Monday, March 31, 2008

East meet West

Discover why some of Montana's history was written in Chinese:

http://away.com/primedia/pol_soc/east_meets_west.html

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Her Aim Is True


by Daniel DeWeese

AT 13, 90-POUND KATHY HOLLMANN CAN OUTSHOOT MOST ADULTS AND WORK CATTLE LIKE AN OLD HAND.




http://www.americancowboy.com/mj07/trailblazer/index.shtml

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The Greatest Nancy Panel Ever Drawn

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Elephant Paints Self Portrait

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BerkShares Local Currency on CBS (2007)

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Eco Expressions in Ocean Beach, Calif. news

Finding the right balance between nature and spirit


Article by Patricia M. Walsh

March 27, 2008

When Jan D. Wellik ends her nature writing workshops at the Point Loma Native Plant Reserve, she traditionally invites students to donate a line from their individual observations to create a group poem.
The founder and director of Eco Expressions, a program designed to reach out to local youths, Wellik offers the workshops to underscore a powerful point: Preservation of nature and the written word are a collaborative blend because the gardens and stories will not bloom from a solitary hand, she said.
On a recent afternoon, standing on the sloping hill of the reserve, lush and colorful with foliage from February’s rains, just above the din of traffic on Nimitz Boulevard, Wellik held just such a workshop where participants of the day contributed in the mesh of nature and spirit:

Yellow caps floating in the sea of textured greens
the hues of a verdant rainbow

Sky hazy cream and light pale blue
cirrus clouds bellow by

Inner-city park is a little sanctuary
for humans, birds and insects

Full and thick with wonder
black sage a whirl of buds



Complete article is here:

http://www.sdnews.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2008/03/27/47ebe15ee8f45

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Friday, March 28, 2008

My Crazy Brother

High Country News

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Honor Idaho film sites

http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005119953


With the Senate recently passing a bill, to create a fund to offer incentives to film movies and TV shows within the state, Idaho leaders could further bolster this opportunity by asking that our transportation department revisit Professor Tom Trusky's innovative "Statewide Movie Signage Proposal." Expanding our already successful Idaho Highway Historical Marker program to include tributes to films made in Idaho could be next logical step in this popular program's evolution.


To quote Professor Trusky from last year, "The tourist/publicity value of such signage is apparent—and locals might appreciate such knowledge, too, if they are unaware of their cinematic heritage. As well, given the recent interest in bringing film production to the state, such signage would not only be public acknowledgment of Idaho's considerable contribution to the film industry but also serve as a reminder to contemporary filmmakers of the Gem State possibilities."


As it stands now, every day, thousands of travelers pass directly by Highway 75's old North Fork Store, unmindful to the fact, that in her breakout performance, Marilyn Monroe starred there in "Bus Stop."


Who knows to what high level such a pioneering program might soar? Perhaps one day we will create interactive signs, offering holograms with brief clips for tourists to enjoy.


To thwart vandals, we could program Clint Eastwood's voice, to sternly announce, "Go ahead! Make my day! Because you are now being filmed by an interactive sign, commemorating Idaho films!"


Let's not miss this important bus, because by merging the information superhighway with our back road signage, Idaho could show the rest of the world how we stand on the cutting edge, as well as being capable to cut though bureaucracy, when truly original ideas like Professor Trusky's crop up, like some of the diamond blockbusters filmed in Idaho's rough.


Footnote: Last year, Professor Tom Trusky the director of the Idaho film collection, assisted Brad Nottingham and I in our successful quest for a commemoration of the filming of Clint Eastwood's "Pale Rider" in Idaho. Although, the highway department did not construct a sign up by the Boulder Mountains as we had hoped, they did amend the Wood River Mines historical marker sign, north of Bellevue, to include a tribute to Mr. Eastwood's groundbreaking Idaho film.

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The Tibetans Have Landed

From inner space to outer space in Sun Valley


A June 2006 Boise Weekly article, timely with the Olympic protests occuring in Lhasa.


So what are those monks up to in the Himalayas that makes them so precious anyway? It can't be their music, which sounds like a Dixieland tuba after happy hour. It's probably not their singing either, which can sound like idling semis.

Tibetan scholar Robert Thurman (father of actress Uma) spoke about Tibetan culture to a full house at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in April to introduce the Sun Valley Center for the Arts' "Arts of Tibet" exhibition, which ran for three months this spring and just ended. He began by giving a nod to Jesus Christ on the cross behind him, "and to all of his altered states," he added, gesturing to the stations-of-the-cross carvings hanging around the sanctuary. You could have heard a pin dropping, even with a thousand angels dancing on its head.

The crowd loosened up a bit when Thurman began to use Star Trek symbolism and Star Wars plot lines to explain the way "enlightenment" works. "Buddhism is not really a religion," he explained. "It is a system of understanding." He pointed out that the great British historian Arnold Toynbee thought the West's encounter with Buddhism would be the most significant historical development of the 20th century. Quoting the Buddha, Thurman said, "Belief will not save you, only understanding." But understanding of what?

If the number of dharma-talks and meditation groups sprouting up in the Wood River Valley in the wake of last year's visit by the Dalai Lama is any indication, Thurman was speaking to an increasingly Buddhist-curious crowd.

