extinguished, but muddy, fires slide; Tiger blocks and Arrow flies

Regular readers will undoubtedly recall the dramatic events of last month. The largest wildfire in the California history, 450 square miles (~1200 square kilometers) generated a mandatory evacuation order that had driven us from our home for a week. The fire was eventually turned away from Santa Barbara as containment percentages increased (%). You can imagine, therefore, our dismay when the iPhone began beeping an emergency alert.

“It says that we are close to a voluntary evacuation zone,” Nazy explained.

“The fire is gone, Nazy. There is no..”

“This is a flash flood evacuation.”


“They say that there will be a heavy rain. And, because the vegetation is gone, the mountains will..”

“… just s
lide into the ocean.”

“… taking cars, boulders, trees and houses with them.” Nazy concluded.

“I’m not moving, Nazy.”
the stairs in the rain

“You will if the mud comes, Dan.”

“I’d like to know who screwed up the sequencing. If the fire had started today, it would be over tomorrow… No burnt out homes, no mudslides, no flash floods. It’s all a simple matter of proper timing. If
I had been consulted, this wouldn’t have..”

“Dan, Dan, Dan..”

“But! No! I can’t believe it. First a fire and now a flood. I am going to buy a case of pesticide to take care of pestilence. And, since the floods may have dislodged rats, we should both get plague vaccinations.”

“An earthquake is more likely, Dan.”

“My money is on a zombie apocalypse.”

The flash flood hit nearby Montecito at 3:00AM causing massive damage to areas that were under a voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders. The 101 Highway is closed because of mud slides. We are completely safe, although the dry creek next to our house has actual flowing water. Finding flowing water in our creek is as rare and unlikely as finding a palm tree on Mars. (Or hearing
Agent Orange tell the truth.)
Tiger and printer Jan 2018
We were babysitting this weekend while Tom and Melika were at Esalen in the Big Sur. Darius was also visiting and eager to help out. When Mitra drove up to assist as well, we realized that we outnumbered the children by a two to one margin. I asked Tiger what he was going to do about that. He was clueless (but not speechless).

We can take Darius to MOXI, Dan.” He suggested.

Bowing to the inevitable, Darius and I took Tiger to
MOXI, the children’s museum in Santa Barbara. He particularly liked playing with the giant ‘blocks’ that are made of cardboard boxes.

Quickly realizing that Darius likes blocks too, Tiger dictated detailed construction instructions.

“Make a house, Darius!”
Tiger and boxes Jan 7 2018

Tiger likes to be surrounded by a block ‘house’ so that he can knock the walls down. We even got a slow-motion video clip of the explosive demise of one of Darius’ more creative efforts. (Unfortunately, the slo-mo video synchronized with the normally invisible flickering of the overhead lights.

It was Arrow’s turn the next day. He wasn’t enthralled by the BIG BLOCKS, but he liked the wind machine, the interactive slo-motion jumping video and the wind powered (totally) tubular
hacky-sack dispensary. For this trip, I was alone with Arrow. (Darius was preparing for the class he’ll teach as soon as gets back to Western Washington University.)

MOXI is right next to the train station and Arrow got to see a real, giant train arrive and depart while we were on the way. Since this did not happen during Tiger’s visit, I needed to be careful.

“.. and do not tell Tiger that you saw the train, Arrow.” I instructed.

“Dan.” Arrow replied.
more arrow at moxi

“Tiger won’t like it.”

“Tigah,” Arrow concurred.

“So ‘Mum’s the world’, right?”

“Mama” Arrow agreed.

As I mentioned, Darius was passing through on his way home. Christiane and the Lovely Leandra are still in Lebanon. They will join him in a few weeks. They had a wonderful time in Beirut for Christmas and New Year.

Christiane, (the lovely) Leandra and Darius

Darius and Leandra and Christiane Jan 2018

As a member of a neighborhood email group, I got a message complaining about Cox, our overpriced, under-quality Internet and Cable TV provider. I explained that the root of the problem was simple: the city gave Cox a monopoly after they paid for the local infrastructure (fiber into each home).

not a monopoly,” an assertive (and ill-informed) neighbor replied. “There is competition. You can use satellite instead.”

“That’s like saying that only having a single Chevy dealer isn’t a monopoly because there are bicycle, tractor and horse alternatives.” I replied.

dan and arrow at MOXI

I also noted, inaccurately, that the cable/internet service is the only thing in Santa Barbara that costs more than the equivalent in Switzerland. The other item, which I didn’t mention, is medical care — and the current Republican congress and (moronic white house) is going to make that disparity worse.

Nazy and I recently saw the musical movie “The Greatest Showman”. Hugh Jackman played P.T. Barnum. I was reminded of the (perhaps Lincoln) quotation:

“You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

However, recent events involving fear-mongering, babbling, syntax-challenged vocalizations from a “very stable genius” on the subject of immigration have been supported by an insecure and fearful, but unfortunately large, group of people. It appears, therefore, that

You can fool enough of the people too much of the time.”

It is so disheartening to see the foolish insecurity of so many when it comes to immigration. Our immigration processes are not only mired in the 1960’s, we’re busily trying to replicate the failed systems that don’t work elsewhere. We are, in truth, trying to dismantle one of the very things that has always “Made America Great”. And we’re doing it with misguided enthusiasm and unfortunate, but predictable
vulgarity, which by the way is accepted by the spineless congressional majority, and talked away by the Fox fakes.

Take he

For last week's letter, click here

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