Jelly, jelly so fine

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Deep Blue

Hummingbird # 4793

Ace of Cups

Catch a wave

Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “If youth only knew and age only could.” Now in my sixth decade I think back on photographic opportunities that I unfortunately squandered in my youth and would like to have back. More knowledge now, better equipment, almost know what I am doing.


One of the first places I would revisit would be the Wave in Paria, Utah. A singularly incredible place to shoot with taffy like rock formations.

Too hot now, too far to hike, too out of shape, too hard to win the lottery to get in. One heart attack later. Not that I got horrible shots the first time but I know I could do a lot better. But we don't get that many do-overs in this life so you have to go for it out of the gate.

Harlan Ellison

Repent Harlequin, said the Tick tock man - Jim Steranko
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Harlan Ellison earlier this week. Ellison was as fine a speculative fiction writer as you could find.

I loved his collection of short stories I have no mouth and I must scream, which contained one of my favorites, Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes. Now I feel the urgent need to reread him.

Here is a snippet of his bio from Wikipedia:
Ellison was born to a Jewish family in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 27, 1934, the son of Serita (née Rosenthal) and Louis Laverne Ellison, a dentist and jeweler. His family subsequently moved to Painesville, Ohio, but returned to Cleveland in 1949, following his father's death. Ellison frequently ran away from home, taking an array of odd jobs—including, by age 18, "tuna fisherman off the coast of Galveston, itinerant crop-picker down in New Orleans, hired gun for a wealthy neurotic, nitroglycerine truck driver in North Carolina, short-order cook, cab driver, lithographer, book salesman, floorwalker in a department store, door-to-door brush salesman, and as a youngster, an actor in several productions at the Cleveland Play House".
Ellison was a prolific writer, editor and screenwriter. Works included The Deathbird Stories, the film A boy and his dog, a Star Trek episode, The city on the edge of forever, The Outer Limits, and an episode of The Flying Nun.

His works were certainly dystopian but not as gloomy as Dick or Gibson nor as lyrical and optimistic as Zelazny. Stylistically leaned more to Bradbury really and were similarly often tinged with horror. He had exceedingly high literary standards, his work was as good as they come. Thankfully his stories will survive him.

Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin'

Calling W.C. Fields

I almost never post the pictures and memes I regularly get on my cell phone but I thought this one was actually pretty funny.

Friday, June 29, 2018

merlin at twilight

Joan Baez - Seven Curses

New Math

fact check of the day - NYT

What they said:

The deficit, which was one of the other criticism (sic), is coming down, and it's coming down rapidly.

— Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, in an interview with Fox Business Network on Friday


An April report from the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal deficit will rise from $665 billion in fiscal year 2017, which ended on Sept. 30., to $804 billion during the 2018 fiscal year.

In an analysis published this week, the C.B.O. said that “deficits would rise from 3.9 percent of the gross domestic product in 2018 to 9.5 percent in 2048.” According to the agency, the tax cuts add $1.27 trillion to the deficit over the next decade — even with economic growth factored in.

Additionally, the Treasury Department reported in May that the federal deficit had reached $532 billion so far in the 2018 fiscal year, up from $385 billion in April. The deficit was larger in March ($600 billion) because the government collects taxes in April. (By comparison, the deficit had reached $433 billion in May 2017, and $344 billion in April 2017.)

And the Office of Management and Budget estimated in February that the deficit will continue to rise — from $655 billion in 2017, to $833 billion in 2018, to $984 billion in 2019.

I see a great future for Kudlow on the Trump team.

I still miss someone

Rise up.

So although a majority of americans once again voted for the Democrat in the last presidential election, we now have Republicans controlling the House, Senate, Presidency and Supreme Court.

The latter institution purports to be nonpartisan and ideologically color blind but we know what a crock that is. Seven of nine SCOTUS justices appointed by Republicans, partially thanks to some nasty McConnell gamesmanship and the conservative four vote like a block.

