Friday, December 31, 2021
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Some kind soul gifted us a special Kauai sugarloaf pineapple. It was overnighted to us yesterday.
* Omigod! Best pineapple we have ever tasted. Beyond sweet! Thank you, whoever you are!
Never fear, my buddy JW at Lenovo stepped in to the breach and sent me a brand new Thinkpad today and some other great stuff and I am good to go. Thank you so much! The new chromebook works like a charm.
The biopsy results are in.
All the polyps in my bladder are low grade.
I am essentially cancer free.
We test again in three more months.
I appreciate my medical team and all my friends and loved ones.
Thank you for all your best wishes. I am as happy as a kestrel in flight.
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
If you can stomach it, read the beliefs of the misogynist Colorado shooter and then contrast them with the recent spoutings of Trump Jr. Very instructive. Might need a trip to Sunday School. Toxic masculinity run amok.
McLeod, in 2020, ranted on Twitter about emasculated men, and praised boxer Mike Tyson as a role model.
He also quoted Donald Trump as saying: 'You have to dominate. If you don't dominate, you're wasting your time.'
McLeod said: 'Our entire society is made up of sh**** little f**** who insult badasses & get away with it because law enforcement & social norms protect the WEAK from the STRONG,' he tweeted.
'I'm over it.
'The weak better buckle up... s*** is about to get real.'
“We’ve turned the other cheek and I understand sort of the biblical reference, I understand the mentality but it’s gotten us nothing. OK? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution.” Donald Trump Jr.
Sounds like a refutation of the most basic tenet of christianity to me.
I stuck a bunch of bird pictures on NextDoor, a social network site I rarely use. Sort of an end of the year share, it is a bit time consuming and I don't want to monopolize the bandwidth.
This bald eagle picture I took out at Lake Wohlford with Tom has now gone viral, already over 1200 likes and 54 comments. I think that is a lot of action for that forum but I could be wrong. I reworked it with the new Lightroom masking tools and it was improved a lot.
“We don’t yet know what burden of chronic illness will result in years to come,” Raina MacIntyre, PhD, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales, told Bloomberg News.
“Will we see young-onset cardiac failure in survivors or early-onset dementia?” she said. “These are unanswered questions which call for a precautionary public health approach to mitigation of the spread of this virus.”
We are in new territory here. And the people responsible for keeping our nation healthy are too. I am not going to second guess them for not being perfect in their analysis. Who could be perfectly prescient when faced with such a novel threat? They are doing their best to keep us alive and I appreciate them for that. And your religious exemption shouldn't threaten my life.
I was reading about a poor old guy in Iowa who died this week because the hospital was full of unvaccinated patients with covid and the guy, who was vaccinated, could not secure a bed. Totally unfair, they should step to the end of the line if they make that decision.
And of course last week, we had a state senator succumb to covid, a prominent anti vaccine, anti mandate, personal freedom guy, another in a long list who ironically met their demise against the nasty virus they had scoffed at and minimized. Irrationality and ignorance seems to be close to winning the day, at least from my prejudiced perspective.
Enough of the rant, nobody is going to change their mind, at least not until it is too late. But my advice is to lay low. A friend of mine's son may have it, went out to have a beer with friends on Christmas Eve. My friend can't take the chance of exposure, being immune compromised like I am. They have put him up in an expensive B & B while they wait until they can test.
So f*ck New Years. Is it really worth it?
As your garden variety Jewish taoist, I always hearken back to the words of the I Ching during this time of the year. You can read the blogpost from 2011, Fu. Written exactly ten years ago today.
The passage is from hexagram 24, Fu - Returning. It concerns proper conduct during the time after the winter solstice.
Thunder within the earth:
The image of THE TURNING POINT.
Thus the kings of antiquity closed the passes
At the time of solstice.
Merchants and strangers did not go about,
And the ruler
Did not travel through the provinces.
Close the passes, lay low. Be safe.
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
As you know, I rarely put shop material on the blog. I had wanted to post some of the more remarkable things I have purchased in the last couple months but never got around to it.
