Posted in Current Events

Station Fire from Mount Wilson Cam

Thanks to the Militant Angeleno for the heads up via Facebook. Here are a couple photos of the Station Fire from 7 September 2009 snatched from the Mount Wilson cam.


2:51 am


3:13 am

Did you notice that little flare up in the lower right? I hope it’s minding its own business.

Posted in Current Events, Travel

Cliff Dwellers


Photo credit: National Park Service

I’m on the road with The Scout in New Mexico, which is pretty much an 11 on the 1 to 10 scale of life. We’re in Albuquerque, yes we ate at Sadie’s, and now we’re on our way to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings and ponder life before running water, penicillin, and cool, crisp, dry champagne.

No home-grown photos yet, because yours truly forgot the cord thingy that makes uploads happen. However, one does travel with one’s most recent New Yorker (April 13, 2009). In the Talk of the Town item “The Bench: The Bush Six” I read about Phillipe Sands’s book “Torture Team” which posits that Bush administration officials may one day “get a tap on the shoulder announcing that they were being arrested on international charges of torture.” So I was dismayed (disheartened, horrified, sickened) to hear today that the Obama administration won’t be pursuing the purveyors of torture. This is truly disappointing from a man who spoke so eloquently against torture in the Senate back on 2006.

Obama is a great peacemaker, smoother-over kind of guy, but this was one issue to take on—an issue above politics. Taking on those who sanctioned torture would demonstrate to the world that (1) We Americans know we blew it on this one, and, (2) We are going to do everything we can to ensure we never do it again. Obama got rid of waterboarding, etc during his first week in office. Not prosecuting those responsible for torture is tacit complicity with the “bad apples” (<– that’s a Slate article by Sands) excuse of the last administration. And it leaves the door open: What will the next president do?

On to the cliffs we go.

Posted in Current Events, Issues

Secret Fear

I have been an environmentalist for a long time. I say that most advisedly, since I own an internal combustion automobile, and I live in the US of A, and at least twice this year I have left the grocery store with the kind of bag that is generally banned in places like Europe and San Francisco.

My secret fear is that the current problem with the economy is that the the jig is up. By that I mean that we have tapped out the environment, and the economy will never fully recover.


1. There is a direct, if intricate, relationship between the environment and the ability of businesses to make money.

2. The environment has its own regenerative capacity, but aggressive human activity has pushed it over the line (earth = pair of old knees).

3. Scientists predict environmental changes, but cannot agree on them. Freeman Dyson not withstanding, it is clear that the climate is changing more rapidly than it has in the past. I’ve recommended that you go to Montana before (before it’s too late, that is)—in one of the earliest posts on this blather. Some photos by The Scout here.

Change is constant. Dealing with change is difficult. Some things change for the better, some for the worse. Sometimes we think something is changing for the worse, but it actually changing for the better.

If the current economic slowdown catastrophe results in our treating the environment like our pas-de-deux partner rather than our ho, that’s a change for the better.

The economy, the environment – such gigantic problems. No wonder infotainment is a growth industry. If you are going to face the news of the day, wouldn’t you rather have Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s writers have a go at it first and drag it through their humor mill?

I want to do the things I can do to be a responsible consumer, to be at least a fair-to-middling environmentalist. Is it really going to make a difference if I take the bus once or twice a week? Give up my car completely? Is it going to make any difference whether I recycle the church bulletins or not?

I want and need to believe that even small things will make a difference. I don’t want to be holier-than-thou about them. I need encouragement to do those things that seem infinitesimal in the broader context, because if I continue to do them consistently and repeatedly, it will make a (teeny-tiny) difference. And if you do some of the three R’s too, our cumulative effort will make a (slightly less small) difference. We need more emphasis on reduce and reuse. Perhaps all these things will work together to give the earth longevity (3 R’s for earth = knee reconstruction surgery?).

How can we use the current economic crisis to build the future economy on a model that sustains the earth’s resources? Do humans even have the capacity to do this?

In the meantime, I’ll be the one who carries a glass container for her restaurant leftovers. Something is better than nothing. The acknowledged illusion of control appeals to me more than the despair that comes from resigning myself to being a pawn of forces beyond my control. Call it my one last middle class luxury.

Posted in Current Events

Blogger Pajama Party

You are invited to join the Feb. 13 Blogger Pajama Party as proposed by Sister Wolf over at

“…In a tribute to Mrs. Palin, we should all set aside one day to blog in our pj’s, and to post photos…”

I’m really not one to rush into getting dressed on a normal day , but what with my recent cold/flu thing, I’ve been in my pj’s for the last 56 hours (with one laundry respite).

Just when you thought I’d never blog about Sarah Palin again, just when you were sure I’d ‘gotten over it’—I’ve been delving a bit into the Myers-Briggs personality types. My ENFP-ness grows large (“P-ness” — God, I love that joke). To wit: “ENFPs often have strong, if unconventional, convictions on various issues related to their Cosmic View.” My Cosmic View apparently includes needing large doses of the truth from politicians, as wacky as that might be.

