Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My 3 part bird-brained fugue

Birdwatchers on terroriods

by Jim B.,
July 15, 2005

[Re U.S. imposes controls on a new security threat: birdwatchers]
I read about how U.S. Security agents are now keeping an eye out for birdwatchers. Seems you will need a police escort in some aviary areas now to enjoy this pastime every bit as popular as baseball, Apple pie and mom.

I wonder how this will affect arrowhead hunting in Idaho. If you can’t glance up at a bird, you might as well stare at the ground looking for obsidian chips. But no, this subject looks like he’s studying the sand awful hard. Must be devising a method to dig under buildings and do something nefarious. Better refund rat patrol to guard all of Craters of the Moon’s perimeter. And what was he planning to do with that WMD arrowhead once he found it! Better medicate him. Maybe Cheney can hold the needle. Not having a human heart makes him less squeamish than other people who have been inoculated into normalcy.

So Mom, please bake a file into my next apple pie. Because when our Bill of Rights soon expires, thoughts like these could be deemed unpatriotic and land me in a slammer with no birds-eye view. Perhaps my opportunity will arise when the guards are watching a tight baseball game in late innings. Cheering fans will cover my filing and I’ll be saved by the purity of that last bastion of good old America baseball. (Except for the steroids)

Chattering Bird Brains

The other day as I was ducking underneath a construction crane, a robin red-breast flew by and almost hit me upside my head. “Whassup Mrs. Robin and why are you so bewildered?” I asked her. “Well it seems that these days to attack a mate you have to squawk louder with all the machines grinding away at progress. This is driving me batty.”

“I can see that by your flight path. But you know that a lot of the humanoids are complaining that you birds are creating such a racket that they can’t concentrate during tennis matches.”

“It’s not our fault we have to breathe deeper and sing louder to be heard over the symphony of soot-making machines. Also, what is it now with yew humans? I see that they are bringing in police escorts into some aviary areas now? Are you going to tag bad birds or something?”

“Nah that’s merely a precaution to ensure photographs anywhere within five miles of human installations will only be of birds and nothing else. To ensure the stability of all human structures.”

“Makes perfect horse sense to me!” said all the birdbrains.

Bird-brained horn honking laws

By Jim Banholzer

Recently there have been several cases featured in the news about motorists receiving warnings or tickets for excessively honking their automobile horns. Certainly, I’m a fan of maintaining peace and quiet, but the peace officers in action would do well to interpret a law that reads, “Automobile horns shall be used for emergencies only” with some broadmindedness.

A few days ago, I was driving down the highway with a friend. We approached some flickers standing in our lane. These woodpeckers appeared to be distracted by something and we could see they were not sensing our approach. As we came upon them, I lightly tooted the horn at a strategic moment, taking into account the Doppler Effect. The birds went quickly airborne, as my friend exclaimed with some amazement that he never considered that lightly tooting your own horn could save bird lives.

Was this an emergency? Certainly for the birds it was.

On my last trip to Montana, I drove up that old dusty Red Rock road, to that vast wetland avairy area beyond. There to my sweet delight, I witnessed some seldom-seen Trumpeter Swans. As we intersected within a hundred feet of these tremendous birds, I politely waved, smiled, and then lightly tapped my horn for a pleasant hello. The birds responded in kind fashion with light trumpeting. My friend claims it sounded as if they were laughing at me, because when I pointed at them, I was pronouncing their name with a jazzy 'Trumpeteer' Swan twang.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Grape idea: 'Tazers for toddlers'

“He raised questions about voter disenfranchisement and other matters about American voting rights, which cut to the heart of our Democracy," Griscti said in a written statement. "These questions deserve the media's attention and full public discourse”

Interestingly enough the decision that it’s okay to taze a student who was asking pertinent questions into John Kerry’s background occurs on the two-year anniversary of an eight-year-old girl who
legally shot a bear in Maryland

And they say that she could have been six and it still would have legal.
How low should we go, dipping down into the innocents’ age to replace chutes and ladders with guns & tazers?

At this rate, today’s science fiction speculation of the
Toddler Tazer may not be so farfetched a-ways down that old goldbrick road.

Is war too much of a hot potato for Idaho classrooms?

(story suggestion for The Idaho Statesman)

I would like to suggest a story regarding how war is approached and discussed in some Idaho classrooms.

Here are some questions and ideas that I think would help stimulate healthy dialogue for a reporter assigned with such a mission:

Do students think that some teachers are playing it safe and avoiding subjects too hot to handle?

Do students ever consider that they probably have more open and honest dialogues than the cabinet leaders of our Government do with our own President?

Do students thinks that history books should show that the Bush administration mislead the country in sending us to war?

The disappearance of the recent past seems to be an all too common theme in our schools and textbooks. If students are exploring this subject in their debate clubs, I believe much of the community would be interested in hearing their valuable viewpoints.

