Part III

Are you finding good news as hard to come by as a fresh drink of water squeezed from a lava rock? Feels as though you want to stay 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 in some way. After all, whenever you're in Idaho, Bliss is just down the road. Perhaps, now, an overload of compassionate news bulletins will jam your rig's built-in monitor, causing a tipping point in your truck gauges. No worries though, because you'll finally get the chance to walk around that marsh you've always driven 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 is super!

By Jim Banholzer

Back in cold February, I was chugging up Highway 75; when suddenly right before Ohio Gulch, the rig started behaving badly. Turns out it was the transmission, and even though a mechanic-friend had recently gone over it with a fine-toothed comb, it was shot.
That cost some big bucks; and then, only a few weeks later, the truck started misbehaving again, at that exact same spot. As locals know, Ohio Gulch is the turnoff for the dump transfer, and just north is where the State sometimes sets up weigh stations. It’s also essentially the last good place to pull over safely; if you’re heading north with a big rig in the area, and it breaks down.
The second breakdown was caused by a fuel pump problem. I thought it was strange and yet a little fortunate that the truck decided to break down at the same safe pullover spot twice. Then I remembered; fifteen years ago, I was driving a rig full of rocks for a stonemason, and that truck broke down at the same spot. I had loaded Gene’s truck to the brim, with four and ¼ tons of river rock. As we approached Ohio Gulch, his truck started thumping loudly from the right rear. I pulled over and soon saw that the wheel had actually rolled out from its base, while the lug nuts whizzed off like bullets in the wild-west sage. Although the tire and rim had shot off, it had miraculously wedged into a corner of the truck, keeping the masonry rocks from spilling out.
As I hitchhiked to the East Fork jobsite, passing over Greenhorn Bridge, I became thankful that the truck had not decided to shuck off its rock, back to the river there. I wasn’t looking for that type of legend on my resume.
It’s funny; every time I drive past that Hyndman Creek house with a friend and see those river rocks shining so intact, I feel compelled to pull over, point at the stones and tell this story.
And it makes me curious to hear about other people’s experiences of breaking down at same spots.
And while we did laugh later, Gene told me, when he saw me walking the last leg of Hyndman, two hours late and with no truck, he thought, “This can’t be good.”



FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2007

By Jim Banholzer
for the Wood River Journal

Ancient warriors were given special care upon returning from battles. They were brought into spas at outskirts of cities and slowly cooled down with extraordinary nurturing concern for long spells until it was determined that it was safe for them to return into communities-unlike modern times when soldiers more often get dumped straight back onto the streets with little or no benefits. Nowadays, many of our Country's Veterans are homeless or incarcerated at record levels without support, while perpetually mired in post-traumatic crises. As Dennis Kucinich put it, “Homelessness and poverty are weapons of mass destruction.”

Men develop with different levels of mettle, but sanity has limitation points for even the bravest of soldiers. “Soldiers Heart” affected many Civil War Veterans (and their families). In later wars, this became “Shell Shock” then “Battle Fatigue.” Now “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” is the expression. During World War II Gen. George S. Patton was nearly court-martialed after 
slapping a hospital patient whose conscience was suffering from “Soldiers Heart”, thinking that he was just a coward. 

A historically safe place, which soldiers used to convalesce, both physically and psychologically was the Sun Valley Lodge. Many World War II soldiers, who rehabilitated there in its fresh air, became attached to this area -and for good reasons. Some remain as helpful contributors within our community to this day.

What safer place and further away from war (Mountain Home Air Force Base notwithstanding) could there be for a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center, then the good earth on where Friedman airport currently sits? 
It's been reported that if the Friedman family recognizes a suitably significant cause, that they will consider donating this prime Hailey Real Estate for that concern -if the airport relocates, whereby the site reverts to the family.

I believe it's not too early for our community leaders to begin contemplating constructive ideas about what they might create from this once-in-a-lifetime possibility.

We could transform this airport acreage into something for truly banking on; besides generous monetary donations from valley benefactors to help establish a healing foundation center, this could also be a prime opportunity for us to show how rich we are in spirit, by personally welcoming these recuperating warriors back into our community. As part of their continuing recovery, we could thank our Veterans for their Herculean efforts by offering desirable jobs-some perhaps related with support services for the healing center.

