Monday, November 30, 2020
Shine On Brightly
Last call at the Donnyland Corral
So far the orange one has shivved Republicans Gov. Ducey in Arizona, Governor Kemp in Georgia, Georgia's Secretary of State Raffensperger, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Wisconsin's Robin Bishop, all loyal followers who both voted for him and supported him in the recent election.
No friendship is too important, no loyalty so dear that our President will not try to destroy it if somebody or something gets in the way of his current scam or grift.
The FBI, the DOJ, Cybersecurity Chief Chris Krebs and countless other loyal followers who have stood in the way of the Grand Delusion and called bullshit on his fraud claims are now suspect and part of the great conspiracy in Donnyland. Claims which were never brought up in court by the way because not even a Trump lawyer would risk their reputation by making them in Federal Court. Claims that were made up by the President out of thin air that he knows are false.
When asked how Trump could lose the top of the ballot and so many Republicans were elected down the very same ballot, his lawyer Jenna Ellis claimed that they were presumably in on the con and had obviously paid someone off.
All those people who maintained that he would kill his own grandma, screw his own mother and kill his own children to get what he wanted don't appear to be too far off the mark. Friend or foe alike, there is no one that he would not destroy without hesitation if they happened to get in his way. How many more loyal Trumpers are going to receive a knife in the back before this thing is finished?
The Sound of Silence
He lived close to the first subdivision I ever built with my father, Lindsley Park. Started it in 1975.
It was a large project, four or five phases and I was an assistant superintendent, working under my boss at the time, Lou Orrantia.
My father was the developer. It was a low to moderate income subdivision, my dad's bailiwick, building houses that people could afford to live in.
I learned a lot the two years we built that project. It was a P.R.D. and had a large park on top. One of the streets is named for my late sister Amie.
I decided to visit the other day after meeting with my client, see how the houses looked and how tall the trees had grown. That was one of our signatures, building around parks. Always love checking out the foliage.
Anyway, I built and bought my first house there, think I paid 22k. Sold it for a hefty profit and bought another one in our next tract in Carlsbad three years later.
Lindsley Park was one of our most basic tracts and I went in with trepidation. How would it look? And you know what, it looked pretty good. I stopped a person or two in their driveways and introduced myself. They loved their house and liked the neighborhood, congratulating me. Made me feel good. Thinks looked worse in my memory.
Afterwards I drove up Washington, a street I haven't driven east on in a while, past the old Rubes and stopped at a place that advertised birria, Mariscos Mazatlan. I ordered the birria de res. Fair but not overly impressive. Lousy service but the place was clean and the food a seven.
Then I drove over to Lake Wohlford and took a couple hikes. Saw the osprey pictured above. Not a whole lot more. I actually got lost on the backside, lost my trail and had to walk on the road to get back to my car. That was interesting.
Caught this picture of an acorn woodpecker in Dominick's palm tree this morning with the zoom.
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Happy birthday, dad
Happy birthday to my late father, Amos Sommers.
The Dirty Knobs
Consent to Search
Thanks to Bob Schmid for sending me this:
"Lexophile" describes those that have a love of words, especially in word games, such as: "To write with a broken pencil is pointless."
An annual competition is held in New York Times to see who can create the best original lexophile.
This year's submissions:
I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's syncing now.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I'd swear I've never met herbivore.
I know a guy who's addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.
I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.
A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
A will is a dead giveaway.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He's all right now.
A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.
He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.
I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.
I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.
The Catholic Court
|An auto de fe in the marketplace. Burning the heretics - After Fleury|
I used to be happy that I lived in a democracy. It appears that it is quickly turning into a theocracy before our eyes. We got a taste of it last week when witnessing the new shift in our Supreme Court, which ruled that legislatures' attempts to limit the reach of a grave pandemic ran afoul of "religious liberty."
This sort of ruling is not just endemic to our country, we are seeing similar actions by theocratic governments around the world, like in Poland. The Catholic government recently issued new and very draconian abortion measures that have been met with mass protests in the streets.
