Category Archives: Uncategorized

On The Theory of Natural Selection As It Pertains to My 10 Month Old Daughter

Two Great Thinkers: Alfred Russel Wallace, and my kid, Aniko J Newsom
Two Great Thinkers: Alfred Russel Wallace, and my kid, Aniko J Newsom

My wife recently returned from a pre-school presentation thrown by a local “mommies group”. Here in LA, as in most other places in the USA, one is expected to begin panicking about school immediately after your kid parts ways from her placenta. I get it. Now that 1% percent of the population has successfully procured most of the booty, its kill or be killed at the waterhole. But man, even lion cubs spend a LOT of time messing around, chasing flies, scaring dogs; you know, kid stuff. When do our kids get to wander in the woods, turn over rocks, and chase frogs along creek banks and lie on their back, staring at clouds? Since when  did we adopt the imperative to fast-track toddlers toward their degree? Don’t all kids need time to wander? Were it not for wanderers, who would have brought us the theory of natural selection? Darwin? No! Well, not entirely…

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Leonardo DiCaprio Speaks Simple Truth to Power-

Just great stuff. DiCaprio’s speech to the UN is clear and simple and true. The science is in. Local, state and federal agencies must now begin taking aggressive steps toward reversing global warming. Contrary to what many seem to think, it’s not God’s will, it’s us. Creating greenspace, reclaiming green space, adopting “Cap and Trade” policies, fining big business, and funding alternative energies are doable and critical.

Kicking And Screaming: Lessons From A Colicky Kid

9-27-2014 10.57.4pm

In Nature, transformation is a given. Picture the caterpillar or the tadpole, and the butterfly and frog come quickly to mind. People too, need to transform to grow, but some do this less elegantly than other. Take me, for example:

Months before we could feel our daughter doing parkour inside Sian’s belly, we had talks about what hip, badass parents we’d be. We swore we’d stay fun. We’d be the sort of parents who strapped on the kid and went to dj parties at Barnsdall, played music and danced into the wee hours while the baby slept swaddled in a sea of friends’ coats piled on the bed. Then Aniko was born, and she, as it turned out, had come with her own trajectory.

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Solar Roadways and Why I Started this Damn Blog

Solar Freakin’ Roadways

So, Sian, Niko and I are back in New York for a few weeks. We got in last night. And Niko being 9 months old, is not terrific at trans-continental drift and naps. Neither am I, for that matter. Anyway, I got to wandering YouTube this morning and re-discovered this video that my friend Chris sent me a while back. It was, in fact, the video that inspired me to start this blog. As much as I’d like to punch the narrator in the face, the content blew my mind. Solar Roadways. The potential is staggering, and the paradigm shift would be radical. Would it re-invent the world? I don’t know. Is is really practical? I don’t know. But it explodes the roadway model so profoundly- and offers such overwhelming promise- that it reminded me, as my friends at Root Simple like to remind me, that we are in fact, very bad at predicting the future. And so, I started this blog to initiate my own process for transforming my relationship to the world, and in the process, do some cool things with my family. Any way, solar roadways? I’m in. Check it out, get your mind blown, and pay no attention to the irritating narrator. Oh, and thanks Chris.

Moby And The Bees…

Electronic music prodigy, (no pun intended) Moby, landed in LA a few years back, moved into the hills, and, after a swarm of honey bees took up residency, became a de-facto bee keeper. He has since taken up the fight to save the bees. Cool little video. The message: Create pollinator habitat.


Charles and Charles Leave Home…


Charles and Charles flew the nest today. Both Monarchs hatched this morning, between 7 am and 10 am. We let them take a few hours to fill out their wings before releasing them. Needless to say, a pretty cool thing to watch them fly off. Aniko, in true Aniko form, expressed her delight by nearly pinching them to death, but Sian successfully intervened, and no butterflies were handicapped in the making of this post.


So, that’s a total of three Monarch’s returned to the migration. We hope. It’s a tough journey for those critters under the best of circumstances, and these days, circumstances aren’t their best. Don’t forget, next year, plant milkweed and raise Monarch’s.  Keep the flowers flowering and the fruit fruity.


The Charles’s Project

Charles The First, visits the Milkweed.

In the months leading up to the birth of our daughter, Sian and I attended a birth class. One night, the instructor, Kathy, told the class to write down their list of essential “Must Do’s” prior to the birth of their child. It was important, she stressed, that we were clear about what we needed accomplished BEFORE the birth. Without skipping a beat, I jotted down my top priority. One by one, we went around the room, reading our lists. Everyone had pretty similar “Must Do’s”: “install car-seat”, “purchase breast pump” or “build nursery”. I looked down at my paper. The only thing I’d written was, “Plant the Butterfly Garden”. Embarrassed, I tried to bury my paper in my pocket. But before I could, Sian raised her hand and, with mock innocence, asked, “So, Kathy, would planting a butterfly garden be something you’d categorize as ‘essential’?” Everyone laughed.

Look, all my life I’ve geeked out over animals. And one thing I always assumed I’d do is get to see the Monarch butterfly’s legendary migration. But then I began reading stories about the steep decline of the Monarch and a profound feeling took over took me: This can’t happen. I want to go see this with my kid someday. But what can I do? I’m not a powerful person. I don’t have much money, and I don’t have political office. My sphere of influence, as a great teacher once called it, is not that impressive. And so, I got this butterfly garden in my head. Continue reading The Charles’s Project