Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Del Gato

Bird on a wire

Another day at the office.

Interesting day in politics. Trump says that Obama is behind the recent spate of leaks and protests, intimates that the jews may have desecrated their own graveyards in a false flag operation and it was the military's fault the Yemen raid turned out so bad. Oh ya and goodby Clean Water Act.

© Blueheronblast 2017

Hillsborough time

Compared To What

Falcons and cranes revisited

I learned an excellent new sharpening masking technique from a man on the internet named Bill Ferris recently and decided to take another crack at a few shots.



Sandhill Cranes
perfect flying machine
Peregrines over Torrey Pines

Monday, February 27, 2017

Blast birthday

I stopped by and let the manager at Pala Mesa Resort know that a few of us might be stopping by for drinks this Friday night but that I didn't know how many.

Happy hour ends at 6 so if you are coming you might want to get there at 5:30. Probably will order some food too. Hopefully it will be warm and dry and we can hang out on the patio and chill. Hope to see you all there.

Valley of fire with medial ridge

Who knew these things were this heavy?

Twilight - Shawn Colvin

From Hanna - Trump sandwich

Forgive them father for their slings and taunts sting me like termites and splinters

Peaches En Regalia

You can never leave.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get off certain social media websites? I thought Facebook was tough but DPReview, owned by Amazon, appears to take the cake. I have posted over three public and private requests to have my account deleted, still to no avail.

What is DPReview and why did I want to jump ship? Digital Photography Review is a place where photographers come to talk about digital photography and only digital photography. I tried to start a discourse about film once and I was quickly squashed. It is a place where gear heads meet to engage in endless photographic minutia and indulge in public wistfulness regarding new cameras that they mistakenly think will make them better photographers.

There are good photographers on the site and some not so good. At times I got valuable information on using my equipment and I used it as a forum to post and view my and others people's work. But I wasted too much time there.

And I ran into problems with the moderators, on at least three occasions. With their censorship. The first guy, Kerry Pierce, decided I had taken too long talking about a subject and closed me off a thread. The second two incidents were when I had photographs deleted for political content.

The first censored shot was a picture of Donald Trump in a Russian military uniform that I composed that ran afoul of the gendarmes. Can't find a copy but it seemed pretty innocuous to me.  It was pulled with a little written slap about not offending the right wingers on the site. The second shot was this one that I took at the Women's March with my cell phone.

Whether or not you agree with the sentiment of the shot, I thought it was interesting, both graphically and topically.

Many people do feel in agreement with the message and I am sure if it was more pro Trump it would have been clear sailing. Or a picture of someone's cute cat.

Anyway I have always had a problem with censorship. I grew up in an intellectual home with copies of Ramparts, Evergreen and Insect Fear on the coffee table. Never much liked being told how to think or speak and certainly have issues with authority.

I was suspended from the eighth grade for two weeks for the first underground comic I drew and published, it was called Duckfat. My mistake was having a professor unknowingly mimeo the thing on a school machine and he got in a little hot water. Sorry George!

Anyhow you are supposed to be able to private message the administrators and get deleted but you don't. I tried it three times. Mako told me he could ban me if I liked but that sounded rather punitive and in my mind I had done nothing wrong.

I tried the PM tack. Several times. Finally got this message.

Kind of strange that they basically ask you to break the rules and be an asshole if you want to split but hey. So I wrote my Dear John post, thanked everybody for a good time and than closed with something like "Adios Motherfuckers."

That post was deleted. It was at that point that Mako wrote me a note saying that the Admin message was a fraud. I have my doubts that it was really hacked, prefer to think some helpful admin actually knew the rules of the road. Because the truth is that my name is still on the site, not deleted as I had requested and was told would happen and will probably be there for eternity. Maybe it is bad for business for readers to see that people have left the site.

But at my age I am not going to put up with people telling me what to think, post or say, especially when it is non sexual or offensive political content. Find it strange when a public website tries to shield its readership from dissent. The freedom of association is important to me as is the freedom to dis associate. So in the spirit of photographic collegiality, DPReview, please go fuck yourselves.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

War Movie


People with brains and pulses must surely find it difficult not to recognize the surreal quality of today's chaotic events.

