Posted by: twotrees | March 17, 2018

Bald eagle nest cams are back!

Two years ago I became aware of the bald eagle nest cam out at the Channel Islands. After visiting the site once I found myself going there daily to check in on the chicks, who were at first helpless but then grew into magnificent creatures that eventually flew the coop.  Now the same nest, at Sauces Canyon, is again inhabited. I visited the site and even after dark they have a system whereby you can observe them at night. Watch carefully and you can see small mice roaming around in the nest.

Posted by: twotrees | March 14, 2018

Britain’s Carl Sagan

Stephen Hawking is nothing like Carl Sagan, yet both encouraged people around the world to think about the cosmos. Hawking, 76, died today of natural causes. Having been ill for the past 50 years, it’s amazing he lived as long as he did.

Afflicted with motor neuron disease at the age of 21, he shifted gears and used his brain for a living, even as his body failed him. And we all benefited from it.

Hawking was very much a mortal man with flaws and foibles as we all have. But he was a genius beyond imagination, dreaming up theories and formulas unknown before him.  He had a sense of humor, appearing on The Simpsons and as witnessed in a recent Jaguar commercial.

The remembrance of him in tonight’s Guardian does him justice:


Posted by: twotrees | March 12, 2018

Think of climate change as an economic deterrent


Most of us think of climate change in terms of how it will affect the planet, plants, animals and people.  We think of natural disasters such as flooding, trout, hurricanes and such and imagine these things being broadcast to us on television.

Now think about climate change strictly from an economic standpoint. Start by reading Michael Hiltzik’s piece in today’s LA Times about how it will affect the bread basket of America… which is California.

Whether it be the reduction of cold nights which will inhibit the growing of nuts and stone fruit to the effect it will have on field crops like strawberries, which are intensively grown in Ventura county, this all adds up to a change of life and economy for many people in this state.


photo from video provided by KABC-TV

These days it seems not uncommon to hear about people who locked their kids away or worse. Now comes the story of the Joshua tree couple who lived in a 200 square-foot box with three children. Left at that, most of us would fill in the blank’s with the usual conclusions. This circumstance however seems different.

It will be interesting to see this story unwind but today’s LA Times story indicates that the kids were reasonably well cared for, loved and productive in their own way. The crime appears to be the family had absolutely no money,  would not accept  help and therefore lived on the edge.

With close to 100,000 homeless people living throughout Southern California, many of whom appear to not be productive in any way, shape or form, this story is different. Read about them here:

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:


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