2006 Aterberry Maresh Pinot Noir, White Rose Vineyard.

I could write a sonnet, a book, an encyclopedia about my love for this extravagant, balanced, elegant, mature, brilliant Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. I learned about this wine at The Tasting Room, in Carleton, OR, during a May visit. I have opened many bottles in my home since and every one gets a forehead-slapping, “I can’t believe how good this wine is” remark from Napa Valley winemakers, visitors, friends, and knowledgeable sommeliers for whom I pour it. A perfect, 100-point Pacific Northwest Pinot Noir. And they said it couldn't be done!

1997 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

I have long respected Ed Sbragia’s work as wine director at Beringer and thought that his best-ever achievement (of many brilliant achievements) was his 2001 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet.
But the 1997 vintage is perhaps the single most compelling wine of Ed’s that I have ever tasted and a top-tier winner of the year; it is rich, rich, rich (did I forget to say rich?) in complexity, flavor, and texture.
To be blunt: it is a textbook-perfect wine at this age and stage of evolution.
You may have read reports in Wine Spectator that the 1997 Napa Valley Cabs are beyond their prime, dried up, finished, kaput. Forget that nonsense. I have opened more than a dozen different 1997 Napa Valley Cabs this year from many different producers and they have been spectacular. In essence, don’t believe what you read, unless, of course, you read it here.
But not a one of the dozen or so 1997 Napa Valley Cabs, which we opened this year, stroked my palate the way Ed’s 1997 Beringer Private Reserve Cab did. A 100-pointer any way you look at it.

2001 Vieux Donjon, Chateauneuf du Pape

The only wine in my life of which I have drunk an entire case over time and rated every single bottle of the case a near-perfect wine was the Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1990 Vieux Donjon. I LOVED THAT CASE.
I was apparently justified in my thinking about the 1990 Vieux Donjon; in a recent issue of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, he quoted sommelier Doug Mohr of Vidalia restaurant, in Washington D.C., who marveled that “the greatest wine he had ever tasted was the 1990 Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape.”
Gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.
To complement my wife's perfectly prepared home-made pappardelle with veal ragout (a variation of a Mario Batali recipe, only she did it better!), I served the 2001 Vieux Donjon, which offered a near-duplicate experience of every bottle from my case of the 1990 vintage. Here was a wine of exceptional length, extraordinary quality. This is a perfect wine, a brilliant wine, elegant, rich, balanced. A 100-pointer. There was nothing missing, no flaws, only gems
tone brilliance, bright mature fruit, terroir, minerality, and a finish that Burgundian producers would kill to have.



Needle Sized Art
Very incredible story! Not only is this mans art cool but he got a ton of cash for it!


Kill Your Inner Child 5 - Vegas Savior In A Bikini

"Glamorous woman in a bikini. Three months in Vegas. Father losing $250,000. Good times."

To view the video follow this link:



The 3,150 m long Lefortovo tunnel in Russia , (near Poland ) is the longest in-city tunnel in all of Europe . It is nicknamed 'The Tunnel of Death.' See for yourself why. There is a river running over the tunnel and water leaks through in some areas. When the temperature reaches nearly 0°C like it does during the winter in Russia , the road freezes and becomes a sheet of black ice.

The result is the attached video which was taken during a single day with the tunnel
surveillance camera. Congratulations to the dual-carriage bus driver - imagine the passengers in the back! What a ride!

The next time you complain about traffic, remember this video ... Yikes, Russian
engineering! ... or ... perhaps it's the vodka.


When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the rum. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?

'And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

HOLIDAY THERAPY [via Marie Bjorklund]

To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice. !

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write ' For Marijuana'

6. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get.

7. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

8. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go'.

9. Sing Along At The Opera.

10. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You have a headache.

11. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream 'I Won! I Won!'

12. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling 'Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!'

13. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, 'Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.'

And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity



Pleached Trees

Arches Pleached arches
Bicycle Pleached arches

(Image source: Dan Ladd)


with Anu Garg



(pleech, playch)


To interlace branches or vines to make a hedge, decorative shape, arbor, etc.


From Old French plechier, from Latin plectere (to plait). Ultimately from the Indo-European root plek- (to plait) that is also the source of plait, pleat, pliant, ply, apply, deploy, display, exploit, replicate, and perplex.


"Twenty years ago I planted a row of limes along the drive at the Mills, thinking only to pleach them so they could filter the wind."
Germaine Greer; Lime Trees; The Daily Telegraph (London, UK); Jul 5, 2003.

