Peregrine flight

Saturday, January 30, 2021

49 Bye-Byes

Hawk aloft



Hawk in shadow

Saturday political rant

I got one of those dear john letters the other day. It was over. The letter was polite and respectful but it basically said that the person didn't want to hear from me again because he hates my politics. It did bother me because I love my liberal and conservative friends equally and don't enjoy alienating anybody. And I have known and been friends with this particular guy for over twenty five years.

But I obviously pissed him off. This was the link that put him over the edge. In retrospect I guess it is one of those "don't you see what assholes belong to your side" posts and in retrospect nobody wants that thrown in their face. Like me having to answer for anarchists burning shit down in Portland or Minneapolis. For the record I don't believe in political violence in any form, from any side.

Anyway it is so remarkable how few people do cut me off totally, this is the second in the last year or so and both did so politely. No "You are a fucking asshole and are going to burn in hell" stuff. 

I have to walk a fine line sometimes. I am what I am and you are what you are and we are defined by about the age of seven I think and people don't change much, if ever. And you can't please everybody, you have to be true to yourself. Or restrict discourse to plants and birds. As the bard so eloquently said, To thine own self be true.

I am not exactly democratic with the blog, more like a sensitive despot. I don't publish unsigned troll comments that are real nasty unless I feel like it and I try to cut off unsupported ad hominem attacks against fellow bloggers.

I have had several conservative friends tell me that I need to show more balance. One friend tells me that he has to grit his teeth when he reads it. Thank you for your honesty. I will try to understand your point of view better, I don't want to preach to the choir. 

I got this comment the other day and didn't post it but do want to print it here because it is rather instructive.

This narrative doesn't hold water for me. That if we wanted to burn it down we would have, so shut up. Might be true but this past effort was pretty concerted and beyond vile. Somebody needs to own these guys and figure out how we got here. And I don't want to break bread with any of them because frankly they are so creepy. I don't want anything to do with the MAGA base that elects a Boebert, King, Gohmert or Greene.

The first reaction from the right I read after January 6 was that a couple trespassers broke a few windows and now everybody is freaking out. Then the story was that the riot was full of antifa plants who were steering and fomenting the violence. Now it was directed by the nefarious Lincoln Project, at least according to Giuliani.

This is bullshit. From what I have read there was exactly one man associated with antifa there, a black guy who was merely filming the destruction. One guy.  And like these rioters were ever going to take direction from him... From the arrests it is clear to me that the insurrectionists were pure MAGA and the right needs to own that.

And it was not just a few windows broken, of course. These assholes were playing for keeps. Five deaths and numerous injuries

"Between USCP and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured," union chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement released Wednesday. "I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake."

Sounds like a war to me. The Capitol Police chief said that his department was not set up for five hours of continuous hand to hand combat.

Metropolitan Police Department acting Police Chief Robert Contee, who ordered more than 1,000 of his officers to help defend the Capitol, provided his own testimony to the closed-door congressional hearing, telling the committee, "This assault on the Capitol has exposed weakness in security in the most secure city in the country."

The unprecedented attack had police "engaged in literal battle for hours," Contee said. "Law enforcement training neither anticipates nor prepares for hours of hand-to-hand combat."

You have to wonder why the National Guard were issued orders to be disarmed by the Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller prior to the riot? Almost like somebody knew what was coming? Of course this is the guy who was praising Russia so.

People on the right think it is time to "move on" usually with a false equivalence shot across the bow that mentions BLM and antifa. We have members of congress taunting school shooting survivors and promoting theories that democrat leaders kill children and drink their blood. Jewish cabals with rayguns. And the party for the most part is totally mum. I guess it is a very big tent and pretty much anything goes. 

And we not only don't censure a Marjorie Taylor Greene, we give her a seat on an education committee. Amazing country we got here.

Plant spike

I am not really sure what kind of agave this is. If I remember correctly I bought it from Waterwise Botanicals.

The beautiful maroon spike is now about ten feet tall. 

