Saturday, September 21, 2019

Attendant Parking

"When I used to drive a truck for Sagebrush Interiors, which was located on the far opposite corner from here and where Iconoclast set down for a decade after that, there was a line of parking adjacent to the Community Library where you could legally parallel park ALL NIGHT, even in winter, because it was actually private property which extended into the road.

Anyhow, parking the work-truck there would upset some seasonal high-end condo owner who lived in the complex in the top portion of this photo. Twice he walked out angrily and asked / demanded we find a different spot for the truck because seeing it there tainted his view.

It's hard to say actually what the true cause of his peculiar anger was, but my work colleagues speculated it was because he had invested a large sum of money in his condo, and eventually had it dawn on himself that it was overvalued. And now he was desperately projecting this by nit-picking visual details.

The artwork painted on the truck-side, visible from his window view was a stand-out photo of a cowgirl amidst lasso action, and meticulously painted by local esteemed artist Katherine Sheldon. Ironically, when Sagebrush closed and sold that same truck to the Open Room, a fight ensued over the highly valued painting when another artisan removed it for the new logo.

But beholden in the eyes of the penthouse owner, the truck featuring this same Wild West themed masterpiece was so distasteful to his view that he ended up letting it bug him to the point that he became confrontational about it."

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Let's make certain to utilize the futuristic safety tools we already have

Final Draft:

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: JB
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 6:22 PM
Subject: Opinion / Letter of Public Interest / Re-submission /  Let's make certain we're utilizing the futuristic safety tools we already have
To: <>

Hello Editor,

I received a call from your office this afternoon to confirm this letter and I believe this new draft will show more strength and understanding. You have my permission to edit this as you see fit. Thank you for your consideration of publishing this. I will try to call your office in a short while to confirm this letter as well.
Best regards,

Let’s make certain to utilize the futuristic safety tools we already have

Dear Editor,
I’ve been living in Central PA for two years now, after relocating here from Idaho. Out West, I worked driving large trucks for 20 years, and also focused on aircraft safety at Horizon Air for six. In addition, I’ve been a frequent newspaper opinion contributor, sometimes writing with a strong emphasis on transportation safety issues. 

Now, as a disabled person, I’ve been working at a Work Skills Program since 2018, and am grateful for this type of productive work. From my house, I catch the bus to and from work, and though I’ve been impressed with every parameter of their excellent, efficient and friendly service for thousands of miles, a handful of times I’ve sensed danger that we can avoid better. 

The majority of my fellow bus passengers are also disabled and some don’t have much of a voice there, since their guardians or advocates are seldom aboard. Some may not have enough experience or the ability to notice every hazard, so I try to speak up for them and their equal rights for harmless environments.
My top concern for now is this:
While riding in a crowded Public bus in spring of 2018, the driver hit a long undivided two lane straightaway and sped up. Soon she was exceeding 80 mph in a posted 55 zone, and continued this rate steadily over our next 5 to 6 miles. I wish that my camera then would have been of enough high quality to zoom in to show this clearly.

A Mobile Logic Unit being assembled

Months later I experienced a synchronicity when work management trained me for a new task of assembling “Mobile Logic Units” for bus fleets. When I asked our bus drivers about the inner workings of these black-box-like devices, they told me that these recorders transpose and save tremendous amounts of data. For instance, in areas where commercial motorists exceed speed limits, the variegated maps are programmed to mark these spots, and indicate them with red flags.

I’m curious though if busy bus managers make time to address these warnings about bending or breaking speed laws. Because by many standards operating a commercial vehicle at 25 mph over the posted limit is consider reckless driving – and with a bus full of nearly voiceless disabled people to boot!  