On 22 October 2020, Polish Constitutional Tribunal found that abortion in the case of severe fetal defects is inconsistent with Article 38 of the Polish Constitution.
The chief justice, Julia Przyłębska, said in a ruling that existing legislation – one of Europe's most restrictive – that allows for the abortion of malformed fetuses was incompatible with the constitution. After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permissible in Poland in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health and life, which make up only about 2% of legal terminations conducted in recent years.
When the clergy runs the show, troubles soon follow. There have been similar rulings in America of late, in Colorado, Louisiana and most notably Tennessee, where legislators passed a stealth bill five month ago outlawing abortion at six weeks that has been recently ratified by a Federal Appeals Court.
It bans abortion outright for juvenile women in state foster care and bans abortion if sought because of a Down’s syndrome diagnosis, or because of gender or race. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
Gov. Lee celebrated Friday's ruling on Twitter, writing, "Every life is precious and every child has inherent human dignity.""Our law prohibits abortion based on the race, gender, or diagnosis of Down syndrome of the child and the court's decision will save lives," the governor said. "Protecting our most vulnerable Tennesseans is worth the fight."
Call me old fashioned but I tend to trust women in these matters. While I would personally disapprove of terminating a life because of gender or race I do have a problem forcing a mother to not only carry a brain damaged child to term but to raise and care for the child for the balance of their lives. It sounds easy until you have to do it, I am sure. Some are admirably up to the task. And some mothers are clearly not capable, financially, emotionally, or otherwise. To force this duty on them for the rest of their life seems cruel and barbaric to me. And oftentimes, sadly, the progeny becomes a ward of the state.
We currently have the most religiously unbalanced court we have ever had. Six Catholics, one lapsed Catholic/Episcopalian and two Jews. This clearly does not represent the heterogeneous religious or spiritual views of our country. The GOP, principally Mitch McConnell and Larry Leo and his Federalist Society cronies have done a remarkable job stacking the courts with right wing evangelicals. Thanks, Jim Comey. Without you, none of this would be possible.
Look for more edicts that seek to force our justices' inherent and holier than thou religious beliefs on our society as a whole. They are human and it would be impossible not to. So look for puritanism to win the day, in the near term at least.
Would be nice to have a Buddhist, Methodist or Unitarian on the court or god forbid, even an atheist or two. But that is not the hand that we have been dealt, we instead essentially now have the Catholic court and I personally look towards its future rulings with dread.
The late Philip Roth on Trump
From the New Yorker, January 30, 2017.
“I was born in 1933,” he continued, “the year that F.D.R. was inaugurated. He was President until I was twelve years old. I’ve been a Roosevelt Democrat ever since. I found much that was alarming about being a citizen during the tenures of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. But, whatever I may have seen as their limitations of character or intellect, neither was anything like as humanly impoverished as Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”
Friday, November 27, 2020
Deer on canyon rim
We had a lovely thanksgiving feast, with our friend Don. Quite traditional. Leslie did her normal salt dry brine on a relatively small thirteen lb. turkey. She made her orange cranberry relish with the whole orange thrown in, peel and all. Sour dough stuffing with water chestnuts, mushrooms and Italian sausage. Potatoes and homemade gravy, green beans, celery root salad and pumpkin pie.
It was really delicious, the bird was moist and cooked to perfection. Every single dish was perfect.
What a lovely meal they enjoyed!
Big Dave has turned into a master smoker over the years. Here is a portion of the scrumptious looking smoked salmon he and his family feasted on up in Burlingame.
Brigitte and Morgan live up in the Olympic Peninsula. They also went a non traditional route. Their neighbor shot a deer and shared it with them and they went to town. Brigitte and her mother are german and they are both fabulous cooks. They made an epic meal for the ages!
1st course: Hand formed venison sausage seared in bacon fat. Served with hot beercheese dip, Bavarian style pretzels, gourmet mustards, sauerkraut and pickles.
