Sunday, January 30, 2011

Save Baja's Cabo Pulmo Reef from Developers

Please protect Baja's only coral reef from being destroyed by developers in Cabo del San Jose. Sign the petition and pass it on.

Pulmo means lung—and this unique northern reef is literally the lung of the Sea of Cortez. It's a singularity. There isn't another reef like it anywhere.

It's a protected marine sanctuary but massive resort development on land will also certainly destroy the reef.

I have snorkeled and swum with whalesharks there and it is a beautiful garden. Coral reefs slowly evolve over millions of years, often with unique species, they're temperature specific.

Raise the water temperature by a degree or two, and the reef dies. Add siltation or pollution—even freshwater runoff to the mix, and it's certain death for the reefs.

The southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is dying from the plumes of cloudy, nutrient-laden, pesticide-polluted freshwater runoff and siltation from the recent Queensland floods. It could eventually stress and bleach all the coral and thus jeopardize the health of the entire reef but this will take years for the saga to play out. A slow death punctuated by the unchecked invasion of crown-of-thorns starfish—real reef killers—three years' hence.

By way of example of what can go wrong with tourism and reefs, Hanamua Bay in Hawaii was completely destroyed by tourists tenderly loving it to death while wearing sunscreen (toxic to reefs).

I snorkeled in Hanamua Bay before it was killed with too much affection in the 1970s and 1980s. I revisited it again when it was bleached bone white barren wilderness pounded to death by 3 million loving visitors per year in the 1990s.

I revisited Hanamua Bay again in 2010. After 20 years' protection and vigilant management, Hanamua Bay is only now just BARELY recovering—even with limited access and patrolling park rangers—constantly blowing whistles like referees at snorkelers standing on the reef (touching it kills the reef too). It's still a shade of its former self with only about 10 percent of its original fish and reef population.

This too will be the fate of Cabo Pulmo if the area is developed on a massive scale. That kind of vigilance and protection that brought Hanamua Bay back from the brink of extinction won't happen in Cabo Pulmo if the resort complex is built. And the reef will surely die from overexposure as well as runoff and pollution. Cabo San Lucas already has been destroyed by unchecked development and rampant tourism. Don't let this happen to
Cabo Pulmo.

So, sign the petition.

  • On June 15, 1995, President Zedillo Ponce de Leon declared the 7,111 hectares and waters surrounding Cabo Pulmo, a National Marine Park.
  • Cabo Pulmo region was nearly destroyed due to excessive overfishing until 1995 when the area was declared a marine park. The fish populations are returning to a healthy status after 20 years' protection.
  • Cabo Pulmo Reef has eight fingers of unusual hard coral reef
  • Home to nearly 800 species of marine animals found in the Sea of Cortez, Cabo Pulmo Reef's rich biodiversity is unparalleled 
  • Federal enforcement and financial aid is almost non existent and the quest to protect Cabo Pulmo National Park is a burden on the shoulders of the local community—barely 100 residents—who sorely need our help and support.
  • Large-scale tourist complexes (like Cabo San Lucas) will cause irreversible damage, especially because of runoff and excessive use of the area

Saturday, January 29, 2011



The tree quivers with excitement
A flock of sparrows with lots to say
alighted amid the lemons.

A tree quiveriing
with excitement of wild birds
amid the lemons.          

Upperton is the embodiment
of kindness from the soles of his feet
to the top of his soul.


Friday, January 28, 2011


A grand piano
was found stranded 

on a sandbar
like a beached whale
in Key Biscayne
above the high tideline
stuck in the key of sea

now a fancy perch 
for the seagulls

See piano

Friday, January 21, 2011

Poetry Out Loud, Brentwood News

January 19 x 21, 2011 | Brentwood News, Contra Costs Times, San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Author: Trine Gallegos | Page: 3A | Section: News

A RHYME IN TIME: Pandora Bethea is happy about the success of the fourth annual Poetry Out Loud contest. The Deer Valley High event was held earlier this month, and now the Antioch teacher and event coordinator is looking forward to the next level.
From the Poetry Out Loud database, students choose two poems each by masters of poetry and memorized them for the event. Maureen Hurley from California Poets in the Schools and DV's Bethea coached the students in memorization and recitation skills.

The winners were: Taylor Green, first place; Kayla Alexander, second place, and Brandon Harris, third place.

The judging panel featured poets Maria Rosales and Bruce Moody, county Arts and Culture commissioners P.J. Shelton and Darija Walker (and DVHS grad), school board member Walter Ruehlig, and DVco-principals Scott Bergerhouse and Clarence Isadore.

The fourth annual POL contest was dedicated to Ruehlig, a former English teacher, who has served on the panel of judges at DV for two years. "It was in appreciation of his active presence in supporting literary arts for our Antioch youth, and thus promoting the love and beauty of language," Bethea wrote in an e-mail.