As part of the SVCA exhibition, a traveling clan of monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery--once the largest in Tibet, housing thousands of monks and now situated in southern India--demonstrated the "Mystic Arts of Tibet." At the Limelight Room, they performed a series of traditional dances in exquisitely embroidered costumes and held debates in vaudevillian style, interspersed with humorous explanations by an extraordinarily affable monk. Behind them hung a detailed mural of the Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet, where such song and dance evolved for millennia before the Chinese began cracking down in 1959, eventually destroying thousands of monasteries and killing more than a million Tibetans. So why are these guys still smiling?

If art is in fact "the clothing of a revelation," as the mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, the arts of Tibet may represent far more than the average song and dance. According to Thurman, there was a school in ancient India, Nalanda University, which lasted for a thousand years. At Nalanda U, people worked through trial and error on the science of spiritual development, practicing and refining meditation and yoga techniques which continue today, including chanting which acts as a kind of vibrational transformer within the brain. During the Nalanda period, and in fact today, millions of individuals in India and the Himalayas are supported like no place else on earth in the radical pursuit of higher states of consciousness. (If you don't believe this, go hang out on the banks of the Ganges River for a week.)

"Education was not pursued in order to have a better life," said Thurman. "The purpose of life was to become educated, or enlightened." The importance of compassion based on mutual interdependence was central to the Nalanda findings; strife and discord, it would seem, are not only socially unacceptable, they are based on faulty thinking. Thurman's post-modern definition of enlightenment is "the ultimate tolerance for cognitive dissonance," an excellent spiritual compass for the age of Google and a whole new way of looking at A.D.D.

If the notion of spiritual evolution seems hard to grasp, don't worry; the Tibetans didn't get it right away, either. For centuries, they were feared warriors, until the 16th century when the fifth reincarnated Dalai Lama transformed the military fortress of Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet into a monastery, signaling a major commitment to the practice of non-violence.

Nowadays, the Tibetan Diaspora, including the monks of Drepung, carry ancient purification and harmonization rituals to many towns and cities around the world, gathering resources where they can to preserve Tibetan culture on the run. The Sun Valley area, with its deep pockets and high desert terrain, seems an ideal location and indeed has become the home of a genuine prayer wheel, a kinetic prayer device filled with thousands of written prayers by monks in Dharmsala, India, home of the Dalai Llama. On the last days of the "Arts of Tibet" exhibition, a group of local meditators gathered around the monks as they commemorated the prayer wheel which is housed at the Sawtooth Community Garden. We were instructed to breathe in the bad energies of the world and breathe out the goodness. I breathed in coal-fired power plants and breathed out bicycles; in with starvation disease and out with massages and hugs. It puts you on the spot with each breath to become a spiritual vacuum cleaner, defining what is good and what is not so good with every breath.

The most impressive expression of the monks' Tibetan sensibility was the construction of a sand mandala of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Universal Compassion. Over a span of three days, an intricate symmetrical design of ancient spiritual symbols was created using millions of grains of brightly colored sand. On the outer level, the mandala represents the world in its divine form; on the inner levels, it represents a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into enlightened mind. There also are said to be secret meanings within the mandala which depict the primordially balanced subtle energies of the body and mind. The entire creation was swept up and poured into the flowing Big Wood River with yet another round of blowing horns and chanting, to symbolize the impermanence of all creation. In ancient times, mandalas such as these were made of precious stones, sacrificed to the idea of compassion and enlightenment.

Even with a little practice, this Tibetan stuff seems to transform my relations to others in a powerful way. It has certainly improved conversation. I've even come to appreciate the devastating sounds of the great brass telescoping Tibetan horns which have resounded around the valley at various times over the last two weeks. They are not intended to please the ear so much as wake us up and purify the mind of its darker prospects. I think of them as cosmic leaf-blowers, cranking out a vital message from long ago, telling us to wake up quick and get with the program.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Idaho Mountain Express International (Tony Evans)

























Here are some articles published by writers for the Mountain Express, which have found international accaim. As more of these are brought to our attention, the adminstrators of the Idaho Conversation League will gladly post these here and in a new subject index found in the left column.







Tibetan web site:







http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=Dalai+Lama+host+bares+his+soul+in+new+memoir&id=10596













Sufi web site







http://sufinews.blogspot.com/2006/10/from-islam-with-love.html













Media Awareness Project







http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06/n064/a08.html?999













Iraqi news







http://www.aliraqi.org/forums/showthread.php?referrerid=7953&t=50979













Indianz.com







http://www.indianz.com/News/2005/011223.asp













Fundamentalism on Main Street







http://www.angelfire.com/ab8/spiritotv/features/foms.html













Buddhist Channel







http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=12,3135,0,0,1,0













Love Affair with the Divine







http://www.angelfire.com/ab8/spiritotv/features/svwf.html#cb













Energy Bulletin .net







http://www.energybulletin.net/27270.html













The Monks of Jerome Idaho







http://www.angelfire.com/ab8/spiritotv/features/jerome.html

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pressing moves

We movers and shakers had an inspirational experience this week, especially when compared to some of our recent transporting travails. The Peaceful Freemason, Two Skies and I, helped Brittany Sanders transport a 700 lb. printing press over to her new production studio and then we attempted to manhandle an even bigger and more ancient behemoth.












~~~~~

