red tailed lockdown, early morning

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Nanci Griffith - Love at the Five & Dime

Kestrel


Hihache


I have been listening to a fair amount of Jackie Mittoo and the Skatalites and it led me here. Great groove.

Grateful scribe

It is the last day of the year but also the last day of the month. So what am I doing? Paying bills, naturally. The pen gets very heavy, as you know. But we all have to do it, unless we are trust fund kids, of course. And then we would be spending all our time at psychiatrist's offices, wondering why we never amounted to anything or worrying about the shade of the next Porsche Cayenne purchase.

Pick your poison.

Anyway being the last day of the year, I believe it calls for a summation. This year was tricky.

I bitch and moan every year, life was supposed to get easier in these pre-twilight years, but it didn't, it got harder. I missed the bus, made lousy choices, should have paid attention in class, whatever, there were times this year that I was definitely pushing the rock up the hill only to have it roll back over me like a certain Greek king.

Mix in at least three major operations that I can remember, a brown recluse spider bite, a dollop of existential angst and a smattering of plain bad luck, I won't lie to you, there were times I thought my goose was cooked.

But here I am, still breathing, ship somewhat righted, still able to get out and do my thing on occasion, write, photograph, indulge in a fair bit of navel contemplation, still peeing through the original equipment, what more could a man ask for?

So the word for this year for me is gratitude. Besides my wife Leslie, who never stops making it work, makes all the engines run and has her own special place in heaven, I need to publicly acknowledge the people who made it possible for me to keep the balls in the air this year. Tangibly.

Michael Loughlin stepped in again and again and saved my ass from the frying pan. My saint. What an incredible friend. I don't know what I would have done without you, Michael, I will be forever in your debt.

Ditto Vlad and Natasha and Retha and Doug. Don. Eternally grateful. My sister Barbara, my brother in law Andrew. Thank you. 馃挆

Paul Beach, who was always just a phone call away when I was miserable and depressed. Which was unfortunately too often. All the rest of my coffee cronies, you know who you are, Big Dave, Renee, Cam, Bill, Rick, Ron, Lena, Kerry, Steve, Shawn, John, Melissa, Jeff, Barry, David, just too many people to list. Rosemary, for always working with me and making it work. My restorer, Gary, my framer, Jennifer. Bob and Lois, who paid me more money than I was asking for a painting because they were worried about me.

My doctors, Dr. Wood, Dr. Gibson, Dr. Juma, Dr. Myers, Dr. Salem, all the nurses and anesthesiologists, for keeping me alive and reasonably together this past year.

All the rest of my friends, family, clients and readers. It is too hard to list everyone by name but you know who you are.

Thank you! I literally couldn't have made it without you.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Medication

Silver vein

I have spent over thirty years buying and selling antiques.

I have never been able to walk by the Polish silver candlesticks with the name Szkarlat or S. Szkarlat emblazoned on the cartouche without being sorely tempted.

The maker was one of the most prolific of all Polish silversmiths. I buy them whenever I can.

You see, it was my father's mother's maiden name. It means sapphire in Polish.

The family name has almost disappeared from our world at this point. I buy them reflexively. I have owned three or four different pairs over the years.

My grandmother's father Menachem Szkarlat owned a sawmill in Wyszkow, a small "shtetl" or jewish community northeast of Warsaw. He was actually pretty well to do compared to his peers.

He and his wife, Sura Gold Fridman had eleven children, Malka, Brana, Rafael, Itzhak, Ruchel, Pola, Rivka, Hana, Mendel, Israel, Bluma as well as my grandmother Pesia. I believe that Pola died at a very young age.

My grandmother Pesia is in the second seated row, second from the right.
The occasion was a visit from the poet/philosopher Hillel Zeitlin to Wyszkow, sometime before 1920, I think.
Pesia emigrated to Palestine in the early 1920's with my grandfather Israel Sommer (Kaitz).
They were very lucky to escape the coming storm. Three of her sisters appear in this photograph.

