Egret and crab

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Doc and Merle

Great horned owl, Borrego Springs


I was talking to a friend this afternoon who is down at Borrego Springs on a mini vacation at Casa Del Zorro. That resort is one of our favorites. It made me think of our last trip out there. I was hiking around the Tamarisk Grove in 122° heat for two hours searching for owls, to no avail.

I got back to our casita and not in five minutes time this guy flew to the palm tree next to our door. Could have saved me a lot of trouble but somehow that's not the way it works.

Seventies dominoes

I sent this death watch email out to some of my more hardcore bros this morning:

First Mac Davis, then Helen Reddy, it's going to be awful hard getting through today waiting for that third domino to fall...


Bobby Goldsboro or Bobby Sherman….my heart won’t take it.


>I wouldn't give David Gates five cents for his chances...


>I wouldn’t want to be Larry Gatlin.


>Or Susanne Pleshette.


>Or John Davidson.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Why Senators all dress the same. 

Miles Davis

Tuesday tidbits

Tom has a new project. He is restoring a 1954 Austin. I believe this model is the A40 Somerset Saloon. Will be cool to see what it looks like when he is done with it. The engine could produce 42 h.p. and reportedly hit 70 mph. Maybe going down a steep hill with a strong wind at its back?

Jeff is putting a wing on his grandson Brodie's new J 5 Cub up in Alaska. I believe that Brodie earned the lion's share of the money for the plane himself, working at various jobs. I love this stop action sequence.

Abby sent back this outstanding picture of Jemez Falls that was once taken by my favorite photographer.

Name of Sommers. The title of the photograph is "Lady of the Lake." Actually would process it totally differently today. Oh well. Public domain now.


I called the doctor yesterday. She sent me for labs. Turns out that I received a massive urinary infection after my cystoscopy.

I am now on antibiotics. I should have known, this is not the first or second time this has happened. Better than covid, which I got tested for today.


I am getting quite tired of the right suggesting that opposition to Amy Coney Barrett is somehow anti Catholic. My god, there are seven catholics on SCOTUS as it sits, one lapsed into episcopalianism. The Democratic Presidential candidate is a Catholic. Religion has nothing to do with the opposition, it is her past writings on the ACA and originalism and how fast she seems poised to destroy Roe. Stop with the straw dog crap, it isn't honest and it isn't working.


Harwood sent this one over. Unfortunately far too true.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Steelhead Trout


I would like to kvell a bit about a marvelous dinner Leslie made me tonight. I spent the day putting tax information together for my accountant. It's nobody's business honestly, but let's just say I will be paying significantly more federal income tax than the President of the United States, as I always do. Somebody has to keep the motor running.

Leslie called me in the afternoon and asked me if I wanted to run over to Major Market and pick up some Icelandic salmon, which is high quality farm raised and actually raised in the ocean. They were out of it when I got there so I had to refigure.

I knew she didn't want the Atlantic and so I bought the last half lb. of the wild coho. But out of the corner of my eye I saw these absolutely gorgeous fillets of steelhead trout. This can't be right I told the fishmonger, look how pink it is, it's got to be a mismark. No, he says, that's trout. We never buy steelhead but I thought, what the hell and went for it.

Leslie decided to give us some variety tonight. She cooked the coho with salt and cumin and red curry and served it over a bed of basmati rice.

For the steelhead she made a panko crust with panko crumbs, lemon zest, oregano, parsley, fresh garlic, salt and crushed chili flakes. The fish was coated in dijon and lemon juice and then dipped into the panko. It was then sauteed in olive oil. Butter was added when it was almost finished cooking.

I should have taken a picture. I am telling you the steelhead was so delicious it was eye opening. Inspiring. Subtle and nuanced. Delicate, certainly not as fatty but more flavorful. Far outshined the coho, surprising. 

So what exactly is a steelhead and why does it so resemble a salmon? A steelhead is a rainbow trout that has found its way into the ocean. The salt water in the ocean changes their body chemistry. I guess they get very large, these fillets certainly were.

According to literature, the Steelhead trout is a name given to the anadromous form of the coastal rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus. m. irideus) or redband trout (O. m. gairdneri). They can grow to 55 lbs. and live for 11 years. 

The Santa Margarita River that I live on has historically supported steelhead, the variety known as the southern California steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss.) There are anecdotal reports that some still remain but if they do, their habitat is being challenged by both non native fish as well as development and encroachment. They seemed to flourish here in the 1940's. The only local place that I know they still exist is north of us at San Mateo Creek whose watershed extends into three counties, Riverside, San Diego and Orange.

I am looking forward to sampling some more of this wonderful fish before the supply runs out. Try to do some more a-b testing and see if it is the fish or my wife's culinary genius that is shining so bright.

Avinu Malkeinu

Joke and sorry

 An old joke but maybe worth sharing on Yom Kippur:

The Priest & the Rabbi

A priest and a rabbi were sitting next to each other on an airplane.

