Tuesday, November 24, 2015


   The protracted Presidential election process is like a window into American character. What are we seeing?
    From this view I see the case that big money is so powerful it has created an industry, electioneering and it is at odds with good government. Getting elected in America has almost no connection with governing in America. They are different orbits, different universes. What it takes to get elected has almost no connection with what it takes to govern. In fact so much effort is spent on raising funds it should raise flags the system is at least out of kilter if not broken.  
      A member of the US House of Representatives will spend as much if not more time raising money for re-election than she or he spends on doing the people's work.  Members of the Senate are also trapped, but with 6 year terms, they can attend to governing and legislating. Maybe it's time to change house terms to 4 years, if we can't reform campaign spending. 
    This election window also exposes the damnable situation in which the Republican party finds itself. The evangelical, right wing and loony fringes control the nominating process and have driven the party to being out of touch with the majority of working Americans. Real Republicans are forced to play to the right and still they find themselves trailing vanity candidate Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson who is so unqualified to be a President he belongs in the Sarah Palin zoo.
    It also exposes the travesty of making New Hampshire and Iowa important. Those two states have long eclipsed their real  value and role. It is not the fault of New Hampshire and Iowa. The fault is with the media and the parties.
    Campaign reporting has digressed to numbers and carnival. It is more about the process, the horse race and personality than substance. Journalism has been dumped for entertainment, hype and gotcha. True, there is a refining process in being exposed to 24 hour coverage and examination but it has gotten so silly as to be almost pointless. Why should performance in Iowa and New Hampshire dictate a candidates true viability everywhere else?  It is because the system is so top heavy with money and contribution momentum and because the media has top loaded those two states and their own process in the hype circus that life is imitating bad art.
     The best chance at a cure is old advice.  Limit campaign spending.  Shorten the campaign cycle. Make it impossible for candidates to transport their war chest to any personal use. Get rid of PACs. For their part the media needs  a serious season of self evaluation and analysis. News managers need to realize the point of the campaign is not to build ratings, sell advertising, aggrandize careers, but to examine true and relevant issues and the women and men who are asking to be hired by the public.

Monday, November 16, 2015


     Hanging around a 700 year old Oak was a good place to absorb the shock of Paris and to think of life.
     Don't you think there have been millions of conversations framed by how do we live free but safe? I hope most of us desire freedom over a safety that comes in the form of eroded liberty. Giving up even a centimeter of civil liberty hands a victory to terrorists. 
     The British during the blitz are models to emulate. Stay calm, carry on, continue with life as free people. That is as much of an in your face rejection of the terrorists as we can demonstrate-to live freely, cautious, careful even, but by not ceding liberties. 
    The French, our longest ally appear ready to fight back by that course and by applying military strikes at the dark and evil core.
     After 9/11 we responded with the Patriot Act that we have since learned went to far, gave over too much and we've adjusted. Those who protect us in law enforcement and national security need room to work, but when citizens lose freedom and privacy we begin an erosion of a free and open society and we lose the high ground. We also lose our sense of purpose. 
     Thoughts on understanding the enemy follow below.
     Looking at things from the top of an old volcano lends a perspective. We close this post with a return to calming nature.
      Besides wrestling with the Paris attacks I've been thinking about how badly my sex can and too frequently behaves.

     That is way too kind. Men have been too frequently cowards and weasels. 
     To our positive, history records some who have been reasonable, fair and committed to equality, but when you examine the right to vote for example and the evolution of suffragettes you see men failing to do the right thing, nefariously and repeatedly. 
      Fear of change, animosity at losing the club house lordship in relations with women, no longer able to plunder or abuse. Women with the right to vote, they worried, would change everything. Men feared it so they fought it.
      The battle was in England where women tried for decades to gain the vote. The struggle birthed suffragettes who made the fight larger, public and persuasive. The marvelous film The Suffragette tells a personal story in that time. Strength, forbearance and suffering under maddening inequality. It took courage to risk what they did. In this axiom men were thugs, cheats and liars. Women won, eventually.
     So now in the second decade of the 21st Century with worry that a regressive strain of politics targets hard fought rights, a little history is helpful. The battle for the right to vote commenced mid to late 1800's. The movement gained force in the early 1900's though stymied by British Parliamentary politics and a heavy press management. That is when women stepped up the fight and it is the setting for this film that is one of the years most important. 
     Carey Mulligan creates a laundry worker who's life leads her to the movement and through her we see the struggle, told personally. Helen Bonham Carter, Ann Marie Duff and Merryl Streep with a small role of an historic character paint a vivid portrait of the passion, determination, suffering and character of the women who earned the right to vote. Prison, beatings, hunger strikes, forced feedings and family separation were the cost horrible at the time, little known today.
     The American Suffragette movement paralleled the British.
In 1918 English women over 30 could vote and could be elected to Parliament. Voting rights were later extended. American women's rights came two years later. The obstacles were the same on both sides of the Atlantic. Too many men failed to see that in extending full citizenship to women you create a more valid and extended public square and private commerce. It broadens experience and perspective in both deliberation and industry. Aside from making sense, it's right. 
      This kind of historic remembrance is important. Rights are precious and fragile.

