Blog Archives

April 4 – 10, 2012

VIETNAM VIGIL, NOVEMBER 27, 1965. There’s not much of a caption needed for this photo. It’s obviously taken in front of the Post Office at Water and Front streets. Do note (it’s hard to miss the gung ho stalwart with “Stay in Vietnam” placard complete with tee shirt and cigarette. Hard to imagine a group protesting to “Stay in Afghanistan” today…not in Santa Cruz!!

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection, click for bigger version.

Additional information always welcome: email

TRIMMING OUR TREES. Jodi Frediani and her little friends of the forest sent this clip. Keep your eyes to the skies!!!

FUNERAL FACTS. Don’t pre-pay funerals, don’t pre-pay cemetery plots, and don’t trust The Neptune Society (one of The USA’s biggest Corporations). Beware of Smart Cremations, Trident Society is also part of the Neptune Society, many or most of

I THINK THAT I SHALL NEVER SEE… I found this killer clip all on my own. Watch it and weep.

Combination Funeral Home/cemetery businesses are illegal in many states and on and on. John Thiemann president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance Of Monterey Bay was on my Universal Grapevine program last Tuesday night. Doing my usual diligent, directed, and diffused research for our interview I concluded we have a problem. I personally have been contacted by three death and dying outfits in the last two weeks and John Thiemann agreed that there are some desperate predators out there. You should start off by going to the national Funeral Consumers Alliance website

And link into some of the many sites that explain all of the above warnings I listed. Check out the “Before I Go, You Should Know” book and handy guide on dealing with these ghouls. I asked John for names of our areas more reputable death and funeral sources he sent this…

Santa Cruz—Pacific Garden Chapel 831-423-5721
Santa Cruz–Memorial Park 831-426-1601
Oakwood Memorial Chapel 831-475-2426
Monterey—— Mission Mortuary 831-375-4129
Willed body program—- Stanford 650-723-2404
San Francisco UCSF–415–476—1981

Go here for the Rip Off Report.

I know this report is sketchy and lacking details but after receiving another official looking Funeral Advantage Program and hearing from friends that they too are being besieged, I figured it’s better to get the word out asap. Send me any/all notes, data, you may have on all of the above and we’ll keep at this.

LONDON NELSON, THE NAME BEHIND THE MAN. Years ago author and historian Phil Reader did a lot of research on London Nelson who was born a slave on May 5, 1800. We’ll never know the names of his parents but his master William Nelson “had an affinity for English place names and gave him the name London. How can we be so sure? Because the records show he named other slaves at the farm Canterbury, Marlborough and Cambridge. Why the City persists in following the one misspelling as “Louden” and denying this courageous man, who willed his entire estate to the school children of Santa Cruz, his rightful place in the history of our City is truly a sinful mystery.

LEOPOLD KICKOFF. County Supervisor John Leopold’s campaign to be re-elected to Live Oak’s district #1 got an enormous kickoff last Thursday. Pleasure Pizza on 41st was jammed at the 5:30 start time with many, many faces not usually seen at political rallies. Pleasure Pizza owner Derek Rupp who used to be head chef at Google gave a talk about how John had worked hard and stuck up for local businesses and listened to the citizens. Then Danny Keith who owns the Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop spoke and added a lot about the community meetings Leopold had held and how his backing of the vacation rental ordinance has helped everybody. And the pizza was great too.

THE CHRONICLE RE: MARIN ALSOP. Joshua Kosman longtime music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle covered Marin and her Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts while they were on tour last weekend at UC Berkeley. After writing about her choices of Aaron Copland and Joan TowerFanfares For the Common…etc“. He stated “it was Alsop’s predilection for the blander and less individual strains of contemporary music that often made the weekend less than memorable”. Where have we heard that before???

ELERICK’S INPUT. Paul’s back and I almost added “hopping mad”, but see for yourselves…



Aptosians are going to really have to wake up on this one. As reported in the Sentinel, Rancho Del Mar shopping center is in line for big changes, if the new owner of the center, Safeway, gets what they want. What are they thinking? To enlarge the current Safeway by 30,000 sq. ft, we’re looking at the possibility of:

A multi-story parking garage!

Loss of Aptos Burger, Ace Hardware, Aptos Cinema, Rite Aid, Erik’s Deli Cafe, Baskin-Robbins, Showtime Pizzeria, Taqueria Sofia, Terrific Cuts, Aptos Jewelers, Le Chef, Aptos Beauty Supply and Tranquille Spa.