Coupled with some previous driver-distracting concerns, to which bus management inadequately responded*, my intuition niggles at me rigorously that perhaps they do not. And if PennDOT has authority to conduct audits for such vital bus information, I suggest they investigate bus and other transportation services to detect if there’s a pattern of missed warning flags, After all, why would our tremendous public bus services invest in such expensive cutting-edge safety features if managers might be too busy to notice them, or even worse: willfully ignoring these?
Indeed, endangering already disabled passengers like my colleagues should be held as an uppermost consideration to be avoided at all costs. 

 Note to Editor: Last week I sent this suggestion to PennDOT in a similar message.  

Thank you,

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Let's be certain to utilize the futuristic safety tools we already have

1st working draft

Dear Editor,

I have been living in Central Pennsylvania for two years now, after relocating here from Idaho.  Out West, I worked driving large trucks for 20 years, and also focused on aircraft safety at a busy Airline for six. In addition, I’ve been a frequent newspaper opinion contributor, sometimes writing with a strong emphasis on highway safety issues. 

Now, as a disabled person, I’ve been working at a Work Skills Program since 2018, and am grateful for this type of productive work. From my house, I catch the bus to and from work most days and have made some noteworthy observations along the way.  

The majority of my fellow bus passengers are also disabled and some don’t have much of a voice there, since their guardians or advocates are seldom aboard. I have noted some safety concerns, which fellow work colleagues rarely address (or perhaps simply don’t notice,) so I try to speak up for them and their equal rights for harmless environments. 

A top concern is this:  

One spring afternoon in 2018, while riding aboard a nearly-loaded public 12-passenger bus, the driver hit a long valley straightaway and sped up. Soon, on this undivided two-lane she started exceeding 80 mph in a posted 55 zone, and continued this rate steadily over our next 5 to 6 miles. I wish that my camera then would have been of enough high quality to zoom in to show this clearly. 

 Mobile Logic Unit assembly

Months later I experienced an interesting synchronicity when work management trained me for a new task of assembling “Mobile Logic Units” for bus fleets. When I asked our bus drivers about some of the inner workings of these black-box-like devices, they told me that these recorders transpose and save tremendous amounts of data. For instance, in areas where motorists exceed speed limits, the variegated maps are programmed to mark these spots, and indicate them with red flags.

I’m curious though if bus managers actually address any of these warnings about bending or breaking speed laws. Because by many standards operating a commercial vehicle at 25 mph over the posted limit is consider reckless driving – and with a bus full of nearly voiceless disabled people to boot! 

Coupled with previous bus experiences, my intuition niggles at me rigorously that perhaps they do not. And if PennDOT has authority to conduct audits for such vital bus information, I suggest this is something they consider investigating deeper, if they do not already do so. After all, why would our tremendous public bus services invest in expensive cutting-edge safety features if the management sometimes overlooks these, or perhaps willfully ignores them?

Indeed, endangering already disabled passengers like my work colleagues should be held as an uppermost consideration to be avoided at all costs. 

Thank you,

Psychology, Recovery and Mental Health - revised useful links

Psychology, Recovery and Mental Health

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell - Harpers Magazine, October 1932

Article — From the October 1932 issue

In Praise of Idleness

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LIKE most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Every one knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. This traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Before advancing my own arguments for laziness, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept. Whenever a person who already has enough to live on proposes to engage in some everyday kind of job, such as school-teaching or typing, he or she is told that such conduct takes the bread out of other people’s mouths, and is, therefore, wicked. If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be idle in order that we should all have our mouths full of bread. What people who say such things forget is that what a man earns he usually spends, and in spending he gives employment. As long as a man spends his income he puts just as much bread into people’s mouths in spending as he takes out of other people’s mouths in earning. The real villain, from this point of view, is the man who saves. If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment. If he invests his savings the matter is less obvious, and different cases arise.

One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the expenditure of most civilized governments consists in payments for past wars and preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. The net result of the man’s economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the State to which he lends his savings. Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it on drink or gambling.

Article continues...

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Labor Day

Labor Day in the United States of America is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the power of collective action by laborers,[1] who are essential for the workings of society. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday.

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day.