I usually get a few craven comments that accuse me of selling out by merchandising my wares on the website but my work is part of my life and that is just too bad if it gets under your craw. God forbid I should make a living. The overwhelming number of you like seeing good material and find it interesting from a historical perspective.
Germantown weavings were originally three ply when the yarn import started around 1865 but were four ply by this somewhat later period. The story is that the yarn was introduced by the government to placate them after the trail of tears, also known as the long walk.
During the long walk, over 10,000 Navajo and Mescalero Apaches were forced to a desolate internment camp called Bosque Redondo in eastern New Mexico. They were held captive by the U.S. Army. Over one third of them perished in the bleak environment from hunger, disease and exposure.
The knot count is significantly higher and so the weaving is much finer and tighter than traditional homespun wool. These blankets were costly and took a long time to weave. They were ultimately supplanted by the natives for much cheaper commercially woven trade blankets, woven in U.S. mills like Pendleton, Racine, Oregon City and Capps, which also shared their strong and bold, vivid color motifs.
These older Germantown blankets are prized by collectors and are called eyedazzlers because of the remarkable color patterns that were possible with the new yarn and color combinations. This one measures 90" x 51".
I have sold these weavings to museums in the past and always appreciate finding a good one. This one, which is held by Bob and Lois in the top picture, is remarkable and in great, near perfect shape. The picture is slightly overexposed, I probably should take a better one or reprocess it. Hope that you enjoy it. And for those of you scoring at home, the weaving is on hold and should be gone by this afternoon.
Monday, December 27, 2021
I just wanted to let my readers know that I had my biopsy procedure today. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning and took the hour long drive to Scripps Mercy for the blue light procedure. I won't have results for a few days and will let you know, but so far so good. As I discussed a few days ago, this mass was in a rather precarious and hard to get to spot on the bladder wall.
I was paralyzed because there was a nerve right under the diverticuli and one move would have created a perforation. Unfortunately, balloons don't work very well when there is a hole in the side. The urologist could not take the standard swipe with the flex cutter as the crater was too small, in a tough spot and she had to instead use a rigid scope tool. She also could not, in the end, put the customary medicine over the cauterized spot because it was too thin and this also could lead to perforation.
I was really sweating this one, I am not sure why, the psychic portents were not good. The paralysis talk freaked me out, although the doctor reassured me today that it was no great shakes.
Any surgery where you are getting put under is a serious surgery. I can't forget my late friend Don Pearson, who succumbed during a minor and routine operation when he fell off a table. My friend Gary K. died during a simple hernia surgery last week, unexpectedly. I have threaded more needle'eyes than a wayward camel and more lives than a cat and there is a point in every gambler's life where the deal goes the other way. Was it my time to cash the chips? 😱
Not this time. I came out of the anesthesia with limbs functional and the rest of me little worse for wear. Doctors and staff were great, as always. Can't drive for a day and she wants me to take it easy for a couple days and not strain or there will be complications. So once again, all the work I need to jump into for my auction is going to have to wait a few more days. I need a tailwind and I can't get one when I am recuperating. It will happen, hopefully very soon.
I need to make money again, these procedures are costing me real bread, I owe Scripps about five grand and today I had to fork over about $800 for the copay. I can't understand how I can have a copay like this in December but it is the way it is. Hemorrhaging money.
Haven't been able to see a cardiologist in over two years, the routine procedures were bleeding me dry. Maybe next year when I hit the age of Medicare, if there is any money left in the system anyway, things will get easier and I will find a new cardiologist.
Anyway, first thing, it is obvious that this doctor is very aggressive about finding potential cancer before it becomes a huge problem. My past laissez faire attitude almost got me killed so I am going to let her call the shots this time. Chances are this thing is nothing to worry about. Some minor pain and bleeding at present but nothing I can't get through.
Anyhow, I appreciate all of your concern, and prayers even. I love you all very much.
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Saturday, December 25, 2021
I call this guy my little bambino.
He has a ponytail tie fetish, hides them all over the house.
Currently he is playing with a pink one. Some day we will find his stash. He has white socks and a little white dot on the end of his chin, like he got caught playing in the paint.
