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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cream of hardscrabble granola

As mentioned in the previous post, the judges viewed three submissions from each writer for the Opinion Writing category, before awarding prizes. Back in January when I submitted these, I felt that of the 25 of my letters published in Idaho newspapers last year, four stood out. This was not a bad problem to have and after some reflection, I pared off the one about Idaho’s Abe Lincoln statue restoration and relocation.

I had a similar quandary three years ago, when then, I found myself with four articles worthy of submission. The three I finally decided on were Testing Spirits around Hot Springs, Secret Lives of Meter Readers and Positively Googled Idaho. The one I cut that year was Support your Local Cab Driver.

The next year, 2006, I quit the Express midyear, but still had four creditable columns. The problem was that nobody bothered to mention that I was eligible to submit these as a freelancer. The four I would have chosen from were: Shedding Maple Syrup Tears, Golf course offers links to nature, The Midday Owl who withdrew from the bank and my last Express column, Ein Hemingway Bummel durch den Adams Gulch Too bad, because I felt that these columns were at least as good as the award-winning ones from 2005.

I did learn a year later at the Journal that as a freelancer, I could submit my Serenely Dipped Sockdolagers to the Idaho Press club, excellence in journalism judges. Dreaming of Fabled Homeland Security was a no-brainer, as I had been refining it since 2003 and felt confident in what it said from the get-go. I wanted to submit One Giant leap for Humankind, or starving punch drunk on the moon, but the editor had attached the full URL’s to my hyperlinks within the print version, which made the article difficult to read. I later learned that when you e-mail a hyperlink through Lee Enterprises corporate offices, they expand all hyperlinks in that manner. Therefore, instead of shooting for the moon, I submitted Selkie Swayed to Speak Hidden Truths. The third submission that year was my last WR Journal column Priceless Smiles over Diamonds. (Unfortunately, the WR Journal archives are dead, so I’ve linked the columns from my blog)

After Priceless Smiles ran in the Journal’s pre-Labor Day paper, I helped Daniella move to Port Townsend. While gone, fires raged in the valley, prompting evacuations and the cancellation of our big Wagon Days event. Meanwhile, Pedro the editor e-mailed me that this would be my last column and that they would be now be sticking with hard news. Which was completely opposite of what they told me they year before when Trey said they were looking for an alternative columnist.

Interestingly, the press broke down the next week and the circulation manager offered me double time to serve as carrier for one of the routes. 150 bucks for three hours work. I didn’t bite, because it was the principle of the thing. Much like what happened with the Express when I left there.

Now, that I’ve won a second excellence in journalism award, I wonder if the Journal would qualify that as “hard news” if they were still in business. Similarly, will the Express make any mention of this, since I worked there for nearly 13 years?

~

Besides the friends, I mentioned earlier, I would also like to thank the many friends and family who have offered solid support for my writing passion these recent years: Mom and Dad, Kim, Shelly, Daniella, Pam Parker, Melissa B., Dr. Jennifer Davidson at CSI, Betty Bell, Kathy C. Leslie Thompson, Deb Gelet, Jan Daniel's from EcoExpressions, M.E. Sibbach, O.O., Professor Tom Trusky, Dr. James W. Loewen, Tiss, 3V3T5 and family, Colt, Brad Nottingham, Tony Chace, Noah and Josh Bowen, Jim Dee, Willy Cook, James Mitchell, William Pattnosh, Tony Evans for leading our Idaho Conversation League writing club. My Internet pen pal and mentor of sorts, Rob MacGregor and the handful of friends who read the Greenvanholzer blog on a regular basis – you know who you are.


Footnote: After thinking about it for a few days, I remember that the third column I submitted as a freelancer for the Journal last year was actually Future Friedman: A Place for Healing War Wounds, which means the one I cut was actually Mermaid Swayed to Speak Hidden Truths.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good news


I have won a second Idaho Press Club excellence in journalism award. This was for a new editorial writing category in their Public Relations Division. Here is the description of the category: Selection of three published editorials on a related topic or separate topics. Submissions may be in the form of guest columns, opinion-editorials or letters to the editor.”

My first writing award was a third place for my 2005 Express general column, Hardscrabble Granola.

What’s interesting about this award is that the three letters I submitted were all to the Express. One of them was in regards to the Galena cell tower. It was piece I polished, that the Statesman had already run last summer as a guest opinion. While this letter generated only a handful of responses on the Express website, a similar letter gained over 75 comments, between the Statesman and Sun Valley Online.

The editors titled my second letter to the Express, We Need Whistleblowers. This too was a refined rerun, this time from a 2006 Magic Valley online submission. Soon after the Express ran this letter, I received a correspondence from Kelly Jackson at Citizens for Smart Growth. She complimented the letter and then requested that I should come in to see if I was a good fit for their organization. I did come in a few times, and perhaps could have gotten my foot in the door better to do something more fitting in the academia world. However, with my current situation I can ill-afford to do more than a smattering of volunteer work. Moreover, I believe that if readers were to look back at the last five years to see what I’ve been writing, they would say that volunteer work is what I’ve been doing all along.

