Friday, April 30, 2021

Love - Live And Let Live

Strange bird

You live in a place for a long time you get to know the familiar sounds. First thing you notice here are the frogs and coyotes at night, I guess. We wake up with the mockingbirds, I love them, some don't. Orioles are fine singers. It is a real symphony.

You also notice when something different is about. The huge bobcat we saw last week. They sighted a mountain lion at the end of our road recently. My giant ringtail.

Last night Leslie and I both woke up at 3:30. There was a bird very close in a tree making a call neither of us had ever heard before. We got up and talked about it, I have no idea what it was but it was big. There are now peacocks in the valley but it was not a peacock.

My friend Joel lives about two miles down river away from me on Riverview. I saw him at coffee this morning and he starts to tell me about the weird  bird sound he heard at 3:30 last night. Thing must have flown down river.

*

I have been so busy I am out of all my old routines. The hawks are getting huge in the nest and I don't have the time to stop and get a shot. I have been working fourteen hour days on my auction, up at six and back after nine.

Have so much work, it has been freaking me out but I think I have finally hit my stride. Making progress every day, taking bites out of it and just pushing forward. After a near nervous breakdown yesterday I am okay again, I think in about three or four more days the material will be sent in to publish.

I had no idea it would be this much work, frankly. Big Dave told me not to give up, to keep pushing. I threw the i ching hexagram before completion. If the fox almost crosses the river but gets his tail wet at the last second it is all for naught. I am on guard and giving it my best shot.

Da Fook

When I heard that there was a stampede in Israel that killed a bunch of people my first thought was that it was at the Dome of the Rock. Similar stuff seems to happen during the haj every year on the trip to mecca.

Then I had a thought. "Wow, what if it is a bunch of crazy orthodox jews? No, way, right?"

Bingo

45 people killed, 150 wounded after a heated session of stag kosher partying up on Mt. Meron. Unfortunately a bunch of kids were also killed in the chaos.

Honestly, I have the same affinity for these people that I do the Moonies or Mormons. They are as bat shit crazy as any other fundamentalist sect and apart from being Jewish I share little in common with them. 

But I have to admit, they managed to get a free ride from a country I used to love, getting the government to subsidize their heavy prayer schedule and acting like your basic free loaders, looking like the Amish period Boy Georges, all the while seriously skewing the political balance to the extreme right. 

Not to mention causing serious problems with the Palestinians, who happened to own the olive groves in the country before the meshuginas decided that God commanded that it was really theirs.

Anyway don't get me started, couldn't see reform jews rioting like that, unless maybe they ran out of whitefish salad at Nate and Al's or something drastic like that. In any case, it would be rare.

There's a great word in hebrew that expresses total lunacy - da fook. Crazy, idiotic. And this stampede was an excellent example. One bright spot in all the tragedy:

One act of kindness caught local media attention: Despite the Muslim fast for Ramadan, residents of a Palestinian Arab town in the area set up food and drink for Jewish participants evacuating the pilgrimage site.

*

Bill told a joke this morning that I thought was funny. Rather than repeat it verbatim from memory I looked it up on the internet and found a close rendition.


Now why do I think that is funny? I was talking to a friend about holocaust survivors the other day and I recalled seeing a number on someone's arm for the first time. It was at a delicatessen in Cardiff in the early seventies, on Santa Fe Avenue. Next to Jerry Hall's parent's children's store. Was the owner's name Katz? I forget...I do remember his first name was David. 

Guy was really funny, always happy, always cracking jokes. Amazing man, to escape the ovens and still keep his sense of humor, really. I guess you either move forward under such weight or you perish and he moved forward. He has to be long gone now.

Eric Burdon & The Animals - To Love Somebody - 1968

I am not a huge Animals fan but damn this is good! Andy Summers on guitar, Zoot Money on piano.

Polarity shift

I think there is something, well a bit "cockeyed" going on with my Google algorithm. 

Somebody signed me up for a Match.com site that I think caters to like minded eligible young men. Sent me a bunch of pictures of eligible suitors. Nice gents but honestly, nothing really clicked. I have tried to unsubscribe three times but Match won't take no for an answer. Hey, no means no!

Thanks whomever, but it doesn't really puff the air up under my skirts. I thought maybe Cam was goofing on me but he says that he had nothing to do with it. Not that there is anything wrong with it, just not the way I happen to roll. But the algorithm won't stop trying to hook me up with a fresh guy.

This morning I got a Google advertisement for a nice Gaycation

Now that definitely sounds like a lot of fun but I have a lot on my plate right and unfortunately I am going to have to pass on that one too.

Google thinks I am gay and I am all right with that. Might even redecorate.

Scott Walker

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Morning Dew

What a guitar solo around 3:40. Guy wants to tear it up.

