Thursday, September 29, 2016

Throwback-Tres Amigos-Deuce

buddy time
     These three buddies represent a time and attitude that we could use a massive insurgence of.
     Taken in 1952 or 53 we see Henry Shricker, Indiana's first two time Governor, President Harry Truman and newsman/editor Bob Hoover.
      Hoover taught me the ropes and introduced me to his "grapevine" when he broke me in on the police beat in Indianapolis.
       At the time of the photo above Bob was the editor of Outdoor Indiana, a post he held from 1952 to 1956. Previously he had been a reporter/photographer for the Indianapolis News, a job he took in 1919.
    Photo from Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame

     In 1956 he was hired by the 50 thousand Watt WIBC radio where he became America's first "mobile news chief."  A car was rigged with an early two way radio system and Bob reported from the scene of all manner of story and incident. 
   Think about this for a moment. Bob started in newspaper work in 1919 and worked through the heyday of the Front Page era. He broke me in starting in 1969. You can begin to imagine the stories he had. 
    In his early days when a reporter's salary was not enough to get by, Bob played drums in bands, including his own that toured a bit. He hung out with Hoagy Carmichael and played for Dick Powell. If you've seen the play or film Front Page, you'll have a sense of his time and place. Those guys knew how to have fun.
     He remained a dapper gentleman to the end. When he could no longer drive and his health began to fail, he'd get up every morning, put on his suit and tie, make calls to his vast network of contacts and sources and sit by the phone.
     Bob and I remained close and I visited with him frequently, and we spoke every day. When the end neared he was hospitalized. Each day he begged me to get his overcoat and help him slip out of "this place."
      I look at the photos above and realize what a sad decline we have witnessed in journalism and politics. There are simply too few men and women with the stature and class of of those amigos.
a transitional trio
    Though certainly of lesser luminescence, these three amigos came up at a time when we had mentors like the senior men above. This was "back in the day" when we were aiming for our prime.
      Tim Dietz on the right is one of the nations leading television news executives. He's been with a Colorado station for many years, but has served NBC, and his corporate group in a variety of capacities including running Olympic news feed operations and transitioning to the digital era. There was a time when Tim was a crack photo journalist and colleague of the "superman" in the middle.
      Frequent readers may recognize the middle man as Bruce Taylor, aka the Catalyst of Oddball Observations. Bruce and I worked together in Indianapolis where he too was a colleague of Bob Hoover.  Yours truly, in a skinnier incarnation, is on the left.  These three found themselves together at political conventions and a number of social mixes over the years.  Not sure of the age of this photo but I'm guessing a 1970's vintage.
        Bruce and I are retired and Tim is still a dynamo recently winning yet another prestigious award. I got a birthday note from him as he and his beloved took a post Rio Olympics R&R in the Turks and Caicos. 
        Tim is still fighting the good fight. Bruce and I are a couple of old boys lamenting what has happened to our political and journalistic culture.
        Time's change.  Thank heavens for old photos and our memories.

         See you down the trail.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


    Just another day at the office for the Curlews, not mindful of the seasonal shift of sand.
    Where are the steps? "Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives...." Remember that old soap opera opening line?
    It will take seasonal tides to reveal the missing steps, but of no consequence to our Curlews.

   Here we see a gull considering grand larceny. Slowly it tracks toward a fisherman's rigs and kit.

