Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron

Dead at 62, a fixture for many young lefties coming of age in the 1970s, including some I know rather well. The rap and spoken-word influence is how he will be remembered, but it was his husky, slightly nasal, and understated singing voice, backed by that cool 70s "urban" sound, that always made me stop and listen.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pulgas Ridge

The dog people love Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, with its off-leash area, but really it's the all about the flora.

The sticky monkey flower (Diplacus aurantiacus), glowing against the cool green-white of the chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum).

Golden brodiaea (Triteleia ixioides)... and...

What the hell is it? You tell me!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

And in another parallel universe...

... progressive and conservative organizations line up behind a steep and rising carbon tax as a means of providing budget-balancing revenue and curbing climate change. Oh, that has already happened in our own universe. What's different in the parallel universe is that the politicians are sane enough to implement it...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dylan, Melodist

Of course: Dylan, lyricist. And Dylan, vocalist, in every whining and croaking incarnation. And why not: Dylan, competent guitar picker and instantly recognizable harmonicist. But why do so many great singers keep making great covers of his songs? Dylan, melodist.

Happy birthday, Bob.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Regarding Harold Camping's prophecy that the world will end tomorrow, one must always bear in mind that there is a very high likelihood we are living in a simulated reality. In some percentage of these simulated realities, apocalyptic scenarios are permitted to unfold. Certainly if I were in charge of the model, I'd be sorely tempted to try it, just to watch all the skeptics freaking out. In this regard the higher intelligences running the simulation would be indistinguishable from the capricious gods who inhabit so many of our myths.

Even if our reality is simulated, it is surely a lovely and precious simulation, right down to the bug on the columbine that I saw on my hike this morning.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cheaper by the half dozen

If they all hatch, our resident house finches will have their work cut out for them.

Gruff but lovable...

... and self-aware, Larry Summers:
"I said to the president when he asked me to do the job that I was a person who had strong views, and that I would make every effort to make sure that he was exposed to all perspectives and that each of those perspectives would be presented in as effective a way as possible. But if he wanted to maximize the feeling of kumbaya in the group, I wasn’t the right person."

Friday, May 13, 2011


Our extraordinarily affluent state is now apparently too poor to keep 70 of its state parks open. Not to mention the slow strangulation and privatization of our great public universities. Somehow we have become miserly and small-minded. What happened?