Sixty-eight citizens call Baker, Nevada home. Five miles from the entrance to Great Basin National Park makes this unincorporated corner of the universe a park visitor must-do experience- like it or not.
Galloping across the west this week. To San Francisco Monday in a downpour. Tonight to Burbank and back to Los Angeles Arts District apartment. Thursday to Palm Springs for hiking and soak at Sam’s Family Spa. Friday to Portland to meet our daughters new special guy. Saturday a meeting with street performing photographer Daniel Schulruff.
One liner’s are a daily process. Fragmentary nuggets for upcoming tour. Fort Collins, Colorado will be one stop for a few weeks while I practice my life work. Excited to show up throw it down do some shows self anointed and without asking permission. Street theater at its best.
I’ll bang out three a day for a few weeks. Sharpen the act. Best of all I can get most of this done in the shade out of the sun. Constant exposure to sunlight has not been kind to me after all these years of practicing this art.
In another week I will resume a very consistent workout schedule. Juggling, hand balancing and some cardio. More one liner’s to memorize. Add a few sound effects to closing routine and there you have it you now have a view of backstage.
Forty-seven years later I’m still quite capable of accounting for myself in the fine work that is sidewalk show. Simplicity itself. Pure as snow. Rejuvenating and utterly soul healing for audience and artist. See you out there on the street of dreams…
No Such Thing as Free Range
We’re blowing through this decade. I had expected more from time. I got this instead.
“It’s me, 2020.”
“You mean like perfect vision twenty-twenty?”
“I mean like Mother Nature-Father Time.”
Only going to take about two years.
I’ve got an idea for a new villain. Going to pin some evil doing on cattlemen intent on cutting down more pinion pine trees to make way for more forage for their herds.
Pine nuts sell for $40 a pound last time I checked. Steak sells for less, when consumed as directed puts users on a path for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
Oldest Trees in the World are Located in Nevada
Got a pretty good rotten no good miserable group of folk that come hell or low water are intent on growing more meat and to do that want to clear out one of the most precious tree’s in the world.
Range in Nevada is a tangle of confused interests. Government doles out grazing rights. Cattlemen bitch about their allotment. Federal land is in theory about multiple uses. Cattlemen believe otherwise.
I’d say I’ve got a pretty good villain. Stripping trees out of the landscape, cow pies everywhere, stubborn mind’s made-up don’t get in my way or I’ll carve your heart right out of the center of your chest and feed it to the vulture types wearing spurs and kicking an old Ford pickup truck around.
Hard not to laugh and cry at this tragedy of ranching overreach.
That’s the plan. A comedy with a good rotten no good bottom feeding villainous bunch of free grazers running roughshod over the landscape.
Happy New Year
The Spaghetti Western as stories go begs for a villain. Riding into town he climbs down off his saddle, pushes his way past a freckled faced boy, wraps his grubby hands around the mother’s waist kissing her against her will. The dastardly villain’s snicker trots into a menacing chuckle unhanding his victim only after fondling her breast.
Sergio Leone’s mastery of the tormented, the overlong close-up, in tight on the actors eyes, the swelling orchestration, Ennio Morricone moody-vengeful heartstrings, misconduct has been witnessed, order now must be restored.
In a confrontation one or the other character may not care what happens to the bystanders. Self-preservation can be a weakness, protection of the innocent a distraction. Best of all is to allow for our adversary enough rope to hang himself.
We have been waiting, until now our frail billionaire, if he is even that, has by incessant lying escaped the inevitable.
Fragile, petulant, quick to be psychologically wounded, his weaknesses are there for the world to see. The gleam on his allure dulls with time. Predictably he hits back at the least insult by returning all volley with a more squalid insult than the truth he has been forced to confront.
But, the counterpunching has made his challengers only more determined. Never the quitter, fighting to the metaphorical death, our villainous adversary deep within his fragile security system of an ego can’t admit the jig is nearly up. But, it is.
I am sure the blow to come will be a beauty, a real bolt out of the blue. We may not recognize that the punch has staggered our villain or that he is on the ropes groggy now and ready to take his inevitable fall for the count.
It’s coming. The agony his election has caused bares too great a burden on our democracy. Had he the sense to have moved to the middle, to govern as promised on the stump, not betray his own not so well to do conservative voters.
Our boorish occupant of the Oval Office has an entire opposition party, a significant fraction of deputized investigators, forensic accountants and members of the free press delving into his darkest corners. The great orange one will soon be vanquished, it is obvious. He might have had a happier life, but there was this one last skirt to chase, one more sovereign private part to grab. Nobody is above the law or more equal than a mistreated-innocent-involuntarily hit-on woman. I see the end to a movie that ought never to have been made.
Tyranny’s Last Ride
Beauty as Bridge- Beast as Brute
Back East was once sufficiently far away. Arriving on the opposite coast by cannabis infused Volkswagen bus was enough sudden enlightenment for a few spare decades prior to now. I didn’t need to arrive since I had been born here in Oakland by bright pre-enlightened East Bay Area breeding stock.
