Without Color It’s An Entirely Different Thing


I always find it extraordinary how our emotional perceptions can change with the removal of an object’s color. This rose, before its black and white transformation, was a deep soft pink and all one really saw of it was it’s lovely hue.

Take away that and the folds of the flower’s petals take center stage. The emphasis shifts to a symphony of sensual curves that in some ways is even more arresting  than its color.

The iPad Air Mini or something like it from one of the other “big boys” is probably in my future.


I went to the Apple store today to get a charger replacement for my wife Sarah’s Macbook Pro. A pretty standard visit except Apple stuff doesn’t usually break. Nothing else was on my mind but the replacement of that defective cord. On the way out, as is usual for me, I browsed the latest Apple goodies completely aware of most everything I was looking at, but admiring its good construction. Almost out the door I picked up a Mini iPad Air and absent-mindedly snapped a photo with it and mailed it to myself. While still holding that Mini, I browsed the apps on the machine which included a pretty good WordPress one.

Back home now there waiting for me was the clear well rendered Apple store photograph in my email and then as I was looking at it, this thought hit me. Using that Mini, it would have been a cinch to put the photo in this blog and bypass my laptop computer entirely. Not only that but, the size of that little powerhouse and the recent availability of a mobile Lightroom app gave me the ability to edit, store and showcase extremely well all my photographs. Furthermore, to top things off, because I have big hands, typing on the Mini would be pretty easy.

DISCLAIMER: I may sound like an Apple fanboy but I’m really not. I have used and liked  some Android machines but I tend to come back to mother Apple because their stuff works well together and looks so good. People tend to fault Apple for their silo mentality and that criticism is well taken. Heaven knows, until recently, Microsoft certainly had it too. However, a little while back Google put a new photo uploading button on their Gmail system that defaults you back to the images you have stored on Google+, so it would appear that silo thinking is not limited to Apple. Microsoft on the other has made Office available for the iPad. Things are indeed changing.

CONCLUSION: As we know more tablets are being sold now than laptops and from today’s outing, I am more than ever convinced that trend will only accelerate.

The genie is most certainly out of the bottle.

Drinking Bar Memories


Occasionally this tea totaling “friend of Bob” comes across a spot with a bar that looks so good it just cries out, sit right down here my friend and I’ll make it very easy for you to get a fine buzz on.

Velasco’s in Petaluma reminds me of a joint I used to go to in Baja Mexico called Rosarito Beach Casino where I managed, way back in my old drinking days, to achieve the worst hangover of my life banging back shots of 10-year-old tequila and fresh squeezed limes out of ice-cold salt encrusted glasses.

After the third or fourth round the world was a happy bouncing ball of pure delight with me, funny me, intelligent me, good looking me at its center. And as these things so often go, after number six or seven or eight that ball pretty much exploded as the lights flickered and fizzled out in the ebony black Mexican night.

Next day sun was so painful that walking along the beach I had to close my eyes against its glare and just peek out every now and then to be sure I didn’t step on any of the horse turds that littered the sand.


“Free To All”… Robber Baron Charity


This slogan appears as a mosaic in the entrance to the beautiful old library building here in Petaluma. While the building now serves as a historical museum for the city, the slogan of this Carnegie endowed library still remains.

Andrew Carnegie’s personal fortune funded some 2700 libraries like these mostly in the west and midwest. Mr. Carnegie was a ruthless steel tycoon who amassed his money in America’s “robber baron” era. His mill in Homestead, Pennsylvania was the site of one of the bloodiest labor strikes in American history.

Carnegie as a young man loved to read. He was lucky having a rich neighbor who let him use his private library to pursue his passion and when Mr. Carnegie retired from business at age 66 in 1901 he was the richest man in the world, thanks in no small part to what he had learned from those books. By the time Carnegie died in 1919 he had given away 90 percent of his immense fortune mostly for educational endeavors and the pursuit of world peace.

He passionately wanted a world free from war where learning could be “Free To All”.

What a wonderful legacy.


A Very Smart Small Farm



Here in California, land of mega-scale corporate farming, there are still wonderful examples of small farming enterprises that practice agriculture very differently and survive very well. One of these is Green String Farm right down the road from us here in Petaluma.

If you do nothing else today go to their website right now and check them out. I can wait.


At Green String they farm in a way that initially looks odd to the first time visitor. Their crop rows don’t look clean and tidy like most farms. In fact one would be hard pressed to even see some of their vegetables because often they are covered with weeds. For instance here is some lettuce. If it wasn’t a red leaf variety it would almost entirely disappear in the grass.


The theory behind this messy looking farming is really quite simple. All plants, whether weed or vegetable, compete with all other plants for survival. This competition is a battle of the fittest. A vegetable that is able to overcome the hostile treatment by its weed neighbors is an all-round better vegetable for having to compete this way. All Green String does is to stack the deck a little to insure the veggies triumph in the end. So if it appears the weeds are winning too much they will get lopped down just enough to make sure the vegetable ultimately wins. Below you can see a worker weed whacking a plot to insure this outcome.


There’s more. Sheep graze in their vineyard to keep weeds down in the early spring and chicken pens are moved around the farm from place to place to do the same thing. They fertilize with manure “tea” and oyster shells and above all they pay attention to the health of the soil for, as they stress over and over again, without that they couldn’t produce these glorious vegetables.




One more thing. These folks have an internship program where they teach their methods to young people in the hopes of spreading the skill of small scale farming/gardening to as wide an audience as possible. One Sunday we were privileged to go on a tour of the farm conducted by two very bright young ladies who intended to, once they left Green String, go back home and start pilot programs in their neighborhoods.


One lives in New York and one in Chicago.

How cool is that!