"Limes are ideal for pleaching because they grow fast, respond enthusiastically to pruning, and have very long whippy new stems that are easy to bend and tie into position."
Monty Don; Pleacher's Pet; The Observer (London, UK); Nov 3, 2002.



Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in" but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane ?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your butt?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Question: What is the religion of the Italians?

Answer: They are Roman Catholics.

Question: What do the Roman Catholics worship?

Answer: Idols and a piece of bread.

Question: Would not God be angry if He knew that the Italians worshipped idols and a piece of bread?

Answer: God is very angry.

—“Near Home, or, Europe Discovered,” 1850

[via Terry Stanfill]

So you think English is easy?

From J. Marie Bjorklund

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce .
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present
the present .
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
The first book that my brother David Noel read from beginning to end was A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND. Each chapter was named for the king it dealt with. The last chapter was titled Conclusion. For years he thought King Conclusion was the last monarch in English history.—Ben Freedman 9/16/08 (email)

Three standards of greatness in a work of fiction: How much do you hope this novel won't come to an end? How many thoughts does this novel make you have that you haven't had before? And: How novel is this novel? Could anybody else have written it?

--Donald Harrington [via David Angsten]
From the FOUR QUARTETS by T. S. Eliot:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;

wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

[via Nina Reznick. Esq]

Where Horses and Their Riders Winter

"In real life, we have horses and dogs in our neighborhoods....Aiken is without vampires...except for whatever the Stokers dredge up on Halloween." --Jenne Stoker

Horses and Their Riders Winter


ED AND LESLIE GIOBE sat on rickety chairs among jockeys, local residents and fellow part-time Northeasterners at the Track Kitchen breakfast shack in Aiken, S.C., one recent morning, and explained why they spend more time at their house there these days than at either of their estates in Greenwich, Conn.
“It’s a different world down here, laid- back, no stress and all horses,” said Ms. Giobe, a rider and a retired New York investment banker.

“On Halloween, kids dress up and go trick-or-treating on horseback. The bell rings, you open the door, and a horse walks his front hooves into your house.”
The Giobes bought a 5,100-square-foot brick house on 2.5 acres for $980,000 in 2002. “You don’t get attitudes in Aiken,” Ms. Giobe said. “Everyone’s friendly. It’s a nonstop party.”

A party, with a whiff of barn and hay. The Giobes are among the horse lovers from the Northeast, local real estate agents say, who are reviving a colony of equestrian snowbirds in Aiken, a city of about 30,000 that sits 16 miles from Augusta, Ga.
The town’s reputation as a haven for horse lovers originally bloomed in the late 1800s, when wealthy Northerners, including the Whitneys, Vanderbilts and Astors, discovered Aiken’s agreeable climate and found that its loamy clay soil was perfect footing for their horses’ hooves.

It was known as “the winter colony,” a horsemen’s playground, until after World War II, when “life got more demanding and the winter colony gradually faded away,” said David Jameson, the Chamber of Commerce president. “But now we’re seeing sort of a rebirth of the winter colony.”
David Samson was New Jersey’s attorney general when he and his wife, Joanna, heard about Aiken six years ago. They had a weekend house in Washington, Conn., and Ms. Samson rode with a local fox-hunting club — when the weather allowed. Ms. Samson and her horses were cooped up with cabin fever when “someone told us about this awesome little horsy town, where the footing is always amazing,” she said of Aiken. “I went down and fell in love.

The red-clay dirt roads. The crosswalks that have two push buttons: one for pedestrians, one higher up for horseback riders. The adorable downtown.”
They kept their Connecticut house and a condo in New Jersey, but the Samsons now winter in Aiken, living in a 2,500-square-foot 1887 cottage they bought in 2002 for $380,000. The Scene There’s no such thing as holding your horses in Aiken. There are steeplechases, fox hunts, polo matches and other competitive events. The streets downtown have names like Citation Drive, Ruffian Road and Saratoga Street, and the sidewalks feature a herd of life-size fiberglass horses. In the center of the city is the Hitchcock Woods, one of the largest urban forests in America, a nearly 2,000-acre preserve meant for horsy fun, complete with hilly trails and jumps.

There’s plenty of golf, too. Some courses are public; others are within private clubs or gated communities. Perhaps disappointingly, golfers ride carts, not horses, between holes. The downtown is home to mom-and-pop shops like New Image, which sells men’s suits for $45 and ball gowns for as low as $29; Equine Divine, which specializes in horse-related gifts; and Jones Supply, a hardware store that looks straight out of a Frank Capra movie. There’s a mix of restaurants, like Up Your Alley and the West Side Bowery, where the appetizers are listed as “Dinner Starting Gate,” and the salads as “Grazing Greens.”

