Jelly, jelly so fine

Monday, May 29, 2023

Pete R.I.P.


I was saddened to get the call yesterday that Pete Wendland had passed. His daughter Jessie called me. I believe that he died Saturday morning. He had been suffering from various maladies for a long time.

Pete was a great guy, an Orange County dude if I remember correctly, Santa Ana High. He was a surfer, guitar player and car guy. 

He sold Nova parts and was known far and wide as Parts Pete. 

The picture above is from a day we judged the Fallbrook Vintage Car Show together. 

He was a long time member of my coffee group.

I was just thinking of Pete the other day, trying to remember who I went to the Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers show with? It was him. His wife had scored us tickets.

He liked hard rock and I don't think he owned a pair of pants or shoes. Don't remember if he liked the Chantays or the Rhythm Rockers but he was an old Rendezvous Ballroom guy and loved his surf rock.

Second Pete W. I have lost this month. This is bullshit. I hate losing so many of my friends.

Pete kept fish, dogs and a big old African spurred tortoise named Donatello. Loved his daughters, wife and grandkids. I enjoyed going over to his place when I still could. 

You wake up one day and you are either dead or the only one left.

Rick Griffin for sale

I am reluctantly forced to sell two Rick Griffin (1944-1991) pieces that have been in my collection for over forty years. Rick was a friend and a seminal pioneer in surf, psychedelic and Christian art.

The first is the large original artwork for the Book of John, the Chapter 4 header. Ink on board. Interior image is about 18" x 15." It is framed and beautiful in its simplicity. Rebekah at the well.

The second piece is the original conceptual sketch for the Grateful Dead, finished in the late seventies. This was the first work I commissioned from Rick, bringing him the idea of the phoenix rising from the heart, he later asked permission to use it with the Grateful Dead and I assented.

The colored pencil and gouache rendering on vellum ultimately became the reckoning cover for the Grateful Dead, finished about four years earlier. It is the only comp that featured a nautical scene and cloudscape, the phoenix emanating from a beautiful ship's wheel. Those visual elements were discarded later, I think this had something the later emanations lacked.

About 20 x 20" image. 

If you are interested in either of these, email me for a price. I hate to sell but need to put my life on a better financial footing. I have a few more Griffin pieces that I will probably be selling as well.

First Flight

I saw one of the young red tailed hawks fly the other day, for the first time, a short trip to the river bank. I didn't have a camera with me, it was in my other vehicle. 

This morning there was only one hawk in the nest. Things happen really fast at this point.  Sometimes they stick around for a month or two, occasionally they are gone forever. I waited for about a half hour for the hawkling to return but it did not. 

Later I saw the sibling fly out of an oak tree about a quarter mile away. Must feel so great to finally get your wings!

This remaining bird will lose its nascent timidity very soon and embark on its own path forward and into the skies.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Steve Hillage

Melts in your mind, not in your hand.

People ask me if I have seen Dead & Co. I have not and would not, it is just not my bag. If you like them, beautiful. I can usually only listen to a song from this band for a few seconds on the radio before my brain tells me that something is very wrong and I shut it right off.

John Mayer is a fine guitarist, superb even. Love his solo stuff. But when I hear him trying to sing or play a Jerry part or fill what does it sound like? How can I describe it? Let's talk about chewing gum or rather bubble gum.

Work with me for a second, imagine that Jerry Garcia could blow the best bubble gum bubbles in the world, the thinnest, most shimmering, sublime, rainbow colored bubbles you could ever imagine. Translucent, psychedelic orbs that glistened in the sun and launched out of his pursed lips and off his guitar and lifted right off and magically sailed into the ether.

John Mayer blows a Grateful Dead bubble and it is a heavy opaque blob that clumsily crashes on his foot. Even with his virtuosity and best intentions. How does the song go? Gravity.

It is not just John, of course. Many have tried to fill Jerry's shoes, no one has come close. Can't be done.