I know that it is not agave americana attenuata because I have a bunch of those. not desmetiana or lophantha either. Grows more like blue glow than anything else but doesn't pup like blue glow.

My best guess is that it is an agave angustifolia variegata hybrid, a Caribbean agave or a variegated tequiliana. So the sixty four thousand dollar question is will the plant survive a spike or not. 

It wasn't supposed to flower for another five years but guess what? Stuff happens...

I asked an agave expert I know at Serra Gardens and he told me that I should cut the spike in half after flowering. 

Don said that I might get puplets (or whatever they are really called) on the remaining spike. He showed me some similar plants with their progeny. Will give it a shot. 

He has a beautiful and wondrous purple plant in his garden that he won't sell me. I need to take a picture.

I have an agave tequiliana that is not variegated throwing a big fat spike right now too but it has offshoots galore. I am also planting a lot of new stuff in my lower succulent garden lately. It is really coming into shape. Dwarf bottlebrush is not liking the cold but the mule palm and the brahea clara look pretty happy. Planted a sabal too as well as a California red bud tree. Looking forward to the transformation.

I will post pictures when this spike opens up and flowers. I met some aloe sellers from Arizona this week. I told them about how cold it gets at my place (11°) and they could not believe that things survive there. Things live that are not supposed to. But they do. My mortality rate is high but that which does not kill us only makes us stronger.

Red Dirt Girl

Friday, January 29, 2021

Red shouldered in landscape mode


Before the rain

I decided to work a half day yesterday and head out to the wildlife preserve in the afternoon. Honestly I have not had a day off in three weeks, been working weekends getting ready for my virtual show. So I was due. Supposed to pour and I might not not have another chance for a while.

Every time I go out and get to enjoy an evening there I realize it is the best time of day. The longer the better. Even beats the sunrise.

Was cool and I kept a jacket on. Got a nice walk in. I called the ranger before I left and he told me that certain roads were closed including the Walker Ponds. I made due.

I shot and juggled three lenses. I wish that I could afford another camera body but I can't and want to wait for a D850 successor in any case.

So every turn found me having to swap a lens.

It is like that sometimes.

Loved the warm evening light.

I made a dumb move that I didn't realize until now as I process the pictures. Had the exposure compensation down a stop all day. Easily fixed but rookie move nonetheless.

Sat in my car and watched a male harrier stalk its prey against a lovely cirrus sky for a while.

The views of San Jacinto and Gorgonio are pretty spectacular right now.

And I never made contact with another human all day.

Sort of how I like it.

I did see a large flock of cattle egrets. Notice their brown brow.

Here is a snowy egret for comparison.

A stately bird in the evening light.

On this shot I didn't have a chance to adjust my speed to my customary 1/2500th of a second for birds in flight. I shot at 1/800th. Soft if you are a pixel peeper but still acceptable. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

A red shouldered hawk hiding in the trees.

Some northern shovelers coming in for a landing.

Wednesdays and Saturdays are duck hunting days. Somebody left a decoy.

Loggerhead Shrike

I didn't get a good shot but this is the back end of a female vermilion flycatcher. I saw the male last time. They are both beautiful.

I saw a lovely and well fed feral cat hunting yesterday, also a first for me there.

And that is all I got for now. Back to work!

Soros and the Rothschilds destroyed the planet with a raygun and all I got was this stupid t-shirt

From JPost:

My latest creation. You want one? Maybe I will get them printed...

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story

Baseball talk

I think the push to change the name of the Atlanta Braves is beyond ridiculous. What in the hell is wrong with Braves? Not like the Washington Redskins, which is plainly derogatory. I would think anybody would be proud to be referred to as a brave. People say change it to the Hammers but that sounds a bit contrived and gratuitous to me.

Speaking of the hammer, of course Henry Aaron is dead. Hammering Hank was a hell of a player and hitter, he took a lot of crap for breaking the white guy's home run record, was subject to a lot of racial abuse. 

