Posted by: twotrees | January 21, 2018

Junk food for the soul…

image” For thousands of years, philosophers have warned that if you think life is about getting money and status and showing it off, you will become deeply unhappy”,  Writes Johann Hari in his Sunday LA times opinion section piece.

He then goes on to explain how scientists have found that we as a society or focusing on the wrong things which might be bringing us depression and anxiety.

Think about it, were you were pleased with the bauble you bought six months ago or the memories from an experience that will last a lifetime?

Sundays are a good time to step back and reflect on such questions…

Posted by: twotrees | November 21, 2017

The Original Hard Drive

Sometimes when you hear, smell or see something, it triggers memories. Charles Manson, the notorious leader of the Manson Family of murderers, died yesterday in a prison hospital in Bakersfield, CA. When I heard he died, I was instantly transported back to his trial in March, 1971. I had attended one afternoon’s worth of testimony because my friend’s father was a witness for the prosecution. An expert on the effects of LSD. Keith Ditman, a psychiatrist with a practice in Beverly Hills, told the jury how it is possible for the drug to induce Leslie Van Houten to commit murder. Heavy stuff.

In the gallery, Brian Ditman and I sat, he with his long blond hair and me in my Frye boots watched the Manson girls enter the courtroom. Brian, the only other ‘hippie’ in the room, caught their eyes and all waved to him as they were seated. Then in came Charlie. Later during the proceedings, Manson became agitated, jumped up on the table and yelled at the judge. He was removed from the courtroom and watched the trial via closed circuit. And we could see his face on a small screen.

When we left the courtroom, there was a small group of followers on the street corner, which gathered each day to lend support to those who were being prosecuted.  This was prior to all cutting all their hair off and a few to carve X on their foreheads just like Charles Manson did.

Years later, I met Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who was successful in establishing the guilt of Manson and his ‘family,’ He was on tour for his then new book entitled The Prosecution of George W. Bush for murder. But that’s another story…

Read my interview with Bugliosi about that book here:


Posted by: twotrees | November 18, 2017

Elephants don’t forget

Yesterday, the Trump administration reversed the decision prohibiting The importation of African elephant trophy products( heads, tusks, feet, skin, etc….). The move was hailed by hunting groups and protested by animal rights groups. Elephants, the largest land animal on earth, are highly intelligent, social beings with a life expectancy similar to that of humans.

There are numbers have been declining for decades largely because of poaching and the high demand for Ivory from Asia.
The population of elephants in Africa was estimated to be 1.3 million in 1979 but has dwindled to roughly 400,000 at present.

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was  Histoire de Babar, the elephant, an illustrated book first published in 1931.  Every child taken to a zoo or circus is amazed by these creatures.  The fact that the elephant is the symbol for the Republican Party in the United States is not lost on me.

The hunting of such a majestic animal has run its course and we can only hope that our intelligence shines through in the future, allowing this keystone species a fighting chance of remaining on the earth for years to come. Because of dwindling habitat that has made their existence more difficult, this new ruling may not help things for them.

Here’s a link to an LA Times article on the topic below.

Posted by: twotrees | September 9, 2017

A good example

If you’re lucky, you have people around you that are good spirits, good Americans, good human beings.

We are all fortunate to have such a person in our lives in Jimmy Carter, the 92-year-old former president of the United States.

Besides all the work he did  attempting to broker peace in the Middle East, Habitat for Humanity and many other humanistic endeavors, Carter was an early advocate of renewable energy.

In a piece that appears in this month’s Sierra magazine, Carter talks about his work in solar energy, dating back to his presidency.  At that time, he had solar panels installed on top of the White House.

Today he has 3500 solar panels on 13.5 acres of his farm in Plains, Georgia, which creates enough power for over 200 homes. Pretty smart peanut farmer I say…

Posted by: twotrees | September 2, 2017

Think you’re busy?

Some people are busier than others. Jared Kushner, President Trump’s trusted advisor and son-in-law, is one busy man. After entering the family business a few years ago which his father took over into in the eighties vis-à-vis large amounts of real estate holdings, Jared has been very busy.

Kushner has listed 266 positions he’s held over the course of his professional career. He has personal assets estimated at over $250MM. Kushner was once a Democrat until of course, he wasn’t.   Now he is a Republican and an integral part of the president’s inner circle.

Here’s a link to the executive branch personnel public financial disclosure forms that he was compelled to post upon taking the position he currently holds in the administration.  Count his jobs…. One busy dude.

Posted by: twotrees | August 30, 2017

Falling Off a Cliff

imageThe Sundance catalog came to our home a day or two ago and within it were some familiar scenes. “I think that’s Yosemite” said Tina and indeed the photography for this particular edition of the catalog was shot in the National Park where we were married decades ago.

Inside was a mention of a link to a film that I’d never heard about before but quickly watched – a 29-year-old work narrated by Robert Redford that show the beauty and the human overload of the great valley in Yosemite. Punctuated by scenery, wildlife  and traffic jams, Fate of Heaven illustrates the opposites that can be found there – the most beautiful place on earth encroached upon by well-intentioned but too numerous visitors from around the globe.

For years the battle for Yosemite has raged – one can only hope that enlightened minds will someday agree that a modest human retreat is the best course to keep nature wild in the valley of heaven.  Watch the film here:


Posted by: twotrees | August 21, 2017

Another bad sign for Africa and us…

It was reported in the LA Times today that Wayne Lotter, a brave anti-poaching advocate, was murdered this week in Tanzania.  His many years of work saved the lives of countless large animals throughout the many years he fought for them.

African elephants, the largest land based animals on earth, have seen their numbers plummet from over 100,000 forty years ago to an estimated 15,000 today.  The sad reality is that an estimated 100 are killed each day.

The world has lots of problems, but this shouldn’t be one of them – like rhino horn (which is mistakenly used as an aphrodisiac), elephant ivory, used as art once carved in Asia ( mainly China) is a grotesque example of how wasteful humans can be.

Posted by: twotrees | June 30, 2017

Not good enough…

A recent survey concludes that one in five students at LA Community College District schools are homeless and 2/3 of the students don’t have enough to eat.   By any measure,  this is a crisis and an embarrassment for the region.

These are mainly young people who are struggling to improve themselves while facing substantial hardship.

If there are 230,000 students in the system, then 46,000 are technically homeless. Here’s one idea: take the salary of an LA Clipper who is likely to receive $175 million for five years and instead spread that  amount of money over the 46,000 students that are homeless.

Seems like a slam dunk –A much better investment in our society…

Posted by: twotrees | June 29, 2017

Eyes wide open

A piece in the LA Times today indicated that 111 adults chose euthanasia for themselves in California during the first six months of the law becoming legal in the state.   During that time, 191 prescriptions for the life ending drugs were written.

While this topic is controversial, now 18% of Americans live in a state  which allows this final outcome as an option. Those who have never lived through terrible pain may not understand how a person could be driven to ending their own life.    As in other states such as  Colorado and Oregon, more prescriptions are written then actually used. This allows a terminally ill patient the option which gives them comfort and peace of mind.

You might remember that Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and early advocate for euthanasia, was jailed  for eight years in 1999 for his assisting terminally ill patients to their final outcome.

Read the story here:



Posted by: twotrees | April 24, 2017

A Wicked Thing To Do

The death penalty is in some ways like religion, you either believe in it or you don’t. The US is the only western country that still practices this, joining 58 other countries in doing so. Almost all are in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Today’s New York Times interviewed five people who have witnessed an execution and like our country as a whole, opinions vary greatly. The last interview is to me the most compelling:

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