Selections from San Francisco Int’l Ocean Film Festival #12

In an earlier post I offered my impressions on the 12th annual San Francisco Int’l Ocean Film Festival, which took place last month.

The 12th festival, like those before it, screened over 40 films, each with a direct connection to the ocean.  And, as was the case with prior festivals, a good number of the films are truly meritorious but lack the distribution they deserve (at least in this writer’s opinion!)…a business opportunity?

In any event, below, in alphabetical order, I’ve outlined a subset of the 12th Festival’s 41 films that I found particularly appealing.   The format is film name, filmmaker, length in minutes, country of origin, my comment:

Into the Mind of Greg Long, Patrick Trefz, 5, US.  Nicely filmed, well-edited, interesting script.  A not so subtle branding/pitch piece on the mind’s owner.  Sponsored by Cliffbar.

June Gloom, Adam Warmington, 4, US.  Random but appealing clips of coastal pleasures held together by the narrator’s selections from Jack Kerouac’s poem, The Sea.  Sponsored by Reef.

Whale shark as a beautiful creature.

Whale shark as a beautiful creature.

La Nuit Des Geants, Rene Heuzey & Daniel Jouannet, 6, Fr.  Wonderful art piece which leans lightly on deceased filmmaker, Jean Panleve.  Featuring whale sharks, they’re shown to be beautiful moving sculptures. Lighting, music, filmography combine for an outstanding short.

Learning to Float, Brendan Calder, 20, US.  Heartwarming story of how a teenager from South LA hooked up with a senior surfer and developed a life-long

It's really about learning to surf as a way out...

It’s really about learning to surf as a way out…

relationship.  The teenager learns to surf, improves his lot in life remarkably, and inspires creation of a non-profit to repeat it with others.



Lost Gear, Ken Fisher, 8, US.  There are stories right in one’s own backyard – this film is a lively report on how fishermen in Eureka are working hard to retrieve lost crabbing gear.

Realm of the Oceans, Marc Jampolsky, 52, Can.  One of the best, most informative science-based films in the ocean film genre.  Innovative graphics along with smart talking heads convey how everything is connected and more.  Don’t miss this one!

Six Months at Sea in the Merchant Marine, Martin Machado, 22, US.  A fairly typical civilian goes to sea with his camera and intelligence and creates a very watchable first film that conveys life in the merchant marine.

Sweet Sea Breeze, Thomas Hessmann, 20, Gr.  For this festival, a rare screening of a fiction film.  A salty, crusty and elderly mariner is matched up with a young caretaker who starts out feisty but crosses over.

Tales of the Sand, Elodie Turpin, 20.  Spain.  Excellent script, filmography, and music all contribute to this stimulating film on the bottom of the near sea.

The Big Pick, Byrony Stokes, 6, UK.  Creative treatment of a volunteer team’s day at the beach picking up and inventorying the plastic they find.  Visuals allow it to persuade without preaching.

A small beach's yield from one day of picking.

A small beach’s yield from one day of picking.

The Last Ocean, Peter Young, 50, New Zealand.  Eye opening, moderately blistering info-editorial on the Ross Sea and the Patagonia toothfish aka Chilean seabass.  In the spotlight are the complicated politics along with the business practices of the once-respected fisheries judge, Marine Stewardship Council.

The Odd Couple, Omar Badr, 5, UK.  In the spirit of Jean Panleve, Omar Badr reports on the codependency of the Goby fish and Pistol shrimp.  In this first effort, he did it all:  precise filming & editing, a lively script, and wonderfully droll narration.  A favorite.

Goby fish guarding the homestead.

Goby fish guarding the homestead.








Thule Tuvalu, Matthias Von Gunten, 96, Swiss.  From Hollywood’s periodical, Variety: “A handsomely lensed, fascinating portrait of two communities on opposite sides of the planet undergoing irrevocable changes thanks to global warming.” The filmmaker lets the natives show and tell how, just as Bob Dylan sang, “…the times they are a-changin'”.

Beautifully filmed portraits  of two cultures under siege by changing weather.

Beautifully filmed portraits of two cultures under siege by changing weather.

Tierra de Patagone, Julian & Joaquin Azulay, 76, Argentina.  Genre: Guys travel, surf, and film it.  It’s a 6 month trip by the Gauchos del Mar brothers across Patagonia.  Linear story line made interesting by protagonists’ spirit, folks and new friends met along the way, patagonic culture, unique animals and the final leg to Staten Island in search of untouched waves…

Many other films in the Festival are also of merit, and their omission from the above list isn’t to be interpreted as a slight or criticism. The Festival program may be downloaded here.

Posted in Books & Films, Non-profits, Outdoors, San Francisco | Tagged | Leave a comment

3 Ocean-related Executive Director job openings

Over the last few weeks, largely through happenstance, I’ve become aware of 3 searches for executive directors (EDs) by well established, California-based, ocean/marine-related non-profits.  Normal turnover at the ED level of non-profits is low, so for there to be searches underway for 3 such positions in the small niche of California marine non-profits strikes me as really unusual. I thought this coincidence worth noting in this blog so it’s there for everyone to see.

Also, since one of my business interests is the employment marketplace, specifically job boards, I was curious to learn more about the role of job boards in the recruitment process for each position and, more generally, how the non-profits were going about their public efforts to generate candidates.

