Sunday, June 27, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

This from Ted Kooser's book, "Flying at Night." Mr. Kooser's collections are availabe in paperback.  Do yourself a favor; buy one or two and dip into them every few days for some real treasures.

At the Center

In Kansas, on top
of an old piano,
a starfish, dry
as a fancy pastry
left sitting there
during a wedding,
spreads its brown arms
over the foam
of a white lace doily,
reaching for water
in five directions.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mista Kurtz -- he dead . . .

Calhoun’s Cannons for June 25. 2010
“. . . A penny for the Old Guy”
              T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

I understand. His war’s going badly, his men are getting killed in greater and greater numbers, and with every mistaken drone strike that takes out another wedding party a thousand clan members in a country of Hatfields and McCoys rise up as new enemies. It’s a tough job. Impossible, really, to nation-build in a corrupt, fundamentalist-ridden, narco-state, run by tribal war-lords, a country that not even Alexander The Great managed to subdue. Or the British. Or the Russians.

And maybe he and his small adoring wannabe staff of groupie-Aides have watched 300 too many times -- “This . . . is . . . SparTA!” – in between running 7 miles a day and eating like an anorexic runway model. It’s the warrior’s ascetic aesthetic. Way cool. I understand.

But Rolling Stone? That magazine’s always been bold and edgy and with Mat Taibbi’s recent breathtaking takedown series on the little piggies of Wall Street, that is the last magazine anyone in a position of power should sit down with to share a bottle of booze and have a gab fest. The story that results will surely rip your head off and hand pieces of it to you in 12 point type.

And a . . . general? A four-star one at that? Gossiping and sniggering with cronies, all dissing their civilian bosses like a 7th grade Mean Girl cat-party? What was he thinking?

Apparently, this was nothing new for General McBlabby, who used the press and very public venues before to break the chain of command and let the world know that he disagrees with civilian policy and that only he and he alone has The Way to solve the unsolvable. And if his civilian bosses aren’t listening to him, well, he’ll just up the ante in a way that can’t be ignored. After all, he’s . . . General McCrystal!

Which makes me think that maybe it’s time that we institute a new rule: Mandatory weekly attendance by ALL elected officials and government appointees and military brass in some sort of 12-step program, one designed to help people Get Over Themselves. Perhaps then we wouldn’t see this constant star-fall of bloated egotists blown off their lofty perches and crashing and burning all around us. It’s getting so the public can’t go outside nowadays without a hard-hat due to the constant rain of falling politicos and now a four-star general.

On the other hand, there was speculation that McCrystal had gone all Colonel Kurtz and was way, way up the dark river. Lord knows it would be understandable in the Mad Hatter Kingdom where killing al Qaida and Taliban allied with al Qaida has now morphed into killing plain old hard-core, bat-shit crazy Taliban who throw acid in the faces of young girls attending school, to killing angry run-of-the-mill Afghan patriots who only ally with the Taliban in order to get foreigners out of their country, joined by Pakistani-supported fighters sneaking across the border to play a deadly dual game for their own purposes. It’s all turned into a nightmare stew in a failed state run by tribal thugs. Dark river, indeed.

The President decisively settled McCrystal’s hash by removing him. He’s free now to go on the lucrative rubber chicken lecture circuit, get a fat book contract, and enjoy a luxurious retirement, even though it is a shame such an outstanding career ended so badly. Afghanistan is not only a human graveyard, it’s also the graveyard of careers as well as nations.

As General Petraeus will likely find out when he takes McCrystal’s place. Petraeus wrote the playbook McCrystal was using: COIN, [Counter Insurgency] a form of district by district “nation building” that can be costly to American soldiers and at this point is not going well in a country that (unlike Iraq) never really had a “nation” to build on in the first place. And if COIN is bogged down now, it remains to be seen whether the new General or his civilian bosses will have the time and will to figure out that Afghanistan is not Iraq and be able to change policy quickly enough to avoid a growing disaster.