The rest, with the exception of my grandmother, our Aunt Malka and Ruchel, died in the Holocaust, in Auschwitz. Ruchel was bombed in the Vistula forest in the early days of the war in 1939 and suffered a serious head injury. Much of the town's history and tribulations can be found in the Yizkor, or memorial book.

Szmul Szkarlat - 1889, assayed by Joseph Sosnowski 
I am under no pretensions that these are the most beautiful or best crafted of shabbos, or Friday night prayer candlesticks ever constructed.

But they are lovely in their own honest way, with their foliate and fruit design and simple chasing. Serviceable.

Most of the shabbos sticks I have seen of any maker were made in Warsaw, as were these.

All the sticks that I have seen from this particular silversmith look very similar, although the early ones tended to come with a heavy rectangular base and seemed more substantial. I am sorry that I sold my better, heavier pair with the square base.

They are usually a touch over thirteen inches tall, made out of Russian silver 84. Russian silver standards are based on the zolotnick and work out to about 87.5% purity. My late friend Garry Cohen had a magnificent pair of Szkarlat candlesticks, twice as large at least, the most beautiful pair I have ever seen. I want to track down his brother Larry and get a picture.

Szmul Szkarlat Hanukkah Lamp -
courtesy of Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Anyway as I was saying, I always imagined or figured that the maker, Szmul Szkarlat, was a distant uncle. The name is fairly uncommon and my hope and sincere belief was that we were somehow related. I guess I bought them to honor the family that neither I nor the world ever got to know.

One must understand the significance of these candlesticks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This was after all, Poland and not Germany. The Jews of Poland and the Ukraine lived under pogrom and persecution and were typically very poor. Yet every family had their tribe and faith to cling to and every family had a set of shabbos candlesticks, the less well to do families' sticks made out of brass or silverplate over copper. It was tough for these people to afford sterling or continental grade silver. But they would scrimp and save and manage to get to get something. It was a requisite. And every family had a set in one fashion or another. They were treasured keepsakes and eventually passed down.

The lighting of the candles 谞专讜转 砖讘转 at about twenty minutes before sundown on Friday was a rabbinically required law. The first record of the talmudic requirement is found in the ninth century Siddur of Rav Amram. The lighting had a dual purpose, to honor the sabbath and to foster shalom bayit, or domestic tranquility.

*
My friend Tracy was kind enough to recently buy me a dna kit from Ancestry.com. She said that it might fill out some gaps in the information I have previously received from Family Tree DNA. They certainly have a large database and they have a neat feature called Thrulines™. Thrulines™ gives you information from other family trees on the Ancestry website that might pertain to your research. Very invaluable.

It took a few days to get the information to migrate to my site.

And I discovered something startling, that Szmul Shmelko Szkarlat was not a distant uncle after all, he was my grandmother's great grandfather.

And I learned his father's name, Avigdor, who was born in 1773.

I made contact with a Montreal relative who translates Russian and Polish and has done a lot of research on the family.

She confirmed that my third great grandfather was the famous silver maker and told me that the Grosbard relatives also were noted goldsmiths.

People don't get this when I tell them but I want to repeat. We had no silver in my family, we ate off melmac and stainless. I knew no family lore, my mother preferring to shade and obfuscate her family history and my father never divulging much at all.

And yet for some weird reason, I developed a keen interest in fine silver and even wrote for the wonderful publication Silver Magazine for a period of years. Isn't that strange? Where did that come from? All I can think of is that I must have a genetic disposition for argentum, perhaps a touch of silver in my veins.

I am going to do more research on my forefather and hopefully write a comprehensive article for publication. Here is a Chanukkah light from the year he died, 1878.

Szmul Szkarlat Hanukkah light, 1878
photo courtesy: MUZEUM IM. JACKA MALCZEWSKIEGO W RADOMIU

I have seen hallmarked pieces dated to the late 1890's. It is obvious that the workshop kept using the mark after Szmul's passing, a practice common even today.