First I did a Google search for “executive director jobs” which resulted in several high ranking, unsponsored links for the popular job aggregator,  At Indeed I searched on “executive director” several different ways but got generally poor results – just a few non-profit ED positions surfaced and they were mixed in with a large number of for-profit and staff jobs that had one or both of the key words, depending on my filter. No matter how broadly or narrowly I searched, I couldn’t get any of the 3 positions to turn up in the first few pages of results.  I didn’t feel I was on the right track and my opinion of Indeed did indeed sink!

I then tried, an aggregator generally perceived to be slightly behind Indeed in use.  However, I found SimplyHired searches provided cleaner, better results.  Nonetheless, the results were empty until I searched very narrowly with terms and locations very closely associated with the targeted jobs.

At Simply Hired I eventually found these listings:

Executive Director
San Francisco Baykeeper – Oakland, CA
Baykeeper uses advocacy, , San Francisco Baykeeper is seeking a visionary and … strategic and operational responsibility for Baykeeper’s personnel, programs and…
30+ days ago from

Chief Executive Officer
San Francisco Maritime National Park Association – San Francisco, CA
the members of the Association and other maritime-related organizations Excellent … Association s Board of Trustees, the Chief Executive Officer provides overall leadership…
29 days ago from Doostang

As noted earlier, SimplyHired is an aggregator which scrapes content from other job boards, which include and Doostang.  (The Baykeeper position, in slightly different words, eventually surfaced at Indeed as well, having been scraped from

In brief, Baykeeper is 26 years old, has revenues of approx. $1 million/year, monitors San Francisco Bay, and takes action if appropriate. The San Francisco Maritime National Park Association was founded in 1950 and has revenues of approx. $2 million/year. It is a supporting organization to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and provides youth and adult programming.  Since Baykeeper and the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association are likely to be known to readers of this blog, I won’t go into further detail on their activities which are of course explained on their websites.  

To go to the Baykeeper ED job description on its website, click here.

To go to to the SF Maritime National Park Association CEO position description on its website, click here.

The third ED job opening is quite fresh.  It is for the ED role at the Ocean Institute, which is on the water in the southern Orange County community of Dana Point (whose tagline is “Harboring the Good Life.)”    Evidently the opening hasn’t yet been posted on any job board or even, as of the date of this post, to the Ocean Institute website. I noticed the news in an article a few days ago in the local paper.

For those not familiar with it, the Ocean Institute is a significant non-profit with revenues of approximately $8 million/year.  It offers hands-on marine science, environmental and ocean education and maritime history programs. More than 115,000 K-12 students and 8,000 teachers annually participate in the Institute’s award-winning, immersion style programs. To learn about ocean facts, sea creatures, oceanography, science, and California history, students voyage onto the ocean, study in labs and live aboard tall ships or in the chaparral, where they can feel and taste the salty sea spray, sort through live specimens, observe migrating whales on our Dana Point whale watch cruises, collect scientific data and investigate the culture and world around them. On weekends, OI opens its doors to the public for a peek into how ocean science, history, and literature are used to inspire life-long learners.

I started this process to get a sense of the recruiting efforts for 3 visible but niche jobs, as seen by someone in the general public using standard tools.  Although the sample size is probably too small from which to draw definite conclusion from, I was surprised at how much work it was to find job postings for positions I knew were open.  This suggests the job market, even for “good” jobs, remains a bit haphazard and perhaps inefficient.

I do plan to continue this project and see what shows up on social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.  Also, because recruiting efforts can and should include other channels, such as the entity’s newsletter, staff, and board of directors members, perhaps I’ll contact the non-profits to learn more of their (non-public) efforts to source good candidates.  Such contact may also reveal the use of one or more recruiting firms.

At this point, I can offer just a few practical tips on the use of job boards:

For job seekers: First, try different search approaches: narrow & wide & use different but relevant keywords.   Second, try different job boards, especially those oriented toward your industry, profession, or location.

For hiring companies: Post often.  Otherwise, since search results are stratified at least partly by date, as time goes on you’ll get buried.

If you care to make any comments on this blog post, please do so below.

Finally, if you’d like to be notified of future posts by email, sign up through the Follow button in the lower right hand corner.

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Polar Bears at the Dolphin Club

Yesterday was a red-letter day at the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club.  At midnight the window closed for completing this season’s Polar Bear Challenge, aka the “Polar Bear.” (sometimes shortened to “PB.”)  Since the PB captures major mind share of many Club members including the writer’s, and also might be interesting to others, I thought it worthy of a couple of blog entries.

Polar Bear FAQs:

What is the Polar Bear Challenge?
It is an annual Dolphin Club tradition (since 1974) during which a member may strive to swim, over the 91 or 92 day period from December 21 through March 21 of the following year, 40 miles in San Francisco Bay.

Around the Dolphin Club, what is a “Polar Bear?”
Reaching 40 miles during the season. i.e. “I got my Polar Bear.” Or “I’ve done 24 straight Polar Bears.” (as the author has, as of Feb. 22nd).  A Polar Bear may also refer to a person.

Who keeps track of miles and how?
The 40 mile goal is tracked by each member marking squares, 4 to a mile, on a chart posted near the Club’s front door.   The honor system is in effect with each member responsible for posting his or her mileage.

One of 9 charts turning into art.

One of the 9 mileage charts that become art during the course of a PB.

