Friday, December 29, 2006

Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunset or Sunrise?
I’m a left-coast person. When I look at the ocean, I see “west.” This internal compass is part of me, but at times can wreck havoc. Huh? Well, consider that I grew up in San Diego, a nice, west-facing ocean-front city. So, this picture to me is sunset. Sunrise is that rarely-glimpsed phenomenon that occurs over deserts or mountain ranges. When I moved to Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara has a south-facing beach), instead of adjusting to the new location of the ocean, I simply embraced the reality that in Santa Barbara the sun sets in the north. As you face the ocean at dusk, the orangey-pinky sunset residue floating in the sky is on your right. If you’re facing the ocean and the ocean is west, then clearly the sun sets in the north.

Traveling to the east coast has its accompanying perils. For example, you’re driving to the coast. You see the freeway sign, with arrows indicating that east is one direction, west is the opposite. You want to go to the coast. The ocean is west. You turn on the freeway going west and discover a few miles down the road that you’re actually going inland.
Next Entry: Montréal In Winter

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

Ski Bear
Turn on the Christmas Tree lights and take a moment to reflect. Wacky ornaments are definitely appreciated in our house. This poor ski bear lost half of one ski, but that doesn't get him down; he smirks down the slope regardless.
Raggedy Andy
One of a pair of choral-singing rag dolls.
Teapot for Mom
Eek! This ornament is almost 10 years old! How did that happen?
Soccer Ball
Way back when I coached a girls' soccer team. They kicked some . . . great goals!
Merry Christmas.
Next Entry: Sunrise or Sunset?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Shut Up and Sing

Shut Up and SingWhy would anyone want to piss off a group of women famous for a song about killing an abusive husband? In London, 2003, in the eve before the initial Iraq invasion, the Dixie Chicks (Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, and Emily Robison) performed for a loud, appreciative audience. In between songs, Natalie spoke to the audience and uttered her now infamous statement: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” The audience responded with a loud applause of approval, Natalie grinned and offered a nonchalant shrug, and the next song began. From that inauspicious seed, a whole forest of rancor would grow and challenge the Dixie Chicks, their relationships with each other, and their relationship with their fan base and economic livelihood. That many of her fans took exception to “dissing” the president (especially on foreign soil), is a right that every fan has. And her fans further expressed their displeasure by boycotting concerts, burning CDs, and putting pressure on radio stations to remove Dixie Chicks songs from the play lists. The disapproval was not just limited to the fan base. It bled into the media itself (including radio stations). Even death threats ensued.

Fine. The Dixie Chicks plodded along and stuck to their guns. They have not backed down, and sisters Robison and Maguire have not wavered in their loyalty to Maines. They have lost revenue and CD sales, concerts have been cancelled, and the Dixie Chicks, while losing much of their country base, have cultivated new fans.

Last week I saw the movie Shut Up and Sing, playing only one place in San Diego, at the Ken Theatre, in culturally hip and inclusive Kensington. The documentary details the Chicks’ story of “the incident” (you get to actually see it in all its, well, informality). So, the real question is, do famous people have less civil rights than you or me? You can criticize the Chicks for saying what they said, but you cannot claim that they don’t have the right to express their opinion (even a negative opinion) of our government or our president. To say that they are disloyal to the troops, who are fighting for our freedom (it is questionable that the Iraq invasion has anything to do with my freedom), and then deny a citizen’s right to exercise her freedom doesn’t make sense.

Time to go buy “Taking the Long Way,” their latest CD, as well as figuring out who the hell Earl is (was).

Update: I bought the CD. I love it . . . Dixie Chicks garnered 5 Grammy Nominations! New fan base is a-comin'.
Next Entry: Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Moonset at Moonlight Beach

Moonset at Moonlight BeachThis is actually Stone Steps Beach, a few blocks north of the more fabled Moonlight Beach (close enough). This photo was taken about 15 minutes before dawn on December 4th. The air was cool (read: cold) and still. The only sound came from the gentle lap of the waves. Waves breaking sound gentler and less crashing at night than they do during the day. Maybe the usual night time moisture helps deaden the sound, I’m not sure. The reason this picture is more unusual than you might think, is that, One: I am not usually up and out before dawn, and Two: the conditions aren’t always clear (especially right before sunrise), the moon isn’t always full, and the moon doesn’t always set just before dawn. So, while driving home from an early morning airport delivery, I saw the moon low and full over the western sky. I had to grab the digital and try a shot or two.
Next Entry: Shut Up and Sing