A Not-So-Normal Saturday

10 August 2019

I didn’t see any deer this Saturday, so will show you the doe I saw last week resting under a tree.


I left early to go shopping in Folsom so I could be back in time to catch the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities being put on by the Square Root Academy at DOCO.

The train was crowded. It included two guys who planned to bike around Folsom Lake then return home via the American River Parkway bike trails. We had a nice chat.

The shopping went fine as usual, and I was shortly on the bike trail headed back downtown.

There are some plants which – kind of amazingly – wait until late summer to bloom. One of them is tarweed. It is not native to this area, but grows well here. As you might be able to tell from the photo, its branches and tiny leaves are sticky.


The ride was relatively uneventful until I got down to the area of Rancho Cordova’s Hagan Community Park (the same park where they have Kid’s Day every year). The trail that goes by there experienced a wash out near the river, so someone decided to fix it, and that section of the trail was closed.


So everyone had to bike through the suburbs of Rancho Cordova, then into the park. There is a school next to the park where football players and cheerleaders were practicing. But if I got close enough to get good pictures, I thought I’d interfere with the practice. The geese at the pond were much more available (although I really would have liked a nice shot of the cheerleaders!).


After squirrels, birds are probably the most noticeable animals in parks or park-like spaces. I usually take a short break at the Sac State Arboretum. And who should I find sharing the shady forest-like environment with me? Turkeys!


Turkeys are kind of a “thing” in Sacramento, particularly near both large and small waterways. It’s a bit like the free-roaming chickens in Fair Oaks and Yuba City. Permaculture-wise, poultry or fowl are considered an important part of a natural garden. They help with weed control, add some fertility to the soil via their poop, and can be used (if privately owned) as a source of meat. Turkeys are commonly seen in odd places near the river or tributary creeks around Sacramento, but I’d never seen them in the Arboretum before.


They were just hanging out; seemed not very interested in going anywhere else. They are large strong birds compared to chickens, or even geese, so it’s wisest to give them some space.

After the Arboretum, I took city streets into town.

After stowing the groceries, I went out to the DOCO to see the STEM displays. Square Root Academy is an educational non-profit that helps get less-advantaged kids interested in technology subjects. I was interested in what they would “bring to the table,” so to speak.

On my way out, there was a large group of bicycle riders (not “cyclists” – the ones who wear special spandex suits and do it for exercise, just ordinary-looking people) outside my door. I don’t know what they were up to but it looked fun.


In case anyone wonders, that’s an older mural in the background. The city has a lot of murals, as there is an event every year during which artists are invited to paint more of them. The area next to that was a very old hotel. The brick facade looked nice, so it was left standing and the old structure behind it completely removed. The area looks rather strange right now, as they are just beginning to put in a foundation for the new hotel that will go there. So all you see from the street is the old brick facade, suspended on a beefy steel framework, which I suppose will be removed when the facade is attached to the new building going in behind it. I’ve never seen this done before.


Meanwhile, in DOCO the Square Root Academy volunteers have set up tables with science projects suitable for young people (like me).


The sugar snake table attracts my attention. You can mix sugar with baking soda, then set it on fire and it’s supposed to puff up into a big black weird-shaped ash. Um – mine didn’t come out that great, though.


There was a table for each of the four “elements,” fire, water, earth and air. At the water table they had vortex bottles and bowls for comparing the density of clear water and salt water. At the earth table they had two water filters set up, one filled with sand and the other with wood chips. Hm. And they also had an erosion demo set up in a paint tray. I played with that. At the air table you could make a sail-powered car, except they ran out of hot glue by the time I got there. I made a pretty good one anyway without using glue.

I am not “passionate” about technology the way some people still seem to be. I know it has an up side and a down side. The up side is that we can use it as a tool to extend our capabilities. The down side is that we can use it as a crutch, or for destructive purposes, or to “maximize profit” while leaving a poor class who can no longer find the manufacturing jobs that used to be so plentiful.

Still, a modern society must be able to deal with technology successfully. We can only  maintain control over it if more people understand it quite well. So we do need to educate people about it. But that requires Study Technology, which most educators are not yet aware of.

From what I can tell, society is in the throes of the next phase of its technological development. In this phase, a wealthier stratum has the choice to “break away” and build a society where machines do all the hard work, including the policing of the masses. The “common people” think that they have an opportunity to improve life for everybody by somehow seeing to it that technologies do not get abused by special interests. It seems to me that this is the real battle and the real issue. How do you bring humanity and compassion to a stratum of society that has seldom if ever demonstrated these traits in the past? That’s our big challenge.


My 1979 Rock Art Trip

3 August 2019

As a part of putting up some “historical” articles that might be of interest, I offer a short and somewhat impromptu account of a trip I took in 1979. It was an important trip for me personally, but because we visited a remote area in California, it might be of broader interest. The photographs are from slides I took from the trip (except for the featured image) which were later scanned into digital files. Thus, they don’t have the quality of a modern digital photo taken with a 5Meg camera such as the one I have been using since the late 1990s.

The University Research Expeditions Program (UREP) started in 1976. It gave people a way to take a summer (usually) vacation and help a researcher with one of their projects at the same time. It attracted mostly college-educated people, but the variety of participants could be quite great. Their rock art expedition into the hills behind Santa Barbara was the cheapest one they offered, so I signed up for it.

There were about a dozen people on this trip. They included men and women of every age. There were two who took care of the camp and did the cooking. Very valuable! A bunch of the guys were “regulars.” And a few others, like me, had never done anything like this before. Our hosting researcher was Georgia Lee, a rock art expert working out of UC Santa Barbara.


The scenery was iconic California back country – grazed land of course, but in this area, protected because of the native art inside the rock sheltered spaces.




I actually have few good pictures of the art itself. But here is a sense of our little adventure. Below is pictured one of the sites we visited early on during the about two weeks we were there. You can see there was a division of labor: The site mappers, the photographers, the art tracers.




We day hiked to all of the sites from the camp.


If a site was too far from this camp, we didn’t visit it.


The camp stood below a rock formation that itself had paintings in the sheltered areas.


Some campers were writers and brought portable typewriters to keep journals or do creative writing.


We usually didn’t go to bed in our tents until after dark.


Showers were courtesy a water tank set up for the cattle (not pictured).


This trip helped me to grow up. In 1979 I turned 25. But I did not have the social skills of a 25-year-old. This trip helped propel me in that direction. It was really my first experience working together with a wide variety of people who all got along at a very friendly level, even though they weren’t family.


These people all had a mix of serious intellect, a sense of humor, a willingness to work hard, and an ability to be with each other.





It opened up my respect for humanity, and in a way, for myself, as they were willing to accept me as one of them.


In the following year I would take another major trip by myself on my way to a family reunion in Iowa.

I also joined Gamelan Sekar Jaya around that time, then not soon after got into Scientology and joined the Sea Org.

People need to have the opportunity to grow up and take some level of responsibility in life comparable to their awareness of life. This trip helped me to do that.




On Deer, Trains and…

1 August 2019

Here’s a little mildly contemplative midweek piece based around a few of my photos that didn’t fit anywhere else.



Trains – the only way for most people to get around in the past – are supposed to save our futures. But…no one will ride them!

Here’s my coach, downtown, Saturday morning, taking me out to Folsom. It did get a bit fuller than this. But this is Regional Transit’s problem in this area: Everyone prefers to drive. Almost everyone. Most people who don’t have cars and are forced to use the train (or the bus) are the marginalized poor. This only changes during weekday rush hours and for certain downtown events on the weekend. You can drive to a parking lot in the suburbs, where parking is free, then ride in to the city, where parking is expensive. Costs about $5 round trip.

And what about climate change?

I’ve been exposed to a lot of data about the “climate change” problem recently, too. Same situation. Too much technology is based on gasoline, other petroleum fuels, oil and natural gas (methane). And no one wants to give it up, or convert to something else before they are sure the game is up.

On the one hand, there is the argument that if it takes as much energy (equivalent energy) to extract petroleum from the ground than that extract contains as potential energy, then why mine it? This makes sense to me.

On the other hand, you have people saying that if we weren’t supplying CO2 from burning carbon-based fuels, atmospheric CO2 would eventually fall so low that plants would start dying. This ex-Greenpeace guy, Patrick Moore, has a graph that shows the long-term atmospheric CO2 levels long into the past. In recent years the level has been around 400 parts per million, way up from recent earlier periods. But we are still in a glacial period where lots of CO2 is locked up in ice and sea water.