After a while, the priest turned to the rabbi and asked: "Is it still a requirement of your faith that you not eat pork?”

The rabbi responded: "Yes, that is still one of our beliefs.”

The priest then asked: "Have you ever eaten pork?”

To which the rabbi replied: “Yes, on one occasion I did succumb to the temptation and tasted a ham sandwich.”

The priest nodded in understanding and went on with his reading.

A while later, the rabbi spoke up and asked the priest, "Father, is it still a requirement of your church that you remain celibate?”

The priest replied: "Yes, that is still very much a part of our faith.”

The rabbi then asked him: "Father, have you ever fallen to the temptations of the flesh?”

The priest replied: "Yes, rabbi, on one occasion I was weak and broke with my faith.”

The rabbi nodded understandingly and remained silently thinking for about five minutes.

Finally, the rabbi said: "Beats a ham sandwich, doesn't it?"


This day is the most powerful, for me, of all the jewish holidays.  Although I am neither a learned or religious jew, I do know that the day of atonement is one in which we both ask and grant forgiveness to both those we have wronged and those that have wronged us. Any human can do that.

We are all imperfect and we all do dumb things that we know we shouldn't do. Let it go. To those of you that I have pissed off in some way, I am genuinely sorry. I ask that you grant me forgiveness. And to those on my shitlist, well most of you anyway, fuggetaboutit


This is from my pal John Feldman in Albuquerque, a steel playing lawyer rebbe of the first order.

Spanish Johnny

Great song, but the lionized hero wasn't all that swell in real life as it turns out. No mention of his playing the mandolin either. Willa Cather published a poem about the outlaw minstrel in June of 1912. Paul Siebel expanded on the poem and created this song. Later it was performed by Waylon Jennings and Emmy Lou Harris. I like Bromberg's version. Here is Seibel's original treatment, you can hear the significant lyrical differences.

The old West, the old time, 
     The old wind singing through 
The red, red grass a thousand miles, 
     And, Spanish Johnny, you! 
He’d sit beside the water-ditch 
     When all his herd was in, 
And never mind a child, but sing 
     To his mandolin. 
The big stars, the blue night, 
     The moon-enchanted plain: 
The olive man who never spoke, 
     But sang the songs of Spain. 
His speech with men was wicked talk — 
     To hear it was a sin; 
But those were golden things he said 
     To his mandolin. 
The gold songs, the gold stars, 
     The world so golden then: 
And the hand so tender to a child 
     Had killed so many men. 
He died a hard death long ago 
     Before the Road came in; 
The night before he swung, he sang 
     To his mandolin.

From Wiki:

Johnny Spanish (1890 – July 29, 1919) was an American gangster who was a rival of former partner "Kid Dropper" Nathan Kaplan during a garment workers' strike which later become known as the Second Labor Sluggers War in 1919. He became involved in labor racketeering, holdups of saloons and other businesses, and murder before organizing his own gang.

Born in 1890 as John Weyler (or Wheiler), he claimed to be related to Valeriano Weyler, the last governor of Spanish-ruled Cuba. He became involved in labor racketeering and murder, allegedly involved in a killing at age seventeen, before organizing a crew of thugs allied with the Five Points Gang. Spanish soon became notorious for his daring holdups of saloons and other businesses, particularly in his robbery of a Norfolk Street saloon owned by Mersher the Strong Arm. Spanish, who had earlier boasted to return and rob the saloon at a certain time, appeared at the scheduled time, shooting up the bar and assaulting several customers who resisted, before making his escape.

In 1909, Spanish started working together with "Kid Dropper" Nathan Kaplan. The two soon had a falling out that culminated in a knife fight in the street; They fell out because of a dispute over Spanish's then girlfriend, engaging in a vicious street fight in which the Dropper nearly stabbed his rival to death. Once he recovered, Spanish began taking over control of the Kid Jigger's Lower East Side "stuss games", a variant of faro, who contemptuously dismissed the threats. However, during a particularly violent gunfight in one of his attempts to gain control over a particular gambling operation owned by Kid Jigger, an eight-year-old girl was killed. Forced to flee the city, he discovered, when he returned after several months, that his girlfriend had left him for Kaplan. Spanish abducted the woman, who was now pregnant, and drove to a marsh outside Maspeth, New York, where he tied her up against a tree and shot her in the abdomen several times. The woman was found alive several hours later, giving birth to her baby who had three fingers shot off.

Spanish was arrested and sentenced to seven years imprisonment in 1911; coincidentally around the same time Kaplan was arrested for robbery. After being released from prison in 1917 Spanish rejoined Kaplan, as well as several other former Five Point Gang members, working as "labor sluggers".

However Spanish and Kaplan soon began fighting again as the gang split into two separate factions, as each attempted to gain dominance over the New York's "labor slugging" operations. Johnny Spanish during this period became one of the biggest drug dealers in Manhattan, selling both cocaine and heroin. He was assisted by his brother Joseph, appropriately nicknamed, "Joey Spanish". Yet there was too much bad blood between Spanish and the Dropper for either of them to relax. Spanish was shot and killed while entering a Manhattan restaurant at 19 Second Avenue by three unidentified men on July 29, 1919. Charges were brought against Kaplan, who had been identified at the scene, but were later dropped. Kaplan was later shot and killed in August 1923.