How else does the war affect students? Some must have family members and friends overseas right now. Surely, most students know a few who have recently served in our armed forces.

How does the price of gas affect young people who have jobs delivering pizza, etc.?

For those students who are considering military duty or have already signed up – what are your motivations? What do you expect to get out of serving your country? Have you discussed the likelihood of posttraumatic stress disorder with your friends and family? Do future soldiers of America believe that the enemies we fight are somehow less human than we are? Or, that our ‘enemies’ are actually people, much like us, only that they have been thrust into extraordinary different circumstances?

I think that the Idaho community would be interested in hearing about this from students’ perspectives. Thank you for considering these questions and comments.

Best regards,


Letting Go

One cool crisp autumn evening, as I was raking up some pin oak leaves in the front yard, I glanced at the tree above to see how close it was to becoming bare. Up there, I spied three empty robin nests and instantly collected two of them with a stretch of my long rake. I gently placed the nests on the porch’s knick-knack table, and then looked at the third abandoned nest, forty feet high. This one was going to be more difficult.

Fortunately, I had just purchased a small stepladder from Kings. At Twin Falls prices too.

I drug the ladder through the leaf piles, over to the oak. Since no one was around, I put my cell phone in my pocket, for emergency, in case I fell out of the tree.

I donned my best lumberjack shoes, and climbed the tree, using the teetering ladder to get into the first part. . Once ascended to twenty feet, I saw two separate branches as logical routes to the last robin’s nest. One was easy and one hard. But if I climbed the easy route, with my heaviness, I would likely splinter off some spindly oak branches and have to take the most dangerous route down. I should have tossed the rake up in the tree before I started. I decided to sit down in the wide expanse where the branches intersected with the trunk, to think it over

There was a cubbyhole up there in the protection of the tree. With my bare hand I pulled out what looked like radio crystals, an old piece of wire and a baseball card of Jim Thorpe. The wire was amazingly thick and long. Probably ten-gauge. It kept coming out of the oak, with every five feet or so, an ancient piece of rusted tin attached. I had to tug hard on the tree, whenever these sections appeared, to yank them out of the oak hollow.

This was intriguing me. It was as if someone had long ago attached an old ham radio to the interior of the tree for better reception, and over time the solid oak had swallowed up this technology. As a light rain began, I fiddled around with the wire, from my perch. The small end of the wire looked to be the same size as a port on my cell phone and on a lark I inserted it. The phone immediately sparked, and then up popped a ghostly picture of my cousin standing in a blizzard atop Mount Borah. We began chatting over the Pictaphone. I said, “How are you cousin? You know that I dream about you often.” He smiled that forever mischievous smile of his, which reminded me of the glory days, when we would see each other at the beginning of each summer. And check each other out to make sure that society and school headucation hadn’t squeezed out every last bit of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer out of us. We were usually okay, but one year I noticed that Phil had to look me over a second time; in that supra-intuitive way of his before deciding I hadn’t tarnished yet. And then we laughed those childhood natural laughs and sprinted off into his back yard to freely display our proud b-b gun marksmanship skills on the cans strategically pre-placed atop his back fence. Never at birds though, only the tin cans, pinging us with resounding rewards, in the Pennsylvania Amish hills.

I spoke into the phone with great echo, “I’m sorry didn’t go to your funeral Phil. You know it happened at a bad time for me. Just when I was getting better from that last bad thing. People choose to grieve in different ways you know, and this is convoluted way was the only method I could figure out how to talk about it.” Suddenly, I was shocked and the phone zipped out of my pocket and into the leaf-pile, twenty feet down. Then the rain started increasing and a wind gust blew over the ladder.

Now I was in a pickle. Nobody was around with this rain. But, that was fine. I didn’t want anyone to see me foolishly pining in an oak about my long lost cousin, in this lightning storm. Maybe, with this newly acquired wire, I could fish the cell phone out of the leaf pile, while I could still see its imprint. I could call somebody after the calm. No, it’s best not to go fishing around with a lightning rod in this tempest. I’ll just chuck that metal aside. Forget that robin’s nest too, it’s turned into a green hornets nest for me. I will stick Jim Thorpe in my pocket for good luck before I make this giant leap. Good thing those leaves are stacked high. Well, here goes…

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dumb as D.C.?

District of Columbia mayor Marion Barry was reelected to positions of high authority on the redemption ticket, soon after his long string of serious foibles. Certainly forgiveness and empathy are underrated in this modern world, but at what point do we start becoming the foolish ones by giving total ineptitude actions, Carte blanche absolutions?

Is there some infinitesimal chance that Senator Craig can actually make a full turnaround, while under the gun and become a newly improved proactive polymath?

The naïve quixotic part of me likes to seize onto these glimmers of hope, even if they are emanating from mere shards of bad luck glass resting upon floors of the MSP airport.

