Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Screenshot in a nutshell


 More here...

Wallace first fell ill on July 26 — but refused to get tested or go to the hospital, his 8-months-pregnant wife, Jessica Wallace, told the local paper. He instead took high doses of Vitamin C, zinc, aspirin and ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine normally used to deworm animals that health officials have urged people not to take to treat COVID-19.

“He was so hard-headed,” his wife told the Standard-Times. “He didn’t want to see a doctor, because he didn’t want to be part of the statistics with COVID tests.”

Monday, October 18, 2021


Desert Tales

I am back from the desert and the Palm Springs Modernism Show

It was rewarding on every level.  

I think my pals Cam, Bill and I approached it the right way, bringing a large selection of affordable smalls to the show. 

Some dealers were less fortunate, betting on a more high end buyer that may have not ever appeared.

Although we certainly had higher priced items as well, I think it is important that people don't feel priced out and that I can offer something less expensive but every bit as wonderful so that everybody goes home happy.

I think we accomplished that.

And honestly, some of the merchandise is stuff that I frankly abhor but guess what, that is immaterial. People like it, I will find it and sell it to them.

Peoples' tastes and palette have changed and I am trying to give them something that they want, godawful as it might be in the final analysis.

Still, I did something I have never done before at a modernism show, I introduced a large quantity of native and ethnic material. 

It was very well received and I got to sell things that I actually loved too. 

Amazing how well good design will integrate, regardless of the period and vintage.

I didn't take a lot of photographs this year. I was busy all the time and I probably brought the wrong lens, my nikkor 55mm ƒ1.2 manual focus. Too tight.

Lot of my regulars skipped this year for some reason, no Barone, not sure why. Oh well. Their loss.

I sold a ton of stuff. Quite surprising. This is supposed to be the weaker show compared to the February, guess what?

Anyhow, I am tired, was exhausted white knuckling the loaded van home through heavy traffic. Got back around ten, think I was doing about 45 on the freeway at the end, completely spent. I have new clients coming Wednesday and I have to jam on putting the place back in order tomorrow, made some headway today.

Couple things about the weekend. First the funny thing. 

An Italian man who designs and manufactures lighting was across from me with his husband. Wonderful pair. 

But I cracked up when I saw their sign and the name of their company.

Unapologetically Italian.

I told them that they had just given me the name for my newest company, Reluctantly Jewish.

There is a design style in Palm Springs that is all its own, a mixture of fifties, gay, desert and tropical. The color palette is heavy on the ochre, orange, fuchsia, pink, turquoise and olive hues. I think after a suitable period of time has eclipsed all residents who make the grade are presented with a straw homburg or fedora and an honorary retro plaid jacket. You get penalized for socks.

It is a place where people like to have fun and play dress up, not much different than what we did back on the dead tour or playing pirates as kids, but with much more style and panaché. 

Let it go and outrageous wins the day.

I am not sure if these people dress like this when they go back to their weekday house in Los Angeles but I think there is a sartorial freedom in Palm Springs that makes them want to let it rip.

Good for them.

What I find most interesting, from a sociological perspective, is that these retro hipster mid century modernists are largely existing side by side with a sizable number of homeless people. 

You often see them together on the same street, the Jetson clown car meets the down and out.

Homeless in the desert looks to be much worse than homeless in New York or Seattle or San Francisco or even Fallbrook. 

Some of these folks look very scary indeed, full face tattoos and obvious overuse of numbing agents. Feral and dangerous. I typically give these people a wide berth.

It is flat here, and ungodly hot, the homeless can not hide or be swept away and the elements and extreme heat have a way of quickly desiccating and destroying both body and soul.

This sometimes takes on a cartoonish wolves and sheep juxtaposition on the street as the respective worlds collide. One that is not funny in the least. Everybody trying to survive in this world and not get hurt, by elements or by bigotry. Strange outpost of co-existence.

Anyhow Bill and I were sitting at Sherman's eating breakfast and a woman in black appeared on the corner. 

I signaled to him to check her out, Bill being a keen appraiser of the human condition.