~~~~~

Brittany is a real salt of the earth young woman, strikingly gorgeous both inside and out, and she is fun! She is a nationally recognized book artist and designer, and operates a unique business, creating “custom design letterpress stationary, unique wedding invitations, birth announcements and other celebrations, all hand printed on a Vandercook letterpress.” Moreover, she is involved with the film industry; most recently assisting with a great war veteran documentary called “Fighting for life.” And before that, Return with Honor; a captivating documentary recently featured in K-Town, where one of the Prisoners of War in the film, engaged the audience in a reflective question and answer session, immediately following the show!


I would like to find nice things to say about Brittany all day, but back to the Press move for now:













After we lugs, wrassled the turn of the century Kluge press outside, we soon discovered it was too cumbersome for our truck’s lift gate, so we decided to go with plan B, by utilizing a forklift.








Mr. Freemason had an ‘in’ with one of the managers, over at Luster Rentals. So, the next Saturday, we took advantage of this and gingerly drove the discounted forklift over where the 1,700 lb. press was stowed.

Lucky thing we didn't end up like this!


The old Kluge Press reminded me of relics related to the WR Journal’s antecedents. I find it interesting that the Hailey Times was first printed in 1881, which was several years before electricity came to light our valley.

I suppose that no matter how hard I might try to resist, I’ll always find newspaper ink running rich through my hardscrabble veins. It seems that every time that I see an important story crop up about newspapers going out of business, I become passionately compelled to comment.


I suppose that I am influenced by the power of being able to influence positive change, but I cannot seem to shake this magnetic attraction to anything or anybody related to newspapers or presses.

~



The pallet began crumpling as; Master Freemason skillfully forked the press into the truck. With the weather cooperating, we pulled over to the new shop and in a matter of minutes - the job was complete! Earlier, I felt like a jerk, when calling Brittany, I announced -at the last second that we were operating at the sonar level –under the radar, so to speak.



Gently click on cloud

Nonetheless, we succeeded, and the cumbersome weight quickly lifted from our shoulders. Someday soon, I hope to handcraft my own book and perhaps through professional consultation with Brittany, I may gain a few insights regarding smart strategies for implementing this big dream.









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100 Best last lines from Novels

http://www.utne.com/2008-03-07/GreatWriting/The-100-Best-Last-Lines-from-Novels.aspx

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Shedding light on Sundown Towns

From Utne Reader blogs:

http://www.utne.com/2008-03-21/Politics/Shedding-Light-on-Sundown-Towns.aspx

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Country Bumpkin Charm

Each time I fly back to the big city, I sneak up on my old friend Tim. After surprising him with a traditional Inspector Clouseau / Kato maneuver, we drive around for Auld Lang Syne. While we hit most of our old haunts, the past we worship briefly resuscitates, through the well-regarded stories we share.

We exchange our lively anecdotes; some unspoken for decades, as I cruise an old beater past the house where we dropped off a dropsy friend with a fine-feather we adorned in his cap, so his dad could get a good laugh at the boys out on the town. After a sentimental pizza, I hit the free-for-all freeway, where I drive in the slow lane. Tim says I drive like a country bumpkin. We come to a stop light and glance over at the racecar next to us, booming out rapid bass beats from its speakers. Tim doesn’t stare at the people, but I do, ‘cause I’m freshly fallen off the spud wagon, landed directly at Dulles Airport.

Fifteen years in Idaho changes my outlook. At the airport, I watched passengers disembark from a direct flight from Africa. Dozens of hugs were exchanged between friends and relatives who had not seen each other for ages. I felt like I could have spent half of my vacation, standing there witnessing this lively spectacle.

We pull over and Tim decides to drive for a while. There’s always a concern about someone sneaking up around you on this crazy freeway. We have a long discussion about how I’ve become accustomed to looking directly at the people in the wheels going by and start singing, “I really love to watch them turn.” I tell Tim, “Where I now hail from there’s a chance that I might actually know the people, could exchange a friendly glance with them and simply smile.”

Tim says, “Banholzer, you know better than to establish eye contact in the City. People are shot for less.” More of the roads have changed since my last visit. I say to Tim, “These pie in the sky ramps remind me of some of the elaborate mazes we used to construct for each other back in fourth grade, before computer codes entered schools.”

Now, I’m stumped. The freeway we’ve been on for twenty minutes is unfamiliar. Tim has it figured out though. He has planned for our elaborate loop to take us where he considers it's

the country, but this sure reminds me of Boise. We’re coming north thorough Clifton, Virginia, while a ceaseless stream of traffic travels south towards us. Most of the commuters look miserable on this hot day, as traffic appears to be flowing around 12 mph. At this rate we gain a good gape into each car, enough time for us react with quick three-word creative commentaries about how each passerby is feeling. It’s funny on our end, because we have no pressing deadlines on this day. Feeling fancifully free, with the knowledge that I’m soon bound back for Idaho, I start making vocal remarks to each passing car that has an open window, repeatedly yelling, “Hurry!” using unique speedy voices to try to match each commuter’s fate. Tim starts laughing so hard, that I fear he’s going to wreck. After about two hundred of these, I finally lighten up, feeling that I’ve made my best impact statement, which is:

Tim, why don’t you move to Idaho?

