Driving home last Sunday afternoon on the 880 in high wind, there were several columns of smoke visible to the east. Approaching my exit, the whole area got smokier, all coming from a central plume that seemed to be near to – my house???

The closer I got on the side streets, the denser the smoke. My street was blocked by all the … fire trucks out front. A crowd of people were standing on the sidewalk, wrapped in swirls of smoke.

Next thing was – here comes a policeman walking up the street with something in his arms. Is that – yes it is – my dog. The one I left in the living room.

The good news: it wasn’t my house. The bad news – 3 houses away, a neighbor’s house burned to the ground, fueled by the 50 mph winds. Took 3 hours. The whole town filled with smoke. No power for 2 days.

Now, two weeks before that, PG&E had decided to cut the power on a completely calm day, which they called an ‘emergency outage.’ Never heard of that before. But there was no emergency. Only the outage. No wind, no fires.

But on this particular Sunday, with strong winds since early morning, power was never cut. Until a blown transformer on a utility pole sparked a raging fire. Actually several other fires across town. And across the state. Remember? Nov 3.

Next day was sunny and calm. All the neighbors walked by to check out the charred ruins of the house that might have been ours. The cause of the fire was clear as day. Downed power lines and a blown transformer on a pole had ignited adjacent trees, which were right next to the house. In 10 minutes it had been beyond help, with all that wind bellowing on the flames.

By now though the power had been restored. Looking at the blackened utility pole, we could see where PGE had just replaced the transformer and power lines during the night. But not the pole. And the tree branches which were touching the power lines had not been trimmed. Half the tree was burnt black; the other half was still right up against the pole.

Looking closely at the brackets which fastened the power lines to the wooden pole, you could see they were small. And cheap. The transformer was also attached to the pole in the same MickeyMouse fashion. Even after the repair was finished there were no reinforcing, second-chance brackets or clips supporting the high voltage equipment. .

PG&E’s protocol is simply to put everything back to the same hazardous condition it has been in for the last 50 years. They don’t even cut the tree branches back. All set for the next windstorm – the next “emergency.”

If you asked any fireman during the two days of this mini-disaster what caused the fire, their trained answer was letter perfect: “We don’t know. We just got here.”

Any 5 year old could see the burnt trees, power lines, and transformer. So who are they protecting?

Makes you wonder about the “camper” theory for the calamitous Malibu fire last year. Remember that?

For those reading this, take a break right here and walk out to your yard. Look at the closest utility poles that hold the power lines for your house. Observe closely how the lines are secured to the wooden pole. Look how they’re attached. See any secondary safety brackets in case the originals should fail, and the sparking lines should drop down?

Then look for the closest transformer. Observe how it is attached. Does it look secure, or fragile and cheap? Any reinforcing hardware? How about tree branches?

Of course not. There is no safety reinforcement, even if some of the equipment has recently been replaced due to failure. It’s not PG&E’s normal procedure to secure equipment either in advance of a disaster, or afterward.

Most utility poles in the state are not preserved or pressure treated against weather and time. They’re just dry sticks. 75 years old. Look at them.

In addition, there is no schedule for maintenance and replacement of old equipment. The PGE philosophy is simple: everything is good till it fails. Same with periodic cutting back of tree growth. It doesn’t exist. Only the most extreme cases are maintained.

Doing a little research, how old do you think most of the standard neighborhood power lines and equipment are in California? Take a guess. Answer: between 75 and 100 years, in most cases. No system of periodic replacement. Good Till It Fails – that’s their mantra.

This is the identical failure scenario for the majority of fires we’ve seen recently in California. So did the wind just suddenly start blowing in California for the first time this year? Of course not. Our weather has always been unpredictable. Windstorms are part of that. So how can PG&E be pretending like there’s been some unprecedented new climate shift that just started this year, necessitating the brilliant new plan of shutting off the power any time the wind blows?

That’s easy. After the billion-dollar liability suits from last year’s Paradise fire, PGE execs came up with a fine solution. Is it to finally start maintaining and replacing their antiquated hardware after all these decades? Or to make a routine schedule for cutting back tree growth from power lines? Or periodically replacing the flimsy brackets that hold electric lines to the utility poles?

Of course not. No money for that. PG&E claims that it would cost in excess of $150 billion to bring their deteriorating power lines up to date. Which they readily admit they have no plans on doing. Golden parachutes and stock payouts to board members, bloated pensions, etc. We can’t be concerned with safety or efficiency for the exorbitant electric bills customers are paying. Or all the fires in the future. Good till it fails. Works for us.

So, the utility/monopoly’s ingenious new solution from now on for California’s windy days? Simple. Cut the power, any time they guess there might be a risk. This is the new normal.

Silicon Valley is now a “developing area.” Sixth largest economy in the world, with a Third World power grid.

The bankruptcy thing was shrewd indeed – they can delay any liability payouts for years. Ask around from last year.

Comcast soon followed suit. In the next week we lost internet 4 days in one week. Every other day. They’d fix a little and wait for it to fail again on the same block. The linemen’s response was also letter perfect: “We don’t want to spend money fixing what we don’t have to.” So they did a piecemeal job replacing the Xfinity lines, figuring if PG&E could get away with it why shouldn’t they?