Why is called a “Challenge?”
In a normal winter most humans find the San Francisco Bay water temperature to be cold*.  In the Polar Bear Challenge, for miles to count toward the 40 mile goal, they need to be done without a wetsuit or swim aids.  The cold water makes the mileage requirement a challenge, hence the name.


(For a more nuanced explanation, see “The Polar Bear Challenge” by my friend, Larry Scroggins.)

*Typically, the water temperature is in the low 50’s F in late December, drops into the high 40’s for January and returns to the low 50s in February and then rises to the low to mid 50’s at March 21.

How many members do the PB?
In a typical year, hundreds of the Club’s 1400 members put their name on the mileage chart, some just for fun.  Usually 100-150 members complete the Polar Bear.

What apparatus is allowed?
Swim cap, neoprene cap, goggles, and ear plugs are all allowed.   Pretty much everyone finds the cold water more tolerable and enjoyable wearing the aforementioned.  Wearing a wetsuit or fins during a swim precludes  any of it from counting as PB mileage.

Neoprene Barracuda cap, silicon cap, goggles, & ear plugs.

Neoprene Barracuda cap, silicon cap, goggles, & ear plugs.

To pursue a Polar Bear, at any one time how long can one swim in the cold water?
Wearing the above apparatus, most participants can, using some willpower, swim for 30 minutes plus or minus.  Some may swim 45 minutes or more.  At 60 or so minutes almost everyone will become at least mildly hypothermic.

What about hypothermia?
Mild hypothermia is fairly common and each winter (except this past one) at least several members push themselves to severe hypothermia, which can result in a call for emergency medical help, an evacuation by ambulance, and a big bill ($2000 or so) for the emergency medical services.

Are there other risks?
While hypothermia is the most common risk, other known risks include heart and panic attacks, collisions with fixed objects or other swimmers, and being bit by a seal or sea lion. In the winter of 2008-2009 there was an unusually large number of brown pelicans in the area – when the herring were running in the bay, dive bombs by pelicans were an

The Dolphin Log is the Club's exceptional chronicle, outlet for original articles, and publication of record.

The Dolphin Log is the Club’s exceptional chronicle, outlet for original articles, and publication of record.

additional risk; there were no reported stabbings but many close calls, as this Dolphin Log cover attests.  (the entire Log archive may be accessed through the Dolphin Club website ,, or by clicking here.

What about this year?

As of the date of this post, results are being tabulated and will be made public in a week or two. One thing everyone knows is how warm the water was this winter, never below 53F. This is easily the warmest winter water in anyone’s memory. Reasons postulated for this very abnormal year include: a) lack of precipitation, especially snow in the Sierra Nevada, which melts to make for cold water flowing into SF Bay; b) unusual ocean winds and/or currents preventing normal upwelling. Given such a warm winter, an expected result would be greater participation with more members reaching the exalted status of “Polar Bear.”

Is the Polar Bear enjoyable?
Generally speaking, yes – otherwise it wouldn’t be as popular as it is. Even so, for some participants, especially late in the winter, the PB takes on a more tortuous persona, especially if the 40 mile threshold is within reach and the March 21 end date is approaching. As March 21 approaches, many members have been known to double or triple dip (swim 2-3 times/day, sauna in between) or even sleep at the club to ensure the time to reach 40 miles by midnight, March 21.* However, even if there are real hardships in completing a PB, there are major rewards: the satisfaction, the health benefits, the joy  of immersing oneself in a natural environment shared with others and the camaraderie when recounting it with others.

*some double or triple dip routinely. Joe Illick, PB champion at least 5 times (as a senior!) double dips during PB season almost daily. Another recent PB champion, John Nogue, resided over an hour away and had to fully utilize his 2-3 visits/week by swimming (or warming up) much of each day he visited the Club. See

What can you say about those who choose to participate?
First, some people just can’t resist a challenge.   (At least for certain things like the Polar Bear, that includes me.)  Second, swimming and striving for a PB seems to provide a “rush” of sorts, which seems to become addictive over the season. The rush may be physiological and/or it may be related to the pleasure one gets from marking one’s miles on the chart.  (editor’s note, based on a sauna conversation of Jan 31, 2016:  marking those miles up, according to one serious PB, “proves we’re still here.”)

There is a very fine discussion of the PB and some of its mental effects by my fellow Dolphin and good friend, Larry Scroggins, at

Do participants cheat or mark up imaginary miles to get to 40?
In my opinion, not much if at all. From discussions in the sauna, which in season almost always touch on water temperatures and the Polar Bear, my strong impression is that aspirants make all kinds of sacrifices to reach 40 honestly. They may swim before first light in order to be at work in time. They may drive an hour or more each way each day to get their mile.

What I find interesting about Polar Bear is the interrelation of the honor system used to track miles and the hardship some willingly endure in March to get to 40 miles. It would be easy to “cheat” and just mark up miles but I don’t think that happens very much. Instead, people push themselves to do 40 honorably, and push they do.

Is there competition within a given Polar Bear?
My view is that, except for a few, most participants are competing with themselves. Their goal is to get to 40 miles or their personal goal of x miles. However, as one might expect competitions involving others do take hold. One goal pursued by at least a few swimmers each season is to be PB champion by swimming the most PB miles. Another public competition was established a few years ago, “first to 40.”

Beyond the psychic rewards, are there any other?
Yes!  Each successful PB participant receives a small, rectangular slab of marble with his/her mileage noted on an attached plate.  The first such piece has a small polar bear token attached.