The third Express letter submitted was called Honor Idaho Film Sites. The fact that we that we convinced the Highway Department to upgrade their sign to include a tribute to Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider film, may have swayed the judges, in the enterprise category. It certainly ‘made my day’ when I noticed, the sign change.

Here is a blank sample chart of how the judges assess the writing criteria:

JUDGES COMMENTS:

(Judges please circle the rating that best applies.)

Reader / viewer interest

Excellent Very good Average Fair Poor

Originality

Excellent Very good Average Fair Poor

Technical / writing excellence (mechanics)

Excellent Very good Average Fair Poor

Fits category criteria Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor

Impact of story lead or opening

(For print stories)

Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor

Writing style

Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor

Enterprise

Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor

I’m thankful to former Express employees Ken Retallic and Adam Tanous for believing in me and helping me jumpstart in late 2004, the beginning of my writing career. Also to editor Shea Anderson for accepting my 2008 letter to the editor submissions.

I’ll have some more thoughts on this later.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Tooting your own horn again to save animal lives



Thursday night, my friend Kim drove with me, over to Boise to see Jane Goodall speak. On the way over, we saw a police officer ticketing someone who had passed us earlier. I asked Kim to guess when the last time I received a traffic ticket was. Kim guessed Bellevue (a town notorious for speed traps) but I said no it was before that, all the way back in Virginia. After I finished a five-minute tale of Virginia traffic tickets, Kim asked me to guess when her last traffic ticket was. I didn’t have a good guess, so she started to say, “My last traffic ticket was…” and then right then a pheasant walking on the highway ahead, slowly started to cantor into our lane. We were going 65-70 and Kim immediately applied the brakes in a professional manner (as the man who was ticketed earlier was right behind us again at this point.) The pheasant couldn’t see us from his vantage point, nor could it hear the approach of Kim’s aerodynamic Jetta. I quickly told Kim to toot her horn. Kim did not honk the horn as she intensely focused on the bird now directly in our intended path. We probably slowed to about 20-25, but the pheasant still clocked us hard at the front edge of her black-cat Jetta. From her mirror, Kim could see that the bird was able to fly off after a few seconds, which surprised me knowing how hard we hit it. Surely, the bird must have been feeling some pain. Anyhow, my next reaction was to say, “You must have not read my letter about honking horns at birds, because it’s often effective to do so.” I lightened up soonafter that and told her she did an excellent job applying the brakes with “Speedy” behind us, etc.

This morning I looked up pheasant in Andrews’s totem book and saw that they have badger feathers.

~

Jane Goodall’s Boise performance was a good one. Her opening joke about Johnny Weissmuller choosing that other Jane worked well. In addition, I liked the fact that she didn't try to hide the dark side of chimps. She reached another hilarity highpoint when she compared inpatient chimp behavior to that of some politicians. I was curious about what others in the crowd thought when she started to bring up Global Warming and things along those lines. Evidently, she lectures approximately 300 days a year. I was impressed to hear that. After she show, which was all talk and no visual cues, Teleprompters or even notes, she signed books into the wee hours. Kim bought three books, which Jane signed after a two hour wait and there was still an estimated 800 people patiently waiting in line. One of her Jane’s earliest books caught my eye, but I’m trying to hold back on compulsive book purchases.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Emmylou Harris 'Wrecking Ball'

Fiery Hypnologic Anthem

I was floating on a red white and blue noctilucent cloud that I had surfed on some years before. I didn’t realize that this cloud could ever be there again. I had seen it before too, in a cartoon, where Ben Franklin trounced Jimi Hendrix in a tight game of air hockey. This got me thinking about Whiskey Jacques air hockey game and the infernal fire it must have endured next to pool table ball teardrops and melting graffiti.

What did the clean-up workers talk about as they excavated this mess? I hope the demolition boys utilized their imagination, while multitasking Neil Young’s Romantic jukebox song, Under the Wrecking Ball: “Wear something pretty and white, and meet me under the wrecking ball tonight”

But first, I’ll have to cash in some sauce-cash at the ATM, as long as it doesn’t cut my finger again, bleeding through wads of sacred infernal Federal Reserve bills.

This reminds me, surfing freely on noctilucent clouds without a wallet or belt always seemed easier, even though it is floating in a most peculiar way.


Topsy-turvy follow up on John Cougar Mellowcat’s springtime animal predictions



First, a few days ago, one of the women that I work with, had a bear come into her yard and swat down her birdfeeder with great oomph.

Secondly, On Sunday, the day before this went to press, an avalanche came down and took the life of another young sports enthusiast in this area.

Third, also on Sunday, while 3V3T5, Lucas and I were walking around in a remote area of Picabo Desert, we came upon a burned out car. We snapped a few photos of it, identified it as a Ford Explorer, and renamed it a Ford Exploder. While examining the car, I kept thinking there was a powerful metaphor about it all. I wanted to put words to it, as if the extensive damage to the car was equal to someone’s life being snuffed out.

Right after that, we both saw a badger walk by, this isolated desert area. He was large enough that he resembled a small bear. The badger actually emerged from the sagebrush to touch the edge of the road, even though he must have heard us coming in the truck. We got out and followed his tracks a little, hoping for a photograph. I tried putting out good vibes, but he didn’t go for the human-applied scruff behind the ears.



The spot we had stopped at is near a large pond, which holds some of the only water around for miles. The nearest town is Richfield. Anyhow, this is the only time I have ever seen a badger in my life. I felt like it was a real treat. Later on, as we headed north, we noticed a sheriff’s department vehicle towing a snow-machine on a trailer. I asked 3V3T5 about this and he said that they sometimes patrol the area up there. (3V3T5 works on their computers and knows most of the police) A few hours later, we heard the unfortunate news about the snowmobiler who lost his life. Only later did I realize the avalanche at one in the afternoon, occurred only a short while before the badger tried gaining our attention near the burned out car. In addition, the snowmobiler who died was from Richfield.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Mycelial network




I’ve been daydreaming that a friend reads the previous post and then asks me something like, “Chee Wilikins, Banholzer, are you on mushrooms or something?”




To that, I would be delighted to respond (from the right path):



http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram/anagram.cgi?anagram=mycelial+network&t=1000

Twinkle my oracle
Wily Meteor Clank
Creamy owl tinkle
Cloak newly timer
Tome knew lyrical
Crank time yellow
Me twinkly oracle
Nacre Owlet milky
Metrically woke
Creamy owlet link

http://deoxy.org/mushword.htm

Bombshell Synchronicities

Within anagrams and palindromes

Did you know Edgar Poe is A God Peer, that Stephen King is The Pens King, Clint Eastwood = Old West Action and Darth Vader is Add Hart Rev? What I am talking about is the synchronicity of anagrams and hidden meanings within everyday phrases and names

As legend has it, the first words ever spoken, “Madam in Eden, I’m Adam” were a palindrome. Further fables assert, that immediately after this opening statement, the first thought balloon formed above Eve’s innocent head, reading, “SOS EVE SOS!”

Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Douglas Hofstadter in his essay, The architecture of Jumbo, remarks about anagrams:

“Why work so hard to model such a frivolous and atypical cognitive activity? I tried to answer this question in the article itself, but let me just add here that I think that such mental juggling is a very important, pervasive kind of mental activity that has nothing intrinsic to do with anagrams. Perhaps the slow letter-juggling that goes on in the heads of people who have almost never tried anagrams is not of much universality and therefore of little importance or interest, but I think that when the activity reaches expert level, where it is highly automatized and very rapid, it has something in common with the deep processes of reorganization and reinterpretation that takes place in truly creative thought. Not to suggest that all good anagrammists are latent Einsteins, of course, but just that the activity itself, when done fluently, has a special and important quality.”

As anagrams are full of Synchronicity, so, too, Synchronicity vibrates with anagrams. It’s a rich city, sonny! Some anagrams are startling enough to make the hardest Cynic Hint Rosy.

Here are three more anagrams of synchronicity, ripened for your own interpretations:

Short Yin Cynic

Thy Ironic Sync

Cynic, Oh Sin, Try

A few weeks ago, on the synchronicity blog, I responded to Max’s teapot story, observing that two teacups are potent metaphors. While doing so, I compared Commander Tibbet’s nonchalant postwar walk across the scorched fields of Nagasaki, with a different pace, set by peacenik warrior Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A few days later, I was surprised to read that the Nagasaki local Government has officially recognized 93-year-old Tsutomu Yamaguchi as one of a handful of survivors who survived both atomic bomb attacks.

In that vein, here are some AA Anagrams, dedicated to Mr. Tsutomu Yamaguchi

A Mach Yogis Mu Tutu

A Outmatch Guy I Sum

A Mica Thugs Yum Out

A Somatic Tug Uh Yum

A Atomic Guy Shut Mu

A Atomic Guy Thus Mu

A Tacit Gush Mum You

A Tacit Hug Mums You

A A Touch Guy Summit

A Magic Shut Yum Out

A Magic Hut Oust Yum

A Atomic Thug Yum Us

Douglas Hofstadter would probably take pleasure in the Mu anagrams riddled throughout Mr. Yamaguchi’s name.

~

Footnotes:

Another anagram with profound undertones is Google co-founder Sergey Brin turning into Rib’s Energy, as Google tries leading our world to shift into improved power methods: http://blog.greenenergytv.com/blog/green-algae-energy/0/0/google-to-become-a-utility-company

Then there’s:

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice%27s_Adventures_in_Wonderland

In Chapter 7, the Hatter gives his famous riddle without an answer: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" Although Carroll intended the riddle to have no solution, in a new preface to the 1896 edition of Alice, he proposes several answers: "Because it can produce a few notes, though… they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!" (Note the spelling of "never" as "nevar"—turning it into "raven" when inverted. This spelling, however, was "corrected" in later editions to "never" and Carroll's pun was lost). Puzzle expert Sam Loyd offered the following solutions:

  • Because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes
  • Poe wrote on both
  • They both have inky quills
  • Bills and tales are among their characteristics

Because they both stand on their legs, conceal their steels (steals), and ought to be made to shut up.

If I could Photoshop better, I would make Clint’s equal sign a smoking rifle barrel.

Bombshell Synchronicities
Within anagrams and palindromes

Did you know Edgar Poe is A God Peer, that Stephen King is The Pens King, Clint Eastwood = Old West Action and Darth Vader is Add Hart Rev? What I am talking about is the synchronicity of anagrams and hidden meanings within everyday phrases and names

As legend has it, the first words ever spoken, “Madam in Eden, I’m Adam” were a palindrome. Further fables assert, that immediately after this opening statement, the first thought balloon formed above Eve’s innocent head, reading, “SOS EVE SOS!”

Pulitzer prize winner Dr. Douglas Hofstadter in his essay, The architecture of Jumbo, remarks about anagrams:

“Why work so hard to model such a frivolous and atypical cognitive activity? I tried to answer this question in the article itself, but let me just add here that I think that such mental juggling is a very important, pervasive kind of mental activity that has nothing intrinsic to do with anagrams. Perhaps the slow letter-juggling that goes on in the heads of people who have almost never tried anagrams is not of much universality and therefore of little importance or interest, but I think that when the activity reaches expert level, where it is highly automatized and very rapid, it has something in common with the deep processes of reorganization and reinterpretation that takes place in truly creative thought. Not to suggest that all good anagrammists are latent Einsteins, of course, but just that the activity itself, when done fluently, has a special and important quality.”

As anagrams are full of Synchronicity, so, too, Synchronicity vibrates with anagrams. It’s a rich city, sonny! Some anagrams are startling enough to make the hardest Cynic Hint Rosy.
Here are three more anagrams of synchronicity, ripened for your own interpretations:
Short Yin Cynic
Thy Ironic Sync
Cynic, Oh Sin, Try

A few weeks ago, on the synchronicity blog, I responded to Max’s teapot story, observing that two teacups are potent metaphors. While doing so, I compared Commander Tibbet’s nonchalant postwar walk across the scorched fields of Nagasaki, with a different pace, set by peacenik warrior Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A few days later, I was surprised to read that the Nagasaki local Government has officially recognized 93-year-old Tsutomu Yamaguchi as one of a handful of survivors who survived both atomic bomb attacks.

In that vein, here are some AA Anagrams, dedicated to Mr. Tsutomu Yamaguchi
A Mach Yogis Mu Tutu
A Outmatch Guy I Sum
A Mica Thugs Yum Out
A Somatic Tug Uh Yum
A Atomic Guy Shut Mu
A Atomic Guy Thus Mu
A Tacit Gush Mum You
A Tacit Hug Mums You
A A Touch Guy Summit
A Magic Shut Yum Out
A Magic Hut Oust Yum
A Atomic Thug Yum Us
Douglas Hofstadter would probably take pleasure in the Mu anagrams riddled through Mr. Yamaguchi’s name.
~
Footnotes:
Another anagram with profound undertones is Google co-founder Sergey Brin turning into Rib’s Energy, as Google tries leading our world to shift into improved power methods: http://blog.greenenergytv.com/blog/green-algae-energy/0/0/google-to-become-a-utility-company
Then there’s:
Why is a raven like a writing desk?
From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice%27s_Adventures_in_Wonderland
In Chapter 7, the Hatter gives his famous riddle without an answer: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" Although Carroll intended the riddle to have no solution, in a new preface to the 1896 edition of Alice, he proposes several answers: "Because it can produce a few notes, though… they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!" (Note the spelling of "never" as "nevar"—turning it into "raven" when inverted. This spelling, however, was "corrected" in later editions to "never" and Carroll's pun was lost). Puzzle expert Sam Loyd offered the following solutions:
· Because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes
· Poe wrote on both
· They both have inky quills
· Bills and tales are among their characteristics
· Because they both stand on their legs, conceal their steels (steals), and ought to be made to shut up.