Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Zombies

Candle in the dark

I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark 1996

James Conrad throws the greatest shot in disc golf history

Blast glitches

I am about to try something that I have not done in over ten years, change the theme of my blog. It may prove fatal. 

Not for me but for the blog.

You see, I have lost the ability to edit my sidebars. It just happened this morning.

When I wrote Google a few months ago with another similar issue they told me that the code and platform is hopelessly outdated and would not be repaired.

I have tried to restart, fix and solve the problem as best as I can and have tried it out in multiple browsers.

Maybe it is stuffed with rotten code at this point I don't know but I am going to attempt to change to a more modern theme and see what happens. Have backed up my content into an xml file just to be safe, not that I would know what to do with it after a system crash, mind you.

And if it all goes to hell, well, all things must come to an end and it has been a good ride.

Wish me luck!


postscript: I changed the theme, still can't edit my sidebar gadgets. But at least my blog content did not disappear!

I get an answer.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon, Torrey Pines


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

He said it

 “Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R) Georgia

Monday, July 26, 2021

Hendrix in New York

Jimi Hendrix, Paul Butterfield, Harvey Brooks & Buddy Miles at Cafe Au Go Go and at The Generation Club

1  Little Wing  0:05
2  Everything's Gonna Be Allright  9:20
3  Three Little Bears Part 1 (Jam)  18:10
4  Three Little Bears Part 2  34:04
5  Instrumental Jam  40:29
6  Stormy Monday  49:10
7  Tuning, Blues In C  57:38

Jimi Hendrix (guitar)
Elvin Bishop (guitar)
Buddy Miles (drums)
Paul Butterfield (vocals, harmonica)
Harvey Brooks (bass)
Philip Wilson (drums)
Herbie Rich (organ)
James Tatum (piano)

I swear there is a woman singing on Stormy Monday but who?

Tracks 1-6 recorded March 17 1968, Cafe Au Go Go, 152 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, New York, NY
Track 7 recorded April 15 1968, The Generation Club, NYC

Bullet points

Our national women's soccer team lost. Too bad. We usually win. Nobody wins all the time That is life. But a certain ex president is totally out of line for suggesting it is because the team is too "woke." The orange monster suggested that we boo them yesterday. What a wanker. This team has been woke for a long time and their winning average is way better than his is.


Speaking of the Olympics, I agree that it is sexist and ridiculous to make the woman's handball players wear bikinis instead of the shorts they would prefer to wear. Very bogus. They are there to play a sport, not titillate horny men.


Re: the Olympics did you know that from 1912 until 1948 there were medals for art? The art competitions were grouped into five broad categories: architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. This went on until 1928 when several categories were eliminated.

The Dutch artist Isaac Israels (1865-1934) won a medal for this painting, Red Rider, in 1928.


Good article on despicable corporate behavior over at the NYT - Chevron and Nigeria.


Panpsychism, the idea that inanimate objects have consciousness, gains steam in science communities.

Catholic bishop disses Beatle's song Imagine, calls it totalitarian. Evidently the phrase, imagine no religion, gave him serious shpilkis.


What really happened at the Alamo?


Hudgins sends this timely warning over, a bit late and not listened to, obviously.


English pangrams from Will Chandler. A pangram or holoalphabetic sentence is a sentence using every letter of a given alphabet at least once.


Big shout out to Rob Bleetstein for playing one of my favorite second set Dead Jams on Sirius radio for me last week, 12/14/80. 

I was at the show and his ultramatrix recording really captured Flora Purim's second set contribution wonderfully. 


I heard some right wing hack complaining about Fauci the other day. Said he should go to jail because some people that have received the vaccines are unfortunately still getting sick. 

Hey dimwit. You need to understand science. Virus's are constantly mutating and transforming, or didn't you know? We are in uncharted ground. The Monday morning quarterbacking on this issue is incredible.


I have friends who are really into bitcoin. Some of them have made a lot of dough with it. Good for them. I am not a believer but then again I am not a very savvy guy and honestly was the worst stock picker imaginable when I had money for that sort of thing.

The problem for me is one of tangibility and utility. 

See this krugerrand around my neck?

It is an ounce of gold bullion. 
The gold on the bezel that surrounds it is approximately a third of an ounce. In times of need it can be cashed in for a couple grand.

I know with the big hair and the necklace I am just crying out for a polyester shirt and a date with Johnny Petraglia. But the photo is illustrative.

When little old ladies in China and India start wearing bitcoin around their necks and wrists instead of gold and it shows me a little utility beyond mere currency maybe I will jump on board. And if I am dumb and late to the party, well, what else is new?

The things that I used to do


I was having lunch with a very good friend who hales from the right wing of the spectrum the other day. He does not particularly enjoy wading into political discourse. He says that he really enjoys certain aspects of the blog like the music and photos but hates my political diatribes. Wishes there was a filter. I dig.

It is funny. I have friends on the left side of the ledger who want more politics. You can't please everybody, that is for sure. You are either too this or too that. The reality is that you have to be yourself. I hope that I have enough intellectual integrity to call them either way, fairly. At least that is what I try to do. But it will never be enough, certainly not enough for my cowardly anonymous trolls.

