.

And this one was interesting too. The Wendel family.

Political correctness has obviously run amok. Take back anything nice I ever said about Joe Biden after yesterday's lashing of you know who. These people are experts at telling other people how to behave and run their countries, in the most patronizing way possible. I know Israel gets a lot of money from America but it is not America's bitch.

Anyway Biden typified Palestinian terrorists as "misguided" yesterday which sounded just a teensey bit charitable to my ears but pretty much in keeping with Obamaworld.

And it got me thinking of this story:


Sixteen year old member of the Reese Money Gang, whose letters are inscribed on his neck, pulls a gun on a cop, gets shot in the process and mom is crying about how they killed her baby.

Loury was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead at 8:27 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
On Tuesday, Loury's family and friends gathered at the two-flat apartment building in East Garfield Park where his mother lives.
Loury's mother, Tambrasha Hudson, her son's first name tattooed in cursive on her neck, cried loudly on the front porch, tears streaming down her face, as relatives tried to console her.
"Everything they said on the news is not the truth," Hudson said, her voice choked with emotion. "It is not the truth. It's not the truth.
"It's sad!" she said repeatedly. "My baby was 16, not 30. My baby was 16! Sixteen!"Bionca Johnson, who lives on the 3400 block of Grenshaw Street, said Loury had brought her groceries home for her before. Many people in the neighborhood have a "kill or be killed" mentality, she said.
"It's the story of the police, everybody has a gun," Johnson said. "Half the time, these babies probably do have guns. They're probably scared with everything they're seeing on the news, so it's like, '(I'm going to) shoot first before I get killed.'"
She said people need to stop "knocking down" teens and to put more funding into youth programs, and to create hope for a better life.
"When you look around, what do you got to look forward to?" Johnson said. "Like, am I going to have to live here my whole life?”
Uh mom, what kind of example did you set for your son?  Was he actually a victim or was he perhaps a victimizer as well? Babies with guns are very scary babies.

Which got me to thinking of the story of Euric Cain, the New Orleans man who tried to kill the medical student who was interfering with him raping a woman. Remember, the gun jammed after he was shot in the stomach and the perp pulled the trigger with all the care one would have swiping up ants at a picnic?

Euric went out the next day and raped a couple in their car and has been tied to several other similar incidents. I remember a quote from him when he was apprehended. It was on the order of, well if you only knew how I was raised.

We seem to be much more tolerant of beastly behavior these days, aren't we? People are so disconnected, running around totally desensitized to the pain they cause others.

I am not the brightest bulb in the drawer by any means but on my scorecard, if you can get to the finish line without a gang tattoo on your neck and any violent felonies on your record you definitely get extra points.

Stay tuned. Soon you will be able to purchase your very own I read the Blue Heron Blast t-shirt, artfully designed by one Brett Stokes. They will run out lickitysplit so order quickly.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nellie McKay


Desecrated jewish graves on the Mount of Olives - photographer unknown
The people of Israel have lived 3,700 years without a memorandum of understanding with America and will continue to live without it another 3,700 years. Menachem Begin
There was another bombing in Jerusalem today, this one wounded twenty one people. Israeli authorities called it a terrorist attack. I am sure many liberals here in America will rejoice and prefer to view the bloodshed as a brilliant act of resistance against the hated occupier.

Like Hillary pal Sydney Blumenthal's son Max did two weeks ago regarding a Palestinian attack killed five Israeli soldiers.
In undercover recordings published Sunday by The (U.K.) Telegraph, Blumenthal, an activist and writer, is heard praising an “incredible” 2014 massacre carried out by “commandos” with Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades against Israeli soldiers stationed at a kibbutz and army base called Nahal Oz.
“With GoPro cameras attached to their helmets, [they] burst into the Israeli base and kill every soldier they encounter in hand-to-hand combat,” Blumenthal said during a March 5 event held at the London School of Economics.
“The message it sent to young Palestinians in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and abroad, was incredible,” he continued. “You see your people in commando uniforms, bursting into a military base and showing up the occupier.”
During his March 5 speech, Blumenthal defended Palestinian violence against Israel.“There’s often prison revolts which take place everywhere, because people are normal. People are normal in the Gaza Strip, and so they take up arms,” he said. He also gloated that the attack “[popped] Israel’s security bubble.”
Sounds suspiciously like one of Obama's old press secretaries.
"The Obama administration insisted Monday that a Palestinian killed by an IDF while attempting to throw a Molotov cocktail at Israeli civilians is not a terrorist.
The Palestinian, a teenager with U.S. citizenship, was shot Friday and buried wearing a green Hamas headband. The Obama administration said in a statement on Friday that it “expresses its deepest condolences to the family.”
At a State Department briefing today, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked spokesperson Jen Psaki whether it is appropriate to offer “deepest condolences” to the family of someone killed while attempting to carry out an attack on civilians.
“There are reports … that [the Palestinian teenager] was throwing Molotov cocktails at cars on a highway, and I’m wondering, if that is the case, would you still have been so speedy in putting out a statement and offering your condolences to the family?” asked Lee. “The argument that is being made by some in Israel is that this kid was essentially a terrorist, and you don’t agree with that, I assume,” Lee continued.
“Correct, we don’t,” Psaki said. Lee then asked whether the fact that the teenager was buried wearing a Hamas headband was “of concern at all.” Psaki replied, “I just don’t have any more on this particular case.”"
I don't know how many times I have to say that I find a lot of the Netanyahu Administration's behavior wrong and distasteful. I don't like being thrust into the role of an Israeli apologist. But do I get letters...

