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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Something old under the sun


When I worked at a Sun Valley newspaper, it was often made it clear that neither we nor were any of our advertisers to infringe upon the famous copywrited Sun Valley logo. Apparently S. V. Co. even sends out covert agents to inspect various local gift and T-shirt shops to ensure nobody is pinching their logo or shielding their sun in dark shadows.

Imagine my surprise then, when I came across the exact same logo on page 170 of Graham Hancock’s anthropological tome Supernatural. It’s a woodcut from 1566 and portrays some unknown flying objects of the sky.


Mysterious hockey pucks in flight?





My first instinct was to create a fake interoffice memo regarding S.V. Company’s mission to find the descendants of this piece of art and sue them or at least force them come into compliance with their sunny rules. The memo could even include a reference to the large Hadron collider and Sun Valley’s intensive intent to transport a spokesperson back in time to straighten out things. Then some wintry Saturday before a hockey game, lay out a few copies of this phony memo on side tables outside the Dew-Daw room for unsuspecting patrons to pick up.





In the past, this strategic spot has gotten in the craw of management. The reason I say this, is that for years, our delivery crews had unfulfilling experiences with their overseers. While part of S.V. administration was constantly pleading for us to lay out more magazines and newspapers in all of their lobby locations, another faction kept asking for reductions, with Mr. A threatening to throw our publications away (not recycle them), if we continued delivering them –even though they were the best guides to activities at their own venues. After some reports from concerned citizens seeing Sun Valley’s staff actually toss some of our newspaper bundles into the dumpster, I set up next to the River Run fireplace, secretly peeking through two slits in my newspaper and when I caught a culprit throwing away our product; threatened police action if I caught him doing so again.





Once, Mr. A even read me off a list of approved magazines; so thereafter whenever I encountered a stack of non-approved magazines, I automatically relayed this important mssg to his secretary, chirping in a sincere jerky voice that I felt it was my duty to inform him of the following infractions and read off a detailed list.





One day while standing in their lobby, the idea struck me that, we should feature an article about their famous hallway. How could they deny our magazine, if it featured their precious wall of fame lined with photos of Olympic celebrities, movie stars and Presidents? I passed this on the editor and viola a few months later, our magazine came out with the tactical article. This seemed to patch things up for a bit. However, soonafter, a New York Times reporter wrote a review regarding poor bell service. Although the stinging review of the guest worker behavior was accurate, the lodge management did not find their tarnished image funny and thus began a new information clampdown.





A few months later, I wrote a column called Seriously Embracing Zany Stooges. Included was the following passage:



Recently the Farrelly Brothers (of Dumb & Dumber fame) and 20th Century Fox held some positive negotiations, enabling a new Three Stooges film to come one step closer to eye-popping reality. Some of their script was refined a few summers ago here in the serious writing atmosphere of Sun Valley, including rehearsals of an operation on a nun using an electric toothbrush and vacuum cleaner in one of the Lodge rooms. A rib-tickling scene develops with the discovery of a wishbone inside the semi-conscious nun. This ensues in a wrassling match over the examination table to break off the largest piece for good luck.”



A few weeks later, as I drove the Train Truck up to the Lodge Entrance to deliver some new magazines, Mr. A. swiftly intercepted me. As he saw the truck park next to the ducks, he started waving and flailing, “Excuse me! Excuse me! But what are you here for?” I showed him the new guidebooks to which he replied, “We already have some!” This of course was impossible, because they had just come off the press and I was the only one delivering them.



I didn’t have to deal with this nonsense much longer as I quit delivering magazines after one million. I noticed that winter that nobody kicked Mr. Farrelly off the hockey ice, for his previous smearing of the Lodge’s name, when he came to play goalie against the Suns. It must be that Sun Valley Company respects his refined approach to humor more than they do mine. Either that or he broke off the largest piece of that old nun’s wishbone. After all, his team won that hockey game, defeating Sun Valley in sudden-death.

Nyuck-Nyuck!

Monday, September 29, 2008

  • Central Idaho Scrutinizer Says:

    What an amazing thread about that blackbird Jim Crow!

