Monday, December 31, 2007

Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back Original Theatrical Trailer

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Boise State's Renaissance Institute gets a big boost from Osher Foundation

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Secret Lives

L. Ron Hubbard
November 19, 1997

A biography of Hubbard's life and the Scientology cult.

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Humane U.S. Slaughterhouse ban creates new dilemmas

After 1986 Kentucky Derby contender Ferdinand overcame 18-1 odds to become champion, he was later sold to stud in Japan. Then in 2002, the victor was evidently sent to slaughter, prompting a “from winner to dinner” hearkening slogan, used by the outraged thoroughbred community in their successful campaign to ban the last of U.S. horse slaughterhouses, meant for human consumption.

They still kill U.S. horses for food you know. And a bad hitch is that many of these once beloved creatures are beginning to face horrifically longer transports to Mexico and Canada, which excludes federal jurisdiction, from our monitoring for humane treatment. Deplorably overcrowded trailers and more obfuscated slaughterhouses continuing with questionable sanitary practices are hot concerns. Another problem facing new west ranchers are higher hay prices, which coupled with the slaughterhouse closures has impelled some to abandon their (mostly unbranded) unaffordable horses onto neighboring ranch and public lands.

For those who haven’t heard, it may come as a jolt to the head, that our championed horses now face even murkier final finish lines, before export to lucrative overseas markets, where horsemeat has long been considered a delicacy. Some horsemeat, after beyond-border-butchering makes the long haul back into the U.S. for exotic animal consumption at a controversial zoo near you.

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Twilight of the Books

What will life be like if people stop reading?

Commentary on this by Ran Prieur:

"There's a smart piece in the New Yorker this week, Twilight of the Books, about how reading and non-reading affect human consciousness. In ancient Greece, when reading was new, it was a kind of trance or possession -- people had trouble distinguishing between the reader and the text, the actor and the role. You can still see that today, when fans of TV shows treat the actors like their characters, or a cowardly president can be popular by swaggering like a "strong leader," or activists think protests and petitions can change anything.

One of the things we're going to have to do, before we get out of this ugly age of history, is to learn to awaken from the trance of the symbolic -- I don't mean we won't go there at all, but that we won't lose focus on what's symbolic and what's real. George Bush is more spiritually evolved than his opponents when he says the Constitution is "just a piece of paper." Laws and treaties and money and other pieces of paper begin as agreements between people, but when the people no longer agree, they become meaningless, and the advantage goes to the first person to notice the loss of meaning."

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Lakota group "declares sucession" from the U.S.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Visible Man: An FBI Target Puts His Whole Life Online

"So it dawned on him: If being candid about his flights could clear his name, why not be open about everything? "I've discovered that the best way to protect your privacy is to give it away," he says, grinning as he sips his venti Black Eye. Elahi relishes upending the received wisdom about surveillance. The government monitors your movements, but it gets things wrong. You can monitor yourself much more accurately. Plus, no ambitious agent is going to score a big intelligence triumph by snooping into your movements when there's a Web page broadcasting the Big Mac you ate four minutes ago in Boise, Idaho. "It's economics," he says. "I flood the market.""

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hailey's Comet

How Bruce Willis Romanced and then Jilted a Small Idaho Town

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Poetry and poets in rags

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A Persistence of Vision

from the Boise Weekly - Not Your Everyday Newspaper website:


By Tony Evans

Artist Richard Lauran Sample in locker No. 8, otherwise known as "Gallery 8."
Tony Evans

Richard Lauran Sample and Gallery 8

Just across the highway from the airport in Hailey, where Gulf Stream jets blast off regularly, lies the South Wood Self Storage Facility. Row upon row of identical containers are filled with furnishings and cargo, all except for locker No. 8, otherwise known as "Gallery 8," a space used by artist Richard Lauran Sample. Above the door reads a sign: "Art Patrons Association of Idaho," which Sample refers to as "a group dedicated to the arts, music and literature." Just inside is the face of the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby, "... wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door." A cat named Turpentine studies the ghost-like face in a jar and then ranges freely through the menagerie of paintings and sculptures by Sample that fill Gallery 8: abstracts, Westerns and magical realism paintings, canvases of Batman and numerous other examples of skilled craftsmanship and determined artistic vision. There is an unfinished ivory-handled knife, a tidy collection of cobalt blue glassware and a series of clocks marking time at various Air Force bases across the United States, including Area 51. Gallery 8 is a long way from the Bel-Air, Calif., mansion Sample once called home.

Ever since Sample's mother, Virginia, posed for the Columbia Pictures torch lady painting, Sample has lived in and around the glamour of Hollywood. During the 1960s, he was featured on several television shows, including the Jack Bailey show Queen for a Day, on which lucky American housewives were given makeovers and European vacations. "I sold 75 pieces from [the notoriety of] that show," he recalls. Over the years, people like Raymond Burr, Edgar G. Robinson, and Tony Dow of Leave it to Beaver fame have purchased Sample's work. "I traded one of my Castle paintings to Hollywood stunt man Charlie Wilcox—a family friend who worked on the movie Ben Hur and also did stunt work on The Creature from the Black Lagoon—for a small Picasso in the 1970s," says Sample. "I should have held onto the Picasso."

Today, Sample's studio contains 108 paintings, all of which he has produced within the last year, while restoring antique oil paintings and repairing artwork in the Sun Valley area to make ends meet.

