Blue Heron in flight

Monday, January 31, 2022

Leighton - New Yorker


Two seconds of time, Seligman, AZ

The Mutants

Monday pearl clutching

I was driving the other day when a young man in a Toyota truck started aggressively moving in and out of lanes. When he flew by me I saw two bumper stickers blazoned on his window, Let's go Brandon and Fuck your Prius. I suppose that I could should have guessed his political inclinations from the selfish and angry way he was driving.

I understand that the Brandon slogan is quite fashionable right now, sounds rather stupid to me but that is just me, in any case the second one seemed rather course coarse and an unusually hostile thing to put on your car. I know that some Prius drivers are obnoxious but no worse than your average Civic or Audi driver, at least in my opinion. It mainly suggested that the driver of said car, was immature, stupid or excessively hostile or perhaps a combination of the three. The trifecta.

A little while later this car drove by. 

Coincidentally, a Prius but presumably not the focus of the previous driver's ire.

Now I am no prude or even a religious person but I find the sentiments expressed bottom left to be in exceedingly poor taste.

And if you haven't noticed, boundaries of decency and morals are eroding on a daily basis, hence we have Governors standing up and comparing their political targets to his dog's asshole, like Jim Justice from West Virginia does in the top photograph. Juvenile and ridiculous.

The political camps have never been farther apart but what is unusual is that in the old days, there was a center position and an attempt on both sides to find some fulcrum of moral foundation to rest their opinion on.  We no longer have a shared, or common sense of common sense, or decency for that matter.

No more, now, with twin media machines, the right and left no longer even attempt to talk to each other, just past each other, in the most vulgar of terms. The combat has become much fiercer and laced with threats of violence and antagonism. From antifa to proud boys, across the political spectrum, people are stepping way beyond previous standards of propriety. We have plainly lost our bedrock, our sense of right and wrong.

I was just on the local NextDoor pages and the vaccine debate got so heavy that the post I was following was expunged, but not before the battle lines were drawn and people showed their cards. I got some pretty strong messages, one private, from some retired cops and military, evangelical but definitely pointed.

And I have to wonder, how much of the schism is ideological and how much is generational? Look at the Joe Rogan / Neil Young kerfuffle. How many millennials listen to Neil Young or have even heard of Joni Mitchell? Not near as many as listen to the tatted up ex brawler Rogan, the most popular podcaster in the world at present. The world we have inhabited is changing and so is the value system. And many people lack the discriminatory tools cognitively to fairly evaluate both information and misinformation. Hence the Q and Pizzagate notions.


I am a late sixties, early seventies kid, that is the time period where my personal ethos was forged. Tried to do the righteous hippie thing, as best I could. In my day, a male with long hair, such as I had, meant that you tended to share a value system that was for all intents liberal if not radical. 

Not always, you might see long haired right wingers at a Hell's Angels rally or at a Skynyrd concert, perhaps the guy who changed your tires at the garage with the greasy locks and the hairbrush in his pocket. 

But mostly you could figure that you had a shared world view with long haired people once upon a time. One would be foolish to make that assumption today.

These people are just as apt today to be MAGA loving reactionaries.

So you have to be cautious today regarding who you are breaking bread with or even sharing a bong rip, especially if the fecal matter is ready to hit the twisting propeller.  Everything has been turned on its head. Things are getting uglier and uglier, the least of which is human decency and comportment. Perhaps the kids are not alright?

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Ramones - Spiderman

Geese and blackbirds, dead center


Stanislaw Lem


Max Loeffler illustration
Great article at the New Yorker, A holocaust survivor's hard boiled science fiction.

“The difference between life and death depended upon minuscule, seemingly unimportant things, and the smallest of decisions: whether one chose this or that street for going to work; whether one visited a friend at one o’clock or twenty minutes later.” 

Stupidity and selfishness


Pushing a million dead in this country and we have to hear this sort of inanity? A friend of mine is recovering from a tough case. Word has it that he and his wife were dining out and he overheard the waitress casually admit that she thought she had it. They both came down with it shortly thereafter. He had a worse go than she did.

I really think that we are in a war against the unintelligent. How hard should this one be. You don't go out repeatedly and hang out with other people and you don't work around other people if you know that you are infected. Capiche?



