Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beware of Putrid Plutonium Propheteers

The powerful nuclear industry has been campaigning to construct new plants in Idaho and many in our desperate energy state are anxious to buy it. Some have written letters beseeching Idahoans to embrace nuclear power, so that we can be first in something for once.

To paraphrase Lee Halper from a recent radioactive-hot forum, Idaho is already first in many things. We're almost first in cow-pies. We're first in lack of ethics in the Legislature. We're first in ignoring what doesn't work in other states will work here and we're first in having the most NUCLEAR waste seeping into our drinking water. We could be first in geothermal, wind, solar, hydrogen and conservation of energy but people who look for the silver bullet like NUCLEAR, are those who want us to be first in line for Superfund status.”

I agree with Lee; let us not be first in foolhardiness. The poisonous nuclear industry kills much more than charging windmills do birds. For the next 40,000 years, we will have to develop warning signs decipherable long after the English language has died out. Think about it, the proud legacy nuclear waste leaves, will endure an epoch tenfold longer than our most ancient Egyptian pyramid. The gist of it is; no one wants to be known as the one who killed the goose that lays golden eggs, even if they are speckled with plutonium.

Now a French company committed to fueling the nuclear renaissance,” is at the ready to receive generous tax breaks for mining Idaho uranium. Let’s be first in common sense again, by swatting away pests who desire to salt our fragile freedom-fry spuds with a radioactive twinge. While it is true that France uses 80 percent nuclear power, don’t think that there is not a big brouhaha going on, over the pond, about this wasteful thinking. And where are the elite French trying to lay their insidiously deadly toxins to rest for millennia? Why it’s being shoveled into poor peoples backyards, of course. Affecting many Muslim communities. And that’s just dandy?

Perhaps Idaho newspaper editors should convene to develop a writing contest, for us to draft letters of apology to our grandchildren’s grandchildren, for how we have wrongly ‘warshiped’ Mother Earth, to insert in a time capsule, next to the Yucky Mountain radioactive warning cryptograms. Winners could receive protection suits, fitted with alarming Geiger counters.

The bad spin about wind turbines is very overblown. Inspired visionaries have already developed improved energy gaining methods from the wind, using large high-tension vibrating bands, which kill no birds. Think how much better off we will be, when we rise up to invest one-tenth as much Research and Development into the dozens of other viable solar and wind parametered projects, as we do into killing innocent civilians over Oil-Euros.

Although most of us are now war-weary, it’s inspiring to see that many Idahoans are not allowing themselves to be blinded by plutonium propheteers, who rush in with desperate short-term energy solutions, which leave long-term environmental stains, ten thousand-fold worse than stinky cow-pies.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ezra Pound Poetry Reading unlimited potential

The Express sent out a news alert today mentioning a poetry reading by High Schoolers at the Ezra Pound house. There was a phone number to call for more information and when I called, Darlene Dyer, picked up the horn. She said that the reading is set for Friday evening and then asked with sincere earnestness if I would be attending. I mentioned that Two-Skies birthday celebration would be occurring at the same time, so as much I want to, I was uncertain if I could be at two places simultaneously. Then I took advantage of the opportunity to mention our Idaho Conversation League website, edging in the fact that Sun Valley City Councilman Nils Ribi has recently added us to his blogroll. Darlene tried to look at out website, but said that her school’s “Websense” blocked it. She said that she would try again later from home.

I mentioned that if she judged our site was a suitable fit that we are actively seeking one or two contributors from the school in earnest hopes of making the site bloom more, this springtime in the Rockies.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Old license plates and spur-lunkering mates

It’s refreshing to get out and breathe some fresh air, when springtime in the Rockies hits, after our long winter slog. Normally, 3V3TZ and I will go out searching for bits of nature in the desert, before the sage turns too snaky. After all, there was that one year during the QX-Air highway cleanup, when a rattler darted like lightning to bite my pants leg at the crease, before coiling back into his cave and then rattling. That spring afternoon, our crew had planned to sip a few Weinhards Ales to celebrate the completion of our cleanup quest. However, after the close snake encounter, I dipped into the Weinhards a bit early “to calm my nerves.”

While the sage and grass is still low, seasonal rains dust sand off old stones and sometimes even ancient arrowhead points or chips.

Sunny afternoons immediately following these cyclic downpours are prime opportunities to see with piecing clarity a rainbow of beauty unearthed in the glistening desert stones.