"I paint fast," he says. "I'm an insomniac, so I rest. I don't sleep. I'll lie down on that couch there and have dreams and visions." Like Salvador Dali, who also experimented with the state between wakefulness and dreaming, Sample creates surrealist landscapes. His are populated with the artifacts of his youth spent in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, where he pumped water from a well and milked 13 cows each day before walking to school. For sustenance, he hunted and fished the nearby James River, named after Jesse James. During a stint as a ranger in the U.S. Army's Third Missile Command, Sample was part of a three-man team that fired the 32-foot-long Honest John Rocket.

"It was fully manual'" he says. "We could hit a moving tank at 15 miles." He also painted mess halls in the military.

Sample's surrealism features whisky jugs and mushrooms, mechanical parts and hillside shacks. A recent work, "Lunar Reactor," has taken hillbilly motifs and expanded them upon the cosmos. The oil painting shines under several coats of deep varnish that the artist has poured over sections of the piece. "When I am finished, there will be a three-dimensional effect. You will be able to see around the individual brush strokes."

A similar fascination with technique developed some years ago into Sample's black and white "Castle Paintings," which he describes as "oil etchings." These medieval ramparts above calm rivers are painted using brushes only a few hairs thick with paint strokes made in exactly five directions, similar to the etching procedure used in the production of the U.S. dollar bill.

Sample worked alongside his father at many trades during his youth: making trick poker tables, saddles, doing bronze work and cabinetry. The father and son also ran the West Coast Mint, pounding out thousands of custom bronze medallions under a 350-ton die press, including one of a farm field with a rocket ship commemorating the POMO Air Force Installation in California. They later built a bronze foundry in Pasa Robles from the ground up, which would reconstruct Remington sculptures to exact specifications. An accomplished gunsmith and saddle-maker, Charles Sample designed and built the spectacular silver saddles used in the Pasadena Rose Bowl New Year's Day Parade. He also introduced his son to the magic and glamour of Hollywood.

"My father made a solid silver telephone and platinum garter clips for Mae West," Sample says. "She tried to give him a Deusenberg, but he turned her down because the car didn't have a spare tire." Sample worked extensively for movie star Bo Derek and made gold leaf and wooden jewelry for Willem de Kooning's wife, Elaine. De Kooning collected Sample's work and corresponded with him for some time in letters. Sample keeps the correspondences in boxes with color snapshots and other personal memorabilia. One photo from 1973 was taken at the Marion Davies Mansion in Bel-Air. In it, Sample stands beside a gingerbread castle he made for the Christmas/birthday party of Charlton Heston.

"I put 7,000 pieces of candy in that cake," he recalls. Nearby stands J. Paul Getty and Sample's one-time paramour, Maria Nicolosi.

Sample reminisces about the life he shared with Nicolosi for seven years in the mansion, which was built by William Randolph Hearst for his lover, silent film star Marion Davies.

"The place was unbelievable," he recalls. "It had every tropical tree you could imagine. They used to shoot Tarzan movies in the back yard. There were waterfalls and caves. The swimming pool was the largest in the United States and ran like a snake through the property. Vincent Price collected my paintings. He would stop in from across the street and have tea with us."

According to Sample, the patriarch of the Nicolosi clan, sculptor Joseph Nicolosi, an artist of international significance, held a 50 percent interest in the Park Plaza Hotel in New York City. He had passed away before Sample took up residence in the mansion with his daughter.

After parting ways with Maria Nicolosi, Sample married 1969 Playboy Playmate Paige Young who later died at her L.A home of a sleeping pill overdose. An artist in her own right, Young's impressionistic portrait of Sample hangs in Gallery 8.

Sample was born on Friday the 13th of November 1936, a "triple Scorpio" by astrological accounts. "I have my Sun, Moon and Mercury in Scorpio," he says, which may explain his resourcefulness and intensity. The legend of Scorpio tells of a scorpion sent by the immortal huntress Artemis to slay Orion, the great hunter. Scorpio, ever resourceful, fulfilled the deed for the goddess and was given a place in the night sky as his reward.

"I may not be a famous artist, but I am a successful one," Sample said. And prolific. To date, he has completed and sold 2,761 paintings and is currently at work on six more.

Sample also inherited a collection of books from his father published by the "photographer on horseback," L.A. Huffman, who traveled the West in the 1870s. A book of glass plate prints and accompanying stories have provided the heart of Sample's work for many years. He renders the photographs in sepia-toned oils. "There is a story behind every one of these paintings," he points out. One is of a prairie Indian burial on stilts, entitled "Spirit Poles." Another represents a self-portrait of Huffman, painted, as they all are, on maximum density particle board, which Sample says will never warp or bend. "These will last a thousand years," he says. "You can wash them with soap and water."

His decision to work in "permanence" came after working in the art of restoration at the L.A. County Art Museum, where several of his cardboard collages were hung in the 1960s.

"I'm self-taught," he explains, while extolling the virtues of Ralph Mayer's The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques.

"I have had three copies of this book over the years. It is the best book ever written for artists wanting to learn. It has taught me permanence. It continues to teach me the chemistry and permanence of paint," he says.

Sample proudly displays a diploma for an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts from California's Polytechnic State University, which he earned after completing a rigorous examination on his knowledge of things such as paint chemistry.

Yet Sample's interests and talents range far beyond the fine arts and include herbology, anthropology, astrology and rock-collecting, to name a few. Against one wall, beside a tableau of religious icons and tribal mementos, is a case filled with meteorites.

Among the artifacts Sample has collected as an amateur archeologist are two nearly perfectly round black stones he found in a dried river bottom near Shoshone. He explains that the natives used them as weapons at one time, bound in hard leather at the end of a battle axe. Sample is incorporating each of the balls into meter-high white plaster abstract sculptures that will resonate with deep history and contemporary sculptural forms. "I also practice Tai Chi and read quantum physics," he says, "including just about anything Albert Einstein wrote."