     There is no place in the 21st Century for ISIS. They are puppets who wish to make war on modernity. They are not religionists and they are not political strategists. They are a cult of death, manipulated by zealots and self appointed fanatics who pervert aspects of a faith founded by a man who had revelations in a cave and then who built a religion that required war fare.
     Even the most open minded of Christians or Jews have questions about some aspects of Islamic belief, but the true deep thinkers in each of the three largest religions in the world have found ways to coexist and learn from each other. So at the risk of angering some of you, we should separate Islam, Judaism and Christianity from conversation about ISIS.
     They may claim to be doing war for their god, but they are really all about imposing a world view that goes back perhaps as far as the third century. They are ignorant. Their leaders are dysfunctional sociopaths incapable of navigating the complexity of a modern life. They can't handle reality so they try to create their own vision of an imagined history. And they recruit the uneducated, unemployed young. Being on social media doesn't mean enlightenment.
    Fundamentalists of every stripe are arrogant in their assumption of rightness and are by nature close minded. But few are such retrograde jackals as to worship death and to make God an angry, vengeful force incapable of anything but destruction. When you consider their destruction of history, their hatred for art, culture, music, their inability to relate to women, their barbaric penchants you are reminded of the personality profile of the sick young men who perpetrate mass shootings in the US. Both behaviors are beyond the bounds of civilization. They are very much alike.
    Everything about them is illegitimate including the god they've created and who they use as an excuse to be brutal thugs, patriarchal bullies, sexual miscreants, simple minded rejects and failures at almost everything in life. It is life they can't handle and so they soak in death. Their leaders bastardize a belief system to justify their own demented dreams and to make up for their own personal weaknesses.  
    This world is troubled enough. There is no place for a cult of curs. There is nothing about ISIS that should survive. There is not one idea they speak that is worthy of negotiation or serious reflection. They deserve the death they celebrate. It should be the task of all nations to destroy them.
    A group of friends, boomers all, grouped in this Land Rover from South Africa for an excursion of Halter Ranch in the Paso Robles appellation. 
     Here atop an old volcano that created soil conditions perfect for grapes.

    Another stop at the Ancestor Oak.  700 to 750 years old and believed to be the oldest in the US.

    Autumn color apparent in the acres of vines.
     As you admire the long view of Halter Ranch consider the extraordinary back story. That long road in the left of the frame was the landing strip of a previous owner of the land.
     The man who built the winery purchased some 2000 acres, but planted on only a little more than 200. The rest of the land is a nature preserve and includes a three mile animal safety habitat. A man of means, he has a history of buying land around parks and preserves and giving it away to create larger areas. Ecology, sustainability and walking the talk.
 Cheers to life, love and the freedoms that sustain us.


   See you down the trail.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


    A couple of items from here on the West Coast that have broader implications.
…less is more…
    California wine makers say this years grape yield is smaller, but the fruit promises to be very good. The concentration of flavor is said to be robust.  Good wine, less volume, no doubt higher prices.
…too warm…
      The west coast eco system is getting shocked. Peter Fimrite and Kurtis Alexander write in the San Francisco Chronicle the Pacific is six (6) degrees warmer than normal and it is having a devastating impact.  
      An algae bloom is killing crabs in record numbers. The warmer ocean is forcing a change in migration patterns.
      We posted earlier when the BBC and KQED aired an extraordinary three nights of live broadcasts from the Monterey Bay that scientists were seeing anomalies in whales, great whites, otters, dolphins, birds and others. One scientist was quoted as saying he didn't know if he should be excited by the unprecedented behavior to study or to be worried about it.
     A ridge of atmospheric pressure that has been largely responsible for the western drought is also the culprit in warming the Pacific beyond what is normal and healthy.


