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Circo Nacional de Mexico

Circu National de Mexico


   A Mexican Circus has come into town.

  This might be an interesting circus to see.

   I went to a Mexican Rodeo once… it was a lot tougher on the animals that what you see in the USA.   It might offend the sensibilities of some ‘Amis’, or ‘Yanqes’ to see some instances of what wuld be seen as ‘animal misreatment’ in the US.

   I did see a matador get hit by a bull in Spain once. After the animal was lured away, some six buddies of his, all decked out in those flashy red uniforms, came out onto the field and hoisted him horizontal onto their shoulders and carried him out of the arena.


Circo Nacional de Mexico




long ear


   I was in line at a stop sign behind a fellow in a VW van. He had pretty large earlobes. I think  these are among the largest ear-lobe holes I’ve ever seen.  Funny thing was, he’s from Oregon… I remember thirty years ago when Oregon was this real ‘Conservative’ place; just lumberjacks and a few tech companies (Beaverton) and agriculture… beautiful green hills, and a conservative lifestyle… yeah, they hated California Hippies too.  But somehow over the last three decades, so many Californians moved there, that it seems the place has became more liberal than California.  In fact, both Vickie being from Anaheim, and me being from a conservative agrarian/military area of California might be more conservative than many of the people I’m seeing from Oregon.



   Sorry Oregon.. we didn’t mean to send our liberals north to you… they kinda went on their own.



Same problem… which ‘solution’ shall we use

Grain prices have made a huge run-up in the last year. Much of this is due to the public and the governments glee and quick acceptance of giving incentives to grow corn for ethanol production even though it takes almost a gallon of diesel to produce one gallon of ethanol…. and this does not account for the land lost to food production.

  Whenever you have a problem, it seems there is usually three ways to approach and attempt to rectify. One might be a good way, one a bad way, and one that might be mixed. In the face of these rising food prices, many countries have enacted barriers disallowing their farmers from exporting those foodstuffs. The idea is that the country will keep its food products, allowing prices to go lower.  There is another way one can rectify such a dilemma, how about encouraging farmers to grow more, so that you can export that high priced wheat and corn before everyone realizes that ethanol from corn seems a pricey solution, and corn prices plummet. 

  There is a good articleabout the two extremes taken by two countries in South America, Brazil is encouraging production by helping farmers gain the credit to purchase the large (and expensive) machines that will help out on farms of many thousands of acres. And Argentina is not increasing production, but is instead hindering exporting of these foodstuffs.

   It will be interesting in the next few years which policy will result in expansion of the state’s coffers, as well as ensuring a safe and plentiful (ergo inexpensive) grain supply.

Looks like this town is finally going to die away…

Something I wrote originally in October 2006
‘The Last Spike’
~Cowboy Junkies~ 

Mornings feel so damn sad these days
without the call of the 8:15
That old familiar echo
has finally died away
leaving nothing but a chill
where there once was a mighty scream

And I’ve watched the flat cars
take away our timber
I’ve watched the coal cars steal our rock
And now that we’ve got
nothing left to take we’re told
that the wheels will stop turning,
the whistles will stop blowing,
these foolish dreams must stop

Last year they closed down the post office,
took the only flag we had in town
That old brick building
still stands like a cenotaph
to a vision lost and buried in
a very distant past

And I’ve watched the flat cars
take away our timber
I’ve watched the coal cars steal our rock
And now that we’ve got
nothing left to take we’re told
that the wheels will stop turning,
the whistles will stop blowing,
these foolish dreams must stop

The longest train I’ve ever seen
was the train that you were on
I walked you to the station,
we kissed and you were gone
I dream at night about you coming home
The train in the station,
your uniform on fire
as you step onto the platform
the band plays a little louder,
and as we embrace your cap falls off
Oh, I guess these foolish dreams must stop

Mornings feel so damn sad these days
without the call of the 8:15
Looks like this town is finally
going to die away
leaving nothing but broken promises
where there once was small town dreams

And I’ve watched the flat cars
take away our timber
I’ve watched the coal cars steal our rock
And now that we’ve got
nothing left to take we’re told
that the TV station will be closing,
Main Street windows will need boarding,
that these foolish dreams must stop



I said goodbye to an old friend this last week.