Moreover, we could construct hundreds of affordable-housing units on the land, along with potential worker-retraining facilities for displaced warriors to re-attach to our community by becoming useful contributors. Some of the recovered will have rejuvenated with a broader sense of understanding and develop the desire to become healing practitioners themselves. A “Walter Reed West” center would create bountiful meaningful jobs here. Already established organizations such as Sun Valley Adaptive Sports and The Advocates could tie in well with such a “permanent wellness festival”. The College of Southern Idaho could even expand its nursing center here. Perhaps an owner of one of the locally underutilized hot springs could 
pipe in some of their healing waters into such a splendiferous spa with government stepping in to help fund construction logistics of the donation.

The relocated airport could even benefit, becoming a busy transport center for the steady streams of patients, visitors, hospital personnel and supplies.

Posttraumatic stress disorder therapies could feature recently advanced Somatic Experiencing, MDMA and Propranolol treatments, as well as other well-proven curative methods-both ancient and newly developed. Even if we are somehow fortunate enough to be without war as the airport shift occurs, Doctors are now seeing that PTSD is a condition that is a normal part of life, which often actually strengthens us. How many times for instance, have you heard someone say about an adverse situation, “I wish it hadn't happened, but I'm a stronger person for it?” A trauma-stren transformation clinic could assist and focus on numerous variables of this.

Let us extend our common senses with high-tech hospital wings, blooming with curative physicians.

You priests and holy leaders who keep so mum about the wars, now are the times to call for fresh miracles. Let us forcefully implore that our Pentagon 
redirect its forces into tools that enable the blind to again see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk. Let us ask for a peaceful turnover of these suppressed cutting-edge technologies, so we may transform our energies to relieve this terrifying violence, which only perpetuates further violence. Let our common senses soften no more. Those in wheelchair pews ascend over foxy TV skies. Demand that your tax barrels of cash handed to war profiteers is flip-flopped to trickle down just amounts of funds to help our globe spin a little truer, for battle amputees, brain-injured and psychologically traumatized.

Let us hope that our soldiers' hearts heal well enough in this Idaho land to walk again peacefully on the world we worship, and that through another miracle, diplomacy prevails rather than our wrongly “war shipping” of the good earth, with land mines, undepleted uranium and a general malaise to eliminate those who we do not understand.

Movers and shakers 
heed this clarion call. Come together with equally powerful ideas for the potentially soon to be changed vast ground where Friedman Airport now abounds. It would be nice to have feasibility studies set up in advance to see what else might be achievable for improving our community in positive ways, if the Friedman family continues to stand by this intention.

With the sunny climate, fresh air and clean water inherent to this valley, enhanced by the numerous enlightened compassionate people who flourish here, our community could 
set a new standard for positive rehabilitation by improving on some of the shortcomings now plaguing Walter Reed Veteran's hospital and hand our modern warriors the deserved special treatment, most have earned.

I ask that our community leaders strongly consider holding a feasibility study, in the near future, to see if this idea or 
similar ones hold enough water to transform soldier's widow tears into flowing fountains fronting a first class “Friedman Memorial Trauma-Stren Conversion Center.”

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.

In the same vein of "What about safe flights?" Bob Kustra recently interviewed world renowned security expert Bruce Schneier for some powerful insights on the subject:
"Remember the day after the 'underwear bomber', our Secretary of Homeland Security said, basically, that security succeeded on Christmas Day, and she was villified for it, which frustrates me, because, you know, security did succeed. Think of what happened: we had no bomb explode, no plane crash, nobody die, and terrorist arrested. Sounds like a success to me, sounds like a phenomenal success. I think we should be very happy, and we should be laughing at this guy.
"Instead, we went into sort of 'full fear mode', and, really succeeding in terrorizing ourselves, and this frustrates me. Here it is, this guy failed and yet he's succeeding and causing terror.
"And when you think about why he failed, and this is very important, he failed because of pre-9/11 security. Because, in Amsterdam airport, they screen for obvious guns and bombs, the bomb-maker had to build an inefficient bomb. So instead of using a plunger, or a timer, or a fuse, or something any normal, commercial user of this plastic explosive might employ, he had to build an ad hoc, home-brewed detonation device, with a syringe, and 20 minutes in the bathroom, and a fire in his lap, and actually we don't know what else. That failed. And that's security succeeding. And then after that, new developments in airline security, which is passengers fighting back, quickly subdued him, and the plane landed safely....
"When people are scared, they want to feel better. People are scared of stories. The Christmas Day suicide bombing attempt was a story, and the story made people afraid. And when people are afraid, they really can't hear. You know, 'it wasn't a big deal, relax.' You remember, the day after Christmas, nobody wanted to hear that. Everyone wanted to hear 'how are you going to make us safer? What are you going to do?' There's a belief that perfection is possible, that when something goes wrong, someone must be at fault, someone must be to blame, and there must be a fix.
"Even though in the real world, as we all know, you can do everything right and still have things go wrong. There doesn't have to be a fault. But as a politician you can't say that. So you have to look tough on terror, you have to give people a competing narrative.... even if it makes no sense, [even if it's just 'security theater'].
Thanks to Fort Boise's Tom von Alten for pointing this