Car problems

I know everybody has probably seen this but me but I couldn't stop laughing when it came across my phone yesterday.



Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Dave Van Ronk - Green, Green Rocky Road

Another Time and Place - Laura

A nice version of one of my favorite Dave Van Ronk songs. I think Dave would be happy. She has a very pretty voice. I could only find one other version of the tune, wonder why it has not been covered more? This song makes me think about measuring our lifespan by the people we have been lucky enough to love deeply along the way. 

Turnabout's fair

 

Three golfing partners died in a car wreck and went to heaven..

Upon arrival, they discover the most beautiful golf course they have ever seen.

St. Peter tells them that they are all welcome to play the course, but he cautions them that there is only one rule:  "Don't hit the ducks during your first three months here."

The men all have blank expressions, and finally one of them asks, "The ducks?

"Yes", St. Peter replies, "There are thousands of ducks walking around the course, and if one gets hit, he quacks, then the one next to him quacks and soon they're all quacking to beat the band.  It really breaks the tranquility, and if you hit one of the ducks, you'll be punished.  Otherwise everything is yours to enjoy.”

Upon entering the course, the men noted that there were indeed large numbers of ducks everywhere.  Within fifteen minutes, one of the guys hit a duck.  The duck quacks, the one next to it quacked and soon here was a deafening roar of duck quacks.

St. Peter walked up with an extremely homely woman in tow and asks, "Who hit the duck?”  The guy who had done it admitted, "I did.”  St. Peter immediately pulled out a pair of handcuffs and cuffed the man's right hand to the homely woman's left hand.  "I told you not to hit the ducks,", he said. Now you'll be handcuffed together for eternity.”

The other two men were very cautious not to hit any ducks, but a couple of weeks later, one of them accidentally did.  The quacks were as deafening as before, and within minutes St. Peter walked up with an even uglier woman.

He cuffed the man's right hand to the homely woman's left hand. "I told you not to hit the ducks," he said; "Now you'll be handcuffed together for eternity.”

The third man was extremely careful. Some days he wouldn't even play for fear of even nudging a duck. After three months, he still hadn't hit a duck.

St. Peter walked up to the man at the end of the three months, and had with him a knock-out, gorgeous woman - the most beautiful woman the man had ever seen.  St. Peter smiled at the man and then, without a word, handcuffed him to the beautiful woman and walked off.

The man, knowing that he would be handcuffed to this woman for eternity, let out a contented sigh and said aloud, "I wonder what I did to deserve this?

The woman responds, "I don't know about you, but I hit a duck."

Need some help

This double sided botanical illustration was painted by the great San Diego artist Albert Valentien.

It was part of a group of paintings of Southern California wildflowers painted for Ellen Browning Scripps.

It was exhibited at the Cincinnati Exhibition Albert Valentien; The California Years in the year 2000. 


It is #8 in the catalogue.

Can any of you plant types tell me what either of these two wildflowers or weeds are? 

I am going to be putting it in my auction next month and would like to label it properly.

It would be very helpful if I knew. Perhaps the one of the back is buckwheat?

Thank you,

Robert Sommers

*****************************************************************

postscript: Shawn thinks it might be Rosey Allium.

*
Good morning Robert

My girlfriend Emma Reece, who identifies plants as part of her work reckons the top painting might be Silene latifolia and the other one might indeed be Allium roseum...
Px


Monday, April 26, 2021

Got my chips cashed in...



Mike sent this over today, it was printed on a t-shirt. Love it!

Progress?


It was kind of sad when they uprooted the three nice old trees on Main Avenue this week, just up from my shop. Guess the roots were messing with the concrete.  But can you explain putting their bushy replacements square in the middle of the sidewalk right of way?

Two people can no longer walk down the sidewalk next to these trees abreast. In fact it will be hard enough for even one. What were they thinking? At least they could have offset the trees in the holes and pushed them out to the curb. I don't get it. Please explain...

Loose lips

News today that John Kerry was ratting out the Israelis to the Iranians during the Obama administration, while acting as Secretary of State. Not surprising, his animosity to Israel is palpable and legendary. The question is if this was done at the behest of his boss or not, which also would not exactly surprise me.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed in recently leaked audio that John Kerry, when he was serving as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, informed him of more than 200 Israeli operations in Syria.

Kerry has previously been accused of colluding with Iranian leaders to undermine the Trump administration. Kerry is now a part of the Biden administration and has a seat on the National Security Council as the special presidential envoy for climate.

Like Israel or not, and I am not a big fan of this particular Israeli government, they were an ostensible ally of ours at the time and the disclosure of over two hundred actions in Syria seems intemperate to me. And I certainly do not like or trust the Iranian regime in any way. We know what they want to do, they have been quite honest about it.

