Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Dyer Road, Laguna Beach

I swear I’ve written this several times but since I can’t find it anywhere, here goes again, describing one of my favorite scenarios of my lifetime.

My first wife, Joyce, and I bought a small prefabricated house in 1960 that some early entrepreneur had dismantled and moved  several of them to a hillside subdivision in  Laguna Beach, CA after they were utilized for housing during the 1933 Olympics in Los Angeles. Of course, it was cheap, or we wouldn’t have been able to afford it ($11,000). Since the land was cheap, it was due to being some  pretty steep hillsides, and the roads wound around several times before it finally arrived at  our house.  I spent a lot of effort building an addition to the house as we were expecting a baby before too long. However, as the old adage says, ”There are always mosquitos in Paradise”.  This particular bug was in the guise of a “GOOD HUMOR” man, the one that had a glockenspiel on a loudspeaker on his little truck  playing some inane tune over & over again. We finally had to stop him and ask if he could maybe turn the noise down a bit as was  driving us totally crazy. Unfortunately, our plea fell on deaf ears and the mayhem continued.
  As I was building quite a bit I had purchased an old but solid International pick-up truck that was built like a tank and very substantial.  Therefore, one hot afternoon, we parked the pickup on the road, utterly  blocking it for blocks as it was a very narrow  road.  This stymied the Ice Cream man and he knocked on our door and asked us to move out truck so he could get by. NO FUCKING WAY!  Was my wife’s answer, so that got us to an impasse.  It didn’t take long to get from four letter words to Joyce getting her spray-can of Gold Paint which she ornamented some huge ‘x’s over most of the one side of Mr. Ice Cream man,s truck. Welll. That pretty much got the Local Police involved, who came up the curvy road  with sirens blaring (Although that’s not as bad as the god-damned Good Humor Man.). The officers separated all the combatants and I was convinced to park my truck so the Audio-Terrorist could continue on his route echoing down the canyon walls. 
  This whole thing resolved itself early on as Joyce and I got divorced after a whole year of married
alternates of Bliss & Misery. I had to sell the house and moved into my office in South Laguna, above my tool crib, a much more tranquil arrangement.

  A well done bio on Beethoven is the current movie COPYING BEETHOVEN.  Ed Harris plays a pretty good Beethoven and is supported by a cool looking babe, which may or may not be an actual happening. But who cares, they do a great story with gusto.

If you are seeking to see what our future looks like, check out about FRACTALS.  Begin by watching this video; FRACTALS; HUNTING THE HIDDEN DIMENSION:NOVA.  Benoit Mandlebrot discovered the glorious imagery by mathematic about when the Psychodelic revolution occurred.
You will be blown Away, dude  !!  Strangely, it when on to influence science, medicine and art.

1.  We’ve all hear the notion that time is a relative term and under certain conditions, it can slow down well below our normal perceptions of it. Example; When I was younger and swashbuckling, I (being a left-over from the Hot-Rod generation) customized my 1965  356 Porsche, de-chroming it + 20 coats of hand rubbed lacquer, ( The first International Orange Porsche in the US.)  Anyway, I took my girlfriend out for a spin to see how fast it would go and was passing another car when time virtually stopped for me. I watched in fascination as a 6” section of re-inforcing  (steel) walked up my hood, bounced once then imbedded itself half way thru my windshield, this all in slow motion. Fortunately I was wearing sunglasses and immediately pulled to the side of the road. Even in those days, windscreens were made of laminated glass, which doesn’t shatter apart but is held together with a plastic membrane in the center laminate. I looked at my friend, who was spitting out bits of glass that was the consistency of sand. But I was so stunned , sitting there, looking at this piece of steel, imbedded half-way thru the glass, directly in front of my face, I don’t remember any glass in my mouth. However, at some point of this narrative, time began to flow at it’s regular speed, again.

2. N.D.E.    Another example of the inconsistency of time, is whenever I read a short story of Near Death Experiences (NDE) The person about to die (or should during this drama) describe a very long time wandering around in the nether world, yet, when they get beck in their body, only a few minutes have passed, because, as we all know, the mind cannot live long without blood and breath, maybe but a few minutes?

3.   Pot, Canabis, Grass, Weed, Marijuana;
Let’s not forget that as we make the transition from alcohol to pot, our driving habits may undergo some serious revisions. This again is the result that when under the influence of drugs, whether it be pot , or peyote, our recollection of time undergoes more major revisions. Where as alcohol makes us gregarious and we drive faster that we should, pot has the opposite effect on us and we drive slower than we think we are going. I recently heard we were reducing  the speed limits to 15 mph due to our new impairments. (this may not be a true statement, but one of my on-going fantasies).(Don’t quote me on this as it not be true,)
4   There’s another one, I’ll think of it soon.     ------------------------???????????????

Have you noticed how our wars have gotten kind of weird lately? We sure showed ‘em in Vietnam. Those dirty little commies thought they could get away with a government of the people, like we do.(Well, at least a government run by Lobbyists).  I guess they must all be really sorry they have to live under a commie government, although of friend of mine has lived there for several years and says it works fine.  But that’s impossible right? My  government ,(Or my Media) said so.
  That brings up a question of has anyone written books about our wars describing how it may have turned out if we had lost the war (Or how about if we had won, like Vietnam).  What if Germany had won?  What if the South had won our Revolution?  What if we had won in Iraq?
Did we ever declare war on them? Did we.  I just heard about a story that Hitler won. I’ll try to find it.
I found it ! It’s titled ‘The Man in the High Castle’.  See next post.

