Thursday, December 22, 2016


Last night was the longest night of the year and lord, it felt like it. For some reason, I was overcome by sadness.  It has been a long, hard year, no question; not for me personally, but for the world I live in.  I am part of this world; maybe I feel its pain.

(Strangely, amidst the human chaos, it has been utterly beautiful in southern Oregon. No serious fires near our home, no terrible smoke, day after day of beauty.  Given recent events, you'd think it would start raining down fire and brimstone.  Give it time; Trump's inauguration is still a month away.)

Anyway, last night was rough and for absolutely no reason.  I guess I'm just tired.  People keep telling me I look tired, which does nothing to make me feel better. Why do some people feel the need to be brutally honest about something like that? What does it serve?  If you can't say something nice, keep your fucking mouth shut.

Alright, that's enough.  I need to marshal my strength. Guests are coming, I'm playing music tomorrow.  Time to shine some light.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wayfaring Stranger

In Trump's America, I am poor Wayfaring Stranger, traveling through this world of woe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Same Old Story

After 8 years of obstructing Obama at every turn and denying his requests for economic stimulus funding, the Trumpublicans are planning to a) infuse massive federal funding into infrastructure projects, particularly those that benefit their donors, while simultaneously b) providing massive tax cuts for the wealthy. In other words, they’re planning to run up the national debt sky high. Accruing debt was anathema to Republicans when Obama was in office, but apparently it’s OK now that they have their puppet in place.

Their trickle down madness always ends the same. It starts with a short-term bubble, during which they brag about the effectiveness of their policies, followed by a massive crash, which they manage to blame on something or someone else.

Obama used the limited tools granted by the Republican congress to dig us out of Bush’s financial crisis.  He has achieved strong, steady economic growth while avoiding another financial bubble. If he had received any support from the Republicans, he would have made bigger investments in infrastructure projects, which would have resulted in more robust growth. Despite their intransigence, he achieved reliable, stable growth.  Now that the Republicans are in charge, they will start spending like drunk sailors while cutting taxes, just like they always do. It always ends the same, with a giant financial bubble followed by a spectacular crash.  Does anyone remember Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush? 

The trick for those of us in the middle class is to accurately time the crash without getting burned. I’m tentatively planning to take my money out of the market before Trump is inaugurated.  I may miss the highest of the highs, but I hope to avoid the inevitable, massive crash. I’m pushing 60 and don’t have time to rebuild my savings.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Greatest Generation

I find it extremely puzzling that the same cousin who never misses an opportunity to mention her father's service in WWII voted for Trump, the darling of national socialists and white supremacists everywhere.

What the hell does she think her father was fighting against?

For the record, Smitty fought in WWII and he would have hated Trump. I don't know if he would have voted for Obama or Clinton; there's no denying his racism and sexism.  But, he definitely would not have voted for Trump.  He hated blowhards and poseurs.

I think Mom would have voted for Obama.  His intelligence and courtliness would have been right up her alley.  And, I think she would have voted for Clinton. She was a proto-feminist, even if she would not have applied the term to herself.  She was the only pro-choice Baptist I've ever met.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What If?

Thinking of Trump and the apocalypse again tonight and playing the "what if" game. What if Al Gore had been president on 9/11 instead of George Bush? The Iraq War might not have happened. The Middle East would probably still be a mess, like it has been my entire life time, but thousands of lives could have been saved. What if Jimmy Carter had defeated Ronald Reagan? His solar panels would still be on the roof of the White House. He would have invested in green technology technology infrastructure that might have delayed or even prevented the climate catastrophe. What if Bobby Kennedy had lived to defeat Nixon?  What a different world we would live in today, on so many levels.  For one thing, the suffix "-gate" as in Watergate would not be affixed to every scandal, including my current favorite, Pussygate, in honor of our President-elect.  

How long will it take before I have to play the "what if" game with Donald Trump?  How long before I have to look at his inevitable damage and think about how it might have been different under Hilary Clinton's management?

Elections matter. I've seen it too many times.

