Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Rhymes with Orange


Mean Old World

Rioting Robins


I was on the San Diego Birding Yahoo site this week and two responders wrote in about both a flock and a treat of robins.

I sent this in but it would not go through for some technical reason:

This week I have read here about both a "treat of robins" and a "flock of robins" in our province. I had not heard of the treat appellation before. I looked up a venery website and found these terms used, not sure if it is comprehensive.

robins – a blush of robins

robins – a bobbin of robins
robins – a breast of robins
robins – a carol of robins
robins – a gift of robins
robins – a reliant of robins
robins – a riot of robins
robins – a rouge of robins
robins – a round of robins
robins – a ruby of robins

robins (American) – a worm of robins 

Not a treat or flock to be found. I sort of like the "riot of robins" one.

Robert Sommers


Blowing up in Gottenberg

Google must be tweaking it algorithms again. The blog is what, going in to its fiftteenth or sixteenth year? I forget now. In the beginning nobody read me, then about 400 people a day, then 600, 800, suddenly it cascaded into several thousand a day.

It was ridiculous frankly. All the attention and exposure increased my internal pressure, was no longer writing for a captive audience. I would look some fact up on the internet and often be directed to something I had written and I know I ain't no authority.

But then about ten years back, they changed the way they did business. They ratcheted the Blast down. The blog has now been in a six hundred to 1500 view a day pattern for over a decade, with occasional spikes and lulls.

I am not sure what happened but the hit counter is climbing again. Over 5000 6000 today.

Big jumps in attendance. I'm spreading like a virulent, heeb virus. I am not sure why, since feedjit went under it has been tough to see exactly where the hits are coming from? I used to love my peeps from Ulanbatar and the more remote stations on this earth, can't track the micro hits anymore.

But there has been a lot of new traffic from Israel, Japan and Sweden of late. These people obviously can detect brilliance when they see it.

It is certainly flattering to have people (not to mention a few bots) paying attention. I put a lot of work in and thank you for sharing time with me.



Sushi Camp

If you are tired of your normal sushi bar and want to try one that is now our new favorite, visit Sushi Camp in Temecula. The main guy behind the counter, Donny, is a true artist, white kid originally from Chino. He has a real gift. Fish is incredibly fresh.

Loved the lemon drop roll last night and my favorite hand rolls.  Donny tweaks them with a flourish and makes them his own.

Tony Z took me there the first time years ago when it opened. I wasn't smitten. Now I am. Blows the competition away in Temecula and Fallbrook. Located in the small strip mall past Home Depot.

Sushi Camp



(951) 302-1330

Jake obviously weren't the marryin' kind...



I didn't know they were endangered.


Smart fart technology.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Grateful Dead - Early Morning Rain (11-3-65)

I had heard a few early Dead renditions of the Lightfoot song but never paid much attention til I heard this one recently. Recorded at the Golden Gate Studios in November of 1965. Obviously Phil on vocals. Honestly a pretty faithful and folky version that might be the most Kingston Trio-ish that I ever heard the Grateful Dead in rhythm and treatment. The organ is a bit ham handed and uninspired.

I like Phil's voice here, wasn't pushing his range, sounds good. No pretensions of psychedelia in the cut either. Doesn't come close to the original or Eva Cassidy but what does?

Keep on talking...


No color adjustment. You know, my trusty old dslr still does a fine job. I see remarkable shots from Ken's mirrorless but I don't have to go there. Would cost twenty or thirty grand to replicate the camera and lenses I have. Why spend the money? Good technique and a little imagination trips fancy gadgets, expensive new technology and ai any day of the week.

Storm Windows

Sad goings on at Soho

A friend mailed me this story. 

The husband and wife team at the helm of a high-profile San Diego nonprofit ignited a bitter controversy by taking charitable donations valued at nearly $70,000 out of the state for their personal use. The conflict strained San Diego’s insular historic preservation community, led to a board member’s resignation, sparked retaliation concerns and prompted an overhaul of the institution’s policies.

With no permission and little documentation, the longtime leaders of Save Our Heritage Organization shipped a trove of antiques to their private mansion in Mississippi, where the objects stayed for more than two years, until complaints were made.

