Rapt attention

Monday, August 31, 2020

Sunday, Monday

We had a great weekend. A friend of mine gifted me a lovely bonsai tree that had been neglected for a while. My friend Bill Cade is a bonsai expert. I brought it to him and he spent about four hours  trimming it up and taking off dead wood.

He says that there is about seven to eight more hours of work necessary, which I myself am going to take a crack at.

The bottom branches are coming off at the same height so he says that it will never be classically perfect but I think I can sculpt it into something wonderful with time, experience and patience.

He showed me the shears and pruners he favors and I will probably buy them for myself. Should be a fun project. Bill has been working on some of his specimens for over ten years.

Leslie made her special baby back ribs with the thai chile barbecue sauce yesterday morning, a four hour endeavor. We then went over to our friends in Cardiff, Ron and Lena for a wonderful lox and bagel, pickle and olive brunch. Afterwards we took a nice walk through the Cardiff canyon. Had a great time and showed them Leslie's new car.

We took off in the early afternoon to drive to Corona Del Mar to see R & D. In Newport we saw a Bentley SUV on the street, a first for me. I would be willing to bet it never sees dirt its entire life, it was so stupid. They start at $168,000 and get between 14 and 23 miles to the gallon. This sort of conspicuous consumption embodies everything I dislike about Orange County.

We had another feast that night, after a cheese and caviar plate we had the delicious ribs, corn salad and potato salad. We had picked a whole bunch of fresh valencia oranges from our trees and we had fresh screwdrivers. I don't normally drink but it went down real easy last night and I had a ball. Segued into tequila. So I had my third, fourth, fifth and sixth drink in two years, all in one night. Leslie also brought along a nice French champagne.

Our friend's house is beautiful, after a candlelight dinner on the patio we walked down to the beach for sunset. Lovely. The coastline there is magnificent, truly spectacular.

Finished the evening off with New York cheesecake. Told stories and laughed, so nice to be with old friends we rarely get to see.

Lena sent me pictures of these beautiful and unusual mushrooms that sprang up in her yard in Cardiff. She called them snowflakes, so white and pure.

I am not a mycologist but went hunting online and think they might be Bovista californica or a relative of that fungi but I am admittedly out of my depth here. Does anybody know? - Leucocoprinus cretaceous

I had a strange dream last night.

I was with Steve Stoops doing an antique show in Las Vegas but our customers were all rough looking bikers and cowboys.

I couldn't sell anything. Last thing I remember the casino/hotel was trying to settle my bill and I watched as every credit card I owned was successively declined.

Next thing I knew they were kicking my ass out in the middle of a very hot desert. Thankfully I woke up.

We headed back home early today. Nothing too momentous, we drove back through Laguna and Dana Point, stopped at Gelsons for a minute.

Funniest thing was when a woman in a Range Rover tried to cut into Leslie's lane and my wife blurted out "I don't think so, ducklips." I looked over and Leslie was right, the woman had obviously gone a bit overboard on the collagen injections.

The other thing we noticed is that a lot of the luxury cars look like your basic funky sedans if you detach your attention from their upscale branding. She showed me a Jaguar that resembled her Mazda, a Maserati that could have been a Ford and a few other similar cars.

We were talking about Audis and the problems they had as shown on carproblems.com, drive it ten thousand miles and throw ten thousand more dollars at it.  And these cars are everywhere up there because they have a very successful marketing campaign and people have so much money that they can obviously afford to throw at them.

The neighborhood we stayed in in Corona Del Mar was very nice, the gardens and homes were gorgeous and the people all seemed very nice and friendly.

But even if I could afford it, which I can not, I would probably rather be someplace else than Orange County. Too much money, too status conscious and too much compression for me but that is just me.  Been out in the country too long. To each their own.

Saw a bunch of stickers on a truck on the way home. When I pointed them out to Les she told me they were Q stickers. Figures.

Got home, removed a volunteer phoenix palm and a variegated agave, trimmed the wisteria which was strangling my lawn furniture and pruned the raphis palm.

Very happy to take a rare Monday off, tomorrow I get to pay bills again. Joy.




sloth (def. 1)Compare deadly sins.
        laziness or indifference in religious matters.

That Covid 19 confinement malaise getting you down?  Probably won't make you feel any better but there is a word for it and it has been around at least since the fifth century, acedia. Cloistered monks experienced the same angst, sort of a divine melancholy and the ancient Greeks even gave it a name. Hit the red link and read Jessica Stillman's riff on the subject as it relates to the current pandemic.

