Thursday, March 2, 2017


     It's a seasons of life thing. I've been toying with a letter to my 13 month grand daughter, to be read 25 years from now.
     Maybe I'm wrong but as I look around to develop a scope of the epistle, I keep bumping up against what seems to be a rock hard brand of short sightedness. It is dangerously so, it appears to me. There is a common denominator as well, money.
      As a nation, actually as nations of the world, we make choices. 

  • Business profits or clean air and water. (Lower costs with fewer regulations vs a future of poison)
  • Funding for education or prisons. (Only so many tax dollars available-where do they go? What has the greatest value?)
  • Profit or public safety? (Think airbags or ignition problems and the calculus of cost of recall vs cost of litigation and pay out if a problem occurs.) Too many corporations choose protecting the "bottom line" over doing the right thing and undertaking recalls and product replacement. The culture seems to approve.
  • Repairing infrastructure or kicking the problem down the road?
  • The six WalmWart heirs control as much money as the bottom 42% of the American public, somewhere around $89 billion. Some 45-50 million Americans live poverty. Why is the divide so high? Why is the middle class disappearing? How has this new "Gilded Age" happened?
      And on and on it goes as I look for signals in how we live and decide now and how those choices will affect the world our grand children will inhabit. A lot more rumination is ahead. Complexities...
      shadow lace

flowers for Ruth

    Near tragedy struck our coastal mountain village last weekend.
      An allegedly intoxicated driver struck a parked car with such force it shoved it across a parking lot into a crowded coffee shop and village gathering place. Walls tumbled down, furniture was tossed and broken and 5 people were injured. One of them was our friend Ruth Armstrong.  
      Ruth was one of the first people to greet us when we moved to Cambria more than 10 years ago. She made sure we met new people and made friends. She is an artist and one of the village's most indelible people. Her leg and ankle were broken in several places. Ruth walks from one end of East Village to the other end of West Village, perpetually it seems. We are all hoping for a quick rehab because main street seems unadorned without seeing Ruth in her unique gait observing and monitoring Cambria village life.
self inflicted wounds
   The Trump gang just can't get it right. They hire a good speech writer who crafts a good address which the bossman reads as though he believes what he is saying, but then....
  • We learn the Attorney general either lied or withheld information about his own Russian ties and a new storm begins...
  • Kellyanne's bunkhouse posture seemingly ignoring the history and prestige of educators in the oval office sets off another storm...
  • It is revealed the highest sources at the White House lied to a group of network news anchors doing a deliberate sleight of hand deception so as to trick positive press coverage. Reich minister Bannon may have won the day but further eroded an already tenuous assignment of truth or trust to this White House. 
       Amateur hour continues.

        See you down the trail.


  1. Sorry to hear about the accident and injuries to your friend, Ruth.

    1. She faces some rehabilitation but has a cheering section here in Cambria.

  2. My daughter asked me to speak to my 16 year old grandson, who had developed a nasty attitude. I sat him down and asked him if he knew anybody who was a "dick". He said "sure". I asked if he liked those guys, he said "No way." I then said, "Don't be a dick." He got it.

  3. Sorry to hear about your friend Ruth. Wishing her a speedy recovery.

    1. Stephen, I will pass along your best wishes. Thanks.

  4. Hope Ruth is recovering, my best wishes.
    As to 'amateur hour', not so sure about that. This road to autocracy has been paved before, I'll mention a few that started off perhaps milder, but on the same path at trump:
    Idi Amin.....journalism is the most obvious
    Hosni Mubarak....working with the military, appointing most of his cabinet from the army
    The Saudi's.....control of the press, using religion

    It goes on.

  5. Your pattern of similarities are striking and not lost on this writer either. Still, Trump is such an ego maniacal liar who probably now knows he is over his head and Bannon is an ideological freak and a marginalist at that. Neither have credibility in the Republican party or with many aside from the disgruntled or extremist crowd of mouth breathers. I think a breaking point will come, when establishment and traditional Republicans realize they need to save their own reputations now and historically. However, the you potential you cite is there. In this case I think the military leaders are the real big people in the room.

  6. This is from a correspondment who sent a personal e-mail

    Amateur hour? I prefer villainous, bold ineptitude served with a dose of pronounced arrogance.

  7. Your letter to your granddaughter continues a long literary tradition. Your questions posed are lessons for all of us to remember.
    Best wishes to Ruth

  8. Tom, Gary Crask wrote "Stories from Riverwood" for his kids and grandkids. He meant it to tell the kids about his youth. Might be useful for you, I wish I had you and Gary's gift.

    Lee Hamilton published an article discussing our 5 most important problems, none of which the current administration addresses, that's well expressed and as usual for him dead on.

    1. Lee Hamilton is one of the best minds to serve our government. A good and decent man with extraordinary insight. We miss his sort.

      As for you, Gary and me---Gary and I may have a bit of BS---but you can play guitar and sing...that's a real talent. Ours is ephemera.