One thing is for sure, Colonel Petraeus, a Spartan in his own right, will not be talking to Rolling Stone.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

This by Virginia Hamilton Adair from her collection of poems, Ants on the Melon, The Modern Library, 1999

An Hour to Dance

For a while we whirled
over the meadows of music
our sadness put away in purses
stuffed into old shoes or shawls

the children we never were
from cellars and closets
attics and faded snapshots
came out to leap for love
on the edge of an ocean of tears

like a royal flotilla
Alice's menagerie swam by
no tale is endless
the rabbit opened his watch
muttering late, late
time to grow

Friday, June 18, 2010

Uh, Oh, Ron's Asking Those Pesky Questions, Again

Regarding a recent Tribune story on the Los Osos CSD's settlement of the Taxpayer Watch's lawsuit, Ron Crawford wasted no time asking the Tribune one of his on-point, annoying questions.  Over at   Awwww, and I thought we'd be able to get through one week without the hideous sewer wars commencing.  Ah, well.  The Tribune's coverage of all things sewerish have certainly been, uh, very, very curious, indeed. 

The Tribune also reported that the federal bankruptcy judge approved the settlement of the TPW suit and the CSD's insurance company will pay "the bulk of the money."  Some of the regular Sewer Wars Commenters on this blog have gleefully and adamently declared, of this lawsuit, that the CSD directors named would go to jail!  The Tribune story doesn't mention that, which I know will come as a great disappoint to certain folks. 

Left on the to-do list at the CSD is the breach of contract lawsuit with the state water board & etc.  Now THAT'S the one I really, reeeeellly want to see persued because I'd reeeeeely, reeeeeely like to know exactly who (and when) breached that contract.  I know, I know, that'll never happen.  That info will be forever buried and the community forced to eat it all, or at least most of it.  Too bad. That's the (almost) final and in many ways most interesting part of the whole Sewer Saga.

Oh, a reminder to some readers: mind your manners, now.

Meanwhile, Down In The Gulf

More interesting wrinkles coming to light on the gulf oil spill.  One of the more interesting seems to be that if you are spilling X number of barrels, then chemical dispersment is the least harmful way to go. But, if you're spilling Y number of barrels, the least harmful is to leave it alone and get out the booms and start gathering it up -- that dispersment chemicals on Y is waaaaay more damaging. 

In the case of BP, it appears that BP knew they were spilling Y number early on but since they would be fined on the amount of Y and if Y was allowed to remain visible (undispersed) the reality of this disaster would be manifest, so they low-balled the number they gave out to the public/government, used dispersment to hide and make it sort of disappear into an even more lethal, uncontainable, hidden (and unproveable-in-court?) cloud  until it was too late.  

If true, then BP's actions will result in a worse disaster than if they'd come clean in the first place and openly went ahead with best practices right off the bat.  Why they didn't do that is likely because we have set up a system that rewards concealment and punishes honesty.  We'll see the result of that system play out in the Gulf. 

And, if true, maybe we need to think about changing that "system" into one that says, simply, if you lie to us and that lie causes more damage, then we'll take over your company and shut you down, seize all your assets and that's that.  BUT, if you come clean right out of the box, you'll still be responsible for the clean up, but your company won't be seized.  Would that apply sufficient "moral hazard" to companies to do the right -- smart -- thing? 

Yeah, not likely.  Sigh.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

This by Mary Oliver from her book, "Thirst," Beacon Press, 2006.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation

Calhouns Can(n)ons for June 11, 2010

When I first heard about the Gulf oil spill I was concerned, then alarmed. But after a while, the media started bombarding us with stories about all the Lessons We Have Learned since the blowout started. So I figured I’d better pay close attention in case I needed to learn something new and important.

We were told the only real fail-safe way to shut this well-head down was to drill a second relief well, which will take months. But then, we already learned that lesson some 30 years ago when the Xxtoc exploratory well blew and spewed about 420,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf until it could be capped months later. After that disaster a few countries (but, clearly, not America) learned the lesson and required all offshore deep wells to have a relief well drilled simultaneously with the main well. That way if something goes wrong at the head, relief is just a valve-turn away. But America decided years ago that that lesson wasn’t important and could be ignored.

Then we were told that we shouldn’t worry, that the President had his “boot on the neck of BP” and would make sure they paid for everything and made all the communities damaged by this spill “whole again.” Of course, we were given that lesson way back 1989 when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska and spilled 10.9 million gallons of crude all over the place.

Claiming that they would make Alaskan waters “whole,” Exxon’s lawyers really just fought that case in court for years and years while sympathetic judges kept cutting the awards down to slivers and by the time the real lesson was on display – privatize all profits, get Congress to “cap” liabilities and then stick as many of those liabilities as possible onto the taxpayer, and count on dragged-out litigation to whittle judgments and fines down to pennies on the dollar – Americans had forgotten the original incident and it’s final outcome. So, that lesson was an old one and had already been dismissed.