united we stand
...don't think so...
    Campaigns have always been divisive, after all a choice is rendered, deciding for one and against another. But it's a new world and rifts under gird everything.
    Trump and Clinton present two vastly different visions of America and thus paths forward. Who do you believe?
    Media has become entirely too parochial or partisan to ideology or party. What happened to non-partisan or at least bi-partisan?
     We've crossed the Rubicon. This election, like so much else in daily living has devolved to "feeling" "emotion" "personal belief" and attitude. Where is critical analysis  intellectual work, truly weighing pros and cons, or thinking about it?
     Do facts matter? To whom? For what reason?
     Why are so many Americans fed up? Why is there so much anger?
      I fear this election will settle nothing. The rifts will continue to run beneath our feet. Old democracies and republics have problems, some are lethal.
      This is the Boomers last stand. In another 4 years most of our parents, the greatest generation, will be gone. Boomers are now dropping off the actuarial tables increasingly and in 4 years the once large "census bubble" will be faded and diminished. 
      Gen X and or Y or whatever will be aging and the largest group that matters will be the millennials. They will inherit a government and electoral system that is presently bought and sold where all too many who labor in it are in it for themselves.
      Some men and women who work as prostitutes are forced into it. All too many of our "electoral industry" and "government business" workers are in it because they want to be. They do it for the money and they like it.  How does that square with the historical intent of elections and governance?
      How will the millennials change things? Watch how they vote, or do not. Some things are a given. Race, gender, sexual identity will be passe to all but a few cretins, sons and daughters of skin heads. 
     Millennials have grown up where disruption is the norm and where the old norms of family, career, attitude are as out of date as the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and early 90's. We will be a relevant as the Civil War, WWI, the telegraph, or horse and buggies were to us.
      Grouse and belly ache, worry and shout all you want.
Our relevance, our attitudes, our way of doing is getting wrapped with the garbage in the newspapers and headed for the trash. I wonder how much of our ways are even worth recycling.
       A democratic republic is by nature a messy business but the point is to find a center, a meeting in the middle. That seems to have disappeared as a skill or goal. Maybe a new generation's take on our noble experiment of a United States will do what we have failed.

    See you down the trail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


     The surf fisherman is braced against a Pacific that shows off its facets of color.
   Shades of blue, into the horizon.

     Blue riding the horizon.

    Bill Seavey is a big thinker and probably a bit of a visionary. Full disclosure here-Bill is a friend, fellow tennis player and a Cambria author.
     He asks -What do Americans know about Canadians?
Answer-Very Little.
     What do Canadians know about Americans?
      Seavey says "Most of us view Canadians as quasi-Americans."  He unpacks the idea in a new book about how Americans and Canadians can "understand each other-and work together-better."
       In his newest book he explores the combined potential of the two nations as a real North American superpower. Seavey says  we "have cultural and historical differences that aren't easily reconciled or fully understood."
       Seavey notes a CBS poll that indicated nearly a fifth of Americans would consider moving to Canada if either Trump or Clinton were elected.
        He says an economic union is not likely soon.  He interviews a number of Canadians who help him paint a portrait of the US as seen from north of the border. 
         It is a fascinating look at American-Canadian ties and he posits interesting considerations.  
         Bill Seavey is a journalist and does a great job of posing questions, exploring avenues and engaging thought.
         Americandada? will be published in February 2017.  A Kindle edition will be available in November.
        You can learn more about Bill and the book by linking to

         See you down the trail.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


oracle speaks
      We return to the other side of the mirror where the great hoot and toot Tumble continues. 
      They've gone to seek the words of the oracle.

      The oracle regards the principal combatants in the Tumble, the Shelion and the Cheeto Vulgarian.
      She reads the scene.

       What will come is from the past. Who you are shapes who you will be. This is what I see.
      Some would rather support an insensitive, serial liar, who ridicules and demeans, who has uttered racist, sexist, bigoted remarks, who completes a full sentence or complex thought when it is written for him, who has no government experience, who is a full blown egoist and a practitioner of egoism, accused of cheating employees and former partners, who has taken advantage of bankruptcy law for a profit and who brags about it, who's businesses have been charged with fraud, who exports jobs to low paying foreign markets, who has no foreign policy experience, who does business with Russian interests, who celebrates strongman and king of the oligarchs Vladimir Putin, who also is known to encourage violence, who is a hustler and deal maker, and other such credential


      an unpopular education and child welfare advocate, first lady, Senator, Secretary of State, who has been hounded  for decades by right wing pressure, alleged to be an opportunist, accused of scurrilous judgement by those who think differentlywho's motivations are so frequently second guessed she is closed, guarded and has trouble with being authentic, who was subjected to a multi million dollar, multi year investigation by a special prosecutor that brought not even a whiff of a charge, FBI investigated and passed, who wants to make history, is a Methodist grandmother who's husband is a former president and an historic philanderer

     These are strange alternatives, how did this come to be?

      "It is complicated" the chorus replied. "But there is much anger among us."