Funny, you will often see Kagen or Breyer vote with the majority but never the other way around.

Great article by Jonathan Chait at New York today, The Republican Court and the Era of Minority Rule. Read it. Thanks to the most consequential decision of Mitch's tenure the majority of this country is now renting and tearing their garments.

Why? Because we have been gamed.
Democrats have won the national vote in six of the last seven presidential elections, which, with the retirement of Anthony Kennedy, will have resulted in the appointment of eight of the Supreme Court’s nine justices. And yet four of those justices will have been appointed by presidents who took office despite having fewer votes than their opponent. Republicans will have increasingly solid control of the court’s majority, with the chance to replace the sometimes-wavering Kennedy with a never-wavering conservative movement stalwart.
Over the last generation, the Republican Party has moved rapidly rightward, while the center of public opinion has not. It is almost impossible to find a substantive basis in public opinion for Republican government. On health care, taxes, immigration, guns, the GOP has left America behind in its race to the far right. But the Supreme Court underscores its ability to counteract the undertow of its deepening, unpopular extremism by marshaling countermajoritiarian power.
Sorry Jonathan, but you misspelled countermajoritarian. No decent editors nowadays. I have talked about the general phenomenon before, I call it the "tyranny of the sticks." The rural areas have diluted majority power and seized the reins. It was no accident. Through redistricting and blatant gerrymanders, abetted by an ideological SCOTUS, the GOP has managed to neutralize the urban metropolis and minority voting in this country and now runs the entire show. Still don't understand how a citizen in Wyoming's vote is worth so much more than mine is. Minority rules. And they reign with a big stick.

Abolish the Electoral College for once and for all. Time for a big payback. Time to stop playing so nice. They've stolen your country. Rise up.

Let me get this straight

Free speech is apparently a one way street. A group of people pretending to be a pregnancy resource medical clinic don't have to tell a woman that they don't actually have a doctor or medical provider on staff or that she has the option of terminating her pregnancy elsewhere.

But in states like Mississippi a doctor can be forced to lie to a patient considering getting an abortion and tell her that it will increase her risk of getting breast cancer, even though medical studies show that it does not...


In order to connect with neural cortexes flying by at 85 mph, roadway signage must be distilled to the simplest and most primitive form, language and font.

Infinity goes up on trial

This is a song from one of the last performances of the Grateful Dead. Jerry would be dead exactly one month and one day later. All of his many talents, faculties, emotions and gifts seem to be operating optimally and as they should be here. It is tough for many of us deadheads to watch this later work but some of it, like this Dylan ballad, is quite beautiful and well worth listening to. Jerry even has time for a quick head scratch.

Supreme bullsh*t artist

As I recently wrote, all politicians lie, regardless of party. Obama dissembled about the Iran deal, Reagan lied, they all lie. We just expect our politicians to be better liars than this one we have now and not to get caught in them quite so easily. To have some notion of truth and hopefully at least a passing respect for it.

Trump is rewriting the rules regarding lying and prevarication. He has no apparent regard for facts or truth. The President is apparently a sociopath who lies so much and so casually that he wouldn't know the truth if it bit him on the ass. Case in point is North Korea.

He said that thousands of parents of Korean War veterans begged him to get their children's remains back. They haven't. Do you know how old they would be right now? At least one hundred years old. But then he went on the other day:
“It was the last thing I asked,” he told a gathering of Nevada Republicans on Saturday. “I said, ‘Do you mind, would I be able to get the remains back of all those great heroes from so many years ago?’ And he said, ‘I will do that.’ And you probably read, they have already done 200 people. Which is so great.”
One minor problem. We haven't as yet got any remains back. Details...

“There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” he informed us in a June 13 tweet upon his return to Washington from Singapore. He has also repeatedly stated that North Korea has begun to denuclearize. Said, mistakenly that they had torn four sites down. But they haven't, in fact they have strengthened a key nuclear site and are rapidly upgrading. A major expansion and campaign of deception reportedly from our new pal in the axis of evil.