For each PB season the marble trinkets are distributed in conjunction with an awards dinner, which occurs just a couple of weeks before the next PB, thereby providing a psychological prod to put one’s name on the chart that will be going up December 21 @ 5AM.

Stack of PB "trophies" earned by the author.

Stack of PB “trophies” earned by the author.

Coming soon: Selected PB records and my Polar Bear Hall of Fame.

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Impressions – San Francisco Int’l Ocean Film Festival #12

The 12th annual San Francisco Int’l Ocean Film Festival wrapped up earlier this week.  Beginning last Friday, I attended all eleven films screenings and, as has been my goal in previous festivals, saw every film.

Below are my impressions on various elements of the Festival.  In a future post I’ll discuss the films.

Opening Gala  – Excellent.  In San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Maritime Museum is the quintessential venue for an ocean film festival.  Fine cocktail hour with a variety of hors d’oeuvres including oysters from Hog Island.   User-friendly short lines for drinks.  The sit down dinner was ordinary but the speeches were, thankfully, short, leaving more time for mingling afterward until the witching hour of 11.

Silent & live auctions – Featured attractive, thematic items and experiences.  Live auction auctioneer Chad Carvey was excellent.  Whatever his fee, he surely earned it back in incremental revenues; he was a unifying and entertaining  presence as well.

Printed program – Very attractive.  Sufficient information.  A good marketing piece.  Download of the program is available here.

Film screening venue – The 437 seat Cowell Theater, the Festival’s original venue, is as ideal a venue as you’re likely to find for an ocean film festival.

Taking a break between film programs just outside of Cowell Theater.

Taking a break between film programs just outside of Cowell Theater.

Many guests commented on how much they preferred Cowell to the last few festivals’ site, the Pier 39 auditorium.

Attendance – Appeared to be about the same as it’s been. Plenty of vacant seats for all programs, with the Friday evening surfing program the closest to capacity.

Film program schedule – Only Ok.  Given the dearth of dining near Cowell, a little more time between programs would have been nice.  Also, start times for panels weren’t honored because film programs ate into the panel windows, inconveniencing some customers.   Finally, scheduling programs on Monday evening, the night after the very festive wrap party, was perceived by some to be odd.

Films, production quality – Good, probably better than any previous festival.  Technology advances are evidently fueling improved production qualities.

Films, variety – Only fair.  Subject matter seemed to be skewed to plastics and other ocean problems, and underwater subjects.  To the dismay of some including this writer, very little in the way of exploration, adventure, or sports. (Even though such films are known to be crowd pleasers as shown by the successes of other geo-film festivals such as Banff, Mountainfilm, Waimea).   Also there was no film even remotely connected to the Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard, all meaningful ocean-related employers.

Films, editing – In the history of SFIOFF, few films have suffered from being too short, and this pattern held at #12.  Many, if not most, films screened were too long for the way the subject was treated.  Redundancy.  Drifting off point.  The feeling of padding to get it to TV length of 52 minutes.  Film makers who may be reading this, please take heed and use the scalpel more.

Operations – Volunteers were numerous, visible in very attractive long sleeve T’s, and working enthusiastically.  Selling tickets, flagging down attendees in front of the Cowell building, taking tickets, ushering inside Cowell, and so forth, volunteers made a great impression and conveyed responsibility and professionalism.

Emceeing – Excellent. Returning for the role he has so ably filled for festivals #2-#11, Andy Thornley* was the on-stage host for most programs.  For almost all programs, a SFIOFF director was onstage first to make an announcement and introduce Andy, a very nice touch.

Customers – Appearances were generally consistent with previous festivals.  Also, as has been the case at earlier festivals, an apparent inconsistency between the demographics of Opening Gala attendees and Cowell Theatre film screening attendees.

Lobby tables – As at past festivals at Cowell, approximately 8 tables were set up for aligned non-profits, and occupancy rotated amongst a longer list of exhibitors.  Tables were “manned” by each non-profit’s staff or volunteers.  It would have been helpful if there had been a directory with short descriptions of the exhibitors.

Youth program – Four screening slots on Friday and Monday were available free of charge to students from local schools.  With their teachers, hundreds of students attended.

Student film competition – With middle and high school divisions, it was apparent this competition is embraced by a wide variety of schools.  The Sunday morning screening and awards program was a huge hit with those in attendance – an audience far more enthusiastic and vocal than any other program’s.  Finalists were present from Michigan and California cities including Long Beach.  Contestants in Turkey presented themselves in a video.

Wrap party – At the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, it was festive for all.

The Dolphin Swimming & Boating Club clubhouse

The Dolphin Swimming & Boating Club clubhouse

Located an easy walk from Cowell, the Club’s feel, boat collection, and connection to the Bay made it the ideal venue.  A door charge of Zero made it even better!


Close up

Close up




*Andy and his wife, Tracey, were instrumental in the creation of SFIOFF, putting in many, many volunteer hours before #1, while working on graphics, stationery, web design, brainstorming, etc. Tracy and Andy were the first and original Volunteers of the Year.  At Festival #1 Andy was the Festival’s equipment manager, projectionist, and all-around handyman, limiting his ability to MC.


Again from just outside Cowell, later that day...

Again from just outside Cowell, later that day…




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Mountainfilm in Mill Valley

Mountainfilm is an annual international film festival that focuses on adventure, culture and the environment.  It has taken place annually since 1979 over Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colorado.

