Wednesday, November 28, 2018


    A photo journey to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is just ahead.
   And likewise, a few looks from the "sparkle shop."  But first...

burning issues
    While this has particular application to California and the US West, it is truly a global concern. Fires threaten more of the population and do so with an increasingly lethal ferocity. 
     Debate and discussion about causal factors are important but of equal "life and death" significance is dealing with on the onset.
      REVEAL, an NPR broadcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting, provided a compelling and eye opening examination of several aspects of the worst wildfire in California history, the Camp Fire, just extinguished, and the previous worst fire that ravaged Santa Rosa. 
       It was chilling but more importantly illuminating to hear the emergency communication as the inferno ramped up and to hear the actuality of the desperate attempt to evacuate and to battle the blaze. After study, planners will better understand patterns of on scene emergency communication, plans for evacuation and coordination. It is clear a better system of multi agency communication is needed. It is clear also phone service providers need to be on the same page with each other and with emergency agencies so alerts are sent to all and with timeliness. And it is clear that evacuation routes and methods need a lot of study.
bury the lines
      When I was a daily deadline journalist I wondered privately why in the then 20th Century, power lines ran from pole to pole in much the same fashion as those early telegraph lines in the 1830's. Surely there is a better technology. As power lines are the suspected trigger of these last two deadly fires, the matter is even more critical.
       All power lines should be buried. Power companies will fight it and protest cost and difficulty, but given the cause of the largest and most deadly fires, the complaints don't matter. There are many advantages to buried power lines and simply put the government can and should mandate their burial.
build? rebuild?
       Cities and towns need to find a way to enforce building codes that make sense. In the last century we've pushed deeper into undeveloped areas, into quake zones, fire zones, on mountain sides, near rivers, lakes and oceans. 
       I recall standing on a volcano with a USGS scientist who decried that humans have a desire to live in places that are fundamentally unsafe. It's difficult to put the Genie back into the bottle, but we need to better consider where and how we build. There maybe some places where we should not be.
      Santa Rosa is on the threshold of rebuilding. The council passed an application to build again in an area where fire has devastated at least twice before. Business interests and developers got their way. It is understandable and even laudable that a community wishes to rebuild. But it is laudable to not repeat past mistakes. There may be someplaces that should not be home sites again. A dissenting Santa Rosa councilwoman said it is just a matter of time before the historic burn zone, will burn again.

giving shelter
         Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, avalanches and mudslides happen. We know that even despite our best plans, disasters will visit us time and time again. 
        Helicoptering into and over the aftermath of a particularly wicked tornado and flood, looking at acres of destroyed buildings and infrastructure, I thought how good it would be for those who had lost everything to have access to something other than an extended shelter existence in a gymnasium, church basement or parking lot. Why don't federal and state agencies or volunteer relief groups create what amounts to a rapidly deployed and quickly built emergency modular community? Those infamous "FEMA trailers" are a well intended but clumsy response. 
       In a time of IKEA, 3D printing and modularization, pre-fabricated units, something between a tent and a trailer that can be assembled into an instant "relief city" with water supplies and generated power would be vital relief to people who experienced loss and the worst moments of their life. Devastated residents could have a modicum of privacy and basic shelter as they pick up the pieces and begin to repair their lives. The concept has been tested in battlefield medical units and command/logistic shelters.
       The modular units could be used again and again. Until folks connect with family, friends or find new or more permanent temporary housing they could have, at least, a safe place to sleep and decent facilities that do not otherwise
create a public hassle or health and sanitation crisis.
       Survivors are emotionally wounded. Just recently in Chico a kind of mutual support "evacuation village" cropped up on a Walmart parking lot. You understand how people  bond with others who have experienced such tragedy, but they need something more than camping tents or shambles on a parking lot as they try to recover.
       Evacuees, refugees, and victims of disaster are an ever present part of the human family. We can and should do better in the early aftermath to provide shelter and facilities during the early recover.

water life
delights of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

 The frame below contrasts how a moment can be experienced.

The frame below is a rare face to face with a kind of sea worm/eel comedian.

  Can you spot the fish in the frame below?
He or she is the character that appears to be a rock to the far right of the screen. In the frame below you can see the fins.

faces from the sparkle shop

      See you down the trail.

Saturday, November 24, 2018


 Winter has come to the California central coast.
  Christmas season has come to the Cochrun home, the creche is on the mantle.
    Since the girls were young the tree comes soon after Thanksgiving and this year we were fortunate to get an early gift of rain.
   And we commence our dreams of a green Christmas,

   Back in Indiana a rainy, misty day was not always a source of joy. We value those things that are rare.
    We used to make a journey over the river and through the woods to the magical twinkle shop at Watts Christmas Tree Farm. Grand daughter Addie finds the magic at the Christmas shop at the Cambria Nursery

   We'll see more from here in the days ahead. In the meantime we watch the forecast and the promise of more rain-a seasonal blessing here in the Republic.

    These are storm clouds in which we delight. The clouds over Washington bring a storm of another sort. 
rousting the rogue
   Mandated by Congress, the White House was forced to release a report issued by 13 federal agencies and because it flies in the face of the bogus claims of the rogue President, they tried to bury it. 
    Once citizens sober up from the shopping and feasting binge they will face the chilling the facts that were released the day after Thanksgiving. The findings are directly at odds with Trump administrations program of environmental deregulation. 
     The American economy will also suffer, unless steps are taken quickly to deal with global climate change. The 16 hundred pages lay out the devastation that will come to human health, the environment and the economy. 
      I doubt that Donald Trump or any of his ardent supporters will take the time to read the report. As we have seen in the last two years they live in a world of lies and fantasy and vented anger. I am angry too because my grand children will live in a world made worse by the stupidity of Trump and his supporters. 
      I agree with Tusli Gabbard, the veteran and congresswoman from Hawaii who called him a "Saudi bitch," and with those in the intelligence and military community who called him a "traitor." From before the election he has functioned as a "Russian stooge." Now he is a killer of children yet unborn who will likely inherit a damaged world. I am also angry that his legion of angry followers have no trouble with him undertaking the unprecedented action of challenging the legitimacy of the federal judiciary and a robust free press.
       He is not just stupid, unfit, unqualified, he is increasingly dangerous. Every day he remains in office he threatens the future. 
    Now we'll watch the Fox News Channel propagandists
and his angry, no-mind-of-their-own cult of followers try to talk back to 13 Federal agencies who are trying to warn the world. In Trumpland their own opinions are more important than facts or science. The lies and empty promises of their malignant leader are all they need. And that's all they get, lies and empty blather from an unsound and evil man.
    Storm clouds indeed!

     See you down the trail.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


   Everything changes after dark. Streets have a different rhythm. Life takes on a night beat. Mystery looms. 


 stocking stuffers for melania
a new fillet knife
the lorena bobbit story
a get out of jail card

stocking stuffer for donald
a muzzle

life moves

     Summer and fall were devoted to organizing decades of work and preparing them for curation at the Indiana Historical Society and the Digital Repository at Bracken Library at Ball State University.
       Digital tapes of now historic episodes of life that were the substance of a life in broadcast journalism. Journalism is called the first draft of history. Melancholy is a companion of sorting through the stuff of a life. 
       Now collections management experts and archivists will handle a body of work and I trust historians, researchers and writers will find trailings of a time and culture and moments that once were important, or so they seemed. History rules when it comes to perspective.
       The bulk of the work has been sent. I have a few files, copy, research, clippings that I tarry over now and soon they too will take wing to find a home with other old stuff, for use again, in the future.

      See you down the trail.