Monday, November 14, 2016

New Normal

In the seven days since election night, I have avoided almost all news coverage of President-elect Donald Trump, and I am normally a news junkie. I have avoided engaging on social media. This isn't a bad thing; I consume far too much media, particularly around politics. But, it does indicate the depth of my shock and despair. That man and everything he stands for are utterly odious to me; he makes me nauseous. I will never understand why anyone would consider voting for him and yet half the country did. I'm related to several of them, one of whom referred to people opposed to Trump as "fucking pussy-ass liberal hippies." Another called Hilary Clinton a cunt. Nice, cuz; do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Social media is a strange place. I know much more about distant relatives than I used to and that is not necessarily a good thing.

I have to believe that the human race will survive Donald Trump, at least in the short term. We survived Reagan-Bush and Bush-Cheney. Those elections felt apocalyptic and alienating, but I survived. Hell, I lived through the last days of Richard Nixon, drunk and delusional with his finger on the nuclear button. Trump and his ilk don't want to end the world, they just want to own it outright and siphon it dry. He will definitely immanentize the eschaton, but I don't think he will bring on on the end days, at least not in his first term.  Who knows?

After each of those previous political reversals, I took my lumps, pulled up my socks and went back to work. I don't know if I can do it this time. I don't know if I have another protest movement left in me. I don't know how to change people's minds. I don't know how to reach them.

Whitman thought he knew.
  • This is what you shall do: love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning god, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
Sheesh Walt, that's a lot to ask, even of a pussy-ass liberal hippie like me, and I sincerely doubt that my cousins will ever crack open Leaves of Grass. I think I'll just sit quietly for wait for whatever happens next.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Rabbit Hole

Kiva found this letter to the editor I wrote in 2004.  The more things change, the more the stay the same.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Shock and Awe

Thus it is revealed: this is the country I live in.  These are my fellow citizens, my countrymen and women.  This is the world they choose for themselves and their descendants.

Donald Trump. They chose Donald Trump.

I am a stranger in a strange land.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Unclear = Unkind

I recently heard a radio host  say, "To be unclear is to be unkind."  In other words, tell people what you need, tell them how you feel. Lord, do I struggle with that.  A couple of years ago, I realized that lying equaled love in my family. We lied to spare others of our feelings, of our anger or disappointment. We thought that by not expressing our needs or feelings, we spared others of the burden. We were supposed to take care of that shit ourselves. There's a certain nobility to that, a certain empathy, but it's incredibly isolating. Nothing ever gets resolved, there's always an emotional barrier, and we carry our baggage with us to our graves.

Of course, all that pent up energy has to go somewhere. There was a lot of behind-the-back talk in our family.  Our family motto could have been, "don't tell your mother/father/sister/brother I said this, but..."  Repression, toxic denial; it ain't good for you.

Don't tell; I should have the tattooed somewhere.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I was often called "bossy" when I was a kid.  A teacher once humiliated me at a school-wide award ceremony by giving me the "Lucy Award," i.e. Lucy Van Pelt, the bossy older sister in the Peanuts comics. I was never shy or demure and I paid for it. Bless this little gal. Bless the woman standing next to her.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Equinox day, and with the autumn came the rain.  The cool blew down and the clouds blew in, innocent puffs of blue and white gathering in the sunset, thickening, darkening, and finally bringing the thunder. Thunder! When has there been a summer without thunder?  But, that's what we had this year, not one single thunderstorm. Instead, we had a heat wave in June followed by a late, soaking rain in July. No lightning, no thunder, just rain.  After that, day after day of sunny blue skies, hot, bone dry, perfect weather for rivers and lakes and all the things I love. There were a couple of days with moderate smoke from a fire down by Happy Camp, but not bad. Last summer, we were surrounded by fire on four sides and enveloped in smoke for weeks.  It was like living in the gates of hell. This summer was blessed from start to finish.