And he always seemed bummed out, much like my favorite player of all time, Willie Mays. They both seemed very unhappy.

I may be getting an Aaron signed Milwaukee Braves baseball to sell from Roxanne. Will include a picture if I get it.


Lasorda passed pretty recently. I always thought that although he had the gift of gab, he was not a very nice guy underneath, he was a bit of a bully. I never liked the Dodgers, being a native San Diegan, we always were like red headed stepchildren to the guys in blue. Scoreboard, they won World Series's and we didn't but I didn't have to like them and never have.

Ron Perranoski

I used to know the late Duke Snider. He didn't like Tommy much either. I once asked him why and he said because Lasorda had the Dodgers fire his best friend, pitching coach Ron Perranoski. Stabbed him in the back. Lasorda was the only Dodger not invited to Duke's funeral. He told me that he thought he was a fake too. Not real classy to speak ill of the dead but they are both gone so I think I can finally spill.

I was talking baseball with my friend Warren this evening. He said he lost interest in baseball in 1957. A lifelong Brooklyn fan, he could never forgive or forget. 

He posed the conundrum, you have two bullets in your gun and Stalin, Hitler and Walter O'Malley in a room. Who do you shoot?

He said you shoot O'Malley twice.

Loughlin told me that I have to watch the Battered Bastards of Baseball, a Netflix documentary of the now defunct Portland Mavericks baseball club. Scores a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, I need to see it.


The Big Red Machine of 75 and 76 had the greatest lineup of my lifetime, at least offensively. How does the 1976 team compare to the 1927 Yankees? This guy says they were better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

John Coltrane - India

Steve Saylor found this record at a thrift store. He thinks this particular tune may have inspired the melody on Eight Miles High. Great band, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones (my favorite all time) who are joined by saxophonist Eric Dolphy and bassist Reggie Workman on this cut which features Dolphy on clarinet.

Time to sow

Bill Olson told me about a cool thing this morning at coffee. Dollar Tree is selling good size boxes of wildflower seed for a buck. Quite a deal when you consider how much you pay for the little envelopes.

At coffee I met some nice nurserymen from Arizona looking to buy or lease a yard in Fallbrook for their plants. Talked for a while. Afterwards I headed down to the Dollar Store and bought eight boxes of seeds. Wildflowers for shade, wildflowers for sun, wildflowers for birds and butterflies, they had all sorts of things.

Will sprinkle them around before the next rain comes on Friday. Every box. Go to town. Let nature do the rest. Place should look pretty fabulous come spring. Probably should have grabbed the marigold mix too.

Not much to do with these things. They like to be planted the height of the seed so if you step on the area and compress a little bit after seeding you should be good to go.

If you need some head down quick, the girl says that they sell out fast. Thanks Bill!

Postscript - Steph sent me this note: those little boxes really produce. This was last spring. Sow on...

Thanks, Stephanie, I am in.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


My neighbor Steph just came back from the Sierras and sends this pretty picture she took through her car window. Clouds blanketing the peaks, lovely.

Mike sent another Salton Sea shot. Too good to resist.

Dave went back on memory lane and sent a picture of himself, Ricardo and I at the beach from way back. I guess I had a gut in my youth as well. 

Managed to have fun anyway. We all used to have a great time at the beach, very solid beach group. I miss the beach but I don't miss the traffic and compression.

I forget who sent me this picture of the newest cellmates but I thought it was cute as well.

Supershow - The Last Great Jam Of The 60's

Here's a big one to chew on, Supershow. Sound isn't great but it has its moments. Clapton, Stills, Bruce, Buddy Guy, The Misunderstood, Buddy Miles, Roland Kirk, Colosseum and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Shot in London in March of 1969, a two day affair. Shot in a discarded linoleum factory.

I believe that Zeppelin played but did not make the cut. The footage of Riverside's Glenn Ross Campbell and the Misunderstood is very rare. Around the 29 minute mark. Hell of a steel player. Leslie and I were lucky enough to see him play once with Love. Buddy Guy rips it up at the fourteen minute mark.

