Thursday, December 28, 2017

Opinionation - Shame on Lollipop Lane

How disheartening to come out of a holiday season to such a headline as "Vacaville Family Shamed... For Not Decorating For Christmas."  I don't know about anyone else, but this year it was a hard Christmas to get through, for a multitude of reasons.  We decorated, but have done so minimally over the past ten years, as we live in a secluded neighborhood and our neighbors certainly don't seem to care one way or another. 

Apparently, it is tradition for the residents of Candy Cane Lane and Lollipop Lane in the town of Vacaville to decorate abundantly for the holidays.  One woman chose not to, as she was in mourning for her mother who had passed away earlier this year and who had made the decorations by hand.  She received an anonymous letter from a neighbor stating intolerance for anyone living on the street to not participate in the practice. 

Interestingly enough, I was actually thinking about this last night on my way home as I took in the still-standing lights on nearby homes.  Fewer homes every year partake in the tradition - be it lack of interest, or the high cost of powering the displays.  Many just don't feel the motivation.  I find it sad, mainly because there doesn't seem to be any tradition that has taken its place.  One thing is for certain; we all have our reasons, whatever they may be.

There is a common theme in most of the issues plaguing the world, but let's narrow that down to just our own culture alone - America.  We are entirely too judgmental of others.  We are all guilty in some way, we pick and choose our discriminations - that we have made such a celebrity of Judge Judy speaks volumes.  We have a greater awareness of "invisible illnesses" than we used to, but only when it is convenient to us.  It's okay to call each other out on occasion or to have the structure of law and consequence, so long as we keep ourselves in check as well.

If I were a part of this community, I would be ashamed upon reading this letter.  I was embarrassed enough as a fellow human to read it.  While I don't want to encourage more rage in the world, I do hope that there is sufficient offense to hold these neighbors accountable for their shameful behavior going forward. 

Story:  ABC7News

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A New Year Burns Everlasting

For many reasons, people want to see an end to 2017.  Here in Northern California, in our beloved wine country, it was an unforgettable year.  Trauma, devastation, near misses, great loss, a bounty of human kindness and a plethora of images and words told by some of the greatest storytellers. 

I've been following the stories of friends and strangers via the internet, social media and in my friend circles.  I asked one author, Nathaniel R. Winters, if I could share his journaled stories.  You'll find them below.  If you have your own stories to share, please do so in the comments.  If you like what you've read here, you may find more of Winters' work here:  Nathaniel Robert Winters

So many want to close this year out and begin anew with hope, strength and the help of others.  The outpouring has been spectacular, but let us not forget that we still need to give our money and more importantly our time.  Please give a thought to the victims of these fires as we move into the new year. 

Battle Lines

Yesterday we drove up the Napa Valley headed back to St Helena after a five day evacuation from smoke and fire. But arriving at Oakville we discovered the fire was coming over the ridge tops and backing down the mountains towards our homes. Two choppers were filling up water and dumping on the flames. Two large fixed wing aircraft were also attacking with retardant.

The battle goes on. The winds calmed down and the powers that be believe we are safe. I hope they are right. 

This morning I masked up and took Rue for a walk, watching the two choppers continue the fight. I flashed back to other another battle line reminding me of Nam. Thursday the weather men are forecasting rain, the first winter wet down after our usual summer drought.

It would appears some prayers are about to be answered. "They" say there are no atheists in foxholes...This not quite kosher guy is not so sure about prayer but it couldn’t hurt.

From Hell

Flames surround us

here in Saint Helena
north in Calistoga and over
the redwood pass in Santa Rosa
Flames surrounds us
south in the vineyard hills above Napa
southwest in the Valley of the Moon
smoke is suffocating thick as syrup
Flames surround us
the land I love my Eden is on fire
Should we stay or should we go?
Electric power, phones, internet is out

Flames from hell surrounds us
We pack one car—leave the other
What to take--what to leave?
Whatever—we flee to San Francisco

Mother Nature's Plan

Fires in the Redwood Empire
are as natural as fog on S.F. Bay.
Pacific high pressure plants
over Nor-Cal sending storms away,
causing summer drought.
Vegetation dries out
just waiting for a spark.
Flames explode burning
dry grasses and low timber.
Redwoods, evolved in this clime,
with thick smoldering bark
and green needle crowns
in the heavens above fiery hells,
survive and turn fog into raindrops
quenching big trees thirst.
Autumn comes and high pressure
moves south for the winter
like snowbirds to Florida.
Rain returns, redwood cones
opened by summer inferno
drop seeds, baby redwoods
grow in the ashes.
Brown and scarred black hills,
magically turn green.
Deer prance and mountain lions stroll
coyotes howl, and life goes on...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Event - 2017 Toy Drive!

December has come to take on new meaning for me this year.  While it’s a significant month for us all for various reasons – holidays, the end of a calendar year – it’s been a time that I’ve allowed my lesser-Grinch side peek out from the mountain I tend to keep myself on.  Over the past 22 years, I’m proud to say that I’ve cultivated community here in the Bay Area through the many toy drives that began with live broadcasts at a local radio station and when I left, I took the event with me.  In more than two decades, there have been parties and dinners and quieter years and now the privilege of making people laugh for a cause.  I’ve been blessed to receive help from so many in making these events happen – restaurants (local and chain), friends, colleagues, artists, comedians, and even my chiropractor who give their talent and money and most importantly they have given their time - please see the list below and give your patronage if you can.  It is all tied up in a pretty package by support from our local chapter of the US Marines, who have sent soldiers to join us each and every year. 
While there’s always a need for kindness, I don’t think we’ve ever needed it as much as we do now.  While waiting in breathless anticipation for each end of year celebration and the bringing together of people, we work at keeping the spirit alive in whatever ways we can through our site Angels and Blimps. 

Please consider coming to the party this year.  We promise to make you laugh and send you away with some warm ‘n fuzzies.  Every penny you spend is tax-deductible.  For a small price, you get dinner and a show.  There is always a raffle to win some awesome loot.  And piles of TOYS! 

Join us. 
Purchase your tickets NOW!

or make your DONATION here:


P.F. Changs (Walnut Creek)
The Cheesecake Factory (Walnut Creek)
Danville Harvest (Danville)
Cinemark Theatres (Pleasant Hill)
Performance Chiropractic (Concord)