Ever the busy bee, I went straight from work to an exercise class, from class to the grocery store, back to work to pick up my forgotten jacket, and didn't get home until 7:30.  The clouds had gone from drifting to gathering at that point, but the sky was not threatening in the least. Ate my dinner, sat down to watch some Netflix and there it was: thunder; not an epic, end of the world crack, more like an accelerating jet engine and damn loud. Here in the bone dry forests of the west, the sound of thunder brings fire to mind, but not tonight. Tonight the thunder was immediately followed by sweet, sweet rain. It's been coming down steady for a couple of hours, quietly clattering on the roof.

Every year, it feels like a miracle when the rain returns. This year is no different, but it's the cherry on the sundae instead of a reprieve from death row like it was last summer. What a blessed, blessed year.  Would they were all like this.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Last Waltz

A few months ago, when Kiva told me she was getting married, I was happy for her. Her partner David truly seems to care for her. They love each other.  What more can you ask?

Kiva is a blazing ball of inspiration and she is freakishly talented but, like many artists, she's not the most organized person I've ever met. So, when she told me that she and David wanted to get married at the camp out I had some concerns about the planning and delivery of such an event.  Case in point: she didn't figure out who was going to perform the ceremony until a few days before.  I wasn't even sure if she was going to have a ceremony. That would have been perfectly OK; it's her wedding and, if she doesn't want to have a ceremony, she doesn't want one. But, as the hostess and chief party planner, it was a little nerve wracking.

In the end, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever attended. Kiva's friend from Portland performed a ceremony that referenced zombies and The Princess Bride among other things and it couldn't have been more appropriate, beautiful and moving.  Members of her "gentle army" of Twitter followers traveled from England, Maine, Texas and Portland to attend. It was the first time they ever met in the physical world and it was so beautiful to see them bond together like they had known each other their whole lives.

So yeah, we had a camp out and a wedding broke out. It was stunningly beautiful, but it could have gone terribly wrong were it not for the support we received from every single person who attended.  Lowell, Matt and Phil worked the grills all weekend long, they never stopped, ably assisted by Ed Willy.  Lowell must have shopped for a week beforehand. Joe sweated over boiling oil to make deep friend mushrooms.  Louise, Lynn, Marianne, Laney, Jeanne decorated the platform and Lynn provided tons of extra bedding for the out of towners.  Alayna's flowers were incredible. Arly and Paul ran errands for me all over the Rogue Valley. Ellen and Alyssa wrangled the cupcakes.  The whole family was there, Arly and Paul from Philly, Greg and Phyllis from Illinois, Danny, August and Ruger from California, Noah and Heidi from Ashland, all bringing food, music and good times. Our deep, dear Colestin family members Jeff, Ruthe and Cooper came from Santa Cruz, Dutch, Kat and Finn came from Arcata. Greg, Max, Laura and Nick rebuilt the bridge to the swimming hole before the weekend even commenced. My oldest friend in Ashland Cheryl was there with her daughter Shana, and Shana's two boys tore up the slip and slide all weekend along with Finn and Lynn's son Eli. They were highly entertaining to watch. My dear old pal Suzan came from Cali and brought such sweetness with her.  James Dean strung lights and generated power and Phaedra brought her beautiful family and friends, including her daughter Indigo's tribe of teenagers. One of them strung a slack line across the meadow and did circus tricks for us. Robbie DaCosta showed up on Friday and played all night long. Jesse, Joe and Jimmy played for me on Saturday, and Noah and Greg played into the wee hours. Pete was there, as was Louis and Corbin.  Erin, James and Ed all came from the scene shop.  Mike and other members of the "Gentle Army" played music so sweetly. There were more than 60 people in the circle each night. I know I'm forgetting people and for that, I apologize. That's the trouble with making lists, they're always incomplete. To one and all my deepest and most sincere thanks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Colestin Countdown 2016

It's that time of year when the Colestin Camp Out blog finally turns its attention to the Colestin Camp Out. We're 10 days out friends! August 5-7.  Very exciting.  And yes, the rumors are true: Miz Kiva and Mr. David are getting hitched in the meadow on Saturday afternoon, the first wedding in Colestin Camp Out history.

Here are a few things to know for 2016.

