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Sep 19th
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GT Columns

Editors Note

This week's Editor's Note & Letters to Good Times

This week's Editor's Note & Letters to Good Times

Plus Letters to the Good Times Editor...
Breaking Down Barriers
Locals Only

I think it’s always good to know exactly where your compass is pointing. I’m talking about that internal compass, the one that we have to rely on to give us a clue on what direction we’re headed—or supposed to be headed. For that, I say it never hurts to ask youself if the actions you are taking match where you think that compass ought to be pointing. On a simpler note, and perhaps less “Californian” in nature, there’s always the trusty weather vane, which tops our list of inventive items to include in your fall Home and Garden check list. (You do have one, right?)

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Opinion

‘I’ve been living here since …’

‘I’ve been living here since …’

I wanted to be the first to write about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, but then I read these words from Dan Gillmor, former tech guru at the San Jose Mercury News and the author of “We the People,” a call-to-arms for citizen journalism.

Writing in his blog, Mediactive, Gillmor talks of 11 things he would do if he ran a news organization (No. 11 is: no more Top 10 lists.)

No. 1: “We would not run anniversary stories and commentary except in the rarest of circumstances. They are a refuge for lazy and unimaginative journalists.”

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Astrology

High Holy Days, Forgiveness, Mercury Direct

High Holy Days, Forgiveness, Mercury Direct

It is important to understand, historically and through observance, the practices of humanity’s primary religions because the new Aquarian religion and spirituality are being built upon their foundations. When we are aware of different religious practices, we can incorporate their inner qualities into our lives. In this way, humanity becomes unified, which is the Aquarian task. We are in the midst of the Jewish High Holy Days, begun at Rosh Hashanah (Friday, Sept. 18) and ending at Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on Monday, Sept. 28), when G-d closes the Book of Life. During these 10 days we ask forgiveness from G-d and from each other. Yom Kippur is the most solemn day of the Jewish year.

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Editors Note

This week's Editor's Note & Letters to Good Times

This week's Editor's Note & Letters to Good Times

Plus Letters to the Good Times Editor...
New Sea Change Needed
For the Birds
Goes Down Well?

I remember my school lunches. For a long while, my mother used to hand me a paper bag and off to school I went. During lunch, I unwrapped either a ham and cheese sandwich with mayo on Wonder Bread, or, better yet, one of those peanut butter and jelly mixes—Goobers, from Smucker’s. I’d nosh away, always craving more. During junior high, I’d forgo the paper bag lunches completely, opting for the cafeteria food, which, at the time, sadly, felt like a treat. Mac ‘n’ cheese on Wednesdays, hot dogs on Mondays and always pizza on Fridays.

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Local Talk

What's your favorite drug of choice?

What's your favorite drug of choice?

Caffeine. It's the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.
Jen Wren
Watsonville | Farmer

 

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Astrology

UN International Day of Peace and a Week of Festivals

UN International Day of Peace and a Week of Festivals

Thursday, Mercury squares Pluto (careful with communication) while Mercury retro re-enters Virgo (careful of criticism and wash hands often). Friday is the new moon festival, 26 degrees Virgo, 11:44 a.m. (Pacific time). Join the NGWS, strengthening the hands and arms of all world servers, by reciting the Soul & Great Invocations and Mantram of Integration. Saturday is Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year. Tuesday is Autumn Equinox, Sun enters Libra, and the Year of the Soul begins.

Monday, Sept. 21 is the Feast Day of St. Matthew, tax collector and writer of the first Gospel. Matthew means, “Gift from God.” Monday is also United Nations International Day of Peace (UNIDP), not a holiday but a global event—internationaldayofpeace.org/.

Monday is a day of Peace-building (different than Peace-making or Peace-keeping) where the world’s nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creating a 24 hour period of non-violence and promoting Goodwill, Right Relations leading to Peace.

We know “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And that “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its Peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP focuses on creating a “culture of peace” through education leading to understanding and tolerance. Esoterically we are reminded of the Peace Equation. “Intentions for Goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create Right Relations with all Earth’s kingdoms which create Peace on Earth.” The dove is the symbol for the day.

