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Envisioning the Future You Want



The Darkness

     I’ve become practiced in prayer. That wasn’t part of my plan. It isn’t a residue of my design, but instead is a lucky spark of light of which I’ve become a tiny part.

     What kind of town is this? It’s both a blessed and cursed place full of unique artists and crippling expenses. There’s a darkness that lives here that is deeper than night, more horrible than death. It rears its head in surreal moments of tragedy and steals our peace. It is a murdering force, a mental illness that knows no bounds, that respects no god, that fears no fate. It was there in the senseless mutilation of Shannon Collins by a mentally ill man who fell through the cracks in the system. It was there in the horrific murder and rape of Maddy Middleton by an emotionally disturbed teen. It is there in uncounted and untold crimes against invisible people hated for being homeless or immigrant.

     There’s no easy explanation for these types of darkness. There’s no apparent cure. There’s no given way to understand. All we can do in the face of this insatiable malevolence is to pray and shed tears.

     Tonight, I will pray for my friend Robbie who has suffered a major stroke and is in the hospital at Stanford in the ICU. His stroke was not a result of this darkness, but it brings it to mind because he has long been one of my sources of light, one of my bright spots. His humor, his ability to bear witness, to welcome people who were different into his life and work has been an inspiration to all who have known him.

     Today is a day devoted to love, and so I will pray with all the light of love I can find in my heart for this man’s soul and recovery.


Hungry for Love

Thinking about the #WaterProtectors on this day dedicated to love, during the Hunger Moon-the coldest month of the year in this hemisphere. Only through our desire to respect the environment will we overcome the significant challenges we face. Now is the time for renewable energy. Now is the time to let go of fossil fuels. No more pipelines. No more tar sands. Solar, wind, hydro and bio-energy are more than adequate to fulfill our energy needs. Now is the time. Let’s make a change. Barney had this idea that if everyone on the planet thought the same thing at the same time, then anything could happen. I believe it is true. We’ve never been more divided and we’ve never had more reason to come together.


Power Like Water

The Oroville dam is about to bust. Somewhere near 180,000 people had to be evacuated, but that is just the start of the problems. People are losing their homes and there’s no telling how far that water will spread once it is set free. Water is like power is like money. It flows freely and seeks its own level. It is only with major acts of engineering or natural acts of geography that it is ever stored in one place in large amounts. So many of the tragedies we see today are actually symptoms of deeper problems, of engineered imbalances. Building border walls is like building nuclear power plants is like building dams: all bad ideas with consequences nobody wants to experience. Meanwhile, here in little ol’ Santa Cruz the morning was preceded by flash bombs and helicopters. Was it a raid in the planning for 5 years designed to arrest truly violent gang members, or was it a raid on immigrants without the right legal paperwork?
One day, sometime not too far away, this cave will collapse. It kinda makes you appreciate it more when you think of that.


Being Loyal

  • jjt-bpt-january-2017-2Loyalty is a rare value, today. Values in general are scarcer and scarcer in this age of vanity and digital complacency. What is loyalty? It’s both what you will and won’t do. It’s with whom you will and won’t share your time and energy. Loyalty is the foundation of trust. If you are loyal to me, then I can give you the best of me, because I know if I need it, then it’s coming right back. Loyalty is what makes families strong and the lack of it is what causes us to falter. Being loyal is vowing to never betray those who matter most to you.


Novels and Forward Thinking Publishers

Murder in our Hearts

Men have murder in their hearts; what are we supposed to do with it? Women have murder in their hearts; what are we supposed to do with it? We have murder in our hearts; what are we supposed to do with it? These questions came to me last night listening to some powerful live music, which was itself an answer. Transcendence through sublimation is key. Anywhere else we put that searing hot feeling will do harm, but when we transform our feelings into an expression of aggression (through the arts or sports) they are fulfilled without causing harm. That’s one reason I’ve appreciated punk music, hip-hop, metal, rock n roll, the Blues etc. It’s a truthful glimpse at part of the human spirit. It’s like Big Body Bes says of Action Bronson playing handball: “He’s expressing his aggression through athleticism.” In this way, athletes and artists are leading us to become humans better equipped to deal with the emotional truths of our existence.


Levi’s from Outdoor World

If you want to feel kickass it helps to look badass. We all know that. When it comes to Californians and jeans, Levi’s have long been a go-to choice. California kids grow up wearing 501s and they still appeal to the kid in us no matter what decade we’re in at this time. That’s the power of classic style: Levi’s were cool before we were born and they are still the same jeans.


Tough enough for working in the mountains, stylish enough to wear at the beach, Levi’s are a great example of  function and form working together in harmony.




October Moon Food


Smoked meat is an art form, no question. It’s one that anyone can appreciate, but also one that has layers of appreciation to it. Like wood-smoked ceramics, there is something so organically beautiful about smoked meat that it is a language of its own. People who are in the know understand that the characteristics of the smoke and the vortices of heat and flavor it creates are ideal for creating one of a kind batches of meat/jjt-asb-1-october-2016-3

Mission St. and Aptos St. BBQ both are world class BBQ joints. The smoked meats are so good you don’t need sauce or anything else besides a fork and knife. Tri-tip, a cut first BBQd in California, takes to the smoker especially well.jjt-cremer-1-october-2016-2

The Cremer House is something special. It’s a hub of innovation and creativity in food and drink. While it is housed in the oldest building standing in Felton, it has undeniably brought Felton more fully into the contemporary culinary world. Elevated comfort food is a very American idea, and the Cremer House executes this high-low postmodern concept fluently and brilliantly.jjt-cremer-1-october-2016-4jjt-cremer-1-october-2016-6jjt-msb-6-october-2016-bigjjt-msb-6-october-2016-2

This week in food. We have the ocean, we have the mountains, we have the redwoods, we have the coastal bluffs. We have a temperate climate. We have the world’s best Cannabis. We have food. How could we not? The nation’s bread basket, we are an agricultural hub of the world. So much good stuff grows here, it is only natural that we would have great food.

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