Egret and crab

Tuesday, January 30, 2024




Lena sent pictures from her home in Cardiff. She and Ron have lived there for about fifty years and she says this is the most solid fog bank she has ever seen this evening.

Steve Saylor's friend Beetz sent a pic too. A desert moonrise in Borrego.


I pushed it too hard and got sick. Thought I had food poisoning in Vegas, now I don't know. 102 fever, couldn't get out of bed today. Going to take a covid test in about a half hour, just to make sure. Ron Munn got sick there too. A lot of cigarette smoke to inhale.

In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

Oregon Native Woman with child Orotone

One of the more interesting facets of my job is the research and detective work.  There are many times when you don't really know what you have and also times that you figure out that either the popular wisdom is wrong or that you will never get a final answer to your question.

The jury is still out on this one. 

My friend Bill found this striking photograph at the flea market and asked me if I wanted to split it with him and sell it. 

He knows that I like this sort of thing.

In 1872 Wild Bill Hickock staged a buffalo hunt at Niagara Falls.

29 years later, in 1901, Colonel Fred Cummins launched a Pan American Expo lollapalooza that featured Calamity Jane and the Sioux leader Red Cloud.

Americans started collecting all things Indian with a vengeance, including photos, feathers, pots, baskets and blankets. It never stopped.

Attracted by the beauty and romantic aura of Indian baskets, the United States was swept up in a veritable “basket craze” around 1890. Smithsonian curator Otis Mason commented that the fad “almost amounts to a disease,” a malady exhibiting a multitude of symptoms (1904:187). Decorating homes with Indian baskets and other Indian “curios” came into vogue; it became fash­ionable to “have a number of Indian baskets strewn around the parlor” (Frye 1977:58) supplying “a distinct charm that can be had from nothing else” (Lester 1906:68).

Collecting these Indian baskets became a popu­lar pastime, “people of wealth vying with one another in owning them” (Mason 1904:ix). “Probably no other one hobby has been ridden so furiously,” proclaimed an 1895 article, and there is “perhaps none which faster `runs into money’ (Anonymous 1895:85). A collector of Indian baskets, often referred to at the time as a “basket crank,” purchased baskets directly from Native people, obtained them secondhand from dealers and curio stores, or traded pieces with other enthusiasts.

And I jumped right down the same rabbit hole!

As you can see, the beautiful photograph is of a young native woman with a papoose on her back, swaddled in a star adorned cloth, possibly an American flag.

It was in original condition and the backing paper was still intact and undisturbed. That is a good thing as  you don't want things to be monkeyed with.

The photograph was in really nice shape. It is called a gold tone or orotone photograph due to its golden color and brilliant metallic sheen.

Goldtones were first invented around 1880. A gelatin positive is affixed to a glass plate. 

The most famous exponent of the medium was Edward Curtis up in Seattle. He called them Curt-tones.

Curtis coated the back of the plate with gold and bronze metallic powder, in a banana oil binder. 

His photographs were widely reproduced but his goldtones can sell for a lot of money.

He also used a very similar "bat wing" style frame. But I searched the database and could not find a record of this particular image.

And it lacked his characteristic signature in the right corner.

This was the start of my hunt. The first thing I did was send a picture to my good friend Barry Friedman who has written two books on trade blankets. Did he recognize the blanket and would it provide any clues as to the date of the photograph?

Barry collects old photos of natives with blankets and he was intrigued. He had never seen this one. But he also told me something interesting, it was not a commercial trade blanket like a Pendleton or Capps, they were never fringed like this. 

He thought it might have been a rio grande banket and suggested I ask Mark Winter, a mutual friend and major expert on native weavings of all kinds. 

I would do that but went another direction first, contacting Bob Zinner in Palm Springs. 

Bob has been selling Curtis goldtones for a long time. He told me that he did not know the author but that he had seen it once many years ago and said he would ask Bob Kapoun at Rainbow Man in Santa Fe, another respected expert in the field.

Bob got back to him and told Zinner that it was done by a man named Gibbs, an Oregon photographer and that it was rare. At the same time I had contacted both Cardozo and the Curtis Legacy Foundation and neither of them had any ideas either but the man from the foundation, who I believe is a Curtis relative, said that he would ask around.