Sample's studies in physics pertain to certain technical projects he plans to undertake with the U.S. military, projects he would rather not discuss publicly. Relying on friends from NASA, he has plans to install a live video feed of nearby heavenly bodies to a televison set in his studio in the near future.

Even in Idaho, where he continues restoration, cabinetry and painting projects for actors Bruce Willis, John Larroquette and others, Sample still has the occasional brush with fame.

"One night at my brother Bill's, Muffet Hemingway," who is Margaux Hemingway's sister, Joan, "came driving straight across the yard and right over the Christmas tree," Sample says. "Muffet walked into the house and started munching on a crab leg, waved to herself in the glass window and then got into her car and drove away back across the yard. My brother came out and said, 'Who's the chick grazin' in the kitchen?'"

Sample will auction off some of his work in spring of 2008 and give 15 percent of the proceeds to the Parkinson's Foundation. "All of these 108 paintings will be sold in two days," he says. "The last show I had, 1,500 people showed up at the Sage Brush Arena in Hailey. My place is always open to students and lovers of art," he says.

URL for this story:

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

What If Every Child Had A Laptop?

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Bad Rap


When rap music emerged from the inner city in the 1980s, I had friends telling me this new black art form was going to change the world with its explosive power and poetry. Rap threw a light on the realities of growing up on the streets. I tried getting into it but was already partial to reggae and Motown. Soul was too cheesy and jazz too refined. I liked the blues, but these pounding urban chants called rap were just too hard for me to grasp—too culturally specific.

Students were "anthropologizing" the new sound, tracing it back to West African "bragging songs," which were once sung around the fire by men after a hunt. I expected it all to blow over in a few months. In 1993 I heard cowboys shouting gangsta rap epithets at a barn dance in Picabo. A few years later I saw children in the South Pacific island kingdom of Tonga making finger signs on the beach. Their parents were mystified. The signals are meant to convey the street addresses of inner city kids or maybe the dealing turf of particular gangs.

The extraordinary power of the music was followed by styles based on urban necessity. Baggy pants and deep-pocket hoodies began as practical garb for concealing weapons during urban warfare, which ensued during drug wars or after being "dissed" by a rival. I was still trying to figure out Mr. T's gold chains when rap music videos were suddenly filled with extravagant images of shallowness and depravity. At least Mr. T was funny. Bob Marley was even religious.

What began as a dynamic form of self-expression from an overlooked segment of the urban population soon became the worldwide hip-hop phenomenon. Soon, even the most insulated of us had heard about inner city kids killing each other for sneakers, fixated on a culture of drugs and violence as the only way out of poverty.

Music, poetry and dance had once promised an alternative, but some rap musicians and producers went from telling tales about the plight of the ghetto (Tupac Shakur's "My Block") to a celebration of the violence, greed and misogyny at the heart of gang street culture (50 Cent and others).

A lot of money was made all around and rebellious girls looking for something different from daddy seemed willing to jump at whatever caricature they saw on TV, even if they had to become "bitches and hos" to get it.

Because of the beguiling nature of the media, every generation's cry for help runs the risk of turning its victims into heroes. Today, political leaders from the Caribbean to Israel are trying to turn hip hop back into the social consciousness movement that marked its beginnings, incorporating messages of peace and tolerance into its rhythms. But rap will always have the tragedy and hope of the streets of the world in its rhymes. Its pulse will continue to tell us what we need to know about the world of the inner city and the dispossessed.

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Tolkien At the End of Time - Alchemical Secrets of The Lord of the Rings

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Friday, November 23, 2007

D.B. Cooper, where are you?

Saturday is 36th anniversary of hijacker's leap into legend

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

The prodigal son returns to the old homestead

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Charlie Chaplin Speaks

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Christ Climbed Down by Ferlinghetti

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Extreme rich -poor divides

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You can't pray a lie

From Huck Finn:

Say, gimme a chaw tobacker, won't ye?"

I didn't have none, so he left. I went to the raft, and set down in the wigwam to think. But I couldn't come to nothing. I thought till I wore my head sore, but I couldn't see no way out of the trouble. After all this long journey, and after all we'd done for them scoundrels, here it was all come to nothing, everything all busted up and ruined, because they could have the heart to serve Jim such a trick as that, and make him


a slave again all his life, and amongst strangers, too, for forty dirty dollars.

Once I said to myself it would be a thousand times better for Jim to be a slave at home where his family was, as long as he'd got to be a slave, and so I'd better write a letter to Tom Sawyer and tell him to tell Miss Watson where he was. But I soon give up that notion for two things: she'd be mad and disgusted at his rascality and ungratefulness for leaving her, and so she'd sell him straight down the river again; and if she didn't, everybody naturally despises an ungrateful helper, and they'd make Jim feel it all the time, and so he'd feel ornery and disgraced. And then think of me! It would get all around that Huck Finn helped a helper to get his freedom; and if I was ever to see anybody from that town again I'd be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame. That's just the way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he don't want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as long as he can hide, it ain't no disgrace. That was my fix exactly. The more I studied about this the more my conscience went to grinding me, and the more wicked and low-down and ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when it hit me all of a sudden that here was the plain hand of Providence slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the time from up there in heaven,whilst I was stealing a poor old woman's nigger that hadn't ever done me no harm, and now was showing me there's One that's always on the lookout, and ain't a-going to allow no such miserable doings to go only just so fur and no further, I most dropped in my tracks I was so scared. Well, I tried the best I


could to kinder soften it up somehow for myself by saying I was brung up wicked, and so I warn't so much to blame; but something inside of me kept saying, "There was the Sunday-school, you could a gone to it; and if you'd a done it they'd a learnt you there that people that acts as I'd been acting about that helper goes to everlasting fire."