As sea water warms, its ability to store CO2 goes way down. This leads Moore to suggest that the climate cycles have much more effect on CO2 levels in the atmosphere than we could ever have. 100 million years ago, atmospheric CO2 was probably around 1,000 ppm, and it has seldom been below that level for the last 500 million years.

Another important way that carbon gets sequestered (locked up in solid forms) is in sea shells and coral, which are made of calcium carbonate. In geologic time, the oceans have produced massive amounts of limestone (all made from shells – the only way it can be made naturally) which continues to sequester massive amounts of carbon to this day. So the oceans seem to be a major player in carbon sequestration that no one ever talks about.


Forests also store carbon in the form of trees. One of the largest forest systems on Earth today is the boreal – the northern forests. While we worry mostly about the equatorial forests in South America, the boreal forests are also being encroached upon by tar sand mining operations. Of course, some companies also want to log these forests, and have been chipping away at them for years now. The only thing that saves them, apparently, is that they are so remote.


In a recent documentary I saw about the work of Diana Beresford-Kroeger (a Canadian botanist), the shrinking of the California redwood forests was shown on a map. A huge amount of logging occurred before we put any protections in place, and redwood is still valued as lumber. Those trees provide a great service to the inland valleys in aiding to recharge the aquifers and keep the climate moister and cooler. But those benefits are long gone in most regions of California today.

Closer to home…

Though some redwoods stand in Sacramento County, most that exist today were planted. This river bottomland is not their native habitat. They apparently originally grew in two belts, one coastal and one near the mountains.

But just upstream of Sacramento, there are plenty of pines along the river, and the parkway forests harbor many plants and animals, including deer.


These deer don’t particularly like to show themselves, but the younger does and their fawns have a tendency to be a bit incautious. Thus I caught these views in a recent trip down through the parkway.

Though I used zoom for these shots (you can tell from the foreground twigs out of focus) these animals were not far off the bike trail, or I would not have even seen them. The fawn is particularly cute, but has learned (I think) to take its cues from its mother. It stood still for the longest time before deciding it would be OK to walk forward a bit, closer to where she was. For deer to stand in one place this long is a little unusual.


It is quite dry in this area at this time of year. We have already had one small brush fire close to downtown, but across the river. And I saw goats being used in Fair Oaks to help control underbrush up there.

In this climate, underbrush does not mat down and decay over winter. The average stand of underbrush in the fields and forests here is probably at least five years old. It eventually decays, but you really need either grazing or fire to get rid of it. We have been choosing fire. But perhaps we will get more into grazing. The goats seem to be very cooperative.


Workable Management Principles

28 July 2019

What would happen if we tried to apply workable management principles (developed by L. Ron Hubbard for the Church) to business, government or our personal lives?

I have been studying a series of courses that teach me how to do just that. But I won’t go into that material too deeply, as you really need to study those courses to get the full meaning out of them. But I have returned to this theme several times, and there is no end to that in sight, as people really do need to think about how to change things so they work better.

Ideal size of a group – fractal organizing structure

In the ideal organization, every part of it is built on the same basic template: Thetan – Mind – Body – Product. The ideal production group is maybe five people or a few more. One takes the role of In-Charge (Thetan), another works on record-keeping (Mind), one or two handle most of the physical work (Body), with another making sure the Product is the correct one for that group.

A part of this concept is that the group members only have to deal with their own senior. They are friends; they get along with each other. And if anyone above their level has a problem with what they are doing, that guy has to take it up with the In-Charge. This helps limit overwhelm due to altitude (how much more powerful someone is compared to someone else).

It’s not that the workers never hear from the head honcho. He can give speeches like General Patton in that movie. But the Captain isn’t supposed to walk into a unit’s tent or barracks and directly discipline or give orders to one of the men; that’s the Sargeant’s job. Same should go for a business organization, a family or a government. So how come everyone has to turn their tax forms directly into the IRS?

This is a form of intimidation, isn’t it? That’s all that sort of management system accomplishes. And they probably do it on purpose. Big centralized organizations tend to be nervous on the subject of control. They know that people don’t really want to just willingly cooperate with the whole setup. After all, they (at the top) know it wasn’t set up to benefit the guys at the bottom. Well, that would have to change in a real organization.


The Little Prince’s businessman (above) wouldn’t like this next idea either (or would he)?

How are you going to spend your money?

A sensible financial management system puts a trained executive between a production group and its income. The group has to plan how it is going to spend its earnings and inform this executive, who needs to be convinced that the proposed spending will help the group to produce and expand. Only then will that executive release those funds. They work together at it; it’s not like that guy wants to harm anyone (his statistic is the size of the payroll). He just wants to make sure the group is handling its finances in an ethical manner.

Now, government supposedly does this. But they don’t use a strictly trained executive, they use the legislators. Well, that’s like asking the kids how much of Dad’s pay they want to spend on pizza and cookies. So, it doesn’t work. I don’t know if you could get it to work in government. The Founding Fathers had a good idea, but they were trying to solve a different problem than we have now. As it turns out, you don’t need a monarch to have a despotism, and a democracy won’t guarantee the continued freedom of its people, either.

The U.S. system is good, but it’s not the best we can do.

The biggest gap is in understanding the criminal element and what to do about them.

Police as ethics officers

Ethics is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to improving the management of any group or activity. Everyone should know about Ethics, but someone has to make sure it gets applied properly, that honest and productive people are protected and that the real criminals of the world get put out of business. And that’s really what most people who sign up for police work hope they can accomplish. The only reason it doesn’t happen is that not enough people – and particularly the police – know about Ethics. So this is an educational job, as is much of the work that needs to be done to improve conditions.

We have some Forces here and there – some in Colombia, some in South Africa – learning this data and having success with it. They are happy about the results they are getting. That trend just needs to grow.

And maybe some day even Saint-Exupéry‘s stodgy old “businessman” can breath a sigh of relief and see a way back towards happiness.

1968 Summer Trip Journal – Part 2

28 July 2019

[I threw together the featured image in Paint. It is called Tornado Sky, and represents my recall of the colors I saw the evening before the storm hit.]

6/16/68 Sunday 8:00 PM PDT
mileage: 48788
Rancho Overnite Camping, Lovelock, Nevada.

We got out of Berkeley around 11:30. Most of the trip was hot, except when we went though the Sierras, where it got a little cooler. The road was a good divided freeway most of the way, and our speed averaged close to 50mph.


After driving through desolate Nevada for 5 or 6 hours, we finally found a place to stay near Lovelock (and also railroad tracks). The complex includes a service station, motel and bar. We do have showers here. At first the men wanted to go to a public pool in Lovelock for a swim instead of a shower, but we found the pool closed (open 1 to 7 PM). Dad bought some ice cream and sherbet so we had, at least, a dessert. Tomorrow we plan to plow towards Yellowstone via Craters of the Moon.

6/17/68 Monday 10:30 PM MDT
mileage: 49335
Heise Hot Springs Campground, Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Today we drove for almost 11 hours and almost 550 miles. The terrain was just like yesterday and also the temperature. I suggested we push onward to this place, and we did. This is a nice little place with hot and warm pools. Sherman and I were able to get in a swim. Liz found a kitten and tried to repair its damaged tail. First she tried a bandaid with bacitracin. Mom finally convinced Liz to put out the kitten, but she’s still fussing about it. Liz got sunburned very badly today and is fussing about that too. She wants me to hurry up and turn out the light. [Love you, my sister!]

6/19/68 Wednesday 6:00AM MDT
mileage: 49548
Bridge Bay Campground, Yellowstone, Wyoming.

Yesterday we got up later and got a late start. We traveled through the Grand Tetons on our way to Yellowstone and had a picnic lunch there. We finally got into the park and started looking for a site. We passed the first one because we couldn’t turn back to see it, so went on towards Lake and found this one. We were one of the last people to get a spot. I wanted to go farther and get a campground closer to showers at Lake, but it seems we aren’t going to use showers anyway.

Dad and us kids went away for a while while Mom stayed and worked on dinner. We saw the Mud Volcano Area. It’s an area of hot springs where the acid in the springs reacts with the soil and makes a muddy looking stuff in the pools. Some of the stuff was real mud churned up by rising gasses. Anyway, it was all rather strange and very smelly. We went up farther and saw some more springs then to a lookout where someone had spotted a bear. Only I could see it with my telescope, but it really wasn’t much to see.