Mark Winter told me that the blanket was probably one of the ones commissioned and sold by an early trader in Mesilla, New Mexico named Frances Lester. Mesilla is one of my favorite places in New Mexico, near my childhood home in Las Cruces.

I'm not sure who did his weaving but do plan on researching it. Lester was an Englishman who also had a passion for old roses.

He put out a catalogue like traders Cotton and J.B. Moore.

I took the photograph to my framer and we took it out of frame to look for identifying marks, hoping to find a clue that would help me with my detective work.

There was nothing.

But I did see that the back of the plate was coated with this beautiful blue pigment or ground.

Perhaps that is why this goldtone has such a singular and iconoclastic sheen, even prettier than a Curtis.

I have sold goldtones for over thirty years and I have never seen one painted blue on the back.

I needed to file this factoid to my memory banks.

Well, now I knew positively because of the verso bluing that it was not a Curtis, had a loose suggestion that it might be by a guy named Gibbs and also knew that the blanket was not machine made.

Not much else.

Benjamin Gifford
I decided to search the Oregon archives. Nothing came up for a Gibbs, but there was a Benjamin Gifford who did very similar work. Maybe Zinner misunderstood Kapoun and it was a Gifford?

I wrote this letter:

Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives

A friend of mine recently found this remarkable 10 x 8" goldtone. I took it out of frame and original backing this morning and it bears no signature or identifying marks.  Just a gorgeous image and subject, in great condition and with great reflective qualities.
A friend who has long sold Curtis, Bob Zinner, said he had seen it once long ago. He consulted an expert for me, who said it was a Gibbs (sic), I believe that he meant that it is the work of Gifford.
Are you familiar with this particular image?  Is it in your archives? It looks very much like some of the work that is in your collection.

My friend Barry Friedman wrote two books on trade blankets and believes that it dates from around the turn of the century by evidence of the Pendleton blanket.

Can you provide me with any more information? I believe that you have another orotone in your archives. Does it have the same original blueing verso?

Thank you so much for any information that you might be able to provide.


Robert Sommers
Blue Heron Gallery
Fallbrook, CA 

They wrote me back a nice letter and came back with nothing. Suggested that I write the University of Oregon. Which I did.

Rachel Lilley at Oregon State suggested that I contact you and see if you are familiar with this image. I thought that it might be the work of Benjamin Gifford. She asked her peers and is not familiar with it, saw a familiar similar Giffords in her collection but also suggested I also look into the work of Lee Moorhouse. I sent pics to both the Curtis Foundation and Cardozo and they have never seen the blue ground verso before. I think this will be key on my attributing the orotone.

They were also flummoxed. I looked though all of the Moorehouse and Gifford work in the various archives, no match. Also checked the Oregon Historical Archives.

About this time I got a letter back from John Graybill at the Curtis Foundation who said that Rainbow Man had positively attributed it to Gibbs. He sent me this.

This is a slightly larger image from Kapoun's collection.

Identifies the artist as Philip Gibbs and the native woman as being from the Oregon tribe, circa 1920's.

I merely had to punch in the name and plug it into the internet and found that the image had sold at Skinners eight years ago.

Sold for pretty good money.

And I found an additional goldtone by an artist by the same name that failed to sell last year on Live Auctioneers.

One of the Oregon archives I talked with suggested that I contact a Museum Photograph restorer and conservator in San Francisco, Gawain Weaver, and see if the blue back gave him any clues as to the author of my photograph.

I did so. He had never seen the method before.

I found a man in Seattle, Julian, who advertises for Goldtones. I called him and coincidentally, he illustrates this very image on his site.

He was very kind and open. He said that one of the photographs was signed Phillip Gibbs.

So I guess that puts it to rest.

But does it?

How does a man this good leave absolutely no historical record?

I called Richard Lampert, who made his bones selling Curtis. He had seen this shot once before but it was a long time ago. No clue. I could have called Flury but never did. Asked Michael Caden, no idea.

I saw Bob Kapoun in Las Vegas and we discussed the piece. And it turns out that his shot is signed Gibbs, not Phillip Gibbs.

So I am going to put my Sherlock hat on and make a stab at something that may be entirely off base when the final analysis is in. I am going to say that there is no Phillip Gibbs. That the work is actually the artistry of an Oregon man I found records on in the Historical Museum, John Gibbs.