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.
As I noted in another recent discussion forum around here, when the old airport shuts down, it will be interesting to see how much contamination is in the soil from deicing aircraft for decades. There could be a heavy cost involved, hauling off soil to a certified toxic-waste-receiving-dump. (This is not all bad, because it will give excavation contractors some work)
About fifteen years ago, the airlines switched over from Ethylene Glycol to the much less toxic Propylene Glycol. This foresight may have helped the contamination problem, but we will probably need to drill some test holes in the affected earth, before we can build anything new on the old airport site.
The spots where Sky West and Horizon currently deice their aircraft will be easy to pinpoint, because they have always performed their deicing procedures in that concentrated area. However, the private vendor and its previous incarnations have for years, deiced aircraft in various spots, to the sides of the taxiway.
This too, may have given us some advantage, the spreading out of the toxins. And as water has amazing dissolution powers, the plenteous rain we’ve received in recent years, probably has helped fix this problem to a degree. However, this whole deicing contamination issue is something we will need to examine closer and soon.
Meanwhile, for those who look at my suggestions as pure stupidity, I would hope that they could enjoy them, by focusing on the aspect of satire instead.

Re: U.S. imposes controls on a new security threat: birdwatchers.

I read about how our U.S. security agents are now keeping an eye out for birdwatchers. Seems you will need a police escort in some aviary areas now, to enjoy this pastime every bit as popular as baseball, apple pie and mom.

I wonder how this will affect arrowhead hunting in Idaho. If you can't glance up at a bird, you might as well stare at the ground looking for obsidian chips. But no, this subject looks like he's studying the sand awful hard. Must be devising a method to dig under buildings and do something nefarious. Better re-fund Rat Patrol to guard all of Craters of the Moon's perimeter. And what was he planning to do with those weapons of mass destruction arrowheads once he found them! Better medicate him. Maybe Cheney can hold the needle. Not having a human heart makes him less squeamish than other people who have been inoculated into normalcy.

So Mom, please bake a file into my next apple pie. Because when our Bill of Rights soon expires, thoughts like these could be deemed unpatriotic and land me in a slammer with no bird's-eye view. Perhaps my opportunity will arise while the guards are watching a tight baseball game in late innings. Cheering fans will cover my filing and I'll be saved by the purity of that last bastion of good old America: Baseball! (except for the steroids)

The sunset channel
There’s an autistic kid who remembers
Every sundown he’s experienced.

Tries to see one every dusk
Then invests them in his memory bank

It’s quite remarkable this ability he’s honed
Cherry-picking shade and spectrum details

He can tell you –if you want to know- how the landscape shifted
Anywhere in the world on November 22, 1963 - for instants.

To better see nightfall, he’ll go on hayrides
Sit on top of stacks and find poetry
up there

Sways back his hip head through covered bridges

Just spilled off the rear of a spud wagon the other day

From an early age he realized Sunsets would become something
So important that he would make his mark on the world through them

Sometimes his kinfolk laugh/splash puddle remarks behind his back
Hardly realizing that it is they, who are more crippled than he is.

One evening it was too stormy to see much of the sky
So he went down to the Zenith TV factory
Gazed in the window to see if they
Might be featuring a sunset on TV

Nothing was on, so he begin to kindly query passerby
“Have you seen a hole in the sky,
where some Sol might squeeze through?”

Burgess Meredith handed him a remote control for parting the stratosphere.

I want to travel to Sirius.
Seriously, tonight in a dream.
I’ve Dunn heard that some African tribes believe that this is their true ancestral land.
You can read about it in Graham Hancock’s anthropological tome called Supernatural.
Without apologies, I would like to take off to there, way up over the piney wood
And call in sick tomorrow on a supernatural satellite well phone.
I trust they will have an advanced form of pine nuts for me to munch on
When my years of fascination finally dwindle down to a new hunger.
I’ve heard that the apes on Sirius hold telescopes backwards that really work as microscopes
Speaking of this I saw a photon of Sirius today –it looks like an aspirin.
What up with that?
I suppose I will need to Big Gulp down a cup of genic / cry o’ genetic - chill pill if my dream
Doesn’t instantly transport me there.
But what about a traveling companion?
I almost didn’t even think of that!
So used to flying solo –you know.
Perhaps another soul would enjoy sharing a serious ride with me to Sirius.
Once we get there, I believe I could conjure up a minute bowl of pine nut soup
And boil it over a volcanic crater, in the event we need sustenance.
Hey, if we overdo it, we’ll just break off a chunk of the Sirius.
The whole place is an aspirin –just as the moon is formed from Emerald Cheese.
At least that’s what Neil Armstrong said in an unrehearsed & unreleased outtake,
When he was Captain Crunching on Idaho’s Tamarack pine nuts
Down there around Craters of the Moon
Where the Flag’s blowin’ in the wind
Like American Stars & Bars
All the way from Carey’s Loading Chute
To Arco’s Pickles Place in Atomic City
Where Sirius sometimes winks in the sky

