Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jim Banholzer
September 24, 2006
Informative Speech about Visiting the National mall
Professor Dayle Oahlau
COMM 101 – Fundamentals of Oral Communication

Liberating adrenaline rushes in Washington’s Cherry-air

Being a Native of our Nation’s Capital, I’ve had opportunities to visit many memorials and historic cubbyholes in that region. In Alexandria, Virginia, you can chug ales at the same bar George Washington used to get snookered in, taking his false choppers out, telling “Wooden” you like to know what type of saucy jokes. One of my favorite things to do while in D.C. is to take a determined stroll across the National Mall during the Spring Cherry Blossom Festival and watch people from various walks of life react to assortments of tourist attractions –taking it all in on a nice warm day.

I encourage Idahoans who have never visited D.C. to consider doing so. Basking in the actual presence of stately monuments and towering museums in the background of the Potomac Tidal Basin, relay first-class perspectives of true democratic progress of our Country. The National Archives Building on the mall displays an original copy of the Magna Carta. There you can find, behind bulletproof glass, America’s Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Emancipation Proclamation. Flash photography is prohibited in order to preserve these charters of freedom. Within the same perimeter The White House and Capitol, offer group tours. Even a newly opened Native American museum now rests by the Capitol. Some tourists who have started from these whirlwind tours have returned for full summers to examine the multitude of attractions contained in our Mall.
For those of you living in the Wood River Valley, pilgrimaging to Washington D.C. during the Annual Blossom festival is a fine idea. Ski season has tapered down, so it’s a good time to leave this muddy town. Flights from Hailey directed though Salt Lake or Seattle are available online. Last minute cheap seats can have you jetting out of Idaho in the morning and over the Potomac River by afternoon. Try to grab a window seat to gather in an all-encompassing view as you scream like an eagle over our Nations finest museums, bustling art galleries and memorials, moments before skidding into Ronald Reagan National Airport. The clean and inexpensive subway from the airport leads safely onto the Mall at the Smithsonian Metro.
I like to jump off at this subway, and then work my way over towards the Lincoln Memorial, scrutinizing the congregating visitors there. The Lincoln Memorial lies at the heart of D.C. and for me it is the heart. I identify with Lincoln, admiring how he matured his mind regardless of public opinion. Abe taught us, as the father of our Republican Party, that flip-flopping could be healthy. Additionally through a physical Manifestation, I am exactly the same height Abe was. Therefore, another stage prop I bring you tonight is my standing body. I may even grow a beard this winter. If I budget properly, I’ll grab a stovepipe hat by the time February 12 rolls around for Abe’s 198th.
Those in attendance at the Lincoln Memorial gather reverently around the base of this Larger than Life Statue, which honors our larger than life forefather, who helped liberate many oppressed Americans. Sometimes tourists shriek in the surreal setting, sighing, “I can hardly believe I’m here!” The Greek Doric temple design of the Lincoln Memorial is superb enough to strike awe in the most casual of visitors. This profound symbol of American Democracy gets its job done right.
The Lincoln memorial has been the setting for some of the finest speeches ever made. Martin Luther King’s breathtaking “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963 reverberates there –still talked about in the surrounding cherry blossom ether to this day. A recently installed podium at the base of Lincoln’s feet commemorates this speech. If you visit the Lincoln memorial during the cherry blossom festival, it’s comparable to Visiting Ketchum during Wagon Days –only instead of 20,000 tourists, you’ll find 200,000. If you like breathing in Ketchum’s Gallery walk, then here you will gasp at the grand masterpieces at the Hirshorn, Freer and National Galleries of Art, along with futuristic art at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Snippets of Cosmopolitan conversations enhance the charmed atmosphere. Once I enjoyed seeing 200 varieties of potatoes from South America displayed at the International Folk Festival on the mall.
Discovering multiple varieties of potatoes in the shadow on the Lincoln memorial was a rush for me. Scientists explain, that not only is variety the spice of life, but that cultivating such diversity enables farmers to have options to choose by, in the event some potatoes conform to blight or nematodes. Limited homogenized forms of Idaho potatoes can be boring.
So too, it is the same with human beings. And the Abe Lincoln Memorial celebrates this fact. Multiculturalism is a cornerstone of our country. “Give us your huddled masses” is what another fine figurine, The Statue of Liberty, beckons. –Although Lawrence Ferlinghetti has started painting a revised outlook on this:
If you were to take a ball and free it from a chain at the base of Lincoln’s ankles, it would bounce down the marble steps and into a magnificent reflecting pool. Startled herons from that pond would take off and symbolically free fly alongside kites, Frisbees and cherry blossoms, rising in the current heat of politicians’ bloated airs to boomerang past the windows of the 555-foot tall Washington Monument.
From this part of your whirlwind tour -like the heron you can fearlessly navigate a paddleboat returning thorough the Tidal Basin’s deep waters. The ebbing and flowing brine water is a refreshing break from Idaho’s stagnant Winter Brrrrhs. Slack spent at the Potomac waterfront at sea level breathing in blooming cherry air, warms the spring inside you and seeds your own blossoming.

