*

*
Egret and crab

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Hard Work - John Handy

One last thing

Not to kick this around too much but a strange thing happened at the Santa Barbara show. The showcase company we have used for decades sold to a new owner a few years ago. The prices went up measuredly but that is not the problem I want to discuss.

The new installers are a fairly radical bunch of tatted up, left wing Mexican kids. Very nice people, they do their job very well, we have never had an issue before. But one of them left the show the night of setup yelling "Fuck Israel, viva La Palestina" in a very loud voice. I was standing right by the door.

This was a little disturbing to me. Not sure why he felt the need to do that. Everybody is entitled to their political opinions but screaming epithets in a crowded room is not exactly creating a dialogue. No matter what you feel about the current situation in the middle east it seems to me that this megaphone type utterance has no purpose. Except of course alienating the considerable amount of show dealers who happen to be Jewish or supporters of Israel. I was trying to get ready for a show, not debate international politics.

It is one of the things most nauseating about the woke, their utter assurance and self righteousness conviction that they are doing god's work here, with no room for another opinion.

At the end of the show, when it was time to pay for the case, I let my displeasure be known. Told him that I had family a half hour from the site at Revivim and that my cousins know some of the October 7th dead. Asked him if he thought it was okay to massacre old people and children, to take hostages?

He could tell I was really pissed. To his credit, he apologized. I sincerely hope that this incident was a one off.

Little Walter

Circa 1963, Buddy Guy on guitar.

The week back

It has been a decent week. I tried to take some time off and recharge my dwindling batteries but can't say I feel fully charged as yet.

I caught an Aztecs game with Kent Tuesday night that didn't start until eight and the drive home kicked my ass a little bit.

We won. Couple more games until the conference tournament, we will not win the conference this year, everybody else in the Mountain West is finally catching up.

Todd did some clean up on my place. It is looking pretty good after all the rain. Here is a shot of the front yard on a rare sunny day.

My bromeliad ballansae flower spikes are now bursting with seed. 

Looking for people that want to germinate them. 


Boy, does that plant love my yard. 

Never seen anything like it. 

Likes half shade.

One of my absolute favorite plants and flowers. 

Stunning.

Wagman is getting new floors and has taken to carrying his dog around on his head. Nice view.

Leslie has been cooking up some delicious meals. She caramelized pineapple and made a red duck curry this week. She made hot marinated asian style pickles as well. Truly fabulous.

Then the other night she brought a giant slab of sushi grade ahi home, crusted it with spices and herbs and slightly seared it. Served it with cilantro rice. Unbelievable.

I made short ribs on Wednesday or Thursday. Made a lot, leftovers tonight.


I also whipped up a batch of nectarine, pecan ginger scones. I used a vanilla lemon icing this time.

I think I will double the batch next time. These things just disappear too quickly.

Have a great weekend. 

I was going to go shooting with Ken next week but I still haven't emptied my boxes and I need to take care of business first.

I think I secured a nice new estate yesterday. Working things out. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Camel

From the New Yorker

 


Booty Call

I need to buy new jeans. 

As my stomach grows like a prairie fire over the hot Texas panhandle, my ass seems to be receding in inverse proportion, in fact it has darn near disappeared. 

It is a tough conundrum, and honestly I am spending a lot of time pulling my pants up to the latitude line that marks my massive equatorial girth. 

Not my fault I have no ass, of course. It was shot off in the war but I don't like to talk about it much and it will be a story for another day. Well, actually that is a lie. 

Come to think about it, my pop didn't have much of a butt either so I guess I can blame him. But, like I said,  I really don't want to talk about it.

I never paid my booty deficiency much mind, honestly never really cared about my inferior posterior.

But since Beyonce, Kardashian and J-Lo, the big butt has become like hot currency in our culture and I hate not measuring up with my paltry butt cheeks.

I have been researching the flat ass phenomenon and see that there are a lot of self help groups and fix it plans for those of us genetically disadvantaged folks with a measly gluteus.

