Light/Breezes

Light/Breezes
SUNRISE AT DEATH VALLEY-Photo by Tom Cochrun

Monday, April 30, 2012

THE KILL IS TOO WIDE

MOST AMERICANS HAVE NO IDEA
     Tom Knudson's investigative series in The Sacramento Bee this week is highly recommended reading.
     Knudson writes about the little known Wildlife Services
branch of the Department of Agriculture.  The Wildlife Services branch is a killing service funded with an annual budget of $72.5 Million.
      As Knudson writes
"Sometimes wild animals must be destroyed-from bears that ransack mountain cabins to geese swirling over an airport runway. But because lethal control stirs strong emotions, Wildlife services prefers to operate in the shadows."
       In my view, it is the information about the manner in which they "operate in the shadows" that is, in the least, troubling if not damning.  Animals that should not be destroyed, are.  Policies and operating procedures are violated, information is hidden or often covered up and humans have been injured as well.  Link above for an eye opening and well done journalistic effort. As one of the sources in the piece is quoted "99% of Americans don't have a clue about this agency."
     Those of you who have followed this blog may recall one of our areas of interest since moving to the far west is watching this area of human and wildlife interaction.
DAY BOOK
CAPTURED MOMENTS
 






See you down the trail.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

THE WEEKENDER :) COOL

GETTING FAMILIAR WITH MOTHER NATURE
Grinding the Crack
    There are a lot of ways to get it done, but we offer up a 
WEEKENDER :) video sent to me by my eldest who has been
a wilderness guide, canoeist and helicopter/rafting leader.
This is something I hope Kristin is not thinking about doing,
but it does offer some thrills. Hang on for this one.

     Now we'll offer up a less harrowing way to interact with the elements.  Here's a taste of what many of us Central Coasters have been doing, watching for whales.

IT'S A NEW TRACK RECORD
     It was always exciting when the late Tom Carnegie, track announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, boomed those words.  The phrase was so famous in Indianapolis it became a kind of buzz word cliche for any manner of "record setting" activity.  Today the Friday Lunch Flash Mob set 
a "new track record."  We had FIVE picnic tables.
    Kind of amazing when we recall it started with about five or six sitting up on the deck.  Big kids like to have fun too!
     Have a great weekend.  See you down the trail.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A CLOSE ENCOUNTER

AN ENCOUNTER OF
THE EXPLOSIVE KIND
     Scientists and meteorite hunters are scouring over Lotus Park California in El Dorado County. They are looking for debris of a minivan sized meteorite that exploded Sunday night over the Sierra foothills.  
     The blast had what is said to be one-third the force of the Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Recovered pieces are reported to be 4-5 billion years old.  It is a trove for scientists and maybe writers too.
     Remember all of those B grade Sci Fi movies of our Boomer youth?  They always seemed to play out some place in California.  (Of course we grew to understand that is because it was close to the studios and cheaper to film)
      Still, there may be a plot brewing as the search for 
meteorite pieces continue.
DAY BOOK
SPRING BOUQUET
Iris grew well in Indiana, but this is the 
first year we've had an Iris bloom here.




See you down the trail.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A FEDERAL CASE & AFTER THE CATCH

YOUR TEXTS AND TWEETS COULD BE EVIDENCE
     The federal charges against a former BP engineer, alleging he deleted 300 text messages which seemed to indicate the leak of the Deepwater Horizon was worse than the company was saying is important for many reasons.
       The impact on the case is obvious. What is says about personal responsibility in a corporate crisis is another subtext and so too is the disposition of all those texts and tweets that millions send through the ether every day. When is a message yours, and when does it belong to others, your employer or a federal prosecutor?
        When I was an investigative reporter all our work got a legal review before broadcast.  One of our attorneys advised that once we cleared legal and broadcast the program, all our notes relevant to the investigation should be destroyed, putting them beyond the reach of a subpoena, should litigation result, as it would occasionally.  It made you think.  Some times I dumped notes, other times I kept critical files. Later of course those files became debris for later staff people to discard, though many of my files are in curated collection at an historical society.  I'm sure the statute of limitations has run on all of that work by now.
SPEAKING OF WORK
       Here are a few seconds of watching a fisherman work,
after the catch of the day has been hauled off the boat.
See you down the trail.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A NEW ERA IN CALIFORNIA MUSIC