Aiken’s night life can be wild on weekends. There are students from two local colleges, the seasonal horse set and scientists from the nearby Savannah River Site, a federal nuclear production facility. All of them spill onto the sidewalks, drinks in hand, from the Aiken Brewing Company, Pat’s Martini Bar or CuiZine. At the Hotel Aiken, with its Polo Tavern and Tiki Tavern, people dance to Carolina shag, drink Jack Daniel’s and smoke with abandon.
“Yes, we have smoking in Aiken,” said Jane Page Thompson, an agent with the Carolina Real Estate Company in town, “and if that’s not O.K., you probably shouldn’t come.”

And, in Aiken, churches seem to sprout like mushrooms in a rainy season. “When we came to Aiken, we found God — everywhere,” said Steven Naifeh, a writer who bought a 25,000-square-foot, 29-bedroom “cottage” on Easy Street in 1989 with his companion, Gregory White Smith, also a writer, for less than $500,000. “There’s a church on every corner, with marquees, like, ‘Life Is a Lottery, Win With Christ.’ ”
You’ll also find couples like Cathy and Herman Wallace, who were pushing their rarefied pooches in a pink pram outside the elegant Willcox hotel. The Wallaces, who also live part-time in Kentucky and Tennessee, spend a few weeks each year at the Willcox “because they roll out the red carpet for us and our babies,” Ms. Wallace said, referring to Patience, a bichon frisé-poodle with blue bow and collar, and Lola, a Maltese, with green bow and collar.

But image and income play little part in the social scene, Ms. Samson said. “The women here care more about keeping their horses fit than getting their nails done.”
Pros Aiken’s climate is dry and sunny, there are plenty of riding opportunities, there is a lively downtown, real estate values are below the national average, and taxes are low. Cons Smoking is allowed in restaurants and bars, but many in Aiken like that — South Carolina, after all, is tobacco country. The Real Estate Market Aiken’s equestrians may tend toward wealth, but, even so, buyers have been getting a deal. The median price of a home last year was $155,000, according to statistics from the National Association of Realtors, while the national median was $219,000.

Condos go for $75,000 to $130,000; three-bedroom ranches start at $120,000; and properties with barns and paddocks range from $250,000 to more than $1 million. The Balcony, a six-acre estate, sold for $2.8 million last year. There are 757 homes on the market in Aiken, about 7 percent of the town’s stock, said David Stinson, an agent with Meybohm Realtors. Brick or clapboard ranches are most common, but there are also renovated historic frame houses, sprawling estates and country club villas that start at $300,000 and surge into the millions. There are also several high-end communities being built, including the Ridge at Chukker Creek and the New Bridge Polo & Country Club.
Part-timers make up 17 percent of homeowners, said Sandra Korbelik, Aiken’s senior planner, and the town is one of the fastest-growing second-home communities in the country.

Edward Bernard, an oil executive from Point Clear, Ala., bought an antebellum house on five acres in Aiken three years ago for $350,000. He owns 500 more acres, on which he has put in three polo fields and several hunter/jumper arenas. He sells 10-acre lots for $150,000 apiece. Mr. Bernard said: “A gal from up North just came down and said, ‘You’re kidding, right? That’s a steal.’ I said, ‘No, Sugar, that’s for real.’ ” LAY OF THE LAND POPULATION 29,218, according to a 2007 Census Bureau estimate. SIZE 16.2 square miles.

WHERE Aiken sits in the midwestern section of South Carolina, 16 miles northeast of Augusta, Ga., and 50 miles southwest of Columbia, S.C. WHO’S BUYING Horse lovers from Northeastern states like Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING The Willcox (100 Colleton Avenue; 803-648-1898; is a white-pillared hotel with luxurious rooms and suites, most with fireplaces, all with featherbeds. Rooms are $185 to $525 a night.
Organ/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) is a musical piece composed by John Cage and is the subject of the slowest and longest-lasting musical performance yet undertaken. It was originally written in 1987 for organ and is adapted from the earlier work ASLSP 1985; a typical performance of the piano piece lasts for about 20 to 70 minutes. In 1985, Cage opted to omit the detail of "exactly how slow the piece should be played."

The current organ performance of the piece at St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany, began in 2001 and is scheduled to have a duration of 639 years, ending in 2640.