Cindy Blackman -Idahoan blossoming in Washington D.C.

The Mayor of Tokyo, Japan along with Dr. Jokichi Takamine, the discoverer of adrenaline, donated many of these cultivated trees along the Potomac waterfront. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, some of these trees were hacked down by irate citizens. Though Japan was an Axis power in WW2, they are now officially friends again -nectaring on our side- and no longer considered an “Axis of Evil” according to the broadsheets.
If you are a newspaper junkie as I am, then you will enjoy the Newseum. This museum for newspapers will reopen on the mall next summer. Hundreds of headlines align the entrance wall, along with ancient news memorabilia, including an early Gutenberg Press. Before the remodel, Local Sports Editor Jeff Cordes and I both visited this museum the same summer. On each of our visits, we made similar requests at the tours end –that is “more Idaho Weekly’s, please”. Surely the curators upon unfurling our scribbled suggestions must have scratched their heads, wondering “Who were those guys!?” If everyone in this class makes this same request when they visit the Newseum, this demand will become a page one feature, itself projected onto the Newseum three-story wall. Idaho no more will be a token state with merely one Civil War battle fought for States rights.
If you’re looking for a Civil War token to bring back to Idaho commemorating your trip, a special tourist attraction that trades Honest Abe memorabilia stands in the silhouette of the Lincoln Memorial. If you visit D.C. next spring, chances are that it will be a warm day. After promenading around the mall in the parching sun for a few miles, you’ll be delighted to see outdoor beer (and soda) vendors –sometimes---actual descendants of slaves- preparing to emancipate you from the heat. When you hand the suds proclamator a five-dollar bill with its picture of Abe, you’ll notice on the reverse is a picture of the same Doric temple you are genuflecting before. Symbolically you’ll return with more sense than you came with, because your copper change grasps more Lincolns with each cent the unchained mans hand returns you in kind, while his cash registers a freedom bell.

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Questions or Comments?

Phrases not used:
Honest Abe is the founding father of our shining Republican party.

According to Reporters without Borders, the United States ranks 44th in freedoms of the press on its index.
Rosie & Mundo’s masterful adventure
(Circa 1998)

“Come on Rosie, I’ve got somewhere special to take you,” said Mundo. “There will be hypnologic star shine unseen by our kind, squirrelly animals to engage in recreation with and scents to behold from out of this world.”
Rosie grinned mischievously, “Mundo, you always get me in hot water by suggesting that I come along. Ultimately the blame gets shifted onto me. But I’m game. I suppose we could surely sneak away for two or three days, with little repercussion. After all what is life if we don’t let our desires sometimes drive us?”
Mundo deliberated deeply -then under his thin breath muttered, ‘I knew she’d go for it, all right!”

So they were off into the wild blue abandon of Idaho.

Mundo’s piercingly deep almost supernatural eyes selected the snow path. “Rosie, let’s head way out this curvy part of East Fork country –all the way.”

Triumph-fully they wagged their ways out into the deep snow, straying from man’s path the way dogs ordinarily do.

They skipped fast onto an unadvertised sacred path. One that was mostly forgotten by the yew-mans in the winter. The packed powder held the canines high, up like stilts above the actual earth.

Through a sort of sixth sense they knew about the secret cliff waterfalls very few actually find. Thereaways just past P.K. pass. Rosie led the way, as they bound past old Leadville mines and abandoned flophouses- still vibrating full of high tales and appealing scents -both good and bad. Civilization became thinner as thick aspen spread out beckoning branches.