Later pieces marked B. Szkarlat have also appeared, unmistakably another relative. It is interesting to me that the set I own has no first initial in the hallmark cartouche, perhaps in deference to the patriarch after his death?

One of his totemic signatures was the ewer, which is shown on top left. Is that a raptor in the cornucopia? Looks like two falcons on the bottom. Hmmm...

It is a thrill and honor for me to be Szmul's distant grandchild.

讻讘讚 讗转־讗讘讬讱 讜讗转־讗诪讱 诇诪注谉 讬讗专讻讜谉 讬诪讬讱 注诇 讛讗讚诪讛 讗砖专־讬讛讜讛 讗诇讛讬讱 谞转谉 诇讱

*
I am not a religious person but I bear a fierce loyalty to my tribe. I can't imagine what the people in New York, Jersey City, Berlin or London are going through today, where to be jewish is to risk verbal and physical abuse and even death in the case of Pittsburgh and Poway. I am seriously thinking of wearing a kippah for a while, for solidarity if nothing else.

Wishing everybody the best,

Robert

Townes Van Zandt - Tecumseh Valley

Happy 2020

A Chaldean friend asked me what I was doing for New Years this morning. I said that I would preferably by away from crowded places where people were drinking.

As I get older I am less and less comfortable with crowds and less and less comfortable with alcohol. Put the two together and I am really uncomfortable.

Of course I had exactly one drink in the last year so maybe I am a bit out of practice. But it was never really my thing.

Drank a half gallon of Gallo Mountain Rhine with a friend in boarding school when I was fourteen, and had the one and only hangover of my life, it was vicious and it was plenty.

Of course I have other vices to make up for my lack of appreciation for alcohol, being a long time puffer.

Just a different head space, not quite as sloppy for me and a bit more cerebral. Of course they both have their potential low points as you can see in this graphic image I put together long ago.

People tend to go one way or the other, juicer or stoner, some indulge all the way around. Some are moderate and some are excessive. And some live clean and monastic lives and don't do anything at all and that is wonderful too.

Anyway, as I said, I was talking to my Iraqi friend and he said he felt the exactly same way, he rarely drinks with the exception of an occasional ceremonial or ritual glass of wine and he thinks that it is probably genetic. Middle easterners of any creed do not tend to be heavy drinkers. Don't see a lot of Jewish or Muslim alcoholics around. And I think he is right. Not because of some innate virtue, but because of our genes.

 Scientists have recently identified a rare gene that I bear that discourages alcohol dependence, see Rare Gene discourages Alcoholism among Jews. The gene was first known as alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (ADH2*2), but is now known as alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B). In my particular Promethease report it shows up as rs1159918(T;T).

Now I also have a gene that has been associated in a Japanese study as giving me a higher risk of alcoholism, rs1076560(A). But conversely it shows heightened memory function and its bearers have a lower risk of opiate addiction. Funnily both my sister Liz and I and probably other family members can't tolerate opiates at all. Some studies have linked the gene to cannabis dependence. Horrors!

Several other genes I carry do show a bent towards alcoholism including rs279871(A;G), rs1800759(A;C), rs686(A;A) and rs7928758(T;T). Not sure how the genes fight it out but in any case firewater was never my bag. A nice glass of Silver Oak on occasion and a greyhound or two but not often.

Of course having been at least partially raised by an abusive alcoholic stepfather and a mother with a proclivity for pharmaceuticals, you live a portion of your life as roadkill or collateral damage and you get a little bit gun shy about doing great harm to your body, or trusting humans for that matter, hence my lifetime reticence.

Please be safe this New Years and do take care of your bodies. See you next year, all in one piece.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Steve Earle - Fort Worth Blues

Fish catches the flying bird

Strictly partisan

Every time I open up politically there are a rash of comments declaring whataboutism and equivalence. I'm a liberal poo poo head, if Repubs are bad, Dems are worse, we hated Obama too, both parties suck, etc..