Kerry is currently serving on the NSC. What else will he be disclosing to the Iranians? I hope that Biden tries to have a more evenhanded approach to Israel and Iran than Obama did.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran


Fallbrook Sedgewynd gave to Nancy
Ringnecks for her coachmen's fancy
Eggs and emeralds, shocking garters
Devilled prunes to stop and start her
Nancy gave to Fallbrook Sedgewynd
Neither nods nor time of day
Love is nasty, love is so blind
Love shall make us all go snowblind

Fallbrook Sedgewynd gave to Rosie
Twenty sonnets bound in gold
Daily by her cot he'd mosey
Rosie with her stockings rolled
Rosie gave to Fallbrook Sedgewynd
Neither hugs nor cozy chats
Love is nasty, love is so blind
Love shall make us all go snowblind

Love is nasty, love is so blind
Love shall make us all go snowblind

Fallbrook Sedgewynd saved his money
Bought a bear and fed it honey
A bear has little fear of Hades
So he ate the luckless ladies, yeah!
Love is nasty, love is so blind
Love shall make us all go snowblind
Love is nasty, love is so blind
Love shall make us all go snowblind

Late Morning Rays, Disney Hall

 


Feedburner

That was my nipple, Ralph.
I got word recently that Google is doing away with feedburner, its follower gadget. Google likes to drop things mid stride, they are famous for it. 

Anyway those of you that follow by email might nor receive the blog anymore.

Not sure what the solution is but make sure you save my url and check from time to time, I am pretty prolific. 

You can also email me privately and I will put you on a list and try to send the blog to you manually.

Bruce Cockburn

Really?

 


You honestly think that your "rights" to infect loved ones and total strangers with covid equates to the struggles black people faced when forced to sit at the back of the bus? Unbelievable. Jessica Alexander is a real beaut.

Alexander, a business owner, ex-New York Police Department officer and Marine Corps veteran, was elected in November to the council’s District 2 seat, which represents central Temecula.

She helped organize a protest Nov. 1 at City Hall that featured discussion on topics such as “family, education, abortion, dehumanization, false social fear, defending the police, Socialism, Marxism, and Communism followed by prayer vigil,” a protest news release stated.

Covid 19 is still infecting people and it is still killing people. New deadly variants are emerging. This is not the time for grandiose self delusion or to soapbox about your personal liberties being abridged. I would appreciate you not infecting me.

*

I wasn't feeling well post second covid shot and went home early yesterday. I made a big mistake. I started watching Karen videos. Like this one. Or this. or even this. I watched a bunch more but then felt even sicker and decided I had to stop. Some of these people are downright psycho

But there is a recurrent theme, we are sovereign citizens, we will also decide which laws apply to us and we are really stupid, not to mention foul mouthed. I presume this anti masker, sovereign citizen movement has to be coming from the evangelical church. And they also don't seem to respect the rights of private businesses to set rules inside their establishments.

I will say it again, if you want to get covid and don't care, have at it, but unfortunately you don't know if you are a carrier until it is too late and then it is my rights and person that are being abridged.

*

My troll wrote that Trump was living in my head, why do I continue to post articles like the EPA article I posted a few days ago that show his despicable policies in hiding toxic pollution data or talk about five dollar ladders scaling billion dollar border walls?

The reason is accountability. It is not about attacking Trump, it is about challenging the people that voted for him to take ownership of the consequences of his policies. We have to live with the results of many of his horrible decisions. You own it.

And if Biden caves on Iran or his progressive wing and does a bunch of stupid stuff I will own it. That is the way it works.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Zombies - I Love You

Serves me right

It was a big ugly print. I had bought it as a side note in an estate sale about seven or eight years ago and was tempted to toss it in the trash several times. Just not my thing.

And so I was a bit befuddled and pleasantly surprised when I saw an image of said print on a website yesterday and found out that it was actually a David Hockney aquatint and etching from 1969. The Lake.

I went through my catacombs this afternoon and found the large godawful thing. Bingo, same image. Unfortunately I am not sure if it is an eighteen hundred dollar print or a ten thousand dollar print and won't know until I open it up at my framers on Tuesday. See which edition it is from, the signed or the open?

In any case, it is found money. I misplaced a Georg Jensen brooch this week and this will ease the hurt a little bit. I am good with whatever comes down, I assure you. Grateful even.

I got my second shot last night and was feeling pooped. Made good progress on the auction spreadsheet today but finally had nothing left. So I went home.

But I got to thinking about Hockney and the people that buy them. Rich people that want to be in a certain group. I don't think much of either his line or brush work, I like D.J. Hall's pool paintings much better but who asked me?

Anyway a Hockney story:

Many years ago I was invited to Lucinda Watson's birthday party at a tony retreat in Marin. My friend was her personal chef at the time. Watson was the IBM heiress. I am seated next to a couple at the dinner and told them that I was an art dealer.