Perhaps Senator Craig is serving a higher purpose right now. Providing the rest of the country some much need comic relief from horrible war stories, plunging housing markets and soon to be raising fuel costs, all at Idaho’s expense of course.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Expect poison from the standing water

Crypto looks bad, but this sounds like a case of Bubonic Plague in the making.
And a bubonic plague outbreak at a hotel, housing development or health club pool will definitely be perceived as bad business.
Perhaps under funded Public health officials have not seen a jump in water-borne diseases, because they have interpreted the new law as an excuse to clamp their eyes purposely shut.
How would the public feel if the INL took the same nonchalant approach to the atomic aquifer bubbling unseen beneath their property?
Get with it Idaho. Stop stagnating forty years behind the times.
Utilizing Wind Power Stories

Here is a revolutionary new method for harnessing wind power:

Rube Goldberg was on this same laugh track, when he designed a device capable of harnessing politicians’ otherwise useless bloated airs.

If only the solution to Iraq and our energy problems were as simple as this new Rube Goldberg machine:

Lastly, we see that the official door-slammed-tight policy of the United States Patent office is that “you can’t get something for nothing.”
Interesting here too, how the American Petroleum Institution was bragging back in 1940 that our automobiles contain “ever increasing efficiency.”

Stop, look and listen closely at 4:33 when the narrator announces:

“No Mr. Goldberg, not even your genius is equal to that task. In fact, the United States patent office will no longer grant a patent for the design of a perpetual motion machine. Because the experts in that office know that, you can’t get something for nothing. That you can’t get power out of an engine without paying for it in fuel. Fortunately, for us however, man has discovered a virtually unlimited source of power. He has paid for it that power by years of painstaking research and experimentation. That source of power is gasoline.”

Then the hot-air blather continues in perpetuum unharnessed…

Friday, October 26, 2007

More money than Carl Sagan could have counted

Cheese Whiz, another nearly two and a half trillion $$s flushed down the petroleum death tubes.

You wanna know why this latest number rings such a familiar bell?

Here is Y

What say? Lose a trillion hither and a trillion dither; eventually it begins adding up to some real mullah.

Are Bill's tears = to, or > than Hillary's?

Bill Clinton sometimes cried in order to manipulate John Q. Public. Watch this video at the funeral of Ron Brown, to see how rapidly his Presidential smile turns to crocodile tears, once he spies the camera.

Clinton Croc

Of course if Hillary were to show her emotions in public, the critics would most certainly shout from their high pulpits something like, With shaky tears like that, she will whimper and panic when it comes press time for the magic button of the nuclear football.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24, 2007

Dear Senator Larry Craig:

Thank you for responding to my suggestion about looking into a feasibility study for an innovative healing center for our Veteran’s on the land where Friedman Airport in Hailey currently sits. After receiving much positive feedback from our community about this idea, I expanded the suggestion with the enhanced advice and forwarded that on to you several weeks ago.

As a senior member of our Veteran Affairs committee, I imagined that you would be interested in what is best for our heroic wounded warriors, in ways of transforming their lives for the better and providing them suitable atmospheres for doing so. Therefore, I think that you will be delighted to hear that Sun Valley Adaptive Sports director Tom Iselin (who was mentioned in our December correspondence) has picked up the medicine ball and run with it.

In today’s Wood River Journal, there are two stories I would like to recommend to you in order to show you how this community is committed to this curative mission. The first is Adaptive sports group dreams big…paralympic training center big by Karen Bossick. Link:

The second is Taking care of U.S. Armed Forces, one soldier at a time by Kelly Jackson. Link:

Both are front page stories in today’s Wood River Journal.

If you are still truly committed to helping the people of Idaho as you claim in your two recent letters, then perhaps you will be able to embrace this good news in such a positive way that you can prove my earlier suspicions about your true intentions towards the good people of Idaho to be unfounded.


Jim Banholzer

Hailey, Idaho

c.c. Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman editor, Greg Stahl, Idaho Mountain Express editor, Kelly Jackson, Wood River Journal reporter, Tom Iselin SVASP director.

2nd letter from Senator Larry Craig

October 24, 2007

Mr. Jim Banholzer
PO 10039
Ketchum, Idaho 83340

Dear Jim:

You were frank in expressing your views, and I appreciated it. In fact, I reviewed every letter and contact from Idahoans -- both letters like yours urging me to resign and letters of support from throughout the State.

As you know, I have decided to serve out my term and complete the initiatives for Idaho that are currently underway in the U.S. Senate. When I returned to Washington, D.C. in September, it became clear that I could still work effectively for the State; many of my Senate colleagues have even urged me to remain in office. Resigning would have cost Idaho the seniority and committee assignments that serve key State priorities.

Let me again apologize to you for the mistake I made in pleading guilty to a crime I did not commit. I deeply regret the cloud that has been cast over Idaho because of my actions. I will do all I can to lift that cloud through continued service to our great State.

In the months ahead, I will be voting and working on your behalf in the U.S. Senate. It may not be possible to regain your trust, but I hope you will still continue to give me your input, so that I can do my best to represent you on the issues facing our State and Nation.