Wedding - The wedding takes place on Saturday, August 6.  I suspect the ceremony will start around 5:00 p.m. Colestin time, which is, as we all know, fluid. This is definitely not a black tie affair; the mother of the bride may wear tie dye.  Be sure to complete your ensemble with comfortable shoes. I also suspect that the ceremony will be short and sweet. Everyone is welcome to attend, even if you don't know the bride and groom.

Weather -  It is hotter than the hinges of hell in southern Oregon this week.  The long range forecast shows no rain, but a slight cool down in temps, which would be a blessing.

Fire - With this hot weather, the fire danger is extreme. I'm sorry to say that we will NOT have a campfire this year, it's too dangerous. Scoutmaster Sequoia will make a game day decision about rigging up some kind of contained burner.

Road Work.  The I-5 overpass in Hilt is under construction.  It was supposed to done by August 5th, but that seems doubtful. Thus far, they have only closed one side of the overpass at a time.  If the construction isn't finished, you may possibly have to take one of these  two detours:

  • I-5 south from Ashland, take the Bailey Hill Road exit, 3 miles south of Hilt. Cross the freeway and take the I-5 north entrance. Adds 5-10 minutes to the trip. 
  • I-5 north from California, take the Siskiyou Summit exit, one mile north of Hilt. Make a U-turn and return back across the freeway onto I-5 south.   Adds 5-10 minutes to the trip. NOTE: The official detour sign directs you to the Mt. Ashland Ski Road, 5 miles north of Hilt.  Siskiyou Summit is the "locals only" shortcut and much faster.
Here's hoping the work is finished before the wedding.

Food - We will grill a large fish on Friday and red meat on Saturday, make a big salad, and buy a keg.  The bride has requested Lowell's Tangy Noodles. Contributions of meats, salads, sides, bread, corn, potatoes, fruit, desserts, hot dishes, cold dishes and drinks are greatly appreciated. We can always use more ice.  Charcoal grills and a propane burner will be available. There is usually too much food.

The Usual - Come for a couple of hours or stay the whole weekend. Family, friends, kids and dogs all welcome. Breakfast and lunch are on your own, potluck dinner is served around 7:00.  Disc golf usually tees off around 10 a.m. We play music all hours of the day and night, bring an instrument and sing along. There is an outhouse near the meadow and indoor plumbing at the house, about a 10 minute walk up the hill.  Expect bugs, snakes, stickers and cold nights. Smokers, please be extremely careful with your butts!  Finally, and most importantly, D.I.Y.

Colestine or Colestin? Both are correct. I use them interchangeably just to keep y'all on your toes.

Surely I'm forgetting something. Camp Out vets, weigh in if you think of anything.

Mazel tov campers!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July 4th

I just finished reading Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton, which I might not have picked up were it not for the musical Hamilton.  After visiting Philadelphia, I realized how very little I know about the American Revolution and the early history of the United States. Plus, I do love a good biography.  This one is a ripper, an 800-page beast of a book and a real page turner. Hamilton was a fascinating cat, no doubt, a rare combination of genius and will power, of brilliant mind and astonishing work ethic. He was probably a little unstable and more than a little manic (I mean, come on, the dude died in a friggin' duel with the friggin' vice president), but the great ones often are.

In reading the book, I was struck by the fact that America's partisans fractures were baked in right from the very beginning of the republic. There were those who advocated for a strong, central government and universal human rights and there were those who advocated for states rights and individual liberties. Sound familiar?

Hamilton and the Federalists were proponents of a strong central government with taxing authority, a central bank, national currency, and a standing military force. As a result, they were characterized as covert Monarchists who secretly plotted to elevate George Washington to the status of King. When I was growing up, I was taught that Hamilton was a ruthless capitalist and cultural elite, the very essence of what we now call the one-percent.  I was taught that Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton's political foe, was the democratic ideal, the man of the people. And yet, Hamilton was born a penniless pauper and a bastard to boot. He was an ardent abolitionist and fiercely meritocratic.  He engineered his rise in the world with nothing but his considerable talents and charm. He sought to establish an orderly, fair system of governance, knowing that peace and prosperity are the best guarantors of liberty and justice for all.

