weekly watch

The Weekly Watch

Insanity to the nth Degree

Summer arrived this week bringing more heat with both the weather and arrogant American aggression. We refuse to learn, and so march ever quicker toward our own extinction. In part, I refer to global heating and the US refusal to even admit it is a problem...as we continue to market "Freedom" gas and crisscross our nation with poisonous pipelines. Even worse, we promote coups and war in Central and South America, the middle East, the Ukraine, and all around the world. All promoted by the corporate greed of fossil fuel, finance, arms manufacture, and all our covert mafia like secret agencies. The facade of democracy peeled away long ago. We are trapped in a corporate oligarchy...victims of a run away profit motive which over rides all sensible approaches toward a peaceful, productive planet which treats people with respect, equality, and justice.

Phil Ochs reminds us this isn't a new approach in the US.

The Weekly Watch

Workin' on a Buildin'

I've almost finished replacing our well house. It was the only structure I didn't build myself on our place. It was thirty something years ago, and we had just (almost) finished the house when the school year started and we were off to start teaching in a new system. A friend helped by building our well house. It lasted these 30 years (or so) as did the air tank, pump and so on, but it was a just in time replacement. I think this new well house system will see us out, supplying good quality water for at least another 30 years. The project brought to mind the type of structures we could construct for a sustainable future, and aroused pleasant memories of building projects past, present, and future.

The Weekly Watch


At my age it is a complement to be called well preserved (I guess). But we talked health and diet a couple of weeks ago. Let's talk food preservation this week. It is time to think about saving garden produce. Even if you don't have a garden, you can make use of your local farmers' market. This time of year (in the Northern hemisphere) produce is less expensive and more nutritious, and if you grow your own, you know that vegetable production can be excessive at harvest time....from feast to famine. So save during the feast and have something to avoid the famine.


The Weekly Watch

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig

It was nice to escape into a world of music for the holiday weekend last week. However when you get back home the world's the same ole place. Same crazy warmongering, election posturing, climate and environmental destruction, misuse of labor, and so on. What has changed is our weather...from wet and cool to hot and dry. The large waves (loops) in the jet stream bring one extreme or the other for days at a time...floods to droughts and back again. The warming Arctic no longer has the strength (temperature differential) to drive the jet stream like it has all our lives. I hope none of you experienced the violent weather in the mid-west this week. Record numbers of tornadoes you know. My buddies near Dayton managed to avoid the worst of it. Chaos seems to be our future...devastation from fire like hecate experienced, storms as we saw this week, floods, and droughts. Oh baby baby it's a wild world...

The Weekly Watch

Postponing Our Own Memorial Day

It isn't that I fear death, I would just like to postpone it as long as possible (provided I remain in good health). I thought it would be interesting to explore ways to maximize our health in today's column. Much of our health is a result of our diet. Lifestyle also plays an important role. The cast of our genetic dice provides the base of our health through our lives. The nature of our work and work place can stress us out or might be a supportive. The homes and communities where we live also shape our health. The nature of our environment and pollutants we encounter can promote or retard our health as well. Personal health is a multifaceted issue, and a moving target as we age. Our genetics dictate much of our health but we can control our diet, develop healthy habits, and avoid many of the toxins common in today's society.

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The Weekly Watch

Dreams and Nightmares

U.S. actions are a nightmare. Imprisoning Chelsea because she refuses to testify against Julian (who they have incarcerated and are torturing in the UK's Guantanamo like prison). Truth tellers must be stopped! Venezuela's U.S. puppet and pretend president must deliver all of that oil to our corporations and those of our vassal states. We ignore international law, yet again, and raid their embassy in DC. Israel and Saudi Arabia push us into a war with Iran....a guaranteed disaster in waiting. More children murdered this week in Yemen with U.S. assistance and bombs. More Palestinians murdered by Israelis as they protest their open air prison. We are a shameful nation bent on death and destruction for the profit of those who have more than they can possibly use. Killing one another isn't enough...the entire ecosystem is at risk to satiate our oil (and profit) addiction. It is a nightmare.

And yet, people still dream of a better future... and create new systems... and build new structures in harmony with the biosphere. People dream of a more equitable society and are discussing what a positive future might look like. Young people continue to pressure the politicians and elite to move toward a green future. Can they create a dream within the nightmares?

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The Weekly Watch

Happy Day you Mothers!

I thought it might be fun to celebrate everyone's Mother today...Mother Nature, our planet Earth. I was influenced by James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis which looks at the planet as a system. Also Lewis Thomas' essays comparing the Earth to a cell. This small amazing water and life coated marble in space is so different from the other planets of our system. There is still great beauty on Earth. We are all dependent and tied to the interconnecting systems. We are also all connected as humans...sharing the same mitochondrial DNA from our common mother, Eve. If only humans would model their lives after the natural cycling of our planet. A sustainable life for all...until the big meteor or comet changes things again as they have many times in the past.

