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Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Monday, October 31, 2022

Mose - thousand miles from nowhere in this one room country shack

Santa Barbara Antique Show

 

Download and print for a discount admission.

Evangelina - Hoyt Axton

Saturday on the water


They have had some nice sightings at Oceanside Adventures whale watching recently so we decided to check it out and try our luck.

We went out with our friend Renee on Saturday. It was a weird day. We forgot to bring our discount tickets and got nailed. It was much choppier than usual after a smooth morning cruise. Renee didn't feed the right meter and got a ticket. Turned into an expensive day.

Not a whale in sight, broke our winning streak.


But we did run into a huge pod of common dolphin, which funny enough are actually the least common dolphin species in the world. There were a lot of young dolphins in the group, much smaller sized bodies than usual. I estimate there were somewhere between 800 and 1200 dolphin in this group.


Managed to have a great time, in spite of the dearth of larger cetaceans.

My camera is still not working perfectly, having a hard time achieving focus. 

I am afraid I may be nearing the end of the line with this rig and honestly can not afford another at this time.

Will try to nurse it along and troubleshoot the problem, see if it can be fixed.

Not sure if it is an autofocus problem or an old equipment problem.

Shot with the nikkor 70-200mm ƒ2.8 yesterday, had a tough time achieving focus in one of the trickiest of shooting environments. Always the possibility of user error...


Many jumping dolphins yesterday, more than I can ever remember seeing. 

It is hard to shoot these creatures and capture their animation in the water. 

We call our method spray and pray, take a zillion shots and hope one works.

But they don't exactly telegraph their moves.


Always fun to watch them play at the bow of the boat, their echolocation faculties keeping them perfectly safe.


As we came back to the harbor, some Pacific bottlenose dolphins were spotted by the captain but I didn't see them.


I'm looking forward to getting back out there and hopefully having a better day shooting and seeing whales. Still marvelous any way you look at it.


Ran into a bunch of paddleboard witches on the way in. Spooky!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Curtis Mayfield - Diamond in the Back

Noodlin' around

For some reason I have been on a real noodle kick lately. Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese, American, Chinese, it really doesn't matter, as long as there are noodles. 

Leslie made a great pasta dish at home the other night and instead of spaghetti used bucatini, my current favorite. Very chewy. I also like acini di pepe, tiny pasta ends that mimic a grain.

Noodles are so comforting and like dumplings, featured in almost every culture's cuisine. I like them all, but partial to udon, soba and chow fun, ramen and chow mein, not so much.

One of my favorite noodle joints is Shan Xi Magic Kitchen on Convoy. 

I had to pick up a San Diego estate last week and had the cumin lamb hand ripped noodle while I was in Clairemont Mesa.

This noodle is about an inch and a half wide and very firm and succulent. A real slurper.

Later in the week I returned for the spicy beef brisket noodle bowl.

Equally delightful!

They have over forty noodle dishes at Shan Xi but they are principally either hand ripped like these two or hand pulled, the biang biang noodle. 

But then again they also list the cold skin noodle, fried noodle, oriental noodle and the hand made noodle so maybe I just haven't gotten far enough down the menu.

The first time I went there I had the biang biang noodle and beef, that is a more traditional looking cylindrical noodle. Very ropey, so much better than a commercial noodle! Firm and chewey.

It is a very tough call to figure out what to order there, eventually I would like to sample the entire menu. A Mexican couple was asking about the fried pork skin noodle dish, like a chicharrone.

Wednesday Steve and I had lunch in Vista at Kung Fu Noodle and had to have their hand made dan dan noodle with peanut sauce as well as xlb and shrimp fried rice. Outstanding meal.

Tomorrow Leslie and I are going to Pala Casino's Noodles Restaurant to try their duck and noodle bowl as well as the barbecued pork bowl. I had it on my own recently and felt guilty it was so good. I want to share my gustatory experience with my wife.  Pala used to have a much larger menu, it has been consolidated somewhat but what they offer is great. 

Tomorrow is my noodle penance.

Purple Haze - Live at Los Angeles Forum, 4/26/69

Just released.

Topical morning to you

If you are interested in the most in depth article I have seen on the nuts and bolts of the Ukraine War, read Joshua Yaffa's Arming Ukraine in the latest New Yorker. Fascinating read.