It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie -- I found that out.

So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter -- and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:

Miss Watson, your runaway helper Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send.



I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking -- thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

"All right, then, I'll go to hell" -- and tore it up.

It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never


thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn't. And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Tunnel vision & hot potatoes

Suggestion for Nate Poppino at the Times-News

Hello Nate,

Jim Banholzer here again. I have not heard anything back yet from regarding war-blogs and the story of soldiers bringing back their trauma to the States via quickly changing lanes in tunnels. I did think it was interesting though that there was a major crash in an LAX area tunnel the day after the letter regarding this ran in the Times-News. Made me wonder about all of the contributing factors.

Anyhow, in case you missed it, I wanted to point out that on Sunday the Idaho Statesman ran a front-page story on Military blogs –“Mil blogs”, as they are known. I cannot find that article online on their site, but the same story about how Iraq changed war veteran Alex Horton, originally ran in the Dallas Morning News:

In addition, Alex Horton’s mil-blog is here:

In the Dallas News story, Davie McLemore reports that Wired magazine estimates that there are 1,200 active military blogs. I think that it would be interesting if we could find a soldier from Idaho who is actively reporting on his or her experiences over in Iraq or Afghanistan and bring some of it to your newspaper.

Meanwhile, I would like to offer another suggestion regarding “Is war too much of a hot potato for Idaho classrooms?” I made a similar suggestion to a journalism instructor at Wood River H.S. last year, but she did not want to touch it. Anyhow, I believe that the same suggestion retains its merit and so will paste a modified version of it here:


I would like to suggest a story regarding how war is approached and discussed in some Idaho classrooms.

Here are some questions and ideas that I think would help stimulate healthy dialogue for a reporter assigned with such a mission:

Do students think that some teachers are playing it safe and avoiding subjects too hot to handle?

Do students ever consider that they probably have more open and honest dialogues than the cabinet leaders of our Government do with our own President?

Do students thinks that history books should show that the Bush administration mislead the country in sending us to war?

The disappearance of the recent past seems to be an all too common theme in our schools and textbooks. If students are exploring this subject in their debate clubs, I believe much of the community would be interested in hearing their valuable viewpoints.

How else does the war affect students? Some must have family members and friends overseas right now. Surely, most students know a few who have recently served in our armed forces.

How does the price of gas affect young people who have jobs delivering pizza, etc.?

For those students who are considering military duty or have already signed up – what are your motivations? What do you expect to get out of serving your country? Have you discussed the likelihood of posttraumatic stress disorder with your friends and family? Do future soldiers of America believe that the enemies we fight are somehow less human than we are? Or, that our ‘enemies’ are actually people, much like us, only that they have been thrust into extraordinary different circumstances?

I think that the greater Idaho community would be interested in hearing about this from students’ perspectives. Thank you for considering these questions and comments.

Best regards Nate,

And whenever I hear anything back from, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Jim Banholzer

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Letting go

One cool crisp autumn evening, as I was raking up some pin oak leaves in the front yard, I glanced at the tree above, to see how close it was to becoming bare. Up there, I spied three empty robin nests and instantly collected two of them with a stretch of my long rake. I gently placed the nests on the porch’s knick-knack table, and then looked at the third abandoned nest, forty feet high. This one was going to be more difficult.


Fortunately, I had just purchased a small stepladder from Kings. At Twin Falls prices too.

I drug the ladder through the leaves, over to the oak. Since no one was around, I put my cell phone in my pocket, for emergency, in case I toppled out of the tree.

I donned my best lumberjack shoes, and climbed the tree, using the teetering ladder to get into the first part. Once ascended to twenty feet, I saw two separate branches as logical routes to the last robin’s nest. One was easy and one hard. But if I climbed the easy route, with my heaviness, I would likely splinter off some spindly oak branches and have to take the most dangerous route down. I should have tossed the rake up in the tree before I started. I decided to sit down in the wide expanse where the branches intersected with the trunk, to think it over.


There was a cubbyhole up there in the protection of the tree. With my bare hand I pulled out what looked like radio crystals, an old piece of wire and a baseball card of Jim Thorpe. The wire was amazingly thick and long. Probably ten-gauge. It kept coming out of the oak, with every five feet or so, an ancient piece of rusted tin attached. I had to tug hard on the tree, whenever these sections appeared, to yank them out of the oak hollow.


This was intriguing me. It was as if someone had long ago attached an old ham radio to the interior of the tree for better reception, and over time the solid oak had swallowed up this technology. As a light rain began, I fiddled around with the wire, from my perch. The small end of the wire looked to be the same size as a port on my cell phone and on a lark I inserted it. The phone immediately sparked, and then up popped a ghostly picture of my cousin standing in a blizzard atop Mount Borah. We began chatting over the Pictaphone and I said, “How are you cousin? You know that I dream about you often.” He smiled that forever mischievous smile of his, which reminded me of the glory days, when we would see each other at the beginning of each summer. And check each other out to make sure that society and school headucation hadn’t squeezed out every last bit of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer out of us. We were usually okay, but one year I noticed that Phil had to look me over a second time; in that supra-intuitive way of his before deciding I hadn’t tarnished yet. And then we laughed those childhood natural laughs and sprinted off into his back yard to freely display our proud b-b gun marksmanship skills on the cans strategically pre-placed atop his back fence. Never at birds though, only the tin cans, pinging us with resounding rewards, in the Pennsylvania Amish hills.


