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Plan For George Bush

This just came in from a friend. I don't know who wrote it:

George Bush has started an ill-timed and disastrous war under false pretenses by lying to the American people and to the Congress; he has run a budget surplus into a severe deficit; he has consistently and unconscionably favored the wealthy and corporations over the rights and needs of the population; he has destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward, the United States around the globe; he has ignored global warming, to the world's detriment; he has wantonly broken our treaty obligations; he has condoned torture of prisoners; he has attempted to create a theocracy in the United States; he has appointed incompetent cronies to positions of vital national importance.

Would someone please give him a blow job so we can impeach him?

GIMME SHELTER — Pics from Vancouver Island, Latest Music, Blogging

I just don't seem to have time to do a third of the stuff I want to do. Especially when I'm on, as I thankfully am now after 3 weeks of the doldrums. I wish I could be more stable, but stability cards I was not dealt with. I have these wonderful high periods when the energy seems to flow and I do the creative stuff, but — ugh! — the lows.

Blog vs. Newsletter

Communicating via my blog has kind of turned things around in my communications-obsessed mind. I used to get the word out to people via the physically printed word — books mainly, but also flyers, newsletters, pamphlets, booklets. I was just getting the whole production + printing press = something-you-hold-in-hand-and-read process down, when along came computers. And then the web. Yeow! Whole new world.

Most of my contemporaries (high school class of 1952) never breached the gap. Too daunting to learn alone, too difficult to get the right teachers. They've just given up (and seem to get along fine in the non-computer world). I was (I guess) lucky. Books used to be put together in physical "flats" with strips of type pasted down with wax, then shipped off to the printers. When that entire formidable industry shifted to computer-generated electronic files, I had to start over, and hired Rick Gordon, an experienced MacIntosh wizard of book production. As the years have gone by I've watched and learned from Rick. He helps me out every day with my digital struggles, putting me way ahead of where I'd be on my own. Digital communication has become an important part of my life and thoughts. So I'm struggling these days as to how much time to spend working on my blog and on my GIMME SHELTER newsletters.

Ulp! Have I said this before? Hey, it's not that your memory turns to mush as you get older, it's that there's only so much storage room in your brain and when you get to be about 60, the filing cabinet is full. Stuff gets jettisoned. (I know there are some of you who will feel better knowing this.)

It's a beautiful day with blue skies and cotton-ey clouds after a bunch of grey wet days and I'm going to spend an hour or so getting this out.


When I was 19, I lived half the time in Santa Cruz. We were surfers before rubber suits. One of my surfer friends, Rod Lundquist, rented a shack for $10 a month and had it fitted out with a record player and big speakers. He favored Beethoven, Wagner, Schubert, and at high volume. Here was this 20-year-old surfer's shack, 10-foot (balsa) surfboards all over the yard, and — bum-bum-ba-bum, Beethoven's Fifth, would rock the neighborhood. I started listening to Beethoven symphonies, and I'd forgotten about his music until I recently got the soundtrack to Immortal Beloved. I'm not big on "excerpts," but this is wonderful. I played it in my truck driving over the mountain and cranked the volume up to max. Whew! The landscape came alive as the music filled my veins. It was like rediscovering an old guru. The Allegretto from the 7th Symphony gave me chills, I remember — 50 years ago (ulp!) — listening to it on a grey day in Santa Cruz, watching a group of nuns walk down the beach from our beachside apartment window.

Rod Lundquist at his surfer's shack

Recent CD's: Unclassified, by Robert Randolph and the Family Band; A Bothered Mind by R. L. Burnside. Also: Five Guys Walk Into a Bar, a 4-CD set of Rod Stewart and the Faces, early rough and raw rock and roll, a lot of it live.

Random Pics From My Sept-Oct Trip to
Vancouver Island and Vicinity

In the interest of speed, I'm not naming all the builders or locations here.

The Wreckage, antique and what-have-you store run by Norma Baillie, built of driftwood and beach stuff in Ucluelet, west side of Vancouver island, by Bruce Atkey in the '70s

Woodshed by Peter Buckland

Left: Black bear on beach (eyeing me); Right: Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes, especially during berry season. Larger pile about 10-11" across.

