Egret and crab

Wednesday, March 31, 2021


You decide...

Di in Australia makes a good point regarding Paul De Gaston. I would say that it is irrefutable that this etching and photograph, purportedly made by two different artists with the same name, were actually made by the same man.

I wonder if the truth to this story will ever actually come out? With all of the spy and OSS and Nazi tie ins this story has always been weird and perhaps it is only getting weirder. But until I saw Di's photograph two days ago I never had such absolute linkage.

Now we can pin it down. I would bet anything these images were created by the same person. And I think if I read the tea leaves correctly this makes it unequivocal that the early artist and photographer that created them both is Paul Percy Frazier De Gaston.

Here is another photo from the collectionDi sent me next to an identical image of the etched version from my website. This is a reversal and more typical of a normal etching process, according to my printing guru, Dixon Fish.

What passes for news in the right wing press


Heavens if that is not newsworthy. A dog shit on the floor. Off with his head!


I went out to San Jacinto yesterday to clear my head. 

Hadn't been out birding in months. Birds were a little scarce, it was surprising. 

A few harriers, not many other of the usual raptors. Less water than usual, I guess we are at half of the customary rainfall totals. 

I think agriculture is always fighting for more out there and the ponds and birds get short shrift when the money starts talking.

white faced ibis

But the place was still green and there were a couple nice things flying around and I was content to just park my car out there and watch the show.

When I first drove in I saw a raptor perched high on a far rock. I figured it was the peregrine falcon but I could not tell with the 400mm.

Could have put the extender on I suppose but I figured I was still so far away it didn't matter.

I was right, on closer inspection.

My late friend Les loved falcons as I do. I believe that he was a falconer in his younger days.

Rest of the day was rather perfunctory. Saw a belted kingfisher from afar. My eagle eye is still working, thankfully.

Espied a butcher bird.

Lots of coots, mallards and shovelers of course. Saw and scared away a bufflehead before I could get a decent picture.

I took my customary hike with the long lens in tow. I haven't been feeling so swell and was up early yesterday on an auction webinar so it taxed the limits of my endurance. About 82°, not terrible. Didn't die.

All very nice. Even a bad day...

Saw my favorite tree swallows on their customary branches.

And a female harrier perched on a branch as well.

All good, no serious complaints. Camera working good, body holding out.

Lesser yellowlegs

Not a lot else to report. I saw a merlin, a rarity for me. Some other stuff.

A red winged blackbird crossing the road. Please don't ask me why.

Pickings being so slim, I decided to pack it up early and go home for leftover pizza. Leslie went to Dallas last week and the boys at the Bronx gave her a free pie on our way home from the airport the other night!

On the way home I stopped off at the sycamore and saw out mother sitting in the nest. Decided to take a shot in the evening light. Should not be long now...

More Beth

 When I was kvelling over my friend Beth the other day, I forgot to recount the latest story.

She caught a horse on the freeway last week.

Poor Palomino was running around on interstate 15. Expert horsewoman Beth catches it, and Beth happens to have a broken arm and leg at the time.

I asked her to fill in the gaps for me and I may not have the story exactly correct  but here goes: 

She said a city slicker from Los Angeles recently moved to town and bought himself a horse and it got away from him.

Now I have owned horses and broke horses and even had a crazy arab that used to get away from me once in a while when I lived in Rainbow. My ex and I bred Palominos. She had a Leo bred Waggoner mare.

I have ran through other people's ranches chasing the idiot plenty of times before so I can't be too smug.

You can't move to the country and buy a horse if you are not going to ride it and give it some space and attention. Take the time to get it and yourself trained properly and figure out what the hell is going on before you step into the horseman role. It might not fit you and they turn into expensive equine lawn furniture mighty quick.

Good job, Beth.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bill Frisell



I got word this morning that my friend Les died yesterday.

Les was the best metalsmith I knew, certainly one of the greatest and most competent artists and sculptors I have ever known. I am not going to dive in right now about the guy, it hurts too much.