I spoke ~into the phone with great echo, “I’m sorry didn’t go to your funeral Phil. You know it happened at a bad time for me. Just when I was getting better from that last bad thing. People choose to grieve in different ways you know, and this convoluted way was the only method I could figure out how to talk about it.” Suddenly, I was shocked and the phone zipped out of my pocket and into the leaf-pile, twenty feet down. Then the rain increased and a wind gust blew over the ladder.


Now I was in a pickle. Nobody was around with this rain. But, that was fine. I didn’t want anyone to see me foolishly pining in an oak about my long lost cousin, in this lightning storm. Maybe, with this newly acquired wire, I could fish the cell phone out of the leaf pile, while I could still see its imprint. I could call somebody after the calm. No, it’s best not to go fishing around with a lightning rod in this tempest. I’ll just chuck that metal aside. Forget that robin’s nest too, it’s turned into a green hornets nest for me. I will stick Jim Thorpe in my pocket for good luck before I make this giant leap. Mighty good thing those leaves are stacked high. Well, here goes…

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Finer Game


I have an archery target in my yard for when I am trying to figure things out. I suppose this is because I am told there is an ancient hunter in me which seeks nothing more than the thrill of the chase, a bit of danger, and some well-earned bragging rights around the fire in the evening. Yet I also know from the study of primates that I am equally well evolved for lounging around in the bush all day, grooming with my pals and eating bananas. So which of these two tendencies will prevail from day to day? It seems unlikely there will be a trophy head hanging on my wall any time soon.

I shot a blackbird off a wire with my BB gun when I was 9 years old and then cried alone as I watched it die. I knew better than to admit my weakness to friends, who were already well indoctrinated into the culture of hunting.
When I got a shotgun for my 13th birthday, I started killing all kinds of things, eating most of them. When it came time to hunt larger game I found I didn’t have the heart to kill Bambi; so my father’s friends saw fit to arm me and my friend Turner Simpkins and drop us off in a South Carolina swamp inhabited by a wild boar said to be killing horses. It got dark and we found our way out without having to face the beast, but I suppose the exercise succeeded as a man-making experience; enabling me to confront later challenges in life, like finding a job, signing a lease or picking out a shampoo. Sometimes I find that even the subtlest of efforts, though lacking in drama, can require true acts of courage.

In tribute to some old instincts, I do still wander around the hills this time of year with a bow and arrow, lazily looking for grouse and rabbits. Although I have not hit anything in years, I still enjoy being a good shot. And as an omnivore I tell people I will eat anything that won’t eat me first. But why the trophies?
While hunting can be an experience with deep resonance and noble intent, there is a bit of native wisdom that discourages aiming for the grandest males in a herd. Trophy hunters who take the tallest and oldest males unsettle and disperse the herd, while removing the carefully (sexually) selected DNA from the land. Plains Indians once expressed sympathy and devotion to the sacred game they hunted in ceremonies central to their religious practices. This is a far cry from the idea of hunting as a competitive sport. Maybe I was praying for the soul of my little blackbird without knowing it.

When I shoot arrows these days I think I am really hunting for a sensibility in myself usually having to do with relationships. While hunting is ultimately about killing, relationships are about compromise and mutual survival. A native proverb says we have two wolves inside of us—one angry and ravenous, the other mild and forgiving. The wolf that prevails is the one we feed.

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Can an MRI see God?

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How Television Works

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Walking around in the Heart

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Whenever a feeling of aversion comes into the heart of a good soul,
it's not without significance.
Consider that intuitive wisdom to be a Divine attribute,
not a vain suspicion:
the light of the heart has apprehended
intuitively from the Universal Tablet.

- Rumi

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism

Rand called “Atlas” a mystery, “not about the murder of man’s body, but about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit.” It begins in a time of recession. To save the economy, the hero, John Galt, calls for a strike against government interference. Factories, farms and shops shut down. Riots break out as food becomes scarce.

Rand said she “set out to show how desperately the world needs prime movers and how viciously it treats them” and to portray “what happens to a world without them.”

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Russian Human Genome Project discovers Extraterrestrial abilities to modify DNA through a "biological internet"

In the deep region of Himalayas, people are reporting strange behaviours in children. The children are using sign languages which are unknown to their families and anyone around. Many of the children draw pictures of triangular objects flying in the sky. Many of them do not know what they saw and how they learnt these sign languages. Some in the region of Aksai Chin believe that these children regularly communicate with the extraterrestrials who are only visible to these children and communicate via telepathy. The children learn the sign language to communicate back to these beings. According to UFO research materials, some Mexican children also manifest similar behaviour, when many in the area reported for a long time UFO sightings. … According to some teachers in the schools in that area, young children are extra agile and extra talented these days. Their problem solving skills have increased and they are much more disciplined. They continually use a strange sign language among themselves. However they cannot teach this language to adults! The locals in the area believe UFOs have been visiting the area for thousands of years. It stopped for a while and now it has started again.’ (See:

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Harmonics - Salt on a vibrating table

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Thruster may shorten mars trip

TUSTIN, Calif., Sept. 7, 2007 -- An amplified photon thruster that could potentially shorten the trip to Mars from six months to a week has reportedly attracted the attention of aerospace agencies and contractors.

Young Bae, founder of the Bae Institute in Tustin, Calif., first demonstrated his photonic laser thruster (PLT), which he built with off-the-shelf components, in December.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Problem with historical marker in Almo, Idaho

There's just one problem with a historical marker in Almo, Idaho, that memorializes 300 pioneers who were massacred by Indians in 1861, said sociologist James W. Loewen.