Pretty soon, as the present spill continued to roll on unabated, we were told that one key lesson we were learning here was that BP had a long slipshod record of repeated disasters, from the Alaska pipeline leaks to explosions in refineries, all caused by what EPA special agent Scott West called “ . . . a corporate philosophy that it was cheaper to operate to failure and then deal with the problem later rather than do preventive maintenance.” This record was loaded with lessons available for learning over the years, but, once again, the American public, Congress, and government agencies headed by ex-oilmen and Presidential cronies didn’t think they were useful lessons and so BP ended up with lots of drilling contracts and is now one of the biggest suppliers to the Pentagon to fuel its various wars. No new lessons there.

As Newsweek reported, in 2006 the EPA and the Justice Department decided to briefly learn a lesson from the “two massive BP oil leaks in Alaska caused by corroded pipelines,” and when they proceeded to try to take corrective action – which is what “learning lessons” should be all about – they were told to shut their case down, take a quick, cheap plea and just continue business as usual. When Jeanne Pascal, a lawyer in the EPA’s Seattle office, pushed for BP’s debarment from government contracts, she learned a valuable lesson: “When a major economic and political giant . . . tells you it has direct access to the White House, it’s very intimidating.”

But heck, that lesson is an old one that the American people didn’t think was worth learning in the first place. They’re fine with not understanding that when government is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oil Industry, the oil industry will simply do what they like and the American people will cover all costs and suffer all the damages. Hiding oil’s true cost so they can continue to see fake “cheap” prices at the pump is just fine with Americans.

Which means all our present media hype about “learning lessons” from this spill is just more hokum. Americans know all the lessons and have dismissed them all. This present spill will be no different. Congress will make a political dumb-show of faux gruffness, the courts will stick it to a few low-level officials, and BP will count on careful PR and -- thanks to Justice Robert’s Supreme Court -- unlimited corporate political contributions to erase everything from our collective memory in only a few months. Then it’s back to business as usual. No need for corrective rules and profit-reducing regulations; let the market take care of itself.

And for BP, that means about $17 billion in profits a year. So that’s a huge relief! Now we can stop watching news that’s filled with boring “lessons” that we have no intention of learning, pictures of dead pelicans, and interviews with whiny fishermen – boo-hoo, waah-waah -- and can once again relax and go back to watching our favorite TV show: “America: The Biggest Loser.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ripley Writes To The CC, But Is Anyone Listening?

The following excerpt will be/is part of the “public comment presented” to the Coastal Commissison for their Hearing tomorrow. Fifty million dollars will buy a lot of bananas. It’s also strange that the CC says they’re interested in “cost,” but is that anything more than window-dressing and/or an optional consideration? And what about the goal of competitive bidding as promised in the 218 vote? More window-dressing? More options? And what’s with the reference to “change orders,” which, of course, equals a no-cap, open ended, sky’s the limit cost.

Well, anybody want to lay odds on how the votes as to how “cost” and fair-bids  and change orders will fare Friday? Naw, me neither. Not here in “Chinatown,” at any rate. Done deals is done deals and if the community wants a more expensive project, then who is the Coastal Commission to deny them their wish?

Honorable Commissioners:

I am Dana Ripley, team leader for the Los Osos Wastewater Plan Update1

The process schematic of the 2006 Update Plan is very similar to the process schematic that I prepared for inclusion in the recently published “Water Reuse” textbook (McGraw Hill, 2007) as Figure 13-15. Thecaption of that figure reads:prepared in 2006 for the Los

Osos Community Services District.

Our final report was completed in August 2006 and was validated by the National Water Research Institute in December 2006. Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) collection isfundamental to the “2006 Update Plan” and is, in my opinion, fundamental to the long term success ofthe Los Osos wastewater project.

Schematic flow diagram of comprehensive water reclamation and reuse plan incorporating STEPsystems for low-, medium-, and high-density communities.

A copy of this schematic is provided as Attachment A. It represents what I believe to be state-of-the-artin small community wastewater collection, treatment, and reuse whether constructed for a new development or for an existing community upgrading to central collection and treatment.

My testimony to the Commission today will focus on cost and affordability. CC staff recognizes the importance of affordability to Los Osos homeowners and businesses as follows:

The affordability of the project has been and will continue to be a major concern for the residents of Los Osos2

1 Ripley Pacific Company, Los Osos Wastewater Management Plan Update for the Los Osos Community ServicesDistrict, San Luis Obispo County, CA, Wastewater Collection Treatment, Storage, and Water Recycling: Beneficial Reuse of Water and Nutrients. Digital and hardcopy provided to CC-Santa Cruz staff on February 8, 2010..