He had been suffering from long term kidney problems. Dialysis. I loved the guy. I used to photograph his work for him, he would help me with bronze patinas and whatever else I ever asked of him. 

I just really enjoyed hanging around him. He was a man's man. I really loved having a burger with the guy or sitting around bitching about life with him, something we both were really good at. He was not a bullshitter in the least, called them as he saw them, did not suffer fools.

Lot of people call themselves artists. Les was the real deal, he could do anything, classic, representational, modern. But always done with impeccable and exquisite taste and vision.

This totally sucks. I am going to go get lost in the wilds for the rest of the day.

Milky way over the Scorpion, Borrego Springs with airplane and headlights


Sketches of Spain - Buckethead

More from Paul Percy Degaston

I have written about a lot of curious things on this blog, by the way, this is the 10,150th post I have written in the past fourteen years, not to mention the many that got deleted along the way. Perhaps no post has been as unusual and mysterious as the whodunit story of Paul De Gaston, or should I say, both of the men who went by that particular name, both using an assumed name.

One was an artist and abortionist, a Nazi spy hooked up to the Black Dahlia murders, the other a photographer who apparently lived a life that some would say was equally sordid. Both men were artists who spent substantial time in China in the beginning of the twentieth century.

There were so many coincidences and so much intrigue to the story that for a very long time I thought we were talking about the very same man.

I ask you all to do a little review. This material may be new and intriguing to some of you.

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
2. Continuing story of Paul DeGaston
3. In the matter of Paul DeGaston
4. The odd story of Paul de Gaston and Paul de Gaston
5. Friend of Paul Percy DeGaston
6. Paul Percy Frazier DeGaston, revisited
7. Thursday Housekeeping
8. The story that never wants to end.

There were a few more posts regarding the subject and one which I significantly redacted after a physical visit from family members from the north who were unhappy that personal and rather nefarious information about their late family member was being disclosed online.

If you have read these stories and are still confused, you are not alone. I wrote them and it is all still very convoluted for me. A better writer than me could write a decent book on the subject, I am sure. 

I received a letter from a woman in Australia two days ago, Di. 

Hello there

I came across a folder of 25 mounted sepia photographs in a cupboard
after my husband passed away. They are beautiful, Asian in subject
mainly people, bridges and boats, and signed 'de Gaston'. They were
probably a gift decades ago when he was doing business in Hong Kong
before I met him.

I'm contacting you because I'm not sure what to do with them - whether
they are valuable in some sense and should be preserved in a gallery,
or if they are beautiful but fairly ordinary and it's ok for me to
frame and hang some.

I would be very grateful for your opinion, and look forward to hearing
from you.


I wrote the nice lady back and asked her if I could see the work. I guess that by literary and academic default I have become the repository for all things relating to this subject, all matters De Gaston. It is assuredly the work of Paul Percy DeGaston, from his time in Shanghai, I assume.  

The work is wonderful from a photographic, historic and artistic standpoint. Hits the mark on every point. I appreciate Di allowing me to post it here as I think it is fitting since we have spent so much time trying to complete the puzzle. I did not answer her question about value but would think it perfectly acceptable to hang them and enjoy them. That is what photographs are for, not hiding away in a box or on a drive somewhere, unseen.

She took these photos with her iPhone. I have not attempted to process or alter them in any way. Not sure what will happen to them ultimately but am happy to share them with you here, now.

It is interesting to me that the other De Gaston did head studies in China that so closely resemble these photographs... But I can't keep thinking like that. It is two men, right?

Monday, March 29, 2021

Bruce Langhorne

Slow on the uptake

This morning's email chain:


I discovered a great new band the other day, The Crystal Blue Line, who just released their debut album He Hit Me (With a Flagpole and it Felt Like a Kiss).


will check them out.


It’s a joke son! 

Trump said the D.C. rioters were giving “hugs and kisses” to the ’thin blue line' guarding the capitol building.

The Crystals had a hit with "He Hit Me (and it Felt Like a Kiss)”. Get it? 

Maybe it was too subtle.


I'm slow. duh. Now I get it. thanks,