       This is obvious. Trying to compare these two is like comparing apples and pizza rats.
        Look at what the cosmic tea leaves show you. See who these people are. What you see is what you get.
       It appears those who are angry and who will vote for the Cheeto Vulgarian betray the principles of decency in exchange for a change. The change that follows a motivation of such anger will bring about more anger, and on itself too. 
       You release dark forces when you celebrate such self idolatry, dishonesty, insensitivity and hatred. When you give power to the most base of instincts and use such inappropriate behavior you lower your worth and value and make the horrible possible. History shows that, time and time again. 
       Disliking the Shelion is not a reason to vote for the Cheeto Vulgarian. No dislike or distrust can be worth going back on the values a nation professes

           "Oh, we are worried. There seems to be so much lunacy here," the chorus said in parting.

      When they left,the oracle ordered a drink,  "make that a double!"

       And all of this just on the other side of the mirror.

       See you down the trail.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


dispatches from planet htrae
and the ASU

   Far, far away from a galaxy on the other side of the mirror we are getting distress signals. Everything is out of focus.
     The elpoep of htrae and the nation of ASU face a terrible choice. The quadrennial hoot and toot tumble is under way and they must decide between the shelion and the cheeto vulgarian. It seems more elpoep of ASU dislike their hoot and toot choices than approve. They cry and moan and wonder how in the dlrow did it come to this? It is as if the sky is falling on us, they lament. And our feet hurt, they say. On htrae they think with their feet and stand on their head.
      "Out of all of the elope in ASU this is the best we can do?" is the question on everyone's dnim.
      No one has an answer for that, not even the great and wise sages of htrae.
       Democracy (Demo) and Republic (Repu), as you can see, have been fenced in. The elpoep of ASU worry that Demo and Repu are being sold down the river to the highest bidder. They'll be glue and dog food if either the shelion or the cheeto vulgarian get to ride the power glide. It'll bring a purple rain they fear.
        The hooting and tooting of the tumble has been underway for months and the elpoep are lining up for trips to diversion land, the happiest place on htrae.
      Once they get through the magic rings and into diversion land, all of the chatter of the hoot and toot tumble disappears.
      But alas the bliss is only short lived. Soon all of the elpoep of ASU are awakened by a poke in the eye as the media blast the hooting and tooting until a fatigued sleep comes again to the rescue. They dream of a distant planet, much like their own where they are told the streets are gold, the air waves free and clear, the citizens are peaceful and politicians are in cages.

      It is only a dream the shelion and the cheeto vulgarian say. "There is no better place" or "we can make it great again" they say. 
      The elpoep of ASU have trouble believing either of them, or believing their eyes. Really? they question. This is the best we can do? Are Demo and Repu doomed?  Is there nothing we can do? They consult their charts.
      What fate awaits the gentle elpoep of ASU?  
      To be continued on the other side of a mirror near you.

       In the meantime, see you down the trail. For those of you reading this on htrae, that would be down the liart.  

Friday, September 9, 2016

Clean Your Plate

     Food was not art when I was a kid. It probably would have been beyond me anyway. I was a pretty basic eater. Nothing too fancy served at our table. Dinner each evening was a family event. My brother and I were expected to be there, on time, hands and faces washed. It was about more than just food. It was conversation and time together.
     There were lean times after the war when Dad, like a lot of other WWII vets, was getting started, though I certainly didn't know it at the time.  Mom had the frugality of her Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry but her meals were always delicious with one exception.  Canned peas. They gag me to this day. We were of the generation told to clean our plates before leaving the table. There were few nights when that was a problem, unless it was canned peas. Eventually my parents learned I was prepared to sleep with my head on the table, those peas were not going into my mouth.  After a couple of episodes, I got a pass. Canned peas were not served to me and I was forever grateful.  Still am.
     How about you. Did you have to clean your plate?  Was there  ever anything that you just could not stomach?     

     See you down the trail.          