Alternative facts, fake news, media blacklists, idealogical tests at the border (many people entering the country, after surrendering their social media passwords, have reportedly been asked what they think of President Trump and also the religion they practice as a requisite for entering) dark skinned Indians being shot in Kansas after being mistaken for Muslim arabs. Hard to dream this shit up. Where did our country go?

We have passed into a dystopian netherland that echoes our darkest history and the wildest science fiction.

Steve Bannon seems to have scripted the current narrative, very deftly too. He appears to be quite pleased with how things are going by all accounts, an end run and final destruction of what he calls the "administrative state." Whatever the fuck that means.

"Trump’s cabinet was selected for a reason, and that is the ‘deconstruction of the administrative state.’"Steve Bannon

He of course has Palantir and the data miners on his side, the racist alt-right, an obeisant Republican Congress, and a witless dupe he controls at the helm, along with a co-opted DHS and FBI that bring back memories of the Stasi and Vichi, if not Sicherheitspolizei.

Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007)
People have of course been talking about Orwell and Huxley and their presage of the present.

My brain keeps coming back to a wonderful set of books I haven't read in at least thirty or forty years, the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert's Shea and Anton Wilson and the subsequent Schrodinger's Cat and Cosmic Trigger. Stuff I read stoned in college. Strange, often fractured but brilliant.

I believe there was a malefic discordian character in the Bavarian conspiracy called Hassan a Sabbah that I recall fitting Bannon to a tee. The new eris stocracy. I think that the somewhat disjointed story is popping right up through my subconscious and shouting read me again. Perhaps I can find a clue in the wreckage?

Wilson was such an interesting fellow. I was hanging around Berkeley around the time his beloved daughter Luna was killed in 1976. Bob was an  early advocate of cryonics, she was the first person to have her brain preserved. He was a genius on the level of Phil Dick, a literary father and predecessor of Gibson and Stevenson.

I do think it is time to reread the books, at least before they immanentize the eschaton. Could we be seeing the public face of a right wing occult conspiracy? Would anyone have given them a chance of making it this far?

Do you remember the movie The Emerald Forest? There was an ancient sage in the jungle in the movie that said something that stuck with me, that when the your dreams and visions start materializing, it is not a good thing, in fact it means that it is time to start running...

Rod Steiger - The illustrated man

Friday, February 24, 2017

Drakes Supermarkets Opera Flash Mob

Somebody put something In my drink

Confederacy of Stoopid

Conservatives refuse to believe Trump's travel is costing more than Obama's.

According to the Washington Post, Trump’s three trips to Mar-a-Lago have already cost a combined $10 million — compared with Obama’s average annual travel budget of $12 million. The Post reported that the first family’s “unusually elaborate lifestyle” poses massive new logistical hurdles, creating new strains on the Secret Service that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Trump said this morning that Obamacare really covers very few people. That is crap. An estimated 20 million newly insured through the program, a slight majority through its expanded medicaid provision. But don't worry about it Donald, your koolaid drinking sycophants will drink up whatever lying swill you dish up without missing a beat.

I saw some blast readers at breakfast yesterday and they said that I had been rather restrained of late, basically accused me of laying off.  Now of course everybody is entitled to their opinion but I don't think that I have been pulling my punches, just picking my spots.

You scream all the time your voice gets hoarse and shrill. I have been yelling a long time and would rather take pictures of birds and meadows at the moment. Not my job to comment on every burp and flatulation from the Trump administration, feel free. Enjoy the revolution, it's your turn.

And they believed us when we told them that they would keep their insurance coverage!

What was that Bernard Shaw quote about not wrestling with pigs because you only get dirty and they like it. When you are subjected to a guy who only knows one reaction and that is to punch back hard , I think that the smart thing it to not follow his lead. People tire of that sort of thing very quickly and the neanderthals eventually do have to slink back into the swamp.

Don't believe everything you dream.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mezz Mezzrow - Mineur Avec Un Pont

Weed Follies

From the sounds of Sean Spicer at the Presidential Press Conference today, looks like a Federal pot crackdown might be just around the corner. It has long been known that Attorney General Sessions has a real hard on for the viper weed.
“There’s a big difference between [medical marijuana] and recreational marijuana and I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be encouraging people ― there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature,” Spicer said.
When asked if the federal government will take action around recreational marijuana, Spicer said, “That’s a question for the Department of Justice. I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it. Recreational use ... is something the Department of Justice will be looking into.”
It's a little funny for me because I told a lot of people this was coming and they said no way. Couldn't happen. People wouldn't stand for it. I know Republican pot growers who love Trump, who voted for Trump, as well as some dyed in the wool GOP conservative blunt smokers and frankly wonder how their political opinions will shift when facing jail time.