And there's this from Barry L. for some of the rest of you:
Friday, December 24, 2021
If you are shooting with a low resolution camera in situations like this and can't get maximum focus, resolution or clarity, my suggestion is to really dial background clarity back and turn your photograph into more of a graphic image. Think like a painter. Flatten the image out.
Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850.) Honestly, I have barely scratched his prodigious literary output.
I mentioned this to my wife this morning and she noted that the esteemed scribe always threw a new wrinkle in but that his works hung rather low in comparison to his more accomplished peers.
Well, zoot alures! I say that Honore's books took courage and testicular fortitude and the critics be damned!
It has often been mentioned that the novelist was a real shvantz but tell me, what genius is ever recognized in his own lifetime? He was a man smart enough to put both his eggs in one basket and to s’occuper de ses oignons (take care of his own onions.)
Next time you reach down and take matters in hand, mon freres, doff your chapeau to this well rounded icon. It takes just such a man to plant civilization's seed.
Au revoir and joyeux Noël!
Postscript - from Ralph
Harry actually kept his eggs in two baskets.
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Merry Xnay and all that, hope everybody has a nice holiday and stays safe. Covid has rose 59% in San Diego County this week, even higher in Los Angeles. Be careful if you congregate, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the virus, you owe it to yourself to sort through the bilge and figure out the facts. No dim sum for us this year, hard to imagine a Christmas without shrimp shumai but I just can't take the plunge and be around all those people. *Was pre-op tested for Covid at Scripps this morning, going to lay low until the operation on Monday. Cytology came back negative today, a very good thing. * Leslie had me read this fart story last night, kind of touching, woman has parleyed her flatulence into a big book deal. What a country we live in. Greatest fart chapter ever was in Dan Jenkins football classic, Semi tough. * Barry sent over this twisted restaurant review. I can relate but will not name names. Chef ain't exactly happy but loves the publicity.* Quick shift to politics, good article at National Review by Yuval Levin, The Irony of our Polarized Age. * Shawn sends over the absolutely wonderful Online Etymology Dictionary. Steller's sea eagle now in Massachusetts, only a couple thousand miles off course. Leslie says it is the breakdown of the magnetic field and the polar shift causing this and the whale beachings, what do I know? * Can't remember an Aztecs basketball team that didn't have an outside shooter. Maybe Seiko will develop. * I was driving down the 15 today past Pala Mesa, what is with the great trash heap in the road median? * Sorry to see that Moon Valley Nursery has swept up and devoured another great nursery, Evergreen in Oceanside. I still miss Tropic World. The new selection there is totally denuded but they will help you plant what you buy if you fork over a whole bunch of money. * Thanks to Lynn Stadille James for the gift certificate and to RoxAnne for the delicious homemade fudge. * That's it, stay dry, have a great holiday and weekend, wear your mask, get your booster, be safe.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
The new masking tools in Lightroom Classic have been a real game changer. I have been going back and re-processing some old shots and the new features are allowing me to accomplish things that I never thought possible before. I am very happy with the program, as difficult as some of its intricacies and intersections are to master. Thankfully I have Ken to help me when I get stuck.
I think I am growing as an artist, I hope that I am anyway. And one of the things that is causing me to grow is that I am defining a tighter line for what is acceptable for me to do to a photograph. Current tools and equipment allow one to get incredible shadow detail in post processing. But you know what?
Shadow exists. And pardon me for saying, but it should be celebrated. Just because you can do something like turn night into day doesn't mean that you should. And I am getting more and more inclined to leave dark and shadowy areas in my photographs.
They exist and their tonal relationship to light is what makes photography a beautiful art. Not everything needs to be opened up. Looks more natural this way.
End of sermon.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
I got this message and photograph from Drew the other day:
Here is a photo I took shortly after the biggest collapse along the Del Mar south bluff, below 4th Street, about eight months ago….sad that these collapses have accelerated in these past three years, and yet NCTD is doing an end run to steal our access to the bluff by fencing all along this magnificent pristine bluff, cutting off all access across the tracks, for thousands of surfers & tourists every week, not to mention those of us who live for the breeze in our face as we walk this 1.7 mile bluff trail everyday. This may ultimately be what sends me packin’…… sorry, hard not to be nostalgic this time….