    It was not a person, it was a building, and in a sense it is a metaphor of my life to this point.



    The building is one I first walked into over twenty-five years ago as a young kid not too long out of the Army. It was supposed to be a temporary job they told me, but it lasted over a quarter century in that building and some others nearby. During that time, it was often the center of our operations, and the focus of most of my attention at work. Ten thousand times I’ve driven up that long steep road bringing materials and supplies, or myself. Ten thousand times I’ve greeted the people I worked long-long hours with. Ten thousand times I’ve punched the clock, or more recently, logged online to complete my timecard.




    I’ve watched renovations and procedures come and go. We tweaked the process where we could in order to work more efficiently and produce a better product.




   And always, the specter of layoff was around the corner. For a quarter of a century we’ve been told “layoff may be in the next year or two”. So most of us continued our previous skills as a sideline venture, or learned new ones. Mine was landscaping, growing cactus and building web pages.




   Now the walls come (figuratively) tumbling down as we take the last pieces of equipment from the old grand building.




    Half of my life has been spent serving this building and it’s occupants, and all I own is due to this last quarter century of work that the company has given me. I am not from a wealthy family, my mother was a refugee from Nazi/Communist Eastern Europe, and my father is the son of poor Ozark Missouri Farmers who never owned much but hardscrabble hill dirt, and lost it all at the tail of The Depression. But now, I live on acreage in California! What a dream!! It shows what can be done in this country with hard work, perseverance and dedication. This is the greatest country on the earth, and I am so thankful that my parents went through the trauma they did so that I could access the opportunities that this land has to offer.




   The marketplace of life is set to a certain level, what the mean average produces is what the mean average life will acquire. If you want more than that you have to work very much harder.




    Yet the marketplace of life varies depending on the local market. An example is a Third World country, where the people live in huts, walk a mile to carry a bucket of water back from the creek, and have open sewers. The common person there will toil and have those meager benefits, the ones there who work smarter and harder will have perhaps a small house with no electricity. But they will have to work so much harder for that than the common person there. But in this country, the lazy will often be given tax benefits for not working much, they might be given an apartment. The half willing will be able to afford just a bit more than the non-working. But those who desire to work hard might be able to reap great rewards if they do not blow their money. With due time, and good management of their personal resources they might in a few decades be able to live a comfortable life. The standards of this particular land are so much higher than other countries, and it is not with much exaggeration that I say that if you cannot make it in this country, you can’t make it anywhere.




  So, the other day, I took the last load out, yesterday I drove the big forklift some eight miles down the road to the depot to await disposition. But before I did, I took one last walk through the building, remembering old times and people, the ones who have passed on, and the ones who have retired. Many are the old friends who have been laid off, almost none of us are left. The place is officially closed and powered down, and my time with the company is nearly up also.




    While I have some trepidation with this move into a new phase of life, I am excited for the prospects too. Luckily I am not afraid of work, and the cactus business continues to grow. I also have new venues in mind to pursue, some exciting things most certainly lie ahead for me.




   To all the people I have worked with through the years… I thank you all for the things you have taught me, I’ve grown so much due to the advice and lessons I’ve learned. I’ve been blessed to work with some of the greatest people in the country, in the greatest country there ever was. I will always remember the good times, and the good work we did. What we did was for the benefit of the USA, and I am so happy to have paid back some of my debt to the country that gives me such opportunity. Thank you all so much. And I wish all of you the best in your own new ventures.



    It was a pleasure to have worked with and known you folks. God Bless you all.