These new wars against a sect of Muslims, fighting them  in the streets & hills with huge aircraft carrier and super sonic fighter planes.  At least Drones can get in closer than a high altitude bomber at 30,000 feet.  Our politicians still don’t admit to why we were in ‘nam or Iraq, but don’t we all know it’s the Oil?
Destroying expensive equipment (Humvees, helicopters, etc)  so our Military/Industrial folks can keep up their living style? Is that why we keep doing all this?


Sunday, June 18, 2017


60% of our yearly budget is for the War Machine,  that means 60% of our workers are employed in those industries. Do you think any of those workers will vote to eliminate their jobs?
That’s more than Russia & China combined spend on war. 

The days are trickling away as inexorably as the sand in an hourglass.

During my early days of experimenting with East Indian culture, (Sanscrit, Dance, etc.) I studied under the dancer  Bupesh Gupta long enough to promote and perform in a public performance . I rented a small Church ,( owned by the local Laguna Beach Hari Krishna Sect.) for a one night stand. This all came back to me recently when my wife & I attended a local Indian Dance program at the Green Music center. Mysteryously, we were given free tickets at the entry ($50 each) for the performance, and watched the dance which was so different from my recollections that I was very disappointed, although the small group of musicians were outstanding. Anyway, as we were leaving, Joy said" That was a surprise, I thought it was going to be Indian Dancing, not from the middle East" .

Photo of SMARTS in Aix in Aix in Provence, 1998

SMART a personal transportation module

I recently bought an almost new SMART car to stay in the forefront of Design. Ever since I saw their debut in Aix in Provence in 1998, I have secretly lusted for one.  This fabulous machine is the ultimate Anti-American auto, due to its size, horsepower, & everything else.  Nevertheless, I am having a blast driving it, 4 miles each way ,  although I do have to admit I have to turn on all my defensive driving tactics to get to my office every day.  Since new ones will go for nearly $20,000, I was looking for a used vehicle. Joy & I went to our local Honda dealer who had a used SMART so we checked it out. The Salesman, a slick Mexican complete with pin-curls on his temples, ran next door to find the car. We actually drove it around the block and it seemed kind of like a normal car, except for a weird kind of automatic shifting device that mimics a transmission and clutch.  When we  returned and I asked told him I wanted to see the engine, to assure myself they did not have a couple of squirrels in a wheel there.  I suggested it might be in the back so we looked in the micro cargo space (about 12” wide) but didn’t see any sign of an engine so we checked out the front of the car but there didn’t seem to enough space there. Well, he struggled around trying to lift up the tiny hood and managed to disengage the upper part but not enough to open it up to see if there really is a radiator somewhere.  Miffed, he went into the agency for help, but we decided we had enough and left.
  I was enamored with a red one so Joy found one in San Francisco Mercedes Dealer, where we visited to see what they had.  We had struck gold as it is called, as this place sold more SMART s than anyone else in US. And had a new slick showroom on the second floor for the SMARTs.  Also, they had a 2nd generation 2014 red one with only 5,000 miles on it for $8,000. We struck a deal, as Joy should be able to sell her 20 year old Honda V-Tech for nearly that much.  I drove it home in a huge rainstorm up and down the hills of SF, learning about shifting , windscreen wipers, etc. as on the job training.  Around Novato I discovered I was doing about 70 mph in a heavy rain so I slowed a bit as I am forever cautious driving in wet weather.
  After driving my new car for a couple of weeks, I am more than happy about the car, once I understood the automatic transmission and looking up other anomalies of the car. (How to get into the hood, etc.). The car only weighs about 1600 lbs. and I can vouch that it could be due to the elimination of springs, & shock absorbers.  Also, it drives pretty much like a normal car except there is no front or back. It does have a few creature comforts like a sensor that turns on the wipers when it gets rain, heated seats, and air conditioning. I do not like the fact that I have to turn off the lights manually, but I suppose it could be a portion of the system that will turn off everything after you’ve left the vehicle? I finally located the battery under the floor mat as well as a swell tire patch kit that takes the place of a spare tire.  Heated seats, but no tachometer (most new cars have these but are probably not used as most of us are ignorant of what to do about it.).
  I am not real happy that my neighbor, Michele, called it a “Clown Car”, but come to think of it, that’s pretty accurate.  So of course Joy gave me the red sponge clown nose to wear while driving.
This car has brought me back to Deja-Vu, as Smart car drivers are waving at each other, just like us early Volkswagen drivers did in the 1950‘s.