United States Senator


Note: Please do not reply to this message because it was sent by an unmonitored account used for outgoing correspondence only.

If you would like to contact Senator Craig, please send your email message through his website. Visit to send your message or to learn about other ways of contacting Senator Craig or one of his staff members.

Should you need immediate assistance during regular business hours or while the Senate is in session, you may call Senator Craig's Washington, DC office at 202-224-2752.

Letter from Senator Larry Craig

October 23, 2007

Mr. Jim Banholzer
PO BOX 10039
Ketchum, Idaho 83340

Dear Jim:

Because of your past contact with me on issues of importance to you, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on Senate activities and let you know how much I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts.

The past several weeks have been an extremely difficult time in my personal and professional life. However, I assure you that, despite the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding my case in Minnesota, I have made decisions regarding my place in the United States Senate according to what I believe is best for Idaho. For that reason, I returned to work in mid-September in order to vote on numerous bills and continue my active participation on each of my assigned committees. As I have publicly announced, I will continue to work on Idaho's behalf throughout the remainder of my term and retire at the end of 2008.

The Senate has been very active since my return to Washington, D.C. We recently passed the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization and Defense Appropriations bills, with several of Idaho's high tech and research-based projects receiving a total of $45 million in federal funding. At the committee level, I have continued to focus on the natural resource issues important to our state, such as wildfire activity, mining, and managing federal lands.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be finishing work on a number of appropriations bills which include funding for public safety programs, conservation, agricultural research, and health research initiatives throughout Idaho. In anticipation of a new Farm Bill reaching the Senate floor, I am supporting inclusion of robust specialty crop provisions, as well as other key programs of importance to Idaho's farmers and ranchers. The Senate is also expected to revisit the Clean Energy Act of 2007 as the bill moves toward final passage. I have made it a priority to ensure that this bill moves our country toward greater energy security by promoting expanded and efficient opportunities for energy production here at home, and I am looking forward to continuing my work on this front.

As the first session of the 110th Congress winds down, representing Idaho's interests on these and other issues remains my top priority. The suggestions and feedback I receive from Idahoans on these matters is critical to my ability to do so effectively. I hope you will continue to keep me informed on the issues most important to you. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me, and please do not hesitate to let me know how I may be of further service to you in the United States Senate.


United States Senator


Note: Please do not reply to this message because it was sent by an unmonitored account used for outgoing correspondence only.

If you would like to contact Senator Craig, please send your email message through his website. Visit to send your message or to learn about other ways of contacting Senator Craig or one of his staff members.

Should you need immediate assistance during regular business hours or while the Senate is in session, you may call Senator Craig's Washington, DC office at 202-224-2752.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I have heard from a reliable source that watching the previously posted Monty Python videos, while under the good influence of Mary-euphemism-Jane, helps augment the experience into an even more pleasing and meaningful one.

Back to Greg’s original William Randolph Hearst post: I recently unearthed a cartoon said to be the “Citizen Kane” of animated features. Here is “One Froggy Evening”:

Jeff Wells over at Rigorous Intuition had an interesting take on this:

As Mr. Wells points out, there is vast evidence that this is strangely true territory,

“The cartoon's premise is based upon a phenomenon "not only irrational but completely inexplicable"

What’s even more intriguing about this is that as a child, another Great American Scoundrel tortured frogs. As reported by Chris Rowthorn in George W. Bush: The Decider Chooses Torture


“On May 21, 2000, the New York Times reported that, as a child, Bush and his friends used to torture animals for pleasure, "`We were terrible to animals,' recalled [Bush's boyhood friend Terry] Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush borne turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out. `Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,' Throckmorton said. `Or we'd put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up.'" Note that the torture took place on Bush property; had Bush wanted to, he could easily have stopped this sadistic behavior. Instead, since it was his domain, it is more likely that Bush was a ringleader.

Later, while an undergrad at Yale University, Bush was a president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which engaged in initiation procedures described as "sadistic and obscene," including burning pledges with a hot branding iron. When the fraternity's sadistic rituals were uncovered by Yale authorities, Bush, then a Yale senior, defended the practice to the New York Times in an article that appeared on November 7, 1967, saying that the wound was "only a cigarette burn."

Later, after becoming governor of Texas, Bush oversaw the executions of 131 people. In 1998, Bush signed the death warrant for a woman named Karla Tucker, who was executed on February 3, 1998. In an interview with Tucker Carlson that appeared in the September 1999 issue of Talk Magazine, Bush mocked Tucker's last-minute pleas for clemency. In the interview, Bush imitated Tucker with an exaggerated whimper, saying, "Please don't kill me." Even famously right-wing Carlson was shocked at Bush's behavior, and he wrote that as Bush performed this sadistic imitation, "I must look shocked ˜ ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel ˜ because he immediately stops smirking." This revolting incident may not prove that Bush has a predilection toward sadism or torture, but it reveals an inability to understand the suffering of another human being, which is a prerequisite to inflicting torture.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This valley has it’s own fair share of interesting time capsules and Geocaches. Those 96 ancient coins discovered in Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner’s old Broadford property, which evoked 96 tears from the finder’s not keepers.