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Frisbee party gone out of bounds

It’s too bad that a few bad apples had to spoil the whole basket for Magic Valley disc golf enthusiasts. It seems that with all abundant countryside farmland out there, that there would be more than a few options for other courses, where kids still in their single digits could share lighthearted smiles, alongside easygoing Idaho old-timers.

A few years back, a handful of disc-enthusiasts cobbled together a course in the mid Wood River Valley, adjacent to the rubbish transfer station. However, it wasn’t long before an agent of the BLM informed the players that they would need a permit to continue, so the course ended up being dismantled. It could be that a few bad apples here, also ruined a good thing, but I don’t know the full story. For a while, there was talk that a permit was being procured and that the BLM agent was being quite helpful with his advice, but then the efforts seemed to fade away. It would be interesting to hear from any readers out there, who were involved with this effort.

The relative inexpensiveness of installing and maintaining disc-golf courses makes a good argument for more local recreation districts and schools to embrace them; rather than the Disneyfied pay-to-play attitudes, which have now become so prevalent. Injuries rarely occur while playing and many courses are wheelchair friendly. The catching receptacle baskets are designed so that they can be easily moved out of the way, when multipurpose field needs arise. The baskets also lock down onto non-protruding metal bases to prevent theft and so that they can be shifted into different positions in the event of heavy usage - just as real golf holes are moved to help prevent wear and tear on the fragile greens.

Someday, I would like to see some snowshoe-disc-courses laid out around Southern Idaho. Maybe we could start with a prototype in the open area around Billy’s Bridge, just south of Prairie Creek. In fact, I find this idea so appealing, that I would compromise my earlier dignified Disneyfied stance and joyfully plunk down a small fee to avoid another Frisbee party gone out of bounds.

