In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


"China does have one strength that this country lacks: a leadership foursquare behind modern science while America's carbon cavemen question the need for green energy."  Froma Harrop; We're Indebted to an Unfriendly Nation; The Dallas Morning News (Texas); Dec 22, 2010.

1.   Defend San Francisco from out-of-control billboards
2.  Fire, Chaparral, and Grizzly Bears: Living With Instead of Against Nature  in Los Altos Friday 18th
3.   Alum Rock Park native plant walk-and-weed workday Saturday 19th
4.   The Love of Morning - Denise Levertov
5.   Last Saturday to observe Great Blue Herons and their chicks Saturday 19th
6.   More ways to help Golden Gate Park
7.   Pedro Point Headlands workday Sunday 20th/amazing bird list - and pictures!
8.   Golden Gate Birder - new blog from Audubon
9.   Dinner gathering to benefit Beyond Searsville Dam coalition
10. Astronomy photo: All the water on planet Earth/partial solar eclipse Sunday afternoon
11.  Feedback: North Beach Library & Joe DiMaggio Playground debate/et al
12.  Occupy the farm denouement
13.  The obesity epidemic/The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game
14.  What a Plant Knows is a rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb
15.  Legislative roundup, from High Country News, a few surprises
16.  Artists invited to submit work to Coastside Land Trust Gallery
17.  Whoever you are, step out of doors tonight/The world does not need words.  It articulates itself in sunlight
18.  An ongoing tradition: Concerts at the Cadillac - Friday 18
19.  Notes & Queries

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own, which is the chief reason for that kind of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended with it. -Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)

1.  San Francisco Beautiful
Help us defend Prop G, Voters' Mandate: "No New Billboards."
In February, the City violated the Administrative and Planning Codes when it settled with billboard operator Metro Fuel to allow more than 120 new billboards throughout our neighborhoods.

The law says that Metro Fuel owes more than $7 million in fines for operating non-permitted  signs. Instead of collecting the money that we're owed and taking down the illegal signs, the City wants to forgive more than $5 million dollars of the fines and let the company add 120 new billboards to our public spaces!  We're fighting to dispute this backroom deal, protect Prop G, and bring those badly needed millions back to City coffers. In a time of City cutbacks and financial stress, this giveaway just doesn't make sense.

In 2002, an overwhelming 79% of voters joined us in support of clear rules and no new billboards. Now, we need your help to enforce it.

Please join us and donate now to protect Prop G, the extra $5 million our public services so badly need, and our city's unique beauty. You can learn more at our next billboard subcommittee meeting: May 24, 5PM at our offices.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Kearstin Krehbiel, Executive Director
PS. You can read more about our history with billboards on our new website and be sure to read this piece on billboards in the Bay Citizen


2.  Join us this Friday for an exciting program with a very entertaining speaker!

Program Meeting:  Fire, Chaparral, and Grizzly Bears: Living With Instead of Against Nature
Speaker:  Richard W. Halsey, Director, California Chaparral Institute
Friday, May 18, 7:30 PM
Los Altos Library Program Room,
13 So. San Antonio Road, Los Altos

Once home to the California grizzly bear and the California condor's last refuge, the chaparral remains one of the most misunderstood and under appreciated ecosystems on earth.  Threatened by fire and habitat fragmentation, chaparral represents one of our last opportunities to preserve biodiversity and wildness in the state.  Join us as we explore the
chaparral’s unique natural history, discuss how we can live with wildland fire, and reveal some of the major misconceptions that many hold about California's most characteristic ecosystem.

Richard W. Halsey is the director of the California Chaparral Institute, a non-profit, research and educational organization focusing on the ecology of California’s chaparral ecosystems, the dynamics of wildland fire in both natural and human communities, and the promotion of nature education in a way that encourages communities to better connect with their surrounding, natural environment.  Mr. Halsey also works with the San Diego Museum of Natural History, publishes The Chaparralian, a quarterly newsletter focusing on chaparral and wildfire issues, and continues to teach natural history throughout the state. He has worked as a consultant on wildfire issues and has given more than 300 presentations about the chaparral ecosystem and wildfire over the past five years.  The second edition of his book, Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California, was published in 2008.  Mr. Halsey was also trained as a Type II wildland firefighter long past the age most would consider prudent.

