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Sunday, February 10, 2008

And Now, Your Sunday Poem

This one by Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prisz winner for Poetry, from her book "American Primitive."

MOLES

Under the leaves, under
the first loose
levels of earth
they're there -- quick
as beetles, blind
as bats, shy
as hares, but seen
less than these --
traveling
among the pale girders
of appleroot,
rockshelf, nests
of insects and black
pastures of bulbs
peppery and packed full
of the sweetest food:
spring flowers.
Field after field
you can see the traceries
of their long
lonely walks, then
the rains blur
even this frail
hint of them --
so excitable,
so plush,
so willing to continue
generation after generation
accomplishing nothing
but their brief physical lives
as they live and die,
pushing and shoveling
with their stubborn muzzles against
the whole earth,
finding it
delicious.



Pass me that Violin

Last night's performance of Cafe Musique at the L.O. Methodist Church was standing room only, and absolutely wonderful. I suspect they may have sold out their new CD as well, the debut of which was the reason for the concert.

This group of extraordinary muscians (Brynn Albanese, Piper Heisig, Duane Inglish and Craig Nuttycombe) have pulled off a really interesting thing. They have taken music that, through misuse, abuse, too much use, has turned into a joke and/or awful cliche -- think accordian & violin playing "Hernado's Hideway," or even "Lady of Spain." (Full disclosure here: I played the accordian as a kid, loved it, though how my parents survived years of "La Golandrino" is beyond me.) But there they are with these awful, abused "gypsy/tango" pieces that we immediately associate with Lawrence Welk and/or bad Grade B movies about spies, doomed lovers, and a Nazi or two in a smokey cafe, yet by taking the music seriously, they've reclaimed its heart and passionate (uncliched) romantic soul so that they make you hear it as if for the first time.

Quite amazing. So if you have a chance to catch any of their performances, don't miss them. Much fun, lovely, tuneful work by extraordinarily skilled musicians, especially Brynn-- that woman can fiddle and it's her violin's heart-voice that re-births these songs anew, along with Duane's gorgeous accordian work.

Red Barn goes Bluegrass

On the first Saturday of the month, the Red Barn hosts a changing variety of wonderful musicians, but this Sat, there'll be be an extra Red Barn performance, Feb 16 at the Red Barn on LOVR at Palisades. Tom and Patrick Sauber, with Mark Graham will be on hand to raise the bluegrass roof. Folks arrive at 6 for a potluck supper and pre-show jam session, and show begins at 7. (Note here: Patrick Sauber will be playing the accordian, for those folks who are allergic to it, i.e. "Play the accordian, go to jail. It's the law!")

Also remember, you can buy Gift Certificates to Red Barn performances complete with the year's schedule, at the door ($10 suggested donations). So if you have any birthdays coming up, anniversaries, whatever, keep that in mind. For music lovers on your list, they make a perfect gift: They can pick which performances they want to see.


Shaky Puzzle

Today's Tribune Editorial on the recent verdict in the earthquake case when the Acorn Building in Paso Robles collaped and killed two woman who ran outside the building to the sidewalk where the building's wall fell on them (horrible irony, had they stayed inside the "unsafe" building, they likely would have lived?). The jury awarded damages to the families, and the Tribune notes that "The verdict clearly signaled that owners are ultimately responsible for the safety of their commercial buildings -- regardless of whether local law gives them five, 10 or 20 years to comlplete seismic strengthening."

Here's the puzzle: Aren't property owners (on property used by the public) always liable for whatever happens on their property, from someone slipping and falling to buildings collapsing. I know of no building that is completely earthquake safe, not even retro-fitted buildings. In an earthquake something can always go wrong, so even if a newly retrofitted building doesn't actually fall down, someone can still get injured and/or killed from flying shelves, falling light fixtures, pipes bursting, something. Hence getting liability insurance and earthquake insurance and other such protections.

Where this story got odd for me is the puzzle over whether the owners of the Acorn building were being hammered specifically (beyond the "normal" liability issues) because they hadn't yet completed the retrofit, even though the local law had given them until a certain date to complete the seismic retrofits. If that was the case, then something seems goofy to me with this lawsuit.

I could understand a jury awarding additional financial penalties for contributary negligence if they had evidence that the owner not only had done nothing but had passed the normal time limit to get anything done -- i.e. Planning departments can give anyone a target time for which projects have a chance of getting done; pass that and even an act of God won't get the job done in time. So, was there evidence the Acorn's owners had done nothing past that "break-point," which would clearly show "dragging their feet," which can translate into "negligence." If not, if they were "working on it" and the law gave them until such and such date, and they had enough time to complete the job even with a worst case scenario, then that raises a puzzle that was noted in the Tribune "WebTalk" sidebar: "If the verdict of the jury stands, the only logical thing to do is to start tomorrow to condemn buildings and rebuild or turn them into vacant lots. This would be the only 100 percent safe thing to do."