Now I personally don't think that the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans, in fact this administration's tenets and actions are like a poster child for everything I abhor, from their environmental record to their record on social issues and foreign policy and pretty much everything in between. So the choice is clear for me. Your choice is your choice. I'm not going to please everybody, I learned that a long time ago. Not going to try.

I read a conservative talking head opining yesterday about Trump's rescuing us from a lagging Obama economy.

thanks for sending this, Kip!
Now that is not exactly historically correct but for the sake of argument, if I was to pretend that it was, do people not remember that Obama stepped in to sweep up the horrible mess from the great recession of the Bush years?

Unfortunately, Democrats always have to clean up the messes. Republicans have conveniently short memories. We have had ten years now without a recession, at the expense of massive debt and spending.

The clock is now ticking.

The truth is that things have mostly proceeded steadily.

Obama vs. Trump economy.




Looks like Obama did most of the heavy lifting here, doesn't it?

There is nothing wrong with having a political opinion, not sure I trust people who don't have one, either way.

Hudgins sent a thoughtful piece over yesterday from Heather Cox Richardson, specifically the part about the influence of Russian money on our political system.

Mark Galli's now famous editorial calling for Trump's removal in Christianity Today.

Lev Golinkin on Giuliani, Soros and anti semitism.

TOXMAP, FEDERAL DATABASE ALLOWING PUBLIC TO TRACK U.S. POLLUTION, SHUT DOWN AFTER 15 YEARS BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.

Republicans claim that Dems wanted to impeach Trump from his first day in office. That is not exactly true. We just knew that it was just a matter of time before the morally bankrupt liar did himself in.


Friday, December 27, 2019

Steve Hillage

Do you believe in magic?

I had the last BCG treatment this morning in this initial round of six that they call the induction phase. It is not the most comfortable of regimens, take my word for it. Now I wait two months and get another blue light cystoscopy in the operating room. If they find cancer, all bets are off.

If they don't find cancer cells I start getting the immuno-therapeutic agent every month or so for a year or two. I have no idea what is going to happen here but I know that thanks to a doctor willing to listen, we gave myself a fighting chance to save my bladder.

The first two urologists didn't give me a chance in hell, Juma said it was not a matter of if but when the cancer returned. Because it was a high grade in the wall. I don't blame him for being honest. If anything I blame myself for not staying on top of things after my urologist died.

Don't be an idiot like me, if you are over fifty you need to get a colonoscopy and you need to pay attention. Women need to get regular mammograms too.

*
I don't know exactly how the bcg exactly works. It is supposed to foster white blood cell production that attacks the cancer but I believe that the actual operational details are still something of a mystery.
"We are not quite sure how BCG works for bladder cancer. It seems to encourage cells of the immune system to grow and become very active in the bladder lining. These cells probably kill off any cancer cells that might grow back or have been left behind. This is called immunotherapy."
I look at my bladder like a big magical alembic at the moment, hopefully transmuting the nasty visitor and vanquishing it with the help of my newfound elixir.

Anyway, all arcane hermeticism aside, I am in a waiting period and will be for the foreseeable future. Greisman told me way back when that he should have taken the whole kidney out in 1985 when he had the chance. All it took was one hidden cell for the disease to return 25 years later.

Brain to bladder: transmute!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Blustery bird day

Female northern harrier
I did battle with DMV most of the morning on the phone, then decided to pay them a personal visit where everything seemed to get resolved.

Paid a mortgage at the bank, down to two now. I decided to go get my new car dirty, to see what it could do in tough conditions.

It was a grey, cold, wet, blustery day. I knew that it was risky going out to my sanctuary after so much wet weather.

My suspicions were unfortunately proved correct, there was a chain pulled taut across the front of the Reserve. I guess they didn't want people getting stuck and tearing up the trails.

I decided to try the Walker Pond Rd. and thankfully it was still open.

I drove straight into the middle of every large mud puddle and bog I could find and the all wheel drive reacted splendidly, never a real fear of getting stuck.

The Mazda CX - 5 awd is a gem. Christened it with a thick helping of mud, as it should be. No prissy suburban Rover here in my stable.

