Blue Heron in flight

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Susan Combs

New fox guarding the chicken coop. I loathe these people. And here and here.

And now also the EPA is set to roll back air pollution and mileage requirements for automobiles.

Willie and the hand jive

Happy Happy

Sacrada Familia - Barcelona

I got some mild food poisoning last night somewhere along the way. We went to see the Tubes in San Juan Capistrano after a fairly grueling day and I think I ate the wrong carne asada en route. The only thing I could think of eating was matzoh for my upset stomach this morning. And I had a thought, wow, this is passover, the whole tribe is eating matzoh, what a simple serendipitous twist of fate! I really felt jewish for a second.

Wishing all of my mishpucha a happy Passover and all my christian brethren the best of Easters. You zen people get nothing because isn't that what you really want anyway?

What do you want from life?

Leslie wanted to see one of her faves last night, The Tubes. They were playing up at the Coach House, show started at eight. It was a very long and busy day but I had told her I would go and I did my best not to be a whiney pill about anything. You will have to ask her if I was successful or not but I think I did pretty well. As you married folks know, it is all about being fair. She or he does what you want to do, you occasionally do what they want to do. Capiche?

What they didn't tell us was that there were two other bands, a decent local band whose name escapes me and a hard rocker called Liquid Circus. Man did they have a drummer, Mick Thomas, guy wails like Carl Palmer on steroids. But things got pretty late for an old timer like me and 99 percent of the rest of the people that were there.

Tubes were alright. She has seen them a bunch, it was my first time. Honestly I appreciate Fee, it was quite theatrical, but there was no place for improvisation and it bored me a bit. Now one of my very favorite bands is Devo and they don't really improvise either so please forgive me if I can't explain my inner discrepancy.

Fun, aok, had a good time but only need to see it once.

A blog can not march on an empty stomach. I forgot that last week we went to my favorite rustic Italian joint, Davanti Enoteca, for brunch with our friend's Don and Dianna, who don't get out much.

We ordered four appetizers including amazing meatballs and two salads. I had the pork belly hash and eggs which you see to your left here. And of course we consumed the phenomenal focaccia with ligurian cheese and raw honeycomb which I have drooled over previously on these pages.

Leslie had the orachiette with lamb, incredible.

Don ordered the ragu and polenta which they make at your table. Divine.

Their polenta is so fine.

Plus it is the best bloody mary bar I have ever frequented, although it has been somewhat scaled down from past glory.

We enjoyed the people at the neighboring table like this gent.

Do you notice how well he matches Leslie's hair?

The thing about Davanti Enoteca in Del Mar is I always want to come back. Not pretentious, not terribly expensive, always plain delicious. Everything.

To burn or not to burn, that is the question?

I am trying to slowly tidy up my office (don't laugh) and I keep bumping into this large valise of old photographs.

Some good, some not so good, they represent a good portion of my arc as a photographer.

I can't afford reframing so I pop old shots out and stick new ones in when I have a show, which in itself is expensive with the cost of matting.

Anyway the question is; what to do? Keep, give away or throw in the trash?

With 8 terrabyte hard drives supposedly keeping one's work extant for perpetuity or at least until the next hard drive failure, is the notion of tangible media now antiquated and a thing of the past? 7152 written posts including all my short stories with no back up. Sayonara?

Many artists have burnt their work, Baldessari and my late friend Rick Griffin being two of them. Kafka, Nabokov, Monet, Beardsley, Francis Bacon, the list is long indeed. And laudable in a strange way. I can't forget something Jerry Garcia said in a Rolling Stone interview in 1993, his wish for his artistic memory to slowly fade into dust.

I'm not putting my work at these guy's level, most of it is admittedly shit. The question is, is it worth keeping?

*anybody need a souvenir?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Prison house of its garments

I am sure that at least some of you have heard the name Havelock Ellis (1859-1939). He was a father of modern psychiatry, preceded Freud in exploring some key concepts. A doctor, he also did seminal research on human sexuality.

He was also a racist to some degree, like Churchill and Kipling and many other British men of his generation as well as a proponent of eugenics.

With the proviso that nobody is perfect, Ellis is really an interesting writer. He was one of the first westerners in the modern era to experiment with mescaline, eating peyote in an 1986 1896 self experiment.