THE PAINTED SKY IN HARMONY
     Jazz, blues, acoustic, Celtic, bluegrass, country, western and classical musicians sought out the famed Painted Sky Recording Studio in Cambria. 
      A frequent reader of this blog is more than likely familiar with the extraordinary history.  
      One of the last concerts at the old venue featured Jude Johnstone and Ray Bonneville which you can read about by linking here.
       Another extraordinary night featured Inga Swearingen, often heard on NPR  and it was powerful the night Michael On Fire played.

       All those years and countless great nights are history and prelude for the New Painted Sky, located in the old Creamery
in historic Harmony California, about 5 miles south of Cambria on the Pacific Coast Highway 1.
    Concerts at the Painted Sky are intimate affairs, like a house concert.  Artists who are in the studio often put aside a night to entertain small and appreciative crowds.
     It has become an institution for California and other musicians and for the music lovers of the Central Coast.
     You may recall the circumstances by which producer, sound engineer Steve Krimmel and music fans lost the old location for antique storage. A point of view here.
    It is still a work in progress, but Steve has the sound about
where he wants it. The touring of a sensational young
group of guitarists The New West Guitar Group
   provided the context for a the launch of the new Painted Sky, in Harmony.  
    Your intrepid blogger/correspondent, armed with iPhone provides about a minute's look at the dawning of a new
era.
See you down the trail.

Monday, April 23, 2012

THE GREAT ONES

REMEMBERING GREATNESS
     Reading of the election difficulties of two long time US Senators, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Oren Hatch of Utah renewed a nagging thought.  From where are the new "Lions" coming?  Generally, and this is a purely subjective take, the quality of upper chamber, the US Senate, has been in steep decline over the last decade.
       There was a time when men and women of conviction and deep political differences could legislate. There was a time when our Federal legislature was not mired in a morass of gridlock, petty interests, cheap hustles, and political gamesmanship above all else.  
        If you doubt that, then regard those times in our history when we recovered from war, helped Japan and Europe rebuild and re-tool, led the way in manufacturing, education, medical research, science, when the economy grew, and there was a sense of prosperity and hope.  It took an obliging, motivating, visionary Senate and even House.
       Here's a way to spend a few educational moments.
       Some of the names will recall history lessons. Others will remind you of people of skill. Here's just a few names, from our era, to say nothing of the historic Henry Clays or William Jennings Bryans, etc.
       Everett Dirksen, John Foster Dulles, Margret Chase Smith, Lyndon Johnson, Estes Kefauver, Barry Goldwater,
Mike Mansfield, Stu Symington, Alben Barkley, Clifford Case, Jacob Javits, William Promire, John Tower, Edward Kennedy, Abe Ribicoff, George McGovern, Birch Bayh, Edward Brooke,
Mark Hatfield, Harold Hughes, Robert Dole, Richard Schwieker, Robert Taft, Lowell Weicker, Hubert Humphrey, Sam Nunn, et al.
      These people were not saints, nor necessarily towering luminaries, but they were legislators, capable of working, achieving compromise and serving the interest of the Republic and the Senate.  Do you think some of the newly elected, or those circling to get in are of this calibre?  Perhaps some are unless they come in as "true believers" in an ideology over the common good of all. 

REMEMBERING A JAZZ GREAT
A CAMBRIA LOCAL
FOR JAZZ FANS
   Our unique village said good bye to one of our unique 
citizens, Red Holloway a jazz and blues legend.  Here is a 
five minute video with just a few of the highlights from
what was an extraordinary jazz and blues tribute Sunday
afternoon.  
       I shot this with a IPhone, so you are not going to see
a master production, but it will give you a taste.
      I suggest you click the youtube icon and watch it in a larger format


LOCAL COLOR
     And here in less than 30 seconds is a glimpse of 
the famed Morro Rock-one of the Great Icons of the 
central coast.

See you down the trail.