2 Application A-3-SLO-09-055/069 staff report, May 27, 2010, p.2

The single largest factor influencing affordability is obviously the project’s construction cost. The estimated construction cost of the 2006 Update Plan prepared by our team is presented as AttachmentB3. For comparison, San Luis Obispo County’s latest cost estimate for the gravity-based system is presented as Attachment C4

Based on my review of the two construction cost budgets, assuming service to both developed and undeveloped properties and cost escalation to 2010 dollars, the cost difference between the two systems is at least $50 million. That is, the 2006 Ripley Update Plan cost utilizing STEP collection technology is at least $50 million less than the cost for the County’s gravity-based collection, treatment, and reuse plan..

The actual cost difference between the two system alternatives could in fact be substantially greater than $50 million. For STEP construction, there is relatively low construction cost risk since excavations are shallow and impacts of unforeseen conditions can be mitigated easily. For this reason, the STEP contractor has offered a guaranteed maximum price cost basis to SLO County.

For gravity construction, however, construction cost risk is significantly higher due to deeper excavations and difficulty of dealing with unforeseen conditions such as high groundwater and archeological sites. The contractor will be required to fuse-weld at least 12% of the collection system and more if high groundwater is encountered beyond that already mapped. SLO County would be compelled to accept change orders for these unforeseen conditions which in essence provides for an open-ended contract, irrespective of what the winning competitive bid cost number is. Of course, the extent of change order costs cannot be known until project construction is complete.

I also note that the County’s budget for Broderson leachfields does not include a redundant disposal option as recommended by the project hydrogeologist due to the uncertainty of winter dispersal capacity at that site5

Based on the foregoing comments, it would be likely that the completed cost difference between the two systems could be substantially greater than the $50 million difference represented by the two attached budgets.

The Broderson leachfield system is a $6.1 million line item that may need to bereplicated at one or more other undetermined locations to provide sufficient winter dispersal capacity. Even with the minimum $50 million cost difference, the Commission is faced with at least two issues inconsistent with the Coastal Act if the applicant’s gravity collection system is constructed.

First, Coastal Act Section 30604(g) states:

The Legislature finds and declares that it is important for the commission to encourage th eprotection of existing and the provision of new affordable housing opportunities for persons of low and moderate income in the coastal zone.

3 2006 Ripley Update Plan, Table ES-5.
4 San Luis Obispo County, from SWRCB Credit Review Checklist, April 23, 2010, Table 1.1.
5 Spencer Harris, hydrogeologist, San Luis Obispo Planning Commission, June 30, 2009; “You’d better have capacity somewhere else.”
3Los Osos Wastewater Project Dana Ripley, PE CA Coastal Comm. June 11, 2010 De Novo Hearing Public Comment

A cost difference of this magnitude has a direct impact on affordability. A lower project construction cost will lessen the impact to low- and moderate-income residents living within the coastal zone.

Secondly, Coastal Act Section 30120 defines treatment works6

. . any devices and systems used in the storage, treatment, recycling, and reclamation of
municipal sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature to implement section 1281 of this title, or necessary to recycle or reuse water at the most economical cost over the estimated life of the works. .

, as follows:

Consistency with this section of the Coastal Act would require that the most economical plan be implemented, irrespective of any technology preference by the project owner. The $50 million difference in the two estimates would likely preclude the gravity system as a viable alternative.

I am aware of the applicant’s technology preference against STEP collection for reasons such as green house gas emissions, soil disturbance numbers, nitrogen removal, on-lot easements, and on-lot pumping. I believe that each of these issues can be resolved in favor of STEP collection given the opportunity in an open forum. It also must be reiterated that the STEP collection alternative was CEQA certified as environmentally superior in 2001, was determined to be a viable collection alternative in the current project EIR, and was intended to compete with gravity collection through the bidding process pursuant to the Proposition 218 assessment vote in 2007. Finally, the Request for Qualifications prepared by SLO County in December 2008 presented both gravity collection and STEP collection as accepted alternatives for interested design-build teams bidding on the Los Osos wastewater project.

