Part lV

ful creatures hold the teachings of compassion, loyalty, strength, intelligence, discernment and power to name a few. If this is your medicine, these virtues are a part of your natural character. By applying these gifts in your life soul evolution is achieved.”

As I began identifying with this elephant talk, it resonated within; that the best part of my 50th birthday (12/12) is that close friends have sent me this synchronicity - practically on a silver platter - and the fact that I could recognize their big gifts so readily.
~              ~              ~

Monday, February 20, 2012

Seashore soaring
For Daniella Chace
You were drifting on the Kingston ferryboat, while I was stranded on Orcas Island.
You fashioned a hot air balloon, embroidered with a giraffe.
My craft had a monkey on its back.
The winds shifted and we were destined to meet again, out in the ocean, directly over two Concordia ships passing in the night. You flew north like a crow and saw me long before I spied you.
As we approached each other in the high sky, you blew me a kiss, which I instantly caught in my mouth. Your kiss came from the sweetest part of heaven and it healed my core illnesses, as its pure intentions cleansed & quaked deep my soul.

~              ~              ~              ~

Diary: Milkweed Cream

A few hundred feet south of the Gimlet bike crossing on the east side of the trail, I spy a lonely milkweed plant, a rarity in this part of Idaho. It begs to help a monarch butterfly.

But right now this is speed alley. Zippy bicycle fashions blur by with no time for these winged attractions. The 18 gauges and monitors on their bikes are only for racing down the straight a
nd narrow path. Even their music gear deafens bird songs.

From above, a golden beam of sunlight directs a fluttering monarch to the prize I've found. She dips her proboscis into the flower's nectar. Then she lays her tiny white eggs on the milkweed's soft leafy underside. Her young will soon become riders of the sky through the wonders of metamorphosis as they munch on the creamy cells of the milkweed.

Thrasher and Toxic man care not. The machine operator does not tip his blade up to genuflect to the hallowed incubating ground of the magnificent monarch's milkweed. He slices thorough the right of way while maintaining rhythm to "We're Going Wrong" from the band Cream's "Disraeli Gears." I turn southbound and for some odd reason Neil Young's "aimless blade of science" stanza sings through my head:

"Where the eagle glides ascending

"There's an ancient river bending

"Down the timeless gorge of changes

"Where sleeplessness awaits

"I search out my companions

"Who were lost in crystal canyons

"Where the aimless blade of science slashed the pearly gates."

Unknown author
These potent truisms were displayed in a lower lobby at Falls Church City Hall in the  early 90’s
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
A court of law is designed to intimidate
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 Weirdoes’ want to be
You are your actions
Many artists aren’t
Progress takes time
Repetition builds skill
Living increases knowledge
Cities alienate people
Most people are too uptight
Only work pays the bills
Suburbs isolate you
Friends ease the pain
Reviews sell art
Some people love only sex
Fear can be an aerobic activity
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

Letter to Orwell Today
November 19, 2013
Hi Jackie,
A few years ago I submitted some articles to your website regarding JFK and I promised that when I found the photos I snapped from my father's shoulders at JFK's funeral, I would send them to you.
Well, just this week my mother unearthed these, so although they are blurred I think that a few people will still find them interesting.
Best regards,
Jim Banholzer, Idaho
Greetings Jim,
Yes, I remember you telling me about the photos you took -- at age four -- of JFK's funeral. That was 6 years ago -- in 2007 -- when you first wrote in to ORWELL TODAY on the 44th anniversary of the assassination. See LINCOLN'S MIRROR-IMAGE OMEN
"...Synchronisticly the first photographs I ever took were at Kennedy’s funeral procession in Washington D.C. forty-four years ago today. Dad lifted me upon his shoulders to see above the crowd and told me to click the little 10 mm camera button. I have those photos around here somewhere and should try to find them again....".
Now here we are at the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination and it's godcidentally synchronistic that your mother found the photos -- and thanks a million for sending them along -- including the funeral card and inscription.
When first glancing at your photos of the JFK funeral procession I didn't at first recognize what I was seeing -- it was just a blur of heads and arms.
But then upon closer inspection, and focusing on what I was seeing, the white horses pulling the hearse emerged and then the coffin jumped out and I thought, 'Oh my God -- that's JFK' and then 'WOW, what a fantastic picture you caught at only FOUR years old'. The photo is eerily ghostly -- a person can sense JFK's spirit there.
Then, upon reading the funeral card, I realized the words are JFK's from his Inaugural Address. The prayer, by Jackie -- who chose the inscription encapsulating her husband -- is:
Dear God, Please take care of your servant, John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Now the trumpet summons us again -- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are; but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation," a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself...

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility; I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world...

With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
~ end quoting JFK funeral card ~
I've been thinking a lot -- and writing a lot -- about JFK's Inaugural Address this past month as the world media has been focusing on the 50th anniversary of the assassination. Images of the torch being passed and the glow from the flame on JFK's grave have been flickering across my mind.
In many of our email conversations over the years we've made comparisons between Lincoln and Kennedy and in appreciation of your valued contributions here are some photos I've put together of Lincoln and Kennedy one hundred years apart:
Lincoln Inaugural at Capitol 1861 -- Kennedy Inaugural at Capitol 1961

Magic Valley Times News

We should encourage our young scholars to examine the powerful force of prayer

By Jim Banholzer
In the 1920s the esteemed Harvard psychologist William McDougall suggested that religious miracles might be the result of the collective psychic powers of large numbers of worshipers. Michael Talbot’s book The Holographic Universe acknowledges this, as well as documenting several  cases where meditative thoughts, intensive prayer, and strong faith in the goodness of humanity all interconnect for healing in various interesting ways that our scientific and spiritual leaders are just beginning to understand at the fundamental levels.

Some spirit-minded scientists speculate that prayer mysteriously creates far-reaching subatomic particles imbedded with hopeful intentions; however, molecular levels of exactly how prayer works will probably remain a deep mystery for a long time; and that’s fine, because if we didn’t have some mystique in our lives, it would probably be pretty boring. Pinning down precisely how the mystery of prayer operates on the quantum mechanics level proves to be elusive, and ironically that elusiveness itself is an element of the great mystery, as documented in fine detail by Martin Gardner in his groundbreaking classic The Trickster and the Paranormal. As, some pet-owners tease cats with laser beams, and the cat never quite catches it, I believe that we are floating in a similar boat under the godly stars within these unexplained realms.