Sacrifices in the Ludlow strike and massacre, the valiant participation of iconic figures like Mother Mary Jones and Louis Tikas, the deaths of some 60 combatants are all worthy of the attention of the Ludlow Centennary commemoration. It was, however, the courage and persistence of the average immigrant coal miner in Lafyette at the Columbine Mine north of Denver, as well as at Ludlow, that wrested murderous power from the likes of John Rockefeller.

The shirtwaist makers, as young as age 15, worked seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a half-hour lunch break. During the busy season, the work was nearly non-stop. They were paid about $6 per week. In some cases, they were required to use their own needles, thread, irons and occasionally their own sewing machines. The factories also were unsanitary, or as a young striker explained, “unsanitary—that’s the word that is generally used, but there ought to be a worse one used.” At the Triangle factory, women had to leave the building to use the bathroom, so management began locking the steel exit doors to prevent the “interruption of work” and only the foreman had the key.

The “shirtwaist”—a woman’s blouse—was one of the country’s first fashion statements that crossed class lines. The booming ready-made clothing industry made the stylish shirtwaist affordable even for working women. Worn with an ankle-length skirt, the shirtwaist was appropriate for any occasion—from work to play—and was more comfortable and practical than fashion that preceded it, like corsets and hoops.

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”
— Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim

Oppenheim’s 1911 poem parallels the radiance of the sun with the voices of the workers who demand “Bread and Roses.” Like the workers in Oppenheim’s poem of the same name, the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike or “Bread and Roses” strike, as it is sometimes called, became a lightning rod for workers amidst the darkness of intense exploitation. The strike was a fight for decent wages, dignity and equality. It was a historic strike as mostly immigrant, mostly women workers overcame numerous obstacles to wrest a significant victory from the manufacturing industry owners.

The strike, which lasted nine weeks, began on a wintry day in a textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts. But its roots grew in the inhumane conditions of the mill factories where workers, the majority immigrant women and children, labored for 60-plus hours a week in danger and squalor. Workers entered the mills not knowing whether they would make it out in one piece, as frequent accidents on the job killed and maimed many. Hours of mill work meant losing years off your life, as life expectancy for textile workers was far less than that of the population as a whole. Workers not killed in accidents were exposed to toxic fibers and dust that often led to death.

On top of all this, workers were paid a meager wage, placing mill workers in a never-ending cycle of poverty. They lived under abominable conditions characterized by unsanitary drinking water, overcrowded apartments and rampant food insecurity. Children were robbed of any semblance of a childhood, as many had to enter the workforce to help their families survive. Amidst the exploitation and oppression, the workers, mostly women, began to organize themselves.

On Jan. 11, 1912, Polish women at the Everett Cotton Mill walked off the job after learning that employer had cut wages to maneuver their way around the reduced work-hour law. On Jan. 12, workers at the Washington Mill learned the same and also walked out. By Jan. 15, 15,000 workers were on strike and out on the picket line. Eventually, 25,000 people joined the lines and shut down the mills.

The strike was sparked by a single event that induced an angry fervor, but it was not spontaneous. Its seed was planted in the kitchens and hallways of tenement buildings. The bosses believed that women as ethnically diverse as those working in the mills of Lawrence were too different to relate to each other. Yet, the women formed close social bonds as they looked after each other’s kids and tended to each other’s illnesses. These relationships would carry them through the nine weeks of strike.

Many women had been exposed to labor organizing in their home countries, setting the stage for alliances to be formed with worker unions such as the Italian Socialist Federation and the Industrial Workers of the World. These alliances allowed for the seeds of solidarity that were planted among them to grow into fruition.

Women became the true leaders of this strike. It was women who placed themselves at the front of the marches in an attempt to curtail the violence. It was women who led the way throughout the city of Lawrence as they marched. It was the women who injected their vitality, fight and passion into this strike as they sang songs that maintained the high revolutionary spirit.

