Light/Breezes

Light/Breezes
SUNRISE AT DEATH VALLEY-Photo by Tom Cochrun

Sunday, April 7, 2024

The Quantum Nap


        Is it my reading and viewing list, or have you too noted there's a lot of recent information out there about quantum physics, quantum computing and how things quantum make the potential of "multiverses" something more than fodder for science fiction?

        It's all a push for my pragmatic sense of things and my hard headed desire to "understand." 

        A recent science article and an Apple television series had me puzzling through the idea of "alternative realities" when the moon shadows seized my attention. I grabbed a camera and got a frame of myself standing on our upper deck, in the world of shadows. I haven't worked out how the distant Pacific surf may have sounded in that shadow universe, nor do I know what would become of that shadow reality if I, or someone, had not seen, observed or photographed it.

        What marvelous riddles, and possibilities there are!  And what potential there is for those to whom the future belongs. Still, there is that nagging human problem about learning-learning from our past and from our frequently misguided ways.

        But for now, a deep dive into the present here on the California central coast and in Lana's garden, all, appreciative of the season's rain.  
 



Is it one or many?












           The peas are growing well. 
         Lana complains the hillside is too full of weeds-she has had back issues and her weed eradication effort has been slowed. I continue my more than half a century protest that weeds are also life and provide their own contributions to the blue sphere. Alternate realities, eh? But Green is green.

        Our youngest of the brood, Sunny is enjoying the return of the Sun...     


The old tiger gal, Joy, is particularly taken with the beds near the front walk


    And the old boy Hemingway, our polydactyl, would be Garfield, does what he enjoys most, next to eating. Naps tend to make a lot of sense to me these days as well.
    Madmen still make war, a taste for power has driven a whole political cult into a trance of stupefaction and insensibility, and we've unleashed machine learning and artificial intelligence experiments on our children. Phones, screens and social media are rewiring our brains and undoing society. 
    It's like the meme, "Here hold my beer"  while we blindly jump into the next thing, never mind we have forgotten the word consequence and the mere idea of forethought.
    Yea, naps are a good alternative reality.



          Summon your wits good people, gird your loins and activate that life of experience and learning. 
        Our hand are no longer on the throttles of power, but we have voice and a vote and we are still to be reckoned with. There are facts to note, truth to tell and a Republic to defend between now and November. 
        We know this drill, we can still answer the call, and we'll be effective, if we take our nap and remember our meds. 
        Be of good cheer, we have the cosmos and eternity set in our hearts.

        See you down the trail.







Friday, March 15, 2024

Wishing for a Renaissance!


         Perfectly on cue, poppies are popping and we hit the road, a colorful journey.

        Looking for a change of mind, we found California spring as we sliced the central state over the Santa Lucia mountains, through the lower end of the central valley, past the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains into the Mojave desert, through the Antelope valley to rest at the base of the San Jacinto mountains in Palm Springs. 


    California is terrific when it is green and the mountains are snow capped and

the people come to play.



    California may be a state of mind, but spring certainly is and we needed the charge. 

    Some of the reality has been simply nuts. Measles are making a comeback!
Ignorance and social media can do a lot of harm. There was a time when a parent who would not get their children the safest and best medical care would have been considered coo coo. Ditto for those who wear red hats and march locked step in support of a Dodo. There is an epidemic of dumb. 

    My WWII veteran parents could not understand why the republican party wants to throw away democracy as it embraces the very fascism Dad and his generation fought. Don't the fools read history? Can there be a bigger jerk than Mitch McConnell who endorsed the very man he condemned, and who sucked out what ever molecule of integrity that may have tried to invade the old Kentuckian. 

    To make it worse Google AI started creating Black Popes and Vikings and Asian American founding fathers. Oops said Sundar Pichai a very bright man surprised by his own genius computers. Hit pause and correct.

    That's what we did. 


    Some of us may be old and increasingly irrelevant but we can still manage a lucid thought and one of those surmises-- there is entirely too much intelligence, too many skills, and an unlimited amount of creativity, imagination and real knowledge, kindness, and genuinely good people to look and act the like the America we see today. The smart people, the thinkers, the doers, problem solvers, helpers, people of love and visionaries need to start getting more face time in our melodrama. The "professional politician," influencers, body celebrities, brainless blowhards, snark trolls, overly sensitive and self appointed aggrieved, need to hit the road and get out of our faces. 

    If you have not read the constitution, shut up. If you don't know what the Beer Hall Putsch was, take off your red hat and shut up, then go read a history book. If you want to ban a book, crawl under a rock. If you don't believe peace is the better way to live go for a personality transplant. 

    We need a Renaissance. You Dark Age droolers need to start learning the facts,  and paying attention to the life that appears just beyond your screen. Reality is what we make it, not a hateful attitude manipulated by an algorithm that takes you deeper into darkness, ignorance and insensitivity.