This being said, and as frequently as we encounter prayer, religion, belief, and paranormal phenomena in our daily lives and media, it’s surprising that more public high schools and universities don’t offer deeper studies into these mystical matters. Not only should our public schools permit students to pray in school, if they so choose to do, but I would also encourage that more public schools offer intensive elective studies of kindness, religion, the paranormal, and other related intuitive languages of our hearts and souls.

With idealistic career paths like these opening  up, not only might future leaders of our society come to achieve greater levels of tolerance, but broad-minded spiritual studies also could lead to keener understandings, and perhaps even a paradigm shift for an improvement of the human condition. For starters, I wonder how many people haven’t been enlightened yet by the fact that that Jesus is mentioned in the Quran more than Muhammad is, while also Jesus’ Holy Mother Mary is mentioned in the Quran more often than she is in the New Testament.


Banholzer defends himself over criticism of recent school prayer column.

As a frequent contributor of letters of public interest, whenever I attempt to bring something important into community awareness or start drafting a possible suggestion to help us all, in the back of my mind I’ll imagine what my harshest critic might say.
Recently I was pleased to be assigned by your gifted editor Autumn Agar the ‘pro’ point / counterpoint subject of school prayer. Right from the get-go I could see it was a tough subject and was stuck on it for a few days, until after mulling it over the midnight ethanol; when I decided to take an unconventional approach, and with the recent discovery of the God-Particle at CERN laboratories in mind, focused on examining the deep mystery of prayer and how it might actually work.
After doing so, it felt as though the article flowed better. Had I had chosen some of those bland age-old arguments about school prayer we’ve heard about so much before, my column would have been unentertaining. Meanwhile, my harshest critic said, that I ignored the question entirely, “preferring to expound on a crackpot theory of prayer that belongs with pixie dust and ruby slippers.”
To defend myself; if my harshest critic would take time to reexamine the latter part of my plainspoken letter, where I led up to the real meat of broad-minded spiritual studies; he will see that I did not ignore the issue at all. And for the record, in this valley there really are many forms of good magic to be had, if you choose not to ignore it. To start better embracing those nicer aspects of spiritualism, I suggest that folks merely make better efforts to spend more time in our great outdoors, where waterfalls, wildflowers and mountains can help heal and inspire us to become better people, which is another thing that I pray for our fine school leaders to encourage.
Finis (1st draft)
Being interested in synchronicities and such, especially those involving close encounters with nature, I feel it pertinent to point out the following observations: In my article The Midday owl who withdrew from the bank, I said:
“That's just great, I thought, they're going to eradicate an innocent bird on Main Street with the bullet ricocheting off the vaulted bank and straight into an Arlo Guthrie ballad about Homeland Security—lampooning the whole town. Surely, the young constable would transpire a different hoot himself upon actual approach, by merely setting his sunny stun gun one octave below "Night Owl" and just Tasering this talonious threat away.”
I wondered how that would go over with the general public, as this was a time when many folks were still mired in blind patriotism and  before it was stylish to criticism our Transportation Security Authorities.  To be continued.
Crossword and Genesis
Times News March 12, 2015
I often enjoy solving clues in the Times-News laid out by prolific puzzler Jacqueline Mathews. Sometimes I’m nearing completion and then, with a little help from my friends, we crack the whole thing.

Last summer on a work break, Noah and I discovered a unique mind-bender: the clue for 54 across was: “Adam didn’t have one, if you think about it.” We needed five letters across, but checking the down clues, we had unraveled only one which indicated the middle letter should be “V.” We returned to work, placing the puzzle aside and, though we picked it up later, couldn’t figure out what Adam was missing. A good wife? Some ribs? Snake repellant? In the evening after mulling the clues more, the answer came in a flash. Adam didn’t have a “navel” – if you think about it. I called Noah and he was equally tickled with Adam’s belly button. Then, with the gift of Google, we researched paintings of Adam from antiquity and realized that dozens of ancient painters had not considered it either, because smack dab next to Adam’s rib was residual evidence of his umbilical cord leading to a larger great mystery.

A far out Plutonian Ode
Guest Opinion Idaho Statesman July 27, 2015
It’s practically beyond belief to see the initial photographs of Pluto we’ve received through the 12-watt transmitter of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft from 3 billion miles away. Stunning high resolutions of rock hard icy mountains as tall as Hyndman and a toy box full of planetary mysteries for sunny mission astronomers to gleefully analyze in coming years – and this success merely 112 years after the Wright Brothers.
Meanwhile, here on solid Earth, most people have forgotten the protests over the 24 pounds of Idaho made plutonium that’s powering this extraordinary mission. According to the January 16, 2006 N.Y. Times: “NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy put the probability of an early-launch accident that would cause plutonium to be released at 1 in 350 chances.”
The Times also reported in 2006 that NASA estimated the cost of decontamination, should there be a serious accident with plutonium released during the launch, at anywhere from $241 million to $1.3 billion per square mile, depending on the size of the area.
 This is not a farfetched scenario. Of the 28 U.S. space missions that used plutonium preceding 2006, three had accidents, the worst in 1964 in which a plutonium-powered satellite broke up and spread toxic radioactivity wide over our planet.
Interestingly, soon after the European Space Agency begin using solar energy to power spacecraft past Jupiter, NASA retracted its earlier claims that plutonium would be needed for spacecraft to be operational beyond Mars and admitted that solar will work in deep space. Naturally, this affects the future of the highly profitable market of INL plutonium production.
Recently, I read an interesting article that speculated about the increasing speeds we will likely achieve in future space travel. The author suggested that within a few generations, we may develop probes capable of reaching the Outer Oort Cloud within a few days. Not only that, but we could even possess the capability of capturing an earlier probe and then retrieving it for education purposes to a contemporary space museum.
If humanity achieves this great ability in another 112 years, I would beseech future generations that they do not return the New Horizons spacecraft full of deadly plutonium to a museum back on delicate Earth, but rather create a safe outpost museum on faraway Pluto. This would also make a perfectly fitting final resting place for some of Clyde Tombaugh’s ashes, which are aboard that very spacecraft, as he was the original discoverer of Pluto.
And if you’ve read his book Plutonian Ode in which leading Beat Poet Alan Ginsberg protested broadly about this most deadly element under the sun, I think you’ll agree that he probably would have smiled at this pie-in-the-sky idea.