Friday, April 20, 2012

THE WEEKENDER :) JUST FOR FUN

THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING
     Perhaps you've read recently that the system you are reading this on, and the technology base of all of our computing may be rapidly out of date.  
     Apparently designers are close to building processing technology, chip high rises if you will, that will accelerate computing time to near warp speed. We are told the glue that is required to hold chip circuit boards in a vertical stack has been improved and there could be exciting news in the near future.  Of course that would mean all of our current technology will become slow, glacially so, by comparison. But in that cloud is the silver lining of potential business opportunities. 
      In the meantime I am fascinated by how creative minds are putting current technology to use. Here's an example.
It is a presentation made at MIP, a production and media trade show held in Cannes France.  When I was ceo of a television and media production company I made twice annual trips to this event.  It is a place where you see cutting edge uses of technology.  Enjoy this wonderment with IPads.
       Thanks to my friend Will Murphy for spotting this 
and sending it along.

THE CAMBRIA LOCAL
      An apology upfront. This is just plain silly season stuff.
It was in the mid to upper 70's under brilliant blue skies
and the Friday Lunch Flash Mob was out in force enjoying a perfect day.
       "Oh, look at all the crows", someone said.  "I wonder if
they'd like some of this extra food", someone else offered.
Well, before long it was show time.
       I hope wherever in the world you are, you can
find some reason to smile this weekend.
       BTW, the same Will who tipped me on the IPAD display has requested a longer Pacific Moment.  That's coming 
next week to LightBreezes.
       See you down the trail.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ENOUGH ALREADY & A PACIFIC MOMENT

IS IT ME
OR IS NEWT BEING A JERK?
     One of the hot and trending topics of the day is that 
failed Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is still getting
Secret Service protection. According to published records, that is at a cost of about $ 42,000 a day.  $42 K a day to protect Gingrich?!! 
      The porcine and largely unpopular former Speaker of the House was never a serious candidate, other than in his own mind.  His staff abandoned him.  Voters rejected him. Party leaders despise him.  Comics mock him. It seems the only thing he's qualified for is to be a stand in for the Pillsbury dough boy.
       I have long suspected this whole candidacy  farce is about feeding his considerable ego, trumping up his profile so he can earn bigger dollars as a lobbyist and "advisor" and to sell what ever book his swampy mind conjures. 
       I hope the GOP convention planners ice Gingrich.  In the meantime taxpayers should demand this demagogue not only no longer get Secret Service protection, but pay back what his coverage has cost since he "suspended" his pathetic campaign. Can you say contemptible? 

ANOTHER FACE OF THE PACIFIC
   It is evident some of you didn't care much for the video of the Slime Eels posted yesterday.  
     They are oddly fascinating, but I was taken by surprise they are being harvested in the local sea bed.
    Well for those of you, some who posted a reply and some who sent me an email, not so positive about those creatures,
here is a more tranquil short on the Pacific, just a few miles north.
See you down the trail.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A REAL AMERICAN IDOL & SOMETHING NEW FROM THE WATERS

THE PASSING OF AN ICON
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
    In many ways Dick Clark was the curator of American pop culture as well as one of its progenitors. His boyish charm helped ease counter cultural influences of Rock into American mainstream life.  American Bandstand not only made stars and hit records, it made the connection between  boomers and music.
    Clark always seemed the cool and upbeat host and DJ, but he was also a skilled production executive and businessman.
He built an empire from his production of television specials, game shows and show business ownership.
     I met Clark a few times, first as he promoted Dick Clark's caravan of Stars, then later as he tended to his restaurant franchise business.  The last time was as the production company I was the head of did business with his giant company.  
      Of course, like Guy Lombardo before him, Clark is linked in many minds with New Year's Rockin Eve.  I had very mixed feelings about his staying on the air, after his debilitating  stroke.  It was difficult to see the smooth television persona struggle.  But it was also good for us, to see this determined and driven personality refuse to submit to a condition.  
     Clark pioneered much of contemporary American entertainment.  He remained a pioneer to the end.  Many
men of his age, wealth and condition would have simply backed away, but he stayed in the pop culture spot light he
helped illuminate.  
      This is not meant in an unkind way, but Ryan Seacrest is 
the likely heir to the role in Americana that Clark created. It
may also be that a Seacrest stardom would have been impossible without the pioneering of Dick Clark. He was an original.  Maybe even an American Idol.
WARNING
THIS IS NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH
    I was fascinated to learn of a new catch coming from about 10 miles out from Morro Bay at a depth of about 130 fathoms.  
      Here, in less than a minute, is a video to tell you more.
See you down the trail