In addition to screening films (mostly non-fiction), the festival offers a full-day symposium on a large issue (such as energy, food, or climate), and includes art exhibits, author talks and book signings, student workshops, and serves as a meeting place for other nonprofit organizations that are aligned with Mountainfilm’s programming and mission (“dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and conversations worth sustaining.”)

In 2000, Mountainfilm started a traveling program, screening films in locations other than Telluride. This program now reaches 125 international locations including last weekend’s visit to the community of Mill Valley, CA for the 3rd annual Adventure Documentary Festival.  Co-presented with the Throckmorton Theatre, the Festival featured 3 days’ of films along with filmmaker Q & A led by Mountainfilm Executive Director, David Holbrooke.

It was an outstanding event – I spent much of the weekend in Mill Valley, attending 7 of the 8 film programs with over 40 films. Following are comments on several of the films:

14.C  (9 mins).  A warm portrait of a skilled teenage rock climber, Kai Lightner, who happens to be black and lives where challenging rocks are rare.  His mother’s comments illuminate the choices they’re facing.

64 MPH (4 mins).  Just outside of Telluride, a local “ripper” is challenged by a backcountry couloir.

A Life Well Lived (4 mins). Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mt. Everest (in 1963), reflects on what makes a life well lived.  A personal favorite.

Catch It (10 mins).  Surfing in northern Norway?  Yes, made attractive in this modest yet compelling film featuring nomad surfer, Lea Brassy.

Emptying the Skies (78 mins.  Q&A with a protagonist in Milan was Skyped in).  Chronicles attempts to slow the rampant poaching of migratory songbirds in Europe, where millions are taken (illegally) annually.  The film follows an intrepid squad of bird-sympathizers who are waging a semi-secret war against poachers.  By turns, disheartening, educational, and encouraging.  For more, see CABS – Committee Against Bird Slaughter and/or The New Yorker.

High Tension (36 mins, Q & A with co-director Nick Rosen).  Balanced presentation of the unfortunate and ugly 2013 incident in which Sherpas who were fixing a line became infuriated with an independent climber.  Rocks and punches were thrown and an ambitious climb was truncated. The incident also spawned New Yorker articles and took on a new dimension the following year when an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas.

Spice Girl (25 mins, Co-director Nick Rosen in attendance). Portrait of Hazel Findlay, a youthful, lady climber, as she strives to summit a vertical seaside cliff in the U.K.

The Fortune Wild (22 mins). Three surfing buddies interact joyfully with the coast of Haida Gwaii, a chain of beautiful islands off the north coast of British Columbia.

The Grand on a July morning, beyond a lifting fog, from a vehicle about 8 miles away heading south to the airport.

The Grand on a July morning, beyond a lifting fog, from a vehicle about 8 miles away heading south to the airport.

The Grand Rescue (53 mins, Q & A with co-director Meredith Lavitt). Story of a 1967 rescue of two climbers on the Grand Teton. Archival images and credible re-created scenes lend authenticity. Contemporary footage of the participants, featuring the now very accomplished rescuers, conveys the 3 day effort with unabashed candor.



Toy Train in Space (3 mins). Dad & son send a personable toy train 18 miles into space and then recover it.  Cute train, boy, & story line have led to over 4.7 million YouTube views!

Valley Uprising (98 minutes, Co-director Nick Rosen in attendance for Q&A). This film presents a history of climbing in Yosemite Valley – it combines archival photos and moving images with contemporary interviews to illuminate the legendary climbers who found irresistible challenges in Yosemite’s granite.

Wedge (4 mins).  A visually arresting film narrowly focused on Newport Beach, CA’s famous coastal configuration, The Wedge.  Footage of irrepressible surfers, bodyboarders, and bodysurfers finding challenges in the big and fast breaking surf.

I can safely say Mountainfilm patrons are already looking forward to its next iteration.

Posted in Books & Films, Non-profits, Outdoors | Leave a comment

Rocky Bridges, part 2

In a previous entry on Rocky Bridges (1927-2015) and his career in baseball, I promised more on him – here are several links to what others have written.

Tribute articles:

1) Weber remembers the late Rocky Bridges
By Pete Weber of the Buffalo Bisons. 01/31/2015.

“It was his approach to baseball and life that made him so special”

This article is notable because it contains two playable MP3’s of interviews with Rocky.

1989 - Manager of the Salem, Virginia Buccaneers, a Pittsburgh Pirate affiliate.

1989 – Manager of the Salem, Virginia Buccaneers, a Pittsburgh Pirate affiliate.

2) Rocky Bridges (1927-2015).  In, a category-leading blog & website by Jay Jaffe.  2/3/15.

“When Don Zimmer passed away last June after 66 years in baseball, I called him the ultimate futility infielder. Allow me to amend that, for Rocky Bridges, who died last week at the age of 87, was every bit as worthy of that title, and every bit as much an inspiration for this site. The secret of futility infielders is their ability to thrive despite their shortcomings in talent, thanks to persistence, flexibility and a command of fundamentals that go well beyond the playing field. They’re the laces that hold the leather together, the very soul of baseball.”

Lots more interesting stuff in this blog post!  Plus references to books which discuss Rocky.

3) An appreciation of Long Beach baseball great Rocky Bridges in The Long Beach Press Telegram, 2/3/15.

4) “The importance of Rocky Bridges,” Jamey Newberg, The Newberg Report (“Covering the Rangers from Top to Bottom”), 2/4/15.

