Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Check out my new friend I met at Kukio beach on the Big Island. This beautiful, big honu (honu is Hawaiian for sea turtle) was peacefully sunning itself in the warm beach sands. That day, we were blessed to sea about a dozen of this peaceful creatures in and out of the sea. This one was my favorite because its gentle eyes were open.
Click HERE to read The Struggle of the Ancients, a superb piece about the endangered honu, it's international and Hawaiian connections and it's rapidly diminishing environment. Growing up in Tacoma and living by Commencement Bay (along with many trips to the west coast beaches), I have always been passionate about our local waters and it's animal inhabitants. After meeting the honu, my thoughts have broadened to all of the spectacular creatures that are at risk in the mighty Pacific.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Boogie boarding (a.k.a. body boarding) is another form of surfing (or surfing lite). Instead of standing upright on a surf board to catch that perfect wave, boogie boarders lay on their stomachs on top of a much shortened surf board made out of different materials to catch waves crashing closer to shore. Surfers attach their boards with nylon cord and a Velcro strap around their ankles, while boarders have a wrist strap. The basic idea is to “jump on” just before the wave crests and ride it like you are snow sledding. Click here to learn more about the sport. For me, boogie boarding at
Surfers have long had their own philosophy and Zen wisdom on their art of surfing; yet, I have never seen anyone get philosophic on boogie boarding. So, here I am, still on Hawaiian time and the spirit of aloha coursing through my body. Today, the best way to express that is to get all Zen with The Neighborhood. Surf’s up!
- Boogie boarding takes practice. Timing is critical. Don’t worry. Keep practicing. You’ll get it. And when you get the timing down and ride that first wave, it’s magic.
- When you see the wave about to crest, be ready for it. Get on the board and start kicking. If you’re not ready in time, it’s okay. There will be other waves.
- If you see a big wave coming and don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t take it. Let it crash through you or swim under it. Be comfortable with your board, your body, and the water.
- Sometimes, if you don’t time the wave correctly, or if the surf is too high or too rough, you can get knocked off the board, batted around, or flipped. We all make mistakes. Get back up on your board and try again. If the elements cause your fall and tumble, it’s just a temporary set back. Try again later.
- When you catch a pretty wave, ride it with all of your heart. Let your body and mind go. Savor the moment, savor the fun.
- The ocean is bigger and stronger than you. Embrace it, learn about it, and love it. You’ll get the same in return.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
In those days, I was distressed to discover as a fledgling parent, that at his school classroom experiences in the arts were not a mandated part of the overall curriculum but largely and simply a function of the time, energy and degree of comfort that his individual teachers were with the subject.
One of the first steps I took as a parent was to check-out the resources of the school which included a stop with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in order to network with other parents. Parent volunteers there assured me I was not alone in my concern about the lack of a strong intentional priority in the area of arts education. Unfortunately, the group as a whole had other more pressing pre-WASL era issues on their agenda which I was welcome to join a committee.
To be fair, I cannot leave this issue and era without adding I was directed to the possibility of making a small volunteer contribution to the arts in my son's class by signing up to be the Art Cart mom or dad.
The original thinking behind the Art Cart was commendable. If memory serves it included cards on famous art subjects of note with associated material on the artist who created them. Over the years some of these items had been lost and could be supplemented by a short trip to the local library, etc.
I served as the Art Cart mom for one year, but still despaired of the lack of available resources at my son's school particularly because it was for the most part, essentially a passive experience, and not designed to actively engage the minds, attentions and more importantly hands its audiences!
Local parents with children going through local public schools today have much more hope despite years of in my personal opinion longstanding and knee-jerk cuts, slashes and gouges in funds earmarked for arts education and experiences in area schools on the mistaken impression that arts are a frill which in tight economic times that we cannot afford.
This very idea can largely be traced to a lack of creative thinking in the areas of those who make and administer public policy on the subject which may well directly lead upon closer analysis to the sorry truth that the state of arts education during the time they grew up and came of age was also deficient.
While I do not hold a degree in elementary, secondary or post-secondary education and would not ordinarily presume to supplant experts in the field, as a layperson my own beliefs encircle the general concept that arts education ought to be mandatory in the public schools from the elementary level upwards because exercising art skills builds the potential for future creativity in the citizenry as surely as repetitious exercises in the gym build physical musculature and increase overall health and stamina.
So I took my concerns over and above my local PTA and shared opinions and concerns as listed above as a member and citizen appointee of the City of Federal Way Arts Commission in the mid-nineties. Unfortunately during this period what time and effort could be spared by the hard-working and otherwise able members of this body and similar resources in the community did not appear to have reached the critical levels upon which changes along the magnitude I would hope for could realistically happen.
So it is with special pleasure that I pleased to witness and pass-on to fellow parents and community citizens of like-mind interests a resource such as the Seattle-based organization Arts Corps at http://www.artscorps.org/ whose vision is to provide the young with "Freedom to imagine, courage to be." and whose stated mission is to " provide and inspire art education programs that develop creative habits of the mind to enable young people to realize their full potential."
Charles Hoff, local citizen and retired member of the community who recently stepped down the Federal Way School Board of Education has begun a column in one of the two weeklies serving the area to begin a series outlining in perhaps more thoughtful detail his take and concerns about the state of public education.
