Part ll


Is it right that a hot spring that's been steaming into a creek for millennia can be blocked off from the public without much comment or complaint? When fun like this gets fenced off, it seems to me that a guy and a gal could hike right up the creek from a legal access point and make a splash in any pool within 10 feet of the high water mark. But then again, if serene spring seeking results in motion detectors alerting ruffians with hounds, this may be one bath to just skip.
It's said that Idaho is the state with the highest density of hot springs with hundreds recorded on the state geothermal map. High temperature water bubbles up through faults in the crust, heated from earth below. While filtered through thousands of feet of ground, biologically diverse organisms and elements along with radon teem out of hot springs. Scientists warn of the effects of radon, but many swimmers are undaunted and dip right in, swearing by its purifying power. Soon after they come away from their worshiped hot springs and spas glowing with smiles.
What exactly is going on here? Could it be that these sacred springs, out of which life was originally divined, are radiating elixirs energized at a level so perfect that various maladies are becoming miraculously cured? After all radiation treatments are used extensively on cancer patients. Compare cleansers in hot springs with mysterious results of homeopathic remedies that millions of consumers vouch for.
If slight doses of radon and other rare earth elements could be verified as healing, what a selling point this would make for any company that supplies it. Imagine the marketing values of a product that "contains supernatural ingredients." Every soul from here to the Dalai Lama would gush to gulp down a proper dosage of some amazing radon water.
Might this type of unconventional thinking seem farfetched? Well, consider the hard turn away from spiritualism that science took 100 years ago when Einstein's theory of relativity enabled things not proven by physics and mathematics to be largely ignored. Only recently has a holographic universe theory that begins to delve deeper into some of these greater mysteries been given any credence in mainstream science. What remains to be learned appears boundless.
Promises of new experiences springing eternal hold great meaning—just like holding a grandson in your arms for the first time after a baptism.
Most of what's been lab-analyzed in the last hundred years has been focused away from the hard to explain. Ironically, leading scientists and technical writers sometimes return refreshed from the deep reservoir of the somnolent world gifted with updates to key facts and hypothesizes.
The finest magnifiers aren't measuring the positive electrons spinning through a grandson's dreams -while he tosses buffalo nickels into a hot spring wishing pond --spilling mirror self images into open channels of steaming holographic universes that ripple back into the ancient batholiths.
Occasionally, the Forest Service threatens to bring in backhoe machine to seal off hot springs, when rules aren't being followed. This brings a measurably deep anxiety to bathers, who feel as though their interior beings will tarnish without their desired meditation spot. This is analogous to the situation salmon face when dams block off water routes to their birthplaces.
Hot springs in Idaho have been utilized into geothermal systems for tropical fish aquariums and alligator farms. Radiant heat pipes have even been plumbed into church foundations, intersecting science with spiritualism. Inexpensive or free public springs are found throughout the state. You can undertake various recreational activities as outlined in the Idaho Mountain Express's "Summer Magic" guide before relaxing in a hot spring reflecting pool at sunset with your favorite book on metaphysics.
Some of Idaho's best springs have been purposely left out of books and Web sites by their authors. It took me 10 years to figure out one of these best-kept local secrets and I'm certainly not about to reveal it here.
However, I will talk about a group of six or so springs I've had my eye on for a while. Looking at the 7.5-minute quadrangle map right at 43.423N by 114.627W it shows that most of these springs are private, but two are marked as on public land. Unfortunately, the chains and signs at the access gate a few miles below make it clear that this is not the route to take. A few autumns ago while working some fences on the Willow Creek side I got a gander at a back way to reach these springs. It looks to be a good two-hour hike over some hills with a divining rod doubling as a snake deterring staff.
As I run up the ridge whistling "This Land is your Land," I'll be wondering, will this great exertion for what may be only a foot bath be worth it? While on the edge of the forbidden springs expecting human encounters, I'll come armed with some good old boy howdy lines like, "I've heard that the people around here are mighty friendly and I just came over the hill to confirm that."

Sheepherder’s Dip
If you decide to jump in for a serene dip at Russian John, chances are good that you will encounter some sparky chipmunks, as well as various colored dragonflies. Once in the spring, a pair of brilliantly blue dragonflies romantically clinched together kept lightly buzzing us; and while they elegantly sipped minerals from the spring we imagined we were infringing on their sacred honeymoon site.

Sometimes after sweet animal encounters like this, I enjoy trying to glean some wisdom from examining characteristics of those creatures through animal Medicine Cards. The tale of how Coyote tricked Dragon into becoming dragonfly resonated strongly with some of my own personal experiences.

June 2012

I made it up there again last week and for a short while shared the small pool with only the dragonflies. There were two tiny azure-blue ones buzzing around a bit, and I wondered if they were the offspring of the ones I had seen so romantically-clinched together earlier this season.

Suddenly, a small family (of people) showed up, and I invited them to join in with the dragonflies and myself. And after the young gleeful children started splashing around in an exhilarating manner, the brilliantly-blue dragonflies scurried off into the sky, or somewhere around the corner.

We also witnessed two reddish-orange dragonflies buzzing around there, which were larger and not as easily frightened off by the frenzy. One of the boys called them horseflies, and when his father tried to correct him, I thought that there was actually an element of truth to what the child had spoken, as they did resemble horseflies.

There is no sign for where the spring is, but once you find it you can remember it forever. One of the parents pointed out that the mile-marker which corresponds to where his hot spring book directed him was missing, but I do believe it’s near 147 and encourage folks to use dead-reckoning by opening the car window to sniff it out from there.

Idaho Mountain Express
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Being a wise-fool through school bounced me down some interesting paths. As a kid aged in single digits, I enjoyed math, constantly solving problems in my head while dribbling a basketball between my legs. Once, while visiting my Aunt Jane, I told her that I would count up to a million by next return. Months later as we drove up to her house, I bounced a ball outside the car window, wildly exclaiming, "999,998—999,999—One Million!"
Suddenly, I was a sophomore, more fascinated in the geometric possibilities of what a trick B-Ball shot could do for a globetrotter, rather than what any algebraic formula might bring in the way of splitting up weights for future newspaper bundles. The guys sitting symmetrically around our rhombus-shaped table were all feverish fans of the Washington Bullets professional team. Mornings after a win we would chant in whispers the names of our various stars. "Chenier! Unseld! Big E!" Our algebra teacher, Mr. Kluge, was a tall man of almost 2 meters and we wondered about what shots he had erased and prime numbers placed on the basketball scoreboard before switching over to a math chalkboard.
Once, in the middle of a lesson, Kluge turned his back for an eraser. I took it upon myself to hurrah in a cockneyed voice "Porter!" honoring point guard extraordinaire Kevin Porter, who had just contributed to a playoff-clinching win with a 17-assists effort. Mishearing my cried praise, Kluge spun about, querying, "Who's the genius that said 'Ordered pairs?' We haven't even reached that chapter yet!" My fellow fanatics pointed to my quadrant while Kluge lasered me a look with a new angle of light.
A couple years later I saw Mr. Kluge taking his son Andy out fishing on a rowboat. I imagined what type of conversations my math teacher—who I had only known in the illumination of the classroom—might have with his son on a tranquil Saturday? Did they talk about depth-sounding graphs and how radar works for fish finders? Or did Kluge point out geometrically congruent fences, which joined together at the fisherman-access gate? Maybe they pondered the mathematical improbabilities of catching genius bottom-feeders if they did not let out enough line, or the physics involved when Burke Lake froze over.
Actually, whatever they postulated over made little difference. It was refreshing enough for me to see that Mr. Kluge was a well-balanced man not suffering from "nature deficit disorder" while passing along his wonderful fishing knowledge to his son.
Back in the '70s, Kluge warned us that within a few years the metric system was going to be imbedded in our culture so much that the word "pound" would be eliminated from our language. He claimed that sayings like "A penny saved is a pound earned" would have to be changed. However, through some critical thinking—which Kluge had likely prompted us for—we figured out that these particular pounds he spoke of were actually a British term for a monetary denomination. Further confounding interest, the pound has essentially replaced the penny in England since the time of my final math examination—a test I passed largely due to obtuse questions about pounds not weighing heavily over my desk like so many medicine balls.
Kluge's mindbenders were sometimes more difficult than trying to figure out how to try to steal a basketball from Kevin Porter. With some of his timed tests you were only given 10 seconds to rebound

