Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Snowy Owl


Stephen Looby, a participant and excellent photographer in my NextDoor birding groups, took pictures of the migrant snowy owl in Cypress recently and has allowed me to post them here.

What a treat!


Happy New Year!

It is time for me to look back on the previous year and then look forward to the future on this last day of December. 

It was an excellent year on some fronts and decidedly less so in others. I escaped both gallows and grave and I should be happy for that.  

Any year on this side of the dirt is a good year, I suppose. Managed to hit medicare. Yippee!

Business was fairly good all year, most of my shows were very productive.  Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Mateo, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, they all fired for me. I feel good about that. 

I lost an important show in Del Mar but hopefully it will return one day. Managed to pay most of my bills and debts. Found some treasures. I appreciate my clients so much, they literally keep me alive.

My friends stayed mostly healthy as did my family, mostly. My cancer remained in remission.

Leslie and I took one vacation together, thanks to Doug and Retha and it was wonderful to get out in the natural world with my wife. 

Saratoga, Wyoming, near the Medicine Bow National Wilderness, very lovely.

That's not exactly enough for a whole year but you get what you get. 

I'm a working stiff and will be for the foreseeable future, while many of my friends are in the thick of retirement.

Did manage an epic trip to Chicago with my old bros Dave and Jeff. Not a lot of debauchery but plenty of fat and cholesterol and my first Cubs game at Wrigley.

You sort of have to carve out little crooks and crannies, quick diversions, have your fun along the way. I tried my best.

Managed a few side trips with my photo buddy Ken, snagged a few eagle and owl pictures, always good.

What else? Artistically I would say I treaded water this year. My literary output was the least it has been in five years. I wrote no fiction to speak of. That is my favorite thing to write but I have to really be feeling secure and free to let go. But still plenty of my normal snark and bullshit to go around and I kept the blog reasonably well fed. Just wasn't really feeling the elusive muse, the voice that lets me dig deep. Took my swings at the bat where I could find them.

I would say my photography was also pretty lackluster. Didn't take many street photos or portraits, wasn't quite feeling it.

Managed a couple.

Mostly shows and the swap meet. I like to take pictures of people at their worst.

Can't complain. Well I could but it would do me no good. Did the best I could, considering. I will take it and hope that I might equip myself better in the future. I like to think of myself as an artist and I am at my most happiest when I am creating.

I brought some fireworks back from Bluewater this summer. Will blast a few fountains off tonight in the wet weather. Leslie bought a prime rib. We are hanging out by ourselves.

Happy New Year to all of you and best of health! Thanks so much for reading. Without readers, the blog does not exist. Now moving into our sixteenth year.

My good friend Cam is getting married tomorrow today, wish him and his new bride Bobbie the best of health and happiness!

Friday, December 30, 2022

Man Smart (Woman Smarter)


I have to confess, I didn't even know who Andrew Tate was before the Thunberg tweet I wrote about the other day. I guess the self professed "alpha male" is a former kickboxer and practicing misogynist who has quite a following amongst the right wing incels. Thankfully, he has escaped my radar.

He engaged in a twitter tete a tete with the young climate activist Greta and apparently gave away his location data due to his choice of pizza, Romanian authorities wanted to detain he and his brother for questioning in a rape and human trafficking organized crime case and they apprehended him, supposedly after tracking down the pizza box.

Romanian prosecutors said in a statement Thursday that they identified six people whom they allege were recruited and then sexually abused in Ilfov county, which includes the capital, Bucharest.

Authorities allege that the victims were coerced into participating in pornography for distribution on social media and that one of the suspects twice raped a victim in March. The statement, which did not name the Tate brothers or specify which suspect was accused of rape, alleges that the victims faced “acts of physical violence and mental coercion.”

Just the weirdest story. The guy looks like he crafted his narrative from a Bond villain. But the ecologically minded climate activist had the best reply, "This is what happens when you don't recycle your pizza boxes."

I like George Takei's tweet.