A GENERATION SWINE (Gonzo Journalism at its’ best)
I just finished reading a book by Hunter S. Thompson “A Generation of Swine”. And wonder where the current replacement for him is in our culture. First, I had to look up the word “Gonzo”.  It seems to be rather murky, of course, but it generally is agreed that it describes the first person participatory style which the author is protagonist.”  (Social critique + self-esteem).
He wrote mostly in 1950’s to 1990’s. It seems there were not a lot of rags that would consider printing his rants but fortunately Esquire, Rolling Stone and even the San Francisco Examiner and the National Observer  had enough sense to publish his stuff. Here are a few tantalizing samples of his wit;
“NIXON:    What we tend to forget ,  he has been elected to almost every office in America except sheriff, and he understands politics as well as almost anybody. He is a mechanic, a true leverage junkie – for all his kinks and crimes and even his weird drinking problem, he possesses a truly awesome, bedrock shrewdness that made him perhaps the most successful politician of his generation. When he lost the governorship of California, he came so close to that one that he ran publicly amok when he lost. That was when he called the press gang of rotten cowards who had ruined his life but who “won’t have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore”.   Six years later he was elected president of the United States.” Nixon?
 “Not all Democrats are speed freaks, lechers and fools,…Nature abhors a vacuum, and it is the nature of American politics in these times to have a Kennedy haunting the White House.”
“One of Washington’s cheapest and scurviest big-time political consultants say the Democrats can’t stand another of those hideous exposures, that the whole party will turn into a late-night TV joke.  -  But he was wrong. The voters are fed up with this orgy of dumbness and punishment. The electorate will demand a degenerate in the White House. (Sep, 1987).”
“It is difficult for the ordinary voter to come to grips with the notion that a truly evil man, a truthless monster with the brains of a king rat and the soul of a cockroach, is about to sworn in as  president of the United States for the next four years….And he will bring his gang in with him, a mean network of lawyers and salesmen and pimps who will loot the national treasury, warp the laws, mock at least one reason to declare war, officially, on some hapless tribe in the Sahara or heathen fanatic like the Ayatollah Khomeni.  (1987)”  Bush?
“IRAN/CONTRA MESS  -  The whole investigation was a farce and a scam that benefitted nobody except Washington lawyers who charge $1,000 an hour for courtroom time. Oliver North’s bill for legal fees will be a million dollars, which has already been covered by the private donations.  If this low-rent scandal is the best this generation can do, they deserve what they’re getting and they are going to have to live with it. They deserve to be called A Generation of Swine.”
“SENATOR PAUL SIMON - Simon is small and ugly and weird and he almost never smiles. He has lips like Mick Jagger and the ears of a young baboon.”
“This is the problem with this anguished generation. Somewhere along time ago they fell in love with the idea that politicians – even the slickest and brightest presidential candidates – were real heroes and truly exciting people. That is wrong on its face. They are mainly dull people with corrupt instincts and criminal children.  (July 1987)”
Have you ever wondered how long a particular critter lived? I’m at your service, once again, with the following collection of minitue.
(ANCIENTS )-    WHEEL OF 84  (Approx.)84 Lacs = 8,400,000 years  (one lac = 100,000)

SPECIES                (Quantity)          Ancient sages                    Current               
Plants                                   3,ooo,ooo                           300,000
Water Creatures                400,000                               ?
Insects                                  2,700,000                             1,000,000
Birds                                      1,400,000                             10,000
Land animals (man)           400,000                              5,500,000?
Bacteria                                       ?                                      10,000
TOTALS                                 8,400,000                             8,700,000 (+/- 1.3 M) pretty close, eh?
LIFE SPAN (Western Concepts)
Ant                         15
Fruit Fly               0.1 day?
Aphid                    5 days
Spiders                 15 yrs?
Tick                        4
Cicada                   17 yr
Wood Beetle     45 yr     

BIRDS                    Years
Blue Jay               4
Canary                  24
Macaw                  64
Tit Mouse            9
Pigeon                  35
Humans               115
Chimp                   37
Squirrel                  15
Pond Scum         ?
Mouse                  3 yr
Rat                         7
Hamster               1.8
Dog                        29
Cat                         38
Horse                    62
Elephant (Asian)  86
Bear                       42

Frog                       5 – 15
Goldfish               25
Sturgeon             50
Koi                         23-200
Tortoise               190
Eels                        150
Whale, Bowhead  200
Sequoia                            3,000
Bristlecone Pine               4,843
Creosote Bush                  11,700! Mojave
Juniper                                 3,000
Larch                                     700
Pine, Swiss                         1200
Redwood, Sierra              4,000
Dragon Tree                       200
Bo Tree                                 2,500
English Oak                        ,000
English Ivy                          440
Grape vine(Zin.)                  100
Mushroom                          days
Crayfish                                   30
Water Flea                          0.2
Clam                                      1 – 10
Snail                                      1 – 30
Bi-valve     Ming                   405 yrs
Earthworm                         10 years?
Leech                                    27
Rotifer                                  0.003 – 0.1 days? Plankton, etc.

Originally I began this rant  (in 2006) about things that bothered me but other people didn’t seem to mind or notice. I sometimes get side-tracked in dispensing interesting ruminations but don’t let me forget about my ‘Pet Peeve  - THE BOOK DUST COVER” . I guess I don’t mind a book that has a cover clinging to it’s cover as the hardcover is difficult to print with pictures and color stuff in order to sell the item. But what really freaks me out it when some friend will keep the cover for years, until it’s all tattered and worn to nothing but a bloody rag. I admit it sometimes handy to use as a page mark until you can score one but for god’s sake, throw it away after you’ve started reading as is a real hassle for me to try to keep it in place while reading. If I know the owner is a “Duster”  I will place the cover aside until I have finished the book, but I don’t guarantee it will be returned with it.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


WALLED TOWNS                                                   

To really get the feeling of the Medieval Europe, there is nothing like staying overnight in one.  Of course, we must realize that all towns of any consequence had a wall around them as their neighbors (Dukes, Barons,) were always trying to rape and pillage them. Nowadays, the old wall lines have been converted to Peripheral Freeways that completed surround the urban core (Paris, Amsterdam, etc.), which is really a modern miracle when it comes to getting around in these cities.