Lefty Loosey
Kluge-puzzlers out of the backcourt of the brain, before digging deep and giving it the best shot with what you had.
Gus Johnson, who had played at the University of Idaho, became a legendary Bullet who could pluck a $20 dollar bill off the top of the basketball backboard then quickly calculate the U.S. equivalent of a pound and leave it for change. We in the class had been concerned about re-determining in metric terms the feats of his vertical jumping ability. How impressive would "Gus leaped up a century of centimeters to stuff the ball, conducting a precision face transplant on Dave Debusschere" have sounded? Thus not having to attend basketball games with a slide rule sticking out of our back pockets allowed us to feel more footloose (meter-loose?) and fancy free.
Before my finite years intersect with that final exam in the sky, I would hope to run into Mr. Kluge again. Very late in this game I would come unglued from a maple park bench, still traveling with basketballs. I might find him tuning multi-indexed fish scales with his "metric crescent wrench". There I would freely throw him two pounds of advice: "Don't portage up your ordered pairs of fish onto the abacus before they're fried." Then, from my opposite hand, I would divulge to him my secret childhood corollary, employed as a shortcut in counting up to a million, while aggressively advancing dribbles, back in Aunt Jane's driveway.

        Back in 1976, my cousin Phil and I were driving in my little yellow VW Dasher along the beach in Delaware and we switched the radio on to a local station. The Bee Gee’s song “You Should Be Dancing” was playing, but as both of us were interested in Heavy Rock more than we were Pop Music, We glanced at each other and tacitly agreed to find another song. I switched the car radio over to another station and the same Bee Gee’s song was playing there too. We kept trying other stations, hitting all six of the preset buttons and were amazed to discover that this same song was playing on all six stations! Quickly, to confirm this was actually happening, Phil went through all of the stations once again, and sure enough the song was playing, and at a different part on each of the stations, before it shortly ended on one of them. After all of the stations stopped playing the popular tune, we went back and triple-checked to make sure that we didn’t have any of the preset buttons set to the same station, and we didn’t, which made us wonder how often such an event might occur, and we sensed that it was probably very rare, even for a hit single at the pinnacle of the Pop Charts.






Along with a billion other riveted viewers, it was with great interest that I watched Yao Ming ceremoniously open the first game versus the United States by zinging through a three-point shot. During a break from the game, the TV featured a brief documentary of how popular basketball has become in China and as a lifetime basketball aficionado, this also enthused me.
With the economic development of China, with thousands of new basketball courts in the land, I would like to make an observation from the viewpoint of aspiring school-ground players.

Every bouncing kid knows that when they come upon the court, if the net is torn or missing, this takes some of the wind out of their sails. With the great expenses of new courts, poles and baskets, the net is usually first to go bad. And with the nets gone, children will often go off to play a different sport.

Nylon nets attached to heavily used basketball hoops often wear out within a few weeks. A way to remedy this is to soak the net in boiled linseed oil for a day and then let it dry out for another, before hanging it from the basket. Preparing a net in this way increases its life tenfold. Soaking a net in linseed oil sometimes shrivels it up a bit, requiring maintenance staff to shoot swishes for stretching it back out.

In this manner, the workers will have achieved what many amateur basketball players dream of, as they will then be receiving pay for shooting and making baskets.

Thursday, April 28, 2011
“The Only Tough Part about Having To Film in Idaho Is When You Have To Leave” (Clint Eastwood)
With a vision for 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 timeless 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 in1984 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 Brad Nottingham was a local then, he reminds us:
 “For Pale Rider, there were some filming issues evident in the movie 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 shot 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. 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 artifact. My friend 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 classic 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 way of life 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 our 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 potential filming locations across Idaho, including information about accommodations and prices, in order to drum up more 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.”
While reading Brad’s insights, it struck me that the filming of Pale Rider 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 Mines sign to include such a tribute.
Part Two
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 tough economic times, and are sometimes unsure where money will come from to fix and maintain highways, Tom’s Statewide Movie Signage proposal is precisely the type of project with which we can 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 to advance 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 her romantic comedy Bus Stop, we create an alert for interested travelers’ devices. A short holographic film of Marilyn hypnotically dancing with a billowing skirt projected on driver’s dashboards would keep dozing dads chipper and alert, lending to driver safety. Then, for the next fistful of history, when reaching Pale Rider’s Phantom Hill we could create realistic whizzing bullet sounds for a subsequent alert. After a quick Galena Lodge pit stop for perusal over photographs stuffed with Idaho’s rich silver history; proprietors of the Sawtooth Valley could smilingly profit by providing related media to satisfy recently western-whetted appetites.
Eventually, we could develop inexpensive solar powered information kiosks for driver pullout areas. Our transportation department R&D teams could further engineer signposts to include efficient emergency communication devices such as the tinier phone antennas now being developed. Additionally, we could imbed recording cameras within the untouchable hologram to thwart vandals. When tampering is detected the sign will 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 signboards as safe places. Drivers passing by the Pale Rider signpost could even be inspired to take after the nameless preacher’s lead, and provide gracious assist to marooned travelers.
Certainly, ITD already has some technologically savvy leaders aboard. This is my third positive experience with ITD leadership, which proves to me that they utilize a high level 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. And when that day comes; since Professor Trusky has ascended into that grand script in the sky, Brad Nottingham and I would be delighted to see our Transportation Department name the Statewide Movie Signage Proposal in Tom’s honor.
You can read more of Brad Nottingham’s insights on the “good guys” in the Idaho Film Archive on Pale Rider:

Lastly, a related poem:
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 forSolo 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 some photoshopping, he could design the “equals”-symbol 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.