Arlington Forest Memories
Shopping Center Dreams and Debts Unpaid
By Former Forrester Jim Banholzer
Jim Banholzer lives in Idaho, where he has worked as a self-described "itinerant newspaper columnist." He grew up in Arlington Forest in the 60’s, attending Barrett School for four years.
In the hot summer of ‘66, while I skid my toy bike in front of Arlington Forest ESSO station, I received a flat tire. A man of about the age I am now, was picking up his reworked Chevy, saw my distressed look and kindly handed the shop owner a shiny Kennedy coin for quick patch of my tire. Joyfully, I biked home to tell ma. She asked if I had thanked the nice man. I had not. So, I hastily pedaled back, shortcutting through the alley, on a mission to thank the kind sir.
However, he had already left and sometimes I feel as though I’ve been trying to thank him ever since. Last year I returned to the shopping center in a dream. I’ve done this on several occasions — both in reality and in dream — revisited this childhood Mecca of bubble gum thoughts, innocent laughter, and playful alley dogs and cats — sometimes with different scenarios playing out in my quest to find and repay that shining knight.
Most dreams match reality whereas everything has gone astray; the service station vanished, the wafting donut shop scents now replaced with a hair salon. The 7-11 has disappeared into thin air — with the chronic Cheech & Chong loiterers missing from its ancient facade. I touch the reflective glass of Walt’s old place; where I sometimes received stylish flattop haircuts, and then given a jar of goo, with that photo of a heroic boy and his smiling astronaut haircut. It’s all gone and no one’s talking about it. These distinct images so powerful in my head, yet none of the passersby seem aware of this holographic presence from forty years ago. The only unchanged icon from the past is the Lubber Run Amphitheatre, where our family sometimes watched magicians perform astounding sleight of hand magic tricks late into the twilight.
In the most recent dream, a new-wave mechanic shop of some sort reappears there. I gape at the shop activity with fascination, which causes a woman grinding down a modern automotive component, to come to a halt, as she steps outside to scowl at me, saying, "What the heck are you gawking at!" I slide into the shop to re-route her onto my aged ‘66 story quest and about how I never find that elusive man. Then, I awaken to present-day Idaho reality.
The next morning is one of the first hot dog days of summer. The oppressive Ketchum heat is multiplying my numerous work demands into an overwhelming feeling, when suddenly a damsel in distress, calls to say she has run out of gas. I promise my help, figuring that if I skip lunch, I’ll have about twenty minutes to spare. However, the gas station attendant and I notice that whoever last borrowed their container, has so far neglected to return it. The hardware store next-door stocks zero gas cans. Suddenly, my simple task of rescuing a fair maiden has transformed into a much larger test. Every car on the road seems to be taking extra eons, being too darn courteous to let the most lackadaisical of jaywalkers cross the road. I feel stupidly frustrated and try to dig in harder to figure out some way to untwist the crushing heated day into something better. I hoof it up to always-reliable Chateau Drug Store. There to my sweet delight, I see two gas cans sitting atop the far wall. Grabbing both, I dash back to the gas station, fill one, and then donate the second can, so that the next person, who runs out of gas, won’t have to face this same grinding aggravation.
Even though this is kind Ketchum, the attendant is surprised and offers me a hot dog. I take a rain check. Later, I mull over that old dream again. I feel that I’m a slow learner at paying back random acts of kindness, but this time I finally got one right and figured a practical answer to the gnawing inside me about finding that impossible man. Indeed, it feels as though I’ve finally paid some of the karma allotted to me back to the service station dream world deities, by probing deep to imagine what kind magic leveling act needed performing to patch things up. I wonder what scenario I’ll skid onto whenever I re-dream about Arlington Forest Shopping Center. Next time I pass though the old neighborhood, maybe I’ll paste this story to the reflective outer glass of whatever accepting store window, happens to be there for passerby to contemplate. Perhaps a man much like the one, who originally rescued me from the oppressive summer heat forty years ago, will gain something out of a reflect like this.


I always admired dad for the choices he made buying houses adjacent to wilderness areas. The house he purchased in the mid-sixties at 140 North Columbus Street, affording us young rascals rich opportunities to run around in the woods and sprout up without “nature deficit disorder.”

Our Arlington Forest home stood next to one of the paved paths that funneled down into the park. It was the perfect intersection for us to set up a lemonade stand on sweltering Saturday afternoons. Sometimes, as we rapscallions barked out fruit juice availability, we would receive cherished mercury dimes for the fare. And sometimes our lemonade profits became as elusive as quicksilver as my brother; David would promptly spend them on Italian Ices from the Popsicle truck. 
During this era, Batman was one of our favorite shows on TV. One sunny afternoon, I dressed up in my yard as a caped crusader in my miniature Batman Costume. Wandering over to the park entrance, I noticed that some “bad teenagers” had furled up the metal “No Parking” signs, so that they were illegible. With all the tremendous strength my six-year-old body could muster, I tried unfurling the bent signs, so that the good Arlington Forest citizenry could again follow the posted law. But it was to no avail. Just then, a police car screeched to a halt in front of our house. Although I was in the right, I became nervous, ran and hid behind a rock in my own front yard. The policemen shouted, “Hey you!”

I emerged from the rock with a meek, “Who me?”
“Yes, what are you doing damaging that sign?”
I started to whimper, explained that I was fixing it and added, “I’m Batman. I’m a good guy!”
The officers politely laughed, saw that it was a misunderstanding, sternly thanked me for trying to mend the sign and drove off in the dust to fight some larger crimes.

I always thought that I would like to tell this story to Adam West, the actor who originally portrayed Batman, since I am a writer living in the same Idaho valley as he. It would be extra bat-nice if he could sign my bat-heroic photo. Perhaps he has an online fan club of some sort. Hmmm…
~ ~ ~

Another friend from Virginia, Colt, told me a related story from this era. One morning he was watching the Ranger Rick show on his black and white Zenith television. The Ranger appeared holding a black and white spiraled spinning top.

He proclaimed that once it started turning that the kids would see colors emanating from the spiral, even if they only had a black and white TV. Colt called to his ma in the other room to announce what was about to happen. She brushed it off nicely with a, “sure that’s nice, son”, but after he became more adamant, she stepped into the room in the nick of time to witness the optical illusion miracle of colors dancing out from their black and white TV.

