Peregrine flight

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Saying the quiet part out loud...

I think that people feel much more free to engage in racist invective in the present era. I didn't see as much bigotry expressed openly in the past as it is today.

I was watching this fishing video on YouTube and some of the comments floored me. Way it is, I guess...

Of course, this is one guy and one instance. People have absolutely no qualms unleashing this stuff, on a variety of targets.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Dress your salad

I was talking to a woman friend who owns a restaurant the other day and we started talking about salad dressing. 

I mentioned that they have changed so much in my lifetime. 

When I was a kid Roquefort dressing was a big deal, when was the last time you even saw it served or ordered? 

Same with Green Goddess or Russian, they get little play today.

Used to order the Russian at Anthony's on their wonderful Crab or Shrimp Louis. Now all gone.

I guess there has a been a sea change in our salad dressing tastes.

These were the Food Channel's top ten 5 years ago:

Elderberry vinaigrette? Really? And here are the picks from ten years prior:

Bye bye French and honey mustard, the latter will not be missed. It is interesting to me that Italian has fell so far. Greek, it's Greek to me. Is salsa really a dressing? I guess we now live in a vinaigrette world.

Saturday Scones are full of red and purple

I had a very strange lunch. I was invited to Village Roots by a couple of friends and we started talking about the debates and policy and the issues of the day. My friends happen to be Republicans, I believe, but we respect each other's opinions and everything was very constructive. And I don't actually care who they are voting for, it is really not my business.

Like most people today, no current options seem really good and we were bouncing some prospective names around. We told a couple jokes, had fun, nothing bawdy. I mostly was condemning the progressive left and mentioned that we could do worse with candidates than a Jon Tester or Gretchen Whitmer.

There was a guy and his wife sitting close by, about my age or a little younger. Looked like a rich stockbroker or something like that, slick Orange County Republican. Short guy, blond, round glasses. Wife, skinny, eyes soulless.

All of a sudden the guy gets up from his meal and starts screaming at me, he is leaving, he can no longer listen to obscenity from a Democrat. This left us all a bit rattled, personal politics not withstanding. I asked him what exactly I said that was obscene and he said that I had mentioned that Gavin Newsom was a bit slick and "pussified."


In the first place, the guy should have minded his own damn business, we were having a private conversation at our table, but since when did pussified become such a terrible obscenity? I was happy to see Mr. Angry leave, the truth is some people just hate Democrats and I could hear it in the way he enunciated or spit out the word.

Most adults learn to tolerate different beliefs, especially when they are not invited to participate, but some people would rather throw an angry tantrum like a baby.

I was glad to see him go, the guy was definitely way too tightly wound. Kind of ruined our lunch. And it goes to show that it is not really safe to talk any kind of politics in a public place when people are so rattled and divided as they are today. 


I went home to my safe domicile and decided to end the day on a better note, with scones. RoxAnn brought me boysenberries earlier and I made a new variety, boysenberry, cranberry, blueberry with ginger and walnuts.

It was a nice batch, I liked the dough consistency and purple color. I think I could do this in my sleep. Sometimes the berries can make things too wet but everything was perfect this time.

Leslie wanted an icing and I made a new one, Valencia orange juice and zest, mixed with cream and butter and confectioner's sugar.

Really good! I think all who eat them will agree, no matter what their political leanings.

Robert Johnson

I listened to this Robert Johnson song the other day and was struck by the line "I have got a bird to whistle?" Where had I heard that before? Of course, Corrina, which I first heard sang by Taj Mahal. Funny how these phrases and snippets get passed down over time. Not sure if Johnson was the first even...

On the water

Leslie and I went out whale watching yesterday in Oceanside. We go frequently but this was the first time we had taken the five o'clock cruise at Oceanside Adventures and it would be the first time on the new boat, the Nala.

The reason we went is that there have been an average of ten blue whale sightings a day out of Oceanside and we had never seen one. we usually see fins, humpbacks and greys.

The blue whale is the largest animal on earth and the largest animal that has ever been on earth, including the dinosaurs. The width of the tail is twenty five feet. They run about 90 feet long in the northern hemisphere, slightly larger in the Southern. 

They are a little longer than the fin whales we typically see but have much more body mass and are not as fast.

We saw two yesterday but mainly waited around for one who had a rather atypical dive pattern. He was going down for about twelve minutes between dives, at about six hundred foot depth. There is a lot of krill off shore right now and the blues are hanging around.