One Idaho spring, when the season was late arriving, 3V3TZ and I got the fever to explore some dry land, so we ended up walking along the sides of the old Union Pacific Railroad bed, around an abandoned depot. We found a few junk cars and I thought I was doing well to find an intact 1957 Idaho License plate. However, when I returned to the rig, I saw that there was a 1926 plate flipped next to the car. 3V3TZ had whooped me again!

A funny thing about his 1926 plate was that it seemed to have some orange tinges around its surface edges. We thought it was too unusual a shade, for rust to turn to and then we went online to discover that they originally painted the plates orange that year.

Although 3V3TZ was thirty-one years ahead of me in our license plate race, the next spring thaw I made a partial comeback. As I was walking down River Street returning from Les Schwab from switching off studs, I saw a small piece of metal protruding from the earth. Carefully pulling out the rest of it, I discovered that it was a partial plate from 1923! My immediate theory was that Rupert House had as a seven-year-old boy, playfully tossed a snowball along that street, which knocked off that plate clean off for me to find later, so I could tell you this story and give you a good laugh to breathe about in the Northern Rockies fresh air.

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First paragraph from David Quammen's Monster of God

I can tell that this is going to be a great book to read and talk about.

Great and terrible flesh eating beasts have always shared landscape with humans. They were part of the ecological matrix with which Homo sapiens evolved. They were a part of the psychological contect in which our sense of idenity as a species arose. They were part of the spiritual systems we invented for coping. The teeth of the predators, their claws, their ferocity and their hunger were grim realities that could be eluded but not forgotten. Every once in a while, a monsterous carnivore emerged like doom from a forest or a river to kill someone and feed on the body. It was a familiar sort of disaster-like auto fatalities today- that must have seemed freshly, shockingly gruesome each time, despite the familiarity. And it conveyed a certain message. Among the earliest forms of human self-awareness was the awareness of being meat.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rumi says:

Today's pearls of wisdom from Eloise Christensen @

The Natural Space

There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you're full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus' table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Frank Zappa - The Mike Douglas Show (1 of 2)

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What would Zappa do?

"The education of our children is (and should be) of paramount importance to any parent (or any one who lives next to any one who is a parent…think about it: Even if you never have a child, the kids of today will be driving on your streets, living in relative proximity to you, voting, and perhaps taking care of you in your dotage in order to earn a paycheck), but the entire education system in this country seem, at the least, broken. Did you ever wonder why? Zappa did: “It pays to make the U.S. school system a crock of shit because the dumber the people are that come out, the easier it is to draft them, make them into docile consumers, or, you know, mongo employees. There are plenty of yuppies out there with absolutely nothing upstairs. Graduate airheads with PhDs and everything but they don't know anything”."

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Brilliant George Monbiot critique of cars

The road-rage lobby couldn't have been more wrong. Organisations such as the Association of British Drivers or Safe Speed - the boy racers' club masquerading as a road-safety campaign - have spent years claiming that speeding doesn't cause accidents. Safe Speed, with the help of some of the most convoluted arguments I've ever read, even seeks to prove that speed cameras "make our roads more dangerous". Other groups, such as Motorists Against Detection (officially known as Mad), have been toppling, burning and blowing up the hated cameras. These and about a thousand such campaigns maintain that speed limits, speed traps and the government's "war on the motorist" are shakedown operations whose sole purpose is to extract as much money as possible from the poor oppressed driver.

Well last week the Department for Transport published the results of the study it had commissioned into the efficacy of its speed cameras. It found that the number of drivers speeding down the roads where fixed cameras had been installed fell by 70%, and the number exceeding the speed limit by more than 15mph dropped by 91%. As a result, 42% fewer people were killed or seriously injured in those places than were killed or injured on the same stretches before the cameras were erected. The number of deaths fell by more than 100 a year. The people blowing up speed cameras have blood on their hands.

But this is not, or not really, an article about speed, or cameras, or even cars. It is about the rise of the antisocial bastards who believe they should be allowed to do what they want, whenever they want, regardless of the consequences. I believe that while there are many reasons for the growth of individualism in the UK, the extreme libertarianism now beginning to take hold here begins on the road. When you drive, society becomes an obstacle. Pedestrians, bicycles, traffic calming, speed limits, the law: all become a nuisance to be wished away. The more you drive, the more bloody-minded and individualistic you become. The car is slowly turning us, like the Americans and the Australians, into a nation that recognises only the freedom to act, and not the freedom from the consequences of other people's actions. We drive on the left in Britain, but we are being driven to the right.