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1st great in Stahl ment

I read an essay over the weekend by Carl Sagan. Sagan says there's no
truth in contemplation, only in empirical analysis and the scientific
method, that meditation fails in the face of experimental inquiry.
How can I disagree? Puzzles are solved using rational analysis and
controls, but a life that includes emotions, defense mechanisms and a
conscience that wants to do what's right is unfortunately a lot more
complicated than that. The essay resounded with me, however, because of the
contemplating I've been doing concerning this Web site and whether or not to
maintain it any longer. The whole endeavor feels somehow self-centered and
too self-exposing, and I'm still not comfortable trying to market myself
even though I'm proud of the things I've created.
I had a conversation over a glass of wine with one of my wisest friends
last week. The conversation meandered from capitalism and psychology to
relationships and self-improvement, but among the topics discussed was my
internal debate about this Web site.
"What's the purpose of the site?" she eventually asked.
"I'm not sure."
"Well, what was the purpose?"
"The original purpose was to learn HTML and maybe to prove to myself
that I could do it."
"What was the purpose once you'd learned how to do it and before you
started taking things down last month?"
"I guess it was to tell the truth," I said. "As well as I know it
anyway."
"What's the truth?"
"The truth is a lot of things, but for me the truth is that love is
beautiful, that love hurts, that life's not always as pretty as we think it
should be, or clear-cut for that matter. That there's something worth
celebrating in the resilience of the human spirit and that there's something
worthwhile in contemplation even if the avenues it takes you down are
strange. Maybe part of it was to try to illustrate that answers can be found
in contemplation."
"Did you succeed?"
"To some degree, but I felt exposed, like I was trying to hold a candle
in the wilderness or something. I'd be more comfortable leaving things up if
I felt like I had more peers."
"Well that's the catch, isn't it? It's tough going against the grain."
"That's a lot of what I ended up trying to do, I think. I feel like we
run from our own realities too much, and that's one of the problems with
capitalism. It's something I've learned from my investigation on writing
about myself. If you're goal in life is to make money you're going to find a
way to do it, and stepping on someone is almost inevitable, but your story
will make sense because the initial goal was to make money. My story has to
be different. My initial goal has to be to make a difference in as kind a
way as possible. That's how my story will make sense. Part of that
examination has led me to ponder taking the site down. Maybe I can promote
myself in a way that seems more discreet and soulful, less self-centered."
"Do you really feel like it's selfish?"
"Sort of. Not really. Yes. No. I feel like other people might think it
is. I really don't want to be perceived that way, and part of my gut feels
like I am. In keeping it up, though, I'm certainly not running, not running
from myself or the events that have crossed my life. I'm owning my thoughts,
and that's really hard, especially when your audience is potentially as big
as the world. And the world can be awfully critical."
I recalled aloud how I'd spent considerable hours over numerous miles
running in
Boise
four years earlier. I'd been there covering a trial in
which a 16-year-old girl was charged and convicted of murdering her parents.
The days in the courtroom were so depressing I found myself running in the
middle of the night to try to erase them. I'd also been disgusted with the
national media attention the trial achieved. Court TV, CNN and 20-20 covered
the proceedings, and I viewed their presence as an effort to make a buck
from the poor family's misfortune.
"Have you ever written about that trial?" she asked.
"Not since it ended. When it was over I turned around and never looked
back. Those were two of the most depressing months of my life."
"Your thoughts on the situation are justified," she said. "Why don't you
write it? Why don't you write about the running? Why don't you write about
how much you detest Nancy Grace, or what she represents?"
"I'm still not sure I'm comfortable writing in first person."
"You're good at it. And, again, your opinions are justified."
So, for the first time in four years and in a way I'd never done before,
I did. I wrote about that trial in first person. I wrote about how it ripped
me inside out to attend those awful proceedings every day. I wrote about
Nancy Grace and Court TV's overtly sexy reporters. And I wrote about the
running. For the first time in four years I confronted a two-month slice of
my life I didn't want to acknowledge. And in doing so I concentrated and
meditated on ethical positions within me that are becoming more cemented as
I move forward in life.
Of course those positions come with their own set of problems. Perhaps
because I can't cow to a culture that seems to praise all things
superficial, and appears to esteem the almighty dollar above most anything
else, I am destined to be poor in a money-centered culture. More than that,
however, it points out the incredible irony in these very words and the
place they've landed. While this site began at least in large part as my
attempt to learn a new technological language it has become promotional. And
the very thoughts I am now promoting are thoughts prompting me to consider
taking the site down. Partially I feel exposed. Partially I feel selfish.
I'm reminded now of a quote from another philosopher, Thomas Merton:
"The first thing that you have to do, before you even start thinking about
such a thing as contemplation, is to try to recover your basic natural
unity, to reintegrate your compartmentalized being into a coordinated and
simple whole and learn to live as a unified human person. This means that
you have to bring back together the fragments of your distracted existence
so that when you say 'I,' there is really someone present to support the
pronoun you have uttered. Reflect, sometimes, on the disquieting fact that
most of your statements of opinions, tastes, deeds, desires, hopes and fears
are statements about someone who is not really present. When you say 'I
think,' it is often not you who think, but 'they'—it is the anonymous
authority of the collectivity speaking through your mask. When you say 'I
want,' you are sometimes simply making an automatic gesture of accepting,
paying for what has been forced upon you. That is to say, you reach out for
what you have been made to want."
Life would be simpler if I could subscribe lock, stock and barrel to
Carl Sagan's empirical approach. But the truth, "as well as I know it," is
that the truth actually resides somewhere in between these two philosophers'
positions. They're both right. And they're both wrong.
Writing. Such a strange activity. It bucks all the rules of social
conduct. "Hi. Nice to meet you. I'm Greg, and I'm going to share with you my
thoughts on life, love, capitalism, murder and heartache. And I'm going to
do it before we've even shaken hands." Maybe I'd be more comfortable if
people could see in my eyes that my intentions are sound, my heart pure.
It's something I know people get from me in person. But in writing I don't
know.
Without doubt, however, I know this: Thomas Merton struck gold when he
wrote that "If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that
cannot be criticized, he will never write anything that can be read. If you
want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things
that some men will condemn."
Maybe, just maybe, I'll find the guts to post my reflections on that
two-month trial. Or, gasp, try to sell them.


--
`·.¸¸ ><((((º>.·´¯`·><((((º>
><((((º> ·...><((((º>
·...><((((º>

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Echoes of a Voice Stilled Too Early

The Death of Eva Cassidy Haunts Friends and Fans

http://evacassidy.org/eva/harr96.htm

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For Clarke, Issues of Faith, but Tackled Scientifically

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/20/books/20clar.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

From the N.Y. Times book review

"For all his acclaimed forecasting ability, though, it is unclear whether Mr. Clarke knew precisely what he saw in that future. There is something cold in his vision, particularly when he imagines the evolutionary transformation of humanity. He leaves behind all the things that we recognize and know, and he doesn’t provide much guidance for how to live within the world we recognize and know. In that sense his work has little to do with religion.

But overall religion is unavoidable. Mr. Clarke famously — and accurately — said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Perhaps any sufficiently sophisticated science fiction, at least in his case, is nearly indistinguishable from religion."

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Brad Nottingham's Pale Rider memories

written 11/06

I remember Pale Rider and was here in the valley when it was filmed. I had a friend, Lon Plucknett, (since moved back to his home town of Casper, WY) who worked at Anderson Lumber on Lewis & Warm Springs, and they got quite a big sale out of the lumber used to build the set of "the bad guy's town", while in Hailey, Idaho Lumber got the lumber sales for the "good guys town."

Locals got to try out for background parts, screen testing at what was then "Slavey's" but I remember I was too chicken at the time, and definitely felt too nerdy for a rugged Western character, plus I wore glasses. Also, as always there were scads of ex-Californians living in Ketchum even then, who knew how to grease the egos in the film biz and get into the mix.

