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Aug 29th
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GT Columns

Opinion

Digging Deep into the Old Pockets

Digging Deep into the Old Pockets

Crooner Andy Williams used to preach to us all on television that December “is the most wonderful time of the year,” so here we are. Does it feel wonderful?

To me, it’s mostly just confusing. Because December is also the time of the year that most of us are asked to dig … and dig … and dig deeper into our wallets to share with those who need help.

And that’s what’s confusing. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to figure out what charities are worth giving to. The bigger problem, at least for me, is to decide which need is worth filling—hunger, homelessness, despondency. Then there are those less dramatic needs—the arts, culture, education.

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Astrology

Sign of Silence

Sign of Silence

Let’s discover a bit more about Sagittarius … a sign often hidden in the preparations of Hanukkah, winter solstice and Christmas. Sagittarius is associated with vision, aspiration and a one-pointed direction toward the goals of service and saviorship (Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces). Sagittarius learns the “right use of the arrows of thought (Sag’s great test), restraint of speech, and consequent harmlessness resulting in liberation. Sag is esoterically one of the “signs of silence.” Sagittarius is a potent sign due to its one-pointed focus on goals, silence and that it is the time and sign immediately preceding the new light at winter solstice representing the birth of the Holy Child. Sagittarius seeks the “spirit of truth, emerging from individual revelation.” Three constellations make up Sa —Lyra, the seven-stringed harp; Ara, the altar; and Draco serpent of wisdom. Two other constellations surround these three—Aquila, the eagle (Spirit) and Cygnus, the swan (Soul). Sag is known for its extraordinary ability with music (from Lyra) and its photographic eye (from Aquila).

Saturday is the first day of Hanukkah and feast days of Santa Lucia and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Wednesday is the last new moon, 25 degrees Sag, of the year. Astrology news alert! Mercury’s in Capricorn, Mars retro begins next week followed by retro Mercury! Click Read More to see Horoscopes >

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Editors Note

From the Editor

From the EditorPlus Letters to Good Times...
Climate Action Days
Go Jimmy
Giving Times

My trip last week to visit a former Cruzan, now living in Denver, proved one thing: I can’t eat for another month. Who knew they can pack it in in the Mile High City? It was Thanksgiving weekend, after all, so I suppose it’s not out of the norm to keep putting food into your mouth. Of course, this got me thinking about what’s unfolding locally about food, and, in particular, those who actually are in short supply of it. This would be the part of the column where I expound upon the amazing virtues of Second Harvest Food Bank and why it’s important for everybody to know a little bit more about this vital county resource. I could go on to tell you that you ought to log onto SHFB’s website, and discover how just one of your own dollars can actually feed a family of five. (Talk about holiday miracles.) I also could tell you that there are 60,000 working poor families, children and seniors in need of food each month. Let that sink in—60,000. That’s an increase of 20-30 percent from previous reports. Half of those served are children. I bring this up because there are many of us—actually, most of us— who have the resources to contribute and give back. Take some time to learn more at thefoodbank.org. Or, at the very least, bring a can a food (or money) to Snow Night (5-8 pm.) in Downtown Santa Cruz on Thursday, Dec. 10 at Cooper Street and Pacific Avenue. (More details available at downtownsantacruz.com.)
Meanwhile, there are other things people want to put in their mouths—actually, between their lips—and that’s marijuana. Legalizing pot is the subject of this week’s cover story. See the full report by Laurel Chesky.
Also, take note of the article about Mountain Community Resources. Due to a production glitch, the article on this wonderful organization was omitted from last week’s cover story on the Community Fund.
As the year and the decade reach their final curtain call, I send out a note of gratitude to GT readers for picking us up every week and for allowing us to share your incredibly unique stories—weekly, monthly, annually. Let’s end the year and the decade on a positive note. One thought: Give something back to your community.

Greg Archer
Editor

Letters to Good Times Editor

Climate Action Days
Regarding some of the recent environmental stories and the comments on GTv (above) about the upcoming—and major— Global Climate Change Conference occurring in Copenhagen, Denmark in December, the United States is one of the principle emitters of global greenhouse gases and must sign on to the framework treaty that will radically reduce our collective carbon footprint as a nation.
Copenhagen represents an opportunity for human civilization to make a radical energy shift away from fossil fuels and towards clean, non-polluting
renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and anti-gravity.
The threat of Global Climate Change is the No. 1 international security issue
on Earth in 2009/2010. All other issues such as health care, the iraq/afghanistan/pakistan war and
increased student funding at the University of California (as bad as it is) are at best, secondary and tertiary issues.
Contact the media, your congressmen and women, and all concerned members of your community and urge them to support and endorse the ratification of Copenhagen with strong, binding agreements to limit and eventually eliminate all carbon emissions into our atmosphere.
If global warming is not stopped immediately, expect a seven to 10 degree Fahrenheit increase in average global temperatures this century. By all accounts, this is a fatal blow to human civilization. Do you really want your children to inherit such a world?
Steve Jonah
Santa Cruz

Go Jimmy
Kudos for the nice column about Jimmy Carter by Bruce Willey (GT 11/25). I think the man was a visionary. Had we listened to what he was professing back then—about the environment—maybe things would be much different today.
Jane Anderson
Aptos

Giving Times
There are so many nonprofits in this county that need even more exposure. I am referring to last week’s cover story, where several nonprofits were featured. Times are grim and we need to focus more about how the heck we can help our own communities and keep them afloat. I think people should give a little volunteer time this season. People should give that more than buying tons of presents for family members they only see once a year and can barely stand to be with. We really need to get it together people.
Sandy Wilson
Santa Cruz

Clarification
GT’s  Gift Guide has hit the streets. But we’re slapping our forehead. Readers may have noticed that pictures of items listed as being available at Twist, were actually from the store Stripe (stripedesigngroup.com) in downtown Santa Cruz. We regret the error. Also, Palace Arts may no longer have digital photo frames in stock, but they have plenty of picture frames—beginning at $3.99.
Local Talk

What are the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana?