Homer mentions Acedia in the Iliad, Dante refers to it in The Divine Comedy as the sin that led him to the gates of hell. And Chaucer uses the term as well in The Parson's Tales:
For Envye blindeth the herte of a man, and Ire troubleth a man; and Accidie maketh him hevy, thoghtful, and wrawe. / Envye and Ire maken bitternesse in herte; which bitternesse is moder of Accidie, and binimeth him the love of alle goodnesse.
It is an interesting word, one I was not familiar with and I thank Renee for bringing it to my attention.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

On the subject of locks

My buddy and old roommate Jerry sent these pictures over this evening.

Charles Wilbur Hall, my paternal grandfather, found this lock at the site of Ft. Lincoln, North Dakota after a spring thaw a l-o-o-o-n-g time ago. 

Ft. Lincoln was General George Custer's last post command. Custer and his men road from there to the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. The fort was abandoned in 1891 after the completion of the railroad. (My grandfather was a licensed train engineer from Minnesota.)

There's engraving on the lock that says 1777 AD, I think. So it's possible the lock was there during Custer's assignment, but I have no proof. The number 3. And a word, maybe the manufacturer's name. Of course US is very clear. Would need to magnify the rest. 

It's heavy, I'd guess 2 or 3 pounds. The key has always had the sloppy repair that cobbled it back together. You're article made me think of it. It's been put away since.

Jerry, Sr. passed away in 1998. Ft. Lincoln is a state park now. I thought of donating it to the State Park, but I keep hanging on to it. 

Well, what a cool lock, Jerry. Obviously forged. I started searching for one like it and had no luck. Looks really old. Nice, great patina.

Perhaps some sharp blast detectives will help us do some old fashioned sleuthing and see if we can figure this old lock out.

I saw a couple lock museums in my cursory searches and will send the pics out on Monday, try to get to the bottom of this one.

Thanks for sending!

Postscript - Thanks to reader Kerry we now know that the lock was a U.S. government lock made by the Crilly Lock Company in  Philadelphia, PA #3. Quite valuable actually. It appears that this type of padlock is known as a Scandinavian lock. Still not sure of the production date. I would like to see the entire key, it might be what is called a Polhem or barrel key, probably hand filed.

Warren Zevon

The Providers

It is tough to run a retail business when there are no customers on the street. Very discouraging.

I have always had the shows and they have all been cancelled this year. But it might be even tougher for my wife and her store.

I feel for all the brick and mortar retailers, especially the one's that were just starting a new business when covid hit.

Talk about a double whammy, like things aren't hard enough. I was just going through a list of all the large retail chains that have filed for bankruptcy this year. Hurts the owners, hurts the workers, hurts everybody.

I am trying to stay busy every day, get my website more up to snuff, things like that. Today I polished silver. I try to do something productive everyday. Because this Covid and mask business will make you lose your mind. Everybody is so tired of it but we got no say in the matter, unfortunately. The pandemic is calling the shots. It has not been good for many of our psyches and self worth, will tell you that. But what can you do but hang on, grit your teeth and try to survive?

Of course, Covid 19 is just part of the problem. Amazon is the other part. People are getting awful used to punching a button on the keyboard and getting whatever they need, Main Street or Main Avenue is turning into quite the anachronism. First they came for the box stores...

A rich guy I know bought a second home and I asked him if he needed any cool furniture and he said that he was more of an Ikea guy. Of course he is. Ikea, Walmart and Amazon, is there really any need for anything else? People can dress the same, eat the same gruel and live in the same stucco box, sounds quite ideal to me. Never have to leave the house.

Made me think of one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, The Gamesters of Triskelion. This was the sixteenth episode of the second season, 1966. Do you remember it, three disembodied brains, the Providers, who lived under a glass dome on a table top, never moved and controlled a planet? They'd once had humanoid form, but after eons of devoting themselves exclusively to intellectual pursuits they had evolved into their present form, sans bodies. 

I don't think we are too far off. Jeff Bezos can be the overlord and we thralls can shove the poles in the holes or whatever Devo said that we would be doing. Brave new world.

Cisco Houston

Ne'er the twain

Politics is a toxic cesspool right now. Divisions are strong, fuel is being poured daily on the fire and I fear some personal relationships will never be put back together.

We all view the world from a different prism. And the stakes seem very high right now.

I still think that Carl Jung probably figured it out best, there are some people that worship the strong patriarchal father and some that follow the mother archetype.