A resident of Oakland, Oregon, near Redford.

Who happens to be the only Gibbs photographer I could find in the entire Northwest.

A little early but perhaps he continued to work in the field and close enough.

Now I could be entirely offbase, of course. 

And I love to stand corrected.

But I have seen people work off of incomplete assumptions before and be wrong.

I will wait for empirical evidence.

If I actually see the inscription Phillip Gibbs I will go back to the drawing board.

But the beauty of the World Wide Web is that somebody out there might be able to fill in the dots and help me finish the puzzle someday.

Here's to you!

Audience effect

 Does excess testosterone help foster anti-social tendencies in males? Interesting study.

An experimental study conducted on healthy young men found that applying 150 mg of testosterone gel to their upper arms eliminated their strategic prosocial behavior, which is the tendency to act more prosocially when observed by others. The paper was published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

Prosocial behavior refers to voluntary actions that are intended to benefit or help others, often without direct personal gain. It encompasses a wide range of activities, such as sharing, comforting, rescuing, and cooperating. It is motivated by empathy, moral principles, or a desire to comply with social norms. Prosocial behavior plays a crucial role in fostering positive social interactions, strengthening community bonds, and promoting social harmony. It is considered a fundamental aspect of human social life and is generally encouraged and rewarded in various cultural, educational, and organizational settings. However, humans often exhibit more prosocial behavior when they are observed by others. This phenomenon, demonstrated across various social behaviors including blood donations and charitable contributions, is known as the audience effect. From an evolutionary perspective, making one’s generosity visible to others is beneficial as it signals that the person is a valuable group member with good qualities as a potential partner.

I wrote a blog post on a similar phenomenon in primates a few years ago. I will have to try to find it but  if I remember correctly the researchers surmised that an evolutionary hurdle was broached when beta males formed social contracts to blunt the power of some bullying alpha males whose behavior was deemed contrary to the best goals and health of the clan.


Found it, Constraining the aggressive alpha male.

Imagine early hominid life as a tense balance of power between alpha males (and an ally or two) and the larger set of males who are shut out of power. Then arm everyone with spears. The balance of power is likely to shift when physical strength no longer decides the outcome of every fight. That’s essentially what happened, Boehm suggests, as our ancestors developed better weapons for hunting and butchering.

Once early humans had developed spears, Haidt continues, anyone could kill a bullying alpha male. And if you add the ability to communicate with language and note that every human society uses language to gossip about moral violations, then it becomes easy to see how early humans developed the ability to unite in order to shame, ostracize, or kill anyone whose behavior threatened or simply annoyed the rest of the group.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Walk On

Viva Las Vegas

I am back from my show in Las Vegas. It went pretty well for me. 

This was the first time that the Old West Show has been held in Las Vegas. 

There were some logistical nightmares but I guess you are always going to have that in a new venue. 

I am happy that I exhibited.

There is an ongoing consolidation in the auction business, like many businesses. 

Big guys are swallowing up little guys.

The show was originally owned and promoted by High Noon Auctions, very good friends of mine. 

It accompanied an auction, which was the real source of income for the promoters, not catering to a bunch of irritating western and antique dealers.

The show was held in Mesa, Arizona. Joseph and Linda ultimately sold the show to another solid friend, Brian Lebel and he operated the show for quite a few years, both in Mesa, Ft. Worth and Santa Fe.

The people that own the convention center in Mesa got very greedy and jacked their rents up so high the thing didn't make any more financial sense. Brian sold out to Morphy Auctions, one of the nation's largest, which had also fairly recently swallowed James Julia auctions in their native Maine.

Morphy has ran one of the oldest gun shows in the country for many decades in Las Vegas, the Antique Arms and Armor show, and they decided to consolidate the Old West show and bring us Western and Native dealers and the gun guys under one roof for a show. 

I think that it came off fairly well although the attendance did not match Mesa, which is more closely located to the epicenter of interest in the western/native genre, which is Arizona and New Mexico, with the Californian and Texas buyers coming in from either side of the aisle. The show didn't seem to have a lot of local traffic and I never quite figured out if they did much local advertising.