She had a large and small suitcase as well as several bags. But she was remarkably clean. Looked normal emotionally but in a bad way. She was talking loudly and nervously on her phone, plainly traumatized. Whatever had occurred to this poor woman had happened within hours or minutes.  We watched in saddened fascination as a grizzled gutter snipe circled around the potential new mark.

I was wondering to myself, did a spouse or lover throw her out, had she been recently evicted or lost her job? This poor lady was plainly going through it and she looked very new to the homeless condition or lifestyle, if that is indeed what she was going through. Black would not be the ideal color to face the desert in and her skin was still clean and unblemished. At the worst, this would be very hard indeed.

I will never know the answer to the question but I firmly believe that we witnessed zero hour of the descent, a spiraling dive that can take any of us and spit us out broken in mere seconds.

We paid our bill. I looked for her when I walked to my van, thinking that perhaps I could intercede and at least give her some money. But she was gone. Bill later told me that he caught some of her conversation on the way to his van and that our guesses were apparently on the mark. She was crying and our fears were confirmed.

If this unknown woman has a fall I do hope that it is a temporary one and that she rights her ship really soon without too much trouble or pain. The desert is a terrible place to be marooned alone without a home or friend.

Flowers grow out of dark moments
He came alone on Saturday, not with his wife or brother and law as was customary. I have known them for years. 

He bought a lovely Corita Kent serigraph from me, pencil inscribed Flowers for Mary, his wife's name. Sunday they came in together. But she looked very different. 

Her neat black pageboy was gone, her hair now gray and somewhat worn. Something was clearly different.

I asked her what was going on in her life?

Mesothelioma, an incurable variety. Now everything made sense. We hugged and shared and talked. Hopefully I was able to impart something helpful from my own experience.

Live every day as if it was your last and let the people you love know that you love them. Repeatedly.

Thursday, October 14, 2021


Love revisited


Because of my Palm Springs show, I am going to miss one of my favorite bands down at the Casbah this Friday. 

If you have the time and inclination, they put on a great performance and the Casbah is intimate and fun.

We have seen some great Love performances there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021



San Juan Island

My wife Leslie rarely if ever puts pictures of herself up on Facebook. I stuck some up last week, unbeknownst to her, just waiting for her to delete them, as she usually does. She surprised me and left them up and has had a startling amount of positive response and likes.

Truth is, she is a beautiful woman and her face radiates joy. As you can plainly see from these shots which I repost here. Luckily for me, she will be gorgeous forever!

I have posted most of these here before, enjoy the repost. Her smile still melts me, love waking up next to her every day and seeing this beautiful face.

Mezquita Mosque, Cordoba

Madrid street shot

Most of these shots were taken when we were traveling. I hope that we can take some more voyages soon, Covid has definitely cramped our joy meter. 

Pike Street Market, Seattle

Parma, Italy

Lamoretti Vinyard, Emilio Reggiano

Queen Mary

Grandview Beach

Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada

Two Bunch Palms

She is not only pretty, she is smart as a whip. She is sincerely happy and can be sincerely pissed. Trick is to keep her happy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Mobius Rock, Alabama Hills

Neural Filter Test


This is a picture I took of a friend of mine, educator and antique dealer Robert Galvez.

Robert is a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor.

This particular picture shows him in what I would call a neutral to happy emotional state. 

Up but not giddy. 

Perhaps a hint of suspicion, what the hell is this guy doing with a camera in my face at this hour of the morning?

I was poking around in Photoshop yesterday and I saw that there was a whole new rabbit hole to fall into called neural filtering

Neural filters go into the cloud and assess your subject with a bazillion similar images in order to make suggested alterations with AI or artificial intelligence.

This really isn't my bag but I did write a course book on Photoshop that still sells very well and I like to keep up to date with what is going on with the Adobe product. 

So I thought I would have a look.

The smart portrait neural filter allowed me to adjust various (three) emotions in my subject that did not necessarily exist in my original capture (or that quaint and antiquated notion we call reality) as well as make a whole assortment of other modifications. 

The first thing I did was dial Robert's happiness quotient up a whole mess, a whopping 45 points. 

A naturally happy guy, his neural simulacra took to happy like a duck takes to water.