SOHO manages historic house museums and fights the destruction of historic properties throughout San Diego County. The nonprofit, which oversees more than $4 million in assets, has helped preserve some of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the region, including the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park and the Western Metal building in Petco Park.

If the allegations are true, it is a pretty despicable breach of trust and responsibility. I have known the principals for many years, although we have never been particularly close. They should have and did know better. SOHO has done a lot of admirable work for the community but this is clearly an ethical breach. Power corrupts.

A San Diego nonprofit’s historical antiques landed in Mississippi. A bitter conflict followed

7 takeaways from our investigation into San Diego’s premier historic preservation group

What I learned reporting on a high-profile San Diego nonprofit


Happy birthday, Dad.


My late father Amos Sommers would have been 97 today. I love and miss him and owe him a lot. I drive around San Diego and see how much he accomplished in his lifetime, his incredible productivity his whole life, even when he was in his early thirties. Del Cerro Highlands, Alvarado Estates, The Collwood Apartments, Lakeside, Santee, Claremont, San Marcos, Escondido, La Mesa, he created affordable housing for so many people in the area. An amazing, brilliant man, he was a good dad to me. Did the best he could.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Takanakuy: Fistfighting in the Andes

Thought this was interesting.

Nextdoor Shots

Ferruginous Hawk

Northern Harrier

Loggerhead Shrike

Red tailed on Saguaro

Vermilion flycatcher

Here are some pics I have put on Next Door recently. I have to assume that they have been horribly compressed as I lifted them off the site. Oh, well! Best I can do tonight.


Man, do I miss being in Hawaii. It has been way too long. One day...


Somehow I came down with a stomach virus, probably the nonavirus. I was running  a 101 degree temperature yesterday, I felt a little better today, still not back on solid food. There is never an opportune time to be ill, my shop is still three or four days away from being navigable and a hell of a long way from being organized.

I have been trying to put three hours a day in minimum, even feeling crappy and managed to put half the boxes away this morning before I hit the wall. Paid some large necessary bills that were gnawing on me. Trying to keep my distance from people, maybe still contagious.

So my brain is a bit scattered and I am going to still let it rip, with a stream of consciousness Monday blast, disjointed, unproven and full of non sequiturs. About all I am capable of in the present state.

I listen to the Beatles channel on Sirius quite a bit but can't tolerate Mondays. Why? Because it is all McCartney and my body can't tolerate that much syrup. Lennon, George, the fabs, no problem. But Paul overload is like being trapped in a wayward disney ride, way too much glycemic index. It's a small world after all...

Andor must have really seeped into my consciousness. I had a dream the other night and was a valley over from Ferrix, now a town. I had to watch Rogue One again, it was no better than the first time I saw it but you can see what Gilroy has done when he had full creative control. Brilliant.

If you want to see another fun whodunit movie, try the Outfit on Prime. Randle recommended it and he was spot on.

Many of my appliances are revolting or having their last gasps of air. I had to buy a new router today, hope I can hook it up without having a breakdown.  Nostril trimmer kaput.Television is also on the fritz, a 15 year old Bravia. They don't make too many televisions in 32" anymore, we have a small space, but looks like we need a new tv. Prices have certainly dropped, not sure what we will do.

My Bird Buddy smart bird feeder came in. Have not quite dialed it in yet but it did send me a picture of a scaly breasted munia perched on it this morning. 

I just ordered the optional solar roof, now making it officially the most expensive bird feeder in the world.

Took two years for delivery, damn birds better like it. Not real happy with the software at present, bit counter intuitive, but it is supposed to identify birds at the feeder and deliver pics in real time.

I had some comments taken down on Next Door last night where I recounted some of the bigotry I have witnessed and experienced in the Friendly Village over the last forty years. A man was bemoaning the loss of the friendly village of Fallbrook. I mentioned a few anti semitic incidents that I had endured in my life here, talked about Metzger, about the poor innocent black kid murdered a few years ago by the street gang, mentioned that our past was not perfect. Lo and behold, my comments were scrubbed off the site this morning. Go figure?