I missed a nice fluke shot, fumbling around. Snapped a few pictures, nothing epic. They are not as dramatic and out of the water as the humpbacks, my favorite.

This is a dive sequence:

It felt good to be out on the water, as always. I think I like the older boat a little better for viewing but this one is very smooth.

We hardly saw any dolphins, which was surprising but did catch a school at the end. Nice evening.

We saw this pretty little crab near the pier. It was dark and this was shot at 14,400 iso so I am pretty happy with the snap.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Papa John Creach

Payόmkawish (People of the West) Highway

Assemblywoman Marie Waldron has introduced a bill that I like and appreciate. The following is her press release:

Payόmkawish Highway

For over 10,000 years, the Luiseño people have lived in the San Luis Rey Valley. Historically, their villages extended along the coastline, and inland along the San Luis Rey River. The largest recorded village was known as Topomai, located in what is now Camp Pendleton. Other historic villages to the east included Páume (Pauma) and Palé (Pala).

The current route of SR 76 was the main path the Luiseños used during their seasonal migrations back and forth from the ocean to the mountains. The historic and cultural significance of this transportation corridor deserves special recognition. Last week I introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 215 (ACR 215), which will designate a portion of State Highway Route 76 from Pauma Reservation Road to Rincon Rancho Road as the Payόmkawish (People of the West) Highway.

Tribal people and sovereign tribal governments play a significant role in the 75th Assembly District. Local tribes are noted for their achievements in education, economics, and agriculture. They contribute to our economy through job creation, providing educational opportunities and enhancing community safety. They support local charities and assist local governments through planning and mutual aid agreements. As we all remember, their support in wildfire emergencies has been critically important. ACR 215 is a small step toward recognizing the history and significant contributions Luiseño people make to our state and region.

ACR 215 is supported by the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, the Pala Band of Mission Indians, the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, and the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians.

Fred Neil



Wrangler Leslie Jane

🐄 One of the neighbors' cows kicked their way out of the pasture yesterday. Leslie spent about an hour and a half corralling it back in, with the help of another neighbor or two.

I looked at the fence as I left this morning. 

Leslie, in true frontier spirit, taped the posts and rails back together with duct tape, it looks pretty cool. I will try to take a picture later.


Leslie followed me home after we got back from the Sawdust Festival and called me en route, she said my rear lights were not working and we passed a cop. 

I went to the mechanic yesterday and he couldn't find anything wrong so I will continue to look.

Anyway, I got to coffee today and the fob would not lock the car or open the rear hatch. It was strange because the keyless car started so there had to be enough juice in the fob battery for that.

I asked the boys and they said replace the battery. I drove to Joes and I pull it out and realize in an instant that I had put the van battery back on the ring and not the car and that is why my vehicle would not start.

Duh. 👀

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Kinky Friedman

Robert and Leslie's Pesto Prawns

My friends Lena and Ron had bought way too many prawns and asked me if I wanted some. The shrimp were very large and still had the heads on and my pals were a bit burnt out from cleaning them. Did I want them? Sure I did.

I decided to ask my friend Joel how his wife Lauren makes shrimp. Lauren is a Kiwi but was raised in Australia I think. All those people down under know their prawns.

Lauren told me that she liked to do it this way, the way they do it back home. I listened and gave it a shot. 

I cut off the shrimp heads, cut the shells off too and de-veined the shrimp. I washed them in cold water, cleaned them and patted them dry.

I stuck the peeled prawns in a garlic olive oil marinade and added, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper and garlic, let them sit.

I cooked the shells and shrimp heads in a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil for five minutes, stirring quite a bit. 

I took the shells and heads and put them in a sealed bag in the trash. I let the pan cool down, as she instructed.

What was left in the pan was full of flavor and would be what I cooked my shrimp in. 

I added a little water at the end and cooked the sauce down at a simmer.

This is how a lot of people make shrimp broth for things like risotto. 

The flavors get highly concentrated.

Leslie made some wonderful pesto recently and we still had a tub in the fridge. 

After we made our pesto pasta I put two tablespoons of butter in my shrimp pan and brought it to medium heat. 

Cooked about two minutes a side.

Topped it with parmesan and we were good to go.

I don't know that I will cook shrimp like this all the time but the flavors did seem more intense, almost too shrimpy, and it was an interesting thing to try.