And I have a bridge to sell you.

Ted Cruz says, not to worry, the GOP will protect people with pre existing conditions if the ACA is struck down by the new SCOTUS. 

This is a bit laughable as the GOP had several years at the start of Trump's term with congressional majorities and couldn't come up with a new healthcare bill with all the internecine squabbling amongst themselves. In house, mind you.

But now with a scant majority, if that, post election, they can cobble together a deal with Dems to protect those people that "whatever" president will sign? Why don't I trust them? Because Congress no longer functions as it used to and these people, on either side, are no longer capable of finding middle ground. The result of in your face power politics and what it engenders.

A recent poll from The New York Times and Siena College found 57% of Americans support the Affordable Care Act while 38% oppose it.

Right. And great timing by the way, to sue to overturn the act during a pandemic. They are going to get drilled on this one and they should. 

Take a look at this link if you want to find out what happens after the act is struck down and we lose coverage.

Shrive - From my buddy in England


Was just reading your Shrove Tuesday paragraph..
Short shrift is one of my favourite phrases and I was very interested when I found out what its origins were.
All those gallows phrases - like "on the wagon" "hangers on". Fascinating.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Jet lag free time travel

 The grandfather paradox

John Prine

Red Shouldered Hawk in twilight

Nina Simone

Facebook advantage

Good article yesterday over at Politico: Why the right-wing has a massive advantage on Facebook. Worth a read.

“Right-wing populism is always more engaging," a Facebook executive said in a recent interview with POLITICO reporters, when pressed why the pages of conservatives drive such high interactions. The person said the content speaks to "an incredibly strong, primitive emotion" by touching on such topics as "nation, protection, the other, anger, fear."

"That was there in the [19]30's. That's not invented by social media — you just see those reflexes mirrored in social media, they’re not created by social media," the executive added. "It's why tabloids do better than the [Financial Times], and it's also a human thing. People respond to engaging emotion much more than they do to, you know, dry coverage. ...This wasn't invented 15 years ago when Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook."

The kids of Webster Grove

Interesting David Hoffman video on his work on the early Arthur Barron documentary depicting those that conformed in the 1960's.

Saturday, September 26, 2020


Hollow feeling

I had my latest bladder cancer test yesterday. 

It was clean this time, thankfully, but I still have tumors in the only kidney I have left to deal with. 

Still, very good news after a year of bad news. Although there was some collateral news that was not so great.

I am scheduling some labs and a cat scan but frankly I felt awful today. Fever, nausea and dizziness.

And getting worked up over the new three day weekend shutdown of my business didn't help any.

We are supposed to have dinner with another couple tonight and I am doing everything in my power to hold on and not go home to sleep.

You see these invasive diagnostic probes have a way of seriously irritating the innards. 

I won't go in to the exact play by play.

I feel terribly nauseous, running a fever. I have a lot I have to do in my shop but I can not get any of it done. As soon as I can drive I will attempt to do so.

I think I will re-introduce myself to my guitar and see if I can get it to play.

Saturday Share

 Got some nice stuff from you folks.

Shawn has an interesting looking snake in his tillandsia, over in Thailand way.

Debbie and Jim are in Tennessee visiting the Lookout Mountain Battlefield on their trip through the south.

Jeff, Brodie and the dog are high above it all in Alaska. Wish I was...

Will sent this interesting share, the cheese menace, 1941.

Truckin' up to Buffalo...

Ricardo sent this tasty nugget over:

I'd say top Health department spokesperson Michael Caputo needs that mental health leave really bad right now. 

He concluded the recent farewell meeting with his HHS staffers by encouraging his troops to listen to music by the Grateful Dead if they need to keep it together.

Always worked for me.

I rarely agree with those on that right side of the aisle but in this case, he is probably spot on. 

The whole premise astounds me, I saw a statistic recently that there are now more GOP deadheads than Dems. Seems inimical to what I learned about life on the tour but there obviously has been a serious reset
A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group found the band has a 46 percent hard name ID (i.e. whether people can judge it favorably or unfavorably) among Republicans, compared with 37 percent among Democrats, and 35 percent among independents.
Tucker, Coulter, Caputo etc., these folks obviously caught a very different train than I ever did.

If you get confused listen to the music play.

Whose dream is this anyway?

I am a merchant on Main Avenue in Fallbrook, as is my wife. We own a building on Main Avenue and property nearby. I pay San Diego County property taxes on said building. 

But because I am not a member of my local Chamber of Commerce, and will never join due to my dissatisfaction with national policies, I apparently have no say on what happens in front of my property.

I found out yesterday that the two main downtown blocks of Fallbrook will now be shut down to vehicular traffic from midday Friday through Sunday per new edicts from the Chamber.

