Sunday, August 30, 2009


In a time of ancient Gods, Warlords, and Kings
A land in turmoil cried out for a hero
She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle
The power
The passion
The danger
Her courage will change the world

Magen David

A Brief Meditation on the Magen David

This interesting image combines the Magen David with the yin/yang symbol.

The Magen David (Shield of David) is one of the world's oldest and most powerful symbols. Composed of two equilateral triangles welded together and covered with bull's hide, the shield was (comparatively) light and extremely strong. It protected against sword blows from any direction. It also could be mass-produced easily from iron rods, thus enabling an entire army to be equipped quickly and inexpensively.

The term "Magen David" appears in the prayerbook in the blessings following the Haftorah reading. The term refers to G-d, who shielded David in battle; it may be a reference to Psalm 18, in which David compares G-d to a shield.

The Magen David can also represent the number seven -- the six points plus the center (where the shield would be held). In Eschol Ha-kofer Judah Hadassi writes: "Seven names of angels precede the mezuzah: Michael, Gabriel, etc. ... Tetragrammaton protect you! And likewise the
sign, called the 'Shield of David', is placed beside the name of each angel."

Kabalists maintain that the six points of the shield plus the center represent the seven directions (Up, Down, East, West, South, North, and Center). In the Zohar it is said to represent the six sephirot of the male united with the seven sephirot of the female.

Many have noted that the two triangles can be seen as uniting heaven and earth. The warrior's feet are planted on the ground while his spirit aims at the heavens; the warrior's spirit is grounded above but aimed at earthly victory.

The triangle of course is the strongest geometric figure. To meditate on the double triangle of the Magen David at the start of an enterprise is to invoke spiritual and physical strength to one's service.

To Boudicea

Once more you go into battle
For your honor
For your freedom
For your life

But where is your enemy to be found?
There is one who had claims on you
Who swore vows of loyalty
Of love everlasting
And now although those vows are broken
Still wants your allegiance

But that one is but a trifle
A moment's trouble
An illusion

Your true enemy is within
Find your own way
Fight your own battle
Make your own world
And love will find you once again

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Photos of the Kitties

The kittens are growing bigger every day. Here are a couple of new photos:

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Visit to Beylik Family Farm

The Beylik Family Farm in Fillmore grows tomatoes and cucumbers hydroponically. They also have heirloom tomatoes and peppers which are field grown. They sell exclusively at Farmers' Markets. We visited them at their annual open house last weekend.

Above is a row of young tomato plants. As the vines grow longer the strings are extended, and the vines are clipped onto them. The "rails" down the center of the row are heating pipes, used in the winter. They also serve to carry an electric cart that can be used to harvest tomatoes or to maintain the strings.

Here are mature vines with tomatoes ready for picking. These vines are 20-30' in length at this point.

Here are finished tomatoes ready for sale. Not your everyday supermarket product!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Measure B Opposition Grows

Here is an interesting video created by Peikert Group Architects regarding the proposed 40' height limit:

Botanic Garden Management Goes Hardline

Here is a letter from the Botanic Garden Management to the volunteers. Pretty strange stuff, if you ask me...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Winegrowers and the La Brea Fire

People are wondering what effect the La Brea fire will have on winegrowers. For those vineyards in the Sta Rita Hills, or in the Santa Ynez Valley, I would not expect any effect other than ash on the vines. The real issue is for those in the western area of the Santa Maria Valley -- especially in Colson Canyon, the Byron Vineyards (including the historic Nielson Vineyard), and the plantings at Rancho Sisquoc. We'll be watching these areas closely.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tepusquet Canyon Evacuated

All of Tepusquest Canyon from SM Mesa Road to Highway 166 is under mandatory evacuation order, although the fire remains several miles away. I certainly feel for my former neighbors up there. The latest Inciweb story is posted here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fire Map

With the La Brea Fire (shown here in orange) dropping ash on Santa Barbara, it's instructive to see all the recent fires brought together here in one map. The Zaca Fire is the large red area; the Gap Fire is in blue; the Tea Fire is the smaller red area to the lower right; and the Jesusita Fire is in purple.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wine Cask to Reopen

As reported here in June, Doug Margerum will be working with a partner to reopen the Wine Cask Restaurant along with the Intermezzo Wine Bar. According to this posting today by "The Restaurant Guy, Doug's partner in the venture is Mitchell Sjerven, owner of Santa Barbara restaurants Bouchon and Seagrass. Clearly the duo know a think or two about the Santa Barbara dining scene. I wish them luck, and I'm already saving my dimes so I can be there!

From "For a Rocker"

I'm gonna tell you something I found out
Whatever you think your life is about
Whatever life may hold in store
Things will happen that you wont be ready for

-- Jackson Browne

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fiesta Parade

The Fiesta Parade began with the colors and a flyby by a US Navy C-130 aircraft. There were dancing horses, carriages, and floats. One pair of horses pulling a carriage got spooked, and a spectator was injured. Everyone else seemed to have a good time. You can find more pictures here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Stuck in the Middle With You"

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you.