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September 20th, 2008

ashes and snow - wings

Good Morning!!

Where I live, geologic change means that many former Miwok villages are under the bay.  When I walk, I like to imagine myself as a Coastal Miwok, note the foods I would eat, and imagine what it would have been like to watch the sun rise and set, with no buildings or bridges in the way.  I feast, in my mind, on acorn mush, oysters, clams, and quail.

Today I read in the SF Chronicle, that "Archaeologists are using cutting-edge technology - including ground radar and laser scanning - to uncover vanished walls and dwellings of the original Spanish Presidio of San Francisco, one of the two oldest European settlements in the Bay Area."

"The other is Mission Dolores, several miles away. Both were founded by Spanish missionaries and colonists in 1776, just weeks before the United States declared independence.

The present mission church was built in 1791, but the Presidio's original buildings have crumbled away, and the extent of the fort's original walls and outbuildings is a mystery."

There are signs of the old forts on this side of the bay and military placements now removed, but I don't often think of them.  I prefer to go back further in time when I dream.  I consider that as I  read today about how one might cope with the financial crisis,  depending on their age.

If we believe in capitalism, we need to trust that the market will right itself.   Investing in stocks is a necessity for those who are young.  Index funds are the way to go, something my son has been saying to me.  

"Andrew Orr, a financial planner in Orlando, Fla., says clients with money in index funds are investing in 17,000 companies that seek to generate earnings and pay dividends. That, he says, is a sustained bet on capitalism itself. “Capitalism is not always pretty. But it’s evolved and gotten better, and there are clearly going to be more protections to come.”"

It is suggested that those who are retired could give less to the grandchildren and eat out less often.  This is from the NY Times financial page, where I suppose eating out less often is an option.  No one is talking about eating cat food, yet.

I think many of us were raised on stories of the depression and the lack of "stuff" after the war.  My parents were lucky to get an apartment and I was conceived on a Murphy bed.  During the depression, people played Monopoly, popped popcorn and ate homemade fudge.  I think there will be an adjustment for all but the extremely wealthy once again, and I think people are malleable.  The coastal Miwok moved their homes as the ice caps melted and froze.  Life continues because we adapt.  We are made to evolve, made for change and connection and working for the whole is the gift that maybe we can now again remember.   We share one boat.

I read a book the other night that suggested that societies that survive look at the good of the whole which is why the elders often walked away from the tribe when it was their time to die.  We are spending vast amounts of money in this country on the last six months of life.  It may be time to look at the end of life expenditure and allow people to exit with dignity, to create places where we can walk into the woods or to the top of a mountain and lie down when it is our time.  Technology has been dominant.  Let's go back to the natural rhythms inside and utilize them outside to now create a world that benefits us all.

This is a wake-up call.  May we use it wisely and well.

barack obama

cruelty -

From what I have read, animals do not kill for sport. They kill to defend or eat. Rattlesnakes will use their venom only in need because they are at risk as the venom rebuilds, and rattlesnakes live at the level of reptile brain, survival. They don't have our marvelous neocortex. I don't know what causes one to be twisted enough to consider killing a sport. There is hunting, hunting for food and that is a different thing than what Sarah Palin supports. Anyone who knows anything about wolves knows they are monogamous, family oriented and they help keep the caribou and moose tribes strong by culling the weak. They are a key part of an ecosystem, just as the polar bears are our current parakeets in the mine, their loss a warning that something is wrong.

This will turn your stomach and I think it is important to watch. There are many reasons to be against Palin-McCain, but this really does say it all.

barack obama

Balance and values -

This is the end of an editorial today in the NY Times.

Finally, Americans need to be told a more fundamental truth: This crisis is the result of a willful and systematic failure by the government to regulate and monitor the activities of bankers, lenders, hedge funds, insurers and other market players. All were playing high-stakes poker with the financial system, but without adequate transparency, oversight or supervision.