Although I am mostly open by appointment, I try to be open every Saturday morning. How will my clients load anything heavy out? Who decided to burden them with this draconian restriction? 

And why wasn't I ever asked how I felt about it? Neither was my wife at Caravan, or Dave at Mostly Windows across the street or the lady next door at the Yoga Studio or Ron Wylie at his gallery or any of the other merchants I have queried this morning, which includes Chamber members.

Who gives these people the power to act unilaterally without input from all the merchants and property owners? Was there a poll of some kind taken?

The street has now been shut down Friday and Saturdays for several weeks. My wife stayed open in the beginning, as did several other merchants but it quickly became apparent that people were there to eat, not to shop. Now I want to support our local restaurants as much as the next guy and do, but was any thought given to the impact on the rest of us?

Today, typically our busiest day of the week, the street is a ghost town. A customer just stopped in to the jewelry store and said he almost didn't come over today because of the street blockage.

Now we have a Farmers Market coming too. Bring non tax paying vendors in to compete with the local merchants, just like the Avo Festival. What is sad is that with Prohibition leaving, there is exactly one restaurant on our block, Smalltown, and as much as we love them, the rest of us will lose access to our business fronts so that they can participate.

I love Lila MacDonald. She is one of the nicest, most approachable people in town. She is trying her hardest to make things better. I get that. 

I just want a seat at the table and I don't want to have to join the Chamber or be online on Friends of Fallbrook to find out about things that impact me and my wife's and my business to this degree.

At the very least we should have been properly noticed about their intentions regarding the street shutdown and had an opportunity to speak our mind.

A merchant sent me this letter from Lila today:

Hello all!

I am emailing in regards to our community collaboration project to make downtown more pedestrian friendly that you requested. .   You all had asked to close the streets….so the pilot program has begun. The streets will be closed Friday through Sunday for continued outside dining and walkability.  A farmers market will be starting next Saturday from 10-2:00.  It will be on both blocks as originally discussed, with certified on one block and noncertified on the other.   Alvarado will remain open 😊

We are also planning other legal events that will hopefully bring more people into downtown.

I know how hard it is and I am working hard to help make your dream a reality

I would like to meet in a couple of weeks to discuss conceptual maps and ideas that you may all have.  Please send dates that will work for you the second and third week in October. Also better times.


I am excited about the Market and hope that it will bring new people to your doorsteps!


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

I am not going to belabor this or mark it up beyond a little bold emphasis but who requested? Who asked that the streets be closed? Who decides when this experiment ends? Do Chamber votes count more than other people's votes and do we property owners and non chamber merchants have any say in the matter whatsoever? Are we trumped by the restaurateurs? Or are we just petty, selfish people for wanting to access the front of our shops with our cars and our customers' vehicles three days a week?

National Pancake Day

I don't celebrate a lot of holidays, honestly. The occasional birthday, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Chaharshanbe Suri certainly, the normal stuff. But one holiday I try never to miss is National Pancake Day.

In act I am almost religious in my devotion to this most hallowed day of flapjackery. It is perhaps only eclipsed by my fervor to National Doughnut day, which as you are surely aware, falls on the first friday of June every year.

Honestly I was caught unawares when I read that today, September 26, is National Pancake Day. How can that be? Hasn't it been celebrated since the times of early Christendom in early March as a feast day precursor of Lent?

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9. 

Hmmm. Shrove Tuesday. You know me, I had to do some further digging. Is there really room for two National pancake days? What's the story Aunt Jemima, or whatever we are calling you these days? Is this one of those Jesus was really born in August but the p.r. people decided to make the strategic move to December things?

The truth is sort of bizarre, if you ask me. This pancake day, the one you and I are celebrating today, was only started in 2006, a johnny cake, johnny come lately if you ask me. The holiday was first referred to as Lumberjack Day in 2005, but its creators changed the name to National Pancake Day to honor eating pancakes. And it should not be confused with Blueberry pancake day, which as you all know, falls on January 28th.

And it was actually concocted by IHOP, hot cake sales must have been a little slow that year. Although in my opinion IHOP's fare is as close to a decent pancake as I am to Amerigo Vespucci. And don't tell me you can see a resemblance. But maybe IHOP didn't invent the thing and maybe I didn't discover America, there's this:

National Day Calendar suggests that it got its start in 2005 and was originally called Lumberjack Day. According to the site, "Marianne Ways and Collen AF Venable sought an excuse to eat pancakes and waffles with friends, and as it was one week after 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' and that theme had been worn out, eating lots of pancakes like a lumberjack seemed a better holiday than ever."

I'm not sure what the truth is, I googled these two ladies names and came up with bupkis. Whatever the truth is, I can appreciate the difficulty of scheduling something in so close to Talk like a Pirate day.

Griddle on, Garth. Or should I say, batter up?