ARIES (March 21-April 20) New endeavors come forth; all that’s been hidden emerges too and creates a transformative atmosphere around your work and daily life. Work and more work is given to you – work only you can accomplish. It will entail research, going back into the past, ordering, organizing and reassessing all agendas and work plans. You will need to schedule moments of exercise in between. View everything as opportunity.

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Astrology

Food

Food

Before Virgo Sun is over for the year, with retrograde Mercury re-entering Virgo Sept. 17 (Mercury squares Pluto), with Tuesday’s 3rd Saturn opposite Uranus (revolution and reorganization in the food industry) and Saturn presently in Virgo (structure of our food systems) till entering Libra (relationship and economic housecleaning) Oct. 29, it’s important to look at the present health of our food (health and food are Virgo subjects) industry. Review is a retrograde (which Mercury will be until Sept. 28) task.

From research, examination and analysis of the present U.S. food situation we realize our food (Virgo) system isn’t working and that a restructuring (Saturn) of our food’s quality, sources and distribution is immediately needed. Let’s look at some information. It seems major U.S. corporations actually own much of our organic foods (farms); a handful of corporations own most of the seed companies; large organic health food stores may not be what they seem; many people are no longer cooking; and few families eat together. It is important for us to be informed. At Night Light News I have listed various websites to read about the state of our food industry.

The issues are energy production and distribution. In the Transition Town Movement, emerging from Permaculture design, there is a focus on creative adaptations leading to a sustainable future and one of the major subjects is agriculture and food production.

Food quality, production and distribution and the changes needed fall under the jurisdiction of Virgo, Saturn in Virgo and Saturn opposite Uranus (revolution of present structures). As Pluto (transformation) in Capricorn (business as usual) turns direct Friday, Sept. 11, the changes needed will move forward. Read much more at nightlightnews.com.

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Astrology

Full Moon, Mercury Retrograde, Labor & Evolution

Full Moon, Mercury Retrograde, Labor & EvolutionFriday is the Full Moon (Virgo/Pisces, 12 degrees, 9:03 a.m. Pacific time). Join the New Group of World Servers by reciting the Soul and Great Invocations at the time of the festival. Each of the twelve signs in the zodiac has a task to perform for humanity. Virgo’s task is to “shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality within matter and within our lives. Virgo is represented by sheaves of wheat and corn in one hand (representing our spiritual food). Her other hand holds a lamp signifying the Soul shedding light in the darkness. The lamp also represents that within matter (mother, Virgo), gestating quietly and silently, is the Holy Child, the Light of the World, birthed at winter solstice.
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Opinion

All We Are is But Another Brick in the Wall

All We Are is But Another Brick in the Wall

Greetings from the Berlin Wall. The “Fascists Protection Barrier” (as the German Democratic Republic auspiciously called it) has been torn down. It will be 20 years ago this November when the Cold War got a tad warmer. When East and West Germany were finally united after more than a quarter of a century, divided by one of the most politically charged symbols of the 20th Century—the Wall. When this section of Berlin, surrounded by the Iron Curtain, was amalgamated once more with its fellow Berliners to become one of the most artistic, thriving cities in Europe. When people broke through the Wall, pecking at it, pushing it down by force of will, they flooded into the streets in a mass celebration to end all celebrations.