I tend to hang with the latter group.

Remember the study of the common trait of Trumpers I alluded too earlier, when the guy called me a liberal cunt? The slavish devotion to authority and order?

I was struck by the sweet face of the skateboarder that was killed while peacefully protesting in Kenosha. Doesn't look like much of a dangerous subversive to me.

Anthony Huber tried to stop a guy shooting an automatic weapon with his skateboard and he paid the ultimate price. while the cops did nothing.

The riot of course was about the probity of shooting a man, even possibly a criminal man, in the back seven times while he was leaning into a car that may have had a knife inside it somewhere.

Cops evidently had a curfew out for left wingers that particular night but seventeen year old right wing vigilantes with rifles got a free hall pass.

Unfortunately we hear about more and more of this thing lately, the cops looking the other way when the Proud Boys are involved, almost as if they are in league with them. It happened in Portland last week when they let a known felon "Tiny" Toese walk right by them while the right wingers took on Antifa and it happened in Bethel, Ohio a few months ago when they gave the right wing motorcyclists a license to beat on people and got out of the way.

This article at the Huffington Post today might explain some of it; White vigilantes have always had a friend in the police.
A report published this week by former FBI agent Mike German, now a fellow at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, documented how police ties to “white supremacist groups or far-right militant activities” have been uncovered in over a dozen states since 2000.
This is a scary trend and the article is worth reading.

We keep hearing from the President and people like Jim Desmond and Betsy DeVos that we are smart enough that schools can be opened safely. Are we and can they? Have you read about the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa?
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The University of Alabama reported Friday that an additional 481 students have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to more than 1,000 infections since students returned to campus for the fall.
The University of Alabama System released new numbers on its dashboard of cases for all three campuses. The additional 481 cases on the Tuscaloosa campus were reported between Aug. 25 and Aug. 27. The university system said no students are hospitalized.
And it is not just them, it is all over. Because we are not that smart, in fact the contrary is true. Wait, it is up to 1200 now.
While many universities have opted for remote-only learning because of the pandemic, large outbreaks linked to colleges and universities have been increasingly commonplace at schools that encouraged students to return to campus. In addition to the University of Alabama, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Central Florida are among the schools reporting spikes in COVID-19 infections among students and staff.

Wild things

My neighbor has a wildlife camera set up at his place. He is even more remote than we are, lucky person.

Lucky enough to catch a clowder of bobcat in his driveway on a recent evening.

I believe that he said that there was a mother and two kittens. Can't really tell with the poor resolution.

He had a buck stroll by one morning as well and they are as rare as hen's teeth around these parts these days.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Kasparov v. Carlsen

Two of, and arguably the two greatest chess masters of our time, Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen, will compete at random chess in the 10-player St Louis Champions Showdown in September.

This will be their first encounter in sixteen years.

I watch a lot of chess and St. Louis has become the epicenter of chess in America for some reason.

Finegold, Rosen, Yasser Seirawan and other great players have all represented the city. Bravo to the St. Louis Chess Club. When I was a kid, Marshall Chess Club in New York had the power.

Both of these men are great chess champions. Kasparov is 57, Carlsen is 30.

Last time out Garry beat him two games and drew a third but Magnus is not the same player he was back then and plays with a lot of confidence.

Other prominent players include America’s world No 2, Fabiano Caruana, who defeated Kasparov 5-1 at blitz in 2019, the US champion, Hikaru Nakamura,  and the wunderkind Alireza Firouzja,17, who Kasparov has never met before.

Actually Kasparov tutored young Magnus for a time in 2009 but things reportedly got bristly. Carlsen became World Chess Champion in 2013 beating Viswanathan Anand.

Anand is very good and very analytical but he is not Kasparov. Garry is one of my all time favorites, right after Fischer. In a regular game I think he could take the kid. This will be Kasparov's first online battle since 2005.

I look forward to some beautiful chess. But unfortunately we may not see it. Because random is a weird contrivance where a computer makes a random choice of the back row starting array. Fifty bucks from my pocket, guys, just play chess.

Dig my grave with a silver spade

Lot of people have covered this Blind Lemon Jefferson song. Mavis Staples, Dylan, Lightning Hopkins, Guy Davis, Furry Lewis, B.B. King and others have all done credible versions. Surprisingly, Lou Reed's take is still my favorite. But this one is a close second.

Warts and all

For some reason I like this sepia tone shot of a pair of warthogs I took in 2015. Don't ask me why but I do. A bit prickly but lots of tonal variation, just like me.

