Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday Beach Report: Silver and Blue

Sailing the Silver Sea


 Willet Shepherd Girl
All of these photos look out to the Channel Islands National Park and the waters that surround them.
If you have any doubt about the impact of protecting these wild places, give a listen to Sylvia Earl's story HERE. It's story #3.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dystopian Literary Excerpt #2

Photo taken at the Women's March in Washington D.C.

From 1984:

".... the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages. If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however often Person, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must never crossed by anything except bombs."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dystopian Literary Excerpt #1 Brought to You by Margaritaville (because you might want a drink)

Fallen Wing

I've re-read The Handmaid's Tale. I'm now half-way through a re-read of 1984.

I find these readings oddly comforting. I think I'll be posting more.

From 1984:
"In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind is controllable--what then?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday Morning Beach Report: A whale, found art, hearts, resisting, and survival

Nature imitates nature. A piece of wood resembling a whale's tale, seen a couple of weeks ago.

I heard it before I saw it. The breath like the Earth itself was breathing. When I looked up, knowing what it was that I'd heard, I saw the immense barnacled back disappearing into the water. I stood and watched for a moment and then hurried down the shore the way that the whale was traveling, but saw nothing more. I saw four whales near this same spot a couple of years ago.

There were pelicans too.

And these black birds sitting on the water. Sooty shearwaters? Storm petrels? I think I've tried to look this up before and was unable to come to a conclusion.

There was a lot of driftwood from the recent storms. It's a good thing I don't have a place to put it or I'd be dragging it home. As it is, the bowl full of beach glass is brimming. There was beach glass today too.

And there was found art:

Here's what it made me think of--this painting by Georgia O'Keefe:

There were remnants from Valentine's Day.

A rock commiserating.

Mr. Frowny Face. Do you see it?
And a heart made of stone.

We must take heart and harden our resolve, somehow remembering what beauty there is before us.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

I Stand With Planned Parenthood

Today in Ventura, CA:

Add caption

I love the signs.

Today was a day of action for the anti-choice folks. I will not call them pro-life. That's like calling Steve Bannon alt-right.  People who are pro-life don't murder doctors and clinic staffers. They don't connive and convince women to put more children into this world where they cut funding for disabilities, education, and health care--including pre-natal health care.

So Planned Parenthood supporters took to the streets too. There were plenty of men as well as women of all ages. I was proud to be there because #IStandWtihPlannedParenthood.

Friday, February 10, 2017

HAKA with Standing Rock

It's been five days since the  NoDAPL march in Los Angeles, and I cannot get the young woman I saw out of my mind. Standing just behind me to the left at the end of the march, I heard her before I saw her. Her shrill cry got the attention of everyone in our immediate area. Two or three large TV news-style cameras came running as we backed away. "Maori," a man whispered. Another repeated him. "Maori, Maori," went the ripple of mumbles from one person to the next while the cameras churned, and I tried to decide if what I was seeing was simply too painful to behold.

Worthy of a spot in the pantheon of spell-binding, breath-stopping stage performances, this young woman, I have since figured out, was performing a haka. A solo haka no less. You might have seen a group one on You-Tube. There was one going around several months back with beefy gorgeous guys. This was not that. Wikepedia's definition doesn't really capture what I saw on the steps of the L.A. Federal building  either:

The haka (plural haka, as in Māori, so in English) is a traditional war cry, dance, or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment...

Various actions are employed in the course of a performance, including facial contortions such as showing the whites of the eyes and poking out the tongue, and a wide variety of vigorous body actions such as slapping the hands against the body and stomping of the feet. As well as chanted words, a variety of cries and grunts are used. Haka may be understood as a kind of symphony in which the different parts of the body represent many instruments. 

I don't know if  this solo female NoDAPL haka turned up on any TV news coverage. I searched the Internet and could not find it. But I can't forget it. She was young and beautiful, this woman. Her soul was visible. She was a symphony of pure being.

Here is a link to an article about Maori performing haka in solidarity with Standing Rock. The second  video in the piece is a solo woman (but not the woman in L.A.) From the article you can link to a FB page titled Haka With Standing Rock that also contains other pipeline updates.

Thursday, February 2, 2017


I've been feeding finches, black-crowned sparrows, and a pair of ring-necked doves from one of those suction-cup bird feeders since my mom moved in with me the summer of 2012. I put up hummingbird feeders too, and it took a bit of finagling to find a spot where the possums couldn't tip them up like  growlers of beer, but ultimately we had a fine success.

A week or so ago (around the time of the Inauguration) I saw a squirrel in the street in front of my house. There are no squirrels in this neighborhood--or at least I hadn't seen any in the almost 5 years that I've lived here. You could be mugged by an army of rabbits while out walking around here at night, or hissed at by a possum, but there were absolutely no squirrels.

Yesterday and today, I saw this:

I've chased him off twice.

And I've moved the feeder higher, so maybe the Evil Bannon (the squirrel's name) won't be able to leap from the window ledge into the feeder. It remains to be seen if he will be able to leap from the wall into the feeder. Maybe that's a reason not to have a wall. But then my neighbor might come over, right?

I will resist.

And speaking of that, Southern California friends, will I see you in L.A. Sunday?

If you're going to be there, let me know.