Eastwood had an old restored light yellow Buick station wagon he drove around Ketchum back then. My co-worker, LouAnn Hess (now in Challis) was at Sun Valley Motors waiting a long time for them to bring her a car part. Clint was waiting at the parts counter, and she this way of eating huge amounts of sunflower seeds, shelling them, and loading up one side of her cheek with the shells. She bent over into the spitoon, (remember spitoons?) and unloaded a wet glop of shells there, and bent back up there to see Clint, who turned to her, and muttered, "that's disgusting!" LouAnn turned beat red from embarrassment and couldn't utter a response. This was around 1988. LouAnn had a cute figure, pretty much Daniella's physique, but also an Idaho girl all the way, but she had that sunflower seed habit. I'll never forget the continual cracking sounds of her personal mini-seed processing plant next to me at the terminal (as we used to call the monitors) back at Typographics for at least 6 to 7 years.

For Pale Rider, there were some filming issues evident in the film as you see it today, which brought comment: it was filmed in our typically beautiful late Indian summer, and some of the riding scenes were filmed just before and after an unpredictable early season snow, which frosted the upper parts of the ranges, while quickly melting off the lower elevations. As a film viewer, a period of time that seemed to be about a week, appeared to toggle from summer to winter, which brought some criticism, I remember, but any of us mountain folk wouldn't give it a second thought.

Also, Clint made tremendous effort to restore the site that was disturbed by the building fronts, construction crew, and later the feet pounding of the actors and production crew on the little ridge and river drainage near the aspen groves. Winter seemed to come quickly that year and for a bunch of us, it was really hard to spot evidence of the film set trampling that next spring, though we tried. We also tried to find some kind of film crew item or something. Lon and I located "the rock" that one of the miners was chipping on in an early scene from the film.

When it finally came out, Pale Rider sort of stunned people, because it was a break from the Eastwood tradition. He played an even quieter, low-key character, and I remember people being confused about connecting a "preacher" role to him. Others, expecting the active dashing and violent Dirty Harry traditions found this movie kind of slow and spacey, features I didn't mind at all this time. I just soaked in the scenery that I knew was almost in my backyard. I had driven my old Buick Wagon up there, and forded the rocky river crossing half a dozen times, hiking up to some of the "real" old mining cabins and diggings.

Soon afterward, a local man, David Butterfield had us typeset and produce an exhausting field guide to good locations across Idaho, including information about accommodations, prices, in order to drum up more film-making interest from Hollywood. After the book was published, I remember that there wasn't much response, until the Bruce Willis engine began churning up sleepy Hailey in the 90s. I still have not rented that weird, forgotten-about movie filmed in Bellevue that included Warren Beatty that had a fly-fishing connection, nor the one about Hemingway, but I did see that odd Twin Falls picture that Willis was working on when his marriage to Demi was fast unravelling.

Butterfield is still around. He had lost all of his hearing in a wave slam while surfing out in California sometime in the 1980s. He was always kind of an entrepreneurial type that as far as I know, hasn't really stuck to anything yet, but I admire that type of drive. He might have had some family money in a bank account to "allow" him to exercise that spirit, cause you still gotta pay the living expenses.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

1st Great in Stahl ment

I read an essay over the weekend by Carl Sagan. Sagan says there's no
truth in contemplation, only in empirical analysis and the scientific
method, that meditation fails in the face of experimental inquiry.
How can I disagree? Puzzles are solved using rational analysis and
controls, but a life that includes emotions, defense mechanisms and a
conscience that wants to do what's right, is unfortunately a lot more
complicated than that. The essay resounded with me; however, because of the
contemplating I've been doing concerning this Web site and whether or not to
keep maintaining it. The whole endeavor feels somehow self-centered and
too self-exposing, and I'm still not comfortable trying to market myself
even though I'm proud of the things I've created.
I had a conversation over a glass of wine with one of my wisest friends
last week. The conversation meandered from capitalism and psychology to
relationships and self-improvement, but among the topics discussed was my
internal debate about this Web site.
"What's the purpose of the site?" she eventually asked.
"I'm not sure."
"Well, what was the original purpose?"
"The original purpose was to learn HTML and maybe to prove to myself
that I could do it."
"What was the purpose once you'd learned how to do it and before you
started taking things down last month?"
"I guess it was to tell the truth," I said. "As well as I know it
anyway."
"What's the truth?"
"
The truth is a lot of things, but for me the truth is that love is
beautiful, that love hurts,
that life's not always as pretty as we think it
should be,
or clear-cut for that matter. That there's something worth
celebrating in the resilience of the human spirit and that there's something
worthwhile in contemplation even if the avenues it takes you down are
strange. Maybe part of it was to try to illustrate that
answers can be found
in contemplation
."
"Did you succeed?"
"To some degree, but I felt exposed, as if I was trying to hold a candle
in the wilderness or something. I'd be more comfortable leaving things up if
I felt like I had more peers."
"Well that's the catch, isn't it? It's tough going against the grain."
"That's much of what I ended up trying to do, I think. I feel like we
run from our own realities too much, and that's one of the problems with
capitalism. It's something I've learned from my investigation on writing
about myself. If your goal in life is to make money you're going to find a
way to do it, and stepping on someone is almost inevitable, but your story
will make sense because the initial goal was to make money. My story has to
be different. My initial goal has to be to make a difference in
as kind a
way as possible
. That's how my story will make sense. Part of that
examination has led me to ponder taking the site down. Maybe I can promote
myself in a way that seems more discreet and soulful, less self-centered."
"Do you really feel like it's selfish?"
"Sort of. Not really. Yes. No. I feel like other people might think it
is. I really don't want to be perceived that way, and part of my gut feels
like I am. In keeping it up, though, I'm certainly not running, not running
from myself or the events that have crossed my life. I'm owning my thoughts,
and that's really hard, especially when your audience is potentially as big
as the world. And the world can be awfully critical."
I recalled aloud how I'd spent considerable hours over numerous miles
running in Boise
four years earlier. I'd been there covering a trial in
which a 16-year-old girl was charged and convicted of murdering her parents.