I was at my friend's house the other day and pulled out a volume of the three volume 1924 Ellis tome Impressions and comments from his late father's library.

I did a zen blind opening and landed on this paragraph on page 25.
In an age when savagery has passed and civilization has not arrived, it is only by stealth, at rare moments, that the human form may emerge from the prison house of its garments, it is only from afar that the radiance of its beauty—if beauty is still left to it—may faintly flash before us.
Among pseudo-Christian barbarians, as Heine described them, the Olympian deities still wander homelessly, scarce emerging from beneath obscure disguises, and half ashamed of their own divinity.

Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Buddy Guy - Watermelon Man

Sunset, Portuguese Bend

Leslie and I had a very pleasant evening exploring our friends' Leven and Bethany's ancestral homeland up the coast.

He grew up in a Lloyd Wright designed home near the Wayfarer's Chapel, which we also visited. Then dinner in San Pedro where I supped on sand dabs. Nice evening.

Bye Bye feedjit.

Blogger asked me if I wished to change the site to an HTTPS version this morning which would be less apt to be attacked or susceptible to malicious malware. I just realized that one of the collateral casualties for the migration is that the app that tells me where people are tuning in from is now disabled.

It has been great fun to see the blog read from Ulaanbaatar to Zanzibar and I have developed a psychic connection with my faithful readers from these far off lands. I will miss seeing you log on. Rest assured that I will always be here and connected to you.

We will see what happens. If anything I am getting more spam now. Perhaps I will change back. (if possible)

Bottle and jars

My eyes are always on the lookout for interesting light, shadow, shapes and color, regardless of setting or place. I caught the lovely light and hue of these old bottles while walking through the Long Beach Flea Market recently. I like the natural highlight on the tall amber bottle.

White House Blues

Limited palette

This has been a rather strange year in Fallbrook, botanically speaking anyway.

After last year's incredible Southern California superbloom, wildflowers are rather sparse.

We received some extreme cold here recently, which did a number on a lot of things, I lost plants that I never lose.

Even the native sumac is burnt or dying from frost damage. Thirty eight years here, I have never seen that before. In fact, weird to think that a local scrub that has withstood centuries if not millenia can be so affected.

A farmer neighbor says that sumac damage is like a canary in a coal mine for him, an indicator warning that things are getting to old.

My other farmer friend thinks that the cold may have weakened the plants and allowed them to get stressed and infected by something. I don't know, outside of my pay grade. But it is certainly unusual.

We have had the thermometer drop  to 11º in our river valley before, protracted periods around 14º f in the early morning hours. Not sure how cold it got this year but I think it is the timing of the cold that has hurt the flowers. Odd microclime, there are many areas of Fallbrook that never drop below 32 º.

I have seen years where the frost was so bad and the avocados were hit so hard that you would swear that they could never come back but they do. Thankfully, nature is resilient.

Had a tree trimmer take a bunch of dead wood off a big and old coastal live oak in my yard. Which was a support for a lot of my beautiful purple wisteria. So we aren't going to be getting a bunch of blooms there either.

Remember I planted the four hundred gladiolus last year? Looks like about half are coming back up. Not sure if it is the gophers or what. Will try to not cut off too many of the remaining survivors when I fire up the weed eater this afternoon.

Thankfully all is not grim news, the ceanothus is blooming again, giving the hills of my section of the citrus belt the wonderful characteristic purple color we get every month.

The echiums are also starting to bloom, well, everyone else's, mine will be a little late as usual.

It will be a good year, if a bit subdued.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Two timer

I have been hip deep in Facebook. I feel like I am confessing to some gross indiscretion or infidelity. I am sorry Blast, I know we have been through so much together! It is just that I posted one New Mexico lightning shot that you barely turned an eye towards and got over seven hundred likes in one day. Facebook laughs at my jokes, likes my photography, you know...

Facebook still thinks I am cute and well, I get the feeling you think my act is rather tired. But don't worry, I'm getting my ass off of there just as soon as I get the information I need from the asian antique sites.

I know my limitations and I am far too obsessive and indulgent to think that I have the self restraint to lay off that high octane dopamine pump. Besides, we have far too much history together to chuck the whole thing now. Sure, she's cute, but you've been there for me through the good times and bad times and... hold on a second, I think I just got a zuckerberg. Gotta go.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hopelessly human

Farm to Frame

Last night I went to the reception of Farm to Frame, a group art show at the Fallbrook Library.