“What is that smell Mundo?” Rosie muffed, “Wood River Wolverine?
“That my dear is a wolf.” Bragged Mundo. “The newspapers you stamp on say they don’t really live here yet, but you and I are way ahead of the times, my dear little doggie friend.”

To mix it up Mundo started playing a rough rapscallion sport of tag and tackle with Rosie. Tossing her about in the snow. Rosie in a way encouraged this by performing amazing acrobatics as she flipped this way and that asunder through the thunderous air. Their spirits drove each other almost crazy -some would say at first observation. It was a contrary coyote line of attack that Rosie and Mundo often held for each other, but all good really. That day Rosie and Mundo checked out copious draws and game trails in the serenely dipped valley. Their unique playfulness consumed most of the afternoon. It was like they were teenagers hitchhiking - two birds of a different species hooked on laughing and losing track of time and ending up on an off beam sphere.

The twilight drew in along with a slight wind warning them of the cold to come.

“Mundo, I’m ‘zausted”, woofed a winded Rosie through her snoot. “I could use some of that hot water that you always get me into.” Mundo barked, “I think we’re resting in some right now Rosie, for I have become a bit bewildered with all of the spiraling about you did –hypnotizing me with your axis of aerial tricks.” Rosie ruffed back, “Don’t blame it on me you surefooted galloping galoot! You’re the one that wanted to dash out here with me.”

They nuzzled together for a while to stay warm. Dreams of snowshoe bunnies emerged hopping in their dear little doggie heads. Colder air blew further into their snow dug out. At the trailhead some guardian humans conferred and yes the radically rascally twosome had been spotted by a cross country skier out for some evening exuberance.
Mindful of the forthcoming below zero temperatures the Ninja wore a tight tortoise like covering for the approach out. His boiling temperament at the situation held in reserve some simmering warmth against the blustery wind. “I will let know these doggone dogs what the deal is when I find them” he repeated as a powerful chant.
Another instantaneous challenge had come afoot. Over and over tests like these kept arising. -So often now that he was becoming used to acclimating himself to these on the spot challenges by some mysterious means deep within. He shoved off the accumulating snow like the gauntlet of physical trials he had easily passed while tightly focusing. Those tests which had prepared him for this sudden demand in true world time.
It certainly looked like the tracks could be theirs. Ill-behaved winding wispy dog prints trailed only one way out. The storm started to brew to match the mental storm beginning to be revealed under the rescuers physically powerful makeup. The snow was muffling their yips and yaps, but he still easily recognized the rogue dogs’ sounds.
The Ninja shifted in softly with the new snow, stirring the stretched thin dogs from their catnap area. On their return from the rescue he had some powerfully long words with both barkers, and for many moons neither one strayed so far in this lifetime.

And that is the story of one Rosie’s and Mundo’s big adventures in these parts.
November 26, 2006
Dear Sir or Madam:
I’m a great admirer of your historical signposts sprinkled throughout Idaho and often use them as guidelines when directing visitors from out of State to this great area.
Living in the Wood River Valley for fourteen years, I’ve often heard people speak of Clint Eastwood’s Movie Pale Rider, much of which was filmed North of Ketchum, in the Boulder and Silver Creek drainages, along with the Vienna Mine up by Smiley Creek. The movie, filmed in 1984, received great acclaim upon its release in 1985.
Many in the community tried out as “extras”, and played in movie background roles, as is the outstanding backdrop of the Boulder Mountains.
The theme of the movie itself is timeless, as a nameless preacher (played by Clint Eastwood) protects a poor prospecting town from a greedy mining corporation trying to intrude on their land.
I think that a spot near the top of Phantom Hill (on Highway 75) is a great site for you to consider placing a historical sign commemorating the making of this movie there.
Signs done in the right manner lend an aura of respect to the land. In fact, motorists gently reminded of the helping spirit of “Pale Rider” may very well be inspired in turn to assist stranded motorists along this stretch of highway where traffic is sometimes sparse and communications limited.
With the great backdrops that Idaho offers, I look forward to enjoying other movies filmed here. Artfully, placing signage, at proper spots, reminds those in the film industry of the potential here, and inspires them towards future moviemaking ideas.
Thank you for the great job you are doing and for considering my suggestion.
Jim Banholzer
PO Box 10039
Ketchum, Idaho
Hardscrabble Gold
Idaho Auguries (1995)

