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Sep 30th
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GT Columns

Local Talk

Give? Receive? Which is Better?

Give? Receive? Which is Better?

It's better to give because in giving
we receive.
Lauren Miller
Santa Cruz | Waitress

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Opinion

An Irrational Decision to Buy Local

An Irrational Decision to Buy Local

We’re well into the Christmas shopping season (note to self: is it proper to refer to Christmas?) and it’s a key time for local merchants (answer to self: it is Christmas, dammit, so that’s what we should call it).

Every year since I’ve been in Santa Cruz, there’s been some self-imposed pressure to buy gifts in Santa Cruz – even if there might be slightly better prices or more selection elsewhere.

For years, there was a practical rationale for me – as an editor at the local daily, and I of course was interested in supporting our advertisers. It was a lot easier to interview someone for a story if they knew that I was a supporting member of the community. Plus, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

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Astrology

Lights That Make Us Holy

Lights That Make Us Holy

During this season of gift giving and seeking light in the darkness, very few of us need any more material gifts. Nor do we need another column prophesying the coming weeks (Mercury retrograde, Dec. 26-Jan. 15, 2010). A different and illuminating gift for each of us would be the ability to understand our true identity. For 18 million years (true number), as spirits in matter, we have lived within, experienced and uncovered the secrets of form and matter. Removed for so long from our spiritual origins, we became more and more unable to remember our true identity. There comes a lifetime or a moment, a teacher, a word, a phrase, a picture or a beam of unexpected light that allows us a fleeting glimpse into our true identity—at this moment we realize we are composed of light. Each of us, living under a certain pattern of stars (constellation), imprinted upon us at birth, is quite like a star, a beam of light carrying information into the world, influencing and affecting all that we contact. Through eons of life on the dark Earth we have awaited the light of the seasons, the new light at winter solstice, the light in the dark, the many festivals of light, the miracle of light at Chanukah, the Holy Child of light born on Christmas morning. This year, let us think differently. Let us recognize and identify that we are in fact a rainbow of light, and that within our light are specific tasks, purposes, behaviors, abilities and gifts we unconsciously radiate upon each other and all we contact. During this season of giving let us realize we are the gifts of holy light and spiritual anchors offered to each other during our temporary (and very long) lifetimes on Earth (a cosmic school). This realization is the thinking and identity of the Initiate, the spiritual attainment in Capricorn, sign and signature of God, sign of Light supernal, of the mountaintop experience, where we, the crocodile/goat turns into the unicorn. Capricorn captures (absorbs) the light of the Sun and brings it down to Earth to serve in Aquarius. Let us understand our light and what our lights radiate that makes us so holy to one another. (Excerpts from the Tibetan’s book “Esoteric Astrology”)

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Editors Note

From the Editor

From the Editor

Plus Letters to Good Times...
That Health Care Bill
If The Shoe Fits
WEW Revisited
Holiday Deadlines


It’s the giving season, but I’d be remiss in not pointing out some things we could give our attention to in 2010, particularly climate change. As you may know, the United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place in Copenhagen through Dec. 18. Representatives from 170 countries are expected to be in attendance, and it’s estimated that about 8,000 people—from journalists to activists to government reps—will attend.

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Local Talk

Are any wars justified?

Are any wars justified?

I think the only wars that are justified are wars that are actually done to save lives. Under a violent genocidal government such as Sudan I believe a war to save the people, if genocide is occuring, would be justified. Wars over resources, material goods and wars to spread so-called Democracy are not justified.
Brenda Barnhart
Santa Cruz | Unemployed

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Opinion

12 Memories of Christmas

12 Memories of Christmas

It was a damp, frigid, twilit afternoon in Wilmette, Illinois, where we were spending Thanksgiving with Art Boy's 91-year-old mom, Helen. Art Boy and I were out walking with his brother, David, when we ducked into the Wilmette Historical Society Museum to dodge a passing rainshower. The curator was about to close up for the evening, but he was thrilled to meet members of a family who'd lived in town for generations, fishing hopefully for any stray family artifacts that might be lying around.

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Astrology

Mars Retrograde, Winter Solstice

Mars Retrograde, Winter Solstice

The important astrological news this week is Mars (Ray 6) retrograde (19.42 degrees Leo) early Sunday morning (Dec. 20) and winter solstice (Monday, Dec. 21) as Sun enters Capricorn (9:47 a.m. Pacific time). Mars is retrograde until March 10, 2010 (74 days). Mars has been slowing down since mid October, so many have wondered at the increasing dawdling about in areas where we must take action. Mars is the definitive sign of “action” and energy. Mars only retrogrades every 2.2 years. So humanity isn’t as familiar with Mars retrogrades as with Mercury retrogrades (occurring Dec. 26). Mars signifies energy and will, devotion and desire, anger, wars and all outward actions. Mars retrograde shifts these outward behaviors inward so we can review and reorient (Scorpio work, Mars rules Scorpio) and make things new again when Mars is direct. With Mars retrograde in Leo (especially Leo Sun/rising/moon, Aquarius and the remaining fixed signs Taurus and Scorpio) the entire world becomes introspective in order to review beliefs and attitudes concerning life itself. The life force Mars exhibits becomes subdued, it’s warring energy softened. Leo is very independent, exuberant and dramatic. With Mars in Leo retrograde we will see dependence, shyness, inner reflections. It will be interesting to see what films and Broadway shows (theater) emerge during Mars retro in Leo.  It’s important to be aware that anger, wars, violence, the dark side of Mars, may be somewhat hidden during these two months. It doesn’t disappear, it becomes aggravated. Because of the Leo, it’s not a good time to gamble or take risks of any type. Our hearts (physical, throbbing), arteries, blood need special care, as do children and loved ones. How will the Leo Mars retro affect us?

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Editors Note

From the Editor

From the Editor

Plus Letters to Good Times...
High Time
BEST OF THE ONLINE COMMENTS
Holiday Deadlines

Nothing really says “It’s Holiday Time!” like a kid so excited about all the bells and whistles the season can offer. The Downtown Association pulled out all the stops this year. The parade, while always festive, seemed more upbeat than usual. (It may have just been me and a good mood swing—who knows?) Regardless, what a treat to see downtown filled with so many people. GTv colleague (camera shy) Jeff Dinnell and Derby Girl maven Kim Luke cheerfully broadcasted the event for Community Television.  Food barrels were also on hand for Second Harvest Food Bank. (See the great decorations for SHFB) at the Rittenhouse Building downtown.) The presence of SHFB and other nonprofits in the parade was a welcome reminder that, of course, we’re all being asked to give a little, perhaps a lot, this year.

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Local Talk

What’s your pet peeve?

What’s your pet peeve?

It bothers me when people swear in public, especially at restaurants. There is a time and place for swearing, and it's definitely not every fifth word. I'd say it's a sign of having limited intelligence. Let's bring it up people. People with the least class seem to swear the most.
Andy Gross
Santa Cruz | Carpenter

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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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Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”