Blog Archives

December 5 – 11, 2017

Highlights this week:
Thanksgiving on 101 with Strawberry and Grape plastic fields, UCSC and Oral Roberts, real reason for Sentinel shrinkage, Cruzio responds to their rate hike and Net Neutrality, Quarnstrom and The Last Supper, another round a-bout at Bay and High, Dream Inn growth plans proceeding, Bartzcak tells more about his mural destruction, the shame of the Met Opera’s James Levine, Lady Bird breaks all RT records…Greensite on city’s Housing Report…Krohn about $80,000 on fencing, council’s housing failures, library garage plots. Kate Guzman at Sentinel helm…Steinbruner and the Supe’s self granted salary hike, Vision Santa Cruz plotting, UCSC growth…Patton and “Affordable Housing” …DeCinzo and Trump version of Christmas…Eagan and Trump’s new tax plan…Jensen and The Man Who Invented Christmas and Three Billboards…I critique Jane, Three Billboards, Daisy Winters and The Man Who Invented Christmas, Quotes about December.


COOPER HOUSE CHRISTMAS 1954. Actually this was still our County Court House on December 3, 1954. It even had a lawn. It was our County Court House from 1894-1970 when Max Walden bought it and created the Cooper House. The Cooper House existed until it was destroyed by greed, not the earthquake. The new owner wanted to get the FEMA funds from earthquake funding.                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

BLUE MAN GROUP. Odd..and fascinating!!
Best Neighborhood Synchronized Christmas Lights Show with Music in Yucaipa

DATELINE December 4, 2017

LOS ANGELES & THANKSGIVING. It was actually fun driving down and up Highway 101 to L.A. (Mar Vista actually) to spend Thanksgiving with both daughters and three grandsons.  The first thing I noticed for miles and miles were the shining, waving fields of plastic covering all the acreage of, first our local strawberries, then going down 101, the huge acreage of wine grapes. What special kind of pollution can that plastic create when it’s time for picking those fruits?? What happens to that plastic…it can’t be re-used! Then again, what follow-up is being done to assure the west coast that the pesticides aren’t killing much more than is necessary?  I wouldn’t swear to this but I don’t think there are any more of those Truck Stop Weigh In stations. Don’t they check for illegal trucking problems anymore? Then on the way back home I found a copy of The Santa Barbara Sentinel! Just a skinny little weekly throw away full of local ads.

UCSC MEMORIES. A fun part of my L.A. trip was getting together with my two nephews Bobby and Larry Cornman. Both of them came here around the 1980’s and went to UCSC. I told them of the 19,600 student enrollment, they were nonplussed. Larry reminded me of the early failure of UCSC when no students wanted to come here, the attendance was so bad that UCSC was almost sold to Oral Roberts Christian University.  Larry also had fond memories of Peter Scott and George Blumenthal way back when he too was in the physics department.         

SPEAKING OF LOCAL PAPERS. Music critic and editor of “Performing Arts Monterey Bay Weekly” Scott McClelland found and sent a detailed explanation of the demise of our Santa Cruz Sentinel and the Monterey Herald. You’ll get their perspective on why Wallace Baine and Don Miller were canned. Yes, much of the problem is what the internet created for advertising possibilities, but there’s a lot more than that. And besides the article is from The Nation so you know it’s true!!!

CRUZIO & $5 RATE HIKE AND PRO NET NEUTRALITY. Being a customer, former marketing adviser, and supporter of CRUZIO since May 1999, I figured Chris Neklason co-owner and co-creator of Cruzio would have some kind of reason for announcing that $5 per month additional charge for us folks who have that “” after our names. And I also wanted to get the “official” Cruzio statement on the scary Net Neutrality issue.  I emailed him , he replied…

Cruzio is raising the monthly price of our email service to $5 per mailbox. For some people who have previously had free email attached to another service, this represents a significant jump.

Bruce ( asks a simple question, why the increase? And the simple answer is that email is among our most expensive services to provide. Sending and receiving messages would seem to be a cheap and easy thing to provide, and how many times have I been told that “the cost of machines, of memory, of hard disk space has come way down! Why do you charge X for Y?!”  

The fact of the matter is that email is what our customers call or write us about most. Our customers access their email using a wide array of mail apps from a wide variety of locations across the planet in a wide variety of circumstances. They call with “how do I” questions and our staff walks them through their Mac or Windows email settings or helps them stop their email app from sending the same email over and over again to their new mailing list to the annoyance of all their family or colleagues or helps them find that message from Uncle Joe while they are stuck in an airport in Singapore with a dead laptop.

