« May 2021 | Main | July 2021 »

June 30, 2021

One Ektachrome and Three Kodachromes

Mirror Knife Edge by Henry Moore at the National Gallery of Art – East Building
Mirror Knife Edge by Henry Moore at the National Gallery of Art – East Building
, Kodachrome, 1992.

Pumpkin Patch (1)
Kodachrome, 1991

Hibiscus Flower (1)
Kodachrome, 1992

Mist On A Lake
Once again, another of those ubiquitous small bodies of water surrounded by woods in New England
, Ektachrome.

Filed under Art,Photography | permalink | June 30, 2021 at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)


"The 2021 [Boston] mayoral race marks the first time in the city’s history that no white men are in serious contention."

Filed under Politics | permalink | June 30, 2021 at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

Tennessee Billionaire Rents South Dakota's National Guard

From the Washington Post.

South Dakota governor sending National Guard to Mexico border on mission funded by GOP megadonor

By Alex Horton
June 29, 2021 at 5:10 p.m. PDT

South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) will deploy up to 50 National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border, her office said Tuesday, with a highly unusual caveat — the mission will be funded by a “private donation” from an out-of-state GOP megadonor billionaire.

The Guard members will deploy in response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plea to augment border security with law enforcement resources from other states, Noem’s office said in a statement.

Like Abbott (R), Noem is a close ally of former president Donald Trump, whose focus on illegal immigration spurred his controversial deployment of military personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border and remains a pillar of the Republican Party’s political platform. In a statement, she blasted the Biden administration over its immigration policies, which Trump and fellow conservatives have denounced as weak and ineffective.

Privately funding a military mission is an affront to civilian oversight of the armed forces, said military and oversight experts, describing the move — a Republican governor sending troops to a Republican-led state, paid for by a Republican donor — as likely unprecedented and unethical.

“You certainly don’t want our national security priorities up to the highest bidder,” said Mandy Smithberger, a defense accountability expert at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit government watchdog.

About 3,600 service members are already on the border supporting Department of Homeland Security operations, the vast majority of whom are National Guard troops carrying out federal orders, defense officials said. Abbott’s request, and Noem’s fulfillment, is for a separate state-led mission overseen by Texas officials.

Ian Fury, a spokesperson for Noem, said the undisclosed amount was paid to the state of South Dakota by Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation, a Tennessee-based nonprofit that donates to various groups, including churches and the National Rifle Association, according to 2018 tax filings. Willis Johnson has donated to GOP campaigns for decades, including at least $550,000 to Trump in 2019 and 2020, filings show.

In a brief interview, Johnson said his donation “100 percent” was meant to fund the border deployment. He declined to say how much he paid the state, or whether Noem approached him or he acted on his own accord.

“I want to protect America and that’s it,” Johnson said.

More than 180,000 people were taken into custody for crossing the border illegally in May, the highest one month total in two decades, as the Biden administration has undone some of Trump’s hard-line policies and struggles to find solutions that will abate the surge.

The South Dakota Guard members are deploying on state active-duty orders, Guard officials said, which means Noem is their commander in chief for the mission. As such, they are permitted to act in law enforcement capacities, which is forbidden for Guard members serving on federal mobilization.

The initial deployment will last 30 to 60 days, Noem’s office said, but it did not provide a further timeline.

But the mission’s political overtones, underscored by the growing speculation that Noem may consider a run for the White House, poses a significant problem for civilian-military relations, said Katherine L. Kuzminski, a military policy expert at Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank.

If Noem had decided it was a national-security priority to augment border operations, she could have found a lever to federalize her troops to support the DHS-led mission, Kuzminski said. Moreover, the governor’s method — using a private donation rather than taxpayer money — sidesteps potential questions from her constituents about the deployment’s cost and purpose.

“This subverts that the military is the instrument of the people,” Kuzminski said. “This puts a marker on individual soldiers as mercenaries they may not be comfortable with.”

The South Dakota National Guard did not say whether troops will volunteer for the mission, whether they will be involuntarily activated, or whether they have been informed about the nature of the funding.

“They owe the troops some transparency,” said Rachel E. VanLandingham, president of the National Institute of Military Justice and a former Air Force attorney. “I would want to know who is paying me.”

Filed under Politics | permalink | June 30, 2021 at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2021

The Sopranos Prequel

Tony as a boy.