Backward-running Clocks

In the aftermath of the Oscars and accolades received by Brad Pitt and others involved inThe Strange Case of Benjamin Button, a synchronicity arrived from Jim Banholzer related to clocks running backwards.

Jim has several synchronicities posted on the site, including:
Big League Omen and Children of the Universe.
Interestingly, when I mentioned the movie to Jim he wrote back that he hadn’t seen it and didn’t know it related to a backward moving clock. So that adds another level to Jim’s synchronicity, which follows:
Recently, through Facebook I made contact with an old elementary school classmate. We lived on the same street in Virginia and sometimes walked to school together. In 1968, her dad was kind enough to guide her brother and me to sell tickets door-to-door for the Boy Scout Exposition. At $1 apiece, I hawked over 100 tickets, for which the Exposition leaders gave me some prizes. The award I remember most was a state-of-the-art clock radio, by which I could set to wake me up with loud music. I thought this was cool.
In the pre-digital era, this clock had a relatively simple design: Every minute a little number would physically flip down, until the top of the hour, when the hour’s column flipped over. This radio clock woke me up diligently for 25 years, for paper routes, school and work, until January 1993 when it went haywire, the week before I left Virginia to move to Idaho. I tried fiddling with it for a few days, but never could figure out why it now ran backwards.
Finally, I gave up and threw the clock radio away. I owned better radios and if this clock didn’t work, the device was essentially useless. Plus I needed to pare down on possessions for the move. For me, the strange behavior of that clock was a metaphor marking the end of my Virginia years.
Now sixteen years later, after reading books like Michael Talbot’s Holographic Universe, I wonder if the behavior of the clock was sparked by unusually high level of electromagnetic energy, somehow related to the excitement of my Idaho move.
Or was its time just up?
* * *
I’m now reminded of another clock incident. For Christmas several years ago, a friend brought me a prank clock that ran counter-clockwise. I found the perfect place for it and that was on the basement wall at work, where the newspaper employees had to come in once a week to label papers, then bundle them for mail. It was bad enough that they had to come in so early, and frequently some would arrive tardy. Eventually there were so many no-shows and tardies that our publisher decreed that if workers arrived late, they should be punished by losing some of their vacation time.
If they were cutting their arrival time close, most would look at the clock when coming in from the dark. They were supposed to be there at six sharp and if they arrived at 5:55 and looked at the clock, at first glance, it appeared to be 6:05. Many thought they had arrived late, which gave the other co-workers a slight reason to chuckle. This clock tripped quite a few people over the years.
When I abruptly quit my job, I left behind a number of possessions and tools at the workplace, included the backwards running clock. The friend who bought me the clock occasionally did some consulting work for the newspaper and one day rescued the clock for me. He came over, sat it on my table and said, “Hey, isn’t this your time?”
I now have that clock kept in our greenhouse, filled with several other backwards thinking devices and contrarian type books.
J. B.
When I glanced at your blog, I saw that the last post was Renie and Adam Walsh. It’s a powerful ‘coincidence’ that the man, who helped me sell those Boy Scout Exposition tickets forty-one years ago, is a retired F.B.I. agent, who now works on American’s Most Wanted with John Walsh –Adam Walsh’s father!
Real Job in Mhz
Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Douglas Hofstadter in his essay, The architecture of Jumbo, remarks about anagrams:
“Why work so hard to model such a frivolous and atypical cognitive activity? I tried to answer this question in the article itself, but let me just add here that I think that such mental juggling is a very important, pervasive kind of mental activity that has nothing intrinsic to do with anagrams. Perhaps the slow letter-juggling that goes on in the heads of people who have almost never tried anagrams is not of much universality and therefore of little importance or interest, but I think that when the activity reaches expert level, where it is highly automatized and very rapid, it has something in common with the deep processes of reorganization and reinterpretation that takes place in truly creative thought. Not to suggest that all good anagrammists are latent Einsteins, of course, but just that the activity itself, when done fluently, has a special and important quality.”
Here are some notable anagrams I’ve unearthed in the past ten years:
"Sergey Brin"->"Ribs Energy."
"Tim Berners-Lee"->"Tribesmen Leer."
"CIA disinformation"->"I minor sin a factoid."
"Rod Serling"->"Lord Singer."
"Acme of barrenness"->"Farmer son absence."
"Spaghetti Western"->"Greatest whips ten."
"Actor Robert Deniro"->"Cabin rooted terror."
"John Fitzgerald Kennedy"->"Darkened lefty zing John.
"Abe Lincoln heart"->"Racial then noble."
"Snared by wrong books"->"Snowboarder bong sky."
"In love, opposites attract"->"Reactivates spot onto lip."
"Good Evil"->"I Love God."
"Nice eye candy"->"Aye indecency.
"Kareem Jabbar"->"A breaker jamb."
"Pure shooter Steph Curry"->"Top hurry-up threescores."
Wilt Chamberlain"->"Balance him twirl."
"It's all Greek to me"->"Lose telegram kit."
"Esoteric knowledge"->"I knew secreted logo."
"CIA Puzzle"->"Pizza Clue."
"Usain Bolt"->"I also bunt."
"House that Ruth built"->"That be shutout I hurl.
"Lion tamer"->"I Learn Tom.
"Tippling Nuns"->"Gulp Inn Pints."
"Homer Jay Simpson"->"Ah Persimmon Joys!"
 "Curly Joe Derita"->"Jocularity Reed."
"Washington Redskins"->"This a wrong kindness."
"The idle savant"->"Satan the Devil."
"Ultimate Happiness"->"A Miss Athlete Pinup."
"Homeless Person"->"Hopeless Sermon.
"No slave plantation"->"On salvation planet."
"Ski season"->"A nose kiss."
"Sweet smile"->"We timeless."
"End of Berlin Wall"->"Beer landfill now."
"Worlds strongest man"->"Strangled snowstorm."
Baseball Opening Day"->"A playable nod begins."
"Hit for the cycle"->"Ricochet the fly."
"Leaper Bob Beamon"->"Beanpole bro beam."
"Pale Rider"->"Lip reader."
"Pluto is a planet"->"Appeal to insult."
Notes from Brad:
 Honorable mention for Poignancy:
Spaghetti Western: ---- > Theatre Signs Wept
Hercules the Great ------> Cheetahs Get Ruler
Smart Genius --------> Mastering Us

 Honorable mention for Humor:
Tippling Nuns -----> Gulp Inn Pints
Bum Wine -------> I numb we (I wouldn't mind that party)
Ultimate Happiness ------> A Miss Athlete Pinup (smile)
Mariel Hemingway --------> Why Manlier Image (?) (To me, that's exceptionally funny.. your     "personal best" in humor)

Honorable mention for the "so true" category:
Heroin addict ---------> Diehard Tonic
Greenwashing ----------> Naggers Whine

and the all-time winner in my book:
Extrasensory perception --------> A stoners epicenter proxy

and the one that triggered an old memory:
Wilt Chamberlain ---------> Balance Him Twirl
If you have an excuse, don't use it. 