Now Lance Armstrong puts in this kind of mileage before breakfast. But for me, who has never come to terms with the idea of tight cycling shorts, 160K seems rather a long way. And as I found out, it is. 
With my command of German language being what it isn’t, asking for directions, should I get lost, would prove to be a hopeless task. That, and my second-hand, rather classic bicycle with its flat tires is almost a California cruiser if not for the fenders and utilitarian basket on the back for groceries. For most Berliners bicycling is not a sport. It is a way to get to the grocery store, the brothel, the club, the doctor’s office. That said, my good ride is best suited for short rides through the maze of Berlin’s excellent bike paths and failing that, public transportation network of subways and trains, not some long-ass tour through the city, through the vast hinterlands of Berlin—a city as flat and spread out as Los Angeles.
Beginning at the Brandenburg Gate, where scene after scene of throngs climbing over the wall or enthusiastically tearing it apart by the same tool (hammer) of communism happened, seemed like the proper place to start. Joined by my 71-year-old German mother-in-law, who has lived all those years in Berlin, we headed through the middle of the city, guided by bricks laid in the street where the Wall once stood.
After Unification, the city took rapid steps to put its past behind it. The city is, of course, well-practiced in this. The former “Death Strip” with its barbed wire, double walls, guard towers and shoot-to-kill orders for anyone trying to escape to the West, suddenly became appealing land for developers. Soon enough we rode into the midst of Potsdamer Platz, with high-rise buildings, shopping centers and posh apartments built atop Hitler’s bunker—exactly the kind of thing the communists had always warned their people about.
Then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev used to describe Berlin as “the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze Berlin.” 
Even though it’s been only 20 years, it’s hard to imagine a wall, much less a fence, dividing Berlin. It all seems the figment of someone’s absurd imagination. The once austere Eastern sections of the city are now more desirable and vibrant places to live than the former West. Artists were the first to take advantage of the cheap (or non-existent) rents and, predictably, they gentrified it.
By the time we reach the Eastside Gallery, the longest section of the Wall still standing, I’ve dubbed my cycling companion, Mauer (wall) Mama. Part of this comes from her ability to navigate the complicated streets. The other part is she was a judge who presided over many court cases to decide who owned the land, homes or buildings after the Wall fell.
This section of the Wall is a mile-long art gallery. On the other side, next to the river, are a beach, reggae and techno music spilling out of beer gardens atop the former no man’s land. Unthinkable paradise back then, but Mauer Mama tells me nobody in Berlin thought it possible a wall could ever be put up. How could anyone divide a city of four million with its complicated infrastructure trains, roads, streets? 
Yet that is exactly what happened on “Barbed Wire Sunday,” Aug. 13, 1961. While Berlin slept, the Wall went up nearly overnight. Suddenly people were cut off from work, school, their family. Stories abound of lovers, one living in the East, the other in the West, not seeing each other again for 30 years.
The next day I set off alone, riding 60 kilometers along the Wall’s former path through farmlands, nature preserves, and finally ending up in an industrial section far to the north of the city. Only about 12 feet of the Wall is left along this section and aside from the wide “death strip” slowly being overtaken by trees and brush, it’s difficult to decipher the historical border. Called the Mauerweg (Wall Way), the trail mostly follows the old patrol roads. When the imagination works overtime against the monotony of pedaling through this overgrown history, I often think I hear the bark of guard dogs, the sound of tanks, or, arriving at a lone guard tower swallowed by trees, the command to halt.
But it is only the song of birds now, the rustling of grass, the hum of tires, the clank of a loose fender. This is simple clean recreation with nary a threat of being mowed down by machine guns, though that would make for a slightly improved form of extreme cycling. Instead, I have been allowed plenty of time to dangerously ruminate on borders, fences and the like, whether they keep us in or keep us out or whether they establish limitations or dictate the paths we take.
On this tour of the Wall I can’t help but be grateful I can freely go in all the directions this ratty bicycle can take me, coupled with the hope that other dividing walls—Palestine and Israel, North and South Korea for example—will one day be mere bicycle paths. Berliners, both former Easterners and Westerners I’ve managed to talk to along the way, say they thought the Wall would never come down. Now they have a hard time remembering where it was.
So tomorrow, I’ll head out with Mauer Mama for the final leg. From the map it looks like more farmland on the left, suburbs on the right. Some things never change.

photos by bruce willey

Astrology

Love/Wisdom, Ray 2, Streams to Earth

Love/Wisdom, Ray 2, Streams to Earth

Both Venus and Mars are in Gemini, sign of duality. If we observe our lives we will see duality come to life. Venus and Mars are also the lovers Psyche (feminine) & Eros (masculine). Gemini’s energy, although dual at first (the two parallel lines indicating two realities, also the World Trade Center buildings) thus always providing humanity with choice, eventually synthesizes as the two lines (brothers) form a triangle with love at the apex. This is the secret of Gemini energy, people, events, times and a certain area in each of our astrology charts.

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

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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

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.