California Coffeeberry… Wooden Ships


California Coffeeberry



   No, it’s not coffee at all. It was just named that due to its resemblance. It is a wild shrub in California, and has an attractive foliage all year long, and at times has these very attractive berries that are food for much wildlife. We have many of these plants on our property, they are one of the plants I resist removing or cutting.

   This is not a plant to eat… the berries will cause intestinal problems that can only be resolved by sitting on the toilet for many, many, many hours…. and you might wind up in the hospital… so don’t eat these! 


   You can click the image to see it much larger.




   This is the ‘Rhamnus californica’  subsp. occidentalis   species




california coffeeberry




~David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Paul Kantner~
‘Wooden Ships’



If you smile at me, I will understand
‘Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
in the same language.




I can see by your coat, my friend,
you’re from the other side,
There’s just one thing I got to know,
Can you tell me please, who won?





Say, can I have some of your purple berries?






 Yes, I’ve been eating them for six or seven weeks now,
haven’t got sick once.






Probably keep us both alive.






Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy,
Easy, you know the way it’s supposed to be,
Silver people on the shoreline, let us be,
Talkin’ ’bout very free and easy…
Horror grips us as we watch you die,
All we can do is echo your anguished cries,
Stare as all human feelings die,
We are leaving – you don’t need us.





Go, take your sister then, by the hand,
lead her away from this foreign land,
Far away, where we might laugh again,
We are leaving – you don’t need us.





And it’s a fair wind, blowin’ warm,
Out of the south ove
r my shoulder,
Guess I’ll set a course and go…








Benefit Show for Fairview Gardens & Center for Urban Agriculture is the beneficiary of the Santa Barbara Art Association’s November 2008 Benefit Show. As stewards of the good land, Fairview Garden Farm provides wholesome local, organic food at the farm stand, farmers markets and through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program




As the Center for Urban Agriculture, the farm is a vital source of hands-on education for visiting school classes, public garden tours, Adult Education cooking classes and Summer Farm Fun camps.



The value of our local soil is abundantly clear when you tour the garden, experiencing the diversity of row crops and fruit trees. It has been estimated that a 30′ depth of the richest growing soil in California exists in parts of Goleta and Santa Barbara.



The value of well-maintained green spaces is evident in the wake of the Gap Fire, where agricultural land was an essential firebreak between the foothills and homes. Fairview Gardens is part of the Santa Barbara Land Trust.



You are invited to paint at Fairview Gardens between 8 AM and sunset, daily. Be respectful of the health of plants and soil by keeping to the pathways, and packing all materials and rinse water out. Do not compact the soil by walking between rows.

Use caution around farm machinery and irrigation. Images honoring the beauty of farmland, farm buildings and equipment, farm animals and birds, botanicals, figures in the landscape, and the agrarian way of life are preferred.

All SB county artists are welcome to submit up to 3 pieces, but a maximum of 2 will be allowed into the show. Sculpture that fits on a G113 pedestal may be represented with a photo that includes dimensions and weight.



Entry fee: $10 per piece with no refunds. Artists need to carry their accepted piece(s) from the Faulkner Gallery to Gallery 113 from 3 – 4:30 pm and pay $5 to help cover the reception costs. SBAA members must sign up to sit at Gallery 113.



The Fairview Gardens will receive 25%; the artist will receive 50%, and the remainder goes to Gallery 113 after sales tax and credit card fees have been deducted.


Ingathering for Publicity:  Wednesday, Sept. 3
Goleta Library at 500 N. Fairview, Goleta
Ingathering: 1-2 PM;  Pick up: 3:30-4 PM



Show Ingathering Date:  Monday, November 3
Santa Barbara Main Library, Faulkner Gallery
Ingathering: 10 AM -12:30 PM;  Pick up: 3:00-4:30 PM




Gallery 113 Reception:  1st Thursday, November 6, 5 – 8 PM




For more information contact:
Erin Williams
Santa Barbara, CA
(805) 698-0669





An oak gall

Oak Gall

an oak gall


   This is an oak gall. It came off one of our oak trees.  I don’t worry about these, even though they are the result of an insect. I don’t think they do a huge amount of harm to the oaks…. and they are interesting in themselves. Sometimes I’ve cut them open and found the little dark insect within.  It is a  Cork material in the gall itself… with the insect right near the center.

