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California Sea Otters Engangered

An article in the SF Chronicle yesterday stated that "Sea otters along the California coast are dying off faster than at any time since the late 1990s, a disturbing trend that experts say is partially due to human-caused water pollution, the U.S. Geological Survey reported Tuesday."

Vital Stats: Average 4 feet long; males weigh about 65 pounds, females 45 pounds. They have webbed hind feet, strong canine teeth, retractable forepaw claws, closable ears and nostrils for swimming, and dense, waterproof fur.

Habitat: Found near shore in shallow waters, generally 115 feet deep or less. Kelp beds are the ideal environment.

Diet: Carnivorous. They eat 20-25 percent of their body weight each day of invertebrates such as abalone, clams, sea urchins, crabs, barnacles, snails, squid, chitons, worms and sea stars.

Photo by Eliya on Flicker

Discovering Timber-framed Buildings by Richard Harris


This is a gem of a little book, by Richard Harris, with handsome drawings of timber-framed buildings in England. It's of interest not only to lovers of these structures, but valuable for architects who may be designing a new building, or restoring an old one. There's a Google preview of the entire book here: http://bit.ly/bSR1Y

Joe Bark Paddleboards


"Joe Bark does not have down time. The Palos Verdes shaper/ /firefighter/freediver/spearfisher/father/surfer/paddler/boardbuilder/husband/harbor patrolman doesn't get much time to sit back and relax. Not that he'd want to. No, Joe is a study in constant motion, in fusing work and life and passion into one all-day marathon of doing what you love. And what Joe Bark loves is the ocean. Everything flows from there."

Bear in Garden

chainsaw bear sculpture
Chainsaw art in our garden. This little guy seems alive.

Short Intense Exercise Produces Surprising Benefits


A study done in 2007 (that I belatedly discovered) showed that "…alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with easy-does-it recovery…dramatically improved endurance capabilities. "
"…new evidence suggests that a workout with steep peaks and valleys can dramatically improve cardiovascular fitness and raise the body’s potential to burn fat….best of all, the benefits become evident in a matter of weeks." See: http://bit.ly/Kkr7J
NYTimes drawing by Chris Sharp

Jungle Treehouse in Costa Rica


Michael Cranford's treehouse is not attached to the central tree, but is supported by 40' posts. It's on the edge of a tropical jungle reserve. I was there in February. (It's for rent.) Here's his website: 

From my blog in February: http://bit.ly/puOLr

Running Your First Marathon/Jeff Galloway's Blog and Twitter


Jeff Galloway, author of our two running books, has been in the limelight lately. On June 1st, New York Times writer Tara Parker Pope described how she is using Jeff's revolutionary walk-run training technique to run her first (NYC) marathon. Tara, "…more couch potato than runner," was discovering first-hand, that "… walk breaks are a way for older, less fit and overweight people to take part in a sport that would otherwise be off limits. But most surprising are the stories from veteran runners who say run-walk training has helped them post faster race times than ever."
NYTimes article: 
Jeff's two books, Galloway's Book on Running, and Marathon: You Can Do It!, are selling better this year than in 2008. Totals since publication: 
GBR: 73,000 copies (the first version sold 550,000 copies)
Marathon: 103,000 copies
Attention, runners:

On Thomas Jefferson by Maira Kalman


Here is a unique and quite wonderful illustrated piece on Thomas Jefferson and friends by illustrator Maira Kalman.
"He studied Hessian flies and Voltaire and maps of Africa and the Koran and Shakespeare. In the study were his telescopes and polygraph copying machine and revolving bookstand in books. he knew Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian. When he read Spinoza, he read him in Latin. When he read Euripides, he read him in Greek. He wrote to  (John) Adams,  'I cannot live without books.'"
Sent us by Fritzi Drosten

Muddy Waters & The Band - Last Waltz

"I'm a full grown natural man…"
Look at how Robbie Robertson's face comes in and out of shadow and light
— to be backing Muddy, does not get better. Robby's in bliss when Muddy sings:
The line I shoot,
I'll never miss.
When I make love to a girl,
She can't resist…

Small Potatoes by Paul Madonna

Boy are these great cartoons! http://www.angrylittlepotatoes.com/

Gnarly Grater Handle


Hanging out with my builder friends in British Columbia (shooting pictures for Builders of the Pacific Coast— has made me look at each nice piece of driftwood I spot on the beach, trying try to to figure out how to use it. The handle of this stainless grater finally broke off and — voilá