Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, speaks at Soka University Commencement on May 26

Daniel Habuki, PhD, president of Soka University of America, announces that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, co-founder of the field of positive psychology, will be SUA’s Commencement speaker on Fri, May 26.

Csikszentmihalyi was born in Fiume, Italy (now Rijeka, Croatia), to Hungarian parents. He left Italy in 1956 to study in the United States and received a PhD in Human Development from the University of Chicago in 1965. He started teaching at a nearby college and began developing the basic model of the flow experience. In 1970, Mihaly returned to the University of Chicago, where he became Chair of the Department of Psychology. 

In 1999, he accepted an offer to teach at the Drucker School of Management of the Claremont Graduate University in California, where he later started the first doctoral program in Positive Psychology. He is currently the co-director of the doctoral program in Positive Developmental Psychology, in the Department of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont. He is the author or co-author of 250 peer-reviewed articles and 19 books, translated into 26 languages.

Submitted photo

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi speaks at Soka Commencement on May 26

He is considered the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology. He once said: “Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.”

In 2009, Csikszentmihalyi was awarded the Clifton Strengths Prize and received the Széchenyi Prize in Budapest in 2011. He sits on the Board of Trustees of the International Positive Psychology Association, an organization he co-founded in 2001.

“We’re very proud that Soka University is welcoming Dr. Csikszentmihalyi,” added Dr. Habuki.  “Our mission is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life. Discussions on happiness, creativity and positive approaches to life and peace are central to our core values. We hope that this Commencement will help empower students to live happy and productive lives.”

Soka offers an 8:1 student/faculty ratio, average class size of 12, and study abroad for every undergraduate student (included in tuition.)  Admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less may be eligible for Soka Opportunity Scholarships which cover full tuition.  Additional scholarship opportunities are available for higher income levels. About 60 percent of Soka University’s students come from the US and 40 percent have come from more than 50 other countries.   www.soka.edu

LBCC’s Cinco de Mayo event at The Ranch nets significant funds

Sunday night, at a Cinco de Mayo event at The Ranch, supporters of the Community Clinic met George Heed’s challenge to match his offer of a $50,000 grant – helped out by a $20,000 anonymous donation. 

Councilman Bob Whalen served as auctioneer and emcee.

“This is one of my favorite events,” said Whalen. “Their mission says it all. It is so noble, we as a community should be proud.”

Whalen introduced Laura Tarbox, honorary chair of the event. 

“I was on the board around the turn of the century,” said Tarbox. “I fell in love and I’ve stayed connected.”

Clinic director Dr. Jorge Rubal spoke eloquently of plans to begin more service to youngsters.

“It is imperative that we have someone there [clinic] for them on a daily basis,” said Rubal. He won hearts with the introduction of four-year-old Harper, one of his patients. 

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dr. Jorge Rubal, CEO and Medical Director of LBCC, introduces young patient Harper Hand

“As a dad of two small boys, their happiness and health is always on my mind.  I feel the same about the children of our community,” Rubal said. 

“The funds raised at our annual event have gotten us very close to being able to add a full time pediatrician to our staff,” he added. “I’m so grateful for the way this community always shows up when presented with an opportunity to advance our mission.”

Another highlight of the evening was Jason Feddy singing a song he composed for the event. 

“Some people got insurance up the yin yang and if that’s you, then whoop de-do, you don’t need my advice, “ he sang. “But if you don’t got none and you are burning up the whizbang….Thank your stars that you’re where you are, in the city of Laguna Beach where you can put your glands in the healing hands of the LBCC.”

“This song is crude, but I am full of gratitude for the LBCC,” Feddy added.

Feddy got lots of laughs and a standing ovation. To hear the entire lyric, call him at FM station KX 95.5 and maybe he will sing it for you on the air. 

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Board of directors’ member George Heed is all smiles about his generous matching gift of $50,000

On a more serious note, George Heed, who is on the board of directors and gave a $50,000 matching gift in support of the Clinic’s pediatrics program, noted, “It takes a village to fulfill the mission of the Clinic and we really pulled our village together to support our Pediatrics program. My goodness but we are blessed. I’m so thankful and humbled to be a part of this team.”

Among the guests: past clinic presidents Roya Cole and Dr. Pamela  Lawrence, opportunity prize winner of a trip to New York Marshal Ininns, David and Dora Orgill, Hasty and Mo Honarkar, Mary Kate and Kirk Saunders, Al Roberts and Ken Jillson, Tom and Carolyn Bent and Mayor Toni Iseman.

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com.

--Barbara Diamond

From mushrooms and peas on a plate to bad sex: Here Comes the Sun has something for all tastes


Here Comes the Sun, subtitled Beach Reads, is a compilation of short stories, poetry and personal essays collected into an anthology by Third Street Writers founding member, Christine Fugate, and edited by Rina Palumbo, Amy Francis Dechary and Cecile Sarruf.

The pieces in the book were set in motion in response to the prompt “Here Comes the Sun” and were submitted by local as well as national writers.