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A THRILL OF THE COAST

SUN TO FOG
     This evening shot captures the foggy edge of a day
that ranged from the extremes available at the coast. A very warm and bright sunrise, warm morning, brilliantly sunny mid day and the rolling in of a massive bank of marine clouds and haze, pre sunset, strings together a series of micro climates and clothing adjustments.  Shorts and short sleeves, give way to jeans and fleece.  The cool marine fog fills the valleys, obscures the mountains and shrouds the trees that just a couple of hours before were brilliantly green under a cobalt blue sky.  Living near the Pacific brings these changes and diversity.
PERPETUALLY SUNNY
      Though I'm a little dubious about these things, I'm happy
to note that a fellow blogger has awarded me the Sunshine Award.
       I appreciate the sentiment, and certainly appreciate the awarding blogger Bruce Tayor's Oddball Observations, but as an old journalist I'm suspect of these awards that form a kind of mutual admiration society.  Boy, do I sound like a cynic at the Banquet of the Sunshine Society, or what?!  
      This kind of mutual support in the blogosphere is actually a wonderful thing.  It is kind and generous, and of that I am appreciative. I think it is nice that people pass this along to 
others.  That it helps grow awareness of other bloggers and writers is fine as well.  But it reminds me a bit of kids sending secret "I like you, will you be my girl friend?" notes  on the playground.  Sweet. Cute. But my posts are often
not either.  So, Thank You Bruce.  Thank you Sunshine Award
originators and fellow recipients.  As someone who loves
the sunshine, and sunny dispositions, I accept on behalf
of those of us who take our sunshine with reality, on the rocks, shaken and not stirred.  
       So, something about me, an obligation of the award.  I love film and cinema.  I admire artists regardless of medium.  I think creativity is one of the highest achievements of the human mind. My heroes include John Muir, David Brinkley, Ernie Pyle, my father Karl and there are others.  One current hero is my friend Bob Foster some 56 days into a bone marrow transplant. My clan were Picts. The bloodline is Scots, Celt, Anglo Norman, (English), Welsh, Pennsylvania Dutch from the Palitinate.
      I have two published books, and would love to add to that number if I can get a deal for #3.  #4 is a work in progress.
       Another obligation of the award is to nominate another blogger.  I think Mollie, who I have known since her birth,
is a very deserving recipient.  She is an enormously talented
young writer who has shown a gift as she plumbs what it 
means to be a young Christian in the 21st Century.
Mollies lightbymorning blog.  
        See you down the trail.


        

Monday, April 16, 2012

WOULDN'T IT BE NICE & THEY DON'T BUILD LIKE THIS ANYMORE

WOULDN'T IT BE NICE
    Now the Obama vs Romney match is on, we may get an opportunity to see a national debate about the role, scope and intent of the federal government.  Though both are Harvard men and technocrats, they apparently possess different visions.  It would be nice if the campaign remained focused on that.  Sadly though, it appears big money, super pacs and huge advertising budgets will steal the plot and establish the tone and probable shallowness of the campaign.
      It would be nice if the media would forego being manipulated and spun by the ad dollars and their masters. Better if they'd stop the pundit pontificating and over zealous devotion to the "horse race" and odds sequences and shape the discussion about visions of America's future and how we get there via the Romney or Obama route.
      Wouldn't it be nice?
DAY BOOK
BUILT TO LAST
I was impressed by what I call "Federal Style" grandeur evident in the building at the Hoover Dam.  Buildings constructed in the 1930's remain impressive today in 
their stateliness, sense of artistic design and that little touch of deco.
Someone makes sure, but even today those
brass doors shine like new.

And after 70 years the marble with brass inlay "signs" are 
as classy as anything new.
SOME TIMES OLD CAN'T LAST
Here's a quick tribute to a tree that was a young windbreak
about the time of the Hoover Dam construction.
See you down the trail.