We finally got back to camp and had dinner, then someone wanted a fire. This stalled us a bit, but we finally got to bed. Today we are to explore further the marvels of Yellowstone.

6/19/68 Wednesday 9:30 PM MDT
mileage: 49842
Spencer’s Camper Court, Shell, Wyoming.

Today we saw the rest of Yellowstone. We traveled all the way around the big loop. We saw most of the geyser basins and many other interesting things. We got back to camp around 4 and ate a dinner of canned stew. It tasted pretty good; of course, I was very hungry. It was 5:15 by the time we got out of there. We started east out of the east entrance and continued to this point. The land much of the way was desolate and dry, but later most of it became irrigated fields. This is the cleanest campground we’ve ever seen, but we aren’t! I hope to take a shower and get to bed by 10:30.

6/20/68 Thursday 9:15 CDT
mileage: 50334
Tiny’s Park Campground, Presho, South Dakota.

Today we traveled 492 miles. This is only 8 miles short of what we had planned. Friday and Saturday will surely be hard days of driving. We went over a pass today which we had heard many scary tales about. It didn’t turn out to be very bad, however. It was possibly one of the easiest passes we’ve ever been through. The rest of the driving through Wyoming and South Dakota was pretty bad. The roads, for one thing, were very bad. And the scenery was also awful. Only once in a while was it pepped up by a pronghorn or a pheasant sighting.

This place is fairly nice. Its bathrooms are clean and it has a store and a laundry. It is treeless, however, and there are lines waiting for a shower. I plan to go to bed soon and get up early for a shower.

Later I changed my mind and took one just before the storm.

[I did not describe the storm in this journal. In early evening the clouds rolled in, and then the wind started to pick up. It looked like tornado weather, though they are uncommon in Michigan where we were living. The wind started blowing our tent trailer across the field. We didn’t feel safe in it, so got into the car. We debated whether it would be safe in the car. We drove a bit trying to find a low place in the land, or a sheltered place, but couldn’t. So we decided to park the car beside the road next to a little low place, and shelter there. Then it rained, and then it hailed. When we felt like the worst was over, we got back in the car, and went back to camp. The rain had blown into the tent trailer, which had been stopped in its travel through the field by an electric pole. I forget now the exact sequence of events, but we found someplace to rest until the morning, then handled the mess and drove on. There had been a twister in the vicinity, by evidence of damage we saw as we drove on.]

tent trailer after storm

Our trailer after the storm.

6/21/68 Friday 9:15 PM CDT
mileage: 50562
Beresford City Overnight Campgrounds

Starting around 6 and going on until 4:30 PM we cleaned up and dried out our things. Two sleeping bags were wet, three mattresses, many of our clothes, and some miscellaneous items. We also had to clean up the tent, and I had to repair the door, which was bent up very badly. It was nice to be back on the road finally, but soon we had to get off again to fix an oil leak. We asked about four places before we found one (the Pontiac dealer) with a mechanic that had time, and it then took only about ten minutes. We then continued on until about 8 when we found this place. It had a pool so the men took a dip before dinner. We then had beans and barbecued t-bone steak.

10:15 PM

Now Mom and Dad are washing dishes. I plan to go to bed soon.

6/22/68 Saturday 10:45 PM CDT
mileage: 51187
Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana.

Today we got on the road around 8:10. It took only 1 hour and 50 minutes to get ready this morning. We drove all the way through Iowa and Illinois on good road, but with monotonous scenery. All of it was trees, hills and fields, trees, hills and fields.

We had our usual lunch of malts or shakes and decided to eat dinner at some sort of place so we could get far today. Stopping at this state park, though, was a bad idea. The facilities are decrepit, people stay up late and talk about things like “The Birds.” And the camp is crowded.

Tomorrow we will drive to Ann Arbor. We hope to get there by a reasonable hour.

P.S. Liz finished Houdini.

[Notes: Total car mileage was about 51,200 minus 43,000 or 8,200 miles.]

1968 Summer Trip Journal – Part 1

21 July 2019

This is a transcription of a handwritten (pencil actually) journal that I kept during our family’s trip west in 1968. The primary purpose was to allow Dad to attend his Commencement (get his PhD degree). But we also visited a lot of notable parks along the way. We hauled a fold-down tent trailer behind a 1964 Plymouth Valiant station wagon. The mileage numbers are from that car’s odometer.
This first part documents our trip west. The second part documents our return.
I was 13 then, and apparently in control of navigation. I believe I had a camera with me, and Dad’s movie camera, too. However, very few still pictures from that time survive in my collection. I did not really start taking photos until about four years later. My comments and interjections are in [brackets.]
The text has been minimally edited for spelling, clarity and punctuation. But very few words have been changed. This stands today as a piece of family history and a piece of American history.

5/18/68 Saturday 10:30 AM EDT
mileage: 43230
Indianapolis, the Lawrences’.

Yesterday we set out at 3:00 PM after delivering the cats to the cat lady and returning to get my guitar.

At about 4PM we got on the road.

We stopped for dinner at Pokagon State Park where we had tuna gravy over heated bread. We soon discovered we were in the Central Time Zone so we set our watches back an hour. Therefore we arrived at the Lawrences’ around 10:30 instead of 11:30.

So far we’ve only traveled 200-some miles. We plan to head southwest today, as soon as we can get organized. Organization seems to be our major problem.

5/18/68 Saturday 9:25 PM CDT
mileage: 43530
Pineview Park campgrounds.

We got away from the Lawrences’ at 11:45 AM and traveled most of the day. Instead of going southwest, we decided to go west. When we got to St. Louis, we had to change direction to I-70. At first I didn’t like the idea. I wanted to go the other way because there were more campgrounds along that route and some caverns and caves along the way. But, after I had almost won them over, I reconsidered and let them turn up I-70. Now instead of traveling through Oklahoma and Texas, we will travel through Kansas and Colorado. Either way would probably be just as interesting, but Sherman wanted to see Colorado, and I-70 is a better road. So we will go that way.

Right now we are about 35 miles west of St. Louis in a private campground. It has a half-finished restroom with no heating (it’s cold!) and the entrance consists of an approximately one mile stretch of bumpy gravel road. We’re fairing well. This is the second time we’ve set up our tent, and it still takes us a long time to do it. And we’re still not organized. It might be nicer if we all had assigned jobs or something.

5/19/68 Sunday 7:00 PM CDT
Wilson State Park, Kansas

We left the last campground at about 8AM and traveled across Missouri on I-70. Most of Missouri is about the same as what we had seen earlier. The ground was hilly and grassy and there were a lot of broad-leafed trees. Then sandstone outcroppings made their appearance. As we entered Kansas, the trees thinned out. All that was left were grassy plains where cattle were grazing. The sandstone cliffs towered at some points. Then, as we got farther into Kansas, trees reappeared – then disappeared again. We are now in the second no-tree zone. We are quite a few miles off the main road and looking down upon a huge reservoir. We are camped right now next to a restroom and everyone says it smells. I have a cold so I can’t smell a thing. It is windy and cool here. There are many small difficulties. Mom just commented that she thought it was fun to be stupid.

5/20/68 Monday 7:45PM MDT
mileage: 44354
Golden Eagle Ranch, Colorado.

We are camped just out of Colorado Springs, at the foot of the Rockies. Most of today’s trip was through flat land, so the mountains were a relief. But there may be a few small problems getting through them to our next destination – Mesa Verde. One is that our car doesn’t have much power and only creeps up grades. Another is that the low temperature could possibly freeze our radiator. Nevertheless, tomorrow we move on through the mountain passes to Mesa Verde.

As for this place, it’s got a three-star rating that it doesn’t deserve. It’s the first place that has charged for showers. And the ground in the campsites is made up of rock and dirty sand. We had some fun however climbing a small mountain; I got a little more than half way up, and could see for miles.

tassle eared squirrel

My pencil sketch of a tassle-eared squirrel, a dark-colored animal peculiar to the Rockies.