But the best was the woman hating alpha male lecturing the woman cop who brought him in, never once breaking his dickish form:

The video of Andrew Tate’s arrest has been revealed and in the now-viral clip, the former kickboxing champion was seen repeatedly interrupting the female cop reading him his rights.

“I’m gonna have to stop you right there, babe,” interjected Andrew Tate while being handcuffed.

You’re running your mouth right now about how ‘I have the right to an attorney’ or whatever, but you’re just proving my point about modern women,” he was heard saying to the female police officer.

“As an alpha male, you should be submitting to me, but society has warped your genetic mindset and made you a callous [expletive] who wants to lecture me about things like what shoes I should buy you or what human rights I’ve violated. Look, after this whole ‘human trafficking’ thing is over, you want to grab a drink sometime?” Andrew Tate said while threatening the female cop.

Police officer Ana-Maria Fischer, who arrested Andrew Tate, explained his repeated intervening comments made the arrest more difficult.

“It took me almost four hours to get through the full list of rights in one go,” Officer Fischer said. “Mr. Tate would hold a finger to my lips and start aggressively bench-pressing or monologuing about the secret to being wealthy while backup officers searched his home for two missing girls,” she said.

I eventually was only able to get him to listen by insisting that cutting me off was ‘a total cuck move,’ upon which he sat down and diligently listened,” she added.

Babe? I predict that this guy is going to have a total reeducation in jail. Or I hope so anyway.

His peeps on the right are, of course, engaging in puerile whataboutism and bringing up Epstein, whose client list actually had no particular political ideology.

The new cause celebre. Now sex trafficking is political.

Toxic masculinity might not win this round. They'll love the smoking jacket in jail.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Cold Blood

In defense of clutter

New York Times - Clutter is good for you.

Be careful what you purge. Today’s decluttering victim is tomorrow’s lost object, and lost objects are forever. 

Here, here!

Can I dedicate?

The Chicken Pie Shop

I went to the Aztec basketball game last night with my friend Mick, a fellow alum. (My association with the school was actually quite brief, took enough night classes to get my Construction Project Management credential, way back when.)

S.D.S.U. was playing Air Force and it was a late game down at Viejas, started at 8:30.

If you are interested, we won, first conference game. Ten and three. Bradley finally got his mojo back, 27 points.

We were trying to decide where to have dinner and I suggested a restaurant out of my youth, the Chicken Pie Shop.

We went to the only surviving location, on El Cajon Blvd.

I don't think I have actually ever gone to this location before, always going to one of the two on Fifth when I was a kid.

The Chicken Pie Shops were started when we were coming out of the depression, in 1938 and have a great honest, retro feel. 

Much of the original memorabilia is stuck on the walls, the art deco clock, old pictures of the menus, and pictures of the original location downtown.

I had the pot pie and a slice of banana cream last night, Mick ordered a very generous platter of fried chicken, expertly cooked, looked fabulous. (he never offered me a bite 😄)

They should be able to cook it right, they have been practicing for 85 years!

Nothing fancy here but definitely comfort food for a kid like me who was born just down the block.

Large photographs of historic San Diego sports heroes adorn the walls, The Splendid Splinter - Ted Williams, Deron Johnson, Gene Littler, Tony Gwynn, Archie Moore, Ron Mix, Billy Casper, Lance Alworth, Don Larson, it is a trip down memory lane for a hometown boy like me.

Archie was a regular, as was the Charger's Russ Washington.

The Chicken Pot Pie shop is not fancy, but it is a place where you can still get a wonderful pot pie, in a variety of ways, and it won't break the bank. 

Will probably survive through the next depression, too.

Buy the complete dinner and you get slaw, a roll and a piece of pie to boot, for around twelve bucks.

With the exception of the modest increase in prices, not a hell of a lot has changed there.

The woman we talked to behind the counter, Shalia, had been there since 1975. The clientele were normal, common folk, like you and me. Having an honest meal.

It got me to thinking that it had to be one of the oldest surviving restaurants in the county? Actually, according to this list, it is the fourth or fifth, depending if you call the Tivoli a restaurant or not.