We hire and train excellent people to answer those questions and help our customers, and our 100% local staff lives in one of the most expensive places on Earth, and for the last 30 years we’ve been undercharging or not charging for email. 

Add to this the fact that unlike the so-called free email providers like Yahoo! and Google, Cruzio customer eyeballs, data and privacy are not for sale to subsidize the email service and customer support, and that’s why the price increase. 

Cruzio customers pay for great customer service. At other providers, it is advertisers, political campaigns and who knows what-all that pay the email provider for you.

Recognizing that some of our customers do not utilize our support staff and will elect to move to a different service or perhaps a free service, we have given months of notice to make sure people have time to find and transition to a new provider.  If any of our email users want to talk to us about the change, we want them to contact us. Our staff is on hand to assist in any way possible. We value you as customers and as neighbors.


Cruzio is a passionate supporter of Net Neutrality, the principle that ISPs treat all traffic the same, with no discrimination of service based on the source or destination of the traffic.

Along with dozens of other ISPs, we have signed a letter to that effect and presented it to the FCC which is about to reverse the Net Neutrality regulations put in place under the previous administration.

Further, we dispute the stated rationale of the current FCC for changing the regulations and are outraged the FCC is ignoring our input and the input of millions of Americans who have contacted the FCC in support of Net Neutrality.

No matter how the FCC rules, Cruzio remains committed to Net Neutrality. We’re here to provide the fastest and cheapest Internet service possible. No games, no fooling around. 

Learn more about Net Neutrality at the Electronic Frontier Foundation site.

LEE QUARNSTROM AND THE LAST SUPPER. Long time reporter and man around town Lee Quarnstrom writes to say… “Happy Holidays, etc. The photo in your last column of the figures of “The Last Supper” wax sculpture getting a spring cleaning at the old Art League gallery reminds me that I once wrote a story for the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, Good Times or, most-likely, the San Jose Mercury News, about the installation. I noted that among the baker’s dozen apostles and Jesus, only one, Judas Iscariot, could be said to look prototypically Semitic; the other 12, Jesus and 11 apostles, looked like they had just stepped off a bus full of Norwegian tourists!

ANOTHER “ROUND-ABOUT” AT BAY & HIGH!!! I commute to the UCSC Campus a lot. I’ve never seen a need for it, but there’s going to be a round-a-bout stuck in the intersection of Bay and High Streets. So far there’s been very little positive reactions or results from ANY of the round-a-bouts that have grown around here. Then too speaking of UCSC for another reason that isn’t obvious, they are going to erect a “UCSC STRAIGHT AHEAD” (or something like that) on High Street about a block below Bay. Who thinks up these ideas?

DREAM INN MOVING SILENTLY AHEAD. No big deal hoopla, no heavy PR but the Dream Inn is definitely moving ahead with those development plans for their property across the street. Remember you heard it here first, or second maybe.

BARTZCAK MURAL RE-VISITED. Peter Bartczak sent this email…”thanks for the coverage on the little sleight of hand that the art commission pulled on me. I felt betrayed – I did them a favor to lessen the heat on them for their decision and then they lay part of the blame on me for taking away a popular mural. I think people who were living here and were around when I did the mural love it, but the new crop didn’t live it or love it and it doesn’t mean anything to them.

Also, I was never notified of the unveiling of the new mural, either, even tho I’m on their mailing list.  And I’m sorry; I’m not a big fan of the new mural. I’m curious about what the other two submissions were like……………………..”. Once again we have to wonder why the Santa Cruz Arts Commission felt the need to lie.

LEONARD-ONE MORE TIME. Friends are still trying to remember Leonard the haberdasher’s last name. Leonard ran the haberdashery in the old Cooper House. No one replied the last time I mentioned this…somebody must remember Leonard.

METROPOLITAN OPERA’S JAMES LEVINE’S SAGA. Being a long time opera fan,  the news last Sunday morning that James (they called him Jimmy) Levine, the long time conductor and main star of New York City’s  Metropolitan Opera has more than a decade’s long history of sex abuse with young boys was miserably shocking. The news that Levine’s sex history had been rumored and suspected all that time was equally depressing. The Met fired him just after the news broke out.

This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100% and Lady Bird is now  the highest rated film in RT’s history!!! That means it has more critics and more audiences giving it 100%. Greta Gerwig directed Saorise Ronan and others in this sincere, well thought out movie. A teen aged daughter and her Mom have a terrible, never ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento in about 2003 , which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film.