Most experts are failures at making excuses.

Excuses fool no one but the person who makes them.

There are always enough excuses available if you are weak enough to use them. 

A real man is one who finds excuses for others, but never for himself.

You can catch some men without money, without tobacco, but never without an excuse.

There aren't really enough crutches in the world for all the lame excuses.

Never give an excuse that you would not be willing to accept.

An excuse is usually a thin skin of falsehood stretched tightly over a bald faced lie.

It is soon going to be too hot to do the job it was too cold to do last winter.

An excuse is a statement given to cover up for a duty not well done or not done at all.

If you need some kind of excuse see your preacher, he has heard more than anybody else.

The most unprofitable item ever manufactured is an excuse.

Those who are most successful in making excuses have no energy left for anything else.

Time wasted thinking up excuses would be better spent avoiding the need for them.

The most prolific inventors are those who invent excuses for their failures.

For every sin Satan is ready to provide an excuse.

A flimsy excuse is one that your wife can see through.                                                    Great riches await the man who will manufacture crutches for lame excuses.

Some executives call passing the buck delegating authority.

People are great manufacturers, some make good, some make trouble, and some just make excuses.

- From Quips & Quotes for writers and speakers by E.C. McKenzie 
Honorably building sound minds and sound bodies

It’s refreshing to see the non-profit Tri-Municipal Park Inc. readying multi-playfields, sand volleyball courts, disc golf, an orchard, walking trails, a pavilion and more on a 165 acre Centre Hall parcel. The board is asking the community for fund-raising suggestions regarding additional ideas that we envision for the park. Some ideas submitted so far are: lit baseball fields, a walking path from town to the park, a butterfly garden and a tethered bike repair kit with an air compressor for pumping up deflated tires and sports balls.

When sportspersons start utilizing these playfields soon, a hope of mine is that most sportspersons will hold playing fair as a prime principle during their healthy competitions. Many psychologists talk about how playing fair in sports is more important than winning. Some overly obsessive winners want to crush their enemies and will do whatever it takes to win, even if that means being cruel or cheating. As second-grader Eagle’s fan Abigail remind us, “You don’t always have to win.”

I agree with young Abigail. Perhaps we should see that “failure” is honorable and constructive rather than humiliating. Strong lessons from youngster’s clean-living days in sports carry over to real life. If parents help their children to be fair and fun to play with, then others will want to line up to play with them. We should be teaching our children ways to develop their characters and do well at winning at life. Strategy is an outgrowth of character and star players are those who can help their teammate’s blossom into becoming better players and people.

For the love of the game, when the park officially opens soon it would be nice to see respectful community members christen a persuasive entrance sign that reminds players about how integral fair sportsmanship is. Perhaps some of our thoughtful community members can submit their own motto and slogan suggestions to the Tri-Municipal Park board for such an inspiration park entrance designed sign. Alongside the slogans we could add a weather resistant monitor that plays a video loop of prime sportsmanship moments in sports; inviting the community to submit some of the same style films, shot from their new fields.

For maps of the park and to submit suggestions you can find the Tri-Municipal Park Facebook page at:

In addition, the park board meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Centre Hall Borough Building.

You can make park donations at:

Here is a link to some featured Sportsmanship moments:

