“Rumor is always more exciting than truth.”
Bruen, Ken. Purgatory (Jack Taylor series Book 10) (p. 186). Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Joyous Saturnalia, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, Kwanza, Holidays and New Year!
Today is a Free Day on Pookies Calendar — so, do whatever you like as long as it does not hurt you or anyone else.
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
Since returning to the Golden Hills, it has been overcast and cool with brief episodes of light rain. Mornings, as usual, after I drop HRM off at school, I eat a breakfast at Bella Bru Cafe of toasted cinnamon-raisin bagel with cream cheese accompanied by a cafe latte. I sit at the booth by the window with a view of the fountain. The gray skies turn the usual gaily sparkling water glum and somber along with my mood.
I have changed into my winter outfit. Instead of the yellow fisherman’s vest I usually wear, I now sport a green wool vest over which I usually put on the suede leather Italian jacket I purchased at Denio’s flea market. Gone is my yellow straw hat, replaced by either one of LM’s creations or a crumpled leather hippie fedora. I wear jeans of course. I have only one pair that I usually wear every day. A second pair, too small in the waist, I wear whenever the other pair is being washed. When the sun is out and often when it is not, I put on brown-gold aviator sunglasses that turns the colors of the trees and hills beautifully brilliant, which pleases me no end as I drive around.
In spite of the cloudy skies, it seemed almost warm enough to swim — so I did.
Upon completing my laps, I noticed the clouds had darkened the sky considerably and the pool was empty except for me. This made me anxious, so I scurried inside, showered, changed and returned home to nap.
B. POOKIE’S TRIP TO AND FROM MENDOCINO:
On Friday, I left for Mendocino. I usually plan for up to four rest stops along the way. The first is at the Nut Tree on Route 80 for a coffee at Peet’s, exploration of the Jelly Belly store for their newest flavors, and a walk around the kids park. The second stop, which I skipped on this trip, is the overlook by route 37 where one can view the old Marine World Park and San Francisco Bay beyond, followed by a pause at Cloverdale for a gas-up and a Cafe latte at Starbucks. Then I took 128 over the ridge past the sad sight of the oaks dying from blight caused by an inattentive logger. The Spanish moss and other parasites that were slowly killing them made the dying trees appear iridescent in the gloom.
When I arrived in Booneville my last rest stop, I learned that the road was closed due to flooding. I chanced driving further unwilling to make my way back to 101 (never back) for an additional two-hour drive over the Coast Range. I arrived at the Navarro where, being famished, I enjoyed a late lunch of a salami and cheese sandwich, a bag of Joe’s Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips that I could not resist and a pepperoni stick. In the autumn, they hold a Charlie Musselwhite festival there.
Navarro Store and its monument to music in the redwoods.
Further along, I ran into the road closure so I backtracked a short way and took a side road over the ridge to Elk about 20 miles south. I happily drove on, eating my potato chips and licking my fingertips, until I reached Highway One and headed north to Mendocino. The sun played hide and seek with the line of squalls that threw up giant waves against the rocks and cliffs of the coast leaving the water a blazing white froth that flashed almost painfully brilliant ivory when struck by the sun.
The Car Crash
I arrived in Mendocino and had just begun my turn into the short private street that led to the driveway of my sister’s house when a large pickup truck driven by a middle-aged man who had obviously been enjoying the view of the turbulent white-foamed ocean waves as they swirled into the nearby cove slammed into me.
My car was driven across the road and totaled. I suffered significant bruising to my chest from the exploding airbags. I was lucky my brother-in-law George the Mensch, a member of the local fire and rescue squad, showed up a minute later and handled things since I was in shock and too much pain to do much of anything for myself other than to sit in his truck and moan.
I was also lucky that a few weeks ago, in response to a recall, because the airbag company originally installed airbags that ejected shrapnel as well as the airbag when they discharged, we had the air bags replaced. Fate is funny that way.
The next morning the pain in my chest was a lot worse and my emotions at a low ebb. I could not move my upper body much at all. I notified Dick and thankfully he seemed more concerned with my health than with the fate of his car.
Nikki called me the next day to see how I was feeling. SWAC, on the other hand, sent me an angry email blaming me for losing her ability to use the automobile registered in Dick’s name that I paid for. She demanded I move permanently to Thailand so that she could come to the US and take care of HRM. I did not respond to the provocation.