5/22/68 Wednesday 8:40AM MDT
mileage: 44753
Mesa Verde National Park

We completed our trek through the Rockies yesterday night. We went through about five passes, all around 10,000 feet high. Because of the low torque of our car’s motor, most of the mountain traveling was very slow. The trip between our camp and Montrose was interesting, but not very beautiful. Rocky cliffs often towered above us, and snow came close to the road. There were many abandoned mining camps. We also saw Royal Gorge. On our trip south to Durango the scenery was more beautiful. The melting snow formed many rushing streams on the mountain sides. Some of the mountains were a gorgeous red. At one point Dad wanted to stop. The only trouble was we couldn’t get started. So we had to unhitch the trailer, turn the car around, re-hitch the trailer, and start back down the road until we could turn around. We managed to do this and get to Durango where we ate dinner. We then went on to Mesa Verde and got settled by 11:30PM.

5/23/68 Thursday 8:08PM MDT
mileage: 45165
Lake Mary Campground, Arizona.

Yesterday we saw Mesa Verde. We only got to go down into one cliff dwelling – Spruce Tree House. We couldn’t get to the others in time for the tours. But I saw most of the others from viewpoints along a special tour road that we took. We learned a lot about the history of the Mesa Verde Indians at the museum and on the tour road. First were the basket makers with their pit houses (450-600). Then the “modified” basket makers who made above-ground houses along with pit houses. Slowly the pit house turned into a kiva – a strictly ceremonial room, often built underground. Their living quarters were above ground. These Indians were part of the Pueblo group whose descendants live farther south at present. Most of the cliff dwellings are about 700 years old.

Today we stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park and saw the Painted Desert and great amounts of petrified trees. This park, like Mesa Verde, was windy however, and this cut down our interest a bit. Liz and Sherman have bad colds – Liz especially.

5/24/68 Friday 6:55PM MDT
mileage: 45337
Grand Canyon City Campgrounds, Arizona.

Today we traveled from Flagstaff up to the Grand Canyon. We stopped at Sunset Crater National Monument. At Sunset Crater we saw many interesting lava formations, including a cave. We couldn’t get a flashlight, however, because Liz and Mom – who didn’t want to go on the trail with us – drove off to a restroom. At Wupatki we saw more Indian ruins. Most of Arizona was windy today, including the Grand Canyon. We got as far as the South Rim today, and we are planning to tour the West Rim tonight, just before sunset. The campground is nice. It doesn’t have hot water, except for showers, which are pay showers. Right now this part of Arizona is very dry. It all looks quite desolate. The nights up here have also been very cold.

5/26/68 Sunday 8:20AM PDT
mileage: 45939
California highway 99 going out of Tulare.

Yesterday we traveled through the desert. I sat in the back and rested most of the time. The scenery was dull and the air was hot, but not too uncomfortable. Most of the desert plant life was yucca, Joshua Tree and cactus. After a lot of driving we had notions of continuing on to the Piersons’, but we finally decided to stop and camp out at Tulare. We are leaving Tulare now and plan to drive to the Piersons’.

As we left, Dad thought he saw something drop out of the top. We stopped and found that we hadn’t buckled down the top. We drove back and found only one pair of long underwear in the street, which I gingerly picked up. We then continued on our way.

Our campsite was a trailer park with a train track right next to it. The track was used often during the night and the noise seemed to bother Mom.

5/26/68 Sunday 11:15 PM PDT
At the Bortins’ near Walnut Creek.

We reached the Piersons’ in the early afternoon at which time they greeted us with their usual warm hospitality. We soon learned that we would be able to use the Bortins’ house during part of our stay here. We also learned that Joan may be coming back from Paris within the week. She is to be married to her Spanish fiancé on May 30. We then proceeded to look at some of Dave’s paintings, all very imaginative, I thought. We had a good dinner of ham, just like it used to be, with everyone around the table. Dave, Donna, Liz, Barbie, Florence, Mom, Dad, Bill, Sherman, Me, and the girl that is staying with them, and Dave Lanski. After dinner Sherman, Dad, Dave and I went out to retrieve some of Dave’s paintings from an art show. Then we went off to see their church. It consists of only two buildings now; they are planning another four or five. When we got back, Carol and her husband arrived. First we discussed their move to Yellow Springs, Ohio. Then we continued to talk. Donna got out her guitar and played a song, then I got to. The Pierson kids finally went to bed, and later we left. I am now reposed in a room in the Bortins’ house, thinking of a shower and tomorrow.

5/27/68 Monday 10:45PM PDT
The Bortins’.

Most of this day was uneventful. It was hot yet fairly comfortable and was spent mainly in leisure. We were invited to the Piersons’ for dinner and arrived just in time. There we met with Dad and Dick Lawrence who had just come back from the convention. We met Joan there who had arrived that morning. The dinner was pretty good, with tacos as the main course. After that we played croquet and ping-pong. We are planning to visit San Francisco tomorrow.

5/28/68 Tuesday 9:20PM PDT
mileage: 46286
The Bortins’.

Today we visited San Francisco and saw the Kuhnes and the Goodwins. This is the first time in four and a half years that I have seen the Bay Bridge. It is the one thing most of us remember. When we got to San Francisco we first visited Chinatown. We looked through shops appealing to tourists. They had some cheap souvenirs but also some nicer more beautiful imports. We saw some intricate ivory carvings in some windows, but didn’t enter those shops, since we were looking for things to buy as gifts for our various hosts during our stay here. We also went into a bakery and got some melon cakes and almond cookies, both delicious items. Next we visited Cost Plus, the most amazing import store I’ve ever seen. [Editor’s note: This company was only 10 years old at this time.]

The things I saw at Cost Plus started me thinking about a motif for my room, and I decided to try some string beads for my closet. I saw many other interesting things there, including old-looking kerosene lamps and a variety of metal-sheathed knives. We also visited a beautiful little complex of shops, whose nucleus was a chocolate factory. It was called Ghirardelli’s Square. [Editor’s note: This project was less than four years old at that time.]

We then picked up Dad and a friend of his and returned to Berkeley. We visited the Goodwins and arranged to stay overnight with them for tomorrow. We also visited the Kuhnes and arranged for a meeting on Friday.

All of the kids have changed a great deal in their appearance and mannerisms.

We are planning to get up early tomorrow in order to take the Bernards to Muir Woods. That night, my parents along with the Piersons and Harriet Goodwin – and possibly others – made plans to go to San Francisco for a night on the town.

I have not been able to play my guitar as often as I would like, and I hope the situation will improve in the future.

6/2/68 Sunday 11:15PM PDT
mileage: 46719
The Goodwins’, Berkeley.

This week’s been such a hassle, I haven’t been able to write. But now I finally get a chance to, just before we leave for Yosemite.

Wednesday we took the Bernards and John Tropman to Muir Woods. Dad, John, the Bernards, Sherman and I went up a special trail that was two miles long. We came down another way that was two and a half miles long and finally got back to the main trail. The hike was quite an experience, since no one thought we could find a way back down other than the way we got up, except me. Sid turned back about one and a half miles up – he was tired from the convention and his feet hurt. We then went to Tiburon to eat lunch on a dock.

That night my parents and friends went to the Cairo restaurant in San Francisco to have dinner. We made our own. Thursday was Lea’s birthday. We got up late and opened some presents. Then later we visited the Piersons and went to a little park called Brannon Island. The water looked dirty and at first I didn’t want to swim in it, but later I saw that everyone else was having a ball and I decided to go in too. It was real fun. Then we got to go to the Filmore that evening.

filmore west concert sketch

My depiction of what the Filmore looked like that night.

Friday we visited Telegraph Ave. and all the weird shops. That was fun but tiring. In the evening we went to the Kuhnes’. We went into Scott’s room and played records and had our own light show – we freaked out. I stayed at Bret’s house that night.

Saturday we went to Golden Gate Park. We saw the Aquarium and the Tea Garden there. Then we came home and played with the Frisbee and had a chicken dinner with BI Brown and her daughter. We played with the Frisbee more and then had dessert. Drew came up and visited with David for a while and had dessert with us.

Today we got up sort of late and had breakfast as we usually do. In a short time some friends of my parents visited and they all talked for a while. Sherman and I played with the Frisbee, and David, Lea, Liz and some other girls played a game brought over by the daughter of my parents’ friends. We then went to the house of some other friends and finally to the Piersons’ where we had dinner, played, swam, had another dinner and watched TV. Then we came home, expecting a good night’s sleep so we can wake up good and early and get ready to leave for Yosemite by “twelve-ish.”

6/4/68 Tuesday 9:15PM PDT
mileage: 46964
Yosemite Camp 14.