In any case what I find even more distasteful is the behavior of some on the left that condemn Israeli with ridiculous Monday morning quarterbacking and twenty twenty hindsight. Like Senator Pat Leahy for instance. Leahy wants to cut off funding for Israel because they have the temerity to kill assailants who are trying to murder them instead of trying to immobilize them.

He cites four cases, the first being one Fadi Alloun, who tried to kill a 15-year old Israeli boy in Jerusalem with a knife, than ran through the streets attempting to stab and slash multiple people. The assailant refused to drop his weapon and was killed by security forces. He had recently written “Either martyrdom or victory”on a Facebook page, and his acts were obviously premeditated.

Next we have Ahmed Manasra who on October 12, 2015, accompanied by his cousin, set out armed with knives to kill Jews in Jerusalem. They first attacked a young man who fortunately escaped with severe lacerations. They then pounced on 13-year old boy on a bicycle, stabbing him in the neck before being chased off. The rampage was stopped when a civilian rammed into the duo with his car. They were taken to an Israeli Hospital where their lives were saved.

Two others who were cited as being the recipients of extrajudicial punishment were Hadeel Hashmaloun and Mutaz Awiza. Hadeel was a woman who was said to have brandished a knife at a checkpoint and attempted to stab a soldier.

We know the Israelis are a horrible people but even so, if you come at most soldiers or cops here in America with a knife or a gun, I think that you can expect to be killed. Creating a different standard for Israelis seems a bit ridiculous. Live by the sword, expect to die by the sword or in any case, very quickly.

The Obama administration is certainly on board.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration accused Israel of using excessive force against Palestinians during a wave of deadly violence, in an annual report that pointed to a global decline in human rights.
The annual report by the State Department into human rights abuses around the world accused Israeli forces of “excessive use of force” in the Palestinian territories, and “arbitrary arrest and associated torture and abuse, often with impunity,” by the IDF, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
According to numbers cited in the report, 149 Palestinians were killed in 2015 by Israeli security forces, but only 77 were in the course of attacking Israelis.
“There were numerous reports of the ISF (Israel security forces) killing Palestinians during riots, demonstrations, at checkpoints, and during routine operations; in some cases they did not pose a threat to life,” the report read.
The numbers clash with Israeli accounts that some two-thirds of Palestinians killed during a wave of violence beginning in October were in the midst of attempting or carrying out attacks and the rest died in clashes with security forces.
Only 77 of the poor people were attacking Israelis? Jeez. I honestly hate talking about Israel. I get crap from friends and family members, many who are quite hostile to the country. But I hate it when J Street types, people who have never lived in the country, as I have, nor even visited it, presuppose to know better than Israelis on the proper way of dealing with an enemy that wishes to do them in. Let me say once again, Netanyahu has been a duplicitous asshole regarding settlement policy. But do I understand the dynamic that feeds his underlying calculus, I actually think I do. Perhaps we can discuss it another time.

Bernie does a great dance on the subject. Israel has a right to defend itself but not too much, if you know what he means...Shrug off those missiles from Gaza until there are a few more casualties.

I have many friends who are Syrian and Iraqi Christians and have known many jews that originally came from Middle Eastern arab countries. The stories of repression that they tell of living under the thumb of Islam are both startling and terrifying. And they are without a doubt the most open eyed and realistic regarding the nature of the middle eastern conflict and the people most resolute in taking a harder line. Because they know. Liberal Americans, jewish or not, they don't know.

But by all means, all you enlightened liberals, continue to blather. Because you obviously know best.