After half a year of “listening” including 6 study sessions and many Mayor and staff hours soliciting input on the current housing crisis, one thing is clear: there is little the city can do to change the trajectory of ever increasing rental and housing costs.

While in no way wanting to detract from this admirable effort to hear from the community on housing, the suggestions offered in the Report fail to understand the driving forces behind the housing crisis. There is no mention of the fact that housing is a commodity traded by speculators to make money. There is scant mention of the impact of ballooning UCSC growth, whose students occupy a third of off-campus rental housing. The Mayor’s formal statement that: “The issues are complex and the needs cross all income spectrums” fails to grasp the class nature of the housing crisis. It is low and moderate income current renters, not home-owners who are suffering. If you’ve bought a house in Santa Cruz in the last ten years you are well-off by definition. And the rich are doing just fine.

Were the class nature of the housing cost crisis acknowledged, available options could be more readily assessed. When Governor Brown ended Redevelopment Funds in the face of blatant misuse, money dried up for local income-restricted housing. In Santa Cruz city there are 1500 such units. Without Redevelopment Funds, there is little if any money available to build more. A future ballot measure to raise money for “affordable” housing may pass but what is the definition of “affordable” and who would benefit? Rent control is an option but given legal restrictions, even if adopted, would apply to only 24% of current rental housing, a situation that would create its own set of problems. Upping the requirement for inclusionary ( below-market rate ) housing in new developments might help but so far the city council majority and staff seem to buy the developers’ crocodile tears that this would create a hardship for them and it would not “pencil out.” I’d say to that, sharpen your pencil and try again.

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~Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

By: Chris Krohn    Email Chris at

2017: The Year of Housing Dangerously

What’s New (and Old) This Week

  • Spending $80,000 for fencing in Louden Nelson and Star of the Sea Park
  • Now we know why Parks and Rec. purchased the humongous F-150 pick-ups!
  • Do we really need another “committee” to study housing, post “Mayoral Listening Tour?”
  • SC Finance Minister does not, or won’t, get it.
  • Ideas, short of a rent freeze, that city council could implement to protect renters and improve our housing situation in the city of Santa Cruz.
  • Verbal fireworks abound at “library-garage” community meeting this past Sunday
  • Kara Guzman replaces Don Miller as editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Fences Make Good Neighbors?
OMG! Eighty grand. I kid you not. The Parks and Recreation Department (P&R) came forward with a done-deal resolution to fence in Star of the Sea Park and Laurel Park, which is the backside green space side of the Louden Nelson Center. It came to the council big and fat and ripe for a rubber stamp. Meetings were held (with who? “Neighbors.” what neighbors?) and decisions were made, I guess by Mauro Garcia the director of P&R, and he put it on a batting tee before the city council last Tuesday (Yes, the fences were already ordered and construction will start tomorrow. Then he added, almost as an after-thought, …that is if you (the council) pass this resolution approving the funding…) Did I say it will cost upwards to $80,000 for both sites? Will the “wrought-iron fences” do what the neighbors, and Parks and Rec (?) think it will do? ALL persons will still be allowed in the parks during daylight hours. Until we begin funneling the $80k into mental health, drug and alcohol treatment, and shelter space we will likely see more requests for fencing and police for our parks and greenbelt spaces.

Parks and Recreation and Those Enormous Pickups They Purchased
I received a text message last Saturday while marching alongside the mayor and other city councilmembers in the incredibly popular and well-attended Santa Cruz Holiday Parade. (Btw, I counted around 8000 people out in the streets, and I am sure that is a conservative estimate.) It seems that P&R. had a holiday float in the parade. The text said: “It all makes sense now. We needed the Ranger trucks (Ford F-150’s) for the parade.” (They really make a great float!)

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Drew Glover (far left) brought a Round-Up ban initiative to the Santa Cruz City Council. The council majority wanted to punt, but then passed a 6-month pilot project that will look at all pesticides used by the city.

Library-Garage Redux?
Stopped in briefly to the Downtown Library Committee’s second to last public meeting last Sunday. Wow! Over a hundred people had been divided up into groups and each group was offering their report-backs to the larger group. What I heard was that virtually no one seemed to want the library paired with the garage, and that several folks said if you have $25 million of public funds for this project why do consultants come back with $30 and $40 million projects? The question of the day: will the city manager and city transportation officials get their garage with a library? Or will they take the garage idea, sever the tie to a library, and go back yet again to the drawing board? This garage concept on the current Farmer’s Market site has been kicked around by city traffic planners for over two decades now. Most of the public present on Sunday seem to believe garages are so 20th century and we need to move into the 21st century. Score one for community organizing! I saw members from the Campaign for Sensible Transportation (CFST), SC4Bernie, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, and Don’t Bury the Library all present and accounted for and offering Santa Cruz officials Susan Nemitz,  Martin Bernal, and Jim Burr all they could handle.


