Sunday, July 20, 2014


The easily offended should not enter
    For such a small village, Cambria is many things; charming, curious and an art colony. 927, named for the local phone prefix, the annual "non traditional" art show is a  conspiracy of all of the above.
 Pleased to see a couple of Lana's pieces in the 927 Hall of Fame, including her best of show Well Traveled Woman sculpture.
 My choice for best title of the year is the frame below-
   Musician and mac guru Rick Auricchio's Beta Dead Than Red
  927 Founder, painter sculptor and newspaper cartoonist 
Art Van Rhyn drew on the drought as his continuing character Mrs. Fosdick Tends Her Roses.
 Lana won the Cambria Center for the Arts Theater Award
for her paper mache' Buddy Can You Spare a Drop?
   Themes other than California's water woes were evident

 Carol Flash calls the above watercolor Hi Moon
   Portrait of a Selfie was a crowd favorite.
   Cambria's artisans also produced enduring beauties-
   Fox Garney entered these lovely pieces with the unique 
titles Let's Get A Handle on the Water Situation and its companion porcelain You've Got Balls to Say That. 
 Weaver Michele Pike titled this Disregard for History-it is woven from an old cassette tape.
 Annie Lawrence's Good Egg.

    J'nett Wolff's Water Witch, with running water was potable, as she said.
      Beverly Whitaker's Old News is that indeed, rolled newspapers.
     Richard Morriss is a sculptor who can re-purpose objects.
   Painter Pat Wilmott's All Those In Favor-The Eyes Have It had a lot of eyes on it.
As did Tish Rogers' departure for Wonderland.

    This is but a small sampling of the kind of non traditional art, Cambria's serious artists, hobbyists and playful residents turn out for the annual 927 which provokes a lot of smiles.  
     And as this is Cambria, curious, charming, eclectic and all, there was controversy over The Best of Show selection. Some were offended, others thought it humorous while still in very poor taste.
      The piece called PETA Pussy was done by Carol Meuneir and Mena Granatino. It is a mummified cat, dressed up. We were told it was found beneath their porch.  What do you think?
   No contest here.  Lana's most recent baking effort.
   And the poached pear from Maestro Giovanni at Harmony Cafe.

   Bon Apetit' and see you down the trail.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


   While there is no shortage of terror, horrible events and violence in the world, the kidnapping of those 250 Nigerian school girls by the Islamic extremists Boko Haram has been especially troubling.
     You have empathy for families, but what can we do?
It's a challenge to all nations and to our own sense of justice.  
      People of faith are called to love, even enemies, but that flies in the face of what seems a natural response to such wanton aggression and violence. Defining and then doing the right thing is another rocky step on the sometime treacherous journey of being a human.
     As my old radio colleague Lou Palmer might say,
"While of predators, consider this…."

   Local authorities report 3 cougar sightings on the north coast of San Luis Obispo County, including on our ridge. The locations above are close; wide open spaces that surround Cambria and its thickets, canyons, forests and wooded hills.    This is prime territory for cougars, made inviting by the abundance of deer, wild turkey, fox, coyote, coons, ground critters and pets. People report family cats being taken by the mountain lions.
    We face western grazing slopes where new calves are attractive to the predators, as are the many fawns. It is  chilling that two of the sightings have been in neighborhoods considerably more populated than ours. 
Authorities tell parents to make sure young children are not left alone outside, especially at twilight.

    We've been advised on ways to respond, should we encounter a cougar. The advice is similar to what we've been told when hiking in Alaska where the issue is grizzly bear.  
   Speaking of Alaska, this archive shot is near the summit of Mt Redoubt a 10,197 foot active stratovolcano in the Aleutian range in 2001.
    Working on a documentary for Discovery we chartered a chopper to fly around the mountain with a USGS scientist who was measuring the relationship between earthquakes, magma flow and eruptions. As director I assigned myself to be second camera.
     No eruptions this day though Redoubt frequently spits or blows. It shuts Anchorage airport and coats the region in ash and spew.
     It was "a good day in the office." You can never do enough location shooting.
Photo Courtesy of

      See you down the trail.

Monday, July 14, 2014


   Oh how the queen of revenge would spin if she knew how so many of us choose to celebrate Bastille Day.
    The celebrants above, Larry, Mary Margret, Tom and Lana, cases in point, have reveled in the delights of France and by some force of nature have been drawn to the American Provence'. But there are limits and so in form from which Madame DeFarge and the Jacques' would recoil as decadent, we civilized the process.  After all who wants to toast the Great Terror which followed the storming of the Bastille?  If you are lost I refer you to either Dicken's Tale of Two Cities, or a precursory read of the French Revolution.  
     Being an artful and adventurous crowd we worked our way into the Paso Robles appellation to take up residence at an Olive Farm with true French management.  Loyal they are to their history, Bastille Day was celebrated with a light feast beneath the spreading Oleander blooms and gracious shade of Olive and Mulberry trees. Wine? Yes. And a never ending supply of Pommes Frites, done in olive oil of course.
      Sun kissed, blessed by breeze, beauty and American oenology, Bastille day was recorded as probably Thomas Jefferson would have appreciated.
     And just to show good form, the merry party meandered to a nearby vintner of Cal-Italia wines.  Salute! A votre sante! Cheers.
       After such international merriment a bit of the breeze along the Cambria coast was a sweet tonic. 
       Liberte', √©galit√©, fraternit√©!  Noble still, though easier in notion than nation. 
       To history, then….
      See you down the trail.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


