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Oct 20th
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Area Opinions

Columns - Opinion

That’s a Crazy Idea. Sign Me Up.

That’s a Crazy Idea. Sign Me Up.

A little over a year ago, I played the role of narrator in a show called “Jugtown U.S.A.” The show concept was simple: Play a retrospective of the hits of early Motown on jug band instruments. Musical parts were reorganized to accommodate instruments from the hillbilly wedding party scene in the movie Deliverance, were there actually such a scene. Drummer Olaf Shiappacasse played a finely arranged pile of debris, including a washboard, cardboard suitcases, hubcaps, and pie tins. Matt Bohn built and performed on a more playable interpretation of the washtub bass, substituting a galvanized washtub for the usual curvy body.  Along the front of the stage, ready to play the parts of strings and brass, stood an array of jugs, partially filled beer bottles, kazoos, and megaphones.

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Columns - Opinion

Cutting Redevelopment: A Bad Business Decision

Cutting Redevelopment: A Bad Business Decision

Editor’s Note: This guest column is compiled by Patrice Edwards, Chair, board of directors, and Bill Tysseling, executive director at the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce, for the Board of Directors.

As business people, we understand the challenge of controlling costs and staying on budget. We understand, too, the challenge facing California and Gov. Jerry Brown as he struggles to plug a $25 billion budget hole.

But we also understand the relationship between costs and benefits. That’s why the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce opposes the governor’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies in California.

As California emerges from what has been termed the Great Recession, the need for redevelopment agencies has never been greater. And that’s especially true for Santa Cruz County.

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Columns - Opinion

What's In a Word?

What's In a Word?

So, there I was, loping through the San Francisco Chronicle last week. (We may surf the web, but a more laid-back and contemplative verb is required for perusing a newspaper in print) and there I found the article, "Book lovers turn the page on a new year," about Bay Area calligrapher Georgianna Greenwood. Early in January every year, she hosts a ceremony at the Center for the Book in San Francisco; eschewing the whole notion of New Year's resolutions, she invites participants to choose a single word to express their attitude toward the coming year—hopes, dreams,  strategies, goals, coping mechanisms, whatever—and then draws or collages together a "talisman" to celebrate that idea. But the core is that word, one single word to express one's personal Zeitgeist for the new year.

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Columns - Opinion

The Lesson of WikiLeaks

The Lesson of WikiLeaks

There’s a big lesson stemming from Wikileaks—and it’s not really a political one. Actually, there’s a lesson for us all.

Some are outraged over the documents that have now become public; others are overjoyed that “the truth” has come out.

But the overriding lesson goes far beyond that. We are now living in a Wikileaks world.

It’s hard to gauge what damage, if any, will be done by the Wikileaks revelations. Has the release of classified information been damaging—or is it just embarrassing?

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Columns - Opinion

Leaky Bucket List, 2011

Leaky Bucket List, 2011

2011 is a prime number, so this year I came up with an extra special resolution: Overcome my disdain for trends and my shyness around new groups by getting involved in something new. Something exciting. Something Santa Cruzy.

For research, I leafed through the giant pile of local newspapers I’m hoarding for the day when we all go paperless and bird owners will have to come to me, desperate, for something to line their cages. I’ll be rich I tell you, rich!

A few things considered but rejected: Becoming a lesbian (unacceptable reduction of the dating pool), panhandling (my doctor insists I have good back support if I sit for prolonged periods), vegetarianism (pigs are very smart; if we don’t keep their numbers in check they’ll take over), and coffee shop philosopher. (I’ve already worked it all out: “The grass is greener, but then you eat all the grass.”)

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Columns - Opinion

Spirit of Christmas Presence

Spirit of Christmas Presence

The most important person at our Thanksgiving feast this year wasn't even at the table. Before the first morsel of turkey was gobbled, my cousin Megan proposed that we raise our glasses to my mom, who passed away in February, one month shy of her 89th birthday.

Art Boy and I had spent the day in the car, driving from Santa Cruz all the way down to Hermosa Beach. We much prefer to stay firmly rooted to hearth and home—our home—for the holidays, if at all possible. But this was going to be the first big holiday without Mumsie, and I thought it was important to be there to share it with my brothers, Mike and Steve, who lived with Mom in the house we all grew up in at the end of her life. It was a bittersweet time for us; we felt my mom's fun-loving spirit everywhere in the house she lived in for 56 years, but we were so sorry we hadn't organized one last, big family feast like this a couple of years earlier, before my mom's last series of strokes, when she could have still been with us in person, alert and mobile, to enjoy it.

