Thursday, June 29, 2017


A palm stands as a proud sentinel and sign of hospitality on Mill Street in San Luis Obispo

it happens
    If ever there is a moment when the cosmos gives permission to curse, this would have been it. In fact it was unavoidable.
     As most things do, it began innocently though through a bit of a fog. A head cold had clouded my disposition making the morning kitchen routine less spriteful and a wee bit more of an effort.
    Now was the payoff moment. Coffee had been brewed,  poured into my mug and lightened. The soft boiled eggs placed in their holder, turkey burger warmed and a ginger snap had been laid out to accompany the after breakfast coffee. Perfection, life is good, the cold will pass and a new day offers hope!
     Since I had used the last two eggs in the egg keeper  I reloaded it from the flat, had placed the remaining eggs into a carton and placed them at the back of the refrigerator. Breakfast was there, beckoning as I opened the refrigerator door. WHAM! An alternative fact gob smacked my morning. 
     The egg keeper jumped or maybe slipped from my hands, there were no witnesses-and rained a dozen eggs on the top of the freezer compartment, on the front of the refrigerator, on the floor, under refrigerator, under the counters, on cabinet doors and maybe even on the cats on the front deck and the neighbors down the road.
      Permission to swear # 1. And maybe # 2.
      There is that awkward moment, now what?! Since we were not in residence at Downton Abbey, there was no staff to ring for. Lana was at a garden club meeting and the cats have never learned their chores. OK! Think it through. Got to stop the hemmorage of egg before it lakes into the rest of the house or into the garage. A dozen eggs make a lake.
      I grab a couple of paper towels and start damming and scooping and damning too. I reach for more and as fate would rub my nose in it, the cylinder is empty.  Permission to swear # 3. Alright-stay cool as breakfast begins to move in that direction too- go to the garage to get a new ring of towels and the old dust pan onto which we'll reservoir the eggs. It'll be all right. 
      As I'm stepping out of the kitchen I have the distinct misfortune of putting my left birkenstock smack dab, crunchingly, into one of the bastard chickens in an eggy state of degradation! Permission # 4-7.
     Now I'm challenged with the physics of getting egg matter out of the grooves and tread of my left Birky-a suede number and only a couple of months old. Naturally in my dunce like state I had tracked the treaded scramble out into the garage. Permission # 8. 
     I spend a few minutes wiping and cleaning the Birky-chasing one little piece of shell that claimed territory like a Cliven Bundy. But I got it, with delight. Maybe even a fist pump. There were no witnesses. 
     I'm back in the kitchen, souping up egg into the dustpan and then into the compost bucket when the phone rings. It's my contractor friend Rick, the phone announces, so I drop the goopy tools and take the call and on the way discover even more territory the splattering claimed. 
    OK-cut to the chase. As I'm pushing my fingers under the front of the fridge with a clorox wipe, I somehow snap off a little grill like device at the bottom of the fridge and discover a colony of dust bunnies that are now swimming in egg. No curse at this turn of events, no indeed. The tide is turning. Had I not scratched my left hand and disengaged this grill I had never seen and didn't even know existed, heaven only knows what kind of culture may have grown in this land of crumbs and dust bunnies. Ah yes, progress.
    Finally the four eggs that I "rescued"-they could survive their wounds-were boiling in a fascinating white froth with alien like appendages dancing in the water and I was sitting to blissfully partake of cold coffee and soft boiled eggs that somehow graduated to the next level and chilled in the process. But the compost bucket was full, a new paper towel roll was in place, the kitchen floor had a nice clean clorox sheen and scent and that nether region below the fridge knows there's a new sheriff in town! And he'll be driving into the market to buy more eggs. 

a random moment of friendship
Another joyful evening at Wild Ginger, Mainstreet, Cambria

where's mommy's eye?

 a poke in the nation's eye
     Scuttlebutt has it the republicans may try to save their health care bill by opening it up to democrat input. We'll see. 
      Presently the GOP plan is like a pig with lipstick. They can call it a better care reconciliation act, but the facts prove it is better for only the wealthiest of Americans.  The public sees through it. Only 17% of Americans approve-that is staggeringly low, even for this administration. Their own government agency reports 22 million will loose coverage, it will cost everyone more and will cover less. It is a lose, lose, lose proposition and frankly I'm stunned any Republican would want their name associated with it.  While the GOP plan is in trouble, the Obama plan, the Affordable Health Care is now enjoying it's highest popularity rating yet. 
      If the republicans want to give the wealthiest Americans another tax cut, they should propose that and not mix it with health care, or should I say, hide it behind supposed health care. (Do the wealthy really need more tax breaks? Do voters think so?)
     Only in a dystopian world would this sort of legislation get the backing of a major party. Can you imagine being a republican standing for election and supporting this lunacy. But then who thought the republicans would support trump?
      Unfit, unqualified, unbelievable!
      See you down the trail.