Monday we got out by 11:30AM and drove down to Yosemite on a new freeway. Then we got on a crummy highway as we got closer to the park. Yosemite turned out to be quite a place. We have only seen the valley so far. It has high granite walls, carved perpendicular by glaciers. There are many great granite peaks, at least one of which can be seen from almost anyplace in the valley during the day. Today we went to Happy Isles and from there hiked to Vernal Falls on a well-used trail. The trail took us to the base of the falls, but it earned its name (the Mist Trail) from the ascent you have to take to get to the top of the falls. This part of the trail consisted mainly of a railing and many long flights of stone steps. This trail climbs right up beside the falls and the mist that the water produces as the falls strike the rocks at the falls’ base constantly envelopes the trail and gets any hikers that happen to be in the vicinity very wet.

The top of the falls was a relief to us. We rested there and dried off. We also explored further up the river and found another trail. It said that it led back to the valley, but Mom and Liz didn’t trust the signs and turned back for another drenching. The men went on and although the trail was steep, and was a little longer, and had horse dung all over it, we avoided getting wet once more, and got back to the valley in safety. We then shopped and returned to camp and had a dinner of barbecued “coulotte” steak.

Later all except Dad went for showers and returned fully refreshed. We are, at this moment, relaxing and planning to go to bed soon so we can get up early and visit Tuolumne Meadows, which are higher up than us. The area is supposed to be quite beautiful.

6/5/68 Wednesday 8:10PM PDT
Yosemite Camp 14.

We woke around 8 today and ate breakfast. Next, Mom cleaned the dishes. We got out of camp at 10:30 under cloudy skies. We crept up the mountains into a snow storm, though not a hard one. Some of the “scenic lookouts” were very beautiful. On many of them we could see the snowy Sierra Nevadas. We continued on to Tuolumne Meadows and entered a nearby campground to eat lunch. There we saw, among other things, a large bear. It systematically went around to each trash can and investigated each one’s contents. We finished lunch and decided to leave. Although it was snowing, Dad and I wanted to carry out our former plans to hike back to Yosemite Valley. We found a trail at the entrance of which was a sign “Yosemite Valley 8.7,” so we decided to take the trail. At first we couldn’t find it, but as we came back to the sign to look again we found that it was camouflaged by a fallen tree…

At first – for more than half of the way – the trail was over fairly flat land, but as we finally approached the valley, the trail suddenly became very steep (remember the perpendicular walls?)…about one hundred switchbacks later we reached the valley. We got to Mirror Lake where Mom was waiting for us (quite to our surprise). We then got to take showers and eat a chili dinner. We also told about some of the things we saw on the trail: snowflowers, deer, huge Jeffrey Pines (whose bark smell like vanilla-pineapple), and Manzanita with its beautiful red branches. There were also many small creeks creeping over the stark rock and into the small clumps of trees and bushes.

We then turned on the radio to get information about Senator Kennedy’s condition. All we know is that he’s not dead yet.

6/6/68 Thursday 7:15 PM PDT
mileage: 47172
Yosemite Camp 14.

Today we heard that Kennedy was dead “although this report is not confirmed.”

We got up around 8 and after a few hours got on the road to Glacier Point. We expected to see many animals this trip, but the main things were only a few deer, which only I saw. Nothing eventful happened on our ride – except maybe the tunnel. We had experienced one yesterday, but not as long as this one. It was really something to drive through. The only other event was the point itself. From there you can see much of the valley including Mirror Lake, Half Dome and North Dome. At Glacier Point there is also a huge hotel, which we could see on our hike up Mist Trail. Nevada and Vernal Falls were also visible from this point. Next we went to Sentinel Dome, but couldn’t see much for all the clouds. There we saw a pine which had grown horizontally because of the wind.

After that we came back to camp and had lunch and then rested for the rest of the day.

We also brought up a “One Way” sign from the river that we discovered Tuesday.

By the way, after the snow and rain yesterday, everything is still cold – much colder than Monday or Tuesday. We are in the last stage of drying out from the rain yesterday evening. About the only thing left that isn’t dry is a rug we use as a door mat.

Mom, Dad and Sherm have just returned from a walk and now plan to build a fire. It will help to warm us up, though I would be even more comfortable if I could get my face washed, which I plan to do in the near future.

6/9/68 Sunday 11:30AM PDT
Campbells’ Los Angeles.

Our fire didn’t turn out too well, but nevertheless we roasted marshmallows and stayed up a little late.

We had a good start the next day. Up at 6 and out of camp by 8.

We visited Mariposa Grove and saw the gnarled Sequoia “Grizzly Giant” and another – the “California.” We were also able to drive through the “Wawona Tunnel Tree.” [Editor’s note: This tree fell from snow burden the following year. It was thought to be over 2,300 years old.]

We then got on the road to Los Angeles. We were on 99 as far as Bakersfield, the same highway we had used to get to Yosemite. We got to the Campbells’ after quite a bit of hunting and soon were enjoying a good dinner. After this all the musicians got together and played their instruments. Lisa plays the flute, George plays the clarinet, and David plays the trumpet (though he wasn’t with us that night). We also watched Star Trek on a color TV.

Saturday we sat around for much of the day until the boys got an invitation to go to the Douglas Airfield Air Show. It was really sort of interesting there. They had lots of planes, gliders and missiles on display. They also had plane and helicopter rides. Sherman, David, George and his friend Larry got to take a plane ride. They were really thrilled.

We got back around 3PM so we messed around a bit more until it was time to go to Sophie’s for dinner. Besides us, the Brownstones, Millers and later the Becks were also there. The kids there included Lisa, all of us, Paul, Dave and Danny Brownstone, Andy and Danny Miller and Larry Beck. The kids got to go into a separate room where we had a ball, especially when Larry Beck got there and a few others left. Danny Miller also played his guitar.

Today the Campbell family are getting together and all musicians must perform. I still do not know what I’ll do.

6/9/68 Sunday 7:45PM PDT
Campbells’ Los Angeles.

The kids have to go to school tomorrow and go to bed early, so I thought I would write early. This morning I cleaned up and went downstairs to eat breakfast after I finished writing. Mom then helped me to pick a song. It turned out to be “This Land is Your Land.” Finally people started arriving until all were there. The guests included Gigi’s parents, grandad Campbell and great-grandmother Pritchard. A variety of cousins, aunts and uncles were also there. The recital went OK until it got to me (at least I was last) at which time it became very disorganized. I was the only one who could sing in the key I was playing, yet it didn’t sound any good for me to sing alone. When they wanted more it became a riot, for I didn’t have any songs that I could play well that were the sing-along type. Finally people started to leave until all were gone but two who wanted to play Bridge with Harry. I then went upstairs and messed around with the Legos. Soon I may have a little more to eat, then I may to to bed to get a good night’s sleep.

6/11/68 Tuesday 7:50AM PDT
mileage: 47873
Campbells’ Los Angeles.

Yesterday we went to the grandparents’ house. It is located near El Toro in a housing complex called “Rossmoor Leisure World.” [Editor’s note: At that time Leisure World was only about 4 years old.]

Leisure World gate

Entry gate to Leisure World.

At first we were surprised at the security, but the old folks seem to like it. First we talked for a while then we toured around the area in Grandad’s new Continental. Then we packed up a picnic lunch and went to the beach. Sherman and I had a swim, but the others were too chicken. We both got out before the waves got very big. We weren’t out very long before a college girl comes over and asks me for a cigarette. I replied that I didn’t smoke and she asked why not. I didn’t think very long about it, and my answer did not quite have the effect I would have liked it to; I said I was too young. She assured me that that didn’t matter here and I ended the conversation by reminding her that I didn’t have any cigarettes. This, I think, is really the kind of adventure I would address as such, for this kind of thing happens so seldom…

Well, soon it was time to head homeward, where we relaxed for a while, then were fed again. We finally got back to the Campbells’ at which time everyone immediately hit the sack. Some of us, possibly, thinking of tomorrow and our trip to Disneyland…

6/12/68 Wednesday 9:45AM PDT
Campbells’ Los Angeles.

I don’t think we left until about noon. We were inside the park by about 1PM. We arranged to meet our parents again around 6 in front of a souvenir stand outside the park.

