Sunday, October 30, 2011


Back to the Beach

If your life falls apart and nothing seems to work, a day at the beach might be a good idea. Writing from our refuge on the bluff overlooking Birch Bay and the San Juan Islands, putting our perils in perspective is made a little easier with the knowledge that living a block from the beach serves as a salve for our recent displacement from San Francisco Bay.

Having encountered the flow of economic refugees hostel hopping in San Francisco for the past month opened my eyes to the housing disaster still unfolding there. Counting myself lucky to have the support of family and friends as I was immersed in the currents of homelessness, I found walking the waterfront promenade on Marina Boulevard overlooking the Golden Gate a means of washing away some of my worries.

Now that I am once again able to watch my poodle frolic in the waves as eagles, kingfishers, mergansers and loons fish nearby, I more fully understand the therapeutic value of sand and surf. For all those kind souls I met on my ongoing journey to stability, I hope there is a beach in their near future as well.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Usual Suspects

Rotten to the Core might have been a catchier title for this post, but blaming poverty pimps like the Congress of Racial Equality for gaming the system of corporate philanthropy misses the mark. CORE always played it safe where it came to power politics, stabbing in the back authentic activists like those in SNCC, whose base was truly main street and not Wall Street. Just ask James Forman. Or read his book.

One doesn't have to look far to find plenty of dope on the Wise Use Movement, it's corporate benefactors, or the thuggery they've sponsored since the Reagan Administration. But using sell-out civil rights groups to attack environmentalism and Christians who believe it their duty to protect God's creation is a new twist.

One environmental activists -- be they Christian, pagan, or indigenous -- would do well to keep an eye on.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


The Long Goodbye

After spending two weeks in the solitude of the Marin Headlands across the Golden Gate, I am winding down from a weekend of hyper metropolitan experience in San Francisco. Breakfasting in the Fort Mason hostel cafe, while overlooking the morning fog hugging the bridge towers and obscuring Mount Tam, I reflected on my recent respite at the Headlands Hostel and Arts Center.

Today ended Fleet Week on San Francisco Bay, and the concurrent carnival of militarism. Even the dazzling air maneuvers of naval fighter jets leave something to be desired as loud speakers at the Maritime Museum blare with patriotic bon ami. Alas, the one point of sobriety and sanity on Fisherman's Wharf was the booth manned by Iraq Veterans Against the War. As their sign noted, "War is Not a Game."

Between my benign breakfast and hectic encounter with war tourists on the Embarcadero, however, I caught the Van Ness/Mission bus from Galileo Academy over to the Mission District, and enjoyed a brief stroll around the neighborhood where I went to graduate school ten years ago. The school itself is closed and boarded up, but the art nouveau iron work out front still sports the NC in silent memory of New College of California, an institution that for thirty years promoted peace and freedom and mindful creativity rather than mindless conformity.

It has been a month now since our lives were thrown into turmoil, and coming to terms with our exodus from Marin has been daunting. But today reminded me of the ties I will always have to San Francisco, regardless of where I venture forth. Taking another week to do these tasks is just something that has to be done.

All part of the long goodbye.

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