  • Kara Guzman, a former Santa Cruz Sentinel writer is now the Sentinel’s Executive Editor. (Here This is news! Does the editor of the Sentinel still have the clout in the community it once had? Of course not, but the paper is still alive and kicking, but unfortunately still owned by hedge fund people who are constantly looking to cut and winnow out whatever dough might be left in this hometown newspaper asset. Many of us who still read the Sentinel welcome Kara Guzman and are hoping for greatness.
  • Jake Pierce of the Santa Cruz Good Times gets it pretty right in his recent piece on the forces at work in this city’s housing struggle. Check it out, “Can Santa Cruz Build its Way Out of a Housing Crisis?” Of course, the short answer is, ‘Hell NO!’ But there are forces, usually economic ones (some named in Jake’s article), who will have us believe this and take-down the community with its market-rate supply and demand theories.
  • The best day-to-day working journalist in America, and most hard-working–I’ve run into her in Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and New York City–is hands-down, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now ( But possibly the best show on the air that offers consistently in-depth and insightful critiques of the media is Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone’s weekly show, On the Media. This week’s version is a compendium of Fake News, which rightly puts the President as the lead rumor-monger on the fake news circuit. Listen to it now at:
  • I could not believe it, not only is Bill O’Reilly from Long Island (Levittown), but this week’s New York Times Magazine profile candidate, Sean Hannity, “How Far Will Sean Hannity Go?” has him also from L.I. (Franklin Square). Now, full disclosure, my first 18 years were lived in Nassau County not far from these two infamous Fox News strumpets. No, I’m not proud of that, but Amy Goodman also grew up on Long Island (Bay Shore), so go figure.

Bernie Tweet of the Week
“Mr. President, keep your promises. Today, get on the phone. Tell Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell that you will veto any bill that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.” (Dec. 3)

~Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, former Santa Cruz City Councilmember (1998-2002) and Mayor (2001-2002). He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 12 years. He was elected last November to another 4-year term on the Santa Cruz City Council.

By: Becky Steinbruner    Email Becky at


I don’t think it is fair to County taxpayers to allow the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to change a County ordinance that will provide them with an automatic salary increase for the next four years WITHOUT ANY PERFORMANCE EVALUATION WHATSOEVER BY THE PUBLIC.    However, that’s just what they did, as part of the Consent Agenda Item #9 (reserved for non-controversial actions) on November 7.  And that was after they voted October 24 on Resolution 279-75 to grant all Middle Management (which included themselves) various pay increase rates…5.18% for themselves was one of the highest rates AND a one-time signing Bonus of $250/employee in Middle Management.  Wow…when the County Budget is in the RED by over $7 Million????

Please help me circulate a Referendum Petition that will cause the Supervisors to either repeal their action or place it on the ballot for a vote.  Here is my  e-mail contact:   I will also be at the Cabrillo Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings(9am-noon). We have until Friday, January 5, to get this done.

As I have reported in this column before, I had intended to pull Consent Agenda Item #9 off the Consent Agenda and put it on the Regular Agenda, which allows for better discussion and requires that staff answer questions presented by the public.  But that morning, there were NO parking places to be found at the 701 Ocean Street government lot, so I was 5 minutes late getting into the 5th Floor Chambers.  Usually, after roll call, the Moment of Silence, and the Pledge of Allegiance, each Supervisor talks about something they are especially glad to have on the Consent Agenda…all that usually takes about 8-10 minutes.  But on November 7, when I walked in 5 minutes late, the Board had done all that, opened/ closed public comment on the Consent Agenda and was voting on the Consent Agenda!  Many thanks to Supervisor Greg Caput for voting NO on Item #9.

After the meeting, I asked Clerk of the Board, Ms. Susan Galloway, what I could do to appeal the Board’s passage of Item #9.  She said she needed to check and would let me know.   She e-mailed this the next day:

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Take a look at this discussion of the issue by UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal.

The article boasts that UCSC houses 53% of its students….that’s not approaching the 67% that the University agreed to in the Settlement in 2008, is it?  The 2016-2017 enrollment figures were readily available: 16,328 undergraduate students, 1,735 graduate students, for a total of 18,063 students.  The enrollment numbers for 2017-2018 are not readily available, but the article referenced above reports the intention to enroll 10,000 more in-state students in 2018. Is it any wonder that Santa Cruz has a housing problem???