The auction did very well, the show was more spotty. Some dealers did well, some did not, as always. The Antique Arms was tabletop dealers in a hall across the way, really not my thing. Some of them brought good Indian but either put ridiculous prices on it or forced people to bid on things. This sucks, the first guy bidding never is rewarded. If you go to a show, know what you want for things and don't use people.

I've owned guns my entire life but don't obsess about them. Walked the hall but it was pretty boring for me personally.

The Japanese swords and armor were cool.

Our show was beautiful. Business is tough in today's climate, with so many collectors aging out and not being replaced by a mostly disinterested millennial x to z generation.

So the dealers that have managed to survive tend to be really good at what they do. The quality of their material was actually quite amazing. 

I saw better Indian baskets than I have ever seen at a show, some priced at many hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

It was a treat for a person like me who really loves the material.

Ari, McGarry and Manifort all brought exceptional basket material.

Best in class.

I take a slightly different approach, trying to have affordable items mixed in with the big dollar trophies.

Too much high end intimidates people and makes your booth more like a museum.

You have to have something for everybody.

I tend to have more art than most western dealers and it seemed to serve me well.

The hotel itself, the Westgate, was not optimal.

I never had a hot shower in four days, the central tower somehow bereft of a modern plumbing system.

I had not done the cold shower thing for a long time, took me back to the eight months I spent on the Israeli border in the 1970's.

Thankfully the toilet paper was better than the sandpaper we used back then.

I complained to the manager, they said they would send someone up, but nothing ever changed. No sign anybody ever showed up. Place needs a facelift. I thought I was shedding hair in the sink but it turns out they were just cracks in the porcelain. Towel hook ripped off the door, looks like somebody has a cash cow and they are just milking it rather than putting in the money to bring it back up to grade.

I told them I was disappointed when I checked out, they just smiled, not like they really cared. Place ain't the Hilton any longer that is for sure. Read the reviews, it ain't just me...

The view of the beautiful sunrises was gorgeous though, I will tell you that. 

Wish I had brought a camera, was all business this weekend and left it at home. Had to settle on the phone.

The full moon danced on top of the neighboring skyscrapers.

I wish I had taken pics of other booths, really was too busy for three days.

Abe Lincoln was there as well as race car legend Peter Brock.

I only bought two things at the show, these two beautiful Pomo feathered gift baskets. 

They are so precious, hard to resist.

I met some truly wonderful people, including a Mountain Maidu man buying for the tribe.

I sold him a basket. Met a Hopi and an Apache too. 

Grabbed a picture of my pal Ron Munn seeing his new great grandchild for the first time. 

That was great!


The show was a nightmare logistically. Inadequate communication, mixed instructions. 

There was nowhere to park, people were nervous about leaving stuff in their rigs the night before.

You had to go to an overflow lot a quarter mile away to park, load in was staged.

I am sure it will be better next year with the kinks now worked out. Hope so anyway.

I would like to return, many were grumbling. 

The auction took place with an hour to go for our show to be over. 

This was difficult for two reasons, in the first place it instantly sucked all of our potential buyers out of the room and secondly, dealers, often times the best customers, could not attend the auction either.

That was not well planned. How tough would it have been to shut us down an hour earlier or move the auction up?

All in all it was a positive and financially rewarding experience. Higgins, Haskell and Jeter were behind me and it looks like they sold a lot of incredible stuff too. Kim sold some nice things on the other side of me.

Dealers are a bit spoiled, one bad show and they won't go back. But we need markets and there are fewer and fewer of them. We need to take care of the ones that are left and look past an occasional bad show or we won't have anything remaining. I hope people give Vegas another chance.

That's about it. I was up every night gambling, generally did well, until the last night when a loud drunk guy was screaming in my ear. I moved but I had more stupid people splitting tens and holding on 16 against face cards sitting next to me and I finally gave up.

Had a nice breakfast with Joseph and Linda, dinner with Ben and Dain, the Blackburns and the Munns. The food court had great carnitas, I will give them that. Cheesecake good too.

I liked the load out. Since I was staying over, I boxed everything and moved it out in the morning, when I was fresh. I heard rumors of a security person caught stealing jewelry from cases. I haven't checked my totes but think I am okay. That is, thankfully, very rare.

Stopped off at Barstow for a Tommys chili burger on the way home.