(Manager of the Texas Rangers, Jeff ) “Bannister recalls Bridges, who I’ve learned in the last few days was one of the game’s all-time great characters, as having an uncanny ability to manage men, striking the perfect balance between stern and serious on the one hand, and keeping things light and loose on the other.”

5) R.I.P. ROCKY BRIDGES.  At  The American Spectator, Larry Thornberry, a writer in Tampa, offers a sympathetic recollection of Rocky.  2/6/15.

“I was never formally introduced to the Rock. But I enjoyed a brush with him and his Cincinnati Reds teammates in the early and mid-fifties when the Reds trained in spring at Plant Field in Tampa. Plant Field was an old pile even then, and very open. So it was easy to mix and mingle with the players in those less formal, less security-conscious days. My pals and I liked Rocky because he was always chattering and would take time to talk with the scrum of pre-teen boys who collected outside the clubhouse. We also liked him because at 5-8, he wasn’t much taller than we were.”


Pre-posthumous articles:

I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad,”Gilbert Rogin, Sports Illustrated, 8/18/64.

This full-length article features Rocky and offers a window on minor league ball; it predates the movie Bull Durham.

The Return of Rocky: A Welcome Sequel: In His 39th Pro Season, Giant Coach is Just Looking for Place to Spit,” by Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times.  3/25/85.

Rocky Bridges, the most colorful character in Valley baseball history by Bob Young.  The Arizona Republic 10/14/10.

For Rocky Bridges, baseball really was fun and games,” Jerry Crowe, Angeles Times, 7/24/11.


Reference sites:

Baseball-Reference is a compendium of facts on major league ballplayers.  See Rocky Bridges.

Wikipedia’s entry on Rocky Bridges.


Reverse of the Salem Buccaneer card

Reverse of the Salem Buccaneer card

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One Good Life: Rocky Bridges (1927-2015)

Everett Lamar “Rocky” Bridges Jr., 87, passed away last week of natural causes in the town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where he moved with his family in 1970.

Rocky was a Major League baseball player and a manager in the minor leagues, including 9 years as the manager of the the Phoenix Giants, the San Francisco Giants top minor league team.

Born in Refugio, TX, his family moved to California and he graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic H.S. in 1947. Signed that year, he broke into the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, becoming the 8,344th major leaguer.

Rocky was an infielder, playing second, third, and shortstop.  In 11 years in the majors, he played for 7 teams: Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, and the Los Angeles Angels in their inaugural season, 1961.

A card I wish I owned! Rocky with the Cincinnati Redlegs, circa 1953.

Rocky with the Cincinnati Redlegs, circa 1953.  A card I wish I owned!  (Perhaps I did at one time?)

Rocky had a career batting average of .247 and never hit more than 5 home runs or stole more than 6 bases in a season.

After his playing days, Rocky served as a minor league manager for 21 years, leading teams in over 2800 games.  In addition to several years with the Phoenix Giants, teams he led included the San Jose Bees, the El Paso Sun Kings, the Hawaiian Islanders, the Albuquerque Dukes, and the Buffalo Bisons.

Called by some a “journeyman” Major League baseball player, Bridges is well-appreciated by aficionados as one of baseball’s most quotable quipsters, perhaps the best ever.  For example, speaking of his longest tenure with one team, 4 years with Cincinnati, he said “It took me that long to learn to spell it.”

He made the All Star team in 1958 when he was with the Washington Senators. He reportedly said “I never got in the game, but I sat on the bench with Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Yogi Berra…I gave ‘em instructions on how to sit.”

Some other of his quotes:

“A public address announcer thought Lamar sounded lousy and started calling me Rocky. For quite awhile I thought it was because of my build. Then I realized it fit my game.”

 “I’m the only man in the history of the game who began his career in a slump and stayed in it.”

“The main quality a great third base coach must have is a fast runner.”

In 2011 he reminisced about his life with a Los Angeles Times reporter. “I had fun playing baseball…Many of the players now, I’m not sure they have fun playing the game.”

My path first crossed with Rocky in the mid 1990’s on a trip to Coeur d’Alene (“CDA”) to visit with my wife’s brother and his family who resided there; my wife’s sister-in-law is Rocky’s daughter.  Over the years we’ve made numerous trips to CDA and are fortunate to have seen and enjoyed Rocky and his family over holidays and at regularly scheduled family breakfasts and lunches. Very special treats were visits to Rocky’s home and having him give us impromptu, guided tours through his collection of baseball memorabilia.

For a number of years Rocky had a special stool at the Lakers Inn Bar in downtown CDA.  You knew he was there overseeing a can of Coor’s Light when you saw the car with license plates “O fer” parked out front.

There is much more to say about Rocky, too much for this blog post, so I’ll soon provide links to several articles that help flesh him out.

Rocky’s wife, Mary, died in 2008. They had 3 boys and a girl, all of whom live in the Pacific Northwest with their families including grandchildren.

R.I.P. Rocky.

Brooklyn Dodger rookie in 1953. "He was called the groundhog at Montreal because of his hound-like fielding of ground balls."

Brooklyn Dodger rookie in 1953. “He was called the groundhog at Montreal because of his hound-like fielding of ground balls.”