Additionally, it was women who made decisions about how to best protect their families during the strike. The women sent their children to live with relatives in New York City and other cities, making sure they were well cared for while they engaged in necessary militant action and withstood the brutality of the state. The decision to send their children to nearby cities went beyond necessity—it was very much about strategy and about increasing the strikers’ visibility. This decision also garnered media attention when police brutally halted the practice on Feb. 24.

The bosses and the authorities, in collusion, initially dismissed the strikers, since they were unskilled immigrant workers. The workers’ effective organization and militancy proved the bosses wrong. Instead of diminishing, the strike’s power grew as time progressed.

The bosses and the state collaborated and violently attacked the strikers. There were mass beatings of women and children —mothers were savagely grabbed by their hair and dragged in front of their children. Yet, the workers remained steadfast. Day after day, they took their place on the picket line. They continued to chant for dignified wages and living conditions. On the picket lines, unity and optimism empowered the striking workers to overcome the bitter hunger, cold and police bullets.

The public’s eye settled on the women and children; their stories of exploitation in juxtaposition to their resistance swayed public opinion in their favor.

The strikers went from being a force to be reckoned with in Lawrence to being a threatening body to the capitalist forces in the region. The strike became the largest manufacturing strike at that time. After nine difficult weeks of striking, the workers won their demands. They received a 15-percent wage hike and an increase in overtime compensation.

The victory was not handed to them; it was hard-earned. The women, men and children who stood on the picket lines fought for the entire working class. They showed that only through unity in struggle can workers win important reforms.

As women, as workers, it is our duty to advance the cause for the revolution by actively fighting for it. Women workers are part of a long tradition of labor struggle that has fought for workers’ rights. We stand up for what we believe. We mobilize against the systems that oppress us. We strategize to find the most effective tactics in order to win. We must continue to be at the forefront of all struggles against poverty and for the economic liberation of all workers. The least we can do is stand on the shoulders of those giants from the Bread and Roses strike and continue their fight for the liberation of all workers.

Monday, September 02, 2019

A Prayer

The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888

O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil.  Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.  Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with  the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven.  That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.  Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage.  Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory.  That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.  These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered.  Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory.  They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude.  Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church.  Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations.  Amen. 

Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.

Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David. 

Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord. 

Response: As we have hoped in Thee
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.

Response: And let my cry come unto Thee. 

Verse: Let us pray.  O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.  

Response:  Amen. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Strange Clock Behavior

Strange Clock Behavior

Here a strange synchronicity. Recently, through facebook I made contact with an old elementary school classmate. We lived on the same street in Virginia and sometimes walked to school together. In 1968, her dad was kind enough to guide her brother and me to sell tickets door-to-door for the Boy Scout Exposition. At $1 apiece, I hawked over 100 tickets, for which the Exposition leaders gave me some prizes. The award I remember most was a state-of-the-art clock radio, by which I could set to wake me up with loud music. I thought this was cool.

In the pre-digital era, this clock had a relatively simple design: Every minute a little number would physically flip down, until the top of the hour, when the hour’s column flipped over. This radio clock woke me up diligently for 25 years, for paper routes, school and work, until January 1993 when it went haywire, the week before I left Virginia to move to Idaho. I tried fiddling with it for a few days, but never could figure out what could make a clock designed that way, want to run backwards. Finally, I gave up and threw the clock radio away. I owned better radios and if this clock didn’t work, the device was essentially useless. Plus I needed to pare down on possessions for the move.

For me, the strange behavior of that clock was a metaphor marking the end of my Virginia years.

Now sixteen years later, after reading books like Michael Talbot’s Holographic Universe, I wonder if the behavior of the clock was sparked by some unusually high level of electromagnetic energy, somehow related to the excitement of my Idaho move.

Or was its time just up?