"It never happened at all," he said. It's a product of a period in America's history that Loewen calls the "nadir," or low point, in race relations.

Of the Idaho marker, Loewen said, "It tells us that in 1938, a bunch of white folks were so convinced that Indians were savages ... they put this up."

Click below for the rest of story:,5143,695208259,00.html

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Evergreen International Boeing 747 super tanker firefighting

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No Help From Above

No Help From Above
Firefighting supertanker put on cargo duty


Simulated photo of supertanker.
Evergreen International Aviation
While Idaho is in the midst of one of the worst wildfire seasons in history, one much-touted fire-suppression weapon won't be seen anywere near a fire this year.

Despite passing certification with the Federal Aviation Administration and signing a firefighting contract with the U.S. Forest Service last fall, the Boeing 747 Evergreen Supertanker will not be deployed in 2007.

Last week, nearly one million acres were burning in Idaho, including the 653,100-acre Murphy Complex Fire on the Idaho/Nevada border, which cut power to the Duck Valley Indian Reservation for a week. Could the world's largest water-bomber, capable of laying down a one-mile-long swath of fire retardant, have played a role in dowsing the largest wildfire in the nation?

"The work at NIFC is a kind of chess game," says Mike Apicello, spokesman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. "People try to get to fires while they are still small in order to protect people and property. One part of the game is to get aircraft pre-positioned for firefighting."

Currently, the NIFC fleet of large tankers is comprised of 16 heavy air tankers, each capable of dropping 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in one fell swoop to aid firefighters on the ground. The cost of operating a conventional tanker is $5,000 per hour. By contrast, the Evergreen Supertanker has a payload of 24,000 gallons, eight times the C-130, and would cost the Forest Service as much as $20,000 per hour.

According to Kim Frederick of NIFC, air tankers of any kind can only be used effectively in combination with a strategy on the ground. "Ground crews are cutting narrow control lines with hand tools and chainsaws and then burning out the area inside the control line in order to deprive the fire of fuel," he says. "The air drops generally don't put fires out, but they can buy the ground crews time to build their control lines. It is a complex process, and timing is critical because ground crews may have to judge where a fire will be in four days time."

According to Frederick, the use of large tankers is best suited to grass and brush fires burning on flatter topography, a fit description for much of the Murphy Complex Fire, which began as five separate fires, eventually burning together. Yet Frederick points out that high winds would have rendered air drops ineffective during three crucial days of the fire in which 342,000 acres were burned.

"The Supertanker would be an expensive resource," says Pat Norbury, U.S. Forest Service National Aviation Operations officer. Norbury says the Evergreen Supertanker was developed in response to a call from federal firefighting agencies for innovation in water-bomber designs. The call went out after the 2002 crash of a conventional C-130 tanker in Nevada, which claimed three lives. A subsequent investigation by the Washington,D.C.-based National Transportation Safety Board grounded the entire Forest Service fleet of 36 1950s-era C-130 tankers, three of which had crashed in recent years because of wing stress fractures.

As a result of the investigation, national regulatory pressure came to bear on what had been a casual system of firefighting. It was a system that had previously involved entrepreneurial and intrepid pilots contracted by private companies to fly all manner of aircraft, including helicopters, tankers and single-engine airplanes.

"The NTSB determined after the investigation that the Forest Service was responsible for the continuing air-worthiness of any aircraft contracted to fight fires on federal lands," says Norbury. "Before that time, they had only to meet FAA requirements on their own."

Norbury's office has worked with NASA engineers and Sandia Laboratory officials in New Mexico to develop guidelines for maintenance standards for its firefighting fleet. As of this summer, only 19 of the original fleet of 36 heavy tankers have passed certification and are back in operation. None of them are C-130s, but have been replaced with P-2V Neptunes and P-3 Orions. NIFC is uncertain how many of the tankers, if any, were used in the Murphy Complex Fire.

Norbury has also worked with Evergreen for the past two years during the re-design of its Supertanker and says the airplane has received interim approval by the Interagency Air Tanker Board.

After testing the aircraft in California last year, Norbury was quoted in Aviation Week magazine saying, "The entire team was surprised at how maneuverable the 747 was in the confines of a fire traffic area. They concluded that the Evergreen 747 appears to be a very viable resource for fire retardant and water delivery. We expected much larger [flight] patterns and less utility in rough terrain. But it was actually quite maneuverable. It had no problem working with the lead plane [a King Air 90] and making drops."

"We are anxious to see what it can do," Norbury told BW last week. "The Supertanker fits one of our general strategies, which is to apply retardant in a long line, but the question remains: Can we tactically deploy that much fire retardant in a fire?"

Fire retardant is only a retardant. Without ground crews working on the fire lines, the fire can just burn right through.

"We are interested in anything that appears to be viable in fighting fires," she says. "But this aircraft has not been out on a fire, even for a test. And it won't be until it has satisfied all our criteria. The company still needs to develop a continuing air-worthiness program‚ which is a maintenance and inspection system to monitor specific stress points on the aircraft under operational loads during fire fighting conditions. We don't know if they [Evergreen] are going to be staffing this."

Garrett Brown of Evergreen Aviation says his company has spent more than $15 million in the development of the supertanker before taking it off contract this summer with the Forest Service, and re-fitting it for cargo use in the Middle East. "We will make it available again in May of 2008," says Brown, though he would not comment on the final deliberations he faced before terminating Evergreen's contract. Instead, he said only that his relationship with the Forest Service was still a good one, and that the details of he decision are "proprietary information."

While federal officials in Idaho are still developing policies for certifying a new generation of firefighting planes, California officials, unhindered by federal procedures, moved forward in 2006 with a supertanker of its own.