The next level is the county contest, which includes all finalists. They'll compete for a chance to represent Contra Costa in the state championship. For the first time, Deer Valley will host the big event, slated for 1 p.m. Feb. 13. CCTV will be on hand to film it the free event.

For more info, e-mail Bethea

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tom Waits

I once made sweet potato fries with Tom Waits at a friend's 50th birthday party in Sebastopol. His daughter used to take art classes with us at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. I never really interacted with him much. Seemed to want his space as it were. So we left him alone.

But at the party he was stuck with me as he didn't want to mingle with the other guests as we were appointed the sudden short order cooks. Apparently I was the lesser of two evils. But he was so uncomfortable in my presence that I was uncomfortable too. Even talking about his daughter didn't break the ice. So there we were, starin' mightily hard at the stove, a 1960s model, with its strange coils glowing red like Dr. Caligari eyes, drawing us deeper into the illusion. Discordant Calliope as background music.

But the sweet potato fries, ah, the fries doused with chili powder and lime, were sublime. For a moment we forgot who we were, we smiled and took pleasure in such a simple delight. Tom's sideburns were an odd aubergine hue—a rough henna job. Romeo was bleeding. Sort of like the color of the chili powder sprinkled on the fries. He hid out in the kitchen as the party raged on in the rest of the house. I gave up, and followed the distant music.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

David LaFlamme's hands

It's a Beautiful Day musician David LaFlamme was living on the Russian River during the early 1980s, and to make ends meet, he worked at the Flying A gas station next to the River Theater. Yup, he pumped gas into my blue VW Bug—with those delicate violinist's hands worth their weight in gold.

Rain, rain

It's raining, it's pouring,
the old man is snoring,
he went to bed and he bumped his head
and he couldn't get up in the morning...
Well, now, that's a bit macabre! Like, the old man's in a coma? The dark side of nursery rhymes? He bumped his head in bed, not before he crawled into bed? Sounds like it was a rather dangerous bed as it seems to have finished off the entire family. So did the old man die? An awful lot of head injuries in Mother Goose, who was a bit of a misogynist.  "She whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed" always scared the bejazuz out of me.

Perhaps that third line should go: he bumped his head, and he went to bed. Then we're talking concussion for sure.Or perhaps a brain bleed.
It's raining; it's pouring.
The old woman is snoring.
She went to bed and bumped her head,
And she couldn't get up in the morning. 
It's raining; it's pouring.
The children are snoring.
They went to bed and bumped their heads,
And they couldn't get up in the morning.
But I learned it with this end verse:
Rain, rain go away
Come again some other day.
I'd sing it, but I don't want to jinx the weather.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Does anybody really know what day it is?

Does anybody really know what day it is?

When the Gregorian calendar was adopted by Catholic countries, many holidays related to celestial events got stranded—so there was a 4 to 14-day lag between the old and the new calendar. All this fuss was spurred on as to when the Vernal Equinox actually was (the weather being what it was—unreliable), so one could calculate exactly when Easter fell.

Russia has even more date discrepancies as they had a different calendar yet. The October Revolution was not October 25 but Nov 7. (October 1917 Old Style Julian Calendar (O.S.), which corresponds with 7 November 1917 New Style (N.S.). Gregorian Calendar.) —Wiki 

The "Old Style" Julian calendar was still used for movable feasts (Easter)  in 1918. By then, the calends of  Russia & Greece were off by 13-14 days. Things you need to keep in mind when reading history!

The Julian calendar was a reboot of the Roman Calendar—which was way, way off by the time Caesar was waging war on the Celts and needed to check his day planner to see if it was summer yet. Summer was the traditional time to wage war—coinciding with the time the senate freed the annual warchest. 

So, when reading classical history, one has to keep in mind that all firm Roman dates are compared to the Julian calendar as compared to the Gregorian calendar...and so on.

An extra 11 minutes per year in the Julian calendar caused it to gain three days every four centuries so the observed equinoxes, solstices and seasons were also way off. Wrong time to party and pray serious stressed out the natives and clergy alike.

By 1582, the Julian calendar was off by 10 days, which threw Easter way off! 

Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring solstice (lunar calendar). The problem was, that no one really knew what day was actually Sunday, let alone, when the vernal Eqiunox was! So Easter was celebrated in May in Ireland, and as early as March 11 elsewhere—all in the same year!

The Gregorian (Christian) calendar system had to drop some calendar days in order to realign the calendar and the equinox times.

Because of the Protestant Reformation, many countries refused to switch to the Gregorian calendar until much later. Scotland: 1600, England 1752—so all those folk holidays we love—were also off. So you have to factor this info in with medieval folk holiday customs. 