In fact, if a searching man today, were to reach the pinnacle of Queen’s Crown and then head 70 long-legged paces due west…

~ ~

Another dependable source gives it to me that there is an intriguing time capsule imbedded in one of the valley’s larger magazine receptacles. It was planted the week in 2001, after Allen & Company was here and contains a completely conspiracy free newspaper account of Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham’s passing in the weeks preceding 9/11.

Since magazines will most likely become extinct within thirty years, (as aforementioned in this thread) some Froggy evening in 2037 would then be a perfect time to schedule the reopening of this time-capsule.

Perhaps a Charles Foster Kane impersonator, on loan from entertaining our Chinese friend Trillionaires at the C3 conference thirty years hence, would be delighted to preside over the occasion of disassembling the obsolete frog-green colored receptacle.

And with enough good magical luck, perhaps by then the demolition observers will be legally capable of ceremoniously augmenting their experience, with a few simple puffs of some cheery imported “rosebud” health-hemp oil.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Astronomically outrageous

It is no wonder why NASA wants to propel this story to the dark side of the moon. This report comes on the heels of a recently revealed story about NASA allowing drunken astronauts to pilot our Space Shuttle.
Drunk on the moon
Back when I worked for an airline, I once had an interesting discussion with our designated drug and alcohol tester. She said that since our employees on the job had tested positive for alcohol, less than .5 percent of the time that they were only required to test 10 percent of our workforce each year, rather than the previous 25 percent. This was an inventive set up by the FAA to save the airlines money, if we demonstrated good results.
Nevertheless, I started wondering about these tests. It seemed silly that they would even need to test luggage handlers and ramp workers. What did they think we were going to do, load bags drunk onto wrong planes, walk into a prop, or drive into an airplane with a deicing machine? Turns out the FAA had been right all along to test us ramp workers, because in my brief five years there at the small Hailey Airport, all of the aforementioned incidents occurred, including one evening a spanking new employee nearly colliding with a spinning prop.

Later on I read somewhere, I think in USA Today, that pilots who tested positive for alcohol was around the same low rate. Somewhere about .2 percent. At first glance, this seemed mighty low, compared to the general populace, etc. Then upon further reflection, I realized that if there are between four and five thousand aircraft perpetually aloft in U.S., than this means that there are always 8 to 10 snookered pilots celebrating in the friendly skies above us!
I hope that most of yoose guys are riding shotgun.

Neil Young Dreamsong

Early dawn October 20th I dreamt about an unusual Neil Young song. It was a song in which he was rooting for a friend, called, “Any Advantage.” The refrain went something like, “Any advantage that a friend can have” and he kept weaving the “any advantage” phrase into different stanzas.

Upon, my slow awakening this song continued to ping in my head. It was very distinctive and a good song. As I searched my memory for Neil Young tunes, I began to think that this was actually a song that had never been released. Perhaps it was a song out there swirling in the mythos, meant especially for Neil Young. The harmony was so sweetly distinguished that had I any musical notation talent; I would have tried to scribble down the jist of its jingle.

As I further awakened, to present reality, the ringing of the song began to slightly lift, but most of it resonated in me unclouded throughout the remainder of the morning. I began perusing through a copy of The Idaho Statesman and saw that Neil Young had played over at the Nampa Center the previous evening.

Now I was really curious.

I Googled “Neil Young” along with “any advantage”, but did not discover the song I dreamt.

I wondered if this song rings a bell with any of the Neil Young fans out there?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fourth & Goners / Flash update on our Bill of Rights

We are way behind in this game, it is Fourth down, and long, actually ninety-nine yards to go and the Central Scrutinizers state that there are some type of yellowcake flakes preparing to rain down on us. Is this my imagination? Anyhow, our Quarterback is no longer taking this game seriously anymore, what are we to do? Wait a minute, there is this guy, Number one (in all the legit polls) R. Paul on the sidelines – I cannot tell if he is warming up or not…

Oh, never mind I must have zoned in on the wrong channel. Now back to the game that most everyone believes is the important one…

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How Television Works

Tazey Math

Stunned by inaccuracies in Taser study

Submitted by JBanholzer on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 8:18am.

As The Independent Media reports, the credibility of this Wake Forest University study has come into serious doubt.

First, it was not an actual study, but more of a Law enforcement report.

Behind the Study

An undisclosed fact in the report was that it was conducted at six law enforcement agencies, across the country.

IndyMedia also pleads the question, “If Taser’s are reputedly so safe, then why do nearly ¼ of Tasing incidents result in injuries?”