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Almond Moms.

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From Nick Canepa - San Diego U-T: Adidas, which shod Hitler Youth, has dumped Kanye West following his anti-Semitic remarks. But there are more companies lining up to use his name, says his irate publicist, Joseph Goebbels.

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Sobering thought - "Kanye West's 18 million followers outnumber the 15 million Jews in the world." Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan 

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Elon Musk gaslights Pelosi, tweets that the altercation with the attacker might have resulted from a gay liaison, as reported by wackjob Santa Monica Observer.

The Santa Monica Observer has also published other fake stories that falsely reported that former Secretary Clinton died in the September 11, 2001 attacks and had been using a body double since then, and that Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, was appointed to a non-existent position in the Department of the Interior under former President Donald Trump.

Now, why would a bipolar megalomaniac owner of Twitter be a bad thing? The same guy, you remember, who made the unfounded accusation that the thai cave rescuers were pedophiles...

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The recent Los Angeles City Council recording was an example of the worst kind of racist identity politics. But rather than deal with the implications of their racism, they want to find out how they got caught? Latino denigration of poor indigenous natives like the Oaxaquenos is unfortunately centuries old.

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I got a flu shot the other day, first time in over thirty years for me. With all the respiratory disease out there, no point taking a chance this year. If you have not had one, you might consider it. 55 year old man with no underlying conditions died in the hospital here in San Diego last week of the flu.

Twilight (early version)

Who cleans up the mess?

Big oil is shedding old wells in California, many leaking and environmentally unsound. When the new buyers go bankrupt who do you think will be ultimately left holding the bag? Good article at TPM.

If it’s not profitable to return wells to production, they need to be plugged. But if a company doesn’t plug its wells before walking away, wells are orphaned and the cleanup costs ultimately fall to taxpayers and current operators through fees.

This has happened with thousands of wells in California and hundreds of thousands, or more, across the country.

For example, the Greka group of companies left more than 750 wells for California to plug when its wealthy owner began pushing his businesses into bankruptcy in 2016 and retired to his Santa Maria winery. And a subsidiary of one of the country’s largest mining companies, Freeport-McMoRan, left dozens of likely orphaned wells, state records show, even though the company brought in nearly $23 billion in revenue last year.

Greka’s CEO didn’t respond to a request for comment, and a Freeport spokesperson said the company is working with the state to verify details about its orphaned wells.

I started looking into the abandoned oil well problem, the Santa Barbara Grand Jury sensed something was rotten two years ago, the County Supervisors did nothing, basically said it was the responsibility of the state.

Another article on the subject; Oil bankruptcies leave environmental cleanup bills to California taxpayers.

...RILP and HVI Cat Canyon are just two of more than 260 oil and gas exploration and production companies that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in North America since 2015, according to law firm Haynes and Boone. Also among them was California Resources Corp., one of the state’s three major oil and gas producers. In Chapter 11 bankruptcies, companies try to restructure and resume operations, but some are ultimately converted to Chapter 7 bankruptcies where their businesses are liquidated. 

Those roughly 260 bankrupt businesses combined to carry more than $175 billion in aggregate debt into the filings, most of it unsecured. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Jerry Lee Lewis

Not a bad day


Things are about to get real busy for me and I decided to take a mental health day today. Went out to see the birds. 

The midday bite is the worst possible time for a catch but I had no choice, always see something, even on a bad day. But it was shore sparse pickin's.

I am still not sure my equipment is running optimally but I shot some stuff in my yard last night and it was passable.

Like this mockingbird, although the exposure seems a bit off on everything. 

The hummingbirds were definitely not cooperating, very hard to train but what are you going to do? The acorn woodpecker looks plenty sharp.

I stuck the 400mm ƒ2.8 on with the 2x extender, damn that thing is heavy.

I did the loop with little success and then drove out to the Walker Ponds.

Lo and behold, I saw a mature bald eagle devouring a meal on top of a pole, albeit a considerable distance away.

I believe that it is the same bird I shot previously, that you can see a few blog posts down. His white head has now filled in, fully mature.

Cool!

I never get tired of taking pictures of eagles. I wish that I had a closer vantage but thankfully my lens was up to the job anyway.

