Wednesday, January 10, 2018


     Left overs here, from meditations while face down on an acupuncture table. Nothing is as simple as it used to be.
     The needles were set, some were wired, the ethereally peaceful music tranquilized my inner savage and it all created a sense that my being was on an infundibuliform* journey to some place deep and profound. More than sleep, something aspiring to full out bliss. It's that elusive place where certain things in life can place you and where one can, pretend at least, to achieve a kind of clarity. So, here we go.

the O factor
    Oprah is an extraordinary person. Enormously talented she has created a cultural empire. Interviewer, host, actress, business executive, visionary and social force. She is brilliant in all of those roles and she may well be a very good person.
     She speaks with passion and those who share her views are moved and inspired and those who don't cannot ignore her. But no matter any of that, it doesn't mean she should run for President.
    Even if she could win, she should not run. I hear some of my liberal friends or Democrats beginning to groan, and maybe even taking me off their invitation lists. She should not run, because even if she is only a notch below sainthood, she is not qualified.
   Yes, she is smart, powerful, influential, and beloved but she has no experience in that special arena in America we call governance.
    The embarrassing and unfit present occupant of the White House is a case in point. There were voters, and there still are, who thought his so called business experience was enough. If that were true why does almost 70% of all US citizens disprove of him and the job he's done? Why do our allies worry about his lack of skill, intelligence and his loutish behavior?  
    I'm not beginning to say Oprah would behave like the idiot to whom I referred, but there is a world of difference between what you can do in private business and life and what it takes to be the "leader of the free world." (That position by the way is presently occupied by Angela Merkel-It used to be the American President).
    There was a phrase we once used-a Statesman-modified to contemporary vocabulary a Statesperson. It connoted something of quality, intelligence, and even integrity of action and purpose. To qualify for that moniker is what qualifies someone for the role of being the Chief Executive and Commander in Chief. You need to prove your mettle in the hard, hard world of political experience, decision making, earning and maintaining trust, understanding the thrusts of history, the forces of a world with millions of moving parts, intelligence, security, economics,and the common good. 
    Oprah, in my opinion, is an exemplary woman but she doesn't have what it takes to be President, nor does Dwayne Johnson, or Mark Cuban, or Mark Zuckerberg, or George Clooney or Kid Rock.
    If any of them are serious, then they should run for office, House, Senate or a Governorship, or see if they qualify for a  challenging diplomatic assignment. Then and only then should this nation consider their candidacies. 
     We may be sick of politics as normal, sick of those who have occupied the stage the last 20 years, we may not like the options for 2020, but reverting into another "cult of personality" candidate will only take us further down the rabbit hole. 
     We the voters need to demand change in the ways of the House and Senate and the influence of big money and the beltway bandits that former a President warned us about. Ike had no political experience, but his leadership as Supreme Commander in World War II was as hard a training ground as ever. We have failed to heed his warning. 
     We don't need personality, with big social media influence, we need those kind of integrity and old fashioned political practices-compromise, negotiation and especially experience with reality instead of ideology. We certainly don't need another entertainer in chief, even if the ratings and popularity would be a natural improvement. Change the system, not the channel. We need a real leader, not a star.

it's not good for all

    We were delighted with the recent rain that swept the California Central Coast. It gave Lana the impetus to get the fava bean bed planted. (Frequent readers may recall our ecstatic love of favas)

But that same rain was devastating just a couple of hours south of us,
photo by Mike Eliason Santa Barbara County Fire Department

  I can't count the number of times we have driven under this over pass on the 101 near Montecito.
 photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Dept.
 photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Dept.

   Our heart aches for those who endured the Thomas Fire and now suffer through mud slides, more devastation and loss of life.
photo by Kenneth Song, Santa Barbara News, via Reuters

      And so indeed life is messy and complicated and a series of one moment after another. When we are fortunate and the moment is good we can celebrate and appreciate and be grateful. We can also know somewhere, in their own moment others may be afflicted, suffering and longing for a better moment. 
      It is complicated being a human being.

      *infundibuliform=funnel shaped.

    See you down the trail.


  1. Yes, another disaster in the land of fruits and nuts. When will it all end?

    And what were you doing on an acupuncture table? Back problems?

    And Lana had better be careful in her mountainside garden. It looks very dangerous to me for someone of advanced years.

    1. Advanced years? Are you saying my bride is of "advanced years?" #*@!^
      But yea, I remind her to be careful, though she has her own attitude about that.
      That particular "patch" gets good light and has yielded excellent harvests.
      This time the treatment was for a bit of sciatic issues.

  2. I believe that Ike may have been the last decent R president...he'd be in my Hall of Fame if he'd reined back John Foster Dulles. I always liked Dick Lugar another of the last decent Republicans and he was buried by the crazies. From my days in Boston, I often think what Senator Ed Brooke and Congressman Margaret Heckler would think of today's republican party. Heckler got along just fine with my old pal Congressman Father Bob Drinan.

    1. I'd give high marks to George H. W. (papa Bush) for his ability to build an international coalition, pretty much by himself. Deficits in other areas. Ike will be well regarded over all. Lugar is a brilliant man with a deep intellect and quick facile mind.
      I have a theory the entire political system began moving right about the time of Bill Clinton. His DLC style of being a Democrat moved the Demos right and gave the Republicans a chance to go further right, sadly led by their ideological zealots and also the one issue fanatics.

  3. I believe one of the many differences between Ms. Oprah and the current 'the donald' is she would have recognised her deficiencies, and taken steps to mend them.
    It's so sad that California, one of our best and brightest, should be experiencing the first of the effects of human caused climate change.

    1. She is a fully functioning human being with compassion. He represents the absolute worst of humanity.
      I wonder too what the future will bring to California.

  4. Sorry, I forgot about Oprah. I read one pundit who said here's what we know about her policies: everyone is going to get a car. We have no idea what else she stands for.

    1. A car in every garage eh? In 1928 the republican party used the slogan a "Chicken in every pot and a car in every back yard" Hoover never used those words but the party used it as a slogan.

  5. Those plants are amazing! Wow, absolutely stunning.

    I agree with you on Oprah. Had Trump run for Senate first or something, he either wouldn't be having many of the beginner's problems he's having or else would have been eliminatwd from ever running for office again.

    I hope the Democrats don't go that way.

    1. Harry, Thanks for the input. Lets keep our mutual hope alive.

  6. I live in a crazy old farmhouse and twice there has been a chicken in my car, so we all make sure our windows are rolled up or there'd be a chicken in every car. Haven't seen that wondrous word, infundibuliform, since reading Vonnegut's "Sirens of Titan" when I was a teenager --a chronosynclastic infundibulum played an important part in that important novel. I recommended it to friends but they were all reading "The Hobbit". Sometimes I wish I could turn that funnel upsidedown and shake Ike out of it --or Gandalf, anybody besides what we have in office. Oprah? Sure.

    1. Maybe by now the Hobbits have gotten around to one of my favorite authors. Kurt is also a Hoosier and one of the great thrills of my very early reporting days was to interview him. He appeared like one of his characters, rumpled, in an old trench coat and smoking a cigarette to the last quarter inch. He wanted to conduct the interview in the bar off the lobby of the hotel, but it was too noisy for my tape recorder. His mood improved however when he learned he could order a drink and have it in the alcove of the lobby. I think he was amused at my forgoing a similar beverage since I was "on duty."
      And about now a Gandalf or Ike would be a merciful and blessed change.

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