The mythological status that we bestow upon winning sports icons is inspirational, but all too often our must-win culture deems the person who places second a failure. Take for instance, Germany’s Jan Ullrich: Here is a man who actually won the Tour de France bike race back in 1997 and earned second five other times. Mr. Ullrich is also a gold and silver medal Olympic Champion. Yet, in 2005, right before that year’s race, USA Today portrayed Mr. Ullrich as an ‘also ran’ saying, “He lacks mental toughness” (Reibal). Here is a super athlete in the top one-billionenth percentile of all human racers; yet the media continuously portrays him as a loser. Something needs fixed when according to such doctrines; if you are not sitting on top of the world you are a letdown.
The same goes for professional sports at many levels. Even though Boston and New York’s baseball teams sometimes win pennants for World Series berths, unless the team actually wins the series, it is a tough traumatic event for the team and that team’s city! Enthusiasts, whose teams score second, truly believe that their lives as fans would have improved in magnificent ways, had not the most infinitesimal of heartless pebbles shifted an easy grounder, to bobble an erroneous course through their first baseman’s legs. When this happens, teams instantly trade ‘losing’ players, while managers’ heads get the chop. For years, fans caught wearing the insignia or even colors of the trailing team, become subject to ridicule -at least until that next rematch. Sometimes this happens even when the team is generating millions in profits, and would be considered successful by most other business model measurements.
The honorable thing to do when this happens is to ignore this mockery, while attempting to gain character from the process. This is not easy, as there are hundreds of Monday morning ‘expert’ pundits for every professional player and coach. Yet sports figures with integrity can rise above this common challenge and prove successful by disregarding this emotional blather; knowing that as important as fanzines portray these games to be, they can look to many other vital things in life to gain rewards from. True superstars often use lessons distilled from their competitive glory days to shine in non-sports related venues, contributing global assists to the downtrodden.
Sportspersons have much to live up to, when glorified as idols that represent everything good in this weary world. A few aspire to and actually reach this high standard and are worthy of such idolization. It is excellent when they attain this level, but even the most glorified of heroes make mistakes. Being subject to failure humanizes the most respected of sports idols, but if they handle this quandary properly, they can come away even more victorious, albeit human. Paradoxically, being fallible enables humans to overcome mistakes, achieving higher levels of admiration than they could if they were actually flawless entities.
*A prime example of sportsmanship played out in 1976 on a field at the Spokane Special Olympics. During the 100-yard dash race, ten physically and mentally disabled contestants assembled beaming full of life, each one eager to win. At the gun, they started out, except for one small lad who stumbled, rolled over and began to cry. One or two participants heard the boy and turned back. A young girl with Down syndrome bent down on the racetrack, kissed him, and said, ‘This will make it better.’ Then they linked arms and walked in unison to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood stunned. There was not a dry eye in the arena, and the cheering still echoes years later, resonating in witnesses’ heads whenever they recount the story. This incident demonstrates how “True Champions”  sometimes thrive in unexpected places; places that some of us might wrongly regard as lowly.
*Tales of football icons fumbling their fortunes emerge from the underside of the arena.
It seems that some fabled players, after having almost everything in life catered for them, have had difficult times adjusting to less lavish lifestyles when their careers are cut short. Some end up strung out on skid row or even in jail. Bruce Lowitt from the St. Petersburg Times writes about players who have resorted to selling their Super Bowl Rings only a few years after earning them. In his story, Getting the ring can be easier than keeping it, he interviews Kansas City pawnshop owner Don Budd, who says, “It was hard for me to believe that someone could reach that pinnacle and be willing to give up the one object that says, ‘I was the best’ Nowadays, Mr. Budd averages 10 players a season, who sell out their rings in this last line of defense between poverty and homelessness” (Lowitt).*
Yet sometimes, after hitting all-time life-lows even these trounced players rebound, redeeming themselves as even better persons than they had been at the height of their ball-playing careers. Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown, (who was raised by his great-grandmother from age two, because his parents were gone and his grandmother was an alcoholic) left football while at the top of his sport, moving up even higher on the scale of true karma to counsel troubled teenagers and creating positive inroads for getting gangbangers off streets. After all, for kids struggling in traumatic times, seriously doubting everything, nothing beats hearing legitimately gifted voices of experience from high-profile persons who have tasted extremes of both sweetness and bitterness. From delicate golden syrupy pancakes stuffed with caviar and Savoy-truffles and Faberge omelets, to soppy milquetoast and rotten eggs for breakfast with a side of saltwater decaf from Hard-Times Cafe.
Embracing wide spectrums of experience develops a broader person. Denial of bad experiences is necessary within certain degrees, but in many cases, denial isn’t the healthiest course of action.
*How often in life, have you heard someone say about a traumatic event, “I wish it hadn’t happened to me, but I’m a better person for it?” In Kathleen McGowan’s Psychology Today article, “The Hidden Side of Happiness” she shows how a rich rewarding life often requires a messy battle with adversity and that we have a built-in human capacity to flourish under the most difficult circumstances. Thus the paradox, “what doesn’t kill you can actually make you stronger.” We sometimes confuse adversity with failure; therefore making a distinction between the two can be healing in of itself. Knowing that you have given it your best at a sporting event or some other task, yet did not ‘win’ first place, should not by any means disallow you to proudly walk away from your valiant efforts.
*In the mountaineering community, there are several well-documented incidents of professional climbers attempting to ascend high peaks, and then due to safety or weather concerns, turning around within shouting distance of the summit. Jon Krakauer, in his award-winning Into Thin Airchronicles the case of Swedish ultra-athlete Goran Kropp. After traveling from sea level from Sweden on a specially built bicycle laden with 240 lbs of gear, robbed and beaten along the way, Mr. Kropp finally reached the base of Mt. Everest, intending to climb it without bottled oxygen or Sherpa support. After a few training days, Goran reached 26,000 feet, aiming for the top the next morning right after midnight. Krakauer’s eagle-eyed perspective recounts:
*“For the first time in months almost no wind blasted the summit, but the snow on the upper mountain was thigh deep, making for slow exhausting progress. Kropp bulled his way relentlessly, upward through the drifts, however, about by two o’clock Thursday afternoon he’d reached 28,700 feet, just below the South Summit. But even though the top was no more than sixty minutes above, he decided to turn around, believing that he would be too tired to descend safely if he climbed any higher.
To turn around that close to the summit (Rob) Hall mused with a shake of his head on May 6 as Kropp plodded past Camp Two on his way down the mountain. That showed incredibly good judgment on young Goran’s part. I’m impressed,“ considerably more impressed actually, than if he had continued climbing and made the top.” (Krakauer).
Therefore, it is nice to see that at least in mountaineering circles, you do not have to park yourself on top of the world to be a winner. Principled warriors from other avenues of life would do well to take note of this. Being able to analyze mistakes, remember and learn from them, applying them to future tests, is one of the highest aspirations achievable and a fundamental nature of wisdom. Studying and learning from our failures can be a great human gift.
In this age of licitly split information it’s nice that more people appreciate this dilemma, offering optimistic opportunities for squeezing out from dangling second-leveled crevices.
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Works Cited
Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air (excerpt) Salon 24 May 1997. 20 November 2006.
Lowitt, Bruce. “Getting the ring can be easier than keeping it.” St. Petersburg Times 26 January 2001. 11 November 2006 2001/Getting_the_ring_can_.shtml
McGowan, Kathleen. “The Hidden Side of Happiness.” Psychology Today 02 May 2006. 08 November 2006 00001.html
Reibal, Sal. “Focus gives Lance head start as Tour de France nears.” USA Today01 July 2005. 10 Nov. 2006 06-30-armstrong-cover_x.html

The Peace Symbol turned 50, while the clock struck 13

And pasting together clarity from other puzzling pieces:
Reading George Orwell’s April 4 diary struck a chord with me today, although of a dissimilar clock-tick than Jackie Jura's.
The Peace Symbol turned 50 on 4/4, which means that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated on the tenth anniversary of the peace symbol unveiling. This also means that George Orwell prophesized Winston to scrawl ‘Down with Big Brother’ on the 26 anniversary of the Peace Symbol and 26+24 (Nath’s current age) again equals 50.
Paraphrasing the Washington Post article:
The Peace Symbol “A hieroglyphic that has never been trademarked so that everybody can share a piece of the peace.”
Wanting to spread peace around as best I could, last year, I submitted the following suggestion to the manufacturers of Aerobie flying discs with the following letter:
Hello aerobie administrators and facilitators,
Have you ever considered a design such as this? A peace symbol filling in interior space of the aerobie? I think that it would go over well this summer. Imagine great peace aerobies orbiting around the National Mall this Fourth of July or at various war protests throughout the civilized world? Or a special limited edition at the ready in the event a war actually ended? I would take my newfangled “peace missive” aerobie to whatever great diplomats are responsible for ending the war and have them autograph it in permanent ink.