Directions:  From Foothill Expressway, travel 1⁄2 mile on San Antonio Road towards the Bay, cross Hillview and turn right into the driveway; the library is on the left.  From El Camino Real, travel towards the hills on San Antonio Rd., cross Edith and turn left into the unmarked driveway just before Hillview. The sign on San Antonio Rd. reads “Civic Center, Library and History Museum.”  Enter through the lobby of the main entrance.

CNPS general meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, leave a message on our Chapter phone at (408) 260-3450 and someone will return your call, or send an email to


3.  Calling neighbors/visitors/fans of Alum Rock Park:

Make a difference @ Alum Rock Park and help protect, promote, and enjoy its natural beauty. Join us for the next native plant walk-and-weed workday:

     Saturday, May 19, 8am to noon, at Inspiration Point

At the park entrance, identify yourself as a weeding volunteer, and your entrance fee will be waived.

Drive up to the last/farthest parking lot. Once there, park at the first bridge (across from the Log Cabin). Walk across the bridge, past the Log Cabin, and meet at the Maintenance Building at 8am for a mandatory 10-minute orientation. We then hike up to Inspiration Point, weed there for 2-3 hours, then hike back down to the parking lot.

Dress in layers, appropriately for the weather. Wear hiking boots, a cap/hat. Bring water, sunblock, sturdy weeding gloves, and a weeding tool. Rain cancels.

Please RSVP if you are planning to come.

Join our egroup to be notified of future workdays:


The Love of Morning

It is hard sometimes to drag ourselves
back to the love of morning
after we've lain in the dark crying out
O God, save us from the horror . . . .

God has saved the world one more day
even with its leaden burden of human evil;
we wake to birdsong.
And if sunlight's gossamer lifts in its net
the weight of all that is solid,
our hearts, too, are lifted,
swung like laughing infants;

 but on gray mornings,
all incident - our own hunger,
the dear tasks of continuance,
the footsteps before us in the earth's
beloved dust, leading the way - all,
is hard to love again
for we resent a summons
that disregards our sloth, and this
calls us, calls us.

~ Denise Levertov ~

(Selected Poems)

“This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.”
    Henry David Thoreau


5.  Last Saturday to observe Great Blue Herons and their Chicks at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park - free and open to the public!
San Francisco NatureEducation conducts its last program this Saturday, May 19, 10am-1pm
At Stow Lake, followsign at Boathouse to observation site
FREE Observation Program at spotting scopes 10am -1pm
Come and see all four nests of Great Blue Herons and their six new chicks!
Interns and Volunteers will answer your questions and explain the behavior of the Great Blue Herons and their chicks
Nature walks around the lake to see other nesting birds including Great Horned Owls and Brown Creeper!
10:30-noon, Children FREE, Adults $10
Contact Anastasia Marin at or 415-387-9160 for more information.


You can help the Park before the May 24th hearing (& sign up for the hearing below) --
·       RPD is worried, because you are spreading the word about the loss of parkland and habitat in Golden Gate Park.  Keep it up!
o   Read the opinion piece on the soccer fields by C. W. Nevius in the SF Chronicle.  (Saturday, May 12th.)
o   Write a letter about it to the editor of the SF Chronicle!  (Best is less than 200 words.  Include name, phone number, city)
o   Express your opinion on SF Gate.
o   Vote for protecting Golden Gate Park by clicking "like" next to those opinions on SF Gate with which you agree.

·       But wait - the SF Examiner ran a great letter for our side!  Read it (attached).
o   Write a letter with your views.  (Best is less than 150 words. Include  name, phone number, city)

·       Use those great letters you have written:
o   Copy your letters into an e-mail and send it to the Commissions, the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.

·       Interested to know what the opposition is planning?   
o   Read the attached Viking invitation.  It was sent out 10 DAYS BEFORE the general public received their Final EIR copies with the hearing schedule. 
o   Ignore the circus atmosphere the City is promoting.   The May 24th Joint Hearing is a serious hearing on serious issues, and it should be treated that way.
o   Read the parts of the Final EIR  that interest you, see our website for an outline of the process, and submit your usual intelligent, informed letters on the day of the May 24th Joint Hearing.
o   Be sure to RSVP to us for the May 24th Joint Hearing!

·       Join us at one more outreach event before the hearing:
o   Sunday, May 20th, 2012  - Bay to Breakers
o   No, you don't have to run!  Hand out flyers! Get signatures on our petition.  This will be a fun time for all.
o   Location and time to be decided - but probably a location near the end of the race (Ocean Beach)
o   Sign up here!.
o   If you have a different event that you want to flyer, contact us.