Remember when we were in Africa?

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.
~              ~              ~

A blogger’s brief history of anonymity

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Rep. Stephen Hartgen is crafting a bill requiring bloggers and online commenters to post under their real names. While some say this is sensible, when authors reveal their true selves, they often surrender much power. If Steve’s law actually passes, how do we purport to penalize, parables and plenteous poems posted by Anonymous?
And what sentence would we mete out, for someone like Samuel Clemens who blogs whimsical wisdoms under Mark Twain’s pseudonym?
Will readers be more or less intrigued when they discover George Eliot is masking femininity?
Please don’t tell me Stephen King was disingenuous when he penned his entertaining Richard Bachman mysteries.
Should we have lashed JCampbell for his posting a treatise about the hero with a thousand faces?
And how should we expect Clint Eastwood to sign his mark as Pale Rider’s nameless preacher?
Is our government suited to sue in matters of the Bible’s true author, shaky proofs of Shakespeare and secret scribes of the Koran?
And what about unidentified whistleblowers, who sense the importance of reporting unfortunate industrial mishaps, in hopes of preventing needless recurrences.
As such clampdowns made little sense for anonymous authors of antiquity; we should not impose speech-crippling regulations on our modern-day blogosphere.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring predictions from the animal world

Twin Falls Times-News
Plenty of Idaho criers have warned about wolves here being dangerous, but it's still more perilous to cross the human highway than it is to waltz out one of our yodeling canyons.
With this menace in mind, I consulted with my oracle: John Cougar Mellowcat, who kindly channeled for us, some other spring-fever animal predictions:
Besides the wolf this year, its predicted rattlers will be more docile. Good time to gather some snapping worms for dynamic fishing.
Badgers are lonelier and will need more human-applied scruffs behind their fuzzy ears.
Local cubby bears will rise with great desire for thick elderberry mead, so please baste your grease buckets and leave them warmly wafting under west Ketchum birdfeeders.
Albino deer appreciate late season snows and hope Baldy extends its opening through Memorial Day.
Increased numbers of agile cougars will descend from the Elkhorn hills to infiltrate nearly-innocents at the dew-daw room.
Butterflies will continue to flaunt their illegal ignoring of voter district lines.
While Mormon crickets continue their selfless mission of filling in Highway 20's potholes, positively chirping beetles will munch over Galena pass, making the area more avalanche-prone. This will lead to a receptive public outcry for Homeland Security to mount a warm safety-beacon cell tower on the hill.
Wise hoot owls will continue being mostly serious and make gains toward unraveling unsolved mysteries.
Local dogs will continue worming their way into local hearts, while an Idaho State University scientist will uncover compelling canine evidence that they sometimes laugh at us silly cats.
~                        ~                        ~                        ~

Ein Hemingway Bummel durch den Adams Gulch
Last column for the Mountain Express
June 2006