Carson up the creek?

     Credibility issues are clouding the Ben Carson campaign.
Challenges to his account of things in his life and other statements are causing some to worry about his honesty and judgement.
     Even some of the right wing evangelicals who are his largest support base raised eyebrows over his explanation of the building of the pyramids of Egypt.
      Carson has complained the media is unduly picking on him. His camp said other candidates including Barrack Obama didn't get the same treatment. Really?  Even after 7 years some media, bloggers and political activists question the President's birth and academic records. Millions of voters have considered all of that and despite the vitriol decided to elect him, twice. We'll see if similar millions feel that way about Dr Ben.
…rock solid…
   In last couple of weeks there has been a curious little monster that raises enormous questions about how to know what to believe and trust.
   Someone released a list of names of elected officials with alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan. Whoever did it purported to be the hacker activist group Anonymous. The next day Anonymous said it wasn't them, but Anonymous did release its own KKK hack of information. 
   Already many are unnerved that activists like Anonymous, or Wiki Leaks or Snowden, Manning, et al can grab and then release sensitive data, information and the like. Sony was crushed. The US State Department, DOD and intelligence agencies were stung. The great film Fifth Estate deals with the implications of such and the battle between journalists and activists in how to handle sensitive even life threatening information.
    This leads us to the next challenge. If you are a news writer or producer and you receive a tweet pointing you to a trove of previously private records, how do you respond?  Answering that is the beginning of a cascade of issues.
How do you verify the information? How do you know it is even real? How do you figure motive or intent of the leaker or hacker? Do you rush it to publication because it is so volatile Do you calculate the impact of such a release?  There are other considerations. In the case of the KKK information, bogus though it was, it got "out there" in the media. Once something lands in the media today, it takes on a life of its own, even if it is false.
    Putting on my curmudgeon hat for a moment-the media used to confirm information. I remember being furious with my boss that I needed to get two sources to confirm something before going with it. It was a good principle. Take for example if someone is labeled a child molester. Even if that proves to be absolutely false, you can never undo the damage. That very accusation is often made in custody battles or divorce cases or other legal fights.  It's easy to tar someone with false claims, but the media should never be a conduit for such. Consider that even asking questions to confirm or deny an allegation can cause damage.  To do journalism properly requires skill and judgement.
    There was a time when news organizations had a number of old boys or old girls in the shop, people who had been around the block a few times, were street wise and who had built in bull shit detectors.  News shops today are stretched to the limit to feed a 24 hour on line beast, along with broadcasts or publications. Social media is a constantly hungry tool that needs to be fed. Factor into that the relative age and experience level of today's practitioners and senior staff and supervisors get ulcers just thinking about it, unless they are from a generation that is more concerned about trending, hits, buzz, speed, spin and followers than facts and balance.
     A long time friend, a media and political expert with a great mind and a world of experience says we can't imagine how much worse it will become.

