Tag Archives: changing mind

April 3rd, ’18

In transit from Patagonia, Arizona today. Destination San Francisco Bay Area, think Emeryville via downtown Los Angeles. As ever buy a book, book a show and if you are so inclined surf around this site and find out more. More is good.

Oak Bar Ranch, Patagonia, Arizona

In terms of restoration of the mental and spiritual faculties I spent the last few days hiking trails where I might take measure of where I find the state of my inner ship.

This is the game of eat a little-hike alot. Stomach, feet, hips, eyes and open the mind. Most of the ruts I found were more to do with the interior landscape than those I found at my boot.

Transformation Abounding

Taking in the lonely outpost of Santa Cruz County’s one and truly only … Patagonia is tonic and elixir. You put the time in and you get the less tangled up mind out.

I continue to put more time into the Desert Harvester’s organization based in Tucson and dedicated to eating all things Sonoran Desert. This entire idea of making available the micronutrients of an ecosystem by ingestion makes all kinds of common Sense. That’s a rut I want to climb out of. I’d like a broader understanding of what we can find right here unpackaged, unprocessed and fresh and edible. I know little and would like to understand more. Cornflakes are nice enough but what about all these other wonders of the natural world?

Time is Slow-Eternity is Long

 

 

Five hundred miles later I arrived in Ajo, Arizona pitching my tent first- answering questions later.

My RV pull-through host didn’t disappoint packing a small sidearm while collecting my site use fee.

“You’ll want to pack the tent and be out of here by 8.” His tone of voice allowed me to crawl inside my own personal spaghetti western.

Sizing the hombre up I met his bid. “Partner, if I’m still here likely you best call the sheriff. Tell him another camper didn’t survive the night.”

He almost smiled, almost.

I found a town crawling with tarantulas, sun faded storefronts and bargain made in the basement tacos. I found much to recommend or not.

There exists in this frontier outpost an accelerant, a built into the equation escape velocity only to be impeded by highways blocked by checkpoints manned by Border Patrol Agents urging me to exercise my mother tongue before reluctantly waving the native born liberal mercenary through.

From the spoils of this southern quagmire I rolled into the Santa Catalina Mountains where at 8000’ I’d go hike by day and hole up in a cabin by night squaring a few circles with a stubborn yet still quirky open-minded friend.

The circumstances of my being on sabbatical and quarantine were mostly prose-induced and ‘civilization closing in on me’ fed. You heard of Eat-Sleep-Pray, this was more akin to Drink-Brag-Bray.

Fresh air and cheap whiskey possess medicinal qualities. My doctor urged me not put a lot of faith in one half of that equation.

In some quarters even possessing half a heart is better than none. I mean by shopworn insincerity you are in worse shape than me if that sorry half-heart is a winning hand.

But, whether I vent my spleen, spit out a lung, or bust my ass sometimes even the better of us mixed in with the rest of the rot have to belly up and fight off the demon slothful misery of self-pity and get back to the barricades.

If you are not feeling the vital juices of rejuvenation too damn bad, we are all on aching notice from the ticking clock that time goes slow and that soon enough we’ll all learn that eternity is long.

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KOLD-TV Antenna for Tucson, Arizona

My Broadcasting Career and Welcome to Work Sign

 

 

 

 

 

He is our Shame, Our Agony

 

To the Barricades

Pulling out of the Paris Agreement pisses me off. I’m furious with the titans of industry extorting our representatives into taking this outrageous action. We are the rogue nation with a blighted unhealable soul. Any semblance of our being that shining beacon on a hill just got tossed into the dustbin of history. A seventy year old manic-twitter-addicted Trump just picked a fight he’s going to lose. No matter how this decision turns out he’s going to lose. Most of the oil business is located in the South. Once before in our history we were forced to confront a region of our country intent upon profiting by means of a capitalism based upon the profits earned by use of slaves. All these many decades later we are again confronted by a belligerent malignant form of capitalism that this time insists must be allowed to profit from the oil they want to bring to market and sell. Like the slaves of past the oil they want to profit from is poisoning the only planet we have. It is against this insult to reason and without regard to capacity of our world to tolerate our carbon waste we will lash out and strike back. The fossil fuel industry is in decline. It is the past not the future. Our cause is right and what I stand up for is the future generations yet to come here. We must find the means to resist those pieces of our humanity that remain broken and beyond our ability to bring under control. Trump is a failure of our electoral system. He is a venial man of inconsequential imagination and intellect. He is our shame, brought our democracy to agony, his and those like him and all their venom need to be bound and sent packing into the history books of failed Presidency’s.