Wailing Wall - Shepp
On another front, UNSECO says that the jews have no cultural or historical link to the Temple Mount, site of the first and second temple. Good old United Nations. Want to talk fair and balanced?
The UNESCO executive board on Thursday adopted a resolution on "Occupied Palestine" presented by several Arab countries.
It referred to Israel as the "occupying power" several times, and only referred to the Temple Mount as Al-Aqsa Mosque, likewise calling the Western Wall by the name Al-Buraq Wall, a term created in the 1920s by Arabs in an ahistorical attempt to claim the site.
The resolution criticized Israel for "excavations and works" in eastern Jerusalem, and urged it to stop "aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims' access" to the Temple Mount.
The resolution also outrageously accused Israel of "planting fake Jewish graves in Muslim cemeteries."
Which is kind of interesting because the mount is the holiest site in Judaism and jews can document their connection to the landscape there for over 3500 years, contrasting to Islam, which was born in the seventh century.
Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. Daniel 9:16
Can we stop with this notion that people that are pro Israel think that Israel is somehow above criticism and reproach canard?  Because it is simply not true and I have never heard even the most ardent zionist hawk make that argument. Israelis are more prone to self criticism than anybody else I have ever witnessed. Two jews, five opinions.

What they will say is that perhaps you can save a little ire for the neighbors, perhaps recognize that it is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, although it obviously doesn't match everybody's lofty standards.

In fact it is a place where Arab members of the Knesset have even advocated for its destruction and applauded violence the intifada. Can you imagine the chances of someone surviving in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia too long after making a similar argument in one of those countries?


Sunday, April 17, 2016

April nocturne

I am real busy. Finishing up the first leg in a short string of shows, lots of obligations mounting. Bills adding up, brakes are failing, deck needs painting. I guess things are pretty normal right now. Won't be a lot of time to write but as a few of my friends have privately noted, I have been pretty loquacious lately and maybe it ain't such a bad idea for my gums to stop flapping for a while.

Two of our closest friends, R & D, have split the scene for greener pastures and we are going to certainly miss them.

I dreamt about both my mother and father last night. Unusual for me, has been many years since I have had such a dream, if ever. They split up around 1961 or 1962 and they have both departed this mortal coil, my father a year ago last week. A strange dream.

Google was selling ad space to our lives. Everywhere you walked there were channels left and right, side columns really, which Google would fill with extraneous pictures and information in order to fill in the blanks in our thought processes. Some of the stuff was germane but certain things were inapplicable, like a Siri or Google search when they mishear your command and give you some hilarious approximation that is totally off the mark.

I am not sure how my Dad fit in to the whole scenario but we were fighting some dragon together, some project against all odds which we often did in the construction business when we worked together. My father was so brilliant, so tough, so formidable. It was nice to visit with him last night, to touch him once again in my slumber.

We ended up at a casino which is fitting since we played a lot of blackjack together, he a master mathematician with an innate ability to figure probability.

My mother's dream was even more powerful. She was naked and in the process of childbirth. In a great deal of pain, I fetched a cold washcloth and cooled her head, administered comfort as well as I could. I guess someone with a  psychological bent could input all sorts of questions from the dream, was I witnessing my own birth?

My mother, who also died a year ago, not long after my father, and I had a serious emotional disconnect, for all sorts of reasons that I need not go into. I experienced a deep connection with her in the dream that was mostly lacking when she was alive, an appreciation for her physical and emotional pain and a compassion that I regret not necessarily always feeling or expressing in life. Cathartic dream.

It is impossible to see your parents or even yourself, exactly as others do. My father had one close friend, Norman Lawrence, the loss after his passing was so great that he never made another. My mother had a million friends, affected everyone in her orbit, but it was a somewhat different experience for those of us who had peeked behind the curtain. Many found her irrationality delicious, it was a bit tougher for those of us on the inside.

They were both brilliant people and I miss them both and have to thank them, our parents are totally responsible for our being on this earth and both of mine worked hard and sacrificed for me and for the rest of the family. We are all imperfect and we all do the best that we can.

I cried for months after my father died, have yet to shed a tear for mom for some reason. Watching the intense emotional spiral of her breakdown was so devastating to me in high school, it forced me into a role that I was plainly incapable of dealing with, I saw things no kid should ever see. But I can't forget that she saved my life on at least two occasions and loved me deeply, as did my father. Who can ask for anything more?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Calendar Antique Show

Del Mar starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend. I may be interviewed in my booth on the local channel around 8:30 tomorrow morning, just for a minute or two, will be my third time on the show. Who knows? If you do make it to the antique show please come by and say hello. I have a limited number of comps...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Prop job

We have had such an interesting spring weather wise, nice intermittent rains, great sunsets. Occasional rain coming from seemingly blue skies. I got home around seven last night and called out a greeting to my wife. No answer. Odd?

