Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ollason Peak

I'd hiked in Toro Park many times, but had never made it to Ollason Peak in the remote, southeastern corner of the park. I knew some day I'd get there, and it turns out yesterday was the day, although I didn't plan it that way.

Conditions were unusually favorable -- partly sunny, green hills, wildflowers, hard-packed trails that were neither dusty nor muddy. A sign informed me I'd reached Eagle Peak, where I took in a fine view of Monterey Bay. Three fellows on mountain bikes appeared, and I talked to them briefly about the trails. Across the next canyon one could see other mountain bikers rolling down a massive, smooth green hill. The bikers told me it was possible to hike there and then loop back down to the parking area.

Thereafter I found myself dropping hundreds of feet into a lonely canyon with deep fissures of collapsed earth -- a sight that reminds one of the geological instability of the area. Then I climbed hundreds of feet up the other side of the canyon. The scenery was lonely, stunning, and a little bit scary -- but in a good way. On top a sign informed me that I was standing on Ollason Peak, 1800 feet.

It was long walk back but a good way to burn calories while taking in the spring scenery.

Monday, March 12, 2007

the politics of charisma vs. the earth

As long as everyone remains mired in the politics of charisma, not a lot of progress will be made and we're all screwed. On the other hand, the recent rise of Al Gore gives me hope that the world slowly is going beyond the politics of charisma.

I bought stock in Al Gore in the early nineties -- thousands and thousands of shares. I read "Earth in the Balance" and routinely referred to him as the exceptional statesman of our time. To my utter perplexity, I found that many people were possessed by a bizarre and inexplicable need to scoff at him. I was even more befuddled that he didn't win the 2000 election by a landslide.

I got tired of hearing all the tired old arguments about charisma. Gore is a man with a message, a statesman with content, which in the real world translates into leadership.

So now he has an Oscar-winning film which we shareholders know is nothing other than an extension of his book, "Earth in the Balance". But all the idiots that were too lazy and stupid to read the book are now having an "oh yeah, there's something there" moment. These people are completely confused in their belief that there is now something new about Al Gore that was not there from the get go. They are latecomers and wannabes, and while it's great that they're finally seeing the light, it's a bit ridiculous to us long-time shareholders. This is because we know that the person we bought stock in by 1996 is the exact same person that the mob is clamoring to own in 2006.

My prediction is that in the year 2016, a majority will be despairing the "politics of charisma", as though that were a newly-discovered idea.

For those who doubt me imagine this: a scale with "charisma" on the one side, and the entire planet on the other. Oh yes, charisma is so important that the impending destruction of the planet must take a back seat to it. Unfortunately people won't let go of this perverse logic until the truth bites them very hard in the ass.