Partisan hypocrisy

 Good article over at the American Independent House GOP suddenly objects to executive orders after 4 years of silence.

This week, House Republicans are slamming President Joe Biden's use of executive orders in his first few days in office — despite the fact that Trump issued more executive orders on average per year than any other White House occupant in 40 years.

All told, Trump signed 220 executive orders in his four years in office. By contrast, Obama issued 276 in eight years, former President George W. Bush 291 in eight years, and former President Bill Clinton issued 364 in eight years.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Impeach or not to impeach, that is the question...

As much as I loathe Donald Trump, I am pretty agnostic about all this impeachment business. One of the things they teach you in martial arts is to never draw your sword unless you are prepared to lop off a head. And I don't see a Trump conviction in the Senate, no way no how. We know who might vote to convict and it is not enough. I see no reward for a Pyrrhic victory here. 

So who gains from an impeachment without a conviction? Donald Trump. He can then say that he faced a partisan house and won twice and that it is all a hoax, etc. He gains politically from what is coming down the pike.

The man will live in infamy as one of the three worst Presidents of all times, a man who fomented an insurrection and left office as he presided over it, in the most crass and classless way possible.

We are now in a political arena where a Mitch McConnell is facing off against a Lindsey Graham, Cheney against McCarthy, the Republican party is cannibalizing itself. What did Napoleon say, something along the lines of, when your opponent is doing himself in, don't interrupt him. As much as I want to punish the bastard, this will only give him needed cover. And he has wounded the GOP for the foreseeable future.

An impeachment without a conviction will just give the right more chances to whine about how they are getting cancelled and persecuted. Funny how the people who screamed libtard and snowflake for four years are such fragile and persecuted humans.

John Bolton, no friend of Trump no matter what his political inclination is, has another view of the matter. I may be wrong here but with the current political division and landscape, I fail to see a win here. Tell me why I am wrong. And please don't fantasize about a whole bunch of John Cornyns and Barrassos suddenly seeing the light, it ain't ever going to happen.

Yours is no disgrace

this song has been earworming me for the last couple days...


 Hudgins sent this interesting article over from a blogger named Kevin Drum.

Chart of the Day: Why Is COVID-19 Worse In Some Parts of the World and Better in Others? 


Did you know that North America was once separated by a transverse waterway that divided east and west into two landmasses now called Appalachia and Laramidia?

I didn't either.


Robin sends over a neat article on baja and bird photography.


Dem' birds done pooped in my boat.


Stay and delay. Supremes allow Trump to run out the clock on emoluments. So now if a President doesn't like a law, he or she can just fight it until the end of their term and it will be called moot. Disgraceful.


A spokesperson for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) shot back at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) for his criticisms of the congresswoman on Sunday, saying he should “leave his beauty bag at home. In Wyoming, the men don’t wear make-up.”

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Wings of a dove

I filled the bird feeders this morning and then just sat there transfixed, watching the show. 

I put out peanuts for the scrub jays but the spotted towhees beat them to the mark this morning. These birds are a favorite in the garden for some reason. Very cute.

I like the jays too, loud and goofy. 

And my California thrasher buddy who likes to hop around and poke in the dirt for food with his long curved beak.

Leslie refilled the nijer and the finches are going crazy, there might be twenty of them hanging on the feeder at one time.

Honestly I like all the birds and am content to fall asleep in the chair after an afternoon watching their antics.

Except for one species. Hard to confess but I am not a dove lover.

Loud nasty creatures, bullies really. I don't know where they got this passive reputation but they are not very pleasant. Can be plain mean at times.

I know we all have our place in god's creation but I do wish they would find another place to hang out and stop crapping on my van.

These glorified pigeons are just hogs. I don't know if I really am a DINO like the guys call me in the morning but I am definitely more hawkish than dovish.