I have always been a big fan of this marvelous toy and even met Mr. Adler at an event back in the mid-80’s that was recorded on CBS’s Charles Osgood files. This was during Presidents Day weekend and the worlds Champion at the time Scott Zimmerman dressed up as a patriot and attempted to toss some aerobies across the Potomac River from a Virginia bluff. He taped a Susan B. Anthony silver dollar to the first few aerobies, but they all dropped into the river. Soon someone suggested taping two coins and placing them on opposite ends –to counterbalance each other – and according to legend, this helped Scott became the first person since George Washington to toss a silver dollar across the Potomac.

I also recall at this event that the inventor, Mr. Adler instructed fans as to the proper pronunciation of “Aerobie” (AIR-oh-bee). This often came in handy later when disagreements broke out as to the proper pronunciation - I could always say I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Jim Banholzer

Shortly thereafter, I received the following response from Alan Adler, Aerobie’s inventor and developer:
From: []
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 6:37 PM
To: Jim Banholzer
Subject: Peace

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm definitely a dove myself.

Although I confess to being more hawkish when young. But

I'm older and wiser now. As they say, "Youth is wasted on

the young".

Considering the high cost of plastic molds, I hope you'll

understand if we don't make the peace-symbol Aerobie. But

I certainly like the idea, and shant easily forget it.

We had a lot of fun that weekend in DC. I still see Scott

Zimmerman occasionally. He lives in San Diego.

Best regards,

Alan Adler

Field of impossible Aerobie Dreams
I once lofted an Aerobie 440 feet in the field by George Washington’s Mount Vernon Grist Mill. My friend Mike threw one about 460 feet. About twenty years ago, we were playing around with the aerobie in a baseball diamond near Woodbridge, Virginia on a Sunday morning. It was sort of a sandlot field and some younger kids were playing soccer in the outfield. Mike threw me the aerobie from home plate to second base to where I was going to pretend to catch an invisible runner stealing second base. However, a great wind caught the aerobie and it floated into far leftfield. Suddenly it came down and landed around the neck of the only black kid playing soccer. The game stopped and everybody grew silent. To this day, we still talk about it, the various symbolisms it meant, etc. The good thing though was that after a few seconds of shock, everybody had a good laugh and knew all of the soccer runners were safe. They knew that the two scruffy galoots standing there in the limey infield could not have made that shot on purpose, even if they tried a thousand times, and with a smile, the kid tossed his temporary necklace back to us.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Hello Aerobie administrators and facilitators,
Have you ever considered a design such as this? A peace symbol filling in interior space of the aerobie? I think that it would go over well this summer. Imagine great peace aerobies orbiting around the National Mall this Fourth of July or at various war protests throughout the civilized world? Or a special limited edition at the ready in the event a war actually ended? I would take my newfangled “peace missive” aerobie to whatever great diplomats are responsible for ending the war and have them autograph it in permanent ink.
I have always been a big fan of this marvelous toy and even met Mr. Adler at an event back in the mid-80’s that was recorded on CBS’s Charles Osgood files. This was during Presidents day weekend and the worlds Champion at the time Scott Zimmerman dressed up as a patriot and attempted to toss some aerobies across the Potomac River from aVirginia bluff. He taped a Susan B. Anthony silver dollar to the first few aerobies, but they all dropped into the river. Soon someone suggested taping two coins and placing them on opposite ends –to counterbalance each other – and according to legend, this helped Scott became the first person since George Washington to toss a silver dollar across the Potomac.
I also recall at this event that the inventor, Mr. Adler instructed fans as to the proper pronunciation of “Aerobie” (AIR-oh-bee). This often came in handy later when disagreements broke out as to the proper pronunciation - I could always say I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.

From: marcu
Dear Mr. Greer,

I was wondering if you had any thoughts or advice on dealing with synchronicity? I'm always concerned that I'm reading too much into things but I also don't want to miss obvious hints.
         Hide 1 comment
Date: 2018-07-30 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: ecosophia
That's really something you have to learn from experience. There's a middle ground between ignoring synchronicities and being obsessed by them; aim for that and you should be fine.

Merge right with kindness
Our sturdy work crew witnessed some disconcerting scenes recently during the commute where traffic quickly comes together by the bridge under construction near the Ketchum hospital. After seeing one ill-mannered incident that looked like it could lead to an altercation one of my guys said, “In situations like these, I just try to focus on good intentions for the troubled people involved,” as he motioned with some blessing gestures.

Then, another colleague clicked on Wikipedia and spoke aloud: “Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.”

Our anchorman observed with thoughtful intensity: “Some people are just having an awful day and everybody is allowed that. However, some poor folks are experiencing a series of really bad days; think about some of your own worst days. And getting behind the wheel of a vehicle may be the one thing that temporarily gives some people a powerful sense of freedom and control, while many other aspects of their life are in shambles.”

Which drives me back to the blessing gestures: When motorists merge, it would bring better understanding if more were to reflect on what their most highly revered spiritual figure would do to create a better convergence at our future community bridge.

And with this harmonic jazz in mind; as they’ve done well to lessen dangerous conditions for other large mammals, perhaps our Idaho Transportation Department could develop a contest for aspiring graphic artists to come up with an icon to be displayed on new “Merge right with kindness” road signs.

Our high-hope for this persuasive art to work is that some impolite motorists will shift their behavior over from nasty bird-flipping, and upgrade to playfully flashing sturdy peace signs shared with two nice fingers.

A questionable search engine encounter
As I was ambling down Foster Street on 08/08/18, I spied a newfangled Google Maps car filming the area with a 360° lens. While the gadgety car snapped my photo I tried shooting in return, to frame the Bug in my camera. But alas, my drawback was too slow, even though I’m recently returned from decades in the Wild West.
Being captured so unexpectedly, I glanced where I had stood moments before, in hopes that I had not presumed too slovenly a posture to be marked on my permanent State College record. The dynamic doodlebug pressed forward, it filmed a woman carefully pushing a baby in a perambulator; then in front of the curious baby I sensed another stir and became excited for a young couple, as their freshly-surveyed teacup poodle will be soon featured on a new map.
The all-seeing car then wound through other avenues, leaving me behind. I wanted to question the driver, being curious about his job with its weird and waspy ways. I imagine the driver stops for lunch. He would know good diners from his maps. He probably has a list of snappy answers ready for inquiring minds: Can Google illuminate maps for blind people? What type of protection does the vehicle have? How many kilometers does he cover on a normal day? In what types of settlements does he encounter the friendliest folks? How much of everything does Google vacuum up? Does it sniff information from every nearby device; for later use in a valuable database? How do our munificent mapping overlords purport to measure the quality of a good college town?
Besides simple streets, what other dead ends will the futuristic data-collecting car help us and our curious babies to avoid as we further evolve and mature?

