Friday, September 28, 2012


     THE WEEKENDER offers a few minutes of audio and visual pleasure this week.
        Offering #1 features a lot of people we know in settings that are within just a few minutes of our ridge top here in Cambria.  
BTW,the Central Coast Bioneers are worthy of a few minutes of your search time.

      Offering # 2 comes by way of a forward from Bruce A.K.A. The Catalyst. An instrument in your future perhaps?
On this video I suggest you kick it up to the HD version if you can.
See you down the trail.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


      A California garden touch as a paean to Easter Island.

Peaceful slumber.
As you endure the last weeks of the 
Presidential campaign, you might wish to 
consider a real dark horse.  At least 
the thought of one.
Bill Seavey is one of the original and creative thinkers
in this part of California.
He's written
which I reviewed.  You
can read the review and learn more about Bill and his previous books
See you down the trail.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


     Truth is Bonnie Raitt probably would have liked to have had the night off.  
     The previous evening was a "homecoming" show in LA including a reception she said for 180, all of whom she visited with.  
     "We played until 3 or 4 in the morning!" she told the enthusiastic Santa Barbara Bowl audience.  It was the audience that seemed to recharge her as the evening progressed.
      She paid great tribute to the late Gerry Rafferty saying the Scotsman "was a greatly under appreciated artist" who deserves more recognition.
      Rafferty's "Right Down the Line" is the single from her new album and was warmly accepted by the audience and set the evening on its trajectory.
       It started off on a high point and simply got better. The superb band James "Hutch" Hutchinson on Bass, Ricky Fataar on Drums, George Marinelli on Guitar and Mike Finnigan on keyboard also were cranked up by the continuing ovations and response.
        Raitt brought guitar handler Manny Alvarez out to play on a couple of numbers.  A major talent there as well.  Vickie Randolph joined Bonnie in doing a couple of duets which also cranked up the crowd.
       Throughout the concert she paid effusive tribute to Mavis Staples who had been her opening act for much of the tour.
       One of several emotional high points came when she sang "Marriage Made In Hollywood" written by Paul Brady and her former Husband Michael O'Keefe.
" a free-fall chute that didn't open
He looked down to see his dream was broken
He stared back up at a hot grey sky
Re-ran his life and then he died.
Well if you jump off a building, brother beware!
"Cause my friend Jimmy woke up in mid-air
No time to smile, no time to wave
They buried him in a media grave."
             Loudon Wainright's lyrics also gave Ms. Raitt a 
powerful moment-
"...Mercy is just a warning across the bows
I live for yours and you can't fail me now..."

       She is a great solo vocalist with a range from country to blues. And she is a consummate player.  Her guitar solo on
Ray Charles' "I Got News For You," had people standing and applauding before she finished.
     Audiences at the Santa Barbara Bowl are attentive. Many in the region are music people or are associated with entertainment.  Some of the audience are peers. There is a mood of appreciation that just runs high in crowds at the Bowl.  Whatever the cause, it makes for a great instant love between performer and audience.  
    "I love you too," she yelled back to a fan. "It seems to be working out."
    We left thrilled by the concert and I'll bet Bonnie Raitt left more pumped than she might have imagined she would be when she opened on the night after her homecoming show LA.
    Another great nite under California stars.
    See you down the trail.

Friday, September 21, 2012


      In March of 76 Lana and I joined Barb and Dave for a Bicentennial drive across America.
      We loaded their VW Van, bid a farewell to our daughter who was being doted over by grandmothers and aunts and headed west.
       Barb uncovered my daily journal from that trip and this week we have recounted memories.  A highlight of that epic journey was a camping trip to Big Sur's Lime Kiln.  This was long before it was a state park. We had been there previously and had been captured by it. In March of 76, Barb and Dave made their first and last visit, until this week. 
      What a great joy it was to be there again with Barb and Dave.  We had much to celebrate, most notably Barb's victory over ovarian cancer. 
     Frequent readers of this blog will recall several postings from Big Sur and especially Lime Kilns. It is one of our favorite places on the planet. 
    There is a primeval peace and a natural tranquility which breathes from the rushing stream and sun light filtered through towering redwoods.

  I've posted about the fire which burned through the forest
 and the natural recovery which occurred, as it has for as long as time.

     Lana and I go to Big Sur frequently, but on this return trip, Barb and Dave vowed to make it more often than another 36 years.
     Have a great weekend.  Tell good friends you love them.
     See you down the trail.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


     I have my late brother Jim to thank for turning me on to Neil Young.
Neil Young Photo Courtesy of Graeme Mitchell  New York Times
     Jim was a devoted fan and his enthusiastic playing and gifting of the Harvest album led me into fandom all those years ago.  