Then there are the now nearly 300 Deaths, resulted from Tasers:

Lie of deadly proportions

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fido-friendly for the filthy rich?

The Blaine County Recreation District is now charging $49 for each dog permit on their designated groomed winter Nordic trails. This is over a treble increase from last season’s $15. And a tenfold increase from the five bucks they charged when my Petey-boy was a mere pup.

When I broke this dreadful news to Petey-boy, he trembled hard, as if that brazen pit-bull down the street was nosing around, uninvited again. We required a trip to the Sun Valley animal shelter psychologist, where it was recommended that I put on some Earl Scruggs, so we could howl at this overpriced bad taste to get it out of our systems.

Following our bluegrass grounding, I promised Petey, that we would figure out something different this year. If each if the ten thousand (maniacal) canines in the Wood River valley sign up for this permit, it would net the district almost ½ million bucks. However, many of us restricted poor boy pup-owners are boycotting what is perceived as an outrageous increase and may have to start our own trail, leaving locals wondering if this small change isn’t just one more example of brazen local government wagging to the elitist Sun Valley wishes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back door screens

Dr. Honts had the courage to speak up about this.

Searching passenger’s clues for intent is just another vast profiteering scheme that unscrupulous lobbyists are trying to push forward.

Who watchers the watchers? Is every airline employee and TSA agent screened before coming on his or her daily shift and upon nonchalant break returns from outside the secure areas?

Perhaps by next year, when our beloved Larry Craig becomes a lobbyist, he will explain from a pedestal high within the Temporal Security Agency that professional terrorist jackals have circumvented facial intent detectors. Therefore, we will require an even shiner, more expense laden, crystal mind-reading machine:

Most TSA screeners believe that they are that they are serving a great patriotic duty. However, the occasional rogue agent must slip though. Imagine a day one of those machines is flipped against the wrong agent, projecting his innermost thoughts loudly over the airport public broadcast system:

“I cannot wait to taze some towel head Islam butt, with this cheer Rambo rod-stick”

Perhaps we do need every machine in the world, dialed in to help protect us from our own sorry states.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Larry Craig can still embrace Idaho by disappearing into its wild frontiers

By Jim Banholzer

A few years back, I told a serious businesswoman, about two Bull Moose I saw, that were partying up Democrat Gulch out Croy Canyon. “Where’s that?” She asked. I replied, “That’s the draw you pass every day on your way to work, about a mile from your house and over by that steaming hot spring you can smell after Bullion winds west.” She had no clue, about what I was talking and probably would not have recognized a twelve-hundred-pound pressed moose track, even if she had tripped nose-first over one of its antlers. It tazed me, that this woman rolling in the dough, had such poor tunnel vision towards the great outdoors of her own backyard.

I’ve seen more than a handful of people up here in Sun Valley, driven hard to make more money, even after they have already earned and stuffed several million into the banks. Why would anybody need more than two or three million $$’s to thrive on? Sadly, many rich-on-paper folks hardly know what to do with them selves, once it’s clear that time has come for them to retreat from their lengthy career paths. Lifelong ingrained habits of hard focused work sometimes make the act of reinventing oneself an enormous challenge.

As up until recently, Larry Craig had been a long and hardworking U.S. Senator, ceaselessly examining what was best for his constituents, it’s easy to see how he might fit into this category of having scrabbled his fingers to the bone, with never enough time to enjoy fully with his family, many of the vast recreational opportunities his own Idaho has to offer. However, since this hall-of-fame era of his, may soon be closing to a draw, perhaps now is a good time for the Senator to refocus on which sections of the newspaper he would like to read first each morning.

The Statesman sports and Outdoors Idaho sections brim over with tips about hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, river rafting, warm springs and dozens of other outdoorsy activities. Perhaps Senator Craig with some of the powerful influence he still has remaining, can sway his delivery person to drop off these sections only, flinging the rest of the paper with his name in the mud where it belongs.

Certainly, senior Senator Craig has earned one of the finest pension plans, with gracious health benefits available. Now it is harvest time for him to start enjoying those benefits, by taking advantage of the copious prospects afforded by his situation in this splendid land -rather than further tarnishing it for us all, by dragging out his mostly unwanted stay with great distraction and weak excuses for clearing his name. Which has resulted in more jokes manufactured about Idaho than Simplot has ever produced potatoes.

