Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Butterfly Alphabet

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Dreaming of Fabled Homeland Security

Looking for a break from the cold, I curled underneath my baby’s stove in her soul kitchen. As Ursa Major ascended over Queen’s Crown and shone through a brittle windowpane a hypnagogic reverie fluttered through my comatose state:

A King perched high above worldly problems laid aside his bubble swatter in the ivory tower and descended to a secret room beneath the magic reservoir moat. Through a flat screen-changing mirror, he gazed upon happenings of the Realm, witnessing Twilight episodes of good commoners securing the homeland:

A resort director bussing tables made certain that nothing went to waste. The President of a dozen banks polished off her pennies and placed them in a Leadville copper basin. An airline executive dashed across the ice to help unload a cargo full of skis. An attorney and his insurance executive shoveled snow off an elderly lady’s roof during their lunch break.

The king rubbed his eyes in disbelief and adjusted the plasmatic monitor, smacking it with the bubble stick, but it continued to spin out solid axis of good scenes; an architect switched out a burned out bulb above blood alley. An editor boiled up a vat of ink for kid’s crayons of mass creation, which they used to draw stick figures of critical thinkers. A hospital administrator concocted a headache formula from willow branches to heal his grandma’s aches. Two babies with intertwined arms looked up at him and smiled.

The king hailed a peaceful Prince to adjust the string on the back of the mirror. Everything looked normal, and the show continued; during school hours, around a children’s courtyard camp-fire a Superintendent fervently sang folk tales filtered through thousands of earth revolutions. A solar powered commander swooped down on golden gossamer wings and swapped out five cents for an Ice cave Geocache arrowpoint. A statuesque eagle flew out with the sparkly coined buffalo to decorate his mate’s nest. A basketball coach drew a small harp from his feathercap to accompany a stammering young singer through an angelic anthem. The head of the Federal Reserve wheeled some ticker tape out to the recycle bin for a parade honoring a time of peace. A frog on a demonstrator’s shoulder looked up at him riveted.

A postmaster trumpeted first-class news through her window box. It was about nine linemen for the county, who leapt like lords up windmill poles, tossing electrified nunchucks across serpentine rivers to save naïve ginger bakers from wolves. Sagging downstream a water master lent a hand redigging a caved-in hot pool. Beneath where Rainbows Bend, the owner of a hard rock mine handed out rubdown vouchers to his grizzled laborers. The same twilight, two lovers smashed evil atoms into oblivion on the dance floor.

The king wished for some of that disarming headache concoction. He did not understand. Could a culture of happiness weaving straw into gold transcend more than pretend? The extraordinary circumstances continued on all channels: A cable TV installer got a hoot out of nursing a great horned owl back into flight. An admiral played some Mussorsky lightly over the sonar, tickling the narwhal’s delight. A thoroughbred greeted the tanner as a liberator -when he whispered -the whip was shred. A port for ships of the sky flew off to a safer place and a healing clinic slapped in its stead.

Affordable shelters rolled into town. A stonemason formed Idaho rocks in their solid ground. He flew from a land Hemingway knew, where leaders open dialogues with subjects, not just an elite few. During disasters, their chieftain dirtied his hands well, as he helped commandeer survival objects for all.

A Peace Train steaming with vitamins served organic vegetables grown along its line. Nutritious music piped in from the man deflecting polluted quicksilver proposals over lumps of coal facing stalking flames. Back in the secret chamber, five star errant knights diplomatically scribed “peace seeking missives”, burning midnight ethanol through wee hours.

The king rose up his winding staircase to retire, treading lightly without popping any bubbles. From outward appearances, the castle’s perimeter looked unimpeachably secure and to make sure, guards hoisted drawbridge chains up from the enchanted moor.

As this happened, my baby’s oven squeaked open -awakening me from this feverish illusion. A real break from the chill came when Sol rose, chopping balmy clouds behind the blinding windmills. Ursa Minor transmogrified into flesh and fur as a Cinnamon Bear, lighting in beyond human through the dog’s wide door. Hungry from his hibernation in some Sheepeater Indian caves, we all shared for a spell some wonderfully warm rye biscuits around the hearth, he fresh from fantastic dreams of swatting fish running through unfettered streams -without reflection of mercury.

