CONTROLLED BURN

The CLOUD CHAMBER

controlled burn

CONTROLLED BURN

        “My great grandfather took this picture in 1917 during the Great War,” confirmed Bälz Shluter, great grandson of the great Swiss banker Balderik Shluter. “These were some of the prisoners of war whose release he secured through his influence. These eight people became some of his Peace Makers.”

        I had agreed to meet Bälz Shluter in my hotel room. He quickly annoyed me by keeping his elegant lambskin gloves on. I asked, “Why should 1917 interest us at WikiLeaks?”

        He continued undaunted, “My great grandfather feared that trench warfare would spill into Switzerland. Earlier in the war it was clear that both the Allies and the Central Powers wanted Swiss neutrality, but my great grandfather saw that the Great War might burn out of control and consume even neutral Switzerland.”

        To feign interest I politely offered, “Those were hard times.”

        He turned…

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THE BEAST OF TIN CAN BEACH

The CLOUD CHAMBER

10 beast of tin can beach - crop1

 THE BEAST OF TIN CAN BEACH

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          Back then in 1956 we all called it Tin Can Beach.  It was a wilderness stretch of sand on the ocean side of the two-lane Pacific Coast Highway, California’s Highway One.  On the shoreward side of Pacific Coast Highway at that point there were tidal wetlands.  Tin Can Beach got its name from the no-man’s land of debris, mostly flattened crumpled rusted tin beverage cans that bordered the highway and extended onto the beach sand for several yards in a tinny tarmac.  It might as well have been a border of jagged cactus for it kept out most of the self-respecting beach-bound residents and tourists who just moved along farther south, past all the oil derricks lining the shoreward side of Huntington Beach, down to quaint Newport Beach and then finally on down to the little artist’s colony called Laguna…

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