Saturday, November 22, 2014


Often when someone says they saw a crane, what they actually saw was an egret or a heron. And all are often found around water. But herons and egrets are typically more solitary. Oh, you might see several at the same place, but usually not too close together. And cranes come in flocks.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Most people like a good mystery. The lost continent of Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot. And of course, whatever happened to Amelia Earhart. And while some people just ready about the mystery and enjoy not knowing. Other folks go out looking for answers.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


A couples weeks ago, Sharon's annual kidnapping (every year she plans a surprise day trip around my birthday) took us up north to Salinas. Steinbeck country. And that was exactly why we went. We had lunch in John Steinbeck's boyhood home. It has been turned in to a place to have lunch, with mostly sandwiches and salads, though they also have an entrée that changes weekly and desserts.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fining Wine

Wine making is an important California industry. It's even becoming more important in our own local area. And some of us make wine as a hobby. So when I saw a post recently on the Internet titled something like “Things Wine Makers Don't Want You To Know” I had to check it out. Now I can't answer to techniques for any particular wine maker, but there was one topic mentioned that seemed worth reading more about. And that was the fining of wine.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

All's Fair

Over the summer back in Oklahoma I had the opportunity to sample some white zinfandel jelly. I really enjoyed it. So once I got back from my trip I went out on the Internet and searched for a recipe. Well once popped up immediately. Exactly four ingredients. Wine, pectin, sugar, and a bit of butter to prevent foaming.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Growing Up Geeky

When I went to high school, I guess I was one of the geeks. Though I wouldn't have classified myself with them. They were weird. I went to the other side of the library so I wouldn't have to socialize with them. Though every now and then I'd have to cross over to their side of the library to check out the books over there and they'd talk to me. “Have you read Little Fuzzy?” One of them asked me. No I hadn't, I thought the cute little animals on the cover looked silly.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Los Gatos Canyon

Near Coalinga (southwest of Fresno) back in 1948 a plane load of Mexican citizens were being flown to El Centro to be sent back to Mexico. The plane crashed in Los Gatos Canyon. Depending on where you lived the news didn't have much coverage of the event., so when Woody Guthrie heard about it, no names were given. In his poem, “Deportee”, he said that “you won't have a name when you ride the big airplane”. And for years the mass grave up in Fresno only listed “28 Mexican Citizens” on the small headstone.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Out of This World

The recent strong winds from out of the west help generate some very impressive lenticular clouds. These are the “flying saucer” shaped clouds that form from time to time around Tehachapi. OK, they can form elsewhere, but we do get our share.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Say it Ain't So

Science denialism is a problem in this country. (OK, it's a problem in other countries too, but I don't live there so...) We have so many varieties: creationists, global warming deniers, vaccine avoiders, Flat Earthers, folks that don't think germs cause disease and so on. These people, you probably know some, don't like what science has told us, so tell us that it just can't be so.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Splitting Up

I recently spent a day out at Joshua Tree National Park. I was participating in a writing workshop. But they include a Ranger in just about every activity and they always tell some interesting facts about the Park. This time the Ranger had some information about Joshua Trees. One of the first items was that the biologists are splitting the Joshua Tree in to two species.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Totally Eclipsed

Recently (April 15th), we had the first of four total lunar eclipses that are going to occur in the next several months. And the media kept calling it a “blood moon”, apparently from the red color of the moon when the eclipse was total. I’m not sure when this started to be done. When I was young and we watched lunar eclipses, the Moon turning red was how we could tell the eclipse was total. It was just part of the deal.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Big Bang News

About 14 billion years ago the universe came into existence with the Big Bang. Early in process the universe was too hot for matter to form and the was a fairly uniform “glow”. As the universe expanded it cooled. You can think of compressed gas in a can being released, like spray paint or cooking spray, as the gas expands it cools off. After a while things cooled down so that matter could start forming.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Communication is Tough

I'm sitting here at the keyboard trying to figure out what I'm going to say, while Moonpi my dog paces around my chair attempting to communicate with me. Sometimes it can be pretty obvious what he's trying to tell me. For example, he has a pretty specific noise he makes that says, “I've lost my rawhide under the sofa. Get up and help me get it.” And after lunch, when he thinks it is time for a walk, there's not much chance of misunderstanding what he's trying to say.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Letting Go

As you're reading this some of your fellow Tehachapi area residents are getting ready to put on a show. Actually eight shows. That's right, it's time once again for Tehachapi Community Theatre's Playwrights Festival. Starting March 7th and going through the 16th at the BeeKay Theatre TCT will be doing world premieres of eight 10-minute plays.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Yoda Was Wrong

OK, this might be a bit geekier that I sometimes get, but in one of the Star Wars movies (I think it was The Empire Strikes Back) Yoda tells Luke: “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” Which may be true when you're trying to save the galaxy from an evil empire, but in normal everyday life, there can be lots of trying. A person doesn't have to always succeed or fail, trying in and of itself is an accomplishment.

Every Day Is New

OK, so maybe it's the fact that I just recovered from a nasty stomach bug where I couldn't do much except wallow in self-pity, but I feel like I've got a new start on life. Throw in the fact that the New Year is just starting and you generate all kinds of push towards self reflection. (Plus I was just out walking the dog and there's not a lot to think about while he's getting caught up on his canine communications. Sniff, sniff.)

There were a lot of things that I didn't get accomplished this last year. Of course, not everything actually fits into a year schedule. I spent a lot of time on smaller projects which left some of the bigger projects dangling. So this next year is going to be the year of the Big Projects. And since I have several of those I have to recognize that I might not get them all done this next year. But that's OK.

I have books and scripts where the first draft is done and I need to get them on to a second and third. And I might just have too many to be able to get all done in a year. Which I'm going to say is a good thing. I just need a big board on the wall with a list of them all, so when I find myself not sure what to do, I can just pick something off the list.

But then I'll need a second board to add all the new ideas I get, since that won't stop just because I'm working on finishing up the old ones. I think I might actually need a wheelbarrow full of notebooks that I take everywhere with me just so I can keep everything organized. (Perhaps someone could develop a small portable device that a person can carry around that can be used to store and organize data?)

But even as I try to make these big plans for the year, I do need to keep in mind that even if I do try to plan for forever, I need to do my best to live for today. Plans, even the best laid ones, can be changed, whether they've gone astray or not.

 As the “philosophers” Phineas and Ferb are known to say, “let's make today the best day ever.” And despite what you might have read on Facebook, that doesn't place any limits on tomorrow. Oh sure, some days you're going to still end up with a nasty stomach bug or something else unpleasant, but that just gives you an easy starting place to try to make the next day better.