Friday, September 25, 2020

Get Away, Jordan

Xiaoma's NYC Noodle Crawl

Ari is my favorite polyglot, guy learns a new language in two days. I love his videos. Usually he is showing off his language facility, this is his first straight food review. As a noodle lover, makes me want to head for Chinatown. When I was a kid in the city our favorite place was called Hung Wa and we would order snails in black bean sauce. You  never see that on the west coast. When dinner was done they would pour your leftover tea on the table to clean up. Sadly, I think Hung Was burned down years ago. I have a medical procedure Friday, think we will go for hand pulled noodles at Shan Xi Magic Noodles on Convoy if I am feeling up to it afterwards.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fred Neil

Laura Maddow


I was talking to a friend at the swap meet Sunday who was not talking to another long time friend who was also there anymore, because of, you guessed it, politics. Somebody said something on Facebook.

Seems stupid to me but I get it. I am on the outs with a couple people one person too but have tried to keep it to a minimum.

But I still have a lot of friends from across the ideological spectrum that I commune with regularly and I want to keep it that way. Agree to disagree. Nobody's mind is changing at this point. We are all programmed from an early age. Just let it go.

I was talking to my deplorable buddies at coffee today and I suggested that the best thing we could all do is to just turn off the television with the understanding that the next forty one days are going to be absolute hell. For all of us. I don't care if you are left, right or squarely down the middle.

If you see anything marked as an opinion, from either side, expect it to be an extreme hit piece masquerading as legitimate commentary. It will cast the opponent as a person who would bludgeon their own grandmother, torture kittens and piss on the flag and constitution for good measure. Objectivity and reasoning are long out the window so I wouldn't bother to even try. Don't get into any silly arguments about which side is worse or more evil, they lead nowhere.

Just take everything you hear or read with a grain of salt and figure both sides are lying. The truth, if there is such a thing, lies in the middle somewhere but trying to deduce it now will just get you all triggered and spun.

Forget a vaccine, bring on the tranquilizers. And definitely turn off Facebook and the television.

Folkie Shmolkie

I was listening to one of my Pandora stations this morning and got hit with three great songs in a row, Karen Dalton, Judy Henske and Fairport Convention. 

I was patting myself on the back because they all sounded so great, wondering why I didn't listen to this particular station more often.

 This channel focusses on lesser known folky artists, principally early 1960's all the way up to Eva Cassidy.

I just changed the name of the station from Fred Neil Radio to Folkie Shmolkie. If you want to link to it, click here. Give it a listen, you might like it, you might hate it. Hope you like it.

Giving your all

Evergood Beasley was elated. Once rich beyond measure, he had succeeded in his life's dream, the bashful billionaire had finally managed to give it all away. The final bell had struck and he was now officially broke. 

He summoned his trusty aide, Whitney and proclaimed that they would walk together to the coffee shop to celebrate his bad fortune. They had to walk, the frugal Beasley never owning a car or even a home for that matter and in the general habit of carrying his earthly possessions in a plastic sack.

He walked to the curb of the flea bitten hotel and surveyed the view down Lombard St. Oh, what a day to be alive!"Free, free, free at last." Money was so corrupting, he was tired of assessing every potential friend and acquaintance for the inevitable signs that they would soon be trying to pick his pockets.

Now there were simply no more pockets to pick. Huzzah and hurrah! What a relief.

He sat down at the tired formica table at the dive coffee shop he liked to frequent and ordered his coffee the way he liked it, bitter and black. He and his aide de camp engaged in the normal small talk and then something unusual happened when the slightly worn server presented him with the bill.

He patted his pockets and he realized that he could not cover the check. First time ever. Evergood looked at Whitney and Whitney looked at Evergood. The aging philanthropist had never been in this position before. It was only $3.72 but giving all your money away means giving all your money away. What to do?

"Whitney, do you think you could get this one?"

"I would love to help boss but honestly I can't. I think we are entering the tough love period. You didn't leave me anything and it looks like I will be packing a bindlestiff soon myself. Perhaps you could wash the dishes?"


"Yes, I have to see a man about a job. The altruism thing was great but I have to cover my nut. Been nice knowing you. Can't work for nothing, you know."


Zero Hour

I read the story of billionaire Chuck Feeney in the Guardian this morning. The man managed to give away all of his cash. Eight billion simoleans.

Chuck Feeney has achieved his lifetime ambition: giving away his $8bn (£6bn) fortune while he is still around to see the impact it has made.

For the past 38 years, Feeney, an Irish American who made billions from a duty-free shopping empire, has been making endowments to charities and universities across the world with the goal of “striving for zero … to give it all away”.

This week Feeney, 89, achieved his goal. The Atlantic Philanthropies, the foundation he set up in secret in 1982 and transferred almost all of his wealth to, has finally run out of money.

As he signed papers to formally dissolve the foundation, Feeney, who is in poor health, said he was very satisfied with “completing this on my watch.” From his small rented apartment in San Francisco, he had a message for other members of the super-rich, who may have pledged to give away part of their fortunes but only after they have died: “To those wondering about Giving While Living: try it, you’ll like it.”