    Joshua Wolf Shenk uses the pages of The Atlantic to tease a new book and to launch us on a journey into creativity in duos. 
    Lennon and McCartney are front and center, the odd couple they were but with historic impact.
    I've often been a captive of the creative couple syndrome. My late business partner Ben and I began as an investigative documentary team. Years later we helmed a multifaceted television and content production company with clients in the US, Europe, South America and Asia. We often scared new staff with our "creative meetings" which the uninitiated took as arguments.
    Don Hewitt and Mike Wallace, for that matter Don Hewitt and other CBS 60 Minutes staff, employed a similar style of collaboration. Often loud, robust and emphatic. Creative arguments were being made!
     To be honest, I knew of no other way. I walked into a metropolitan newspaper city room as a naive suburban teen and knew in the first 3 minutes I had gone beyond Oz. Smoke filled, scented with hot lead fumes from Linotype machines as the floor rumbled from presses below, men and women seemed in the midst of an urgency and all conversation was stripped to the essence. The editor was the loudest in the room as he prowled or scowled from his desk overlooking the struggling minions. That was my introduction to the collaborative process.
    It has been ever such.  As a cub in a large city radio newsroom it was not uncommon to stand toe to toe, nose to nose and yell purple framed arguments about what and how to cover stories, all the while the clock ticked and another hourly deadline drew near, waiting to be fed.
    By the time I was a senior news executive for a publicly traded chain of television stations and web sites things had become dampened. Newsrooms were decorated upscale, shouting and profanity was the exception, undesirable furtive release from the still constant stress, human resource departments provided constant training in workplace civility and practices. But when my Assistant News Director Kevin and/or Executive Producer Stacy were in my glassed in office on our level above the constant buzz of enterprise, the creative couple "discussions" ensued. 
     I don't think one can invest so much life in such a creative pursuit and form of communication and have it not  seep into civilian life-a couple's life-marriage or long term relationship.  In fact I submit that long time couples are not unlike other creative duos, with this as a caveat.  The more unalike, diverse or different the couple, the better the arena and ground for such "creativity."  Those who can, work it out and leave a long and winding road of adventure shared. I think Lana will agree. You can bet we'll have a chat.
    What do you think?
Old form-New Purpose and Function
    Former wine barrels find new life.
 Extraordinarily comfortable
 and practical. The above frames are from Le Cuvier Winery
in the Paso Robles appellation. 
 Above, Windward Vineyard in the Paso west side reuses Pinot barrels in their beautiful lath house.
Some of the sweeping valley is re purposed, as you seen mid frame, into a solar farm. Lot of sun here and lot of energy too. Another kind of creative coupling.
Creative Partners through the years
 Seated above is the late Fred Heckman, legendary radio newsman. My boss, mentor and frequent argument partner in the late 60's and 70's.  Standing behind him, next to me is RK Shull, the late syndicated newspaper columnist.  Arky was an Indianapolis newspaper figure from the 40's to 90's.
The PM/Evening Magazine team-1979. 
Kim Hood, Randy Miller and TC. It seems as though we spent decades together on the road in that van.  It was my first 2 years in television. 
 Kim and Tom in the old Gasoline Alley at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway-1980
 The WTHR Investigative Team 1980's
Steve Starnes-an award winning photographer and good friend and Ben Strout who became a business partner and eventually like a brother.
 With Co Anchor Anne Ryder and referees before the tip off a Pacers game.
 Ben and Martin Sheen during a shoot in our making of 
the 1999 Documentary, Virus of Violence examining links between school shootings and point and shoot video games. Martin was our presenter.
 On assignment in the Caribbean.
On assignment in Africa.
    Ben, who passed much too early, morphed from trusted colleague, to business partner to being a kind of brother. I liked that. My brothers were gone and Ben and I shared adventures.
   We escaped with our heads on shoulders and bodies in tact from more situations and incidents and survived more difficulties, obstacles and turmoil than with which one should tempt fate.
   We were vastly different personalities but as an investigative team, then as documentary producers and as business owners we were able to find that creative middle ground that Shenk explores. 
   Before all of this was radio.

   See you down the trail.

Monday, July 7, 2014


   There's discussion about bringing the grizzly bear back to California.  The symbol of the state and star of the California flag has been thought to be extinct here since it was last seen in 1924 in the area pictured here, Kings Canyon.
   Kings Canyon is a rugged area of granite peaks, canyons, river gorge, pine and giant sequoia.
    It is a great park, often overlooked by those visiting the giant trees of Sequoia or the heart throbbing beauty of Yosemite. According to the San Francisco Chronicle it is here where the Center for Biological Diversity seeks to return grizzlies to their former stomping ground.  Peter Fimrite writes the Center has petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to populate Kings Canyon with the iconic beast.

   Civilization has barely made a dent in Kings Canyon but opponents of the idea say it would be like bringing back the T-Rex.  Grizzly bears now roam in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Idaho.
   Here on the Central Coast we have black bears, though some of them are brown.  And some are something else-

  Bears, chairs and other shapes often emerge where an old tree has fallen.

  In rooting through a file for the shots from Kings Canyon I found these.

   In March of 2011 we met a Frenchman who belonged to this well traveled Defender.  A fascinating gent, he had been on the road for years, circumnavigating the planet. He literally traveled with everything he needed.  
    You can seen on the map he's covered a lot of this globe.
    This was his route in 2005 and 2006. By 2011 he was working his way up and through the American west. Ponder this, as you plan your next road trip.

   See you down the trail.