2nd course: Top round & bottom round venison cuts with root vegetables, slow cooked ten hours & served with crusty German Bread from neighborhood bakery and cucumber salad.
3rd course: Bacon wrapped venison backstrap. Served with mushroom gravy and traditional sides of sweet potato mash, green bean casserole and stuffing and a side of homemade apple sauce.
She has been dehydrating lots of apples from their Agnew Farm.
|Rossi family thanksgiving in Rockridge with duck (and Gary)|
If you have a picture of your feast that you would like to share, please feel free, never too late.
That creep was me
Blows against the Empire
Thursday, November 26, 2020
The Zombies - Whenever You're Ready
Step up your game.
I called Lena today and she asked me why I hadn't started pitching the Blue Heron Blast reader's best of the year photo challenge. And you know what, the truth is that it completely slipped my mind. But there is still plenty of time. If my math is correct this will be our thirteenth year.
I know the dreaded year 2020 was as cockamamie as it gets. Lena has a word for it that I am not yet at liberty to share. But as Hunter Thompson once said, "when the going gets weird the weird turn pro." Send me a shot that has meaning for you, or no meaning, maybe it is pretty, perhaps it shows your rapier like wit, or maybe it just looks good over the couch, frankly I don't give a damn. Send me something and I will put it up there. As always, a painting is fine too, whatever the hell you want to do.
I'll even take a poem, but only in iambic pentameter.
By the way, you guys are slipping at this. You used to take it seriously and send me great shit, lately honestly, you've been just a little bit lame. I don't care if they are technically good but it will be helpful if they say something. Seriously, a surfeit of technical brilliance will be penalized and cell phone shots are just fine. Honestly, they make my shots look better.
Time to represent. And if you're going to send me a sunset it better look pretty freaking amazing, like the dawn of time or armageddon or something like that or you will get the hook, plain and simple. Just warning you.
Green Heron, San Luis Rey
Thanks to the good guys
The Georgia Secretary of State and others like him have been an important firewall and show us that people who respect law and truth live on both sides of the ideological spectrum.
We were perilously close to slipping into darkness.
I am so very thankful that such people still exist. And that the petulant grifter family will soon leave the stage and crawl under a new rock.
I have a lot to be personally thankful for this year. I came through another cancer scare, my family is healthy, business is good and I have a wonderful wife, family, friends and doctors.
And many faithful Blast readers. I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too.
Baby, Let Me Take You
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Flying the coop
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is declining to require oil and gas, coal, chemical and mining companies to have insurance to cover major spills and accidents. So Trump's cronies can skate free, as free as Michael Flynn.
“EPA has found that existing environmental regulations and modern industry practices are sufficient to mitigate any risks inherent in these industries,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a release announcing the rule, adding that “the financial risks from facilities in these industries are addressed by existing state and federal requirements.”
Do you know how many times the American taxpaying public have been left holding the bag and having to clean up after these assholes?
|Michael Reynolds EPA/EFE|
What was it he said the other day? "Big words, your honor."
Maybe all the booze and cigars add up in your system and eventually make you stupid or forgetful?
Or perhaps it is a matter of a structural cognitive failure like dementia?
Sad, the guy used to be pretty sharp once upon a time, or I thought so anyway, now he is sort of a cartoon version of himself. Probably past time to be put out to pasture.
Fact check from WaPo:
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Your title here
Mystery Train - The Band
Light Chalice - Toadstools, Utah
Hear Me Calling
Slickrock and steel
discovered by a passing helicopter.
A want to be Richard Serra making his artistic mark? Awful lot of work for a sculptor considering the location but certainly possible.
A starseed remnant from a visiting alien a la Kubrick?
Years ago Kerry, Jasmine and I were hiking in the Paria Escalante when we visited Hackberry Canyon.
And I seem to recall Kerry telling me a story of a nazi vault being found in the region in World War II, part of some secret espionage effort. Could this strange steel edifice be connected with the previous Nazi efforts?