The regulatory failure, in turn, was grounded in the Bush administration’s magical belief that the market, with its invisible hand, works best when it is left alone to self regulate and self correct. The country is now paying the price for that delusion.

If lawmakers and administration officials really want to restore confidence, the bailout must be only a first step. The hard work of establishing and enforcing the regulations that are needed for a truly trustworthy financial system, still lies ahead.

I must say that the American people are also at fault.  Anyone who believes you can spend, spend, spend, and not raise taxes and ignore the daily mounting deficit deserves what has happened.   Children walk onto a college campus at eighteen years old and are handed a credit card.   This is insane.   Some are saddled with a debt for years, a debt almost impossible to repay as the interest rates and penalties add up.   People voted for the one who told them they could have their cake and eat it too.  It has made no sense, and we can say this is the fault of Wall Street, greed, Bush, Reagan, but it is the fault of the American people who wanted to believe the free ride would continue forever and who used Wal-Mart like a drug to stuff down their feelings as to what it means to have true quality of life and care for others, unity not division.

You know what I most admire about Barack Obama.  He tells parents to read to their kids.  I believe that is one of the most important things that he says, and maybe returning to books, books read out loud together and shared will take us back to touch, human touch and save the world.

The Republicans like to talk about family values.   They lost all values, all values, and now we all pay the price for their arrogance, self-absorption and absolute ignorance of the laws of balance, of the conservation of matter and energy, and kindness and care.

barack obama

Surely the people will see -

I find it hard to believe that with things as bad as they are and with McCain so much a part of the party that brought us to this place that he continues to spew acid on the campaign trail.  Whatever happened to apology and accountability?   How much more attractive that would be.   I continue to pray that the people of this country wake up and see the difference between Obama-Biden and McSame and McPain.

Op-Ed Columnist

The Alpha Dogs Bark

Published: September 19, 2008

These times are so perilous that George W. Bush emerged from his burrow on Friday to reassure the American people about the financial crisis.

Looking either grim or overmedicated, Bush spoke for several minutes — 1,260 words worth of reassurance. That was a far more ambitious effort than the day before, when, as Politico’s Roger Simon noted, our president devoted 100 fewer words to his public utterances on the collapsing economy than he did to toasting the president of Ghana at dinner.

Behind the-first-president-with-an-M.B.A.-and-a-lot-of-good-it-did-us stood the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, who appears to be actually running the government. On Thursday night, Bernanke had called Congressional leaders together and terrified them into supporting a quadrillion-dollar rescue plan. Legend has it that there was a time when these sorts of gatherings took place at the White House, but it would probably have really cast a pall on the president of Ghana’s big night.


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palin -

Timothy Egan from the NY Times

People should stop picking on vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin because she hired a high school classmate to oversee the state agriculture division, a woman who said she was qualified for the job because she liked cows when she was a kid. And they should lay off the governor for choosing another childhood friend to oversee a failing state-run dairy, allowing the Soviet-style business to ding taxpayers for $800,000 in additional losses.

What these critics don’t understand is that crony capitalism is how things are done in Alaska. They reward failure in the Last Frontier state. In that sense, it’s not unlike like Wall Street’s treatment of C.E.O.’s who run companies into the ground.

Look at Carly Fiorina, John McCain’s top economic surrogate — if you can find her this week, after the news and her narrative fused in a negative way. Dismissed as head of Hewlett-Packard after the company’s stock plunged and nearly 20,000 workers were let go, she was rewarded with $44 million in compensation. Sweet!

Thank God McCain wants to appoint a commission to study the practice that enriched his chief economic adviser. On the campaign trail this week, McCain and Palin pledged to “stop multimillion dollar payouts to C.E.O.’s” of failed companies. Good. Go talk to Fiorina at your next strategy session.


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alan&#39;s marigolds


I am trying to type around Bella who has laid herself under my arm. She looks perturbed when I move the keyboard a bit so I might find a little space.

My friend Joyce is a docent at Tor House in Carmel, the home the poet Robinson Jeffers built of stone with his own hands. It is one of my favorite places to visit.