Guess it was a bit too much for the censors. I screenshot it, just in case. Always perfect here in Pleasantville.

We had great plans for my birthday before I left. It has been twenty years since I was home on my birthday. Leslie promised stroganoff. But she got really sick and I ended up at Dennys, fairly miserable.

Their pot roast was not quite as good as I remembered it but the server said it was a real favorite. Quite forgettable.

Disgusting actually. But I ate it, stewing happily in my intense misery, enjoying a dinner that I probably wouldn't feed a dog.

Leslie cooked me a real stroganoff birthday dinner when I came home.

The agony and the ecstasy.


I never had the opportunity to be a parent, not sure what kind of Dad I would have become. I have my father and grandfather's worst attribute, an anger that flashes white hot on occasion.

But who knows what kind of father I would have made?  I like to think a good one, who knows? 

One thing I have noticed is that some of my peers aren't doing such a good job. Many of my friends never had kids, some had wonderful kids, responsible and able to support themselves. Unfortunately many are near worthless, unable to navigate the slightest trauma, still at home in their twenties and thirties.

My theory is that they are overprotected. I was on my own by the age of fifteen and knew that there was no safety net or anyone to catch me when I fell. If we live without the possibility of a hard fall off the precipice I believe we do not receive the tempering needed to get tough and survive.

I know boomer and hippie parents now that are having such a tough time with their worthless kids. Not only are they dysfunctional and incapable of supporting themselves, many have, horrors, become very conservative. They listen to Rogan and all this right wing crap and then blame their parents for not giving them the skills they needed to adapt. They smoke pot all day and then complain about the liberals. Nature of rebellion I suppose.

One friend of mine's sister actually sued her parents because they never told her that she would have to get a job one day and support herself.

Completely worthless. Maybe it's a good thing I never became a parent. Would definitely be a tough love sort of dad.

Tres Cheesy. A woman in Florida is suing Kraft because her velveeta wasn't prepared in three and a half minutes. First we shoot the attorneys...

I haven't tweeted in over a year but deleted my account yesterday anyway because I can't stand the company and don't want to share a universe with the barbarians.

QAnon back on Twitter.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u

Unleash the kraken

Old David Duke may be getting his cherished spot back on Twitter. The unrepentant nazi is about to be sprung from social media jail on account of Elon Musk's new "Vox Populi" policy. 

The people get to vote on who is heard or not heard and the new Twitter owner is talking a general amnesty for everybody currently in Twitter jail that is not named Alex Jones.

The right wing blogosphere is ecstatic. Read this piece at Fox, Much ado about nothing. Most of the reaction is your typical right wing/ libertarian blather but one comment caused me to pause and call bullshit.

This is the sort of inane statement that Marjorie Taylor Greene and others of her ilk and limited intelligence have been trumpeting. A social media post never killed anybody, only deranged people kill somebody. 

But this is entirely not born by reality. Again and again during the hearings of the January 6 defendants who went apeshit at the capitol and attacked the policemen you heard the same thing; we were brainwashed by social media, by Nick Fuentes, by Alex Jones, by Joe Rogan or the right wing wackadoodle of your choice.

Same for the school and synagogue shooters, 4 chan, Gab, Parler, people are being fed a steady diet of hate on social media and people do end up getting killed. The boy who killed his schoolmates in Brazil yesterday while wearing a swastika armband, you don't think he was weaned on social media?

Speech, both written and spoken, has consequences. We all need to be mindful. I fear Elon Musk is opening the gates of hell.


Good article at the New York Times - How a faction of the GOP enables political violence.


We live in a world of dual and dueling media silos and whataboutism is rampant. Everybody should try to be as objective as possible but we all see things in our own way. The rational path is usually apparent if you take the time to educate yourself and figure out what is actually going on in our world. Then take a stand.

And I was thinking the other day about how much I honestly dislike "neutral" people and countries. Take Switzerland, for instance. Earlier this month, for the second time since June, the Swiss refused a request by Germany to send Swiss munitions to the embattled Ukraine. They are afraid this will tamper with their vaunted "neutrality."

