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Sauna in Haida Gwai (Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia)

Some photos of this unique little sauna by Colin Doane on Haida Gwaii (First Nations' name for were the Queen Charlotte Islands) sent us when I was on a book-signing tour. Looks like whalebone rafters in front.

The Earliest Macintosh

A Change Is Gonna Come, Yes It Is

Around 1967, my friend Bob Easton and I talked about the ending of the "old consciousness." It truly did seem like the dawning of a new age, and we thought the world with soon catch up with our countercultural concepts. Well, a lot of us did go off and build houses, or start organic farms, or get politically or ecologically active, etc., but it just didn't make it out to the mainstream. Many of the baby boomer movers and shakers of the age dropped their worship of the planet for the worship of wealth. Greed replaced Green, and we ended up 30+ years later with a murderous, anti-ecological, wrong-in-every-possible-way government. Did you see Cheney's black hat at the inauguration? Puh-leeze! Someone said his arm is about to fly up, like Dr. Strangelove's. It was an emotional day for me, I have to admit. I've been waiting so long for this. To see this beautiful man, and his beautiful and strong and smart wife, and beautiful little girls, with his cool and intelligent demeanor, and to have played that music on Sunday, I mean: Stevie Wonder, Usher and Shakira; Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow and Will. I. Am; Mellincamp backed by a kick-ass choir; the ecstatic look on Pete Seeger's face as Bruce Springsteen played backup. Ooo-weee!
To see that moment, with the reign of darkness ending, was just a bit overwhelming. It is a goddamned different consciousness, yes it is! I know I'm naive. I tend to fall in love — with people, places, animals — and am not daunted by past disappointments and failures, and so I'm overboard optimistic about the future. Just to be moving in the right direction. We got a prince for president.
Jon Carrol, the very fine and often funny San Francisco Chronicle columnist wrote something about Al Green's version of A Change is Gonna Come, and I looked it up on YouTube and here is just an amazing performance, from 1995. Somebody say Oh Yeah!

A Cold Clear Sunny Day in D.C.


Tears of Joy

I didn't know about the Sunday concert (We Are One-The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial) on HBO, I just happened to walk by the TV at the precise moment that Bettye LaVette walked onstage and started singing. "I was born by the river…" of Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come. I was riveted. And then what happens? Out strolls Jon Bon Jovi, who I've never seen before, and what a voice! The duet was gorgeous. "A change is gonna come, yes it will…" It made me cry. All these years of darkness and greed, can it be true that the sun is going to shine on this country again?

You Can Take the Boy Out of California, But You Can't Take California…

I love getting out of California, but I love getting back. From a Southwest Airlines flight, here is a view of the Rockies as we head west. Then, later, some only-in-America gorgeous canyon lands.

As we pass lake Tahoe and get to Sacramento, my heart skips a beat as I see the gentle green hills of California: with all her faults I love her still.

Powder Snow and Mountain Lion Tracks at 9000' Elevation

Bob's house is at 7000'. The first day up in the mountains with him, I felt like I had cotton in my mouth. But the next couple of days I felt surprisingly good. It was probably the elation of being out in the powdery snow, with the blue skies, the cold clear air, so different from California. After falling a few times I got the knack of snowshoeing.

On the 3rd day we went up with Bob's friends Larry and Billy. It was a beautiful Rocky Mountain morning. Bob leads the way, he's like a coyote following animal trails. He keeps his pace down so we can keep up. Larry and I discover common interests is Native Americans, Baja, and wild animal skeletons and I'm so excited I forget to be tired.

We're up in the hills for almost two hours and on the way back discover these mountain lion tracks. This was a big cat. You can almost see him, bounding through the snow, fwump, fwump, fwump.