Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Robert Cray kills on the late Otis Rush classic

Ride, Sally, Ride.

I needed to stretch my legs and took a walk the other day in Los Jilgueros. I am turning into a real sloth. Huffing and wheezing down the trail, I happened upon an old poker acquaintance and his wife briskly meandering down the trail.

I asked what was new and the fellow, a dentist, R, mentioned that he had recently retired. His wife, also a dentist, was retiring too but would stick at the practice for a while and help with the transition.  I asked him what he planned to do with the rest of his life and he said that he had no idea. They are about my age, maybe a year older, I am not really sure. Honestly looked a little lost. Have fun, what is that?

They are going to take a cruise to Europe for eleven days. Ten stops, one of those deals. I winced when he recited a few of my least favorite ports of disembarkation but tried not to be a buzz kill. No hobbies to speak of. They have worked for forty years and now need to figure out how to play. Not as easy as you might think. I on the other hand, am the Yoda of play, a jedi f*ckoff master. But not really sure I can teach the skill set.

I went to the pharmacy the other day and Don the pharmacist is also retiring. My age. He used to be at Fallbrook Pharmacy, recently at CVS. I asked Don what he was planning on doing? He had no clue either. I think he dabbled in photography and I brought it up but it didn't register. Onward and upward.

Anyhow I mentioned to R and his wife that the classic conundrum is that when you are finally able to afford to buy the hot Porsche, you look a little dumb driving it. Our ever more chi chi town is full of old fossils driving nice iron. God bless them, but it will be a momentary thrill.

I mentioned that I too had a retirement plan too and it is called "drop dead."

He then said something like well hey, Robert, you have had fun the whole time along the way. It is our turn. And you know what, he was right, at least the first part, I have had a hell of a lot of fun on the way. I played a finesse and filled my inside straight. Over and over again. And somehow managed to survive, thanks to the help of wonderful family, friends and clients. Luck and providence too? Okay, suit yourself.

But I am entering that strange time when a lot of people my age are retiring and there is no way I will ever be joining them, short of a winning  lottery ticket or a really, really good painting walking in the door.

I haven't had a boss since the mid 1980's.  I answer to myself and my wife. I have been able to visualize my own roadmap and it has mostly kept me alive and it has been very lucrative on occasion. I have had ample time to write, photograph and ponder. I take great trips on a regular basis. I have friends in practically every city in the country. I have become an expert in my field and have written an extensive amount of college curriculum. I have contributed to the scholarship of various decorative arts, having written a multitude of magazine articles in my younger days.

The first on my house will soon be paid off. I beat cancer, about five times. Ditto significant heart issues. My wife still speaks to me once in a while and keeps the loathing to a minimum or at least out of earshot. Have a lot of friends, many who go back over four decades. My cats like me. Or they say they do, anyway. I am regularly read, by people like you, who I assume think that I have something worthwhile to say.

I worked in a factory once in Israel. During the Gulf War. Made it about two weeks. The monotony and repetition drove me crazy. Wigged out and went to work in the banana fields. Now that will get you in shape.

Worked for a military style organization, the power company, for six months in my early twenties. Committed a grave sin and resigned. Don't take orders real well.

There is a saying in the antique business; dealers have two things in common, serious problems with authority and we are essentially unemployable. Here, here.

A buddy of mine who has been really successful in his life is really going through it right now, about ten years older than me, a salesman now, with a great product and a CEO that is self destructing. I feel bad for him, reinvention is tough enough past sixty, seventy is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

You set your money on the red or black and you spin the wheel. But it is awful hard to get off the old horse that brung you. Ride, Sally ride. Times you have to pray, tighten your belt and wait for a tailwind. They always come around, right?

Retire? And do what? Where's the hustle, not to mention fun in that? When there are still dragons to slay?

Tobacco Road

Friday, September 28, 2018

Beer talk

Having grown up in a family with an alcoholic step father and a mom with addiction issues of her own, I have always tread lightly around alcohol. Children caught up in the jetstream of alcoholics often end up collaterally damaged. I know I was.

I rarely drink. I am not that comfortable in bars. I relate to Senator Klobuchar, another child of an alcoholic. Having seen the worst and been on the wrong end of the equation, drinking scares us.