    It’s certain that you are a true local, pining for the good old days when you become over sentimental, thinking about Jim Crow in Idaho.

    http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/history/creating2.htm

  • Idaho’s Super Combination Winner

    By Jim Banholzer

    (1st edited version by Idaho Magazine)

    In the spring of 2007, my friend Mark Thornock hollered down the phone line from Maryland that he had won some sort of lottery regarding animals. His enthusiasm was ratcheted up to such a level, it took a moment to fathom that he had drawn the winning ticket for a Super Hunt Combo lottery operated by the Idaho Fish and Game Department. This made him eligible to go after a moose, an elk, a deer, and an antelope in any corresponding open hunt area in the state. Knowing Mark’s love of hunting, I realized his super-combo draw was better for him than winning money.

    Destiny had chosen a highly qualified man to chase the prizes. His friends often remarked on the phenomenon of Mark’s broad frame, brim-full of life, chugging almost effortlessly over steep highland ridges. When it came to hunting, his attitude was infectiously affirmative.

    Mark invested his time wisely in the months preceding the hunts. He inspected the conditions of backpacks and insulated clothing, sharpened dull knife blades, placed calls to check on the availability of butchers, and consulted with conservation experts around the state for advice and conditions, keeping in mind where the dozens of fires that had befallen Idaho that summer might have driven the game. When his plans were laid out, he marked his map: moose around Island Park; Arco for antelope; an area near Mountain Home for deer; and a wolf-frequented territory high in the Lost River Range for elk.
    He figured moose were abundant enough around Island Park, where he previously had drawn and shot one. When I won an antlered moose draw in 1998 and pursued my game in the Island Park area, Mark’s help impressed me because of his multifaceted knowledge of the outdoors. I’m relatively green at hunting and, for me, that quest was a classic example of how meticulous preplanning can increase the odds of a satisfying outcome.
    Mark’s flight into Hailey showed up on time. His old hunting rifle appeared to be intact, but he soon sighted it in on a makeshift range to determine it hadn’t been jostled in flight. The next morning we arose at five, encountering little traffic on the way to Island Park. Crossing Craters of the Moon National Monument, we nearly slid into a mule deer buck, but aside from a porcupine (seldom seen anymore, it seems), we spotted little other wildlife that daybreak.

    When we pulled into Island Park, we immediately noticed at least six vehicles grouped together from the state’s Fish and Game and Forest Service departments. They were investigating a grizzly bear attack that morning on a hunter who had been dressing an elk he shot near Big Springs. This was the second local confrontation between a bear and hunter in recent weeks. A wounded griz was now limping around the popular summer cabin community, and reportedly ten to fifteen more were grazing in the immediate area, which raised our concern that Fish and Game would deem hunting unsafe and shut down the whole region. This clampdown didn’t occur, but when Mark and I saw a grizzly later that evening, it awakened us to what could happen once we zoned in on a moose. We knew wolves were in the area too, having seen one lurking near the highway by Ponds Lodge earlier that summer.

    Most of the good information about recent bear activity came from chatting with locals. At the general store, pepper spray was selling like hotcakes. We were reminded that in Alaska, bears have learned to approach hunting areas once they hear gunshot, recognizing it as signal for fresh meat. Bears can scent moose blood and meat for miles, depending on the wind. Sometimes, after swatting away hunters from downed game, Ursa horribilas will perch upon large mammal carcasses to speed up the process of tenderizing the meat.
    On that first day, three young, agile and experienced hunters on a break from school helped us search for moose. The five of us walked along and drove by mossy creek drainages characteristic of prime moose habitat. Yet even with all those eyes glued to Island Park’s stunning autumn scenery, we did not spot much game until we saw the grizzly that evening. We figured the presence of bears was making the moose skittish. This situation, combined with our
    midday search and perhaps driving too rapidly through the quaking aspen for efficient wildlife spotting, probably contributed to our being skunked that day.

