Monday, April 30, 2012

men behaving badly

No, I'm not talking about World War I and II, although these are conspicuous examples.

Here's a thought I just had.  SOME White, Christian men are still so upset the a you-know-what is President, that they grasp at any of the many memes (both jokes and out-right lies) circulating thru the hatemosphere (I thought for a moment that I just made up that word, but I see a band has already claimed it).  This serves to bolster their sense that 'I am still superior', which was, after all, the subtext behind a lot of social thinking, prior to the 1960s.

I'm thinking that the recent right-wing state laws concerning contraception, forced probing, etc are yet another chapter in the same vein.  That is, their usage of 'take our country back' means SOME White, Christian men are fighting to return to the days when women and blacks knew their place (i.e. the slave quarters, the kitchen, and the laundry room).

Certainly not in the White House.  Certainly not in control of their bodies. 'Must assert dominance' (rinse and repeat).

Thinking of Gandhi's famous dictum ("First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."), I guess the most hopeful way to look at this current spate of shameful state laws is that, maybe, we are at stage 3 1/2.

Unfortunately, many of them are armed, and not part of a well-regulated militia.

Friday, April 27, 2012

just another accolade

In this case, an Accolade Elm, planted this morning.  Check back in 10 years and it should be much taller!

Many thanks to my good friends at Friends of Trees.  If you don't know all about them, why not?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

what we did was perfectly legal

So, can we all agree that the Rich are able to pay absurdly and historically low rates of taxation, since clever lawyers (many of whom had a hand in writing tax-law provisions - but that's another story) manipulate the many arcane loopholes and dodges to hide/nullify income they receive (thru 'work' that pretty darn seldom involves dirtying one's hands)?

Remember: marginal tax rate was 70% before Reagan (and 91% under Eisenhower), so why are they screaming so loudly when it's proposed to take it up to 30%?  Just asking.  But I digress.

What's the reply of the 'Have Mores' when challenged about this situation?  "What we do is perfectly legal."

Of course it's perfectly legal, and that's the problem.  But I digress.

Now, let's examine the current outrage (they are SHOCKED, SHOCKED) about the Secret Service shenanigans in Colombia. I've only heard one Media Guy mention, quickly in passing, that prostitution is legal in Colombia. 

Since that is the case, wouldn't it be delightful if the Media would dismiss the boorish behavior and bad judgement (as they do with the Super Rich), by letting us know that it's no big deal, because, after all, it was perfectly legal?

Just sayin'.

Monday, April 09, 2012

I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling

Yes, it's a reference to the classic Fats Waller song, but, today, I'm thinking of the ('classic' does not begin to describe it) Hitchcock film, 'Vertigo', which was filmed all around the Bay Area, including the critical (an understatement) sequence(s) at San Juan Bautista.

I headed there this morning, to make a pilgrimage to the site of my obsessions. I was last here in 1976.  Frequent viewers of the film (if you are not among these, why not?) will surely recognize:

Looking across the square, to the livery stable and building where the inquest took place.  Both were securely locked up, to keep out gawkers such as me.

View of the chapel, from where 'Madeline' looks over her shoulder and pulls away from Scottie ("there's something I have to do").

Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak were here.  As you may have heard, it did not end well, twice.
Yes, this bell tower is a fairly recent construction.  Hitch (you knew this already) did a matte shot to create the bell-tower that did not exist in the 50's.
Pulling away from the town, heading back toward Watsonville, I drove along the (surprisingly brief) eucalyptus corridor (Highway 101) that figures in the mood-setting scenes where Scottie drives both Madeline and Judy to the Mission.

'Vertigo' can be viewed with10 minutes advanced notice at my house, any evening.

Leaving Santa Cruz tomorrow, heading for Ashland.  My work here is done.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

a walk in the (red)woods

Still here in Santa Cruz.  Drove up Graham Hill Road to the Cowell Redwoods State Park.

Walked a couple of miles, down into a little canyon with massive redwoods, then up to an Observation Deck, then, by another trail, back to the car.  A few other hikers around and a lively mild day.  Cell phone photos/videos:

Of course, it's impossible to show the size of these guys.

Believe me, this one was massive.

Even the little trees were photogenic (at least in person).

I was heading to this Observation Deck.

The fallen tree across the creek was pretty massive, too.

Here's a video from bottom to as far up as I could see.

Here's a 360 degree pan from the Observation Deck.  Unfortunately, some old, fat guy got in the way.

Back in town, I visited the (reconstructed) Santa Cruz Mission.  A few minor objects of historical interest in the Museum, but since it's a total reconstruction (based on an original painting that was on display), you don't need to see any photos.

I may try to get over to San Juan Bautista tomorrow - haven't been there in person in decades, although I visit it compulsively, via 'Vertigo', quite frequently.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

sight-seeing around Santa Cruz

I drove a few miles north and stopped at a informal parking-area where there were three other cars.  Went for a nice walk (maybe 1 1/2 miles out and back) along the cliff-top.  Aside from a couple of hispanic fishermen (proudly displaying a catch, although it was impossible to figure out how he did it from that height) there was nobody else around.

It was sunny and *very* windy, but I had no complaints.  Here are some cell-phone photos:

All I could think was "Pacific Ocean: here's North America!  It continues on to the east for a while."

But, by far, the most amazing sight in Santa Cruz today is the (once-a-year public showing), at the Santa Cruz Memorial Park and Funeral Home, of their life-sized (really) wax recreation of 'The Last Supper':

You gotta see it to believe it - a bunch of white European guys portraying all the usual suspects, arranged in the classic tableau that you've seen a million times.  The funeral home has owned this for many years, but they really only open it for viewing on Maundy Thursday, so I couldn't ignore it.

Also, I couldn't restrain myself from asking the attendant, both of us with very serious faces, if they ever considered replacing the bread with matzah.  "It would be more authentic," I suggested, before heading back out into the sunshine.

sloppy or evil? the perpetual question

NBC Nightly News, last night.  Oops, they did it again.

They devoted a couple of valuable minutes to the Big Question of the Day:  Does President Obama not understand the Role of the Supreme Court?

Um, the guy was a professor of Constitutional Law.

Presidents have frequently made political statements making it clear that they have a point of view on an issue before the Court. In fact, it goes back to John Marshall's first Court. Obama did not say "they can't do it".  He said, in effect, "I think it would be very bad if these 'activist, unelected judges' (a factually correct phrase, by the way) do this, and you (the public) ought to think about this."  There is a difference.

So NBC Nightly News is reinforcing the Talking Point that "this President does not understand the Constitution."  Thank you very much.

Then, to cement this, they continue by reminding us (by 'us', I mean potential voters with hazy memories and/or hazy understanding of logic), that this was the same President who, during a State of the Union address, called out Supremes, to their faces, while they were forced to be sitting there listening to him, that he was angry about an earlier decision they had reached about a 'campaign finance issue' (the exact words the reporter used).

See title of this post.

They (stupidly? deviously?) reinforce the 'he does not know the Supremes can overturn laws' meme, whereas, as the Rest of us know, the rap against Citizens United is certainly NOT that "they can't overturn a law" but "they reached a conclusion that flew in the face of established precedent, in a case that had been cherry-picked by corporate Overlords to open the door to a thorough corruption of the democratic process".

Never mind, I guess it's not worth going into that much detail, when the simple sound-bite ("President = Dumb") makes it easier to move onto the next Big Story (or commercial).

If they really wanted to honestly reinforce the point the President was actually making, rather than 'Citizens United' they would have made the quick reference to 'Bush v. Gore'.  Remember that one?  I still do.