Tin Tanker Corporation's DC-10 jumbo jet was flown for the first time last year under contract with Cal Fire. The DC-10 carries about half the payload of the proposed 747, but according to Bill Payne, chief of flight operations for Cal Fire, "It's been fantastic. We used it last year on six fires and dispensed 200,000 gallons of retardant. It carries 12,000 gallons of retardant and can lay a mile line 50-feet wide. It has absolutely been a success."

The DC-10 will re-deploy next week under contract with Cal Fire after being grounded for several weeks for repairs. Earlier this summer, the DC-10's left wing clipped through pine trees on a ridgeline while fighting the White Fire in southern California, yet the airplane was landed successfully without injuries.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Man with the Multiple Mind

"One day my teacher fired a sudden question at me, and finding that I was not paying attention, hauled me out for corporal punishment. It was really the feeling of his cane that first turned my thoughts in the direction of multiple mind concentration. I did not want to give up my daydreams, but on the other hand, I had a distinct aversion to corporal punishment. So after a while I got into the habit of letting one part of my brain wander into the realms of inventive fancy whilst I kept the other alert for an enfilade fire of questions from the teacher."

"Mr Kahne smiled.

"Perhaps you’re right", he said. :It is very hard work. In the two shows of ten minutes duration which I give every evening I calculate that I use up as much mental energy as the average brain worker expends in an 8-hour day. But I soon recover. I spend all the rest of my time in play and relaxation and never allow myself to worry. It’s worry that kills --- not mental effort. I attribute my clarity of thought not so much to a good memory, but to what I call a good ‘forgettery’. In my daily life I erase all unpleasant thoughts from my mind. And on the stage my ability to forget is an equally important asset. Unless I were able to wipe out from my memory the words given me at the first performance, I might easily confuse them with those called out at the second house. Then where should I be?"

I said that I did not know. Then I asked Mr Kahne if he could explain the method by which he has trained his memory.

"Well, in the first place, most people have a wrong idea of the faculty commonly called memory. Some regard it as a sort of adhesive jelly upon which facts will stick and remain until called for. Others look upon it as sort of card index where thoughts are sorted, to be retrieved at will by pulling a sort of mental ‘tag’ --- the ‘tag’ being what is commonly called ‘the association of ideas’. But such methods of memorizing are automatic rather than systematic."

"Then what is the secret of remembering several things at a time?" I asked.

"Focus", replied Mr Kahne promptly. "If you take a camera with a new roll of film and expose it five times at random, you get five blurred images. But if you focus the camera carefully upon a given object and then make the sixth exposure, you get a distinct image. So it is with the brain."

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Friday, August 10, 2007

"We Have To Work On Developing The Heart"

World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Dalai Lama host bares his soul in new memoir

By Tony Evans
For the Express
Idaho Mountain Express and Guide
Thursday, September 08, 2005

Following his address to the Wood River Valley on Sunday, Sept. 11, His
Holiness the Dalai Lama will give a private address to a group of elite
money managers at the home of investment banker Kiril Sokoloff. The title of
this meeting on Sept. 12 is "Compassion is Good for Business."

Sokoloff is the man behind the Dalai Lama's visit to Idaho and is a close
personal friend of His Holiness. Sokoloff's memoir, "Personal
Transformation: An Executive's Story of Struggle and Spiritual Awakening,"
is introduced by the Dalai Lama and features him on its cover, perhaps
revealing a link between those working to make a difference in the world and
those charged with making a killing in the markets.

"Personal Transformation" is a series of evocative sketches on friendship,
love and loss by a successful investment analyst willing to bare his
"Russian soul" after many years of isolation and despair due to late-onset
deafness and a heart-rending divorce from his wife, Katie. Even as the
author's hearing diminishes, further isolating him from his world of music
and conversation, his deep studies of history and economics bring him, and
many others, great fortune and success.
Born to a Russian 魩gr頦ather, who fled the Russian Revolution, and his
American composer wife, Sokoloff was an only child, raised on the classics
to appreciate European art and culture. Introverted and bookish, he suffered
from an "inferiority complex" made worse by late deafness, which struck
during his college years.

As a young man, Sokoloff learned about the world at the feet of his uncle,
Jim Hunt, an investment banker who worked for the Office of Strategic
Services during World War II and later at the CIA, eventually becoming Head
of Intelligence for Western Europe.

"My uncle said that the securities business and intelligence were the most
interesting of all careers," writes Sokoloff. "It's all a question of
judgment. Who do you believe? ... What is disinformation? What's real?"

As an investigative reporter for the Business Week Letter during the stock
market bust of the early 1970s, Sokoloff began a study of discarded "13D

These are reports filed by company stockholders with a 5 percent or more
interest in corporations. By studying the habits of these large "catalyst"
investors, he amassed a database that uncovered the successes of Warren
Buffet, Larry Tisch, Carl Icahn, Henry Singleton and many others.

In 1983 Sokoloff went public with an eight-page memo of his findings. The
information proved invaluable to institutional investors and was reported on
by the New York Post and Forbes Magazine.

The client list of 13D Research Inc. grew and evolved through the study of
emerging markets, and bankruptcies and distressed securities, and by
following boom-bust cycles in Germany, Brazil, China and the Americas.
Sokoloff describes himself as "agnostic with regard to change," and he is
known as a "contrary thinker" who spots changes in markets early. Following
the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Sokoloff followed his friend and fellow
investment advisor Dick Strong to the Himalayas for an audience with His
Holiness the Dalai Lama. The subsequent meeting changed his life.

