The Filoli Gardens

This place makes me happy.

Filoli is a US National Historical Trust site and a California State Historic Landmark. Located south of San Francisco, it is considered one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century and is known for its magnificent but peaceful gardens, with some 500 types of roses and 200 kinds of camelias. While the valleys of Sonoma and Napa are famous for wine tasting, Filoli has apple and pear tastings and offers such civilized activities as flower shows with tea. Mostly, it is a place to lose yourself in beauty.

Filoli is NOT an Italian name. It is an acronym for the motto of its builder, gold magnate William Bowers Bourne. Filoli means “Fight for a just cause. Love your fellow man. Live a good life.” He did.

Filoli is open to the public.

Day at the Newseum: Madeline Albright Meets J. Edgar Hoover

Madeline Albright at the Newseum

A bit much, I think, meeting J. Edgar Hoover and Madeline Albright on the same day. OK, Hoover was quite dead, the late FBI boss a statue bending over assertively, as if ready to pounce, in the the main foyer of the Newseum in Washington DC, but the former Secretary of State/UN Ambassador looked quite pink and healthy as she showed off her collection of brooches in a TV studio upstairs.

The Newseum is a monument to journalism, the so-called “fourth-estate,” which in its finest form has kept kings, presidents, politicians, scammers and mobs in check and at its worst pumped up wars, spread tyranny, “live shots” of car chases and celebity DUIs.

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Up From Baja: Point Lobos Migrates North

PtLobos Pano1
Point Lobos, California State Park – All Photos (c) 2009 Russell Johnson

Don’t know much about geology, but what I am learning defines me, in the nature of things, as the insignifcant biped that I am.

Paid a visit to the Pinnacles National Monument. Not recommended during the summer as the temperatures regularly hover around the 100F mark. The best time to go is in the cool spring when the wildflowers are blooming.

I did learn (in the air conditioned comfort of a interpretive center) that The Pinnacles are actually the weathered remnants of an ancient volcano, half of which hitched its way along the tectonic freeway and is now holed up in some rock motel north of Los Angeles.

But as movers and shakers go, Point Lobos is the clear winner.

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Ron Paul Country: Mongolia in California

Ron Paul Sign

California is, for the most part,Mongolia. Erase the coasts and the canals that suck water from the north to feed Big Asparagus and whiten the teeth of Valley Girls, it would be as desolate as the steppes of Central Asia. Driving throughthe high desert between Bakersfield and Las Vegas I note two landmarks: a graveyard for embalmed airliners, in permanent holding pattern at Mohave airport, and a shrine for Republican presidential
candidate Ron Paul. Paul is what is known as a Libertarian, a sect of American politics that wavers between admirably cranky conservatism and loco-weed lunacy: just right for the build-a-wall, save-the-republic denizens of this landscape of coyotes, cactus and bullet-riddled road signs.

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