Honestly, a wonderful gesture. But I had a thought; what does it actually mean to give away all of your money? What does "all" mean? If he keeps a million for a rainy day is it giving away all of your money? I don't know the man but I would willing to bet that his bottom dollar and mine are an entirely different beast.

I dropped out of high school at 16 and went hitchhiking around the United States. I have slept under buses and in Goodwill boxes. I have had no money in my pocket, wallet or bank account for food. Now I eventually went back home and back to school but I have lived on the bottom rung without a safety net. Never went into dumpsters to dive myself but was around when plenty of my cohorts did.

I'm frankly worried about Chuck and also intrigued. How is an eighty nine year old guy going to be able to make it in this world now that the final tally has been debited? Or has he been in reality holding something back?


I brought this up at coffee today and Alex, who is a Presbyterian deacon, told me a bible story. Acts 5, the story of Ananias and Sapphira. The couple sold some land and told everybody that they were giving the money away to the apostles. But he held back a little something. And it ended up costing him his life.

Ananias and Sapphira

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

You think Chuck is giving it all away? And what does that actually mean? Does down to the last five million or so really count?

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Manuel de Falla - Ritual Fire Dance

Fiesta Brava

My father was an iberophile, a lover of all things Spanish and tauric, from Carlos Montoya to Carlos Arruza. He enjoyed bullfighting. When I was young he would take me to Tijuana to see the corrida on occasion, usually at the newer Bullring by the Sea. Best carne asada street tacos I have ever tasted across the street but that is a story for another day.

The main matadors of the day back then in TJ were Eloy Cavazos, Antonio Lomelin and Curro Rivera. I am not going to mince words, I enjoyed it. Not the killing or the gorings, of which I saw several, but the medieval nature of the pageantry, the feeling that the rituals I was watching extended back a thousand years or more.

And I was always glad to know that the meat of the bulls fed the neighboring poor after the corrida. Better than an ignoble death of a cow in a hidden stockyard. And in this battle, the bull stood at least a chance.

My dad taught me a few things, always sit on the shady side as the borrachos on the sunny half were prone to mean knife work when they had absorbed some vague sleight from a neighbor or maybe too much mescal. I will never forget being a ten or eleven year old and hearing the derisive chants towards a matador who failed to challenge and dispatch his bull with courage, el matador no tiene cajones. The Mexicans are masterful hecklers.

Somewhere in my late father's possessions I pray still exist the old movies he personally took in Spain of Manolete, of Arruza himself on horseback.

I don't know why but I really like this painting I bought this weekend. It was quite inexpensive, by the way. Has nothing to do with the subject, I like the way the paint is laid down and the chroma which reminds me of the baked plains of La Mancha. Sort of reminds me of the work of A.G. Ryder, a man who studied with Sorolla.

To those of you that hate bullfighting, you will notice that in this one, the bull clearly wins. I am not sure if he vanquished a matador or bandillera but I see no weapons. Even if you abhor bullfighting and many do, I hope that you will take a moment to appreciate the deft artistry in this painting. All comes down to light falling on form.

Which was painted by a minor Spanish artist, one José Fuentes de Salamanca, born in 1934. 

If you look at the figure on the extreme left and the two beautifully rendered figures middle left, you will see the broad muscular brushwork and the nuance and attention to gestural human form that I particularly favor. Obviously his draftsmanship is first rate, it is very difficult to paint if one can not draw and he obviously could. And yet he is consistent across the canvas, no one area on this impressionist canvas is belabored or overly detailed.

At some point Salamanca took the name of his town, he later became famous for his religious paintings and bad renditions of the American west. The city is in western Spain, the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the autonomous community of Castile and León. Its university goes back to 1218, the third oldest in the Western world. In its heyday in the 16th century it had 8000 students, now there are less than 400.

Two towers rise prominently above the city. I would not be surprised if one is depicted in the painting.

He nailed this one. I caution clients and peers that every artist is capable of finding lightning in a bottle at least once in their lifetime, so one should not dismiss a work based on notoriety, a signature or past performance.

From the internet: Jose Fuentes de Salamanca Born February 20, 1934 Salamanca, Spain Born in the village of Salamanca, Jose Fuentes adopted the name of his village so that his work and talent would always be associated with his birthplace. Admitted in 1946 into the Escuela de Artses y Officious where he studied drawings and completed preliminary studies that in time would guide his brilliant career. In 1952 he entered the Real Academia de Bellas Arts of San Fernando in Madrid, Spain. Versatile in every medium from ink to oil, the artist centered on the human form early in his career. Now internationally renowned, the master has centered his work on the life of Christ; and is now considered to be the greatest living painter of religion in our time. The crown in his career came in 1986. Commissioned by the Church of Rome , the Vatican to paint St. Francisco Palau y Quer, accepted by Pope John II, the oil now hangs in Vatican City along side the greatest masters history has ever known; elevating this artist to a plateau seldom reached in the world of art.

A message from Abe Lincoln


Blind justice

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in his new crusade for law and order, announced his intention to go after and prosecute those "scraggly antifa types." 