The show was the brainchild of my friend Carol Zaleski.

I had various people coming up to me the last several days telling me how much they liked my submissions for the show.

This was reassuring because I never quite felt sure that I had nailed the show properly.

It was a nice reception. People had a chance to talk about their work. It was well attended.

Some excellent artists exhibited, I was the lone photographer.

Carol had told me that my work was not quite edgy enough so I put this assemblage piece in called Meat, first applying pasty stars that I bought at the Dollar Tree over Carol Doda's nipples.

My photograph is a riff on the selling of sex as a commodity like meat and sausage in our world.

I didn't think that the puritans would allow it to hang but they did.

The woman next to my artwork went to Berkeley and actually knew Carol Doda.

I got one of the best compliments I have ever received about my work last night, from Noreen.

She said that a lot of people made paintings that looked like photographs, a process she abhors, but that my photos look like paintings and she loves them.

Thank you Noreen!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Sorry I missed it.

My sweet wife Leslie said that she saw the most beautiful double rainbow she had ever seen in her life over our ranch yesterday. She snapped a shot with her cell phone and shared it with me.

The rains have really been pushing the weeds but I am going to wait for it to stop before I mount any sort of defensive strike.

Bonnie Raitt

My friend Melissa Rossi sent me a note and a sound file from Oakland. She saw Bonnie Raitt at an East Bay benefit a few nights ago. At the end of the show, Bonnie thanked the crowd for not waving phones in her face the entire night and told them to feel free to break them out for the encore if they so desired. She did.

How cool is that? Bonnie is so great.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Obey Giant

© Ben Gabbe
Several people suggested I watch ugly delicious the hip, new, no holds barred, foodie show. I watched the first episode on Netflix the other night, Chang's attitude left me a bit cold. Chef's sure like to curse a lot, every other word was fuck. My brother, the late chef, was the same way.

But the Korean born chef's profanity didn't bother me, he just seemed like an a-hole. Loved when the pizza guy from Brooklyn threatened to kick his ass if he ever had Dominos delivered to his place again. I never ate at Momofuko, so I can't judge his food, people I respect certainly love it. Will try to watch it again.

© Shepard Fairey
I did watch Obey Giant, the Shepard Fairey documentary, on Hulu last night. It leads to all sorts of interesting discussions about where artists and photographers rights begin and end when appropriating material from each other, if a "transformation" abrogates the rights of the original creator?

The 2017 film gives you a good look at a guy who I think is a really talented artist, a guy whose work is revolutionary and who never really left the street.

But it also leads to more legitimate discussions about your right to plaster your broadsides on my building without my permission and if there is a public virtue that outweighs private property rights.

Guy has gone to jail a lot for his art. He is very likable. I ended up really pulling for the guy.

Definitely give it a watch if you are interested in this sort of thing.

Tom Paxton

Morbid machina

One of Toyota's self driving cars killed a woman in Tempe the other day while in autonomous mode, a terrible tragedy. She was walking her bicycle and the car evidently failed to see or recognize her, the attendant driver in the car also unfortunately did not react.

The car was part of what was known as the "Chauffer" program and had a connection to Uber. Toyota is now shutting down the entire program. In explaining the cessation, a spokesman is quoted as saying "We feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers."

I am not making light but can't help but thinking of my literary deity and mentor Roger Zelazny. He wrote many stories where the computer gets a little too human and gets pissed off, starts taking matters into its own resistors and finally goes after its human cohorts.

Offhand Last of the Wild Ones and Our Lady of the Diodes in the Unicorn Variations come to mind, both stories where miffed technology seeks the ultimate revenge.

So in the spirit of Roger I have to ask; could the action have been premeditated? Now having feasted on humans, will the car have the desire to kill again? Is this the start of the Human/ Droid wars and do we really stand a chance against such an opponent?

People talk about robots fighting our battles for us in the future, isn't it merely a matter of time before they turn those very same guns on us?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ofra Haza


Leslie and I got up very early in the morning yesterday and traveled to the Long Beach Flea Market to meet some friends and walk around. I bought a print, a nice piece of Fulper and a couple paintings, including this gem by one Albert R. Acott.