This follows a letter from Drew's wife Nitza about a month ago asking me to sign this petition at change.org.
PLEASE take the 10 seconds required to sign this petition to the California Coastal Commission in opposition to NCTD’s intent to erect a mile & half length of chain link fencing on the Del Mar bluffs.
I commiserate with the people who are potentially getting fenced out. I was fenced out of riding and hiking trails I had used for twenty years by San Diego State in the 1990's. It sucks. But I also empathize with the rail people and the NCTD and can imagine their lawyers worry about liability and bluff collapse. People are always running around looking for people to sue after a collapse and fatality.
I didn't sign the change petition because I could not fairly evaluate or understand the two arguments. I didn't have time to do the research for and against. And one comment at the petition site sort of got under my craw.
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Somebody told me that Fallbrook Cafe has new owners. Is that true? If so, I can now go back there.
Crazy morning, catfight with the neighbor cat and two of our cats stuck in trees. Hope tiger is okay.
With friends and teammates like Joe Manchin, who needs enemies? Of course, his intransigence could backfire and hurt his constituents' black lung problem. West Virginians are actually number one in the whole nation at the federal feed trough.
While West Virginians picture themselves as flinty and self-reliant (the state motto is “mountaineers are always free”), they are by at least one significant measure more dependent on government than any other state. As I noted in an October column, statistics compiled by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis show that about 32 percent of West Virginians’ personal income last year came in the form of transfer payments — that is, government checks that include retirement and disability benefits, medical benefits, welfare payments, veterans benefits, unemployment compensation, and education and training assistance. Mississippi comes in second at just under 30 percent.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
You can finally walk through the gallery again, in fact it almost looks pretty decent.
But I have had a little scary news of my own on the medical front.
There is a new mass in a diverticuli of the bladder, and one in a very hard spot to biopsy, high on a wall and out of the reach of the normal scope.
I have an operation scheduled for the end of December and one that the doctor says that she will have to paralyze me for in order to get some swipes at this thing.
You see the unknown mass sits on a vital nerve and one flinch during the operation and we perforate the bladder.
I don't like the word paralyze but it is the verb that she chose and it scares me frankly. The shit just never stops.
I was thinking about my continuing medical saga and I have to revisit one thing for needed perspective.
Two years ago, three doctors including one at USC Keck were telling me that my stage 4 cancer in the bladder wall necessitated bladder and prostate removal and a newly constructed neobladder.
One doctor thought I was going to die, because of kidney cysts that are as yet still undefined and determined. So I have had two years of free credits on not quite borrowed time. And I haven't lost anything and I am still in the game. I am thankful to still be around, with most of my original parts intact and a loving support system, both tangible and cyber.Yesterday I decided to take the afternoon off and visit the birds, daring both Friday afternoon Interstate 15 north traffic and a crowded trip through the gas line at Costco.
It was destined to be a short trip, the sun goes down before five on these the shortest days of the year and the main gate closes at sunset.
Not much action at the Walker Ponds, I doubled back to the main loop. I had been shooting with my slow 600mm Sigma and decided to change things up and put a 2x teleconverter on the fast Nikkor 400mm 2.8 fl which changes it to a 800mm ƒ5.6.
It wasn't the smartest thing as I had no time to grab a tripod and it was now so heavy I could barely hand hold it. Got a couple.
At least it works for me.
Just not yet.
Friday, December 17, 2021
I shot this picture through my car window driving to work this morning. Lucky me, I get to drive through the old oak glen twice a day, on the way in and the way out of the pristine Santa Margarita river valley.
It is hard to forget what a beautiful place I live in when I see the sunlight pouring through the stately oaks on Willow Glen. The fence and rock pilaster wall on the left were built by the Pebbles family. They owned a lot of acreage there for years and the rustic old house he built still stands.