     See you down the trail. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015


     Vladimir Putin is tough and he may be dangerous, but he's right about Syria. Rebel elements, especially ISIS need to be destroyed before Assad goes. The US policy blunders in Iraq and Libya have led to chaos. Assad is a brutal mass killer and needs to face justice, but unless the world wants yet another destroyed state, without a structure of leadership, Assad needs to remain in power until ISIS can be degraded and the world can then tend to a power transfer. This view is basically "Anti American" in some quarters and it plays against the official mouthings in Washington. 
     George W. Bush created what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in American history when he let Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld push him into invading Iraq.  Barrack Obama created his own blunder when he let the Pentagon push him into Afghanistan. Cooler heads and better minds than Obama were dissed when they argued against it.
     The President's ego, he's invested in saying Assad must go, and the Washington whiners, those who try to make us think the US looks weak in the middle east compared to Russia's "strength," and the military industrial bandits, those who make money from war, and all of their various minions are in a big palaver about what to do and how to do it. The simple truth is, they don't know.
      Putin has skin in the game. Russia will suffer and pay as they prosecute a war of support for Assad. The US can and should remain focused on making sure justice comes to Assad for his heinous butchery, but some semblance of a government and sense of order needs to be protected. Unless the world is careful about who succeeds Assad a bad situation could be disastrously worse. 
      Americans don't like to hear it, especially from Putin, but regime change is not our job. Mobilizing support to try tyrants on a stage of international justice could be. For now we should be content to stay out it. We've proven we can't fix it. What happens there is not worth American lives. If someone else wants to take on ISIS, we should support them, stay out of their way and let them get the job done. We are already stretched and committed in the region because two administrations have demonstrated they are incapable of a clear, concise and successful strategy. More lives, more money, more American dignity should not be wasted. This is more profoundly true given that defense contractors and their congressional pimps and ideological idiots choose war as the preferred response. 
      In this case the politicians from the White House to Capitol Hill should butt out and permit the professionals at State, Pentagon and the intelligence community to build options for power transfer, a structure for change and an understanding of who could and should succeed Assad. An international consensus will be needed. (BTW, the pros in those corridors are not the political appointees. The politicians are the problem)
      Despite what the more fervent of "true believers" say or the vain and vacuous posturing of a media that approaches war as though it were a Super Bowl, or the zero sum game of politicians, we should shut up and let Putin take the lead. What's the worst that can happen, he inherits Syria?  That would do him about as much good and would be about as successful as our inheriting Iraq? Hows that working for us?
       If western diplomats, led by the US work on the mechanics of leadership change in a stable way, we can assure that at worst Syria will be a shared welfare case. Putin will not get out of Syria without cost. 

       Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe Syria has been wonderful for those who profit from war. If you get bored research some of these names and see how many billions of dollars have come from the US Treasury to these companies.
       KBR, Dyn Corp (Veritas Capital), Washington Group International, IAP World Wide Services (Cerberus Capital Management), Environmental Chemical Corp., L-3 Communication Holdings, Fluor Corp., Orascom Construction Industries, Parson Corp., Lockheed Martin, Tetra Tech, Triple Canopy, GS4 Risk Management, Jorge Scientific, Raytheon and there are scores more. You can get more from the Federal Procurement Data System and the GSA. Note that some of these companies are held by money managers. War is big, very big business.
      Politics and government in the US have become mega business. It's all about money. We lose when war profiteers push congress, the Pentagon or the President into more military adventurism. When you see a red faced member of the house or senate going on about patriotism, "standing our ground," "showing leadership," or a television analyst blathering on as though they have an expertise, remember they are doing the bidding of the lobbyists, executives and board members of those companies listed above and many more. Those folks who have built the mansions in the Washington suburbs are saying, to paraphrase "Patriotism has been very, very good to me.  War has been very, very good to me."


   1968, Muncie Indiana.  In those days radio stations put up basketball teams to barnstorm games to raise money for charities and schools.  Basketball is and was serious business, even when it was a fundraiser-the WERK station playing local all stars or teachers and coaches.
    Your's truly is on the left.  Coming out of the door with a broom to clown around a bit was Mike Shumaker an Indiana All Star player. On the right is Terry Stillabower now a member of the Hall of Fame. At the time he had been a college stand out and was an Indiana High School State Champion. Ironically Terry's Lafayette Jeff defeated Mike's Huntington squad in the vaunted state championship 4 years earlier. Behind Mike is Big Joe London, a fellow radio staffer.
Joe was 7 foot.
    We played in many great old community gyms and field houses and most nights they were packed. Over the years our stations would field teams that featured "ringers" like Shu and Terry, or former pros and college stars.  
     One night I was struck by the fact that I was on the court with 3 Mr. Basketballs and a former NCAA national champion. All I had to do was stay out of the way.  

    See you down the trail.