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Second level of inspiration provided by Darcie Liz Chace

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Open Sesame Peppered with Shazam

Jim Banholzer

In a rich Arabian adventure from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, while working late one night the poor woodcutter Ala-baba “just so happens” to overhear forty thieves visiting their treasure trove, which is sealed in a cave by magic. He hears the words Open Sesame used to magically swing ajar the heavy stone door and after the bandits leave, uses it to access the shimmering jewels.

  • The concept of using magic words has frequently been utilized in enduring fables. Gandalf had difficulty remembering the words to open the door to the Mine’s of Moria and had to sit down to intensely explore his subconscious mind for a spell, until he finally recalled that it was “Mellon”, the elvish word denoted for friend that opens the door to well being. I’m even told that Harry Potter used this trick once or thrice in similar fashion.

  • One evening as I was grumbling in my search for some magic words to help me stay awake on a midnight shift, I started thinking about how certain specific words can be used to open other useful doors. “Open Sesame” as metaphor –if you will. Not long ago, I had written a story, which spoke about my sadness of losing our beloved shack on Trail Creek in Ketchum to the whirlwind of a wrecking ball. Not only were my housemate, Laura and I losing our home, the circumstances were such that this would be the last day on this good earth for our beloved dog, Maddie. On this dark late October evening, we feared that along with the eradication of our adored home, we would also lose some of our precious memories of the place.

  • Laura had thrived in the cute cottage for eighteen years -essentially most of her adult life. We had hoped that the sugar maple tree in our front yard could at least be retained, so that when we traveled by, there would be one symbol for us to hold onto & identify with from Ketchum’s good old days.

  • The developer had announced to us that they would try to salvage the maple in the riparian area. Alas, due to space constraints of the tight working space needed for machinery for maneuver about, the tree suddenly disappeared like magic. I decided to express our forlornness in the form of an ode to the giant sugar maple. While concentrating on therapeutic writing, the phrase “Shedding Maple Syrup Tears” suddenly appeared on the paper. After a few minutes, I was fortunate enough to realize that this phrase would fit well as the title.

    Shortly thereafter, I started wondering if I had heard the phrase somewhere and perhaps that I was plagiarizing again. Better go check “The Google”. I soon determined that nobody on record had used that specific phrase, but did find a nice poem by Allison Keane called Candy Life, in which she mentions “maple syrup tears”

  • I invested several weeks polishing up the shack's maple tale. It finally felt as though it was fine-tuned enough so that readers might enjoy it. When I came into work after the story was published, a well-respected colleague at the newspaper, Betty Bell went out of her way to approach me and said, “Jim, I really enjoyed that story you wrote.” As I look at it now, this compliment coming from a woman, who was writing columns well before I could even read, was probably the highlight of my writing career. I thought that if Betty Bell enjoyed this story, then that was good enough for me, and by that mark I am a success.

  • I felt that my labor of burning the midnight ethanol to get the words just right had on this occasion opened a door to Betty’s good heart –as she in turn reciprocated without fumbling on turning open the mostly hardscrabble lock attached to mine. This made me want to encourage others to focus on finding and using the proper magic words in timely manners to open wide the doors to their beloved ones hearts and souls. My hope is then that more people discover how much unlimited Shazam can be found deep inside the elvish word for “friend”.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Notes from Wikipedia:

    According to Assyrian legend, when the gods met to create the world, they drank wine made from sesame seeds. In early Hindu legends, tales are told in which sesame seeds represent a symbol of immortality. "Open sesame," the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights, reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity.

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    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Late Bloomers

    With a big birthday this week in the immediate family, this link is pertinent.