You can't wear somebody else's pajamas or sing their songs and capture the genius of the initial creator. Elvis had the best voice in the world and he came close but he couldn't do it. 

Eva Cassidy could but she was an angel sent from the heavens for a very limited run. She made everything her own. As hard as he tries, Mayer is wearing somebody else's pajamas. Nobody has been able to follow Jerry. Because the ethos of the music came from deep inside his core and it was tempered in holy fire.

I like to listen to the dead from 1968, 69, 73, 74, 76, 77, 78 and 91. Hard for me to grok anything post Keith and pre Bruce. But that is just me. The Grateful Dead were a band that featured one of the most brilliant bass players in the world, Phil Lesh. He does not play with Dead & Co., never has. And let's face it, Weir's voice is now shot. Age, it happens to all of us.

People who extol the virtues of this current band probably never heard much if any of the original.  But they are fooling themselves if they think this Dead & Co. stuff comes even close.

Tommy Bolin

Shooting Star Ranch

We were invited to a tribal meeting of the the Lipan Apache Band of Texas yesterday. It was a potluck held at Shooting Star Ranch. I believe that we were the only non tribal members or some of the few, in any case I was very honored for the invite.

Our host was Chuck, a retired combat photographer and great guy.

Among other things, they raise endangered San Clemente Island goats at the ranch.

The Lipan were the easternmost band of Apaches and had a very troubled history. Not a lot of them survived and they are still fighting for official recognition. Their language most resembles Jicarilla. Many were absorbed into the Mescalero and some had to escape to Mexico to hide out from the Comanches at a point in their history.

I gravitated towards this fellow with the 101st airborne hat. Talked to him for three hours easy without a break, he telling me incredible Vietnam stories and also tales of his time as a police man. 

It is Memorial day weekend and he was fascinating. I mostly let him talk.

Then he started talking to me about his tribe. About Chevato, Cuelgas de Castro and his ancestors.

Turns out that he is also the chairman.

Amazing fellow with incredible stories. Has passed through the eye of the needle many times. 

Was an honor to meet him and for us to be there.

Happy and Sad

I am happy that the Speaker and President got together and averted a debt ceiling, to the consternation of the radicals on both fringes. The Progressives and MAGA right both overestimate their own political power. The easiest thing would have to let them drive this over the cliff, like a big game of chicken. 

But cooler heads prevailed and that makes me feel good. Politics is the art of the possible. Not perfect but the political winds do not support any one side's idea of perfect. If both extremes despise it it is probably not all that bad.

We got a compromise both sides can live with. Thank you Kevin McCarthy and Joe Biden for getting it done.


I am also happy that the Texas GOP had the balls to go after their piece of crap Attorney General, Ken Paxton. This is a watershed moment and I salute them for fighting Cruz and Trump and the Republican establishment and impeaching this vermin.


On the sad side of the equation is the Supreme Court, who just whacked the Clean Water Act. They want you to think this is about little ma and pa land use decisions but it is really about opening the door for corporate polluters and denuding the only protection we Americans have. They will continue to dismantle the "administrative state" and we are all in serious trouble.

As the congresswoman for New Mexico’s 1st District and a water resources professional, I know that the Supreme Court’s decision will have far-reaching consequences for our state and the communities I represent. With this decision, about 93 percent of our streams and waterways in New Mexico will lose protection from polluters. Countless communities who live near small rivers and waterways across the United States will see them polluted without consequences. It’s wrong. And it runs counter to everything our communities have fought to achieve for generations.  

Never in American history have we seen a Supreme Court majority so at odds with the American people and our fundamental rights: the right to clean water, the right to make decisions about our own bodies, tribal sovereignty, and the right to vote.

 A pox on this court and their families. May they meet their just desserts.


I am also happy to see the Ukrainians putting the hurt now and again on Russia. Isn't if funny that Russia can try to gobble up its sovereign neighbor but the Ukrainians venture an attack on Russia and suddenly they are terrorists and the Russians scream holy hell. How dare they...