So my objective after all these years is kind of like this. I have an opinion. I am open with that opinion, even opinionated. I don't trust those that don't have an opinion. If you have an opinion and you are man or woman enough to state it publicly, support it with facts and not anonymously, I endeavor to share it no matter how far it is from my own.

I just really don't need this sort of shit, although admittedly it happens very infrequently, considering this nasty world we live in.

So my internal rule is this; try not to alienate those that think differently and still want to enjoy the other parts of the blog and only go political when it feels like there is an imperative to do so. Don't jump at every low hanging fruit.


Having said all this in my lengthy preamble I would like to, once again, talk about January 6. It is obvious that the GOP does not want to talk about it. After all, was it not just a bunch of boisterous tourists, escorted in by police chaperones and antifa plants? Could you not feel all the love in the air as our ex President suggests?

No, the Republicans do not want to talk about motivation or about certain politicians and government officials pouring gasoline on the fire. They want to blame Nancy Pelosi for a lack of security. To me that is like having a burglar breaking into your front door and then blaming the door company rather than the perpetrator. 

And I think it needs to be mentioned that both Senate and House Sergeant of arms were appointed by Republicans, not Nancy Pelosi. And that the cry for the National Guard and military assistance was deliberately slow played and went for naught.

If you want to have a hearing on leftwing political violence, Portland, Minneapolis and the Floyd riots, I say fine. Have another commission. But not at this hearing. This was a singular event that needs to be examined and not swept under the rug. People like Mo Brooks, Josh Hawley, Jim Banks, Jim Jordan, Marjorie Tayler Greene, Boebert, McCarthy and Trump need to be subpoenaed and on the witness stand, disclose their part in the mayhem.

You had your chance to have a fully bipartisan commission and you voted it down. Now you are whining because Pelosi won't let two guys at least partially responsible for the trainwreck, having decertified the Biden victory, drive the locomotive again. Did you know that Banks went to the southern border with one of the insurrectionists after January 6 went down, Anthony Aguero?

Everybody, from either side of the aisle, needs to be accountable. I can't wait to hear the hearing start and I want to hear from the Capitol police. They deserved better.

Playing with cutlery

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Lee Michaels Live

Tribal Stomp


I was going through some things in my files today when I came across this Gilbert Shelton drawn program for a show I had once attended. It was one of the most amazing concert experiences I have ever had. The statute of limitations on past psychonautry must be up by now for god's sake, I think I am safe to spill.

It was the fall of 1978. I was hanging out up in Bluebird Canyon in Laguna Beach with a bunch of kindred souls when one of my psychedelic rat pack at the time mentioned that there was going to be a great concert up in the Bay Area. The Legendary Tribal StopHmmm, should we go? 

We looked in the Laguna underground newspaper at the time and saw an ad for a limousine company, appropriately named Jeff's Starship. Perfect. We called him up and negotiated a price and things fell together seamlessly. Our little hippie family would travel north in style in a black limousine. And we did.

The cast of characters were loosely, as follows, Jack and E and their youngest daughter. They had lived in the Haight Ashbury in the glory years and were known as ma and pa gummy bear for their favored delivery method for the acid sacrament.

Our british expat pal Mina came along, fresh from Kathmandu. I think Lance took up the rear guard, but then again he and C. may have stayed home. In any case, a very seasoned cadre of tripsters. We whipped up a bunch of cubensis smoothies and made our way to the bay.

We got to the show and were warmly greeted by an old friend who was promoting the show, Chet Helms. Chet was a Texas classmate of Janis, a one time partner of Bill Graham and sort of an anti graham in his effusive hippie ethos and his approach to hippie music and promotion. More about the experience than the money. At some point that day, he signed my program. Later in life we met through the art business.

We found a nice place to sit and the show soon started. Chet, the old Family Dog and Avalon promoter welcomed the crowd and the day. The poets came on and did their thing, I remember being particularly taken with Di Prima. I had seen Ginsburg several times with the hand cymbals and all and the whole schtick wasn't really my speed.

Something very strange happened. They started throwing carnations off the stage. We caught a few and lo and behold, someone had secured windowpane acid in the petals. The bus came by and I got on and that's when it all began... Forgive me but my memory starts to get rather well, not mushy, exactly, let's just say I entered a space that is very hard to translate in human speak. But the promoter acting in such a manner, ensuring that everybody was very stoned was a new one on me!

I honestly remember nothing of Congress of Wonders, a local comedy troupe. It is a beautiful day was billed as It was a beautiful day, sort of a requiem, long a favorite or mine, they were simply sublime, eschewing their normal song fare for an extended psychedelic jam. Or it seemed like one, who knows, maybe it only lasted for a minute, how can one be sure? But the leader violinist was definitely brilliant that day.

Wavy was hilarious, the tried and true teeth chattering on the table bit and more. Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, unannounced and un billed, played next, a great set. Always wonderful. Lee Michaels and Canned Heat, both favorites of mine, failed to make an impression that can cut through the mental din four decades later, pardon me. 