Going down the road feeling bad

Immorally speaking

Jon sent over this article on 4chan. Quite interesting. Here's another article on the topic. I'm always the last guy to hear about this stuff.

And how about that travel ban? You read this one at HuffPo?
There have been zero fatal terror attacks on U.S. soil since 1975 by immigrants from the seven Muslim-majority countries President Donald Trump targeted with immigration bans on Friday, further highlighting the needlessness and cruelty of the president’s executive order.
Between 1975 and 2015, foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen killed exactly zero Americans on U.S. soil, according to an analysis of terror attacks by the Cato Institute.   
Moreover, a report released this week shows that Muslim Americans with family backgrounds in those seven countries have killed no Americans over the last 15 years.
Cato is a right wing libertarian institute so spare me the "fake liberal news" bullshit if you will. Here's a good paragraph:
In addition to the visa restrictions above, Trump’s executive order further cuts the refugee program to 50,000 annually, indefinitely blocks all refugees from Syria, and suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days.  This is a response to a phantom menace.  From 1975 to the end of 2015, 20 refugees have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all in the 1970s.  Zero Americans have been killed by Syrian refugees in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  The annual chance of an American dying in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is one in 3.6 billion.  The other 17 convictions have mainly been for aiding or attempting to join foreign terrorists. President Trump tweeted earlier this week that executive orders were intended to improve national security by reducing the terrorist threat.  However, a rational evaluation of national security threats is not the basis for Trump’s orders, as the risk is fairly small but the cost is great. The measures taken here will have virtually no effect on improving U.S. national security. 
The fact is that the native born are far more likely to commit a crime than are refugees. Don't believe me, look it up.

Fairness vs. Sacredness. I was talking to my right wing conservative friend at length this week and we figured out that the whole thing boiled down to one issue for he and I, we were on opposite sides of abortion, me being pro-choice and he pro life. That is the current demarcation line it all revolves around and I don't think it is just us two people.

Social and cultural psychologists have long posited that conservatives tend to favor moral arguments of a sacred nature while liberals look at the underlying issues of fairness. This has been codified as the Moral Foundations Theory. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago came up with a study that suggests that the two sides occasionally flip positions.
“This study suggests that liberals and conservatives are more alike in their moral functioning than previously thought,” says Matt Motyl, UIC assistant professor of psychology and corresponding author on the study, which was published Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy.
Moral justification can be divided into five different categories, according to previous research: care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and sanctity. Liberals tend to rely more on fairness arguments, while conservatives tend to rely more on sanctity.
In these studies, researchers found that liberals supported same-sex marriage due to concerns about fairness, while conservatives opposed it due to concerns about violating the sanctity of marriage. But when it came to the oil pipeline, liberals felt it violated the sacredness of nature, while conservatives considered it a matter of fairness in business. (Neither side used explicitly sacred language in describing the pipeline issue, but a data analysis of responses showed that liberals were most concerned about the pipeline desecrating nature.)
“The [findings] are the first, to our knowledge, to show that liberals can base their moral opinions on sanctity more than conservatives do when voicing opinions about culture-war issues,” according to the study’s authors.
I took the moral foundations test today and was shocked to find out that I was even farther left than the average liberal. Egads.

I spent a weekend or two recently reading the Book of Numbers in my hotel. I was bored. God at one point told the Hebrews to kill every last  Midianite or Amalekite, I forget now, even the male children, but to spare the young virgin women. When god speaks you are supposed to listen or face all sorts or wrath. Hey Abraham almost killed his own kid. Not me, man.

I would go to hell. I couldn't kill a young kid. Because it seems real unfair. No matter what the big guy supposedly said. But people slavishly dedicated to the sacred law could probably pull the trigger. So I think this is not any new divide that we are facing.

Are you beholden to what you perceive in your head as a law or to what you feel in your heart?