I saw hawks everywhere, a couple eagles too, but decided to leave the good lens in the fitted case and just be a sightseer with my slow but light Sigma 150-600mm sport.

Gives me a bit more reach and some days it is just easier.

Dark and rainy, I wasn't going to do anything but enjoy my feathered friends and have a good time enjoying the peace and solitude.

Once again I had the place entirely to myself.

Many of the birds had been recently drenched and you could tell that they were still drying off.

I saw all manner of fowl, from pelican to shrike, ibis to mountain bluebird. Lots of red tailed and red shouldered buteos.

Was very pleasant, haven't been to my special place in far too long.

Didn't actually capture anything too noteworthy but didn't try too hard either.


As they said on Sesame Street, Lovely day, everything's a-ok. Good to be back.

Best laid plans of mice and men.

I guess it is all as well that I couldn't go to Yosemite today, I don't think I would have made it through the Cajon Pass or the Grapevine, which are both closed due to snow.

Hope everybody is having a wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Xmas

Dim sum at Jasmine with Ron and Lena this morning. Nothing says Christmas quite like shrimp shumai.

Dinner at Don Steinberg's tonight.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Blaze Foley


I know a lot of people have a hard time during this time of year. A song for you from one of the unknown greats, taken from our world much too soon.

Separated at birth?

I was glancing over at Leslie's computer this morning and there was a very sad looking picture of Attorney General William Barr on the screen.

"He looks cartoonish," I said.

"Yes," she agreed. "Deputy Dog." I agreed but decided to do a little more research. I haven't hunted for the specific picture but found something similar on line.

I think we were slightly off. It's really not Deputy Dog, it's Droopy from the Tex Avery cartoon that he most resembles.


Created in 1943 by MGM.


Deputy Dog was a much later Terrytowns cartoon from 1962. While there is some resemblance, the deputy was more emotionally neutral, I think Droopy wins the day.

Don't really see a fit with Augie Doggie and his doggie daddy either. Much too upbeat.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Happy Holidays

No matter what your celebratory pleasure or inclination might be, wishing all my Blast readers and friends the warmest of holiday greetings!

Tomorrow Never Knows

Ram Dass



Ram Dass, the Harvard academic whose life was forever shifted when he encountered psychedelics and then eastern religion in the early 1960's, has departed this earthly plane after a long illness.

Originally known as Richard Alpert, the spiritual teacher was 88. His wise teaching touched many hungry seekers who needed a tether and lodestone after having their minds blown in the 1960's and 70's.

His book The only dance there is was an inspiration to me personally. Thank you Ram Dass for a life well lived.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

It's the weather or something like that

For a supposedly dry year we have been getting a lot of rain. Hope it keeps up.

I started searching around for seasonal forecasts. Almanac says lower than normal rain in Nor Cal, greater than normal in So Cal and lower than normal snowpack for the state.

I found a great weather site www.weatherwest.com that thinks we might be headed for a rainy surprise of some magnitude in January. Anybody remember 1993?

Hudgins sent me a great global weather site today, Ventusky. Check it out.

Village News

I don't read the local Fallbrook newspaper anymore. The publisher is a nice person and has always been a good friend, the ex editor a great friend. It's tough to run a newspaper in these economic times. I understand that. But somehow the paper shifted to an extremely right wing editorial stance when it became affiliated with the Epoch Times. Not exactly sure what the relationship is but I believe that they are a financial backer of some kind.

I can't hang with it anymore, especially when the Epoch company is tied to so much agitprop and propaganda. Almost makes Fox News look fair and balanced. And they are engaged in a flat out national disinformation campaign. Among other things the Epoch people have floated a Q-anon claim that Trump is leading a secret effort to uncover a global pedophile ring that includes many top Democrats, media figures and other members of the "Deep State."

I read the Village News to find out about garage sales and obituaries, not to get reprogrammed with far right lies and propaganda.