"We are looking for a Hockney," they proclaimed in a throaty, regal tone. "Well, you have come to the right place," I said. "I was just offered a great early landscape (ed: when he was good) and I can let you have it for $80,000." This was a chunk of change but cheap for a Hockney. And I had been offered a very salable painting the day before.

The woman looked at me and sniffed like I had stabbed her. "We are going to spend at least a half a million." She wouldn't say another word to me the whole night because I had insulted her by trying to give her a good deal on a painting. Didn't even want to look at an image. Horrors and egads. She wanted to spend big money, probably because her friends had. I guess I learned something. It's not about the artwork, it is about the country club obviously.

On second thought


A nice, calm, and respectable lady went into the pharmacy, walked up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said, "I would like to buy some cyanide." 

The pharmacist asked, "Why in the world do you need cyanide?"

The lady replied, "I need it to poison my husband."

The pharmacist's eyes got big and he exclaimed, "Lord have mercy! I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!" 

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture and said, "You didn't tell me you had a prescription.

Los Reno - Te quiero (1966, Peerless Records)

Friday, April 23, 2021

Foxconn Debacle

Remember the plant that Trump funded in Wisconsin that was going to bring 13,000 jobs to the state? The one that they had to bulldoze 75 houses for?

Well, oops

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Hampton Grease Band - Halifax

Bad Diet and Hair Cartoons

 Harwood sent this over. The Crumbs are at it again. Or they were last year anyway. Very good.


Ruby's

 


When we were out on the whalewatching boat somebody mentioned how strange it was not to see Ruby's at the end of the pier. An Oceanside landmark for many years, they gave up the ghost recently.

I always liked this shot of the two Ruby's girls on the pier that I took in 2015 for some reason. Candy stripers.

Fred Neil

Happy birthday Joel

 

My coffee buddy Joel had a birthday today. His sweet wife Laurel surprised him with a cake which he shared with his pals. 

*



McDaniels brought a tractor in and mowed the fields at my house yesterday, something that happens annually. Glad to see it. I always feel better when I see the place looking tidier. Here is a pre mow shot from the back. As you can see, my old greenhouse is in pretty sad shape.

*





Sprinkled last night. Garden is happy. Here are some shots including another shot of the shorter flower spike on the variegated agave.

*

I saw a huge bobcat the day before yesterday jump off the road into the brush. Maybe the largest I have ever seen. A hundred yards away comes walking Beth and her poodle puppy. I rolled the car window down and told her to be careful but she trudged ahead. I saw her yesterday and she said her husband Charlie, who jogs on the road, saw the bobcat too and said it was the largest he had ever seen. This one was very light in color. She said that her dog was sniffing the ground at the spot where I saw it. The young hawks continue to grow up. I am so busy with work I don't even have time to stop and take a shot.

Although I will get my second covid shot this evening. Make time for that.

*


Country Joe McDonald - Save the Whales

Happy Earth Day


I like to watch nature videos before I go to bed. The other night I was watching the David Attenborough movie Our Planet, the High Seas. This is the sixth episode in the series. I believe that it was released in 2019.

There is some footage of a blue whale mother and her calf that is just so beautiful and touching. And he points out that we have less than 10% of the population that existed a hundred years ago, the numbers now dwindling to somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000 individuals extant. 

Before whalers discovered the treasure trove of oil that a blue whale could provide, the species was plentiful. But with the advent of 20th-century whaling fleets, their population plummeted until finally receiving worldwide protection in 1967. From 1904 to 1967, more than 350,000 blue whales were killed in the Southern Hemisphere, according to the World Wildlife Fund. In 1931, during the heyday of whaling, an astounding 29,000 blue whales were killed in a single season.

While commercial whaling is no longer a threat, recovery has been slow and new threats plague blue whales, like ship strikes and the impact of climate change. There is one population of around 2,000 blue whales off the coast of California, but all told there are only around 10,000 to 25,000 individuals left.

The blue whale is the largest creature to ever inhabit the earth. Remarkably intelligent, they live a lifespan of 80 to 90 years old, somewhat mimicking the average human timeframe. 

Sad and unnecessary to destroy the population but I guess we humans will do what we do, foul creatures that we are.

*

Similarly, there are now fewer than 360 North American right whales left. Pollution, ship strikes and entangled fishing nets have pushed the cetacean to the border of extinction. Can't we find a way to do right by the right whale?

*

Finally let's think about the turtles on this fine earth day, shall we? News out recently that we are about to lose our leatherback sea turtle population.

MONTEREY, Calif. —

Scientists were documenting stranded sea turtles on California's beaches nearly 40 years ago when they noticed that leatherbacks — massive sea turtles that date to the time of the dinosaurs — were among those washing up on shore. It was strange because the nearest known population of the giants was several thousand miles away in the waters of Central and South America.