Adapted from the Spirit of William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence

By Jim Banholzer

For every light, which flickers on, another salmon cease to spawn,
The hunter without spiritual prayer, teaches his young great despair,
Fisherman never giving thanks; discards plastic on river banks,
Each piece dropped by river oak, a rainbow does fade and choke,

One who has stopped reading books, is out poaching royal Chinooks,
He who harms creatures with no need, shall nev'r know love of woman indeed,
She who hurts a little sage hen, shall not become true love of man,
An animal knows when you fear it, and can read the good your spirit,

Humans not built apart from nature, but tangled now with Techno-future,
Can we learn living side by side, with sunny spots complicated with pride?
One could read tracks to a day, until ego seemed to shade his way,
Her stickers urged “Visualize World Peace!” yet friendship with her neighbor ceased,

Save the lion, wolf and bear, but what about the kids you care?
High schools parking lot’s a mess, projecting acts of generation next,
Each delay of children’s center, a young lad loses a valuable mentor,
Drinking and speeding up and down, such hobbies paint your face a clown,

Son’s military service brings law and order,
wild man discovers new psychic borders,
Every hungry truck engine left while idling,
a Persian Gulf soldier drowns in oil fighting,

A day spent within forced mechanical shields,
distances one’s touch from beauty’s fields,
Each radioactive bomb a dud,
gain we anew one field of spud,
Each spilled barrel of in-toxic-crated waste,
a song filled meadow churns slow to paste,

Following a daily ritual too close, whittles mans marrow into a ghost,
Too much time on highway lately? Pirsig’s advice: think laterally,
The crooked road you’ll find much more, the cup of time fulfilled will pour,
With Faster, Hurry! Go! Go! Go! You might just zip, past the desir'd show,

Airport paves a runway long, cooks gridlock in a country song,
Each tailgate to a bumper, forces a body to become a jumper,
Too much fame, So much luck, into Private Idaho you duck,
Inner city pressure forced you here, wolverine medicine revealed over beer,

Hamp man dressed down, furtively glancing; try soft deceit for excellent dancing,
Social help lacking amidst this wealth, we’re forty-ninth in mental health,
Each resort by glamour lighted, another criminal is invited,
With synthetic chemicals excessive high, dark questionable characters draw a nigh,

A pot of gold will drive some crazy; our morals line becomes quite hazy,
My last letter to Dad & mother, “Valley’s brimmed with small potatoes smashing one another”,
Each new shelter built on field, mountain lion blazes new trail to yield,
Tree roots cut with sewage hookup, Great horned cloak above is shook up,

A house that’s built with intent of wrath, Man himself loses access path,
A truth that’s told with ill intent beats any lie you can invent,
Should I do a good job replacing this grate? Hey it’s a low liability State!
Many friendly waves not acknowledged; snared upon wrong books in college?

Shiny idea gems from the mind were taken, when the Indian’s land was forsaken,
Not returning to swim in lake and ocean, begins to bring gesture without motion,
Fearless leaders guide the human race, but look how quick their aged face,
Think ye the mental storm hard to handle, try finding an honest man with one candle,
Purify yourself often in Gaia forest; help marriage of Earth &Man to not be divorced.
- - - - - - - - - -
Originally drafted in 1995 while delivering news wraps to Silver Creek Convenience Store in Picabo

Solid Oak View Memories

January 13, 2006

Solid Oak View Memories
By Jim Banholzer

I attended Oak View Elementary only one year, for fourth grade, but I remember it well. It was the fall of 1969, just after Hurricane Camille ravaged the East Coast. Rabbit Run raged as a wide and fast muddy river; bringing downed oak trees to the brink of Whitefield Street in Kings Park West. The Lake in the center of the community had not yet been built.

We were a lively group of excitable students, new to the world and most of us new to the area -fresh faced kids raring to learn. I, too, had Mrs. Adams as a teacher, but was not always the apple of her eye –as they would say back then. During idle moments in class, Tim Broberg (who I still keep in touch with) and I would quietly construct elaborate mazes on notepaper, each of us trying to invent, a never thought of trap to stump our opponent. We often played a board game called Stratego in the class. I recollect that we used to have races to see who could look up a vocabulary word fastest in the dictionary, after the teacher called one out. I remember the “Pods” also. We compared the pods with something that you might find on “Star Trek” a hit TV show of the day.