About the only remnant left of the old walls , other than the freeways are the terminal stations of the Metro, although some lines have gone past these gates. They uncovered some of the old walls when they excavated for the new underground mall of the architect
I.M. the Louvre.                      
Between Walls

Duke De Lamont

Just when you think you have figured out the easy ways to and from Le Gare in a taxi you get to Carcassonne.,Since cars aren’t allowed within the old city walls, and its quite a distance up the hill from the Gare to the walled Old Town ,  you need to take a taxi (or bus, when you’ve figured that out), as walking isn’t much of an option we are dumped off at the drawbridge of the walled town. Inside, you drag your bags up hills over cobblestones for a few short block to find our hotel(Hotel de Ramparts).
Nice modern insides worked from  a 12th century abbey. There are only three hotels inside and we’re in one of them. We really enjoyed strolling around the place and finding little outdoor cafes and such. Found a restaurant that served Coq au vin, not easy to find, as it is considered a peasant dish. It was very tasty, but a lot of work getting the meat off the odd cuts of chicken. It could have used more mushrooms & onions. However, not to complain as it was one of the best meals we had so far. A large downside to stay in a cheaper hotel is the didn’t seem to understand the concept of venting the plumbing fixtures to eliminate smell. Although, they invented the Studer Vent, a gismo the you install in you fixture plumbing the take care of the smell, it was something we had ran into in Bordeaux. Maybe they were still using the original sewer container in the basement? That brought back unpleasant memories of the out house used on the farms I worked in Eastern Washington. 
 The fort, built by the Romans and occupied by the Visigoths in the 5th centuries, came under French control around 13th century. There are two major concentric  walls, both have more than seventeen round towers in the walls. This is probably the largest extant castle in France, it was restored by the French Architect Violet-le-Duc in the mid eighteen hundred, who had a habit of adding pointy roofs on a lot of the round towers here and elsewhere in France. King St. Louis built the walls in 13th century. This was the last of the holdouts of the Cathers, A religios group from Byzantium who didn’t agree with all the Catholic Dogma, therefor were massacred, called the Albinasian Crusade, whereby the Knight Errant was given the land of any Cathar he killed. A very tidy arrangement for the Catholics.

Aigues Morte


This is one of the best preserved towns as it still has a population of about 6,000 folks.
It was originally the only French port to the Mediterranean sea  as well as a source of salt due to the manipulation of the ponds in the marshes. It looks like a smaller version of the salt mounds in San Francisco Bay. Also, they are renowned for a type of horse of smaller stature. The king, St. Louis IX (that’s the 9th) figured large here as he left here to participate in the crusades of 1248 and 1272. He didn’t do much fighting but died of Dysentry near Jeruselum. I’ve always wondered why a king became a saint, Well, the Catholic Pope was in Avingnon at the time and King Louis was renowned for his “humility” and taking care of the poor, but at the same time, was instrumental in expanding the Inquisition, the bastard! While in the Outremer, (French for overseas) he was suckered into buying the Crown of Thorns: and a sliver of the True Cross. He paid enormous sums for these so called authentic relics, like twice as much as he spent on building his fabulous chapel, “St. Chapelle” in Paris. Today, this small church is in my estimation the best example of the art of the 13th century. We stayed in a hotel St. Louis, in the town, just a block from the Main Plaza, obviously a renovated house from a few hundred years back. Charlemagne erected a watch tower in 790, while most of the walls were put up in 1270.
  Evenings in these towns are pretty magical, as the tourists are gone around 06h00 and the restaurants and plazas are nice and quiet.
   Leaving one day from Auges Morte to SantMarie De Le Mer to see the annual gathering of Gypsies (Yes, they still exist!)  As well of a flock of pink flamingos in the marshes, we took a back road which had a free ferry across a small river. Well, we arrived at the ferry at 12:01 and the ferryman was at lunch till 1:30(Promptly!). So we all waited around while about 20 cars cued up. Spent time conversing with a Canadian bicyclist who had two wooden legs.(Don’t ask me how). He and his two kids were cycling from there to Avignon, about 30 miles! His kids were put in a French school that helps foreigners learn French while still studying.

Street Lamp, Coke bottles
Soccer Team

   Trained down to Delft, put up at a the small Museum Hotel  that had large contemporary ceramic sculptures all over the place. This is another ancient town that still  has a few canals through it. It’s hard to believe this to be a walled town as it is very alive with churches, commerce and plain living places.  Of course we took a boat tour in order to see the canal life, they only recently cleaned them out and retrieved one thousand bicycles. The young bucks in Holland have a penchant for stealing bikes and throwing them in canals while drunk.  There are two major churches here, the Oude Kirk and the Nieuwe Kirk.  The old church was built in 1100's while the new one was finished in 1350. New & old arerelative terms here. They have a wonderful large square with the old City Hall on one side. This was filled with a market one of the days, selling everything from flowers to tee shirts. Needing to do our laundry we asked the young woman concierge where we could find a Wash & Dry. She said that “We don’t do that here”. That was a big help but so we finally ran across one later on the main square  that day. The sign said “Rein-Tex”. Never did know what it meant, but it worked.
 Took a couple of day trips on the train, one to Haarlem (Yes, New York’s was named after this). We found a fantastic old church (Grote Kerk) from the 1300's with great slabs of basalt on the floor where the well known are buried, including Mozart. A very unusual roof structure of stone ribs and timber infill.  But best of all, there was a fantastic ornate organ on one end wall and best of all they were playing Bach or Buxtahude. We were almost the only ones there except for this incredible SOUND! It was truly, a religious experience.
 Another day tripped to Keukenhof Gardens,  which has a huge flower show at this time of year (Spring). It consists of many acres of ground that contain giant tulip area, creeks, and several pavilions, each one containing a type of flower, orchids, daisies, etc. Each pavilion has a snack bar for food and of course beer & wine. This eased my pain a little. An original restored operating windmill was fun to climb up on but the best thing was watching a guy hand carved wooden shoes on a sawhorse with a clever tool that is jointed and attached to the saw-horse that enables him to quickly shape the shoe and actually make pairs that fit.
 Back at Delft we found a great little restaurant overlooking a canal. What intrigued us was the lantern over their door. It was made up of spoons and coke bottles! The atmosphere and food was on a par with their lantern.