Traffic was not too bad but still got home exhausted.

Couple more weeks and I go out on the road and get to do it again.

Now I get to unload the van.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Creepy Wood Duck


Long disjointed ramble

 I was a little disappointed in Jamie Dimon's recent interview on Trump. We've been hearing a lot of this "he bloviates and says a lot of things we don't like but we like his record and there are checks and balances if he strays" type talk of late. Which I think is totally misguided and fails to appreciate the damage he has done and continues to do to the constitution and democracy. 

The checks and balances don't work. The senate said that they wouldn't impeach because it was a matter for the criminal courts and now they have flipped and say, well, we should have impeached him. Had our shot. Big, dishonest double game. And the SCOTUS is nothing but a partisan extension of the GOP most days.

Speaking of SCOTUS, they ruled that Texas was out of bounds in installing razor wire fencing and not allowing the feds border access. Surprised me on that one but I concur. But get Texas congressman Chip Roy. Because it was a narrow decision they lost, it should be ignored and Texas can now do what it wants. Do liberals get to ignore 5 to 4 decisions that go the other way now too? How does this all work?

I don't subscribe to a lot of magazines or periodicals. Let's see; Washington Post, New York Times, The New Yorker, Talking Points Memo, what else?

Today I joined Vanity Fair, there is a deal, a dollar a month for a year. They have had quality writers in the past and I was intrigued by this article, Palm Beach is having a Class 5 identity crisis. Read it if you can get through the paywall.

There is a real difference between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach and one of the differences is that Palm Beach has a history of showing a lot of hostility to members of a certain tribe. My sister is a long time resident of West Palm and I remember stories she told me of not being allowed at certain country clubs or the person who had invited her would risk suspension or expulsion.

This goes back to the Mizner era and the Breakers, place has always been a breeding ground for rich racists and anti semites and it apparently continues to this day. But a lot of wealthy right wing money has flown down the coastline towards Mar a Lago and these birds of a feather tend to flock together.

I hate Florida, always have. Bugs, reptiles, humidity and bigots. The beast rots from the head and has polluted the government from the Governor, Surgeon General and school boards on down.

I have been the recipient of a few instances of pretty nasty anti semitic talk in my 44 years of Fallbrook. That which emanated from the low income Metzger type folks really never bothered me. Getting it from the elite was a different story, from not being able to sit down with the ruling class at certain events to out and out racist bombasts from prominent members of the town.

Didn't take long to understand that we should not go where we were not wanted, that we would never have an invitation to certain gatherings and we were fine with that because we were both disgusted by these people.

It is one thing to experience hatred, when that hatred is produced and fostered by the powerful it gets even more poisonous and toxic. Who would ever want to be part of their toxic club anyway?

I thought that this story was really good. 

Once again god furnishes a get out of jail free card.

I drove to Encinitas and Carlsbad and back yesterday. The potholes were incredible after the intense rainstorm.

photo: SDUT
I had heard about a cheap gas station on El Camino near Ocean Hills and took the 78 east to get home.

Wrong move.

It took a half hour or longer to get off the exit, the 78 was under water. I heard a guy had a paddleboard out there. I finally made it to the gas station. $3.87 a gallon, not bad.

I was flattered when I ran into Diane O'Bannon today and she told me that she had made my peach walnut ginger scone recipe. She said that it was delicious but messy and it is. The batter gets very wet from the juice in the peaches. So don't worry about how it looks, focus on the taste.

Saw an interesting looking woman at the coffee shop and she let me take her picture today with my cell phone.

Forgive me, forgot her name.

I liked her makeup and her hair which you can not see here.

Good vibes.

I have a beautiful tree/shrub in my yard and I don't remember its name.

Its foliage gets such a pretty purple when wet. I sent arborist Roger Boeddart a pic and he didn't know either.

iNaturalist says it is probably in the Dicots class but that doesn't sound right either.

Anyone know?

It was a beautiful misty morning in the canyon.

There were two red tailed hawks sitting on a bough in front of my driveway.


Should start to nest in about a month, I have my eyes open.

The river is really high right now.

There is a washout next door, I called the road department this morning. 

Somebody hooks a tire in the hole one day or night, they are going down to the river in an e-ticket ride.