Well, we had a fine time at Disneyland. We went on eight rides in all. The first ones were: Adventures Through Inner Space, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Trip to the Moon, Fantasyland Autopia, and Pirates of the Caribbean. This latter one was one of the best ones, as it had complete animation and sound effects. We then ate a quick lunch of ice cream bars and (for me) cake and continued on to the next ride. This was the Mine Train. This train takes you along a stream, into a desert and finally into Rainbow Caverns. All is complete with sounds for all the wildlife and other things, but the animation is not complete. The caverns were beautifully lighted, but not that realistic. Our next ride was the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad. On this ride we saw much of the park and also a model of the Grand Canyon and a primeval forest. The canyon part had lots of stuffed animals – no animation or sound. The forest had models of dinosaurs with a bit of both animation and sound. After we had left this ride, Liz wanted to leave as it was getting late and the line for the next ride we wanted was long. But Sherman and me wanted to go anyway so we went in line and Liz left in a huff to go back and tell Mom what had happened to us. We enjoyed the Submarine ride, but when we returned it was already 6:30. Now, I thought this wouldn’t make much difference (it didn’t anyway) but it so happened that no one had informed me of a dinner engagement at aunt Marion’s house with Uncle Obie and great-grandmother Pritchard. If I had known this, then acting on my better judgment, I would have gone with Liz.

[To paraphrase:] As it was, Liz was pretty upset with me!

6/13/68 Thursday
Campbells’ Los Angeles.

Yesterday morning, us kids got to sit around at the Campbells’ house for a while. Mom and Dad were at Nemo’s talking to her about the pros and cons of a trip to Berkeley (for the Commencement). They finally came back and we had lunch and then started off for the Gardners’. First we had to exchange a purse at a big department called “Broadway.” We then got over to the Gardners’ around 4. After we got acquainted, Gary thought it would be fun to make some hydrogen balloons. So he got out some lime, some tin foil, and a coke bottle. He put in water then added some lime. Then he introduced the tin [aluminum?] which started the reaction. We had four successful balloons, three of which we tied messages to.

Then we had another chicken dinner after which we played around a while, then left. Next we went to Harry’s location of employment – Rand Corporation – and played with JOSS, an interactive computer system.

6/14/68 Friday 11:15 PM PDT
mileage: 48397
Goodwins’ Berkeley.

Yesterday we went with grandad Campbell to look around Los Angeles. First we went to the music center and saw the three auditoriums. Then we visited Olvera Street where we had a Mexican lunch. I got some sandals made of old tires and Sherman got a horn made of cow’s horn. After this we went to the Becks’ and had dinner there. Larry and Sherm played Monopoly and I read Mad Magazine. Mr. Beck had some photographs he wanted to give me so I gladly accepted them. [Editor’s note: From his years doing publicity photos for TRW. I still have scans of most of those photos.] They are of satellites and other such things. Their youngest, Jeff, is really something else. All he can do is run around and scream (among other things).

Jack Beck photo for TRW

One of Jack’s photos.

Today we got up and started packing. Then John and Katie came over and Mom and Dad started talking with them. That held up our time of departure about an hour, but we finally got out at 9:30. We got on 101 and drove on it until we got to 1. This is really a very beautiful way to go, but it is longer. We got a glance of Hearst Castle and would have liked to see it except for the time problem.

We finally got into Berkeley and settled at the Goodwins’. We went out to find a place to eat and discovered too late that the place we picked served horrible food. Now we are back and I am thinking about a shower and bed-y-bye.

6/16/68 Sunday 9:15 AM PDT
mileage: 48483
Goodwins’ Berkeley.

Saturday was the big day – the Commencement. It started with us getting up and dressed and then we went down to have a breakfast of pastry that we had bought in a little town called Solvang the day before. Our grandparents and Bob and Judy had arrived by then, so my parents talked a bit with them then we got ready to go. We knew a few days before that Nemo didn’t want to come, so that’s why she wasn’t there. We drove up to the campus with both cars, but couldn’t find any parking there. So we left campus and finally found some un-metered parking on some little Berkeley streets (Le Conte near Euclid) and started walking in. Grandad would evidently not make it up over all the hills so he and Bob went to a drugstore to call a taxi. Just as they entered, Helen Kuhne came along in her VW bus. Mom retrieved Bob and Grandad and we all got to ride to the stadium. Except that an officer wouldn’t let us up to the top. So after hearing what our problem was, a student offered to go get his car and take Grandad back up in it. For all this, we couldn’t get the correct seats anyway, although we did get some seats.

After the Commencement, we all returned to the Goodwins’. We refreshed ourselves, took pictures, and decided to go to San Francisco for a while. Mom and us kids would look for the bead place, and the rest would see Golden Gate Park. Mom and us bumped into an art fair during our search and and after finding a place to park we went into it. While we were there we bought a tie tack for Dad, got directed to our bead place (across from the old spaghetti factory), bought beads and a medium-sized strobe candle, then left to return to our car. We met the others late, so we rushed to get over to Concord where our grandparents were staying, to eat and refresh ourselves in the pool at their motel. For dinner we decided on The Captain’s Chest on recommendation from the Bortins. We had a great meal there. We went swimming twice – once before dinner and once after.

The Cox family then returned to the Goodwins’. We faced tomorrow, a grueling day of driving across the Nevada desert. We had originally planned to go back via Portland but figured it would take too long. There was also an idea to go there via Bob’s plane, but this was likewise rejected.

The Emotion of Hate

18 July 2019

The essay below is almost verbatim from a copy I kept. It was probably written in 1968. I presented it with a collage of news photos from magazines – probably ones we had at  home. The collage of photos is lost, but as they were news photos, similar ones still exist on the internet. My copy has notes from my teacher (not sure who she was) which are not included here. It is being published here for the first time to give my readers some idea of where my thinking was back then, and how long I have had these issues on my mind. The first photo is from the Birmingham student protests of May 1963. The second photo is from the Columbia University (New York) student protests of April 1968.


With these pictures I have tried to illustrate, among other things, the emotion of hate. This emotion, as all emotions, belongs exclusively to man. It occurs under many circumstances and may be accompanied by fear. I used a dictionary to help me find what fear was. One of the basic things that fear is is “ an agitated feeling aroused by an awareness of actual or threatened danger…an uneasy feeling that something may happen contrary to one’s desires.” I would like to try to elaborate on this, so as to be able to understand it better.

One of the main things I would like to study is what one’s desires are. Most people have a conscious, or at least biological, desire to live. One may also desire to conform to sets of values determined by his peer groups. These values may include certain prejudices. Many people want things to stay as they are; they do not desire change. This may be a change in governmental or business institutions, or it could be change in their own lives or values. Another thing people desire is to feel as if they are better than someone else, or have power over someone else. Many people have a desire for wealth.

The desire to live is basic. Within this basic desire we may include the need for food, clothing and shelter. Since these things, in our system, are not free, one must have money to buy them; one must have money to buy life. One must have a paying job.

I must now go back to hate, “an extreme feeling of dislike or animosity,” says the dictionary. But why would this feeling ever occur? Have you ever hated? When you hated, you probably hated a person or group of people. What made you hate them? Maybe they said something about your looks, or actions, or manner. Did what they said affect your pride? Or perhaps they physically threatened you, perhaps they wanted to kill you. Or maybe someone told you to hate them, or described them to you so that they seemed inferior to you.

The basic reason for hating is because someone is threatening your life. Most other reasons for hating are reasons built up over hundreds of years of people living with people. They are reasons that need not exist. Of course these reasons, which are in most cases the desires I spoke of before, are hard to get rid of. But some of them keep others from attaining their basic desire – which is to live. This cannot and should not be tolerated by the victims of hate. They should not have to only half-live because of someone else’s hate for them. And if they hate the people who hate them, their feeling should be condoned and not condemned. This, I believe, is the only justifiable hate.

(Or is it?)


Most of these students, at first, only fear. Fear that they will not feel fully educated when they leave the university they protest. But repelled by police, they now have something to fight, someone threatening their lives, and the fear turns to hate. And once the ball gets rolling, it’s hard to stop it.

The blacks have, for a long time, had a true and justified hate for whites, because the whites hated them, as humans at any rate. If the Negroes had remained slaves, the whites would have been content – they had someone to have power over, to dominate. But of course the Negroes were humans, not slaves, and not content. They hated the white man. And because of this, the whites hated them all the more.

So unless the white desire to dominate over the Negro ends, they will probably go on hating each other forever.