Monday, November 2, 2015


    This goes with fairy tales are not real and life does not leap from a script.
    Human endeavors are messy, imperfect, not simply explained but some refuse to so acknowledge. People prefer easy answers, crowd support, bumper stickers and social media trending to tell us what to think. All of this comes to a center in the talk and reality of Truth-that is Truth the film.
    If it is possible, lets find a point of centrality on this controversy. No one wins. It is about a screw up on top of a screw up and in a time of nasty politics and polarity.
    Right wing and or conservative bloggers and critics say the film is a failure because it's a defense of flawed CBS News investigative report. Liberals say it's a failure because it memorializes how CBS News failed to hold George Bush accountable for being a slacker and avoiding air national guard duty while already avoiding duty in Viet Nam. Self appointed moralists or journalistic ethicists have also weighed in. Some of these children unleashed their screeds and words of torment even before seeing the film. That informs us. 
    Another point of centrality. CBS doesn't like the film and won't advertise it. Dan Rather doesn't like the film, it is a low point in his life. George W. Bush fans don't like it because of what it relates about him. It's been criticized by both left and right.
     OK, maybe another point of centrality. The flap and furor over the plot line, the screw up, has eclipsed the merits of the film. The artistic endeavor, a movie with actors making an entertainment has been overshadowed by largely preconceived notions about the CBS story, Dan Rather, George W. Bush, the 2004 Presidential election, Mary Mapes and who knows what else. I think the film is a victim of prejudgements about the story and personalities and those judgements over look what is after all only a cinematic creative effort. 
      Bull shit to those who say this is trying to change history. Only historian's change history. History is the way it is memorialized and told. Generations of historians see things differently. Winners of wars see history differently than losers. Slave traders see it differently than slaves. Invading business and governments see it differently than invaded natives and cultures and etc. Oliver Stone who is a talented film maker may be the exception. Stone has convinced himself he can fabricate events and change history. Instead Stone is seen for the self aggrandizing bull shit peddler he can be. His films can be entertaining but Wall Street, JFK, Nixon, World Trade Center, Evita and others have not changed truth or rewritten history. They are just films, an artistic pursuit even if written or directed with animus or motivation. Films do not write history.
     Truth is a geyser of how passionately stitched are our politics and biases. This film is being blown over by the same ideological predators who prowled the republic in the time of Bush vs Kerry. We should release history to historians undertaking a study where facts rise to the surface.
     There is a fact at the heart of this film Truth. Before CBS reported that George W. Bush was avoiding his duty, other news organizations had reported the story. They did not however rely on documents which put the CBS effort under fire.  
     Now to the film; Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach, John Benjamin Hickey, Dermot Mulroney. These are not slackers. They are terrific and well cast. Blanchett is once again brilliant. Redford as Rather is quite a site and credible! (Redford could have been a great anchor) The film explores the emotional tangles of a team of journalists, how investigative reporting is done, the pressures that come down from management. It samples the stresses and moments of elation that those of us who have done investigative work know. This film also explores the devastation to lives. These characters are based on real people, to whom these events were life changing. The film shows this by way of outstanding acting and directing.
     The film also shows how the CBS report was flawed. Where and how the team erred. How they were tricked. How they got the story right, but screwed up in how they did it.  And this last point is what it seems no one wants to face.  
      We should remember, a million dollars was offered to anyone who could prove that George W. Bush did not avoid some of his air national guard duty when assigned from Texas to Alabama. All of these years later, no one has been able to prove he did his full duty and took all examinations. What irritates liberals is that no one can really make that point  now without someone citing the questionable documents error at CBS News. The truth of the matter gets dunked in the process of the media fire storm and hissy fits. The screw up.
     Those who say this is a defense of the CBS report don't understand reality. Careers were ended. Good people got sacked. You see that. It is the consequence of the errors they made and you see how the error was made. You see how CBS News reacted. These are glimpses into the process and the good guys become the bad guys because they screwed up. This is not Oliver Stone changing history. Mapes has not worked in journalism since. Dan Rather's illustrious career and rich history at CBS were dumped on a trash heap. This hurt. They were trying to tell a story, they made a mistake.
They got trashed. That is what the film tells.  
      There is a moment where Mapes is speaking to the special inquiry team that CBS hired to investigate the report. What she said was a truthful recitation of how and why she erred. It does not change the outcome. But it does add another wrinkle, another fold of truth.
      One should look closely at the "inquiry team" CBS management brought in to investigate. But that is for another day.
      And so back to why this film is so troubling. It demonstrates how messy and screwed up life can be and how good can be bad. That ain't easy for humans to abide. Especially in a fully loaded media world where everyone is on at high volume with their minds made up.
     25 or 50 years from now this film will be seen as a portal into a moment and void of the hype and bias will be appreciated as an artistic exploration of human frailty, well acted. Americans of all persuasions don't like films or morality tales without a happy ending. Sometimes Truth is bitter.
   A little finger pond, near where Santa Rosa Creek flows into the Pacific in Cambria, is a hidden get away for water birds.

