Saturday, December 31, 2022

Are We Ready?

         A recent story struck me as a perfect way to posit a conclusion to 2022.

        Dr. John Elliott at Scotland's St. Andrews University asks the engaging challenge; if one of our many searches and explorations for life in the universe would detect a sign or a kind of communication signal, what would we do next?

        Such a find would change everything about human existence and Dr Elliott, a computational linguist asks "are we ready for it?" 
        Does any nation, or organization or anyone have a plan? 
        "Look at the mess we made when Covid hit. We'd be like headless chickens. We cannot afford to be ill-prepared, scientifically, socially and politically rudderless for an event that could happen at any time and which we cannot afford to mismanage," says Elliott.

        In the New Year, Elliott will be organizing a scientific coalition to address how to proceed. What would we say, how would we do it, and who would be the messenger?  Who would write the message?  

       Riddle through that as we prepare for another Auld Lang Syne. The questions cause one to confront the status of who we have become as a specie on this planet.

        After our long history, how would, how can we explain ourselves?

        The world watches a tyrant lead his nation in war crimes and slaughter innocents. The world appears unable to stop it. 
       The world has never amassed such wealth and we've never witnessed more homeless, poverty stricken and destitute human beings. 
       For decades we have known we are trashing the planet and for as long we have refused to stop doing it. 
       We continue to use our most personal beliefs as cudgels and hammers of judgement and even warfare. We have a history of killing our most enlightened. 

      There are some who tell Dr. Elliott maybe the best response is to say or do nothing. A  friend has joked the reason we've not had contact with higher or intelligent beings is because they already know about us. 

    I suspect it has been ever such. One need not subscribe to a particular faith to understand the idea of humanity as imperfect or broken, and maybe even slow to learn. But there are those who reach, who aspire, who inspire and raise us up. At the turn of the year, one of these years, I hope we decide they are the voices we should follow.  In the meantime, we have our keepers to keep an eye on us...

        Take a cup of kindness...and right good will draft ...if not for old times for those times to come.  

        Perhaps Dr. Elliott should enlist the dreamers, artists, poets and the mystics.

        Wishing you well being and good cheer.

        See you down the trail.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Santa's Private Reserve

It's time for a little fun. Here's our annual visit to Santa's private reserve, designed and curated by a talented elf named Kevin at the Cambria Garden Center. 


Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Kwanzaa

Happy Holidays

Peace and Goodwill

See you down the trail. 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Candlelight Christmas Came Back

         The glow of the Santa Rosa Chapel from its east village hill top drew us into a resumption of a Cambria tradition.

        For almost 150 years Christmas magic happens here. After two years, delayed by Covid, the wondrous sounds, friendly warmth and joy was back.

            Friends and neighbors from the village crowd in to hear other friends and neighbors treat us to music, voice and word that soothes the soul.
        Soprano Molly Pasutti, backed by Jill Poulos on Irish harp and button accordion, Bob Liepman on cello, Eric Williams' guitar and violin virtuoso Brynn Albanese performed; Let Us The Infant Greet, I Saw 3 Ships, Good Christian Men Rejoice, Kesh Jig, and a stunning Mary Did you Know?
        Brynn's Handel Violin Sonata in D Major and Winter from Vivaldi's Four Seasons dazzled and melted us.

        Jody Mulgrew, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter added mirth and richness with The First Noel, a couple of his own creations- I Guess I'll Have to Spend Christmas Here, Christmas on the Island, and classics Jingle Bell Rock, White Christmas and the soaring Angels We Have Heard On High.

        A special joy was seeing Judith Larmore with her annual reflections message. Judith grew up in my mother's little north eastern Indiana hometown and her rich memories and stories kindle a special place in my heart. This year, after two years of loss and hurt, Judith reminded us of the value and peace of "saying their name" as we recall those special to us. Her message in this year of resumption sparkled as a homily of recovery and making right. It is a gift.

       Bruce Black was not available to share his telling of Twas the Night Before Christmas, so story teller Amber Atkinson wove the tail with panache and drama and musical emphasis from her partner Brynn. 
        Molly Pasutti and Eric Williams on Guitar teamed for a dramatic and spiraling O' Holy Night. 
        The ensemble led all of us in Silent Night and Joy to the World. 
        As we filed out, filled with joy and ambled down the hill into a gaily light village, the Christmas spirit and good cheer seemed to have settled over the village, again. It came back.

       See you down the trail.  

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Chicken Little reprised...The Ladies...My Office for a day


        My journalist's "fire horse" instinct is irrepressible. We'll sort through some thoughts and analysis of the "sky is falling" syndrome, but first we're sharing recent work of my favorite artist.

        When she is not doing ceramics or gardening she keeps busy making a variety of cards. My favorites are "Lana's Ladies."

        It's fascinating and entertaining to watch the population grow. Each Lady is a personality unto herself. She is begun as a water color, then Lana accessorizes.

          The process is an art unto itself. As you can see they are a combination of elements, pieces gathered from assorted sources. She uses old greeting cards, packaging material, advertising flyers, remnants of art projects, the inside of tea boxes, paper product and anything that brings a texture, color or can be imagined as something one of her Ladies would wear.
      When she was an art student at Ball State she often said artists are the first recyclers.

        Do you know this feeling? Do you need a break?
I do? Political burn out. So I moved my study for the day. Good reception, note pad, gentle breeze, lulling surf, peace and quiet.

        A simple nervine for all of us is to cut back on the volume of political junk we let into our lives. Attention is necessary, to what is important, but there’s a lot to be filtered out. Media hype for example.

        Media was up to a froth of dire projections and a near hysterical certainty by election day. I wish they would back off the addiction to polls. Are they more interested in predicting outcome than reporting? 
        Political journalism has been "game" obsessed since Teddy White's The Making of the President 1960, the book that made  inside politics the major thrust of coverage. This year was desperate in trying to read the tea leaves.

        Predictive reporting is ephemera. 
        Common sense held as voters drew the line on crazy. MAGA is too crazy, Trump is not to be trusted, and voters cared more about freedom and individual choice than inflation.           
        No plan of their own, MAGA Republicans failed in their attempt to put economic disruption on Biden. Informed voters understand the impact of Putin's war, its global economic fall out, and the rampant price gouging.
        Predicting a "red wave," the media misread voters.

        Trump is damaged goods. He's losing backers and media pimps. He has challengers, and investigations and legal battles. The GOP is in for a wild ride.
        House Republicans will be a clown car in a train wreck while on the way to the gong show. Kevin McCarthy is nakedly ambitious. It will be a side show watching a coward without virtue try to manage the asylum. Hunter Biden will be the new Benghazi. Someone should pass out Ken Starr stickers to the loud and proud.

        There is a closing note from this old scribe. The media will not do it, but Joe Biden should get a lot of credit for why and how the red wave became a light mist. He drew the line. He made the case for democracy, against authoritarians, election deniers and fascists. He pointed out the risk of falling for crazy. His mid term performance went against the historic trend, and the polls. Joe Biden knows the American voter and he has a longer view than anyone else. Sometimes the old reliable is the best bet.

        See you down the trail.