Charlie Chaplin & Hitler's world

Monday, October 15, 2007

November 28, 2006
Essay 2: The Meaning of Work
J. Emery Davidson
ENGL 101 BO1
Usefulness in Becoming Chameleon-like
Hard work is healthy, but in this age of narrow specializations, it is wise for workers to gain wide varieties of experience for other options in the event worker conditions or capabilities diminish, or the vocation becomes outsourced or limited. A broad range of experience allows workers powerful real-life comparisons and helps them discover which types of work they find most meaningful.”
This is what spun through my head on a 1999 Ski Season Sunday, as I delivered some magazines to the dilapidated wooden rack outside the old Ketchum Post Office. While standing in a blizzard, a man gathering mail alongside his young boy, pointed to me and said, “Son, there’s the man who works all the time.” I noticed he didn’t say there’s a man, but rather the man. Was I the only one working on Sunday again? Everybody else was off skiing or watching ball games, having fun in multitudes of ways, I imagined. And here I was again, holding the bag over magazines, safe from wet snow. However, I smiled as I worked. Friends tried to tell me that I was a fool in the rain to do so. “How can you be so happy today, when everybody else is doing what he or she wants to?” They asked. My concerned friends recommended that I branch out to make other options available, in the event something occurs to lessen my broad smile in the rain.
Intellectually I comprehended what they meant. But I was unready to rush off and reinvent myself at the drop of a spud. A likeable lassitude comes along with being considered big and stupid - I should know. One’s blood pressure drops when intellectual pressures are not pushed onto a worker to the point of impossible concentration.
But, what if my big galoot body starts slowing up? What if I begin having difficulty hauling armoires, Wurlitzer’s and pool tables up staircases to Escher-less ends? Shouldn’t I be embracing other talents, perhaps brushing up on trick billiard shots, to win pool bets? That could be equally as dangerous, considering the frequency of fisticuffs around poolrooms like the Mint.
Mulling this over, I scribed a long list of winners whose work ethics I admired, to glean some advice, to help dissect the complexity of finding meaningful work. The people I listed usually had good ideas that rubbed off to me. Clearly, the wisest was Mary. I sensed something special about Mary from the moment I met her. Like most children, we had sprouted with quixotic intentions. However, in this harsh changing world, we found ourselves often needing to adapt, to keep the kids within in us from being crushed -via shape shifting our occupations when necessary.
Mary and I have both worked in some interesting places. We met in 1990 while working at the same municipality in Virginia. Some of the things she told me back then about her personal choices and sense of independence gained while reinventing her self, still resonate within me. When faced with livelihood dilemmas, I’ve often imagined, “What would Proud Mary do in this situation?” –and come out better for considering that. This consultation reinforces the significance of finding work that feeds self-esteem –and staying that path. In her early college years, Mary felt betrayed from several parameters in the field of journalism and switched her major to Geography. This betrayal matched much of what I went through recently with the “jaded” upper management of the Express newspaper (Nottingham).
Switching her major to Geography paid off later for a couple of self-respecting jobs, which Mary eventually transitioned into even better things. Mary says that she “chooses to thrive, rather than simply survive.” She has several times chosen to shift career-paths, to match her interests better. For instance, Mary followed her bliss through a curiosity about butterflies. This enthusiasm she nectared into a dream-job, becoming a butterfly museum curator and teacher. I mean, come on now, who in this weary world actually does that? This woman must be part-angel with invisible wings herself.
Not only that, but also a dozen years back she redoubled efforts of going to school while working to earn a massage certificate. This led into bodywork connecting her with physical, spiritual, emotional and energetic realms. It’s inspiring to see exertion towards well-defined goals like this pay off for a friend. She has also worked as a bike mechanic, been drawn in by outdoor tracking & spiritual workshops and is especially fond of crepuscular activities of the natural world. When her upper body became worn from giving so much, she took up Ashiatsu -a method of giving massage with feet while hanging from installed bars above. This reinvention of rubdown actually gets deeper into the tissue due to the fuller weight applied down on the body.
When I recently wearied, finding my long held job no longer psychically rewarding and quit, I did not feel as though I needed to be out the next Monday morning jack hammering to keep busy, but rather planned to hold out until I could make something more meaningful materialize. I don’t want to find out five years down the road that I made another huge mistake, by falling in with another abusive employer, especially considering that in the past, I’ve had potential employers literally stand on their heads to try and attract me into their firms.
Being at a fork in the road of one’s future involves magnanimous decision-making. The big question is, how long can I hold out? Certainly, I don’t want to drop into the same sort of narrow trap, many intelligent purposeful people sink into- to paraphrase George Monbiot, “by being used as a tool of the corporate or institutional world -doing the complete opposite of what it is you want to do –thinking not for yourself, but for the institution” (Monbiot).
While my gap in gainful employment has already become longer than I had anticipated (100 days), I still do not regret quitting. Rather I wish I had quit earlier, so that I might have brushed up on other significant vocational skills. Every job I’ve worked, I’ve given my best. Retaining this habit is important when stuck in jobs that seem to hold empty meanings. I’ve found that maintaining a level work ethic can get you recognized and someday lead into real jobs. However, putting “all of your eggs into one basket” like I recently did, dedicating virtually every waking (and many dreaming) moments to only one place for too long, rusts older unexercised work skills. Once, when I asked for a leave of absence for a few months (not granted) the boss looked at me astounded and said, “What would you do?” in a tone that presumed how could I possibly have a life besides the paper.