When I was growing up, I was taught that Jefferson, the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, was a democratic genius, a real man of the people. In reality, much of Jefferson's political philosophy was designed to protect his life, his liberty, his property.  Jefferson was born into wealth, owned huge tracts of land and dozens of slaves. Jefferson didn't just inherit slaves, he traded in slaves, kept a slave-concubine and allowed the children he sired with her to remain in slavery. When he died, he did not free his slaves in his will, they were sold at auction.

Jefferson despised the very idea of a central government and vehemently opposed the establishment of a national Constitution and Bill of Rights. He believed in life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but only for white men with money.  He helped to pass a law proclaiming slaves to be 3/5ths of a human being; not human enough to qualify for basic rights or dignity, but human enough to be partially counted in the census, thus increasing southern states' representation in Congress.  He is remembered as the genius who engineered the Louisiana Purchase, but no-one remembers his intention to convert that vast tract of land into slave-holding states. Throughout his career, Jefferson's chief political concern was to protect his right to hold slaves and profit from their labor.

Hamilton was the self-made man who is remembered as an elitist. Jefferson was an obscenely wealthy and unrepentant slaver who is remembered as a man of the people. Fascinating.

The Jeffersonians were right about at least one thing: strong central governments do tend towards tyranny. Police shootings on the street, the prison-industrial complex, drones indiscriminately raining death from the skies above Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, all are strong evidence of the tyranny of strong central governments. Even something as petty as opacity and impenetrability of government bureaucracies, even that is a form of tyrany. Like everything in life, there is no black and white. Where do we as a society draw the line between between freedom and security?

The question of strong, central authority versus individual liberties has been much on my mind lately as I've watched the rise of Donald Trump, a billionaire blowhard who styles himself as avatar of the common people. I don't believe he has the least interest in the common people, or in anything at all other than himself, but apparently many of my white, working class brothers and sisters do. He is a demagogue who appeals not to the better angels of our nature, but to our basest fears and prejudices. Trust me, I know Trump is nothing like Jefferson; for all his faults, Jefferson was a great intellect and no-one has ever said that about Trump. But, Trump is smart enough to take a page out of Jefferson's playbook.

Many of Trump's supporters live in mortal fear of a strong central government, which they equate with tyranny. A strong central government gave us things like the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Clean Air Act, protections that we now take for granted; protections that make us a better  people and this a better world. However, a strong central government also gives us things like mass incarceration and police brutality.   It's ironic to me that Trump's mostly white, middle class, male supporters are terrified of tyranny and yet they make up a majority of police, prison guards and military personnel.  Who is tyrannizing whom?

The world is full of assholes. The strong will always prey on the weak, the many will oppress the few. Which is worse? The tyranny of the one percenters or the tyranny of the masses?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

White Privilege

A rash of ugly, racist incidents have shaken my little town, my white, wealthy, upscale, little town with its entitled artists, aging hippies and self-satisfied liberals. Oh, trust me, I know, I’m one of them; one of the white, (comparatively) wealthy, artist-hippie-liberals. We tell ourselves that our little town, our little Brigadoon bubble, is open, loving, kind, inclusive, enlightened.  Racism here? We are better than that. 

Well, my white privilege bubble of denial has been pierced by the reality of what my friends and co-workers are experiencing, horrible incidents of name calling and threats. They are speaking out and it's high time I listened.

I believe that I have always stood up and spoken out against racism, sexism, oppression, injustice, hate of any kind. I have worked for equal rights and justice.   But, I have also been willfully blind to what’s going on in front of me. It's time to see the truth in front of my face.  It's time to acknowledge my complicity.