Possibly one way to eliminate hate is through education.

Basically, hate comes when one thinks his life is being threatened.

How do you get rid of the artificial desires and values of modern man? You only have to get rid of them enough to let everyone live a good life. Possibly these desires also come from a fear that one will not live a full life without the things desired. Is it possible that really no one in America feels he’s not living a good life? Maybe everyone should go back and re-examine their basic fear. If they find it to be a justifiable one, as I think it is, perhaps they are over-estimating what it takes to live. Or perhaps someone is helping them to overestimate. Their peer group? The business world?

I must find the root! A common denominator!

The trouble with human relations is that they can never be perfect, for human emotion is part of it. And human emotion will occasionally be able to rule a person’s whole body.

Of course, some emotions seem perfectly wholesome, such as love. Though at second glance there may be complications – or is that only in love as many see it? In the institution of marriage? For some people, marriage might ruin their love. Perhaps people were not meant to love one person for the entirety of life. In fact, it is horrible to think that all the more people a man is allowed in his life to love is one. Everyone should feel love for everyone. Love, as all emotions, was not meant to be hidden or kept by only two people.

And then there is hate… You know, it’s a funny thing: I used to hate a person so much that I threw rocks at him once. But now he’s one of my best friends. Of course it was a childish hate, bred from immaturity and failing to understand the other’s situation. Why, then, does this same childish hate occur in adults? Why do some adults let their emotions and their peer group just rule their lives? It must be because of something they need, something they want out of life, or maybe it is a misunderstanding of life. What could it be?

Perhaps it is fear. Fear that if one breaks one’s dependencies on others one will cease to exist. Fear that if they are not accepted in their group, they will be alone. It is as if they don’t know how to make new friends with new people. It’s as if they couldn’t face a world different than the one they are in.

Institutions often help this happen. Take Christianity. It has been the truth for some people for years that God created the earth and all the creatures on it. These and other beliefs have been thrust into people’s heads along with fear, the fear that if they don’t believe these things, they will go through huge amounts of pain – the most hated thing to man. And when these beliefs are contradicted, the Christian backs into his shell farther, afraid to believe the truth.

Yes truth, all important truth. Not nearly enough people take the truth as seriously as they should.

Shut minds breed fear and hate; these minds must be opened with love and courage. People must live the truth, yet always question it, curiously and openly.

Now another question: Is hate on anyone’s part really necessary?

As I envision the cave man, I see him with a myriad of unknown phenomena surrounding him. These included electrical storms, wild animals, birth, death, and many other wonders of nature. These men learned to hate some of these things – death for one, and things that caused it – and pain, and things that caused that. This included wild animals, weather extremes that started fires or ruined the food supply thus causing hunger and pain, and anything else causing pain or death.

These things – death, pain – were not understood and fantastic stories were built up around their causes. In the meantime, science has solved these questions, basically at any rate, and so anyone with an education can understand why death, pain, birth and other things exist, and why some of them are necessary.

One question has remained unsolved, and this is fate, on a personal basis at any rate. People have always wondered, why did he die then? Why was he the one to be killed, out of all those others? It is harder for people to understand why things like this happen, sudden deaths, with one in a million chances of the one that died dying. Yet people need not even get as flustered as they do, except for the fact that their emotions get in their way, emotions like love, emotions that aren’t essential to life yet certainly do, and will, exist. It seems that for hate to dissolve at this late date, people would have to be able to rule over their emotions. This seems impossible. But at least people could make a conscious effort to eliminate false hate as much as possible, making their hates as basic and justifiable as they can possibly be. The hate of other humans is not justifiable. But it has existed ever since the first cave man wanted someone to blame for something that happened, that he couldn’t explain.

Cruelty to animals seems to be a well-liked pastime among boys my age. They blow frogs up, burn mice live, use toads as slingshot projectiles, feed squirrels whiskey, cut a rat in half, sin a snake live.

Why is this necessary?

Perhaps it is better than taking out one’s hate on other people. But where were these boys exposed to so much hate in the first place? It’s horrible, grotesque, and brutal.

People ask, why are there so many problems in our society? I have been thinking about hate because I thought it was one of the main causes of our problems. Some people use other words to express this prevailing feeling of hate…racism, conflicting interests, unequal rights…but I see hate as the major factor in all of these.

Hate, as I have said before, has to do with man’s desires. It is, however, always hard for me to remember how it has to do with them. Perhaps it is this: One man, a businessman, pursues his desires which are, say, to make money. He thereafter does not bother to shell out the dough to train hard-core unemployed. But this results in the interference with another man’s basic desire to live (by earning money which can buy food, clothing and shelter). This may be seen as conflicting interests, but their interests are much the same. They both want money. If the richer man, though, were to sacrifice some of his to train hard-core unemployed, he would then get a new set of workers. This would probably pay back a bit of what was spent on them, and they would also be able to live a decent life. It all comes down to people having to look at themselves and others and be compassionate enough to bend their backs a bit for others so that they may fulfill the desire shared by all men – the desire to live.

So, we find a condition on the part of upper and middle class people which is often called apathy. They think of themselves as harmless, not taking anything away from underprivileged people. But they aren’t able to lift a foot off the floor to help them, support them, love them. And though they may think the absence of love for their fellow man on their part is not extremely important, by the time this absence of love gets down to the underprivileged people it turns to hate, for they are only half living. And so people must truly love their fellow man in order for hate to cease to exist. It means, at first glance, that the affluent must give some of it up. But in the end, everyone would benefit. In the end, there would be no hate, conflicting interests, racism, unequal rights, just living human beings.


The above is probably the major philosophic work that survives from my early teenage years. I was surprised as I transcribed it. It summarizes all the most basic themes – at that level of thought – that I have been dealing with my entire life. I even get some of the basic concepts correct, which surprises me; I don’t recall where I learned them from. This is part of an ongoing project to digitize writings I have saved that I think might be important. But this first is probably the most important piece in my collection.

Accomplishing Things Together

14 July 2019

Mankind has evolved myriad ways to get things done in groups.

This subject impacts all of the social sciences including particularly government, business management, and community organization.

In these contexts it is often studied in amazement: How have we managed to accomplish so much against such great odds? And so those studies have for the most part resulted in theories of how and why we managed to survive as a cooperative species, or in careful listings of what worked for Boeing, or General Electric, or China.

Those studies seldom evolved any system of understanding or set of rules that was workable enough to be compelling or gain wide support. Except for Hubbard’s studies.

Extent of human experience

When Hubbard consulted the extent of human experience, he found a track so deep and vast that for most those discoveries were simply unbelievable. But in this vastness he was able to locate certain basics about how people operate and how they learn to coexist.

And so he was able to identify patterns and “laws” that can be adapted to and remain workable in almost any imaginable situation.

The basic production group

The most workable pattern for group production is one mirrored all around us and throughout history. We see this pattern in the family (particularly when both parents are present), in the village and tribe, in the production team of modern business, and in performing groups such as the one illustrated below.

sekar jaya berkeley 1980

Gamelan Sekar Jaya early rehearsal in Berkeley 1980

I have mentioned this pattern in other articles. It features an “in-charge” or supervisor, often assisted by a deputy. Ideally, these two only have to work directly with a handful of other people. In the photo above, we see that the teacher (back to us) is showing one of the gendèr players a particular melody. The other players can be individually instructed, but will tend to rely on one of the better players in their group as a sub-teacher. Similarly, a more experienced drummer teaches a newer drummer, and a more experienced dancer will teach the newer dancers, though all under the watchful eye of the overall teacher. And so they eventually learn how to play an entire piece together, then another and another. And so they can at some point go out and perform a concert with a paying audience (as we did many times).

Extension to larger groups

Hubbard found that the best way to build larger groups was by using this same basic pattern. This is actually a truly ancient law. As such, it should come naturally to us; and yet we violate it all the time.

When we try to stretch this basic pattern into a very large group, like a major company or a nation, we run into one of its limitations: distance between associated group members. This has always been a challenge for people, and I suppose always will. Though I could mention all sorts of handlings that have been dreamed up – for both real and imaginary groups – the common factor in all of them seems to be to establish a strong and reliable line of communication between the central location and its remote offices.

Traditionally this was accomplished by assigning one or more people from the remote area to function as delegates, ambassadors, or traveling executives. They would then meet periodically as a council, committee, coordinating body (or some similar concept) at the central location. This was one reason (as far as I’m concerned) why representative governments developed in the years before we had more advanced communication technologies. These councils continue today as a kind of tradition; for now it’s probably just as well that they do.