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    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    The Greatest Nancy Panel Ever Drawn

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    Finding Treasures in Dreams

    Finding treasures in dreams fascinates me. Especially when there is some uncertainty of exactly what the treasure is. Twice recently, I’ve had vivid dreams where some unidentified magnificent presence was there, but fogged away upon my awakening. Last week, I dreamt that my father, brother and I traveled together to watch a professional baseball game at some unknown stadium. The two of them walked down to some lower bleachers, while I grabbed some suds on an upper concourse in between a couple of shady characters. One of these men wore a dark motorcycle T-shirt or jacket with elaborate writings on the back. These complicated slogans made great sense in the dream and were certainly an integral part of an answer to some broad realm, but I disremembered them upon later awakening. In the dream, the strangers and I split apart after our order from the snack bar, and then I looked down at my change and noticed that somehow in the chaos of the busy exchange my ticket became bent up. Inspecting the ticket closer, I saw it was for a lesser seat, way up behind the outfield bleachers. I went back and told the barkeep, “Thanks for teaching me a lesson.”

    Suddenly Rickey Henderson came up to bat. (This was the first clue that it was a dream, because I thought he was retired, but not 100% sure) In the dream, Henderson still had it. He smacked the first pitch hard and high. An AM radio voice announced, “Will Rickey Henderson get another triple in the World Series?” Suddenly (to show how he still had it?) Henderson transformed into an outfielder and made a giant leap to try to catch his own hit ball. I was at the back of the high fence and the gates opened as the ball transfigured into a rubber sun-like object -red and fiery. It was about the size of a very large beach ball and it bounced down a chasm onto a several hundred wide foot trampoline-like object newly revealed in the depths of the stadium. It rebounded off the earth’s mantle spinning around in slightly different spots and seemed to be asking a guardian to direct its bouncing energy. I jumped out and balanced upon the ball each time it bounced back up to the fans eye levels. In a way, it was like the logrolling contests of yore. Some fans that were friendly toward me were amazed that I could continue to have some sort of control over this small sun-orb, and lightly chanted, “Banholzer can bounce with the core!” As I bounced, a distinct pinging sound repeated itself each time small sol dipped into the mantle. I kept having simple thoughts –“The core bounces off”, “A rebounding edge ping” and “stay in synchronicity with the core” Much of this time; I sensed that another presence was peeking in on this besides Rickey Henderson and the fans. Something seemingly from outside time and space. The sonaric pinging was so distinct that it repeated in regular three or four-second intervals, continuing even for several minutes of a determined slow awakening as I tried scratching down the dream’s essence upon my nightstand notebook.

    Rickey Henderson Statistics -

    Only now, when I looked up Mr. Henderson’s statistics –to see how many triples he has had in Post Season play, did I realize that his nickname is “The Man of Steal”. Last week in my psyche class, we were discussing dreams and I recounted an interview I had seen with Christopher Reeve on Sixty Minutes three years ago. In that interview, Superman said that when he dreamt he could always walk or fly. He was never in a wheelchair in his dreams.

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    The perfect palindrome for coffee drinkers

    If you've "lived on decaf" then you've "faced no devil"
    (related link:)

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    Wednesday, May 9, 2007

    Upcoming writing classes at CSI

    click to enlarge text

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    Saturday, May 5, 2007

    May Writing Prompt

    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

    Hello fellow aspiring Idahoans who are chalk full of creative jangling juices, while dangling over precipices. What we are hoping for here are the most imaginative things that you think a fortunate diver might find at the very bottom of Redfish Lake.

    The more far-fetched the item -the better.

    Please dig deep and try to touch bottom here. Stretch that flaccid imagination out for a walk around the sparkly lake and shake off those Winter Doldrums.

    We encourage your comments:

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    Friday, May 4, 2007

    The Original Spark

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    Whopper of an Ancient Spiral

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    Imagination in hand

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    Bank on your writing

    Jim Banholzer

    To embark on the question, “Why should we write?” there exist innumerable answers. For starters, once we begin the process of writing; unexpected new solutions come along, while we formulate new thoughts. Like bolts from the blue, sometimes these revelations stun even the author. For instance, When J.R.R. Tolkien was scripting his brilliant tale, The Lord of the Rings, the mystifying character Aragorn suddenly appeared on the pages of his manuscript, smoking in the corner of the ‘Prancing Pony’. Dr.Tolkien’s first instinct was to dismiss this vagabond, by editing him away. However, as the story evolved, Aragorn not only became a lead role player, but the King himself. The great mystery herewithin is that one of the most imaginative authors of our last millennia, -a word-wizard himself- could not predict this, but rather enjoyed the uncanny solutions that came along during the writing procedure.