Friday, April 13, 2012

THE WEEKENDER :) FEELING GOOD

HELP APPRECIATED
     If you spend a few minutes with this video, your day will
be richer and you will feel better about, well, a lot.
     As a journalist I was repeatedly surprised by the inherent wisdom and or goodness of people.  Often these qualities emerged in the darkest or more challenging circumstances.
     As you will see here, there is nothing quite as uplifting as
a smile in expression of arigato, merci, obrigato, gracias, thanks.

ASKING THE PUZZLING QUESTIONS
       As the California coast enjoyed a good soaking, helping to alleviate what has been a sparseness of rain this year, I just had to ask....
Enjoy your weekend.
Think about water, and say thank you to someone.
See you down the trail.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

THE CONSEQUENCE 
"The voice of the intellect is a soft one,
but it does not rest until it has gained a
hearing.  Ultimately, after endlessly 
repeated rebuffs, it succeeds.
This is one of the few points in which
to be optimistic about the 
future of mankind."
Sigmund Freud

      Analysts of the social scene, sociologists, psychologists, theologians and others have noted the apocalyptic nature
and almost obsession of film, games, literature and other
cultural symbols designed for and sought by people 18-35.
      To mine the deep implications and causes can fill books. But a shorthand version is an attitude about the future that is not all sunshine and roses.  Some of those reasons may smack us in the face if we look closely.
       Think of the impact on younger minds of just these events:
        THE MEDIA COVERAGE OF KATRINA
        WITNESSING THE WORST ECONOMIC COLLAPSE SINCE
THE DEPRESSION
         FUKISHIMA 
       I chose those three because they are linked by a seemingly helpless situations played out large and in detail in a media saturation. But there are multiple such examples and other complexities of modern life that also work to destroy optimism.  
       Bringing it back to Freud then, is the soft voice of intellect being heard?  Or is it being drowned out in a world of social media where Kim Kardashian has 9 to 10 million "followers?"
REEL THOUGHTS
THE HUNGER GAMES
       We became two of the most recent of the millions who are making this film a box office smash.  Talk about dystopian!  The Suzzane Collins young adult novel which was a sensation, is even more so in the hands of Director  Gary Ross who wrote and directed Pleasantville, Seabiscuit and Big.  Ross is a very good film maker and his screenplay with Collins is of a world that is a continuation of the bleak future theme.
        Lana is more enthusiastic about the film than I am.  It is  an entertaining, big budget action adventure thriller focused on kids surviving a decadent societies' game. She sees the hope expressed in the story line.  I see a clever portrayal of a society that becomes increasingly self indulgent, hooked on cheap thrills and riven with a wealthy elite controlling poor, working masses.
       And it is probably just me, but the brilliance in the film
is the parody of our obsession with "reality game shows."  How far will we go?  When I was ceo of a television production company we'd joke about how outrageous game shows could become.  This film is a punctuation point.
      Stanley Tucci as the television host, Caesar Flickerman
is delightful.  Jennifer Lawrence as the heroine continues to show remarkable talent, first seen in Winter Bone.  Elizabeth Banks as vacuous Effie Trinkle is superb.  She captures the empty values and superficiality of a society that can enjoy watching children kill each other.  Woody Harrelson as the burned out former hero provides a nice nuanced and textured performance.  And Donald Southerland as the contemptible president Snow is a poster boy for legalizing assassination.
       I'm struck by how this is a film for and about youth and even in a kind of victory there is an uncertainty and looming shadow.
"Have I not reason 
to lament what man has made of man?"
William Wordsworth

REALITY CHECK NOW
MORE OF THE SAME
     A new public awareness campaign has been launched.
It is the most recent voice in the escalating fight over 
fracking.  
     There may be places where fracking has not done harm.
But clearly, there are places where it is doing severe harm.

"A simple child,
That lightly draws its breath.
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?"
William Wordsworth

        I've been accused of looking on the bright side of things.   Not sure about that, rather I'm a pragmatist who understands the value of doing something. In engagement is opportunity, and hope. That attitude was honed in Paul Hamori's class on Hegelian dialectics.
"The history of the world
is none other than the progress of the 
consciousness of  freedom."
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

See you down the trail.