I guess I must have printed it once on metallic paper because I just saw a print I made of it back when. Looks pretty cool, if you're into this sort of thing. I think I was going to make an etching of it once and never got around to it. Still could, one day.

Anyway I am using my downtime to start cleaning up my office and was in the process of throwing the print in the trash today when I thought, "Hey someone might like that. I can't be the only guy in this world that likes warthogs, can I?"

I got drawers full of nice prints from shows and my printer that will go into the city dump when I croak. What will they do with all this stuff when I'm six feet under?

Anybody wants this one be the first to say so by email and pay me eight bucks for shipping and it is yours, free, getting mailed in a tube. It's a nice print, no need to be framed, fine affixed with a fat thumbtack or even a refrigerator magnet.

Master Lock #77

Bruce at Alert Locksmith is one of my best bros.

Bruce is starting to think about winding down his business and maybe moving to greener pastures down south.

We have a new front door on our house, after forty eight years it was time and I needed a duplicate key.

Bruce came over and made it in a jiffy.

"What do I owe you, I asked," somewhat rhetorically as Bruce pretty much never charges me for anything.

"Well," he says, "I'm thinking about presenting you with a big cumulative bill for the last twenty five years, how's that sound?"

I started sweating, hoping and praying that he was kidding, as I am pretty far in his debt. Bruce then asked me if I wanted to see something cool. He was cleaning up his shop and came upon this old padlock, a Master Lock #77.

I am not sure if I have ever seen a Master Lock with a lion's head. The cool thing is that this one comes with an original lion key as well.

I did some checking. The #77 was introduced in 1945 with the lion head.

Even earlier locks were made in the 1930's with a full lion body.

A commemorative limited edition was made in 1996 to celebrate Master Lock's seventy five year run but it was marked as such. This is an old one.

Master lock was co-founded by an itinerant Russian emigre locksmith named Harry Soref in 1921. He traveled throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States plying his craft but hit upon the idea of stacking steel plates together with heavy steel rivets and building a much better padlock.

Manufacturers thought he was crazy, it was too expensive and the public was used to junk but Harry persevered. He would do it himself.  Soref, a jewish immigrant with little formal education, established the Master Lock Company in 1921 and began building the the padlocks in a small Milwaukee shop – with five employees, a drill press, a grinder and a punch press.

And the rest as they say, is history.

Now the green blade riseth

Smart wife

Lot of bad news going around this week. I have a friend who didn't get checked up soon enough, with the same type of cancer I had, he just lost his bladder and prostate and he's not eating. Doctor worried about sepsis.

Leslie passed a kidney stone last week.

Another friend's house blew up the day before yesterday, lost a fortune of paintings and antiques. Luckily, he and his wife escaped unharmed. The cause was a gas leak.

Yesterday a man I did not know was taking a leisurely walk in Valley Center when a branch fell off of a eucalyptus tree and killed him instantly.

I mentioned the last thing to my wife this morning while she was reading at the breakfast table drinking her coffee and she said something that I thought was profound. And I didn't write it down so this is much less profound paraphrasing but it was something on the order of "When it is your turn there is just no getting out of the way."

True that.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Joni Mitchell

Fishing with Matt

Sometimes when I want to relax I watch fishing videos. This kayak fisherman from North Dakota is definitely my favorite fisherman by far.

Immigrants trunk dated 1839

I was in San Diego recently visiting Bob Longdyke and picked up this old trunk. Bob is one of the most knowledgable people you will ever meet  in the antiques business, his house is a museum and I have always felt honored to learn from him.

Absolute brilliant man on so many subjects and there are so few people of scholarship left that I can say that about. Anyway he was selling a few things on his patio and my eyes alighted on this old chest. A big and heavy trunk, 38 x 22 x 20."

In the top picture it is sitting on my Gustav Stickley desk, which seemed like the best place to allow people to see the lovely paint.

I admired the old paint, the care the owner took in embellishing it, the heavy hand wrought lock and pulls.

He offered no hints as to its country of origin and actually I was pretty sure that I already knew.

This beauty was not made in a disposable age.

Yes there is some paint missing but how good will you look at the age of one hundred and eighty one?

I know a lot about a lot of things but I am the first to admit that I don't know everything, not by a long shot.

And I have to confess, I was wrong about this trunk. I suspect that will give a few of you some pleasure and glee.

When I saw the paint on the front panel initially I actually  thought that I was looking at a Spanish Colonial box from Mexico. Hot damn!