The Iranians have now been caught red handed supplying drones to the Kremlin. They are not our friend.


The LIV golf tournament players all have a little of Adnan Khashoggi's blood on their hands and in their wallets too.


Back to happy. I saw the baby hawk fly for the first time this morning, about a twenty foot glide to the shrub. My camera was in my other vehicle so I wasn't able to capture it.

Blue Plate Special

I know what you are thinking? "Hey Rob, all this great chow you are always cooking up. Why don't we ever see the disasters."

Well fine. I have no problem showing you the dark sordid world behind the apron, we pride ourselves here at the blast for giving you the whole megillah, warts and all.

You want to see the sausage being made, it's on you.

Anyway last night my idea was to make a red thai curry. Never have made a thai curry before, was on new ground. 

I went to Grocery Outlet and found a whole fresh chicken I could afford. No preservatives, probably had antibiotics but I ran with it anyway.

Anyway I found a basic recipe and mostly followed it. I hacked up the chicken as best as I could without a mattock. 

I spooned a few teaspoons of curry paste on the bottom of the dutch oven with some coconut oil. Added onion powder and let it all simmer for a couple minutes. I placed the chicken parts, which I had pretty much cubed at the bottom of the pot.

I added about ten ounces of coconut cream, curry powder, turmeric and ginger and then some lemon zest, not having any kafir lime leaves. Added brown sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper.

Per the stupid recipe, I covered it and put the pot in the oven for an hour at 400°.

Everything looked okay when I pulled it but the instant read thermometer was over 200° when we stuck it in the chicken breast. Oops. 

The sauce did not look smooth or creamy, more like clotted. 

I poured the entree into a bowl over some delicious black rice noodles (which are beautiful but actually a dark shade of mauvey purple.)

So I ended up with something like this.

Oh ya, garnished it with cilantro.

The verdict? Maybe a five or six at best. 

I had overcooked the chicken and the coconut had clotted and separated, couldn't take the heat that Alexandra's Kitchen had recommended.

Probably should have done it all on the stovetop, in retrospect. I could control the heat better.

And I did not cut off all the skin and the extra fat did not help. That one is on me. Next time, I am more vigilant about the schmaltz.

Leslie said it was delicious but that I could eat all the leftovers which means that she was probably fibbing. 

She stuck with the dark meat and would not touch the dryer breast. 

Honestly it tasted good to me, I have had far worse. Many times.

She also said that the sauce had turned into a "little puddle of sh*t" because of my poor cooking technique.

I am not sure if she called me chef at that moment but she likes to call me that when I have blown it in the kitchen to stick the knife in a little bit and make me feel like an idiot. It certainly worked.

This morning she suggested I buy some grapes and turn it into a curried chicken salad with some nuts and what have you. I might just chuck it, not really emotionally equipped to confront my failures head on right now.

Like James Beard or Sir Douglas MacArthur, I shall return. Just wait for the culinary redemption tour.

Dillard & Clark - Lyin' Down the Middle

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Puya Alpestris this morning


Funny license plates

 I saw both of these lately and had to laugh.

Cheaper than a hitman?

Friday, May 26, 2023

Yid talk


 An interesting history of antisemitism in America.

R.I.P. Mingo


Lauren Boebert thinks that antisemitism push is just a way to "go after conservatives." What an interesting self own.


Florida mom who tried to ban books sorry to promote Elders of the protocols of zion, that strange tale about us killing christian babies and drinking their blood in our matzah. Yecch.

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters wears SS uniform at his concert in Berlin.  David Gilmour was right, Waters is an asshole.



Shouldn't have took more than you gave

This Traffic album, Welcome to the canteen, is one of my top five all time live albums of youth, along with John Mayall's The turning point, The Who Live at Leeds, Otis and Jimi at Monterey Pop and what else? Hmmm. Woodstock? Maybe. Rock of Ages? It was not particularly well recorded but I can look beyond that and appreciate the performance and virtuosity.

This cut is a Dave Mason song that was also on his solo album Alone Together. The late and incredible Jim Gordon on drums, what a sad story that was. Traffic was such an amazing and musical band, sad that Steve and Dave couldn't figure it out together.

Beware of Darkness

High flyin' bird

I drove out to the SJWA for a little alone time in my favorite sacred spot yesterday. My life is not really fitting together too well right now, deals aren't coming together, five more straight weeks of immunotherapy treatments on the horizon, I am frankly tired of grinding but don't really have any other options. Thought it would be a nice place to mope.

Place was as dried out as a desiccated prune. Maybe my worst washout there ever. Think I saw one hawk. Hardly even a duck in sight.

Ladies and gentlemen, the water has run dry. 

I took my customary hike anyway, dusted the cobwebs off, fought through it.

I would like to say that I had a profound epiphany or zen like moment of satori or mental clarity but I did not. The depressive fog remains...

A few aches in the knees and hips, maybe.

You only are granted so many get out of jail free credits in your lifetime and I think I long ago lost my allotments for filling inside straights. 

And tired card game metaphors.

I went to the Walker Ponds and it was just as bleak, decided to put my tail between my legs and go back home.

My turn to lose, obviously.  Oops, I did it again.

Not going to flip the switch feeling sorry for myself in any case. Just have to wait for the next deal.

I am feeling pretty much alone on my branch, like this egret here. Not very good company, to be sure. Running out of oxygen. And markets.

I drove back home and managed to catch the mother hawk in the nest with the kids. Haven't seen that in a week or two.

I didn't have the right aperture set to nail the shot with my prime but the zoom worked out okay. Kids are really growing up.

Two moments of levity to share with you. I was at the cancer doctor's office and the nurse took me back to check my weight and height. The very sharp p.a. is standing there looking at her clipboard. The nurse asked me if I could see the sign for room number seven?

I said, "Oh is there an eye test too?" They cracked up.


I am at the flea market on Sunday and I have a set of Venetian Murano glass fruit by Barbini that I am hawking, a pear and an apple. 

I am holding the pear in my hand showing it to a woman and she looks at me and says "Is this a pair?" 

I turned to her and cracked wise, "Well, it ain't a banana, lady." Everybody nearby busted up, the timing was too perfect.

Have to have some fun along the way. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Further Than We've Gone

Red tailed story continues...


Today I saw the birds engage in climbing behavior for the first time.

Ike and Tina

My buddy BigMike called to tell me a story. 
He now lives up by Seattle. 

The year was 1965. Ike and Tina Turner were playing the old roller rink in Huntington Beach, the Pav-a-lon.

The Pav-a-lon was a wonderful example of streamlined modern architecture, built in 1938. Mike was at the show. At some point, Tina Turner told the crowd that anybody who wanted to could jump up on the stage and dance.

Mike did so, stayed for a number and had a great time, danced his ass off. What a cool experience!

Mike was with me at one of the greatest shows I have ever witnessed, Devo at the California Theater. The crowd also jumped on stage at that show, was doing swannees into the audience, absolutely joyful bedlam. One of my top five ever.

Ike lived in San Marcos for a while and a guy I used to know would talk to him at the Oceanside car wash. Ike liked a clean ride. He said he was a very nice and chill guy. Not to say he was a saint but I think there was always another side of the story.

Greenfield's Bill Graham book portrays Ike as a very tough and protective man, and recounts a story of him shooting his way out of the Fillmore Auditorium. Amazing musician, for all his real and imagined faults.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Touch of heat

I reheated the pork ragu tonight and it was even better than yesterday. Why? The fennel and lemon sauce was pretty intense and almost too sweet. 

This time I added butter to my saucepan and a generous portion of red pepper flakes. It balanced the forwardness of the sauce.

It was incredible, just what it needed. If you are going to make the recipe I highly suggest that you add the red pepper right from the start.

This dish is like strogonoff. The flavors mesh and meld in the fridge and it tastes better in the reheat.

Bear, Virgin River (Generative AI)

Hey Ken, remember that time in Zion back in 2016 when the bear walked into the river?

Me neither.

Nursery Rhyme


Go take a walk.

I've been really stressed out, for reasons I really don't need to share here and desperately needed a walk yesterday. I thought about SJWA and Torrey but they were too far away and I was too depressed so I just decided to stay in Fallbrook and walk around Los Jigueros Preserve.

lesser goldfinch male

I don't know why but I guess I am really out of shape and can't remember the last decent walk I have taken. Anyway, both hips felt very impinged. Walking came very hard. Add the heavy camera and it was a chore. Dreadful how I have let myself slip.

song sparrow

matilija poppies

Beautiful out there. All that winter rain has brought more flowers than I can ever remember at the preserve. 

I pulled out the merlin app and took note of all the birds I heard.

Common yellowthroats and song sparrows, black phoebes, lesser goldfinches, yellow and orange crowned warblers, California towhees and Hutton's vireo completed the audio list.

I did not see a lot but I heard a lot.

Somebody asked me to put photos in a contest for the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. I hate contests. Why would I want to do that? 

I haven't been to hardly any other of their reserves. I am sure they have plenty of people that have shot great pictures. I honestly haven't.

I did give them a few native american prints for their auction. 

Contests bring out the worst in artists and photographers. Art is not a competition. As long as everybody acknowledges I am the best, anyway...

I do love the organization and appreciate everything they do for our community. Nice to have such a great place to walk and listen.

Pete Brown

Pete Brown has passed. Most people have no idea who we was but the British bard was one of the greatest writers of rock lyrics ever, a fine singer and a poet who published over five anthologies.

He is best known for the writing he did with Jack Bruce for Cream which included Sunshine of your love, Deserted cities of the heart, Politician, White Room and I feel free. Sunshine of your love was the first song I learned to play guitar leads on when I was a kid.

He also worked with Graham Bond experience and John McLaughlin and had various bands of his own that were highly respected if little known to the masses. A lantzman, not that makes much of a difference.

Check out the 13th floor at the 12:50 mark. Cool song.

He died the other day. You did good, Pete. God bless the wordsmiths.

3 O'Clock In The Morning Blues


It's been drizzly, rainy the last few nights.

A thick fog lay on the mountain this morning, Lovely, really. 

The dew was very heavy. Sort of reminded me of Brigadoon. 

The mystical place in Scotland that only became visible once every hundred years.

My puya alpestris got its first couple flowers last night, the hue as beautiful as I had imagined. 

Soon it will be covered in the turquoise buds. 

Blue is the rarest color in flowers. 

There are scientific reasons why.


The birds look positively pissy in their wet nest.


I am so glad that I am not on Facebook or the Friends of Fallbrook groups. 

A friend of mine was telling me that a restaurant I frequent has been getting dragged through the mud online, terrible food and the boss supposedly mean to her employees.

I go to this place a lot and only see a wonderful boss who serves great food. Funny.

I guess it just takes one disgruntled employee.

But I also heard that a certain sushi bar that had recently sold was sold because they felt hounded by social media, specifically one of the FoF sites. The woman didn't need the negativity at this point in her life and said "I quit." I don't blame her. Anonymous people and keyboard warriors are vicious. My stress level has been greatly reduced since I banned anonymous comments.

Sad that magnified social media platforms can be so destructive to good merchants. I have been attacked online and it mostly rolls off me but have nine pages of death threats saved from my wife's incident and that made me very angry.

So I think it is better for me to not be on Facebook or Friends of Fallbrook.


I have an antique show in Palos Verdes next week at the Episcopal Church, St. Francis. Haven't done it in decades. Now in their 52nd year. If you are around, please come by and say hello.