Which raises the issue of just what deadlines set by law actually mean? When does negligence or "feet dragging" come into play? Were the retrofit laws written with both a drop-dead deadline and legally required "marker" dates, i.e. X % done by 2008, Y% done by 20010 and so forth.

Well, if the case is appealed, maybe a judge can sort out some of those issues. And maybe our local lawmakers may need to take another look at the retrofit law and see if it needs to be clarified or tweaked to help both public and property owners? In a shaky state, no building is "safe." Maybe that's why God invented insurance companies and lawyers and sign makers.

And why anyone entering any building in this state should wear a hard hat and say a prayer at all times.


11 comments:

Mike Green said...

I think a simple analogy of the earthquake suit would be like this:
Suppose you got a fix it ticket for a burned out headlight on your car.
The law says you get thirty days to fix it.
In the meantime you get caught a few times more, but by showing the cop your ticket they don't issue you a new one they just tell you to get it fixed ASAP.
You drop by the service station several times to get gas and don't bother to buy a new bulb.
Late one night a week, before your deadline, the other bulb burns out and you cream into, lets say, Mark, who is in a crosswalk pushing a Reclamator.
Are you negligent?
I'd have to say regrettably yes, and Mark's family would be right in suing for additional damages.
The Two Million award is low enough that an appeal isn't likely IMHO.
Most umbrella policies have a 2mil cap.

Owners of un reinforced buildings would be wise to start taking action NOW.

Sewertoons said...

Thanks mike! I needed that!!!

Churadogs said...

Mike sez:"The Two Million award is low enough that an appeal isn't likely IMHO.
Most umbrella policies have a 2mil cap."

Excellent point. But suppose you repeatedly went to the car repair place and they were backed up for months, couldn't get you in. You tried several other places and they couldn't get to you. There were no parts available over the internet since the factory overseas was sold out due to everyone and their brother needing to replace their burned out light bulbs.

The 2 mil was a low enough number that I figured the award must have been for, not "negligence" in the full sense (doing nothing at all) but for partial negligence (owner didn't post a sign, may not have been moving aggressively enough in securing contractors and getting work under way., etc.) Either way, sad all around.

Mike Green said...

Ann opined: "Excellent point. But suppose you repeatedly went to the car repair place and they were backed up for months, couldn't get you in. You tried several other places and they couldn't get to you. There were no parts available over the internet since the factory overseas was sold out due to everyone and their brother needing to replace their burned out light bulbs. "
Oh, in that case, run him over, no foul.

Yes, a very sad case, and IMHO a very wise jury.

Spectator said...

Ann: Great poem by Mary Oliver. However, she knows little about moles and what they eat. I guess this is "poetic license".

Watershed Mark said...

The Department of Parks and Recreation might offer tours for free or for the 1958 prices, he said. According to www.hearstcastle.com , tickets that cost $1 to $2 then now sell for $24 to $30. The Hearst Corp. donated the 127-acre estate to the state in December 1957.

Ever wonder what government sewer prices will look like in 20 years?

Churadogs said...

Spectator sez:"Ann: Great poem by Mary Oliver. However, she knows little about moles and what they eat. I guess this is "poetic license"."

Guess she left out the part with all the worms and bugs and other icky, squishy things? Eeeuuuuu!to us but Ymmmmmm, mmmmm to a mole. To the mole, the world is all DELICIOUS, which is the whole point.

Mike Green said...

Ever wonder what government sewer prices will look like in 20 years?

At the rate we've been going, why wonder?

Spectator said...

To Ann, a beautiful writer: You should have ignored me, and so:

I just focused on "sweetest food: spring flowers." This is a long stretch for a mole. However the world is delicious to any animal that must eat to survive, and that really was the point of the beautiful poem. Enjoy beauty.

Moles eat earthworms and grubs. They bother not to eat vegitation.
They cannot digest it.

Which just goes to prove: Even though you are a poet, it does not necessarily show you know it.

We all allow them poetic license.
Poets bring joy, touch emotions, and show human excellence. Your writing at times has touched my heart.

As I write from 4500 ft. on the slopes of the great volcano Baru, the highest mountain in Panama, cool, and beautiful, overlooking a magnificent golf course in Valle Escondido, in a private gated community, with parrots flying, coatimundis, howler monkeys, and magnificent flowers, the poem hits home. Beauty! From my rental property, 3500 sq ft, 4 bed and 4 baths, and magnificent view available at $1600 or less a month on long term, I think of similar Los Osos weather, without the cold. I do not overlook the sea and Morro Bay, but am building another shop/home/boathouse on the coast, overlooking the Pacific.

And I still have a magnificant home, high on the hill, in Atascadero, due to marriage. Not my money!

I am living in Boquete, Panama. I am in the process of buying a 4200 sq. ft home just down the street even better by far. This rental house overlooks it: $382K. $900 a year for homeowner dues which encludes water, garbage, clubhouse and spa/pool. Electricity at 12 cents a kwh. No property taxes for 18 years. No income tax on foreign income. Discount of 15% on airfare. Sales tax of 7.5% Gas at 3.15, but 20 lbs of propane at 5 dollars.