Filed under Film/Movies | permalink | June 29, 2021 at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

Four Slide Photos

Glass Insulator (1)
Kodachrome, 1992

Balusters on Charles River Esplanade
On the Charles River Esplanade
, 1983.

MTV Malibu Beach House on CAR2
The MTV Malibu Beach House
which was one of the rest stops on California AIDS Ride 2. Kodachrome, 1995.

My First Time in Los Angeles County
Me and Michael
, this was my first time in Los Angeles County. Kodachrome, 1995.

Filed under California,Photography | permalink | June 29, 2021 at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2021

36 Joshua Trees Destroyed

The L.A. Times reports that this occurred in the "Morongo Basin" which is a large area including at least Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley. According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff it also includes Twenty-nine Palms, Landers, Johnson Valley, Joshua Tree, Wonder Valley, Pioneertown, Amboy, Cadiz and Flamingo Heights. I can't imagine why the L.A. Times couldn't be a little more specific. The story:

Couple fined $18,000 for bulldozing dozens of Joshua trees to make way for home

JUNE 28, 2021 1:58 PM PT

A couple who bulldozed and buried 36 Joshua trees to make way for a home were recently fined $18,000 — a punishment authorities hope will deter others from destroying the iconic trees.

“I would hope that the person that would otherwise take, remove, bulldoze a Joshua tree would understand that they are facing fairly significant criminal liability for doing so,” said Douglas Poston, supervising deputy district attorney with the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office.

An investigation into the destruction began Feb. 11, when a Morongo Basin resident saw his neighbors using a tractor to mow down dozens of the twisted, bristled trees and reported it to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife through a tip line, wildlife officials said.

Not long before, the neighbor — who was not identified — noticed the trees were marked for removal and warned Jeffrey Walter and Jonetta Nordberg-Walter not to take them out.

The western Joshua tree is a candidate for protection under the California Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to cut down, damage or remove the sensitive desert tree without a permit while they’re under review for more lasting protection.

According to Poston, the couple believed that small trees, under a certain diameter, could legally be removed. The two own the land where the trees were and planned to build a home on the lot.

“But that’s not accurate, obviously,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a foot tall or 20 feet tall, it’s under that protection.”

By the time a state wildlife officer arrived at the scene, three dozen Joshua trees were buried in a “giant hole” that was freshly covered over, according to Patrick Foy, a captain with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s law enforcement division.

Ultimately, the owner-developer couple rehired the backhoe operator who had buried the trees to dig them back up.

The county district attorney’s office filed 36 misdemeanor charges against Walter and Nordberg-Walter, one for each destroyed tree. Each charge carried a fine up to $4,100 and/or six months in jail.

On Tuesday, a judge placed the couple in a diversion program. As part of their agreement, each agreed to pay $9,000 in fines.

A portion of the overall fine has been paid, and the Walter family can earn credit toward it by completing volunteer work for Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave Desert Land Trust, according to a news release.

Poston said he sees a few cases a year involving threatened or endangered species, “but usually it’s wildlife.” This is the first case he’s prosecuted involving Joshua trees.

The flora has enjoyed legal protection for nearly a year.

In September, the California Fish and Game Commission granted the trees temporary endangered species status after environmentalists petitioned for its protection. Supporters say the species faces the threat of extinction amid climate change, wildfires and habitat destruction from urban sprawl.

A yearlong review process is underway, and a final decision by the commission is expected this year.

Filed under California | permalink | June 28, 2021 at 10:03 PM | Comments (1)

Whitewater Preserve

These were all shot at Whitewater Preserve using Film Photography Project's Let It Snow film.
Whitewater Preserve Sign

Whitewater Preserve (3)

Whitewater Preserve (8)

Whitewater Preserve (4)

Filed under Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | June 28, 2021 at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

Flash Mobs Still A Thing (or a thing again?)

Somewhere in L.A.