   In fact, it is an oak tree species that cork is harvested from. I recall seeing yards of it, the cut cork bark laid flat and stacked ten feet high near rail yards in Portugal, awaiting transport… probably to France to bottle wine. I bet some of that same wine is still in cellars getting better by the year.



Calif Native Garden Foundation Workshop

Join us for a two-day workshop:  Learn how to Design, Build and Manage your Native Garden!
Designing, Building & Managing a Native Garden
A series of do-it-yourself classes offered by the California Native Garden Foundation.
Saturday, September 13th
4:30-6:00 Designing a California Native Garden
6:00-7:00 Discussion and Question and Answer session
Sunday, September 14th
10:00-3:00 Garden Tour of private native gardens in San Jose
Where: The California Native Garden Foundation, and various gardens
76 Race Street, San Jose, CA 95126
The California Native Garden Foundation offers a series of classes on how to Design, Build, and Maintain a California Native Garden yourself. These classes will introduce you, the do-it-yourself home gardener, to creating a sustainable, low-maintenance, and water conserving garden around your home.
In “Designing, Building and Managing a Native Garden” you will learn how to start visualizing your native garden, learn how to incorporate native plants, learn which native plants are right for your yard, and get many design ideas for your project. This class will be taught by Alrie Middlebrook who has more than 30 years experience as a professional landscaper and author. 
The Garden Tour will feature three private gardens in the San Jose area where you see hands on how each garden reflects the natural environment around it, and learn from the designer first hand about garden styles and how each garden was constructed.
One or more Classes and/or Garden Tour: $40 for members, $65 for non-members.  Please RSVP to reserve your spot.
All proceeds go to support the work of CNGF.  The purpose of the California Native Garden Foundation is to influence Californians to garden more sustainably.  We teach Californians how to use native plants to create a garden that mimics the natural environment, saves water and energy, creates wildlife habitat, and fits beautifully into your neighborhood.  We work with local schools to assist in the creation of native demonstration gardens, and teach young people about ecology.  Please help us by joining the foundation today!
For more information please contact:
The California Native Garden Foundation
76 Race Street San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 292-9993

California Native Garden Foundation
76 Race St. San Jose, CA 95126, California 95126 | 408-292-9993

Fall Organic Harvest Benefit

Save the Date!

OFRF’s 16th Annual
Fall Organic Harvest Benefit
Reception, Dinner & Silent Auction

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
5:00 to 9:30 pm
One Market Restaurant, San Francisco

$300 per person suggested donation

RSVP online
or call OFRF at (831) 426-6606

This special fall tradition for the Northern California organic community returns again this year to the beautiful One Market Restaurant by the Ferry Plaza. Showcasing the finest organic foods from the region, John Mitchell’s team of top chefs will create a wonderful five-course autumn feast. Come celebrate the harvest with friends old and new, and help us honor a local organic farming pioneer.

Fall Organic Harvest Benefit Chefs

[ Privacy Policy] | [ unsubscribe here]
Organic Farming Research Foundation
303 Potrero St. #29-203, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
tel. 831-426-6606,
giving@ofrf.org, www.ofrf.org.

Calling for dance Troups for Barcelona

We got this e-mail… and even though I don’t dance, since it is from Barcelona, a town I fell in love with decades ago… I must pass it on…

FYI, Barcelona also has one of the most reknown cactus gardens in the world!

Oh Barcelona…. a very pretty town, nestled on a beach on the Mediterranean…. so much like my own beloved Santa Barbara.




Call for Dance Schools/Groups:

Interested in performing in Europe?