    Another strong reason that we should write, is that our memories often become prisms, refracting only limited light. Marking down wide clear-cut observations, fresh as they occur, helps the historical records accuracy. -Not only for humankind at large, but also for our personal histories. As the years progress, frequently we ponder; did such and such event occur previous to another? Was my old boss, Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham alive to witness 9-11? –was a question I recently posed to myself. By simply probing through some search engines, it was easy to find several dated online newspaper accounts, which indicated that she had passed on in Idaho several months before the horrific events of that defining day.

    Often when friends exchange personal letters, a sense of joy comes upon them, sensing how much caring energy was put into this scribing. Hearing in personal ways from long lost friends, can make the recipients of such correspondence feel as though they are floating on top of the world. One might even become overwhelmed with enough delight to imagine, “Did a magnificent hummingbird, kiss and lick this stamp, while it was being applied to my friends blessed letter?” Many recipients hold on to precious letters like these. Often correspondences between noted author’s gain more value as collectors items, than rare first edition books, since letters of this sort are one of a kind.

    Therefore, as you can see, there are copious reasons to write. I enjoy writing, because it helps my intra-communication greatly focus. Sometimes the peaceful contemplation that naturally comes along with writing helps me understand myself better, in a world that often is wayward. Focused writing “rightens” things for a while sharpening life’s jangling juices of the mind. Writing is one of the best investments that you can make in your life. Even if only a few minutes is spent at the end of each day, for instance right after you squirrel away the spare change from your pocket into the piggy bank, by then writing in a small journal, you may later on discover that what you have written has paid off with an equally fine dividend. After all, is not your own mind the highest value, in which you can invest?

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Two talented writers, Jan Daniels and Tony Evans will be offering separate writing workshops in June at Hailey’s Community Campus. For more info, call 788-2033 or see the CSI Catalog @

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    The origin of "Right On!"

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    Tom Waits - Angels in Heaven

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    From the prompt of "place" from Tony Evans

    Up There

    For Shannon Lucid

    I want to travel to Ancient Sirius.

    Seriously tonight in a beaming dream. I’ve heard that some African tribes believe that this is their true ancestral land. You can read about Dagon tribes of Sudan in Graham Hancock’s anthropological tome called Supernatural. Sometimes legitimate dreamers discuss phantasmic phenomena like this under the snow-white stars in CSI’s parking lot after Thursday evening’s cultural anthropology class dismisses, right before tucking into star-shifting beds.

    Without apologies, I would like to take off to there, way up over the piney wood.

    And call in sick tomorrow on a supernatural satellite well phone. I trust up there floating in the silver fruit that they will have an advanced form of pine nuts to munch on when my years of fascination finally dwindle down to a new hunger.

    I’ve heard that the apes on Sirius hold telescopes backwards that really work as microscopes. Even their lowest king enjoys this convenient vision. Speaking of this I saw an uncaptured photon of Sirius today –it looks like an aspirin. What’s up with that? I suppose I will need to Big Gulp down a couple of generic cryogenic chill pills if my dream doesn’t instantly transport me there tonight safely beyond Oort Clouds and Kuiper Belts.

    But what about a traveling companion? I almost didn’t even think of that! So used to flying solo –you know. Perhaps another soul would enjoy sharing a serious ride with me to Sirius. Once we get there, I believe I could conjure up a minute bowl of pine nut soup. And boil it over a volcanic crater, in the event we need sustenance. Hey, if we overdo it, we’ll just break off a chunk of the Sirius. The whole place is an aspirin –just as the moon is formed from Emerald Cheese. At least that’s what an astronaut said, in an unrehearsed & unreleased outtake, when she was Captain Crunching on Idaho Tamarack pine nuts -down there around Craters of the Moon, where we paid in half-lives for flag’s blowin’ in the wind Like American Stars & Bars for every desolating drink between Carey’s old Loading Chute to Arco’s Pickles Place near Atomic City -Where Sirius sometimes still optimistically winks in the sky

    Remember when we were in Africa?

    See: The Size of Our World

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    From the prompt of "place" from Tony Evans

    See: The Size of Our World

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    Christening of the Idaho Conversation League

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