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History Of the Whole Earth Catalog and The Birth of West Coast Publishing

I wrote this article 27 years ago, so to bring the first sentence up to date, “It was 48 years ago…” Egad!

Its purpose was to describe the impact of the Whole Earth Catalog on a number of people, including me, and the birth of west coast publishing in the late ‘60s. I ran across it recently and thought it might be of interest in helping people connect some of the dots—especially younger people, who may have heard of the WEC, but don’t understand its significance.

t was 21 years ago, a cold, dark, early December evening when I walked into a semi-vacant storefront in Menlo Park, California. A sign out front said ''Whole Earth Truck Store," but there was no truck, no store, just an army-camouflage VW bus and Stewart and Lois Brand and a ton of books piled around in the back room. I was a dropped-out San Francisco insurance broker turned builder. I was about 10 years older than the inspired and visionary kids who were moving and shaking up America at the time, but I'd got the message and in a few years preceding that evening had latched onto many of the elements that were fueling the cultural, metaphysical and epochal revolution of the times.

I had just built a homestead, then a geodesic dome workshop in Big Sur, was tending a garden, listening to rock & roll, making weekend trips to Haight Ashbury, reading The Owner Built Home, Organic Gardening & Farming Magazine, The Oracle, The East Village Other, The Dome Cookbook, The Green Revolution, getting food by mail from Walnut Acres, listening to Buckminster Fuller and Marshall McLuhan, discovering B.B. King, Ali Akbar Khan, Buddhism, Alice Bailey, astronomy, astrology, prisms and Ashley automatics, learning about ferrocement, wind electricity, solar heating…what a time it was!

Staircase Up Solid Rock Cliff in Colombia

"'La Piedra Del Peñol (Spanish for 'The Rock of Guatapé'), is a monolithic formation located at the town of Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia.The wide Antioquian rock base, called 'batlolito antioqueño', and the 'Peñón' were formed millions of years ago.

The Tahamies Indians, former inhabitants of this region, worshiped the rock and called it on their language 'mojarrá' or 'mujará' (rock or stone). This rock is located in the country area called 'La Piedra, just 5 minutes from Guatapé Town, and can be reached by road."

Our Latest Publication: Stretching: Pocket BookEdition

We have just finished production of Stretching-Pocketbook Edition. Size: 5 x 7-1/4."

The original book has sold 3-1/2 million copies worldwide and is in 24 languages (the latest Slovenian!), and this is the first pocket book edition in English. (Preceding this were very successful pocketbook editions in Spain and Germany.)

It has all the stretches from the original book, and slightly abbreviated programs. It will be great to take on trips, and on airplanes, to keep in a desk drawer, etc.

It is being printed right now and bound book completion is March 31. It should be in the bookstores late April-early May.

LA City Council Makes It Easier To Grow Vegetables on City Land

Photo: "Ron Finley's famed parkway 'food forest' in South Los Angeles, 2011," which started it all off.

Photo by LAGreengrounds

Article: http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/blogs/la-city-council-signs-off-on-permit-free-curbside

Photos on Flick'r: http://bit.ly/1GMQjsF

Sent us by Anonymous

Monsanto's Herbicide Roundup (…probably causes cancer in humans." Duh!

From todays New York Times, Op-Ed by Mark Bittman titled "Stop Making Us Guinea Pigs"
"The issues surrounding G.M.O.s — genetically modified organisms — have never been simple. They became more complicated last week when the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, probably causes cancer in humans. Two insecticides, malathion and diazinon, were also classified as “probable” carcinogens by the agency, a respected arm of the World Health Organization…
…Nor is it surprising that it took so long — Roundup has been used since the 1970s — to discover its likely carcinogenic properties. There is a sad history of us acting as guinea pigs for the novel chemicals that industry develops. For this we have all too often paid with our damaged health.
Rarely is that damage instantaneous, but it’s safe to say that novel biotechnologies broadly deployed may well have unexpected consequences. Yet unlike Europeans, Canadians, Australians and others, we don’t subscribe to the precautionary principle, which maintains that it’s better to prevent damage than repair it.
We ask not whether a given chemical might cause cancer but whether we’re certain that it does.…"