I choose to live in beautiful southern Oregon and I love it here. I also recognize that it is extremely white, probably one of the whitest places in the United States.  I live in a Congressional district where most residents are deeply conservative, Christian, and so right wing, they make mainstream Republicans look like the Trotskyites. It’s a vast district, the seventh largest in the country, rural, isolated, the kind of place that attracts Trump-loving gun nuts and Info-Wars addicts.  Hell, a bunch of right wing, red neck "patriots" recently declared themselves a militia and took over a freaking bird refuge out in Malheur County. Yes friends, that happened in my Congressional district. Don't even get me started on the long, racist history of this area and the state of Oregon as a whole, we will be here all day. As a wealthy college and tourist town, Ashland is an outlier in this district, but it's still almost exclusively white. And yet, I chose to live here.   

Why do some white people fear and hate Black and Brown people, LBGTQ people, Muslims and Jews? I’ve never understood and never will.  It baffles me. It makes me nauseous. 

I chose to live in my little, liberal, hippie bubble, never realizing that it is the kind of place where people of color, my friends and colleagues, are regularly called the “n” word.  (And no, I won’t write it out; I won’t even capitalize the “n”.)  One of the revered founding artists of my theatre told me that, when he first came to town, he and his fellow theater geeks were regularly referred to as "Shakes-queers." There were certain bars they avoided for their own safety. I didn't realize that all of that is still happening to Black people.   I didn’t know, and that is nobody’s fault but mine.  If I had bothered to ask, my friends and colleagues would have set me straight.

And, there it is, right there: my white privilege, my racism. I didn’t know because I didn’t ask. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Create your Reality"

I thought this toxic meme had finally faded out, but it popped up again on my Facebook today.  This bullshit "gets my red up" every time. Of course, it comes to us courtesy of the "new age" movement.  Ever notice how the so-called new age, alternative-spirituality community is almost exclusively white and wealthy?  Of course it is.  Who else would gravitate to a system that justifies and validates class and racial privilege while scapegoating victims of systemic oppression?

Does the rape victim create her rape? Does the kid born in a third world garbage dump create his poverty? Does the slave create her bondage? Obviously not. Victims of injustice do not create the injustice that victimizes them. The opposite is also true: the great majority of those who live in privilege did not create their privilege. That's a terrifying thought for those of us who are lucky enough to live in our first world bubble. We want to believe that we earned our privilege, that we created and deserve it, but 99% of the time, our privilege is wholly attributable to dumb luck and genetics.  The greatest predictor of wealth is not our intelligence, talent or perseverance, it is our parents' wealth.  There is even a term for this:  the "birth lottery."

Shit happens. Sometimes we create it, sometimes it is beyond our control. The one thing we can control is how we react to that shit, how we choose to let shit change and shape us. 

Sorry for the harangue, but it's one of my pet peeves. I once got into a war of words on this subject with a woman who was doing "communication training" at OSF. I get hot under the collar when some highly paid, Ivy League-educated consultant tells underpaid, working class employees that their oppression is their own fault because they "create their own reality." 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Disco Did Not Suck

Advertisements have started popping up for a big, last-gasp rock festival scheduled later this year. Three nights of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Neil Young, Roger Waters, the last of the rock gods. Decades beyond any hint of relevance, these old,white multi-millionaires, one-percenters all, charge nostalgic boomers hundreds of dollars per ticket to play their forty year old hits at half speed. It's like a gathering of dinosaurs before the final mass extinction event; at least, I hope so.

I was talking to a friend today, a woman who sings with some local bands, and I went off on a bit of a rant about a certain class of local musicians I call the “classic rock guys.”  We don’t have big stars out here in the sticks, but a few of these guys had respectable careers as touring or session musicians. Most are just hometown heroes, rock stars in their own minds. They pound out the anthems and the power ballads with their Flying V Stratocasters and oversized amps.   The singer and I were talking about how you almost never see them play with women musicians.  They occasionally allow a woman to sing a few songs, but only if she looks good in a short skirt.  They might have a couple of gals singing back up, but playing an instrument? Almost never.

God bless you Chryssie Hynde, I don't know how you survived. Sister Rosetta Tharp is turning over in her grave.

