Mud flows (or slides) insurance comes (or goes) zero grows (more)

’m writing this note in a hurry because I want to finish before the entire state of California (mud) slides into the Pacific Ocean. Locally, it is more than a disaster. The entire village of Montecito, home to, among others, Oprah, Carol Burnett, Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres and Micheal Douglas, has been evacuated. Infrastructure has been destroyed — there is no water, no gas and no electricity. The 101 Freeway, which looks like a rock-strewn bog, remains closed.

The 101 Freeway


Because it is impossible to drive into Santa Barbara from the South, local whale watching companies have repurposed their boats to ferry people from Ventura to their jobs in Santa Barbara. However…

“… the seas were r
ough, Nazy. Almost everyone on the boat got seasick.”

“That’s bad..”

“So, when they got to Santa Barbara, they were too sick to work.”

“That’s really bad.”

“But the only way they could go home was on the ferry boat.”

“That’s really, really bad.”

It is an unfathomable mess. While I believe that all of our family’s close friends are healthy, some have suffered major loss (like an entire house and automobiles) and all who lived or worked in Montecito will have a disrupted life for months.

Tom’s mattress company (
Lull) is giving mattresses and bed frames to anyone impacted by the mudslide. Other local businesses are pitching in. In fact, everyone, well, almost everyone..

“… and that is the difference between a mudslide and a mudflow,” the insurance company representative concluded on the local news.

“The point, however,” the local new anchor continued, “Does insurance cover the..”

“It depends on whether the disaster was a mudslide or a mudflow. If damage was caused by a mudslide, then most likely it is
not covered.”

“Really?” The anchor questioned. “
I’m sure that’s not comforting to your policyholders,” he thought.

walking to market nazy and Tiger Jan 2018

“It will require a complete scientific analysis.”

Note that almost all of the homes destroyed in the mudslide were, as a result of heroic efforts by fire fighters, saved from the preceding fire. Insurance would have covered fire damage.

This weekend, Nazy, Melika, Tiger and Arrow joined me for a trip to the Santa Barbara farmers market. Nazy and I wanted to pick up some flowers, but most of the usual participants did not show up. Many come from south of the city and simply couldn’t get here. Nobody was selling flowers.
The photo shows Tiger helping Nazy push the stroller on the way to the market. Unfortunately, said photo captured the attention of
Toxic Orange’s Department of Homeland (in)Security. Their files show that Nazy, my wife and US citizen, is an immigrant — born in (gasp!) Iran. Some whiz, seeing this photo, was concerned that Nazy’s hat was actually a satellite transmission device. Luckily, she was not detained, but we did receive detailed warning about hat brim size restrictions.

Note: The comments about Nazy’s hat are, of course, fiction. However, the Department of Homeland Security, created to cope with the country’s gargantuan
Insecurity and fearful lack of confidence has, in fact, responded by stoking intolerance. Nevertheless, that department has not contacted Nazy. (Yet.) We hope that Americans, understanding what it means to be American, resist this administration’s intolerance with a return to the attitude that made America so different and special. It is people, not countries, that immigrate. It is people that assimilate and become American. It is these people with drive, energy and a willingness to work, create and prosper that have always made America great. A narcissistic, un-informed, intellectually deficient “president” will never make the country great.

Tiger, who loves numbers, has enjoyed reading the book “One” that Mitra gave him for Christmas. It’s about bullying: Red picks on Blue while Yellow, Green and Purple stand around doing and saying nothing. (Orange responds by tweeting inane inaccuracy about stability and genius.) Then One shows up and stands tall. As it turns out, ‘One’ is (appropriately) only, eh, one of a series of books about numbers.

This week, Tiger introduced me to..”

“Zero, Dan.”

“Zero, Tiger?” I replied.

“Zero feels bad because he is nothing. He has a hole in the middle. All of the other numbers are bigger.”

“Well, that’s..”

“Zero is sad, Dan. And then he finds out that he can make the other numbers..”

Bigger?” I interrupted.

“No,” Tiger, corrected. “Not bigger. More. He can make the other numbers more.”


“That made him very happy. Two zeros can change one into a hundred.”

“That’s right.” I concurred. “
If you put the two zeros in the right place,” I thought.

When I picked Tiger up the next day, he was explaining the concept of zero to two little boys in his class.

“… and he’s not nothing. He can make other numbers more.”

As we walked to the car, I asked Tiger…

“So zero is your favorite number?”

“No, Dan.” Tiger replied. “My favorites are 8, 22, and 100.”

“Really? Those are good numbers. Why are they your favorites?”

“That’s very complicated.” Tiger replied.

“Is there a book about number 1427?” I asked.

“No!” Tiger responded. “That number is too big.”

Veracity note: There is, however, a book entitled ‘two’ by the same author. And, to be frank I see no limit for this infinitely interesting series.

And, after a holiday break, Tiger has resumed his swimming classes. He’s graduated to private lessons. He’s doing really well - wearing his goggles and floating on his back. They teach the kids to swim the length of the pool alternating swimming strokes with a back float. The children catch their breath while floating. Tiger has gotten very good.

Tiger floating on his back

floating tiger Jan 2018

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