When ITD amended the Wood River Mines sign to include a tribute to Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider it was not a full commemoration as we had hoped, however, they did recognize the historical significance of the movie. From my previous experience with Idaho Transportation Department personnel, I sense they have some highly capable leaders aboard and would likely be open to a proposal, which better honors Idaho films.
We should start with a prototype interactive movie sign, sticking with Pale Rider. After developing it, we then present it to ITD and the Idaho Historical Commission; perhaps even the governor. Besides the gimmick, I suggested earlier, of utilizing Clint Eastwood’s stern voice; we could design the sign to be vandalism resistant. Although millions of tourists have driven by the mountain goat observation telescopes near the same highway area as our proposed Pale Rider tribute, those instruments have been left mostly unscathed, since installed fifteen years ago. Interactive kiosks featuring short movie clips, designed in a similarly excellent manner, would automatically gain respect from most passerby. An editor I spoke with recently mentioned that arts and humanities grants are readily available to help jumpstart such projects.
Once we install the first interactive sign, we should have a press release. The movie industry will take note and want more of the same. This might be all we need for the project to take on a life of its own. After the movie signage proposal merges better with Idaho’s already successful Historical Signage program, we can enhance the project’s evolution by doing several things. For one, the film bureau could develop a “donate to your favorite movie” button on their website. Idaho’s Historical Society, Transportation Department and The Internet Movie Data Base ought to consider a similar donation option. After reading a few items about Idaho movies, some fanzines will likely find themselves wanting to contribute to a cool commemoration. Another timely follow-up would be to commission someone to write a guidebook to Idaho movies, including a map of the landmarks. The signs themselves could direct film buffs to other nearby movie signs.
If this highway project takes off, eventually the Idaho Tourism Bureau could develop Idaho or Northwest movie tour packages, including visits to movies under production. After tourists enjoy brief clips or holograms of the movie near the same site where it was filmed, an educated tour guide could speak more about the movie and answer relative questions. We could also program questions and answers into the interactive signs, along with a suggestion box that sends e-mails to the pertinent film bureau manager, etc.
Another thing the project could focus on is the surrounding areas where scenes from the various movies were filmed. For instance: When there is a diner where a breakfast scene was filmed, or a dance scene at a lodge, those places could be mentioned in the interactive signs / companion guidebook / interface devices and might be encouraged to display a plaque or aptly named items on their menus relating to silver screen scenes filmed in their establishments.
Although Idaho faces a budget shortfall, I believe this project is the kind we need to enrich Idaho’s future. The team at the Idaho Film Bureau is already aiming to do this, albeit on a larger scale. Now is an important time as any for us to invest in innovative ways in Idaho’s future.
Final footnote:
JEREMIAH ROBERT WIERENGA wrote a recent in depth article for Boise Weekly about Idaho struggling to gain a foothold in the film industry.
From the article:
“Although a late contender in this cinematic boxing match, theIdaho Film Office hopes our state’s celebrated scenery and enticing rebate incentives will bring film productions back toIdaho, which hasn’t billeted a big-budget movie since Dante’s Peak was filmed here more than 10 years ago.
“The film offices in individual states are economic development agencies,” Kathleen Haase (an industry specialist at the IdahoFilm Office) said. “What we try to do is create an attractive environment in the state to lure productions to come to the state, spend their budgets, which are sizable … and hire our crew here. We hope to create jobs, and we bring in economic activity in [the] form of investment in the state from outside the state.”
The passage of the bill represents a major coup for the filmmakers who call Idaho home, but the battle is only half won. Although the measure has been approved, financial backing for the rebate still has not come through.
“We’re still hoping to have ours funded,” Haase said. “We’re at the mercy of the governor, our department and the Legislature as to funding.”
Initially, the Idaho Film Office received a flurry of calls in response to the adoption of the bill but interest has waned.
“We had to be very clear that indeed we have not yet been funded, so we’re sort of in a bit of a holding pattern until that does happen … [We're] ready to go out there in anticipation of it being funded sometime,” Haase said.
There is hope that financing for the measure will be approved by next summer. Because the incentive is funded through the Idaho Department of Commerce’s budget, which in turn is approved by state government, passing the measure is merely the first step in implementing the program. Haase encourages local voters to call their legislators in support of budget approval. While the bill received a good deal of support from local filmmakers and public figures, she hopes that the public will now take an active hand bringing the backing necessary to expand Idaho’s film industry.”

Brad Nottingham's Pale Rider memories

November 2006

I remember Pale Rider and was here in the valley when it was filmed. I had a friend, Lon Plucknett, (since moved back to his home town of Casper, WY) who worked at Anderson Lumber on Lewis & Warm Springs, and they got quite a big sale out of the lumber used to build the set of "the bad guy's town", while in Hailey, Idaho Lumber got the lumber sales for the "good guys town."

Locals got to try out for background parts, screen testing at what was then "Slavey's" but I remember I was too chicken at the time, and definitely felt too nerdy for a rugged Western character, plus I wore glasses. Also, as always there were scads of ex-Californians living in Ketchum even then, who knew how to grease the egos in the film biz and get into the mix.

Eastwood had an old restored light yellow Buick station wagon he drove around Ketchum back then. My co-worker, LouAnn Hess (now in Challis) was at Sun Valley Motors waiting a long time for them to bring her a car part. Clint was waiting at the parts counter, and she had this way of eating huge amounts of sunflower seeds, shelling them, and loading up one side of her cheek with the shells. She bent over into the spittoon, (remember spittoons?) and unloaded a wet glop of shells there, and bent back up there to see Clint, who turned to her, and muttered, "that's disgusting!" LouAnn turned beat red from embarrassment and couldn't utter a response. This was around 1988. LouAnn had a cute figure, pretty much Daniella's physique, but also an Idaho girl all the way, but she had that sunflower seed habit. I'll never forget the continual cracking sounds of her personal mini-seed processing plant next to me at the terminal (as we used to call the monitors) back at Typographics for at least 6 to 7 years.

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.

Also, 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 aspen groves. Winter seemed to come quickly that year and for a bunch of us, it was really 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 film-making 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 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 that Willis was working on when his marriage to Demi was fast unraveling.

Butterfield is still around. He had lost all of his hearing in a wave slam while surfing out in California sometime in the 1980s. He was always kind of an entrepreneurial type that as far as I know, hasn't really stuck to anything yet, but I admire that type of drive. He might have had some family money in a bank account to "allow" him to exercise that spirit, cause you still gotta pay the living expenses.

Idaho’s Super Combination Winner

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 is infectiously affirmative.
Mark invested his time wisely in the months preceding the hunts. He inspected the conditions of backpacks and insulated clothing and prepared other equipment. He 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, 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 had previously 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 and encountered 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 a group of at least six vehicles 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. The 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 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 a 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 acquaintances returned to school but two other experienced hunters, Jon and Gary, joined us. This was especially helpful because Mark hadn’t yet fully recovered 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. The one most familiar with firearms was Jon, a former Special Forces sharpshooter, who 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 someone 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 the others 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 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 could 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 whisking away, Mark thought it could have developed into an unpleasant situation on the high terrain.