I found the book entertaining, a light read, a compilation which will certainly appeal to the over-50 crowd, as a number of the stories and poems are clearly inspired by memories of long-ago childhoods and adolescence, while some others deal with the challenges of aging or the death of a loved one.

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Photo by Sara Nuss-Galles

L-R: Third Street Writers Amy Dechary, Victoria Kertz, James Cooper, Annette Schlichter, Sara Nuss-Galles, John Gardiner, Peggy Larson, Cecile Sarruf

The thoughtful short pieces – several quite humorous, including a story by Lagunan Edward Kaufman about phalluses in Bhutan which could result in a wave of tourism to that country – will also appeal to readers who love language and the impact of a perfectly chosen metaphor. In her story/essay The Perfect Tan, Laguna Beach’s Victoria Kertz pens the following line, which will stay with me for a long time: “I chose to lie rigidly in the sun, like someone getting a root canal.” Those words precisely reflect the earnest determination to get a tan that I recall as a teenager in the early seventies.

Fae Dremock knows how to hook a reader: her first sentence in Summer Blues begins, “The month before our couch caught fire…” Try not to read that story!

The first piece in the book, Blues, by Anne Gudger, will rip your heart out with its evocation of a difficult birth and meditation on blue as a color, a mood, and a signifier. 

Foggy Day at Heisler, by James Cooper, shines with insights, such as “it’s a gift to notice from a distance.”

Every reader will have his or her favorite, I’m sure. From mushrooms and peas to bad sex – this anthology has something for everyone’s taste.

The book is available at Laguna Beach Books and online at Amazon. The eye-catching cover was created by local photographer and visual artist Jennifer Griffiths.

The 501(c) 3 Third Street Writers, a nonprofit based in Laguna Beach, is dedicated to fostering the development of new and veteran writers by providing opportunities to study, produce, and showcase literature. Third Street Writers sponsors writing workshops, public reading events, and community outreach in an effort to promote the art of writing. 

For more information, call (858) 775-3114 or visit www.thirdstreetwriters.org.

Rossandra White will talk about her book, Monkey’s Wedding, on May 21 at LB Books

Local author Rossandra White talks about her book Monkey’s Wedding on Sun, May 21, at 4 p. m. There is no charge for this event.

Adolescents Elizabeth and Tururu—she’s white, he’s black—share an uneasy friendship on a remote sisal plantation in 1953 Zimbabwe. The novel’s dual viewpoints afford an intimate glimpse into the two faces of a country at a crucial time in its history. 

“There’s this one scene when my characters, Elizabeth and Tururu, are on their way to a small general store across the veld when it starts raining,” White says. “The sun comes out and she cries, Monkey’s Wedding. It’s what we used to say in South Africa when there was a sun-shower, when the sun shines and it rains at the same time. Right then I knew it would be the perfect title for the book: intriguing and exotic.”

Monkey’s Wedding, Rossandra White’s latest book

A fourth generation South African, Rossandra White is a blogger and author of two YA novels, Monkey’s Wedding and Mine Dances, which are set in Zimbabwe and Zambia.A recipient of many writing awards, White has been published in Writer’s Digest and Interstice, among others.

From computer operator to letter carrier, executive secretary to ceramic artist, White has found her passion living in Laguna Beach with her two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Fergie and Jake, where she writes and blogs about the wild old days of her childhood in Africa as well as the wild new days of her life here in the states. When she’s not writing, she enjoys yoga, dancing, and hiking the hills behind her home in Laguna Canyon.

Porter is pleased with the new TOW trail: What a difference!

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Photo by Tim Templeton

Dennis’ Tidbits


May 16, 2017

We’re average, barometrically speaking, which is a good thing

Today the barometric pressure stands at 29.92 inches of mercury on the Aneroid Barometer here in town and that just happens to be the average pressure around the globe at any given time. That’s 1014 millibars.

Here in Southern California there is generally little fluctuation from day to day. Normally it hovers somewhere between 29.80 and 30.20, however on occasion, predominately during the winter months when cyclones and anticyclones are much more pronounced and intense, I’ve seen it as low as 29.02 in late January of 2010 as the jet stream was well displaced to the south with strong lows making landfall as far south as Point Conception. 

Most of the time these lows make landfall somewhere between Northern California and British Columbia and we’re on the southern fringe so generally the barometer doesn’t go through too much of a mood swing. It might drop from 30.10 down to 29.80 or so and that change is barely noticeable by the hour, but way up there in the cyclone belt the barometer can go from say 30.30 to 29.10 overnight during the winter.

The strongest high pressure cores are usually polar to Canada by nature with readings as high as 31.40. Down here the highest I’ve recorded since 1958 is 30.42 simply because we’re far away from the anticyclone’s core which is usually over Utah where it might be up around 30.70. That’s when we get our strongest Santana wind events.

The lowest pressures are found in the core of tropical Category 5 hurricanes or typhoons or cyclones depending on which body of water they are. In the strongest tropical systems the pressure may go as low as 26.20. Uh, oh, my computer is about to do an update… I hate it when that happens. It’s not the first time. 

More on this subject on Friday, ALOHA!


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