A group of local citizens  are serious about getting a freeze on rent here.  Take a look at

Contact your local government representatives.

Once again, I really want to give public recognition to these two brave souls who volunteer their time on the County Housing Advisory Commission and recently fought to support the County requirement that 15% of new construction of rental units be inclusionary.  They were out-voted by the rest of the Commission because Julie Conway, County Housing Planner, said it would not “pencil out for developers”, and recommended against enforcing the requirement.  One Commissioner admitted he had been contacted by a large developer to sway his vote.  There was no call for Ex Parte communication from the Commissioners.   Isn’t that amazing?  

I see Mr. Lundholm often at public housing informational and community events…we are lucky to have someone so dedicated to helping the community.  Maybe he would run for County Supervisor?


~Becky Steinbruner

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.

By: Gary Patton    Email Gary at

#338 / The Two Million Dollar Teardown

Pictured above is a nice little house in Cupertino. It just sold for $2 million. The new owner intends to tear it down. You can read the story right here. In Santa Cruz County, there is a lot of discussion about “affordable housing,” but there is a real problem with that label. When you think about it, all housing is “affordable.” The question is simply who can afford it! 

The house pictured above, if located in Santa Cruz County, would probably sell for less than $2 million, but it wouldn’t sell for that much less. I am thinking that the $2 million house in Cupertino would probably bring something like $1.35 million here. Maybe a little bit less. Maybe even a little bit more, depending on location. That house certainly wouldn’t be “affordable” to a family with an average or below average income, here in Santa Cruz County, but it would be “affordable” to a person who could  pay $1.35 million for a 79-year-old, 1,015-square-foot home, then pay to tear that home down, and then pay to put up a modern monster home, which is undoubtedly the fate of the property that has recently traded hands in Cupertino. 

Here’s the point: as long as prices are set by “the market,” those with the most money will outbid those with less money and drive the prices up. The properties sold will only be affordable to the wealthy, and there happen to be an awful lot of those folks around. California coastal real estate commands top dollar in the global marketplace, and Santa Cruz finds itself right next door to the Silicon Valley, where high-tech workers have much more money than those who live and work right here. 

Moreover, when the City or the County puts zoning on a home like the one pictured above that tells property owners that they can build a much larger, high-rise and high-density structure on their property, that zoning designation drives the price of the property even higher. That translates to the government inviting someone who has the money to do so to tear down perfectly acceptable existing housing, to create something that will be out of the price range of the people who are displaced when the existing housing is torn down.

The only way to make new housing “affordable” to persons who have an average or below average income is to put a price restriction on the new housing produced. Otherwise, the “market” will always respond according to that Golden Rule we know about. Those with the gold make the rules, and they get the goods.

The “law of supply and demand” suggests that producing more housing should bring down the price. In Santa Cruz, it won’t bring it down enough to enable local folks to “afford” the new housing produced. Let’s take a tip from this recent experience in Cupertino, and stop pricing ourselves out of our own community by upzoning properties to let developers tear down existing structures, and then build high-rise and high-density buildings in all our nicest neighborhoods!

(Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read his blog at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo catches Trump’s Christmas spirit. Scroll below just a bit.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Those Tax Cuts” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.

SANTA CRUZ BOOK ON SALE. Author Lois Lawson announced she will be selling her book “Growing Up In Santa Cruz” at the Aptos Grange Holiday Vendor Show.  This will be Saturday December 9th from 12-4 PM at the Aptos Grange Hall, 2555 Mar Vista Dr, Aptos, CA 95003. She will also be participating in “Breakfast with Santa” at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz on Saturday December 16 from 9-11 AM.  There will be a full breakfast buffet, cookie decorating, and she will be doing a Christmas story reading from her book.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Watch the superb Frances McDormand battle her way to her next Oscar nomination in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Also, you don’t have to be an expert on Charles Dickens’ to appreciate the sly gusto with which The Man Who Invented Christmas delivers the holiday cheer! Fun factoid: it’s scripted by Susan Coyne, creator of the cult Canadian TV comedy Slings And Arrows!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. First, please  note the 95 RT rating. When you have Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell working in a film directed by an Oscar winning director you almost can’t miss. It is definitely a dark comedy. The plot contains murder, rape, loyalty, cancer, and some absolutely brilliant acting. Go see it, and force all your friends to see it too.