 We moved on to our favorite place of all, the Chateau de la Flocelliere, an ancient castle  partly reconstructed after the revolution. Not exactly a walled town, it felt like one as several of the original walls were still standing, all around the main Chateau.  Operated (and owned) by the Vicomte & Vicomtesse Vignial, we occupied the second floor of he tower. The old oak floors were not sealed but merely waxed over the centuries. They had a wonderful sheen to them. We were invited to an aperitif in the drawing room one evening, declining a Cuban cigar but yes on a couple of drinks poured by the Vicomte himself. We met some of the other guests, a German builder of thrill rides, like at Marine World. We booked a dinner for one of the evenings and sat down to a very tasty chicken, potatoes, & haricot vert. We shared dinner at the chateau  with an old French couple, he being an old retired army parachutist. Unfortunately, they had no words of English. But our hosts were fluent in about ten languages so we had a good time. The Vicomte kept us up to our ears in good wine, the Vicomtesse kept filling us up with her great food, prepared by her and a kitchen helper. The kitchen was a marvel of 18th century stuff, including a rough square granite sink. Throughout our stay, Joy kept asking for ice (She’s incorrigible, like Bill and his Martinis) and who would bring it? Why the Comtesse. I was kind of embarrassed. Didn’t bother Joy any, she had to have her Coke with ice.
 On one of our day trips from the to a nearby town with a swell creperie we got caught up in a high school marathon on some hilly town. They just told us to drive careful so we threaded our way thru the runners and check points, finally getting free to proceed on our way. Also drove down to nearby La Porte de Rochelle , where most of the early ships left to deliver settlers to the Americas. Had a lot of great old forts guarding the port. We found a Pizzeria on a canal for a nice lunch.


Caron's Hotel-Restuarant
The  wall and towers were built in 12th century as one of eight residences of the French kings. The main west gate is still standing, renovated by Viollet-le-Duc, but with the unfortunate narrow width, only one car at a time can negotiate the gate which straddles the main street at the end of the business district. I guess the inmates of the town are just used to it after several centuries and what option do they have? The whole townon one side is open onto the river, I don’t know if there was a wall on that side during the hard times.
 Joy found us a wonderful B&B owned and run by Mde Leslie Caron, the actress. She had bought and renovated an old boat repair shop on the River Yonne, complete with four rooms and a very elegant restaurant, which she runs. She’s not as gorgeous now days as she was in “An America in Paris” but has a classy view of life.



We didn’t overnight here but have haunted their streets a couple of times. Totally surrounded by huge walls and breast works of te Renaissance times when cannons could chew you up if you didn’t have lots of dirt and stone in front of you., Again, cars only allowed in peripheral parking lots. An obvious oval void of the Piazza Antiteatro is the result of all the 3 and 4 story buildings surrounding it reflecting the remnants of a Roman Theatre. As usual, the Romans founded the place about 200 BC. The composer
Puccini was born here. At one time , there were many stone towers here but only a couple left today. An word of warning; there is a huge, fast round-about at the main entry. Just relax and drive around it a few times until you can catch sight of the turn-off to Lucca town. However, once when we left, we entered a one way street, but we were going against traffic. A fabulous old stone bridge , The “Devils Bridge” is a short distance into the hills from Lucca. The Ponte dei Diablo was commissioned by the Countess Matilida in 1100. It has a span of 37.8 meters (look it up!). This is the spot where we understood that Roundabouts are great for cars but deadly for pedestrians, a concept not understood yet by American Planners.

SAN GIMIGNANO                

This is one of the great walled towns as it has not spread from the old walls like so many other cities. We have been here several times but always find it interesting. For instance, we had never seen a pigs head that you can cut chunks of meat from in a  shop.

The Duke of Verona

Only a short distance from Venice, I had to see the old walled city of Padua, whose crumbling walls still surround most of the town. This was a setting for Shakespeares’ “Romeo & Juliet”. Since I had played The Duke of Verona ack in Santa Rosa  (I guess the Duke owned Padua at the time).  I couldn’t help standing an  the actual Town Hall  where the Duke had espoused his monologue so I could reprise my role on the actual steps . The square was filled with some market vans plus a group of workmen who enjoyed my discourse immensely (Not understanding any of it) but gave me a rounding applause when I had finished. Those are the moments we cherish, traveling around and doing re-enacting of old parts.