But I have sat on these vertical haunches for so long I might as well learn to live with them at this point, in fact I have kind of got used to them. No butt implants for this guy.

I was thinking about the problem this morning and came up with an idea. No Ass Jeans. For aging boomers without a bottom. I believe that they will be a big hit. Turn my bottom round deficiency into a positive. It's a gas to have no ass, feel the passion in my meager rear fashion. I'll always carry the torch for my dwindling rear porch.  No? I'll work on it.

Keith Richards - I'm Waiting For The Man

Not woke, not asleep

I went to the basketball game with Kent the other night and he remarked that I had been pretty restrained on the political front lately on the blog. He is right. I really haven't felt like wading in. 

The truth is that I have always been about policy and not party and I feel even more so today. I don't have a party any more. I block all the texts and requests for money from the democratic party. And I abhor the lion's share of the policies of the GOP.

I am a man without a party. I hate the extreme right and I hate the extreme progressive left. Pretty equally. I am this close to becoming an independent. Was afraid to vote the ticket the other day, not really knowing who was pushing what radical progressive agenda anymore.

The roots of my dissatisfaction with the left started with Barack Obama. Because it was so evident in his rapprochement with Iran that there was a fall guy in all of his grand global schemes, Israel. It was always destined to take the hit. See Blue Heron Blast Obama Iran. File damage to Israel and Jews under acceptable collateral damage in Obamaspeak.

Barack beget AOC and Bush and Omar and Tlaib and Presley and now you have a whole cadre of progressive leftists who think it is acceptable to invade a country, kill babies and students enjoying a rock concert, behead the elderly and take hundreds of hostages.

Excuse me if I don't sign on. I don't give Israel a free pass here, I despise Netanyahu and the Settler movement but blaming Israel for responding to such terroristic atrocities is a bit like killing your parents and crying about your orphanhood. Both Israel and its captives are engaged in a very dark dance and death spiral. But I have talked about the situation too many times and don't have a lot to add at this point.

What do I believe in? Choice, protecting the environment and being loyal to countries being threatened and attacked by murderous dictators like Putin and Xi Xinping. Democracy. Our constitution. Strong borders. 

I think that Donald Trump, if re-elected, will maneuver to become a President for life like his cronies in Russia and North Korea and the thought nauseates me.

Who knows what Trump will do on the first day in office, who he would jail? But I heard a similar story on the left the other day, about the need for a no longer favored leftist leader to be re-educated. The gulag door obviously swings both ways.

Did you read about this guy?  A Venezuelan influencer who lives on the American dole and wants his countrymen to support the thugs who roll people in Times Square. 

Venezuelan migrant Leonal Moreno posted a video to his social media urging his over 300,000 followers to "unite" and pay the fines of a 15-year-old migrant who allegedly shot a tourist in Times Square earlier this month. 

"I invite you to find [his] mother and [for] all of us to unite to pay the fines [so] that the young Venezuelan feels that he’s not alone during difficult moments. Remember that up there there’s a God who sees everything [down here]," the Venezuelan TikToker said. 

He continued," An entire nation [is] on top of him instead of helping him - remember that the young man is going to be released. And he will be released, do you know why? Because he’s underage."

There may well be in fact a god up there who sees everything but many of us mortals do too. And not only do we not feel it is our duty to support your criminal asses, we would like to send you  and your fellow parasites and criminal countrymen on a boat back from whence you came, to the consternation of people like AOC. More from Moreno:

"You came to the United States to work, and I came to vacation, look at the difference. You and I didn’t come with the same purpose. You came to the United States to pay the taxes that you didn’t pay in Venezuela."

The same day, the migrant posted another video, admitting, "I confess that I don’t like to work because it gives me allergies. You work, I don’t, but in the end, neither of us have money. They keep criticizing us because I live off of taxes that you pay monthly."

