So it seemed only natural to volunteer to move Up Bear Creek to the Tuesday edition. My good friend Peter Shelton has already moved to the Ouray Watch … It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing a weekly column for Telluride newspapers for going on 24 years (Grace has been doing pieces even longer than that -- for papers in Telluride, Norwood and Grand Junction -- although perhaps not as regularly as I). Weekly deadlines are always a challenge. Some weeks it’s hard to get the energy up. Some weeks it takes me four to five hours to get things just how I want them … I recently took a look at an old Telluride Times from 1983, with a front-page pix of my oldest daughter (Iris Willow) on the cover, sniffing the cactus blooms down in Montezuma County. Back then Up Bear Creek was as idiosyncretic and political as it still is. Modeled on the three-dot journalism of San Francisco’s urbane Herb Caen, the column pieces together items from disparate sources to make a patchwork quilt instead of a fabric woven of all one theme. That gives me greater latitude. And each week there’s a poem, or poem fragment, to accompany the prose – that’s a Goodtimes trademark. Weaving poetry into journalism, just as I weave basketmaking into politics. Mixing genres to keep both fresh … So, I hope you enjoy this change – spreading our Watchful talking heads around, instead of concentrating them all in one issue. Good reading!
VISITING DAD … Usually I’m traveling around a lot for politics, tracking the acronymic football from CCI to NACo to PLP to Club 20 and back (with occasional forays into the environmental workings of WCC or the social justice campaigns of CPC). But for the first time in decades, I actually bought my own plane ticket in Grand Junction, and landed in San Francisco International on my way to see my 87-year-old dad in Mountain View. I brought him a care package of Louis L’Amour books (westerns his favorites) and will be driving his ’81 Toyota Celica Supra (248,000 miles) home to Colorado … A driver since he was 12 (back in 1932 you could buy a license from the town hall mob in Daly City no matter what age you were) with a peerless record (not one ticket and no car accidents he was responsible for), he voluntarily stopped driving a year ago – relinquishing his mobility rather than getting to the point where he might injure himself, or someone else. I thought that was exemplary … And rather than leave his car sitting unhooked from its battery in his driveway, he asked me to take it out to Cloud Acre … It’s been great spending time with Vince. One learns so much from the stories that our parents finally tell us, helping us understand many of the strange goings-on that we never understood as children.
HELLO, HAL … Some 47 million laptop computers were shipped worldwide last year … By 2013 a supercomputer with connections exceeding the capacity of the human brain is predicted to have been developed … Tech rivals Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple were on the same stage at an All Things Digital conference in California last week – for the first time in two decades. Both were collegial, almost chummy, after years of in-fighting and recriminations. “People come and go in this industry,” said Gates. “It’s nice when somebody sticks around. It’s nice to have people who have seen the waves and waves of that and still have the courage to try something new.” For his part, Jobs said, “Bill built the first software company before anybody in our industry knew what software was, and that was huge.” … Meanwhile, here in the first world, the U.S. ranks twentieth among nations – just behind Luxembourg – in broadband Internet penetration (the percentage of the nation’s citizens who have broadband Internet service). However, given that CenturyTel has finally provided it to me at Cloud Acre in Norwood, it’s hard for me to complain.
WEEKLY QUOTA … “The army that will defeat terrorism doesn't wear uniforms, or drive Humvees, or calls in air-strikes. It doesn't have a high command, or high security, or a high budget. The army that can defeat terrorism does battle quietly, clearing minefields and vaccinating children. It undermines military dictatorships and military lobbyists. It subverts sweatshops and special interests. Where people feel powerless, it helps them organize for change, and where people are powerful, it reminds them of their responsibility.” – Author Unknown
GOOD NEWS DOWN UNDER … Australia has banned incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are now mandated due to the savings to the environment (let’s hope they dispose of the fluorescents’ mercury appropriately) … Australia has also adopted a three-year National Agriculture and Climate Change Plan last summer, and appropriated $5 million (Australian) in 2007 to help farmers prepare for the risk associated with climate change. Nothing like that happening in this country, under head-in-the-corporate-sand Bushman.
ED MARSTON … Ed’s in a tough run-off race for the Delta-Montrose Electrical Association board. Folks are attacking Ed for DMEA’s decision to not do a contract extension with Tri-State. So it’s no wonder he’s a bit touchy. He went off on me because I did a column trying to explore SMPA board member’s unpopular decision to try and work internally with Tri-State. Somehow Ed misreads my column to be support of Tri-State. How very odd. You’d think a former High Country News editor would understand subtleties … No, Ed, I’m not opposed to DMEA’s action. I applauded it, and (as I wrote in my column) the county unanimously opposed the Tri-State contract extension and SMPA’s action .. But in the column I was trying to understand publicly the thinking that led my friends on the SMPA board to vote the opposite of the way I would have … And what the column ended by doing was saying that the SMPA board needed to explain its actions and should be held accountable at its upcoming meeting. And that’s still my position ... Maybe Ed would alienate less of his own supporters if he read things a bit more closely.
TONY PRENDERGAST … Tony, who’s folks lived in Telluride as teacher and police chief, is also running for DMEA’s board. He’s a great candidate, married to Sally Kane (Federal Judge Kane’s daughter), and he’s running against coal company employee Kathy Welt. Let’s hope Tony wins and Ed gets re-elected.
THE TALKING GOURD
What I can't change-changes me.
A solar flare opens a small room inside me
And burns it up.
Though without ambition, and with
Best intentions, a full moon
Knocks me off track...
A war distempers me
An overheard remark
Makes it impossible to sleep.
The slow combat of classes in peacetime
Edges me out of the restaurant,
An insect invades my diet.
A poem I didn't ask for
Writes a year off my life,
A virus stops a hot work cold.
Banks charge me for making money
Off my money. A volcano trashes
My favorite sleeping lake.
A woman I have never seen
Seduces me. What I can't change
Montages me, thickens my ear, contradicts my eye
Forces me to make
This reply-small fight
Against a brute, unanswerable tide.
We are not free-my neighbor is poor
And impoverishes me.
Earth, I volunteer my fate
To your position.
I am subject to the dictatorship
Of your yellow dwarf
A slave making a battlesong
To forces greater than myself,
For what I cannot change.
Log Hill Village
©2007 Art Goodtimes