We took photos of the elk, had 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 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 acquired 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 and begin the real work...”


Letter to the editor
Idaho Mountain Express
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Speed limit reductions have certain benefits. At first glance, the news that the speed limit between Ketchum and Hailey will be reduced to 45 mph may feel like a drag, but at the same time it can be healthy for us to remember that there are several benefits to this sweeping change.
When our traffic flows at 45 mph, it will lessen animal-vehicle encounters. Not only will this horrible carnage of large mammals and people's pets be reduced, but the moderate speeds will give motorists smoother opportunities to merge into traffic, as well as offer us more braking time for various quick emergencies and improved fuel efficiency.
Furthermore, slowing down could inspire some motorists to better appreciate our valley's scenic corridor. Cognizant drivers and passengers will have more time to soak up its sunny splendor, as the 45 mph will give us an ideal traveling rate for cloud watching, constructively daydreaming about the physics of angels or perhaps for better organizing in our heads letters to the editor about other ways to improve the valley.
Soon, the locals who have decided to live here and the tourists who enjoy visiting, who only blurred by our mid-valley majesty before, will begin noticing slow-motion trees in pocket parks for later hugs. Slower limits will give bus commuters more time to enjoy gazing out the window, or perhaps for absorbing a few more pages of the good book or newspaper they're reading.
Speed kills, and as Kris Stoffer points out in a recently related letter, many beloved community members have lost their lives or health on the highway, and the time for this grand paradigm shift to an unhurried speed has now arrived.


Highway speed increase is a bad idea

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 4:00 am

    After nearly being side-swiped by a cement truck barreling unbalanced down state Highway 75 in a recent rainstorm, I thought about how the speed limit for this widened stretch is being raised and considered this teetering “near miss” a bad omen.

    Equally unsettling were the reactions of two motorists who decided to speed up and buzz by the hydroplaning truck as it overcorrected, and then almost toppled over on them as they passed in the slick right lane. I suspect that these law-bending speeders are part of the majority who were ignoring the limits anyway—which is a major reason why the Idaho Transportation Department decided to give up on its prudent attempt to keep the speed lower and us safer.

      The area near the hospital is well known as an active wildlife corridor, and raising the limit there goes against the grain of an insightful Wood River High School applied-physics class study on the effects of vehicle collisions with wildlife at 45 mph versus 55 mph. Moreover, motorists turning left into traffic now need to cross over an additional lane before merging.
    Sadly, it’s easy to predict that bad vehicle crashes will likely increase when the highway soon turns icy and numerous motorists continue to show a lack of respect toward the speed limit. And since Idaho is a state without annual vehicle safety inspections for tires, brakes and steering systems, some of the same people who pay little heed to basic traffic rules on treacherous roads probably will be piloting vehicles that are not even roadworthy for a new season.

A week when good fortune peaked

One perfectly sunny day I was strolling through some serpent- and tick-free sagebrush, in an area recommended by Betty Bell's "The Big Little Trail Guide." Unbeknownst to me, a Mexican jumping bean, which was squirming atop an anthill, flicked an arrowhead into my front pocket. I sauntered into the Bellevue Post Office where a young lady asked if she could borrow a letter opener for a tightly sealed envelope from the Idaho Lottery Commission. Shuffling through my vest, I discovered this ancient point and we soon found that she had won a large sum of money. She was so delighted that she handed me a small wad of bills with my favorite portrait of Abe Lincoln on their fronts.
Walking into the bank to deposit this money, leftover firecrackers went off celebrating the fact that I was their one-millionth customer. Their prize was an all-expenses-covered cruise to Hawaii. Boarding that same day, I met Captain Clemenson, who handed the helm over to me as soon as his phone rang, because navigating a ship while talking on a cell phone is now a violation of international shipping rules.
Little did I know that while I was in command of the ship, we had hooked onto an iceberg with one of our cables and proceeded to tow it in darkness all the way to Maui. Finding that the drinking water system on our side of the island had shut down for a few days due to volcanic ash affecting its intake, this tremendous block of un-licked ice was just what they needed to get by. We docked it into a cove just the right size and our crew was considered heroes. I had a great visit, played volleyball, got an even suntan and remained chipper and alert for the whole vacation.
Now it was time to get back. I was able to hitch a ride to California on the Tropicana cheerleader's bikini team's Lear Jet. While kicked back for a foot massage on the in-flight lemonade chair, I told some corny jokes that giggled the girls, while I showed them the arrowhead. I then enjoyed a comic book in which Richie Rich convinced Nietzsche of the plausibility of a spiritual afterlife. Soon I noticed "The War is Over" being sung by Jim Morrison and The Doors on their jet's satellite feed. Upon closer inspection I found that this was background music for an actual report about the end of a war.
With a makeshift peace banner trailing behind, I paraglide off the jet back down into San Francisco. I landed on a windy day right in front of Ripley's Museum. As trash was being blown about the waterfront, I did my part to chase some down and found among it a ticket for that night's baseball game at SBC Park.
Perched in the upper deck during an exhilarating rain in the bottom of the ninth, most of the crowd had left. But the Giants made an unbelievable comeback and clinched the pennant on Barry Bonds' 715th career homer, which I caught barehanded without spilling any Anchor Steam ale. Tossing Barry back his ball, he noticed that I too was a lefty and balanced up some celebratory champagne glasses as a batting tee for teaching me some valuable tips. He determined that to hit fair I needed to remain balanced.
Returning to Hailey from these flights of fancy, I picked up my double-parked but non-ticketed Segway at Friedman, which was untouched though I had left keys in the ignition. Confident of speeding without a helmet, I zipped cross-town through a medium volume of other scooter and hovercraft traffic to some mid valley links. Using the Segway I got in a quick game of golf, tying Wrey's legendary Warm Springs record by scoring two holes in one. Soon I traveled up the rest of the bike path at the recommended speed limit, exchanging genuine smiles with young and old alike. There were no incidents of near misses or hits, I did not twist either ankle or overstrain any other muscles and the gyroscopes of the newfangled machine were finely tuned to react perfectly to every molehill and hole.
As I headed in through the back way at work, where nobody was sick, I tossed the obsidian point into the gravel of the parking lot, hopefully leaving enough luck in it for the next finder to occasionally catch fish on first casts. Peering out the kitchen window I saw a butterfly kiss the cheek of the person who picked it up. Wolfing down a quick bowl of hardscrabble granola, I chipped zero teeth on pine nut shells. Then I proceeded to type up this paper, during which time there were no electrical surges or printer problems and spell check remained fully functional even for words I've had a hard time with, like "bikini." Then I handed in everything one minute before deadline.