Colorado Woman Quits Desk Job To Become Farmer

"Working as an international conservationist, Kellie Pettyjohn routinely found herself daydreaming.
Not about garbage patches of plastic debris floating in oceans or the number of animal species threatened by deforestation, but instead, of farming.
'After working in a cubicle and writing reports, my soul was dying,' she said.
Originally from Virginia, Pettyjohn studied journalism, anthropology and geography in college. She didn’t have any type of agricultural background before dropping her dream job for greener pastures in Montezuma County. In 2010, she moved to Mancos to volunteer on a working farm.
'I never left,' she said.
The next year, Pettyjohn secured a lease to turn a nearby barren pasture into her own field of dreams. Owner and operator of The Wily Carrot Farm, an organic certified naturally grown garden, she purchased the 2-acre property earlier this year.
'I thought it would be better to be poor, dirty and happy playing in the soil, she said.'…"
Photo: Kellie Pettyjohn via The Cortez Journal

Real Old People Who Are ALIVE

Photo of 73-year-old Duan Tzinfu by Vladimir Yakolev (see below).
Russian photojournalist Vladimir Yakovlev has been shooting photos of active old people for some time. He published a book of the photos, The Age of Happiness, in Russian and plans on doing the same in English. He's a wonderful photographer. He interviewed me a year or so ago, and continues to gather material, as shown here, (sent us by Eszter Hargittai): http://www.earthporm.com/age-happiness-60-older-seniors-will-destroy-age-stereotypes/

See also The Age of Happiness Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1DGtGYQ

Hillbilly Rock by Marty Stuart

Hillbilly Rock by Marty Stuart on Grooveshark

My New Skateboard

Just put this together and it feels good. My little street truck. I wanted a short, low-to-ground board, so cut down my old Tamalpais board and added risers and some really good trucks and wheels from Loaded Boards. Turns really well, still in testing stage. Gonna notch out 4 corners to avoid board rubbing against wheels on sharp turns. Possibly I'll reconfigure with a board maybe 3" longer.

Trip Into San Francisco Yesterday

My friend Louie and I started out the morning with Irish coffees and split a crab omelette out by the beach. Beautiful sunny day, fresh ocean breezes AND whales now migrating north. Lots of them cavorting off Ocean Beach, on their way back north after having calves in Baja.

Then, since I was looking for leather to make knife sheaths with (been making custom handles for Russell hand-in-USA carbon steel knives). We ended up going to the S. H. Frank Co on 17th street and it was an amazing place. Been there over 100 years, tons of leather, animal skins, tools. I got some leather working tools and some leather. Excited to finally have the punches, cutter, leather scissors, etc. so I can work leather.

No-Till Farming in North Dakota

Another '60s concept that has now resurfaced with increased vigor: soil-conserving, no-till farming. In the '60s, all us gardeners were reading 90-year-old Ruth Stout's How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, wherein she just kept adding bales of straw to her garden and tucking seeds under the rotting mulch -- no digging.
Then in 1978, Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka published One-straw Revolution: Introduction to Natural Farming. It seemed fringe-ish at the time, and in fact Wendell Berry commented that it wouldn't work in America.
Well, things have moved along, and there was an article in last week's New York Times by Erica Goode about North Dakota farming methods that "…promote… leaving fields untilled…" and "…mimic the biology of virgin land, can revive degenerated earth, minimize erosion, encourage pants growth and increase farmer's profits…"
No chemical fertilizers or fungicides, can you believe it?
So wonderful to read about good things nowadays…

Sunset Last Night

The "Bo Diddley Beat"

I listened to this CD the other day for the first time in a few years. It's an eclectic compilation of songs by all sorts of musicians using this beat, which was not original to Bo Diddley, but used extensively by him. It's called kpanlogo and originates in Ghana. It's a wonderful beat. I'm pretty sure you'll know it when you hear it.

Bo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring
If that diamond ring don't shine
He gonna take it to a private eye…

SO, for some cosmic reason on last night's quite wonderful "Bakersfield and Beyond" Thursday radio show on our quite wonderful local station, KWMR, on came this song by the "cowpunk" LA band Lone Justice with the same beat.
East of Eden by Lone Justice on Grooveshark

Fantastic Blues Concert - Joe Bonamassa - Muddy/Wolf Tribute At Red Rocks

Check it out if you can find it. Watching it as we speak. Wow!  Red hot band!

Not sure, but I believe this was in 2014.


Small Houses in Cities and Al Green This Overcast Saturday Morning

Came on this morning as I was here working on a big shift in Shelter Publications' future output on building.
Nutshell: from country to city,
i.e. from Walden to Detroit

Small Houses in Cities

Stay tuned…

This is such a perfect song:
Tired of Being Alone by Al Green on Grooveshark

Hillbilly Rock - Marty Stuart

Hillbilly Rock by Marty Stuart on Grooveshark