A good shingle-sided two story in the Berkeley Hills, a rough idling Peugeot that needed brakes and willowy denim clad unshaven woman that didn’t need brakes was all the fashion, the rage, we were the famous coyote she sought to know horizontally.
Fog was customary, winters more or less arrived on the clock, as did spring and the fierce belief that parking tickets would as if by magic just go away.
Michael Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop arrived and remained. Lydia Pense fronting for Cold Blood replaced our Janis jones. Weekends were spent in Mendocino. Weekdays we toiled as little as least as was possible. The sun-washed deck at Sam’s in Tiburon for lunch an ache in our voracious appetite for lazily crafted cocktails. Before good booze there was strong booze. The hangover and squandering of wages and time we deluded ourselves into believing cost us next to nothing.
There were the years we had Jerry and the years we didn’t. There was a dot-com bubble, fern bar and the arrival and departure of the Fillmore to do. We did a lot of doing. Counterintuitively we altered the course of history first with Nixon and then Reagan. William F Buckley’s ruling class was rendered monosyllabic. There was only one word left- taxes. Education and science once identified as progressive ghettos have been squeezed by conservative tourniquet.
The summers in the Loire were splendid. Returning again and again to the crumbling ruins of our streets and bridges, what passes as infrastructure, the remains of our once great nations vaunted upward trajectory now frozen in squabbles between the have’s and have mores.
This and other circumstances we are no are longer in control of- take your pick- we have so many unsolved problems to ignore.
I am imagining the wildfires while inconvenient will eventually after incinerating most of the what remains of California will go away. On the other hand our nations capital inhabited now, whether you voted for him or not, all agree I should think it unanimous, the current man about town has proven to be a particular kind of billionaire. We have elected a vulgarian. Foul-mouthed, uncouth and loutish are terms that come to mind. Over sixty-million of our citizens thought it was time for a puppet preferred by Putin to follow the black man so that instead of solving some of our more pressing problems we could ferment the mother of all constitutional catastrophe’s to be triggered by the firing of this rumpled suited honcho with the last name Mueller.
This is that famous moment when we realize that this is the long spoken of hot water and we are all that unconscious amphibian resting in this pond of our own making as the temperatures rise. I’ll break it to you gently, whisper into your ear, as gently as I can, in case you didn’t yet know, just one word… it’s time to— jump!
There Really is a Better Way
Valley Fire 2015
Lake County, California
We flew south from Seattle to Burbank arriving over the Thomas Fire where the blaze had just crossed from Ventura into Santa Barbara County. Last summer’s dry season never came to an end. Instead this fall the Southland of California was treated to twenty degree above normal temperatures, low humidity and then the voluble Santa Ana winds.
Last nights flight down the coast was crystal clear, picture perfect. While cool in Seattle less average was the clear sky. Less than common still was the monolithic singular cloudless atmosphere witnessed the entire length of the west coast. As we approached Burbank after sunset we descended over the top of Los Padres National Forest. Looking down off the starboard side of the plane we could see flames approaching Carpentaria and further north near Montecito. The fire had in just twenty-four hours consumed another one-hundred-thousand acres with the most inhabited of those yet to be consumed acres in sight. Both densely populated communities are thickly canopied and in any other moment would be regarded as blessed with a handsome landscape. Not visible were the five thousand firefighters who had cut fire breaks. Standing along the break they braced to snuff out blowing embers that might escape from the national forest and ignite a blaze within the city limits of the two communities. Thousands had been order evacuated. The Department of Homeland Security had no answer to this terror threat.
There have always been wildfires, but there had always been a time of year associated with the fires. In decades before the present California had grown to near forty million citizens. In past times the wildfires happened out there in the wildlands far from the California car crazed maddened clogging crowds. An unintentional a price had come due for our obsessive horizontal sprawling real estate development. And as we all know Mother Nature bats last in the game called life. In this instance wildfire had come to speak about the risks homeowners take when locating their domicile adjacent to a tender dry fuel loaded landscape that with one accidental spark and aided by an ill-timed windstorm can ignite an inferno of unstoppable proportions.
My much loved daughter in Seattle and her partner have put off any thought of having children. Even at just twenty-five they’ve recognized and noted that the climate has changed, they know that the world is in trouble and the trouble that most concerns them is the trouble people make for the people who take climate change as a real and present threat. Stalemates are quaint even useful on a chessboard and existentially suicidal when played on the surface of the earth.
Puerto Rico is in super hurricane ruins, barely able to function, its electrical grid destroyed. Houston pounded by rains and floods- turned into a lake and now is mecca for slightly water damaged furniture. California not to be outdone has put on a wildfire show unlike any other. How we react, what we do, the planning and precautions we might take will tell us all we need to know about how smart, how intelligent, how adaptive and resilient our species is. Stalemate and gridlock might be a useful tactic in our nations capital but it won’t work here. If ever the world needed enlightened leadership now is that moment. If you are an optimist it is never too late, for the pessimists it already is, either way Mother Nature doesn’t care. Facts speak for themselves.
Piece of Reality Prior to Wildfire