      

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ANOTHER TAKE ON MIKE WALLACE & BIRDS ON A LINE

  MIKE WALLACE AND THE HOMOSEXUALS
     I heard from readers after my Monday post on Mike Wallace. Some of you took me to task for my praise of his
contribution to American broadcast journalism.  Here's a 
portion of an email-
"You forgot to mention how he set back gay rights with his 1967 special The Homosexuals.  By the time he was done with the special which featured a doctor who stated the homosexuality was a choice and that they could never be happy....a number of parents stopped supporting their gay children, threw many of their own kids out and many gay adults lost their jobs.  At the time Mike Wallace associated socially with gay people including long time partners.  This was a news man who used sensationalism at the time to gain viewers.

He never countered that original show.  Later he said that he had made a bad judgment call.  That was it."
   And another:
"The old toughie is probably laughing
that he's getting a pass on some of his
outrageous sensationalism.  Look at 
how he bashed gays.  Think you could
broadcast that kind of stuff today?"

     I either forgot about the broadcast, or never saw it.  The piece, which aired in 1967, has a legacy and even has
a significant Wikipedia link and other commentary.
     One source has edited portions of the broadcast and
posted a short YouTube video.

        A virtue of this means of communication is the quickness of response, the depth of research accessible with only key strokes and the value of conversation.  So I amend my thought's on Wallace by expanding it to include this post.
I hope this now broadens the view and achieves more balance.
       It will be interesting to see how CBS handles it on their
60 Minutes broadcast on Sunday.

DAY BOOK
RIDING OUT THE STORM
The birds have created an interesting profile.




See you down the trail.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

THE PERFECT CANDIDATE? & I'LL TAKE AN OXYGEN STRAIGHT UP

A CANDIDATE FOR THE FUTURE
   For years my Walter Mitty imagination kicks into high gear while in the shower. Not sure of the connection, but it's a place for great creative thinking.
   So, today I became the perfect presidential candidate, or conjured the qualities of one. What are the characteristics?
    A person who says the election is really about judgement, facility of mind, integrity and clarity of vision.  
    It is OK, absolutely OK to say that a mind can be changed. It is a sign of higher human reasoning, to do just that, reason, think about and even change your mind on an issue.  That is not flip flopping. Flip flopping is prevaricating or obfuscating. Reasoning is a good thing, this perfect candidate would tell the press and voters.
    It is asinine to presume to look for a man or woman "who has all the answers."  Those answers can come only through study, deliberation, consultation and a sense of history.  So, as perfect candidate, I'd say so.  I'd outline general principles, a foundational construct of values and delineate the names of policy experts, scholars, historians, political scientists, economists, military strategists, philosophers, theologians, artists and entrepreneurs whose advice and counsel I'd seek and who would shove back at me, while testing and forging my ideas. 
    I'd also be upfront with the voters and say, despite what my grand goals or visions might be, the reality of my Presidency would be determined by what happens in the world and through a kind of dance and/or wrestling match with the US Congress.  I can propose, but the truth is, what really happens is a result of the process of working and living with the other branches of government while confronting what ever nature, fate, Providence and other humans as individuals or as nations foist upon us all.
     So, the heck with gotcha games, playing to opinion polls, letting speech writers and strategists put words in your mouth, or worse, in your mind.  The heck with fanny kissing the big dollar fat cats or super pacs. We'll tell Americans what they are really doing is choosing a human being, who evinces qualities of leadership and judgement, who is ready to sacrifice for the common good of all, even those who will hate and vilify you. They will have a chance to vote for someone who is steadfast, honest, candid and wants to see a better day for all.
     Yea, you go boy!  Then I turned off the shower.
   
MAKE MINE PURE
     Have you been to an Oxygen bar?  I caught this one on a 
recent odyssey through Las Vegas.  They are all over the place and in some communities are as popular as coffee shops.  
     You pay the "bar tender" and you get a few hits of Oxygen, in a flavor or color of your choice.  Just in case
the air you are breathing is not enough for you, you can
buy some.  Yep, we can now buy and sell the air we breath.
See you down the trail.