Neutrality has been very good to Switzerland. It has allowed them to bank gold for the worst nazis and dictators known to man. I see nothing moral in their stand but it cetainly does look very convenient.

There are times in our lives when we must make a moral stand and pick a side. One day Switzerland, the blue meanies may be coming for you. Who will your friends be then? 


Friday, November 25, 2022

Your Mouth - Zappa

Motel Miseries

Honestly, it was a tough couple weeks hotel wise. Maybe I am just losing it, I don't know. I stayed at a friend's house the first night in Burlingame. The next night I went to check into my hotel, the Hilton.

"Uh, sir, your four day reservation doesn't start until tomorrow."

Oops. That's right, I had booked the Vagabond Inn for the in between night. I checked the address and gave them a call. 

"Mr. Sommers your stay is scheduled for next week."

I didn't? I did. I had made it for the 16th, smack dab in the middle of Santa Barbara. I asked them if they could change it or give me a refund? Nothing doing, pay the late cancellation fee. So stupid, and entirely my fault. I gritted my teeth and paid the exorbitant rate.

Went back to the Hilton the next night for the rest of my stay, it was great.

Fast forward to the next week. I am staying at the Black Oak in Paso Robles when I had the strange impulse to check my upcoming room in Carpenteria for the next four nights. This is at about 1:06 in the morning. I fumbled around and turned the light on near the bed.

I looked at the reservation on my phone. I couldn't have. I did. I had not made a reservation for Carpenteria, I had somehow accidentally made a reservation in Camarillo, about an hour and change away from the show. The price rankings don't worry about distance and I had screwed up mightily and booked the wrong town. I had dire visions of sleeping in my van for a week. What an idiot I am. Santa Barbara is the toughest town in California to get a reasonable room. It is way out of my budget.

I was up for an hour with a nice lady in Manila sorting things through, luckily the Motel 6 North in Carp still had a room available. 

Since the Sandman changed hands and raised their rates, the Motel 6 is my go to in the area. Still can cost you $135 and up but what else is there? Nothing. Tried the Super 8 once in Goleta and it was an absolute zoo. Never again.

I loaded my stuff in and drove the twenty five minutes or so down the coast to the room. Getting back the next morning would take three times as long, on account of the never ending freeway construction but that is another story.

And for a entirely different story, in the old days as a kid, Santa Barbara was the only stop on the 101 in all of California, with traffic lights, called, funnily enough, the lights. I hitchhiked through there a time or two and there might be thirty people in front of you, you waited your turn. I have spent over three hours waiting for a ride there, even with my lucky half dollar in my hand.

But I digress.

It is dark, I am hungry and tired and I go to check in.  The girl behind the counter has purple hair, a paunch and a lot of ink. Very nice and sweet actually. I ask her for a downstairs room and she says she only has one fronting the freeway. I don't care, give me the room, 108.

I get the key and open the door and a foul smell hits me like a ton of bricks. Not only that, the bed is unmade, everything is piled up and I wonder if there is a dead body in the room? Seriously. I go back to the office and tell the girl that something is strange and maybe there is someone else in the room and I follow her back, in case she needs backup. She closes the door, checks it out, wordlessly comes back and gets me a room two doors down.

This room is okay, loud but okay. I actually like Motel 6 because you know what you are going to get and not get. No kleenex, shampoo, paper thin towels, but the floor is better than carpet and all I really need is a bed and commode. I'm pretty low maintenance. 

You look around the parking lot and see a lot of work trucks, the only place for the landscapers and electricians and plumbers that make Santa Barbara run can stay but like me, they can't afford a three hundred dollar room. These guys tend to be hispanic and the barbecues get a lot of usage.

I actually like their shower setup, with the reverse head that shoots away from the door. Ingenious. The only problem with mine is that there were a couple small cockroaches living in mine. But that is cool, after a half hearted try at washing them down the drain, we forged an agreement to live and let live and to stay out of each other's way.