Their mysterious presence led researchers to a startling discovery. A subset of leatherbacks that hatches on beaches in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands were migrating 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to the cold waters off the U.S. West Coast, where they gorged on jellyfish before swimming back. The epic journey stunned scientists.

"There are birds that go farther, but they fly. There's a whale shark that might swim a little further, but it doesn't have to come up for air. This animal is actually pushing water all the way across the Pacific Ocean," said Scott Benson, an ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service in Monterey, who has studied the turtles for decades. "It's just a majestic animal."

But now, just as scientists are beginning to fully understand the amazing odyssey, the turtles are disappearing — and fast.

In less than 30 years, the number of western Pacific leatherbacks in the foraging population off of California plummeted 80% and a recent study co-authored by Benson shows a 5.6% annual decline — almost identical to the decline documented thousands of miles away on nesting beaches. About 1,400 adult females were counted on western Pacific nesting beaches, down from tens of thousands of turtles a few decades ago, and there are as few as 50 foraging off California, Benson said. The study provides critical, but devastating, new population information that doesn't bode well for the leatherbacks, said Daniel Pauly, a fisheries professor at the University of British Columbia and an international expert on reducing commercial fishing's impact on marine ecosystems.

***

"If you find the decline in one place, that might have a number of causes, but if you find the same estimate of decline in two places that indicates something much more serious," said Pauly, who was not involved in the study. "They are really in big trouble."

We can't go on the way we have been going, like it is business as usual. There won't be anything left. Try as we might, our lives are inextricably tied in with the lives of our fellow occupants of the planet. From the honey bees to the giant whales, our survival ultimately rests with each other. Let's right our ship and find a sustainable path to continued life for all the earth's species.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Fire when ready

I am pretty sure that I know what a libertarian is. 

A libertarian is a capitalist who believes in the right to discriminate against other people and who also likes to get stoned. 

They have their own online forum now, Reason, funded by the Koch Network.

I saw this interesting article over at Reason yesterday, Scofflaws paved the way for legal marijuana.

"Willingness to break the law to do things that people know they have every right to do helps to make it acceptable for others to follow suit. As more people engage in illegal activities, those activities become less alien and threatening even to those who have no interest in joining the party and reveal legal restrictions as unenforceable. That makes it seem increasingly attractive to call off the cops and leave people alone to live their lives."

Having smoked for about 85% of my life at this point, the great majority of the time breaking a law or two along the way, I guess I agree with this guy. All this time I have been a warrior for the greater good and social change. 

Who knew?

*

In any case, today is 4/20, the pot smokers ersatz Christmas. Carries the same spiritual gravitas and authenticity as Festivus or Kwaanza, I suppose. A lot of my friends are totally into it. 

I must confess that I don't get worked up or excited about marijuana any more, more like brushing my teeth or drinking milk. Not going to bake a cake over the whole thing.

I'm old school. Don't want to hear about the new strains, they ruined a lot of great sativa when the indica craze hit and we lost them forever. 

Don't believe in a lot of indoor, don't trust the growers to flush poisons or not to over fertilize, still an outdoor sativa organic caveman. Sun, water and earth. Simple equation.

I don't vape, the lungs can't bong, truth is, I rarely even smoke anymore, an occasional hit on a joint is fine. I think it's legal now. But the thrill is gone, I'm not going full scale dreadlocks or religious about anything at this point in my life. The pot culture sort of bores me. I have other hobbies.

But you folks, go ahead and fire away. If you want to smoke, smoke, if you don't, don't. 

Have a good time either way. Happy four twenty.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Now I'm 64

Azucena

 

One of my guilty pleasures is Thrifty Black Cherry ice cream. I wrote a blogpost on the subject a few years back. At the time Thrifty was the only rabbinically certified ice cream brand, super clean. Perhaps it still is?

Anyway I was driving home the other day and I had the itch and I stopped for a cone. Nobody has to know.

And I noticed that the girl behind the counter had a beautiful name, Azucena. And I asked her about her melodious name and complimented it and also asked if she had ever met another person with the same name? She said that she had. Two people in fact.

Her mother was named Azucena and so was her mother's mother. She told me that it was the name of a flower. 

I looked it up, it is the name of a lily. Actually two flowers share the common name, the fragrant tuberose and the Madonna Lily.

The former grows in Mexico, I have smelled its lovely fragrance filling the air at the old mercado in Oaxaca City.

The latter is from Asia and parts of Southern Europe.

In any case, the girl was very nice and sweet and I asked her where her family was from and she said Guanajuato. 