There are all sorts of draconian new rules being proposed, more than seven in a group at a protest is a felony, now permissible to mow somebody down with your car in a demonstration, etc.

As a person who has resembled a "scraggly antifa type" at various times in my life I have to wonder at the legality of instituting a bunch of new felonies on the basis of how people look.

And I couldn't help but to think back to one Harry Snyder. Harry was on a pornography review board in New York in the early seventies. He had to go through countless films and make the determination if they were obscene or not. There was only one hitch. Harry was blind.

It has been a long time and you will have to forgive me for not remembering the exact quote but when they asked Harry how he knew that the films he was viewing were indeed obscene he said that they sounded obscene. Pornography isn't a case of seeing, it's a case of feeling," he intoned. If the films went silent and he needed a little help figuring out what was happening on the screen during the quiet parts, his wife would sit next to him and fill him in.

Justice Potter Stewart had his own definition of pornography in 1964, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced... but I know it when I see it."

I guess it is the same rationale that Barr is going to use in New York, Portland and Seattle, and DeSantis is mulling over in Florida, if it walks like a long haired duck it must be a card carrying member of Antifa. Those whooshing sounds you just heard were your civil rights flying out the window.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Sunday scamper


Leslie and I went to the swap meet in Long Beach early Sunday morning.

She drove. 

There was a drunk guy driving erratically, speeding up and changing lanes.

I called 911. A few seconds later we watched him get off the freeway, spin around and hit somebody.

Hope he meets his just desserts. Never did see a cop.

We picked up some great material there and I passed out fliers for the new show I am proposing and talked to dealers I like and trust. Everybody was very positive.

But even cooler was the fact that I met some special members of my family there for the first time yesterday and that will require a little story.


Recent reports show that a huge percentage of the younger generation know nothing about the holocaust, well, except that they think it was something the jews maybe started. I have to tell you that it did happen, because it decimated my family and many others alike.

As I have recounted before, my grandmother Pesia Rivka Szkarlat lived in the "shtetl" or small town of Wyszkow in Poland, near the Vistula forest and river. Her father owned a sawmill, the family was relatively well to do.

She had nine brothers and sisters. My grandmother sensed the coming Nazi tide and escaped to Palestine. One other sister, Malka, also fortunately escaped. All the rest of the family perished, as did the great bulk of the remaining population of six thousand jews, who were sent to Auschwitz.

Except one other sister it turns out, Rachel or Ruchel, who was bombed by the Germans and sustained a massive head injury in the forest. I am not sure of the timing, I know she eventually succumbed but she had a male child, a young boy, who survived somehow, I am not sure where.

Many of you know how involved I am in genetics research and exploring my family roots. About a year ago I was contacted by the young surviving boy's granddaughter. She traced me through dna. She is an Israeli, now living in Los Angeles. We have talked about getting together and meeting but it has not happened. Her uncle is my closest tested genetic relative, with 287 cm of shared dna. Her mother is also one of my closest genetic matches. Her mother contacted me the day before yesterday.

I suggested that she, Miriam and her husband Joe meet us at the swap meet yesterday. They assented. Now I have never met them and only briefly saw a picture of her but among a thousand or more people I recognized her walking down a row in a mask and introduced myself.

They are both very delightful. She is a very young 72 years old. We stood and sat in the rather blazing heat and talked about the family. She had met my grandparents and father in Israel as a young girl.

We plan on getting together and meeting more of the family at their home one day soon in Los Angeles. But you want to know something extraordinary? What do she and her husband love to do more than anything, what is their hobby and principal avocation?

They are serious birders, they like to shoot great photographs of birds and wildlife with nice cameras and explore nature. 

They do this every chance they get on the weekends, soon going to Yellowstone, have visited and crossed paths on many of the very same roads I travel. We are going to share some of the places that the other is not familiar with. Get out and shoot together.

How interesting is that ? Does it sound familiar? What are the chances? A genetic family pre-disposition perhaps, or kismet? In any case, I have very little family left and I am glad that these two found me and are definitely kindred spirits with a very similar if not identical political inclination.

Life for all its troubles is a wonderful thing and the infinite universe is always capable of doling out rich blessings.

A.M. cactus bloom


Boogaloo Joe Jones ♠ Psychedelic Jazz Guitar ♠

From 1967. Track 2, at the five minute mark, appears to be the inspiration for the Allman Brothers Mountain Jam. The album is not psychedelic, at least in the commonly accepted sense of the word, but not bad.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Hypocrite much?

“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.” Lindsey Graham

The story shofar

We had Rosh Hashanah dinner last night with a friend whose soon to be ex wife bought a chateau in France and took off. 

We love our friend and wanted to celebrate the new year with tribal kindred last night.

None of us are big on ritual but we cobbled together what we remembered and said goodbye to 5780, don't let the door hit you in the tuchas.

