Rocks, Rain & Coltrane

Rain, water and cooking oil

Greetings from soggy San Francisco! While the recent storms wreaked havoc on the roadways and knocked out power to thousands, the good news is that rainfall levels (and the Sierra snowpack) are somewhat near normal. So, we have temporary reprieve from drought; although that’s no excuse for extended Hollywood showers, as a friend put it.

(I can recall water rationing in the 80s in southern California, where we used captured shower water to fill our toilet tank, and where people were fined for watering their brown lawns. My mother learned how to read our water meter, monitoring our daily use–“today’s a laundry day, kids”–, and I became obsessed with the social and political issues surrounding water use in the west, starting first with Polanski’s Chinatown and then over the years moving to Mark Reisner’s excellent Cadillac Desert, Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang and, later, City of Quartz by Mike Davis. As a 10 year old, I told my parents many times to rip out their garden and lawn and plant cactus.)

Our changing environment weighs heavy on my mind, and between feelings of outrage and helplessness, I am fascinated by this mess we’re in, the mechanics of it all. And so too, it seems, does the New York Times, which has started a section called “The Food Chain–The High Cost of Eating”. The title pretty much sums up the point of the series, which, judging from this first article about the rising global costs of cooking oil, looks like something worth following.


I sometimes find it amusing to browse the wine-related resources on Wikipedia (accuracy, accuracy, accuracy), but this entry listing the common vineyard soil types is genuinely useful. So pop a cork and geek out about rocks. And edit or flag the entry if you find an error.

While you’re at it, I found this arugula entry pretty interesting too.


My Favorite Things (live) by the John Coltrane Quartet

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