Organizations like businesses have a tendency to send central people out to the remote location to “fix” situations and for other reasons. This is more typical of a top-down approach to organizing people, but that doesn’t make it unworkable. It’s just that the basic friendliness that exists when people work together in the same room or house or office or factory can break down or be neglected over longer distances. Then the corrective measure will come as a shock or be seen as an attack, rather than as a management necessity (which it usually is). So it is very important for any central office to have one person (or a small group) assigned to each remote office – no more than five or ten remote offices per person – who will then maintain a strong and friendly relationship between him or herself and each remote office.

Common mistakes

It is very important for the members of any actual group to feel that they are working together for a common purpose. For some businesses, that purpose might be to make money. And while that is needful, it is seldom sufficient motivation for most people. Most people want to feel that they are doing something that contributes to the greater community, and pushes up the chances of survival for the entire community, as well as the specific business or organization they work in. I have seen too much neglect and falseness in this respect.

Why would people err in this direction?

Lost or insufficient technology. This is the age in which certain of our technologies have raced ahead, while others have lagged behind, or been neglected or lost.

Thus we can connect two people using a complex radio relay system, but cannot guarantee them that their personal details will remain private or that the information they receive on that network will be accurate.

We can develop a myriad of new drugs for treating various conditions, but seem unable to cure people of those conditions.

We can revive numerous downtown areas, but we can’t seem to make those areas affordable for the people who work there.

In fact, there are many good technologies that would help us handle these problems that are available but not widely known about. That leads us to our other common mistake.

Letting criminals onto our communication lines. This one is always destructive, and sometimes completely fatal. It is a point abundantly supported by Hubbard’s research. And it circles back around to the first mistake: Lack of an effective technology for spotting criminals that is widely known and in use.

Though we have had ways of doing this for centuries, our results were less than perfect. It is Hubbard’s work that has pushed this subject up to a new level. And it was a criminal reaction to this advance that has been suppressing it from wider use. Where communities go ahead and learn it and use it, crime goes down and happiness goes up.

And where communities and businesses and governments gain a better control over the criminal element, beneficial technologies go into wider use, while harmful technologies decline.

Can governments be made to work?

Government is one of our biggest challenges because we give our governments the toughest jobs.

I looked over our own Constitution today (the original document for the most part) to see if I could draw a straight line from it to a more workable system. My results were inconclusive.

In a nation Law takes the place of what is usually called Policy in business. Yet how could either a business or a nation get along well if its rules of operation were constantly changing?

The only business policies we normally hear about as consumers are written by lawyers. The more basic policies get set by Boards of Directors, and you seldom hear about those. My church relies on a large volume of policy developed by our Founder over many years which is now, for the most part, unchangeable. That gives our organization stability and predictability.

Nations have their Constitutions as basic policy. Yet in all cases I know of, these have been eroded. In a lot of ways, they weren’t really comprehensive enough. And with changeable laws having to stand in for gaps in policy, nations have been rendered less stable than most of us would like.

Traditional representative government has become less workable for a number of reasons. Chief among them, as I see it, was the lack of workable data on how to detect and handle criminals. And so the justice systems of many countries have become unworkable, if not corrupt. And criminal influence in the other branches of government was allowed to occur. This must be repaired. This whole issue is barely mentioned in our own Constitution.

Furthermore, there is no mention in our Constitution of the relationship between the U.S. President and his Cabinet with the State Governors and their cabinets. This led to vital communication lines never being formally established, and extensive Federal offices existing in all major cities and state capitals, though those should all be the domains of the various states.

Further, the need for extensive duplication of laws due to the absence of enough detail in the founding documents has led to huge wastes of effort as states try to regulate things better left to the federal level, and vice versa. This has recently become a real issue in the field of drug abuse, where some states have legalized marijuana, while others have kept it illegal. At the federal level it is still an illegal substance, so a huge “crime” network still exists to produce the drug in “free” states and then transport it into areas where it remains illegal. If the Feds do not have sufficient resources to make such operations unprofitable, then the whole country basically gets more drugs at lower prices courtesy of the states that have legalized them.

Reversely, the Feds have tried to “assist” states in their educational efforts. But this is much more properly a state issue, since “illegal trafficking” of students across state borders is certainly a very minor problem.

While arguments can be made that the U.S. would do better if it operated more like a business (top-down) it is in fact not legally set up to do so, and should probably rely much more on friendly communication lines between federal and state levels than it currently does.

Further, while it would be a huge change of operating basis at this point, it would be much more appropriate for the U.S. government to treat the states as franchises, and let the states, counties, cities and towns worry about any and all ordinary contact with individual citizens – particularly in the case of taxation – and devise a way to get regular tax payments (tithes, royalties) directly from the state treasuries rather than operating the enormous and invasive system of taxation and welfare that requires direct contact with every individual in the entire country. This is a stupendously inefficient, as well as dangerous, system. It should be ended as soon as possible.

Maintaining a true group

Maintaining a true group means maintaining friendly relations between every adjacent level of that group.

Individuals should have no cause to directly deal with the Federal government except if they violate federal laws. Even the issuance of passports could probably be done by states, as are drivers licenses and ID cards. And if the basic rules of organization were followed, all those activities would probably be more pleasant experiences.

People have a lot to learn about themselves and about working in groups. And they should learn these things. It would help us all enormously.





Rafting Sacramento style

30 June 2019

While I wrestle with various ideas about what to do with this planet, life goes on.

Late rains and early warm weather combined to give me ripe blackberries during my weekly ride from Folsom.



I went river rafting once. It was in 1980, and I was on my way to a family reunion in Iowa. I stopped on the way to visit Moab, the closest town to Arches National Monument. And while in Moab, I took a short rafting tour down the Colorado River.

The Colorado, in many places, presents a significant challenge to rafters. But the trip I took, as I recall, went through only one major rapids.

The American River below the Nimbus Dam, by comparison, is almost totally placid.


This makes rafting on the river (in this section) a safe and relaxing activity – or party time.

Last week on my trip back from Folsom I saw a bunch of rafters enter the river around Fair Oaks. I failed to get any photos, but decided to take some on this trip. I was an hour or more later than last time, and all the rafts were already on the river.

They sounded like they were having fun. Laughing, shouting and spraying water at each other, these were mostly younger people, as I had been when I took my rafting trip.


A little sandy area on the south shore of the river seemed to be a favorite place for rafters to stop for a break.


Rough waters ahead?

While most folks enjoy an apparently perfect summer, I continue to study, contemplate, and write.

The latest documentary on Scientology TV was about our impending “energy cliff,” where it becomes more energy-costly to dig up and refine fossil fuels than it does to just leave them in the ground. The week before, I saw Fallen, a documentary about police killed in the line of duty. And in between I saw a documentary about Seattle’s homeless problems and attended an event concerning the continuing problem of drug abuse in the U.S. and around the world.

The future is only looking navigable to those who know how to confront the magnitude of the problems it holds for us. The rest are busy riding their rafts down a river taking them wherever it leads, hopeful they won’t run into any dangerous rapids along the way.



Setting up a VM tent

15 June 2019

Word came down a couple of weeks ago that we were going to put our Volunteer Minister (VM) tent up in Old Sacramento and get some video shots there.

In the two years I’ve been in Sacramento, we’ve never set up in Old Sac before. Old Sacramento is basically a tourist destination. There are some nice restaurants right on the river, and river cruise rides offered, as well as a train ride pulled by a real steam locomotive. The place is full of gift stores, and similar shops.

The plan was to set up all three canopies, assist tables, a book display and as many information panels as possible. We planned to hand out lots of promo telling people how to connect with us via our website.


Here’s the tent with all the info panels spread out on the ground so we could pick which ones we wanted to use.

The tent is a rugged piece of equipment, made for the church by a professional company. It’s not too hard to set up, but it helps to do it with four strong guys. It was a tiny bit breezy, so we put down the weights on the tent legs. They are a bit heavy.

All the side panels and info panels use big velcro strips, so it goes pretty fast.


Here it is fully set up, with the train cars going by in the background. We really want people to know that something can be done about it!

Inside there’s a nice yellow glow.


Here we have one of the volunteers giving an assist to another volunteer.

Things went fine. We made some new friends.