Friday, April 29, 2016


      It was a lovely spring day and the lure of the Paso Robles  wine region was irresistible. 
     As your surrogates a group of us immersed in the French connection of Tablas Creek.
   A purveyor of Rhone varietals, Tablas Creek has a long relationship with the Perrin family of Chateau Beaucastle in Provence'. There is a French accent here.

    A walk in a vineyard and a picnic accompanied with content from one of these is a cure for election fatigue. And it is a fine way to spend an afternoon with friends. 

    See you down the trail.

Monday, April 25, 2016


     Rules of engagement, laws of war and similar accords protect us while they also betray our failures. 
       It has become cliche' William Tecumseh Sherman's statement to army cadets years after the Civil War, "...war is hell." History, personal stories and journalism continue to validate the Union General's warning. Theologically wise and scholarly Dr. William Enright offered another view. He said "war is a crucifixion event." Innocence, love and peace suffer.
       Drone warfare is an insidious ratchet in our capacity to make war and destroy life. It also raises the complexity and  table stakes of killing schemes. 
      Eye in the Sky written by Guy Hibbert and directed by Gavin Hood is an excellent portrayal of the intricacies and fall out of drone war fare in the fight against terrorists. When tasked with action that includes the likely killing or injury of non combatants there is no good alternative.
      Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman, lead an excellent cast through the emotional drain and hell of a decision played out involving US drone control, English Military command, British and US foreign policy heads, Kenyan ground support and intelligence. The film is a fascinating study of real life. Cutting corners, the pressure of critical decisions under duress, scoping the likely aftermath in human loss and political calculation are vividly portrayed. It is a powerful examination of a terrible human equation and it demonstrates  how those who execute decisions also suffer. It underscores the wisdom in Dr. Enright's characterization of war.
residents of the front flower bed

   See you down the trail.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Like a Scot's Wind
  English, Scots, Irish and a blend of Brit genealogies have  settled in Cambria and on the central coast. 
  Windswept bluffs and plenty of room to ramble are appealing and familiar.

   Legroom with views.
   Expansive heath where land joins sea.

   Wind and surf in chorus.
     This area "speaks" to some of our DNA.

Born To Be Blue
will make you blue
    Chet Baker is one of those great talents who let demons direct his life and Born To Be Blue, currently in release, is an artful film that tells the story very well.  
     Ethan Hawke, who studied the trumpet and who sang, turns in a superb performance capturing the genius and torture of Chet Baker. Baker was a better singer than Hawke but the entire score and musical ambiance of the film is masterful. Cool and blue jazz and the essence of mellow.The film ventures into a little bop, thanks to the Dizzy Gillespie shading in the plot. Then there is Miles Davis and the script's hint that Baker was pained to get Mile's respect, even to the point of destructive behavior.
     Hawke is good throughout, but the scene where he stares into the mirror in the dressing room at Birdland while fighting with himself about whether to take methadone or to fire up a fix of smack is riveting and is the distilled crux of the story. Born To Be Blue is directed by Canadian Robert Budreau who has made award winning shorts. Brit Carmen Ejogo is excellent in her double role as Elaine and Jane.
     It is an art film, playing in limited distribution about a tortured artist who lived to play the trumpet and shoot heroin, so you won't leave with a smile. It's not for everyone, but if you like Baker's music, Jazz, good story telling and excellent acting it's a good 90 some minutes. Hard to beat the music.
Happy Anniversary
   After all these years you are still my beautiful bride
and I'm more in love every day. 
A Sweet Finale
    Giovanni the maestro at Harmony Cafe at the Pewter Plough does many things well including his own take on Zucatto. This was a recent "experiment."  We lab animals were swooning very quickly after this photo. "Heavenly" was a consensus.

     See you down the trail.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Rods and Spice

    Cambrians and tourists mark early spring with a bacchanalia like rite of hot rods and hot chili. Restaurants, service organizations and individuals vie for a championship. $10 gets you a spoon and small cup and points you toward the numbered chili dispensers, each touting their unique zest or magic.

  The South Paw chili, using a particular wine were working for an award for showmanship as well. 

These judges deliberate for a set of prizes while the vox populi would ballot for the people's choice.
  The parking lot was lined with dazzle and color. 

   Spring pleasures on California's Pacific Coast highway.

    See you down the trail.

Friday, April 15, 2016


   Exploits of Hemingway our polydactyl have been documented here in previous posts. But here is something you may not know. He is a rescue cat from HART our local shelter-The Homeless Animal Rescue Team. He was an abandoned "freak," an off spring of feral cats in Paso Robles.
   The woman who brought him to HART had been watching a feral cat as it prepared to birth kittens. After they arrived the mother carefully moved the litter over a fence, except for Hemingway. Instead she dropped him elsewhere and left. Rescuers reason she wanted nothing to with a kitten who had six fingers on each paw. Being dumped by your mom could give you an attitude, right?
     When he arrived in Cambria he was put into a separate holding cage because he was wildly rambunctious and a "biter." They warned us he might be a handful but everyone loved the little scamp. They gave him an apt name.
   Hemingway was even a "poser boy" for a benefit.
  He is the first of his "line" to be domesticated. Nothing in his genes prepared him to be a "pet." Perpetually curious and affectionate he's been a delightful pal. A little slow, I call him a Palooka, he is playful. The trash trucks and mail unit scare him. He shows evidence of hypersensitive hearing. But he is playful, easy going and loves attention. He knows he's family. Good, for a "left for dead" creature.

  Well, as he has grown he's perfected the Garfield Syndrome. When not eating he loves to nap, often in the Jade planter on the front deck. Here he expresses his pique at being disturbed during a nap.
   But it's not about nothing. Of recent he's learned to resemble a corpulent old man dozing in an easy chair. That jade makes a perfect back support.  The good life!

   Life confronts us with complexity and the news suffers no shortage of inhumanity, but pets, from rescue shelters especially, are memes of caring. In return, we have fascinating entertainment while we abet a job description to pine for.
    Bob Christy, a former colleague and longtime friend, who's blog can be found in the Rich Blogs Column to your right on LightBreezes, posted recently on the difficulties vexing transgender people. 
    We are in a learning curve. Societal understandings are morphing. Prejudice, ignorance-often because of limited or narrow life experience and exposure and a moralistic judgementalism will be overcome. Demographic cohorts of 12-40 year olds get it. You see the fault line? Life is more intricate than old black and white television. 
     The CBS 60 Minutes piece on a swimmer on the Harvard mens team is a case in point. He was born a girl, but didn't fit the gender. She had been a champion in girl's competitions and was offered a scholarship. But a gender change changed more. He now competes on the men's team. He is taking hormone treatments, had a breast removal and is a man with a vagina. 
     Generational perceptions influence how we think and react and that is especially so in this area. But more new challenges are due. Pharmacological advances, regenerative medicine, medical technology and artificial intelligence in particular will have humankind scratching our heads trying to determine what makes a human, human? That is an easier question today.

   More evidence of why I appreciate that Lana likes to play in the dirt.
    One of our favorite Italian chefs is receiving a gift. 

    See you down the trail.