The oldest was the nearby Pekin Cafe Chop Suey, over on University in North Park, but it closed three years ago. That one opened in 1931. 

Now the oldest is said to be Las Cuatro Milpas in Barrio Logan, owned by the founding Estudillo family since 1933.

Not sure how old Jimmy Wong's Golden Dragon was but it has also now closed.

People who never lived here before the freeways don't know, but when I was a kid San Diego revolved around two streets, El Cajon Blvd. and University. 

The landmarks were places like Carnation and Blumers, Pernicano's, Nicolosis, the Red Fox room and Don Joses. So many of the great places of my youth are now gone, Lubachs, Islandia, Casa de Baffi, Tarantinos, Kona Kai, Top Shelf, Manny's, Old Trieste, time marches on.

All have sailed into the San Diego sunset. The Chicken Pie Shop continues.

Chicken Pie Shop
2633 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Chinga Chavin

Greta 1, Andrew 0

Renée sent this over: 

Don’t @ Gen Z. Just don’t do it. Because if you do, they’ll remind you that they’ve grown up on the internet. The latest person to learn this lesson is Andrew Tate, noted misogynist and right-wing provocateur who rejects the #MeToo movement and says he believes women are men’s property and shouldn’t drive. 

Tate decided to tweet at Greta Thunberg, the acclaimed 19-year-old climate activist who made headlines when she took a year off of school to travel around the world and meet leading climate experts, this morning about how many cars he owns. 

Who knows what prompted a 36-year-old man to tweet at a teenager about how many cars he owns and how much carbon emissions he’s responsible for? But what we do know is Thunberg’s response. “yes, please do enlighten me,” she tweeted. “email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com” 

Santa's dead


Wonderful headline over at the Village News. He will be greatly missed.

Aum - Mississippi Mud (US 1969)

Jerry Lee visits the doctor


Tuesday, December 27, 2022


The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday said Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.) “deceived” the organization and “misrepresented” his Jewish heritage, adding the incoming lawmaker is no longer welcome at its events.

“He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage. In public comments and to us personally he previously claimed to be Jewish,” Brooks said in a statement. “He has begun his tenure in Congress on a very wrong note. He will not be welcome at any future RJC event.”

Santos came back at them. 

“I never claimed to be Jewish, I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”

Frankly I find this whole thing incredibly funny. That was a great line and I have used it myself in the past. So he can't go to RJC events? Big deal.

But what I find really funny is that this guy could hang out at a recent New York Young Republicans dinner with noted nazis, racists and anti semites like Peter Brimelow, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Pizza Gater Jack Posobiec, Lucian Wintrich, Maximillian Krah and the Republican Jewish Coalition didn't bat an eye. 

But wait, he's not Jewish, suddenly there's problems.

Santos is a peach, he was rich, check, attractive, check, gay (supposedly), check, had a Spanish surname, check, worked for Goldman Sachs (supposedly), check, Baruch and NYU graduate (nope), check, grandparents fled holocaust (nope) check and Republican, check, what's not to like. He checked every box for them. 

Why waste your time vetting him, he's a rich lansman for Pete's sake!

Of course, Jewish Republicans carried water for Trump during Charlottesville (Jews will not replace us,) Kanye, Nick Fuentes, Bannon, and when the orange one went after all the rest of us ungrateful jews.

Frankly, most Jewish Republicans scare me, we see the world quite differently and this particular incident with Santos illustrates the difference in spades. They have lost their jewish heart along the way, a most essential element to being a human being. Real jews don't make nice and break bread with nazis. For some people, ideology never reaches beyond their own wallet, bank account or self interest. And the GOP leadership knew he was a scam the whole time but thought it didn't matter if people were stupid enough to elect him.

Will love to watch their gyrations when this Santos nebbish takes office. Should be fun. By the way, my finely tuned jewdar spider sense called this guy for what he was from day one. But his supposedly being jewish was good enough for these people, all it took.

Don't murder me...

A plague of gophers and rabbits, save the apex predators

I saw something the other day about a man who shot 70 coyotes because he could. I can't find the article now but I did find one who shot 65 so I am getting closer. My late friend Tony liked to shoot them in his back yard up on Riverview. I find it disgusting, personally. Never enjoyed killing for sport.