A stable government ruled by Nepolionic code, not common law changed on a whim of a judge. Happy people, hard working, English required in schools, and a very low crime rate. Students are clean and wear uniforms. It is a matter of family pride.

Pistol carry concealed permits easily available to law abiding citizens and those on a permanant visa, but not needed. This is a severe responsibility. I can own a sawed off shotgun legally. Nothing better when one needs it. No need.

There are almost no illegal immegrants. Many try to get in, but are swept up. Panamanian jails are not country clubs. If one goes to a Panamanian jail, they will never, never, ever consider going back and will run their life accordingly, with responsibility to themselves and to others. No beggars on the streets. Homeless will not freeze, but they better work, do something, to avoid starving. There is NO welfare here. No tent cities. Families take care of their own. And food is cheap, real cheap. 5 lbs of beautiful tomatoes for $1.00. 3 very large avocados for $1.00. Filet mignon for $2.25 a lb. And worse than that, the finest beer in the world for .27 a bottle, .50 in bars. No rediculous taxes on booze. Cigarettes, Marlboro, $1.00 a pack. Really good booze for $6 a liter. Mixers at American prices, however.

Medical care is wonderful. Doctors are not subject to frivilous suits. If you want to file suit, you must pay in advance the costs to the other party if you lose.
I went to a dentist, American trained, 4 crowns for $1200. The best!

A doctor or dentist here can live three times as well as in the US for one third of the income. They make house calls. Well educated. Many commute between the US and Panama and have dual passports.

By the way, I sold a house that I bought in Cabrillo for 380K in 1997. I sold it for 1,200K, full price in October and for cash. I still own rental property in the PZ that at this point, is worth probably what I paid for it in 1998. Two years ago it was appraised at 1.2 Mil. I bought it all in 1998 for 360k, 100K cash. It brings me income of better than 60K a year gross, 30K net, net, and on a 100K investment plus $20K improvements. Hard to beat!

I had a very wise man tell me I was a fool to buy it. Maybe so. Perhaps I pissed 100K away. But the income?

Hope you are doing as well on the income side of your worthless property, if you own any. I read what crapkiller had to say, that you own two homes in the PZ. I researched it and found that it was true. Otherwise, I would have been on her case big time. Hate lies.

And should I improve worthless property? Should anyone else? Looks like logical slum lord position. And what will this do to the value of your property? Los Osos is falling into a slum situation, and you cannot deny this. 30% are renters.

And I have hope for Los Osos. Of course I have a vested interest.

Eat your heart out. The anti sewer activists have destroyed those owning homes in the PZ. And you have suported them consistently. I say penny wise, pound foolish.

Another note: I just heard Obama's speech. Hot stuff! This guy can speak. Sounds like he is offering the prommised land to me. Ready to move to Panama? Better bring cash!

Hillary is chopped chicken liver!
Feh! Had to do well in Virgina. Terrible defeat.

And now she is spouting on TV. Ain't heard nothing about the blood sucking lawyers. Good speach however. I love fervor. FEH!

Until this Los Osos sewer and water problem is solved, I will continue to pay previous assesments and the future assesment for property worth NOTHING. You too! And YOU get to pay to keep a roof over your head, but everyone does. There are better places everywhere. Only problem is that you are stuck in Los Osos and the major investment that you have ever made is up the spout!. Not me.

Mike Green understands. Oregon.

Enjoy the beauty of Los Osos! No need to change your striped socks. Beauty! Los Osos is special as to it's location and climate.

Ann, forget about Panama. Old white men marry/live with women less than half their age here, skinny and really good looking, and the old white geezers are in demand. They run around with women looking like their daughters.

I wonder what they talk about to their significant others. And skin color counts. The lighter the better. Fact of life here, as it is in the rest of the world.

I just like old women, women with intelligence, women to argue with and hold their own without spin. Married to one. Women with power politically, just like myself. Old, powerful, and wise. And they really run the world.

It always has been so, will not ever change, and Obama's major problem is that he stinks, his wife has said so. Go Oboma! I expect to hear the chant: B.O., Oboma, go B.O.! And this is reality. Not relevant, but will be accepted by fools.

Well, worse than NOTHING. It does not get worse.

Jon Arcuni

Churadogs said...

Jon Arcuni reports from Panama:"Hope you are doing as well on the income side of your worthless property, if you own any. I read what crapkiller had to say, that you own two homes in the PZ. I researched it and found that it was true. Otherwise, I would have been on her case big time. Hate lies."

Worthless property? Saaaayyy, Jon, if you really think the property you still own in Los Osos is "worthless," why don't you sign over the deeds and send them to me. I'll pay you a $1 each for them. Isn't a buck for "worthless" property a Great Deal? I think so. Whatta ya say?

Glad to hear you're happy in Panama. Sounds like a wonderful place to live. Is it a Gated community? Or just a CC&R type community of ex-pats? Plus coatimundis. Wheee!

4crapkiller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.