The first show I ever went to was Canned Heat at Stonybrook and I saw Lee Michaels playing with Country Joe the night I was introduced to Mr. Orange Sunshine. I do remember that the Chambers Brothers sat in for at least a song or two with the Heat. And perennial presence and hog farmer Woody was wandering around the place playing his banjo.

I was thinking about the Chambers Brothers earlier this week, saw them once with Steppenwolf. I feel very lucky to have heard Time live, I guess many people never had the opportunity and I am glad that I did.

The next performers Dance Spectrum, clearly blew my mind. A dance troupe. I remember two dancers, dancing incredibly close together, seemed like the most holy mating ritual of butterflies or something, it was mesmerizing and I have never seen anything like it before or since. Of course I may have needed to be similarly tuned in to even perceive it, perhaps I missed it on a later occasion? In any case, it was the best dance performance I have ever witnessed.

Big Brother came on next, always fairly perfunctory without Janis and then Country Joe and the Fish. It was starting to get dark and the Bill Ham light show was in fine form, pictures of trains and Indians and koans interspersing with the oil blobs in the most wonderful visual panoply I have ever witnessed. Faster than light and quite conscious. Everything seemed to make sense, if that makes any sense?

The Fish, particularly Barry Melton, were incredible. Another band that you needed to see live, they could throw down with anybody when things got goopy.

Paul Butterfield, with Bloomfield, closed the show. It was wonderful to see Michael but he had clearly lost a lot on his fastball by this point. Still a serious treat.

An incredible day and night, a memory I will treasure forever. The highlights for me were David LaFlamme and Country Joe and the Fish. There was one strange occurrence that my be worth mentioning. There is one in every crowd. alcohol does not mix well with acid, an entirely opposite space. 

A drunk was being a real asshole and would not let up with his obnoxious behavior. One dick in a sea of content. In an act right out of Theodore Sturgeon's Homo Gestalt group mind if I have ever seen one, a bunch of people airlifted him with their minds over a railing and onto the concrete, not to trouble anyone else for the balance of the day. See ya!

To those of you who have never dipped your toe in the psychedelic sea this might sound very far fetched but believe me when I tell you that there is a definite connected group mind in an environment like this when many of the denizens are baking on ergotamine and other hallucinatory substances.

Sure don't have shows like this anymore. It was so warm, so intimate, so connected, clearly a gathering of the tribe.

Strange postscript to the show was that on our return to Laguna Beach we were met and confronted with barricades of yellow tape.

Much of Bluebird Canyon had slid down the mountain while we were off cavorting around.

Almost like a psychic payback for all the fun we were having but Jack and Yvonne's home was spared.

What a weekend!



Oscar Peterson - Boogie Blues Study

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Lone car through the windshield, driving to Flagstaff


Gone Daddy Gone

Saturday's turgid tidbits


Champion supposed freedom of speech but cancel athletes and tell them they have to shut up. Laura Ingraham is her own worst disease.

And re: the Cleveland Indians thing, isn't it the right of a private business to call their team whatever they want to? The new guardians name is taken from some stone figures that surround the city, I was hoping for the Shondors.

And if Ben and Jerry's wants to limit sales of its ice cream in the occupied territories, that is their right too.

A State Senator in Arizona goes off. Wendy, we need to explain a few things to you. And you might want to watch the company you keep.

Guess who is really behind the pandemic?

Anti vaccer Eric Clapton goes off. Racist comments resurface. Guess he had a bad year...

“I don’t want you here, in the room or in my country,” Clapton declared. “Listen to me, man! I think we should vote for Enoch Powell. Enoch’s our man. I think Enoch’s right, I think we should send them all back. Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism. It’s much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back. The black wogs and coons and Arabs and fucking Jamaicans and fucking… don’t belong here, we don’t want them here. This is England, this is a white country, we don’t want any black wogs and coons living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome. England is for white people, man. We are a white country. I don’t want fucking wogs living next to me with their standards. This is Great Britain, a white country. What is happening to us, for fuck’s sake?”


Winter reflections, Oxbow Bend


You know, I like to think that I am as patriotic as the next guy. 

I love my country, salute my flag when appropriate and have never kneeled after a touchdown. 

I have not given up on the good old U.S. of A. and never will although I hope that it, like its citizens, can be the best that it can aspire to be.

Still, I have noticed a strange phenomenon of late. 

It seems that it is not enough to love and admire your country.

Now we must show the extent of that patriotism by the size of the flag in our pickup truck. 

Woe to those that fail to make the grade and not show enough of Betsy Ross's canvas. And the truck has to be really loud!

Clearly, this man loves his country. The size of this flag leaves no doubt. But some people are taking the flag waving a little too far, it is starting to get out of hand.

Could it be a weird need for compensation? Is the size of your flag, not to mention your truck, in inverse proportion to your intelligence quotient? Or some other component of your anatomy?

We have a guy selling this sort of paraphernalia near Daniel's Market.

But the election is over, might it not be time for a new line of work? 

I will fight for the rights of every American to display and wear the flag as they see fit, from Abbie Hoffman to Buck Owens. 

