So it’s old news – last year’s interview, actually, but David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker for low these many years, spent a few days with Leonard Cohen months before the fabled poet/songwriter passed and came away with some gems others may know from religious studies or other.

“The job of a Jew,” Cohen said, based on teaching of the Kabala, is to repair the face of God. So, of course, I ask myself HOW did God’face get disfigured and HOW is anyone supposed to repair it? I know some answers will be found in Tikkun Magazine archives; I worked there briefly doing PR long ago and was impressed with the level of intellect centered there and appreciated throughout the magazine’s staff and zeitgiest, if that is the appropriate word, which I shall have to look up also. And I’ll ask Benjamin Zablocki, author of Joyful Community and other books, who has studied in depth a whole slew of things that interest me. Long overdue to talk about communes, anarchism and how on earth to be a kind person in a brutal world. Sigh.

I will never go to Alexa, the new voice of Amazon, for answers to anything after hearing an ad in a Transition US video for Alexa which includes a 20’s something woman asking “Alexa, how many ounces in a cup?” And “Alexa, how do I make shrimp primavera?” (pouring tomato sauce over shrimp and pasta). Double yuck! “Use the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to add intelligent voice control to any connected product that has a microphone and speaker. Your customers will be able to ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, get news and local information, control smart home products, and more on their voice-enabled products. Quick Start ..,” they say. And forget to use your brain to THINK after Alexa puts it to sleep; really you didn’t need to bother learning anything.

OK, readers, whoever you may be: DON’T USE ALEXA IF YOU WISH TO USE YOUR OWN BRAIN. It is a sinister plot to take over humankind in favor of The Machine (a novelette by E.M. Forster?), a future society, in which The Machine takes care of everything, every little thing, until one day the protagonist begins to feel and see that The Machine is breaking down – and NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO FIX IT. Sigh. Scary sigh.

Hoping sincerely we didn’t already get to that stage of human experience on this globe, I look to 2018 for RENEWAL, plants popping out of the rubble and ash of Sonoma County and Ventura County, and at our Oasis Farm with focused work TODAY, a hedgerow to protect our orchard from wind while creating homes for birds, lizards and other well loved critters. Hedgerow, ha! Way to go, Oasis Farm and Wayne the Farmer Guy (and whosoever helps with the hedgerow).