I told her about a ten and a half hour car trip I took from Puerto Escondido to Ciudad de Oaxaca through Huatla and the steep mountains the time my plane broke down in the jungle many years ago. The same verdant road where they filmed Romancing the Stone. No rental cars or buses back then, I had to hire a reluctant cabdriver.

She smiled.

She told me that in order to visit her grandparents when she was a child it took a three day journey through the mountains, a real ordeal. Fording rivers and dodging poisonous snakes.

Now with the highway robbers and cartels the trip is near impossible, far too dangerous.

You look at a person, a poor immigrant like this girl and you have no idea what they have endured and gone through in their life, do you? Yet she remains as sweet as a flower.

A prudent person should knock on wood and thank their lucky stars for the relative ease of our life here in America.

Be kind. One day it could be you on the other end of the stick.

The Bench - Cameron Burnett

 

Gruntled

Good word of the day. New one for me but it makes sense. Etymologic roots in the 1930's. If you are going to get disgruntled you might as well be gruntled on occasion too, right?




Saturday, April 17, 2021

Evil Assholes

The news that Trump's EPA blocked the release of a report regarding the release of toxic carcinogens in Illinois didn't exactly surprise me but it is still worth a read.

A former top Environmental Protection Agency official appointed by former President Donald Trump withheld warnings to an Illinois community about a toxic gas linked to several cancers that was being emitted by local plants, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General revealed in a news report.

Bill Wehrum was the assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office for Air and Radiation in 2018 when EPA officials in Illinois became concerned about elevated levels of ethylene oxide at the Sterigenics sterilizing plant in Willowbrook.

The federal government has linked the gas to lymphoma, leukemia, and stomach and breast cancers. The local administrator “wanted to immediately release” air monitoring results to the public by posting them on the agency’s website to “avoid another public health emergency like the Flint, Michigan, drinking water crisis,” according to the IG report, which was released Thursday.

But Wehrum, who had been an attorney for gas, oil and coal companies, ordered officials to “not release monitoring results to the public,” said the investigative report, which was requested by Congress.

As a person who has battled cancer off and on since 1985, a cancer linked to methyl ethyl ketones, is it any wonder I despise these people so? 

Arthur Lee & Love - Seven & Seven

They killed

 

I shot this picture of two male lions nuzzling in Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania in 1989 with my Konica FT-2 film camera. Post wildebeest repast. I believe that my longest lens was 135mm but I still managed to get some splendid photographs.

I want to go back on safari in the worst way. I think Leslie is a little squeamish about the kills. She can close her eyes I hope, there is an awful lot more to see that I know that she will really enjoy. Some day...

Do you know what I mean?

Good Tunes

My buddy Stan is not only a great photographer and teacher of photography, he has spent a life in music. He played bass with the Incredible String Band, managed Janis Ian and Muddy, just has serious credibility on the subject.

And he was a roadie at the Fillmore East to boot. He got to see a lot of great music when the music was really good.

He sent me this letter the other day:

Last live concert I went to was four years ago…..

I don’t enjoy the experience anymore.  Even back in the days of ROADIE, I was always running around at shows.
I had a few memorable moments, while sitting in a seat…..

But considering the amount of shows I attended, this is really slim.

Elvin Jones trio at Slugs in 69…..
Little Feat at Venice something (small movie theater) in around 75,
Willy Dixon and the Chicago All Stars, (Somewhere in downtown LA in an old auditorium in a run down hotel….wooded seats, church ladies….May of 76
James Taylor at Berkeley Community Center…….1974 or 75
Stones farewell concerts at the Roundhouse, London,  Jan, 71
And the ultimate live experience for me:
New Years Eve 69-70, Band of Gypsies, Fillmore East.

All were somewhat intimate, the bands were killing it and you could see and hear.

STAN SCHNIER

I agree with him on one thing, I can't stand being packed in a room anymore and this goes back way before covid.

I like his picks. I never saw Elvin Jones live but he is probably my favorite drummer. I did see the Stones, Willie Dixon and Little Feat. Never saw Jimi or Janis, or Otis, unfortunately. Hard to trump Band Of Gypsies although I personally liked JME better, at least on the recordings. Big Mitch Mitchell fan.

I think I have listed some of these before but they are probably my favorite all time shows. Tough to pick, there were so many good ones. Hate leaving the great Dylan, Doc and Merle, Echo and the Bunnymen, Son Seals and Concrete Blonde shows off...

Taj Mahal - Catamaran. Small club, twenty minute impromptu a cappella back and forth with pretty blonde girl back row of the audience on Spoonful. Pure happiness.

Rolling Stones - Mick's birthday show, Madison Square Garden - 1972. Unbelievable, the show with Stevie Wonder and all the rose petals falling. Mick Taylor at his best. They made a movie that night.

