Thursday, November 29, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
I have never seen a bad performance at PCPA and their holiday presentations are always something even more special. This year is no exception. All your favorite Ozian characters are here, including the original music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. And even better, (and what could be more suitable to the Ozian material?), they've added the most amazing puppets (including Toto) designed by Emily DeCola of New York's Puppet Kitchen. She also created the puppets designs that were so beautifully utiltzed in PCPA's "My Fairytale," an original musical about Hans Christian Anderson's life that was presented a few years ago.
There is something so utterly magical about puppets in a theatre piece. The audience must push the "willing suspension of disbelief" even further into the realm of magic and childlike delight. As Ms. DeCola noted, "There is a co-creation that takes place whenever you ring a puppet on stage, wherein, the audience and performer are both 'believing' something into existence. As an audience, it's rewarding because puppetry ups the ante in terms of asking the audience to become more creatively involved in the work taking place on stage." Add in the always clever, often astonishing set decoration and incredibly skillful lighting and costumes, and you've got an absolutely enchanting piece of theatre.
So, do yourself a favor, give yourself a real Christmas gift, and don't miss this one. It's fantastic.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
In the fading photograph of the pleasure boat
The pleasure-seekers, dressed in their Sunday best,
Crowd all three decks, women in sun hats
Pausing to chat with bearded men in derbies
Who lean on the rail, listening to the band.
On shore, the quiet farms slide by. Here and there
A cluster of low houses, a river town. The sun
Shines overhead. Everyone looks willing to be interested,
Pointing to the inlets and islands, recalling their names,
Though many have boarded the boat nudged by a friend,
By a promise to a child, though the children are already lost,
Crying with their dolls in the passageways.
It's only because they're long dead
That they all look sad. But some must be happy.
Some must refuse to envy the boats in front
Or look back on the boats behind and sigh.
The ride is no empty promise to them
of a better ride to come, and no omen of a worse.
Whatever they expected to be shown is here.
Whatever lies behind the water, the sun, the air,
The uniforms of the band, is too imperfect to be be seen,
Unfinished, still composing its face in the dark,
Waiting, as this moment waited, below deck
Till the Sunday comes when it's ready to appear.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
The dogs had alerted to the sound and their noses were pointing up at the little windows in full hunting mode. Since Zuri, the Sloughi, is a fierce hunter and a pretty good jumper when motivated, I quickly hustled all the dogs into the house, opened the door to the garage, turned off the lights and got a broom to try to shoo the little guy out the door.
No such luck. He zoomed up into the dusty rafters and hid, ignoring the open door and my waving broom. So I gave up, rolled down the garage door, opened the back door (which is how he got in) and let him be and went back into the house.
A short time later I heard the fluttering again, this time at the front living room windows. Once again, hustled the dogs out the door, turned out all the lights, opened the front door and got out the broom, but the hummer was having none of it and flew around the room several times before crashing into the kitchen window and slumping down to the sink.
I quickly grabbed a tea towel, crept up, tossed it over him and gently scooped him up, fearful he'd bolt out and start the desperate chase all over again. But he was totally spent, his tiny feet tangled in sticky cobwebs and dust, exhausted. Since I had no idea how long he had been trapped, it's likely he hadn't eaten for some time and his reserves were probably on zero.
I gently carried him outside, still clutched in the towel, and started peeling away the cobwebs from his exquisite little clawed feet. When I had gotten enough of the stuff off, I pulled the towel away from his head. He lay there, his jeweled throat glowing magenta, but made no move to leave.
Suddenly he must have gotten oriented and leaped from my hands and fluttered clumsily into the nearest bush, his left wing akimbo. Suddenly sick at heart, I thought he might have broken his wing. But after a minute, he fluffed and shook himself and his wing fell into place. He then looked around and made a bee line for the feeder, landed on the perch -- belly up to the bar -- and proceeded to stand there and suck down that life-saving nectar.