(from wikipedia)

Vincent Atchity
Follow your bliss, and don’t be afraid.

The doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

The heroic life is living the individual adventure.

There is no security

In following the call to adventure.

Nothing is exciting

If you know

What the outcome is going to be.

To refuse the call

Means stagnation.

What you don’t experience positively

You will experience negatively.

You enter the forest

At the darkest point,

Where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,

It is someone else’s path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else’s way,

You are not going to realize

Your potential.—Joseph Campbell

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.—Alan Alda [via M.J. Ryan, The Power of Patience]

I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.—Margaret Thatcher [via M.J. Ryan, The Power of Patience]

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself…every day begin the task anew.—St. Francis de Sales [via M.J. Ryan, The Power of Patience]

George Lucas put up his own money to make Star Wars because no one believed in his vision. By the time the movie came out, he was completely broke. But he ended up becoming phenomenally wealthy precisely because he had been unable to sell any of the rights to the film or sequels. --M.J. Ryan, The Power of Patience
Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. you’ve felt it your entire life.—Morpheus [via Nik Halik, Thrillionaire]

Sentimentality is unearned emotion. --James Joyce via Michael A. Simpson

The Greeks stole all my good stories.—Mark Twain [via Marilyn Horowitz]

If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.—Jonathan Winters [via Nik Halik, Thrillionaire]

Some films are slices of life. Mine are slices of cake… What is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out?”—Alfred Hitchcock [via Marilyn Horowitz]

"Worry is a misuse of imagination." author Dan Zadra via Michael A. Simpson

Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.—Oscar Wilde [via Marilyn Horowitz]

I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.—Vincent Van Gogh [via Nik Halik, Thrillionaire]

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

"14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands. Thanks to everyone who danced with me." Matt Harding

See Matt's videos in high-def here

“My coffee’s kicking in. I now have opinions!”—CLW, 8/2/08, Fairfax

"I get pretty impatient with people who are able-bodied but are somehow paralyzed for other reasons."—Christopher Reeve, 2001.

“He hates everyone. I’m his best friend, and he hates me.”—to S.L., June ‘08

“Every time she cried, I had to give her another five minutes.”—CLW, July ‘08


"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."

F. Scott Fitzgerald (via Michael A. Simpson)

Constant alertness is required since the ego will try to take over and reassert itself in any way it can.—Eckhart Tolle

"Success is never final and failure never fatal. It's courage that counts."

-George F. Tilton (via Michael A. Simpson)

The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.—Eckhart Tole

Just came across this line on a New Age website:

Rick Field's books include How the Swans Came to the Lake (Shambhala Publications), The Code of the Warrior (Harper Collins), Instructions to the Cook, and mostly recently before his death, Fuck You Cancer.

"Every time you write, fail. Fail again. Fail better."

Samuel Beckett [via David Angsten]

"When the last dime is gone, I'll sit on the curb outside with a pencil and a ten-cent notebook, and start the whole thing over again." Preston Sturges [via David Angsten]

A little political humor for my colleagues . . . Enjoy!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!

My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......

Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this ch icken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...

Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it!
It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your importan t documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% .........

Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

I invented the chicken!

Did I miss one?

Where's my gun?

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

— Charles Kingsley

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.—Ray Bradbury

I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.—Dr. Jonas Salk

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.—Albert Einstein

"Time is the substance from which I am made.
Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river;
It is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger;
It is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire."
Jorge Luis Borges

Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.—William Durant (Founder of General Motors)

Picture in your mind a sense of personal destiny.—Wayne Oates

Michelangelo's David

Michelangelo's famous statute, David, returns to Italy this week after a successful 12 week, 20 city, US tour.


In the province of the mind, what one believes to be sure either is true or becomes true.—John Lilly [via Jerry Courshon]

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go" - T.S. Elliot

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.—Robert Louis Stevenson [via Jerry Courshon]

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars.—Henry David Thoreau [via Sonia Tita Puopolo]

Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.—St. Augustine [via Jerry Courshon]

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.—William Arthur Ward [via Jerry Courshon]

If I had listened to the critics I’d have died drunk in the gutter.—Anton Chekhov [via Jerry Courshon]

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.—Benjamin Disraeli [via Jerry Courshon]

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising up every time we fall.—Confucius [via Jerry Courshon]

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.—anon [via Jerry Courshon]

I don’t defend my movies.—Roman Polanski [via Jerry Courshon]

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.—Milton Berle [via Jerry Courshon]

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.—Frank A. Clark [via Jerry Courshon]