So it was not a terrible stay, no worse than the South facility anyway. a friend tried to stay at mine and checked out in five minutes on account of a dead rat that stunk to high heaven. I like to think that I am made out of sterner stuff. Will probably be staying there for the next ten years or more, I know the drill. Anyway somebody told him that the owner doesn't put a penny into the joint. Who knows, out of my pay grade?

They asked me for a review today on Hotels.com. I was as honest as I could be, don't want to piss these people off, not like I have options. Here's my shpiel:

Beats the hell out of sleeping in my van.

Some recent show faces


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Danny Kalb

I was sad to hear that the wonderful musician Danny Kalb from the Blues Project has passed away.

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to wish all of my loyal friends and readers a very happy thanksgiving. 

I am back from a very long, arduous and thankfully rewarding trip. First a show in San Francisco, then a layout in Sonoma and finally down to Santa Barbara for another event.  Drove back Monday.

It is definitely not getting any easier, driving is harder, packing in and out takes longer and I miss my wife when I am gone, not to mention my cats and peeps. Takes a week or two to put my gallery back together.

I don't have the time to give you a blow by blow but if there was a word to succinctly describe the trip, I would have to say gluttony. I don't think know I have never eaten like this on a trip.

Shirley and I in my booth.

Like my birthday dinner at Koi Palace with ten friends, including blog reader Shirley, who flew in from Marquette, Michigan. I had never met her in the flesh before and it was a real pleasure.

She wrote me a couple years ago and bought a Blast t-shirt.

Speaking of which, I have been amazed lately at the amount of people that introduce themselves to me and mention that they read the blast. Very flattering and much appreciated.

Anyway, back to the meal. A half a suckling pig, a whole crab, whole lobster, whole roast duck, beef chow fun, we went for it with gusto.

I love Koi Palace, which is located in Daly City, which also happens to be the first place I ever saw the Grateful Dead in California. 3/23/74. The Cow Palace.

Listening to the show as we speak, first performance of Cassidy. Saw it with Hank, Gabe, Johnny, my brother, my mom and her then boyfriend Ed. Almost a half century ago.

Anyway I digress, this exercise in Chinese gustatory excess may have only been topped by the next excursion to the rusty and trusty old Iron Gate in Belmont. 

I love the Iron Gate, a warhorse throwback where tuxedo clad waiters still serve abalone and light things on fire. 

Used to take my father there when he was alive, he loved it and we got our favorite waiter from the Bella Vista, Victor.

Ann and I split a chateaubriand and a wilted spinach salad lit ablaze with brandy. We topped the meal off with their delicious Grand Marnier and Chocolate soufflés. Petit decadent, no?

There were so many great meals and frankly so much red meat consumed this trip that I feel a bit guilty. Not just for singlehandedly harming the global bovine population but there is that. But for being such a chazer, certainly.

Then there was this meal with Alyssa at the Tee Off is Santa Barbara. The platters are about 16" long and the rib eye hung over Flintstone style and the prime rib filled the darn thing. Tasted so damn good.

Then there was the hot pot meal at H & L on Airport in Burlingame.  

Very expensive, Hong Kong style. I was the only non asian on the premises. I had pork belly and lamb shoulder. Cooked in about six seconds. They warned me against the spicy broth with peppercorn. I had it anyway. My lips were numb when I left. I dug it. I will return.

So much good food this trip. Nice dinner with Michael at Pausa in San Mateo. Brents in Encino for lox and whitefish. Couple trips to Esaus in Carpenteria for a great breakfast, best chicken enchiladas ever. Multiple breakfasts at Christies in Burlingame. The enchilada special at Super Rica. A wonderful stew at Rick and Anne's in Sebastopol. A great late birthday meal at Melissa and Gary's. Too many great meals to remember, honestly. The shame.

Combination fried rice breakfast at LeeAnns. Yum.

It was good to take a break from the blog and social media for a few weeks. No politics. Give my brain a chance to settle, let the batteries recharge.

I do have a lot to go in to, including pictures and a full run down on the shows but it will have to wait for another day. Was bummed to hear that the long running Del Mar Antique Show has been canceled, at least in the short term, not enough dealers. Big part of my income, hope it resurrects...

Enjoy your turkey and your family and your loved one's company! Don't over eat...