·      MOST IMPORTANT REMINDER --  Thursday, May 24th, 2012
o   FINAL PROJECT APPROVAL - Joint Hearing with the Planning Commission and Rec and Park
o   3:00 to early evening
o   Let us know when you will arrive!
o   Sign up here!  Go on-line for more information and what you can do.
o   If you would like to help with getting folks out to this meeting, let us know!

REMINDER!!!   Habitat Restoration this Sunday!
DATE:  Sunday, May 20th                                        RSVP Always Appreciated
TIME: 9.45AM - 1.00 PM                                          - and spread the word
MEETING PLACE: Please meet at the firehouse along Danmann Avenue on Pedro Point in Pacifica and we will carpool up to the Headlands together.

Some of the tasks to pick from include - (see photos below)
    •    remove a huge french broom just above the green gate
    •    check on / water plants on the newly planted slide area (velvet grass is growing in clumps)
    •    Cut tree trunk off of Arroyo Trail
    •    French Broom and Pampas Grass removal from new property (We are going to have fun here!!!)
    •    Widen Middle Ridge Trail
If this doesn't suit your fancy... the Arroyo Trail can be widened!  See photos below of work/play options!

Probably the highlight of our bird walk last Sunday with Leader, Paul Donahue was the two flocks of Cedar Wax Wings roosting near the top of an eucalyptus tree.  Dozens of them - flitting in and out of the tree for sometime before taking flight to new horizons.

The Wilson's Warblers were pretty fun too but topping the excitement for them was a reddish colored Long Tailed Weasel (below) that was seen by all running around up in a Toyon tree.

Bird list - Part 1
Turkey Vulture - 3-PPH
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1 heard only-PPH
Red-tailed Hawk - 1-2-PPH
Anna's Hummingbird - 2 females-PPH
Allen's Hummingbird - 1 female-PPH
Hairy Woodpecker - 1-PPH
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 3-heard only-PPH
Pacific Slope Flycatchers - 1-heard only-PPH
Black Phoebe - 2-firehouse
Steller's Jay - 1-PPH
Western Scrub Jay - 2-PPH
Common Raven - 4-PPH
Violet-Green Swallow - 4-PPH
Barn Swallow - 2-firehouse
Chestnut-backed Chickadee - 1-2-PPH
Pygmy Nuthatch - 6-PPH
Bewick's Wren - 1-heard only-PPH
Pacific Wren - 6-PPH
Wrentit - 3-PPH

Bird list - Part 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1-PPH
American Robin - 2-PPH
Cedar Waxwing - 25-PPH
Orange-crowned Warbler - 2-PPH
Wilson's Warbler - 4-5-PPH
Spotted Towhee - 3-PPH
Song Sparrow - 3-PPH
Dark-eyed Junco - 5-6-PPH
Brewer's Blackbird - 2-firehouse
Purple Finch -3-PPH
House Finch -2-firehouse
Pine Siskin -3-PPH
American Goldfinch -1-firehouse
House Sparrow - firehouse

Everybody's talking....

Pigeon Guillemots in Monterey Bay by Bob Lewis.

... about Golden Gate Birder,
the new blog by Golden Gate Audubon Society!

Golden Gate Birder brings you birding news and inspiration --
including the latest on Bay Area birds and conservation issues,
reviews of birding books and equipment,
and personal reflections on birds and nature.

View the blog here.

Recent posts include:

* Guide to nest cams around the world *
* SF's falcon fledglings and their fledge-watch protectors *
* Phila Rogers on "birders" versus "birdwatchers" *

Upcoming posts will cover:

* Bob Lewis on bird courtship *
* California poets writing about ravens and crows *
* Updates on Bay Area conservation battles by Conservation Director Mike Lynes *
* Bluebird boxes of Berkeley *

Don't miss a single article!
You can subscribe to Golden Gate Birder and
have each new post sent automatically to your email inbox.

(Don't worry: You'll get one or two posts each week, not a zillion emails cluttering up your computer.)

Need an occasional dose of wildlife inspiration while stuck at your desk? Check out Golden Gate Birder, a new blog by Golden Gate Audubon Society at Golden Gate Birder features news, reviews and reflections on Bay Area birds, wildlife and conservation issues. Recent posts have included an update on the Peregrine Falcon fledglings in downtown San Francisco, a guide to nest cams around the world, and thoughts on why some people consider themselves "birders" and others consider themselves "birdwatchers."