Shemekia Copeland - The Battle Is Over (But The War Goes On)

George Primrose

I bought an interesting photograph recently. Well, interesting to me anyway. Extremely rare, I have never seen another one of this subject. I have showed it to a couple of people and two auction houses and I guess that it is considered crass and off putting in today's politically correct world. Not interested.

You see it depicts people in blackface. And that bothers some of the more woken people today.

The subject is one George Primrose and his Minstrels, one of the leading troupes of his day.

At one time they were known by a far more colloquial and disparaging name.

George Primrose (1852-1919) was a Canadian, an early vaudevillian, working with then partner Billy West in a two man song and dance team back in 1877.

Primrose was known as a wonderful dancer and the minstrel act was said to be quite high class and sophisticated.

The minstrel phenomenon started in the northeast in the 1830's. It rose to prominence as a national craze in the late 1840's. 

Although the minstrel shows were extremely popular, being "consistently packed with families from all walks of life and every ethnic group", they were also controversial. Integrationists decried them as falsely showing happy slaves while at the same time making fun of them; segregationists thought such shows were "disrespectful" of social norms as they portrayed runaway slaves with sympathy and would undermine the Southerners' "peculiar institution".

Many performances followed a familiar three act theme. The shows died out around 1910.

Minstrelsy and black face is looked down disparagingly and with opprobrium today. It would shock many people to know that some of its biggest fans back in the day were black people. Rather than be offended, they celebrated and refined the art form. In fact black performers were there at the beginning of the art form.
In the 1840s and '50s, William Henry Lane and Thomas Dilward became the first African Americans to perform on the minstrel stage. All-black troupes followed as early as 1855. These companies emphasized that their ethnicity made them the only true delineators of black song and dance, with one advertisement describing a troupe as "SEVEN SLAVES just from Alabama, who are EARNING THEIR FREEDOM by giving concerts under the guidance of their Northern friends."
In fact white minstrelsy was ultimately doomed when black minstrels decided to take their place. Frankly, they sang better and they danced better. And like it or not their black audiences loved them.
African Americans formed a large part of the black minstrels' audience, especially for smaller troupes. In fact, their numbers were so great that many theater owners had to relax rules relegating black patrons to certain areas. The reasons for the popularity of this openly racist form of entertainment with black audiences have long been debated by historians. Perhaps they felt in on the joke, laughing at the over-the-top characters from a sense of "in-group recognition". Maybe they even implicitly endorsed the racist antics, or they felt some connection to elements of an African culture that had been suppressed but was visible, albeit in racist, exaggerated form, in minstrel personages.They certainly got many jokes that flew over whites' heads or registered as only quaint distractions. An undeniable draw for black audiences was simply seeing fellow African Americans on stage; black minstrels were largely viewed as celebrities.
I have written before about the love African Americans had for the most beloved black face of all, Al Jolson:
As early as 1911, at the age of 25, Jolson was noted for fighting discrimination on Broadway and later in his movies. He promoted a play by Garland Anderson which became the first production with an all-black cast produced on Broadway. He brought a black dance team from San Francisco that he tried to put in a Broadway show.; He demanded equal treatment for Cab Calloway, with whom he performed duets in the movie The Singing Kid.
Jolson read in the newspaper that songwriters Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, neither of whom he had ever heard of, were refused service at a Connecticut restaurant because of their race. He tracked them down and took them out to dinner, "insisting he'd punch anyone in the nose who tried to kick us out!"According to biographer Al Rose, Jolson and Blake became friends and went to boxing matches together.
Film historian Charles Musser notes, "African Americans' embrace of Jolson was not a spontaneous reaction to his appearance in talking pictures. In an era when African Americans did not have to go looking for enemies, Jolson was perceived a friend."

In any case, history be damned. People would rather be offended by the mores of the past and deny reality and history because it is inconvenient and difficult to square with today's most enlightened citizenry.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Wise words


Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: Copenhagen December 10, 1969

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea


Sanoguy aka Mike Reardon, went out and shot this lovely sunset the other evening at the Salton Sea. Great job, Mike!