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King Tides and other interesting facts

On the west coast today’s tides, along with the last two days’, are popularly known as “king tides.”  King tides are the highest tides of the year.  Yesterday’s higher high tide in San Francisco Bay, 6.9 feet above MLLW* was just above today’s high tide of 6.8 feet above MLLW.  Tomorrow’s higher high tide will be slightly lower, and the higher high tide height will continue to decrease until February 7th when it is predicted to reach 5.2 feet. Then the high tides will again increase in height, reaching 6.8 feet again on February 18th, another “king tide” day.

Visual of yesterday's king tide, courtesy of the 2015 Northern California Tidelog.

Visual of yesterday’s king tide, courtesy of the 2015 Northern California Tidelog.

Please note that after yesterday’s king tide, the next tide was a “minus” tide. That is, the low water level was below MLLW. Taking the different between the high and low tides’heights, we have 8.1 feet. That is a lot of water leaving San Francisco Bay in just a few hours!  With this much water moving out, the mean maximum ebb tide at the Golden Gate can approach 5 mph and is easily observed with the naked eye from land.  (Details at end of this post.)

Bay water lapping at the steps down to the Dolphin Club beach.

Bay water lapping at the steps down to the Dolphin Club beach.









King tides are the focus of the California King Tides Project, which is intended to help citizens visualize how a rising sea level will impact their lives.

The California King Tides Project is organized by a partnership among several state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations. This season’s organizers are:


Some readers are aware that, for the past 24 years, I’ve been swimming in San Francisco Bay regularly.  I especially enjoy swimming in the winter, when temperatures at their lowest, in mid-January, are normally around 49-50 F.  While this may sound like a strange recreational pursuit, I’m joined every winter at the Dolphin Club by a growing body of “Polar Bear” aspirants, which now numbers in the hundreds.  (One achieves a Polar Bear by swimming 40 miles between and including December 21 and March 21 of the following year.  No wetsuits, honor system. I have 23 straight PB’s, far fewer than a clubmate’s 38 in a row.)

As best I can remember, for the prior 23 winters, the low temperature in the winter has varied between 47 F and 51 F. This winter is on track to break that pattern, since the water is now 55-56 F and hasn’t been below 54 F.  (These unusually high low temperatures are consistent with last summer’s temperatures, which for most of August-mid October, were in the range of 65-68 F instead of the normal 60 F or so.)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a number of stations (>2000 measuring points) along the country’s coasts that measure tide heights, water temperatures, and other variables.  The station nearest to and most relevant to the Dolphin Club is Station 9414290, which is about 2 miles west of the club and just inside

the Golden Gate.  For those readers interested in the subject or wanting more facts on tides, temperatures, etc., the Station’s website has it all.

Crissy Field tidal station...NOAA Station 9414290

Crissy Field tidal station…NOAA Station 9414290

Most interestingly, Station 9414290, also known as the Crissy Field Station, is one of the country’s major scientific landmarks, as it is the oldest continually operating tidal gauge in the Western Hemisphere.  The first bit of data was recorded on June 30, 1854, and this station has been providing data ever since. For more on the station, see

*(MLLW is Mean Lower Low Water, The average of the lower low water height of each tidal day observed over the National Tidal Datum Epoch (1983-2001).

Currents in SF Bay @ Max ebb.  These speeds, approach in 5 mph at the Golden Gate, are estimates but real on a day like today.  Courtesy of

Currents in SF Bay @ Max ebb. These speeds, approach in 5 mph at the Golden Gate, are estimates but real on a day like today. Courtesy of

Posted in Outdoors, Saltwater | 1 Comment


A few days ago, at a meeting of the board of a development stage angel investment, the subject of crowdfunding came up. Although none present had first-hand experience with crowdfunding, it sounded like it might be a good way to go about raising additional funding.

So, since that meeting, to advance my professional knowledge base, I’ve invested a few hours into researching crowdfunding*.  The subject meshes well with my interest in startup financing and could be helpful to a couple of other projects with which I’m involved.

There is a lot of crowdfunding information available on the web – sources include bloggers, Wikipedia, vendors, lawyers, and the SEC.  Many authors “have a dog in the fight.”

As the end goal of my research was to develop a prospect list of vendors (crowdfunding sites) that could help locate equity investors for for-profit projects in the US, I assumed this would be a simple, easy research project.  Well, it wasn’t as simple as I’d assumed, because the term “crowdfunding” covers a lot, plus it’s a fairly new, rapidly growing activity.  Plus, there are different types of crowdfunding with vendors in many different countries operating under different rules.

I learned fairly quickly that much of the chatter about crowdfunding is related to rewards-based crowd-funding.  According the The Ultimate Crowdfunding Guide (“The Guide”) “Rewards-based crowd-funding is where contributions are exchanged for current or future of goods or services.  Individuals or companies who launch campaigns may compensate contributors with something like a t-shirt, a copy of whatever they’re building or even just a thank you.”

The well-known crowdfunding sites, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, are confined to rewards-based fundraising.

Unfortunately, rewards based crowd-funding doesn’t work for the for-profit projects I have in mind.  These projects need money in the form of equity funding and rewards aren’t a practical approach.

However, according to The Guide, “Equity crowdfunding cannot take place in the US at scale right now.  That isn’t to say it can’t take place at all.  It can and does.  There are complex rules in current law that allow a company to sell stock to “accredited investors,” which is basically a fancy term for millionaires… The second problem for equity crowd-funding in the US relates to solicitation.  In short, it is illegal to advertise the sale of stock.”


