Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Garden Walks

Fay's Meadow
Originally uploaded by The Marmot
This is my favorite time of the year. The wildflowers are in bloom, and as a tour leader I have a built in excuse to be at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden almost every weekend.

RSABG, as it is known in shorthand, is one of Claremont's best treasures. A hidden treasure to many people. Tucked away at the very end of College Avenue, north of Foothill, it can be easy to miss. But, it is well worth the finding.

The tours give us an opportunity to take visitors around the grounds to view and interpret the wildflowers and other plant collections. The bloom is pretty good this year. The Lupines and Tidy Tips are coming in to their own. Most of the Ceanothus, Western Redbuds, and Flannelbush are spectacular.

So, if you have the time, come on over any Saturday or Sunday at 2:00 p.m. from now until May 18.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism

From ETech to Where 2.0: Disaster Tech and Activist Mapping - O'Reilly Radar

Part of my interest in the internet and blogging is they way that they can be used to reach people for a variety of reasons. I blog, mostly, for the fun of it, but I fascinated by the concept of public journalism.

A story from the Center for Social Media had this to say about public media: “Over at the O’Reilly Radar site, Where 2.0 conference chair Brady Forest reports on an interesting principle that Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices is proposing, called the “cute cat theory of activism.” Basically, the more people who use a platform to post content about their charming pets, the less likely it is to be shut down. So if you like public media, start snapping those LOLcats shots!”

The basic theory is that ‘every time you force a government to block a web 2.0 site - cutting off people’s access to cute cats - you spend political capital’. The job of online advocates is to raise that cost of censorship as high as possible.

If I am about anything, I am about cute cats. So if any body needs to borrow some photos, you can find them here and here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Music as Commentary

I may have a liberal point of view, but I have always thought of NPR as being rather unbiased in its news coverage. However, this belief was shattered on March 11 while listening to Marketplace Morning Report. Someone involved in its production must have a bone to with Eliot Spitzer. A story on Wall Street's reaction to his peccadillo ended with the playing of "Your Cheatin' Heart" by Hank Williams. That says a lot, without saying any thing.

The morning of March 13 I was incensed by an interview with presidential hopeful Clinton. One must listen to the audio to get the full extent of her audacity; this transcript does not do it justice. If I had produced that story I would have closed it out with "Lying Eyes" by the Eagles.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Michael Pollan

Originally uploaded by The Marmot
I have been reading a lot of Michael Pollan. I found his The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World to be worth picking up just for the section on apples. His discussion on the potato was fascinating to me as well. This video, from a TED conference, touches on the main theme of the book.

I just finished In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. it was not as much the page turner for me as the first book, but it has greatly influenced my thinking about what I want to eat. The credo of "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" made a lot of sense once I started to think about how much of what we eat is actually manufactured rather than produced or grown. Clearly, if I am really going to follow his advice, I will have to make some changes that I may not be prepared to make. "Food", as Pollan defines it, has less than five (5) things in it. This rules out much of what is found in the local mega mart such as bread, cereals, and almond milk (very unfortunate for me). Anything with high fructose corn syrup should be avoid as well. Of course, if I was following the tenets of Locovorism I would not be buying any of that anyway.

Currently, I am still working my through The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, so I am not prepared to comment on it just yet.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Merv at the Movies: Porcupine Parergy: "Stachelschweine"

I found this blog, to be very amusing.

There is nothing more to see here, so why not take a look at this piece about hedgehogs (one of my favorite creatures) and porcupines.