Friday, January 28, 2022

Boomer Stuff


Sloppy Drunk

Selenicereus symbiote

I have a very large specimen pindo or jelly palm on my property. 

I had two, I planted them both over thirty years ago, but a red trumpet vine ate one of them and left nothing in its wake.

At one time the native South American palm was known as a butia capitata, but there are all types of subspecies recognized now and it may be more truthfully termed a butia yatay, eriospathea or odorata, I honestly can't keep up. It is a great palm, with the tastiest fruit. You can see the more compact cultivars planted up State St. in Santa Barbara.

Soon after the palm was planted I placed small sections of hylocereus undatus, or night blooming cereus cacti, in the crooks of the palm. 

I was the vice president of the local epiphyllum society back then.

This is now classified as selenicereus undatuus after tissue typing showed it to  be under that taxonomic botanical branch.

In any case, these epiphytes now have taken over the entire trunk of the tree, en masse

The sheer weight must be incredible.

It is truly something to behold, especially during a heavy bloom.

It gives me a very spectacular bloom several times a year, with flowers over a foot wide in breadth.

I have never trimmed the beard from this palm, wanting to protect the epiphyte with shade. 

Todd, the arborist who takes care of my palms, took it upon himself to trim the brown dead beard off the palm this week.

I guess that he and my wife were sick of it.

It does look better, hopefully there will be no sunburn although if the night blooming cereus can handle the sun in Hawaii, Fallbrook should be no problem.

I wonder if anybody else has ever done this before, combined butia and selenicereus? Has been a wonderful marriage.

Botanical symbiosis in action. Everybody happy, especially the bees. Hopefully the tree will be strong enough to harbor the heavy guest for perpetuity.

Mule Skinner Blues

The great Kenny Baker on fiddle.



Thursday, January 27, 2022

Ernest Ranglin

Speedy Haworth

Could Speedy bend those strings or what? This is 1955, pre Clarence White B-Bender.


I don't live in Florida and so it is not really my problem. Still recent news there is very troubling from a civil liberties standpoint. A new Florida bill that has been termed the Don't say gay bill is now hurtling through the House and Senate.

A Florida bill that would limit classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity and encourage parents to sue schools or teachers that engage in these topics is speeding through the state House and Senate.

It's being called a "Don't Say Gay" bill by LGBTQ advocates, who fear that if this bill is signed into law, it could act as a complete ban on the lessons on LGBTQ oppression, history and discussions about LGBTQ identities.

So the freedom loving snowflakes on the right won't even let students talk about sexual orientation now?

This comes on the heels of another ridiculous attempt at intellectual suppression and groupthink. A bill backed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is making its way through the state’s legislature and on its way to becoming law.

SB 148, called the Individual Freedom Act, would prohibit Florida’s public schools and private businesses from making people feel “discomfort” or “guilt” based on their race, sex, or national origin. See Florida could ban lessons about discrimination that make white students feel 'discomfort'.

And yes, you read that right. It also affects private speech at private businesses. You can't talk about racial history without the threat of a lawsuit or jail time, even at your own workplace.

The measure would bar teaching in grades K-12 that could make individuals feel responsible for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex or national origin. At work, employment practices or training programs that make an individual feel guilty on similar grounds could be considered an unlawful employment practice – and subject a company to a lawsuit.

My those Floridians are sensitive. And how exactly do you assess if people are being made to feel guilty? What is the standard, the metrics and observational tool used to determine culpability?

Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, said that Diaz’s proposal poses a threat to Florida businesses. She said the legislation potentially opens the door to lawsuits against employers, a stand the governor has sought in his “WOKE” proposal to deter companies from policies that may cross the line he’s drawing on race.

Polsky cited an example of a male employee dismissed from a company or passed over for a promotion who could make the claim that employment diversity efforts worked against him.

“How is a judge supposed to determine if a person is made to feel guilty by proper diversity training, sexual harassment training or any kind of policy that a company has in place to prevent discrimination?” Polsky said.


Art Spiegelman once wrote an excellent graphic novel called Maus that depicts the Holocaust from the point of view of jews on their way to extermination.

They are depicted in the story as rodents. 

I read it when it was written, it won a Pulitzer prize in 1992. Very wonderful, touching story. Highly recommended, have to find my copy.

And it is being banned by a school board in Tennessee. They are worried that impressionable young minds might be triggered by the sight of nude cartoon mice.