We did watch a lot of films back then during class. There were no VCR’s yet. A few hobbyists may have owned one (The NFL had instant replay), but I understand that a VCR cost $100,000 then. Probably equal to a million dollars in today’s money. In Fairfax then, you only had to dial seven numbers on the phone to connect to anybody. Some people even shared “party lines” for their telephones and you could actually get an operator quite easily. Nobody had answering machines yet either. And there was no call waiting. Postal Zip codes were only a few years old too. And the Washington Senators baseball team had a winning year with Ted Williams as their manager. I still have Ted’s baseball card from 1969. I bought this at the Burke 7-11, which was the closest store at the time. A Saturday Tom Sawyer-like adventure would be riding bicycles to this lonesome 7-11 and then trying to collect frogs, tadpoles and minnows from the creek into a bucket. One Sunday morning in the mid-seventies Greg and Scott Burnette and I rode our ten-speeds up the two lane route 28 to Dulles Airport to watch airplanes. Sometimes you could see the Supersonic Concorde. My dad sold Volkswagens at the H.B. Lantzsch dealership in Fairfax and Herbie the Love Bug movies were just coming out.

At Oak View there used to be a test called the Presidential Physical Fitness test for all fourth graders. We ran various shuttle races and threw softballs for measurements to be recorded in a national database somewhere. The Olympics seemed very important for the United States back then. I remember Giselle Abernathy out-leap-frogging almost all of the boys with a six foot long standing broad jump. I remember this well; because I recall thinking that she was as athletically gifted as a gazelle. I wonder if the administration of Oak View has kept these records deep in an archive file. I recollect being taught about war over in the Middle-East back in fourth grade, but I don’t remember Indochina being talked about so much. I do remember the Vietnam struggle being brought into Family living rooms evenings in living color. Then more so than today’s combats are.
I remember the physical education teacher Jim Moyer quite well also. Apparently the circus club he founded still exists and the gymnasium is now named after Jim. The Oak View students traveling shows, demonstrated sky-high unicycles and stilt walkers -some over ten feet tall at the foot-pegs. Students directed huge medicine balls around under their own steam, along with various other interesting Rube Goldberg-type contraptions. It was almost like having a group of The Flying Wallendas in your own backyard. I think that it’s important for today’s Oak View students to gain a sense of this history, realizing how much of a positive impact this one man had on the community. Through Mr. Moyer’s encouragement, students started believing in themselves and accomplished amazing feats of gymnastics, instilling a sense of self-worth which carried over to whatever they else they did in later life. Sometimes the student’s aerial tricks performed during halftime shows would outshine main features of high school and college ball games throughout Northern Virginia and even the Capital Centre.

I remember as we attended Robinson Secondary School, several of us would journey back to Oak View and play epic basketball games on the lower baskets there. The nine foot basket was our favorite since most players could dunk on it. Our seemingly invincible bodies would crash against each other like gladiators against the boards. I can’t stress how exhilaratingly enjoyable our pickup games there were, hundreds of afternoons on Oak Views playground. We also prepared incredible trick shots in games of “Horse” on these lower baskets. I remember these courts going into disrepair around the first time that the United States did not win the Gold Medal in basketball (except for the time they got rooked by Officials back in ’72.) I wondered about the condition of basketball courts at elementary schools across the country. Soccer was started to catch on more. But video games followed soon after, sometimes making it tough for some little tykes to ever want to leave the comfort of their cyber caves. Again it’s refreshing to see that a circus club still exists at Oak View, to teach empowering core values through physical well being.

Traveling through the woods one day in my youth, I discovered poorer people living in ramshackle homes along Zion Drive. Later as a boastful adolescent I seem to remember snickering at these houses, while driving much too fast around the corner where the Greater Little Zion Baptist Church stood (stands?). Ironically, I now live in an abode even smaller and humbler than the ones I used to deride. However, living frugally so, inspires me to leave the house and enjoy the great Idaho outdoors-where I now live- more so than if I had to be tethered to running the large types of operations that McMansions require.