9.  A Dinner Gathering to benefit Beyond Searsville Dam coalition.

At Pizzaiolo
Oakland, CA
Sunday May 20th 5-9pm

View larger invite
Get your tickets here. Space very limited.

The evening will include:
*A Local Feast by chef Charlie Hallowell and the folks at Pizzaiolo.
*Update on the movement to remove the dam by guest speaker Matt Stoecker.
*Live Music by Xocoyotzin Moraza and special guests.
*Silent auction including pieces by local artists, Patagonia gear and more
*Sneak Preview of 2 new film from Woodshed and Patagonia.

More info and tickets at

 Astronomy photo of the day:

All the Water on Planet Earth


On May 16, 2012, at 10:51 PM, Alice Polesky wrote:
This article says the partial solar eclipse will be visible in northern California, but does anyone know if that includes SF/Bay Area? It's supposed to clear during the day in SF, but partly cloudy in the evening.

Alice:  Astronomy magazine says "On the afternoon of May 20, residents in the western two-thirds of North America can see the Moon pass in front of the Sun and create a partial solar eclipse.  Those lucky enough to be within a nearly 200-mile-wide zone that crosses the western and southwestern United States will see an annular eclipse in which the Moon appears entirely within the Sun's disk, producing the country's first central solar eclipse in 18 years."

Whether San Francisco will be in that belt that can see the annularity I don't know.  It should be easy to find on the internet.  I won't bother looking, because the operative word in your statement is "supposed" to clear.  It won't; count on it.
Best viewing spots will be a little north of here (from around Chico to the Oregon border), but we should see something here."
Astronomy mag said "western and southwestern U.S.", so that doesn't make sense--but what do I know?
But you're right. Given the amount of fog rolling in in the early evening hours for the past week, it probably won't be visible in any case.
Someone ought to organize a trip to Mt Tam to see it.  Tam is usually above the fog.  I'll post this in my newsletter and see if it evokes a response.  However, an annular eclipse is not quite as exciting as a total eclipse.  And you would need special filters to keep from going blind--permanently.


11.  Feedback

On May 14, 2012, at 4:01 PM, Julie Christensen wrote:
Hi, Jake.
I expect you sent out the notice below as a courtesy to SF Tomorrow. But I was disappointed to see you furthering Howard Wong's campaign of misinformation about the North Beach Library and Joe D playground. SF Tomorrow has never heard from project supporters, but has swallowed Howard's story unchallenged. He does a disservice to you and others by misinforming you then using you to further his agenda.

I expect a lot of urban plantings seem pretty fake to you, compared to the open spaces you love and work on. But the Joe D project will mean a lot to North Beach.
The project, by shuffling around buildings, plowing under a street and removing lots of asphalt "play area" will add about 17,000 feet of soil and plants (and rainwater collection), compared to 2,000 feet in all the playground now. Three badly compromised ficus and two tortured cherries come down, but 30 new trees are added in their place, including habitat trees and shrubs. A green buffer will be built to distance the park from Columbus Avenue. We have better pedestrian safety and a real community hub.

Howard, Joe Butler and others are really focused on saving the library, any park issues being a sideline. Howard's plan is to fence off the triangle and make another little postage stamp park, like Marini Plaza across from Washington Square. It's all about architecture with him, not plants, ecology, kids, grannies. Just Howard preserving his childhood.

What Howard describes as the City ramming the project through is actually the City responding to the clear and persistent wishes of a great majority of neighbors. Howard is part of a very small band of (mostly retired and childless) grouches who have added over a million dollars to the cost of this project through frivolous lawsuits and appeals.

This project aught to be exactly the kind of thing that SFT supports - lots more greenery, better ecology, great neighborhood services for the coming 100 years. Instead, with Howard's help, they sound like SF Yesterday - at all costs.

I don't think, upon a true review of this project, a person of your acumen would be trumpeting Howard's blather. I just had to say I remain disappointed in SFT.
Thank you for your feedback, Julie. 

Posting a newsletter has its problems.  The volume of items of issues and events overwhelms the possibility of doing research to dig out facts, so I rely on instinct plus what little knowledge I have of the matters I post.  Howard has endeared himself to me for his heroic work on several issues, the big one now being the Central Subway. 

