SUNRISE AT DEATH VALLEY-Photo by Tom Cochrun

Thursday, March 26, 2015

LIVING IN HENRY MILLER'S PARADISE and WHY ISIS CAN'T BE BEATEN

IT IS LIKE HENRY MILLER SAID
   There's a line in a commercial that says "California cows are contented cows." Why not, huh?
    Our "Heinz 57" Joy finds endless contentment in the garden.
    Author Henry Miller, who lived just a few miles north of our home said "I am constantly reminded that I am living in a virtual paradise."
     Amen to that!

   Spring's color wheel is at work on the coast,
  and on the hills and slopes.

WHY ISIS CAN'T BE BEATEN
Because they should be destroyed
    ISIS, a threat to the world, is a particularly challenging problem for Christians.
      Graeme Wood's What Isis Really Wants, in the March The Atlantic is an excellent examination of the menace and peril they pose and underscores why Christians are particularly challenged.  I've read and watched as much as I can, from a variety of sources and suggest Wood's article, even if you think you know all you need to about Isis.
      Followers of Jesus know that he taught to love your enemies, to forgive them, to pray for them. He admonished one of his closest followers who struck out at an enemy. He said to love your enemy is tantamount to pouring coals on their head. Nations do not live for salvation or redemption and their objectives are survival and not perfection or transcendence.
      One can advocate for a loving response and argue that  a measure beyond human justice will bear out the rightness. Some will disagree, but that is only coincidental. In a hard world of cultural and religious diversity, populated by a pastiche of beliefs, analysis, intellect and skepticism, a purely Christ like principle will not rise to the muscle of national strategic policy. This is a fully human dilemma, the kind of vile business that has been set before us in the former garden. And ISIS is a death cult, working to achieve its own religiously inspired belief they are agents of the Apocalypse.
      By civilized standards they are barbarians, ruthless with no respect for life, convinced of their "holy" mission and certain only they are right. They are a perversion of humanity, have twisted decency and justice and live as an evil strain.
      By idealized measure Christians should love them. Not to do so opens a calculus that becomes an entirely intimate equation and is for no human discussion. For those inclined it is a matter for regions of heart and soul and an accountability.  
      In this challenge, from this evil, in this time, in the practical realm of saving life, preventing destruction, stopping a lunatic movement, and destroying evil, ISIS should be eradicated. Their complete and total demise is the work of humanity, faithful or faithless, observant or atheist, contrite, convicted or contemptuous. All of us can then live with consequence, each according to our own. That is more than ISIS would ever permit.

     See you down the trail.
      

Monday, March 23, 2015

WHAT IS LIFE?

DEFINITIONS OF LIFE
   Do you think it is possible to reach a place in the progression of human life where we cease to be human? That begs a number of questions, not the least of which is what is a human being?
    Nicholas Wade wrote in the New York Times of a call by eminent biologists to stop the use of genome editing that could change how human DNA is inherited. While it might cure genetic diseases it could also be used to change qualities like intelligence, physical development and more.
The scientists are concerned the technique will be used before the human race understands the ethical challenges such technology presents. Remember the old potboiler The Boys From Brazil? Imagine the bruisers the NFL could breed, for example!
     This exciting new science develops as humans continue to demonstrate a propensity to screw up and to exercise lack of judgement.
     A lawyer in Huntington Beach is a poster child of such.
Matt McLaughlin has proposed a California ballot proposition that would authorize the killing of gays and lesbians. It's a case that tests limits of free speech, but has caused a reaction that questions why can't something that would be illegal be stopped.  In the meantime some are trying to get McLaughlin disbarred. 
     So, back to the rise of amazing and fantastic science and the potential of human idiots and miscreants to get their hands on such. 
    We should never halt the progress of advancing knowledge, but we have probably reached a cross roads where ethics and implications need to be studied and weighed more arduously than ever.
     We are flirting with cyborgs as we implant new knees, shoulders, hips, heart valves and etc. A chip, placed in the brain to limit the effect of a neural and muscular disorder is a wonder, and so too is the potential of similar procedures to halt dementia. But is there a point at which we change what it means to be human?  This question is probably more relevant when considering artificial intelligence, though we are beginning to blur the lines and draw more closely to a change in the evolution of human life. Biology and nanotechnology present us with new horizons.
      There are bright minds and deep thinkers among us and they are pondering what used to be the stuff of science fiction and fantasy.  Do you think the balance of humanity is up for such deep thinking? Or are we populated by larger numbers who would rather prioritize their own desire to live longer, or to birth beautiful children, or create NBA superstars who can fly, or breed warriors who fight wars with unending force, etc?  What do you think? How should we enter this future?

POTPOURRI
An oddball assortment of images stuck in the corner file
 Spring fresh
   Palm Springs Patio mellow
  Patience at Lampton Cliff
   Hearst Castle via telephoto
 Barrel Room setting for a Zin Fest Weekend Winemakers Dinner at Le Vigne
  Wow & delicious!  

   See you down the trail.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WHAT WOULD TWAIN SAY?

BLUE CHARGE AND RETREAT
Moonstone Beach, Cambria
      The rhythm and sound of the Pacific enhances any day.

"I do not like work, even when someone else does it."
Mark Twain

SNAPS OF THE PROS
   Tennis champion Rafa Nadal taking a practice break in 93 degree heat at Indian Wells. 
   The BNP Paribas Open offers this blogger a chance to indulge his sports photography fantasy.
   The great Serena Williams during a practice session.

      Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray with a power drink.
   Nadal's eyes laser focused on the ball.
   Exercising his tick of putting his hair behind his ear.
   Eugenie Bourchard and shadow in a post shot single leg stance.
   Bouchard arching on a serve.
 Alize Cornet finishes a backhand.
   Andy Murray ready to deliver on a serve. His is one of the games best.
 Murray and shadow are airborne after a return. Notice the ball at his knee.
 Grigor Dimitrov in two phases of a great backhand during practice

   The fourth ranked Caroline Wozniacki going for a shot in a game and match she would loose.
   Canadian Star Milos Raonic demonstrates the intensity of waiting for a shot.
    When discussing careers my high school guidance counselor missed a couple of options-Tennis and Winemaker. Wonder what Twain would say about those lines of "work?" 

      See you down the trail.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

CHANGING PERSPECTIVE-Dear Vladimir-Dear Isis-SPRING TONIC

Pulling Back




DEAR ISIS
     Dear Isis,
          We are writing on behalf of Senator Tom Cotton and 46 Republicans in the US Senate. They have your sense of humor and mental agility.  Please adopt them and send them to one of your summer camps. You would do America a great favor by doing so.
Signed
Americans for the Constitution

FOR THE WINTER WEARY








    Spring Scenes from the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria and the town square in Paso Robles.

DEAR VLADIMIR PUTIN
     Dear Vlad-
         We are writing on behalf of Tom Cotton and 46 Republican Senators who we think you should adopt. They are people of action, just like you. They are unhappy in America and don't like our President. Please give them your strongest embrace and if for some reason they upset you, send them out on the streets near the Kremlin. They won't be missed by thinking people.
Signed
Americans for the Constitution

See you down the trail.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SONGS OF LYNCHING, REALLY?

 PASSAGE
                    San Simeon Ca
SELF DESTRUCTIVELY STUPID
     To begin, it is not the model of appropriate 21st Century behavior to be, at worst, a hate filled racist bigot or, at  best, so insensitive as to sing about lynching using a racial epithet. 
    To be such and to additionally be so stupid as to do it in the presence of cameras makes you a laughing stock of the planet and puts you in the same league as ISIS. You are not worthy of humanity.
    The SAE Chapter at the University of Oklahoma deserves sanction and the University community has responded strongly, as civilized people must.
    What mystifies this blogger is not so much the twisted reasons someone could enjoy such a song and message but how anyone at a university could participate in this day and age with cameras rolling. Even human swamp slugs know of political correctness or standards of acceptance and decency. College students? Heaven help us! 

SCENES FROM THE CALIFORNIA COAST
       PIEDRAS BLANCAS LIGHT STATION, Highway 1
       SIESTA  San Simeon, Ca
       SUNNING  San Simeon Ca

      MUNCHING, Highway 1 Hearst Ranch

A WORD TO THE WISE?
     Many a man has fallen in love with a girl in a light so dim he would not have chosen a suit in it.
                              Maurice Chevalier

    See you down the trail.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

COAST IS CLEAR - MESSAGES CONFUSED - TBT PAUL NEWMAN "EXCLUSIVE"

THE COAST IS CLEAR



POLITICAL ROUGH STUFF
     The primary motive of the flap over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's e-mails is to create more flack to shadow a presidential campaign. But the spat raises critical issues, for all of us.
      How private should or can our communications be, whether we are a public official or a corporate employee? I wrestled with the latter issue as the senior news executive in a large and publicly traded broadcast company. In this age it is difficult to separate personal and professional communications, via phone or Internet. 
      Clinton had to live through the fall out of Julian Assange's Wikileaks revelation of thousands of supposedly private State Department cables and communications. They were the notes, observations and working messages of diplomatic personnel, were often sensitive and were never intended for public dissemination. Their release outraged foreign leaders, damaged relationships and put American assets and other intelligence officers at risk. So in that environment one understands a desire to have some protective wall.
      And aren't we all entitled to privacy of thought and deliberation? Our attitudes and positions can and do change on people and politics, but in the interim we should be free to say and think "aloud" or in emails, what we wish, understanding that a particular communication is not meant to be definitive.  But when something is brought up and focused on, with no context, it is unfair and misleading.  All the more reason to know what are the ground rules and boundaries.
     I won't predict the Clinton E-mail fight will achieve clarity on this issue, but it's something that faces all of us.
TBT 1968 PAUL NEWMAN & BROTHER JOHN
    Paul Newman campaigned for Eugene McCarthy at Ball State University in the spring of 1968.  His primary body guard was my younger brother John, the bearded lad to whom Newman is speaking.  
    I was a reporter, covering the critical Indiana primary and the coming and going of the politicians, but John had the best access to Newman.
   Newman flew in where John picked him up, along with a couple of others. Newman's first request was to stop at a liquor store where he purchased a six pack of beer.
   John, now deceased, was bit of a brawler and before he was injured was a tough football player. He went on to be a charismatic therapist and counselor and directed the public hospital's crisis intervention unit. In this picture he was evidence of the "Get Clean with Gene" movement. Before his Newman assignment, his hair and beard were much longer. John rarely wore a tie. 
   There were no problems for Newman during his Indiana sojourn. John could be a formidable force.

   See you down the trail