In his Senate appearance Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged that North Korea was still, in fact, a nuclear threat. In fact the Joint Agreement doesn't say that North Korea will denuclearize, it says that it will work towards denuclearizing. There is a big difference.
“Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It shortly afterward adds a vital caveat: “The DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Such a casual respect for language and truth, the pity is how few people seem to care.

In other news, all around good guy who loves his people Kim Jong Un had a top commander executed for giving extra food to his troops.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly ordered a high ranking army officer to be executed after he was accused of giving extra food and fuel rations to troops and their families.
Daily NK reported that Hyon Ju Song, the lieutenant general of the Korean People’s Army in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, was executed by a firing squad for “charges of abusing authority and engaging in anti-Party acts.”
Hyon was reportedly a rising star in the army before his death. He served as a member of the Workers' Party of Korea's Central Committee and battalion commander under the Supreme Guard Command.
“While checking the oil supplies for the Sohae Satellite Launching Station during the comprehensive inspections of wartime supplies on April 10, Hyon stated, ‘We no longer have to suffer and tighten our belts to make rockets or nuclear weapons.’ This was seen as an abuse of authority and a treasonous statement that opposed the Party’s military-first policy,” a source told Daily NK.
President Trump announces a major expansion in U.S. steel production.

It's bullshi*t.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ghosts of electricity

Aphrodite's Child - Break

havablast shmattas

Cleaning out the back room, still have a box or two of Blue Heron Blast t-shirts left , in most sizes, black, blue or gray, buy them now for a discounted ten bucks a pop. You pay shipping too, which is not much.
So cheap you could use it to wash your car. Buy it now before I'm famous. Or infamous. Impress your friends, show them that you are part of Team Blue Heron and you're not afraid to let the whole world know.

Where the Kool Kats hang out.


Robin and Dave

I got an email from Robin Adler the other day.

My good friend, the sweetest chanteuse in Fallbrook, will be playing a free concert at the Fallbrook Library this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. with her wonderful musician husband, Dave Blackburn.

They are not going to be doing their customary Joni set, maybe a couple songs, but instead other arrangements and even some of their own material.

I have photographed Dave and Robin a bunch of times but have never quite hit it. None of us very happy frankly.

Truth is that I am a lousy concert photographer. Didn't know what I was doing at first. Don't take direction well. Want to do my own thing.  All the crosslighting and shadows and high iso, it's not easy. Still learning. Ken and Mike are great at it. Me, not so much...

Anyway I like Robin when she is going fully soulful (which she does extremely well) and she likes more sweet, pleasant shots. Happy, if you will.

This shot is a compromise. Sweet and soulful.

I really don't know any musicians personally that play with the kind of integrity of this couple. Demanding and brilliant approach. Cerebral at times.

Dave was my guitar teacher and that is probably a blemish on an otherwise superlative career in instruction but he is also a musical genius. I don't always dovetail with him in matters of taste but he is light years ahead pursuing his vision.

I once wanted to do a Pink Floyd song at practice. Dave was not a big fan, listened to the track one time, for the very first time, and played it back to me perfectly, note for note, as good if not better than David Gilmour. Child's play. Oh, to have talent like that.

They can play anything, pop, jazz, funk, rock, fusion, soul, you name it.

Hopefully see you there.

The dividing line

Most everybody has probably already seen this video of a San Bernardino woman castigating an American citizen and his mother gardening at the home next door and calling them illegals, rapists, animals and drug dealing criminals.

When you watch this video do you feel sympathy for the gardener and his mother or the woman in green? Or for neither or both parties? I won't say personally, let you guess, but I do think this is where the rubber meets the road. Welcome to Trump's America.

Hooded Orioles

I have a pair of very secretive hooded orioles that live in my phoenix reclinata palm hybrid.

I got a shot of them both yesterday on the tops of a valencia orange tree.