The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by John Tang and other Chinese Americans connected to the Falun Gong church. It has been very supportive of Trump and far right leaders in Europe. It has a generally negative stance on abortion and lgbt issues. It has worked hand in hand with the Trump administration spreading Spygate and Q-anon disinformation. Fiercely anti Beijing, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Facebook banned the Epoch Times from advertising in August of this year for using fake "sockpuppet" proxies to disguise authorship and get around its review policies. Now word that Facebook has taken down down more than 600 accounts tied to the pro-Trump conspiracy website for using identities created by artificial intelligence to push stories about a variety of topics including impeachment and elections. 

The New York Times has a good article yesterday exposing the deception. An arms reach subsidiary of Epoch called B.L. was the perpetrator. Machine generated artificial intelligence using fake photos to create false identities to influence social media.

Facebook said that it removed 610 accounts, 89 Facebook pages, 156 groups, and 72 Instagram accounts that were connected to the organization. Around 55 million accounts followed one of these Facebook pages and 92,000 followed at least one of the Instagram accounts. The organization spent nearly $9.5 million in advertisements, according to Facebook.

Twitter has followed suit. Twitter and Facebook have shut down a network of fake accounts that pushed pro-Trump messages all while “masquerading” as Americans with AI-generated faces as profile photos.

It is pretty sad. You go to bed with dogs you wake up with fleas, Julie. You do what you have to do to survive but I think that your paper has now lost all credibility in our community. Small community newspapers work better when they are ideologically neutral.  Cut the cord with these people if you still can.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Just for kicks

Those that have known me for a long time know that I had a long period in my life where I was really into the martial arts, specifically Chinese Hung Gar style five animal Kung Fu. I started out in Japanese and Okinawan styles but Kung Fu was where it was at with me. A few people started calling me the Kung Fu jew back then, including my sifu.

Would have loved to continue my learning and training but one last sweep after knee surgery showed me that my body just couldn't take it anymore. But I really miss it and loved the training, sparring and competing.

There is an interesting movie out on Netflix called Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks. It gives an overview of Chinese martial arts, from Bruce Lee to the Shaw Brothers and their incredible influence on popular culture, hip hop and parkour.

And watching the film I learned that there was another Kung Fu jew and his name was Bruce Lee.

According to a new biography, Lee's great-grandfather, Mozes Hartog Bosman, came from a Dutch Jewish family of German descent. Bosman was born in Rotterdam in 1839 to teenage parents Hartog Mozes Bosman and Anna de Vries. His father was a kosher Jewish butcher. 


Not wanting to go into the family butcher business, Mozes joined the Dutch East Asia company and found passage to Hong Kong. He eventually became very wealthy and the Dutch Consul to Hong Kong.
I've been watching a lot of Chinese made martial arts movies on YouTube. Usually the plot goes something like this; Chinese peasant farmer is insulted and uses his kung fu skills to decimate whole garrisons of nasty occupying Japanese soldiers and samurai. Still the fighting is good, graceful and athletic, not like the brute force and ugliness that typifies MMA today, which I can hardly watch.
Here's a cool Wing Chun movie clip I saw the other day, always watch out for the old guys:

2020 Vision

I wanted to use this apt and handy metaphor before it gets driven into the ground so very soon. Have to confess to stealing it from the sports page this morning but I guarantee that I am an early adopter and deserve a bit of dispensation.

On the precipice of a new decade we hominids need to carve out a fresh vision for the future, figure out a way to be a bit nicer to each other. Hopefully next year will presage the turn. But I'm not exactly placing any bets.

Our world is in very sad shape. We have pandered and catered to our most base and craven tendencies. Racism, hate, stupidity and nationalism are experiencing a global rebirth not seen in such stark evidence since the late thirties. Comity and compromise have fled the coop.

I received a comment on my blog directing to a pro fascist British website this morning. I deleted it. Things that are so nasty and virulent to be unmentionable just a few years ago are now widely evoked.

The Trumps, Bannons and Stephen Millers of our world are feeding the flames. The results are seen daily in our newspapers and the comments sections of our media servers.