Sometimes all it takes is a simple hike out Adams Gulch to remind me why men like Ernest Hemingway loved Idaho. While walking along the trails, a German expression sometimes winds through my mind as much as it did in Herr Booz'es Language class thirty years ago.
Mr. Booz—I kid you not, his real name—taught us there was no exact translation into English for the word "Bummel" "Bummeln durch Den Park," he said, kind of means "bumming around or strolling through the park." For a more in depth explanation, try searching the word Bummel on Wikipedia.
Adams Gulch is a perfect place for bummeln. It's close enough to town that you don't need a car to get there. There is a shady side for hot days and a sunny side for chilly ones. Children from seven to 107 can enjoy soft scrambles on these trails, while enough water usually flows to keep the area "Fido Friendly".
And don't be fooled by the parking lot if it looks crowded. Those at play are generally widespread, frolicking on the numerous paths threading the popular valley.
It's pleasing to Bummel by Lane's picnic bench for a minute. Sometimes first time visitors from big cities are encountered here, genuflecting in awe, while swallowing views of spectacular cliff formations. The area is enchanting and "In Our Time" worth exploring every corner.
Three miles straight past the 142-loopoff on trail 177 is an area where hikers seldom Bummel. More commonly the territory of bikers, you might cross paths with riders coming from the East Fork of Baker Creek. "During the Torrents of Spring," wet evidence drips from their equipment revealing snowfield negotiations.
One crack of dawn while map gazing, I imagined the trails branching off 177 must have been where Hemingway galloped on horses to shoot at grouse and whatnot—days when I was just a baby. So I was bound to see this area.
Parking the Ford at Rooks Creek fjord, I hiked up to the remnants of an old cabin. The Forest Service burned the place down 10 years ago in a preemptive strike to keep squatters from bumming around. As a reward for my eventual return, I cached a Samichclaus Bier within the frame confines. I hoped to hitch a Wagon Train ride to town, but had to bike-bummel back through Board Ranch to Heidelberg Hill. But I was then ready for some real Bummeln.
I mixed a copy of Papa's "Across the River and into the Trees" along with "A Moveable Feast" of soft granola into the bummel sack. Then, attaching it to a hiking staff, pitched it over my shoulder. Heading straight out trail 177, it only gets semi-steep for a short span of about four miles. Then there is a tremendous double tree trunk, a picturesque scene with the uniquely Idaho backdrop of the towering Pioneer Mountains. Continuing along, a pond springs up in the area just before 177 turns left. I plunked down next to a hobo spider, pulled out a musing pad from the sack and scribbled: "This must be a watering hole where Hemingway sat with his horse for a snort."
If you promenade across the ridge trail to the right, it leads back on 142C, returning to the Adams Gulch trailhead for a 14-miler. You need not have the piercing vision of "The Old Man and the Sea" to spot a round teahouse across the way. This lively spot on top of the world is a special place from which gallant warriors and stouthearted sheepherders have, on occasion, filled the valley with tall Hemingway tales.
On that day, though, I continued on 177. Towering piney trees stretched into high wildflower meadows, where abundant wildlife includes predators nearly as ferocious as those in the "Green Hills of Africa." Way up yonder, Baldy reappears as "The Sun also Rises." Then the trail intersected an auspicious loop from the yurt above. There I heard some good spirited voices, belonging to three Fraulein Princesses who overnighted at the hut. We chattered about my Hemingway quest until they thought I was "running with the bulls." Then I trailed back down the tumbling Rooks Creek.
The trail there is coarse with plenty of large loose rocks. I recommend high quality gripping boots --not the bum shoes I wore. About Halfway down, some motorcyclists rode up gingerly and we asked about what lay ahead for each other. After dozens of stream crossings joined with flowery butterflies, I finally reached the cabin remnants. Curbing the musing pad with the hiking scepter, I prepared to breathe deep an "Earnest" draught of ale strong enough to make Papa Claus jolly. But, what a bummer, it had evaporated—bottle and all! I guess this bum needs to be on his toes for wood sprites when he conceals good spirits.
Though I was derelict in my studies in Herr Booz'es class, at least I retained three key words of Deutsche: "Bummeln, Samichclaus (strongest of ales in the world) and Fraulein." Therefore, the best German advice I can muster up today is, if you ever need to Geocache a Samichclaus during a Hemingway-Bummel, holen Sie einen Fraulein fur einer Ausblick. (Bring a young miss for a lookout).
Unpublished Mt. Express column

Slug: Plague of cliches
Headline: Why to Avoid Cliches like the Plague
My advice for the Writers Conference
By Jim Banholzer

Something was new under the sun in this land of milk and honey when I tiptoed on eggs into work. Knowing the jig was up; the board of directors confronted me, “Jim we would like to know what’s new in your brave world of Banholzerian Hieroglyphics. Which begs the question; can you spare us more than a few nanoseconds of your attention span for some whys and wherefores?”

They led me through some flowery purple passages to where we circled up for a meeting. This would be no kid glove treatment. But, what the hey, no pain no gain. One kind-hearted central Idaho scrutinizer remarked at length, “Son, your imagination runs riot, but I’ve told you a million times that you’re prone to hyperbole. By the same token, some of your sentences are so very long that by the time reader’s get around to your end point, few remember what you were writing about in the first place and believe you me with the instant gratification expectations that today’s world has developed for digests, buzzwords and Internets, your style is going to come off sounding like a bunch of half baked ideas grasping at straws.”