She sends me a fragment of his last poem, and when I google more information on it, I come upon this site, which is worth checking out.


A fragment of a poem by Robinson Jeffers:

Anima Mundi

I believe the universe is all one God.
There is a power beyond powers,
there is a consciousness
That includes all their criers, and the secret-keeping Rocks and the sky; there is no atom nor energy in all the universe
but feels the weight
of all upon it: the farthest star’s rays Influence the life of the sun, which makes and changes the
lowest worm in the sod.

egg stone

Robinson Jeffers -

Robinson Jeffers:

..... I entered the life of the brown forest,
And the great lfe of the ancient peaks, the patience of stone, I felt the
     changes in the veins
In the throat of the mountain... and, I was the stream
Draining the mountain wood; and I the stag drinking; and I was the stars
Boiling with light, wandering alone, each one the lord of his own summit;
    and I was the darkness
Outside the stars, I included them, they were a part of me. I was mankind
    also, a moving lichen
On the cheek of the round stone...

barack obama

Palin is for Alaskan oil, not renewables.

Palin does not speak for the country as a whole.  She speaks for Alaska and oil.   We need vision right now, not the limited focus of the drill.

This concludes a comment in The Nation by Michael T. Clare.

Finally, much like the leaders of other petrostates that depend on oil sales to fill government coffers, Palin is leery of efforts to promote renewable sources of energy and other petroleum alternatives--the exact opposite of running mate John McCain's proclaimed objective and that of most members of Congress. At a meeting of the National Governors Association in February, Palin argued against providing subsidies for alternative energy sources, claiming that domestic sources of oil and gas--many located in Alaska--can satisfy the nation's needs for a long time to come. "The conventional resources we have can fill the gap between now and when new technologies become economically competitive and don't require subsidies," she asserted. When pressed by a reporter for Oil & Gas Journal she went further, denouncing government support for renewable energy. "I just don't want things to get out of hand with incentives for renewables, particularly since they imply subsidies, while ignoring fuels we already have on hand." Surely, at this moment in history--with global oil output facing imminent decline and global warming an inescapable reality--anyone opposed to government support of renewable energy should be considered stupendously ill equipped for national office.

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Who would you hire?

This seems like such a practical, logical way to choose a president and vice-president that I hate to post it.  Why should we make this presidential decision easy?

My father always said it was easy to learn with the good teachers.  One had to really work with the bad ones.  I guess that is why we are even looking at a debate at all.   Maybe we like to suffer.  It is important to note that even though the resumes are far, far apart in content that McCain got into the naval academy because of his family connections and Barack made his way without mentioning he was Black.  One might note then a difference in character to go with the difference in quality and quantity of education.

I think the worst ignorance is the ignorance not even known.  That is what frightens me about Palin.  She doesn't even know there is a difference between standing on an island looking over at Russia and actually knowing how to deal with the diverse political realm it is, with the diversity there as well as here.  There is more to Russia that what borders the Bering Strait.  There is more to this country than oil.

If virtue and hard work truly are rewarded, then I think who wins this election is clear.


Occidental College - Two years.
Columbia University - B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

& Biden:

University of Delaware - B.A. in history and B.A. in political science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)



United States Naval Academy - Class rank 894 of 899

& Palin:

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in journalism

tomales point

An eye in the sky!

I look up for a moment and there amidst all the gray of the sky is one huge, round ball of blue.   It is as though a huge eye is looking down at me, or I am a huge eye allowed a look through.  It was just a few moments and now the blue is like a body being carried away by the clouds and fog.  It was quite spectacular and feels like a stroking of my being.    

We are one and we need to unite in peace.   Perhaps that is what most disturbs me about McSame - McPain is that they sow disunity and attack without looking at what they are and what they drill and what the world needs now.

The blue is gone now.  It was a moment, a glimpse.

barack obama

Principles -

Here are two sites worth checking out.



One deals with distortions and lies in the campaign.