>Do we really need to wipe out these fine local businesses for a larger Safeway store and a high-rise parking structure? I for one, frequent all of these businesses (except for Tranquille Spa), on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see what our Locally Owned Business Association and Chambers of Commerce have to say about this. Won’t this proposal have a negative effect on the county-approved Aptos Village Plan?

A suggestion to Safeway: If you want to improve the Center, do something about the discount gas station you own on the corner of Soquel and State Park. The current layout insures that people waiting to buy gasoline will either not follow the directional arrows and queue up into the busy intersection, or cause confrontations between customers.

The usual “artist rendition” of the proposed Center doesn’t even show the gas station? Is it really going away? Of course, Safeway is saying they will “work with the community” and the proposal is “several years from happening”, etc. etc. Typical corporate developer language. We’ll be following this closely”.

(Paul Elerick is the chair of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, , chair of the Transportation Committee of the Santa Cruz Group Sierra Club. and is a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary talks about the widening of highway 1 and says, “Clearly, the big item is the proposed continued widening of Highway One. There was a lot of debate about this item last December, since $4 million dollars doesn’t even begin to pay for the enormous cost of that project. The key policy issue is whether it makes sense to stash away money for a project of that magnitude, when there are so many local needs right now’. He goes on to talk about a proposed solid waste incinerator, the de-sal plant, A new highway through the heart of Fort Ord, a Costco coming to Watsonville and more than that. (Gary Patton is “Of Counsel” to the Santa Cruz law firm of Wittwer & Parkin, which specializes in land use and environmental law. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365”

ANCHOR IN ANTARCTICA. Micaela sent…”The relationship we have to wildlife is unique in its intimacy, given that we’re not allowed to interact with them. This week, we got a sharp reminder that yes; we live in a genuine wilderness.

Skuas (like a seagull, only much more clever) notice you but generally don’t care until you wander too close to their nests and they decide to dive bomb you, whereas the giant petrels seem almost haughty in their indifference. Unlike the other seabirds, the awkward-looking sheathbills love to roost on our buildings and watch us work. If you leave your bedroom window open, they might try to steal something shiny. Our local seals also conform to some rough caricatures. Fur seals make a fuss if you surprise them or get too close when they’re sleeping on land, and you shouldn’t turn your back on them. Still, they readily back down if you stand your ground or move away. I think you could walk up and kick a sleeping elephant seal before they would bother to open one enormous eye to see if the disturbance warranted rolling over.

We do not have the same sort of relationship to leopard seals. We mostly see them dozing on brash ice, playing in the surge, or tracing the shoreline while hunting penguins. Last summer, we watched a leopard seal toy with an Adelie penguin like a cat with a mouse, and I must admit we cheered. They are impressive creatures, magnificently adapted to Antarctica as top predators, and awe-inspiring to observe… From a distance!

On Friday, three women set out of station in a Zodiac (one of the inflatable boats we use for research and transportation) and soon noticed a leopard seal swimming in the area they were working. Two of the women are scientific divers, but they weren’t planning to dive that day and leopard seals are a frequent site around Palmer Station. No cause for alarm. They sat on the inflated tubs that form the side of the boat, talking about their work and preparing equipment. Suddenly, a seal head-butted one woman in the back, shoving her onto the floor of the boat. The incident happened so quickly that no one could positively identify the seal as the leopard seen earlier. The coincidence does seem consequential, however.

After a few deep breaths, the women started back through the brash ice to station and made it home without seeing the seal again. No one was hurt, but everyone got a little shock. This behavior hasn’t been observed before at Palmer, or anywhere as far as we have heard. Leopard seals are poorly understood compared to other seals, although any animal might develop a new behavior unexpectedly. The Divers always get out of the water once a leopard seal is spotted, naturally. Once in the boat, we tend to think ourselves safe and let down our guard. This encounter illustrates the need for what I would call “respectful caution” when in the proximity of wildlife, regardless of how familiar its presence has become over the past months. I know that I won’t get back into a Zodiac without thinking of the afternoon we saw a leopard seal napping on a chunk of ice and it yawned– that’s about as much of those teeth I need to see! (Micaela Neus works for Raytheon Polar Services Company as a utilities technician and is currently living at Palmer Station, Antarctica until at least October 2012.