Your email exposes the problems of my approach, and I am in the position of not knowing whom I should support on this question.  I will give Howard an opportunity to respond to your email, but I won't try to cover an ongoing debate. 

Howard Wong:
Hi Jake:
For questions about main issues, one can read our Opening Brief, which is available to the public.  Since the eminent domain battle of 2003-04, open space at Columbus Avenue and Lombard Street remains a central concern----reflected in the Brief.
Regards, Howard
Litigation Information---see Case No. CPF11511469 at: 
Or Online Services (Case Number Inquiries):
NOTE:  All Briefs are available---but takes time to open (keep trying).
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
The lawsuit aims to overturn the EIR for the North Beach Library and Joe DiMaggio Playground Project.
·    We want to save the Triangle open space at Columbus Avenue and Lombard Street---seized by Eminent Domain in 2004 for open space.  The Triangle Park spatially expands the Columbus Avenue/ Lombard Street intersection---to showcase significant public vistas to Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower, SS Peter & Paul Church, Transamerica Pyramid, cable cars, hills and Bay.  Instead of a blank facade along Columbus Avenue, an open Triangle Park creates healthy recreational, cultural and social connections.
·    We want to expand and retrofit the historic Appleton-Wolfard Library---Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.  Rehabilitation is the greenest design and provides several thousand square feet more than the proposed new library---while saving several million dollars.  The larger renovated library and extra millions of dollars can create a regional LibraryTechnology Center.
·    We want to keep the largest possible regional multipurpose play field and Joe DiMaggio’s Softball Fields---instead of the proposed shrinking of the flexible play field that has served kids for decades.

Nancy Dunn:
Great digest, Jake.

I'm sure other folks have pointed you to the NY Times article about dogs & coyotes that, by the way, mentions that dogs outnumber children in SF:

Not sure if you want to fuel the dog-human-habit controversy yet again, but the shift in canine demographics seems obvious to me. People like me who once lived in the City and now return as visitors notice the striking difference. The dog population has soared.

Last September when I was in town, I noticed that many shoppers on Chestnut Street had dogs in tow. Or the other way 'round. They all seemed to think that all the retailers would welcome their dogs in the stores. I found it unnerving; stepping around leashes doesn't add to the experience in a crowded shop. In the Apple Store, where I had to hover to await an appointment, two leashed dogs started mixing it up, barking and rushing at each other. The owners struggled to separate them. Everyone there seemed to act as if that were the new normal, but if I ran a shop, I'd wish that the City would make or enforce an ordinance to ban dogs from their shops. that way they can avoid the inevitable liability trouble. I suppose, in the meantime, the retailers all have to welcome the dog walkers because otherwise those shoppers will just spend their dollars down the street where the can walk right in with their canine dependents.
Your last sentence hit the nail on the head, Nancy.  Period, end of sentence.

In the face of the inevitable I look for the positive aspects of phenomena.  Aside from my own affection for dogs, it seems clear to me that people insist on some contact with nature, however tenuous.  It may strike you that this is a weak and poor connection, but it is better than none at all.  I am sympathetic to people who insist on at least this shadow of the real thing, since so many have no other options in this crowded and unsane world.

It is a pity that so many dog owners, especially the off-leash advocates, are thoughtless and rude.

Laarry Brown:
π is weird!
One foot higher mean the radius of the longer belt (R') would be 1 foot more than the radius of the earth (R).

C(feet)=25000*5280=   132000000 feet
D(feet)=C/π=(25000*5280)/π=   42016905 feet
R=D/2=  21008452.5
D'=132000006/π=  42016906.9
and R'=D'/2=  21008453.4

Yikes!  R'-R=.9 feet
(another email):
I passed this on to a couple of friends too.  One, as incredulous as you, asked:

"Is this like trying to understand quantum mechanics without getting into the math?"

My reply: "Quantum mechanics?  Fuhgedaboudit!  Obviously I'm (we're) having conceptual difficulties with circles -- the amazing relationship (i.e., pi) between diameter and circumference."
Except that I find quantum mechanics to be +/- believable.  Although it is usually described as "counter-intuitive", I don't find it so; to the contrary, it is very intuitive--but illogical.  The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle just has to be, as seemingly weird and illogical as it is--eg, two particles being in different places at the same time, or going through two separate slits at same time.  That, and other ramifications of quantum mechanics, excited and stimulated me intensely, which is why I took the quantum physics class three times.  "Weird" is the word people apply to it, but when you think about it it is not weird, because it is the way the universe is.  Only our thinking is weird.