Check out this article by James Rainey (appeared in the 14 Jan 2009 print edition of the LA Times) discussing Sarah Palin’s ongoing lack of media savvy. Actually, you don’t have to check it out, because I am about to summarize it for you. For while you may be tired of me talking about Sarah Palin, I am not tired of other people talking about Sarah Palin.

Rainey points out that Sarah can’t seem to discriminate between her legitimate gripes against the press and her illegitimate ones (ha ha).

He says Sarah is right to complain about the “…newspaper report that suggested that political considerations led state authorities to delay their investigation of Sherry Johnston.” (NB: Sherry is Levi “Baby Daddy” Johnston’s mom.)

The union of public officials who supposedly supported this claim “quickly backed down,” and the Anchorage Daily News reported this correction. Other major newspapers did not, says Rainey.

Rainey continues:

“But in her other claims, Palin overplayed her hand. She accused the mainstream media, for example, of relying on those “anonymous bloggers” to write their stories, when most actually run in the other direction…Yes, some Internet scribes and the Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan continue to raise questions about Trig’s birth. But the nation’s most influential and biggest news organizations have paid little or no attention to the story…”

Rainey continues with a couple of key points:

  • The Anchorage Daily News did try to pursue the Trig story but “the governor’s office would not cooperate” and ADN’s Pat Dougherty summed it up…”We decide what to print on the basis of the answers we get, not the questions we ask.”
  • “Palin is something worse than naive to think she can prevent the questions from even being asked.”

Rainey’s article concludes with Sarah’s rambling on about how she was mistreated in Katie Couric interview: “…they spliced it together…” “…did whatever they did…” “…never saw how it came across…” “…so many other topics that were brought up certainly weren’t, uh, portrayed as accurately perhaps as they could have, should have been after that interview.”


I’m now going to do one of those wrap-up things in which I tell you all the stuff that I’m not going to say in conclusion, but I actually do say it all and thereby do exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do.


Oh heck, I’m out of steam.

Last gasp: To me, it is worth asking the questions about Trig because the truth is important. Is Sarah telling us the truth? Why has she not released her medical records?

Once again, I refer you to a real journalist for a pretty decent wrap up of the whole deal.

I drank the Kool-Aid, and I still have a red stain around my mouth.


Sarah Palin & Trig – My open letter to the MSM (or, Where the Insanity/Inanity Began)

Fake Baby Birthin’ Church Lady

Palin: ‘I Don’t Know’ If Abortion Clinic Bombers are Terrorists

Sarah Palin Reads ‘Em All

In Other Sarah News

Sarah Palin Links

No, I’m Not Done Questioning Palin

Mudflats on Sarah Palin & The Donnie Darko Connection – includes a link to Sarah’s 2006 vetting docs

Posted in Around Town, Current Events

Doo Dah Parade 2009


Welcome to Doo Dah 2009.


I marched with Thorny Rose Ann Lau and the Great Firewall of China Marching Brigade.


Photo by KchristieH.


I was a computer with a monitor head and keyboard hands, unfettered by Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.


I marched because Shi Tao can’t march. Shi Tao is in prison.



Photo by Jon Delorey.

Was it silly to protest the pro-Olympics float in the 2008 Rose Parade? Well, did you see the NY Times article about Ji Sizun, now in prison for “forging official seals and documents”? Or did he just try to apply for a permit to protest?

Call me Debbie Downer, but this gets my dander up. I’m getting old, folks, so prepare for a life-time of built-up dander to come snowing down in ’09.


Photo by Jon Delorey

More here. Clearly, I’m going for “Doo Dah 2009: Most Issue-Laden Blog Post.”

Let’s not forget Mutts for Marrow!


Photo of Mutt-in-Chief Susan Carrier by KchristieH, who took many wonderful photos of the parade.

It may be true that like Eli Cross in The Stunt Man, a blogger-poet-painter-filmmaker will go to great lengths to ‘get that shot.’



Or is Miss Havisham doing what she does best—pursuing the past with a vengeance? Ah, we must do what we must do.

I must take photos of men and babies and beer…


…at Lucky Baldwin’s after the parade.

Say bye-bye!


PS – A lovely sign of hope ( <— Oh, do watch it!) at the parade, again courtesy of KchristieH:


Posted in Current Events, Life


The economy is rotten. People are losing their jobs. The wars are getting worse. A few crooks are running off with our money. It’s ‘holiday time’ but it feels like anything but. It’s time to ante in.


I got Tums. Whadda you got?


I got a heating pad. Whadda you got?


I got Big Teddy. Whadda you got?


I got a fuzzy picture of Vin Scully, one of the greatest baseball announcers of all time. I took it myself during the playoffs. Whadda you got?


I got some family (representative sample pictured above). Whadda you got?