This nominee says that he doesn't have a drinking problem. His demeanor, defensive denials and possible actions seem to intimate that he does. Many of his old classmates think he had one too. May have just been a bad run for the guy this week, uncomfortable with being judged after a lifetime of judging. But his tone and bombastic attitude were startling.

I have to wonder how the President really viewed Kavanaugh's hearing? Trump's brother Freddy was a drunk, died from alcoholism at 43. The president never drank, having seen the horrible impact on his family. Guess it is okay to have a lush on the court, after all Chief Justice Rehnquist reportedly was addicted to the sedative Placidyl for much of his tenure on the bench and things didn't go all that bad.

I often disagree with Chief Justice John Roberts decisions but I respect the dignity and manner with which he does his job. Kavanaugh's partisan rhetoric, unfounded accusations, lack of respect and petulant anger make him wholly unfit for the bench.


The country is very divided on the Kavanaugh nomination. People think either she is lying or he is lying. I was thinking about this conundrum, where both individuals appear to be credible to their backers, basically along partisan lines and I thought; how could they both be right? Is there any way?

And my mind goes back to two different friends of mine, who both live in Fallbrook and who both shall remain forever anonymous.

One had a breakdown, after suddenly uncovering real childhood memories of molestation at the hands of her stepfather, events from decades earlier that she had suppressed and her psyche conveniently "forgot." I was there when she recovered her memory and it was truly traumatic and changed her life permanently.

The other friend had been a military captain in Vietnam who while injured, apparently woke up and left the field hospital and led a charge that vanquished the enemy in a valiant and heroic act. His brain had conveniently suppressed that memory too, for over 40 years. when he was reminded of the incident at a military reunion, he too experienced a serious breakdown. Had no knowledge of the incident whatsoever.

Neither of these two had any memory whatsoever of these particulars of their past, they had managed to bury them, probably to save their traumatized psyches.

I wonder if Kavanaugh, whose classmates have hinted and written was a blackout drinker, could have buried some of these sexual aggressions that were alleged to have occurred when he was batshit drunk? And now honestly has no real memory of them.

I had an incident once that is vaguely similar. I was getting a surgery at Sharp and I had unfortunately gotten a little hooked on dilaudid, a type of powerful pharmaceutical heroin. All I had to do was ring a bell and I got a shot. I was in my early twenties, no more.

I was in pain one day and I called for the doctor. Had he been cutting my doses? I was in a lot of agony. I was only getting one shot a day, after all. The doctor showed me a chart. I had been ringing that bell once an hour, like a lab chimp needing a cigarette. My brain had no conscious idea. This incident scared me away from narcotics for the rest of my life. How easily the brain can fool the body.

I wonder if something like that could be happening here?

Marty Balin, rest in peace.

A wonderful singer, he will be missed!

Golden eagles - San Jacinto

Francis Fukuyama on identity politics, Hegel, Plato and the rise of Trump

Ogden's Nut Gone Jeff Flake

Trump voter predictability index.

Vox - Lindsey Graham, Brett Kavanaugh, and the unleashing of white male backlash.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ben Hall


Today was a tortured bloodbath. Look at the assorted faces in this excellent photograph from NBC News. Some sad punims.

People can draw their own conclusions as to the veracity of either witness in today's hearing. You don't need my help.

Even so, and disregarding the central question, there was a combative arrogance in the way the nominee addressed the Senators that I found disturbing. Suppose that it is some sort of latent preppie prejudice on my part.

The "how much do you drink? Well, how much do you drink, Senator?" stuff made my stomach hurt. This guy is a judge? I didn't listen to much but when Kavanaugh opened his mouth, the asshole-meter was certainly pinging. Reminded me of one of Richie Rich's crappier friends.

Of course, his life has been set on fire, a sure thing shoe-in has now turned into a public evisceration. His world is forever upside down. Didn't like answering direct questions much either. I might be an asshole too if I was fighting for my professional life. Resort to lying and obfuscation in sworn testimony to get a SCOTUS job? I hope that I wouldn't... But what did his mentor say one should do in these situations? Deny, deny deny...

I went to three different prep schools, Desert Sun, Dwight York and Walden. On scholarship. I was around plenty of rich kids. This is during serious latter day hippie times. I saw plenty of guys that would take every drug imaginable, drink like fish, screw like rabbits, even adopt a radical, leftist worldview. Died in the wool fun and party boys. But knowing well that when the clarion bell rang, they were to take their leave and depart, join the firm, maintain plausible deniability.

And then they would go off to college, hopefully graduate and eventually junk their tie dye costume. They would join Daddy's corporation, at the bottom mind you, something like Executive Vice President, marry a dowdy woman in pearls, rejoin the church and conveniently forget and deny any vestige of their so called "wild period." Not to mention completely disassociate from their old "bros."

I think living in this type of french cuff, button down denial, not to mention coming from a country club Montgomery County culture of total entitlement, causes certain sorts of individuals to go off in awful ways, to treat women like sexual objects, to act out their intense inner anger. Not pointing to Brett Kavanaugh here, mind you, I'm thinking of some of my past associates that ultimately turned into pieces of crap.

Dennis Rader
I have always distrusted the choir boy types. Remember the BTK killer, Dennis Rader? Member of the Christ Lutheran Church. President of the Church Council. Cub Scout leader. Killed ten people in the most gruesome of ways. Always the last one anyone would suspect. Wife never knew, kids never knew. These types are usually seriously repressed.

Kavanaugh was in fact the guy who came up with the salacious questions for President Clinton when he was cutting his teeth with Ken Starr. He has a graphic imagination, must have given it a lot of thought.

Kinky. He is really getting into this.

There will never be an agreement on who is telling the truth here in the Ford/Kavanaugh battle. I wish that Senators could have pinned Brett down on the other stuff, like why he knowingly accepted documents stolen from the Senate and used them to push President Bush's judicial nominees. And then denied it. Like he denied his role in the torture memos. Or his involvement in the Pryor nomination. And there are plenty more similar prevarications apparently. Hard to give him the benefit of the doubt on anything.

Research it. Don't believe me. This guy wiggles around the truth more than a Maryland Copperhead. I would take him at his word about his high school history much more readily if he did not have such an incredible history of lies and dissembling. Ought to be a perfect partner for Trump. If he does get the nod will there be a fitting new name for the Thomas/Kavanaugh wing? Skull and boners?

Damn the torpedoes!

No End

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Professor Goes To Prison

Watching the professor is a guilty pleasure of mine. Great guy.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

I didn't listen to all of the President's news conference today, my stomach was already a little upset.

But I did listen to one thing that piqued my interest:

Trump said that the Democrats' bitter fight against Kavanaugh would backfire on them in the forthcoming midterm elections and predicted that "three, four or five Democrats" would support the judge's confirmation "because they're in states that I won by 30 and 40 points and they're going to give us votes."

If I am Senator Joe Manchin and I hear the President say publicly that I can be bought off because I am a pussy who is afraid that countering Trump will cost me the election, I tell little mushroom head to go pound sand.

Stick that square jaw out Joe and be a man.

The Coals - When I Paint My Masterpiece

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hopelessly helping

Sitting at the computer this afternoon, processing the latest Google iteration and cookies and privacy and the like and I had this question pop into my head:

Am I shaping this technology or is it shaping me?

And any honest person these days that is connected to the internet would have to say it's the latter. Mcluhan is sitting on a cloud chuckling somewhere. Oh wait, my phone is telling me that I have a notification. Maybe it is a like? I am having to fight a Pavlovian urge to spit.

I am starting to watch the excellent Amazon Prime series Electric Dreams.

Writers have created ten episodes loosely based on the work of the great Philip K. Dick.

I have watched three episodes so far. I think it is really well done. Some great cast members, so far Bryan Cranston, Anna Paquin, Terrence Howard and more. Look forward to a binge.

Oscar Aleman - Russian Lullaby


Time takes a cigarette

Fate hangs by a tender thread

I was chatting with my friend Isak Lindenauer this afternoon. He had posted a wonderful picture of the original Van Erp studio in Leeuwarden, Holland on his most excellent website.

Isak is a person I have immense respect for, on many levels. Incredibly bright fellow. A great poet, a literary talent I have little or no facility in.

A man who loves the material he is selling and who actually furthered the scholarship of his corner of the decorative arts, publishing a monograph early in his career.

I was a sign painter for a time, and apprenticed to an old master who taught me the old way of doing things, endless repetition and practice, interrupted by periodic bouts with the speed bag. Les was ninety four when I started working with him and he had once been a boxer. I developed a love affair with letters and type, not to mention a decent jab.

I told Isak that I really fancied the type on this sign or font in the photograph, which seemed very much influenced by Vienna and the secessionists. He mentioned the Belgian artist Henry Van de Velde. I brought up the outstanding nouveau and deco architecture found in Hungary.

The teens must have been a glorious time to have been in Europe, at least in a decorative sense. The pre-raphaelites, mixed their ethos with the orientalists which bloomed into the glorious art nouveau movement. It was fully a flower. the prevailing patrician motifs swept into the dustbin for new and fresh.

In England, Morris, Ruskin and Ashbee, dreading the coming factorization and industrialization of form and design, championed the arts and crafts movement and the creative work of the individual artist and small guild versus mass production. The movement borrowed from a variety of influences, 14th century dutch farmhouse, ecclesiastical, shaker among others, and tended to favor form and shape over embellishment, along with attention to fine detail and generally immaculate construction.

When Art Nouveau and arts and crafts eventually moved from England and France to Germany and Austria, the curved and sinewy lines straightened out and the right angle and grid became more predominate. Companies like WMF, Osiris and Orivit hired wonderful and creative designers and eventually gave birth to the secessionist movement and the Wiener Werkstatte and Jugendstil.

Lamp - Freidrich Adler circa 1901
Artists like Friedrich Adler, Kolomon Moser, Josef Hoffman, Behrens, Dagobert Pesce and Joseph Maria Olbrich were on the front lines of this new modernism, which clearly broke with the design elements of the past.

Adler was my personal favorite. He could do anything, he worked as an artist, architect, fabric and paper designer, ceramist, metal artist and woodworker. His favorite design line was so severe it was shocking. And delightful. Like raw bones and muscle.

Unfortunately when he was deported to Auschwitz in 1942 he was deemed too old and quickly exterminated.

In time Nouveau gave way to deco when the earlier style got a bit too heavy and needed to be a little lighter on its feet. Moderne helped the people break out of their great and literal depression.

Anyway, now I really have digressed. But Isak brought up Belgium and how glorious it must have been and I thought about my family history and my grandfather Israel's personal story and my family connection to that place. Without Belgium I might not be alive. The dutch and flemish were much more hospitable at that point to our tribe than practically anyone else in Europe.

Some of you know about this stuff and many I am sure don't care about it but this is one that I am going to repeat.

My grandparents grew up in a very difficult time. My grandfather Israel was born in Sierpc, Poland in 1899. His father Moishe Sommer was a veterinarian who moved to America two years later but returned after the San Francisco earthquake.

He had a rich cousin in the city, Sam, who supposedly bankrolled 20th Century Fox, but he wanted nothing to do with his poor European kin. Sam lived on California Street in San Francisco, had a hair products company. Felt embarrassed by their country cousins.

Moishe could not bring my great grandmother into this country with him because she had become addicted to morphine after a long hospitalization, a common occurrence back then. I believe that he worked on the kosher chicken farms in Petaluma before the earthquake sent him fleeing back to Poland.

My grandfather spent a portion of his young life smuggling morphine for his mother. When World War I broke out he was conscripted into the Russian army. Poland was betwixt and between sovereignty, the Germans and the Russians back then but at this point the Russians had control.

A conscription at that time for a jew was a mandatory twenty year term, the most common conclusion was death. One day my grandfather, who was incredibly tough until his dying day, had the misfortune to endure a severe horse whipping by a Cossack officer. He reached for a bayonet and plunged it into the Cossacks chest, killing him instantly. A manhunt ensued but he fled across Germany and ended up in Antwerp. Without Belgium I might not have ever been alive.

Siemens telegraph - Brussels 1897
My grandfather enrolled in the Siemens Electrical Institute in Antwerp. The Belge d‘Electricité Siemens-Schuckert SA opened in Belgium in 1903. My grandfather graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Israel Sommer, later Kaitz, spoke at least seven or eight languages fluently; Russian, Polish, Yiddish, German, English, French, Hebrew, Ladino and Spanish.

He was brilliant, although tough as nails. He moved to Palestine in the mid 1920's with my grandmother Pessa and helped design and construct the nascent nation's first electrical grid and system. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Histadrut, the workers trade union.

I was an excellent chess player at one time. In his early eighties he beat me at the chess table like a drum. In any case he eventually got tired of Israel, or should I say Palestine, the oppressive religious aspects mostly, my male forebears a long line of non believers. He moved to this country with my thirteen year old father and eleven year old aunt in 1939, initially staying with some relatives in Detroit.

My late mother says that he killed a man in Israel. She called him the murderer. She made all sorts of crazy talk. I do not know if that was true, he certainly had the temper to do it. I know that when I started researching the family history in the late eighties, my aunt got very distraught, said some things were better off buried in time.

I don't think he was necessarily the nicest grandpa. My brother and sister lived with him for a time when he eventually moved back to Israel, watched him pull a man out of his car and beat him up in his seventies in a road rage incident. I don't think he cared a whit for his grandchildren. My earliest memories of him, he was sitting in his simple dining chair, wiry strong in a wife beater undershirt, eating green gage plums which he pared with a sharp knife.

He lived in South Pasadena for a while, had a furniture shop, my father proudly said that he was so careful he never made a second cut. Eventually he moved to Culver City. He had a turquoise fifty seven chevy. I never saw it go even fifty miles an hour, he was a notoriously slow driver.

I don't have much from him now, maybe an old broken watch, a passport, a lovely black and white photograph of the hills of Judah he took in the 1930's. Funny but it looks sort of like my work.

I guess purely on an existential basis, without him, there would be no me and for that I am grateful.

He was known as a man with a voracious sexual appetite. His infidelity actually caused my grandmother to take her own life in 1964.

When he was getting a required surgery well into his eighth decade, he inquired of the surgeon what affect the operation would have on his sex life? The doctor said, it shouldn't but what kind of sex life do you have, if I may ask? My beloved father heard it with his own ears, once a day, twice on Sundays...

Luckily he had remarried at this point, to a real saint. He is buried in Givatiyim, in Israel. My grandmother lays in San Diego.

What is the point of my reciting and sharing my family history, especially such sordid history? Good question. I am not sure. I don't have children, nor will I.

My nieces and nephews may one day develop an interest on what brought them to their particular position in space and time and I might be one of the few people left to have ever researched the matter. I have created the tree and have collected all the necessary papers.

And I think it is important to think that whatever problems we all may think we have, they pale in contrast to what my grandparents and maybe your grandparents went through getting to this country when times were truly tough.  Can you imagine your mother an addict, having to become a smuggler, getting whipped by a cossack that you end up killing, having the unfortunate family that stayed in Poland all get exterminated...

How quickly the past is buried, how soon the present is obscured under a fine layer of silt.

Jenny Jenkins


Our buddy Nick came down and serenaded us at breakfast at the coffee shop with an impromptu mandolin concert. His studio is upstairs in the old Packing House building next door.

Nick, aka B.K. Nicholson,is an outstanding bluegrass player and frontman and lead vocalist for the excellent band Desperado as well as a band called High Mountain Road. Check the performances out on YouTube.

I really don't know Nick as well as I should. I know that he is originally from Philly and that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of football and music. Knows his bible too. Really good guy. Great player, great voice. Kind, with an easy laugh.

I put the old and fast 55mm 1.2 film lens on the Nikon yesterday and shot these portraits with it this morning.

It is funny, the pics look so good straight out of the camera that they don't want  to be altered in any way. Not perfect mind you, but good enough and they all seem to cry out "don't touch me." So I didn't.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Prison stripe pistachio

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's fame want to raise money for underfunded progressive democratic congressional candidates, including Ammar Campa-Najjar in my 50th district.

They have proposed a personal ice cream flavor and a naming contest for the seven candidates they are backing. This campaign is being conducted in concert with Move-On.

Polls in the race with indicted incumbent Duncan Hunter are getting tighter. Neck and neck. The Congressman was in a courtroom today. Could be running the district from a prison cell one day.

Still it is a very conservative district.

I like Campa Najjar. Good interview with him in the Union Tribune. Young, smart, sharp. Moderate. He indicates that he wants to govern from the middle, a stance I applaud. His opponent's policies are anathema to all I hold dear and his infantile behavior, infidelity and constant partying has made him a mockery both here and in Washington.

Ben Cohen is coming to San Diego to campaign for the candidate at some point with his new flavor. Talk about putting your money where our mouths are.

Gentle Giant - Nothing At All

Rapist gets a pass

"The man told her that he wasn't really going to kill her, that he needed her to believe she was going to die so that he could be sexually fulfilled."

Justin Schneider
Have you read about the poor native girl up in Anchorage? Guy gave her a ride, drove her to a lake, strangled her and she woke up with the sick f*ck ejaculating in her face. What did the authorities do? Pretty much nothing, no jail time, credit for time served at home. He got a pass because losing his cush traffic controller job was bad enough, a "life sentence." Never apologized to the girl in his statement either. He assures the court he will be a better husband and father in the future.  Girl gets doubly victimized because she got in his car in the first place so she was deemed complicit, like she knew she was about to get strangled and molested? The f*ckwad Deputy District Attorney Andrew Grannik never even told the victim about the court date.
An Anchorage grand jury indicted Justin Schneider, 34, on four felony charges including kidnapping and assault, and one misdemeanor count of Harassment I--offensive contact with fluids -- for the August 2017 incident. 
Schneider struck a deal with the state, pleading guilty to a single felony assault charge in exchange for a sentence of two years with one suspended. Schneider faces no additional jail time. He received credit for time served while wearing an ankle monitor and living with his family.
Because there obviously is no law against strangling somebody and then ejaculating on her face. State said that sentence was consistent with the law. Shame on Grannik, shame on Judge Michael Corey, throw these bums out of office.


Now another story about a drunken Kavanaugh swinging his unit in a girl's face, and according to the NYT reporter, witnessed by several fellow Yalies.

I wasn't there, I don't know. But unless this guy is a victim of an incredible left wing conspiracy that reaches back to at least the first accuser's therapist in 2012 and maybe to girls she confided in during the eighties, Kavanaugh may be wrestling with a few personal demons. We will never know of course because no proper investigations will take place and no witnesses will be called.

She will get a fair and proper trial on Thursday and a hanging shortly thereafter.  The kangaroo court tribunal of old crusty white men will decide. Of course Heller, Graham, Mike Davis, Cornyn, Perdue, McConnell, Trump, they've already told you their minds are made up. Get ready for the evisceration.

Yesterday I read a Republican woman surmise that Ford had been interested in Kavanaugh and that her advances had been rebuffed, so she concocted some wild tale. Fifteen year old with quite the imagination. But you have to wonder why his best bro and admitted fellow debaucher Mike Judge won't take the stand?

I don't know who is lying. Somebody is. But isn't it interesting that if you are a conservative, she is and if you are a liberal, she is not? The lack of nuance and objectivity on both sides? The only person who has been honest about it is Feinstein. She said that she didn't know if Ford was telling the truth and was pilloried for it for harboring some doubt. She was going to wait for both parties to speak and assess their credibility in person.


It is no wonder that women are pissed off.

Got to travel on.

Above the Shoshone River
I don't post a lot of sunset shots, they're a little too easy.

But when I put one up on Google + it is usually like giving candy to a kid, people just eat them up.

I put this one on my blog because it looks like I may very well be in the Rockies very soon, a short, cheap wander through the promised land in search of mental health and visual booty. Have to remember to get the bear spray.

It is a tough time and there is never a good time and I was still wavering about what to do. Should I go or stay? Leslie and I threw the trusty i ching yesterday afternoon and I got back this changing line.

Leave, go out and far away. Sort of seals the deal. Pretty emphatic. I'm goneExpect pictures.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Trio Céleste

I was privileged to attend a performance of the Trio Celeste at the library yesterday. They are the Chamber ensemble in residence at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine. It was delightful although the acoustics in the room are not optimal for strings.

The show was put on by the Fallbrook Music Society, now in its 41st concert season. Bill Olson and his wife Meredith are sponsors and he was kind enough to tell me about the performance.

I was a pretty lousy third chair cellist in my youth but have always loved this music.

Yesterday they played Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A minor, Opus 50. Sort of funereal, the composer wrote it in honor of his late friend, the violinist Nikolai Rubinstein. It was followed by selections from Piazzolla's Four Seasons in Buenos Aires.

What knocked me out was the Dvorak piece they ended the show with, not sure of the title. All three instruments wove together so beautifully, it was a masterpiece.

Afterwards I bought a CD. They did a Beethoven piece, Constellations and asked 10 performers and composers to write alternate variations. These include Pierre Jalbert and Peter Erskine. Haven't listened yet.  Had a person walk up to me after the show and sniff, wondering if I was out looking for a little culture?

Could be.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

Lewis & Clark

Diving back to the nest.


It's a weird thing. When I heard Richard Carpenter admit that he had been stoned on quaaludes for much of his latter career, I started to like him a little bit more. They were both consummate, musician's musicians. She took this Bonnie Bramlett song and truly made it her own. Incredible talent.

Heavens, no?

The bad news is that the Milky Way had been completely depleted by the time I got to Utah, Fortunately I ran into its much lesser known but nearby neighbor, the Creamy Way. The good news is there's less fat and half the calories.


There's no freaking way I ever move to a place named Cape Fear.

Cosmetic surgery used to be such a taboo subject. Now you can talk about Botox and nobody raises an eyebrow.

There is only what is and that's it. What should be is a dirty lie.
Lenny Bruce

Don't forget in any given situation, there will always be more stupid people around than smart ones.
Ken Kesey

All those chemicals that create empathy only work when you are in a room together. 
Gloria Steinem

If Kavanaugh is defrocked and somehow his nomination goes down in flames, I hope that he has a loving family that will help him heal and put it all back together.  Things will get better. Nothing in this entire world quite as sad as a preppy meltdown.

There is a real twilight zone aspect to the President being so concerned with ratings, his and everybody else's. The New York Times will have to support him or their ratings will fall, the NFL is failing because of the players lack of patriotism and their ratings are down, etc. Makes you wonder if he thinks this is all one big Truman Show. I would let the Times and NFL worry about their own business and we can continue to worry about his soap opera.

It is rather funny, not to mention ironic, that the President has been on a tear attacking the FBI and Justice Departments for their liberal perfidy. If it had not been for Comey's last minute disclosure and character assassination, we most probably would not have Trump leading our country. And this doesn't even take into effect that the great majority of the employees of said institutions are Republicans.

Walmart has indicated that the China tariffs will lead to price increases for their customers. Talk about a direct salvo on Trump's base. Maybe he can subsidize Walmart voters like he is doing with the farmers?

Crime and punishment

The President wants to know why a fifteen year old girl didn't got to the police or FBI thirty six years ago to report an alleged sexual assault by a seventeen year old boy.

Vox has an interesting graphic today from a 2014 study.

Over two thirds of sexual assault and rape claims go unreported, the highest rate for any criminal category. Could this be because the victims are often doubly victimized after reporting these craven acts? Of course the President doesn't think it was as bad as she says, because he has admitted to far worse. But I can imagine her hesitation, all of my clumsy gropes of adolescence, I never put my hand over a girl's mouth or scared anybody, as is alleged here.

The upcoming hearing should be a real dog and pony show or kabuki theater number. All scripted out, no corroborating witnesses allowed. Interesting that the lead counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mike Davis, is tweeting (since deleted) that Kavanaugh will be confirmed, as is McConnell. Could it be that this thing is in the bag already?

Why go through all the motions if the fix is already in?

Going down the road, feeling bad

Dickey Betts joins the Grateful Dead one hot summer's day at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. and provides sweet, dulcet notes for your enjoyment and listening pleasure. 6-10-73

Too stoned to work?

Is the use of Cannabis contributing to the problem of illegal immigration in the United States? San Diego Union Tribune letter writer Ted Hilton seems to think so. He writes an impassioned letter this morning, titled Blame cannabis use for illegal immigration.

This is a new one I haven't heard before. Americans are too stoned to want to work and illegals are filling the slacker's jobs.

Ted throws around a lot of unsupported data about pot use, specifically regarding i.q. and cognition. The truth is that serious marijuana studies have been largely prohibited in this country but when they have taken place they show that the effects of marijuana use are largely benign. And, uh, I don't remember the rest.

The idea that THC use has caused legions of lazy stoners to shirk work, seek disability and worker's compensation and contributed to illegal immigration is pretty laughable and I think unfounded. And I will write more about it, just as soon as I finish this joint and stop watching the Dobey Gillis rerun for the umpteenth time.

The truth is that millions of Americans, of all ages, are using marijuana regularly for a variety of purposes, both medicinally and recreationally and managing to live very productive and normal lives. Might even be your next door neighbors, Ted?

You probably should check their trash cans and make sure that there are not an inordinate amount of empty haagen daz containers and cheesecake boxes. I understand that it is a sure sign that there are stoners next door.

Remain vigilant fighting against the green menace, Ted.