Although I still struggle with quantum mechanics, I find it easier to believe it than I do that adding six feet to a belt around the equator will raise it a foot.  The math is there and I can't argue with it.  But I lie awake in bed trying to conceive how that can possibly be.  Quantum mechanics doesn't interfere with my sleep.

On May 14, 2012, at 2:30 PM, Louise Lacey wrote:
We (US) used to have a smaller unit, called the "mill", it was one tenth of a penny. I don't know when, but I know it was finally thrown out.

Each tells us about the value of a dollar.
13.  Making no cents.  Canada does away with penny; why can't we?
Louise: In future I'll offer a dime for your thoughts.  Thinking ahead.

Paulann Sternberg:
<<“I’m not fond of wildlife. This is as wild as I want it to get,” said David Powers, who was walking Honda, a mix between a Rottweiler and German shepherd, near the barricaded restroom one recent afternoon. “This is a city. They belong in the country.”?>>

Somebody should clue Mr. Powers in to the fact that coyotes and other wild critters don't much pay attention to city/country boundaries and may in fact utilize man-made infrastructures in much the same way humans do  (e.g., the coyote who migrated from Marin into San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge). Not sure how I would react if I saw a coyote in GG Park (or elsewhere close up) but I hope we can all "learn to just get along".


12.  Ian Wilson:  Occupy the Farm denouement

Dear Jake,
The last occupiers were removed from UC Berkeley's Gill Tract this morning (May 14):


13.  Two from Marketplace

John Hoffman, producer behind the new HBO documentary "The Weight of the Nation," dicscusses why we need to pay attention to America's obesity epidemic now.


The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game
Kai Ryssdal: Whether you kick it or pitch it, catch it, throw it, dribble it or hit it -- the ball is the common denominator in our sporting lives today. Us regular folk, and high-salary professionals as well. It defines the games we play and how we play them.

Author John Fox wanted to figure out why. His new book is called "The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game."

John Fox: Play is a way that we learn about the world as young people, and it actually shapes our brains and develops our cognition so we can interact in the world around us.

Ryssdal: Explain that a little bit: Is it as simple as having hand-eye coordination to catch a ball with a glove?

Fox: Yeah, a lot of the studies actually are done with animals, because of course, anybody that's played ball with a dog knows that animals play just as much as we do, especially mammals. You know, one of the things that was interesting is that we spent a few days just playing with dolphins basically, down in Florida. The dolphins were swimming around the pool and I grab a ball and I throw it in the water, and the dolphin smacks the ball out with his beak, and it lands at my feet. So I throw it back in and then he knocks it out of the pool again. So suddenly we had this sophisticated game that kind of changed incrementally as we played.

...(two paragraphs omitted)
Ryssdal: I wonder if in the course of reporting this book, did it ever make you sad that the ball and the object of the game and the play has become such big business, and that grown-ups have essentially taken it over?

Fox: Absolutely. Kind of the backdrop of this was that feeling that these games have kind of been taken away from us in a way, or we're kind of outsourcing play to these high-priced teams and players. And meanwhile, kids are playing outdoors less and less. Part of this book was really to reclaim that sort of innocent, pure connection to the roots of these games and why we care so much -- and should care about them.

Ryssdal: It's sort of the age we live in, right? We're not playing with balls so much as electrons and pixels depicting a ball on a screen.

Fox: An interesting study came out that showed that when you're watching sports, there's about 20 percent of the same neurons that fire while you're playing, that fire while you're watching that game. So you actually have your brain in that game, and you do derive some cognitive kind of benefit. But there's still an 80 percent difference, and then there's the 100 percent difference of physical activity that kids aren't getting. So I think there's a gap there.


"You will marvel at and be haunted by a plant's sensory attributes and the shared genes between the plant and animal kingdoms."
    Elizabeth Tova Bailey, author of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

What a Plant Knows is a rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb. It is a true field guide to  the senses for science buffs and green thumbs, and for anyone who seeks a greater understanding of our place in nature.


15.  Legislative roundup, from High Country News
"We certainly don't want some jack wagon coming in and taking pictures of (farm animals)."

