Thursday, September 11, 2014
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Blowsy. Seriously, that’s the dahlia for you. Overdone, overwrought, seriously overdressed. But spectacular.
Except the smaller versions which can be prim Miss Priss, especially served up as single-serve blooms delicately scattered on a table. Then they’re all Miss Manners.
Morro Bay celebrates its 50th Anniversary as a City this year and also was celebrating its city flower, the Dahlia, with a Dahlia Daze event at the community center. There was a dahlia exhibition, contest, sale, lectures.
Including a most informative one on the issue of Monarch Butterflies and milkweed. Throughout the butterflies migration paths, the only source of food for their larva, the milkweed, is being killed off by pesticides and loss of habitat. And, no milkweed, no Monarchs. So farmers and ranchers are being encouraged to plant milkweed throughout their property and in fallow areas alongside their crops. Homeowners are also encouraged to do the same.
Except if you happen to live in the narrow coastal strip. In that microclimate, planting milkweed to help the Monarchs is counterproductive. According to Peggy Coon of the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, planting milkweed along the coastal strip lures Monarch to lay eggs on the plant. Then, after the larva hatch and are happily munching, the coastal cool weather causes the plant to die back before the Monarch larvae have gone into their chrysalis mode. So the poor larvae, lured to a bad neighborhood by well-meaning humans, starve to death.
So, if you live in Los Osos, ixnay on the milkweed. But, you are encouraged to fill your garden with all sorts of winter-blooming flowers for the Monarchs to sip nectar from. Lantana is a good choice since those plants are both drought tolerant and loaded with flowers for butterflies.
But, if you live in San Luis Obispo, (Or over the hills in Paso) plant all the milkweed you like. Milkweed thrives in that hotter, drier environment. So you get to plant both milkweed and winter-blooming flowers.
Then everyone can head down to the Pismo Butterfly Grove when opens daily October 31st through February 26 to host these spectacular (and threatened) butterflies. Or Morro Bay State Park’s eucalyptus groves or Hazard Canyon in Los Osos.
Dahlia’s, on the other hand, clearly like the coastal cool. Makes ‘em run amok. Like your Aunt Sadie after one too many gin and tonics on a New Year’s eve.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
don't brag about flying
the way we
They don't write books about it and then give
they don't take on disciples and spoil
their own air
Who could dance and achieve
liftoff with a bunch of
Love Poems from God
trans. Daniel Ladinsky
Thursday, August 28, 2014
A 9 year-old girl goes to a Lake Havasu City “Bullets and Burgers” outdoor shooting range. She was on vacation with her family and had a “bucket list” and shooting an Uzi was on that list. What a 9 year-old was doing with a bucket list, I have no idea. Bucket lists are usually reserved for cranky but endearing old men with terminal diseases. But I digress.
So the instructor, Charles Vacca , 39, set her up and began instructing her in the finer points of Uzi shooting. The instructor and the little girl were captured on video by, I presume, her proud parents. There she is, cute as a button in her pink shorts, little pink barrettes in her hair ,which was falling in a long braid down her back. Standing next to her, bending down to help her hold the gun, is the instructor.
The first single shots go fine. Then Mr. Vacca sets the gun on automatic and the young girl, with no idea of the strength and control needed to keep the kicking gun steady, loses control and it veers up and off and puts a bullet into Mr. Vacca’s head. He dies a few hours later.
At this point in the story, the first impulse would be to laugh and say something about “gene pool.” But I kept thinking about that little girl. Thanks to her parents, she will spend the rest of her life with the ghost of Mr. Vacca, the man she killed, haunting her dreams forever.
All because her parents did not know what my parents knew and what any sensible parent knows: When children ask for dangerous, age-inappropriate things, the correct reply is a very short word that begins with the letter “N” and ends with the letter “O.”
Interestingly, the news story on this incident noted that in 2008 an 8 year-old “was firing an Uzi at a pumpkin when the recoil caused him to lose control of the weapon and he shot himself in the head.”
That’s the problem with Uzis. They were designed for adults with good hand strength that can control the recoil. And they were intended for use as a weapon of war, a small, rapid-fire automatic, a highly maneuverable weapon designed to kill as many enemy soldiers as possible in a close combat situation.
They were not designed as a toy for a child to play with as part of her bucket list. Except in America.