Medicinal Herbs of CA

This month the Ojai Quarterly published my “Off the Shelf” feature on Lanny Kaufer’s spectacular and informative new field guide to medicinal herbs in California: Here’s the opening: And below the fold [page 2, below] the full story in a more readable font for the web. Much respect to Lanny, who not only has beenContinue reading “Medicinal Herbs of CA”

Walking around Mt Tam

One of the most beautiful and least known poetical flowerings of that outpouring of youth and art we call the 60’s was, arguably, a journey on foot around Mt Tamalpais, in Marin County north of San Francisco. This honoring of “the quiescent one,” this circumambulation, a walk completely around the mountain, following with our feetContinue reading “Walking around Mt Tam”

How Yoko turned on John’s imagination

A charming piece via the BBC, drawn from a new book, reveals how Yoko’s idealism turned on John’s imagination and — pretty directly it seems — inspired the creation of his most iconic song: Imagine. Specifically, Yoko’s book Grapefruit. Lennon said: “There’s a lot of pieces in it saying like ‘imagine this’ or ‘imagine that’,”Continue reading “How Yoko turned on John’s imagination”

A Gillum test: a “brilliant” idea

Some of the best — and most amusing — coverage of our very stable genius has come from the often-stunned but ever-indefatigable opinion writer and interviewer Virginia Heffernan, of Slate, and the Los Angeles Times, but most of all of the podcast Trumpcast. Never thought I’d like a political podcast so much, but it’s the free-wheelingContinue reading “A Gillum test: a “brilliant” idea”

Climate change polarizes an election in Ojai

Ojai, California is a little town with a lot of big opinions. This fall an election between a long-standing incumbent and a self-educated water wonk has stirred up a good deal of controversy. Here’s my attempt to report on the issues for the Ventura County Reporter. My focus was to give the candidates a chanceContinue reading “Climate change polarizes an election in Ojai”

“Our reverenced god” — Moloch and The Gun

Four dead in NorCal — at least four. Another deranged gunman, armed for combat, targeting the innocent. This one tried to break into an elementary school and slaughter children but was foiled by a lockdown. Brian Flint told a group of reporters that a man staying in his house was one of those killed and that someContinue reading ““Our reverenced god” — Moloch and The Gun”

Dear Sam Shepherd I miss you already

One of the most American of us all died yesterday. Sam Shepherd, I miss you today.                                       In tribute, let me quote a short piece from his countless marvelous writings. This one happens to be about hisContinue reading “Dear Sam Shepherd I miss you already”

The genius of a place: Vaclav Cilek

Mesmerized to have stumbled upon a Czech geologist/climatologist/essayist/philosopher of place, via the great Robert MacFarlane, quoted here. Vaclav Cilek sees the spirit of landscapes, or rather, sees the possibility of seeing the spirit, the true nature, the inner workings of landscapes (an idea with which he’s comfortable, having spent years cataloguing caves in and aroundContinue reading “The genius of a place: Vaclav Cilek”