Friday, August 09, 2019

Music Playlist III

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Psychology, Recovery & Mental Health - Some useful links of Interest

Psychology, Recovery and Mental Health


Friday, July 26, 2019

Reexamining Brad's post from 11/24/2007 now that the North Fork Store has been transported away

Link to North Fork Store article

brad9:07 AM

Great little flashback on our Clint Eastwood musings. You handled that letter well. I was a "little" disappointed that writer Dave didn't jump at the chance to make this leg of his investigation a personal one. Who wouldn't want to write off a trip to the Sawtooths and a stay in Ketchum as part of your livelihood income?

Also, I kinda wondered about why he would ask you to take photos (with the implied attitude that he'd be working on the book at home or with his laptop on a round table near the pastry counter of his local LA Starbucks.) Maybe it's a good thing that you only had time to offer him a low-res cell phone shot of the mining sign. Even though you took the "high mining camp trail" and pledged that you'd do all things to help, hopefully he will see the kerosene lantern and get personally involved with the site research of maybe Eastwood's most out of the way and special Idaho portion of his film pursuits.

I had no idea you worked so hard to gather info for Dana, only to have the information evaporate. I'm sure Aimes would have been thrilled to have run across that file.

I agree with you that Eastwood does not make frequent trips to the Valley. When I had his wooden hot tub on my spa route from 1992 through about 98, it was only apparent that he was here when there was Jazz music blasting through the house, though I never laid eyes on the man, unlike my coworker Lou Ann. I did meet his son briefly, (Kyle?) and his then new dark haired wife, an assistant, and heard the noises of his little baby while in the house resetting the spa heater button sometime in the early or mid 90s. He had an interesting collection of old-time pinball machines on the lower level of his house.

Interesting that the hits to our Eastwood musings sort of have a continuous life. Wow, great to realize.

Just got back from a successful trip to Colorado. The plan to fly back "on" Thanksgiving Day paid off well. Even some of the employees were talkative at the airport. By offering to work on T-giving, they got double-time pay, sparse crowds and an easy day. They were as easy to engage as a checker at a small town independent grocery store. Joyce and I wandered leisurely through the Denver Airport shops. I was pleased that they had reduced some music cassettes to $10 off, (so only 3 bucks), and we got instant service at coffee shops and food vendors. Even though the planes were not empty, fellow fliers were not crazed and edgy. Then, we got back for a long weekend to finish up the holiday mood without any feeling of being rushed in masses of humanity.

As the vacation started, Dad surprised me with tickets to Warren Miller's latest movie "PLayground" in a massive old-time theater in downtown Denver, called the Paramount. The last time I was there, my ears were ringing for days at work after a George Thoroughgood concert back in about 1981.

The lastest Warren movie was like a concert party. They threw out LED-lighted frisbees from the stage to rally the crowd. There was lots of ski giveaway stuff including free ski passes and a Jeep. There was an active bar on both levels of the huge old-time theater. The energy of the crowd was infectious; every time the film would change to another ski area, such as Steamboat Springs, that portion of the crowd (that liked to ski that area) went into a cheering hoopla. The Mile High City must definitively be the epicenter of Warren Miller mania. They needed it, as the snow hadn't come to the high country by Nov. 18.

"Playground" was an interesting Red-Bull charge of cinematic adventures mixed with garage-band music, and fists of fluffy snow flying at your face after every action shot. Warren himself is in his early 80s, so he's retired, but you still get audio clips of his gentle style of humor, even though his son is more involved and it is under a new group. The chief guy is Kim Schneider, 53. Warren Miller started in SV with his first one-man film in Sun Valley, called Deep and Light, 1949. This current film involved a crew of 52. The length in miles of film shot before editing was 22 miles, the cost per second of film was about $1. Apparently, the new man, Schneider used to make Super 8 movies based on index card ideas when he was a kid.