What a year, covid, cancer, wives taking off, RBG, the new civil war. This year has not been normal for anybody. So if you gentiles want to wait for 2021 to roll around, be my guest, I am firmly on the 5781 train and I suggest that you join me. We've experienced about 3700 more years of misery than you have, we are old hands at this sort of thing.

Rosh Hashanah means the head (rosh) of the year (shanah) or time. The biblical term is Yom Teruah, the time for shouting and blasting. 'שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן‎' It marks the beginning of the civil year as opposed to the ecclesiastical year, which is in its seventh month.

We ate lamb and dipped apples in tupelo honey in hopes of invoking a sweet year to come. Potato gnocchi too but I don't believe that is in the bible, at least not in the old testament.

From Wikipedia:

The Mishnah contains the second known reference to Rosh Hashanah as the "day of judgment" (Yom haDin). In the Talmud tractate on Rosh Hashanah, it states that three books of account are opened on Rosh Hashanah, wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of the intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life and they are sealed "to live". The intermediate class is allowed a respite of ten days, until Yom Kippur, to reflect, repent and become righteous; the wicked are "blotted out of the book of the living forever".

I hope that you can at least mark me down for the intermediate class but one never knows, do they?

We actually cast bread into the shallow reaches of Don's infinity pool. This is the ancient rite of Tashlihk, the casting off of one's sins into the depths of the sea. Later two owls came down and perched on the edge of the pool, surely a good omen.

May everyone, jew and gentile alike, have a happy New Year and may we all right our collective wobbly ship as human beings in the coming days.

Samedi Melangerie

Jeff sends a picture from a friend's lake in Alaska.

Darn, it's pretty up there.

1973 Mets

I finally catalogued the first five baseballs in the new collection. You can find them here.

Jon sent another Fallbrook postcard over. Sounded like he felt he needed to redeem himself but I didn't think the first one was bad.

I'm dropping off some paintings and flyers at Long Beach tomorrow so I decided to wash the van today. It was disgusting, has been sitting for a long time.

Chicken man is working at the car wash. He lost a bet, has to be a chicken for thirty days. Guess there are worse things...

I liked this lady's shirt too.

And in our pornographic section... Carrot from Jeff, Homer from Cam.

Fallbrook Vintage Swap Meet

I had an idea the other day.  Four in the morning thing. I am a part owner of a large parking lot centrally located in my town. There are no antique shows this Covid impacted year and only Long Beach is open as a Flea Market as far as I know at this point.

My fellow antique dealers and I have been hurting, some worse than others. In California, events like antique shows that we count on to make a living are not permitted. But swap meets are. Why not have a monthly swap meet in the parking lot?

I checked with my fellow owners, they were all for it. So I sent this letter to Collector Magazine yesterday:

I copied a whole bunch of dealers I know, thanks to a couple great promoters who have offered to help, Rosemary and April. The response in the last 24 hours has been incredible, with many people requesting booths and one person already wanting two booths. Several people have already claimed my couch. Don't think that is going to happen, frankly.

I will be handing these flyers out to a few people at Long Beach tomorrow.

I will apply for my permit at the Sheriff's Department Monday. There are a million logistical things to consider, trashcans, toilets, move in lines, space layout and marking, insurance, manpower, tickets, waivers and releases, it is endless. I want to find a great food truck, do you know of any? Might even get some music for the first one. If it doesn't work out it will be a hell of a party and the pub is across the alley. Thankfully, some excellent dealers want to participate, think everything will work out peachy.

I am thinking of holding some spaces open so normal folk can get in on the fun too. Will see how it all shakes out. Maybe a plant seller, a bakery booth would be nice too.

If I missed contacting you and you want to get on my list, or if you know someone with a good attitude and interesting material please email me and let me know. This thing will work if the people of Fallbrook and North County find out about it and come visit. So when I get the okay it will be very important to really let it go on social media and spread the word.

If the experiment works it will continue, as long as it is necessary and fun for everybody and people make some money.

Let me know what you think.

The Colonel. Have to find me a hat...

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Voodoo Child

Kip sent this over today:

From Boing Boing

A few days ago, this video of Hendrix performing "Voodoo Child" on Maui in 1970 was loaded to YouTube. This is part of an upcoming November release of the legendary Maui concert that Hendrix did as part of the psychedelic train wreck of a film known as Rainbow Bridge.

As far as I know, the complete concert footage has never been released. The Rainbow Bridge "soundtrack" that was released posthumously doesn't include anything actually recorded on Maui. This performance has always been something of a holy grail to Hendrix fans as many claim it was Jimi at the height of his inventive powers.

The documentary film, Music, Money, Madness, and the Maui Live concert recording will be released on November 20th.

Interesting. Finally. A good friend of mine was part of the Rainbow Bridge production team. I was just hunting for the first part of the song the other day when the sky turned a fiery red and could only find the slight return.

Tony Sirico

I was a Johnny come lately to the Sopranos but I eventually binged the whole thing. I had never seen this interview with the actor that played Paulie until yesterday. Pretty amazing story, the real thing. I had no idea. Serious tough guy. I knew people like this in New York.