Jung would probably see the whole conundrum as a battle between the patriarchal and matriarchal archetype. Mother Earth or Father Sun.

Someone posted this on Google+ today. A bit harsh but certainly thought provoking.

White line fever

I'd Love to Change the World

Blast birthday

I did a quick check this morning and as I suspected, the Blue Heron Blast is quickly approaching its tenth birthday on March third.

Close to seven thousand posts, millions of views, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your faithful readership. This thing now seems to move along with its own momentum, has taken on a life of its own.

And I also miss those of you who have decided to step away, Randy W., Grumpy, Window Dancer, MMWB, among others, I thank you sincerely for your past patronage and repartee.

The third is a Friday. I think that I will ensconce myself on a barstool at the Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook around six o'clock that night. Although I'm not much of a drinker, let's tip a few that night. If no one shows up I will be drinking alone until eight and that is okay too. This is for the locals, please don't put yourself out and make a special trip. By the way, got my first reader that I recall from Yerevan today, it's in Armenia, I had to look it up. Welcome. ողջույն

Goes without saying that all political, sexual and gender orientations are welcome including the confused and obscured.

Let's get one thing straight. It's strictly dutch, sorry, I ain't buying drinks for the whole bar but I do invite everybody who reads the blog to make a time of it and celebrate ten years, including especially the lurkers. Make yourselves known! Did this once before and I was shocked at who's actually reading the thing. Will see if anyone shows this time.

Thanks to all of you fellow passengers for the read and support!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Which Side Are You On?

Making America great again?

Michele Permberton : Indy Star

The new head of the EPA talks about how jobs and a clean environment are not mutually exclusive. The people in East Chicago, Indiana who are suffering from lead and arsenic contamination from an abandoned superfund site, might beg to differ. I have read several interesting articles of late on how the ex governor, now the Vice President, Mike Pence, basically left this city to rot. Read Pence hosed East Chicago on his way to Washington.
Saying East Chicago already was getting enough help, the former GOP governor rejected Mayor Anthony Copeland's request for a federal disaster declaration to aid families caught in the quagmire of a lead and arsenic contamination nightmare. About 1,000 residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex found out last summer the ground under their public housing project was laced with a toxic stew of lead and arsenic stemming from manufacturing operations decades ago.Environmental studies of the West Calumet area first began in 1985, and it became part of the USS Lead Superfund site in 2008. Indiana entered into a federal consent decree in 2014, but Copeland said the city was not a party to the decree. State environmental officials apparently didn't consider warning local officials about the toxins that residents lived near...Meanwhile, Trump has cast a cloud of doubt over cleanup efforts in East Chicago. Last week, he issued an order suspending all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency activities, and it's unclear whether that will suspend efforts in East Chicago. Cleanup work ended in December with more than 600 homes still in need of remediation. Work is expected to resume in the spring, but Trump's order provides new concern for residents who may not agree he's "making America great again," let alone East Chicago.
Is it elitist to want your rivers blue?
Exposure to lead causes lowered i.q's and learning disabilities. The idea of leaving environmental regulations to the states is simply ludicrous. I have written previously about the lack of regulations in states like North Dakota and Wyoming.

What happens if one state's toxic cloud visits its neighbor? Is it every state for their self? Without a strong Federal watchdog, I think that it bodes disaster for our country. And after reading the EPA Director's emails it is obvious that Pruitt gets his marching orders straight from the polluters.
Pruitt made his name suing the EPA 13 times, repeatedly joining oil, gas and coal players ― including Oklahoma Gas & Electric and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, an industry-backed group ― in filing lawsuits to stop federal regulations. Pruitt championed the rights of Exxon Mobil Corp. in investigations into whether the oil giant committed fraud by covering up evidence that burning fossil fuels changes the climate. During his confirmation hearing, he claimed he was unsure how much lead was safe for humans to consume. Between 2002 and 2016, he received more than $300,000 in donations from the fossil fuel industry, and even more money went to a political action committee and a super PAC that paid for the former Oklahoma attorney general’s trips to Hawaii and New Orleans.
One would have hoped better from Pruitt and from Mike Pence, the man next in line to inherit a presidency. How many more Flints and East Chicago's will arise in the next four years?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where have all the good times gone?