   I thank them for sharing their peaceful setting with me.

   See you down the trail.

Friday, October 30, 2015


      A chilling seasonal premise-a year to the Presidential election.
      Maybe sleeping gas or sleeping pills are in order, for the candidates or perhaps, mercifully, for the rest of us.  
      These self named debates are a joke. At its inception, it is an attempt by networks to instigate a food fight. The more friction and raised voices, they assume, the better the ratings. Maybe I'll take an early vote and turn them off, until someone hosts a real debate that goes beyond verbal japes and well rehearsed sound bites. There's a lot of substance to explore. Sad it is not being done. It should be. Presidential elections are for adults.
   A couple of interlopers, looking at goodies in the garden but from the wrong side of the fence.
Got my eye on this…
   …should be in a salad, soon!
   7:30 AM on the tennis court, heard something for the first time there-the surf. The courts are a long way from the beach, but the big blue was pounding with such vigor, the roar carried for miles.  
    "You'd think a freeway was nearby," quipped one of the players.
big noise at low tide
    Parting thought on the "debates." They were good debates and insightful, when the League of Women Voters organized and sponsored them. They were designed to illuminate. These recent exercises are more about entertainment and gotcha…would like to see the political media of '60-80's back on the scene. Substance mattered. 

    See you down the trail.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


     It's hard work trying to surface truth, facts and reality. It's tougher when spin, malice and political motivation are part of the landscape. The years I spent as an investigative reporter were brutal. There was never a way to turn it off.
     Now a couple of new films reprise two of the most celebrated and controversial investigations of recent. I plan to see both, but I'm familiar with the reality behind the cinema.
     Spotlight, which details the ordeal of the Boston Globe in breaking the Priest sexual abuse and cover up and Truth, the troubled CBS News investigation of George W. Bush's special treatment as a slacker and no show in his air national guard duty, will give viewers a glimpse into the imperfect world of ferreting truth, or at least getting enough information to make the truth self evident.
     When media seems as devoted to Face book, Twitter and popular culture as it is to hard news, significant stories or investigations, it may be helpful these films open the door on what real journalism involves.
     Dan Rather wrote this weekend he's not happy that a low point in his career is the subject of a film, played by no less than Robert Redford. Though the report was flawed by fraudulent documents, the Truth remained the same. It took a toll on Rather. The members of the Boston Globe team also endured emotional trauma, for simply trying to tell the truth.
     Truth and honest facts can be dangerous. We live in an age when billions are spent to avert our gaze from the truth. Those who seek the facts and try to root out truth, remain my heroes.
     Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican Presidential Candidate is in the pantheon of American Conservatives. There was a time when it was inconceivable you could get more far right than Goldwater. Those who knew or covered Goldwater may have questioned his policies, but everyone respected him for saying it like it was.
     The following graphic is making its way around Twitter.

    Well, on the other hand there have been countless Christians, even church leaders, who have been open minded and facile. Reinhold Niebuhr, Andrew Young, William Hudnut, John Danforth, Benjamin Hooks, Robert Drinan, (President) James Garfield, John Bull, John Witherspoon, Dean Johnson, Walter Mueller were all Christrian pastors or leaders and were capable of compromise and negotiation. Goldwater was right about the Christian Evangelical right.  It is worrisome to traditional, moderate, centrist or even "old fashioned conservative" Republicans. Does the word zealot fit?
  There is a variation in the personality of this character amidst all of the Scarecrows on display this month all over Cambria.
    This may scare in a different way.
      Lana created a take on the Statue of Liberty and if you were able to look closely you would see it is made from pages of a Bible. For the record, it was an old Bible, from childhood and the binding was ruined. Here it is recycled as a statement that some Christian quarters are more open minded and loving than those Mr. Goldwater worried about.
      In the eye of the beholder, eh?

 Hemingway being fastidious.
Count the toes.  
Six on each paw

    See you down the trail