“I catch your drift and don’t forget the memory hole”, I retorted, “prions pouring right down the drain”. Perhaps I should even out my long-winded lexicon with some good old hackneyed phrases. I think we see eye to eye that the man I’m replacing has some hard shoes to fill. Harder than Chinese Algebra -without an abacus. But let’s dream the impossible dream and say I’m able to keep the ball rolling between the lines for readers. What then? Need I develop an algorithmic formula that does the trick to blow them away?”

“Well”, one of my mentors suggested, “you’re not out of the woods yet. It’s more than wishful thinking to say that if you were to modify several cliches and hang them from a string together, you could come up with something original. Like pinning your hopes on duck soup. Many trite expressions are used because the author is lazy as a dog. Certainly not every word spilling out of your keyboard can be a spud-sparkly gem, but you should at least strive for some originality in this state.”

So, I’ll put my money where my mouth is, starting with one red cent. By and large it will become easy as pie to roll in the dough from that sweetened pot at this end of the rainbow. I’d bet my bottom dollar that if I’m to write commentary on subjects like “Sun Valley Was Not Built in One Day” then mixing bolt from the blue cliches with saucy language could become the technique to get ‘er done. We’ll run it up the liberty pole to see who salutes it.
The Bossman walked in and shouted, “Eureka! Young (middle-aged) James you’ve solved it again! It’s refreshing to see beyond the end of your nose that while you couldn’t beat conformity you didn’t join it. Otherwise it would have been back to the drawing board. You’d have been writing on the wall methods for putting toothpaste back in tubes and genies into bottles no place like home. Best to not have to open that can of worms.”

“Well, you do have to be a pretty early bird to snag a silkworm and pull the wool over my eyes with it.” Seeing it through, I knew that the sun always shines after a hardscrabble rain, even if it’s pitchforks. A real cat and dog gully washer always makes it fun to watch the sage grow.
I was happy as a clam that the board didn’t pop a vein while having a mad cow over my unconventional efforts. They didn’t consider this bunch of blather to be over the top! I wouldn’t want poor planning on my part to create an emergency on theirs and get swept under the rug. So while I’m burning midnight ethanol worth its weight in gold and shooting for the moon, I’ll apply these newfangled methods during crunch time, hoping my verbiage doesn’t get caught between a rock and a hard place. This straight from the mouth of the horse of a different colour, who laughed last at himself for trying to be too clever by halfsies.

Modified ending by Brad Nottingham:
Well, you have to be a pretty early raven to get the segmented earth dweller and pull the Polarfleece over my eyes with it. I knew that the sun always radiates after a significant episode of precip, even if it’s common farm implements. A period of raining tabbies and terriers always makes it interesting to watch the sage grow. I was happy as a hermit crab that the board didn’t pop a plasma conduit or have a spotted bovine over my toils towards originality and consider it a bunch of hooey.

I didn’t want lackadaisical planning on my part to create a 911 episode on theirs and get brushed under the Berber. So while I’m burning midnight dinosaur juice worth $49.23 a barrel and shooting for our planets natural satellite, I’ll apply this method over the next few weeks hoping my verbiage doesn’t get stuck between a chunk of granite and an impervious substrate. This, vectoring out from the equines oral cavity, which last laughed. (Well, brayed.)


Field Test : Samichlaus

Express photo by Dana DuGan
Seeking to advance my mediocre drinking skills and knowledge, I sauntered into one of the valley's finest wine markets. Perusing the vast selection of decorative ales in their cooler, an old favorite caught my eye, Santa Claus. Actually called Samichlaus and known as the strongest lager in the world—14 percent alcohol—it was originally brewed in Switzerland by Hürlimann.
After a four-year absence, it is now brewed at the Castle Brewery Eggenberg in Austria, in collaboration with Hürlimann. Castle Brewery has produced beer since the year 999.
This beer is only brewed once a year each December and aged a full 10 months before bottling. Though the last word in the dictionary is often zymergist (brewmeister) the uber-zymergists at Castle Brewery take first prize and sweeten it, mixing secret ingredients and methods into what becomes one of the creamiest, dark, magical malts with a chocolate nose that you'll ever taste. It's recommended that you share this potent drink with a friend because all you need is one to feel rich in Sun Valley. More than one and you, like the beer's namesake, might mistake the chimney for the door.