Looking back at it now, those of us who attended Fairfax County Public Schools grew up in an enlightened age. We were lucky to have some of the best teachers in the world. Many came from varied backgrounds, encouraged students to think critically for themselves and overall were long-lasting inspirations. I hope that the same holds true today for students and teachers.

After graduating from Flint Hill Prep in Oakton, I went on to work on dozens of blue collar backbone of America type jobs. I moved from Virginia to Idaho in January of 1993. There’s less hustle-bustle here in Idaho. Boise reminds me a lot of the up and coming Fairfax County of thirty-some odd years ago. The growing pains that Boise faces are markedly similar to those that Fairfax has gone through. Hopefully both cities can hold onto their strengths of character.

Only several years ago did I come into a job for the first time with a desk, phone and computer, becoming the circulation manager for the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper. I eventually started a monthly column that often features some of those varied past occupations. Those columns may be found via this link: (link has been airbrushed into history -as of 2007)

For another piece of writing forthcoming about Fairfax Schools, look here after March 15 for an article entitled, “Dribbling Basketballs through Math” featuring Robinson Secondary algebra teacher Mr. Kluge.

The best advice I was given in fourth grade was by my Father. He told me, “Son, I don’t care whatever it is that you choose to do in your life, as long as you always give it your best.” Another piece of advice I would have like to have listened to better back then would have been. “Some mistakes that you make will be remembered for a long time”.

Best regards to all of you Oak View students and alumni,


Papering together a shaky rescue plan

“Wake up Jim,” rumbled Dave’s voice, “There’s been a major earthquake! Swallowed a whole train, it did. Caboose trailed down last. Now, I am wedged here, inside your newspaper van, just on the other side of the chasm in Shoshone. No one can trek through.” I’m surprised the cell phone even works.”
“What are we gonna do? First I better freshen up and fix a cup of coffee –that is, if the water pressure is still pumped up. Call me back in the shower in five minutes, Dave, sometimes I find the best solutions beneath the eternal waterfall.”
Man, I just knew that another unforeseeable thing was going to happen. Seems like these catastrophes always take place on dark Tuesdays. The stock market crash, 9-11, newspaper trucks swal-lowed up by blizzards and whatnot.
The cell phone vibrated again. “Dave, I’ve thought this over; how’s your gas by the way? Running on empty? Oh yeah, your United Oil card is only valid at the Cenex on this rich side of the tracks. Just a breath away too. Do they seem open? Are people fanatically crashing the gates for gas or anything yet? Okay, I will gather up fifty stout men, along with their rigs, some come-alongs, ladders and other cowboy stuff. We will breach this dam quagmire. After all, it’s only an earthquake. It’s not like Hailey’s comet bopped us upside the head or anything.
Maybe I should Google Earth in real time. See if it’s showing any other crack ups that we should know about. But would the transportation department update Idaho that fast? Holy Katrina! When roads get sealed by avalanches in our state, we merely rely on the good fortitude of the next snowplow driver to post a “Road Closed” sign on his way to till people out from their brief ice ages.
“Dave, I’ll call our offices to send men around to the major stops and post the main stories up from the Internet onto bulletin boards around town- until our trucks can get here.”
“Dave we’re heading down, I think we can bridge this prob-lem with the tools we have. Have you felt any aftershock trem-blers?”
What’s that? Another train just pulled up, to the twisted tracks? You don’t say? When the conductor peered into the chasm, -as he was peaking off the Perrine Bridge- his wig broke a flipping record.

Our fifty stout men bridged together a Rube Goldberg contrap-tion of pulleys and boards across a shorter span of the universal chasm. We rolled papers along the ditch line, while adjacent res-cue workers familiarized themselves with mining equipment to probe for the long gone train. Without waiting for FEMA’s ap-proval, we sank bolts from the blue into solid lava rock outcrop-pings, reopening the lifeline for crucial freight to transport to-wards trucks, idling by newly appointed North & South poles of Shoshone. Some of the iron men were former pirates, used to working under shaky conditions and happy to come out of retire-ment to save the day. They stayed back and helped the other ma-rooned newspaper cross the chasm; helping them to avoid spiral-ing into the thin air of advertisers’ demands for refunds.
- - - - - - - - -

I stumbled into the boss this morning, after we finished dis-tributing the consuming news wraps. He asked if there were any problems with the earthquake. “None that we couldn’t handle”, I said, “Just like we’ve been saying all along -our circulation guys & gals are miracle workers. However, I do suggest that we look into opening a third office in Bellevue. Further from Mount Saint Helens you know. Where do we want to be in five years anyhow, with what’s likely to play out geographically in our valley?”
In the meantime, stay tuned for next weeks paper. I’ve glimpsed a sneak preview of an earth shattering front page story.