In 1424 (guessing the date here—can't find ref, ) the English attempted to reboot the calendar and about 2 weeks were tossed out of September—causing rioting—not because people were suspicious, but because they were being short-changed—literally! They were paid by the day, but were charged rent by the month. Their landlords thought it was cool. And I'm sure they celebrated with libations.

Another huge roboot of the English calendar occurred in 1751—which was a very short year of 282 days, from 25 March (Lady Day) to 31 December. So if your birthday, or any other important annual event occurred from Jan. 1 to March 24 of 1751, you were out of luck. Or you gained a year.

The year 1752 began on a brand new date, with the new style calendar, on 1 January. It was reported that there were public riots after the massive calendar change, with peasants demanding that their "eleven days" be returned—but it is a story. (See the 1424 story, above). I'm sure there were plenty of irritated folks. But the sun and moon carried on, as always.

The Gregorian calendar isn't quite accurate either; it has to drop three extra leap year days every four centuries on top of the leap year every four years except during the 100 year marker. Got that?

Then there's the Hebrew calendar year which has never been rebooted as far as I know—it's longer by about 6 minutes a year, and so, after several millenia, is COMPLETELY off kilter....So if you're a Bible scholar, well, let's say, nobody really knows what day it is, and I can't even begin to fathom the workings of the Muslim calendar galloping off on a similar bent! 
 However, my friend Vins assures me that the intercalary month takes care of that pesky 13th moon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Perihelion Day! Snow in Death Valley

Today it's snowing in Death Valley—that means it's gonna be a riotous spring. This year, even the desert will bloom—it will be painted in pure California gold! Such a rare, riotous sight, snow plows in Death Valley! Snow level, 282 feet below sea level. When the snow melts, and when Badwater Lake returns to its origins, and becomes a mirror of the sky & Telescope Peak, I'd love to be there to witness it. Happy Perihelion Day! Today, tho it be mid-winter, the earth (n. hemisphere) is closer to the sun than any other day of the year.

On New Year's Eve birds fell from the sky

On New Year's Eve, birds fell from the sky. It was reported that some 5000 blackbirds & starling fell from the sky, dead as stones, and littered the roads and sidewalks, and also some 100,000 drumfish died near Beebe, Arizona. Their strange voices, forever silent. And now 500 more blackbirds have also fallen from the sky in LaBarre, Louisiana? They are lining the roads of LeBarre. And now Gilbert, Kentucky, and Beebe, Arkansas. Blackbird singing a dirge in the dead of night. All those broken wings luffing in the breeze. A wandering toxic cloud?—only it seems to be species selective. Someone claimed fireworks Well, it's happening in a lot of places at once. Either that or the series, Flash Forward is real! All the dead birds falling from the sky. Portent of things to come. 2011, the year all the birds died, does not bode well for the new year. It feels like we're medieval Irish & Saxon scribes recording our doomed year in our own Doomsday books...
added, rev. 1/18

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1/1/11 at 11:11

1/1/11 at 11:11! It'll happen again tonight!

27th annual ART FROM THE HEART silent auction, silk painting

"Russian River 2" 10x10" habotai silk, gutta, dye batik © Maureen Hurley 2011
Art from the Heart

Founded in 1984, Art from the Heart is one of Sonoma County's premiere fundraising events—an evening of fine art, food, and wine where artists and collectors join to support the University Art Gallery. Art from the Heart is a silent auction featuring original works of art in all media donated by professional artists from Sonoma County and the United States. Stays at local inns and hotels, theater  and museum tickets, unique bottles of wine and VIP tasting at local wineries are also included in the auction.

You may bid on my piece Feb 12th at Sonoma State University.SATURDAY, February 12, 6-9 pm: 27th annual ART FROM THE HEART silent auction to benefit the University Art Gallery at SSU. Free Preview Exhibition Wednesday, 11-8; Thursday, 11-4; and Friday, 11-8. For more information, call (707) 664-2295 or go to

Feb 13: Great to see Joel Bennett again (and his trips to Cuba) and Joe Jaqua—believe it or not, I've known him since I was 17! Joe, Chester Arnold and me were in Marty Stoelzel's painting class at College of Marin for years and years. And Neil acted with Joe's brother at DVC way back when. Small world. 

So the former (Scottish) mayor of Rohnert Park's wife bid on my piece but it went to the woman who runs J wines! A bidding war. I got to meet both of them. Very cool. Got to visit with Stella Monday, Sylvia Seventy and Marsha Connell too—it's been ages. Didn't see Greer Upton (or her piece!). ;-( Too crowded. A great turnout and a great time was had by all. 

added 2/17 

I made several variations.

Russian River, finished drawing 9x12

Outline for silk template