It is not just because of his celebration of everything brash and flash that Jeremy Clarkson has become the boy racer's hero. He articulates, with a certain wit and with less equivocation than any other writer in this country, the doctrine that he should be permitted to swing his fist - whoever's nose is in the way. For years he has championed the unrestrained freedom of the road. He takes it so far that from time to time he appears to incite his disciples to vandalise and even kill.

"If the only way of getting their [the government's] attention," he told the readers of the Sun in 2002, "is to destroy the tools that pay for their junkets and their new wallpaper, then so be it. I wish the people from Mad all the very best." In February this year, he suggested that speed cameras might be "filled ... with insulating foam that sets rock hard". After the London bombings in July, he observed that "many commuters are now switching to bicycles ... can I offer five handy hints to those setting out on a bike for the first time. 1. Do not cruise through red lights. Because if I'm coming the other way, I will run you down, for fun. 2. Do not pull up at junctions in front of a line of traffic. Because if I'm behind you, I will set off at normal speed and you will be crushed under my wheels ... "

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Color Blind Mice

Thank you Jodi Zarkos, for writing about racism in sports. Racism and hidden personal prejudices are among our worst weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, for many reasons it is one of our most challenging subjects to address.

According to research from the University of Texas at Austin, “Umpires for Major League Baseball are more likely to call strikes in favor of pitchers who share their race or ethnicity.”

One of the longtime MLB rules states that an umpire should not make a call to ‘even things up’ from an earlier bad call. This regulation is one of the most ignored rules on the books and it sounds like the Pocatello umpire disregarded the “even things up” rule.

In a second related story, last week the Idaho Statesman picked up an article about sportsmanship from Ogden Utah’s Standard-Examiner called,

'They say it starts with a prayer and ends with a fight'

To promote better sportsmanship, some of the immensely popular LDS Church basketball leagues have instituted new rules, giving points for sportsmanship, which can actually change the scoring results of games.

I’m not sure how the outcome of the game that you witnessed would have shifted had points been rewarded for sportsmanship. It sounds like non-sportsmanlike actions were sourcing from several angles. However, I think that we can have faith that at least some of the participating sportspersons took a cue from the behavior they witnessed and chalked it up to the “do-not-dews.”

Many of us have personal prejudices imbedded deep within us, which we would prefer to deny. Now, a machine can scan your mind for unconscious racism:

I wonder if referee oversight committees will ever integrate a machine like this into future sporting justice initiatives. For starters, perhaps we should regulate the privilege to boo. That is, before we permit anyone to boo or yell “two blind mice” when they perceive a bad call, they should show that they have been in the challenging position of being a sports-referee, making split-second judgments, while trying to stay color-blind.

Lastly, one bit of racism right under our noses during these festive community-sporting events is the dehumanizing use of mascot names, such as Salmon Savages and Blackfoot Indians.

Thank you again Jodi for your comments.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

What Power Looks Like

They ride on Gulfstreams, set the global agenda, and manage the credit crunch in their spare time. They have more in common with each other than their countrymen. Meet the Superclass.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Current Internet may soon be made obsolete

From the Sunday Times:

THE internet could soon be made obsolete. The scientists who pioneered it have now built a lightning-fast replacement capable of downloading entire feature films within seconds.

At speeds about 10,000 times faster than a typical broadband connection, “the grid” will be able to send the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds.

The latest spin-off from Cern, the particle physics centre that created the web, the grid could also provide the kind of power needed to transmit holographic images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players; and offer high-definition video telephony for the price of a local call.

David Britton, professor of physics at Glasgow University and a leading figure in the grid project, believes grid technologies could “revolutionise” society. “With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot even imagine,” he said.

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Arrests Mar London's Olympic Torch Relay

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Light Olympic Torch

Wednesday morning, while driving north, as my furniture-moving colleague began to read aloud Dick Dorworth’s Tibet –the conscience of the world column, I couldn’t help but to glance over at the paper, when he started reading about the elaborate plan for the Olympic Torch relay up Mount Everest, as he and I had just been talking about this.