All Tease

Tall Thanksgiving Tissaw Tale Transcribed
Originally written in the summer of 1990
The titanic Teuton Tissaw turned testily toward the threatening thrasher tornado. Teeming terror throughout the town; this thick tantalizing twister threaded teasing thunderbolts throughout the tiny townsquare –townsfolk a-trembling! Tissaw’s task towered tall, to tame this twirling travesty. Tracing the theory to this termination; Tissaw tinkered then tampered, thus twining two tiny teaspoons triolite to three tough tungsten telepathic trolls. Tactically transfusing this turbulence; the tri-thugs tactile tacit thought transfers tricked the tangled twister to taper throttle, then thump toylike turnpikeward, terrifically thinning the terra. Then tempered to termination the townspeople throng thrust Tissian thanks to thine throne.


Times News, November 09, 2007 11:00 pm

Several weeks after piloting the atomic bomb, which 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."
Throughout his life, which ended only a few weeks ago, Commander Tibbets always maintained that surgically dropping these vaporizing bombs was a seminally patriotic mission, which saved both sides millions of lives and from what would otherwise have been a long enduring horrendous battle.
Around the same time as Commander Tibbets' post-war 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 last Veterans Day: "I saw a giant field of scorched mulch.
It sprawled out to the horizon; three 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."



Thursday, May 31, 2007

When my brother David first got out of infantry training from Camp Lejuene, he was one cocky son of a gun. Although he was four years younger than me, I knew right there and then that I could never take him again. Somehow his barrel chest had expanded to a point, where I now felt he was abominable.
I regretted ever having dripped spit in his face, while wrassling, or calling him copious derogatory nicknames. Even though he was easily capable of killing a man, with his bare hands in a matter of seconds, he was still a good sport. In fact he was a shining star, having graduated first in his class from most of the hardily measured physical parameters. Neighborhood kids quickly gathered to see David return home on that first day back, dressed to the hilt in full U.S. Marine regalia.
We shared some muscatel wine that evening to celebrate. That brand of ripple, which Fred Sanford espoused so much while David and I used to laugh, while watching TV together in the living room as kids. As darkness set in, I started to pull off in my yellow Volkswagen bug –the one with Redman chewing tobacco stains singed into the side. Meanwhile, David prepared to showcase his newly honed marksmanship skills.
As I squealed wheels up Whitefield St. from the dead end, a shot rang out and burst through my driver side window. I slowly hit the brakes and did not move for a long ten seconds. David thought he had killed me. He sprinted over to check on me and found me laughing there amidst the swirling muscatel smells.
To me, David explained that he was trying to skim a shot off the top of my oval roof, to show off his stately marksmanship skills. To our father we configured a separate story, which with great effort we made purposely vague, explaining the shattered window.
Much later, it dawned on me that David may have been trying to show me something more, in fair return for my unmerciful wrassling holds from the days before boot camp, when I was tougher than him.

Idaho Mountain Express
Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A dozen years back, some friends and I witnessed the immediate aftermath of a horrific head-on crash 12 miles north of Ketchum. A little girl was bleeding profusely, on the centerline, and another was trapped in one of the wrecked cars. Several locals stopped to help, but we found that nobody in the group had yet called for an ambulance. I sped back to the SNRA to call 911, but unfortunately, both young girls died from their wounds. I often wondered if they might have survived if we had been able to notify emergency technicians sooner via cell phone. As we saw that dreadful day, when it comes to harsh scenarios like this, every second counts.
Soon after, I vowed to get a cell phone and keep it with me, fully charged and with a spare battery at all times, in the event of a similar crisis. Since then, local backcountry-sports enthusiasts have been snared and even killed by avalanches. Mountain bikers have flipped over their handlebars and smashed their faces onto unforgiving rocks or been accidentally pierced by sharp hardwood branches. Horses have thrown riders and gnarly motorcycle incidents have whisked away too soon some of our most beloved friends and family members. All this within close proximity to Galena and the surrounding SNRA.
Undoubtedly, some of these incidents would have had more fortuitous outcomes had not this cell phone area been crippled by non-coverage.
Moreover, automobiles have been quickly caught in ravines or pinballed off roadside snow-banks and then back into traffic, spinning at 65 mph to uncertain fates on Highway 75. Countless campers with their vehicles have tangled together with outsized migrating mammals. There have been more than a handful of bad boating incidents, when a lifesaving cell phone might as well have been tossed to the barren wind, due to zero reception bars.
Hunters have become bewildered in the frozen tundra and skiers wedged unwell in tree wells. Hardy lumberjacks have snapped bones in the cold Pole Creek range. Once, about 10 years back, a group of us sightseeing at the Galena overlook saw a lightning-caused fire blazing in the mountains, but we didn't know if we should rush off to Smiley Creek to alert the authorities, having no way of knowing if they had been informed.
Having a few cell towers dot the landscape seems a small price to pay when the lifesaving benefits are considered. We should allow no more tower delays because as we've learned all too well that every second counts. Simply letting our evermore-bustling Galena area helplessly remain in the telephonic Flintstone ages is not the answer. Rather, we should receptively embrace these beacons of safety—and if Idaho Tower can stealthily integrate some of these lifesaving communications relays into our SNRA's woodlands, then more power to them.
Mostly, the Campbell’s and Idaho Tower should be lauded for their adroit business acumen, positively shifting this dark reception spot of Idaho into a soaring new age.


The Galena cell tower debate stood for much more than a mere cell tower. The story attracted mythic qualities. Some of the healthiest dialogue came from spokespersons both for and against the tower who occasionally contradicted themselves in papers and in public meetings. Some saw Idaho Tower as Atlas, not shrugging in her epic efforts, while others perceived her as Medusa and did not dare defy reason in the face, knowing it would crush their conceptually confused logic into Billy's Bridge gravel.
A friend who participated closely in the public hearings remarked: "Much opinion was allowed full rein, fueled by rancor and emotion, and absolute dismissal of facts and information. The Galena example is almost comical because the situation is so whacked. Local staff has dismissed voluminous handbooks, manuals, regulations and laws that instruct permitting of telecommunication infrastructure, and are hanging onto a thread of language that is discretionary, and also could be validly seen as violating its own forest plan."
Suddenly, the Forest Service supervisor selected a path for redesignation, with the secret motive of making the tower impossible. Moreover, she used Labyrinthal language, which only the most adept of Minotaur attorneys could follow without strings. Meanwhile, Homeland Security prepared to shift Atlas onto his own back with an improved plan to foil us all, by paying two Princess Bride government factions to sword-fight it out. Citizen angst against the tower sometimes stemmed from dissatisfactions within, which the fuming ones projected by gnashing their dragon's teeth to channel harsh sound bites onto the tower.
Anti-cell tower Victorians will discuss this result for decades. In the meantime, astute Idaho historians should include this legendary chapter in state history textbooks so our grandchildren may gain clearer perspectives than we have. To harmonize Idaho history books, our transportation department should install a historical sign at the Galena overlook to commemorate the epic battle of the defeated tower. To appease earth muffins and water sprites, they should mount it smack-dab next to the new Galena landline phone, to soak up less sacred SNRA space.
My last column for the Wood River Journal, during the 2007 summer fires
There is a jeweler next-door to the office from where I deliver furniture. Last month they displayed a diamond said to be valued at $3 million. Three friendly, well-dressed men traveled here to remote Idaho, to help facilitate the diamond’s stopover in prosperous Sun Valley.
The three fine-suited men hailed from New York City. The eldest is a renowned expert on diamonds and answered with astute accuracy the most grandiose of gemstone questions I could dream up. Even the rough ones. Reportedly, the featured diamond is part of a larger collection. Word traveled fast in our small community and my furniture-moving colleague, who also contributes for Idaho newspapers, called his editor. Next thing you know; both of us scruffy galoots were in there joking with the photojournalist, about how we would like to buy one to spiff up each of our gal’s hands. Then we watched while he examined and photographed the valuable gem, which twinkled as if it was going to make a slight sound -luminous there by the lens cap in his meaty hand.
I looked around at the men in the suddenly crowded room and wondered, “Who’s packing heat?” -and other things along these lines. Surely these shrewd New York businessmen had planned ahead for any foreseeable problems and lugged along some “extra protection.” I speculated over this sphere of gemstone guardians, marveling that something so costly must certainly be accounted for and fortified by several trusted people at all moments. Almost the type of attention, which a curious newborn baby requires and should receive.
 I spent only a few compressed minutes in their shop, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression.
The day after the men in nice suits flew back to New York -or wherever their next diamond-engagement was; I saw a front-page article on SFGate about the travails of a rare-coin courier who was transporting one dime worth nearly 2 million dollars.

This well-written tale of intrigue by Steve Rubenstein contained several synchronicities with how I had been imagining these tiny luxurious items must be transported. I felt compelled to share the story with
our jeweler neighbors and so printed it up. Uncertain how the ladies would receive my story; part of me imagined that they might scoot me off, with tacit signals, or perhaps even press a concealed button to ensure my quick dismissal. Unaware of my secret identity, they may have not desired a conversation with what they perceived as my lower status.
However, that was not the case at all, as the unjaded ladies next door graciously received my discovered synchronistic story with heartfelt expressions of delight.
Next, thing I would like to tell them is that although the three-million dollar diamond is no longer contained in their shop, something more precious is, mainly the genuine smiles they exchange with passerby of all sorts, which makes those people instantly twinkle and then secretly whisper to themselves that they feel as though they are suddenly worth over three-million bucks.
It’s refreshing to see that this Gem State of Idaho still has it in her – some real down to earth ladies like the girls next door.

Times News
July 08, 2008 11:00 pm
Recently there have been several cases featured in the news about motorists receiving warnings or tickets for excessively honking their automobile horns. Certainly, I'm a fan of maintaining peace and quiet, but the peace officers in action would do well to interpret a law that reads "Automobile horns shall be used for emergencies only" with some broadmindedness.
A few days ago, I was driving down the highway with a friend. We approached some flickers standing in our lane. These woodpeckers appeared to be distracted by something and we could see that 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 lightly tooting your own horn could help save bird lives.
Was this an emergency? Certainly for the birds it was.
On my last trip to Montana, we drove up that old dusty Red Rock Road to that vast wetland aviary area beyond. There to our sweet delight, we 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 though they were laughing at me, because when I enthusiastically pointed at them, I pronounced their name with a jazzy 'trumpeteer' swan twang.

Footnote: Even the N.Y. Times has made a similar musical miss-identification:
Correction from November 28,2015:
An article on Tuesday about a failed effort in the New York State Legislature to halt the state’s plan to cull mute swans misstated, in some editions, the name of a different species of swan in New York. It is the trumpeter swan, not the trumpet swan.


My brother David and I were walking down an old town hill in Pennsylvania, where every few minutes we would see a different dump truck driving around with the dump section of the truck still up, partially in the air. We realized how dangerous this was, since any second, one of the trucks might snag an overhead power line, resulting in some sort of catastrophe. There was a weird array of power lines all around the area, with some of them holding quite high voltages.
Suddenly, an antique looking lawnmower came toward us, buzzing up the sidewalk. We took a close look as it approached and realized that nobody was operating it. A police car had passed by the self-operating lawnmower seconds before and we wondered why it did not stop to investigate the runaway machine.
Suddenly we floated up in the air, slightly spinning about, like two angels. Now we were dipping near the power lines ourselves. Each time we approached a power line, while we were flying in our bodies, it seemed that we would easily clear it, but then suddenly something would happen, like a gust of wind or some other slight parameter shift, to push my head very close to a power line. These close shaves made me start wishing that I had gone in for that haircut appointment last week when I had the chance.
Although Brother David was floating next to me all of this time, he was having less trouble than I. To attain better steering control; David grabbed my furry forearm, which seemed to have some effect. Finally, it started dawning on me that this all was a big dream, but mostly because of the dump truck and lawnmower clues. The flying part still seemed quite natural and in my core, I thought, you know this flying happens all the time and felt strongly that I was right.

Soldiers deserve to have a flag
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Idaho Mountain Express

It's remarkable that representatives of Woodside's Copper Ranch Homeowners' Association would demand that Robin Perfect remove the American flag decorating her front porch, as it is a strong symbol of support for her son Sgt. Edward Nalder, recently deployed overseas to the war in Iraq with the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade. Especially significant is the fact that this would happen in the same small town where we already have a soldier missing in action, Army Spc. Bowe Bergdahl.
Traditionally, all flags and statues have been exempt from most homeowner association bylaws. However, in recent years these new little forms of government have become increasingly more powerful, so much so that some have been testing new waters. Certainly, there are positive aspects to having close-knit community oversights; however, to maintain unwavering attitudes about allowing simple family support for our troops, in the form of small American flags, especially around Veterans Day, is strong evidence of a homeowners association becoming too big for its britches.
Perhaps, for this Veterans Day, the Copper Ranch Homeowners' Association should consider "a Perfect olive branch" by offering in place of these pesky individual flags to build a giant community American flag where the old Ironwood gym was supposed to be refurbished, along with signs commemorating Sgt. Nalder, as well as any other local soldier-warriors currently deployed in our terrible wars.

Magic – Times News
December 05, 2011 1:00 am
Of Buddha and American Flags:
Last summer, some friends and I helped a young lady move her earthly belongings into a spiffy-looking Elkhorn Ranch condo. It took a few heavy loads, but we had some wheelbarrows and a sturdy crew. As a symbol to celebrate the end of the job, the last item we hauled up her long walk was a stylish 300-pound stone Buddha statue which we placed with great care on her front porch, facing the pink western sky.
The next week as we passed through, she called and asked us to adjust ancient Buddha as someone in the community had complained, claiming that the neighborhood covenant specifies that Buddha needed to be positioned into a less prominent place. So we slid Buddha to a shadier spot in the quiet corner. However, that still didn’t satisfy the welcoming committee, who then decreed that Buddha should be banished to an interior room.
This incident reminded me of last year’s much-publicized event when representatives of Woodside’s Copper Ranch Homeowners Association demanded that Robin Perfect remove the American flag, which she decorated her front porch with as a symbol of support for her son, Sgt. Edward Nalder, who had been recently deployed to the war in Iraq.
As with flags, traditionally, statues have been exempt from most homeowner association bylaws. However, in recent years, these new small forms of government have become increasingly more powerful — so much so that some have been testing new waters and becoming pushier. As a solution, I propose that we craft a flag-holder so we may convert Buddha for a dual concept: That of an impervious statue and a world peace flag receptacle. Maybe then the newly-awakened homeowner association will capitulate, allowing the enlightened Buddha to return to outside elements and to continue sharing his good community message.

02/04/09 - 20:03
If the Express has not already done so, two treasures they might consider mining from the old newspapers are Ezra Pound's birth and death notices (October 30, 1885 & November 1, 1972). International historians would probably look at such gems as worthy for inclusion in the National Archives.
You could put Mr. Pound's original birth notice up for sale through a literary-leaning auction house, with the condition that the bidding starts in the thousands - if not tens of thousands. You might even have more to gain; by announcing an intention to donate half the proceeds to fund an Ezra Pound-oriented scholarship.
After announcing the auction / scholarship on Express websites, you could make reproductions of Pound's birth and death notices available for a small fee. Visiting writers, poets and tourists would probably be enthralled to see framed copies of Ezra's life bookends, ceremoniously placed at his Hailey birthplace entrance.
01/11/09 - 09:35
This is a long suggestion, so I will submit it in two parts. Here is part one:
As much has been made of the fact the Express now owns 127 years of The Old Wood River Journal's historical newspaper records; and hold these ancient archives in high esteem; I was surprised to learn that the equally important Wood River Journal online archive, which stretches back a decade or more, is no longer available. When I asked several of my former colleges at both newspapers about this, some of them believed that Lee Enterprises still holds the searchable archives. However when I questioned Lee's management, they said the Express controls these.
If this is true, and it is the Express's intent to keep these records offline, there are several reasons, why they should reconsider. Besides profiting in a karmatic way, they could also profit financially in this tough time for newspapers everywhere. First, I cannot imagine that keeping these precious archives up would even be very expensive. Especially when measuring that cost against the invaluable benefits, such historical records can contribute to communities. If the Express will reconsider, there are several workable solutions at hand, including a fundraiser here, oriented towards newspaper aficionados and local historical buffs. This episode is now reminding me of a well-received letter, I submitted last year, to curators at The Newseum:
Let's not allow reporters epic efforts, sink down the memory-hole drain in vain
"As more newspapers like The Albuquerque Tribune (and WR Journal) continue going out of business, we should make concerted efforts to preserve their precious archives. Many newspapers start out struggling; never knowing if they are going to make it beyond a few years. Therefore, they never budget annually, very much, in way of back scanning their archives (Though many State libraries make diligent efforts to do so.)
Recently, (Wash. Post owned) Slate Magazine ran an article bashing their cross-town rival USA Today's ambitious Newseum project, by comparing it to the new American Indian Museum on our National Mall. Essentially, Slate said that both museums "were designed to be the sumptuous setting for candle-lit fundraisers, where you can almost hear the clink of highball glasses and the jing-a-ling of jewelry."

However, many fundraisers are actually used for constructive purposes. I would like to submit to the USA Today and Newseum board of directors, that they consider holding an annual fundraiser with the intention to salvage several newspapers that have gone beyond the brink. They could set up a committee, with a set of criteria for eligible newspapers, using a simple algorithm that involves historical context, the age of the newspaper, past awards won, average circulation amounts, whether a library has preserved their precious records of antiquity, and other relative parameters for markers to see who is best qualified, to not have their reporters enduring efforts just tossed into recycle. Besides salvaging newspapers gone back to the wild, the Newseum or some other good-willed newspaper-aficionado entity could help protect the historical archives of a handful of newspapers every year, which are still struggling to hang in there. Such funding could help construct enhanced fireproof storage facilities and state-of-the art fire-protection systems; much as visionary librarians have installed, to better protect our priceless records of antiquity, which have not yet been back-scanned or mirrored."
Besides a fundraiser, the Express could start charging a small fee or kindly ask for donations from archive users over their secure server, with the simple explanation that donations help fund the searchable archives.
Some readers maintain that any news item that ran in the Wood River Journal can already be found in the Express's archives. I strongly disagree, as many weeks the Journal ran a completely different set of excellent letters to the editor, had separate award-winning columnists, and sometimes ran feature stories, including featured businesswomen of the valley and a long running series on war veterans. Not only that, but their (your) website used to include on the drop down menu, a link to some of the best stories distilled from their 125 year history into a comprehensive anthology!
Here is part two of my suggestion:
Last year, I suggested a tribute to Idaho war veterans to (then publisher) Jerry Brady. With the Express’s acquisition of the Journal, this makes for an opportunity to revamp that suggestion, augmenting it with the dozens of articles Mr. Cordes and others have already written about our dedicated veterans:
The dozens of articles that Journal and Express reporters have written about our armed service veterans over the past few years are greatly impressive. Over the last few years, I remember thinking, while reading key feature stories by Jeff Cordes, Kelly Jackson and Karen Bossick and others what a grand thing it would be for our community, if the newspaper did a little something more with these in-depth articles.
Since the stories have already been written, the paper could go back at limited expense and simply cobble together a magazine or small book about our veterans to present to each of the regional history department heads of our local libraries. Other places where such a book would be a good fit are the coffee tables of our senior center, local armory, American Legion, Blaine Manor, St. Lukes, the Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports vans, etc. Imagine how far those feelings of good will could go, if the newspaper presented a copy of this book as a gift, during next years ceremonious ribbon-cutting at the new Senior Center.
Another way the paper could keep our Veterans vast experiences alive is a link to these stories within a special button on their website. Again, as the stories are already written, and most already online within the database, it doesn’t seem that such a tribute would take more than several hours to organize and then link to as a Veteran’s feature archive.
If my estimate is off and the newspaper’s management deems such a project to be too costly, my father who is an American Legion Commander (back east) reminds us that many American Legions and other veteran groups usually have strong-willed volunteers available to freely contribute and work in conjunction with local newspapers on such meaningful tasks.
Perhaps the time is too tight right now to get something like this running by this Memorial Day; however, if the paper were to make an announcement for an intention for a soon enhanced tribute, this would please many veterans. Perhaps the staff could plan to hand out copies of this special limited edition magazine to interested readers, during Hailey’s Fourth of July parade this summer.
I believe that such powerful articles deserve to be reprinted and featured in several prominent valley locations as respectful reminders to those, who have patriotically served our great country.
Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestion. As the Express frequently runs strong editorials that speak against deftly airbrushing history, I trust that you will take to heart seriously some of the things I have said here.

May, 4, 2011

Kudos to Tony Evans for his four-part, broad-ranging series on Native Americans, and their close connections to our valley. Every southern Idaho historical society should consider permanently linking to the series on their websites.
Also, as one local scholar observed, the series could be upgraded into a pamphlet or small book and made mandatory or recommended reading as part of local school curriculums.
Particularly interesting in Evans' story are the parts about Native Americans' powerful relationship with the earth through the camas plant. It was refreshing to read about the annual Camas Lily Days Festival featuring "Indian dancing, arts and crafts and the traditional baking of camas bulbs in rock-lined fire pits covered with wet grass and earth."
In addition to June's energized Fairfield festival, I would like to see a tribute to the Native American/camas root connection through our Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles specialized license plate series. An artist's rendering of the camas celebration, based on the popular Sacagawea dollar coin template, would make a good fit.
For years, I've been a proud displayer of Idaho potato plates on some of my rigs. But as camas roots are four times more nutritious than our average russet, I would be happier than a sunny camas bluebird to upgrade to such new customized plates.

Book on local Native American history hits shelves

‘A History of Indians in the Sun Valley Area’ was expanded from a series of articles in Idaho Mountain Express

·        Andy Kerstetter

·        Jun 14, 2017

Tony Evans’ book explores the history of the Sun Valley area before European trappers arrived in the 1800s.
The Sun Valley area’s history stretching back to the founding of Ketchum and Hailey is well-documented, but research on the area’s pre-U.S. settlement history was lacking.
Local journalist Tony Tekaroniake Evans set out to fill in those missing gaps with his book, “A History of Indians in the Sun Valley Area.”
The book is a collection and expansion of a series of articles written by Evans for the Idaho Mountain Express in 2011 about natives of the region. The 58-page book traces the story of Native Americans from 12,000 years ago to the present day and includes excerpts from historical accounts as well as anecdotes and memories of local citizens past and present.
The book was published through the Blaine County Historical Museum in Hailey. It represents both an educational project of the museum and a fundraiser, as some of the proceeds will benefit the museum. The book is now available in local bookstores, including Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum and Iconoclast Books in Hailey, as well as at museums and visitor centers.
The book chronicles the story of the Indians who hunted, fished and lived in the valleys and plains of south-central Idaho from Redfish Lake to the Snake River for thousands of years before European trappers arrived in the early 1800s.
The book tells about native culture before white settlers arrived and the tensions that led up to the short Bannock War of 1878. The mining era, beginning in the 1860s, brought monumental changes to the land and severe disruption to the migratory culture of the first inhabitants. The book ends with today’s Camas Lily Days Festival in Fairfield. Indians from the Fort Hall Reservation travel to the Camas Prairie each spring to celebrate their ancestors’ age-old practice of harvesting the camas bulb for food.
The book is illustrated with historical and contemporary photos. It also includes a touring map by Evelyn Phillips, a reproduction of a historical mining map from 1881, a timeline of key events and the texts of pertinent historical highway markers in the area.
Lionel Q. Boyer, former chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, contributed an introduction.
Evans has said he was inspired to write the 2011 articles after reading a historical marker on Galena Summit that said explorer Alexander Ross discovered the Stanley Basin in 1824.
 “He’s [Ross] following trails. He’s talking to guides along the way,” Evans said in an interview last year. “It’s ridiculous to think he ‘discovered’ the area. It’s an old-fashioned and ethnocentric way of looking at the world. People had of course already been here for many thousands of years, just not European people.”
Evans said he decided to write the articles after he couldn’t find any books about the history of Native Americans in the area.
The idea to turn the articles into a book came from retired Wood River High School teacher Mike Healy, who contacted Evans about expanding the articles into a booklet and offered to serve as editor.
    Evans holds a degree in cultural anthropology and is of Mohawk descent. His wife is of Tuscarora descent. Both tribes are within the Iroquois’ six nations.
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Do you find good news hard to come by? Almost as impossible as it is to squeeze fresh water from a lava rock? Feels as though you want to be informed, but don't want to let it all bring you down? Well, now there is a neat tool for getting positive vibes sent your direction every day, via search engines and online newspaper alerts.
If you are a news junkie addicted to trademarked terror alerts, then you might have a habit as difficult to break as cigarettes or six-packs of whiskey. However, you can start by thinking of an improvement that you would like in your life, say, "Become a better man." Then plug this term into Google News alerts. Amazingly, the system is set up to alert or page you whenever anything pertaining to this phrase posts on thousands of news Web sites!
Another inspiring phrase to try is "Good news Idaho." Play around with this, trying sections with and without quotation marks. For that matter, simply turn to a thesaurus, look up synonyms for "positive," then use these words in conjunction with whatever town or state you're interested in hearing something praiseworthy about. You'll soon find that there really is a foundation of empowering news out there. It just takes a little modification to get some "Positive Idaho tidings" channeling in your direction.
Use caution of course in believing every bit of what's called good news—no matter how starved you are for some. Most subjects under the sun hold complex and paradoxical levels of meaning. To help celebrate the Yin and Yang of these gray areas, a laughing contrary coyote icon emerges from the back pages of some Native American newspapers.
Some writers try to convey a positive image about a news item when it actually lacks substance. Another group with a different agenda might try a smear campaign over the same event. The great news about this ambiguity is that by using your critical mind, you can get a good chuckle considering mainstream sources of the black and white that's read all over.
Years ago there was a newspaper that printed what it considered only good news. The bad news was that they did not sell very many copies. Was it because readers of that era were not passionate about cheerful news? Don Henley sang "People love it when you lose, they like dirty laundry." When the last copy rolled off the presses, there was no mention of their going out of business. That was unprintably bad news.
Currently there are Web sites trying to pass on similarly "happy news." A search through these sugary sites reveals what appears to be unmitigated beneficial news. Nutritious foods available in more schools, and anti-pollution inventions and developments in plastics recycling. Also mentioned are progress in biodiesel and other science breakthroughs. As is "housing the poor with dignity" and even Lance Armstrong.
Maybe you're not in the mood to put on a happy face while searching news data. Perhaps an alert like "Idaho Juicy Gossip" is something you'd be more interested in getting the lowdown on. If you liked that then you'll really enjoy "Idaho's unknown news."
Even if you don't have computer access, another neat trick you can use for building up a bright outlook is cozying up with a hiking book in the evening. Leaf through the pages while thinking of future hikes or reflecting on great experiences you've already had on the trails. Meditate on just one good thought as you drift off to sleep. Some find this method better than magic pills. You don't even need a doctor's approval slip for a bookmark.
I hope this advice helps. After all, whenever you're in Idaho, Bliss is just down the road. Perhaps, now, an overload of compassionate news bulletins can jam in your rig's mobile logic unit, tripping truck gauges. No worries, you'll finally get the chance to circle that marsh you've always flown by. There you'll find the bluebird of happiness, because your Zenful delay will have serenely tipped you halfway between Bliss and Paradise, where everything's super!

 Part Three


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