But I am not sure if, in this instance, size really matters.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Ray Price

Fallen warrior

My old kung fu teacher's sister texted me this morning. David was doing well, considering the circumstances, no longer eating but he was surrounded by flowers and seemed to be at peace in the hospital. 

I had two meetings already scheduled in Escondido and I texted her back and asked if I could visit him at Palomar Hospital today. She said that she would check and get back to me. I was in the mood for Korean bibimbop and was meeting Ken at a place off Nordahl for lunch. 

I got the text as I was walking in to the restaurant, there would be no physical goodbye, he had passed over the rainbow bridge this very morning. 

Pancreatic cancer is such a tough enemy. I have lost several strong people I love to it, including David Willey and Garry Cohen. Not much I can say. May they rest in peace.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Ten seconds, near Palisades Glacier


Cake - The Distance

We will get through this.

I received this message from Google today. You blog followers who get the blast automatically will have to make different arrangements, you are not going to get the thing automatically anymore. It is out of my hands, I have nothing to do with it. Google giveth, Google taketh away...

Bookmark my blog on your browser and visit from time to time. Or copy www.blueheronblast.com and put the url in your address bar. Very simple.

Pete Shelley

A crawl through the sewer

I am warning you right now. If you are squeamish please do not read this blogpost. It is disgusting and will make you sick and is below my already admittedly low literary and moral standards. I am giving you ample time to leave and if you decide to continue it is on you. Got that?


You're still here? Really?

Okay, here goes. There are a lot of very strange people in this world of ours. You never really know until you know, you know? In my early twenties I was a call in meter reader for the local power company. I was at a read in Vista when one day, a man came up to me complaining about his bill. 

He was a typical "normal" looking guy. I made a mistake. I pushed his front door in and said, "Let's take a look at that meter." Uninvited, not thinking. Going to cut through the house.

I heard a shriek and a woman's scream and was flabbergasted looking around. She darted into a back room, seeking immediate cover.

I quickly assayed the situation. The living room was a large open space, basically no furniture. The floor was bare concrete but there were small patches of avocado green carpet left extant in a few areas. These patches had withstood the droppings and urine of the hundreds of rabbits jumping around in every direction on the floor. The bunnies had destroyed the rest of the rug like it had been hit by a toxic spill. Like nothing you have ever seen or smelled before, never prior or since had I walked into something so bizarre.

These people were living like prehistoric cave people in a home that had been, I assume, voluntarily given up to the coneys. I will never forget the sight as long as I live. And you would never know how weird they were until you were inside their domicile. As I said, they looked so freaking normal.

Of course if any of you have a similar living arrangement inside your home with the barn animals of your choice, I say that is your business. We live in America, where freedom still rings, well supposedly anyway. Have at it. You can live in a pigsty for all I care, literally or figuratively.


A friend of mine called me a few weeks ago, said he had the weirdest estate ever. His name and general location are redacted. I queried him regarding the situation. 

"How weird?"

He gulped and swallowed and let me have it. "I am selling the estate of a fecalphiliac."

"What the hell is that?" I asked him.

He gave me the rundown. His client, who now has severe dementia, liked to be pooped on. Or maybe he was the pooper? I never really got it straight. Some people go through their lives trying not to get shit on, for this guy apparently the reverse was true, took to it like flies on stink.

A Trump supporting republican, not that his political persuasion matters one iota, the man seemed perfectly normal in real life. But he would record all of his scatological encounters with surgical precision and keep incredible detailed records.

His closets were full of binders documenting the turd ridden encounters and he had a cache of toilet seat covers and other samples that I will not even discuss here on a family blog as memories and keepsakes.

Apparently he often traveled to Germany for his poopy trysts, a place where for one reason or another, the "let's crap on each other" thing has caught on.

Takes all kinds I guess. Would be hard to make money on such an estate in my area but maybe he will have better luck where he is.

Like my rabbit loving customers, you just never know what makes certain people tick. 

The story made me think of the guy who liked to hide in port a potties and get dumped on some years ago in Colorado, Luke Chrisco.

His parents probably wished that he collected stamps or something, had a less piquant hobby. But then again, who am I to judge?


People like all sorts of shit. I was trying to remember the name of the perversion where it is actually consumed and it is called coprophagia. The word is derived from the Greek κόπρος copros, "feces" and φαγεῖν phagein, "to eat". There is a name for this sort of odd behavior, it is a paraphilia.

Coprophilia is a paraphilia (DSM-5), where the object of sexual interest is feces, and may be associated with coprophagia. There are reportedly 549 different types of paraphilia known, the DSM - 5 relates to sexual perversions, of which there are eight.

Sorry I had to go here but it is so sufficiently weird that I had to share. Be careful around humans, they are really fucking bizarre.

And I warned you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


Liam Disease


Interesting article over at the Huffpo regarding the most popular baby names last year by individual state.

You don't have to be a genius to see that the country is being run over by an epidemic of Olivias, Olivers and Liams. Exactly how did this happen?

Now I have nothing against a Liam, even have one for a nephew (before it was so hip) but how do you account for the onslaught?

Are all the Emmas and Charlottes a signal that the womenfolk have been watching too many Downton Abbey reruns?