What are the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana?

The pros would be stopping the growing of marijuana in national parks and to deminish the Mexican mafia trafficking of marijuana, and also it would be beneficial for medical marijuana. The negative may be that the people not paying taxes would now have to.
Bevin Bischoff

Santa Cruz | Student

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Astrology

A Beam of Focused Light

A Beam of Focused Light

There are many events this week following last week’s Full moon festival of Sag/Gemini (goals brought forth for humanity and Earth’s well-being). The Parliament of World Religions & Women at the Parliament in Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 3-9; Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Dec. 7-18; Santa Cruz UNA (United Nations Association) Human Rights Fair (after downtown parade), Saturday, Dec. 5, noon to 9 p.m. at Louden Nelson. Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent (“something’s coming”) and feast day of St. Nicholas (the real Santa Claus).

We’re in Sag now, sign of food, music, the photographer, adventurer, professor and philosopher. In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna (divine driver of warrior Arjuna’s chariot) says, “I am the month of Sagittarius.” Artemis/Diana are the female Sagittarian deities. Sag’s center of attention, when not seeking the arrows of intuition scattered everywhere, is always upon the Capricorn mountaintop. Sagittarius nobly holds high aspirations (aspiration of the Soul) to return to the Father, humanity’s origins (we are starlight). Sag is energetically a “beam of focused light.” No wonder Sag is the photographer. Sag’s focus brings forth expanded awareness and consciousness through Jupiter, planet of great generosity and love (Ray 2) leading to wisdom. The Tibetan says, “Jupiter brings together and binds in friendliness.” Thus, in the season of giving (through Jan. 6, Feast of the Three Kings), let us be generous with our light, our money, our gifts, our love, our goodness and our wisdom.

 

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Editors Note

From the Editor

From the Editor

Plus Letters to Good Times...
H1N1 Debates
Beyond Paper and Plastic
HOLIDAY DEADLINES

Leave it to good old Bookshop Santa Cruz to offer some levity as we speed closer to a new decade and, perhaps, a brand new era. The revered Downtown Santa Cruz bookseller, known for its long history of commenting on politics and political books, is now offering an "essential" item as a companion to Sarah Palin's new book, “Going Rogue.” For every book sold, the bookstore will give the buyer a free bag of walnuts dubbed: "Sarah Palin's Just Plain Nutz." The bag is also available solo for just under $4 for those, the bookshop says, "who can stomach a 1-ounce bag of walnuts, but can't stomach 432 pages of Sarah Palin's writing."

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Local Talk

How do you feel about kissing a smoker?

How do you feel about kissing a smoker?

I think it's disgusting but wonderful.
I want more.
Anna Baker
Santa Cruz | Caterer

 

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Opinion

‘Unfriending’ in an increasingly social world

‘Unfriending’ in an increasingly social world

Maybe it doesn’t get noticed as much as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” but for my money, the best yearly honor comes out in November from the New Oxford American Dictionary. It’s the lexicographers’ “word of the year.”

Of course 2009 is the year of social media, so it stands to reason that it would come from there. And it does. The word? “Unfriend.”

How beautiful. An antisocial term in a world of social media. Here’s the explanation  from the dictionary’s blog: “UNFRIEND – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social site such as Facebook. As in – “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

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Astrology

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

We begin the week Thursday with Thanksgiving. Unfortunately the entire day is v/c, which means making contact can be difficult unless there is an earnest intention to do so. Holidays that fall on v/c (moon making no contact with planets, therefore we don’t make contact with each other, events, feelings, food, etc.) days can be stressful unless we are aware of the withdrawn energies of the moon, which rules our emotions, family, contact and comfort. Therefore, during this Thanksgiving let us have the conscious intention to make contact with each other, aware that we must work a bit harder for that contact to occur. We remember, “making contact releases love.” And in this solar system (the second of three) “love is all there is.”

To assist us with that contact and with giving thanks for everything small to large and everything in between, here’s some music from David Lowe’s Dreamcatcher album, track title “Seventh Heaven”. The accompanying film on the animal kingdom is beautiful and especially good for children. Playing this music over and over elevates the heart and frees the mind.

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Editors Note

From the Editor

From the Editor

Plus Letters to Good Times...
Sounding Off About H1N1
Fire in ‘Flex’
HOLIDAY DEADLINES

Crime is on everybody’s mind lately, especially in Santa Cruz, which has seen a curious wave of short-lived criminal activity. But overall, is crime up—or down? It’s one of the things discussed in this week’s main news story. Here, writer Anna Merlan reports on a recent Santa Cruz City Council meeting where the issue of crime was the main agenda. Actually, it may have been more of a empowering session of healthy venting. Locals weighed in on their concerns and new actions were taken to increase crime watch locally.

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.