a week in Pacifica

Pacifica is a community of about 40,000 extending 6 miles of beaches and hills along the Pacific ocean south of San Francisco.  We are regular annual visitors since 2 sons and better halves and now a grand child live in the area.  And Pacifica is undergoing stress of change as new money moves into a once lower middle class area. Nudged by my sons we now use uber for airport trips and airbnb for lodging and this time we rented a delightful beach house just one block (say 80 yards) from Read more [...]

better air in the country & my standby indicator

Air is generally better in the country because there is less traffic and other emissions.  Unless you are close to a power plant or farm spraying operation.  Atlanta has an air quality index and warnings are issued when the AQI veers from good/moderate to unhealthy and very unhealthy.  Because we have lots of traffic, air quality becomes a problem particularly in the warmer months when smog forms. I can see the difference in air quality when I walk outdoors - just look at the lichens.  Read more [...]

my bees and “Guns, Germs and Steel”

I just finished reading "Guns, Germs and Steel" by J. Diamond.  A well documented and persuasively argued book with the main conclusion  that peoples in different continents and in different areas in the same continent developed differently, not because of race/genetic/biology differences, but because of differences in their physical environments.  Food for thought. Last year I installed 2 packages of bees on the same day in very similar spots.  Both had Hawaiian queens.  I watched the development Read more [...]

“choose your parents wisely” he said

This Monday morning it was colder than it had been for weeks and the breeze along the river trail was chilling, inside and out.  I was therefore happy to see Bill walking toward me - a good reason to stop running and chat.  Bill began his morning river walks when he was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and now he is out all mornings. Bill  (a former surgeon) informs me that since more heart attacks occur on Mondays than on any other day he, that morning, tripled his daily aspirin intake.    We Read more [...]

“how’s your oatmeal?” he asked

"How's your oatmeal?" he asked and his face broadened to his ever friendly, genial grin.  Too friendly, considering he asks this question every Saturday morning when our run/walk group concludes the exercise phase and relocates to the breakfast restaurant.  This is "Bob" who recently survived a pulmonary embolism, whose specialists never raised the diet topic, and for whom a good meal is one of his life joys.  And a good meal does not include oatmeal - rather fried eggs and rashers of bacon.  Read more [...]

west coast trip – fulfillment outdoors (part 2)

Larry North of SanFran is Marin county and north of it is Sonoma county and Bodega Bay. The promontory called Bodega Head has craggy cliffs overlooking the ocean with crowds of cormorants and seagulls soaring and calling. On a rocky guano caked outpost flecked with salt foam, squadrons of Pelicans have gathered. And then they pitch forward and off and with powerful wings thrumming they beat above the foaming sea and ascend higher and higher in broad V wave formations until they disappear Read more [...]

2 good books, water sustainability, okra & butterfly season

I never used to read science fiction.  But technology and sustainability hold my attention and I read good futuristic books on these topics.  "Ghost Fleet" a technothriller on the next world war portends problems with technology and is well researched with extensive footnotes.  Now I have completed my interactive Python programming course with Rice University via Coursera, I have begun my next read, the Water Knife about a water starved west beset with dust clouds and violence.  Both are excellent Read more [...]

the dna cop-out

We generally accept responsibility for our actions but not for our circumstances.  When I told a nonagenerian I was fortunate to have good health and to retire in my early 60's, I was told "that's not luck, that's decisions made". Food plays a big role in people's lives, and I don't mean survival.  To quote: "some eat to live and some live to eat".  I am (mostly) in the first category.  Folks with health problems usually resist changing their diet - food is one of their chief enjoyments.  Read more [...]

quick visit to Australia

My Mother, two brothers and their families live in Perth, Australia and now my nephews and nieces have reached the marrying age, so trips to attend weddings occur frequently.  I was in Perth in January for a wedding and I just returned y'day from attending another delightful wedding.  Perth is on the other side of the world from Atlanta and it takes about 34 hours to reach there door to door.  There and back takes 68 hours and if you call it 72 hours then it is 3 days travel.  I was gone a week Read more [...]

the worth of a civilization

I just received the Audubon special issue:  "Birds & Climate Change".  I was forewarned of its depressing contents by news articles and recent podcasts.  Paging through it steered my mind to a discussion last weekend with one of my running buddies. He said it was surprising how long the Sunni-Shiite divide had persisted especially considering the advances and scientific knowledge of the  Islamic Golden Age.  I replied this brought to mind my history studies of the tribal warfare which Read more [...]