     Jim, who was also a writer and player at music thought Young possessed a perspective that put him into a league of his own.
     Now, Young is opening up and talking a bit about his eccentric, creative and unique life.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Kravitz/Film Magic
     In advance of his book Waging Peace, Young has spent time with journalists, itself an unusual act for the private troubadour. 

    It's not too early to be thinking about a Christmas gift of
a book for the music or Neil Young fan in your life.

    Here is a vintage Young performance from the time my younger brother pointed me in the right direction.  This is dedicated to Jim.  
See you down the trail.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


     In the mid-west and east people will begin looking for hints of color in the maples, sycamores, oaks, hickories, and other deciduous trees, now that we are getting deep into September.  
    Out west we spot the color in the aspen, oak and madrone trees, especially in the Sierra. As a former mid westerner one calculates the connection between color in leaves to leaves on the ground and then the arrival of snow.  While we hope for a lot of snow in the Sierra, that part of the equation-snow-changes when you get to the coast. In fact autumn may well be THE season here on the central coast.  
    We still have blooms, the sky is blue, the temperatures are moderate to warm and it stays that way. The only variance are those few days when rain allows for more blooms and a renewing greening. Nominally the rainy season, October through March, means a lot less rain than elsewhere.  24 to 26 inches is a good normal year. Spread that over a 5 to 6 month span and you see rain is a precious and indeed a somewhat rare resource. 
    So, for now, more color from those things that don't require much water.  And we'll be on the look out for color in the leaves and reports of the first snow, high in the mountains or back east.
Tinges of Pink 
& other shades

See you down the trail.

Monday, September 17, 2012


     The presidential campaigns continue to court the undecideds, especially in those key and decisive counties in the "battle ground" states. I'm not sure how someone can be undecided at this point, but this is also the age of the "low information voter, so..."  
     BTW, does the concept "low information" voter give you pause too?  Or maybe just scare you?
     To those who might be still undecided, we send along 
memories of that MeatLoaf classic Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.  
     "What's it going to be? I need to know right now!" 
     "Let me sleep on it."
     "Tell, what's it going to be?  I need to know right now!"
     "Let me sleep on it."
      Etc., Etc., Etc. until, you may recall, the refrain                       "Now I'm praying for the end of time..."
      You know, for some, it may be better to remain 
undecided eh?
Cloudy & Gray or Blue and Sunny
sort of stuck in the middle

If you wait long enough around here,
that California sun shines through
and the skies go blue.
     This French film has been playing The Palm, our favorite art and foreign house, for a few weeks and continues to draw crowds and great reviews.  We know why.
      The story of a wealthy French aristocrat who suffers a paralyzing accident and the Senegalese emigre from a poor extended family who becomes his caregiver is hilarious, touching and true.  Subtitles seem to disappear because the acting  and story line are both superb.  It's a great little film that will give you a lift.
It seems this has greatness written all over it.
Actors, producer, director, and the storyline itself.
Do you think he could be elected today?
See you down the trail.

Friday, September 14, 2012


   We passed about 15 horrible minutes today looking at the insipidly terrible trash video that whipped fundamental Muslims into riotous frenzy.  Though it is pathetically stupid and attempts to be offensive to Islam, it is also stupid that intelligent people would riot in response. Rotten is rotten so the best response is to ignore it.  Fundamentalists of any stripe seem to abandon reason though and so the protests continue, giving longer life to the very thing they abhor.  Duh!!
   At coffee after tennis this morning David, an admired and respected man, widely traveled and in his 80's, spoke  of the extraordinary power of youtube and other internet videos.  "It's changed everything" he said, "there is no control over what people see or how they'll react."
    In his youth, radio and newspapers were the predominant 
carrier of attitude and information.  Those media, like television, represent structure, organization and a process that touches and shapes the information at least.  The internet of course gives all players equal access to your eyes, ears and brain.  It is without an inherent balance, establishment of significance or quality control. And it is pervasive.
     With that as a full disclosure disclaimer, allow me to put a piece of propaganda before you this weekend.  This is a short trailer about a growing issue and a likely problem across the land.  This is a one sided teaser-but it's about something we all need to think about.  Note my emphasis on think...something absent in all aspects of the first item posted today.
Our thought for the weekend then is just that;
Think about something.  Exercise those gray cells.
See you down the trail.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