The male looks like he has a small injury behind his left eye.

The hooded orioles are a bit particular about their diet, they will not eat from the feeders.

They prefer insects and berries as well as oranges.

Always makes me happy to see them in the yard.

Searching for Madge


Meet Alex. A relatively new member of my coffee klatch, Alex is a very affable german who travels around town in a three wheeled slingshot.

I like Alex a lot. Very intelligent, he seems to radiate joy. Has a great laugh.

The German national football team got booted from the World Cup yesterday, by the South Koreans no less, so I spent a good part of the morning taking the piss out of him.

He knows it is all in fun and takes it with good nature.

Spends many of his weekends building habitats for poor folks in Mexico with his church.

Good guy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Battle Is Over (But The War Goes On)

We've heard this tune before.

Dorothea Lange - Oklahoma, 1936

The United Nations estimates that 18 million Americans live in extreme poverty, the Trump administration says the number is more like 250,000. Quite a difference. This article provides some clarity.
Haley called a UN report on extreme poverty in the U.S. “misleading and politically motivated.” The report, released in May and presented to the Human Rights Council this week in Geneva, found that 40 million people across the country live in poverty, while 18.5 million live in extreme poverty, and an additional 5 million in conditions of absolute poverty. The special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, called the U.S. the most unequal country in the developed world.
I found it interesting that Haley pointed to low unemployment numbers as proof that Americans are not in poverty.
In her response Thursday, Hayley contended that while “poverty is an issue the Trump administration takes very seriously,” the U.S. currently had a low rate of unemployment and “the best way to help people get out of poverty is to help them get a job.
It’s worth noting that ― even with low unemployment ― more than 40 million Americans are living in poverty, and more than 40 percent of U.S. adults don’t have $400 in savings to cover an unexpected emergency. 
What’s more, as advocates for a $15 minimum wage often note, employment alone does not eliminate poverty, if workers are not making a “living wage.” Nearly half of people on food stamps (44 percent) in 2015 in the U.S. had at least one family member who was employed. 
The U.S. economy is currently booming,” the U.N. expert said Friday. “But the question is who is benefiting.” 
This is the problem, when they talk about taking away food stamps from poor people and making them work for them; in most cases they are already working, people are employed but they can't make a living on minimum wage.

I heard the other day that as a result of the Trump tax cut American workers received approximately a 4% one time bump, the rest of the money largely going to things like stock buybacks and rich pockets. Banks made record profits, workers not so much. From Americans for Tax Fairness:
Just 4% of workers are getting one-time bonuses and/or wage increases from their employers — 6.3 million out of 147.6 million.Out of 26 million U.S. businesses, just 383 are providing one-time bonuses and/or wage hikes to their workers for which the cost is able to be estimated.Corporations are getting 9 times as much in tax cuts as they are giving to workers in one-time bonuses and in wage hikes — $60.8 billion vs. $6.5 billion.Corporations are spending 37 times as much on stock buybacks, which mostly benefit CEOs and wealthy investors, as they are spending on workers’ bonuses and wages — $238 billion vs. $6.5 billion.


Get well.

Many of our friends going through major medical issues right now, Bruce, Melissa, John C, Big D, Kim, B and more. Guess we are getting near that age. Wishing everybody the best. You were there for me, we want to be there for you too. Just let us know what we can do to help.

In my room

Moonrise above the yucca.

I went back to the neighbors yesterday evening to try to get some better pictures of the cooper's hawks. Unfortunately, they were playing coy and made themselves scarce.

The near full moon is always cooperative.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Police & Thieves

Who shall we ban tomorrow?