Flash Bob ⚡️Strikes LA #flashmob #flashbob #dancechallenge #foryourpride #foryou @kameroncomk @jaketgarcia @lucashive 📸 @asenseofhuber

♬ original sound - Bob’s Dance Shop

Filed under Music | permalink | June 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

States To Avoid

A list of the states where neither medical nor recreational marijuana are legal:

  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Filed under Marijuana | permalink | June 28, 2021 at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2021

Let It Snow Film

I shot these at the California Botanic Garden on March 5 of this year, using Film Photography Project's Let It Snow film.
Rising Peace by Kevin Box
Rising Peace by Kevin Box

Gathering 2: Moral Compass by Brandon Lomax
Gathering 2: Moral Compass by Brandon Lomax

Improv by Gary Lett
Improv by Gary Lett

California Botanic Garden (26)

Filed under Art,Photography | permalink | June 27, 2021 at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2021

DHS Public Library Grand Opening

Today was the grand opening of the new Desert Hot Springs Public Library at Park Lane and Palm Drive. Let's get the one negative out of the way.
Desert Hot Springs' New Library (6)
Here's how it looks from the sidewalk on Palm Drive
if you approach from the north. Very nice. But there is no walkway from Palm Drive to the library. The ground slopes and is covered with loose landscaping rock. You could continue to Park Lane, take a left there, walking around the south side, then the east to come back to this northern side where the entrance is. Or, you could take the obvious shortcut, this sidewalk to the county building next door:
Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (2192)

But that sidewalk only goes to the entrance of the county building. To get to the library you have to walk across the parking lot and driveway. There are no curb cuts there, so if you need a curb cut, you'll have to bear left to get to the curb cut on the east side of the building where the parking lot is.
Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6531)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6526)
Looking back from the library entrance toward the county building
. Fine for cars. Not so fine for those on foot or in wheelchairs.

If you want to avoid walking in the driveway, you'll have to travel 270° around the building, where you will be presented with this face:
Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6537)

This, then, is the face the library presents to almost everyone arriving by vehicle or on foot or wheelchair. I know every building has to have a utilitarian backside, but when your utilitarian backside is the face most users will see most often, then there should be an attempt to make it look as nice as the other faces of the building.

Years from now when the library needs expanding, this buffer of land along Park Lane will be the obvious place to do it, and then they could improve the appearance of this corner. Or, they could just build a more direct sidewalk from the library entrance to Palm Drive.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6551)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6554)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6560)
That's a power outlet on the table with a single 120-volt outlet and two USB

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6570)
American history here
. Don't tell Caitlyn Jenner!

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6578)
There are two of these AV cubicles
without ceilings, so you won't be able to really crank up the volume.

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6586)
The southwest corner

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6602)
A banquette with power outlets where disaffected youth can gather
. It just needs ashtrays!

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6623)
Conference room with its own separate entrance

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6635)

Desert Hot Springs Public Library Grand Opening (6638)
I used to check out audiobooks from the library
, but 80% of their stock was romance novels. Of the remaining 20%, I was interested in about half, and borrowed and listened to all of them. Good to see their selection has expanded quite a bit. I took a look to see if they had anything by Delany, meaning Samuel. But there was only one novel by someone else named "Delaney." I suppose the library accepts donations.

The complete set of photos is here.

Filed under Architecture,Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | June 26, 2021 at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

Bouchee Cafe & Deli

From this Press-Enterprise report on restaurant closures:

Bouchee Cafe & Deli, 72785 Highway 111 Suite B1, Palm Desert

Closed: June 24
Grade: 80/B, failing
Reason: Cockroach infestation. The inspector visited in response to a complaint and found live and dead roaches throughout the facility, including inside and outside of the food display case (all the food inside was discarded), in the warewashing sink and dishwasher, and crawling on the silverware. There were also roach droppings throughout the facility including on utensils and napkins and in sinks. This was the restaurant’s second failing grade in less than two years, so it now faces an administrative hearing.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Food and Drink | permalink | June 26, 2021 at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

Perris Shooting

Gotta wonder, do all Riverside County Sheriff's Deputies put vaseline on the lenses of their bodycams or are these 2010-level technology? Also (and I'm not faulting the deputies here), I'm bothered that neither of the deputies spoke Spanish, or not enough Spanish to try.

Press-Enterprise news story.

| permalink | June 26, 2021 at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2021

Apple Tower Theatre Opening

Yesterday the Apple Store in the Tower Theatre (first in L.A. to be wired for talkies, hosted sneak preview of The Jazz Singer, first in L.A. to be air conditioned, 1927) in downtown Los Angeles opened. The building had been sitting unused since 1988. This certainly seemed like a worthy event to travel to. I've wanted to see the interior of this theater for years, I'd never been to an Apple Store opening, and this one promised to be a bit more than the opening on El Paseo in La Quinta. So I got up early and drove to Rialto to get Metrolink. This is the first time I've tried parking at Rialto and it was totally fine. The parking lots were about three-quarters empty. And, it's not San Bernardino. Metrolink is still requiring masks for everyone on their trains (and even platforms), but they appear to permit eating and drinking on board?!