Perhaps I should have seen the impending doom whipping down the Express-pike. Once, when the paper was short-handed by four men, I made an announcement in an all-staff meeting that we needed help. Of the twenty-some odd employees in the room, zero raised their hands.[1] Had I any balls at the time, I would have slammed the door shut on them then, instead of waiting another seven years. But, things go wrong at every job, I figured and I was still fresh to management. Alas, the work environment worsened. Many of the dedicated workers in circulation were outcasts on the fringe of society. Perhaps this is why I was such a good manager for these people –I understood what it’s like to be a proverbial lyndworm chucked out the window, fending for one’s life in whatever way one can, rolling in the dirt to construct some sort of body armor from the earth to protect our fragile squirming interior beings. As our Circulation operations expanded, workers who called in –last minute sick or didn’t show up at all –resulted in frequent helter-skelter mornings. Repeatedly canceling my long-planned family vacations, due to worker shortages forced me to start thinking outside the box called 591 First Ave N.
I believed that Mary would have thought along the same lines.
I did stay on a bit longer than planned, when an appealing in-house reinvention evolved. The editor asked me to come aboard to the editorial department, and it should have been one of the happiest days of my life. It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve 2004 and Ken announced that I would replace Adam Tanous as a monthly columnist. The editor said, “I think that Jim should get paid for what he’s already been doing”. I had been drafting suggestions and story outlines for several years. My broad background helped, giving me much to select for commentaries. In addition, I became the best news tipster, developing an eye for stories, and gathering ideas while delivering publications throughout the community.
The Publisher hemmed and hawed like the Grinch before Christmas about even anteing up a nominal fee. Still, I did not miss a beat; glidingly sleighing in the comment, “Just wait and see how good they are.”
I then thought how Mary would have smiled, had she been gazing down into the meeting room like an angel on Christmas Eve.
I pledged that I would do my best and dedicated my being to these columns. In splendid solitude, I scribbled ideas passionately, unable and not wanting to stem the flow. Elaborate thoughts formulated while driving and I pulled over to jot them down on sides of roads. I drifted off to sleep with clean pieces of paper and woke up with rough drafts. Writing became a healing meditation, massaging the mind. My imagination went wild.
Some might say I went overboard with this new passion, while spending less time with friends: A few times, I dreamt about reading lost Scripture, which went into vivid detail about the interconnectedness of everything. When I woke, I wondered who had scribed them. How had something so elaborate come to me in dreams? Were they old thoughts, jotted in the Atlantis atmosphere dawn of dawn’s -from, which we have been backpedaling? Now vanished from temporal realms, secreted into tablets, sunk at the bottom of Redfish? Waiting for a church camp counselor to discover, while reinventing his beliefs on a mercurial dip to the bottom of the sea. Blending beside chameleonic mermaids loving everything. Embracing and dancing on everlasting angel pin nuclei, the neutrinos themselves re-scripting stage plays and term papers about the permanence of unseen subatomic level changes?
While burning the midnight oil I was fired up over ideas, but never frustrated with the writing process itself. Exhilarating thoughts transformed into solutions through my fingertips to the keyboard. I spent between fifty and a hundred hours on each column, which means the pay, equaled seventy-five cents an hour. Although this low pay was killing me, to maintain my inner peace, I aimed high with eighteen months of hardscrabble perseverance, purposely blinding myself to the B.S. emanating from upper management, in hopes of landing in a better spot.
This reminded me of eighteen miserable months that Mary went through at a no longer rewarding job - working beside someone she did not find particularly life giving for vesting in a retirement plan.
My eighteen months went by. I then soul-searched about what had transpired with work. I saw that abuse and deception had become systematically worse. Whole departments were not communicating with each other in a business that purported to be a leader in the valleys communications! The best employees were jumping ship for good reasons. I realized that as an advice columnist, I would be hypocritical to not take my own counsel and followed suit. When I quit, my boss tossed my belongings out into the alley, snarled and slammed the door tight, not thanking me for thirteen years of unimpeachable efforts. Seeing true colors displayed like this, confirmed for me that I was right to migrate away, from this acme of barrenness.
When it starts raining cats and dogs, even a fool knows to come out of the rain, dry off and put on a new set of clothes. I believe for me, now that I have found writing to be such a passionate force in my life, I’ll need to submit my work to an outlet where I better fit in and feel rewarded without having to “force it.” Perhaps soon, the same man from the Post Office blizzard will point at me again, this time telling his teenage son, there’s another weathered man who shifted brainstorms.”
When this happens, you can believe, I’ll mention it to Mary.
Works Cited
Klinkel, Mary. Electronic-mail interview. 03 October 2006[1]
George Monbiot Choose Life Careers advice. 09 June 2000
Nottingham, Brad. Work letter of recommendation to Wood River Journal. 25 July 2006
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[1] Photojournalist Willy Cook was off work this day. Had he attended this meeting, I believe that he alone would have volunteered to help, as he often had before.

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