Sacramento is in on the whole arrangement, of course. Not just supporting PG&E’s monopoly, but failing to hold them to minimum standards of safety or responsibility for delivering the services they continue to charge for each month. There is no other business in the state that could get away with such broken down equipment and unsafe behavior, for which there is no plan to update. When it comes to potential harm to citizens, PG&E is almost as indemnified as the vaccine companies.

California’s newest boom economy for the coming year is certainly storage battery systems, soon to appear in every garage. These can be charged by house current, propane, or solar. Most can run the house for a few days during the “outages.” Just like in any squalid, overseas vacation spot you’ve ever visited where everybody has backyard generators. All this is not coming soon – it’s here now.

Welcome to the Third World. Only $1.6M for a modest 3-bedroom here in Silicon Valley. Good thing the streets are paved with gold.

Now if only we could find legislators a little less

    A. Simian
    B. Self serving
    C. Disingenuous
    D. Illiterate
    E. All of the above



All set to overeat for the holidays? About ready to excuse yourself once again for holiday trough feeding? Do you already have reflux, heartburn, IBS, stomach cancer, obesity, Crohns, or other digestive disorders? Are you older than your age? Consider this:

Of the CDC’s Top 10 Causes of Death, nine of them are the direct result of chronic overeating.

In their struggle for survival, mammals have evolved two types of enzymes: digestive and metabolic.

Digestive enzymes – like amylase, protease, and lipase – change food into usable forms. Fats, proteins, carbohydrates.

Metabolic enzymes have to do with operating the body’s specific systems. Cell life, nerve transmission, brain signals, hormone distribution, oxygen exchange, liver function, acid-base balance in the blood, stuff like that. Longevity issues.

Over 5000 metabolic enzymes have been identified in the human body.

The premier authority on enzymes was of course, Edward Howell MD, founder of National Enzyme Company. His book Enzyme Nutrition is the starting point for any awareness of human nutrition.

In our chapter Enzymes: The Key to Longevity, Howell explains that one of the main causes of aging – as well as any digestive disorder – is the decrease in enzyme production in all systems of the body, including digestive.

After age 50 for example, salivary amylase may be only 30% as strong as it was at age 20. Amylase digests carbohydrates. The point is, all enzymes in the body – digestive and metabolic – become weaker and less efficient as we age.

This is why Howell spent his entire life developing the most effective supplemental enzymes. Or as he called them – exogenous enzymes – those that are taken daily in capsule form.

No other scientist of his day was more immersed in the literature of enzymes. Howell documents every word he writes with multiple references. From a lifetime of clinical study, here are just some of his conclusions:

    80% of Americans eat an 80% processed diet – enzyme deficient

    the less enzymes in the diet, the more the body is forced to make its own

    the more energy spent on producing digestive enzymes, the less available for metabolic enzymes for all other systems

    high-end enzyme supplements take the burden off the body, promoting longer life

    a nutritious, enzyme-dense diet means the body can focus on metabolic enzymes, not digestive

What does all this have to do with the holidays? Overeating at family gatherings is practically a tradition in most homes, is it not?. More than the turkey gets stuffed.

Some of the food will be nutrient-dense, some will not. But all of it needs to be digested – broken down by enzymes, taken up in the blood, and the wastes expelled through the colon. See chapters on Enzymes and Colon Detox.

The more natural foods have intact enzymes: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lightly cooked meat and fish, etc.

The overcooked, processed foods with the fake flavors and sweeteners – have no enzymes. Gravy, over-done meats, salad dressings, desserts, pasteurized dairy, etc. – no enzymes. Chips and cookies may taste great, but stress the body trying desperately to produce enough enzymes to break them down and pass them through the tract.

An immense burden on metabolic reserves. Any existing disease conditions will be aggravated as the body struggles to keep up.

The shopworn excuse — well, it’s the holidays – may not be well understood by your poor stomach, gall bladder, colon, or pancreas. Or ongoing disease.


    1. Eat less, opting for a non-porcine mode

    2. Choose enzyme-rich natural foods over processed, fake food and drink

    3. Take 3 capsules of Digestazyme, with each meal as well as Expel for the colon during the holidays

See if that doesn’t help make the Yuletide gay. Or hetero, as your preference dictates.

Best holidays to all. May the coming year advance your every good design!



The little dog the policeman was carrying in the top section above is almost 7. In the past 2 years, her weight has almost doubled and she has become very lethargic. Cutting her diet in half made no difference at all. So finally, this week I took her to a vet and had him draw blood for a thyroid panel.

Shocking results, but actually logical: total T4 was only .5 with a normal range of 1-4 micrograms per deciliter. As expected, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone levels were 5x normal, as the body was frantically trying to signal the thyroid that it needs to get to work.

Standard procedure in this case of course is a lifetime of thyroid medication. But with its track record, the more enlightened may realize that may not be the best idea. Let’s try something holistic first.

Starting with Chelated Minerals, including potassium iodide, as well as bits of chicken, fish, and eggs with a little high end dog food, in broth. Trying some secret supplement as well. But as usual the internet offers a whole bandolier of magic bullets for curing canine hypothyroid. Just like the vet.

Also adjusted her, as well as made sure that her collar was very loose. Often people who can’t control their bigger dogs will jerk the leashes, which can traumatize the thyroid enough to do significant damage, and actually cause hypothyroidism. Certainly not the case here though.

So we’ll see. Conservative care first. Hopefully more drastic last-resort measures will not be necessary. Like lifetime thyroid drugs.

[Top photo is the Before shot.]