The subject of course, is the Encinitas landmark known as "Swami's." A gift from a disciple, Rajarsi Janakananda, the temple was designed by its founder Paramahansa Yogananda and dedicated in early 1938.

I have never seen an early painting of the Self Realization Fellowship before and this watercolor of the early North San Diego coastal icon is simply awesome. I would say early sixties if the Corvair and Falcon are any indication. Note the pristine hillside in the background.

I was told that Acott was an architect but think he might be instead a man who liked to paint temples, possibly a devotee. Found this poster by an A.R. Acott from the 1930's online. Will continue to research the man. He was definitely a very accomplished painter. I believe that he lived in Redondo Beach but as I said, I have just begun my investigation.

I took the picture behind glass so it is a bit murky. It is in the original frame. I am going to change the acid mat out and enjoy the painting immensely while I still have it. Classic North County.

Fallbrook Library Show

Egg and twine © Robert Sommers 2018
I am honored to be exhibiting a few pieces of my photography in the upcoming show "Farm to Frame" at the Fallbrook Library.

The theme is food and I submitted some fairly disparate work, didn't quite get my fingers around it but still managed to get a couple images that I am happy with.

Opening reception March 23, 6 to 8

Be nice to me or you get a slushy rain

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Tom Rush - Come See About Me

Operant conditioning

I got back on Facebook the other day after a four year break. Love hate relationship with the platform but mostly the latter.

The reason I joined up is that I have some asian antiques that I need help identifying and there are some excellent closed groups that specialize in that sort of thing.

And an awful lot of my friends and cohorts live on Facebook. Its really hard talking swahili when all your bros are speaking esperanto.

I can already hear the clock ticking but we will see. It is the only way I can communicate with some of these folks, some of whom are important to me. Third time is the charm and all that.

I had to disable the Facebook notification alert on my phone. I felt like one of Pavlov's puppies or a chimp reaching for a cigarette every time I heard that bell. Never liked feeling like I was undergoing behavior modification by my own communication devices.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Don’t get around much anymore


I ran into one of my earliest blast readers the other day and they candidly admitted that the blog is sort of birding them out. And I don't think I really need to defend my bird shots but thought I might add a bit of background and justification for my recent avian slant.

The President is an awful president and an even worse human being. A given. I think that with a couple exceptions, most Americans and certainly most of my readers can agree on that at this point. He is a liar, a manipulator, an adulterer and suffers from a major case of gross narcissism.

Vital institutions like the EPA, State Department and Education and being eviscerated are dismembered before our eyes during this inglorious reign of terror. It is like we are in the middle ages and faced with an insane king.

With a McMaster termination bubbling about, the White House now says it wants to infuse a little chaos into the mix. How do you shake something up that has always been a shaking mess since day one?

This administration is frankly tiring me out. The people that support this man no matter what tire me out as well. And I can not live in a permanent state of outrage. It is not good for my mental health to use the Blue Heron Blast as a scorecard detailing the daily sins of these horrible people. There are plenty of people doing that, if that is what you want, may I suggest Rachel Maddow?

Birds keep my blood pressure down. Try them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mike Bloomfield

I'm not sure that I have ever heard Michael play in a Travis/Hurt/Cotton "freight train" finger style before. He does it with some facility. Very cool.

White House Ruins

Set your controls for the heart of the sun

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Saccone sheared by Lamb

Eldorado Sunset and mud hole

Sisters at Qurai

Steve Howe & Annie Haslam

Pecos strike #648

Birds of Fire

The excellent Rick Laird on bass, an Irishman who had previously worked with Stan Getz and Wes Montgomery, among others.

Boom Boom Bench

Fallbrook/Rainbow sculptor and artist Michael Stutz has been very busy of late, securing and placing public monument work across the country.

This is the Chattanooga born artist himself on a wonderful modern bench he recently built and installed in Laguna Beach. Looks a bit like a moebius strip integrated into a stylized wave form.

I think that it is a pretty fabulous piece. A unique design, constructed with stainless steel.
The bench commemorates a famous gay club in Laguna, now closed, the Boom Boom Room. The installation was dedicated in February.

The project was funded by a local Laguna gay couple and is located above the Peace and Love Garden, where many AIDS victims ashes are scattered.

The site is located at the beach access at the End of the Mountain Rd.

Great job, Michael!