Grateful Dead - Swing Auditorium, 2-26-77 - first Terrapin, full mind blower. DNA altering. Nothing's gonna bring them back...

Roxy Music - Griffith Park - taste and elegance personified.

Arthur Lee and Love - Belly Up Tavern The bitterest of Arthur, out of jail and just testifying. Unbelievably good.

Devo - California Theater - People doing swan dives into the audience, total cacophony of fun.

Jefferson Airplane - House of Blues - Tribute to Papa John, with special guests Grace Slick, Merl Saunders and David La Flamme. Grace shows up at midnight and tears the place apart with her searing vocals. Leslie and I drinking shots with Jim Marshall at the bar.

Its a Beautiful Day and Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks - Sports Arena

Country Joe McDonald and Lee Michaels - Sports Arena - Nice to meet you, Mr. Orange Sunshine. ☀ And when exactly do you plan on going home?

And my #1, numero uno show of all time - Thick as a Brick, Jethro Tull - Sports Arena 1973

What are your favorites?

Feeding the goose





Glass Onion

Trip to the desert

I drove to Palm Springs yesterday to pick up two collections for the auction. It was nice out there, not too hot yet. 

My friend Ken and I had lunch at Rick's. Ken lives in one of those storybook modern Palm Springs houses, his was designed by the legendary architect William Krisel. Great pad.

Rick's makes really good food. I have been very good of late, almost no red meat for two months, I have been bad on exactly two occasions.

Trying to limit my salt and sugar too. I honestly feel pretty good on fish and chicken.

I broke down yesterday.

The owner of Rick's is Cuban and prepares his native cuisine exceedingly well and so I went for the pork loin sandwich. 

First pork I have eaten in a long time and darn did it taste good! Great black beans and rice and plantains too. If god didn't want us to eat it why did he make it taste so damn good?

Afterwards I drove out to Big Morongo Canyon to try to do a bit of midday birding, never easy.

I took a short hike with my friend Vickie who lives nearby.


Vickie is an artist who does great assemblages. Tom gave me an old guitar and Vickie is going to do something cool with it. I delivered it to her yesterday. We always have interesting conversations, in some ways having similar and parallel youths and deviations. Took a few of the same wrong turns. And right turns, come to think of it!

The Morongo Canyon is so neat. A little oasis. You see birds there you rarely see anywhere else, like summer tanagers.

Wonderful to get out and stretch the legs for a little while and talk with my good friend.

Unfortunately my avian timing was not optimal yesterday. I did see a yellow rumped warbler and a female vermilion flycatcher but not a whole lot more.

This was my second time there and I already want to go back and hike the whole eight mile canyon loop.

Very cool day and that is pretty much all I got.


Our Lord's Candle

 

Since we have been on the subject of agaves and yuccas I thought I would post a picture of a chaparral yucca native to my area.

I shot this picture out of my car window on the way to work in the early morning.

This one is growing out of a bank around the hairpin corner next to my house. 

They grow out of extremely dry and rugged banks on my road. Thrive on abuse. Incidentally, the natives have used it for years.

The botanical name for this plant is Yucca Whipplei or Hesperoyucca whipplei. 

It is also known as Spanish bayonet or Spanish dagger. I got stabbed by one of these guys once when I was cutting wood as a kid and my leg looked a lot worse than Kerry's.

It was given the name "our lord's candle" on account of the lovely red color of the inflorescence sheath.

From WikipediaThe taxonomy of Hesperoyucca whipplei is complex and controversial.Hesperoyucca was described as a genus by Georg Engelmann as long ago as 1892, but it has taken recent DNA analysis to confirm that they are genetically distinct from Yucca.

You will notice that it also has a beautiful burgundy colored sheath around its spike.

There are purportedly six subspecies of this plant and I wonder which one grows on the native banks of my Santa Margarita River? It is the wispiest yucca you could ever imagine.

More on the plant here:

It has been used extensively by Native Americans.[17] Yucca species such as the Yucca whipplei have been documented to have been used as a fiber and food source by Native Americans in the Southwest cultural region, prior to European settlement efforts.[18][19] Archaeological evidence show that use of yucca species extends to approximately 5000 years ago within groups such as the Serrano of the San Bernardino Mountains and San Gabriel Mountains of the transverse mountain ranges of Southern California.[20][21][22] The Serrano harvested the hearts of the plant during the spring growing season.[19] Yucca whipplei grows on the rocky slopes and washes of the chaparral area of the transverse mountains of Southern California up to approximately 4000 feet above mean sea level.[23] Harvested plants were chosen based on the growth of the stalk; the hearts were the preferred portion of the plant, and would be harvested before the stalk was fully developed. The heart contains the sugars stored to rapidly grow a stalk to flower, and become bitter as the stalk grows in height.[24] The hearts would then be roasted in stone lined pits (earth oven) over several hours in a manner similar to that of agave species. Once cooked, the hearts would be removed and allowed to cool before eating. Uneaten portions could be dried for storage.[24] Though slightly bitter, the stalk and flowers can be harvested and used as food sources as well. The stalks can be prepared roasted in a manner similar to the hearts, while the petals were often parboiled.[24]