Then, in all his fierce, fragile beauty, he flew off to the huge coyote bush, safe once again in his territory, focused once again on the business of living.
On this day, my list of things to be thankful for will be a long, long list. And right at the top will be the memory of the sudden, life-claiming flight of that determined little bird who burst out from a dark, scary place into the bright light of day.
There is craft in this smallest insect,
With strands of web spinning out his thoughts;
In his tiny body finding rest,
And with the wind lightly turning.
Before the eaves he stakes out his broad earth;
For a moment on the fence top lives through his life.
When you know that all beings are even thus,
You will know what creation is made of.
Sugaware no Michizane
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Gee, ya think?
Let's consider: Two years ago, Supervisor Gibson had a front row seat when he presided over and voted to fire County Administrator Dave Edge for his e-mail involvement in the Gail Wilcox Hot Mess mess. Up close and personal, he read the investigator's expensive, tax-payer financed report, with all the juicy details that ensue when people start Walking While Stupid, none of which involved Edge sleeping with anyone not his wife, by the way. Furthermore, the Tribune notes that Gibson is "chairman of CSAC's [County Supervisors Association of California] government and operations policy committee, which deals with, among other things, employee relations. (emphasis mine.) I know of no government office that officially approves of a boss sleeping with his employee. Indeed, it's generally understood that that's a really, really bad idea and is universally cautioned against. Yet none of these things stopped Supervisor Gibson from sleeping with the legislative aide he hired.
Which means 1) Supervisor Gibson feels he is above any and all behavior norms, codes of conduct, or even common sense. Or 2) Supervisor Gibson is incapable of learning anything from context and so is greatly in need of a list of clearly spelled out rules, such as, "Do Not Stick A Pencil In Your Eye," "Do Not Step Into The Open Door Of An Empty Elevator Shaft,"and "Do Not Have Sex With Your Subordinates."
So, yes, Board of Supervisors, please do let's get a Code. It's too late to stop this particular horse's ass from bolting from the barn, but maybe it'll help other context-challenged Supervisors and/or employees.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Bruce Gibson’s constituents trust him and believe he has integrity? Really?
In General Pretaeus’ case, he least had the integrity to resign, but in Gibson’s case, the poor voters have no such luck. Instead, the County went into a well practiced CYA dance. Staff spent gazillions of tax-payer-financed hours combing through all of Gibson and Ms.Cherie Aispuro’s emails and travel vouchers to see if they could glean anything that might stick them with a sexual harassment lawsuit. And then, because the county doesn’t have a written policy prohibiting such boss/employee canoodling, instead of firing Ms. Aispuro for Walking while Stupid (sleeping with your boss and thereby creating a “hostile workplace"), it raced to make sure Ms. Aispuro was given another job in another department at her nice cushy $68,890 salary, again to ward off any possible later lawsuits by Ms. Aispuro who might decide that while Gibson remained untouched in the Cat Bird Seat (no paper bag over the head for him! He's likely getting himself groomed for a run at higher office!), she had just been given the bum’s rush, and now that her reputation and career are permanently in the toilet, she might decide to Call Her Lawyer.
Well, in this county, that’s how it’s done.
As for Gibson, he’ll remain in office, and no doubt spend his last two years boring everyone to death with self-justification whining or slip into his endless stem-winding, Explain-It-All-For-You Supervisorial from-the- dais lecture a constant stream of defensive references to how much integrity he has, thereby causing everyone within the sound of his voice to roll their eyes and mumble, “Sure,sure, Bruce, sure, whatever you say.”
But the evidence speaks for itself. Like all Pols, Bruce has been betraying one group of constituents or another from the day he took office -- promise X, deliver Y, then defensively deny or weasle away from the cold-blooded pre-planned switch. The fact that this comes far too easily to Bruce speaks directly to both character and integrity.