   Spring is going to start breaking out everywhere, soon. Breathe it in, take it into that part of you that that motivates and recharges your battery. There is a reason this is the time that tribes, and societies, and civilizations, and faiths celebrate new life, new energy. There's also more light. 

    The Renaissance started in a place where the light, and the color ignited thought and imagination, enough so to throw out the old, stalled thought and superstitions. It was a springtime of the mind and soul.

    About time for that here, wouldn't you say?

    See you down the trail. 


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Waiting, In the Interval


        Between seasons. Between change. Between atmospheric rivers. Between the America we knew and where it goes. We live in the interval.   

        On the California central coast this is the season some call Irish.


    If you know Ireland, you know this is an imposter. It is reminiscent, however. 

    Just being California winter is plenty good. From the perch here, it seems entirely too many citizens are loosing their grip.

    This includes the Alabama Supreme Court and at least 6 activist US Supreme Court Justices, all of those who have surrendered heart and mind to the MAGAban, those who give comfort to Russia and their mad czar, and those want to kill the almost two-and-a-half century experiment in a democratic republic. 

    We are between sanity and them. 

    If the MAGAban sycophants were to gain control, we likely would slip into a struggle that no one deserves. That we need to address these realities is a signal  we are in descent. 

       
There is much about this America that is troubling; beliefs that are badges of ignorance gone malignantly arrogant. Uneducated and now unhinged.
 


       The hijacking and the weaponizing of faith is misbegotten. Christian Nationalism, the atrocity of Hamas, and Netanyahu's abuse of the history of the Jewish state to conduct a war of genocide are three footmen of hell. There is plenty of evil creeping about.
        Nations respond to attack, but a counter attack that targets civilians, and ignores pleas for restraint is a case of two wrongs do not make a right.

        Authoritarianism, theocracy, and a new feudalism are active threats and sadly too many are poorly educated and/or manipulated to understand how they have become tools. 

        Again Russian agents are manipulating US citizens and attitudes. The MAGAban Republicans are part of the attack. They also put our children and grand children at risk of going to war to stop the aggression of the same Russian czar they support. It is madness.

        We stand between continuing the struggle to realize our aspirational promise or a regressive mania that seeks to discard human rights, freedom of thought, choice, belief and expression. 

        The poisoning of faith is insidious. We have seen it before. Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Lutheran minister was an outspoken critic of German Nationalism and the rise of the fascists. He was executed by the Nazi government. 

        Bonhoeffer asked humanity to think deeply and weigh the consequence of what is said, thought and believed. "Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are."

        Be it a philosophy, faith, or a personal code requires examination, giving respect, and thinking of others. This is more diligent than being a follower, scrolling your screen, posting emojis or rants. It requires getting out of echo chambers and silos.

    Look closely and you will see in Christian nationalism, Christian Trumpism, and MAGAban Nationalism, the seeds of the destructive evil that coopted faith, churches and the German regime.


    
 Things change. We can make choices. Big decisions are ahead.


       We live in the interval.  

        See you down the trail.



Thursday, February 8, 2024

Do you wanna know a secret?

Harry Hammond/Getty 

        OK, so it's not really a secret, but it's something about which most people don't have a clue. You recognize the Fab Four above, and one of the reasons you do is because of the name below the frame.
        Harry Hammond was the first of the great Rock and Roll photographers and the image above was part of the creation of Beatlemania. It was 60 years ago this week George, Ringo, Paul and John appeared on the Ed Sullivan show which is considered the birth moment of a phenomena that rocked the world.
        This photo was the image tens of millions of people first saw of the Beatles.
        Harry Hammond took the photo as the Beatles were about launch. Hammond
was the early photographer for the Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Cochran.
        It's hard to believe now, but for a while Hammond had the business to himself.
        London born Hammond dropped out of school at 14 and picked up a job shooting on Fleet Street. That was where printing and publishing began in Britain in the 16th century. By the 20th Century most of London's Newspaper and magazines were there. 
        Hammond showed an early talent and soon he was hired by an outfit that was known as "Society's Photographers," the wealthy and the aristocrats. In the 40's he decided there would be interest in showbiz and pop culture. By the 1950's he was known by most of the entertainment scene including musicians and had photographed Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland among others. 
        When he took the photo that was used in advance of the Ed Sullivan show he was a middle aged 45, but had a way getting the trust of rock and roll's pantheon.
        When Rock became big big business, thanks largely to the culture changing impact of the Beatles and the "English invasion," Hammond decided he didn't care for the growing number of other photographers doing what he had done almost exclusively, so he retired from shooting rock stars in the mid 60's and began managing bands.
        His work is highly valued and collected. Harry Hammond, who helped light the fuse for the Beatles explosion passed in 2009 at 88. As we think back about that first Beatles appearance and all that followed, you know that iconic image was the work of Harry Hammond.
        
        See you down the trail.

        
        
 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Keep it in perspective PLEASE!

 

LOOKING SOUTH
Cambria coast

             The political press seems to have lost touch.
            Practicing media craft and skills for a half century makes me think I have an obligation to critique current practitioners. This recent orgy of Iowa caucus is excessive silliness.