He met Warren Miller in 1974, (who Dad also met when I was a kid and once came over to our house in about '68) when Kim was living in a truck in the Heavenly Valley parking lot. He was filming a freestyle competition, and stayed late, where there were only a few shooters left. He heard "the voice" behind him, and it said "Did you get anything good?" They skied down to his truck, where Miller said something like "this is yours?" (an old early 70s Dodge stretch van.) Warren added, "I used to live in a trailer." Apparently it didn't matter if Kim knew anything about movies, it was a done deal. He offered to work for Miller for free, but Miller insisted on paying, and he has been working on Miller films for 29 years.

Aside from the expected extreme snowboarding and helicopter skiing in Canada or Alaska, we were treated to such oddities as rednecks doing fierce jumps and flips using snowmobiles, and then shooting skeet from them at the edge of cliffs overlooking a wilderness river. Then they jumped a snowmobile through a burning outhouse. One of the guys pulled a Moose carcass out of the deep freeze and bit into its head. He calls it "Bush Sushi". But who says Rednecks don't recycle, even if need exceeds altruism? He paused to collect $224 from the bottle depot an endeavor earned in 15-cent increments.

We also got samplings of the life of a batch of 12 year old snowboarders called "the Smalls" of Mammoth Mtn, CA. One kid, 14, joked that he had to carry an airline-assigned badge that said "unaccompanied minor" on it, and then reported to his coach when they were reunited, "Thank God you're here. They were making me a pedophile magnet !"

On the first day of the shooting, someone grabbed and ran with their camera bag enclosing a $25,000 Arri SRII camera and $8000 in lenses. As soon as the rest of the crew was radioed, one of the other camera men zoomed in on the crowd with the powerful zoom lense, and captured the equipment grabber running. With a megaphone, someone yelled, "drop the bag, you're surrounded by police!" It wasn't true, but the thief dropped the bag.

One guy in the film wears a wing suit that turns him into a sort of flying squirrel. He flies with a snowboard and sort of skips down snowfields off precipitous faces. He just interprets the terrain and comes up with was to interact, going airborne when encountering 2000 ft. cliffs. At the end of his segment, he was asked tongue-in-cheek why he isn't dead yet. He countered with, "Well, I eat right and exercise."

They also filmed in Dubai, apparently the Las Vegas of the Middle East. Apparently they have a year-round indoor ski area. Everything is in reverse, we ski outside and come inside to warm up, they ski inside and go outside to 77 degrees to warm up. One of the Canadian skiers there was lectured because he was walking around with his shorts rolled up, and warned because he could have been sent to jail for showing a lack of modesty.

Another sequence was shot at the sculptured house at Genesee, CO where the odd Woody Allen movie was shot back in the 70s. The house looks like a giant stretched egg pod up on the mountain ridge. One guy strapped on a jetpack for a gag shot, one of the few people in the world who know how to fly the thing. You have to wear earplugs within 50 feet of the thing. In the film you could tell that the rocket wash blew apart these huge paving stones used in the patio, tossing it a couple feet, and it looked like bits of tinfoil were shooting out the exhaust. Funny.

When they shot in Japan, they were amused with "English attempted" bumper stickers, such as one showing a leaping trout, and the words: "The wild nature glow up the land." Another button slogan read "Don't worry, be smile." and a store clerk at a shoe store had an English one that said "May your satisfaction sincerely be aroused by me." Apparently with Japans 300-plus ski areas, copies amounts of snow that stays around all season, and some of the best tree skiing around, it's a great place to film. At night, they light up the whole ski hill with halogen lights.

The movie tickets were a great welcome from Dad, and he put up with the loud punky music like a trooper. The downtown Denver walking mall was a Christmas lit party when we exited the 14 story parking garage. Dad got disoriented and we turned out of the garage the wrong way, and entered a one-way the wrong way driving on the shuttle train tracks. Dad said, in my years of working downtown, I sure got turned around this time ! We corrected our errors and finally got Dad's fire engine red VW Golf headed in the right direction.

