Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Then I approach Telemundo or some other Spanish language TV station with this pitch: A Spanish language TV show in the style of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau called Mundo Mar-avillosa designed to inspire Mexican pride in their rich ocean environments – the Sea of Cortez, the Yucatan, Caribbean, etc.
JC said people protect what they love and people love what they take pride in. Get the Mexicans to feel proud of their ocean resources and maybe they will protect them.
Telemundo fronts the money for the expeditions. I hire a small crew of starving Radio-Television-Film graduates and we go off on quasi-scientific-exploration-adventures that we document on video and edit into one hour programs for broadcast. We want to appeal to the widest audience possible, especially people who have no appreciation for nature, so we get beautiful stars and starlets – pop music singers, telenovela actresses, etc. - have them beautiful and barely clothed but asking intelligent questions and showing a genuine appreciation for nature. We have PhD’s explaining environmental and government policy issues to the jiggly starlets.
The show is a huge success in Mexico. Telemundo and other broadcasters throw money at us and we expand to cover global environmental issues. We strive to not only identify environmental problems, but to propose realistic solutions and how they might be implemented – topics like government legislation and enforcement. We are not anti-industry. Our goal is to improve industry. In fact, we do episodes on industries – mining, petro-chem, pulp and paper – and identify ways to improve their environmental impact.
Will you help me pursue this?
Monday, December 24, 2007
I have a big construction project at the moment that is making a lot of money. The job is going well and we stand to get even more work. Thursday of last week, I bought lunch for all the guys working on the project. They wanted Pat’s Chili Dogs and Pepsi. I left the house at 10 AM and Safeway was my first stop, to pick up Pepsi and ice. As I returned to my car with all the soda, a 30ish Hispanic woman approached me in the parking lot. Before she spoke, I knew what was coming.
Pan handlers often approach me in that parking lot. A couple of years ago, LAG gave a woman a couple of dollars in that parking lot and as we later drove off with our groceries, the woman and a scrappy guy were walking off into the desert with a case of beer.
So as she approached, I was already feeling uncomfortable. I think I was feeling shame and guilt. On some unquestioned, unanalyzed gut level I believe that asking for help is shameful, especially if the need for help is rooted in laziness and irresponsibility. I come from Protestant people of industry and responsibility.
But I suppressed my discomfort, faced her directly and met her gaze. I was expecting, “Can you spare some change …” but instead she asked, “Can you help me get something to eat?”
I answered, “Sure. I’ll help you get something to eat. I tell you what; meet me at Los Betos across the parking lot. I’m going to load my groceries and drive over there and I’ll buy you a burrito.”
As I drove over to Los Betos, I was thinking about the season, the Christmas story, no room at the inn, and I thought, “I bet her name is Mary.” I bought her a California burrito and while we waited for her order, I asked her what her name was.
“Marie” she said. I almost cried.
I asked her if she had a home. She was homeless.
I asked her if she has some support, if she had been to a shelter, if she had a place to sleep and some people to help her get a home and a job. She said that she was sleeping at a friend’s house, but the friend had to go to work, so she was on the street until her friend came home. The friend was supposed to take her to a shelter that evening after work.
I had to get 20 Pat’s Chili Dogs and drive to the south east side of town. I didn’t have time to get involved and solve Marie’s problems, but it seemed to me that God was speaking to me. As I drove away, headed to Pat’s, I thought about that scene, “Thank you Lord for bringing me where I did not want to go.”
Later in the day, after the chili dog party, I was driving home listening to NPR – Talk of the Nation. They were discussing God, religion and wealth; an unbelievably synchronistic conversation. Listen to it here.
There is another scene in Last Temptation where Jesus goes out into the desert, draws a circle in the dirt and says to God, “I’m not going to leave this circle. I’m not going to leave here until you speak to me. No signs. No pain. Just speak to me in human words. Whatever path you want, I’ll take. Love, or the axe, or anything else. And if you want me to stay here and die, I’ll do that too. But you have to tell me.” Jesus then has several hallucinations/visitations, but (appropriately) God never speaks to him in human words and tells him what to do.
And so it is in life I think: Marie asks me for help; An NPR show helps me clarify and focus my thoughts. Every event in life is an opportunity to correct our heading. The hard part is paying attention. I think maybe I intentionally avoid paying attention. I’m too attached to my comfort and security. I am the rich young man who goes away sad, for I have many possessions.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The African slaves were brought to Bonaire to work the salt operation, today owned by Cargill. On the beach between the salt evaporation ponds and the Carribean Sea are little shacks, houses for the slaves. The structures are about 6' x 6' and have a little door hole facing the sea and a little window hole facing the evaporation ponds.
I'm glad the Dutch and the people of Bonaire did not demolish the slave shacks. They are quite the startling reminder.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I put the dogs in the car and got my snake catcher, slipped the noose around his head, and put him in a plastic trash can for the night. The next morning, I took a couple of photos of him and took him out in the desert and turned him loose in a wash.
Well, less than 24 hours later, this afternoon, I took the dogs out for a walk. When we got to the front door, I hooked their leashes on the wrought iron and went to the trash can to throw away a bunch of junk mail I had just taken out of the mail box. As I stood at the trash can, I heard the buzz of an angry rattler. I ran to the fron porch and yanked April's leash, pulling her off the porch as a big rattler coiled up and raised his head to strike. I carried the dogs around to the back door and put them in the house, then returned to the front to catch the big guy, but he was right next to my snake catcher so I just stood out front and watched him. Before long, he slithered off around the garage to my oleander bushes where I lost him in the dead leaves.
Two snakes on my front porch in less than 24 hours. What is the universe trying to tell me?