I mention his efforts because while I've found my own conclusions on the topic to often be on the opposite side of the floor than Hoff in the past, he reminds me once again that it is important to persevere if time and opportunity permit, in championing those values and developments in the community that we hold dear even if these interests should require far more years than we'd originally imagined.
There will always be room for discussion and disagreement in the areas of educational policy and priorities in the school system. However, the birth of an organization such as Arts Corps gives yet more more resource for those who would seek to improve the overall depth of understanding in the arts and humanities among the generations who will come after us.
I invite interested parents, teachers and community members to take the time to go to and check-out this exciting and innovative group of people whose ideas and accomplishments since work began in 2002 have begun to transform both horizons and lives.
Monday, February 25, 2008
It is quite likely, that due to different restrictions on zoning and promotional signage between the two communities, may be responsible for the fact it is far more difficult to be as easily familiar with the actual presence of these facilities in Federal Way as it is for those residents in Kent's East Hill.
According to Fogh, there are four nursing homes, five assisted care facilities and 69 adult family homes in the vicinity of Federal Way. Additionally, there is at present a critical need to fill up to fifteen volunteer slots in the area to assist the program and serve some 1,200 seniors and other disabled residents in this locale.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Lorraine wrote so eloquently (as she always does about every topic) when she posted her thoughts about the wondrous total lunar eclipse.
I cannot add much to Lorraines observations except to say that it is well documented that there is at least one fearsome phenomenon that accompanies these events: major earthquakes within the next 48 hours or so...big quakes occurred in Indonesia and Greece and closer to home the one in northern Nevada; hopefully, the northwest will be spared, but this is also a good time to remind everyone to have their emergency supplies ready.
I had opened a small piece of Dove chocolate candy in the afternoon prior to the onset of the eclipse at 5:43 and the message inside the foil candy wrapper said, "Sleep under the stars tonight." I thought to myself, uh-oh, is this an omen of some kind? Thankfully not, but it was an interesting synchronicity.
I had had the eclipse on my calendar for a week or so to watch the eclipse and had prayed continually that we would have clear skies for viewing, which seemed a most unlikely possibility, but for which I was quite thankful. And a double-header in the skies that same night with the shoot-down of the satellite in the hour following totality. No coincidence there either.
I shot more than 120 images during the various stages of the eclipse and am posting only few of them here. Enjoy!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
La Bella Luna rose over the mouth of the bay, just visible between the trees that line our neighbour's driveway. Already a shadow was caressing her cheek and she began to blush, though still lighting the water and sky. By the sounds of things people were gathering down on A street, at water's edge, for the show. If I had known the night would be so clear, I would've invited friends to our wonderful back deck at the Aerie.
As the moon ruddied in the earth's shadow I could see more of her true orb shape, rather than the flat disc of light she often appears to be against the sky's indigo curtain. Stars, planets, even swirls of the Milky Way burst into twinkling light over the darkened countryside. Small planes over the Sound looked like slow-motion shooting stars...oh, what a night to be flying! Even standing on our deck I felt as if it were the bridge of a huge starship, the night dark and eternal in front of me.
I thought of our ancestors and the fear of these mysterious celestial happenings before the movements of the solar system were known. Christopher Columbus was able to frighten Caribbean natives into doing his will by predicting a lunar eclipse three days before. He told them it would be a sign from his angry God for refusing to take care of him and a large, hungry crew.
Here in the twenty-first century, the sight of a lunar eclipse no longer brings anyone to their knees in fear of the world ending but it is still a most incredible, awesome, humbling vision. We are made suddenly and dramatically aware that, yeah, we're hanging in space, not seeing a painted backdrop to the human world of illusion. In that realization we become focused on our sense of being instead of doing. In the ballet of light and shadow, we are made aware that humans are a small but integral part of something so much greater.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
It disturbed me to read this morning that Edward E. Scott, the former Naval Base Kitsap Command Master Chief Petty Officer, will be allowed to retire from the navy with full benefits and honorably discharged.
Edward E. Scott, 44, once the local base's highest enlisted man, was arrested after a sting operation in which an officer posed as the mother of young twins in an online forum. Scott was met by police at a Bremerton motel where he had arranged to have sex with what he believed was the mother and both children.
Petty Officer Scott is a disgrace to his country and his uniform. Scott held a position of trust and authority that few enlisted ever attain and to seek sex with children while in that position and wearing that uniform is the highest form of mockery.
Scott should have received a court-martial and at the very least, a bad conduct discharge. The fact that he is retiring with an honorable discharge cheapens the meaning of that type of discharge.
True, he had a stellar record of service prior to this incident and we don’t know that he ever hurt a child, but the fact that he was willing, and was prepared to do so when he was caught, negates all of that.
Scott is a dangerous sexual predator and should be treated as such. He does not deserve his pension or the status of a retired member of the Armed Forces.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
sadly it will be a few more months before i may be allowed to clutter up the ether with my contributions
once it was found that i was providing commentary to a mouthpiece of the 'liberal media', i was warned at the highest level. this despite the fact that not a single entry offered the merest whisper of my work, let alone national security. all the while soldiers were blogging from a theater of war receiving nothing more than a cocked eyebrow from their constituent commanders.
but if I post it all in lowercase, then it doesn't matter. right?
i shouldn't even be posting this, but doing the right things hasn't really seemed to work for me either.
yup, things are rough all over
now stop reading this and go on to a more worthy article... whichever one is next.