Author Archives: Diarmuid McGuire

Identity & Survival

Deer season is upon us. A guy sits down at our bar and orders a Coors Light. He is all decked out in Mossy Oak Breakup. As the manufacturer says, “It’s more than a camo pattern. It’s who you are.” So I’m expecting the usual camo package. He will hate...

read more

Addicts in Power

Like many Americans, I have an addict in my life. He has taught me a lot. I know that he will tell me anything that he thinks I want to hear. I know that almost nothing he says is true and that he will not admit to any lie, no...

read more

Biosphere III

On September 26, 1991, eight humans marched into an extraterrestrial colony called Biosphere II and embarked on a voyage to the future. It didn’t work out. The idea was to test self-sustaining, closed ecological systems that would enable humans to live (and, presumably, reproduce) in hostile environments far from Earth....

read more

The Hindenburg of Populism

On May 6, 1937, just after 7:00 PM local time, an airship the size of an ocean liner floated gently toward a mooring facility at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, at the end of a three-day voyage from Frankfurt, Germany. Just after the first mooring line was secured,...

read more

Why We March

Marching is not about Trump. It’s not about pandas. It’s not about groping or tax returns or even deporting the mother of four U.S. citizens because she used a fake id to get a job cleaning motel rooms 20 years ago. It’s about survival. I’m not talking just about you...

read more

Burning the White House

The last time the British got really annoyed with us, they burned down the White House. At least the issues behind the unfortunate War of 1812 were real. Our government objected to British insults like the impressment, i.e. kidnapping, of American seamen. In the spring of 1814, U.S. forces burned...

read more

Bullhorn Conversation

An early morning snowfall was melting along the roadside around mid-day one Saturday in February when a man with an orange bullhorn started talking through a bullhorn. He said something about a ‘land grab.’ To be honest, I did not pay much attention to his words. Phil, a neighbor and...

read more

Democrats are from Venus, Republicans from Mars

Back in 1992, when all we had to worry about was our marriages, a writer and counselor named John Gray published a pop psychology best-seller entitled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Little did John Gray know that by 2016 Mars and Venus would have divided our country...

read more

Wetting the Bed: a Wake-Up Call

The joy of travel: we stepped out of the tube station at South Kensington. A young man with a fistful of handbills spotted me and asked: “What do you think about that new president you’ve got?” Yes, it’s a global village and every villager knows that we Yanks just wet...

read more

Catastrophe: start small

Like you, I have just spent long hours watching and listening as a very strange man has told me that I live in hell. This character, a sort of Mr. Sweet Potato Head with marshmallow lips, piggy eyes and an orange toupée, claims that our nation is in free fall,...

read more

Let Us Now Praise Wolves

Look up at Grizzly Peak. In June, a wolf killed at least two goats and a sheep just across that ridge. The perpetrator, OR33, a lone male, seems to have headed back to high country. Of course we regret loss of livestock. At the same time, we should honor the...

read more

The Missing Story Line

Baton Rouge is under water. A huge swath of San Bernardino County is on fire. Your morning paper, the TV news, Google, Twitter et. al. relay the tragic details: homes destroyed, communities evacuated, lives turned upside down. But something is missing. Why are we seeing super storms that drop two...

read more

Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’

Oh what a beautiful day on the Green Springs. Summer is half over and the forest floor is still carpeted in lush green. Balmy afternoons merge into cool evenings. The lakes are full and the fish are biting. This is paradise. Why am I uneasy? Is it the carbon dioxide...

read more

The Silver Lining in the Toxic Cloud

The party of Lincoln is smoldering wreckage, strewn across the political landscape. The casualties are not yet counted, but they will certainly include GOP candidates for U.S. Senate and other offices downstream to the state and local levels. The suicide bomber who perpetrated this disaster is currently a candidate for...

read more

Spread the Word

Let’s say you want to change the world. We are talking about a world that is large, complicated, seemingly chaotic and notoriously difficult to manage. Just ask God. God has a long and successful history as an organizing principle but lately the power of that principle seems to be waning....

read more

Greensprings Inn – Paradise & Climate Change

On the Green Springs, paradise is in season. Morels popped up in our woods two weeks ago. Our reservoirs are full. At Green Springs Inn, we are serving foam-capped pints of local microbrew on our sun-warmed deck. Yes, our balmy summer weather is two months early and the sunny days...

read more

Decency matters. So does wine.

It’s the best of times and the worst of times. As usual. Among prominent contenders for the presidency of our beloved United States is a vicious buffoon—a real life version of Stephen King’s horror clown Pennywise. Apparently Pennywise and his ilk have sunk their fangs into our culture because some...

read more

Local Man’s Head Explodes, Science Blamed

If my head exploded in front of a United States senator, would he notice? OK, there might be some hyperbole going on here, but not as much as you think. As far as exploding heads are concerned, it’s just a matter of paying attention. A few facts fly in through...

read more

Getting It Right In Paris

As we pulled our wheeled bags down Rue de Cardinal Lemoine toward the Metro station last Sunday, leaving Paris, I noticed a hand-lettered sign in a shop window: “Vivre sans crainte.” Live without fear. The Parisian shopkeeper who wrote this message knows the truth: terrorists can’t hurt us, but if...

read more

Rocks and Twitter: Tools for the Times

A screaming Vietnamese child, her burned clothes torn away, runs along a rural highway toward a photographer. Flash forward: the body of a Syrian toddler, dressed in worn sneakers and a red tee shirt, washes up on a Greek beach. What do these children, separated by 43 years and half...