I don't know how things are going to end but we keep this sort of stuff up and it won't end well. We are in a major retrograde action and our earth, air and water can only take so much. In the words of Steve Miller (the other Steve Miller), time to make the world turn around.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Gary Larson

With all the ugliness and rancor in our world, no matter what side of the political fence you sit on, we can all be happy about one thing - after nearly twenty five years, The Far Side is back!

George Thorogood

Wasn't meant to be.


I have been getting ready for a four day solo trip next week to Yosemite. Borrowed some filters from Ken, ordered and received new snow chains, assembled my warm clothes, booked my motel rooms last week. Really excited to be out in frosty nature, to get some fabulous winter shots of our beautiful national park. Haven't been back since my father died. Wanted to shoot something epic.

And now it's not going to happen. I just cancelled the room. I was all set to go next Thursday morning, the day after my last immunotherapy treatment in this initial run. But it turns out that Wednesday is a popularly celebrated holiday called Christmas, who knew?

The doctor's office is closed and I have to get the treatment now next Friday, which would have been square smack in the middle of my trip. Had to cancel. Damn. Best laid plans of mice and men. The health treatments are top priority. One more infusion and then they need to biopsy me again.

The doctor told me this morning that if they find anything it will be a "whole new story." I gave it my best shot, but nothing is assured. Fingers crossed. Maybe I will bite the bullet and stay at the Awahnee next time I make it to Yosemite. Hope I don't have to wait too long for that to occur. Itching to get out and shoot.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

World ain't so bad.

In these highly partisan and fractured times, we need a good story or two once in a while to keep our heads on straight.

Like the five year old girl in Vista, Katelynn Hardee, who sold enough cocoa and baked goods to retire 123 of her fellow students' lunch debt.

Or the two brothers in Cardiff who drug their neighbor out of his burning house, risking their own safety to rescue the man, who would have surely perished. One of Lena's neighbors.

Lightning on the Pecos

I must be jonesing for New Mexico, I keep coming back to reprocess old shots from the land of enchantment.


L.A. Freeway

White Sands National Monument


I read today that White Sands is on the verge of becoming a National Park. My stepfather worked there when I was young and I will always love the place. I applaud the move. Very cool.

Hope that I can visit again soon!

Dark end of the street

Blast Reader Photos from 2019

Balinese dancer - Helen McHargue
Ken Seals
strange kitchen company - Jeff Olson

Golden Girls - Bill Warmboe
Nitza Lite





Taos - Bob Booth
Dave Jacobs
Xmas in El Dorado - John Fillmore
Albany bulb view - Melissa Rossi



96 year old great grandfather Nicolas with great granddaughter Clarissa, five months. - Jerry Hall


New Charleston Bridge - Carol Gammeter
Hiking Buddies - Linda Sherwood
Arizona skyways - Kerry Johnson
Me and my pal, Sean Lennon - Leslie Sommers
Steve Saylor




Ready for the frying pan - Steve Eich
New Years countdown 2019, Tha Phae Gate, Chiang Mai - Richard Neumann
Call in the clouds - Renee O'Brien
Best dessert ever - Renee Ingold
One toke over the line - Shawn Mayes


Dyjandi Falls, Iceland - Warren Gammeter
Retired Ore Deck, Marquete, Michigan - Shirley Timberman

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco - Bill Olson
Warren Bishop
Cam Wilde
Edinburgh - Dominick Grossi
Roy Cohen
V-22 Osprey Squadron, Del Mar - Ron Holder


Last photo - Doug Garn


Gulfstream Buddies - James O'Donnell
Selfie - Jon Harwood

Living room light - Jonathan Hill
Jill Cole
Southwest landscape - Robert Davis
Bob Weir - Mike Reardon
Tanya in Malta Cave - Jeff Nichols
Sun Shades - Kip Peterson
Cardiff Rainbow - Lena Leichtling
Glenn Bray and Lena Zwalve

Pat Robinson
Alaska, the magic of muffled snow - Jeff Barney

Keep them coming folks, great stuff!