The following day, Jason and family arrived. That evening, well drugged up on pain suppressors, I accompanied them to the Christmas Lights Display at the Ft. Bragg Botanical Gardens.
Almost 40 years ago, the Coastal Conservancy, through a timely grant for the purchase of some adjacent ocean front land and the upgrade of their facilities, rescued the Gardens from imminent foreclosure. The Gardens are now an important part of the Fort Brag Community. The Display concluded with a community marshmallow toast.
On Sunday, I dragged myself to accompany them on a trip to the magnificent Pacific Star Winery to buy some wines for Christmas dinner and to pass an hour in conversation with Sally the irrepressible winemaker and her partner the redoubtable Mark. I bought a bottle of Charbono and one of Charbera before another squall struck driving us into the car and back to Mendocino.
That night, seriously drugged up, I sat immobile in the corner, a heating pad clutched to my breast with one hand and a glass of Champagne in the other while George and Maryanne’s Christmas open house whirled around me. Many of the revelers were the same members of the Mendocino Fire and Rescue group that responded to my crash. Several them came by and inquired about my health.
After that, I spent the next three days mostly in bed feeling sorry for myself and complaining a lot. Dark ugly purple bruises began to creep across my chest.
By Wednesday, I felt sufficiently better so as to be able to breathe deeply enough to hopefully forestall the buildup of liquid in my lungs that might cause pneumonia. I left with my sister for San Francisco where I took the train to Sacramento and waited at the station for Dick to come by and drive me back to El Dorado Hills.
Alas, the car I use to drive HRM back and forth to school and run errands when the Honda is not available has broken down and cannot be driven until it is repaired. Dick has gone off for three days of hearings taking his car with him. As a result, I am stuck in the house, dependent on HRM’s schoolmate’s parents to bring him back and forth from school. The nearest shops are two miles away so I spent the day trying to walk around the neighborhood while persuading myself that pain makes me stronger.
On Friday, feeling muzzy and disoriented, I finally decided to visit the doctor. Not having an automobile, I walked over three and a half miles to his office, stopping only for breakfast at Bella Bru. While walking along, I happily took photographs of the Oaks of Winter, including one of a massive tree whose brown desiccated leaves refused to drop and who still showed some green ones furiously resisting death. I named it, The Obstinate Oak.
The Obstinate Oak
The doctor, after listening to my symptoms and learning of my walk, said that I needed to have my head examined. He insisted that I take a nap in one of his examining rooms while his staff arranged for a taxi to take me to have my head examined and then back home.
The results of the CT-scan showed I had suffered a concussion in the accident. The doctor advised me to take it easy for another week or so.
This hopefully ends Pookie’s Delightful Car Crash Adventure.
A. Quigley on Top:
“In the American system ‘costs’ are fiscal or financial limitations that have little connection with the use of scarce resources or even with the use of available (and therefore not scarce) resources. The reason for this is that in the American economy, the fiscal or financial limit is lower than the limit established by real resources and, therefore, since the financial limits act as the restraint on our economic activities, we do not get to the point where our activities encounter the restraints imposed by the limits of real resources (except rarely and briefly in terms of technically trained manpower, which is our most limited resource).”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
“As for things like GM crops, GM is merely a more efficient and safer method of improving crops than the radiation method we have been using for the last 100 years. Yes, there is probably not a single bite of food that you eat today that has not been genetically modified. The problem is a question of adequate regulation. Those who already are fearful resist putting their safety in the hands of others. As someone having been intimately involved in difficult regulation from all vantage points, I am sympathetic to their concern.”
C. Today’s Poem:
A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than a pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.
“Human society is not a deterministic system but a collective learning process”.
The chart below depresses me. It shows the US producing STEM graduates at a lower rate than almost all other developed countries and many less developed ones as well. No country can maintain its financial, military or ideological dominance while standing in the ashes of its education system.
This is what occurs when a political party or interest groups demean education and science. As a result, in order to maintain any claim to being a technologically advanced and financially innovative country, we may be forced to import many of our scientists and engineers — perhaps even from Syria. (See also Quigley quote above)