Are we going back to Jane Eyre?

And the Noah thing is interesting, both coasts now flooded with the moniker. Better grab an oar.

What is up with the old testament being now suddenly hip while Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, not to mention dare I say, Robert, get no love at all? Elijah is trending at number four. Who exactly are we cancelling here? 

Mississippi is one of the few states that sported a favorite name that was loved in my ancient time, James. How delightfully old fashioned!

Definitely check out the map, soon we will be a land consisting entirely of Liams, Olivias, Noahs and Olivers and everybody else better damn well pick a side.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Rubberband Man

There and back

It was an interesting week, with normal ups and downs as usual but on balance, with more ups. As I wrote, I was knocked out and received a biopsy on Friday the 9th. This was to take some test samples of a strange bump in a diverticuli in my bladder and find out if it was cancerous or not.

Reality is I am awful lucky to have a bladder at this point, having undergone a stage four malignancy in the laminar wall, not even two years ago. Stage four in the wall, they replace all of your plumbing. If I had listened to the first three doctors I would be pissing through my belly button out of a neobladder constructed from my large intestine right now. I just couldn't do it.

Luckily I found a doctor who would listen and went through a BCG immunotherapy regimen that bought me at least another year. Pretty remarkable really. Never stop being your own fiercest medical advocate. You have more invested in you than anybody else does and you have to keep fighting for yourself or you can quickly become a statistic. Because it is your skin in the game.

Anyway, I had the procedure and the doctor said she would let me know when she got the biopsy results and no lifting (she was worried about bleeding) but I had a new van to pack and went ahead and gutted it out. Because I had a show in San Francisco and setup was Wednesday at noon. Didn't really have any choice with the grunt work, people offered to help but it doesn't really work. I have to pack a certain way.

I finished Monday night and took off for Monterey Tuesday morning. I stayed at Vlad and Natashas', he cooked us a nice meal and I was up at five and out the door. I planned on driving up the coast on the 1 to the 92, cut over at Half Moon Bay towards the South Bay.

You have to leave early to not get embroiled in Santa Cruz traffic and if you go this way, it takes a lot less time then it would on the 101 and is sure a lot prettier. You pass the Pigeon's Point lighthouse and Bean Hollow and all sorts of places I like to kick around in. I didn't take pictures this time but enjoyed mostly having the road to myself along with a few surfers in their vans.

I unloaded and was stunned to see that my long time associate Paul, the large Samoan who runs the parking and setup crew, had lost his leg. He had a leg infection and coupled with diabetes, the thing went septic. Poor Paul, great guy, longtime friend. Told him he needed a parrot. His sons, nephews and nieces packed me in and out.

A lot of changes to the business in the year and a half since I have done a show. R & R showcase, the company that provided us with walls and showcases, sold their business to a new person.

I thought that the new vendor had paper for my booth. The Blue Heron typically goes dark blue. They did not. I toyed with the idea of going bare pegboard walls but out of a sense of shame drove up to the city to find backdrop paper.

I got hopelessly lost near Alemany and Bayshore trying to find the place, kept taking the wrong turn and once nearly got myself hit on one occasion when I had to make a blind left. 

Setup was made no easier Friday morning when I started pissing blood, never a pleasant experience. She had warned me and I hope that I had not made matters worse but the show must go on.

The new van is nice but not exactly fun in the concrete jungle. Of course practically the whole show is now driving ProMasters, Sprinters and Transits, I was one of the very few with the low roof model.

The show has shrunk considerably. I was the only member of my normal posse, Bill, Cam and Rick. They all had other things to do and Rick has a new shop. Bijou passed on the show as well and so did Kelleher. 

In a way it was good because I sold more paintings without the competition but I still honestly missed my buds. People have to run their lives as they see fit.

Anyway there are fewer dealers but the ones that have hung in are the pros and the show looked great. Kaplan, Syeed, Sean McGee, people brought beautiful material, the entire venue was very impressive. 

Weeded out some of the chaff.

The public was there and they seemed to be buying enthusiastically. 

I had a great first day, a fizzly second and a non existent third but all in all it surpassed my expectations. 

Was nice to catch up with old friends, dealers and clients alike.

I bought some interesting material there, a lovely early California sycamore and mountain pastel, now hanging in my shop window. A small portrait of a woman that reminds me of the work of John Hubbard Rich.  You can see it peeking out at the bottom left in the picture below. A wonderful carved cane with the head of a whippet and glass eyes and a collar.

And this incredible 17th century hispano moresque vargueno cabinet with bone and enamel inlays and seriously conspicuous judaic undertones.

I love this sort of thing and rarely find it. I paid but you have to with this sort of rare material. I feel very lucky to have spotted it and to have known something about its origins. Should be great for Santa Fe next month.

And a fabulous painting by Rose Niguma (1915-2014), a Japanese American from Portland interred at the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho in World War II. 
I really like this painting a lot. Great color and composition. This genre is seeing growing interest in the marketplace.