Party is over asshole. Feel free to throw me out of the club.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Junior Saw It Happen

The straight poop

I opened up my Ram ProMaster van about two weeks ago and couldn't help but notice a few tiny rodent poop scattered in the back. Hmmm.

When I opened my door in the morning of my last night in Santa Barbara, a little mouse jumped out, couldn't have been much bigger than an inch. 

Very cute. 

He or she now has a new home up the coast in a very upscale berg.

Jury is still out if any rodent comrades are left in the van.

*

Speaking of poop, I went shopping for contact paper to mail a watercolor yesterday and stopped by both the Dollar Store and Grocery Outlet. Nada. Neither store had what I needed.

I contemplated stopping at Albertsons but knew that I had a visitor knocking loudly in my colon and decided I had better skedaddle back to my office post haste to drop the kids off at the pool. Contact paper could wait.

I got to the back door (no pun intended) and inserted my key in the lock. 

Lo and behold, the key broke off, right in the middle. 

I was able, knees knocking, with all of the dexterity my arthritic hands could muster, to fish the small broken bit out of the lock.

But alas, this is no way relieved my own present difficulty. Lucky I still had a key to my wife's shop and no one would be the wiser.

But it was touch and go for a second there.

Afterwards, I went down to Hank's, Joe's, Ace Hardware, whatever you call it, nobody ever present anymore at Bruce's old locksmith shop. Guy wasn't sure if he could replace it, finally taped the parts together and thankfully, made it all work.

Timing is everything, no? Tragedy narrowly averted.

Ari speaks Cree

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Blue Heron Gallery, February Tour

I woke up in the middle of the night, in a complete sweat. What city was I in and where was the venue I was supposed to be working? I honestly could not remember. It took about a minute to realize that I was in Santa Barbara, at a fairgrounds, Earl Warren, incidentally one that I have worked at since I was seventeen years old.

Strange.

It has happened before. Once after a long string of shows, I woke in the middle of the night wondering where the bathroom was in a particular hotel, only to finally figure out that I was in my own bed. Road weariness.

I am back from about two weeks on said road, with the exception of the one day that I came back and feverishly repacked.

I left two weeks ago Wednesday for Palm Springs. 

It had been raining at my home and the light of the rising sun was just beginning to illuminate the rusty old biplane in my front yard.

I made it out to the desert with little worries and started unloading.


Saw my buddy Rob in the parking lot, smoking a cigarette. We have been friends for a long time. 

He helps build the walls at the show and does many other things as well with Eric and the other setup guys.

All longtime friends. Couldn't do it without them.

I watched my comrades setup their booths. 




Steve, my booth partner for every spring show, and I set up ours. I handed out my homemade scones to some people that had demanded that I do so. They were happy. Rosemary gave them a 9.5, a bit measly in my opinion, sort of like a miserly Russian Olympic judge.




We both had an excellent show. Our material has always worked together seamlessly. 

I think people appreciate our expertise. Always fun to split a booth with Steve.

Here is our good friend and top print dealer Roger Genser with Steve.

There were over a thousand people at opening night, at $125 a pop.

They were a bit toned down in a sartorial sense but everybody was having fun and we made some excellent sales, to both new and existing clients.

Here are a few shots in the booth and of the show.








People go to the desert to have fun and everybody enjoys Modernism Week. If you have never gone put it on your schedule.

But book your motel or hotel way in advance. I was staying at the Motel 6 north which was way up by the windmills. I didn't even know it existed but it worked out okay. While I was checking in somebody came in looking for a room. $400 for a Motel 6. Unbelievable. I paid about a quarter of that.

One nice thing about the motel was there was a Denny's fifty yards away. I went over one night after the show, completely bushed.

I had a really sweet waitress and asked her what the best thing was on the menu. She directed me to the salmon, said they had a great cook. I talked to him and they suggested the senior portion, a suggestion that caused me no small umbrage.

They were right. For under fourteen bucks, I got a fabulous and large portion of salmon, perfectly cooked, a salad and broccoli. 

It pays to be nice to the staff and to talk to the cook.