Monday, June 26, 2017


 A California Central Coast bouquet for all who survive 
hooligans, delinquents and stupid kid tricks.

because they blew up
      It was a tough summer for my mom, suffering through a troubled pregnancy. Dad was on the road most of the time and my brother John and I were jerks. It was nothing mean, we were just boys. I was almost 6 and though 22 months younger than me, John was my size and soon would be bigger. (From birth John was a brawler and big. He went on to lead the county in tackles and was a helluva football player).
      Later mom would say we spent most of the summer in a rumble, from the front yard to the back yard, through the house and leaving a trail of aftermath everywhere. Despite the lectures about me being the big brother, and my protests "look at him, he's as big as me" I was under the gun to keep our behavior in check and I wasn't doing a very good job of it.
      It was 1951 and one of our modest treats was a bottle of Coca-cola. The real thing, before cans and flavored coke. We'd buy a carton of those little 6 1/2 ounce glass bottles. John and I would split one, always eyeing, carefully, that each fruit juice glass was poured evenly, exactly even, accounting for the foam too.
      A side trip for a moment. Like most kids we collected pop bottles for the redemption pennies from the grocery store. In that line of work a kid will discover a lot of things, especially sorting through trash and burn piles in the alleys of our side of town. We saw breasts for the first time in a partially burned copy of Confidential. I think it was Kim Novak, but honestly, who didn't matter. We also learned that some of the neighbors apparently didn't know the good deal on pop bottles because we found some that were broken and that led to a discovery that eventually led to big problem.
      The alleys were cinder, as in burned coal. Behind some places there was a little gravel and a few folks had poured a cement burn ring, on which sat their incinerator or burn barrels. (Remember this is 1951 and the EPA were only letters in the alphabet that crowned the backboards in our class rooms.) John discovered the best thing to do with broken pop bottles was to break them a little more. It was a youthful sense of justice. You cheat me out of a few pennies by breaking the pop bottle, I'm going to finish the job for you on a cement burn ring.  Wow, could those bottles really explode.
      Fast forward to a rainy summer day when mom, who is basically bed ridden tells us to play in the basement. Oh boy did we! The specifics are lost in the haze of history, but somehow we learned that those empty Coca-cola bottles exploded wonderfully when dropped from the top of the basement steps. They made a great exploding sound and the glass cascaded like something from the movies. Well,... If an empty bottle was so spectacular, just imagine what a full bottle would do. We had no imagination, but did have a few full bottles. Man! Seeing a full bottle of Coke explode in foam and spray and flying glass is a sight of a lifetime.
       More fast forward, through details---why would we willingly waste good Coke, the painful process of cleaning up shards of sticky glass that littered our basement, the waste of money for a family on a tight budget, mom's further distress--cut to--my understanding why corporal punishment in that summer of 1951 was the right thing.

     further exploits of man child
    That California bouquet above? That is also for all American citizens. The delinquents in this administration continue to set new lows. 
     The "games" of the press briefing is simply childish and has no positive upside-none. It is punitive and juvenile. Ditto and double jinks on the president's tweet storm about the Obama administration going easy on the Russians over the attack on the presidential election. At least trump has finally acknowledged it. As a friend said it is the normal trump hypocrisy of criticizing Obama for a problem that he-trump-never admitted existed.
      I thought the Obama response was too reserved, but I also understood there's a lot more to such complicated diplomacy than meets the eye. We find out now Mitch McConnell was creeping around the wood pile threatening to accuse Obama of using the CIA to help Clinton. McConnell is one twisted and evil, racist. He is a political "intellectual-pedophile" and arrogant little donnie trump's small brain and outsize ego is McConnell's boy toy.

helping out
      Our Cambria Church and Dinner Fellowship completed a project that will help, but it also stimulated thought.
      We assembled emergency personal care kits that will be used by disaster victims or refugees in the US and around the planet.
      Hand towels, wash clothes, bandaids, soap, tooth brushes, combs, nail files, etc. The next time you reach for the soap, or go to brush your teeth, think about  how convenient it is- how accessible is water, shelter, something as simple as towel. We take a lot for granted. As wars create more refugees, as nature ravages, as the climate continues to change more fellow citizens of this planet are facing breaks in that kind of gentle and comfortable routine. 

     because they blew up
an epilogue
      By the way, brother John and I continued to gather pop bottles from the alley ways and continued to learn about life.
      There was one house that had the good sense to stash their magazines for a couple of days before filling their incinerator and lighting it up. That is how Tom and John learned about Stag Magazine, True Detective art work and Jayne Mansfield!