The other is an article by Elizabeth Drew who wrote a book on John McCain and once admired him and now says this.

McCain’s recent conduct of his campaign – his willingness to lie repeatedly (including in his acceptance speech) and to play Russian roulette with the vice-presidency, in order to fulfill his long-held ambition – has reinforced my earlier, and growing, sense that John McCain is not a principled man.

In fact, it’s not clear who he is.

Elizabeth Drew is author of “Citizen McCain” (Simon & Schuster, 2002; paperback with new introduction, 2008.)

zen garden

Japan -

My husband has been in Japan this past week, thus more posts from me than you probably prefer.  

He has this to say today. 

It is wonderful to be in Japan. After you go to eat, or visit a store, the people there enthusiastically exclaim “Arigato gozaimas” (thank you!) as you leave. I asked Mr. Asaba yesterday if tipping was common in Japan and he told me it is never done. People expect that when someone uses a service they provide that it is their job to be enthusiastic about doing their job, and it shows in the way that they do things. It is very different from much of what we see in America and perhaps explains why Japanese products are so good. On one side, it is just a face they put on for the world, much as someone might be dour or depressed, but it also says something about Japanese character and their outlook on the world. I think each of us can learn from the Japanese in this way.

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Abbott and Costello

One may have to be a certain age and familiar with Abbott and Costello's wonderful routine, Who's on First to appreciate this.

Here is the modern version and following is one of the original versions on youtube. Enjoy!

ABBOTT: Super Duper Computer Store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO : Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO : No, the name's Lou .

ABBOTT : Your computer?

COSTELLO : I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou .

ABBOTT : What about Windows?

COSTELLO : Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT : Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO : I don't know. What will I see when I look at the

ABBOTT : Wallpaper.

COSTELLO : Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT : Software for Windows?

COSTELLO : No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT : I just did.

COSTELLO : You just did what?

ABBOTT : Recommend something.

COSTELLO : You recommended something ?


COSTELLO : For my office?


COSTELLO : OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO : Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT : I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO : I already have an office with windows! O K, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT : Word.

COSTELLO : What word?

ABBOT T : Word in Office.

COSTELLO : The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT : The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO : Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT : The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO : I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO : That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Money.

COSTELLO : I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT : It comes bundled with yo ur computer.

COSTELLO : What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT : Money.

COSTELLO : Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT : Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO : I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT : One copy.

COSTELLO : Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT : Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO : They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT : Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO : How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT : Click on 'START'.............

alexander calder

animal care -

I am going through old journals and notes tonight and I come across this tidbit.

Rhesus monkeys will not pull a chain for food if it causes another monkey to get a shock. 

barack obama

from The Arizona Republic - McCain's Home State!

McCain-Palin '08: Lipstick and old ideas

You may think the presidential campaign should be about important stuff, like a discussion of the proper role of government.

But when it comes to the GOP's grand plan, there is nothing more important than lipstick and double talk.

If the Grand Old Party focuses on the facts, people will see that they are hopelessly stuck in the 1980s.

Sarah Palin, who is the ideological star of the GOP ticket, just loves that old Reagan mantra about how government is the problem.

The public knows this approach has given us Three Stooges-style regulation; collapsing financial institutions; Looney Tunes panic on Wall Street; plummeting home values; a deer-in-the-headlights middle class; Culture Wars reruns; a 19th-century energy policy; a Justice Department that argued for torture; an Interior Department that parties hearty with the oil and gas industry; and an FBI that wants to get to know you a little better.

A Palin-McCain ticket offers more of the same.


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ayer&#39;s rock -

Tender -

Galway Kinnell has said - “The secret title of every good poem might be “Tenderness.”  


Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche -

            Tenderness contains an element of sadness. It is not the sadness of feeling sorry for yourself or feeling deprived, but it is a natural situation of fullness. You feel so rich and full, as if you were about to shed tears. Your eyes are full of tears, and the moment you blink, the tears will spill out of your eyes and roll down your cheeks.  In order to be a good warrior, one has to feel this sad and tender heart.