I tried to get closer and old baldie flew away, coot in tow.

He eventually dropped lunch and alighted on a pole far out of my lens and camera range.



I went back to the reserve and took my hike. Very little to see, no harriers, caught the vermilion for a split second flash of red.

But hey, any day I shoot a mature bald eagle is a good day, I will take it. Went back to try to find him again, no luck.

Did see this peregrine falcon though and a few kestrels.

Hope to get back there soon and dial my equipment in.

Bad Box


Interesting article on the Uihlein family over at ProPublica, That Cardboard Box in Your Home Is Fueling Election Denial

These are the same people that own the shipping supply company Uline. I stopped purchasing their products two years ago when I heard about their Covid stance. They are at the ideological extreme and I won't give them another penny if I can help it. I pretty much don't see eye to eye with them on any issue whatsoever. And how would you like to work for them?

Former employees of Uline told ProPublica the couple’s traditionalist politics govern the smallest details of how the company is run.

For new staffers, it begins with the dress code in the employee handbook: Women are not permitted to wear pants except as part of a pantsuit or on Fridays; hose or stockings must be worn except during the warmer months; dresses “that are too short” and corduroy of any kind are strictly prohibited.

“DRESS CODE VIOLATIONS ARE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AND MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING TERMINATION,” the handbook warns.

The handbook defines “tardy” as one minute past an employee’s scheduled start time. Just four personal items are allowed on employees’ desks, with maximum dimensions of 5 inches by 7 inches. One former staffer at Uline’s headquarters recalled a coworker who was forced to remove several drawings done by his young child. “Liz would walk up and down the aisles, and if your desk looked off, you’d be written up,” he recalled.

You can run your own company any way you see fit. It is the donations to anti semites, religious nutcases and election deniers that bothers me. Interestingly, they built the exclusive guest ranch in Wyoming that I stayed in recently, Brush Creek, but sold it a few years back.

There are alternatives to supporting people that think like this.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Hillsborough Antique Show - Coming right up!

 


Birdies

 






The Deer Hunt


I got a call the other day. Lady was leaving Fallbrook for good in an hour, did I want a large painting for a very good price? I was intrigued and told her to send me a picture.

She sent a picture of the 4 x 8' mural, an oil on board and I bought it. Excuse the picture, which was taken in midday sun and has glare, but it depicts a renaissance hunt scene, painted in a rather graphic but lovely and proficient technique.

I picked the painting up the other day in my van and secured it to the wall for transport with bungee cords. She was moving to Houston, her father was an old builder and prominent Republican in Fallbrook. She had bought the painting at an estate sale but had not deciphered the signature. R. Strang

It is definitely dirty, could use a cleaning. I like the artwork, would look great in a refined living room or a classy restaurant. 

I sent pictures out to some expert friends, Nigel thought it reminded him of a painted version of an Oudenaarde tapestry. Harold did a little research and found what is apparently its original inspiration: 


It is a depiction of a 15the century manuscript page, the deer hunt. Still need to pin down the artist.

Yours for a meager sum.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Ariel Elias - Kimmel

Save us from us


You might not believe me but as I have often said, the progressive wing of the Democratic party scares me almost as much as the extreme wing of the right. And this week, they both had the same message, time to pull the rug out from the Ukraine and negotiate with Russia. Sorry, you don't negotiate when a bully has a gun pointed at your head. And when the fringe wings start sounding alike, sanity is found in the middle.

God forbid the progressives are ever running the show. AOC went on an ageist and classist rap yesterday that I personally found distasteful.

“I’m not here to sell people on the idea that the leadership of the Democratic Party, which is overwhelmingly from one generation — almost uniformly from one generation — and overwhelmingly from a lopsided class perspective, is the same as me or you or anything else like that,” the 33-year-old congresswoman told “Pod Save America.”

There is a reason we put the adults in charge, Alexandria. They have been around the block once or twice and seen what happens when untethered idealists run the show. Look to Lenin or Maduro. Hope you all grow up soon. And remember, it's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Mel Tillis - I Ain't Never

Early booty

My 65th birthday is approaching soon and I have received two really nice early presents of late.

Besides my Medicare card.


Big Dave sent over a large dry iced box of Manny's corned beef, latkes, mustard and rye bread, care of Taste of Chicago. 