     See you down the trail.

Friday, June 23, 2017


   The linear orderliness of this lovely scene does more than remind me of those summers when I baled hay, though a moment of regression might be helpful.
    We were not paid much and the work was hot and hard, but lunches were amazing. Someone, usually the farmer who had hired us or his wife would bring full picnic baskets and pitchers of lemonade or iced tea to the shade of a tree where we paused. At one farm the basket might be full of fried chicken, heaping on a platter and pies. Or the basket might be full of sandwiches and cookies or pie. We were young, lean, always hungry and able to sweat out a morning, stop and eat like horses and then go back to grabbing the bales with a hay hook as they came off the baler and stacking them on wagons as we bumped our way over a field.
     Order and foundational values were important to us. We'd stack the bales high and they needed to stay in place as we jostled along. They also needed to come off the wagon in order so we could load them onto a conveyor lifting them to a hot, dusty and miserable hayloft where we off loaded and again stacked them neatly where they would summer and winter until the farmer busted them down for livestock.
     The work was honest and we were happy for the pay, no matter what it was. We worked all day, counted on each other and again needed to be orderly in everything we did.  I think about that as I anguish over American politics and government.
        There seems to be no order at work in this era. The Democrats are leaderless and in disarray. The Republicans are shattered, led by the least popular and most unfit president in history. We are in crisis.
        Though they control the House, Senate and White House the fractured, shattered, souless GOP seems intent on suicide. As universally hooted as the House health care plan was, Senate Republicans are retching a version that will also do harm and damage to millions while rewarding the wealthy with a tax cut. And of course they've done it in secret, a place where you sell your soul. It is as though they are giving the Democrats tickets to GOP beheadings, but it is the Democrats after-all. 
        A Democrat party that has its act together could sweep to power in 2018. They don't need to do much, the Trump follies and the sinister dramas of Ryan and McConnell have done and will do immense damage, if people are paying attention. And of course the Democrats need a generational adjustment and a bit of skill. So, given the all the odds there is no safe bet.
     What I am missing most is an explanation from anyone about what we are doing to protect the 2018 election and beyond from further Russian meddling. 
     When and how are we going to get answers from someone in Washington as to
  •   What did the Russian's do?
  •   How extensive was the attack?
  •   Did they affect vote counts or registration?
  •   How did they do it?
  •   How deep have they gone?
  •   What are we doing in a defensive way?
  •   Can someone guarantee it won't happen again?
     The absurdest follies of Washington is distracting, sadly, from the worst attack on America since 9/11, but damned if anyone seems concerned. That is more than worrisome. It is deadly frightening. Thinking Americans, young and old, waver between depression and despondency.
      One does not need to tilt left or right to know our system is in a spasm. We have become dysfunctional and it's annoying because we are used to order and for things to make sense-that has been our history-it is what has set us apart. 
      Now we are learning why "the old folks" used to long for the good old days. I've heard people say even Tricky Dick Nixon sounds good by comparison-now that's frightening!

      See you down the trail



Monday, June 19, 2017


life under the oaks
    Our annual Father's Day weekend sojourn to the Live Oak Music Festival is a photographer's paradise.
     The fundraiser for the California central coast NPR station KCBX is nestled between the San Raphael and Santa Ynez mountains north of Santa Barbara where it is beautiful under the ancient oaks. This year brought warm temperatures, so this shooter decided to document how people covered their head. Did you know there was such a variety of straw hat?

a popular man

The eclectic music mix was superb...
   Langhorne Slim made friends when he moved from the cool  shade of the stage into there sun and asked people "to get involved!"

    Joe Craven and the Sometimers blew everyone away with a version of Blackbird.
  Jessica Fichot dazzled as she sang in French, English, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. 
    Live Oak runs three days and is famous for a stunning array of music.

     Though only a day tripper, we are always dazzled by the Live Oak nation and life under the big oaks...

beating the nincompoop 
       If it is at all possible schedule yourself into Cuba before the latest disruption from the cheeto colored idiot takes affect. Frequent readers have read on the scene posts from the Cuba File. They can be found in the archive of the blog. 
       It is a shame the nincompoop is trying to undo a step in the right direction. The bloated cretin is taking action that violates the belief of the vast majority of Americans. Don't we wish he'd just disappear?

      See you down the trail.