In February of 1953, a Utah cattleman named Harvey Chynoweth found the hideout of a german spy who operated in the remote area during World War II while looking for his cattle. His hideout included a cave and a metal structure or vault. His cache included radio equipment, food and weapons. Might he have erected the steel thigamjig as well?
The building can still be found today, at the confluence of the Paria and the Cottonwood River.
Monday, November 23, 2020
Black Hole Sun
Man, there I was, just a few weeks ago, writing at a feverish clip and then powie!!!, I hit the wall. Muse evidently took off on the midnight train. No note, no nothing.
Truth is, it's all been said. Don't have much to add at this point. This country is in a bad marriage and we are just waiting for our ex partner to say one little thing and then Whamo! Right in the kisser.
Think I remember the therapist telling me and my then wife at the time, in the most Viennese of vibrato, Mr.and Mrs. Sommers, you are trapped in vhat vee call the dark dance. Try to arrest the downward spiraling motion before you are submerged into the swirling whirlpool and plunged into the black hole or singularity where your specific gravity will equal the wreckage of a thousand dying stars ✸. Note: we didn't.
Everybody is so angry right now, why get aggrieved, why pour gasoline on the fire? We all know what is happening out there and everybody needs a serious time out, from whatever side you hail from. Stop this victimhood competition, the constant desire to tell the world how awful the other side is.
I have received several letters about Gavin Newsome going out and eating at the French Laundry, how dare he, while we lock down? Frankly, I don't care, I don't care about Pelosi's ice cream either. The autocrats always behave by a different set of rules. Big whoop. You are mad and you want to lash out. I get it. I've been mad for four years too. But let's argue about issues of substance, not pistachio ripple and muse bouches. I know, politicians are hypocrites. But that runs across the political spectrum.
Saw that Cuomo lost it today over a seven thousand person Satmar orthodox wedding in Brooklyn. Good for Cuomo. How many superspreader weddings does this make now? But it just goes to show that big city folk are every bit as stupid and ignorant as their red state country cousins. The yids should know better. But they don't. It is their religious liberty to get sick and if they do, it is god's will, yada, yada. Just not fair to all the rest of the people they come in contact with, in my eyes anyway. Or the doctors and nurses that have to save their sorry asses.
Of course a popular right wing angle these days is that we are all going to catch it sooner or later anyway so why fight it? I, being Mr. Positive, am not willing to concur. I will engage in some big time virtue signaling here and say, I try to wear a mask in public. And wash my hands. And not be part of big microbial confabs. Or Rose Garden swearing ins. Look at the partisan numbers, the party that thinks it is all a big hoax and won't wear masks is not doing so good with the Senator count, crass as it is for me to be keeping score.
Anyway Shawn, that is why I have been relatively quiet, birds and baskets, ptooey on the rest of it. Wake me when it is all over.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Saturday, November 21, 2020
I obtained a wonderful estate this week which includes this beautiful apache basket. The smile is quite real!
San Elijo redound
I called a few friends and we decided to meet up at the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center and then explore a little more of the newly opened trail system.
Properly masked and distanced, of course.
It was a great walk. I felt so elated reaching parts of the lagoon that were heretofore unreachable for me.
We explored some inner areas and walked under the railroad trestle.
I had my walkaround lens rather than my serious cannon so there was a limit to what I would get photographically but I don't like carrying the heavy 400mm ƒ2.8 when I don't know how far I will be walking.
He was way out of range, even with my 600mm zoom.
Lots of shore birds of course as well.
The newly dredged lagoon's water looks much clearer than in the past. Place is much improved in every way.
I showed you a snowy egret before, here is the larger greater egret. It doesn't have the large puff of hair behind the head.
Saw many of my eponymous namesakes like this fellow here. It was a perfect morning, great weather. Everybody was enjoying the place, from hardcore birders to a flotilla of moms with strollers and babies and dogs in tow.
Hummers too but a bit out of range.
Don't yell at me if this one is misidentified, the birders noted it and they may have been talking about an entirely different bird.
End of report.