I haven't had my real camera out in weeks. Too busy. I worked all weekend. I came in yesterday and wondered where everybody was. I thought it was a Tuesday but I was a day off.

Fallbrook shuts down on Mondays.


I don't really understand the Google metrics. I had over 12 million views on Google +. Blogger is much slower. Still just under 5 million views for the Blue Heron Blast. Should take about three more months at current speed to break five million.

A shade under 13 thousand posts, but even more comments, which is cool. It was born on March 3, 2008. In five or six weeks I will commence upon my seventeenth straight year of writing. Only took one extended mental health break, in 2014. Besides that it has been Steady Eddie. Thanks for being along for the ride.

It has changed a lot from the days of Grumps, Window Dancer, KJ, MMWB and the rest of the early fans. Peace to all of you, friends.

Monday, January 22, 2024

John Hartford - Lorena

Folk Art of the Civil War

Word has it that my friend Dain Calvin is hawking his new book in front of a Dairy Queen somewhere out in the boondocks.

The retired and well respected Phoenix attorney has written a new book, Folk Art of the Civil War.

Seriously, congratulations to Dain for his scholarship. 

I think that this is the first book of it's kind and that is a wonderful thing.

I look forward to reading the book or at least checking out a copy later this week when we are both exhibiting at the Old West Show in Las Vegas.

And if as rumored, you are also hawking girl scout cookies too, Dain, I could use a couple boxes of thin mints.

Good Eats

I saw an article yesterday about trends that people should leave behind. One of them was people incessantly showing you what they eat. Erp. Well, all I can say is that it beats the hell out of politics. And with that, here we go.

It is flu, covid and R.S.V. season, if you believe in any of that stuff, of course, and don't think it is a big illuminati conspiracy. 

And what goes better with the coughing, sneezing, runny nose thing than a nice hot bowl of chicken soup? And if you want the best bowl in Fallbrook, you just head over to Rosas for their sopa de caldo.

This is a luscious bowl of soup, teeming with all sorts of things guaranteed to get you back on the right track.

This is not the La Especial style of chicken soup, also delicious, it runs a bit deeper than that.

It has two corn cob chunks, potatoes, squash, rice, carrots, and delectable chicken, swimming in a rich and beautiful broth.

Comes with your choice of tortillas, limes, cilantro, onions and other things that I probably forget.

This is a serious bowl of soup and it takes a while to finish. That is, if you can.

There is a lot here and it is not for the timid.

But I always feel better after I take it on. Very restorative. 

Just don't fill up first on the chips and salsa, everybody knows that Rosa's green sauce is the best in town.

And now Tom has me hooked on their slushy lemonade drink too. Darn.

Rosa's Mexican Food
1075 South Mission Road A
Fallbrook, CA 92028

I had to pick up an item for my show in Las Vegas on the coast and drop off a scone with Ron and Lena this morning.

Afterwards I decided to splurge and indulge in a guilty pleasure. What the hell, you only live twice. I stopped at Tip Top Meats, the best butcher in North County, located in Carlsbad off Palomar Airport Rd.

A lot of people don't know this but you can order anything from the butcher cases at Tip Top and they will cook it for you on the spot in the restaurant.

I went for it today, ordering a big, beautiful, thick, well marbled, prime rib eye steak. 

The butcher weighed it out and gave the restaurant a ticket order for about $28.

They asked if I wanted salt and pepper or their house seasoning. 

When I said salt and pepper they said I was making a mistake so I went with it, along with red cabbage, sauerkraut, german potatoes, bread and a salad.

Not a big fan of the grilled onions but next time I will know and they were easily brushed off.

About a sixty dollar plus meal at a steakhouse. 

While the place makes spartan look like the ritz I come for the food, not the ambience.

Unbelievable steak.

Tip Top Meats

6118 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92009
(760) 438-2620

Open 7am - 8pm Daily.

Love Wore A Halo (Back Before The War)

Hello from New Hampshire!

Recent emigré Kip sends a picture or two from the east. Kip has one of the great medium format cameras, the Leica S. I messed with one once, they are really great, wish I had one.

I called Kip this morning to let him know about the rain we are getting. Do you realize that, as of yesterday, Fallbrook got far more rain than anyone else in San Diego except Palomar and we weren't far off them? Oceanside got about a third of what we received. The storm just hit us perfect. Over two inches by yesterday and a lot more last night. Still raining. Now the flood alerts are up, rivers and streams quite high.