The Weekly Watch

Coup, Coup, Cachoo

The world is engulfed with U.S. led coups. There's Venezuela, Iran, Ukraine, Nicaragua, Cuba, and too many other African and Asian nations to list. In a comment this week Joe suggested there may not be more ongoing coups today than in the past, but they've never been so blatant and obvious. There's also an on going coup against truth tellers. To paraphrase Julian, "Since lies bring us wars, perhaps truth can bring peace." Concurrently, we have a corporate coup against the ecosystem. May 5, Cinco de Mayo, is a celebration of a coup when the Mexican Army defeated the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862 (at least temporarily). However, Mexico celebrates independence day on September 16, commemorating the Cry of Dolores, which initiated the war of Mexican independence from Spain. Stretching the theme this week, let's also look at coops and chicken coops.

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The Weekly Watch

To Be(d) or Not to Be(d)

That is a Question

Garden beds, bedfellows, and bedlam are today's topics. We've been planting this week. We use garden beds. There's no right or wrong we just find it makes the garden easier to manage and maintain. As I thought about beds I wandered into thinking about who are the US bedfellows compared to those we call our enemy. To paraphrase Pogo, "We have met the evil empire and it is U.S.". We do spread bedlam far and wide.


The Weekly Watch

There is a Time...

The rose breasted grosbeaks arrived this week. The redbuds are done and the dogwoods fading. It made me think about timing. It is a big part of being a musician. The art of joke telling .........timing. Certainly we are living in interesting times....when war is peace; truthtelling illegal and lying is main stream; more drilling, pipelines, and extraction promoted and climate collapse ignored; a time when food is fast and health erodes; college impoverishes and public education is privatized; and on and on...irony within irony. Despite the insanity, spring inspires rebirth...the essence of the Easter story and Passover. For gardeners it is planting season. For politicians it is the start of election season. It is a time to renew our sense of nature and humanity. We'll also take a look at the weeks news.

The Weekly Watch

Riding the Cycle

Wheels within wheels...inside and out. Balance is key, but we seem to have lost our sense and are wobbling out of control...a spinning top losing momentum. At the same time the natural cycle swings into play showing the colors of spring and the quick flush of green. It is as though the world is bipolar...oh yeah, it is. So this week I've been thinking about the difficulty of balancing the joy and beauty of the natural cycle with the horror of human activity. The Assange arrest hit me harder than I thought. I really expected something like this, but none the less feel stunned. Another disappointment was "Pompous" declaring Iran's army to be a terrorist organization as Bibi (the real terrorist along with the family Saud) wins another term. The speed of our climate collapse is accelerating faster than models predict. So weeks like these I try to spend time outside with the trees, despite the pollen blast. The chestnuts we planted have leafed out. We've been harvesting lettuce and eating fresh salad most days. The blueberries have a strong bloom. All is not doom and disaster...we each have to find our balance on the cycle of life.

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The Weekly Watch

Bloomin' Idiots

It's an orgy! Flowers are spreading their pollen far and wide. Perhaps plants go insane like breeding animals...thoughtlessly spending their energies in hopes that their pollen will land on a fertile stigma....caught in a sexual frenzy. To paraphrase Jimi, it's a yellow haze gonna kiss the sky. Flowers are attractive (for the most part), at least to some pollinators. Many pollinators are insects and they are disappearing, you know. In the cycle of life there is a time to create seed by blooming. Later in life, at maturity, is the time to sow seed. In recent years I've come to the conclusion that as a species, we never matured beyond the selfish infant stage (which might explain why we are such bloomin' idiots)...but evolution happens and there are pockets of growth and progress. Are the choices we have illusory, or can we direct our own development? What choice does the flower have?


The Weekly Watch


The world around me is greening. Trees are budding, blooming, and leafing. Last year's sugars stored in the roots return to the growing tips and are converted into green leaves - solar powered carbon fixers. Creating sugar from air and water is the nature of plant growth. The sugars are used to build more plant tissue as they reach for the sun. I guess we have to strive toward a goal ourselves to experience growth - the human equivalent of reaching for the sun. We could use more of the sensibility and sustainability of cyclic plant growth, relying on the sun and water for our power and energy. Perhaps we could grow to be a sane and functional society focused on the needs of people and the natural system rather than the cancerous growth of profit hungry war mongers in the US and around the world.


The Weekly Watch

Pruning Out the Dead Wood...

I hope my fellow southerners have already pruned their fruit trees, shrubs, and vines. However you folks in the northern zones still have time. Pruning fruit crops is important to provide sunlight, aeration, and good plant health which in turn improve their yield. It also makes a good political analogy...pruning out the diseased and unhealthy components of government and society. So join in this social and political pruning thought experiment as well as a practical discussion of pruning techniques for fruit crops.


The Weekly Watch

Here Comes the Sun
Come on Baby Light My Fire

The wheel of the year turns to spring this week. There will be more sunlight...longer days... here in the Northern hemisphere. Light is the key to fixing carbon...through photosynthesis. Plants taking CO2 and building it into sugars and other compounds. When we eat plants we burn them back into CO2 and H2O. This balance of photosynthesis and respiration maintains the carbon cycle. For most of human history we have burnt wood as our primary fuel. Trees will regrow and recapture atmospheric carbon. However over the last century we converted to fossil fuels over plant based renewable energy sources. That (and population growth) is what put us on the path of rapid climate collapse.


This diagram of the fast carbon cycle shows the movement of carbon between land, atmosphere, and oceans. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes, and red are human contributions in gigatons of carbon per year. White numbers indicate stored carbon.