Then when he got to the part, where Mr. Dorworth mentioned the 1936 Olympic torch flame, I had to pull the big rig over to the side of the road to finish reading the article and became immediately overwhelmed by a compulsion bring this brief story to light:

Brad Nottingham, who used to work at the Express from 2000-2003, now works as museum courier, transporting valuable pieces between auction houses and collections throughout the country. A few months ago, Brad and his moving partner, were called to package up the Olympic Torch used by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. The first time I told this story, I had disrembered some of the facts since the incident, so here I'll paste Brad's clarifications:

Jim, some corrections: Our company US Art was hired by the new owner of the torch as a surprise customer. We were trained as art handlers, packers and shippers. The client is a large scale (meaning size) marionette builder often contracted by theatres across the country. He builds them and ships them; we saw at least a dozen, very ornate craftsmanship. He had recently purchased the land with deteriorating house originally damaged by the 92 Hurricane Andrew for the land only; the house had been deteriorating. THAT home's original owner didn't have sufficient funds, nor insurance to repair his original home in 1992-3, so he just lived until old age next to his original damaged house in a mobile unit, (maybe an early FEMA trailer?)

When the Marionette builder bought the property to build on, he was wandering around the bulldoze site after hours, the work of which was interrupted by the blown hydraulic line, so the earth moving clean up crew never did any poking around.

The old crates housing the 1934 Hitler bust and pre-WW II German radio, as well as the 1936 Olympic Torch had been stored in some lower region of the delapidated house, about to be done in when the hydraulic line was to be repaired. The new property owner accidentally spotted and recovered the items, and at our arrival time, the time the torch was already requisitioned.

On the other hand, the radio and full-sized bronze Hitler "head" were not sold yet. The torch, appearing to be stainless steel was determined to be nickel-plated. The engraving we conditioned as "exquisite", as well as the preservation of the torch. It now has been in the hands of the Holocaust Museum in Linthicum for a few months; not sure if it has been displayed yet. (It seems as if that same museum might be interested in the Hitler stuff, but don't know).

The head office personnel of US Art in Randolph, MA were the ones that falsely presumed that an Olympic Torch would be "heavy" perhaps they were envisioning some larger sculpture out of which burned a gas flame or something. Basically, when we arrived, we knew not what we would come across..... but we knew the torch was carried, and thus would be short and lightweight. We were right, and it only required a double wall cardboard box and some careful foam-contouring, which we did.

The elderly original collector we surmise had collected these items back as early as the 1950s from the point of view of the Nazi's, and his own advancing age may have made him not remember or protect the accidental discoveries when the property was sold. We don't know if he gathered the items out of admiration for the Third Reich or not, but that is my guess. The new owner felt much better having the torch go in the direction of a Hollocaust Museum. This new landowner just wanted to have the items "move on", and was not particularly needing the money from the items. We were employed by our company to take care of the transition.


Above are photos of the 1936 Olympic Torch, right before they soft-wrapped and crated it for transport from Florida to Maryland

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Crestone's summer of '76

Recently uncovered from an old brown shoebox

Sun, July 11

Hot day again, but I took it better.... Hard 13 station drive through usual area, Merle's reel crossed SD / Wyo border, some rough washout cuts, and truck had some crazy routes to get through. Did some 660s and later a parallel 17-station run over very dry hot country on knoll w/in view of Igloo. Wore cut offs, got confused with some crazy terrain, Jim arrived to read pulses in "hot-rod" ( GMC got high-centered and muffler got "ripped off" by nature ! ) Had a great talk with the family: Mark, Arlene, Mike, about Momma working so hard and making bread. The band played tonight and Denny played too. We all smoked during SNL and later Denny and I teased Nancy a little.
(?) <--- don't remember about what. Wed July 14

As with Tuesday, you did most of driving, Merle and Mark ran one star line across highway but had flat tire, we stayed on Porters Ranch, then went E. to old airport strip area. Saw hang glider, then set up again near Newcastle where we had to run for cover in the truck, as we got attacked by swarms of tiny flying ants. Jim arrived with our sandwiches and beer, but started laughing when we wouldn't get out of truck. Worked smoothly until Jim high-centered around 6:15 p.m. Ate at Victory, went to Stockmans for beers, where Jim got locked out of Blazer. Talked with Lori that night after she came back with us from Stockman's. Foxy Lori. Not to be mine that night, I guess.

Saturday July 24

Now working with Bob, did a couple of star spreads, where you did a lot of the driving and Bob the reeling. Afternoon started at "surveyers hill' and then we ran across tracks into farmland, where we saw train cars rattle by with funny penguin art on them. Went around behind, had a flat tire with Bobby, waited, then realized our line wires got severed by the train coming across our tracks. DUH! (We blamed it all on the penguins.)

Monday, July 26

Hunted around for salt in the morning, (for the electrodes) went back to the end of Sunday's line, this time we smartly spliced line under tracks. Saw weird deformed sheep, huge back legs, little tiny front legs, head 4 inches off the dusty trail. Your last station ended up in trees near dead cow at cliff. Eventually we all rendezvoused in the treed area mid afternoon, where we smoked, Denny and I climbed two trees, and I climbed higher, freaking out Denny, then got all the way down, leaving my shirt up top. Rode back with Denny where he got stoned and stuck.

Drove through dense trees off south side of road west of Dewey looking for dry well (hilarious). Jim broke window on shell, had to drive around to find up, that's where you fucked up forgetting reel. Denny was "Tom Sawyer on whiskey." My "favorite corner" joke went over well. After shower, came over to Jim (still in shower), drove around for place to eat after beers at Stockman. Came back to find Denny, Lori and Bob having a great time, esp. Bob. Talked with Bob till midnight, fed electrodes for next day. We originally had found Bob passed out, face up on his unmaid hotel room bed, hands inside his pants. No comment.

Tuesday, July 27

At our breakfast spot 4 miles away, I had spaced out our electrodes, drove back 100 mph to get them, with Tim and Bob getting an especially hard time about driving through the crops the day before from Jim. Did a 5 station run near Dewey, you were harassed by "bees." Then back to E-W road west of Dewey, and ran a supposed 10 station N-S to this farm, using haystacks as a sight. Went across a lot of bumpy shit to get there. Waited till radio call, fell completely asleep. Jim came back with his proudly soldered "roach clip" made from our back-up electrode tester. Went back to Igloo, fell asleep, Bob woke me back up, changed, went down for dinner, with a lot of joking around, wine, later went out and played pool. Woke up at 3:00 a.m. and wrote Tom a letter.

Wednesday, July 28

Greeted by pigs. Worked on east side of RR tracks North of Dewey, one line aimed for little shack with smokestack. Packed it in early this day, ditched the trucks, hopped all in Blazer, headed for Dewey, on beautiful dirt road which later joined a fantastic paved road winding through canyon into Flintstone land, a cool tourist town, called Custer, SD. We ate in a lounge-type place with TV inside, later wound up in a nice 3.2 place with excellent Chick Corea music, and later a great band of similar music and hung out with some sharp looking girls.

Friday, July 30

Drove Dodge with tape deck (what's playing now) back to gas up. Greeted by pigs, ended up in a weird box canyon and over some very rough stuff. Porter's Ranch we are now always calling "Porter's Hell". Bob took over and we were passing through after getting stuck in deefly swamp. (Bobby got in shit later for getting stuck in same place twice). Finished the day, ate early, beers with Bob and Jim, looked over Nancy's maps, bought a round, then Denny and I went into town to do laundry, met Lori's old factory friend, had a good talk, smoked a couple listened to their stereo and messed around. From Waylon Jennings to Empty Sky! (Maybe should have been wasted sky).

Saturday July 31

Kind of slept in on account of the rain, ate breakfast in the Dario, and discussed rain. Served by one-armed waitress. Headed out to work area, meeting Bob and Blazer coming back. Permission not granted. Came back to Dario and Jim made out a shopping list of needed stuff, supplied for electrodes, then junk shop for flex hose extension, came to Mobil to put it on. Hardware store from plastic and lock. Bought new watch and bought Jim's old tape player. Finished Denny's lunch, headed for Sagebrush 3:30. Sun came out and we went to the Great Demolition Derby of Edgemont South Dakota. Guess who was there! (Wasted Jennings and Empty Sky). Invited them back for Mama's Band. But they both like Denny over me. But it's Denny that has the weed, too.

Sunday we return to Fort Collins, end of SD gig, me back to college. Dad speaking to me, don't spend all this money all in one place. Some of it I did. I got wider rims and tires, 4 barrel Holley and put dual exhaust on the Mustang. I would now consider it cherried out. Jim says he will call me back for Elflex by June 15, 77, but there will be some December stuff in Forsythe MT over winter break first.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Secret life of Lou Dobbs

Why did the influential CNN business anchor undergo an abrupt metamorphosis from corporate sycophant to fire-breathing populist? LUKE MULLINS found the surprising answer in Rupert, the hardscrabble Idaho town where Dobbs grew up.

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