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

100% and Defining Local


photo by Cal Fire
     The good news came from Cal Fire, The Chimney Fire is now 100% contained.
     Started August 13 the blaze destroyed 49 residences, 21  buildings, more than 46 thousand acres and for a week threatened the historic Hearst Castle.
      At its peak nearly 4,000 firefighters were on the scene augmented by 7 air tankers and 16 helicopters.  Cal Fire has released and re-deployed all but a few hundred firefighters.
       Local command will now supervise weeks of mop up, repair of roads, fire breaks, work to prevent erosion and stream run off.
      In the communities of Lake Nacimiento, Paso Robles, San Simeon, Cambria and in the adjoining wine country are signs and posters thanking the fire fighters. Heroes they are.
      Now they move to another fire or if lucky get a break and some time at home.

photo by Jacque Griffin
      Summer vacation season ends with Labor Day weekend and many California central coast residents are waiting to see an end to this. Midwest refugee Jacque Griffin captured this image noting it was "news worthy."  Traffic jams are a rarity, unless tourists flood the town as they do over the Pinedorado Weekend.
    The evidence of this photo is a touchstone in a community "discussion" in villages like ours. What is the balance between the quality of life of residents and the tourist hoards that are good for the hospitality industry?"  What is that balance? It's tricky.
     In the decade we have resided here we've witnessed an uptick in visitors. Friends who have been here for up to 30 years have seen a larger change, in size and character of the village as well as the tourist influx. 
    People came to Cambria because of its village quality and size. The quiet, natural character and location away from dense population was a draw. Some growth is inevitable but what remains with in the parameters of sustainability and resource use. How do you retain the character that makes a village unique and appealing? Would the restaurants we enjoy be here if there were not the seasonal visitors? What about some of those store fronts? What is reasonable?
     Opinions vary. In this village there are those who like its authentic, creative, funky and genuine nature. But there are some who prefer to see it more upscale, more like Carmel.
      This gets worked out by the coming and going of those who live here or who move on.
   Water is a friction point of course. Residents have reduced use by 20% to 40% but watch as thousands of out owners come and tap into our limited resource. And many tourists think nothing about dumping trash, leaving dog waste unattended, carelessly flicking cigarette butts, or ash trays and of course one of the most grievous offenses, take our parking spaces!
     In some ways, we are all tourists. California is a state where we drive. There is so much to see and do and so in our personal patterns we become visitors in another village or city.
   Though we note the end of summer often opens vistas and space.
   And it is hard to visit Morro Bay without an obligatory stop at Ruddells SmokeHouse where his fish Tacos have earned world wide acclaim. Deservedly.  But here I go only encouraging more tourist hoards.

    See you down the trail.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Close to Home

proud hubby
    The big weekend in Cambria got a little bigger when Lana won first place in the annual 927 Unconventional Art Show.
    Her WADING FOR EQUALITY is a paper mache sculpture featuring faces of women- family, friends, rights pioneers and powerful women. She is wearing boots and wading on a sea of issues; body image, under representation, reproductive rights, rape, sexual harassment, glass ceiling, equal pay and pregnancy leave.
     Judge Sam Peck called it "highly topical feminist art."
You can link here to see other award winners in the 927 Show.  It was begun in this art colony back in the early 70's as a place for wacky, ironic, zany and satirical art, often with an edge or political note.
     Doubly proud of Lana this weekend because she was also
a "biker chick" in Cambria's annual Pinedorado Weekend Parade.
      Frequent readers may recall that our parade is homegrown. There are traditional marching units and then there are some that are organic in a uniquely Cambrian way. In some cases there is no explanation.
      You may remember it begins and ends with the Calliope.

   The Cambria Garden Club Unit got my attention.  Lana is reprising one of their earlier presentations-The Blooming Biker Babes!

    One of the day's highlights was this little dear who simply could not stop dancing to the passing music. This little princess belongs to the local Gowdy family.

   We know for a fact that the pilot here, Glen, has put this machine through the paces on some high performance tracks.

 A crowd favorite is the Slabtown Rollers who stop along the route to serenade the crowd.

   Sometimes it is a family thing. Everyone in the act.

  An historical note to the frame below. The PCWT is the Pacific Coast Wine Trail and is on the path to becoming one of the world's most unique appellations. All of these vineyards are within a few miles of the Pacific Ocean.
   As noted previously, sometimes there is no explanation.

   This Cal Fire unit drew applause and cheers along the entire route. With the Chimney Fire fresh in mind everyone wanted to celebrate this representative of the "heroes."

    The Post Scripts

     Have  great labor day holiday.  

      See you down the trail.