Vlad asked me to write something hard hitting and pithy but I am afraid that I am just not feeling it yet. More like a random assortment of non sequiturs and mumbo jumbo coursing through the brain today. Had a dream last night that I was on the top of a mountain with a hippie or maybe native american group. Very tribal in either case. Somebody rolled a large elliptical rock off the side of the cliff. I mentioned somberly that when you drop such a rock, one must take responsibility for where it lands and who it falls on. If Nelson, I mean Grumpy, was still around he could tell me what it all means, he used to regularly explain my dreams on this forum but he has been gone for a very long time. Is he still alive? Lot of old people I miss, Window Washer, Randy, even Uncle Rufus, who left in a huff and a snit. Anyhow politics is quickly becoming a no fun blood sport, our fearless leader would have us believe that hispanics are rapists, blacks are low i.q., orientals are obnoxious, and if you happen to also be a woman coupled with any of the aforementioned, watch out! You know who is going to sick the brown shirted minions on you. He really seems to enjoy targeting women. Womp womp. Not sure if we are on the eve of the holocaust or the civil war but the lines are clearly drawn. Outrage machines on both sides will be operating at full tilt until the midterms, wouldn't blame anybody for switching the channel or spending more time in the garden away from their favored information messenger. Why does every nursery have to have a metal tyrannosaurus sculpture these days? Getting very cheesy but everything is cheesy, from your vinyl fencing to your Kardashians to your polyester clothing to the stupid stick figure family on the back of your suburban. We need to get lean and mean and start the troops drilling for the eventual invasion of Canada. Get our national mojo back and don't stop until we plant our flag back in Nova Scotia, where President Monroe always thought it should be. Free the smoked salmon... Ultra Orthodox jews close their eyes when they fly El Al and won't sit or look at women. They could teach Mike Pence a thing or two about whacked out religiosity. Remember two weeks ago, the dems had peeled off a bunch of gop votes to vote on a DACA and immigration bill and Paul Ryan said no wait, don't do that, we will have our own bill, wait, make that two bills which both failed miserably when Trump tweetpedoed them in the womb and then they have the nerve to say that dems wont work with them in a bipartisan fashion. Have we ever had worse, more partisan a-holes at the helm than Ryan and McConnell, ever? And now SCOTUS has given the states carte blanche to smite the incoming moslem hordes and rig the gerrymandered districts and it is up to the challengers to prove their incontrovertible bad faith. Is this a horrible reality t.v. show or a bad national p.c.p. trip? Mommy I'm scared I had the worst dream, oh no mommy, you mean it is real? Arggh!

Eric Clapton - Stone Free

Cooper's Hawks

Lev and Beth called yesterday and said that I should come over, that they had some crazy raptors squawking up a storm in their avo grove. I stopped by on the way home, had a decent zoom lens in the car, and had a look. The birds were so small and so fast that at first I thought they might be merlins.

A look at the pics this morning confirmed that they were hawks and not falcons by their wing shape, but which hawk? My shots were not really good but it was the best I could do in the circumstances. I plan on going back and getting better pictures.

I sent pics and a note to a few birder experts and got a message back from the esteemed birder Gary Nunn in San Diego:
Dear Gary - Friends of mine in Fallbrook (where I live) said they had some small raptors flying around like crazy yesterday in their avocado grove, squawking up a storm. There are two adults present and several juveniles.I went over with my camera and at first thought they were merlins because of their diminutive size but now see that they are hawks from their wing shape. But which hawks? I can't really determine eye color from these pictures. Neither of the adult birds looked like mature coopers with the typical barring on the underside. Could these be sharp shinned? They were very small comparatively, extremely fast. I am going to go back with my better lens and try to get shots tomorrow.
Robert Sommers Fallbrook, CA 
Gary Nunn 9:50 AM (15 minutes ago) to me Hi Robert,
Thanks for the nice photographs of the hawks.  Sharp-shinned Hawks have never been documented breeding in San Diego County and reports in summer from suitable breeding habitat, higher elevation forest, you can count on one hand.  So it is very unlikely indeed they would be found breeding in/around a lower elevation avocado orchard.  The structure of the bird in photos, big head projecting and large tail with rounded end, extensive white tip, all looks very good for Cooper's Hawk.  Youngsters can vary in size, some might be smaller than others perhaps.  The crazy squawking definitely a feature of this species!
Hope this helps!  Merlin also not a species found here breeding.
Best, Gary.
So now I know. Thanks, Gary.