So, we have complex rules that, since the Jobs Act of 2012, the SEC is in the process of revising. Better talk with a good attorney!

However, notwithstanding the formidable legal issues surrounding fundraising in accordance with SEC rules, brave entrepreneurs have stepped into the ring and launched equity crowdfunding sites.  US based equity crowdfunding platforms include: – a prominent site for equity crowd funding of technology based companies.   Bits/bytes centric: mobile, Saas, Internet, etc.  Their syndicate functionality is big plus: – The best site for consumer goods companies. – lead generation site with accredited investors.  By subscription. – offers both reward-based and equity funding. – says “Over $343mm in collective investor interest on SeedInvest”  (Whatever that means.)

As best I can tell, each of the above is no more or less than a lead generating site. That is, each enables a startup to publicize itself – to the site’s registered “investors’ and, in some cases, to the general public.  What is unclear is the legality of each sites’ approach as well as how the downstream mechanics work to achieve money in the bank.

There are hurdles and a legal thicket.  But let’s say we can (or think we can) get over them and raise money. Are there more issues to consider?  Certainly!  A main consideration, one the successful fundraiser will need to live with, is investor management and reporting.   For more on this along with other downsides of crowdfunding, see this article on the “9 Dirty Secrets of Crowdfunding.”

Having spent a few hours looking into crowdfunding, it’s apparent that it’s complicated, more complicated than the vendors advertise.  So I’ll continue to dig.

P.S. Here are a couple of articles by lawyers that I surfaced (but haven’t yet read):
In the Vanderbilt Law Review: Making Crowdfunding Credible
In the Tennessee Law Review: Proceed at Your Peril: Crowdfunding and the Securities Act of 1933

*The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of “crowdfunding” is “the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community.”


Posted in Investing, Start-ups | Leave a comment

Berea High School (Ohio) ’62 Scholarship

I have fond memories of growing up in Berea, Ohio and my 3 years at Berea High School, where I had 360 or so classmates, many of whom are friends.  A couple of
years ago, in conjunction with my Class of 1962’s 50th reunion, I undertook an effort to create, with the help of classmates, a scholarship for seniors at Berea High.

The scholarship was created with the assistance of The Education Foundation (TEF), a local non-profit that supports Berea schools and teachers.  I’m pleased to say three ’62 scholarships have been awarded and it looks like the scholarship will soon be fully endowed.

A near term “to-do”  is to work with TEF to develop a checklist of best practices, a roadmap, so other classes can more easily create scholarships in the class’s name.

Berea High School

Berea High School

Below is a recent email sent to the 45 or so donors with more details.  (BTW, if you’d like to make a tax deductible gift to the fund, go to where you may do so easily.)



Dear Berea High ’62 Classmate,

Thank you for your support of the Berea High School ‘62’s Scholarship fund at The Education Foundation (TEF). Your gift, along with those of over 40 ’62 classmates, has enabled the award of three $500 scholarships to BHS graduating seniors, each of whom is attending college in Ohio. Also, thanks to donations since our 50th Reunion from several classmates, our scholarship fund at TEF has grown to $8,814.20.

The first three ’62 Scholarship recipients are:
Danielle Wolfe, BHS Class of 2012, who attends Heidelberg University
Samantha Carson, BHS Class of 2013, who attends Ashland University
Sarah Strinker, BHS Class of 2014, who attends Ohio University.

More on the recipients can be found at

This past spring TEF awarded 22 scholarships including ours. Recipients of scholarships issued by TEF are chosen by a committee of local adults familiar with the Senior class members; for each scholarship, the committee works from guidelines provided by the scholarship’s sponsor. In the case of ’62, our guidelines are that the student be academically able, have demonstrated service to the local community, and be in need of financial support to continue his or her studies beyond high school. Also, our class asked that the selection committee strive to select a deserving student who might otherwise be overlooked by local scholarship grantors.

The Education Foundation
Since it’s inception in 1996, TEF has awarded over $400,000 in grants and scholarships to Berea School District recipients – it’s a significant resource to area students and teachers.

’62 classmates volunteer at TEF: Consolina Templeman is serving on TEF’s Board of Trustees, while ‘62’s Don Auble is Trustee Emeritus.

TEF is a 501(c)(3) so all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

In connection with our BHS ’66 50th Reunion, class members created a scholarship fund which so far has provided $1500 to three BHS Seniors for their college expenses. From the results to date, we’re encouraged to strive for an endowed scholarship fund, which will be met when our fund reaches approximately $14,000.

I’d like to convey my personal thanks to each of you for your support of TEF and the ’62 Scholarship. Also, TEF and I offer incremental thanks to those of you who met in 2012 by phone to discuss the creation of a scholarship fund.

Since each of our social circles is unique, please consider reaching out to additional classmates who might be open to supporting the ’62 Scholarship fund at TEF.

Warm regards & Season’s Greetings,

Krist Jake

Donations to TEF can be made by credit card or PayPal at, or by check or securities to its office at 390 Fair Street, Berea, OH 44017. If making a gift other than by Paypal, please identify yourself as a member of ’62. For questions on TEF, contact Kim Dettmer, Executive/Development Director, at (216)898-8270 or For questions on the ’62 scholarship, feel free to contact me anytime.

We were proud to be the "Berea Braves"

We were proud to be the “Berea Braves”


Posted in Berea High School, Best Practices, Non-profits | Leave a comment