Saturday, March 04, 2017


As every College kid knows (Hopefully) 40 percent = 80 proof. But here’s the deal with the term. In the good old days, when sailors got a tot of Rum each day, they had to test it to see if the Captain (or Purser) was cheating them by putting too much water in the Rum, they would mix it with gun powder. The concoction would only light it was higher than about 57% alcohol, a ratio the earned the distinction of “overproof”.  Rum won’t explode? It’s underproof (and you’ve been ripped off). This is serious and maybe time to mutiny?



  I was perusing a Garage sale a few years ago when I came across a print of an architect that seemed to be foreign. It was just a few dollars so I snatched it up, Just because. Later,  Looking closer, it was a small poster add for a Belgian Architect, bent over his drafting board (standing) with a cigar and a wonderful beard. (See above). I discovered his name , Paul Hanker, who was a student of Victor Horta, the Master of Art  Nouveau Architecture in Brussels. We visited both their works while in Belgium.

I came across a swell little book "MASTERPIECES OF MODERN DESIGN" published with the Modern Museum in London, it identifies outstanding designs in pretty much all categories, including typography. I was excited to see ow many of these items figured in my life somewhere. I couldn't help but identify with such places as 'Ronchamp Chapel of Corbu’s and Pompidue Center Museum in Paris,  we always tried to stop in to see important works on our travels. But I got serious when they identified early autos, especially if I had assisted the their development by purchasing them when they were kind of an unknown product. Beginning with the early Volkswagen car with the "rabbit ear turn signals, no gas gauge, the early version of Porsche 356, still revered by affectionados, with an interim of owning a Citroen 2CV (The term means two horses!). usually it was more like 13 HP.   Of products, we can't forget my Moka Expresso maker, long before we all had our own Nespresso automatics machines.  I always cherished my small nifty Olivetti portable typewriter. Add Smart Car to list above.  Somehow Sun Maid Raisons & Coleman's Mustard are included, most for their longevity.   And packaging.  Must not forget the Sopporo Beer Can, a sensuous stainless steel container with beer better than most breweries. In 1959 I had to have the Nikon F camera,  when I realized the Japanese surpassed the Germans in the design & manufacture of quality cameras. A surprise was the inclusion of the movie "Barbarella", although I remembered it for the great strip tease Jane Fonda did during the credits while floating around in zero gravity. However, it seems the sets were a mélange of inflateable furniture, etc. and included more for that.

It appears here are primarily 3 types of folks who live on the street or in their car (The lucky ones). Drug addicts, Crazies, and Veterans of our wars. Maybe there are a few of them that lost their lease and can't afford the security deposits and maybe we don't build small, low rent $600 per month?) studios. Not much you can do with a total drunk or Heroin addict but there should be someplace for our veterans to live? ?While we're on that subject, couldn't vets that have lost a leg or arm or something major wear a badge or something to denote they gave all for their country (Right or Wrong!?). Another major point ; Don''t just give these folks something for free. They will not have an investment in it , therefore can walk away from whatever you gave them Housing, etc..The Architect, Donald McDonald, designed some swell plywood containers, big enough to sleep in & keep a few miserable belongings but where do up you put them? Who could buy one? (He also designed your new multi-Billion dollar bridge to Oakland).

A fundamentalist religious group who believe beheading is an act of love. 
Most of us think of the slick, clean cowboy do-gooder on a super white horse from the movies but let me illuminate you about the origins of the real ‘Hopalong’.  Originated by Clarence Mulford in about 1910, Hopalong was a lame cowboy probably from some horse landing on him  This critter was dirty, always cursing, but a dead shot and an outstanding cow puncher. He was also a really swell guy, always fair.  

 The first thing is to change our national symbols. Forget the Egyptian obelisk on the mall of America,  celebrate the St Louis Arch (by Saarinan, an intruder).  The obelisk is a bit of fakery with a steel skeleton, etc. But the Arch is a magnificent piece of structural as we'll as Architectural design. Let's make a statement. What if we have to move it to the Mall? Or how about moving the Mall to St. Louis?  Think big!

No , not the doll but the origin of the word for our favorite food time; barbecuing. The term originates from the Central America's as they had a huge grill that they could put on a poor prisoner if they needed some information or just to have some fun. It was called 'Barbeqoa' or something like that. And we worry about water-boarding. I suppose we got the word 'Grilling someone for information came from that.

There are a couple of fashions currently going around, other than these idiotic ones perpetrated on us by the gurus of the fashion world (Is'nt the richest guy on earth involved with this?)  The one that really got me was the blossoming of facial hair by nearly every Ball player (Base, basket & foot). Not only that, some of these dudes have long dreadlocks. We,, maybe our new president will put a stop to that.
Let's move on. What is it about the elevation of cooks into a semi-Devine area if they know how to make your salad a wonderful tiny work of Art? If they tell us to eat gold plated ants , we flock to their sanctuary and chow down on it.
Looking in on the Real Estate section, I notice the Realtors nowdays always have a smiling photo of 'The Realtor' in each add. Usually. It is a gorgeous young blond who is hawking this particular deal.  Maybe I can get a date with her if I buy the property?