And, as for matters of the heart, a man of integrity cleans up his messy love life before embarking on an affair of the heart . A man with no integrity double-deals as long as he can get away with it, and only when discovery is nigh does he cover his egotistical, lying ass by exposing his mistress to scorn and hanging his wife out to dry.
Then goes to the local newspaper to speak of “integrity” and “trust.”
Sunday, November 18, 2012
If you're unfamiliar with his work, please go get a copy of "Refusing Heaven," which is a good place to start and was the Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. It's out in paperback so is very affordable.
This poem, one of my all time favorites, says it all.
A Brief For The Defense
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the morning before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island; the waterfront
is three shuttered cafes and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
And if you think you already know everything you need to know about the Dust Bowl, trust me; You don't.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I do not have to go
To Sacred Places
In far-off lands.
The ground I stand on
Here, in this little garden
My pilgrimage ends.
The wild honeybees
the hummingbird moths
The flickering fireflies at dusk
Are a microcosm
Of the Universe.
Each seed that grows
Each spade of soil
Is full of miracles.
And I toil and sweat
And watch and wonder
And am full of love.
Living in place
In this place.
For truth and beauty
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Saturday and Sunday, Nov 10 & 11 from 8 a.m. - 3 at 915 Mesa St. in Morro Bay.
Loads of great Christmas ornaments, decorations, as well as other wonderful stuff. So, come early and get some great bargains with the proceeds going to help support the dog park.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
I'd have to be really quick
to describe clouds --
a split second's enough
for them to start being something else.
they don't repeat a single
shape, shade, pose, arrangement.
Unburdened by memory of any kind,
they float easily over the facts.
What on earth could they bear witness to?
They scatter whenever something happens.
Compared to clouds,
life rests on solid ground,
practically permanent, almost eternal.
Next to clouds
even a stone seems like a brother,
someone you can trust,
while they're just distant, flighty cousins.
Let people exist if they want,
and then die, one after another:
clouds simply don't care
what they're up to
And so their haughty fleet
cruises smoothly over your whole life
and mine, still incomplete.
They aren't obliged to vanish when we're gone.
They don't have to be seen while sailing on.
Saturday, November 03, 2012
Spent the last week in Fresno painting my sister’s laundry room a very pale Caribbean lagoon turquoise. Interesting thing about color; in a room the light bounces from wall to wall picking up and reflecting the color, thereby intensifying it. When we were done with the job and looked into the room from the kitchen, the whole room looked like an ice locker and I half expected to see clouds of icy fog come rolling out. A visual phenomenon which might be useful in Fresno in the summer. Save on air conditioning; just stand in front of your laundry room door and peer in and shiver.
And when we were done, we went to the Chaffey Zoo to feed a giraffe or two, who took the leaves so gently in their great long, long black tongues.
And then bent low to snorkel around to see if there was more shrubbery available.
Then it was off to peer into the huge aviary to spot the HUGE Andean condors with their 10 – 12 foot wingspans. The zoo has a mated pair and ever-hopeful keepers wishing for baby condors.
But the most spectacular exhibit was the newly installed Sea Lion Cove, a huge salt-water lagoon complete with underwater viewing station. There you could sit for hours watching the sea lions swooping, turning, hovering, or dozing in the flickering Caribbean blue pool the exact color of my sister’s laundry room.
One of the sea lions was nearly blind, but that didn’t interfere with her ability to swiftly navigate the pool flawlessly, coming without hesitation to within inches of the wall or glass barrier before effortlessly turning.
And we finished up the tour with a visit to the impatient Malay tiger waiting for his mate to arrive. The courtship will take some time and involve many nervous zoo personnel standing by and crossing their fingers since tiger matings can be lethal to the female since she deliberately seeks out the most aggressive, strong, healthy male she can find to mate with and the courtship battle often gets out of hand, alas. It’s behavior not unknown to some human couples, but one that is worrisome to the endangered tiger population that can’t afford to loose too many of its ladies.