The show came, the show went, had a long pack out and came home late Monday night, just before midnight.

The next day I got up at five, in order to grab a parking space to repack and replenish the van.

I had packed the Santa Barbara boxes before I left, had to secure a place to load before the yoga people took them all.

I finally got finished with my list of stuff to do about two o'clock, made a new set of labels and went home to pack more clothes and bake another batch of scones.

I left for Santa Barbara at about six the next day, a bit tired still from the previous week.

For some reason the GPS directed me farther up the 15, wasn't sure why. I ended up in Phelan and Palmdale, in the desert near Lancaster. Put my up by Lake Sherwood and the snowcapped mountains and places I had never been. Finally got on the 138 and 14 south.

It turned out that the 210 was shut down with a jacknifed semi. Took over five and a half hours to get to Santa Barbara, ended up going through the Camulos Valley. One of my favorites. Long trip though.

I get to the show and start unpacking with little problem. My paper is up, everything is cool. By the afternoon of the second day everything is going swimmingly, paper hung, case full. Or so I thought anyway.





I get a lot of real estate in Santa Barbara, can really pack it in.

About three o'clock on the second day of setup, the lights started dimming. The next thing I know there is smoke coming out of the maintenance closet next to my booth, which holds the giant sub panel and electrical service gear.

Not only is it smoking but it is making an awful noise.

Next thing I know sic fire engines and a cop roll up. I am not sure if they are going to evacuate the building. They tell the fairgrounds staff to shut down and do nothing until Edison gets there, which unfortunately was very late that night.

Edison says the problem is a high voltage fuse on another part of the property. Told them to get an electrician because they didn't want to see anybody electrocuted. I am texting management and getting a rundown because this is very late at night.

I honestly did not think we would have a show. Changing fuses and transformers takes time and money. They would have to find an electrician in the morning. And after seeing the antiquated panel belch smoke I had to wonder what kind of further stress it could endure?

I felt for the dealers and the promoters. Some dealers had come far, one from Louisiana. everybody had big expenses. I felt snakebit from the start and the route through the Mojave, was this show destined to fire?

When I got there Friday morning, the guys on staff told me they thought noon. No big. 

But somehow, miraculously, everything came together and we opened on time. I am very happy to say that I had another great show. Gave out more scones, this time blueberry, cranberry ginger walnut with a navel orange icing from our trees.






Two great shows in a row. Imagine that?

Show was over at four on Sunday. I was completely exhausted. Took three and a half hours to pack up and out. I fell asleep on the road twice, ended up screaming and slapping myself int he face to stay up. I know, I should have got a motel. Completely hit the wall. I ended up sleeping in an Arco parking lot in Lake Elsinore for ten minutes to gain a little strength and composure. This will be my last show for several months. 

I unloaded Monday, sent off packages today and plan on taking it easy for the rest of the week.

This one done wrung out everything I had.

Adios.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Proto-speak, linguistics and computational phylogenetics

 https://arstechnica.com/science/2024/02/a-new-look-at-our-linguistic-roots/

"Almost half of all people in the world today speak an Indo-European language, one whose origins go back thousands of years to a single mother tongue. Languages as different as English, Russian, Hindustani, Latin, and Sanskrit can all be traced back to this ancestral language.

Over the last couple of hundred years, linguists have figured out a lot about that first Indo-European language, including many of the words it used and some of the grammatical rules that governed it. Along the way, they’ve come up with theories about who its original speakers were, where and how they lived, and how their language spread so widely."

They say in the beginning there was the word

but in which fair place 

was it first heard?

Anatolia or a West Russian berg

neither possibility would be too absurd.

Was it an ancient farmer  

or a person hunting herds 

who was the first to enunciate their verbs?

Why do we share so many words

with folks who live so far not near?

wish we had a perfect mirror

to see our past and what brought us here.

R.S.

Crashing the gym

Anytime Fitness, Fallbrook

Santa Barbara Antique Show

 

Please join me at the Santa Barbara Decorative Arts and Vintage Sale and Show.

