Saturday, January 09, 2010

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Future Friedman: A place for healing war wounds?

Sunday, January 4th, 2009
In ancient times, we nurtured our warriors with special care when they returned from epic battles. We brought them to spas at outskirts of cities, and then cooled them down with compassionate concern for long spells, until we determined that it was safe for them to return into communities; unlike modern times when soldiers more often get dumped straight back onto the streets with little or no benefits. Nowadays, many of our country’s valiant veterans are unsupported and homeless or incarcerated at record levels, while perpetually mired in post-traumatic crises.Â
As Dennis Kucinich said, “Homelessness and poverty are weapons of mass destruction.”
Men develop with different levels of mettle, but sanity has limitation points for even the bravest of soldiers. Soldiers Heart affected many Civil War Veterans (and their families). In later wars, this became Shell Shock then Battle Fatigue. Now Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the expression.
During World War II, Gen. George S. Patton was nearly court-martialed after slapping a hospital patient whose conscience was suffering from Soldiers Heart, thinking that he was just a coward. A historically safe place, which soldiers used to convalesce, both physically and psychologically was the Sun Valley Lodge. Many World War II soldiers, who rehabilitated there in its crisp mountain air, became permanently attached to our area -and for good reasons. To this day, some remain as helpful contributors within our community.
What safer place and farther away from war (Mountain Home Air Force Base notwithstanding) could there be for a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center, then the good earth on where Friedman airport currently sits? It’s been reported that if the Friedman family recognizes a significantly suitable cause, then they will consider donating this prime Hailey Real Estate for that concern -if the airport relocates, whereby the site reverts to the family.
Our community leaders should start contemplating constructive ideas about what we might create from this once-in-a-lifetime possibility.
We could transform this airport acreage into something for truly banking on. Besides generous monetary donations from valley benefactors to help establish a healing foundation, this also could be a prime opportunity for us to show how rich we are in spirit, by personally welcoming these recuperating warriors back into our community. To contribute to their continued recovery, we should thank our dedicated veterans for their Herculean efforts by offering them desirable jobs; some perhaps related with support services for the healing center itself.
Moreover, we could construct hundreds of affordable-housing units on the land, along with potential worker-retraining facilities for displaced soldiers to reattach to our community, whereby becoming useful contributors. Some will probably rejuvenate with a broader sense of understanding, developing a desire to become healing practitioners themselves. A ‘Walter Reed West’ center would create bountiful meaningful jobs here, not only for our respected veterans, but also for many of the rest of us suffering from this economic slump. Already established mentoring organizations such as Sun Valley Adaptive Sports and The Advocates could tie in well with such a permanent wellness festival. The College of Southern Idaho could even branch a wing of its burgeoning Twin Falls nursing center up here.Â
Perhaps an understanding owner of one of the locally underutilized hot springs could pipe some healing waters into such a splendiferous spa, with government stepping in to help fund construction logistics of the supportive donation.Â
The relocated airport itself could even benefit, by becoming a busy transport center for the steady streams of patients, visitors, hospital personnel and supplies.
The hospital could feature Posttraumatic stress disorder therapies like recently advanced Somatic Experiencing, MDMA and Propranolol treatments, as well as other well-proven curative methods, both ancient and newly developed.Â
Even if we are somehow fortunate enough to be without war at the future date when our airport shift occurs, Doctors are now seeing that PTSD is a condition that is a normal part of life, which often actually strengthens us. How many times for instance, have you heard someone say about an adverse situation, “I wish it hadn’t happened, but I’m a stronger person for it?” A trauma-stren transformation clinic could assist and focus on numerous variables of this. We should set up feasibility studies in advance, to see what else might be achievable for improving our community in positive ways, if the Friedman family continues to stand by this intention. Let us extend our common senses with high-tech hospital wings, blooming with curative physicians.
You priests and holy leaders who’ve kept so mum and cloistered about our tragic wars, now is the transformative time to harp for fresh miracles. Let us forcefully implore that our newly incoming leaders at the Pentagon redirect its forces into tools that enable the blind to again see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk. Let us ask for a peaceful turnover of these suppressed cutting-edge technologies, so we may transform our energies to relieve this terrifying violence, which only begets further violence. Let our common senses soften no more. May those in wheelchair pews ascend over foxy TV skies. Demand that your tax barrels of cash handed to war profiteers be flip-flopped to trickle up fair amounts of funds to help our globe spin a little truer, for battle amputees, brain-injured and psychologically traumatized.
Let us hope that our soldiers’ hearts heal well enough in this Idaho land, so they may again walk peacefully on this world we worship, and that through another miracle, diplomacy prevails rather than our wrongly “war shipping” of the good mother earth, with land mines, undepleted uranium and a general malaise to eliminate those who we do not understand.
Movers and shakers heed this clarion call. Please come together with equally powerful ideas for the potentially soon to be changed vast ground where Friedman airport now abounds.
With the sunny climate, fresh air and clean water natural to this valley, enhanced by the numerous enlightened compassionate people who flourish here, our community could set a new standard for positive rehabilitation by improving on some of the shortcomings now plaguing Walter Reed Veteran’s hospital and hand our modern troopers the deserved special treatment, most have earned.
I ask that our community leaders strongly consider holding a feasibility study, in the near future, to see if this idea or similar ones, such as Tom Iselin’s grand idea for a Paralympics Center hold enough water to transform soldier’s widow tears into flowing fountains fronting a first class “Friedman Memorial Trauma-Stren Conversion Center.”

After all, what should be more important than proper treatment for our wounded warriors who have patriotically served, even if some of these battles were fought for misguided reasons?

Dreaming of Fabled Homeland Security

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Looking for a break from the cold, I curled tightly underneath my baby’s stove in her soul kitchen. As Ursa Major ascended over Queen’s Crown and shone through a brittle windowpane a hypnagogic reverie fluttered through my comatose state:
A King perched high above worldly problems laid aside his bubble swatter in the ivory tower and descended to a secret room beneath the magic reservoir moat. Through a flat screen-changing mirror, he gazed upon happenings of the realm, witnessing twilight episodes of good commoners securing the homeland:

A resort director bussed some tables to ensure nothing went to waste. The President of a dozen banks polished off her pennies and placed them in a Leadville copper basin. An airline executive dashed across the ice to help unload a cargo full of skis. An attorney and his insurance executive shoveled snow off an elderly woman’s roof during their lunch break.
The king rubbed his eyes in disbelief and adjusted the plasmatic monitor, smacking it with the bubble stick, but it continued to spin out solid axis of good scenes; an architect switched out a burned out bulb above blood alley. An editor boiled up a vat of ink for kids’ crayons of mass creation, which they used to draw stick figures of critical thinkers. A hospital administrator concocted a headache formula from willow branches to heal his grandma’s aches. Two babies with intertwined arms looked up at him and smiled.
The king hailed a peaceful Prince to adjust the string on the back of the mirror. Everything looked normal, and the show continued: during school hours; around a children’s courtyard campfire, a Superintendent fervently sang folk tales filtered through thousands of earth revolutions. A solar powered commander swooped down on golden gossamer wings and swapped out five cents for a crystal ice cave geocache arrowpoint. A statuesque eagle took wing with the sparkly coined buffalo to decorate his mate’s nest. A basketball coach drew small harp from his feathercap to accompany a stammering young singer through an angelic anthem. The head of the Federal Reserve wheeled some ticker tape out to the recycle bin for a parade honoring a time of peace. A frog on a demonstrator’s shoulder gazed up at him, riveted.  Â
A postmaster trumpeted first-class news through her window box. It was about nine linemen for the county, who leapt like lords up windmill poles, tossing electrified nunchucks across serpentine rivers to save naïve ginger bakers from wolves. Sagging downstream, a water master lent a hand redigging a caved-in hot pool. Beneath where Rainbows Bend, the owner of a hard rock mine handed out rubdown vouchers to his grizzled laborers. The same twilight, two lovers smashed evil atoms into oblivion on the dance floor.
The king wished for some of that disarming headache concoction. He did not understand. Could a culture of happiness weaving straw into gold transcend more than pretend? The extraordinary circumstances continued on all channels: A cable TV installer got a hoot out of nursing a great horned owl back into flight. An admiral played some Mussorsky lightly over the sonar, tickling the narwhal’s delight. A thoroughbred greeted the tanner as a liberator -when he whispered -the whip was shred. A port for ships of the sky flew off to a safer place and a healing clinic slapped in its stead.Â
Affordable shelters rolled en masse into town. A stonemason formed Idaho rocks in their solid ground. He flew from a land Hemingway knew, where leaders open dialogues with subjects, not just an elite few. During disasters, their chieftain dirtied his hands well, as he helped commandeer survival objects for all.Â
A Peace Train steaming with vitamins served organic vegetables grown along its line. Nutritious music piped in from the man deflecting polluted quicksilver proposals over lumps of coal facing stalking flames. Back in the secret chamber, five star errant knights diplomatically scribed “peace seeking missives,” burning midnight ethanol through the wee hours.Â
The king rose up his winding staircase to retire, treading lightly without popping any bubbles. From outward appearances, the castle’s perimeter looked unimpeachably secure and to make sure, guards hoisted drawbridge chains up from the enchanted moor.
As this moment, my baby’s oven squeaked open, awakening me from this feverish illusion. A real break from the chill came when Sol rose, chopping balmy clouds behind the blinding windmills. Ursa Minor transmogrified into flesh and fur as a Cinnamon Bear, lighting in beyond human through the dog’s wide door. Hungry from his hibernation in some Sheepeater Indian caves, we all shared for a spell some wonderfully warm rye biscuits around the hearth, he fresh from fantastic dreams of swatting fish running through unfettered streams -without reflection of mercury.


The Great Christmas Truce of World War I

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

After John Kerry returned from Vietnam, where his friend Don Droz was killed, Kerry began speaking out against the war. In April 1971, 27-year-old Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, posing the powerful question, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”Â
I found this question especially intriguing, since my name derives from the last man asked to die for a mistake, forty years before I was born:
This potent synchronicity, made me curious to know more about World War 1, where I found the below story about The Christmas Truce.Â
The last known survivor of this Christmas Truce died in November 2005, Read here what Alfred Anderson told a year before he died.Â
As I write this, there are only eight WWI Veterans still alive, including 108-year-old Canadian Veteran, John Babcock who lives in Spokane. When they are gone, any living memories of World War 1 will have passed from the Sasha into the Zamani. However, for posterity and perhaps a chance for us to learn from past mistakes, here is from
Germans Started The Christmas Truce Of World War One
By David Crossland
Sunday Mail - Cyprus
Singing ‘Silent Night’ and calling “We not shoot, you not shoot”, German soldiers began the Christmas Truce of World War One, when whole regiments stopped killing each other and played football in no-man’s land instead. Â
“The Germans started it. That’s the miracle. For the first time it wasn’t the Germans who waged war but stared a peace,” Michael Juergs, the first German author to write a book about the legendary ceasefire of December 1914, told Reuters in Berlin. Â
British troops holding the front line in Flanders on a cold, clear Christmas Eve four months into the war heard ‘Stille Nacht’ (’Silent Night’) being sung across the battlefield littered with frozen corpses. Â
They stared clapping and shouting “more, more”. German soldiers ventured their heads above the parapets and put candles along the edge of their trenches, writes Juergs in his book The Little Peace in the Great War, published last month. Â
It resembled the footlights of a theatre, one British solder recalled. Â
One German office sang the Scottish ballad ‘Annie “We were overwhelmed, as if the war was suddenly over,” Juergs quoted a British rifleman, W.A. Quinton, as writing 15 years later. Â
The office called: “I am a lieutenant, gentlemen; my life is in your hands. I’m outside the trench and walking towards you. Would one of your officers please meet me half way?” Â
A British sergeant walked up to him and they started talking. Others followed. The news spread rapidly, with British soldiers taking part readily, and French and Belgian troops more hesitantly, writes Juergs. Â
“It was maybe almost 1,000 soldiers at first. Then word spread by field telephone.” Â
Along the entire 40 kilometres from the Belgian North Sea port of Nieuwpoort to the town of Ypres, soldiers met and arranged not to shoot each other over Christmas. Â
Juergs matched war diaries and letters from soldiers on both sides to piece together a detailed account of the series of spontaneous armistices that by December 26 had silenced much of the western front from the North Sea to the Swiss border. Â
They staged joint burials, hunted rabbits, and cooked a pig. One British soldier, a hairdresser by trade, brought out a stool and offered haircuts to all comers for a few cigarettes a time. Â
It was the first Christmas of a war that has come to epitomize pointless sacrifice on a biblical scale. In over four years an estimated 10 million military personnel were killed in action or listed as missing, with more than 20 million wounded. Â
Soldiers exchanged food and cigarettes and showed each other photos of their families. A frequent topic was how best to get rid of lice and the rats that plagued them. Â
They swapped Dresden ‘Stollen’ Christmas cake and sausages for British jam and whisky. One German infantryman even handed over a Christmas tree with lit candles. Â
Some French civilians scorned at the fraternization taking place on their invaded soil. Some British troops reported French women spat at them for it. Â
While many officers took part, the top brass on both sides were outraged, ordering their men back into the trenches and threatening court martial whenever they heard about it. Â
But soldiers continued to shoot above each other’s heads until February on some stretches of the front, said Juergs. Â
Prussian troops, traditionally the most disciplined in the German army, were less prone to join the armistices than others, such as soldiers from Saxony in what is now eastern Germany. Â
“We are Saxons, you are Anglo-Saxons, why should we shoot each other?” said one Saxon. Â
“After the dead had been buried, and because the ground had frozen, hundreds of men played football wildly in uniforms with leather balls which the English supplied, or tins or balls of straw,” said Juergs. Â
The diary of the Lancashire Fusiliers tells of one match the Germans won 3:2, but notes that the third goal should not have been allowed because the scorer was offside, he writes. Â
British newspapers gave the truce prominent coverage, perhaps because the idea appealed to a British sense of fair play among gentlemen, writes Juergs. Â
German newspapers largely ignored it, while French papers wrote that French soldiers shouted out “Shut up, German pigs” as soon as the Germans started singing. In fact, whole French regiments took part. Â
Attempts to repeat the truce a year later rapidly quashed. “In the history of war there had never been such a peace from below. There has never been once since,” writes Juergs. Â
Comment By Craig DeMott
Though this Christmas Truce happened many years ago, and even the recounting of it is past the Christmas season, I feel that it is very relevant in the light of recent wars that many European nations are engaged in. The Christmas Truce of World War One reflects the common man, with common sense, realizing the senselessness of the war they were engaged in. In the 21st Century, millions of people the world over see the senselessness of the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars. Â
What do you think if something like that would happen today? It would be just as it was 90 years ago-the high-ranking officers would be opposed to a spontaneous show of peace. The most venomous opposition would be from the politicians and the wealthy Power Brokers of the country. Such soldiers would be quickly court maritaled and perhaps even charged with being a terrorist under the perverted laws that we have now.Â
Should such a thing be done now? Â
Most definitely, yes. Regardless of the consequences, injustice should be stopped. Long has the day passed that such injustice can be rectified in court, so it has to be done by the common man and woman in refusing to fight an unjust and un-Christian war. Â
In the Bible, we read two different verses: one about turning plowshares into swords and another one about turning swords into plowshares. If you read the context of each, you will see that there is a time for war and a time for peace. Thus, Christianity is not hawkish, nor is it pacifist. The book of Ephesians says “a time for peace and a time for war.”

The safety benefits of a cell phone tower at Galena far outweigh its appearance

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

A friend brought it to my attention that some of the people who adamantly wrote against any positive aspects of cell phone use in our Sawtooth National Recreation Area and surrounding region, and who won’t buy a phone on principle, think it’s perfectly OK to borrow other people’s phones to make their important calls. Something else that’s not being talked about much, is that some people in small Idaho communities still unsecured by cell towers hesitate to speak their true feelings out of fear of being shunned - or worse - by the prevailing Flintstone-aged attitudes of their townspeople.
In one community, this fever reached such a high chirping pitch that even a physician went on public record to speak out against cell phone towers. So far, though, I have not heard any police or emergency medical technicians make convincing arguments about how the potential unsightliness of Galena’s cell tower - or any other tower - would outweigh its multitude of benefits.
Some naysayers worry about how the safety beacon on the hill might smear the landscape if pine beetles munch their way over Alexander Ross’ ancient pass. If this does happen, it is actually one more reason to install a cell tower on that exact spot, as it will have then become more avalanche-prone in this dangerous area where young sports-enthusiasts have already lost their lives after needlessly suffering because of extended communication delays.
Another anti-cell-tower argument is that telephonic technology will soon orient toward satellites, which, will render cell towers obsolete. However, what happens when a satellite goes defunct, locks up or is shot down by enemies? In the eventual likelihood of one of those events, wouldn’t most people hope that we had the foresight to construct a dynamic backup plan?
Cell towers should complement satellite technology and vice versa. When we develop an innovative device that operates off both of these great technologies, that’s the kind I want. And no matter what the cost, I will gladly share unlimited cell minutes with any party that comes up against sudden unexpected distress in our attractive SNRA, when we finally emerge from the digital dark ages and implement cell phone service here.

Officers sometimes go overboard in drugs search

Friday, December 19th, 2008
Freedom loving citizens should be aware that we have had several recent cases in our police state; where officers raided buildings suspected by circumstantial evidence to have illegal drugs or drug-producing operations; only to find tomatoes, fish tanks or kids playing video games. Â
With their guns drawn, police in Pullman, Washington serving a marijuana search warrant, found a green leafy plant material, which turned out to be tomato plants.
In Brooklyn, New York, while searching for a meth lab, police broke down the door of an innocent couple, only to discover a fish tank and the chemicals needed to maintain it. Â
In another recent case, an upward spike in a family’s power consumption alerted police to a potential marijuana growing operation. When they raided the house, officers discovered that the family was merely playing video games in the basement. They received some new games for Christmas and had been ceaselessly playing them since - which explained their higher than normal electricity bill.Â
The children hardly noticed the real police breaking into their own basement, as they were fully engrossed in a killing spree over a virtual Afghan poppy field. When the police announced that the family was in the clear, it made me made me wonder, if perhaps there is a place somewhere where the scales of justice are not so topsy-turvy, where peace officers expand our consciousnesses, by giving families friendly reminders that it’s not so healthy to revel in imagined killings.

Safety demands face long odds with nuclear plant

Friday, December 12th, 2008
It’s disheartening to see factories that churn out the most hellacious waste in the world plop down into Idaho lava fields, set up high-paying jobs, and then become integrated into the area via churches, spirited Little League ball teams and 4-H clubs.
When something dreadful occurs at a nuclear site, often our culture covers it up. Whistleblowers are terrified of repercussions, being shunned by society and worse. Few want to be known as killing the goose with the golden eggs, even if they are speckled with plutonium.
Three years ago, right before Christmas, there was a news splash at the Los Alamos, New Mexico laboratory. Five workers were exposed to the highly carcinogenic PU-239. It took several days before this information came out to the public. Then it was through the Project on Government Oversight that co-workers coughed this up to, rather than their own trusted government and contractor.
Ironically, of all the of jobs I’ve labored on, the rules insisted that every accident, no matter how small, be reported - even if it’s a cut from a piece of paper as tiny and insignificant as America’s Constitution. It’s not right that our best men juggling the most dangerous element under the sun should be skittish about reporting disasters that hold far-reaching ramifications. After all, would not the open reporting of near catastrophes aid in preventing similar events?
The same season as the 2005 New Alamos incident, some Department of Energy spokespersons drove over to Sun Valley, claiming they care about the environment and their grandchildren. If this is true, then they should invite aspiring scientists to join a contest designing foolproof double blind whistle-blower systems. A Rube Goldberg category could be included to generate interest among innovative high schoolers who (for the past eight years) have had more open dialogues than the highest levels of our own government. Unlike the exposed workers whose health benefits will likely be terminated once they are let go, the winner could receive a lifetime POGO magazine subscription.

Enlightening Eastwood’s Pale Rider

Sunday, December 7th, 2008
“The Only Tough Part about Having To Film in Idaho Is When You Have To Leave” (Clint Eastwood)
Enlightening Eastwood’s Pale Rider
With a Statewide Movie Signage Proposal
By Jim Banholzer
With special lights from Brad Nottingham & Professor Tom Trusky
Watching Clint Eastwood movies, particularly his well-crafted Westerns are almost like enrapturing religious experiences for some big screen buffs. Each of his movies project priceless lessons, even when he portrays an antagonist, such as the callous elephant hunter in White Hunter, Black Heart. Astoundingly enough, Clint filmed much of Pale Rider right here in Idaho, with a theme as ageless as the Boulder Mountains. Clint plays a nameless preacher protecting a poor prospecting town from a gang of ruffians sent by a greedy mining corporation, to intrude on their claim. This striking film, the first Western of which he was the Producer, was created in 1984 around Boulder City north of Ketchum and over by the Vienna Mine near Smiley Creek. Pale Rider was the predecessor to Clint’s 1992 Academy award-winning gem, Unforgiven.
Each time I watch Pale Rider, I focus on the recognizable background terrain, sometimes freezing specific frames to find my way around in the mountains. As my friend Brad Nottingham was a local then, he reminds us:
“For Pale Rider, there were some filming issues evident in the film as you see it today, which brought comment: it was filmed in our typically beautiful late Indian summer, and some of the riding scenes were filmed just before and after an unpredictable early season snow, which frosted the upper parts of the ranges, while quickly melting off the lower elevations. As a film viewer, a period of time that seemed to be about a week, appeared to toggle from summer to winter, which brought some criticism, I remember, but any of us mountain folk wouldn’t give it a second thought.

In addition, Clint made tremendous effort to restore the site that was disturbed by the building fronts, construction crew, and later the feet pounding of the actors and production crew on the little ridge and river drainage near the quaking aspen groves. Winter seemed to come quickly that year and for a bunch of us, it was hard to spot evidence of the film set trampling that next spring, though we tried. We also tried to find some kind of film crew item or something. Lon and I located “the rock” that one of the miners was chipping on in an early scene from the film.
When it finally came out, Pale Rider sort of stunned people, because it was a break from the Eastwood tradition. He played an even quieter, low-key character, and I remember people being confused about connecting a “preacher” role to him. Others, expecting the active dashing and violent Dirty Harry traditions found this movie kind of slow and spacey, features I didn’t mind at all this time. I just soaked in the scenery that I knew was almost in my backyard. I had driven my old Buick Wagon up there, and forded the rocky river crossing half a dozen times, hiking up to some of the “real” old mining cabins and diggings.

Soon afterward, a local man,
David Butterfield had us typeset and produce an exhausting field guide to good locations across Idaho, including information about accommodations, prices, in order to drum up more filmmaking interest from Hollywood. After the book was published, I remember that there wasn’t much response, until the Bruce Willis engine began churning up sleepy Hailey in the 90s. I still have not rented that weird, forgotten-about movie (Town & Country (2001)) filmed in Bellevue that included Warren Beatty that had a fly-fishing connection, nor the one about Hemingway, but I did see that odd Twin Falls picture(Breakfast of Champions (1999)) that Willis was working on when his marriage to Demi was fast unraveling.”
While reading Brad’s insights, it occurred to me that the filming of this picture was a significant enough event that we should commemorate it with a historical sign. Folks at The Idaho Transportation Department were receptive to this idea and revised the Wood River Mine sign to include such a tribute.Â

Photo courtesy of Steve Linden
Soon after we relayed this information to Boise State University English Professor Tom Trusky, head of the Idaho Film Collection, Tom became enthusiastic about the Pale Rider tribute and expanded the idea with a “Statewide Movie Signage Proposal”. To quote Professor Trusky, “The tourist / publicity value of such signage is apparent – and locals might appreciate such knowledge, too, if they are unaware of their cinematic heritage. As well, given the recent interest in bringing film production to the state, such signage would not only be public acknowledgement of Idaho’s considerable contribution to the film industry but also serve as a reminder to contemporary filmmakers of the Gem State possibilities.”
Although we now face uncertain economic times, and are unsure where money will come from to fix and maintain highways, Tom’s Statewide Movie Signage proposal is exactly the type of project we need to enrich Idaho’s future. By merging the information superhighway with our back road signage, we could show the world how we stand on the cutting edge, as well as being able to cut through bureaucracy in hard times.
As technological capabilities continue advancing in affordable ways, it would be uplifting to see Idaho embrace the techno generation by attaching to our already successful historical signage program, interactive items. For instance, when traveling up Highway 75 past the North Fork Store, when reaching the perimeter of interest where Marilyn Monroe starred in Bus Stop, we could make an alert available for interested traveler’s digital devices. A short holographic film of Marilyn hypnotically dancing with a billowing skirt on driver’s dashboards would keep dozing dad’s chipper and alert, lending to driver safety. Then, for the next fistful of history, when reaching Pale Rider’s Phantom Hill, we could create the sound of bullets whizzing by your ear as the subsequent alert. After a quick Galena Lodge pit stop for perusal over photographs stuffed rich with Idaho’s silver history, proprietors of the Sawtooth Valley could smilingly profit by making related material available to satisfy recently whetted traveler appetites.
Eventually, we could develop inexpensive solar powered information kiosks for our pullout areas. Our transportation department’s research and development teams could further engineer signposts to include emergency communication devices. We could imbed a camera-eye within the untouchable hologram to thwart vandals and when tampering is detected, program the sign to announce in Clint Eastwood’s sternest voice, “Go ahead! Make my day!  Because you are now being filmed by an interactive sign commemorating Idaho Films!” Stranded drivers in remote areas where cell phones misfire could come to know these signposts as secure places. Drivers passing the Pale Rider signpost might be inspired to take after the nameless preacher’s lead to assist marooned travelers.
Certainly, ITD already has some technologically savvy leaders aboard. This is my third positive experience with ITD leadership, which leads me to believe they use a high standard of innovativeness in their daily working environment. I hope that someday soon, our leaders will advance these landmark ideas past the incubation stage to transform these signpost pullouts into something that truly enhances our landscape.Â
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You can read more of Brad Nottingham’s insights on the ‘good guys’ in the Idaho Film Archive on Pale Rider:
Complete text here:
Lastly a related poem:
The Rock
I know about where it is
This big rock with a candy vein of gold in it
Scintillating under the stars
I want to find this Idaho Sword of Shannara
and lay me down under the silver fruit
Press the gold of my ear to the vibration
to sense if I can detect the echo of
when Lurch -or was it Jaws?
Split this baby in half
with an old 1863 hickory stick sledgehammer
I’ll bend up over the hill tonite
Too itchy and scratchy for a truck in that rough spot
to see if I can’t see how these hills have changed
Yeah that’s it
I’ll pack up the DVD player
better bring a spare battery juice-pack
Cause it’s cold in those Idaho hills
I’ll freeze frame on the DVD
sections of Mountains in that backdrop
and compare it to our current status
I think of the nameless preacher in the movie
and for some reason the Beatles real nowhere man
jangles my juices like Satchel Paige on opening day
On spectacular evenings like these
Sometimes it feels like we’ll still be standing strong
long after these hills have fast eroded away
Original URL for Enlightening Eastwood story:
Footnote: Not long after posting the earlier missive to my personal blog, I noticed that it was getting twice as many visits as the rest of my stories combined. A year ago, Dave Worrall from the U.K. contacted me, mentioning that he is writing a book for Solo Publishing about Clint Eastwood’s Westerns and looking for some old photos of the Boulder City territory. After we exchanged a few e-mails, including a photo of the Wood River Mines sign, I suggested he subtitle his book “Clint Eastwood = Old West Action” since they are anagrams of each other. Furthermore, with a little photoshopping, he could design the equals-sign to resemble a smoking rifle barrel.
Footnote 2: With the Senate recently passing a bill, to create a fund to offer incentives to film movies and TV shows within the state, and with the newly created Idaho Film Bureau ready to offer these incentives as soon their funding comes through, perhaps portions of this funding could help with such a program. As the next logical step in the evolution of Idaho’s popular Highway Historical Marker program, perhaps the Idaho Film Bureau could even ask for donations on their website, from those who have favorite Idaho movies and would like to see those specific movies commemorated in such fashion.

Buckle up suitably Idaho

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
Recent reports show that Idahoans overall seat-belt use has dropped to barely three out of four, with Southeast Idaho lowest at 62 percent. Interestingly, the seat belt usage rate in Washington is over 96% while in Oregon it’s at 95%. Â
The primary reason for this difference is not that Oregon and Washington travelers are more enlightened, but that they will receive stiffer fines than Idahoans will. Caught Beltless in Seattle renders a $124 fine; while Oregon’s penalty is $90, however, Idahoans (above 18) only get lightly wrist-slapped for a measly ten bucks – or the equivalent of a small can of gas.Â
Of all the safety features added to passenger vehicles in the past 50 years, safety belts account for more than half the lives saved in passenger crashes. If we cannot improve this basic safety routine on our own, perhaps some of us really do need Big Brother’s powerful influence to make us tighten our belts properly.
 In this land already lanced by legendary Larry Craig laugh-abouts, more Idahoans should buckle up and stay buckled up, before we become the butt of even crueler thinning the herd, Darwin award level jokes.


Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
Unknown author -circa 1992
  • Following the crowd provides security
  • Many of the things you want are worthless
  • Everything is an integral of everything else
  • Almost no one finds their match
  • Strangers don’t want to know you
  • Crowds create their own power
  • Things left undone become harder
  • People are attracted to what they can’t have
  • Power is passed to those near it
  • You can only screw yourself
  • Only certain types are religious
  • Almost everyone will take advantage of you if you let them
  • People put too much energy into money
  • Time goes by faster as you get older
  • Traveling far makes you appreciate home more
  • Do what you want to do most
  • The point is to be fulfilled
  • People only care about their own neighborhood
  • Thoughts today are the oldest thoughts yet
  • You will grow to be better or worse
  • All politics is based only on favors
  • You are art
  • Nature always wins
  • Loneliness is not contagious
  • Most Weirdos want to be
  • You are your actions
  • Many artists aren’t
  • Progress takes time
  • Experience gives you options
  • Repetition builds skill
  • When you die, you’re dead
  • Living increases knowledge
  • Cities alienate people
  • Most people are too uptight
  • Most people are nosy
  • Only work pays the bills
  • Suburbs isolate you
  • Friends ease the pain
  • Reviews sell art
  • Some people love only sex
  • Relationships must move forward or begin dying
  • When dealing with the police attitude matters
  • People are starved for good information
  • People want something to respond to
  • Most Americans are indifferent to politics
  • You’re never sure if you’re the real cause of anger
  • Surviving distracts you from doing what you need to
  • Americans are culturally young
  • Long trips get shorter each time
  • We all want the same thing
  • Indecision is a defense mechanism
  • The best role to play is as yourself
  • You can’t run away from yourself
  • Death of a friend gives you perspective
  • Suspense keeps you interested
  • People need someone to talk to
  • Money ruins friendships
  • Carnivores are nature’s way
  • Life is to create
  • Cities speed you up
  • People rush through life
  • No one likes to be cold
  • You’re never sure
  • Being positive is a choice

My three-part bird-brained fugue

Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Birdwatchers on Terroroids?
I read about how U.S. Security agents are 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.Â
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 re-fund 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 people who have been inoculated into normalcy.  Â
Darth Cheney
So Mom, please bake a file into my next apple pie ration. Because when our Bill of Rights starts lining birdcages, thoughts like these will 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 Â
The other day, as I was ducking underneath a construction crane, a robin redbreast 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 attract a mate you have to squawk louder to be heard over all the machines grinding away at progress. This is driving me batty.”Â
“I can see that by your weird & waspy flight path. But you know, a lot of the humanoids are complaining that you birds are creating such a racket that they can hardly concentrate during important tennis matches.”Â
“It’s not our fault we have to breathe deeper and sing louder to be heard over the cacophonous symphony of soot-making machines. Also, what is it now with you humans? I see that they are bringing in police escorts into some aviary areas now. Are you going to tag bad birds or something?”Â
“Nah that’s merely a precaution to ensure photographs taken anywhere within five miles of human installations will be only of birds and nothing else. To ensure the stability of all human structures.” Â
“Makes perfect horse sense to me!” said all the birdbrains.
Bird-brained horn honking lawsÂ
Recently there have been several cases featured in the news about motorists in larger cities 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. Â
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 off the side, 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. Â
Was this an emergency? Certainly for the birds it was. Â
On my last trip to Montana, I drove up that old dusty Red Rock road, to that vast wetland aviary 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. Â
True Trumpeteer


The Cell Catcher in the Galena Rye

Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Projected image of Galena Cell Tower in 2012, after a healthy dose of Climate Improvement
“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some unconnected game in this big field of SNRA and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around - nobody big, with cell phone reception I mean - except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the reception area cliff- I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the cell catcher in the SNRA and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”

Two Veterans

Friday, November 7th, 2008
Several weeks after piloting the atomic bomb that unleashed its devastation upon Hiroshima, Japan, U.S. Commander Paul “Warfield” Tibbets walked through and examined the swelled streets of Nagasaki where his comrades-in-arms had dropped the second bomb.
There “to sate his academic curiosity,” Commander Tibbets nonchalantly purchased some souvenir rice bowls and wooden cup saucers, later remarking, “Damndest thing you ever saw.”
Tibbets wave
Throughout his life, which ended only last year, Commander Tibbets always maintained that surgically dropping these vaporizing bombs was a patriotic mission, which saved both sides millions of lives from what would otherwise have been a long enduring horrendous battle.
Sub-chaser Ferlinghetti
Around the same time as Commander Tibbet’s postwar walk, Navy skipper and Axis sub chaser Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who went on to become San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore founder, peacenik warrior and beat poet extraordinaire, hiked among the same Nagasaki ruins. There he observed—as San Francisco Chronicle writer Paul McHugh reported two Veterans Days ago: “I saw a giant field of scorched mulch. It sprawled out to the horizon; 3 square miles looking like someone had worked it over with a huge blowtorch. A few sticks from buildings jutted up like black arms,” Ferlinghetti says. “I found a teacup that seemed like it had human flesh fused into it, just melted into the porcelain.”In that instant,” said the former submarine chaser Ferlinghetti, “I became a total pacifist.”

“He Help Me” recover whispered-slur fumbles

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Following NFL football seemed so important, when I was a kid growing up near Washington D.C. Dad had obtained some season tickets to the Redskins games at RFK Stadium, way back when Robert Kennedy was still alive. The sports teams there became so popular in part because they were a welcome distraction from the sausage making-like inner workings of our Gubmint. Even if you didn’t like football, you were obligated to follow along, as fully half the conversations in town were about how the team was doing.
Growing up in sports-enthusiastic Washington D.C., dad occasionally brought me to professional football games at RFK Stadium. The pride surrounding the local Redskins team was infectious and most autumns, it seemed healthier to talk about our cherished pigskin team, more so than it did to speak about political pork-barrel projects. Indeed, one year Richard Nixon even sent in a suggested play to Coach Allen; an optional play, which they ran in the playoffs, for a thirteen-yard loss!Â
The team had a marching band, some of whom would dress up in Indian garb and make corresponding war-whoops. The loud music ceremoniously drumming into children’s brains led us to believe that most everybody in the Metro area worshiped the competitive Redskins. Â
Imagine my shock as a ten-year-old sports enthusiast, when I heard that some Native Americans thought that the term “Redskins” was not honoring Indian’s, but rather derogatory. Then my further dismay when a potential local baseball team started a contest actively searching for new names. I called up to suggest ‘The Washington Crackers’, which mom promptly informed me was also a racist term, this one meant for whites. Â
This stuck in the back of my head for years. After I moved out to Idaho with another fair-weather Washington fan, it was hard to determine what new football team to root for. From a geographical standpoint, we determined that the center of the Shoshone Railroad Tracks was trilaterally equidistant between the Seahawks, Bronco’s and 49’ers. Â
Nonetheless, my friend remembered what had been drummed in my head as a kid. Deep down, I still held allegiance to the old Washington team, though all the king’s coaches and Jack Kent’s cooked men could not break the curse to make them win again. So one Christmas he bought me a jersey from NFL shops. The order he made was for a jersey with former XFL star Rod Smart’s nickname ‘He Hate Me’ emblazoned on the back. Soon his order arrived. My friend opened the box to inspect the jersey and on the back in three-inch block letters stood out surprisingly, ‘He Help Me.’Â
Ya gotta love this guy
So, he called up NFL stores to complain. They told him that it is their official position to not sell any hate-oriented products. Yet right on, the front of the same jersey in ½-inch letters; smaller letters than you would ordinarily expect, there it was; ‘Redskins’
NFL stores eventually replaced the jersey with a different nickname. Â
Help us see humor
In time this policy got so out of whack that fans who wanted to order jerseys honoring New England Patriots defensive back Randall Gay had their efforts intercepted by NFL shops with Internet rejection mssgs that proclaimed, “This field should not contain a naughty word.”
This has changed and Gay is now permitted on official NFL jerseys.
For a while, I believed that those who quarterback NFL shops had adopted a sneaky policy of whispering some dirty racial epithets, rather than shouting them from the grandstands. But then, while tightly pacing along the editorial sidelines and exchanging my Redskins cap for a thinking cap, I encountered this David Yeagley Front Page Magazine article called:

Praise for shinier Lincolns

Friday, October 31st, 2008
Lincoln beard error
Many Idahoans do not realize that a Civil War battle actually took place in these parts. Not only that, but also numerous Civil War Veterans migrated straight to Idaho, immediately following that horrific war’s end.
Because Abe Lincoln helped establish our Idaho territory, it’s refreshing to read that devoted curators will be refurbishing the Boise Lincoln statue and transporting it from its obscure, foliage-hidden-area at the State Veterans Home to a more prominent spot, in time to celebrate our Great Emancipator’s 200th birthday.
Idaho quarter - runner up to winning design
This move follows the spirit of Washington, D.C.’s, Lincoln Memorial, in the sense that our ancestors deliberately installed that 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 did not accept his inaccessibility; and have made the pilgrimage to that isolated area so much that it is has now become a “destination monument” and one of the most romantic spots to visit in Washington.
For more about what our historic sites get right or wrong, check out James W. Loewen’s groundbreaking, “Lies Across America.” Dr. Loewen also authored the American Book Award-winner, “Lies My Teacher Told Me.”Â
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.”

Spectacular stolen items of interest

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
I read in a religion news blog that The Holy Bible is the most shoplifted book.
Heavens to Murgatroid! -what’s up with that? Does this statistic include Gideon providers? Do thieves who steal Bibles consider this hook or crook act, to be above the Ten Commandments? Whose lead are they following for this unseemly act to be manifesting itself in our country? Are they romanticizing that if they are caught pocketing hallowed verses, the original author will instantaneously absolve them?
But has anybody ever gone to jail for copping a Bible? Apparently so. In addition, the Dead Sea scrolls were reportedly stolen at some point from a Jewish Synagogue. I wonder if this statistic somehow stacks up differently for blessed books of the Koran.
After speculating over these underlying pilfering causes, Slate published an article proclaiming that meat is the most purloined supermarket item in
America. This drove me to get to the beef of the matter. I pursued a line of questioning, asking, what other items of interest have been stolen over the ages?
First, there was Mary’s Little Lamb.
Stolen Innocence
That’s right; in 1990, somebody under the cover of darkness fleeced a
Sterling, Massachusetts statue of Mary’s lamb, which commemorated Sarah J. Hale’s nursery rhyme. After seeing news reports of kids bawling over the incident, the bandits rediscovered their own hearts and tiptoed back into the town manger at night, to return poor Mary’s innocent lamb.
Our first and last Presidents have been involved with, or affected by petty larcenies. In 1990, somebody pinched George Washington’s old wallet from an unlocked cabinet in Trenton, New Jersey’s Old Barracks Museum. This too was later returned. The police once detained our current Commandeer for stealing a Christmas wreath, while he led a boisterous Yale frat house. The next year, rambunctious George embarked on a (unaccomplished) mission to steal a crossbar from rival Princeton after a football game.
Another popular harmless prank involves the mysterious “borrowing” of somebody’s precious trinket or doll (or model pig) and then taking it for a trip around the world on adventures it would never have otherwise had, by glumly festering in an unused toy box. This has happened several times. The practical-joke protocol is for the traveler to take as many photographs as possible from faraway exotic lands with the doll placed in front of recognizable landmarks. After a long spell, the doll is returned in the wee hours, holding a satchel stuffed abundantly full of photographs, which show off the doll’s masterful adventures.
Then the perpetrator fesses up after forty years or so.
Huck Finn’s pap once said it was okay to borrow a watermelon –as long you intended to pay it back. Onliest thing is that Huck ‘disremembers’ ever recompensating any of the farmers. I suppose we are all borrowing these days with technology stolen from the Mythos, with the miracle of Google, instant messaging from Hermes, laser beams to heal or destroy, MRI’s and nanotechnology, ships of the sky and magic sticks which thrust open doors from our simple commands. Not to mention Hadron Colliders, to seize Hailey comets.
Let’s make it perfectly clear that I am not advocating that anybody actually steal anything. Far from it. In fact, a friend recently had his entire CD music collection swiped from his house. Most of the tunes were from twenty-five years ago; an era when songs were written about peace, love and understanding, before the popularity of cop-killer and gangbanger songs, hijacked some serenity from our airwaves. I sometimes wonder if the person, who stole my friend’s collection, enjoys listening to Carol King, Steve Miller and Arlo Guthrie, while knowing that each rocking rhythm was robbed. I pray that one of those pilfered bibles out there freely circulating will serendipitously appear in the crook’s cache to reveal a new dimension of thievery, so that the burglar might rediscover his misplaced heart, then tiptoe back to my friend’s porch, under dark cover, to return his peacenik C.D.s.

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