Only with elevation of the STEP team into the competitive bidding process with guaranteed maximum bids can the $50 million cost differential presented above be ascertained one way or the other. The Commission should seek the assurance that the competitive bid process promised by the Proposition 218 vote will be preserved and that consistency with Coastal Act Sections 30120 and 30604 is upheld.

Including this requirement as a permit condition today will not only assure Proposition 218 and Coastal Act consistency, but will assure that project timelines remain in place to “maximize the project’s eligibility to receive funding support that can offset local costs” as urged by SLO County and your staff. Thank you for your consideration of these cost and affordability issues, and I am available for questions.


6 Definition of treatment works as set forth in Federal Water Pollution Control Act per Coastal Act Section 30120.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Tick, Tick, Tick. Running the clock out on Los Osos

The Coastal Commission will be hearing the Los Osos Sewer Project late on Friday, June 11th down in Marina del Rey. It’s the last item on the Agenda so there can be little or no discussion, just bang, bang, bang, No Time, Move Along, Nothing to See Here.

Over at the Rock is a nice little recap of How Things Get Done In This County. Once again, nothing to see here, move along, too late, Done Deal.

Actually, it was a Done Deal before the horse got out of the gate. Remember Noel King spilling the beans even before the TAC was formed? Oops. From there on, it was just a matter of a little grease there, a little spin here, orchestrated by Paavo and Gibson with a clueless/compliant Board (Move along, Boys, nothing to see here) and a clueless, manipulated community.

Well, that’s how it’s done in this county. And how it’s done when horses are put before carts; “Processes” are corrupted and deals are done. And, too bad for Los Osos. They’ll never know what the hard numbers would have been on an actual clean Design Build process and  project. Guestimates, but no hard numbers.

Well, thanks to a spun “public survey,” the corruption of the Design Build “Process,” the lack of real numbers, threats and electioneering by the Water Board, the homeowners picked from a carefully selected and limited list of options, without protest, so now they’ll get what they said they wanted: gravity system, sewer plant out of town, water reuse, affordable/cheaper/cheapest.

Well, sort of. The last wish –“affordable”—was never really possible. There was always just “unaffordable,” “really unaffordable,” and “holy s*#t! unaffordable.” And since we never had a real Design Build process, we never had real numbers so “cheapest” remains an unreal and unreliable “guestimated” moving target that can be manipulated at will. Which means that come Saturday, the community will get three out of four wishes. They could have had four out of four, except that Paavo & Gibson, Inc, were in charge of the show from Day One, so the community will be getting what they are given.

And, to give the devil his/her due, thanks to Sarah Christie and the Planning Commission, they’ll be given a much better project than the sprayfield plan the county was trying to ram through, (an expensive attempted ram-through that wouldn’t have happened had we been allowed to stick to the original (promised) plan of a clean process and clean DP. Sprayfields wouldn’t have made the final cut.) So, I guess we should be grateful for small miracles.

Over at The Rock is posted a glimpse of this game. Read it and . . . laugh?

Yep, that’s how it’s done.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

This one by Carl Dennis, from the June 7, 2010 New Yorker.

A Maxim

To live each day as if it might be the last
Is an injunction that Marcus Aurelius
Inscribes in his journal to remind himself
That he, too, however privileged, is mortal,
That whatever bounty is destined to reach him
Has reached him already, many times.
But if you take his maxim too literally
And devote your mornings to tinkering with your will,
Your afternoons and evenings to saying farewell
To friends and family, you’ll come to regret it.
Soon your lawyer won’t fit you into his schedule.
Soon your dear ones will hide in a closet
When they hear your heavy step on the porch.
And then your house will slide into disrepair.
If this is my last day, you’ll say to yourself,
Why waste time sealing drafts in the window frames
Or cleaning gutters or patching the driveway?
If you don’t want your heirs to curse the day
You first opened Marcus’s journals,
Take him simply to mean you should find an hour
Each day to pay a debt or forgive one,
Or write a letter of thanks or apology.
No shame in leaving behind some evidence
You were hoping to live beyond the moment.
No shame in a ticket to a concert seven months off,
Or, better yet, two tickets, as if you were hoping
To meet by then someone who’d love to join you,
Two seats near the front so you catch each note.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wait, Come back, I was only Kidding

While people are having a wonderful time boycotting Arizona to protest their “Ask & Tell” policy on people who look like illegal immigrants, there’s an interesting story in the June 7 Newsweek by Arian Campos-Flores.