River

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Monday, February 12, 2024

Syd Barrett - Octopus

Sunny Side of Heaven

I have been listening to a lot of the late Danny Kirwan's music of late. Such a beautiful player.

Bad Press


Boy has our sleepy little town of Fallbrook made the news this week. Not in a good way. First a major drug bust that included meth, heroin and fentanyl along with a bunch of illegal guns. Then we had a stabbing murder at the Econo Lodge by a guy who fancied himself the pirate, Jack Sparrow. A drunk driver drove through the front window of Anytime Fitness at some point this weekend. And top it all off with a shooting at the gas station this morning.

This is all very strange and uncharacteristic stuff, not the sort of activity or publicity we need or are accustomed to. I was talking to a detective this morning and was told that the cheap motels get about three hundred dollars a night from some governmental agency instead of the $59 they would normally charge a tourist. So they keep them filled with some pretty unsavory types of riff raff as well as the unfortunates who are just down on their luck. Because they are making money.

We get the local motels (not to mention our old hospital) brim full of these out of town basket cases and nobody knows it is going on until you hear about a guy playing pirate who does somebody in. Arrgh. Very sad.

Billy Joe Shaver

Super Sunday


I have a busy show schedule coming up and am not much interested in football so I thought I would get lost in nature yesterday. What a beautiful morning. Leslie made me a bacon and pancake breakfast and a cup of her amazing coffee.

I drove out the driveway which Todd had fixed the day before so that we could get in and out again after the massive rain.

The red tailed mother was on her nest, perched high over the Santa Margarita River Valley.

I drove up north to my special spot and took a look around. 

The road was pretty muddy in spots but I managed to amble through.

I normally don't come on Sundays because there are other humans there, it was mostly older birders yesterday, in big packs. 

I prefer midweek when I have the place to myself.

I wonder if there is a venery term for a large group of older birders? 

In any case, they were well behaved and pleasant and their phalanx mostly self contained. 

Had themselves a nice little picnic afterwards. 

Beats shuffleboard I guess.

I never understood birding by committee or photography by committee, the reason I practice both avocations is really so that I can be alone. 

I like the silence. But everybody has their own needs and to each his or her own.


It was gorgeous and crisp out there. 

I had snow capped peaks in every direction, Jacinto, Baldy, Gorgonio and more.

It wasn't an epic day birding but it was a very good day and I had a great time. 

The first bird I spotted was a vermilion flycatcher, but not in his usual spot. 

I didn't get a great vantage through the branches and didn't even take a shot.

 I have plenty of good ones already, no big.

I saw lots of red tailed hawks, no eagles yesterday. 

Ran into a fellow who saw red tailed hawks mob a falcon but I never saw the peregrine myself. 

I did see a red tailed cross skypaths with a crow.


Lots of shovelers and coots, a few avocets and black necked stilts. Greater egrets, no herons.


Watched this Nuttal's woodpecker flit about in an old oak tree.

I was very content. I started my customary hike but didn't have the right shoes for the mud and stopped my trek short.


This red tailed looks rather forlorn, no? Probably bet on the 49'ers...

I saw quite a few mountain bluebirds. 

Never got the perfect shot but was happy to see them. 

Saw a lot of pipits too. 

The mountain bluebird has the prettiest blue in the sky, short of a macaw anyway.



The highlight of my day, visually and photographically speaking, was spotting this great horned owl taking a nap.


I was sorry to disturb his slumber. 

What a beauty!

*
I drove to my shop and met my restorer and his wife who had just finished conserving a painting for me. He did a great job as usual. Afterwards I met Leslie at Renee's to watch the end of the game. Renee made prime New York strips, Snoop Dog's mac and cheese and an arugula salad. Leslie roasted her golden cauliflower. Renee made a strawberry cake for dessert.

Epic meal and game. Quite competitive, both teams should be proud. What an ending!

A very good day!