Rock and roll holds almost no appeal to me anymore. I had a great time going to rock shows back in the day, I loved to dance to the hits as much as anyone. But, looking back, I see the scene for what it was: deeply sexist and racist. The “classic rock” of the 60s and 70s was overwhelmingly white and male. These offensively over-privileged white men with their mansions and their classic cars and their private jets, treating women like interchangeable sex toys.  Don’t get me wrong, being a sex toy can be big fun in the right circumstances.  I have absolutely no objection to fun and games between equals, but no-one wants to be interchangeable. That’s what was fucked up about it: the power dynamic.  It was all about the rock god, his low slung pants hanging off his hipbones, shaking his dick at the girls in the front row. Later, they crowd around the backstage door, lined up like virgins at the foot of a volcano, hoping that they will be adjudged worthy to enter. Fuck that.

I read something recently about the embedded racism of the “Disco Sucks” movement, remember that?  White deejays denigrating and destroying disco music that was created primarily by African American artists and celebrating the sausage rock of white artists.  And, don't even get me started about the deep, dark, rock closet.  Poor Freddie Mercury never had a chance. It’s all so repellent to me now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tulum, Cancun and the Blue, Blue Caribbean

I wish I had visited Tulum about 20 years ago before the vegans, yoga studios and eco-retreats took over . It's still incredibly beautiful, but crowded and expensive. But take a look at the color of the sea; what's not to love?

We arrived in the evening. 

The next morning, we took in the Tulum ruins. 

The Tulum ruins were fascinating, but not nearly as impressive as the other sites we visited. Ah, but what it had over the other sites was beach access.  Finally, the bright blue Caribbean.

The next day, we drove to Akamal Bay, where we snorkeled with sea turtles, sting rays and every kind of candy colored fish imaginable.  As we were leaving Akamal, we got caught in a street protest blocking the only road. The only way out of our parking area was through this tiny little opening. We had less than an inch clearance on each side of the car.  Sequoia deserved a medal for squeezing us through.

Unfortunately, after we squeezed through, we were still stuck behind this makeshift barricade for about 90 minutes in the pouring rain.  The police  were watching from the other side of the barricade doing absolutely nothing. 

Someone finally bribed the protesters to move their barricade and let us through. We had planned to go on another adventure but decided to go back to the condo and chill out by the pool. Somehow in all the excitement, Sequoia fell and tore up  his foot pretty badly. 

At long last: the beach. There is nothing I love better in the whole world than to lay on a beach, but a white sand beach and the turquoise blue Caribbean? I've never seen anything so beautiful.  Sublime. 

The drove south out of Tulum intending to check out a nature preserve.  There was supposed to be a visitors center, but after about an hour of navigating a terrible road full of bone crunching potholes, we turned back.  We later found that the visitors center had been closed for a couple of years but no-one had bothered to update the guidebooks or signs. On the way back towards Tulum, we saw an older gentleman sitting by the side of the road. We stopped to talk to him and it turned out he had a boat and was willing to take us out on a tour of the mangrove swamp.  We walked about a kilometer through the swamp, wondering what the hell we had gotten ourselves into.

Our guide Josme and his boat the Chocolatera!

Amazing birds

Bromeliads in the wild.

The beautiful jade green swamp and the turquoise sea.

A ruin in the middle of the water, an old  Mayan trading post.  Josme told us that there is a cenote under the water that divers visit.

Back in Tulum, picnicking on the beach.

On our last day in Mexico, we stayed in Cancun so that we could catch an early morning flight. Cancun is everything I feared: 10 miles of high rise hotels crowded cheek by jowl on a narrow strip of sand. Babes, bros, and beach volleyball.  Chain restaurants and rush hour traffic. But, when you walk down between the massive hotels towards the beach, this is what you see.

And, when you turn your back on the strip, you're looking at this:

Mama needed to go swimming

Arly and Paul set up their shade structure.

It's too late to save Sequoia and me from sun damage. Plus, we're both Vitamin D junkies.

Goodbye to Cancun.  Wonder where our next adventure will take us?

We now return you to our regularly scheduled Colestin Camp Out programming...