Anne and Ivan's son Daniel was down at the Hillcrest Farmer's Market and he was kind enough to bring me organic peaches.

There is nothing worse than a bad peach and nothing better than a good one. 

This was a good one. So sweet.

I made my basic and I think arguably my best scone last night, straight peach walnut with a bit of lemon zest. Topped it off with a molasses sugar.

Pretty freaking wonderful.

These are hard to beat and hard to stay away from.

Luis Alberto Urrea


Israel and Netanyahu

I thought that this was a good article on Israel and Netanyahu. When the ex head of Mossad says you are terrible for the country you are terrible for the country.

We Are Israelis Calling on Congress to Disinvite Netanyahu

We believe the prime minister is driving Israel downhill at an alarming speed, to the extent that we may eventually lose the country we love. 

I am pro Israel but they have themselves missed many opportunities to create a more sustainable future for all of the parties involved. Netanyahu's lurch to the religious right has endangered the country.

The signatories are heavyweight.

By David Harel, Tamir Pardo, Talia Sasson, Ehud Barak, Aaron Ciechanover and David Grossman

Mr. Harel is the president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Mr. Pardo is a former director of Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service. Ms. Sasson is a former director of the special tasks department in Israel’s State Attorney’s Office. Mr. Barak is a former prime minister of Israel. Mr. Ciechanover received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004. Mr. Grossman is a novelist and essayist.


On the flip side, I thought this was interesting too.  Inside Israel, the war looks very different. I read a similar article the other day in which the kibbutzniks realized that they were being killed by infiltrators that had worked on their farm.

It reminded me of the story of Yednitz, my grandmother's village in Moldova, where the gentile villager who played violin at the bar mitzvahs was later found raping the girls during the pogrom.


Eddie Vedder - Save It For Later

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

El Splendid Splinter

As a San Diego native, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the baseball star Ted Williams. I was wrong. According to this fascinating blurb, he hid the fact that his mother was Mexican American.

Born to a white pickle salesman and a Mexican American Salvation Army devotee in San Diego, Williams became what some writers called the "greatest hitter who ever lived."  ... After his sensational 1939 rookie year, Williams returned to San Diego to find around 20 of his Mexican American relatives waiting for him at the train station for a hero's welcome. Williams took one look at them and fled.

This fascinates me. Williams lived on Utah St. in North Park and went to Hoover. My late stepbrother David Fisher lived in the same neighborhood and I was born not too far away. I had no clue he had latino roots.

I did a little more research today and found this in Bill Nowlin's Researching Ted Williams Latino Roots article:

There was one sentence that I read in Ted Williams’ autobiography, My Turn At Bat which set me off on a personal research journey that took me some unexpected places and raised a few eyebrows along the way. It was a 44 word sentence about his mother, which I only focused on the third time I read the book:

“Her maiden name was Venzer, she was part Mexican and part French, and that’s fate for you; if I had had my mother’s name, there is no doubt I would have run into problems in those days, the prejudices people had in Southern California.”

I was re-reading his autobiography while trying to organize material for the 1997 Masters Press book that I co-authored with Jim Prime: Ted Williams, A Tribute. I hadn’t read My Turn At Bat for maybe 10 or 15 years, but the sentence probably caught my eye that time around because early in the 1990s I had married a woman of Mexican-American ancestry. I wanted to find out more about May Williams’ family background, but her surname was misspelled in Ted’s book (Venzer for Venzor) which stymied further research.

After Jim and my book came out, we heard from one of Ted’s nephews, Manuel Herrera. He was a treasure trove of family lore and put me in touch with Sarah Diaz of Santa Barbara. She was May’s sister — Ted’s aunt. She was 94 years old at the time, but very sharp. Talking with both Manny and Aunt Sarah, I was able to put together a kind of family tree. Both of Ted Williams’ maternal grandparents had come to the United States from Valle de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico. Pablo Venzor and Natalia Hernandez Venzor entered the US at El Paso around 1890. May Venzor was born in El Paso in 1891. The family ultimately made its way to Santa Barbara.

May met her future husband, Sam Williams, in the Salvation Army. They made their home in San Diego.

I thought this was interesting:

As Al Cassidy, the executor of Ted Williams’ estate, told writer Ben Bradlee about Ted’s early days, “Ted didn’t want anyone to know he was part Mexican. It concerned him. He was afraid they wouldn’t let him play. He’d say, ‘It was an entirely different time back then.’”