Sad spring snow surprise
Back in 1993, my first job in Idaho was working with the Blaine County Recreation District. After a bond approval our valley workers and volunteers built a world class bicycle trail on the old railroad right of way. In winter we groomed the same path for a cross country ski trail, which thousands of winter recreationalists delightfully used.
Back then the Rec district had only one snow-cat groomer, which we used primarily for the popular Harriman ski trail. For the local path we used a modern snowmobile, dragging behind it a rudimentary 200 pound steel groomer. For colder days when the surface was icier, we added barbell free-weights, which locked into small poles at the end of the groomer and tugged behind. In front I carried additional weighted disks to dig deeper where the top snow crested hard at the few shady spots where cottonwoods arched over the trail.
Usually, we began grooming two hours before sunrise, slowly combing our way north to higher elevations, hence following the trail temperature at an even keel.
If the weather forecast was warm, we started at night, hoping to encounter prime grooming conditions. Sometimes, this was challenging; for instance when a cold snap followed a sunny day, this would result in 3 to 4 inches of crusty hard freeze. In cases like this, I would be required to repeat the grooming process several times, focusing firmly on the most traveled spots. Even so, there were times when skiers complained, thinking that we had not yet groomed, though it was often an area that we had already combed over repetitively.
It was a pristine job, and it led me to idealistic thoughts and musings as I groomed along my merry way, encountering folks who were enjoying healthy sunshine and happy exercise. Part of the task consisted in picking up stray trash, which didn’t seem too bad since I only needed to stop a handful of times. It was important to carry a shovel as well, since there were spots where the snow-machine would bog down, especially in warmer climate. Moreover, since the air-cooled snowmobile overheated under the stress of pulling large weights, I was required to unhook the heavy groomer and go play, spinning speedily around in snowdrifts to cool the engine.
I soon learned it was important to dress smart for the grooming task. This included sunglasses, warm hats, thick and thin gloves and spares, a face shield with defogger, first aid kits, warm fitting snow boots, layered jackets -the outer waterproof, toe warmers inside quality socks, but not too tight. It was also important when dressing to make sure my feet had fully dried from morning showers before pulling on socks to prevent foot moisture from freezing fast in the below zero temperatures.
When spring arrived, we would try to time it right to plow the south half of the path to provide eager bicyclists a safe place to ride. This, while continuing to snow groom the north section through late spring. As the melt-off continued and snow receded I was surprised at the large amounts of trash and dog poop tarnishing the trail. There were even McDonald’s wrappers in the wet dirt, and back then the nearest Mickey-D’s was 80 miles away! The first spring cleaning day our boss had expected me to finish renewing the south bike path in around three hours. But picking up hundreds of pieces of trash spread afar filled many bags. When the boss asked, “What took so long?” I replied, “Oh, the humanity.”
That next season I worked as an itinerant cab driver, and one day my fare was a young lady. Soon after introductions, in an impromptu manner she suddenly told me the story of how she had arrived in the Wood River with great expectations; seeing how immaculate the area was painted with its virgin snow surface. This bright luster helped convince her that Sun Valley was a power spot or some sort of a fantastically exceptional place. Then she started weeping as we passed a gas station as she saw stacks of trash blowing around. She said that she was disappointed when the pristine snow melted, which had been hiding the filth and dirt of the entire town. Then she equated the sad snowmelt to some of her broken friendships. As she began sobbing more uncontrollably, all I could say was, “I know what you mean, Honey.”

                                                                                                Monday, February 11, 2019

To whom it may concern,
Here is my observation of a recent concerning bus incident:
On Friday, February 08, 2019 at approximately 2:30 p.m., I boarded a Centre County Transportation Bus after it turned around at the intersection before the large parking garage next to Penn State’s Moore Building. As I climbed aboard, Teresa the bus driver followed me inside to where we encountered Barry floundering on the floor and at first unsuccessfully trying to stand from a perplexing fall he had taken from out of his seat.
Barry and Erica were the only two passengers aboard. They had been sitting next to each other, with Erica at the window seat. Apparently, when the bus turned the corner a strong wind gust broadsided it, which possibly caused a jolt hard enough for this spill of Barry’s to the floor occur. It had been especially windy in that area at the time.
It took maybe 20-25 seconds for Teresa and Erica (with me backing them up) help Barry get upright and reoriented back into his seat properly. I think he probably had his seat belt on when his fall occurred, because the dozens of times I’ve watched him from a vantage point where I can observe this well, he always has been tightly buckled in before.
These circumstances of the unfortunate event appeared to have baffled all four of us.
Since it is challenging for Barry to communicate, it was difficult for us to ascertain if he had incurred any type of injury. When Erica repeatedly and patiently asked him in the nurturing way she does as his close friend, we still were not absolutely certain how he was doing. To me, even though I sense Barry is strong, he looked shaken up.  However, in the confusion he was still unable to tell us if he felt hurt.  Again, for another two or three minutes, we tried gaining a better sense of his state, and I wondered if we should be calling for an ambulance, or at least make sure  that he was taken in soon for a physical assessment, in case he had acquired an unseen internal injury.
Teresa, our driver began to say that she thought Barry was okay. But I wondered that if even so, don’t most reputable work places have a strict policy for reporting any type of injury, no matter how small? And was proper protocol being followed here in Barry’s case?
Later on as other passengers boarded, Erica began to share with one or two about how she had helped Barry, but Teresa intervened to shush her, insisting that Barry was okay.
I hope Barry is well from this, and perhaps he is; but besides questioning the bus driver’s decision here, I wonder what happens when similar future unfortunate incidents occur as they likely will, when considering the large amounts of mileage that these Centre County buses accumulate each year.
When drivers get approved and recertified for their Commercial License privileges, I imagine they go through intensive training and refresher courses for this very type of incident. And if they don’t, well then maybe the transportation administrators should consider marking such specific training as having a higher importance, especially when considering the equal rights for a possible suffering person who can hardly speak and stand up for himself.
Thank you,

For more of my writing, my primary blog
is at

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“Banholzer, your writing is oddly timeless” – Pam Parker

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