Wow, thanks, Buddy.

We were talking about wine at coffee the other day and I mentioned that I had only drank one exceptional bottle of Temecula red in my life, the Baily Meritage. 

Many reds from the region have a rather mineral back taste. This one did not.

Stuff cost $95.00 per bottle twenty years ago. 

Next day I was presented a 2013 bottle of the luscious grape, courtesy of the cellar of Jim and Debbie Ramsey. It was a very good year for the wine.

Unbelievable gift, thank you all so much! 

I appreciate the swag and the friendship.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Carville's take

I think people need to see this. Don't say that you never saw this coming. The stealth plan is to come after entitlement programs after the Republicans win the midterms. Goodbye Social Security, goodbye Medicare...

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The New Right blogger has been cited by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters and J.D. Vance. What exactly is he advocating?

They say they're not fascists, they're monarchists, and many on the right want to see democracy overthrown Curtis Yarvin wants American democracy toppled. He has some prominent Republican fans.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Tide Is High

Sunday mail call


Finished my chores, fed the palms, Leslie just picked a bag of Valencia oranges, the juice was so sweet! I had a thought - I can never leave this place! Where else would I ever get orange juice like this? Where would I ever find such refuge in a compressed world?

I was lucky to find this ranch in the 1980's, I could never afford it today. My ex had flooded our home and tangelo grove in Rainbow, left the tub on for a couple days if the memory serves and then demanded I find us another dwelling unit toot sweet.

I lucked into this remote near five acre ranch, built by a retired navy electrician. He didn't like the old tenants, a veterinarian couple, but took a liking to us and immediately sold it to us at a price unheard of today. I removed 192 avocado trees and built a pasture and corrals. The secret, in my opinion, is to only worry about taking care of a portion of acreage, let the rest sit. Live far enough away that it doesn't matter what the neighbors think, if you have any. Most people out my way just want to be left alone, the few that exist anyway, we are here for a reason.

Anyway, to the mail.

Phyl and Richard have a new article about an obscure but groundbreaking jazz musician, Freddie Keppard.

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Adler send over the interesting podcast story, Buck.

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Strangeness from Box Canyon - Krishna Venta from Millard.

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The accent mark offers - Snow Leopard Tackles Blue Sheep Off Cliff, Plummets Over 400 Feet Without Letting Go, Walks Away Unharmed

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Angel of death coming for democrats.

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Shots from Ken's recent trip.

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Bay Area folks arming with baseball bats to protect themselves from drug sobriety center residents, Millard.

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Infinite staircase, Quanta.


Microplastics and dementia link

Primalzuup - Robert Sommers, © 2013

How long have I been writing about this? I don't remember. Not like the scientists didn't know about this stuff decades ago, they simply grabbed the purse full of gold and looked the other way. Exposure to environmental toxins may be root of rise in neurological disorders

“Neurology is about 15 years behind cancer so we need to sound the alarm on this and get more people doing research because the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] is absolutely not protecting us,” said Frances Jensen, the ANA president and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Scores of well-known dangerous toxins such as asbestos, glyphosates, and formaldehyde continue to be used widely in agriculture, construction, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in the US, despite being banned elsewhere.

Bliss

 


Willie Mae Thornton

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Onward and farther...

Ken and I decided to take the morning off and shoot some pictures yesterday. Well, I took the morning off anyway, he is retired. Morning light was so pretty, even with a cheap phone in a moving car.


We met in Temecula and then drove up to San Jacinto in his car.

When we got to our turnoff on Davis Rd. a rooster crossed our path, always a favorable sign of celestial providence.

At least for me, having been born in the year of the cock.

We are currently in the year of the tiger but are moving into the year of the rabbit, surely a portent of extreme fecundity.

Time to stock up on birth control pills.

Leslie and I were at a Chinese restaurant recently in Temecula and we are officially so old now that our birth years are no longer represented on the placemats.

Was bound to happen after so many years of careful living.

I call the new phase the wizened medicare years, the time in your life when you might be able to afford a doctor, at least if you live in a blue state anyway.

I got my medicare card recently and I am ready to roll, have seen a cardiologist, g.p. and dermatologist my next move. Wasn't sure I would get to this point, going to roll with it.