Seems that the fertility rate in Mexico is in decline due to an aggressive government policy on family planning, increased education for women, etc. So the demographics in Mexico are changing and their “excess” young baby-bulge population will soon wane and instead of excess workers looking for work, Mexico will end up in equilibrium and if the birth rate continues to drop, will end up in the same pickle America is now: overrun with aging baby boomers.

According to Gordon Hanson, and economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the 1960’s “the baby boom ended in the U.S., but it continued for another two decades in Mexico. So in the 1980s and 1990s, there were fewer new U.S. workers looking for jobs but more Mexicans. On top of that, in 1982 the Mexican economy suffered a debt crisis followed by nearly two decades of sluggish growth. The American economy, on the other hand, performed far better, especially in the mid-to late 1990s, when it was humming at full throttle and hungry for foreign labor. “If you look back at the last two to three decades, it was really an exceptional period,” says Hanson.

“In the coming years, the politics of immigration could be completely scrambled: Mexican migration will taper off further just as baby boomers begin retiring, in 2012. USC’s [Dowell] Meyers predicts that the American labor force will start shrinking in some parts of the country by 2015, and that as boomers reach old age they’ll create even more demand for workers: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona starts pleading for Mexican workers who can help them in their retirement homes,” he says. “The potential here is to totally reverse our attitudes toward Mexican immigration.” It’s hard to imagine right now, but if the numbers hold up, the crisis on our borders may end up abating on its own.”

Well, isn’t that the way? You get what you wish for and suddenly it isn’t what you want or need. Dang! So instead of hollering about Mexicans, maybe all us American Baby Boomers might start re-thinking job pools and just who’s gonna mow their lawn or change their diapers in a few years.

Take a left at the huge pothole and don’t’ call me in the morning.

This story is simply too delicious to miss: Lauren Rosenberg downloaded a Google map then followed the map to a busy four-lane boulevard without any sidewalks that wasn’t safe for pedestrians but our Dear Ms. Rosenberg continued blithely onto the busy road “on a pitch black night and received multiple bone fractures that required six weeks of rehabilitation” after getting hit by a car. And now she’s suing Google. Her lawyer said that Google’s map “created a trap with walking instructions that people rely on. She relied on it and thought she should cross the street.”

A busy boulevard, in pitch dark, filled with rushing cars. And apparently she didn’t stop and say, like most people do using Google maps, “THIS MAP SUCKS! WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING? I’M GONNA FIND A BETTER ROUTE SINCE THIS CROSSING IS LIKE TOTALLY UNSAFE!”

But no. Cross the street then call the lawyer.

Google claims they have a disclaimer on their website to the effect that circumstances can change and the maps may not be up to date. And if you’ve used Google maps, you already know that the maps are often goofy and will send you the wrong way or the long way around so the people you’re visiting always ask, “Why the heck did you take that rout?” and you reply, “Google,” and they say, “Ah, yes, of course, Google.” And, of course, no Google map can’t possibly be up to date vis a vis road repairs, washed out bridges, and other such unsafe areas.

In short, maps are marks on a piece of paper. They’re abstract symbolic representations of a reality that may no longer exist. Mental constructs, really. And for most of us, they only act as a vague outline. But not to our young Ms. Rosenberg. Apparently, the map was concrete gospel and now she has a lawyer and a lawsuit.

Ya gotta laugh. And wonder how her attorney would have framed a legal case if she’d been walking down the street with her Google map clutched in front of her nose and fell into a pothole.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Grab Yer Dog(s)!

Saturday, June 5th at 11 am  will be the official grand opening of the Jody Giannini Family Dog Park (Morro Bay, at Del Mar Park in North Morro Bay. ).  There'll be hot dogs, buns, beverages, dogs and fun.  The opening ceremonies will be near the dog park entrance. For further information, call Mary at 772-8259. 

The beautiful park has been open for some time while some additional work was being done, but now it's all gussied up and ready for it's grand opening. It's a beautiful grassy area with a separate section for large dogs and small dogs.  So, grab your best buddy and come for a romp. (Above is The Mighty Finn McCool deciding whether to run left or right or around in circles.)  

And While You're At It 

Check out a new national organization that helps people who can't afford to spay/neuter their pets.  It's at www.imom.ort/spay-neuter/financial-aid.htm .  There's a form you can fill out on line and the imom committe will consider your request and if you qualify, can either pay your vet or help pay the vet's bill.  So if you know anyone who needs spay/neuter help, please pass this information on.