Dear Choreographers/Directors/Dancers friends and colleagues,

The Directors of Barcelona Dance Award, present the International Dance Competitions for Dance Schools/Companies
and invite your dance group to performing at the most prestigious dance event in Europe the next 2009 season.

 BARCELONA DANCE AWARD – from 9th to 13th  April 2009 in Barcelona (SPAIN)
and DANCE GRAND PRIX from 18th to 22nd June 2009 in Italy and in Paris (France).

 For the past few years, acceptance to our annual festivals has been extremely competitive, please
prepare your application promptly according to the guidelines, we look forward to receiving your applications.

 We kindly ask you to help us distribute our news through your electronic network or printing out and
hanging our postage/news/material up at public places at your eventual dance hall or studio.

organizer E-Mail: <barcelonawardance200@tiscali.it>

our updated Web Site: <http://web.tiscali.it/barcelonawardance08/

We are looking forward to hear from your comments!

Best wishes,

We invite you to submit applications for this exciting 2009 Festivals/Competitions:

We encourage modern/ballet dance emerging and established choreographers/companies to apply.

 Designed to showcase/competition the work of approximately 50 emerging and established dance schools/companies  from all over the  World, in marathon-like performances. The 2009 DANCE COMPETITIONS is an integral part of the larger Annual dance Award Europe curated by W.R Dancefestival Association the program will represent the freshest and most original emerging contemporary dance artists.

 The audience has the opportunity to enjoy up to 6-7 different companies in each hour of programming, evening and daytime weekend performances.

  We look forward to your participation and I hope to see you at the next DANCE CONTEST! come with us to our next step, Travel, Dance, Compete, and enjoy the best Old Wood stage TheatreS in EUROPE.

I’m inviting the “Dance Directors” who are willing to invest in themselves and who are interested in expanding their knowledge of other cultures, as well as promoting their work abroad, says Mr. Marcelo Barbieri  I’m looking  for “Dance Groups” who see this thrilling event as an opportunity to benefit their professional development.

 The Directors will have an opportunity to network and attend all performances by groups from all over the world.

 To find out how to qualifye mail the office space is limited, so “Dance Directors” should act right away.


 This exciting trip will give dancers and students an excellent opportunity to present their work, to network with directors, producers, other artists, (hopefully to negotiate new engagements!) to compete and win the awards with the own performances.

 The Dance Grand Prix Festival literally draws thousands of people from all across Europe and other parts of the world, the festival is a thrilling extravaganza of hundreds of artists performing dance, theater and music within a wonderful old stage theatre near the famous EU Art Cities, courtyards, outdoor cafes and the hotel accomodations on the beach of the MEDITERRANEAN coast this truly promises to be an unforgettable experience.

 Choreographers, dancers and chaperones will receive hotel three star accommodations in twin beds rooms with bathroom/shower.

 We provide an entire and complete production package which includes excellent theaters, lighting, sound, technical assistance, publicity, pre-show rehearsal arrangements, and printed programs and poster advise all over the city.

 Our managers will meet your dance groups on the “Welcome Bus Service” in the meeting pointe airport.

 I look forward to your participation and I hope to see you at the next festival.

Have questions? Please email us and in a few days you will receive some advertising materials from us, the new brochures and posters of the  Dance Awards free on charges for you: 

please fax or e.mail the request at organizer E-Mail: <barcelonawardance200@tiscali.it>

our updated Web Site: <http://web.tiscali.it/barcelonawardance08/>  

Full Name:____________________________________________

School/Company Name:  ________________________________



Email Address:________________________________________* REQUIRED FIELD

Shipping Address:_____________________________________

City:____________________ State/Province:_______________

Country:________________________ ZIP/Postal:___________

You are receiving this e-mail because I believe you to be interested in developing  your artistic career.

If you fell you have received this e-mail <barcawardance@tiscali.it> write remove in the subject line and click send.