            Even when I covered politics, including Iowa caucus coverage, I thought too much was made of it. 

            Here's my argument what we have just seen is much ado about very little, if not nothing. There were simply too many inches of ink and too many hours of blabber for what is only a notch above so what?

            All of the attention we endured was for the votes of 110,298 Iowans. Really!
40 delegates up for grab in what almost everyone except Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis says is a done deal. 

            All of this attention to 110 thousand Iowans about something that doesn't really matter. There are more than 3 Million people in Iowa. 110 ten thousand is what, a drop in a bucket? 
            The US population is estimated to be 336 million. How important are 110 thousand Iowa opinions? Not worthy enough for all the media time they got.

            Iowa is 88% White. 
                                    77% of Iowans are Christians. That total breaks out:
                                        28% Evangelical
                                        30% Mainline-mostly Methodist or Lutheran
                                       18% Catholic.

        If the Iowa caucus gave delegates to Snoop Dog or Martha Stewart, it would have been news, but still not the lead.

        Political journalism these days seems obsessed with the horse race. If a Presidential campaign is a horserace, then the Iowa caucus is as important as a pony ride at a state park.


        We are only getting started!

        See you down the trail.

        

Friday, January 12, 2024

Ancient rumblings


             In 75 years Israel has passed from being a nation of victims, survivors and a people persecuted to being discussed in the world court as perpetrating genocide. It was that very crime against them that spawned the world’s effort to create a safe nation.

            It is something I could not have imagined. From childhood I have been close to the Jewish story.  Children of concentration camp survivors were boyhood companions. A dear friend who I referred to as a brother was himself a refugee of the holocaust. Associates, friends, and some of the people I most admire were victims of the Nazi madness and attempt at genocide. 

            It is unfathomable that just generations later the people who suffered such hell, would be inflicting such deadly violence on a people, their neighbors, with savage barbarism.

            The world understands a nation must defend itself. What Hamas did was evil, barbaric, without any sense of humanity. Hamas is a terrorist group, cowardly and with no value to anyone on this planet. They use and abuse their “own people” for the hateful and insane objective of destroying Jews and the state of Israel. Hamas cannot, does not  govern, their people are not cared for. Hamas leadership knew their animalistic savagery would prompt the guns of hell to reign death and destruction on their own people, behind whom they hide.  Hamas leadership shares responsibility for the deaths and destruction in Gaza.

            The Netanyahu government is also guilty. Netanyahu’s last government, his own last stand to maintain power and avoid perhaps prison for his corruptions, mounted a retaliation that was and is without calibration, restraint, any shred of decency and if not genocidal is at the very least complicit in war crimes and the avoidable death of thousands.  Some will say thousands of years of being persecuted were triggered by the October 7 savagery, the worst on Jewish people since the Holocaust. But, sadly, it is more political calculation and revenge Netanyahu and right wing extremist style, since they regrettably control the divided Israeli government. It is this extremist cabal that has turned Israel from a modern and proud nation built from the ashes of human misery into now being a perpetrator of inhuman suffering.

            The rest of the world has their fingerprints on the savagery as well. In its most recent chain of meddling the Balfour Declaration, the Peel Commission, the British Mandate Palestine and the hot potato resolution at the new United Nations created a divided territory and planted seeds of hatred that resulted in the bombs that have ripped the land that gave the world the Abrahamic faiths. If you are not familiar with the history, you owe to yourself to look at how powerful nations “resolved” ancient disputes. 

            The Jewish nation has been not been served by Netanyahu and his war response. The Palestinian people have not been served either. Hamas functioned more like a criminal gang. The Palestinian Authority is feckless. I have reported from Gaza, and the West Bank. I spent time in Ramallah speaking with government and civic leaders trying to find a path to a future of coexistence. The only real leadership given the desperate Palestinian people has come from religious leaders, Christian, Muslim and even minority Druze representation. 

            Despite the propaganda, the majority of the Palestinian people bear no responsibility for the brutality of the Hamas attack. They tolerate and suffer Hamas leadership more than support it. There is no calculus that permits the Netanyahu military response. There are more precise ways of rooting out Hamas leadership.

            There is a move against Netanyahu and his rightwing fundamentalist coalition. At some point the democratic process will begin to scale back his control, but the ignominy and damage he has inflicted on the state of Israel and to Jewish sensibilities will haunt for generations.  

            It’s a tragic certainty the children who survive the rubble piles of Gaza will bear an animus toward Israel and the Jewish children there. Netanyahu will be dead as will the Hama leaders. But their hateful, evil legacies will continue to stalk the Holyland.

And this is how ancient hatreds last.



There is nothing I write here that you or others have not thought or said. It just strikes me such and with so much regret and remorse. I leave these thoughts as a record, for my grandchildren and so they will know. 
I dedicate this post to the survivors I had a privilege to know--those people who in the years they lived after their own time in hell, dedicated their lives to peace and healing. 

See you down the trail.