Something about the florid paint strokes threw me for a loop. It reminded me of paint from Olinala. I sent a picture to Spanish Colonial expert Jim Jeter. It turns out that I could not have been farther off.

Jim is another person I have enormous respect for. He felt that it was definitely European and he leaned towards German or Swiss. Tyrolean he said.

I have done some further research and think it is actually Swedish or Norwegian, maybe even Pennsylvania Dutch.

I have seen this sort of iconography and decoration on Scandinavian and German pieces from Ohio and Pennsylvania. It won't have nearly the value of a Mexican trunk but it is what it is. I was way off. It happens.

In any case, it has a lot going for it, whatever its exact geographic origin is. I love the faux and understated background paint, the poor immigrant mimicking the look of fabric perfectly.

There are a lot of similar old trunks out there, this is how our forebears made the long trip across the pond with all their possessions, before the advent of samsonite.

And it is so solidly built, how many of your suitcases do you think will make it this close to the two century mark? And were made by hand?

I won't make a fortune off it or what I was hoping to get from a Spanish Colonial trunk but it is pretty in its own right. Yours for $650.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Classic cuck

Jerry and his wife's "assistant"
This Falwell story is just too much. What's worse (or better) than the wife screwing the poolboy? And the good reverend wanting to sit there and watch?

How about she's shtupping another pool boy too? And he's down with that as well.

And now word that Jerry Jr. had an interest in a gay friendly hostel too? Methinks the good reverend might be a little kinky?

Interesting that Falwell jr. ran Liberty University with the most pious and brimstoney of hands, all the while privately living in his own sordid version of the Hellfire club.

You just couldn't make this stuff up.

 Becky Falwell
With all the pool side hanky panky you got to wonder how they had any time for soul saving?

My favorite part was when Jerry told Giancarlo not to tell his wife about the poolboy's own messing around because "she has feelings too, you know."

Lord obviously works in mysterious ways. But still it seems like the biggest assholes crash the hardest.

Inca Roads

Denial ain't just a river...

I am sure that you have heard about the new Covid testing guidelines. You don't have symptoms, don't worry about testing. Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic. CDC would not comment on questions about its own policy change. A CDC spokesperson referred all questions to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Here's the before and after:
Previously: "Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested."
The CDC changed the site on Monday. Here's what it says now: "If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one."
This was news to the nation's top infectious disease expert:
White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was in surgery and not part of the discussion during the August 20 task force meeting when updated guidelines were discussed."I was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding the new testing recommendations," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta."I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact it is," he said.
Boy this one isn't hard to figure out. More testing means more cases and more cases makes a certain administration look bad. So we won't test. Problem solved.

Governor Andrew Cuomo put it best:
"The only plausible rationale is they want fewer people taking tests because, as the president has said, if we don't take tests you won't know that people are covid positive and the number of covid positive people will come down. It fosters his failed policy of denial."

Monday, August 24, 2020

Note from David in Phoenix

I’m at the DMV renewing my expired license. Lunatic comes in, won’t wear a mask. Came in looking for a fight. Finally left, but not without screaming, saying we’re all being lied to, the guy behind the desk isn’t American. Purposely screaming vulgarities at the top of his voice. I was poised to spring in to action but he left. I’m a little disappointed. He was fat. I could have taken him.

National Parks Pass

Getting older isn't for sissies. As those of you who are of age are aware, everything hurts, much of you now droops, blotches and sags and it can be difficult to climb a set of stairs without a wheeze.

The benefits are indeed scarce. Especially for a working stiff like me who wasn't smart enough to ever retire.  But there is one sure benefit. There is nothing I would rather do than to traipse around our national parks.

And today, being sixty two years old, at least for a couple more months, I bought a lifetime National Parks Senior Pass. Cost ninety bucks. For ever. I bought mine at the USGS site.

Hell of a deal. Soon I hope to be in Yosemite, Sequoia or Kings Canyon, smelling the pines and snapping away with the camera.

Not sure why I waited nine months but glad to scratch this one off the list.

Take that, you young whippersnappers.

Circles around the sun

Smudged to death

My friend Renee called and asked me if I had seen much white sage around? Now it grows wild in my valley but come to think of it, I haven't lately. 

She said no wonder, the new agers with their smudge sticks are decimating the native population.

See Inside the White Sage black market at Vice.

Thanks, hippies.

Dinner at Don's.