A Tennessee school board has voted to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” from an eighth grade language arts curriculum due to concerns about profanity and an image of female nudity in its depiction of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust.

The Jan. 10 vote by the McMinn County School Board, which only began attracting attention Wednesday, comes amid a number of battles in school systems around the country as conservatives target curriculums over teachings about the history of slavery and racism in America.

“I’m kind of baffled by this,” Art Spiegelman, the author of “Maus,” told CNBC in an interview about the unanimous vote by the McMinn board to bar the book, which is about his parents, from continuing to be used in the curriculum.

“It’s leaving me with my jaw open, like, ‘What?’” said Spiegelman, 73, who only learned of the ban after it was the subject of a tweet Wednesday – a day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

He called the school board “Orwellian” for its action.

Spiegelman also said he suspected that its members were motivated less about some mild curse words and more by the subject of the book, which tells the story of his Jewish parents’ time in Nazi concentration camps, the mass murder of other Jews by Nazis, his mother’s suicide when he was just 20 and his relationship with his father.

Of course, it is not just Florida, Texas and Tennessee, the drive to ban books is now nationwide. See The right's book-banning campaign reaches a new level.

It was last fall when local Republicans' efforts to ban books started to look like a national trend. A county in Virginia removed LGBTQIA fiction from school libraries. Around the same time, a Kansas school district started pulling several well-known novels from school libraries, including "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood and a Pulitzer Prize winning play from August Wilson.

It was against this backdrop that a Republican state legislator in Texas put together a list of 850 books he believed might make students feel uncomfortable — and then asked schools which of the titles are available to students.

The same language curiously runs through all these threads, we can not make people "uncomfortable" about our history under any circumstance. Because all the isms of the past, sexism, racism, anti-semitism, anti nativism, misogynism, gay bashing, etc. they were all vanquished long ago. Nothing but clean hands in America, don't you know? Mustn't upset anyone by having an honest conversation about race or sexuality. Talk about snowflakes...

Wednesdays are for sunsets

I sent out a cell phone picture from our front yard to a few friends yesterday evening and got some really nice views back in response.

Lena sent these two over from Cardiff.

Someday all the power lines will be underground and she will be in heaven, view wise.

Dave offered this San Francisco shot from Pacific Heights.

Retha and Doug share the beautiful and gorgeously soft view of Vancouver Island from San Juan Island.

Thanks all!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Tombstone Eyes

Covid has hit some people I know really hard recently, a friend lost his father in a very gruesome way which I will not retell. Lot of very careful people slipped and are now real sick. Some really close friends. The default on the right seems to be well everybody is going to get it sooner or later so why worry? Leave it in god's hands. Vaccine kills more people than the disease, crap like that. So much dis and misinformation out there. Truth is that an unvaccinated person is eleven times more likely to die from the disease than a vaccinated one. But people won't listen. Emergency rooms are full, doctors and nurses are stretched to their wit's end. I am so sick of hearing about comorbidities as if a person with health problems had the final dagger coming to him or her. Some stuff on the subject and a couple other things:

Eric Topol - Where do we stand with Omicron? Maureen Ferran - Corbevax vaccine might be a game changer. Debunking Covid lies at Fact check.com. Evangelical backlash? The Atlantic - Is old music killing new music?

Linger on

Monday muddle

I played hooky Monday afternoon and drove up to see the birds at SJWA. 

It was a very nice day, lots of water in the ponds, more ducks than I remember seeing for a while.

Like these buffleheads, always a treat. There were no eagles visible but plenty of other raptors present. I am not going to identify them for you because as long as you have been reading the blog, you should really know by now.

Even saw a great horned owl hiding in the brush. I made a stupid mistake and went hiking on my bad leg. Thought I was sufficiently healed and I was wrong. Pushed it too far and exacerbated whatever the hell is going on with my knee. Hurting and can hardly walk again. Damn.

Saw more yellow headed blackbirds than I can remember ever seeing in one place before, love them. 

And your standard red winged blackbirds too.

I saw a large flock of curlews near the Walker Ponds. About fifteen of them. Unusual. Perhaps it is a migration.

And all the normal cast of characters, stilts, white faced ibis, black phoebes egrets, mockingbirds, lot of birds showed up and said hi.

As the old raven once told me, "Until we meet again."