I did a search and there are a whole bunch of people who seem to get their jollies killing coyotes. Big death count competition, apparently. Night vision scopes are very popular in the effort.

All I can think is that taking 70 coyotes out of a local ecosystem is bound to have some weird effects.

And I hope that with the coyotes gone, these same hunters and ranchers are quickly inundated with hordes of hungry gophers and rabbits who will soon eat them out of house and home. 

You know, the populations that the coyotes help regulate?

Although these shooting types are the same ones who like to throw poison around so liberally.

Maybe a broken leg due to a fall in a gopher hole will be sufficient?


I was reading about wolves the other day. It turns out that wolves don't really kill that many domestic animals and ranchers are usually quickly compensated.

They kill about one cow for approx. every 45,000 out there.

But dead cows are not the problem. It turns out that having wolves in the eco system stresses out the cows and gives them a form of PTSD.

Agitated cows are stressed and they lose weight. And this stresses livestock managers because they make less money. And we can't have that. 

The Montana study found that on ranches where wolf predation had occurred, surviving calves lost an average of 22 pounds. Based on the sales of 250 light calves, at a rate of $1.15 per pound, that adds up to a loss of $6,679, or 7 times the typical reimbursement rate of $900 for a calf killed by a wolf, study authors said.

Much of the nation's cattle is grazed on federal public lands, which we all own. Ranchers pay little, if anything, for this privilege and cattle grazing creates a multitude of deleterious environmental effects. If the cost of having apex predators in the ecosystem is skinny, neurotic cows and more expensive beef, honestly I am willing to live with it.

The ecological costs of livestock grazing exceed that of any other western land use. In the arid West, grazing is the most widespread cause of species endangerment, irreparably harming the ecosystems they depend on.

Despite these costs, livestock grazing continues on state and federal lands across the West. It’s promoted, protected and subsidized by federal agencies on about 270 million public acres in the 11 western states.

I am sick of subsidizing ranchers and a cattle industry who think they are entitled to do whatever they want to on public land. They killed a lot of bison for a brucellosis disease that has been documented to have never had one single transmission to cattle.

The federal livestock grazing program is heavily subsidized, getting more than $100 million annually in direct subsidies — and possibly three times that in indirect subsidies. The western livestock industry would evaporate as suddenly as fur trapping if it had to pay market rates for services it gets from the federal government.

In 2015 the Center commissioned resource economists to study the economic costs of livestock grazing on public lands. We found that the federal lands grazing program generated $125 million less than what the federal government spent on the program in 2014. Further, we found that federal grazing fees are 93 percent less than fees charged for non-irrigated western private grazing land, or just $1.69 per animal per month for each cow and calf that grazes the public land. (It costs more to feed a house cat.)

Despite the extreme damage done by grazing, western federal rangelands account for less than 3 percent of all forage fed to livestock in the United States. In fact, beef prices wouldn’t be affected if all livestock were removed from public lands in the West.

Another article on the subject of freeloading rich cattleman communists sucking on the public tit and despoiling the environment. Oldest game in town, privatize the profit and socialize the debt.

I know few things scream patriotism in our country as loud as beef but do it on your own dime and preferably on your own land.

Send your stressed out cattle to a shrink if you have to, leave the poor wolves alone. At the worst, America can switch to tofu and turkey burgers. 

Cardiff Characters

Jerry Hall sent some pictures of the San Elijo Lagoon yesterday with some rare visitors. Shots taken by a Neal Glasgow, don't know him.

Ralph sends a picture from Cardiff, as well.

Great Horned Owl

I drove up to SJWA yesterday to try to see what I could see and try to capture a few shots before the rain came. Pretty dead up there but I did manage to capture this great horned owl hiding in the trees and a couple other things.

Mountain Bluebird


Ruddy ducks

Snowy egret

Red tailed hawk

Lazy, laconic day out there. Set my tripod up by the lake and waited and nothing happened. Didn't really care.