Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Rare Coinhabitant ...and A Sense of

      the mystical saguaro exists in only 4 places-
the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, the Whipple Mountains of San Bernardino County of California, the Mexican state of Sonora and Imperial County California
     These images come from Arizona, where the Sonoran Desert is home to the largest population.
    The icon of the desert southwest often live to exceed 150 years. Those with arms, produce their first after 50-75 years. 
       They dwell from the valley floor to the top of buttes and share the space with other cacti, and a plethora of birds and creatures including lizards, sidewinder snakes, scorpions, rats, squirrels, tortoises and cotton tails. One walks with care in this desert. 

  the chola 
 the barrel cactus

sentries of the desert  

the sense of the voter
     I used to get paid to pay close attention to political campaigns,  now I do it out of habit. 
     Back when I thought it was the true national sport, we spent time on buses, flew on planes, and we took turns in small groups of having close up access to the candidate after which we would write what is called the pool report, that was then distributed to all media. 
     All of us also did reporting we called "the Sense of The Voter." David Broder of the Washington Post was probably the best. You go out and talk to everyday people, mostly listening. Today there is social media and attitude driven cable nets also crowding the traditional media and press corp in reach for the public.
     It's always changing, not only in personality but in the nature of the campaign. It is, if you will, the appeal to the soul of the US. What we see these days speaks volumes about how we have changed, and what we've left behind.
     I think we've devalued our national experience by not doing a good job of teaching civics, government, and critical reasoning.  We need wise "understanding media and persuasion classes."    
      Politics has become a profession, and a cash cow industry. Public service is not the prime motivator, no, now it is personal, financial or ideological. That is how it is.
     So this old boy offers a "sense of the electorate" to any candidate or organization.  The nexus of your strategy, the focus of your attention should be the women and men who are working, but struggling as they see the future shrink away and diminish just as the middle class is in decline. If I were to put a face before you, I would post a working woman. What are her needs and expectations and how can the federal government play a responsible role?
       Next to that would be a picture of a family, however it is constituted. How are they doing? Can they afford health care, or sending children to college, what kind of retirement future do they have? Do they have benefits? 
       The economic balance is out of kilter and there are bad consequences for all including the selfish class at the top. The divide in wealth, and the corrupt and broken tax code bears the omen of a struggle and demise that would be profound.
       There are other matters that cannot be ignored: Climate, personal freedom and dignity, a clam and steady hand in our role in the world community and a more civilized way achieving common good.  But the key is to hear and know the needs of what we used to call Middle Class America and to guarantee its existence and future. Everyone still deserves an American Dream, and a sense of security. 
     In 2016 there was a pandering or an ignoring. A winning candidate should act on their behalf, by offering ideas, with sound economic footing, showing a path and explaining how things can be paid for. Be specific. Most voters, especially hard working women and men know as much or more than the many politicians who have been bought and sold by the money that bets on government outcome="follow the money!" 
      Whatever color, race, sex, gender, age, origin, or whatever there are basic needs. Too many of us are not getting a fair shake. A public servant can work to change that. Start there.
        That I think would be a winning strategy by an insurgent Republican or Democratic candidate.

a hard working boat
the Ragamuffin of Los Osos
people work for their living here

      See you down the trail.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

A New Home for Live Oak

live oak nation in a new neighborhood
    The 31st Live Oak Music Festival opens a new chapter in a new home, El Chorro Regional Park in San Luis Obispo after almost 30 years at Lake Cachuma in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara.
     We've been "Oakies" for a mere12 years but veterans of many more also like the new venue and its proximity.
 Live Oak is a benefit for public radio KCBX serving the central coast from Ventura to Salinas and centered in San Luis Obispo. The new venue is closer for the audience of SLO, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Cayucos, Atascadero, Cambria, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Avila and environs.
   There are generations of Oakies and it is increasingly a family event. We pitched "camp" under the great new sun shade and adjacent to the playground.
  Three days and nights of music with options to day camp or come to stay. The festival has a history of providing great acts and discovering new talent.
    Phil Salazar and the Kin Folk are beloved old pros.
   A new act the Shook Twins from Portland were a hit. Katelyn performs some vocals with a repurposed telephone microphone along with guitar, mandolin, banjo and glockenspiel. Laurie on the left uses beatboxing and looping playing banjo, guitar, bass, djembe, ocarina flute. Nico Slice on mandolin guitar and bass, drummer Barra Brown.
stage too

  Away from the Main Stage is Stage Too where True Zion a roots based reggae band was on when we were there.
    The Hot Licks stage for late night or early morning picking.
     The Beer Garden stage features acts like the Something Ridiculous Jugglers. 
      Live Oak is full of visuals.

   The new home features an excellent Children's area with a game zone for teens and learning stations, games and craft workshops for the little acorns. 

the vibe is like a sunny day in the park
  The new neighborhood is thoughtfully planned, provides camping options, is cooler and less dry than the old campground and there are plenty of convenient facilities.
   From the Main Stage area you see a decorated wall...
        ...and behind that wall...

         From most vantage points, one can look out and see some of the 7 Sister peaks that line the central coast.
     El Chorro has an infrastructure for RV or tent camping and the areas are neatly laid out.

   Musician Joe Craven, far left, is back as the congenial, poetic host and MC for the three days and nights, and, as always, constantly in a new costume.
  I also notice a tucked away work space that was the control room for the energy supply and network, solar powered!
  Long live LIVE OAK NATION!  Peace, Love and Dirt!

   See you down the trail.