Was not a particularly great week for food. I had a meal with Ken Stern one morning, who drove up from Palm Springs. Sweet potato pancakes and corn beef hash at the Milbrae Waffle House. A lobster dinner on my own at the New England Lobster Company on Cowan. Breakfast with Warmboe at Kristies, my longtime hangout in Burlingame. A shitty and overpriced prime rib at Broadway Prime. Great xiaolong bao and dan dan noodles with Dennis and Kerry.

Paul's son and niece packed me out pretty effortlessly. I stayed at Kerry's and we watched the original Mad Max on his big screen. 

I took off back home yesterday morning. It was very grueling. Somehow I had sprained or fractured my left ankle at the show and could barely walk the last few days. Downing mass quantities of ibuprofen, I bought an ankle support and some rub. Couldn't get ice in my no frills accommodations. Feels much better this afternoon.

Anyway, interstate five was shut down in the central valley and I got routed through side roads to Kettleman City. An eight hour return became an eleven hour trek in Los Angeles, Corona and Temecula traffic. 

I unloaded this morning and got a voice message from my doctor to boot; Biopsy looks clear and clean, will start maintenance immunotherapy again when I return from New Mexico. Great news, the cat gets to live another day.

Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes. They certainly didn't hurt.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Trumpanzee Times

“There was such love at that rally, you had over a million people, they were there for one reason, the rigged election, they felt the election was rigged,” Trump said, while ignoring the widespread violence that occurred on Jan. 6 as a result of his fruitless efforts to overturn the election results. “That’s why they were there and they were peaceful people, these were great people, the crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word love, the love in the air I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Trump - lightning rod for animus - interesting study on what motivates his base.

Funny Trump supporter sentencing memorandum.

Doug Manchester, pay to play?

Trumpstock: Rally before Capitol breach was a lovefest and a beautiful thing.

CPAC attendees cheer the fact that U.S. has not met its vaccination goals.

Lauren Boebert accuses Dr. Fauci of "bullying" for telling people to get over the politics and get vaccinated.

National partisan covid split - two mapsMore on the subject from the NYT. Infections rise in 42 states.

Janis Joplin

Redistribute sex?

Funny article by Andi Zeisler at Newsweek, The question keeping conservative men up at night; why won't women date us? 

Apparently many women aren't comfortable dating conservative men and it is really pissing the guys off.

Some think it is time for the government to step in and redress their pent up grievances and hormonal overload.

In 2018, Washingtonian magazine reported on young D.C. conservatives who found that working in the Trump White House or for right-wing media outlets were dating-app dealbreakers. A 2017 piece in The Federalist argued that dating sites that allow for “associative mating” — also known as “selecting partners with interests and beliefs in common” — were in fact the reason Trump was elected in the first place. The New York Times’s Ross Douthat applauded the British economist Robin Hanson for advocating the “redistribution” of sex as a remedy for the murderous misogyny of incels.

The newest entry in this pantheon of conservative lonely hearts comes from Eric Kaufmann, whose piece this week in the National Review, “Political Discrimination as Civil-Rights Struggle,” argues that college women’s disinterest in dating Trump supporters doesn’t just hurt their feelings, but is in fact discrimination. This, Kaufmann maintains, is evidence of a “progressive authoritarianism” that’s compelling “young elite Americans” to be turned off by “conservatives' resistance to racial, gender, and sexual progressivism.”

Face it fellows, they just don't dig you. Try to legislate your way out of this one.

Of course, conservatives have repeatedly shown a willingness to dispense with their core principles when market forces turn against them. And Ross Douthat and Robin Hanson prove that when access to sex is at stake, conservatives get downright socialist real fast.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Just Can't Be

Call me oversensitive.

When I was a young art/architecture student in college I had a commercial art teacher named Jim Hulbert. Jim was an illustrator for Ford in Detroit for thirty years and he tried to work us to death best he could. 

Taught us a lot about becoming professional artists though and some of his lessons I will never forget. He was a very good teacher, no b.s..

Anyway one of the main things he tried to emphasize was the need to create your own reference library using your own source material so that you weren't stealing or appropriating other people's work. Take your own source pictures.

With a quarter million of my own images on my drives it is easier for me than some but there are admittedly times that I slip.

And this blogpost is such an occasion. I could run down to Hillcrest and covertly take some pictures but I won't, was there this morning and frankly I don't feel so hot. So I am doing a visual smash and grab off the net instead.

Anyhow, about two weeks ago I was awaiting a procedure and I was hungry and I slipped over to Einstein Bagels on Robinson for a cup of coffee and a nova on sesame, no onion, no capers, squeeze of lemon.

And I noticed that the large arty murals covering the walls all had a central theme, namely what I clearly perceived were old world Jews in bowler hats cavorting around in a fanciful Jewish like manner like they are wont to do. Happy, well fed Jews eating standard Jewish fare.

And I wish that I had taken pictures of the art because I was plainly getting pissed at them. Not that they were offensive, the graphics were actually quite well done and charming. It was instead the fact the knowledge that the founding owners of the people that now own Einstein Bagels were actually Nazi sympathizers. 

And the Jews that they had working in forced labor for them were not quite so well fed. And now they were profiting from their pleasant caricature, not to mention a business name which hearkens to one of the most famous jews that has ever lived.