Tuesday, January 03, 2017


Let's look at the basic idea of meditation, a system of self-improvement for millenniums, mostly in the East (India). It's goal is to change our awareness from the external world to the unknown
World of our inner self (Overself?).Looking at the old analogy of the carriage (body) powered by a horse (Mind), controlled by the reins,(Intellect)  controlled by the driver, (The Real You, Overself, etc).
When Mel Brooks Dr. Frankenstein wanted to give life to his re-built human, he wisely used the heavenly lightning & thunder to re-animate his work. Is this an analogy of the light & sound that animate all humans and living things? It has been suggested that the body works on an electrical system and the pineal gland , buried deep in the center of the skull for protection, is the receptor of "The force", Luke.
    After reading several books about Near death 'experiences" ,I am encouraged to assume we have an entity that continues after the death of our miserable body.  These are particularly amazing as most of the descriptions of folks leaving their bodies (briefly) are too similar  to what all the great teachers of Spirituality (Not religion) have been saying for many millenniums. 
   It also seems that all these correspondents never are able to stay out of their body more than a few minutes, whether they are in a hospital or hurtling through space in a car wreck. This is probably a good idea as the body can suffer permanent damage if the brain and heart stop more than a few minutes. The first one to write about these experiences was a Dr. Kubler-Ross,  who interviewed her patients who had suffered a 'Code Blue?.  Since then, there have been an amazing number of books published in a similar manner.
  I , myself, In the early days of Scottsdale, Arizona, have found myself up against a ceiling , looking down on the body of Lamont Langworthy,,more surprised than anything, until I wondered how I was going to get back into it. While I was there , stuck on the ceiling , I noticed my girlfriend, usually a beautiful Hawaiian lass, had morphed into a six foot parrot type bird, sporting a full regalia of bright feathers.  Needless to add, I automatically found myself back inhabiting my good 'ol body, to continue our ancient Indian Peyote experience.  

Mary Shelly is totally different than Mel Brooks, and her system of re-animation was pretty well sidestepped, though . She had Dr. Frankenstein built his monster from scratch, not just stitching  a few big pieces together, but using bones, sinews and various organs to build her creation, and she made him large, eight feet tall, because he was working with such small pieces, it was easier to build it larger. Unfortunately, he neglected to consider that the creatures brain had no morality portion, ergo the rampant murders that resulted afterward.

Although I believe there are few of my blog followers (blog-ites?) Who are happy to see our new president Trump, the rest of you can be assured that half of the voting public of the U.S. Believe he is the one to '" Make Us Great" again. Be assured, that history has shown that our particular type of government (Republic) only last about two hundred years (Greece, Rome, etc.). TIMES UP! 

Moliere -  Most of us Americans know very little of the French authors and play-rights except for Dumas (Musketeers), Voltaire, etc. But if you really want to be entertained, see this loose rendition of hIs life.  He was famous in the 17th century for his Comedies and Farces . The French King had the good sense to give Moliere a small theatre to perform with his troupe but he always wanted to do a tragedy. The movie does manage to bring a tear or two to your eyes in the end.

  I’m going to retire from contracting jobs (of my design) as at 86 it's getting to be too much for me. I find myself waking up at 1:00 AM to work out some small detail or another. I've got better things to at that time of nite. I'll keep my license, however, as my son, a contractor in Oregon, may want to use it. I've been licensed since 1964 originally under the name of "MASTER BUILDERS, INC.". Which I lost years ago when the contractors license board forgot to send me an invoice. I could have sold the name for a small fortune, otherwise.

One of my favorite movies is "One Eyed Jacks" but over the years I've been stymied about the meaning of the title. At first I thought it had something to do with the child's game of 'Jacks' played with one eye closed, but lo and behold, I recently discovered the movie was based on a book titled "The Authentic Death of Hendry jones'  AKA 'The kid'. Marlon Brando directed & starred in the movie with Karl Malden as Dad Langworth (No relation) a double dealing partner turned Sheriff. Needless to say, ‘the Kid’ got his revenge for double dealing, unlike the book, where he got killed in the end.  Turns out, the name is from a card game 'One Eyed Jacks', as the Jacks only showed one eye in those days, signifying a double cross.

Medina (Now 50 yrs old) & 2CV

 Why would anyone in their right mind buy a Citroen 2cv (Du Cheval) , especially when he lived in a wonderful house 'On top of the World" in Laguna Beach.?  an earache about a thousand feet above Laguna Beach town. Especially when the primitive machine , although in seemingly good condition, had been fixed with a Rolls Royce hood? It took me a few weeks to find an original hood (I can't imagine where I even found one), which was not all that difficult to replace as all the doors, hood, trunk, etc. are only hinges with a turn over of the sheet metal, requiring only to open it up fully, then slide it sideways to take it off. No tools required. The 2CV was France's answer to the post-war problem as Italy, England, Germany and Japan all responded with their version of "The cheap People's Car".  But driving up the long, twisty road up to our Pad was a tortoise experience for all the cars that had to follow me to the top as there was no turnouts on the way, my infant daughter, Medina, was on the floorboards in her basket next to the noisey air cooled three cylinder engine, screaming bloody murder all the way. Why is it we only remember those rare moments in life?

Langworthy House on Top of the World
   My house on Top of the World house  was my interpretation of an old Spanish Hacienda,  with all the rooms surrounding a courtyard. In addition, I used hand  made Adobe blocks from Ensinada that had an emulsifier added to the straw and urine to make it kind of waterproof. Most of the roof consisted of emerald colored corrugated plastic, the balance corrugated cement-asbestos . It turned out not to be the quick selling model I imagined but I moved in for a couple of years to make payments until our neighbors, Lucy & Ted, a couple of Ancient Greek Scholars next door bought it. Actually, they were not ancient, but merely were involved in translating Greek documents found at Herculaneum. Buried under tons of pumice from Vesuvius.