Anger was a whole 'nother story. Try as it might, the end product looked forced, unrealistic and not angry in the least. Somewhat pinched. Truth is, Robert is just a hard guy to get to look miserable and unhappy because that is not him. He's pretty up. Even his pissed off version looks a little joyful although mostly strained. More like happy after a root canal.

This is not going to be a tool I spend a lot, if any, more time with. I keep thinking of the movie Wag the dog. With manipulative tools like this, people can ultimately look and feel and emote any way you want them to and no one is the wiser. Or will be able to, when the technology matures anyway.

I am not sure that I am down with that, from an ethical standpoint. But it is interesting in an academic sense and it will be something to watch the technology evolve. Gracias, Roberto, for the shot.

Roxy Music - Out of the Blue

Young Mennonite couple, Bodie


Lazy Waters - The Byrds

Tuesday Quickie

Ray H. sent a picture of this tasteful mascot over that he saw at the car show.

Hudgins offers: The Migration Patterns of the Privileged: On 21st-Century Climate Gentrification ‹ Literary Hub

Wild Bill shares this interesting column from Pharyngula - When blogs ruled the internet.

Michael offers this choice tidbit from France, Culinary animation:

Hylocereus Undatus flower from my garden.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Johnny Are You Gay?

Guess it was only a matter of time


Superman's kid comes out.

Clark and Lois's son Jon is now a confirmed  bisexual.

Word is that his new boyfriend is less than impressed. 

"Man of steel? Fecch! 

If I had wanted something this pliable I would have looked up Mr. Elastic over at the Fantastic Four.

Gehry Building, Seattle


This is one of my favorite architectural shots that I have ever taken. I love the way light and color flows around the rounded and aberrant forms of the Hendrix Museum. And I am glad that I took the shot when the building was young because the shot no longer exists, the form now unfortunately obscured by trees and foliage.

The next picture is a non obstructed later view that catches a bit of the late afternoon sun reflection from a slightly different angle. I always felt that it had a futuristic, science fiction quality. Fritz Lang, Metropolis. Which is fitting really as the building once housed (and still might house) a science fiction museum.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Tin Soldier

Doctor, Doctor


The last couple weeks have been pretty brutal. I have had a terrible infection raging since my last immunotherapy treatment. 

I complained that something was not right immediately after the procedure and they gave me antibiotics but they didn't work and I have been in pretty much constant agony. 

I have literally had to urinate every five minutes and it was very painful. Urinary tract was totally inflamed. Still not right. Has made it very difficult to work and function.

Had to keep a coffee cup in my car in case of accidents and thought I would be arrested a couple times for being a pervert when I had to relieve myself at an intersection. Thankfully nobody saw me.

It happens pretty often with me, insert an instrument or foreign agent in my body and something goes wrong. The gerbils are definitely out now. The worst was prostatitis. That was an eleven on the ten scale. This was only a seven + but still plenty painful and irritating.

I went in for my cystoscopy on Friday and when they got inside with a scope (they put a tube down your penis and coat it with lidocaine) the doctor said it was impossible to see anything in my bladder because of the intense irritation and infection. She said we would have to reschedule when things clear up.

I had told them things weren't right down there but you know medicine these days, people are very busy and texts don't always get answered. So I have gutted it out.

She gave me a stronger antibiotic and has rescheduled the lookaround for December.

I have to be happy really, looking at the great scheme of things. If you had told me two years ago that I would survive stage four cancer in the lamina wall without losing any more parts, I would have told you you were crazy. Lucky to be alive right now, honestly, after the last dire prognosis.

In a way it is good that I didn't have to go through with the cysto because that normally knocks me out of the box for four or five days too. I have a show in Palm Springs this week and I was wondering how I could bear to set up and do it. Now I get a mild reprieve. Show must go on.

Alhambra pool, Granada


Here is a shot that got away from me. Try as I might, it really can not be fixed. Because like many of the architectural marvels in our world, it suffers from hominid overdose. The pesky little bipeds are everywhere, scurrying around like ants, not to mention the presence of scaffolding from the renovation.

