Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Notes from behind the Orange Curtain

I've been here in The OC the last few days, catching up with friends and family. It's been good to get away from the usual environs for a few days, and still have a few days left before heading back. I've very occasionally been at the computer, but mostly to do some work-related stuff (I know, I should not be working - but anyone intimately acquainted with me knows that my thoughts never go on vacation, and as long as I am enjoying what I'm doing at the moment it isn't really "work"). I've also been doing some pleasure reading, including John Ross' recent book ¡Zapatistas! It's a book well-worth reading, and the more I read about the Zapatistas the more I realize that they have ideas that could be applicable here in the U$.

Yesterday took the family down to Huntington Beach to walk around. The US Open of Surfing is currently in progress, so we watched some of the festivities. The waves were a bit disappointing, but surfers are a resourceful lot and made the best of what Mother Nature gave them. I also managed to get some snapshots of some "bike trail blogging" - some chalk art that included the slogan "Peace is Patriotic". When I have time to upload those pix I'll do so. Probably sometime near the end of next week.

Today I showed the kids around my old alma mater, and caught up with some friends who still work there - including the cat who runs a coffee stand on campus, who was kind enough to fix me up with an iced "red eye" on the house.

One thing that we've noticed on this trip is just how humid it seems in the inland portions of the LA/OC basin relative to even a few years ago. It definitely seems as if the summer monsoons that are part of the New Mexico and Arizona deserts have moved somewhat west. I'm not certain if this is a relatively permanent change in the climate out in these parts or not. What I do know is that summer precipitation and humidity that seems reminiscent of Oklahoma is taking a bit of getting used to. At least it is not as hot as it was last summer. The natural air conditioning provided by the Pacific Ocean may not work as well as it once did, but it has kicked in once more.

I haven't been entirely oblivious to the news. I did read about the CU Regents voting to fire Ward Churchill. I can't say I'm surprised - it seemed that it would have taken a minor miracle for the outcome to have been different. Universities tend to shy away from controversy and controversial figures, and administrators can be counted on to make decisions based largely on the prevailing political correctness of the era. Churchill and Finkelstein are only the most recent prominent vicitims. A few generations ago, it would be James McKeen Cattell, for daring to speak against the draft during WWI, who would be fired.

I have also been following John Conyers' sad performance regarding impeachment of the Lush/Zany gang. Conyers was one of the last Democrats to have my respect. You'll notice I use the past tense.

Of course a day doesn't go by when more tragic news comes out of Iraq. The sheer loss of life overwhelms me with sadness. To the families of those killed and wounded Iraqis, you're in my prayers.

Finally, many thanks to Manny, who has been kind enough to keep this blog fresh. If you read this blog and have not yet visited Manny's place (Man Eegee - see one of the links to his place), you really should check what he's up to.


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