    During our first night in the cabin it rained constantly, and an intermittent drizzle kept up through days two and three. Our youthful friends returned to school but two other experienced hunters, Jon Brock (?) and Gary (?), joined us. This was especially helpful because Mark wasn’t fully recovered yet from recent knee surgery. As for me, seemingly imbedded with these camouflaged experts in my laidback Ketchum threads, I must have looked laughable to passersby. Gary shot a grouse his second day in, and fried it up that evening with some delicious spices, to everyone’s delight. Jon was the one most familiar with firearms. He was a Special Forces sharpshooter in Vietnam, and had been to Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the Blackwater private army.
    Skill and experience notwithstanding, we were soon reminded that hunting, as with fishing, requires a certain measure of luck. In four hundred miles of deliberate driving, the only moose we spied were on a high hill above private land. It seemed that everyone we encountered in Island Park had seen an antlered moose except us. Most of our conversations focused around hunting, including this chase and others. My companions discussed the large mammals and birds they had stalked through the years, and considered future adventures for which they might like to reunite. But our confident joke about this hunt being as easy as shooting fish in a barrel soon wore thin.
    I headed home for a week, while Mark drove by himself to the Arco area. There he bagged an antelope at two hundred yards, from a thick herd Brock (?) had told him about. But doing it alone was a struggle because of his knee problem, so he decided to hunt with others for the remainder of his journey. He headed over to the Lost River Range, where his two friends of his were set up in a comfortable wall tent.

    From the valley below them, I could see the group would be experiencing snow, but it was difficult to gauge how much. A buddy and I drove to Lost River on Saturday and were pleasantly surprised to see the recently graded Trail Creek Road in the best shape we’d ever found it. No more rattling washboards, at least until we got to the bumpy Custer County side over the saddle. I knew they were in a region where, ten years earlier, while changing a flat tire, I had seen the largest elk herd of my life: at least eighty head. The question now was, “How many elk had the wolves taken down?”

    Few hunters were out in the hardscrabble upland. On the road, we encountered a covey of about eight chuckers. We speculated that the mild climate of the last eighteen months, combined with recent fires, might have lead to the small bird migration here. On the other hand, they might have hopped the hill from a nearby Salmon River fork, where the elevation was lower and the climate slightly warmer.

    After the brief challenge of a mud traverse, we discovered the camp, where Mark already had laid out his bull elk. We admired its attractive, dark-reddish hue, and noticed it was a five-by-five point. Mark said while tracking in fresh snow that morning, he had had a close encounter with an alpha wolf. Had the animal shown more aggressive intentions instead of turning tail and wisping away, Mark thought it could have developed into an unpleasant situation on the high terrain.
    We took photos of the elk and a few celebratory nips, then helped pack up part of the camp. Mark’s two friends offered to take the elk to the butcher for him. They tucked it down low in the bed of the truck, which had been licensed at their other home in Northern California. They knew that riding transporting big game in a truck with out-of-state plates could carry a stigma, even for those who had lived in Idaho for decades and had contributed to the community in many ways.

    As we packed up the camp, I sensed empathy between these longtime hunting companions. Some people live for the thrill of the outdoor chase, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Standing there in the snow, I recalled another inspiring experience in this same camp: my father bringing me out here many years ago for a taste of the West.
    As we wheeled back down the road to the valley below, Mark said he had swung over towards Custer County at daybreak. In was early October, and he had been pushing two feet of snow with the truck. We were happy that Trail Creek was open, and considered ourselves lucky we had a warm house to head for.

    Even so, I caught the flu, and missed Mark’s second quest for a moose at Island Park. Nor was I with him when he bagged his mule deer south of Mountain Home, clambering over rocks the size of dining room tables to get within range. He had three trophies out of the super-combo four.

    Later, I got this story from him about his effort to round-out the super-combo with his second try at the elusive Island Park moose:
    “Near the cabin, we saw six or eight cows with calves but no mature bulls. We did see a few smaller elk on their annual migration. By my eighth day of hunting moose ten hours a day, I had nothing to show. With only two hours of daylight remaining, my friend Spike and I headed thirty miles down the mountain to the river. We thought we might catch a moose stepping out for an evening meal or drink between the river and the mountain. Then things happened quickly. On a sharp corner, two huge cow moose suddenly appeared in range. It took a moment or two to see the third one, a dandy, mature male with an approximately thirty-five-inch rack spread. Its body was enormous as we walked up on it to begin the real work.”

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Praise for shinier Lincolns

    It’s refreshing to read that devoted curators will be refurbishing the Boise Abe Lincoln statue, and transporting it from its obscure foliage-hidden-area, at the Veteran’s Home to a more prominent spot, in time to celebrate our Great Emancipator’s 200th birthday.