Little more water up there after the recent rains, we drove to the Walker Ponds. I didn't see a lot of birds, didn't shoot a lot but the weather was perfect and we did get a nice hike in.

Photography for me is pretty much a solitary affair. I didn't even bring my good lens with us. I have traveled many thousands of miles with Ken taking pictures and we do well shooting together but give each other a lot of space and it always seems to work out.

Still I do my best work on my own, in my own zone. Yesterday I was not really feeling it and did not have the right tools for a serious effort. But that didn't get in the way of having a good time. But I did have the thought, without considering the irony of the statement, that it is literally harder to focus when you have company around.


We soon saw this lovely red shouldered hawk, its plumage a gorgeous shade of auburn. I don't shoot a lot of red shouldered but it is not for lack of trying or any personal animosity on my part.


They are truly spectacular.

I tend to capture quite a more looks at its larger red tailed buteo cousins.


I did see a vermilion flycatcher on our walk but not at a distance where I could get a good shot. Might be having some equipment problems, over 67k shots with this lens, it may be at its day's end.

And a large belted kingfisher. Couldn't quite grab it.


Lots of egrets of all sizes, no herons.


Saw a group of long billed curlews too, not frequent visitors.

Not sure if these are robins bob bob bobbin' along or not but will find out pretty soon I think. [Beth says yes.]

Very hard to have a bad day out in nature, with a good friend.




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I was in the hotel in Palm Springs the other day and the room had a landscape photo on the wall with a large lens flare. Lens flare and a lot of noise and chromatic aberration.

I don't know how people allow this kind of work to get disseminated to the public but you see it all the time.

Especially in doctor's offices and hospitals. My theory is that a lot of doctors fancy themselves as photographers but suck at the technical part. And the nurses aren't going to tell them their work is not up to par. As you know, many doctors think they can do everything better than everyone else. 

Next time I am at the doctor's office at Scripps in Hillcrest I am going to to take some shots of pictures wwith CA flare that are so awful, but magnified in these giant photos, ungodly so.

Of course, now with iPhones, the word is that everybody is a professional photographer. When everybody is, nobody is. And I think photography is in a dreadful spot right now. AI is a scourge, breeding pictures with perfect focus and exposure, utilizing precision eye detection algorithms that results in boring pictures that all tend to look the same and usually say nothing.

I am pretty tired. I picked up a wonderful estate in Mission Hills this week, great San Diego paintings and more, will pick up the balance this week. Has me tuckered out, need to photograph and catalogue so much stuff, not just this estate. So far behind. I do not have the energy I once had and have to wait for the right day to kick it into gear at this point in my life.

The cardiologist changed my blood pressure meds and I have no zip left in the afternoon. Might have to change back. Have taken the amlodipine at night, we are taking the new pill in the morning and it makes a difference that might not be optimal.

Leslie had to go somewhere and asked me to take some groceries home the other day and then thought better of it. "I will take them myself." I'm like,"Why honey, I can take them home, I'm not incompetent. Give me a break." She finally assented. Long story short last night she is looking for the lettuce. Oops, I left a bag of groceries to wilt in the truck for two days. My bad. Not sure how I spaced. She is not real happy with me right now.

I came home and noticed quite a few acorn woodpeckers in the river valley. I had six on my washingtonia palm the other day. I have never seen anything like it.

Drove by a tree with many multiple woodpeckers this morning but had no energy to stop. Too lazy.

Driving in this morning a commercial came on the radio for a new virtual secretary.

This ai based virtual robot assistant is the newest thing, so much better than the old human model. I cracked up at their motto, "At Ruby's we build relationships."

And I thought, isn't that so twentyfirst century meets Phil Dick, and isn't that the greatest way to build a human relationship? First take the humans out of the equation. What could be more perfect than that? 

And today we find out that Sacheen Littlefeather ain't an Apache after all but a Mexican chick from Oxnard? Who knew? She was probably in my graduating class. Her sisters waited for her to die before they spilled. That was nice of them. They call them Pretendians. I blame the movie Billy Jack. Everybody wanted to be an Indian back then.

I was thinking about tattoos today. If you aren't comfortable in your own skin, you might as well color up a new one.

Peace.