We had a nice birthday party for Leslie at Don's last night. We grilled prime steaks and watched the beautiful sunset. Don bought her this pretty cake. I caught the shot on the inhale.

Snapped some pictures of the aloes against the setting sun. His place affords some of the best western views in Fallbrook.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Who would have thought?

  • A Russian opposition leader gets poisoned? Who could possibly be responsible?
  • Yet another major Trump campaign advisor is indicted. How many does that make again? Bannon, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Stone, Gates and Papadopoulos... Who am I missing?
  • The administration can't cite a single instance of voter fraud with mail in balloting when directed to do so by the court?
  • That the President's aides would now be going after his own sister who is on tape referring to him as a liar with no principles?
  • USDA okays chicken processed from diseased birds. 
"Bloomberg reports that in July, the agency accepted a petition from the National Chicken Council to allow slaughterhouses to process birds infected with Avian Leukosis. The infection causes a condition akin to cancer in chickens, where malignant tumors and lesions can develop."

I'll have a bucket of the extra crispy chicken tumors, please...
  • An analysis of Trump supporters - Psychology Today  Full text.
  • More on Manafort in today's Michael Smolens column. Trump's campaign manager talked to the Russian spy Klimnik on a disposable burner phone. The Russkis popped champagne when Trump was elected, said that they had "made America great again."

Saturday, August 22, 2020


I looked out the corner of my eye this morning, yep, it was still there.

How long has the shopping cart sat there upended in the creek in front of the Cultural Village or Fallbrook Old Town or whatever they are calling it these days, two months, three months?

I guess one would hope that the property owner would get it out of there but it doesn't look like that is going to happen anytime soon.

Maybe I will bring my better camera down and create a new Fallbrook post card, pitch it to the Chamber?

I see a small egret down there from time to time in the rainy season.

Hope he doesn't get tetanus from that rusty old thing.

Who is responsible for maintaining our riparian areas?

Ross Douthat has a well written opinion about what happens to Republicanism after Trump at the NYT today.

But his conclusions are not what stuck with me after reading the piece, it was his use of the word perfervid.

I looked at it with wonder. Was it a typo? Editing has gotten so ghastly even at the hallowed Times. What's a perfervid, a fervid pervert? Is it even a word? I looked it up. It is a word allright, means intense and impassioned.

Well, that's a new one on me. Frankly, I wouldn't have the guts to use a word like that, even me. Why not say intense and impassioned unless the point of course, is showing off your fancy new twenty dollar word? How sesquipedalian of old Ross...

Lene Lovich - New Toy

Thomas Dolby on keyboards.

Big Basin

I was very sad to hear about the giant redwoods burning at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Big Basin is our oldest state park in California, founded in 1902.

The loss of hundreds of these magnificent trees is staggering in many respects, both for the trees themselves and the biosystem.

A lot of stupid things come out of our President's mouth but the other day he hit a new mark in ignorance.

He said that the problem in California is that we don't sweep our forest floor clean.

Our forests in the west are at risk.  The trees can't take the new excessive heat and dryness threshold.

I lost one of my two giant redwoods last year. They get their nourishment through moisture in the air and there isn't any. A very sad thing to watch.

Redwoods have lived as long as 3500 years but they might prove to not be a match for the ignorance of man, who continue to rely on fossil fuels and refuse to acknowledge the impact they are having on global warming.

Man is capable of doing some wonderful things, from writing sonatas to painting masterpieces but at environmental stewardship we are a dismal failure.

I went to a lecture once with biologist Joan Maloof, founder of the Old Growth Forest Network.

Professor Maloof explained that there is so much more going on in an old growth forest than what we see with our naked eye, the fungi, the animal life, the insects, the lichen, the mosses.

A forest is a very complex ecosystem, a creator of topsoil, a producer of nitrogen and carbon, a home to so many life forms.

I have spent a fair amount of time in the redwoods. They are a place of continual magic and enchantment.

Only a city boy dolt from Queens would think that a forest floor would benefit from a good sweep.

It is so sad to see just how badly stupid is winning.

Birthday girl

There are a lot of famous and important people that were born on August 23rd.

Like Kobe Bryant.

                                                                  Steve Stoops

The sweet chanteuse, Robin Adler.

                                                                       Keith Moon.

Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne, who was born in Herstal, Belgium in 686 a.d. Chuck was known as "The Hammer."

                      My mother, Adelle Roberts Sommers Fisher Manfred Rosenberg.

And my wonderful wife, Leslie. If you see her tomorrow, please wish her a happy birthday! 💖💜💝