Praise for shinier Lincolns

Friday, October 31st, 2008
Sun Valley Online
Many Idahoans do not realize that a Civil War battle actually took place in these parts. Not only that, but also numerous Civil War Veterans migrated straight to Idaho, immediately following that horrific war’s end.
Because Abe Lincoln helped establish our Idaho territory, it’s refreshing to read that devoted curators will be refurbishing the Boise Lincoln statue and transporting it from its obscure, foliage-hidden-area at the State Veterans Home to a more prominent spot, in time to celebrate our Great Emancipator’s 200th birthday.
This move follows the spirit of Washington, D.C.’s, Lincoln Memorial, in the sense that our ancestors deliberately installed that monument in a remote area of the National Mall. Although this tied in symbolically with the remote nature of Lincoln’s personality, people wishing to honor our founding Republican did not accept his inaccessibility; and have made the pilgrimage to that isolated area so much that it is has now become a “destination monument” and one of the most romantic spots to visit in Washington.
For more about what our historic sites get right or wrong, check out James W. Loewen’s groundbreaking, “Lies Across America.” Dr. Loewen also authored the American Book Award-winner,“Lies My Teacher Told Me.”Â
From the book: “More than any other marker or monument on the American landscape, it continues to speak of later times, even of our time. Its fascinating history offers suggestions as to why some historic sites ‘work’ while others do not.

To Orwell Today,
Hello Jackie Jura,
I love your website.
Regarding your interesting post today on Lincoln's dream of assassination, Lincoln also had an amazing experience witnessing his doppelganger in the mirror. Carl Sandburg documented this in his 1926 biography of Abraham Lincoln contained in the Wikipedia entry LINCOLN'S DOPPELGANGER.
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.
Best regards and keep up your great work,
Jim Banholzer, Idaho
Greetings Jim,
Yes, it is in Carl Sandburg's ABRAHAM LINCOLN: THE PRAIRIE YEARS AND WAR YEARS (the 1954 one-volume edition scanned above which he compiled from his original 1926 six-volume edition) that I first read about Lincoln seeing his double-image (doppelganger) in the mirror.
I've also read a version of Lincoln's double-image experience in the 1895 book RECOLLECTIONS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN written by Ward Hill Lamon (scanned above), his one-time law partner who moved with him to Washington and became his marshal and self-appointed body guard (but was tragically on an out-of-town mission for Lincoln the night Lincoln went to the theater otherwise he'd have been standing guard outside his box). Lamon adds a few other details to the version of Noah Brooks (a newspaper journalist friend of Lincoln) whose 1895 book WASHINGTON IN LINCOLN'S TIME Sandburg used as his source for the doppelganger story in his book.
from the book "Recollections of Abraham Lincoln"