Utah State Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, in the Deseret News, explaining why HB187, the so-called "ag-gag" law, passed. Meant to protect ranchers and farmers from animal-rights activists, it makes it a misdemeanor for someone to record images or sounds while trespassing on a farm or ranch; obtain a job at an agricultural operation under "false pretenses"; hide a recording device; or record after being asked not to.

"Things happen quickly sometimes -- look at Libya, look at Egypt."

Wyoming State Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, telling the Casper Star-Tribune why he introduced a bill to prepare for the federal government's complete collapse. (It -- the bill, not the government -- died in the Senate.) A task force would have investigated ways to cope with economic and political catastrophe, such as storing food and issuing alternative currency. A tongue-in-cheek amendment by Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, added other suggestions: "… implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier."


16.  Are you or someone you know an artist who enjoys capturing the beauty of our San Mateo coast in your work?

The Coastside Land Trust Gallery is now inviting artists to enter work for our Summer show, opening July 4th. Work from all mediums will be considered.

Pieces should reflect the Mission Statement of the Coastside Land Trust:  “Dedicated to the preservation, protection and enhancement of the open space environment including the natural, scenic, recreational, cultural, historical, and agricultural resources of Half Moon Bay and the San Mateo County coast for present and future generations.” 

Applications will be accepted from May 28 through June 4, 2012

For more information see the application at the Coastside Land Trust  Website

Ongoing and Upcoming
-Vote for us at New Leaf: The month of May is time to vote for your favorite Envirotoken non-profit recipients at New Leaf Markets. Save some paper and help CLT at the same time! Each time you drop a token in our box we earn 10 cents, but we need to have a spot on the box so vote for us here 
-Restoration Work Parties every 1st Saturday and 3rd Wednesday of the month
-Gallery Hours: Thurs & Fri 11-2  Sun 9-1
-Seabird & Songbird Workshop & Walk, Saturday May 26th
-Please "like" us on our Facebook page or follow us @CoastLandTrust
-Native plants for sale, 1 gal, $10 each
-Book Plants and Plant Communities of the San Mateo Coast, by Avis Boutell, Toni Corelli and Nancy Frost, $20

For any questions please contact Lindsey Peterson (650) 726-5056



(After Rilke)

Whoever you are: step out of doors tonight,
Out of the room that lets you feel secure.
Infinity is open to your sight.
Whoever you are.
With eyes that have forgotten how to see
From viewing things already too well-known,
Lift up into the dark a huge, black tree
And put it in the heavens: tall, alone.
And you have made the world and all you see.
It ripens like the words still in your mouth.
And when at last you comprehend its truth,
Then close your eyes and gently set it free.

~ Dana Gioia ~

(Interrogations at Noon)

Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason. -Andre Gide


The world does not need words. It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path
are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.
The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.
The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.

And one word transforms it into something less or other --
illicit, chaste, perfunctory, conjugal, covert.
Even calling it a kiss betrays the fluster of hands
glancing the skin or gripping a shoulder, the slow
arching of neck or knee, the silent touching of tongues.

Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.
To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper --
metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa
carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.

The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always --
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.

~ Dana Gioia ~

(Interrogations at Noon)

Ready for some blues, honky-tonk, and boogie?  Well, it's happening at the Cadillac Hotel this Friday!  Please come to hear
Kirby Lee Hammel on the piano and Jake Alexander on drums spread the honky-tonk good-vibes this Friday, Cadillac Hotel, 380 Eddy Stree, SF between the hours of 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM. 


19.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

If intelligent life from a more rational planet observed Earth, what would it find most surprising?

• Perhaps the most irrational thing our extraterrestrial friends would encounter would be the human necessity to wind back technology to copulate. Witness fixed-geared bicycles and vinyl records and you'll get an idea of the lust for Ludditism. Alien, of course, to our friends from the stars. 
Graham Espie, Melbourne, Australia

• "They do it how!?"
Tony Mount, Nakara, Northern Territory, Australia

• The human brain.
John Meloy, Beirut, Lebanon

• How the bankers manage to get away with it.
Roger Morrell, Perth, Western Australia

• Humans emulating ants in megalopolises.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

The push-pull of it all
Why is the propeller at the front of a plane but at the back of a boat?

Because flying's a drag and boating's a pushover.
Susan Irwin, Oldenburg, Germany

• To avoid confusion.
Doug Nichols, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
• This requires stern attention.
David Tucker, Halle, Germany

Any answers?
When has drunkenness affected the tide of history ?

E Slack, L'Isle Jourdain, France

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