If you have the will to win, you have achieved half your success; if you don’t, you have achieved half your failure.—David Ambrose [via Jerry Courshon]

Any fact facing us is not as important as your attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.—Norman Vincent Peale [via Jerry Courshon]

Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.—Benjamin Disraeli [via Jerry Courshon]

"Running provides happiness which is different from pleasure. Happiness has to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing" - George Sheehan

Noting has any meaning, except the meaning we give it.—CIM [via Jerry Courshon]

I’ll make an exception tonight—like every night.—Beth Gallagher, Burnside 4/5/08

When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?—John Maynard Keynes [via David Mamet]

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.—Nietzsche [via Kayoko Atchity Mitsumatsu]

It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, ,a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life! What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.—Joseph Conrad [via Kayoko Atchity Mitsumatsu]

My prize, in a stunning example of irony, was a year’s subscription to New York, which rag (apart from Mary Ann’s “Competition”) I considered an open running sore on the body of world literacy—this due to the presence in its pages of John Simon, whose stunning amalgam of superciliousness and savagery, over the years, was appreciated by that readership searching for an endorsement of proactive mediocrity.—David Mamet, “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’ [via David Angsten]

Only a habit can subdue another habit.—Og Mandino

I think that dreams are a way that people’s minds illustrate the nature of their problems. Or maybe even illustrate the answers to their problems in symbolic language.—Stephen King [Writers Dreaming, Naomi Epel]

I don’t know how dreams work but I know how writers work, and it might not be a bad analogue for the way the imagination works when it’s making dreams. The imagination is operating in both instances. When we’re making fiction and poetry one of the things we do is monitor what we’ve done. We play some cards perhaps almost at random and then, like a good card player, we remember what cards we’ve played and so we work them. I do it actually with little lists and notes.It’s like starting out with any six colored yarns and then you make the argyle sock. You see it’s time for the blue yarn to come back so now I’m going to cross this with the red one, et cetera.—John Barth [Writers Dreaming, Naomi Epel]

Have the confidence of the trip and nobody can ever take it from you. Because it belongs to you from the very word one. It belongs to you.—Clive Barker [Writers Dreaming, Naomi Epel]

I usually don’ people to tell me long stories about themselves. Or writers who talk endlessly about their work. Tell me something that you think will be useful to me. Don’t just tell me something that you find interesting.—Richard Ford [Writers Dreaming, Naomi Epel]

Your style really comes out of your attitude, how you see things. [Writers Dreaming, Naomi Epel]

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I don’t know what that is. There are just certain little areas that I know I’m going to get through. It’s just a matter of finding a way. [Writers Dreaming, Naomi Epel]


By Vincent Atchity

Step outside at dawn
and stand in the rosy-fingered quiet.
If you stay still enough you will
like a tree
be unseen
by neighbors and passersby
so busy with their goings
they have no eyes for the way.

The clouds blossom pink
at her first touch.

Be unseen.
Begin at first light.
Watch the way unreel
with every cast.

His Honor Mark Wyndham

Superior Court Judge Swearing in Ceremony, Valentine’s Day 2008

“Behind every successful man—there’s me.”—Beth Gallagher

April Christofferson’s new book

April Christofferson’s new book is Alpha Female forthcoming from Tor. It’s a non-stop read.

April Christofferson with her “first and greatest ‘horse love,’ Sweetness, named after Walter Payton (of the Chicago Bears).”

Wielding A Mighty Pen

Novelist and U of U grad April Christofferson seeks to inspire readers to action even as she keeps them glued to their seats.

by Marcia C. Dibble

“I love the process of writing,” says April Christofferson BS’73, “but I write because I’m trying to make a difference.”

The issues around which Christofferson is now working to make a difference include the West’s biggest areas of conflict—wildlife and public lands management, tribal rights, and development. Currently wrapping up her seventh novel, Christofferson has filled many a page in her efforts to educate as well as entertain, and she’s found numerous willing readers along the way.

Continue reading…


You must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.

And there are things to be considered.

Where are you living?

What are you doing?

What are your relationships?

Are you in right relation?

Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community.