The long leaves of species such as the Yucca whipplei are made of strong fibers which can be pounded and scraped to expose long threads which run the length of the leaf.[24][23] The leaves could be processed in many ways to remove the outer layer of leaf material which could be processed into threads and cords, used for basketry, blankets, and sandals.[19] Green leaves can be heated over coals or directly on flames to heat the leaves. Cooking the leaves removes some of the saponins and allows for easier scraping. Ethnographic accounts dating to 1938 describes the preparation of leaves for fibers as any one of the following: boiling or pit roasting of live leaves to be scraped clean or the pounding or soaking of dry leaves expose fibers.[20] Shells or stone scrapers were often employed to remove outer leaf material from the fibers.[20] Once exposed, these fibers were often soaked in water to soften fiber. The fibers could then be twisted into cordage, used as materials in a basket, or woven into sandals.[19]

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Combat pay for this one

 My friends and readers are truly the best:

Hey Robert, thought you might like to see photos of a Century Plant on my street, it just grew a big spike a couple days ago, getting ready to bloom. Will send you more pics when it blooms if you want.

I got up on a short retaining wall to take the pictures and when I hopped off it jabbed me in the arm. Didn’t even notice at first but it got me pretty good, must’ve hit a blood vessel.




Thank you for going the extra mile, Kerry. Love you bro. Treat that.

Mechanical World - Spirit

Looking Back

Robert Williams

I think about how lucky I am to have had so many great experiences in the art world. I have sold works by masters including John Singer Sargent, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Maynard Dixon, Wayne Thiebaud and so many more. What a privilege. 

I have even had original Pissarro and Van Gogh canvasses in my very own hot little hands.

To think I started out as a kid pulling handbills off telephone poles and cutting images out of magazines to tape on my wall...

I was into underground comics and posters way before I was into the straight stuff. Before a lot of other people were into it. Because I knew how cool it was. 

And honest to god, the great material I sold back then is the stuff I really wish I had back right now. 


Like this piece of Jesus and the feathered serpent by Rick Griffin. I sold the original art to this. Man, do I wish I could have kept it. But things were tight and I had to give it up. It happens. Life gets in the way.

Of course, after living twenty or thirty years with the album cover art I also felt that the world should see it, that it is selfish to keep the great stuff salted away. So I sold it and paid the mortgages and managed to survive and hopefully now more people can enjoy it than inhabit my little corner of the world.


What a break to meet and get to know people like Alton Kelley, Dave Sheridan, Jack Kirby, Spain, S. Clay Wilson.  Greg Irons. All passed now. To hang around people like Stout, Williams, Nino, Lealoha, Pound and Corbin in the early days of the El Cortez, what a thrill it was! And Crumb, Mouse and Victor, these people were my artistic heroes and I still love their work. The titans of underground and psychedelic art. It was incredibly visionary and in my opinion it is still not appreciated at the level it should be. 

How did a punk kid like me get an opportunity to put a Zap comics together?  To rub shoulders with the greats? But I did. Living the dream.

And it wasn't just about hanging out with Rick and obtaining the precious artwork, it was even better to stay up for a night or two in the gallery and be there at the moment of creation. As Dave and Jeff will attest.

Did you know that I had art director screen credit on two surf movies? It is true, not that I did much. The first was for Blazing Boards.

Chris Bystrom was a friend of mine, in fact I found and sold psychedelic records with him at his gig at the Leucadia Flea Market.

Chris was a super smart guy, english lit major, his mom was a professor if I remember correctly. 

Chris had a degree in filmmaking from UCSD but mostly he loved to surf. Great guy. He spent a lot of time in Australia. Met an unfortunate end in an accident in Asia. 

We would go to the Capitol Records swap meet every month and scrounge for stuff. He introduced me to Bob Hite of Canned Heat and we bought Kaleidoscope posters from him. Lots of other cool people too. People with crazy repositories of music.

Anyhow, I introduced Chris to my friend Rick Griffin and Rick ultimately painted this poster for him, which I was sort of ambivalent about at the time. Later I appreciated it a little more.


He wanted Rick to do his next poster too but Rick was busy at the time so he recommended a Belgian artist he knew in San Clemente to do Thunder down Under. 

Nice guy. I don't remember his name after all this time but I have art credit on that one too. 

His name might have been Luke now that I think about it.

It wasn't terrible.

So when you fill out my obit, please don't forget to add art director to my huge cv, okay?