VINTAGE DE CINZO. Ahhh…those rare condors, and Steven takes his shot…see below.

EAGANS DEEP COVER. Tim takes hate to new levels wit the adventures of Carl and Mindy….you won’t believe it. Roll down…

LANDAU’S PROGRES. Saul writes about « Massacres and PTSD in this week’s Progreso Weekly column. He’s got another angle on Soldier Bales and says, “The U.S. has lost the war in Afghanistan. After eleven years of U.S. occupation, preceded by Taliban brutality, preceded by U.S.-backed war-lords, who took over from a communist government supported by Soviet military occupation, Afghanistan is also full of people with PTSD. The U.S. still pretends that their trained killers can also win hearts and minds. Will Washington learn outgoing Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’ lesson? “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to send a big American land army into Asia, or into the Middle East or Africa, should have his head examined.” (Quoted by Maureen Dowd, NY Times, March 21). To stop future massacres, send Bales back to Afghanistan for trial. Let’s see how “diminished capacity” plays in Kandahar – the scene of the crime.

Saul Landau is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films are on DVD from

LISA JENSEN LINKS. “This week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (, set out for the 100th First Friday Art Tour, fall by the Tannery for the multi-media kickoff of the eleventh annual Santa Cruz Film Festival, and run away with me to The Night Circus, an intoxicating new novel of love and magic.” Lisa Jensen has been writing film reviews and a column for Good Times since 1975.

MIRROR, MIRROR. I almost walked out on this mangled mess. Julia Roberts and Nathan Lane almost make it worthwhile just because they are always great. But the script and the less than capable directing weigh them and the picture down. And Snow White is just boring and the seven dwarves are nasty…who needs this?

THIN ICE. You’d think that with Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin in it that Thin Ice would have at least some of the charm and cleverness that Little Miss Sunshine had…it doesn’t. It has some weird kind of humor that doesn’t work. It never catches on. It’s almost mean and mean-spirited. It does make you miss and appreciate what Alfred Hitchcock gave us, but you can miss this one easily.

BOY. A charming kid plays the lead in this New Zealand film set in the 1980’s. It’s dark, dingy, clever, touching, dismal, wonderful acting, sensitive, poor acting…in short it’s all over the place. All in all, it’s worth seeing just to be charmed by the 11 year old lead who looks like a young Obama.

ALL FEMALE HAMLET!!! (repeat))This will probably be your only chance in a lifetime to see an all-female cast perform Hamlet. The San Francisco State University Theatre Arts Department production is directed by Bill Peters. Yes, it’s being presented by the Jewel Theatre Company and its one weekend only April 14 & 15. It’ll be at the Center Stage Theatre. Go to to get more info and especially tickets, because the theatre only holds 88 people.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer (live only, or sometimes old programs are archived…(see next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. The April 3 Grapevine has UCSC professor Amy Beal who is curating/programming the annual “April in Santa Cruz Festival of Contemporary Music”. (April 5-April 27). She’s followed by Robbie Schoen the host & director of Felix Kulpa Gallery. Mary Thyken, exec.dir. Of the Santa Cruz Community TV will be the opening guest on April 10th then Felicia Rice from UCSC’s Digital Arts Department will clue us in on late plans. Karuna Cayton author of The Misleading Mind will open the program on April 17th. Joan Boothe Author of “The Storied Ice” about Antarctica’s Explorers will be on April 24th and so will Christian Schwartz talking about Mushrooms and their bay area hunters. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just this year’s podcasts. Click here then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The Great Morgani on Street performing, Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Conpany. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011. Hear them all!!!

QUOTES. I was so impressed with Oliver Goldworth’s “She Stoops to Conquer” live telecast from London’s National Theatre that I’m using two of his quotes.
If you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like whales”, Oliver Goldsmith. “Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations,” Oliver Goldsmith.

And in closing…”…I … believe that words can help us move or keep us paralyzed, and that our choices of language and verbal tone have something—a great deal—to do with how we live our lives and whom we end up speaking with and hearing; and that we can deflect words, by trivialization, of course, but also by ritualized respect, or we can let them enter our souls and mix with the juices of our minds. Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. Blood, Bread and Poetry, ch. 5 (1986). From “Toward a More Feminist Criticism,” an address delivered by Rich at the opening of the “Feminist Studies in Literature” symposium, University of Minnesota, 1981.


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Deep Cover by tim eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on April 4 – 10, 2012