The German family whose holding company owns controlling stakes in companies such as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Panera Bread, Pret a Manger and Einstein Bros. Bagels profited from the horrors of the Nazi regime, according to a bombshell report in a German newspaper.

The tabloid Bild, one of Germany’s most popular papers, reported that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., whose family backs JAB Holdings, had significant links to the Third Reich.

The company, which also owns Noah's (which has its own hebraic etymology) and Manhattan Bagel, got into the bagel game in 2014. Sort of like George Lincoln Rockwell buying Aunt Jemima.

The report found that Russian civilians and French prisoners of war were used as forced laborers in the family’s factories and private villas around World War II, when it was involved in chemicals-related manufacturing mostly for the food industry, according to Deutsche Welle.

I talk, somewhat dismissively, about people getting needlessly sore and oversensitive about cultural patrimony issues but it feels a little different when it is your tuchas being co-opted. I lost over 80% of my father's family at Auschwitz, after a last train ride from Wyszkove.

And I feel angry somehow that an advertising campaign, can obliquely portray and fetishize these happy and rotund quasi Jews as their totemic icons, when the founders of the company were complicit in a movement that placed my own family in the ovens.

Peter Harf - JAB President
Now don't  get me wrong, I love the Germans today, seriously. I admire them and consider them fully contrite and repentant. I just think this advertising is too much. I will stop off at the next Einsteins I see and try to grab some shots. Tell me if I am off base here. But I personally find their advertising campaign a bit obscene. Make the bagels but don't sell them with cartoon Jews, the subtle shtick is a little too much.

Will give you better examples at a later date.

Autumn Leaves

Narcissistic indulgence #10450


Admitting photograph 6:30 a.m.

On account of today's biopsy I had to cancel the Del Mar Antique Show, which opened this morning, runs through Sunday.

It was sad, several clients had written and called and wondered if I would exhibit? Unfortunately there are times in your life where you don't set the agenda and I had no room to negotiate on this one.

In any case, a small story.

I got a call last month from an antique dealer that I have probably known for over 25 years. She also wanted to talk about the show but made the point that she had read about my medical travails on the blog and was concerned.

"The blog?" I said. "You read the blog?"

"Every day," she answered.

Now it was not exactly earth shattering news but I had no clue. We have been friends and colleagues for many years, my life is an open book, not too outlandish that she is reading me. Lots of people read the blast, well over a thousand a day. 

The point is, that I did not know and really have no idea just exactly who is digesting this fourteen year old rundown on my life. Many people never let on.

I had to make a delivery to the show yesterday to return some auction consignments and I ran into my lurker friend. I told her that I was taken aback that she was a long time blast reader and she said something rather interesting to me.

She said that I was much more sophisticated and intellectually focused in real life. Intimated that I dumbed down somewhat on the blog. Due to all sorts of laws of nature and physics, Heisenberg immediately comes to mind, I think she actually may have a point. 

She watches me in action selling at the shows and seems to think there is more worldliness and nuance in the tangible Robert Sommers than the corporeal, virtual version that comes across on the printed page. Certainly less crudity and boorish humor. 

She said that the depth or breadth that she purports to see does show up in my photography consistently, but in the writing, not so much.

It would be an indulgence in sesquipedalian snobbery for me to write solely for the eggheads in my world. I think that Joe Lunchpail would feel somewhat left out and I would end up feeling like an elitist swine, albeit a kosher one. And I certainly don't think people want a steady diet of heavy and certainly not politics at this point.

I guess I am flattered by her observation. Me, deep? Well, now... Is there more to me than meets the eye? Can anybody honestly ever get a correct read on themselves in this regard? Isn't that for others to discern? For the record, I think I am rather juvenile and am honestly surprised that anybody still wallows in this collective mud with me. Except for the pretty pictures of course.

For an antisocial cat, I do believe I have a quiver of pretty decent social skills. And there is a reason for that. I went to twelve schools growing up before college. Jack and Jill, Lemon Avenue, Lancaster, Mariposa in Las Cruces, MacCarthur Elementary in El Paso, Southwoods in Syosset, Hauppauge Middle School, Lewis Junior High, Desert Sun, Dwight York and Walden in New York and Oxnard High to finish it off. Did I forget any?

When you are moving nearly every year and sometimes every six months, you become a chameleon. You learn to not only adapt but to modify the persona as needed, depending on locale. I got really good at it. You stay in one place your whole life you get saddled with all sorts of past shit and history, when you are a gypsy you can start over and retool the narrative, with less fact checking and calls for consistency. Show the world whatever face you damn please!

Quite handy when you are traveling to a new town and don't want to be on the outs or get your ass kicked. And I lived in some rough places, believe me.

Not sure how to respond to such a broadside, not sure if it is true, hopefully if there is a real me, it manages to shine through on occasion like a sporadic ray of sunshine over the cloudy Oregon coast. I think I am still here and hope to be here for at least the immediate future, if not much, much, longer.

But copy all you can of this blog if you like it, as there are no guarantees, no hard copies and Google likes to instantly pull the plug on platforms like this. Before the blast, like me, is a faded memory and so much dust in the wind.