Bring it

It was supposed to be so easy. The Repubs have been gnashing their teeth since 2010, over a hundred House resolutions to repeal the ACA since it came into effect. They knew better!  One would have thought it would be kaput by now with the conservatives controlling the Congress and the Executive Branch and soon the Supreme Court.

Repeal and replace, remember? What the hell is taking you guys so long? Afraid to tell the 22 million newly insured sayonara? Face it, you will probably never hold all the cards and power you hold at present. If it was so terrible and beyond fixing, let's see what you geniuses have got? How hard can it be?

Let me stand...next to your fire.

Larry Coryell R.I.P.

Utah landscape with deer

The Art Game

Vendor booth - Art Palm Springs 2017

Ray Barretto - Quitate La Mascara

Tears of a Clown

I am back, quite sore and tired, from a successful show in Palm Springs. Thought it would be a three day affair but it turned out to be a rare four day show, including Monday, which meant five days away. I'm whipped but feeling pretty good but about it, with the exception of an aching back, knees, feet and a few other places I will do you the favor of not mentioning.

I do the show with a good friend who happens to be a conservative republican so it gives me a good opportunity to get an alternate perspective on things. We talked a lot.

It is funny but the present state of things is like some surreal nightmare I have been warning of like some Cassandra for the last nine years and now that it has happened I have sort of lost interest. The GOP dog caught the ice cream truck, do with it what you will and I will watch the show and hopefully manage a laugh or two. Everybody gets what they deserve.

Unless of course you are an undocumented kid who has been here since you were two and you get thrown over the fence into some strange country that you have absolutely no connection with and no support system. You probably don't deserve that so much but what's the old saying? It sucks to be you. Blame your parents.

Mel Brooks probably had the best perspective on Trump I have read. He said that he was a "song and dance" man. And I think that I understand and concur.  Donald Trump is not an evil man. He is neither Nixon or Hitler. He is a song and dance man, a guy who is enchanted by his own spiel and unfortunately not nearly as intelligent as he thinks he is.

These kind of guys make great businessmen, charming, back slapping and incredibly motivating. They are fire starters. They just happen to be often full of shit, fast and loose with the truth, because in business you just have to be somewhat close to the target to be effective. When you are President, a different kind of verbal precision is required. They are masters at creating enthusiasm. But binary in a way, if you help them you are the best guy in the world but god help you if they get crossways or they decide not to pay you.

I thought that it was interesting that Kellyanne Conway said that we should pay less attention to what he said and more to what was in his heart. I think she was being genuine. And that stuff about the things that he said that were actually true being more important than the stuff he got wrong. He has never had to stick to the facts before, give him a break.

In truth I think the guy has an incredible need to be liked. He himself says that he can't believe the level of hatred against him. I think he wants to be respected and wants to be acknowledged as a great President. His ego will accept no less.

But his actions and positions have unfortunately not bridged the divide in this country, in fact they have increased the polarization to a great degree and caused him to have the lowest poll numbers ever received for an inchoate presidency. Not getting a lot of new recruits. He is instead becoming a laughing stock and that might prove tragic for our world in the long run. Imagine a pissed off man with his finger on the nuclear trigger, who doesn't much like being laughed at.

I couldn't believe the words coming out of the mouths of rock ribbed conservatives this weekend who are both embarrassed and becoming radicalized against Donald Trump. For a non idealogical guy he has certainly tacked to the extreme right.  And I don't think he is really capable of pivoting because it would be an acknowledgement that he is on the wrong path and his type just never can.

John Wayne Gacy
I was thinking about Mel Brooks's line and musing to myself that a song and dance man isn't much different than a clown or comedian. Comedy is as you know, often rooted in pain and tragedy.

And everybody knows that there is nothing worse than a clown that goes off the tracks, the scary homicidal clown.

We have Donald Trump for at least the next four years, I hope that we are spared seeing a truly vicious Trump and can eventually find a guy who will work with people that he might not necessarily agree for the betterment of America but I ain't exactly holding my breath.

Wasn't there supposed to be some big fight behind the barn between Joe Biden and Trump? I remember Joe suggest it and Trump said to bring it on. Pay per view, I would pay to see it. Would put my money on Trump who was supposed to be quite the bully and thumper in high school. Linda McMahon should make it happen...