Be careful driving!

Here are the two shots he sent.

Good husbands

My friend Joel is in a remodeling project and his wife said that the columns had to go! The dutiful husband grabbed a sawzall and cut them in half and pulled them out of the house. Joel needed to get rid of the darn things so he put them on Craigslist for a peanuts price. Just get rid of them.

A woman called up ecstatic. She was apparently a pillar obsessive, had to have them. She could barely contain herself in her glee. She would buy them all and come get them. She was so excited she gave my friend both her phone number and her husband's, just in case he couldn't get a hold of her.

Joel wanted to make sure they were coming over at the appointed hour and called her. Nothing. He tried the husband.

"Hi Joel," said the voice on the phone. "What's up?" It was our coffee buddy Paul, who had been roped in by wife Marti into getting the columns and bringing them home. 

We all spend a lot of time with each other every day and it was funny that neither guy knew that the other guy was involved in the pillar purchase.

Now Paul gets to fix them to his wife's specifications. Pillar of the community.

Everybody is happy!

[Note: My idea was to hire a very short bearded person and chain him to the columns and do a Sampson re-enactment. Sell tickets.]

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Cranberry date walnut scone with lemon zest.

I was in a baking mood this afternoon so I thought that I would invent a new scone. I had bought dried cranberries at Sprouts and wanted to use them, having sampled the Ratican cranberry scone and loving it.

But I decided to switch it up a little bit and make it my own. I added chopped medjool dates and lots of walnuts as well as cinnamon. And copious amounts of lemon zest, our tree is bursting.

Then the universe stepped in and I had to improvise. I didn't know that we were so low on half and half so I added sour cream but obviously not enough. My mix was still a bit too dry.

After I crudely shaped them  on my board I decided to whisk my remaining sour cream with a beaten egg and then painted the tops and remolded them, fingers crossed.

They are actually one of my best efforts yet, texture wise, very light.

I really like the slight sweet tartness of the cranberry.

Will do this again.

From cousin Linda

This photograph is not of something I made.  That said, I am a Rhode Islander, and we would NEVER treat our pizza with such disrespect.  We WOULD remove the evil pineapple and replace it with ANCHOVIES.

Linda Forman

Pictures at an exhibition


 I went over to the Art Center yesterday to put labels on my shots for the upcoming show.

I looked around and checked out some of the other photos on the floor and gulped.

There is some really good work in the show. Very professional and gorgeous.

I wasn't going to do it at all, since the last show at the library just came down and I threw some shots in frames at very short notice after a little prodding. Basically what I had around.

Perhaps I should have given it more care and effort? The theme for the show is visual abstraction and many of my shots are objective and representational. Should have brought my a-game.

I hope that I don't embarrass myself... But from what I have seen, there is going to be some beautiful work on display, I hope that some of mine will fall into that category with further analysis.

By the way, none of these shots pictured will be in the show.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Walk Like an Egyptian

Food from you

I have been posting a lot of my meals and have coincidentally received a few nice plates from you guys this evening.

RoxAnn shares a dish she made with tahitian squash, pasta and wild mushrooms.

It looks and I bet it tastes fantastic.

Amy Shelton made a Polish bread stuffed with cauliflower, carrots, caramelized onions, peas and potatoes with mustard seed and turmeric. 

I think it is a variation of a classic Polish bialy.

Also looks delicious.

I would be tempted to hit it with a little spicy mustard but it probably is perfect the way it is.

Gena Barney baked sourdough bread today and made waffles with the discard.

She said the loaf was overproofed but it looks plenty good to me and Jeff said it was fabulous.

Bill Warmboe is up in San Francisco where it is currently wet and cold. 

He cooked up a pork roast, a comfort food for him. He said it was so good he ate half of it.

I admire Bill, one of my closest friends, tremendously. He grew up poor in the very rural upper peninsula of Michigan, he had to hunt, fish, skin and trap if he wanted to eat. Didn't have indoor plumbing until he was in his teens. 

That kind of hardship builds strong, resilient, resourceful people, like Bill. Love him.

Please keep those meal photos coming.