More from Wikipedia:

His father was a soldier, sheriff, and photographer from Ardsley, New York, who had served in the U.S. Army and was a veteran of Philippine–American War.while his mother, May Venzor, a Spanish-Mexican-American from El Paso, Texas, was an evangelist and lifelong soldier in the Salvation Army. Williams resented his mother's long hours working in the Salvation Army, and Williams and his brother cringed when she took them to the Army's street-corner revivals. Williams's paternal ancestors were a mix of Welsh, English, and Irish. The maternal, Spanish-Mexican side of Williams's family was quite diverse, having Basque, Russian, and American Indian roots. Of his Mexican ancestry he said that "If I had my mother's name, there is no doubt I would have run into problems in those days, [considering] the prejudices people had in Southern California."

Ted was notoriously reticent, even shy and surly. 

I wonder if this was a part of the reason, not wanting his true ethnic heritage to be known? One of the most important people in my life was my old boss Lou Orrantia. Lou was a baseball phenom at San Diego High School. He lived in Barrio Logan and played with the great Deron Johnson. I wonder if Lou knew that Ted was a fellow Latino? He would have been very proud. 

Calling Doctor Neon...

Leslie and I were invited to the opening of the Sawdust Festival in Laguna last night. Out pal Dr. Neon is a longtime vendor there. He told us that parking would be crazy and to park at the Providence Hospital in South Laguna and take the trolley in.

He gave us the secret password. We did as we were instructed and gained early admission. The lines to get in were incredibly long but we ixnayed due to some fast talking on my part.

It was fun to walk around and I bought a beautiful ceramic teapot from Walter Reiss, loved John Lucero's dayglow paintings.

I bet the guy who made the Five Summer Stories piece he didn't know the name of this surfer in his carving. (I won - El Chingaderro Boyd Elder)

They had a good band and I loved watching Dr. Neon do his schtick.

We enjoyed the festivities, everybody was having a good time.

Laguna is a bit compressed for this country boy but we saw some pretty people and some whose bloom was off the bud.

Sonia is in the first group.

I sat up high on a rail and people watched.

The only drag was getting home.

We went out to the trolley stop and there was no trolley, one sailed right through.

We walked to the beach, a considerable truck and waited at that trolley stop.

Leslie finally called the number on the trolley sign  and the city told her the trolley stopped at six, which was ridiculous on a night when so many people were in the canyon and we had been directed to park over four miles away.

I hadn't ubered in years and found out that my credit card had expired, had to pee like crazy, finally located an uber and he took us to our car.

Very poor planning, will not make that mistake again.

Of course there are no restaurants open after ten, so after a look through dana point, capo and San Clemente, we finally found a Mexican joint where we could eat something and I could take care of my personal business! Yea!

All in all, a good evening. Thanks Doc!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

We never learn


The way the school saw it, it was devil worship.

In October 2019, three teenage girls were punished for participating in a spiritual ceremony. Their Arizona school expelled two of them, and let the third off with a warning, citing their attendance as a violation of school policy and grounds for expulsion.

Caitlyn, now 18, says she and her friends were disciplined for participating in a Sunrise Dance, a traditional Native ceremony at the core of White Mountain Apache culture.

This makes me sick.  This puberty dance is sacred to the tribe and has been practiced for many centuries. But many of us in America don't respect and even denigrate other people's cultural heritage and traditions.

Tenijieth, the councilmember, explained that the White Mountain Apache Tribe is caught in a difficult position when it comes to expelling Wels from East Fork. “We can take that land back if we want to, but nobody has brought it up because there is a school there,” she explained. “Even though they are twisting the children’s minds, it is still a better school than others. We need to stand strong. Keep your language strong. Teach your children how to speak Apache … that’s the reason why we’re a sovereign nation.”

I would like to go off but honestly, I am speechless and disgusted. 

Shirley Timberman


My friend Shirley Timberman is a loyal Blue Heron Blast reader and lives in Marquette, Michigan. Shirley actually has a real job but has been doing something very cool this summer in her spare time, braving sparrow size mosquitos and wood ticks in the upper peninsula.

Photograph from: NMU

She has been tagging bald eaglets with Dr. Bill Bowerman, one of the most renowned raptor and bald eagle experts in the entire world. 

This is Bowerman's 40th year of studying bald eagle ecology. His groundbreaking approach and dedication to preserving sea eagle populations around the world earned him the 2023 Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club, an international professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research, scientific exploration and resource conservation.