Be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now

Very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who

Will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They

Will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

See who is there with you and celebrate. At this time in

History, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all,

Ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual

Growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your

Vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred

Manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

--Anonymous, from George Braziller’s Cry Out: Poets Protest the War

"US," the memoir of Nancy and Ben Freedman

Celebrate bad news. You don’t need to celebrate good news, you’re happy anyway. It’s when bad news knocks you off your feet that you leap up, throw your chapeau in the air, and have a party. It’s the way you reaffirm your faith in the future.—Nancy and Ben Freedman, US [MS]

Fun first, pleasure afterwards.—ditto

I’ve just had the great pleasure of rereading US, the memoir of Nancy and Ben Freedman, long time friends and Occidental College associates—and authors of Mrs Mike, Joshua Son of None, Sappho: The Tenth Muse, and many other great novels. Aside from the book’s anecdotal splendor and good humor it is filled with the kind of life-wisdom—like Nancy’s two principles stated above—that will have readers savoring it from coast to coast. In their late 80’s, they continue to write and celebrate good and bad news together In the Bay Area—one of life’s wonderful ironies, since Nancy was repeatedly told throughout her life, for the first time at the age of 4, that she wouldn’t make it for more than another year. Her love of life and Ben, and his for life and her, have kept them happy and productive for nearly a century!

The Freedmans were recently celebrated themselves in Oprah’s magazine.

Support the Grameen cause

Thanks to Grameen Foundation West Coast Development VP Julia Wilson, we were fortunate enough to be with Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and author of Banker to the Poor, this time at L.A. Central Library downtown. Dr. Yunus was eloquent, inspiring, a living prophet, about Grameen’s success in enabling the impoverished. His track record, since 1982, is prodigious. His thinking is crystal clear. In promoting his new book, Creating a World without Poverty, he talked about the difference between his beggars’ program in Bangladesh and the U.S. welfare system. “If you give beggars a grant of $15, they will go out and enjoy it, then come back to you and ask for another one.” Instead Grameen provides them with things to sell—candies, toys, etc. Turns them into door to door salespeople. “How do they feel about it? Well, they tell us, when we come to the door these days it’s open to us. When we were just begging, the door was never open—people handed us what they could. They didn’t want to look at us.” As it stands today U.S. law makes it impossible to lend money, in the fashion of his micro-financing program, to anyone on welfare. “You don’t want them to improve,” he said. “You want them to stay as they are.”

He was told that his program to introduce cell phones into villages in the 23 countries where Grameen makes unsecured loans would not work. “Who will the women call?” he was told. “I don’t care who they call,” he said. “I want people who need to make a call have to come to them. Instead of a cash cow, they will now have a cash phone!” Experts predicted he might be able to place 250,000 phones in his home country. Within four years he had placed 18 million in a country of 350 million (the size of Wisconsin).

Most recently he’s founded Grameen Dannon, a program that’s delivering nutrition-enrich yoghurt in edible cups in villages throughout Bangladesh to encourage malnourished young people to adopt it as their daily snack. It’s the paradigm of his “social business” (as opposed to “profit-maximizing business”: a joint venture between Grameen and Dannon in which both sides put up an equal amount of money and have agreed that they can both recoup the investment but will take no further dividends from the project so as to minimize the cost of the yoghurt!

If only we could have this kind of revolutionary, clear thinking in the next president of the United States!

I could go on and on. It was inspiring to be in his presence. Buy his books. Support the Grameen cause. I’ve posted some of Kayoko’s photos from Grameen Koota, and will soon post others from the 3 villages she visited when we were in Bangalore for the purpose of yoking Grameen with the Yoga Journal.

Ran across Future Me where you can send your future self a note. Whatever your writing goal is, and however strongly you doubt you’ll accomplish it, tell yourself from the future that it got done—and published or produced!

Picasso via Taki

ʽFrom the moment that art ceases to be the nourishment of the best brains, the artist can use all the tricks of the intellectual charlatan. The refined people, the rich ones and the professional layabouts, only want what is sensational or scandalous in modern art. And since the days of Cubism I have fed these boys what they wanted and pacified the critics with all the idiotic ideas that went through my head. Whilst I amused myself with all these pranks, I became famous and very rich. I am just a public clown, a fair-ground barker. It is painful for me to confess this, but in the end it pays to be honest.ʼ

Picasso was no fool. The above words were first printed in the American Mercury in August of 1957. Some of you may remember that H.L. Mencken was the editor of the American Mercury, a magazine that told it like no other. Picasso was 75 years old in 1957, an age when one wants to come clean once and for all. Little did he know that he was to live another 16 years.