 

Paid Well Enough to Not See it Coming…

For 25 years, I have written about the social and natural evolution of Napa, a diverse county that includes rare and valuable biological “hotspots” and 140,000 people, most of whom are associated with what’s now referred to as the wine “industry.” During that time, I have learned something about developers.

Foremost is the fact that inside all of them is a 6-year-old kid dying to get out and dig a really deep hole. When they finally do get to do so, they fill the hole up with something that wasn’t there before and then repeat the experience with minor variations ad infinitum.

More disturbing, with far-reaching ramifications for all Americans, is the other fact: developers deeply, irrationally, and often vindictively resent anyone who objects to their plans, for whatever reason. This includes neighbors, citizens, scientists, clergy, and elected officials. But none receive more opprobrium than “environmentalists.”

James Conaway, Opinion Piece in Napa Register Guard May 26, 2017

http://napavalleyregister.com/wine/land-use-wine-and-trump/article_e093b513-692f-5da9-ae76-d908161b6e5f.html

 

Beyond the Present

Napa County’s 140,000 citizen’s can’t halt the torrential rain of developers arriving here with plans to build. If you are keeping score at home the developers remain unbeaten. Among the wealthiest among us a trophy property in this famed wine region is an essential element to any property portfolio. Government is controlled by Big Ag. You may want to be on the Board of Supervisor’s only if the wine industry deems your vote as sympathetic to the cause and your spine sufficiently pliant.

The velocity of the pillaging has only increased with land prices. Ordinary folk are squeezed out. The wealthiest among us grouse about not being able to land helicopters at “our” vineyards. They are crestfallen to learn their original 20,000 square foot chateau’s are going to be needlessly scaled back.

All this desecration is taking place before a numb and distracted public. Big money drowns the popular will. Getting in the way of the juggernaut risks personal ruin.  Fish extinction events are in the history books now. Childhood cancer rates are the worst in the state and remain under study while astute players continue to spray pesticides and resist regulation. Water tables are fragile and any slowdown in pumping of groundwater is deemed unnecessary. With the valley built out what remains is now under threat.

That’s the score. This is the truth beneath the veneer. The barons of big business can’t help themselves and the ordinary citizens are so far unable to organize and stop them. The denial is soon to come to a bitter ecosystem induced end that nobody paid well enough to look the other way ever saw coming.

Finding Patagonia’s Better Nature

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You Can Get Anything You Want

I arrived in Patagonia, Arizona for the very first time in 1993. The bitty place along the southern border met spring that year with a spectacular bloom. The tallest cottonwoods in North America make their home along Sonoita Creek. That they are that much larger, in a town that is just that much smaller, exaggerates the terms of being smitten with this treasured place.

By all accounts what work a hearty new arrival might find Patagonia is less than none. Santa Cruz County has been drying up for decades. Patagonia for all its rural majesty requires that you come prepared to bet on yourself. I’d met a biologist that had wagered his life. He was sent by the Smithsonian to study the rarest and tiniest of birds… the elf owl. He had found a grand total 37 individuals scattered over thousands of square miles both near and far along the southern Sonoran Desert. Elf owl hunting is convenient to nothing. It came up in our whittled  conversation that once his research was completed he’d likely remain here instead of moving on. That’s how the town grows.

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Former Residents Doing Eternity

No two people are alike. Patagonia tends to attract the oddest lot. The binding that glues souls together here is quirkiness. One thing everyone should understand is that big bugs become a part of your daily awareness. Then there are the venomous creatures you’ll share Patagonia with. Then, there are the many different types of hummingbirds that make their home here. You’ve got drug smugglers and Border Patrol Agents playing cat and mouse. All this in a town you can walk end to end in less than ten minutes if it’s not too hot and your not too addled by drink.

There is nothing really you can do in Patagonia. Not on your own. If you stick it out your life fills up with time spent sharing mutual circumstances with neighbors. You’ll borrow sugar, have a cup of coffee, barbecue steak on mesquite wood and knock tequila down then chase it with as ordinary a can of beer as the least amount of money will buy.