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Columns - Opinion

If It’s Midnight,This Must Be A Manger

If It’s Midnight,This Must Be A Manger

It’s here again, that special time of year, which at this point in my life doesn’t feel all that special anymore. It feels like shopping. Shopping and lists of things to do, buy, wrap, ship, light, hang on a tree, cook in a casserole, write in a card, dress in a Santa suit, steal while the villagers hold hands and sing “Fah who for-aze! Fah who for-aze!” (And adding to my anxiety, due to the marketing schedule of major corporations, is my craving for a Shamrock Shake right about now. Color me confused.)

Regardless of your winter celebration of choice, there is bound to be some amount of obligation and stress attached. If not, you’re doing it wrong, and nobody’s had the nerve to tell you. Now try harder, fail bigger and get in the spirit of things.

My extended family celebrates Christmas. Personally, I belong to that special group of individuals who celebrates the social aspect of just about any celebration you throw our way, as long as there’s dip and music. You may recognize us: the Lazy Catholics, the Lazy Jews, the Lazy Pagans. We light trees, eat latkes and burn Yule logs only to retire to our normally scheduled program without so much as a spiritual hiccup. Things were probably different when we were young.

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Columns - Opinion

What Does Sustainable Actually Mean?

What Does Sustainable Actually Mean?

Sustainable. Wikipedia describes it as “the capacity to endure.” While the definition is convenient, clean and nice, how it translates into reality is highly subjective. What you think of sustainable living might be quite different from what I think. Furthermore, I find it a common capitalistic affliction to know what sustainable living is and consciously not live that way.

All the submarine and terrestrial volcanoes in the world produce roughly 200 million tons of CO2 annually and humans, through the burning of fossil fuels, production of cement and gas flaring produce 30 billion tons annually. According to the United States Geological Survey, it's equivalent to adding 8,000 medium-sized active volcanoes like Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii, to the planet. As a marine and environmental scientist, I see daily how the natural world is viewed and used as an infinitely forgiving resource or a place where you can dump or trash. I have to work in my own life to develop myself out of old habits and into more ‘sustainable’ ones. From a global perspective, I have a very high carbon footprint and from a national perspective, it’s low. It’s easy to get lost in the computations of carbon footprints and to justify consuming with responses like, “I try to be a locavore,” “I buy organic,” or “I conserve,” but we are still left with the questions: is it sustainable? And, am I doing enough?

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Columns - Opinion

Lost in a Sea of Information

Lost in a Sea of Information

Oscar Wilde once averred, “I am not young enough to know everything.” Imagine if he tried living in this modern era of too much information. It’s impossible to keep up.

I think it’s my iPad that finally made me hit the wall. It’s an incredible device—offering more information at one sitting than anyone could have ever imagined in those days of yore where we’d sit with maybe a newspaper, a magazine or even a book.

Years ago, I went to a journalism seminar and the media expert there asked the crowd of reporters and editors whether their business was news or information. More than half said they wanted to give information to their readers—go well beyond the news and really inform the public.

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Field Work

Santa Cruz Mountain winemakers explain how the harvest works, and what kind of wine to expect from this year's crop

 

Libra's Two Choices

Libra (our last week) is the sign of creating right relations and values. In Libra we are asked to choose how to be, our identity in the world. We can maintain a hermetic sealed-off attitude (my life, my work, my money, etc.) or we can gain knowledge of world events and learn more about those in need. Libra is a group sign—self with others. Here are some events occurring in our world this week concerning food, poverty, spirituality, values and global realities. The UN (a spiritual experiment) each month places a “light” upon world problems. This week a light shines on Rural Women, Farms, Food & Poverty. Before we choose to respond we must have knowledge. “So we can each do our part.” Oct. 15 - International Day of Rural Women (unrecognized with few resources); Oct. 16 - World Food Day & Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth; Oct. 17 - Eradication of Poverty Day (international). During the month of Libra (with Saturn exalted), we pause, contemplate and assess what it is we know, don’t know, and need to know. Libra receives and distributes Ray 3 of divine intelligence, right relations, right choice and right economy (Venus). Use your intelligence “tips the Libran scales” in terms of being able to see and then choose between the two paths Libra offers (return to the past or step forward into Scorpio’s Discipleship). Libra (the oscillating light) prepares us for the great tests and conflicts in Scorpio. In Libra we are subtly tested as we learn the nature of polarized energies (s/he loves me, s/he loves me not). In Libra we learn more about ourselves through others. Libra’s Ray 3 asks us to become more adaptable and skillful. And then we are to teach each other what we know. In Libra, we all become teachers. In all these ways love is cultivated.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
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Nut Kreations

Co-owner Craig Olsen goes nuts over nuts

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Friends who are wine club members of Martin Ranch invited us to the winery’s fun and festive annual barbecue, where the wine is flowing and the food just keeps on coming. Music and dancing are part and parcel of the action, and a good time is guaranteed.

 

Beer Bus

Santa Cruz’s new Brew Cruz, award winning ales, mole by el Jardín, and Wildcat Ridge Chardonnay