As a matter of fact, I ended up owning some of those other experiments as in transportation; My first Volkswagen was one of the first sold in the U.S. In 1954, remember the one with he rabbit ear turn signals, no gas gauge, etc.?   I first encountered them in post war Tokyo, where they were used as Taxis, if you can imagine, as we had to crawl over the front seat to get in the back.
There so few of us on the road, we would flash our headlights to signify we also were one of the exclusive nuts to own one. Service? Even few and further between. If your mechanic needed a part, you had it sent on a Greyhound bus as this was before FedEx days.
Or later, the first Honda '70 N600, another air cooled baby that used their motorcycle engine in a passenger car., Or how about the first Datsun sold here, I bought a small wagon type that still had a curved roof form reminiscent of Japanese  Toras. I guess they became Nissan? 

The Prince by Peter Constantine
I've had a distorted view of the man Nicolo Machiavelli all my long life but after reading 'The Prince I've had to revise my image of him. He was a confidante and employee of The Medicis in 15th century Firenze, and this book is about how Princes (Incontrast to Kings), should act when running a country. In those days, each city was an entity in itself, like a small country. My image of him as even one of dark double dealer,  a veritable ‘One Eyed Jack’, sets down how a ruler should respond to various concerns regarding all the Dukes & citizens. He was able to play both sides of various scenarios with equal measure, some with abject cruelty, others with benign concern. I you ever want to be ruler over a lot of people, I highly recommend this small document to assist you in our despotic or benign ruling of the masses.(Got that, Trump?).

If you want to be depressed, view this really interesting description of the state of our miserable affairs due to the runaway debt we have gotten ourselves into,  See I.O.U.S.A.  We're talking Trillions here but about his time we might have to start thinking in Quadrillions (Is that the correct term?)
Full of clips of all our presidents and how much each one of the added or subtracted to this unmanageable mound. Strangely, Clinton was about the only  one able to reduce it to  any degree..

  If you're not depressed enough after seeing the above, read Jane Mayer's book DARK MONEY. What is really depressing to me is that one of the wealthiest guy in the world started the Libertarian Party!  And also fund the John Birch Society about the same time, Don't forget, that was the party that was trying to get Big Government off our backs plus reduce the income taxes. Charles & David Koch (pronounced Coke) This is a detailed and well documented history of how they gathered together other overly wealthy and lay a track bound for power in order to reduce their taxes and  other ideas. Super Pacs, Think Tanks, Academia, they invented the concept of "tax-deductible "philanthropy" which allowed them to funnel scads of only to the politicians and to put away in their pocket. The author traces the Byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent by their network and provides vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American Oligarchy.  Surprisingly, such companies such as Amway are part of the problem as they can give 20 million dollars to their non-profit in order to avoid taxes. Can you imagine that giant oil companies make a much as 10 Billion in a quarter of a year. Let's see, doesn't that add up to about 40 Billion a yearin profits ?? Nobody would want to have to pay taxes on that would they ?

clock at D'Orsy, Paris

 Burning question of the hour.
Why do people still buy watches? Other than me, I mean, as I need to know what time it is once in a while. Are they trying to keep alive the last vestige of  analog life? It must be something to do with jewelry? Why else would you pay $5,000 for a piece when you have the correct time (from an atomic clock) on your ever present I-phone.

IT ALL BEGAN when women didn't like the idea that men had their own Manhole. It wasn't' exactly like them using the Men's toilet but they had to get all our MANHOLES changed to PERSON HOLES. And while you’re at it, change all other references to the poor oppressed Male. Thanks to Woe-man.

I was only 10 years old when the Japanese (Japs) did their sneak attack on our Pearl Harbor, killing about 3,00 of our military. Amazingly, it took me but 70 years to find out why, and I was very surprised that ‘ol demon OIL was the cause. It seems to have been a response to a United States-led oil embargo that would have devastated the Japanese Empire. although why it would, I have't been able to uncover what that was all about, except I always had a snaky idea myself, that there was more to it than we were informed.

I See the black folks are now not left out of the White Man' Christmas as they can now celebrate Kawanza. I've always wanted to know exactly what type of celebration they participate in so I finally had to google it. I guess they have not been able to blend in as this non-religious celebration was invented by Dr. Karenga in 1966 so black folk don't have to assimilate and sit around celebrating some white boys birth or worse, Just what is it that Jews celebrate? . But what do they do to participate? Have a jitterbug contest?

  I?m girding up for another goofy New Year's Eve, but don't get me wrong, I'm ever happy to see another coming around, as, at my age, you always wonder if there you will see another. But really, how did we get to such a low point as getting all excited offer a huge expensive 'BALL' be let down a flag pole? Even the tiny town of Graton has their own now.  Well, count me out, as I really believe in a spherical earth and know there are 24 time zones, and each one will have its' own mid-night celebration. I assume someone by now has figured out how to travel around the world and catch all 24 of them but that would really require some hustling. I'm just trying to avoid the one here in Sebastopol and that's not so easy. However, I ave figured out my own program as Joy & I celebrate the new Year with the Parisians, which occurs about nine hours earlier here and gets me in bed at my usual time .

Don't make me laugh ! That will never happen as long as the United States is the world's largest supplier of weapons to kill one another.  That number, $40 Billion, represents one half of all weapons produced in the world, peryear ! Yikes !!