     The best information to date is the Innocence of Muslims  was a badly made and cheap film that attracted only a handful of viewers at a screening in LA.  It could have died there and never been heard of again. But social media changes all the old rules.
      Clips of the film circulated on YouTube and fanned Muslim anger.  Strains of fundamental Islam take little to work them into a frenzy.  Those who hew to a rigid line of never thinking critically about their own faith, or even thinking in an open minded and rational way are quick to foam and be seized by manic anger.  What apparently is a piece of trash with mysterious origin has now become a pivot point of anger, foment and a genuine foreign policy issue.  For all that is good about a wired world and communication power, an incident like this points to its dark side.
       Ignorance is just that, whether in a film, or in a response to it. Ignorance is rampant in the world, and it wears Muslim, Christian and Jewish garb.  A decentralized, non aggregated, free-for-all communication web can simply add fuel to a fire.  It obviously can also set sparks. When so much ignorance plays in the tinderbox, the world is more dangerous.
       This is the kind of world where the US foreign policy and national security apparatus must operate.  It reminds me of muddy and muck filled rivers populated by crocodiles and snakes.  I was glad to have a veteran at the helm.  Hysterics in this climate can be lethal, but they abound.
     Now before my Republican, conservative or Romney backing readers have apoplexy, this is not about politics.
Indeed even right leaning or right wing commentators as well as old fashioned mainstream Republicans have criticized the Republican candidate for his opportunistic and political attack on the administration.  He was accused of speaking too early, or looking weak among other non presidential qualities.  The Democrats were more pointed, but since this is not about politics, we leave the comment to his own kind.
     From a center court seat and with an historic perspective, his desperation to score political points reflected a lack of judgement, seasoning, sense of depth and class.  At a time of international crisis, the US speaks with one voice. And Romney's sense of timing was bad, at the very least.  
     When Americans and diplomatic personnel are under attack, politics has no place. When those personnel die, any attempt to score political points is not only repugnant and offensive, it is a stupid miscalculation in a grave moment.  It was a cheap, stupid and tactless thing to do.  Romney and his advisers should be ashamed and are rightly being criticized.
     So there you have it.  Stupid X's 3.  Stupid film, stupid fundamental reaction, stupid politics.  What should have been a tempest in a teapot reveals fatal flaws and fault-lines in a dangerous world.
A Kitten's First Climb
See you down the trail.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Photo Courtesy of Coast Guard, California Highway Patrol and the Associated Press
     It sounds as though the 77 year old pilot and his son were pretty cool as they waited two hours to be pulled from the sinking pontoon plane.
     The AP reports the son says his dad landed it well, in the Pacific, a mile off shore of San Simeon, north of Cambria.
They were on their way for an annual Alaskan fishing trip when the engine died.  Their locator beacon worked and in a couple of hours the Coast Guard chopper was at work pulling them up, just as the plane was beginning to sink.
      What do you think a dad and son would have to say to each other as they bobbed amongst elephant seals, great white sharks and took the waves in a dead plane? Few conversations get that kind of setting.
    It was amusing to hear what came from other tennis courts as our group took a break between sets.  Guys were being vocal with them self, berating their own play or lack of control.  Since the courts are on a school campus there is a club policy against profanity. In that context I heard a few God    Bless Americas! being hurled in that voice that seems as if it struggles with control.  Mostly, guys talking to themselves, like a coach; keep your eye on the ball (insert name), stroke it, don't poke it (insert name), oh!, where were you going with that shot (insert name)? 
     In a few minutes I was back on the court, and probably 
fully engaged in that "hybrid coaching" well.
     We love our games don't we?
     See you down the trail.

Monday, September 10, 2012


The annual I Maddonari Italian street painting
festival in San Luis Obispo provided these
frames of artists at work.

They are beautiful if fleeting pieces. It provides a great weekend on the Mission Plaza. But what backbreaking work, to say nothing of the hands and knees.
See you down the trail.

Friday, September 7, 2012


              John Muir appreciated wonders of nature. 

        His sensitivity points us to behold the power and even mystery of life beyond or beside human parameters. 

             Out there, up there, even in there are forces and natural occurrences that form the basis of science and dumbfounds rational tools.  We theorize.
              Watching star populated night skies over the Pacific and lightless mountains propounds the dazzling concept of interstellar space.  Seeing depth in a star field lends credibility to the vast distances of space and time. Out there are perhaps dark holes, worm holes and theories  we can't fully explain.  And now the little Voyagers are about to pass the limits we biped's have postulated to in up there
              Learning about in there is accelerating in a post DNA gene sequencing world. Medicine is getting more precise. The closer we look, the more we see forces beyond our making and which influence destiny.
           And there are spirit, heart, soul, religion and philosophy which bind an alternative in there. Wisdoms, truths, transcendence and riddles are pondered yet they too  stand in the face of mystery.

           Let something give you a sense of wonder.

           See you down the trail.