Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Idaho Mountain Express
It's remarkable that a Northwest Airlines flight was subject to a high-profile Christmas attack eight years to the day that shoe-bomber Richard Reid bumbled a similar airline assault. Equally noteworthy is the international media scrutiny placed on the uncommon events while few news outlets report on the more than 500 million airline flights that took place in the last 10 years without confrontation of any sort.
The years I worked in the airline industry before 9/11 made it clear that our security system was largely a charade, requiring vast improvements. For one thing, I would have felt more secure back then knowing that our security agents were earning more than $6 an hour. It's great that our dedicated screeners now earn something more approaching a living wage; however, I never dreamed we would become compliant to authoritarian rules of such a large, ballooning boondoggle agency. Besides being required to obediently kick off our shoes, we're now sometimes subject to fishing expeditions that has absolutely nothing to do with transportation security. At some airports, innocent flyers are even forced to pass through high-resolution X-ray scanners, which clearly violate child pornography laws.
Although the TSA has manufactured over 1 million "terrorists" for our state-of-fear watch lists, air travel remains a safer mode of transportation than most long highway journeys. It's too bad that while we're being hyped and barked at by talking heads all along the terrorism watchtower about these extremely rare violent air incidents, we aren't able to divert some of these massive funds for some simple, down-to-earth homeland security measures, such as upgrading some of Idaho's terribly dangerous, high-speed rural roads into safer, divided highways.
Airport parking should be free
Only a handful of airports in the nation offer free parking and Twin Falls is one. Offering free parking at the proposed Sun Valley airport would offset expenditures for travelers who complain about the extra drive and help to compete with Twin. Free parking would also help jumpstart the popularity of the new airport and encourage air travel, which lately has been inundated by higher security and fuel costs.
Another thing airport planners should consider is a large indoor, heated de-icing structure for aircraft to taxi through, minutes before flying off. Such a structure could be designed with environmentally friendly drains for collecting the used de-icing fluid and perhaps recycling it later.
Another possibility would be to remove the dangerous ice from aircraft with modernized microwave systems. Having a heated hanger for either of these options would lessen the amount of de-icing fluid and microwaves required. The de-icing booth could double in summer as a car wash.
The airport authority could advertise this airplane "car wash" and remind pilots who spiff up their wings there that they are also helping to offset the cost of free parking, thus popularizing modern Idaho airport travel.
Selkie swayed to speak hidden truths
From the Wood River Journal
May 8, 2007
I was privy as to certain information regarding the Mermaid of the Bigwood. She was captured in an underwater cell video, tranquilly sipping liquid from a simmering coconut shell she discovered floating downstream. Within the tempting coconut slices was sprinkled an elderberry mead concoction, which persuaded the tastee to speak the truth three times consecutive. The trick was in the form of the question, for if the questioner were not careful he could still come away deceived. In addition, one man’s truth might not match that of another’s.
One renewing millennium as I ducked under the river’s edge for a simple splish-splash, the mermaid’s nemesis Mr. Mossinghoff, heralded this super-secret into my ear. He had recently come undone, from being ensnared spellbound in her lovely Venus flytrap garden. I came away with a surprisingly cleaner covenant than what was expected from the foamy spring. Wanting to know and deeply believing she would speak truth, I asked the mermaid, what was the most exhilarating day of her life?
Standing beside the river, I reflected how we each have our best moments. Every fish in the sea experiences its brightest flashbulb instant. Sometimes these singular seconds illuminate all day, or imbed in head for life. Like two good sports hitting it off for the first time as fine friends, watching a younger sibling catch her first immaculate cutthroat from the Bigwood. Or for cliff rock-divers, attaining that ideal ten from their acrobatic acts into that twelve-foot opening. Maybe an X-streamed sportsperson unwinding half-piped troubles via impeccable pitch. Or a perfect called third strike to end the World Series in a game to transform people’s lives. Perhaps one Giant leaper for humankind agilely exceeding a tip-top bar, by several inches on that important jump, which for a cool second levitates gravity laws –outdoors naturally.
The mermaid must have read my mind, because she said that her favorite day was when she learned to chant alarming siren songs concerning nature. Then she backpedaled stroking upstream, tugging behind a leaky barrel of the singular serum, further defying natural order. Mr. Moss looked a bit bewildered.
My second question struck as a bolt from the blue while jogging along shore leaves. I asked the Mermaid to thrust her mischievous redhead into the grandpa-elder hollow to ask the former towering tree, what its sunniest day was. After a glistening spell, she pulled her head from the wound’s twisted vortex, with three replies scribed on woodchip endings: Through the mermaid, the elder-tree communed; that there was a day that broke open like so many others. The elder had been weeping for loss of its willowfriend over a bridge. Then a plump robin redbreast laid her eggs in its lower branches. Sensitivity nestled back in the tingling wind. Soon the elder grasped bird-by-bird songs sufficiently striking as to startle lumberjacks in tracks. Chainsaw strings pulled loose from mechanisms like useless nooses. The aura of elderberry enchantment even deflected lightning off and over to smoldering Trail Creek boulders.
With polished question number three, I pointedly asked this babe of inland sea, why were reporters not conducting more man on the street interview questions like this across town traffic: What was your shiniest moment sir? What is the secret talent of your children? In what arenas do you foresee glimmers of hope after the slow crash, which we are inside the bubble of?
The mermaid flipped me out a third time, by singing, “it is because in this realm most media outlets –including many ‘alternatives’ are controlled by vast underworld networks, where power frequently pollutes spirit. To herald some shining news without being too sappy, courageous captains will have to continue dipping into a sea of metaphor and fairy tale to convey veiled messages of valor.”
Then, she continued her watery whisper, spouting these prime Tolkien words, “There are truths that are beyond us, transcendental truths about beauty, truth, honour, etc. There are truths that man knows exist, but they cannot be seen, they are immaterial but no less real to us. It is only through the language of myth that we can speak of these truths. We have come from God and only through myth, through story telling, can we aspire to the life we were made for with God.”
This was enough hearkening for one day. Last, I heard the Mossman took a cue from an Amish nymph and adorned a plaque, speckled with moss that certifies his historical forgiveness of the Mermaid. He now chases a Lorelei on the north side of trees out Warm Springs where sometimes they both can be seen swinging from the same vines.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010
Twin Falls Times-News
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Ein Hemingway Bummel durch den Adams Gulch
Last column for the Mountain Express
Field Test : Samichlaus
Friday, October 31st, 2008
Sun Valley Online
In this new era of electronic mail, it’s not often that I receive greeting cards; however, two months ago, I received a heartfelt condolence card from an out of town friend, offering support, when my good friend Mary Anne passed on. The card chosen had on its cover, a photo of a little girl pushing a Ginormous elephant onto a cart, which symbolized the small level of support my friend felt she was offering, since she was unable to be here in person.
A month later, I received another card in the mail. This one was a thank you for helping another friend move some large furniture around her house and featured an elephant on the cover. This friend included the notation: “No kidding, you’re my biggest friend.” I set the second card atop the refrigerator, by the other elephant card, thought it was a nice coincidence, and pointed it out to a few friends that came by.
Then a few days ago, my Aunt Jane sent me a classic care package for my birthday.[i]Aunt Jane is a nature lover and vibrant cloud-watcher and for years, has sent out hand-painted cards as seasonal gifts. Well, lo & behold, among the thoughtful items she included was a personalized water coloring of an elephant grazing!
This third friendly-looking elephant left me a little stunned, and soon the wild synchronicity prompted me to tread softly over to the world of animal totems:
Here the twelfth totem says: