Last light, Stone Steps © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, October 29, 2018

On Morton's Fork and Avocado Toast

Zeno's Paradox
On the eve of embarking on a major roadie, already exhausted, not to mention tapped, immune system whacked, (I shot some varnish in a non ventilated area the other day and sneezed for two days, feet are leaden, must move forward.)

Hope that the promoters can stretch the shows out a little more next year, five shows in seven weeks is murder, that is if we still have a business. I think the election angst has really killed things of late, for either political side and the stock market drop certainly doesn't help.

I already miss Google plus and it won't even be gone until next August. Haven't found a suitable replacement. Twitter is a blowhard paradise but way too much slagging and woe to he or she who attempts to have a nuanced middle position. Worse than Facebook. Was set upon from the right and the left today because I tried to have a rational talk about the caravan and sovereign borders.

How dare I, cultural appropriation, the land is stolen from the native americans anyway, yada, yada. I will not be long for that world. Member since 2008 but rarely used. And seventy % of the retweeted news is bullshit. Takes a whole lot more time than I have to build a following and I really don't care enough.

There are a lot of writers on Twitter, and reporters, many of whom I respect. And I have noticed something funny, in a Mcluhanesque way, they steal impressive sounding words from each other. Last year it was redound. First caught wind of it with Rachel Maddow repeating it over and over.

Soon everybody was carelessly redounding away, hither and thither. Spread like a virus.

One of the new hip words is anodyne. All the smart talking heads are busy working it into their feeds or conversation. I hear it at least three times a week on MSNBC.

"Listening to the droll Chuck Todd was an anodyne to the typically sharp conversation."

Occam's razor is also getting a lot of play these days.

"Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor) is a principle from philosophy. Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case the one that requires the least speculation is usually better. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation."

Occam was a 14th century logician and Franciscan friar, better known as William of Ockham, which was somewhere near Surrey. The Razor is also known as the Law of Parsimony.

Which makes me hearken back to some of the ground we have already tilled here, Buridan's Ass and Hobson's choice and the like. From the BHB:
Named for 14th century French philosopher Jean Buridan, Buridan’s Ass is an illustration of a paradox in philosophy in regards to moral determinism and free will. A donkey is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. The conundrum assumes the ass will always go to whichever is closer, so it will die of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make a rational decision to choose one over the other. Sort of like the zen koan of the strawberry and the tiger. A cousin of Zeno's law - the arrow can never hit the target because it must first travel an infinite number of half steps.
Love to quote myself. Hobson's choice? Again:

A Hobson's choice is really having no choice at all, the choice between picking something and nothing.
The etymology is interesting.  The phrase comes from one Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), a man who owned a livery stable in Cambridge, England. He had a barn full of forty horses yet he offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in the stall nearest the door or taking none at all. There was only one horse in rotation. Hence, Hobson's choice. He was not necessarily being mean or vile, this was a way for him to keep his horses fresh and from being overused.
The Quaker scholar Samuel Fisher referred to the phrase in his religious text, The Rustick's Alarm to the Rabbies, 1660: "If in this Case there be no other (as the Proverb is) then Hobson's choice ... which is, chuse whether you will have this or none."

And Morton's fork?
Under Henry VII John Morton was made archbishop of Canterbury in 1486, then Lord Chancellor in 1487. He raised taxation funds for his king by holding that someone living modestly must be saving money and, therefore, could afford taxes, whereas someone living extravagantly obviously was rich and, therefore, could afford taxes.
As in screwed no matter what you do.

Which leads me to my last little peeve, Avocado Toast. I have noticed it cropping up on local menus, both at Brooktown, Z Cafe and who knows where else? Because it is now the trendy and oh so fashionable dish in big cities all over the world.

This is avocado central. I lived on Fuerte Dr. as a child, on a large avocado ranch. Then to Joris Way in La Mesa, another avocado growing area. This is my thirty ninth year in Fallbrook. The first ten were at a Bacon/Zutano avocado ranch with an occasional Fuerte, Reed, Duke and Topa topa for spice.

My current abode was once a Haas ranch. We kept a few Fuertes for family fruit trees. My point is, that Fallbrook was once proud to be the Avocado capitol of the world. Everybody lives on a grove or a stone's throw from a remnant of one. Every Fallbrookian worth his kosher salt has been putting avocado on toast since christ was a corporal. To see it now become some chic trendy thing revisiting its ancestral home seems plain wrong on some level. Like taking Duke Snider to Live Oak Park and making him play softball with some fat guys from the beer leagues, it makes a mockery of our local ancestral heritage.

We were eating them long before they were hip, sonny.

Bill Withers - Green Grass

Pittsburgh Strong

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Oregon coast

Gimme Shelter


The country and world are at a flashpoint. Racial and political differences have been highlighted and used as kindling in the national and international civil war.

Yesterday another person tried to shoot up a black church here in America, failing to open the door, he instead targeted and killed blacks at a supermarket.

In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting today, I find it perhaps not so coincidental to see how antisemitism is skyrocketing on social media. I read this article at NBC, Attacks on Jewish people rising on Instagram and Twitter, at about five o'clock this morning, prior to the shooting.

Jonathan Albright - Columbia Univ.
Call me naive for thinking that there is a causal relationship between the actions of corrupt politicians like Steve King and the Bannon sycophants calls for a return to white nationalism and these horrible acts of violence.

The ignorant and hateful people who commit these acts are like manchurian candidates waiting for a reason to explode.

Those that manipulate and spread their message of hate them also share morally responsibility for the outcome.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Young elk cow and redwoods

Roosevelt elk

For Shawn

False Flag Clown Car

Alex Jones had hisself quite a moment yesterday. So did Lou Dobbs. And Geraldo Rivera. Don Jr. Ann Coulter on board? Sure. Michael Savage? Ditto. Limbaugh? Of course

All of these Right Wing wackos jumped out of the GOP clown car yesterday to decry the recent spate of bombings targeting prominent liberals as a nasty "Demon-rat" false flag conspiracy.

The nasty liberals were going to blow themselves up for sympathy.
Now the culprit has been found by law enforcement and guess what, he is just what he sounded like he was, a Pro Trump MAGA man.

Don't hold your breath waiting for an apology from these stooges. They are too busy scrubbing their social media so they won't look quite so stupid for future historians.

Guy Benson at Townhall perfectly sets out the new narrative being peddled by the conservatives, that it is not Trump's fault, simply the actions of one mentally ill individual.

Looks pretty typical to me, in fact more normal than many of the deplorables I run into. Still drinking the bull shit kool-aid.

Empty Pages

San Jac

I saw a few other things worth noting yesterday at San Jacinto. Not necessarily rare but pretty.

Like this egret.

Later we saw the black shouldered kite. This one really needed vr, which I had forgot to engage.

Kites have the most beautiful red eye shadow. Didn't do them justice yesterday.

Sort of a slow day. It is different when you have a friend in tow, harder to find your rhythm. But without eagle eye Bruce I would never have got the hawk and the snake.

Not a lot more. Did shoot my eponymous friend.

And caught a light morph juvenile red tailed high overhead. Pretty.

Always a good day out there.

Prelude and Liebstod from Tristan und Isolde

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Raptor and snake

My buddy Bruce has kicked his cancer. Hallelujah. All clean. I love the guy, was very worried about him.

He took a very rare day off today and accompanied me to the wildlife reserve. Bruce has always had a very sharp eye, he spotted this large red tailed hawk first.

It was sitting on the ground. We didn't know that he had a snake in his clutches. Lucky us.

I shot my 400mm handheld all day. Thing is so heavy it is like carrying an anvil around. And we hiked.

What I didn't know was that the VR was switched off.

Pictures maybe could have been a tad sharper but I am grateful for what I got!

I always feel good when I get raptors carrying snakes. It is so cool.

I had turned the vibration reduction off when I was shooting off the tripod. Forgot to turn it back on.

I am glad that it really isn't all that necessary. Especially when you are shooting wide open at 1/3200th of a second.

New Lost City Ramblers

Up and away!

Yesterday, Leslie and I went up in a balloon for our birthdays. We left from a spot near the La Bajada dip. Traveled to a spot near Rancho Bernardo, We had both done ballooning before but it has been a while for me, actually since Africa. Nothing quite like it.

We watched the balloons get ready, went through some pre-flight consultation with the pilot, who was basically an a-hole with no sense of humor.

Some people, no matter how competent, should be kept far away from the public. But I digress.

We had a great time in spite of Captain Bligh.

Followed a lovely route over the San Dieguito River Valley. Perfect Southern California day. Luscious weather, balmy, didn't even need a sweater. Shirt sleeve.

Quiet, peaceful beautiful. Even saw a bunch of deer.

It is wonderful to be both over and under the clouds at the same time. Hazy day but still fabuloso.

We were hoping to catch the full moon but missed it by about a half an hour.

Needless to say, my sweetheart was very happy. As was I. Although at one point I found out later, the pilot kicked her leg, purposefully. It is a good thing I didn't hear about it at the time or it is possible that we would be piloting the balloon back solo and I have never had any past instruction in the matter.

I would do it again, even with this company, but not with this particular pilot. He tried his best to ruin our special day but he never succeeded!

We ended up having lobster, crab and shrimp rolls at Lobsters West at the Lumberyard. Great way to finish our celebration.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Serpent's Moon


Not wanting to do the Facebook thing again and with the demise of Google + I wanted to find a social media platform to share my photography.

One of the administrators invited me to join his nature photography group at MeWe. MeWe is the brainchild of one Mark Weinstein and bills itself as a next-gen platform with no tracking, Russians or chicanery. I signed up today. Free.

Looks pretty decent. There is at least some involvement with Tim Berners Lee, an early internet visionary.

But, the platform also seems to tilt quite strongly to the right. Weinstein bills himself as a Libertarian but the political groups on MeWe seem solely to be inhabited by Alex Jones wackjobs. "Q" tin foil types, MAGA deplorables and other hard core right wingers that have been mostly thrown off of prior sites. Very scary, honestly. Not sure if it by design or circumstance.

Not sure it matters as I don't need to discuss politics publicly but at least in that sense, it is not a very comfortable space for me.