Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Annals of semi-apologies

I suppose Dharun Ravi's semi-apology is better than the all-too-common non-apology (... mistakes were made... if my words offended anyone, I sincerely regret it... etc.). But I agree with TNC: "the wrong choices and decisions" sounds a little too much like "I should have gone for the salad instead of the soup."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Clintonia andrewsiana...

... occurs in abundance along one short stretch of the Lost Trail in Windy Hill OSP. It's a California native in the lily family and always a delight to come upon as you round the bend in the trail, aglow against the ferns and horsetails in the deep shade of the redwoods.

From Windy Hill, May 25, 2012

From Windy Hill, May 25, 2012

Your FSA/OWI photo of the day

Child of strawberry picker, Hammond, Louisiana. Ben Shahn, 1935.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Your FSA/OWI photo of the day

At the Greene County fair, Greensboro, Georgia. White schoolchildren were admitted free one day, Negro schoolchildren the next. Jack Delano, 1941.

Four things I liked about the Avengers movie

1. Thor.
2. During one of the few passages in which nothing is blowing up, a string quartet plays Schubert's "Rosamunde," which I heard my son perform last summer. Lovely!
3. The giant armored monsters from outer space swim through the city like an airborn version of a pliosaur.
4. Gwyneth Paltrow's feet.
Not necessarily in that order. Don't ask me to come up with a fifth.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Robin Gibb, RIP

What can I say, I'm not proud, I like the Bee Gees. Robin was perhaps not the mastermind, but the whole package was damn-near irresistible. So many songs that put a smile on your face. So much falsetto. So much hair.

Your FSA/OWI photo of the day

Taking Burley tobacco in from the fields, after it has been cut, to dry and cure in the barn, Russell Spears' farm, vicinity of Lexington, Ky. Marion Post Wolcott, 1940.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ignorance is bliss

"Whites Account for Under Half of Births in U.S."
"Annual Census at Risk in House Budget Bill"
Ah, the workings of the Republican mind... If we don't know they are there, maybe they aren't really there...!

Your FSA/OWI photo of the day

Bank that failed, Kansas. Arthur Rothstein, 1936.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Good for you, Barack

And shame on you, North Carolina. History is on the president's side. Along with doing what's right.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Warmest 12 months on record

Well, we Californians can be grateful for lovely moderate temperatures in April, while much of the rest of the country cooked. If I were a religious man I would say that God is rewarding us for being Democrats and having enacted AB 32. But I suppose our droughts and fires are yet to come, nevermind the earthquakes.

I have maintained some hope that once the global economy recovers, the forces of demand and supply will drive oil and gasoline prices through the roof, and even Americans will voluntarily go all-electric. Certainly we cannot rely on our political system to do anything. And alas, we will still have coal and fracking. OK, I'm not hopeful, I'm just delusional.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reasons to love New York

In his NYT obit for Adam Yauch, Jon Pareles writes, "The Beastie Boys became an institution — one that could have arisen only amid the artistic, social and accidental connections of New York City." From everything I know about U.S. culture, this rings true to me. We have few truly essential cities in this country, and New York tops the list. Well, after Palo Alto, of course.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Only 47. Here's my favorite Beasties song among many great ones...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Good Minus

I've tried to like The Bad Plus, I really have. There's no questioning the virtuosity and the smarts, but to what end? The music just makes me snooze. Except their cover of Aphex Twin, which sounds almost as good as the original... but not quite as good...

So much money, so little taste...


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Can Music Be Perfect? Vol. 15

I suppose this is the best political pop song ever recorded. Can you think of a better one?