I walked upstairs and turns out she was out on the deck, basking in a beautiful rainbow over our valley. And doubly cool for a double rainbow was this. If you look at the top of our old wind machine, which used to keep the frost off the avocado grove, you will see a red tailed hawk perched on the propeller.

I happened to have the Sigma 150-600mm C telephoto lens in the car and ran down to get it. I stood in the rain and shot for a half hour or more. Mr. or Mrs. Red Tailed Hawk never did move. Excuse the lack of sharpness and clarity. It was getting dark and the buteo was pretty far away.

Monday, April 11, 2016


The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Secret Agent Fireball XL5

Sonic Youth

Richard Alden Griffin (1944 -1991)

Rick Griffin - © Herb Greene
Hard to believe it has been almost twenty five years since Rick passed. Taken from the world far too soon. One of the most difficult yet rewarding relationships that I ever had. I have been so very fortunate and blessed with my friends and incredible teachers. Rick was up at the top of the list.

Vaya con dios, Rick. You were unique and brilliant. One of a kind.

Be Stoked

Eggs In A Briar Patch


We drove back through Del Dios. I had seen something out of the corner of my eye on the way in. A new (to me) little rock shrine built just below the road level, slightly west of the Lake Hodges Dam.

We walked down to the monument but didn't linger long. A homeless man was undertaking some personal hygiene in the middle of the circular edifice and we felt like he probably needed his space. The joker painted on the dam wall added to the general foreboding feeling and to the dark storm clouds that we could see on the horizon.

I am going to walk this river trail. I saw an unusual raptor, possibly a black shouldered kite and need to check back.

On a high promontory over La Jolla

Leslie needed to go to the Del Mar Fair to meet a vendor yesterday. I don't recall the exact name of the show but it might have been a healthy living, new agey sort of thing, in any case probably not my cup of tea. She needed two hours and then we had brunch and bloody marys scheduled with friends.

I decided to cut out and drive to the Torrey Pines reserve for a short hike and hopefully an assignation with a Peregrine falcon or two. Leslie was up in Marin County recently and saw two of the sleek raptors and I feel a bit cheated personally.

I made my way through the line at the gate house and after paying the rather steep fee, maneuvered the car though the phalanx of bicycles and hikers scaling the steep hill.

I talked to a docent or two about where I might find the birds and I guess it is an iffy proposition. The nest is below the cliff line and not visible from on high. So either they fly or they don't and they didn't.

I made the best of it. Southern California is very beautiful right now. Yuccas and agaves are spiking throughout the backcountry and elsewhere. Lots of wildflowers, the recent rains keeping everything at an optimal happiness level. The kind, as we used to say.

And while I didn't see falcons I did see some other interesting flying objects.

Really not a bad place to spend a Sunday morning.

Cactus and ocean always make such a delightful combination.

The day really didn't suck. I am going to go back next time and I think that I will get my bird.

Shawn, Ricardo, BigDave, Wicki, Ted, all of you folks that fled the southland for greener pastures, well you left something nice behind too.


Has anybody taken a gander at the old McDonald's restaurant location at 1050 S. Mission Rd. in Fallbrook lately? Not exactly your kind of happy place...

A veritable garbage dump of weeds and trash. I am just under six foot tall and there was a weed clearly over my head.

The asphalt is buckling in the parking lot and debris and old metal parts litter the grounds.

Tiles are missing from the steps. Frankly the place is as nasty as a pink McNugget before it hits the fryer.

A happy smiling figure on a sign still beckons from inside the lonely decrepit building. Golden Arches of hell...

McDonald's has of course moved to fancy new digs not a quarter mile away, leaving us with a nasty eyesore that has evidently faded from corporate memory. If only the citizens of Fallbrook were so lucky!

My understanding is that McDonald's inserted a clause or language in the sales or lease instructions that the site could not be used in the future by a restaurant, presumably in an attempt to forestall a potential competitor.

In the real world  what it means is that very few businesses are capable of or will undertake the capital expense necessary to repurpose such a structure that is actually only good for one thing, a fast food restaurant.

So we are stuck with the mansard modern ghetto slum look for perpetuity. Nice corporate responsibility McDonald's, both for the draconic legal language and for your obvious contempt for our community. Excuse us for feeling crapped on.

Thanks, Anthony VillaseƱor from Sierra U.S. Commercial Real Estate. Thanks for watching our back. Feel free to drop them a note. Or send one to old Ronald McDonald himself. I did, will keep you posted.

Postscript: So far a little talk, no action. Will see if code enforcement does anything. Jon Harwood posted this picture of the living accommodations at the back of the site on the Fallbrook Shutters web page. Very nice.

From Wild Bill: