Lost © Robert Sommers 2023

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Karen Dalton

Orange schmuck does it again...

Well, who knew? How in the heck did I miss that vote? 

He sent out a mailer on Rosh Hashana that noted Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and over the settlements in the West Bank.

A new low, even for him. Obviously the nouveau riche poser from Queens once again shows that he has no clue. No wonder he is so loathed in Manhattan.

Honestly, this is one of the most insulting things I can remember 45 ever spilling out of his fetid pie hole. 

If he thinks even one jew is going to have a Come to Moses moment after this sort of frontal attack and vote for him he has another thing coming. Most of us believe that trying to be a good human being is more important to our being good jews than being a kneejerk apologist and supporter of Netanyahu and his awful and divisive policies. We didn't leave Israel, many in Israel left us.

I have news for him. All of those things he says he did for Israel, well half the Israelis and 90% of American jews disagree with, they were totally inflammatory.

Most of us want the Palestinians to get a fair shake too. Imagine that? We are of course, not a monolithic block. We don't all think the same way. But I will tell you, many of us feel revulsion at an increasingly powerful haredi class that is impacting woman, minorities and secular Jews in a very negative way. 

An orthodox sect of parasites that will not even fight for their country, preferring to spend their time praying and growing their natty dreadlocks on somebody else's sheckel. And a government that regularly caves in to settler interests and is breaking many long standing promises it has made to other inhabitants of the state. 

Some have surmised that Trump's gaslighting on this subject is actually aimed at evangelical Christians, I think that he is actually trying to further divide Jews.

Others have spoken out.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said that “It is dangerous and wrong to suggest an entire segment of the Jewish population voted to destroy America and Israel."

"Whether or not it’s intentional, President Trump is playing into conspiracy theories about dual loyalty here. Even worse, this is happening on one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah," Greenblatt added.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America CEO Halie Soifer in a statement said the group condemns "the antisemitic threat Donald Trump issued on Rosh Hashanah."

"At a time of rising antisemitism in the United States, this hatred and bigotry must not be normalized, including by the party Trump leads," Soifer added.

It’s not the first time Trump has drawn criticism for comments about Jewish voters. Trump last year attacked Jewish Americans for not giving him enough political contributions and suggested, falsely, that they have dual loyalties to the United States and Israel.

Jewish American groups also criticized Trump in 2019 for calling Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu "your prime minister" during an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition, among other incidents.

Donald, when I need your advice on how to be Jewish, I will let you know. 

Peregrine Falcon

Monday, September 18, 2023

Kung Food Chuck

I cooked dinner last night and had a semi fail that ended up being really delicious. I watch quite a few chefs on YouTube and have learned a lot from them. People like J. Kenji López-Alt, smart hipster chefs and authors.

One of the new chefs I have been following is Jon Kung, a chef from Detroit who wrote the book Kung Food. He is funny and irreverent and a hoot to watch work. Wears a string of pearls. Uses a lot more onion and scallion than we like but oh well...

I was watching Jon reverse sear a chuck steak and decided to try it myself with his very unorthodox method. 

You see, he cooks his chuck at extremely low temperatures and then does the reverse sear that seemingly everybody is now doing. Try 185°. It's like sticking it on a sunny window sill.

I went up to Organic Roots the other day looking for short ribs. They were out but I got a grass fed, well marbled, beautifully dressed chuck roast instead. 

Note that I said roast. Kung was cooking a chuck steak. It turns out there is a big difference but I ultimately did not let it become a fatal flaw.

Yesterday I pulled the roast out of the fridge and coated it with olive oil. With my hands I rubbed in a blend of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, onion and garlic powder with just a hint of paprika and cayenne. Really coated everything.

I stuck it into the lukewarm oven and waited. And waited. And waited. Kung pulls his out at 115°. It seemed like it took an eternity to get there but I finally did. He also does it sous vide.

Anyway I took it out of the oven, each side of the roast had a different temperature. I checked it with three thermometers just to make sure.

I then tried the reverse sear in the Le Creuset skillet on the stovetop, generously basting it with butter. 

I took it up to 125° as directed.

When I cut into it, it was pretty raw and the tendons were even beyond my ability to eat. 

Then I realized that he was doing a steak, I was doing a 2.7 lb. roast and I had possibly made a very bad assumption that they could be handled in a similar fashion.

What to do?

I fired the oven back up to 400° and let it rip. I was not going to let this beautiful roast go to hell.

After about fifteen minutes I pulled it out, pretty damn perfect.

Slow cook to reverse sear to full on blast.

Earlier in the afternoon I had made a chimichurri sauce with olive oil, red wine vinegar. oregano and fresh organic parsley. I bought Italian, Leslie told me that she prefers curly.

I added two teaspoons of red chili flakes, salt and pepper. The recipe called for two to four cloves of garlic, I added ten, our standard. We love the Uruguayan sauce, this was my first try. A little salty, I added more oil and parsley and it came around nicely. The recipes say not to process, I cheated. Stuck it in a large pyrex measuring cup and waited on the beef.

Leslie made a gnocchi and an arugula parmesan salad. We were in business.

Life is a learning curve, I am glad I pulled this one out.

Dead solid perfect.

Rocky Raccoon (Anthology 3 Version)

Visit to Barrio Logan

A friend asked me to take a shot of a mural down in Chicano Park that a friend of his had something to do with. 

I hadn't been to Barrio Logan in a long time and it is an hour from here but I finally made time yesterday morning.

I like Chicano Park and the whole Logan Heights community. 

My old boss, Lou Orrantia, grew up there. 

Chicano Park has so many more murals than the last time I visited and it was actually a great celebration of color and culture. lots of little shrines, flowers and offerings.

I had a lot of fun. I took my normal lens and a 12mm fish eye and just played around with shapes and bends. 

There are some very interesting sightlines. 

I also shot a couple of interesting characters, like this man. Love his hat!

Logan Heights is a longtime hispanic neighborhood that began with an influx of refugees from the Mexican Revolution in 1910. It has been a dumping ground for San Diego businesses that like to pollute in places where people have little political power.

Junkyards and chrome shops, things like that.

Chicano Park is overseen by the private Chicano Park Steering Committee. It houses the largest collection of outdoor murals in our entire nation.

It's history is interesting.
The construction of Interstate-5 in the 1960s bifurcated Logan Heights and displaced residents. It was one in a long series of injustices and insults to the predominantly Latino community that had been battling an influx of junkyards setting up shop next to homes because of the area’s zoning laws.  

Then the building of the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge displaced more families and below left massive concrete pillars. Residents urged the city to build a community park – and the city promised to do so.  
The whole community is peppered with colorful murals, a tradition in the latino community dating back to Diego Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros in the 1920's. The murals do not shy away from themes of social justice.

Do you remember my writing last week about the Salk Institute's plans to kill the magnificent sightline view that Louis Kahn created on the meridians? 

Well, think how nice the view would be if Cal Trans got rid of the awful square box under the bridge?

I wouldn't hold your breath.


I met some friends who live in Coronado, Chip and Cecilia, at a restaurant I found on Yelp after my shoot. Todo pa' la cruda

I think it loosely translates as something for your head after the hangover. 

They had never eaten there before, usually eating at the mariscos restaurant across the street. 

I had thought about the Salvadoran restaurant nearby but this place had both white and green posole and I have not had the green in a long time.

It was delicious. We ordered the posole and birria tacos. The posole came with a plate of everything, including chicharrones and a chicken taquito. 

Chip ordered the shrimp.

Cecilia and I had some mandarin drinks.

I know that I am prone to hyperbole but I think I can safely say that you can not find Mexican food of this quality in our area outside of Barrio Logan. 

They have set a high bar, at places like this and Cuatro Milpas. I would return in a heartbeat.

But the most stunning thing I have to share happened during my meal. 

I felt a light tapping on my back and a little hispanic girl at the next table said hello. I said hi back. 

Her mother and compatriots were shocked. Their eyes were wide open. 

You see, we were then told that the young girl does not speak. 

I asked if she was on the spectrum, the mother's english was not very good but she shook her head in the affirmative. 

She does not talk to anyone but her mother, never to strangers or anybody else.

But she couldn't stop smiling and talking to me and even said goodby when they left. 

Tapped on my back throughout the meal.

Made me feel wonderful, best part of the day.

I made a new friend.

Toda pa' la cruda

2851 Imperial Ave

San Diego, CA 92102

(619) 919-5096


I want to go back again on a sunny day, get some more shots, explore the community and eat some more food. Was a very nice Sunday.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

When we were fab

So the answer to my Beatles trivia question is none of the above

Andy White played drums on the original release of Love me do, to Ringo's consternation. White was a noted session drummer in the area. He claims that he was also the drummer for the single Please, Please Me.

Love me do was included on the band's Please Please Me album and on the 1964 Tollie single in the US. It was also included on the American LPs Introducing... The Beatles and The Early Beatles.

Ringo played tambourine on the track. There was a version released on Anthology in 1995 with Pete Best drumming but George Martin didn't like his extra drum fills.

Ringo did drum on a version but it never made it on an album until Past Masters.

Ringo from Wiki:

On my first visit in September we just ran through some tracks for George Martin. We even did "Please Please Me". I remember that, because while we were recording it I was playing the bass drum with a maraca in one hand and a tambourine in the other. I think it's because of that that George Martin used Andy White, the "professional", when we went down a week later to record "Love Me Do". The guy was previously booked, anyway, because of Pete Best. George didn't want to take any more chances and I was caught in the middle. I was devastated that George Martin had his doubts about me. I came down ready to roll and heard, "We've got a professional drummer." He has apologized several times since, has old George, but it was devastating—I hated the bugger for years; I still don't let him off the hook.

The other three songs all featured Paul behind the drum kit, during the brief time during the White album when Ringo walked out on his mates. Paul also played drums on the ballad of John and Yoko.


My favorite Beatles trivia is "What is the Beatle Ringo Starr's real last name? If you answer Starkey you are wrong. It is Parkin.

From Ringo:

"My real name is Parkin, not Starkey. My grandad was named Johnny Parkin. When my grandfather's mother remarried, which was pretty shocking in those days, she married a Starkey, so my grandfather changed his name to Starkey, too. (I went to have my family tree done in the Sixties, but I could only trace back two generations - and they couldn't find me! I had to go to my family to find out, and even they hadn't wanted to say anything in case the press found out.) "


Learned something new the other day about Rocky Raccoon. Written by Paul, it was inspired by the poet and writer Robert Service, who wrote the poem, "The shooting of Dan McGrew." It was originally titled Rocky Sassoon, which happens to be a prominent sephardic last name. Paul thought Raccoon sounded more "cowboyish." George Martin plays Honky-tonk piano on the track. It was the last song to feature Lennon's excellent harmonica playing.

From Bob D.


“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group … There were people in that rally — and I looked the night before — if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest.”

— President Trump, Aug. 15, 2017

I was talking to one of my conservative coffee buddies the other morning and he made me laugh. 

He had been reading the blog and said "You know, there were good people at Charlottesville marching too. They weren't necessarily all evil Nazis. Some of them just loved the confederacy and their Southern history."

I admit that I am having a hard time warming up to the notion of good Nazis, 

I asked him if the good ones were the altos singing "The jews will not replace us" or the baritones?

I decided to research the event and see if my memory was failing me and found this good article at the Atlantic.

The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was ostensibly about protecting a statue of Robert E. Lee. It was about asserting the legitimacy of “white culture” and white supremacy, and defending the legacy of the Confederacy.

So why did the demonstrators chant anti-Semitic lines like “Jews will not replace us”?

The demonstration was suffused with anti-black racism, but also with anti-Semitism. Marchers displayed swastikas on banners and shouted slogans like “blood and soil,” a phrase drawn from Nazi ideology. “This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal niggers,” one demonstrator told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve during their march. 

I don't know man. Hard to find a lot of love or sympathy for these people. I have yet to hear a coherent statement from one of the "fine" people that marched that day. Or one that was not filled with hatred. Looks like a Nazi, smells like a Nazi, I'm going with Nazi. The bad kind.

...there were only neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the Friday night rally. Virtually anyone watching cable news coverage or looking at the pictures of the event would know that.

It’s possible Trump became confused and was really referring to the Saturday rallies. But he asserted there were people who were not alt-right who were “very quietly” protesting the removal of Lee’s statue.

But that’s wrong. There were white supremacists. There were counterprotesters. And there were heavily armed anti-government militias who showed up on Saturday. “Although Virginia is an open-carry state, the presence of the militia was unnerving to law enforcement officials on the scene,” The Post reported.

Melanie Safka


For a supposedly knowledgeable and proficient bird photographer, I am a lousy birder. I am the first to admit that. My ability to match bird calls with birds is frankly dismal. I have friends that can identify over 500 birds by call. I am more of a visual than auditory person and don't think I will ever approach a fraction of that.

But luckily my recognition ability is improving, albeit slowly. And I can credit my improvement to using the free Merlin I.D. on my phone.

Merlin helps me in many ways and places. I use it to learn identifications in the field and when I am laying on my couch.

I will turn the sound recording function on and get a long list of avian visitors in a five or ten minute period.

I heard a strange buzzing call this morning. Merlin told me that it was an elusive Bewick's wren. How the heck would I know that? I have taken a few shots of them before but was with knowledgeable birders that clued me in.

Same with the Northern Flicker that was hanging around the other day. Would not have known it was here but for Merlin.

It is a great app, provided by the Cornell School of Ornithology. 

Download it for free here.


Never come down? 

I saw this snippet at Interesting facts regarding the Alpine Swift, a bird that even sleeps in the air.

Life goes on

Roy Cohen wrote a nice piece on the current state of affairs on his The Spoke and Word blog today. Roy is an excellent writer, has been blogging for longer than I have and is also a first rate photographer.

He makes a point in the blogpost in regards to the Ukraine, that even in the midst of conflict;

...we saw images of people shopping, working in restaurants, pumping gas, and skateboarding — as best they could, knowing a missile could strike near them at any moment. It wasn’t that the whole country was under siege, but the limited siege could show up anywhere, at any time.

I immediately thought of this famous shot by the Welsh war photographer, Philip Jones Griffiths, I believe it was taken in Ireland. 

Something so ludicrous and banal about the lady mowing her lawn.

Friday, September 15, 2023


Equinox, Salk Institute


As many of you are no doubt aware, one of the architectural/astronomical marvels of our area occurs in La Jolla, twice a year. Architect Louis Kahn designed the Salk Institute so that on the Spring and Fall Equinox, the light of the setting sun would fall on the water canals he designed in the walkways. I believe that they mirror the earth's meridiens.

I have only shot the event once, back in March of 2015. Kip and I jockeyed with a phalanx of photographers grappling for the center line, which I obviously did not exactly have here. 

Close enough.

The security and staff were not friendly at all, fairly hostile. I am not sure if photography is even allowed anymore? Glad I snapped what I could, hope to get another crack at it one day. I had never used this particular lens before this night and was shooting fairly blindly.

Coming up soon.


Sadly, the folks at Salk, an institute long troubled by ineptitude and mismanagement,  may be killing the whole courtyard area, if they have not already.

Two from the NYT:

Two interesting pieces in the New York Times yesterday, one partisan, one an obituary. I recognize that many of you can not get through their paywall and will synopsize. Many people bag on the New York Times and the evil "mainstream media", I find its articles well researched and well written and generally supported by facts.

The first is by Jamelle Bouie, an opinion, Republicans don't mind the Constitution, it is democracy they don't like.

“A very large portion of my party,” Senator Mitt Romney of Utah tells McKay Coppins of The Atlantic, “really doesn’t believe in the Constitution.”

...The most glaring instance of this, of course, is Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which was backed by prominent figures in the Republican Party, humored by much of the Republican establishment and affirmed, in the wake of an insurrectionary attack on the Capitol by supporters of the former president, by a large number of House and Senate Republican lawmakers who voted to question the results.

Other examples of the Republican Party’s contempt for democratic principles include the efforts of Republican-led state legislatures to write political majorities out of legislative representation with extreme partisan gerrymanders; the efforts of those same legislatures to raise new barriers to voting in order to disadvantage their political opponents; and the embrace of exotic legal claims, like the “independent state legislature theory,” meant to justify outright power grabs.

In just the past few months, we’ve seen Tennessee Republicans expel rival lawmakers from the State Legislature for violating decorum by showing their support for an anti-gun protest on the chamber floor, Florida Republicans suspend a duly elected official from office because of a policy disagreement, Ohio Republicans try to limit the ability of Ohio voters to amend the State Constitution by majority vote, Wisconsin Republicans float the possibility that they might try to nullify the election of a State Supreme Court justice who disagrees with their agenda and Alabama Republicans fight for their wholly imaginary right to discriminate against Black voters in the state by denying them the opportunity to elect another representative to Congress.

It is very clear that given the power and the opportunity, a large portion of Republican lawmakers would turn the state against their political opponents: to disenfranchise them, to diminish their electoral influence, to limit or even neuter the ability of their representatives to exercise their political authority.

At times, Republicans seem fixated on the Constitution. When pushed to defend America’s democratic institutions, they respond that the Constitution established “a republic, not a democracy.” When pushed to defend the claim that state legislatures have plenary authority over the structure of federal congressional elections and the selection of presidential electors, Republicans jump to a literal reading of the relevant parts of Article I and Article II to try to disarm critics. When asked to consider gun regulation, Republicans home in on specific words in the Second Amendment — “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” — to dismiss calls for reform.

All true.


The obituary was for woman body building pioneer Lisa Lyon.  What an interesting woman, I ended up wishing that I had known her. 

A kendo practitioner, she started body building to build strength and then broke many barriers involving woman's looks and appearance. 

She was a model for Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton, among others, a one time girlfriend of the great John Lilly, she sounds like an amazing person. She was also Frank Miller's inspiration for the Marvel Comics character Elektra.

Lisa Robin Lyon was born on May 13, 1953, in Los Angeles. Her father, Leonard Lyon, was an oral surgeon, and her mother, Roslyn (Robin) Lyon, was a homemaker.

Lisa told Mr. Chatwin that she had a dark childhood and created rituals — counting, touching things — to self-soothe. Before she found bodybuilding fame, she wanted to be a film star or an artist or a medical illustrator. She worked for a time writing script synopses.

After her early fame as a body builder, she mostly left that world behind, though she published a book, “Lisa Lyon’s Body Magic,” in 1981. In 2000, she was inducted into the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation Hall of Fame.

In the Washington Post interview, Ms. Lyon said her aspiration was to look like an animal, “a sleek, feline animal.” The ultimate compliment to her look, she said, would be “if someone asked, ‘What planet did she come from?’”

She was not only beautiful, she was obviously highly intelligent, creative and a trailblazer.  

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Baby hawk in the nest


Thursday Thread

I think Kip is starting to dread my morning emails. He gets up pretty early and then the first thing he reads is me, the harbinger of doom. POW! He is threatening to move to the other side of the country if I don't stop.

I really can't blame him. Who wants to be hit with all that bad cheer first thing in the morning? He will be greatly missed.

Here were today's offensive shares:

Earth well outside of safe zone, humanity doomed, yada, yada...

The assessment, which was published in the journal Science Advances and was based on 2,000 studies, indicated that several planetary boundaries were passed long ago. The boundary for biosphere integrity, which includes the healthy functioning of ecosystems, was broken in the late 19th century, the researchers said, as destruction of the natural world decimated wildlife. The same destruction, particularly the razing of forests, means the boundary for land use was broken last century.

Climate models have suggested the safe boundary for climate change was surpassed in the late 1980s. For freshwater, a new metric involving both water in lakes and rivers and in soil, showed this boundary was crossed in the early 20th century.

Another boundary is the flow of nitrogen and phosphorus in the environment. These are vital for life but excessive use of fertilisers mean many waters are heavily polluted by these nutrients, which can lead to algal blooms and ocean dead zones. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization data, three times the safe level of nitrogen is added to fields every year.

The boundary for synthetic pollution, such as pesticides, plastics and nuclear waste, was shown to have been passed by a 2022 study. The Richardson-led analysis assessed air pollution for the first time, which affects plant growth and monsoon rains. It found air pollution has passed the planetary boundary in some regions such as south Asia and China, but not yet globally. Ocean acidification is also assessed as getting worse and being close to exceeding the safe boundary.

The scientists said: “This update finds that six of the nine boundaries are transgressed, suggesting that Earth is now well outside of the safe operating space for humanity.”

Jesus wants your uterus

Wendell Shrock doesn’t believe in condoms. “We should leave the uterus to God,” the street preacher from Tennessee tells States Newsroom, in front of an abortion clinic outside of Atlanta, mid-morning in late July. Sweat drips from his cowboy hat into his salt-and-pepper beard that stretches halfway down his red-plaid shirt. The retired police officer is running security for the conservative Christian group Operation Save America’s annual national event. Their followers interpret the Bible literally. Some believe constant procreation is God’s will.

Shrock surveilles the crowd while his wife, Dawn, cares for six of their 11 children on the opposite end of a sidewalk crowded with warring abortion messages. One of their daughters walks over, and Shrock explains she will wed soon. He’s been praying God will give her 20 children. (For privacy reasons, he doesn’t share her age.) One of his sons got married about six years ago at 18 and has had a child every year since. Shrock says with pride that Dawn, who wears a hair covering and a long dress, has never held a public job.

“God created a woman, not only to have a baby and a baby to grow inside of her, but to nurture a baby,” says Shrock, who is not a spokesperson or leader for the group. “I could never have the closeness to my children that my wife has. That’s because God created her that way. He created her different from me. And I know that goes against some of today’s norms. ‘We’re all the same’— that’s not what my Bible says.”“We live in a culture of so many weak and pathetic Christian men who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag if their life depended on it,” Storms said in August 2022, from the pulpit at Mercy Seat Christian Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, where he is the minister of evangelism and Trewhella is the lead pastor. “It’s not being a protector to your family that God has called you to be. Get yourself in shape. Cultivate some physical strength. Buy guns. If you need to, buy a lot of guns. It’s no limit on gun purchases; you have my blessing. … And if you buy a gun and you buy ammunition, train with it, and get around a group of men that you can train with. Get around a group of courageous men who will fight, bleed, and die with you, for you, and for your families and for your liberties.”

I hope that I don't cause any of the rest of you to move! You can always block me and save on moving expenses.


Shawn sent this picture of the new Axis of Evil:


Speaking of which, our new potentate, Elon Musk, has decide that Taiwan belongs to China. Thank you, Great Leader. Not like we can say anything, he will shut down our country's defense systems.


Harwood sends this over. First Bob Ross painting up for sale. Cool ten million will fetch you this beauty.


From Renée - Investors raking it in by privatizing water.


From Melanie - 


From Will - Until they killed them, The incredible saga of how the Koch brothers got their money.

In the 1920s, after discovery of the massive oil field on the Osage Reservation, the US government took away the Osage’s right to their wealth, instead appointing a white Guardian for each Osage to “protect” their money. 

Here’s how their guardians protected them: Osage Anna Brown was shot in the head, her mother Lizzie poisoned, and her sister Rita was burnt to death when her home was dynamited.  Sixty, and likely many more, Osage were assassinated.  And their “guardians,” their murderers — inherited their oil rights.

From Barry L. - Is our universe starting to unravel? Please don't let Kip see this...