The trip went from 68 degrees walking the Boulder Mall to a lunch at Dad's favorite Golf Country Club sports bar as the clouds loomed and we were headed for a 22 degree night. I loved it. A little bit of sticker shock when we visited the ski shop were Dad part-timed about five years ago: Most skis were retailing in the mid-thousand dollar range. Yikes. It has become the sport of the wealthy. Thankfully the ski swaps in ski towns of American live forever.

Met up with my high school buddy Tom, where we headed to Denver's Fresh Seafood Company where I presented him with a fly fishing beer mug. Joyce and I took brisk early morning walks in Denver, and I read and completed a book called Instant Karma, the heart and soul of a ski bum by 49 year old Wayne Sheldrake.

Here's a sampling: "Larry skied on brown skis, plain brown skis. He liked steep runs, near rocks, as steep as staircases and steeper.... all variety of chutes. Chutes that zig-zagged between rocks, chutes that swizzled around rocks, chutes that hopscotched rocks, chutes that dived below cliffs. I finally refused above a sliver of snow narrow as dental floss that plunged into a crack no wider than a turnstyle.

"No way," I said.
"It's been skied," he nodded.

Here's another excerpt:

Here was the time I really wanted to die. Both bones of my lower right leg snapped like driftwood, completely through. I went into shock. It was almost dark by the time the patrol got me off the mountain. Everyone was freaked out by the amount of pain I was in, and they knew getting the stiff plastic boot off my foot without making it worse would be almost impossible. The could also see that I was horrified. They tried so hard not to hurt me. When the boot did come off, the muscles in my lower leg spasmed, and my whole foot squirmed grotesquely toward my knee.

As I was attended to, I realized that the small room was crammed with people who stayed late after work to help me. This had a profound affect on me. These wild-assed renegades I'd only known for a few months really cared about me. As I was slid into the back of the old Datsun wagon for the long dark journey to the hospital, the driver kept asking me, "Are you okay?" I wasn't crying because of the pain. I was crying because I never felt so loved. It was four hours before I got morphine...."

(Wayne started college as a music vocal major, and went on to work as a Wolf Creek Ski School Instructor, where he was hired to teach at $36 a day plus $1 a head.)

Here's another portion, Jim, that way you can get the gist of the book without committing:

"I took a year and a half, three thousand dollars in long distance bills, several trips to Texas, and a proposal to get Vreni back to Colorado. Ske knew she was coming back to marry a ski bum, but I'd gone straight. I'd finally bought car insurance, earned a Colorado Teaching Certificate, and settled into respectable work, teaching literature, writing, speeach and drama to the sons and daughters of dry land farmers and migrants at a high school in a dust bowl town barely in Colorado, just twenty miles from the Kansas border, and not too far from the highest point in Oklahoma.

Every Friday night, we'd pack our 1985 VW Jetta, make the long drive, sleep in cheap motels, and ski from opening to closing Saturday and Sunday. I always thought of Wolf Creek with mixed emotions. It was my Normandy, site of difficult passage. Confident our toughest struggles were past, Vreni and her boys and I lived happily, day by day, paycheck to paycheck. Then there was a sign that something was seriously wrong..."

Anyway, Jim, to cap this all off, it has been a pleasure writing to you this Sunday. The author of this book is the son of the woman of my Dad's "golf course" affection, Marion Sheldrake. They are in some ways closer than my Dad's second wife Ann, yet they've never done the deed, nor do they plan do. Just great friends in their stages of life. Lunches only at her house. Dad reports it as "affectionately platonic" and for now, I believe him. Dad's met the author at Wayne's book signings, and had asked some great questions, as Marion reported back to Dad.

Alright, Jim, carry on. Will catch up with you once again. Tomorrow I pick up a load of artwork at a private guy's house in West Palm Beach, and with a partner drive an exclusive run to his new house in San Francisco. I haven't mapped out my route yet. No motels on the way out, easier on the way back. I'll see more of Texas than I want to see, and not enough of New Mexico. I'll slice though NV somewhere. Stories to come, I would expect.


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