Stairway in woods by Lloyd House. Triangular (in cross-section) steps split from cedar, so that the risers are at at the right angle when they're nailed to the steep rails.

Lloyd House's dog, Choo, followed me out into the woods on this split-cedar walkway. I heard this chattering noise — a squirrel up in the tree. As Choo approached he ran down the tree, tantalizingly almost within Choo's reach and tormented him. I'm sure he was saying, in squirrel-eze, you dumb mutt, give it your best shot, blah-blah. I mean it was a lot of noise. Then he jumped on the walkway right in front of Choo, who bounded off after him through the trees — unsuccessfully.

Staying In Shape, Paddleboards, E-Mail problems, The Blues

Staying In Shape

About six months ago I joined a gym. Running was fine for cardiovascular training and lower body strength, but I was surfing less and had lost upper body muscle. The gym was great. In 3 weeks I was putting on muscle. As Bill Pearl says, people are thrilled when they start weight training because results come quickly. Then I took a month-long trip and wasn't able to lift weights. I came back to the gym and went right back into my routine, and injured my shoulder doing bench presses. It was terrible. I've never had a debilitating upper body injury (although plenty of lower body running ones). My brother and a bunch of my friends have had rotator cuff surgery, and I really didn't want that. Went to a good doc, had MRI's; after several discussions I decided to treat it myself. Short happy ending: applications of arnica oil, vitamin supplements, a handheld accupressure vibrator, mild exercises, and finally paddling a surfboard in Canada, and after 4 months the shoulder is regaining strength. I decided to give up on the gym, because it takes me an hour to get there, so a 2-3 hour round trip doesn't make sense. I decided to work out at home. I have a multi-purpose weight machine, a Vasa trainer (elegant machine for swimmers and surfers), dumbbells, chin-up bars and elastic straps in the office.

Paddling at Sunset

You never miss the water 'til the shoulder gives out: last night I went for a paddle and was it fun! I have a racing paddle board (it's a big sport in Southern California). It's sleek in design, and a bit funky in finish — painted grey with dilute Bondo; it looks like a shark. I'd forgotten what a pleasure it is to paddle — totally different from a surfboard. As i headed out to sea it skimmed across the water with each double stroke. (I paddle butterfly-like, not crawl style.) It was grey and cloudy and starting to get dark and the water was glassy. Rain started to fall. I was in heaven, gliding like a water skeeter. I headed out to the reef, about a mile and by the time I turned around and came back it was dark. Good smells, upper body pumping. Great things can be so simple. Came home and had a healthy slug of brandy and hot shower. Oh yes.

Never Check Email In The Morning

(Above is title of new book by Julia Morgenstern.) An article in the NY Times yesterday


was titled Got Two Extra Hours For Your E-mail? Boy, did it "resonate." as they say. In spite of swearing off the practice, I keep getting sucked back into checking e-mail the first thing every morning. It really fucks up my day. or more precisely, it shoves a whole bunch of stuff in my face that I have to deal with then and there. Might as well dump the junk while I'm at it. Might as well answer the various inquiries and miscellany while they're open. And it's true, there goes 2 hours. This morning, I wanted to do some writing and some layout, so I'm letting my e-mail in-box sit there, simmering with messages whose perpetrators expect replies. My latest thinking is to try to back away from such frequent checking, and to start out the day working on stuff I'm generating. And you know, maybe I don't have to answer every e-mail. Shocking concept, eh? I mean, just who's in control here anyway? Check out that article, it's really good.

Music of the last 24 Hours

Buddy Guy: Buddy's Blues — The Best of the JSP Sessions 1979-82. Extraordinary live blues album. Amazing that such a master gunslinger guitar player can sing so beautifully. Then this morning I heard Howlin' Wolf doing the song 300 Pounds of Joy. "Hoy! Hoy! ah'm de boy, 300 pounds of muscle and joy…" What a powerhouse! On the strength of that I just ordered The Chess Box Set of Howlin' Wolf, a 3-disc collection.