An Interest Generating Idea

An interest generating idea

In the late eighteenth century, rags to riches trendsetter, Benjamin Frank-lin bequeathed in his will $100 to his native Boston. This money contained a contingent: to be placed in a fund, to gain interest over a hundred years, and then used for a public benefit. By 1890, the money had compounded to $40,000 and Franklin Park grew out of the endowment.*

In Idaho another rags to riches innovator could create a similar earmark. J.R. Simplot has set prime examples of the high value of scrimping and saving, spinning gold from potato and computer chips, and is now worth over $2.6 Billion.

Imagine Mr. Simplot bequeathing a small chunk of his fortune to his beloved State of Idaho, under the condition that it not be touched for three hundred years. Let’s say Mr. Simplot donates a mere $1,000, to gain com-pound interest at six percent over three centuries. In the year 2323, this money will have grown to one hundred billion dollars –or almost twice as much as Bill Gates merits today.

From this pocket change of a thousand dollars –which is now like a 25 cent piece for Mr. Simplot, Idaho could then start buying back for itself many of the public lands that the Feds will have sold off by then. Research paid by this fund could fast-forward plutonium-decontaminating processes, so simple plots of spud can return, alongside nutritious camas roots, for free-range buffalo (and perhaps Mastodon hybrid) grazing. The Idaho quarter will replace the penny. En-graved on the front will be an emblazoned smile of Mr. Simplot, complementing Ben’s enduring beam from the $100. On the reverse, the scales of justice shall hold potatoes counterbal-anced by an active RFID computer chip dangling over Chinese Characters signifying trust.

Poor boys like me of the 24th century would then become dazzified by the simple ingenuity of frugal futuristic living and be further inspired to do the same as the straightforward champion heads-up on the innovative quarter piece.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
• Source: The Prodigy – A Biography of William James Si-dis, America’s Greatest Child Prodigy by Amy Wallace (page 243)
• Franklin Also donated a similar amount to his adopted Philadelphia, which accumulated to over $2 Million by 1990 and allocated for loan programs in that City of Brotherly Love. Franklin’s Boston public trust fund, along with a gift from Andrew Carnegie eventually helped found The Franklin Institute of Boston.
Related links:
Compound Interest Calculator:
Benjamin Franklin - Institute of Technology
November 14, 2006
Essay 3: Heart of the Valley / A Sense of Place
ENGL 101 BO1