Monday, June 25, 2018

1 wave, 8 Barrels



Burnin' Hell

I remember this album, Hooker and Heat, but forgot about this particular cut. Forgot John Lee Hooker rapping about Pig Pen. Very cool. I love Canned Heat, no one else does it like they did. My first concert, matter of fact.

Sunday travels

We hadn't been to dim sum in months and were simply overdue. Filled my van up with wife and friends yesterday and then on down to Jasmine in Kearny Mesa.

Your basic rapacious locust or caterpillar invasion, we ordered fast and furious. The salted prawns and the roasted pork, replete with crispy crackling skin, were particularly good this meal. Actually everything was good.

Like termites in a balsa wood factory, we did Fallbrook proud.

Afterwards our friends ordered a couple ducks next door at the Express to take home.

The weather has been extraordinarily nice in southern cal, sunny and breezy. We didn't want the nice to end so we skedaddled down to Balboa Park for a little walk.

Park was beautiful, crowded, parking was scarce. Took a long walk to re-find my crew.

I am admittedly biased but I think my hometown park is the prettiest park, with the most beautiful architecture, plateresque spanish colonial, in the whole country.

I never get tired of the park. Still haven't climbed the newly opened tower art the Museum Man. Need to go back soon.

Always a lot of interesting characters in the park. I know the sign says free weed but his song was all about selling you five dollar joints. I didn't ask.

Crazily we were still a little hungry and stopped at Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts on the way home, the penultimate in sweet confection.

The blood orange ricotta cake was beyond description, the chocolate ganache heavenly. Obviously my gluttony knows no bounds. A fitting end to a marvelous and relaxing day. And a great weekend.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Help me Rhonda

We have been the recipients of some wonderful and extraordinary acts of kindness of late, some that I won't discuss right now. Thank you! Last night Don and Diana took us out for a nice dinner and then to a Beach Boys concert at Pala.

I had seen the Beach Boys in the seventies, with a Wilson or two and Jardine. This was a different band, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Mike's son and a bunch of other guys. John Cowsill on drums. That Cowsill.

I am a critical sob but I have to say, the band was tighter than the original and the harmonies were perfect.

And it doesn't get any better than a Beach Boys harmony unless you somehow find yourself in a Gregorian chant.

Some of the song selection was a bit iffy (ballad of  ole betsy?), at times it was like a greatest hits package of the fifties but they still managed to hit all the right spots.

Audience looked older than my father and he is dead. Mike Love is still a funny guy.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Humming back side

I have obviously been shooting a lot of hummingbirds of late but I must confess that I seem to have neglected their bums. And it is a shame really because the little creatures are beautiful and fascinating from every view, including the ass end.  Need to reassess some shots. I like how you follow the bird right into the flower from these angles. Look how aerodynamic the tail is in the picture above. Probably acting like a drag chute.

Peter Green - Just For You

hummingbird and bauhinia

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cass Elliot & The Lovin' Spoonfull

Liars figure

President Trump may very well be right, out of my pay grade here. But one thing is for certain, study after study shows that illegal immigrants commit far less crime than the native born.





I am a few years late but I just finished John Le Carre's novel A delicate matter. A  highly placed foreign service officer learns a bit too much about a botched assassination plot and good people start dying. Fictional, of course. But just wondered, if Michael Cohen did spill to Tom Arnold that the pee tape actually exists and he has proof, does he accidentally fall off his balcony or get found floating face down in the Hudson River? Would you put it past our leader?

Well scripted child actors.

Billy Stewart - Summertime

An amazing, once in a lifetime artist who fell through the cracks and died too young without receiving the acclaim his prodigious talent deserved. Can't thing of anyone with such a skill set.

Mexican sage and friend