Really a beautiful place, second in my eyes only to the Alcazar in Sevilla visually in España. Not like I have the juice to ask a guard to clear all the mortals out of my way so I can take a shot. You have the same problem I would imagine at the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower or even at Yellowstone at this point. Humanity overrun. What to do?

Now I suppose one could take every single human out in Photoshop if he or she had the patience but who has that kind of patience? Like the Uffizi Gallery in Florence it is really difficult to score a ticket here and you stand in line for about four hours so it is not like you can time your entrance for an off hour.

I have about ten shots from this vantage and none of them work particularly and they all raise a certain sadness in me for failing to get an adequate capture. Do you know my only solace in this particular one? The figure dead center with hands upraised and his or her reflection. In the portico it reminds me of the eye of a peacock feather for some reason.

So, absent another trip to Southern Spain, I will take some small comfort in that.

The following shot is our closest corollary to southern Spain in these parts, the Laguna de las flores at Balboa Park. You can still find that spot empty if you arrive early enough.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

everybody's gotta live

Happy Birthday John Lennon!

Palm Springs Modernism 2021

Palm Springs Modernism is back.


Hope to see you there! And free parking this year. The fall show is not as big as the spring but still always fun.

So tell me...

What the hell is this guy eating?

Native dancer, San Luis Rey Pow Wow


A beautiful story in the New York Times


No perfect people

I was at the bank yesterday and the young teller said something about the bank being closed Monday for Columbus Day. "Oops," she said, "I mean native indigenous people's day." "Oh really," I said. "Has Columbus Day now been put on the official scrapheap too?"

She said, "Oh yes. Do you know what a terrible human being he was, raping twelve year old girls and all?"

Now I indeed do know what a miserable swine the Genovese explorer was, I have written on the subject before but guess what? If you are looking for perfect human beings in the past history of the world, it may be a very long wait. 

Columbus was simply a man of his time.

I told her that it was unfair to judge people of the past by the "woke" standards of today. For instance, Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln were terrible in their treatment and opinions of Native Americans. 

We won't even talk about Luther, Kipling or Lovecraft. Harry Truman loved to tell racist jokes and use racist slurs but the greater question is, should one be defined by their casual speech or their actions?

Mark Twain on the extermination of Native Americans

I try very hard not to be a bigot. But have I ever voiced bigoted views? Of course I have. And I doubt that there is a man or woman, black, white, brown, purple or yellow that has ever walked this earth that has never been guilty of saying something offensive at one time or another. Just the way it is. We are imperfect beings. So it is unfair to look at the past with twenty twenty hindsight and vision.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson got into an interesting repartee the other day defending Winston Churchill, who someone had called a white supremacist. Well, Churchill certainly was, if you take the man at his word. He was a man of his time, like most of us and harbored the racist sentiments of his time.
In 1937, he told the Palestine Royal Commission: "I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

Plainly racist. What Johnson said the other day was that Churchill could not have been a white supremacist because he helped defeat the greatest white supremacist of all time, Adolf Hitler.

“When they began to attack Churchill as a racist, I was minded to ignore them as it was only 20 years ago that BBC audiences voted him the greatest Briton of all time,” said Johnson. “He helped defeat a regime, after all, that was defined by one of the most vicious racisms the world has ever seen.”

How is that for cognitive dissonance and false causation? As if one racist could not defeat another. But the point is, we can acknowledge and celebrate a human or historical figure even if they have not led a life without blemish. 

We should not seek to bury our racist past like those that would advocate for a banning of the teaching of critical race theory, but having brought our failures into the light of day, we should neither forget them or give them too much weight in the present moment and allow them to dictate our future. Progress has been slow but it has been made in our lifetime, be wary of those that advocate for instant and unequivocal change.

Israel is certainly the next big target amongst liberals, read the recent opinion from the local American Federation of Teachers branch from the U.T.. They can hang gays in Iran, behead sisters in Afghani honor killings but by all means keep the focus at all times on evil Israelis defending themselves. Thankfully the Union Tribune balanced the piece out with this opinion, which is a bit more even handed.

I dread the Tlaibs and Omars with the same trepidation I fear from the AOC's, Gaetz's and the Gohmerts. What we need in this world, is more balance.