Category Archives: Around home

Feeling the earth shift from Cameron to Seth to Oprah


I watched Buffalo lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday afternoon. It was the first football game – only part of a game really – I have seen since watching Bama beat the stuffing out of Arkansas, 41 to 9, in Mobile AL. On Facebook, Karen Amy had said something like So, is everybody rooting for Buffalo? I am, and I thought Man, it’s playoff season and I have no idea who in the playoffs except, now I know Buffalo is in and Baltimore probably isn’t, and it’s playoff season and I had better catch up. I turned on the game and it ran the background until we went to the Farmer’s Market. At the end of the day, I turned on the recording of the Cougars and Saints game, again pretty much in the background, while Michele put a chicken in a Römertopf. At one point, I watched Cameron Newton get slammed. Over and over again, by David Onyemata, and I thought These guys are like Roman Gladiators, risking getting hurt, or worse, only for their glorification and our entertainment. Yes, skill counts, very much so, but skill put to the use of overpowering the other.

As the chicken cooked in the Römertopf, we watched the final two minutes of the Cougars/ Saints game before switching to the Golden Globes. Seth Meyers opened with “Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen. I’m Seth Meyers and I’ll be your host tonight. Welcome to the 75th annual Golden Globes, and Happy New Year, Hollywood. It’s 2018, marijuana is finally allowed, and sexual harassment finally isn’t.” and I felt the world start to shift. 

The masculine skill of overpowering the other, that football so admires and showcases, may have got us into this modern world but, in a civilization drowning in its own excess stuff and carbon excrement, that skill has turned toxic. We need change, we need cooperation and collaboration, not alpha males bragging about the size of their buttons.

Halfway through the awards, Oprah was presented with The Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment, and we were treated to a glimpse of the future. One of the most powerful people in the world gave a speech that was both a call to action and a call for inclusion:

But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.
And there’s someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.
The world shifted a little more. 

First Supermoon of the month

For reasons unknown to me, I have not been able to upload any pictures since the Supermoon. Last month, we watched the Moonrise from Twin Peaks but we went to Corona Heights, lower and north of Twin Peaks. Because we were lower, I thought the moon would come up slightly later but, because it was the evening of New Year’s Day the San Francisco skyline was not as lite up. The crowd, however, was local.

A Good Citizen?

Like most people, I think, we scoop out our cat’s litter box and put the contents in a plastic bag left over from some other use and then put the plastic bag, filled with cat urine, poop, and kitty litter in the trash. But, yesterday, Michele bought a box of biodegradable bags made especially for dog poop and by extension, usable for Precious Mae’s litter box waste. Both Michele and I feel like we are being better custodians of the environment and, therefore, better Citizens by eliminating the plastic bags we had used before. But, here is the rub, when Michele got home, she realized that some scoundrel had opened the box and stolen one of the three rolls of the biodegradable pet waste bags. Now we wonder, is the person who stole the third roll, presumably to use for their pet’s waste, also a good Citizen? Even though they stole them, by using these bags, the thief is also keeping plastic bags out of the environment and, it seems to me, the world is better off with two households eliminating plastic bags. Still, they did steal them. 

The First Supermoon of December 2017

We decided to go to Twin Peaks in San Francisco to see the Super Moon and we got there just as the Sun was setting over a very pacific Pacific. But it was still about a half hour before moonrise which is what we had driven up for. I don’t understand that, I always thought that, on a full moon, sunset and moonrise were the same time but this was only a 99.8% full moon and that translates into a half hour time difference (I guess). Anyway, after the sun went down, San Francisco just glowed with its new brightest star on the skyline,  Sales Force Tower, giving the whole thing a magic touch.  The crowd seemed younger than Michele and me – Michele said that she thought the next oldest person was twenty years younger than her – and the melody of voices included German, French, and Chinese. I had the feeling that only tourists were on the hill with us and, if that’s true, it’s a little sad. The moon, however, was terrific.    

Flagstaff, mile 781.7

Downtown Bakersfield.

We started in in Bakersfield CA and ended the day in Flagstaff AZ, 518.9 miles later. Much of it on back roads. The first part, out of Bakersfield and over Tehachapi pass into the high Mojave Desert at Mojave CA – strangely enough – then down to Barstow however, was mostly on freeways.      

Climbing up, out of the San Joaquin Valley up towards Tehachapi Pass on Highway 58.
Tehachapi Pass, covered in windmills with new, much bigger, windmills filling in the empty spaces.
Tehachapi Pass from the Mojave side.
Mojave Air and Space Port is the center of much of the burgeoning private work on getting into space without giant rockets. Both Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch are leading the charge. Mojave is a strange place in that it is both a dusty out-back desert town and one of the high tech centers of the Universe.
To the casual observer, the most noticeable part of Mojave Air and Space Port is the boneyard of parked planes. Some will be sold and refitted, some poor derelicts parted out.

On Highway 58, driving through Hinkley CA, made famous by Steven Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich. To my way of thinking, this is the most desolate section of highway in California.
A view of Barstow CA, from the semi-official view spot.
We got gas in Barstow and quickly moved on.

Several miles past Barstow, near the famous Bagdad Cafe, we got on Route 66. The first thing we noticed about Route 66 is that almost all the non-locals were foreigners, “75% French”, we were told by Bagdad Cafe’s Bass Lady Andree Pruett.  Well, that was probably the second thing we noticed, the first was how dilapidated everything was; when the new I40 went in, bypassed most of the towns that had sprung up to service Route 66’s  travelers and the towns just dried up, people just got up and left, taking everything they could carry. The buildings are now old enough to be picturesque but there is still an air of lost dreams. The road was washed out before Needles, so we got back on Interstate 40 and stayed on it until we crossed the Colorado River at the border between California and Arizona, then got back on 66 and wandered through the hills/mountains under impossibly blue skies, through Oatman AZ and, eventually back to the freeway as it got dark.