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Tree Bernstein Returns from the Peace Corp With Poetry!

November 14, 2017

Former Ventura College Adjunct Faculty Member and Ojai resident Tree Bernstein recent;ty returned to the US from a two year stint in the Peace Corp. Well known locally as  poet, Tree will be the featured reader on Thursday, November 16 in the EP Foster Library in the Topping Room. Poetry readings are held every Thursday at 7:30pm at the library located at 651 E. Main Street, Ventura. The series is curated and usually hosted by Ventura Country Poet Laureate Phil Taggart but this week  Friday Gretchen steps in. An open mic follows the featured reader. The event is free and open to the public, but donations for the poet are accepted.

Here are two poems by  Tree Bernstein: Read more…

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Debris in the Sea: Problems. Solutions. Actions.

November 7, 2017
Raise your Voice (2010): Midway – Message from the Gyre (2009) / Chris Jordan

albatross on Midway Island by Chris Jordan

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We know the problem:

Concerned? What to learn more? Here’s a 2012 three part one hour video about a journey from Los Angeles toward Hawaii. During the voyage, they took samples of ocean water and filtered it to see how much plastic was in the ocean in different places.

And by now most of us know that plastic water bottles are a huge part of the problem Read more…

Happy 10th Bloggoversary to Art Predator!

November 6, 2017

On Saturday November 4, 2007, on the night of the time change, I started this blog.

One year later, in 2008, I was blogging on Wine Predator and attended the first Wine Bloggers Conference which I reported on here.

And two years later, in 2009, I was in Portugal as a wine blogger. Read more…

Getting Wild at Ventura College Fall 2017

November 4, 2017
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Since 2012 I’ve included Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild as a book club option for my students. And each year they create a blog and do a project. One of the project options is to do a book trailer or other video related to the book’s content.

Wild definitely lends itself to the book trailer idea and this semester a group in each class took on that challenge. I am sure you will enjoy the blogs and videos Read more…

Celebrate Halloween with the ghost of Theodosia Burr Shepherd’s daughter

October 26, 2017

“In the field of your imagination are all possible flowers.”
Theodosia Burr Shepherd, the Flower Wizard of California.

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Theodosia Burr Shepherd was known as “The Flower Wizard of California” and as the mother of the bulb and seed business of California. Theodosia encouraged women to grow seeds and bulbs.  In fact it was said in Ventura County the “making” of new flower varieties was as common as new cake recipes in other places.

 “In the love of flowers…[it is] as if the soul of the plant comes in touch with our soul. If the plant possesses the power to around such strong vibrations within us, is it possible the vibrations from us are received by the flower? We and the plant are the manifestations of the same force.” Theodosia Burr Shepherd

Learn about the remarkable life of Theodosia Burr Shepherd when her daughter, Myrtle Shepherd Francis returns from the dead on Halloween, Oct. 31, 2017 to regale us with stories about old Ventura, her mother, and the development of Ventura’s flower seed business. Join us at the site of the famous gardens in Ventura on the corner of Poli and Chestnut Streets during one of two 30 minute living history performances: 1:30 and 4:30pm in a script written by local historian Suzanne P. Lawrence.  Read more…

RIP Antoine “Fats” Domino 2/26/20- 10/24/17

October 25, 2017

 

A Tribute to Antoine “FatsDomino Jr.
February 26, 1928 – October 24, 2017
by Ron Wells

When I was a little kid and too young to know anything about anything, I heard “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Blueberry Hill,” and the deejay screaming from my little transistor radio, “All the way from New Orleans, here comes Fats Domino.”

Somewhere, deep inside, the songs resonated.

The sadness of “tears fallin’ like rain,” and the joy of how he “found a thrill,” pretty much covered the spectrum of emotions.

The beat was infectious; the voice soulful.

Read more…

Why Address Technology Addiction, Nature Deficit Disorder, Plastic in the Ocean

October 23, 2017

 

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,” writes Allen Ginsberg in the first few lines of Howl.

 

Ginsberg was talking about heroin. But today he’d be referencing smart phone use and abuse of the internet.

What are the psychological effects on people who touch, swipe or tap their phone 2,617 times a day? (Source of research) 

You probably guessed the answer: NOT GOOD.

In fact, it is so bad that a 2012 Newsweek article says that over two-thirds of phone users experience “phantom-vibration syndrome.” where they feel “their phone vibrate when in fact nothing is happening.”

In a more recent article in the Guardian, Paul Lewis reports on those in Silicon Valley alarmed by a race for human attention who say that ‘Our minds can be hijacked.’  Some of the Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet.

According to the October 6, 2017 article, our use (or is it abuse?) of technology contributes toward “continuous partial attention” which severely limits people’s ability to focus, and possibly even lowers IQ: One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off.

“Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says in the article. “All of the time.”

To defend himself from addictive programs, the Guardian article says that tech consultant Nit Eyal “uses a Chrome extension, called DF YouTube, “which scrubs out a lot of those external triggers”” And he recommends “Pocket Points that “rewards you for staying off your phone when you need to focus.”” At home, a timer turns off the internet router at a set time each day.

But can we unplug? Read more…

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