read more

Greensprings Inn

Playing it safe: not a survival strategy Butch and Sundance stand at the top of a cliff. Far below, a narrow river rushes through a deep gorge. From behind, Pinkertons move in for the kill. Sundance refuses to jump. Butch Cassidy: What’s the matter with you? Sundance Kid: I can’t...

read more

Climate Change, Survival and the Buzzkill Factor

One of our brilliant daughters, code-named M1, was surfing near Cannon Beach last week when she ran into a band of acquaintances, millennials like her, outdoors fun lovers, several with jobs at places like Nike and Intel. In other words, they were exactly the type of people we need to...

read more

Things That Matter and Why They Don’t

Upstairs at Green Springs Inn is a room that guests in the restaurant below never see. One of our daughters slept there during her childhood years. Those ten years were, by modern childhood standards, magical. She lived in a forest, ran unfettered with a posse of buddies from our tiny...

read more

Breakfast with David: biscuits, gas and 3470

I’m eating breakfast with David Koch at Green Springs Inn. The big (6’5”) plutocrat seems to be enjoying himself. “Julia won’t let me order biscuits and gravy,” he chuckles.  After the basketball conversation winds down, I pop the question. “I’m concerned about this gas pipeline that your Veresen friends want...

read more

Green Springs Inn – A Tale of Two Women

A Tale of Two Women  by Diarmuid McGuire This is the story of two women who don’t know each other but probably should. One is an icon for those who know her. The other is our governor, perhaps a towering figure someday but currently a work in progress. The icon...

read more

Methane and the Curse of Consciousness

A couple of weeks ago my head exploded. At least, that’s how it felt. It was a critical mass sort of thing. Look out the window: no winter. Google global temperature: 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded. Google CO2: The Scripps Institution’s Mauna Loa Observatory reports atmospheric carbon dioxide...

read more

Missing Winter and the LNG Pipeline

Someone stole our winter. Look up at our mountain. You should see some white. This year, for the second January in a row, the forest floor around us is mostly bare. Our lakes are almost empty. Our snowshoes are in a closet. Something important is missing, like the snow pack...

read more

Ducks, Carbon, the Battle of Clover Creek

At 2:00 PM Pacific time on New Year’s Day, 2015, the Ducks of Oregon, will meet the Seminoles of Florida State at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl and on the flat screen at Green Springs Inn. This game will be one for the ages. The forces of rectitude, led by the upstanding...

read more

Art & Community

From the bridge that crosses the Estuary of Bilbao, the museum looks like a gargantuan ship, perhaps a relic of the Basque city’s seaport past or maybe a visiting vessel from a distant galaxy. At night, the titanium skin of the curving hull glows with light reflected from the bustling...

read more

The Invisible Kingdom

A gaggle of wildlife biologists landed at Green Springs Inn this week. They are sharing tall tales, like the one about the wolverine that walked from Idaho to Lake Tahoe. That story has a sad ending. No lady wolverine has showed up in Northern California to date. But stay tuned....

read more

Hanging Together

It turns out that there may be no such thing as a casual political conversation. The other night I asked our server in a local pub, a competent young woman, if she was registered to vote. In the ensuing exchange, she said of a certain elected official, “We sent him...

read more

Water: so much to love, so much to lose

The Green Springs: we have water in our name, and water is what many people love about our little piece of paradise. Applegate Trail pioneers camped here and no doubt found fresh water bubbling from the ground to be a significant improvement over the sparse, tepid pools of the Black...

read more

What not to eat: antibiotics, herbicides, Harriett

What’s the big deal about grass-fed, free-range beef? It’s nice to think about happy steers grazing peacefully in green pastures. But what’s in it for us? Our Box R Ranch neighbor, cowboy Jesse Randall, invests a lot of time and cash shipping his animals one or two at a time...

read more

Jupiter, Venus, Jeff, Harriett

Back in the day, we believed that outsized personalities lived in the sky, also known as the heavens. They attended to important matters like the seasons, birth, death, war and sex. Occasionally, these characters would meet up. They still do. For example, Jupiter and Venus, i.e. Big Daddy and Oulala...

read more

The Talented City Syndrome

It was love song night on the Wednesday before Valentine’s Day at Paddy Brannan’s Irish Pub on Second Street, with $100 on the line and the room packed with talent: Justin Gordon, Gene Burnett, opera-trained Sophia Palosaari, Kieran Devine and Frankie Hernandez to name a few. One great performance followed...

read more

Ketchup, beef, the future of civilization

“It’s ketchup.” Chef Chris Kempf handed me a spoonful of sauce. It wasn’t ketchup as I know it. Ketchup is bright red, like a Mustang convertible. Ketchup is sweet, a sort of bright colored syrup to put on hot dogs. Ketchup comes in containers labeled “57 Varieties.” The stuff Chris...

read more

Snow, water, frogs, beavers, life

You may have noticed that the December Surprise storm that tied Ashland in knots brought hardly any moisture to southern Oregon, just enough to leave a dangerous, icy crust on hillside streets. What’s remarkable about this weather event is the persistent cold and overcast that followed.  As I write, the...

read more

Raise a glass to the 30-somethings

We dropped in on opening night at Swing Tree Brewing down on Hersey Street a couple of weeks ago. Wow. Great beer. Brandon and Tanya Overstreet have put their hearts into this start-up. You can taste it. A pint of Brandon’s flavorful Lonely Trike Red Ale got us thinking. Young,...

read more

GreenSprings Inn: Tradition, community, friends, food

The literature of country inns: As part of our ongoing study of the hospitality industry, fact and fiction, we recently attended a performance of Fiddler on the Roof at Portland Center Stage. It turns out that, in Sholem Aleichem’s story about Jewish peasants in a Russian village, Mordcha’s inn serves...

read more