Last Note on Japan

On leaving Tokyo we ran into an immediate “wake up” reminder of how different the concept of service is in India, Japan, and the U.S. On board Northwest Airlines Business Class, a high-strung flight attendant poured me a third of a glass of the California Merlot. When she moved to pour Kayoko’s wine—full to the brim--and then started to move off, Kayoko asked her: “Do you have any more of the Merlot?” indicating my glass. The stewardess gave us a withering look and said, “If I had any more I’d have poured a full glass.” That’s it. No explanation. No, “I’ll be back with another bottle.” It’s not about my needing more wine—I had more than my share of fun on this trip. An hour or two later she came back with bottled water and offered one to each of us. “No, thanks,” I said. “If you don’t take it now,” she said, “It’s your last chance. We don’t offer it again.” Aside from feeling distinctly coach, I gave her some bad eyes. “Do you have a problem with me, sir?” she asked. I didn’t restrain myself: “Actually, I do. First you made the comment about ‘if I had more wine I’d have poured a full glass,’ now you’re telling me I’d better take this water now or go without! I don’t understand why you’d speak to a customer that way.” Her response was that we had ten hours to go and wouldn’t it be better if we were friends! Well, I dunno. With friends like that…

Neither of us could imagine an exchange like that happening on an Indian or Japanese airline—not to mention that the food on NWA in both directions was so mediocre we packed our own sandwiches for the return trip. It’s truly sad that our airlines represent America in this shabby way, all in the name of earning a few bucks more. Next time we fly JAL or Singapore, where service and pride and good food are considered par for the course and where taking out your frustrations on the passenger is unimaginable.

For more on the Japan trip see:

Goblins Cover

Delighted to receive the finalized cover of the second novel from our client Royce Buckingham (Demonkeeper). Congratulations, Royce. It’s a great cover for a great book.

Last Meal in Tokyoiz

One misty evening we walked to the Ogikubo station, and took the train one stop to Asagaya where the Mitsumatsus introduced us to their favorite local pub-- run by Yutaka Ishida and his wife. The place was no longer than 20 feet, no wider than 10. For the next two hours, the couple--who provide the Mitsumatsus with their home-grown organic vegetables (like beautiful yellow cauliflower) on a regular basis--served some of their favorites, all washed down by delicately delicious Kuri shochu (chestnut shochu).--

Sudomame, big fat juicy black beans
Hi Ika, tiny squid, sautéed and served whole
Inca potato salad, the best potato salad ever
Citrus buckwheat pickles, no way to describe!
Atsu Age, fried tofu with hot chili pepper
Gingko nuts roasted with sea salt
Sautéed shisho buds
Pickled cherry blossom buds--green and scraggly, but you could taste a springtime of cherries in each bite
Shishamo (grilled whole fish, meant to eat the head first)
Saku Neba Age (grilled tofu with slimy soy beans)--oishii!
Saske Buta -- three-gene pork, served medium-rare and melting in your mouth.

As a farm boy who learned that pork should be well done, I'm always surprised by Japanese smoke bacon that looks like it hasn't been cooked at all. But since a lot of people like me order their bacon well-done obviously many others don't--yet survive.This humble place--room only for 8 at the counter, and all they have isa counter--absolutely deserves to be ranked in Michelin, who hopefully will never find it, tucked discreetly into a hotel beneath the station in this "suburb."

Much to be said for Japanese slipper culture. Street shoes give way to eelskin slippers in the house; different ones for the bathroom; different ones for the porch. Even at restaurants, clogs are provided if you leave the tatami to use the restroom. All very civilized--but nothing more civilized than the heated toilet seats (that raise automatically) with full plumbing facilities. Quite different from the bucket found in even the swankiest bathrooms in India.

Civilized and peaceful, homogeneous through and through (we saw one black man on this trip, no Muslims, only one radio truck proclaiming Communism, several militant Christians), Japan seems frozen in its own world, shunning America, thawing toward China, and avidly courting India. Obama's victories give hope that the image of America may brighten--may have already brightened a little--to think that its people might accept the diversity Japan fears for itself.

En route to Narita now on the bus (1.5 hours), to leave this afternoonand arrive back in L.A. the same morning.

That's all, folks. Will not even bother you with the bicycling sumos we caught on camera as we pulled away from the Shinjuku Merriott.

Thanks for your great responses.

Scroll down to Minami Izu Umi Ga Hama for more on the Japan trip.


Make the most of your regrets. To regret deeply is to live afresh.—Henry David Thoreau

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.—Arthur Miller

Special Feature: Forecast

by Jane Tara

It’s difficult to pinpoint the inspiration behind Forecast. There was never a moment or event that led to that light bulb going off, which is what normally happens to me. Instead, a family of psychics simply strolled into my head and wouldn’t leave. It wasn’t a matter of telling their story, but deciding which part of their story to tell. While I eventually stuck to modern day events, my characters and their ancestors mapped out a myriad of tales for me, dating back to the 1500’s.