Heart-Stone Cottonwood Branches with “Hasspess”
There is a particular Cottonwood you should know about; on the edge of this lifeline, we call the Big Wood River. The tree blossoms in Hailey, a hundred paces behind Robin Hood Lane in Sherwood Forest. Spilling out from the tree’s ridged bark are oodles of heart-shaped rocks tinged in pink, hugging the Cottonwood’s earthen base for all its worth. This steadfast shrine in the center of the valley stands for everyone’s delight.
While woodpeckers and mockingbirds wildly caw “Boo Radley,” I wonder which kind-hearted person interleaved the first cornerstone into the Cottonwood, at the start of this unadvertised sacred path. Others followed suit, paying forward random acts of kindness. Until the Thanksgiving-Tree roots loose, each reachable strategic spot for artfully enfolding rugged heart-stones is full. This keystone Cottonwood, centered between pinnacle mountain peaks and Snake River plains, symbolizes refuge renewal found in all hiking terrains.
Most of the grasping stones match the local geology, where rocking in the wind, the tree sways complete. I never knew heart-stones to be so plentiful. Donor’s rucksack rocks from outlying valley trails and seed this shrine, leaving us breathless. Sometimes we take for granted how much good earth is grounded under surfaces that look like acmes of barrenness.
What hand of intelligent design chiseled fine these teeming rocks–each tempered slightly dissimilar? Has somebody secretly slipped a ruby-heart ring under the raw earth for the tree to draw into its absorbing roots? The towering tree was a sparkling seedling when Haileyites Charlie Benson and Glenn Miller ruled this roost like two Robin Hoods scouting in the days of yore (Miller). Then mostly sidestepping nature, TV grew to be a hypnotizing spirit in the valley, with foremost gatherings around radiant fires as Dorothy clicked her Ruby slippers, casting surreal cyber-wishes in techno-color, reminding stunned viewers that there’s no place like immortal home.
These days on Youtube, modern-day whippersnappers blog songs about saps falling for this tree. Some have posted photos onto MySpace, jamming the Cottonwood into digital preserves. Double exposure photographs from the tree reveal fleeting glimpses onto unexplained paths leading to heavenly homes.
After hard rains, these natural heart-rocks glaze evermore brilliant. Since ancient times, rocks have recognizingly rolled as containing mysterious-uplifting attributes. Consider lodestones, radio crystals and healing stones, which alternative medicine recipients vouch for from their magnetic personalities. Not to mention the dream a companion had in the woods about breaking off shimmering rose quartz pieces budding from her own heart, to hand out freely to friends. Enough to ratchet up sensitivity for the most jaded of Grinches trolling the trails.
One blustery Sun Valley winter afternoon, I snow-shoed past this tree, swishing for fresh prints. Strung behind a white-quartz heartstone, I spied a sunny scribbled note, on a teensy paper plane, expecting a second wind. Quickly unfurling it, I read impressed, in rare earth ink the recharging message, “I wish ever bode hass pess”. Determining that the optimistic young writer truly meant, “I wish everybody happiness”, this charmed note raised the tree up another notch.
Thereafter, happiness in nature for me was forged into hasspess.
Anglers share secrets, as they stream past the cheery Cottonwood, on their way to fish out Huck Finn afternoons from the Big Wood. Businesspersons halt progress to hike the revitalizing paths, leaving work toils behind. The valley’s collective paths roll out with hikers, containing miles of smiles. This sprays the trails contagiously with sockdolagers of hasspess. In blizzards, the tree offers its shelter for warming reorientations. It’s a good locator tree to stand under for a minute to shake off your mittens.
Miscreants juke-jump lizard-like past this tree, jolted while seeing the remarkable stones zap extra-life into its Heartwood and consider reversing their own polarities. Even the blind trade cherry-crimson hasspess rocks enfolded in the Cottonwood heartleaves. Feels like fantasy crystals breaking off a Wonka tree of golden ticket opportunity. As the unsighted, presume H.R. Pufnstuf kind worlds, they sense textured beauties, the rest of us mostly miss (Kraft).
Blind folks have the additional advantage of being colorblind, better sensing what is inside people’s hearts, without distractions of superficial skin colours.
Some find flashier places to be the core of the valley for them, like the dance floor of Whiskey’s or the Mint when a hot band is on. That is nice, but for me breathing in the natural sounds and fresh scents exuded by these peaceful paths, helps me hum a simpler song -attuned to the tranquility I seek. Sometimes in the refuge I’ll refurbish contrarian lyrics around in my head, such as Neil Young’s “Hold your Hatred Down” into “Hold your Hass-pess Up”, tossing to the rubbish war-beaten stanzas of cruelty that cement off double-blind gifting tree knotholes from today’s precious Scouts and Jems (Lee).
Returning to the hearthstone of my home, reminds me of local life-bespangling stonemasons, who heave Heart-of-Idaho-shaped rocks onto special stacks for unique adorning jobs. And reflecting about how the poorest appearing homes often radiate with the most character built around their holiday hearthstones, with spirited dancing candlelights -unextinguished by drafts of vacuous grandiose chambers.
While not every valley path contains a heart-rock tree, most have crystal- clear kindnesses, centered walking on their trails, raring to swap sparkles with your passing eyes –to help peacefully fuse a healthier hasspess into your own core. Remember this Cottonwood stoned with hearts, in the power spot at the Cedar Bend Preserve as a symbol for the good of all these trails -and how much this beyond belief refuge called Idaho has to offer.

Works Cited
Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: HarperCollins, 1960.
Miller, Glenn. “Reflections of Old Times.” Idaho Mountain Express 01 September 1999. 04 November 2006.
The World of Sid & Marty Krofft –H.R. Pufnstuf (1969). DVD. 2000.

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