He is a fellow alum of hers from Northern Michigan University.

Bowerman is a professor of wildlife ecology and toxicology and former chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland. He began exploring the effects of environmental pollutants in the Great Lakes region in 1984, and has since become a world-renowned champion of avian conservation through environmental monitoring programs on every continent except Antarctica. Passionate about sharing his expertise, he also mentors graduate and undergraduate students who partner in this work—including some from NMU—in many research projects.

According to this article about the project, Professor Bowerman and his researchers have looked at over 5000 first eggs in eagles nests since the project commenced.

Very cool! Good job Shirley! Bald eagles are under significant stress from climate change and the research you are helping with is very important. Perhaps one day we will be able to right the ship?

“Eagles are the messenger for climate change and contaminants, and we are now looking at the role of disease,” he added. “The only thing that has ever scared me happened last year, when we saw how vast parts of Michigan did not have eagles nesting. We were supposed to collect 30 samples along Lake Superior last year and we only got 11. We have lost a significant portion of our nesting eagle population in the state. If we weren't surveilling them, we wouldn't know that had occurred."


Bill is also up in the U.P. this week, visiting Shirley and his family. He sends this picture of the Michigan River.

Monday, June 24, 2024


Space X Falcon 9 Starlink

Leslie and I left the party and drove to her store to unload our chairs and the mylar balloons, which we took off the street corners so they didn't fly off and pollute the environment.

When we drove into our valley we were greeted by a gorgeous sunset. I had the moonroof open in the Mazda and I looked up and saw this, hot damn! The ol' Space X, right over my head...

I pulled out my iPhone, a lowly 14 plus and shot a couple pics and a short video. It did a pretty decent job although I am having a hard time getting it to send high resolution images.

I may have captured both boosters here, or the upper one could be a star, not sure? In any case it was pretty cool to see.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Los Meshugganas

There aren't a huge number of Jews in Fallbrook but we do exist. There isn't a temple or synagogue nearby and many of us are not religious so we really don't have a way to congregate and most of us don't know each other. Except for me of course, I have been here 44 years and know lots of people. 

Leslie helped put on a Seder at the Hilltop Center about fifteen years ago and I think 150 people showed up but I have no idea how many Jewish people actually live here today. Fallbrook is pretty undercover.

In any case, I met a fellow M.O.T. at the pharmacy a few months back. we were standing in a long line waiting for meds and I started kibitzing with this fellow and all of a sudden the Yiddish and shtick was flying and you should have seen the bemusement and disbelief on the part of the rest of the folks in line. 

It was like I had known this guy for fifty years. 

We exchanged numbers and got to talking and decided to have a tribal gathering at his beautiful home. We only had one rule, no schmucks invited, it wouldn't be like the Seder where Leslie did all the cooking and work and then was told it was her job to clean up too.

The event was open to people who are Jewish or partly Jewish and their family and spouses of any persuasion.

I created a graphic for the gathering and had t-shirts made in Holland.

The shirts came in black, blue and red and sold out like hotcakes, even to my friends in New York. 

I need to order a new batch, people liked it so much. If you want to get one for you please give me your color and size.

Fifteen bucks, twenty five with shipping.

Today was the party and it was wonderful.

People brought brisket, lox, bagels, whitefish, kasha varnishkes, kishka, roasted vegetables, wine, champagne, everybody outdid themselves. 

Hamentaschen, kugel, rugelach, it was something else.

I made a double batch of scones for the party this morning, cranberry, blueberry walnut and nectarine ginger, unfortunately I never was able to try one of the nectarines, they vanished!

People talked and laughed and made new friends. 

Sadly a lot of people could not make it for one reason or another but it was nicely attended and went off perfectly. 

We schmoozed for an hour and then had our feast.

Kim ordered a lovely cheesecake to commemorate the gathering.

I did the Yidstock graphic as a play on Woodstock in memory of my buddy, the late John Morris, who was the technical director, booked the acts and pretty much did everything there.

Leslie gave out free boxes of matzoh to any attendees that wanted one.

People seemed quite happy to meet new friends and signaled that they might want to do this again, sometime, somewhere. 

Who knows?

I ended up taking a dip in the beautiful pool as everything wound down. It was a very hot day and it felt great!

Thanks to everybody for making the day such a success. If I forgot about you or you were not able to attend and want to sign on for the next one, do let me know.