August 2011

A road trip during the month’s first third, the participants being yours truly, his sister, Miss Roshni Panday, and Arish & Kurush Dubash, Roshni’s two semi-nephews. Having rendezvoused at Oakland airport, and lunched enjoyably the Golden Lotus (vegetarian Vietnamese) Restaurant

we sped over to the coast, for a night at Gualala. Driving northerly the next day, lunching at the Cafe One organic restaurant in Ft. Bragg

we entered the redwoods, stopping for the night in McKinleyville. More redwoods the next day, in national and state parks, as well as the sad spectacle of the confused grey whale who elected to remain, and eventually die, in the Klamath River

We who watched from the US-101 bridge that day will never forget the sight of her swimming majestically back and forth as scientists and members of the local Yurok Tribe alike attempted, to no avail, to return her to her rightful path.

In Crescent City that afternoon, a delicious lunch at the Thai House Restaurant (serving Thai & Vietnamese food), it being always a pleasure to dine at an establishment which, though non-vegetarian, knows that fish sauce does not belong in veg Thai food

After a stroll among the red giants in Jedediah Smith State Park, and a spectaular drive northeast along the Klamath River and its tributaries, we overnighted at the Buona Sera Motel, in Grant’s Pass

and then, after a stop at the Grants Pass Farmers’ Market, on to Crater Lake, which had significantly less snow lying about than it had had when I first viewed it last May. The Dubash boys & I hiked down to the lake, though we could not avail ourselves of a dip as we had through some incomprehensible failure of planning neglected to bring our swimsuits with us, and there was no designated clothes-optional beach. After a night at Jo’s Motel

we turned south, first for the delightful Burney Falls

then on to Lassen Peak, where the snow was still so deep that it prevented up from walking down to the Bumpass Hell. Fortunately there was a boiling mud pot, complete with nearby sulfurous fumaroles, along the side of the road before we exited the park

After a night in Redding, the two ladies & I bade farewell to the boys (who had to return south to their respective studies), and went wine tasting in Sonoma before a night with the ever-hospitable Bette Timm; then back to Oakland, and on to the next event.

Useful URL of the month: National Library of Ayurvedic Medicine =

Unusual audio-visual experience of the month: watching & listening Brad Fremlin play “Amazing Grace” on a saw with a violin bow

Museum of the month: The Frick Collection (

Curiosity of the month: how Henry Clay Frick could build such an excellent edifice to house such a superlative collection (complete with three Vermeers) while being a repacious robber baron who was indirectly responsible for the Johnstown Flood, and directly responsible for the Homestead Massacre

Soiree of the month: watching Mary Poppins on stage in Manhattan – it was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Books of the month: two more concentration camp memoirs, Tadeusz Borowski’s This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Both are powerful works that both assert that only those camp inmates who found something, or someone, to live for were the ones who survived. The postwar fates of the two authors, however, could not have been more different, for Frankl went on to a long successful life in the United States, and Borowski took his own life in Poland only a few years after his liberation. One of the many causes for his suicide was the sad fact that he returned to Poland after a stay in Paris, disillusioned with capitalism and convinced that communism offered the sole path to prevention of another global catacysm, only to discover that the communist totalitarians were as ruthless and merciless as their recently-defeated fascist counterparts.

What a world we live in.