    This move follows the spirit of Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial, in the sense that our ancestors deliberately installed this monument in a remote area of the National Mall. Although this tied in symbolically with the remote nature of Lincoln’s personality, people wishing to honor our founding Republican more, did not accept his inaccessibility and have made the pilgrimage to that isolated area so much that it is has become a “destination monument” and one of the most romantic spots to visit in Washington D.C.



    For more about what our historic sites get right or wrong, check out Dr. James W. Loewen’s groundbreaking, Lies across America, also author of the American Book Award winner Lies My Teacher Told Me.



    From the book: “More than any other marker or monument on the American landscape, it continues to speak of later times, even of our time. Its fascinating history offers suggestions as to why some historic sites “work” while others do not.”

    Regarding Burley’s murky loitering laws



    draft 3


    http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2008/10/08/opinion/letters/doc48ebed824c814930609161.txt


    With the way Burley’s loitering laws now stand, Henry David Thoreau probably would have been charged with remaining idle in essentially one location, including the concept of spending time idly; being dilatory; lingering, staying; sauntering; delaying; standing around, and hanging around Walden’s Pond (and loving it). Even though Thoreau authored the classic Civil Disobedience, I am not sure that following his own advice would get him very far outside the prison bar, in these, our post Thomas Pained, weary hobo days.



    I wonder if it would help the cause of any weary Burley homeless to show that they hold two-pole permits, while fishing beside Walden Pond-like Idaho waters. How can you be guilty of loitering, when it is clear you are a multitasking fisherperson? It’s also interesting to note, how being homeless now is either against the law, or on the cusp of being against the law, in so many communities.

    In some areas, we now have
    more foreclosed homes than we do homeless people
    . Fortunately, community leaders in a handful of places have seen what a crisis our Nation is in and have gained enough empathy to lighten the laws and / or enforcement of laws regarding squatter’s rights, etc.

    Of course, a few bad squatters or actors portraying troublemaking destitute could give these modern dust bowl communities a name as
    dreadful as Detroit.


    In Macomb County, Michigan, the Republican Party chairman intends to use lists of foreclosed homes to block people from voting.

    To counterbalance this unfairness, while lessening loitering ratios,

    Burley civil justice servers should contemplate improving their cloudy law; by asking peace officers to direct our dispossessed to the nearest voter registration booths, to free themselves, poles apart, from the stagnant waters in which our murky Country has been lingering.

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Hermes Meteoric Messengers







    Back in the mid-80’s H.B. Lantzsch Inc. made the quick decision to start operating a limousine service. Although I had already migrated from working at their car dealership over to demolition, Dad encouraged me to jump aboard; so I bought a nice suit and joined up with the other drivers. Our fleet included some nice stretch Lincolns, with the cream of the crop being a lengthy white Cadillac. Back then, it was easy to get a chauffeur’s license in Virginia, all you had to do was plop down twenty bucks and you were ready to roll.



    At Hermes Limo, we had some interesting clients. That autumn, Eric, our manager, transported the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry over to a local convention. Although they had a glitch with the air conditioner and couldn’t get it to turn off, making Mr. Roddenberry slightly uncomfortable, Gene still made a couple of high-spirited wisecracks about cryogenic freezing and handed Eric a substantial tip.



    Usually we provided service for weddings, but those didn’t always go off without a hitch. On one of my first jobs, the directions they gave me were backwards. Item number one had me meeting a wedding party at a Rockville, Maryland church. When I arrived, there already was a matrimonial ceremony in progress, but the names did not match those on my scribbled manifest. After waiting twenty minutes, to see if anybody from the next party would arrive, I called limo headquarters from a church payphone. Eric told me that I had ‘misdirections’ and that I was supposed to pick up the bride’s party from her house! Off from the church on a wing and a prayer, I flew up Georgetown Pike, where lo and behold, a parade halted me in my tire tracks. It was a nice parade and probably everybody was enjoying it, except for me. From my front row position, I seriously considered busting through one of the line gaps, but realized that being caught would probably result in an even later arrival.



    A long ten minutes passed until the traffic stoppers set me free. As I wound over to the bride’s house, I caught the tail end of a wedding dress swiftly floating into a cab. I cut them off at the pass, making a last second interception with great aplomb and apology. After repositioning themselves in our limo, the wedding party still had some residual grumbling to express, but the maid of honor soon diffused this by remarking to the bride, “You know that something goes wrong at every wedding and now that this has already happened, you don’t have to worry about that anymore!” This smoothed things out for the rest of our ride and the maid of honor became an instant hero in my tired eyes.



    I drove for several other weddings and happy occasions. One time the young couple I was driving sensed that I knew my way around and asked me to choose a scenic route for them to enjoy. This was easy and I directed us down to Mount Vernon for an evening tour up the Potomac; looping the full length of George Washington Parkway past shimmering monument lights reflecting off the river; then past Maryland’s canal water gates and back again over American Legion Bridge for a full figure eight; enjoining various tour-guide commentaries along our merry way.



    The most memorable of my trips was when I chauffeured Carl Bernstein. Yes, that Bernstein. I had not planned to drive that evening, but Eric caught me at my girlfriend’s house and promised a substantial bonus. I said that we already had a date set for that evening, but he came up with an ingenious solution; that I could bring Brooke along as a “Driver in Training.”


    Brooke and I dressed up as well as we could. We arrived with the limo at the appointed time at Mr. Bernstein’s house. It was a grand residence towards the end of a prestigious looking cul-de-sac over by Alexandria’s Library. Things started well and we were soon enroute to the show with Mr. Bernstein and his wife.



    Mr. Bernstein had us pick up a couple of his friends from across town. The four of them were dressed to the hilt and we headed to a benefit show in Washington D.C. When I dropped everyone off at the gate, Mr. Bernstein told us to be back in 3 hours, so we went back to Brooke’s apartment for a rest. At the appointed time, we showed back up, thinking that all we had to do now was bring them back to Alexandria. However, Mr. Bernstein was fired up and wanted to show his friends a grand New York Pizza oriented restaurant in an obscure part of town. I said that this was not on the itinerary, but maybe we could be flexible.



    So, we drove over to the steamy N.Y. Pizza place and the four of them entered. This was definitely a rough section of town. On top of that, the hour was late and it was Saturday night. Suspicious characters were all about and one unkempt person suddenly stumbled in from the perimeter, next to our expensive looking limo and began a slurred pitch. The staggering man said that he was selling discount diamonds and to prove his point he was going to etch some markings into our glass windshield.




    With about a second to spare, I accelerated off to avoid damage to the limo. Bernstein did not like this and although I merely intended to circle the block before coming back, apparently Carl hailed a cab to follow us. Five minutes later, as we reentered the pizza joint atmosphere, I noticed the cab behind us with a man flailing his hands crazily outside its window as I re-parked. It was Carl and he went into a rant about how I abandoned his party - going on and on…



    It was one in the morning and I knew that he would eventually need to draw some new breaths. When he stopped, I asked if he was finished and I explained why I pulled away and redirected the blame towards him and his bad judgment for taking his good friends to this dangerous end of town. Carl did not like this heavy counterpoint-weight and as I began the long drive back to Alexandria, he started lashing out at me. He yelled, saying that I needed to develop a sense of respect towards my superiors and a bunch of other small man complex crap. As I started picturing Dustin Hoffman in his position, Carl bellowed quite loud, “This whole limo thing sucks!” Without hesitation I yelped much louder, “It sure does!!!” Well, that certainly quieted things down for a spell. I don’t think anybody made a peep for the next 40 minutes. Finally, as we wearied of struggling, a few soft murmurings reappeared within the tired group. I turned some light music on the control panel and finally dropped the four of them off at his Alexandria Library house, where Carl surprisingly handed Brooke and I, a forty dollar tip.



    After that experience, I did not operate many more limo jobs.


    Our last big job was going to be for the annual World Bank meeting in Washington D.C. but Mr. Lantzsch passed away and they pulled the limos back for his funeral ceremony. Thereafter, the business began to fizzle, but I had already decided to stick more to demolition. It's much safer.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    How will aircraft avoid the new gondola cable?

    I’m concerned with the sightseeing aircraft flying daily around Baldy that eventually one of them could hook this cable, causing a horrible tragedy and wondered what steps are / can be taken to alleviate this uneasiness. After all, aircraft have unstrung gondola cables in a handful of unfortunate incidents in other cities.

    Working for a brief period in the airline industry, I have a slight understanding of how NOTAM’s, updated maps and restricted flying areas work, but I wondered if somebody more vastly experienced with such flight issues might explain this in fuller depth. For instance, what will the height of the gondola be when it crosses over Highway 75 and how does this compare to normal altitude ranges of various aircraft flying over Ketchum?

    Some pilots do not follow every rule to the tee and occasionally pilots become bewildered, due to inclement weather, fatigue or mechanical difficulty. Locals may remember the crash above Owl Creek about a dozen years ago, when the octogenarian pilot apparently mistook Ketchum for Bellevue and kept flying north looking for Hailey, until he crashed. Also, a couple of summers ago a pilot landed his small Cessna on Hailey’s airport runway, even when there was a large X marked indicating that it was closed due to construction. Locals must also remember that over the years we have had dozens of crashes in the hills around here. So what is to prevent a similar wayward plane from eventually snagging the gondola cable?

    Would it help to dye the cable florescent orange for airborne sightseers and paragliders who might momentarily forget exactly where it is strung?

    Again, I appreciate any feedback on this that aviation experts in the community can give.

    .

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Unhealthy Company Policies

    It’s simply not healthy for management to ignore the nuts and bolts of their operations. Why do they do this so often? Is it because they want to insulate themselves from the harsh truth? That perhaps everything is not so hunkie-dory after all? Maybe they’re afraid that their hard-working underlings will confront them when they see more clearly, what a B.S. job management is doing. Some managers secretly love it when employees turn against one another. This way they know that the employees will never rally to unionize - even if they sense unjust treatment.

    I worked as a delivery person for one of the local papers for almost five years, before anyone in management asked for my feedback, regarding the delivery manifest they printed for me each week. Finally, I thought, this would be an opportunity for us to clarify some questions I’ve had, and we will improve our functionality. –Or so I thought. I sat with Jerry for two hours, giving him my list of observations and left with a feeling that we would finally all be on the same page, regarding delivery numbers. The problem was, that even though Jerry had fastidiously scribed down practically every major point I made, when the lists came out the next week, there were no changes on it. Nor were there any changes on the next week’s list, nor the next…

    It has often bothered me when office middle managers start passing on their great whims and grand policy changes without first field-testing their own suggestions. If upper management is truly looking to implement some long-term work improvements they need to invest more time in their workshops and make sincere efforts to gain those dedicated workers trust. Asking what some of those workers life-goals are, more often than Halley’s Comet comes around would be a nice start.

    Another Bad Mix

    Another case of bad publicity for the Rec. District happened one afternoon, when the likeable old Pool manager C.K. accidentally mixed too many chemicals into the chlorinator that fed the pool. We had to evacuate dozens of young children and called the Fire Department over. Whoever called, asked them to arrive low-key if they could. The dispatcher said that they would, but then of course they came in blaring in as they usually do for emergencies; speeding with lights a-flashing. I remember as they pulled C.K. away from the chlorination room, somebody remarked, “The last time this happened, he wouldn’t leave the room and almost passed out.”

    A few weeks later, the new supervisor and I were clearing out some equipment from the Rec. District’s dusty storage barn, where we came across some old plastic chlorination sprayers. As we lifted the largest one out for disposal, the supervisor accidentally bumped on one of the spray nozzles, which sprayed directly into his face. He dropped his end of the piece of equipment and began wheezing and coughing for about three minutes, all the while insisting that he was okay.

    I remember being warned about this man’s temper and Norm (Kathie’s 1st husband) and I used to joke that he was much like the Sleeping with the Enemy character who used to go off at his wife Julie Roberts if she placed one can of corn slightly out of alignment in their beach house kitchen cupboard.

    Turns out that the warnings we received were mostly accurate, although like most people the supervisor did have a remarkably nice side, once you scratched beneath the surface.

    Unexpected Disruptive Events

    Part 2

    ~

    Another thing the Rec District lacked back then was two-way radios or cell phones - although the truck had a scratchy phone that worked in some spots. Often we labored in deep snow in below zero conditions, sometimes more than a dozen miles away from civilization with no contingency plan in the event of mechanical breakdown. Evening was usually the strategic time temperature wise, so the paths would properly freeze and cure, therefore this was usually when we commenced grooming. One evening in dropping twenty-degree weather, the supervisor dropped me off below Ketchum, where I was to groom up to Hulen Meadows before turning around. He said that he would check on me in about six hours, as he planned to groom a large section of the Boulder Trail up north. However, only about three hours later, I saw his truck on the road above Teresa Heinz’s house. He signaled for me to stop at the next intersection where he waded through tall snow banks to tell me that he had tried to hitchhike to the other end of the trail, but that nobody would give him a ride. The plan was for him to park the truck at the near end of the trail and then hitchhike to the far end where the snow cat was, so that he could end up in the dark at his work truck. However, only two cars passed by in his 2 ½ hours of waiting in the cold and one of them even was a Forest Service truck. So he gave up.

    Disruptive unexpected events

    Part one

    After experiencing the mirror image and an antagonist in a haunting dream that juxtaposed several old jobs, R.M. said, “Standing up to him without either fighting or fleeing was a good choice, deflating his energy. Antagonists in dreams typically want us to flee.”

    ~

    The next evening I lost my cell phone on a bike ride and a friend came by and pounded on the door, to tell me that Kathie, the person who found it, had contacted her. We took a quick ride over and I handed Kathie that old Hopi Prophecy / Eagle has landed Silver Dollar as a finders reward, right as the moon was ascending over our Idaho Mountains.

    ~

    R.M. said that this “was the full moon, and its conjunct with Uranus meant some sorts of disruptions, unexpected events.” Soonafter reading this, I received the bad news that a real antagonist in Panama broke into a house, fought, and killed a man who I used to know. He was the husband of my first boss here in Idaho, the founder of the local Recreation District. They retired a few years ago and moved to Panama; building their new home there, since they liked it so much.

    ~

    R.M.’s Full moon & Uranus insights got me thinking further about disruption connections. Kathie, the woman who found my phone, was at the first party, I ever attended in Idaho. It was only supposed to be a little get together between co-workers -somebody’s birthday I believe, probably late February of ’93. Anyhow, this was the first time I met the man who was recently killed in Panama. His wife was my boss and both of them sat across from this same Kathie at a Red Elephant Saloon back table. I arrived late from work and saw a commotion had taken place, right before I walked in. Kathie’s wine glass was spilled and my boss was the one who tipped it over! Turns out that Kathie (who has always been quite fit) had made a comment about body weight, which my boss did not take kindly to, so she thrashed out very upset, saying, “Some people just have a harder time than others keeping it off” - or something like that.

    Another strange connection is that the person, who pounded on my door to tell me that I would have cell communication again, lives in my old boss’s house and has several times cited wild parties she attended there in the old days.

    ~

    Another weird thing is that right before attending that small work party 15 years back, a young man decided to end his life Hemingway-style via a self-inflicted gunshot on the cross-country ski path, which we were required to clean up without any special safety or biohazard equipment. I’ll never forget the police asking us, when we were going to get around to cleaning up the blood drenched snow, as it was upsetting the cross country skiers who were trying to experience leisurely afternoons. The department head also wanted this blood instantly washed from the ski path to avoid bad publicity.

    ~

    The Supervisor pulled up an old Ford with a snowmobile trailer, to which we commenced walking over with shovelfuls of bloody snow, which we later dragged over; dripping blood to the Valley Gas Station car wash, rinsing red rain down the drain. This bad omen was my first strong indication of how backwards and jaded the community here is. When I later questioned these procedures during a pertinent moment at a Blaine County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue meeting, the facilitators there were quick to hush me and said they would address my questions later.

    ~

    I had a handful of other disquieting experiences while working on the BCRD Trails. First they never provided health insurance, even though that was one of the promises they made when hiring me. Secondly, whenever I suggested some simple ways to improve things, these were either belittled or ignored. For instance, we had a problem with rodents tunneling under the path, which created dangerous caves and holes on the surface, which could cause serious injuries to unsuspecting bikers and rollerbladers. In Northern Virginia the workers seldom cleaned or repaired the bike path, however they did make time to mark the bad spots with bright red spray paint in order to prevent injuries. When I suggested this same solution to our supervisor, he said that we would not disfigure our grand path with red marks. However, several days later, he flipped-flopped, mentioning that one of the board members, Bob Rosso, suggested that we should paint fluorescent red marks around these offending bad spots and then handed me some paint cans, never admitting that I had made the exact same suggestion, merely days before.

    To be continued after this disruption…

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Highway gone to potholes

    Every year in our Country, ten times as many people are killed in highway crashes than were killed by the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    A long-term solution for lessening road fatalities would be to renovate select dangerous high-speed rural roads into divided highways. However, with our government short funded, due to the billions of dollars diverted to rebuild war torn bridges, roads and oversea pipelines, it looks like some of our back roads will go to potholes and fallow gravel.

    Sometimes I get sick of seeing those photo-ops about how good our country is to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure. Who blew the freaking bridges apart in the first place?

    If Idaho cannot improve many basic highway safety features, then I suppose that groundbreaking ideas like expanding Professor Tom Trusky’s Statewide Movie Signage proposal, by merging it with the Highway Department’s already successful Historical Signage program are only distant fields of folly.

    However, we might find a small portion of fair road funding if the State Legislature raises the measly ten-dollar fine it has for travelers caught not wearing safety belts, since studies over the past 50 years have repeatedly proven that they, also, contribute to higher road fatality rates.

    Regarding Burley’s murky loitering laws

    2nd draft

    With the way Burley’s loitering laws now stand, Henry David Thoreau probably would have been charged with remaining idle in essentially one location, including the concept of spending time idly; being dilatory; lingering, staying; sauntering; delaying; standing around, and hanging around Walden’s Pond (and loving it). Even though Thoreau authored the classic Civil Disobedience, I am not sure that following his own advice would get him very far outside the prison bar, in these, our post Thomas Pained, weary hobo daze.

    I wonder if it would help the cause of any weary burley hoboes to show that they hold two-pole permits, while fishing beside Walden Pond-like Idaho waters. How can you be guilty of loitering, when it is clear you are a multitasking fisherperson? It’s also interesting to note how being homeless now is either against the law, or on the cusp of being against the law, in so many communities.

    In some areas, we now have
    more foreclosed homes than we do homeless people
    . Fortunately, there are some community leaders in a handful of places around the country, who see what a crisis our Nation is in and have gained enough empathy to lighten the laws and / or enforcement of laws regarding squatter’s rights, etc.

    Of course, a few bad squatters or actors portraying troublemaking destitute could give these modern dust bowl communities a name as
    dreadful as Detroit. If we want to see real improvement in lessened loitering ratios; then instead of using lists of foreclosed homes to block people from voting as The Macomb County, Michigan Republican party chairman is planning; Idaho justice servers should consider directing the dispossessed to the nearest voter registration booths, so they may free themselves, poles apart, from stagnant waters in which our murky Country has been lingering.

    A footnote “RISE TO VOTE SIR” is this season’s perfect palindrome.

    In addition, thanks to Grant Uptain for inspiring me to fine-tune this letter.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Regarding Burley’s murky loitering laws

    Rough draft for October submission to Times-News

    With the way the law is written, Henry David Thoreau probably would have been charged with remaining idle in essentially one location, including the concept of spending time idly; being dilatory; lingering, staying; sauntering; delaying; standing around, and hanging around Walden’s Pond (and loving it). Even though Thoreau authored the classic Civil Disobedience, I am not sure that following his own advice would get him very far outside the prison bar, in these, our post Thomas Pained, weary hobo daze.

    I wonder if it would help the cause of any weary burley hoboes to show that they hold a two-pole permit, while fishing beside Walden Pond-like Idaho waters. How can you be guilty of loitering, when it is clear you are a multitasking fisherperson? It’s also interesting now, about how being homeless is either against the law, or on the cusp of being against the law, in so many communities.

    In some areas, we now have
    more foreclosed homes than we do homeless people
    . Fortunately, there are some community leaders in a handful of places around the country, who see what a crisis our Nation is in and have gained enough empathy to lighten the laws and / or enforcement of laws regarding squatter’s rights, etc.

    Of course, a few bad squatters or actors portraying squatters could give these modern dust bowl communities a bad name as
    dreadful as Detroit. If we want to see real change by lessening the loitering ratios, then our police should round up all the homeless and corral them down to the nearest voter registration booths, so they may free themselves from the stagnant waters in which our murky Country has been lingering.

    Footnote: “RISE TO VOTE SIR” is this season’s perfect palindrome.

    Final result: http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2008/10/08/opinion/letters/doc48ebed824c814930609161.txt