Union Station is looking pretty nice. I took some shots on film and continued shooting film as I walked to the Apple Store. I got there about 10:30 and the line to enter was not long at all and moved very quickly. They actually did the applause thing as our bunch walked in. And then I switched to my digital camera, because I just wanted to shoot a lot of photos under a wide variety of lighting situations. So I just walked everywhere and took pictures of everything. It was easy to spot Tim Cook - it was like finding the queen bee in a hive. Just look for all the congestion and wiggling abdomens.

Once I felt I had seen and photographed everything, I switched back to my film camera and walked around taking more photos. There's a chance I may have gotten an okay shot of Tim Cook on film...but I'm finding my film predictions are often wildly wrong.

Here's a nice, short article about the store.

Walked back to Union Station, made the train with like five minutes to spare, got to Rialto and the truck was fine and even in the shade!

The complete set of photos (so far) from Apple Tower Theatre is here. And here are some of them:

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (2188)
Apple Tower Theatre shot with my iPhone

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (2190)
A look down at Tim Cook from the balcony

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6520)

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6498)

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6492)

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6468)
They restored the drinking fountains, and they work

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6454)
Part of the ceiling over a balcony that overlooks the entrance lobby.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6459)
The loftier parts of the entrance lobby

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6429)
I can't imagine the theater actually had windows along 8th Street
, unless they were just for display cases where they'd put their movie posters. These are hinged, but I don't think you'll find them standing open while the store is operating.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6424)
THe proscenium

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6410)
The big, main false skylight
. There's another, smaller one over the balcony, mostly obscured in this shot.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6379)

Filed under Architecture,Cities/Urbanism,Film/Movies,History,Photography,Shopping,Technology | permalink | June 25, 2021 at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2021

Last Free Cow Captured

The chitchat at this unreliable site is that someone with sufficient means is going to have the cow sent to an animal sanctuary in Acton, California. (My shallow Google search says there are three animal sanctuaries in Acton!). In other words, Bessie is moving upstate to a big beautiful farm where she can lie in tall cool grass in a huge meadow all day long. When can we go see her?

Filed under California | permalink | June 24, 2021 at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2021

Four More In Massachusetts

Visit Our Organ Bar
Somewhere in Boston
, 1983.

Gate of Heaven - South Boston
Gate of Heaven Roman Catholic church in South Boston
, 1982.

Nantucket Lightship (2)
Nantucket Lightship in Nantucket
during my one and only trip there. Kodachrome, 1982.

Old South Meetinghouse (1)
Old South Meetinghouse
, Agfachrome, 1984. Some history.

Filed under History,Photography | permalink | June 23, 2021 at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

The Circle (Der Kreis)

I've just finished watching this film (got the DVD from Netflix) and I highly recommend it. I'm moderately familiar with gay history back to Walt Whitman, but this story was entirely new to me. Switzerland never had a law like Germany's Paragraph 175 and in Zürich a small community of gay men formed around a magazine called Der Kreis. The documentary follows that group as rampant homophobia flared up in Switzerland. It shows how the "logic" of the police and judicial system effectively made the murder of gay men permissible. Nonetheless, many of the men involved in Der Kreis were still quite alive when the documentary was made in 2014, and interviews with some of those men are sandwiched into the movie to great effect.

It's got a happy ending!

Viewable for free on Kanopy if you have a library card and your library participates in Kanopy (Riverside County libraries do). According to JustWatch it's also available on The Roku Channel and on Microsoft.

Filed under Film/Movies,Gay Issues | permalink | June 23, 2021 at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

Animated Stereogram

Animated Stereogram
Not a tease. This works.

| permalink | June 23, 2021 at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

Forever Marilyn

The unveiling:
Forever Marilyn

Filed under Art,Coachella Valley | permalink | June 23, 2021 at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2021

Some More!

Flower (5)
Kodachrome, 1987

Hammond Pond (1)
Hammond Pond in Chestnut Hill (Newton), Massachusetts
. That's a corner of the Chestnut Hill Mall on the left. Kodachrome, 1988.

Airliner Nose

Could These Be Crabapples
Could these be crabapples?
Shot in 1984.

Filed under Photography | permalink | June 22, 2021 at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)