JANE. This documentary has great previously undiscovered film footage that her husband took of Jane Goodall’s earliest  years in Africa studying chimpanzees. Jane narrates most of the film herself and that includes her present day appeals to the UN and worldwide tours. Phillip Glasses’ music soundtrack doesn’t always fit into the flow of the film, and at time is much more interesting than the movie. I also keep thinking about Jane always wearing shorts in the Gombe, Tanzania jungle! Why would anyone wear shorts with flies, stickers, snakes, students, thorns, and  mosquitoes all over the place? It’s a very nice film. Ends 12/07

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS. This simple minded Hallmark card movie is drivel. Christopher Plummer does a good job (as usual) and the rest of the cast swims through this rip off of Charles Dickens'” A Christmas Carol”. It’s supposed to be funny or sentimental, but it lacks any cleverness or sophistication. I’m not sure why they made this cloying mess.

DAISY WINTERS. Just when you think you’ve seen the worst movie of your life along comes something like Daisy Winters. Oddly enough the plot is similar to Lady Bird. A mother and daughter fight to the finish. Poor acting, lack luster photography, saccharine filled plot and there’s only one reason you might stay awake….Brooke Shields is in it. Brooke is now 52 years old and looks a lot like Bruce Jenner in full drag. If I remember correctly Brooke was in Santa Cruz with director Louis Malle and they shot a scene on Cooper Street by the side entrance to the Cooper House. Anyone remember that? Do not see this movie.

LADY BIRD. This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100% and it’s the highest rated film in RT’s history!!! Greta Gerwig directed  Saorise Ronan and others in this sincere, well thought out movie. A teen aged daughter and her Mom have a terrible, never ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento in about 2003 , which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film.

LAST FLAG FLYING. An all start cast with Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne, and Bryan Cranston, it’s a buddy movie with strong U.S. Marine themes. Don’t take your Thanksgiving guests because it’s sad and feely-bad. It’s not at all like the funny trailer that you might have seen. Motherhood, patriotism, religion, Viet Nam, and maleness are the main themes. Don’t hurry to see it, you’ll fall asleep about half way through. Ends 12/07

WONDER. This highly touted sob story starring Julia Roberts got an 87 on RT and about a 5 from me. Owen Wilson with his misshapen nose and jerk smile and Julia play the little Jacob Tremblay’s parents. Jacob was born with a misshapen face as in the “Mask” movie (which was better even though Cher played the kid’s mother. Wonder is a genuine Hollywood production in every way. Cheap heart-tugging emotions, shallow acting except for Mandy Patinkin. Patinkin has been the co-star of the Homeland series on iTunes and I just finished near bingeing all six seasons. Mandy has become one of my all time favorite stars. Anyway, Wonder is commercial, shallow and don’t go.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Most mystery nuts claim this is Agatha Christie’s best mystery but this isn’t the best movie version the 1974 was better.  Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer are fine actors especially Michelle and they do their jobs in this new “Express”. However the cuts, flashbacks, photography, and not-tight directing by Kenneth Branagh who does the Poirot role just dull the trip. Remember the old one with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot and Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, Wendy Hiller, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, and Ingrid Bergman? That film just roared along the tracks and took us with it. Bergman won her third Oscar with her role in that version.

All that said, go see it! It’s fun and only a little dull in parts.



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 archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. December 5 has Michelle Willi ams exec. dir. of the Arts Council of Santa Cruz talking about their new events and looking forward to 2018. Then boat captain Jim Christmann shares some amazing tales from his nearby ocean adventures. Dec.12 has Chayla Fisher and Brandon from UCSC’s Student Environmental Center discussing some serious campus issues, sucas the LRDP. December 19 Ross Gibson returns to talk about his book, “An Architectural Tour of Historic Santa Cruz County”…AND ALSO…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only

This guy is great; gives credence to “don’t judge a book by its cover”.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts.  Such a wide range of folks such as  Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and 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 Company. 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.


“Colored lights blink on and off, racing across the green boughs. Their reflections dance across exquisite glass globes and splinter into shards against tinsel thread and garlands of metallic filaments that disappear underneath the other ornaments and finery.
Shadows follow, joyful, laughing sprites.
The tree is rich with potential wonder.
All it needs is a glance from you to come alive.” Vera Nazarian,

“I heard a bird sing in the dark of December. A magical thing. And sweet to remember. We are nearer to Spring than we were in September. I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.” Oliver Herford

“It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats.” Dylan Thomas, A Child’s Christmas in Wales

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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