The days in the courtroom were so depressing I found myself running in the
middle of the night to try to erase them. I'd also been disgusted with the
national media attention the trial achieved. Court TV, CNN and 20-20 covered
the proceedings, and I viewed their presence as an effort to make a buck
from the poor family's misfortune.
"Have you ever written about that trial?" she asked.
"Not since it ended. When it was over, I turned around and never looked
back. Those were two of the most depressing months of my life."
"Your thoughts on the situation are justified," she said. "Why don't you
write it? Why don't you write about the running? Why don't you write about
how much you detest Nancy Grace, or
what she represents?"
"I'm still not sure I'm comfortable writing in first person."
"You're good at it. And, again, your opinions are justified."
So, for the first time in four years and in a way I'd never done before,
I did. I wrote about that trial in first person. I wrote about how it ripped
me inside out to attend those awful proceedings every day. I wrote about
Nancy Grace and Court TV's overtly sexy reporters. And I wrote about the
running. For the first time in four years, I confronted a two-month slice of
my life I didn't want to acknowledge. And in doing so I concentrated and
meditated on ethical positions within me that are becoming more cemented as
I move forward in life.
Of course those positions come with their own set of problems. Perhaps
because I can't cow to a culture that seems to praise all things
superficial, and appears to esteem the almighty dollar above most anything
else, I am destined to be poor in a money-centered culture. More than that,
however, it points out the incredible irony in these very words and the
place they've landed. While this site began at least in large part as my
attempt to learn a new technological language it has become promotional. And
the very thoughts I am now promoting are thoughts prompting me to consider
taking the site down. Partially I feel exposed. Partially I feel selfish.
I'm reminded now of a quote from another philosopher, Thomas Merton:
"The first thing that you have to do, before you even start thinking about
such a thing as contemplation, is to try to recover your basic natural
unity, to reintegrate your compartmentalized being into a coordinated and
simple whole and learn to live as a unified human person. This means that
you have to bring back together the fragments of your distracted existence
so that when you say 'I,' there is really someone present to support the
pronoun you have uttered. Reflect, sometimes, on the disquieting fact that
most of your statements of opinions, tastes, deeds, desires, hopes and fears
are statements about someone who is not really present. When you say 'I
think,' it is often not you who think, but 'they'—it is the anonymous
authority of the collectivity speaking through your mask. When you say 'I
want,' you are sometimes simply making an automatic gesture of accepting,
paying for what has been forced upon you. That is to say, you reach out for
what you have been made to want."
Life would be simpler if I could subscribe lock, stock and barrel to
Carl Sagan's empirical approach. But the truth, "as well as I know it," is
that the truth actually resides somewhere in between these two philosophers'
positions. They're both right. And they're both wrong.


clicke on important TV NEWS chick


Writing. Such a strange activity. It bucks all the rules of social
conduct. "Hi. Nice to meet you. I'm Greg, and I'm going to share with you my
thoughts on life, love, capitalism, murder and heartache. And I'm going to
do it before we've even shaken hands." Maybe I'd be more comfortable if
people could see in my eyes that my intentions are sound, my heart pure.
It's something I know people get from me in person. But in writing I don't
know.
Without doubt, however, I know this: Thomas Merton struck gold when he
wrote that "If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that
cannot be criticized, he will never write anything that can be read. If you
want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things
that some men will condemn."
Maybe, just maybe, I'll find the guts to post my reflections on that
two-month trial. Or, gasp, try to sell them.


--
`·.¸¸ ><((((º>.·´¯`·><((((º>
><((((º> ·...><((((º>
·...><((((º>




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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Statewide Movie Signage Proposal


With the bill pending in our Legislature to fund film industry incentives within the state, Idaho leaders could further bolster this opportunity by asking that our Transportation Department, revisit Professor Tom Trusky’s innovative “Statewide Movie Signage Proposal.” Expanding our already successful Idaho Highway Historical Marker program to include tributes to films made in Idaho could be next logical step in this popular program’s evolution.





To quote Professor Trusky from last year, “The tourist / publicity value of such signage is apparent – and locals might appreciate such knowledge, too, if they are unaware of their cinematic heritage. As well, given the recent interest in bringing film production to the state, such signage would not only be public acknowledgement of Idaho’s considerable contribution to the film industry but also serve as a reminder to contemporary filmmakers of the Gem State possibilities.” As it stands now, every day, thousands of travelers drive directly past Highway 75’s old North Fork Store, unmindful to the fact, that in one of her best performances, Marilyn Monroe starred there in Bus Stop.