I leave for San Francisco early next week. Doctor says no lifting, could risk internal bleeding. Guess what? The heavy lifting starts tomorrow. I have no options and the show must go on. Wish me luck.


Karen Carpenter called herself a drummer who sang. Beloved by such luminaries as Buddy Rich and Sinatra, she had a unique voice and musical ability and skill set that may never be matched. A lot of her material was lame for my taste but the melancholy singer could sure nail it on occasion, as she does on this Leon Russell classic.

David Willey

I had my cancer biopsy surgery this morning. Had some minor complications but got through it. Will know something in a week. When I came out of anesthesia I saw that I had a message on my phone from David Willey's sister.

David Willey was my longtime Hung Gar and Wing Chun kung fu teacher at Hidden Valley Kung Fu. He was the best and most proficient martial artist I have ever known. We called him "the hammer." 

Believe me, this 145 lb. man could hit you harder than you have ever been hit and he did it in the most beautiful of fashion. Watching David fight was like watching Nureyev dance. Hit you with a smile, he was and is a genuinely beautiful person.

He is a fabulous teacher and was particularly good with teaching children and young students, extremely patient and always imparting his wisdom and technique with the greatest warmth and understanding.

Absolutely brilliant at a variety of skills including forms, sparring and weapons. Could fight mantis and dragon as well as the five animals methods and Wing Chun. Great with a staff.

The nicest, most lovable and peaceful human being you could ever encounter in the world but he was an absolute terrifying monster on the mat and his technique was impeccable. Wednesday night "back to back" sparring sessions were particularly grueling when you were paired off with David, he was fierce and plainly loved his craft, would give or expect no quarter.

I competed in the 1989 World Championships in San Francisco and watched David become Seven Star Grand Champion that day, beating the heavily favored and brilliant martial artist Shane Lacey in a major upset. 

The school had its ups and downs. Financial woes. Our Sifu, John Vihildal, came down with major heart issues that forced him to stop teaching. The school had several moves and name changes. I had to stop working out as my knees could no longer take getting swept. I got cancer, remember training the same day as chemo, if you can believe that? Finally had to call it quits.

Sort of lost touch with the old gang.

I would occasionally run into David while shopping in Escondido. David had shifted his focus to fencing and became nationally ranked in the foil, a competent and beloved teacher locally and a USA Fencing referee. 

This was interesting to me because in martial arts we preached bilateral symmetry and fencers tend to get large lead legs.

I was saddened to hear today that David is now fighting pancreatic cancer. It doesn't sound too good. There is a Go Fund Me page

Say a prayer for him, light a candle, make a donation, or think a good thought for a great human being, whatever is your custom or inclination. I hope that he can make a recovery but I recognize the enormous battle he is now fighting.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021


Always in my heart


David "Buzz" Sommers - 6/19/1959 - 7/7/2017

Jack and Jorma Sing a long

Save yourselves

The breathy warning from the right wing-o-sphere is bleak. Taliban surges as Biden pulls US troops out of Afghanistan, with experts warning of 'foreign policy disaster' reads the Fox headline.

 President Biden is “going to own” the “ugly images” resulting from the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Sunday.

How convenient to forget that then President Trump explicitly called for this draw down way back in February of 2020.

“Everybody’s tired of war,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “It’s been a very long journey. It’s been a hard journey for everybody."

It's called intellectual integrity. You call them the same way from either side of the plate, not just when your team is leading the charge. Or you end up looking like hypocritical idiots.


Getty - Time
Ex Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to blame the United States for the problems in his country. What a joke. 

This is a guy whose late brother ran the opium trade and was known as a CIA operative before he was gunned down by his own security guard.

Western officials pointed to evidence that Ahmed Wali Karzai orchestrated the manufacture of hundreds of thousands of phony ballots for his brother’s re-election effort in August. He is also believed to have been responsible for setting up dozens of so-called ghost polling stations — existing only on paper — that were used to manufacture tens of thousands of phony ballots.

“The only way to clean up Chicago is to get rid of Capone,” General Flynn said.

In the interview in which he denied a role in the drug trade or taking money from the C.I.A., Ahmed Wali Karzai said he received regular payments from his brother, the president, for “expenses,” but said he did not know where the money came from. He has, among other things, introduced Americans to insurgents considering changing sides. And he has given the Americans intelligence, he said. But he said he was not compensated for that assistance.

These people are as dirty as sin, corrupt as hell. Follow the money.

If they want to blame somebody they need to look in the mirror. Twenty years in the Afghan hellhole is long enough. But tell me, why is it that the U.S. trained Afghani military forces have always been so inept, they can't seem to get out of their own way? Yet the Taliban are some of the most ruthless and efficient fighters on the planet. Something is wrong with this picture. The fault does not lie with the United States or the Western World. The fault rests solely with the afghanis, who are not sure if they want to join the 20th century yet, let alone the present.

How can these be the same people, that is unless they have been playing us the whole time. They played Obama, the played Trump, who believed that the Taliban would reform. The only person who has not been played is the current occupant of the White House. Time for the Afghanis to do their own dirty work.