Patagonia 2

Last Century Fixer-Upper Just Came on the Market

Weather is a good topic to talk to death. Maybe a friend has four wheeled off the mountain, where they homestead, to come argue at the Wagon Wheel over the political Armageddon the legislature is the fault of in Phoenix. The dang urban refugees that have made home here have brought their permissive and decidedly progressive ideas with them. Patagonia’s problems do not require ideology. You can toss that there narrow mindedness into the septic tank.

A random cross section of humanity has been littered throughout the town. The spiritually awakened are cheek to jowl with the atheists. What remains of the ranchers holding on here bellies right up with the radical environmental activists. Everyone aims to improve Patagonia so long as it does not involve pavement. There is little use for improvement. Dirt and dust are preferred. If that seems a bit contrary that’s the whole point of the thing. You will find that a dirt road self selects a new arrival. If they can see the beauty in dirt that is a sure sign that they will be best suited to fitting in here.

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Four wheel driving nowhere to spend time doing nothing

 About now, in spring, is glory in Patagonia, Arizona. It’s the time to come. As soon as you are ready. Many of the migratory birds are moving through. The mesquite is blooming and Sonoita Creek is running. Get off the pavement, park that rig, take a hike. Think about things. Be available for nothing. If you are lucky enough you might just find the biggest prize of all, the chance to be in intimate rural contact with yourself.

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San Rafael Valley Southeast of Patagonia with the Huachuca’s Yonder…

Fairer Trade… Looks Like This

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Where the Ploys Are…

“Income distribution characteristics” is a term to describe how a free trade agreement alters how and where money flows in an economy.

It may be true that a new trade deal increases the total amount of money being exchanged between two trade partners, but it may also be true that more of that money ends up distributed to fewer people not more.

During negotiations there are rules and agreements written into the trade deals. What has happened is that regardless of what is promised the profits of free trade have not been distributed back down to the workers. Most of the profits have been diverted to the executives and shareholders.

So we are smeared with terms like protectionists, anti-free trade etc.… when that isn’t true. What is true is this. A trade deal should be good for workers too. They have to distribute the profits accordingly. Then, we have fair trade and a reason to support such agreements.

Our democracy thrives with a healthy middle class. It is in all of our interests to do what it takes to make that middle class as big and as robust and as prosperous as is possible. Enlightened fair trade agreements that have provably enlightened income distribution characteristics good for our country would go a long way toward that goal.

The Lunch Bucket Card Carrying Men in My Family

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Card Carrying Sandal Wearing Lunch Bucket Raised Man-Boy

I grew up in a lunch bucket household. The men I knew carried union cards. They drank beer, smoked cigarettes and loved Kenny Stablers stylish Oakland Raider leadership. They voted straight D ticket right on down the line.

Oakland wasn’t much of a port unless you call the Army Depot a port, but that was for the boys in Viet Nam. The Warehousemen, Longshoremen, Teamsters, Stevedores… they were on the Embarcadero in the City moving cargo in and out of town by truck, train and ship.

Then, the world changed. We got lots of stuff. Boy did we get stuff. We also got NAFTA, we got China into the WTO, we got stuff happening around the world while we hollowed out the working stiffs world here.

Arugula eating Whole Foods shopping people working at the highest high tech companies within the confines of some of the sweetest zip codes in North America were thought the wave of the future, not just the future they were the ever present stakeholders in our go-go everybody’s an investor economy.

Then, the thud and dud of the financial sector, the end of retiring on selling houses to each other, and the reality that those lunch bucket friends of ours are pissed off. I thought it spot on that R’s discussing cuts to capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes had to be blowing it out of their …. Lunch bucket workers want jobs, wages, benefits, and paid vacation. Few if any of us need capital gains tax relief.

So, here is my bottom line. Fair trade right? Not free trade. We need to set policy so that the lunch bucket types get a living wage, some medical, dental, and a school that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg and their first born donated to the bank they got their student loans from.

Not so difficult to grip hold of is it? Clean streets, decent infrastructure, good schools, get on with the renewable energy revolution, stay the hell out of foreign wars, and could we cut the crap out of beating up on women? Right? Simple enough…

Those of us with the lunch bucket history? We drink less whiskey than our ancestors and we don’t smoke anymore. We drink wine. We watch our cholesterol. We like football but are worried about the concussion thing. And if the people in Washington don’t snap out of it and start doing the lunch bucket crowds business we’ll go there and bang a few heads together until they remember who we truly are.