It has been a long road to publication, one that began years before I met my characters. I grew up in a small Australian beach town, where the inability to tan was virtually illegal. All good Aussie kids were meant to be sporty little sun-worshippers. But I was (and still am) a pale skinned, freckle-faced bookworm, who would while away the summer days in shady spots, reading and writing love stories and fairy tales. It was during this time that I developed a lifelong love of romance and magic. As an adult, I’ve written everything from plays to children’s books, but I’ve never been happier than when I recently returned to my romance roots.

The day I started writing Forecast, I knew it would be published. I believe I was given a sign. I, like the Shakespeare women in my book, believe in signs.

I’ve always adored bees. They are an ancient symbol of good fortune and happiness. They remind us to embrace our creativity, and enjoy the moment. I love that it’s aerodynamically impossible for the bumblebee to actually fly; yet it does anyway. The bumblebee has so much belief in itself that it performs miracles every time it flutters its wings. We can learn from that.

I clearly remember the first page I wrote, because within minutes of starting there was the most almighty roar. I thought a plane was headed for my house. I rushed over to the window and saw a swarm of bees coming towards me. I quickly shut the window and, for the next two hours, watched the bees hit the glass. Eventually they continued on their way. I returned to my writing, and immersed myself in the second page…followed by the third. I decided to flap my wings and fly, even though the laws of nature were probably against me.

The Shakespeare women came to me fully formed and quite forceful in the direction they wished to take. While I enjoyed immersing myself in their colorful world, the subject matter certainly wasn’t alien to me. I grew up surrounded by highly intuitive women and spent part of my childhood in a delightfully haunted house. It was in this house that I saw my first ghost. Yes, that’s right, not only was I a freckle-faced bookworm, but I was also “a bit odd.” At least to others. It was all completely normal to me. Which is why, when I wrote about the Shakespeare women and their gifts, I didn’t want them to be too outlandish. Unconventional perhaps, but still normal. Their gifts aren’t superpowers. They don’t save the world with them. Their psychic abilities and eccentricities are more routine than that.

As the book hits the shelves, I feel like I’m saying goodbye to some old friends. It’s their journey now. I hope you enjoy reading Forecast as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Jane Tara

Click Here to Buy Forecast

Minami Izu Umi Ga Hama

Orion’s belt
fades into the pink.
Breeze conducts
The sounds of surf
into singing pines
that greet the sun
rising from distant
Color by
color, awakening birds
add their voices
one by one by one.

The final crescendo of a magnificent trip was our 'anniversary trip' to Minami Izu Umi Ga Hama--a on sen (hotsprings) hotel 2.5 hours south of Tokyo. The train ride was gorgeous--beach after beach, quaint villages, clear water, fantastic views of the Pacific--traffic on Japan's PCH! The tatami room was wonderful.

Dinner this time was 12 courses, highlighted by the steamed bream and the sashimi service for two (see photo). I canceled the last 2 courses--just too much. Our own kimono-clad waitress both in the room (complete with its outside bath--roten buro--in the open air balcony under the Carmel-like pines) and in the restaurant. Several walks on the beach, clad in our hotel garb.

Preparing and presenting food is the universal art of Japan. In a country where the architecture is mostly utilitarian, and dress is meant to NOT draw attention to yourself as "standing out," the opposite applies to food. Every morsel is prepared, displayed, and partaken of with reverence--and is a celebration of life.

Some farewell observations:
  • subway cars reserved for women only on weekends, so rampant is the harassment situation
  • young women walking awkwardly on very high heels with bows in the back of them, as if ready to fall to their knees and assume kimonos
  • one of the most obvious fashions: dress shorts, with black boots
  • white coats definitely “in,” in all lengths
  • New Year’s “fortune bags” at all the stores. You pay $10 or $20 or more, and then open the bag at home to see what’s inside: cake, pillow, stress squeezie, etc. Only in today’s Japan, people are looking into the bags before they buy them. I mentioned this was the end of a tradition. No, they say, it’s just a new variation on it!
  • in the spas, you know if you’re in trouble if anyone is looking at you; if they’re not, you’re not doing anything wrong
  • Last lunch at Mitsumatsus was exquisite sushi delivered in exquisite lacquer Bento boxes from a local sushi restaurant! The restaurant picks up the empty boxes the next day.