Old man Pebbles ran the FFA in Fallbrook for decades. He was a nice man. He and his equally nice wife have passed now. His son still lives in my valley. George Bamber was killed a few years ago when an eighty foot tall oak on this property fell on his van as he slowly drove down this stretch of road. Old George's number was evidently up.
He was a good guy, an electrician. Live every day like it is your last, lest a branch fall on your bonnet. Once in a while you will see a bobcat in this stretch of the road, that is, if you are lucky.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
I don't like airing my dirty laundry in public too much, it is a little tacky. But thought I should recount this, sad but funny. Unfortunately there are people in our lives that we sometimes find out we are better off without. In the midst of my cancer treatments two years ago I needed somebody's help desperately and got big timed. Caused me serious problems. Did a quick cost/benefit equation. I decided that it was time to cut the person loose.
I made a lot of money for and with the person through the years but in the final analysis it wasn't worth the toxicity, the constant propping up and work this particular relationship took and the chemo incident was the final straw.
No contact since and honestly, much better off without him in my life. I'm doing just fine. I saw a mutual acquaintance in Glendale and his name came up, I mentioned just that, that my life was better without the guy in it. Well, the person I was talking too told the person and I got a pretty hateful voice mail the next day.
I think that one of the freedoms we have is deciding who we want to associate with and I am comfortable with my decision. Happy to stay in my lane, he is free to do whatever he wants.
Coincidentally, yesterday somebody created a fake gay account for me at Match.com. I have been inundated with texts from potential admirers in the last 24 hours. Flattered but I am really not interested.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
It was amazing to me how some of these songs seemingly sprung out of nowhere, they were so ragged initially and then when the fabs started playing on the rooftop, how they coalesced into musical perfection so magnificently.
I am not a big Peter Jackson fan but he did a superb job on this movie and it does dispel a lot of myths.
Yoko was not particularly overbearing, she mostly was quiet and deferential and hung out with Linda or John, the Beatles did not call Ringo Ringo, they usually called him Richie. Everybody smoked cigarettes a lot. George was obviously itching to get his own material out. When it was time to perform they hit the switch and the light went on and you can see why these consummate musicians were the greatest rock band that ever was.
The people of London loved the band's appearance on the roof, there were only a couple of naysayers, Constable Ray Dagg was a complete twit, but most people were very pleased with this, the last Beatles performance. By the way, the Airplane beat the Beatles to the roof by a year.
Join Disney+ on a trial basis and see the movie.
|© Grant Brittain|
Monday, December 13, 2021
|Shroom - Ron Holder|
|Baja Sunrise - Jill Cole|
|Couldn't do it without my guys, Gordon and Charley - Rosemary Krieger|
|De Luz, lasted about a minute - Helen McHargue|
|Marquette, Michigan October 2021 - Shirley Timberman|
|Daxton - Tom Pecore|
|Three Garns - Douglas Garn|
|Sun's gonna shine in my back door some day - Dave Jacobs|
|Harper's second vaccination - Michael Loughlin|
|Looking towards Seattle - Thom Gianetto|
|Followed this sunset out my plane window all the way west from NYC - Sue Calvin|
|Our Bob - Connie and Dixon Fish|
|Bernadette in the garden - Jeff Olsen|
|Wooden Wave - Drew Kampion|
|Light Bougainvillea - Jon Harwood|
|First day after adopting Maury - William Olson|
|Sunset Beach Sunset - Mike Reardon|
|Spring iris in Kentucky - Jeff Nichols|
|Farewell old friend - Lena Leichtling|
|Penobscot Bridge - Kip Peterson|
|Prairie Dogs - Ken Seals|
|My favorite butterfly, the swallowtail - Carol Voorhis|
|Kitchen cat chaos - Dave Manring|
|Goose and soursop - Ricardo Neumann|
|Acorn woodpecker - Bob Booth|
|Porch visitor, Chikaloon, Alaska - Jeff Myers|
|Bertie - Beth Cobb|
|Meanwhile, back in Alaska... - Jeff and Gena Barney|
|Sunset near Calabasas - Bob Schmid|