When asked what humanity was most in need of at that time, the Dalai Lama
responded by saying, "Peace of mind ... Peace of mind ... Peace of mind."

When asked why the terrorists have perpetrated such "evil," the Dalai Lama
explained that they have a highly developed intelligence, but their hearts
remain cold. "We have to work on developing the heart."

So began Sokoloff's spiritual journey, alongside various philanthropic
endeavors revolving around the survival and expression of Tibetan culture.
In his paper "The Huge Danger of Destructive Emotions," (available to paying
subscribers of his newsletter at, Sokoloff describes the negative
emotions, such as fear, anger, greed and jealousy, as the bane of rational
thinking and disruptive to the mind's equilibrium.

"The essence of destructive emotions is excessive focus on the self," he
writes. "Throwing your ego into a cause or purpose much greater than
yourself, on the other hand, leads to happiness."

How this all shakes out in one's investment portfolio would be a good topic
for future writings. When does "risk-averse" investing become the negative
emotion of fear? When does the desire for increased profits become the
negative emotion of greed? And how closely can the Buddhist doctrine of
"Right-livelihood" be followed in the myriad of transactions of today's

As a memoir of deafness, "Personal Transformation" will be a welcome gift
for the 10,000 hearing-impaired individuals to whom Sokoloff is contributing
free copies. Although his book suffers at times from poor organization and
sentimentality, it is a welcome plea for trust and compassion from within
the culture of investment banking.

Sokoloff's stated ambition is to "restore trust in corporations," and to
help others transform themselves through love and compassion. Perhaps he
will succeed by drawing attention to the place where all great change
begins-within the human heart.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Iraq war veterans gather for river trip

Post-war life to include journey on beautiful River of No Return

Express Staff Writer

Army Staff Sergeant Chad Jukes, 23, lost his right leg four months ago after a supply convoy truck he commanded struck a roadside improvised explosive device in northern Iraq. This week he is floating with other Iraq war veterans on the Salmon River. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Idaho wilderness could give a few veterans a different perspective this week.

"These trips give them a more positive outlook on life," said Wood River Ability Program Executive Director Mark Mast, who began working with Vietnam War veterans 25 years ago. The American Legion Hall in Ketchum hosted a banquet on Monday evening to welcome a group of recently disabled war veterans before they embark on a weeklong float trip on the Salmon River.

Mast organized the excursion in cooperation with the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and raised 70 percent of the funding for the trip through local donations.

"The government doesn't pay for these kinds of trips," Mast said. "They only pay for hospital stays."

The vets will spend this week navigating the main stem of the Salmon River through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area for five days. The river includes class III and IV rapids.

Since Mast started working with veterans, 120 of them have participated in summer and winter outdoor activities aimed at restoring self-confidence and promoting camaraderie. This week's trip list of 18 will include seven veterans and their families as well as two staff members and several civilian amputees.

Army Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes, 23, lost his right leg four months ago after a supply convoy truck he commanded struck a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) in northern Iraq.

Jukes was transported to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he continues to receive treatment and rehabilitative services for the use of a prosthetic leg and foot.

Originally from Logan, Utah, Jukes began rock climbing and recently competed in the "Extremity Games" for amputees in Orlando, Fla. This week he is eager to go rafting with other members of the military and their families on the Salmon River.

"I'll be taking medical retirement, but it won't be easy. It's a phenomenal experience to work in Iraq around people 18 to 19 years old who will do anything over there to get the job done," he said. "I'm sorry I won't be there to make sure they are taken care of. I'd make sure they get a laugh in now and then because that's important."

Jukes and other participants in the Salmon River expedition found out about the Wood River Ability Program through "Operation Comfort," a volunteer network of psychologists and family counselors dedicated to working with U.S. war veterans.

"This is a great service," said Jukes. "It is real important in the rehabilitation process. It gets you out challenging yourself doing things you didn't think you could do."

Humvee Gunner and Staff Sgt. Deron Santini, 37, of Lafayette, La., will also join the group. He received head, neck and back injuries after his Humvee hit an IED in Iraq. After 13 years in the military he is 25 hours away from a college degree in criminal justice.

"All you hear about in the news is the negative," Santini said, "but I had people come up to me in Iraq and say, 'If it weren't for you being here, my family would be dead.'"

In addition to military patrols, Santini took part in food giveaways, helping out with schools and guarding gas stations.

"There are guys who will brag about how many of the enemy they have killed, but the truth is if you kill one or 100, that's one or 100 less that is going to kill you or your buddy," he said.

Also on the trip will be Josh Pappas, 21, and Dustin Fleming, 23. Both young men trained for three years together to become elite Reconnaissance Marines. They worked in small teams storming buildings and working in advance of larger military groups. Fleming was hit by a sniper bullet a few moths ago during an ambush southeast of Fallujah, but considers it a lucky shot.

"They are all lousy shots over there," he said.

Fleming was joined by his friend, Pappas, in the Fort Sam Houston hospital three months later after Pappas was badly burned by an explosion.

"This getting out together is really good," Pappas said. "You feel like you've left your buddies behind over there, and it's easy to get depressed. Interacting with other guys helps you feel better about what you did over there and gets you over the slump. It's good for stress."

Vietnam veteran and fellow Marine Dick Jackson, 70, welcomed Pappas, Fleming and the rest to the American Legion Hall banquet with garrulous conversation and questions about the latest military equipment.

"There's a connection that never goes away between Marines," Jackson said. "Once a Marine, always a Marine. There's a saying that if you die a Marine, you live forever."

The float trip will end next Tuesday at Tamarack Resort near McCall with a welcoming party in honor of the veterans.

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