compiled from notes and papers of Ward Hill Lamon
published by his daughter in 1895 and expanded in 1911
Chapter VII, pages 111-114
...From early youth Mr. Lincoln seemed conscious of a high mission. Long before his admission to the bar, or his entrance into politics, he believed that he was destined to rise to a great height; that from a lofty station to which he should be called he would be able to confer lasting benefits on his fellow-men. He believed also that from a lofty station he should fall. It was a vision of grandeur and of gloom which was confirmed in his mind by the dreams of his childhood, of his youthful days, and of his maturer years. The plain people with whom his life was spent, and with whom he was in cordial sympathy, believed also in the marvelous as revealed in presentiments and dreams; and so Mr. Lincoln drifted on through years of toil and exceptional hardship, struggling with a noble spirit for honest promotion, -- meditative, aspiring, certain of his star, but appalled at times by its malignant aspect. Many times prior to his election to the Presidency he was both elated and alarmed by what seemed to him a rent in the veil which hides from mortal view what the future holds. He was, or thought he saw, a vision of glory and of blood, himself the central figure in a scene which his fancy transformed from giddy enchantment to the most appalling tragedy.
On the day of his renomination at Baltimore, Mr. Lincoln was engaged at the War Department in constant telegraphic communication with General Grant, who was then in front of Richmond. Throughout the day he seemed wholly unconscious that anything was going on at Baltimore in which his interests were in any way concerned. At luncheon time he went to the White House, swallowed a hasty lunch, and without entering his private office hurried back to the War Office. On his arrival at the War Department the first dispatch that was shown him announced the nomination of Andrew Johnson for Vice-President.
"This is strange", said he, reflectively; "I thought it was usual to nominate the candidate for President first."
His informant was astonished. "Mr. President," said he, "have you not heard of your own renomination? It was telegraphed to you at the White House two hours ago."
Mr. Lincoln had not seen the dispatch, had made no inquiry about it, had not even thought about it. On reflection, he attached great importance to this singular occurrence. It reminded him, he said of an ominous incident of mysterious character which occurred just after his election in 1860. It was the double image of himself in a looking-glass, which he saw while lying on a lounge in his own chamber at Springfield. There was Abraham Lincoln's face reflecting the full glow of health and hopeful life; and in the same mirror, at the same moment of time, was the face of Abraham Lincoln showing a ghostly paleness. On trying the experiment at other times, as confirmatory tests, the illusion reappeared, and then vanished as before.
Mr. Lincoln more than once told me that he could not explain this phenomenon; that he had tried to reproduce the double reflection at the Executive Mansion, but without success; that it had worried him not a little; and that the mystery had its meaning, which was clear enough to him. To his mind the illusion was a sign, -- the life-like image betokening a safe passage through his first term as President; the ghostly one, that death would overtake him before the close of the second. Wholly unmindful of the events happening at Baltimore, which would have engrossed the thoughts of any other statesman in his place that day, -- forgetful, in fact, of all earthly things except the tremendous events of the war, -- this circumstance, on reflection, he wove into a volume of prophecy, a sure presage of his re-election. His mind then instantly travelled back to the autumn of 1860; and the vanished wraith -- the ghostly face in the mirror, mocking its healthy and hopeful fellow -- told him plainly that although certain of re-election to the exalted office he then held, he would surely hear the fatal summons from the silent shore during his second term. With that firm conviction, which no philosophy could shake, Mr. Lincoln moved on through a maze of mighty events, calmly awaiting the inevitable hour of his fall by a murderous hand.
How, it may be asked, could he make life tolerable, burdened as he was with that portentous horror which though visionary, and of trifling import in our eyes, was by his interpretation a premonition of impending doom? I answer in a word: His sense of duty to his country; his belief that "the inevitable" is right; and his innate and irrepressible humor....[end quoting from Recollections of Lincoln by Lamon]
All the best,
Jackie Jura
PS - I'd be very interested in seeing the photo you took of JFK's funeral procession that day 44 years ago when you were 10 years old on your father's shoulders and perhaps you would allow me to share it with other readers. I wish you God luck in finding it.
PPS - The front and end pages of Sandburg's book (shown above) show the cast of Lincoln's hand which was made in 1860 and also the cast of Lincoln's life-mask done in February 1865, just two months before he was assassinated on Easter Friday, April 14, 1865.
PPPS - As reinforcement to my belief that Lincoln's dream was a harbinger of not only his own assassination but also of Kennedy's 100 years in the future, I've added more passages from Lamon's book at the bottom of my essay LINCOLN DREAMS JFK FUNERAL
....conversation continues at ALL-AMERICAN LINCOLN MEMORIES

Synchrosecrets blog

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:
The Elephant
“Throughout history elephants have been prized for their power and strength. They are extremely intelligence and honored by many cultures. Elephants are the largest land animals and among the longest lived, with life spans of 60 years or more. According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha chose the form of a white elephant as one of his many incarnations and the rare appearance of a white elephant is still heralded as a manifestation of the gods. The Hindu god Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, is depicted with the head of an elephant.

Despite their great weight, elephants walk almost noiselessly. Their stride is exceptionally graceful and rhythmic. Their hearing, smell, taste and touch is acute. This compensates for their poor eyesight. Their eyes are small in relation to the enormous head, which can only turn slightly from side to side. This limited movement results in restricted side vision. Those with this medicine feel things deeply and respond to those feelings from a place of inner knowing. Because their peripheral vision is limited, they have a tendency to look straight ahead and not always see what is around them. Learning to shift ones focus to encompass the whole is helpful.

Loyal and affectionate elephants are willing to risk their life for the sake of others in a family group. Wild elephants have been known to grieve and even shed tears over the death of a family member. They have excellent memories and when mistreated they often seek revenge.

Elephants have four teeth, all molars. The first pair of molars is located toward the front of the mouth. When they wear down, they drop out and the two molars in the back shift forward. Two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth to replace those that have moved forward. Elephants replace back molars six times throughout their life. When the last set wears out, they are unable to chew and die of starvation.

Teeth have great symbolism. They are considered receivers and transmitters of energy linked by connecting paths throughout the astral body. Because the elephant is highly intelligent, those with this totem make excellent researchers and alternative scientists. The complex study of numbers, energy meridians and the tie in between the physical brain, the teeth locations, and the major and minor head chakras is fascinating as well as beneficial.

Elephant tusks point backwards, are used as weapons and for digging edible roots. From a spiritual point of view, this suggests an ability to uncover the secrets left behind you and bring them to the consciousness for evaluation and healing.

These beautiful 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 to identify with elephant talk, it resonated that a highlight of my 50th  (12/12) is that friends have sent this synchronicity and that I recognized their gift so readily.

Part IV

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