Who knows to what high level such a pioneering program might soar? Perhaps one day we will create interactive signs, offering holograms with brief clips for tourists to enjoy. To thwart vandals, we could program Clint Eastwood’s voice, to sternly announce, “Go ahead! Make my day! Because you are now being filmed by an interactive sign, commemorating Idaho films!”




Let’s not miss this important bus, because by merging the information superhighway with our back road signage, Idaho could show the rest of the world how we stand on the cutting-edge, as well as being capable to cut though bureaucracy, when truly original ideas like Professor Trusky’s crop up, like some of the diamond blockbusters filmed in Idaho’s hardscrabble rough.





Footnote: Last year, the Director of the Idaho film collection, Professor Tom Trusky assisted Brad Nottingham and I in our successful quest for a historical sign commemorating the filming of Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider in Idaho. Although, the highway department did not construct a sign up by the Boulder Mountains as we had hoped, they did amend the Wood River Mines historical marker sign, north of Bellevue, to include a tribute to Mr. Eastwood’s groundbreaking Idaho film.








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Friday, March 14, 2008

Over obvious blind spots

I remember thinking as a young adult, that there are some men out there in our culture, who continue growing stronger all the way up to age 50. I imagined that these strength-gaining characters would be mostly lumberjacks, ship captains and such, but the fact remained that some men were actually gaining larger barrel chests up ‘til age 50.



Another part of me wondered if there was some secret wisdom, whispered into men’s dropsy ears, upon their significant turnover to fifty. Then just this week, I realized that if you count the time from my conception day, I have completed forty-nine years; thus am beginning the first week of 50.



With this in mind, this morning, I showed a friend the recent WR Journal article, regarding visionary librarians and the follow up. She asked what was it that allowed me to see such things. I answered that I usually seemed to have a certain knack to grasp several subjects from far reaches and then develop interesting connections, through either relative stories or simple joke like parables. I continued that although I have seen little monetary gain from this dedicated writing, it’s clear that I should continue upon this path.



I claimed a certain confidence in being able to write inspiring letters of pubic interest, well-flowing poems, etc, because I knew that those stories were there waiting to be connected and since I was adept at doing so, it might as well be me continuing to uncover them.



Then my friend swooped back with a gentle, but piecing question, “So why is it then, that you don’t have this same level of confidence in yourself -apart from your writing?”



For five long seconds, her insight stunned me. However, deep within, I found the slow fortitude, to thank her for asking such a concerned question. Her pricking of this blind spot resonated for day’s remainder and I slowly become thankful for the strength of this esoteric fiftieth gift.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Defending Mary Ann’s honor



Occasionally a story comes along so compelling that everything else pales in comparison and drops to the wayside. 9-11, Pearl Harbor and now this week the bombshell was dropped that three wild men hitchhikers left pot in the ashtray of Mary Ann from Gilligan’s island car, after she was kind enough to offer them a ride on her way back from a surprise birthday party set for her in Driggs, Idaho.



Not only did I receive a handful of e-mails asking me to stand up for what is right and defend Mary Ann’s honour, but also one young man came fumbley stumbling in backwards, through my front door to beseech me in person. Perhaps he heard that I had recently written her a sincere fan letter.



Therefore, I am asking all of you impending Mary Ann back to Ginger, flip-floppers, this is the crucial time when our friend needs us the most, to not abandon ship on her. Certainly, Mary Ann will forgive us for being so fickle, those of us who were shortly considering switching our favorite islander back to Ginger. So everybody grab some strap oil to sharpen your writing instruments and the key to the oarlocks, to fasten yourself in for a spell, to sit right down for a wile and draft sweet Mary Ann a deserving letter of support today.

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Peace-seeking-missive III

Wouldn’t a true ‘smart-missile’ turn around in mid-flight, and drop itself to the ground safely, because it didn’t want to cause humanity any harm?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Predicting the ways of lightning




I read there is a machine now that can read minds with a 90% accuracy rate. It can tell for instance, if the photo you are looking at, is a pastoral scene –or the big city, just like I pictured it. It can also tell which finger you are expected to move next, with a 90% accuracy rate. I wonder how developments like this will be incorporated into future newspapers and books.



Another idea I keep thinking about, is newspapers with hyperlinks imbedded into the actual paper, so that upon prompting, a paper will transform itself into an array of windows with related stories –just like computers do now, only for the future on a single interactive thin sheet of paper.



To what degree will imbedded mind reading machines in future newspapers be able to read your next intent?



If future bookworms aspire to become farsighted enough, perhaps they will be able to stay ahead of such machine’s curves, over 10 percent of the time. Much like basketball players, freelance ballerinas and jazz musicians have with their head-faking split-second mid-air decisions, where even they don’t quite know what they are going to go next, in their majestic performance. They just do it. These bastioned crowns of creation, rising to the cream top puff the magic dragon good old candy apple rocky mountainous Tesla lighting containing sorcerer altitude achievers.

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