TAKEOFF … I’m on the plane from LA to Taipei before I realize it’s my virgin flight out of this country on my own. Thirteen hours wedged into a middle seat between two Asian gentlemen. Both polite. Even nice. One using sign language to show me how to work the in-seat TV remote so I can occupy the Pacific crossing with my incurable American addition to Hollywood movies … I’d had a dazzling trip to Brazil back in ‘93, thanks to the generosity of long-time friends, but that was with a group. I wasn’t solely responsible for my travel. One needs a certain resiliency to deal with the inevitable snafus when traveling. And alone one has to find a way through the thickets without moral support or recognizable assistance. All amid the kaleidoscopic travel world of tickets, drop-dead flight times, airport security and multiple airline protocols … My daughter Iris Willow had run me through the drills of the trip as she remembered them. Immigrations. Customs. The hotel shuffle for the overnight stop in Malaysia … And I’ve managed to whittle my luggage down to one small daypack for this trip. In other words, just a carry-on. It makes everything so much easier at check in or when connecting flights. No worry about luggage (less stuff to lose) … In Manaus, on my Brazilian trip, I’d got the runs the first day there after chugging several tropical fruit smoothies – a malady that stayed with me for the three weeks out-of-country and several months upon my return. Luckily, my friends gave me critical herbal counseling, and I stocked up on osha, probiotics and charcoal at Season’s Harvest in Ridgway, my favorite local source for most goods organic … In Denver I leave my red Civic with photog buddy Kit Hedman and spend a day catching up. His oldest son Ben’s attending Harvard Law School and jetting home on weekends to pursue his blossoming music career as a rapper, including doing a Japanese-American collaboration CD with a musician friend (Ben taught himself Japanese while in middle school). Kit plays me some cuts. They’re cookin’! … We lunch at a new food hot spot promo’d in the Denver Post the day before – The Squeaky Bean on Tejon and 32nd NW. The open-face tuna sandwich is to-die-for.
DAILY UPSET … I get a homeopathic dose of the daily news reading the Arizona Republic, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times between flights. It’s a tad unsettling flying out of DIA with the headlines screaming about an airport shuttle driver accused of being a terrorist … And I’m appalled to read about firings (instead of criminal charges) against Arizona State Prison officials who locked inmate Marcia Powell (serving time for prostitution) into an open-air cage without shade for four hours during the heat of a 107 degree day until she died. Terrorist torture coming home to roost in our own prisons … Having just seen Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley hand over the reins of the National Association of Counties’ presidency in Nashville, it was disturbing as well to read about his arrest on 98 criminal counts for allegedly violating campaign finance laws by County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Even more disturbing to find out that no D.A. stepped forward to prosecute the case (or an earlier arrest on 108 counts) and that Sheriff Arpaio has a long history of arresting elected officials he disagrees with on unsubstantiated charges. Whenever I read stories about the many kinds of misuse of a political office, I realize how lucky we are to have had such a good sheriff in Bill Masters for all these years.
WEEKLY QUOTA … Some quotes jumped out at me as well … From a story on Najibullah Zazi and the iman [Ahmad Wais Afzali] who alerted Zazi to the federal investigation. David Cohen is the head of New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division. “[Cohen] has long irritated relations between the police department and the FBI. He makes no secret of his disdain … rooted in his belief that the federal government failed to protect New York from the Sept. 11 attack.” -New York Times … From illustrator Bernie Fuchs’ obituary: “His first painting for McCall’s, in 1959, shows two good-looking couples lounging in the living room of a city apartment, one of the men lying on the floor, legs crossed in the air, his head on the lap of his pretty wife or girlfriend. It was not Rockwell’s small-town America but a slice of the new urban middle class.” And an example of overcoming obstacles: “[Fuchs] mastered the jazz trumpet … wanted to play professionally … but … lost three fingers on his right hand in an industrial accident … enrolled in the art school of Washington University of St. Louis, using his $2,000 insurance money for tuition.” – New York Times … In an article on the outlawing of flavored cigarettes aimed at the youth market: “Among the more famous flavored cigarette introductions was that of the Camel Exotic Blends by RJ Reynolds, which had flavors like Twista Lime, Kauai Kolada, Warm Winter Toffee.” – New York Times … And for folks like me who have long wondered exactly what the difference was between various tobacco products, this: “Cigarettes are made of tobacco wrapped in paper, and cigars are made of tobacco wrapped in tobacco or paper constituted from tobacco … A cigarillo is larger than a small cigar but smaller than a premium hand-rolled cigar.” – New York Times … “They call me the tissue paper for the Americans. They used me when I was needed and three me away in the end,” – former Iraqi paramilitary Sons of Iraq commander Saad Oraibi Ghafoori (aka Abu Abed) now living in Jordan and denied immigration to the U.S. in the Los Angeles Times … “I was 15, a young boy, and altar boy, and my whole family gave their trust to [former priest Michael Baker]. We opened doors to him and the person we thought was a sacred man, a good person, a good human being, it turns out that all along he was a monster.” – Abuse victim Luis C. about his lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the Los Angeles Times … Finally, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” – Alice Roosevelt Longworth.
COCK-A-DOODLE … The City of Los Angeles just passed a new ordinance that allows only one rooster per property in that very urban metropolis, with allowances for more under certain circumstances. The Town of Ridgway doesn’t allow for any … And I thought Ouray County was a right-to-farm community – or so they like to brag.
It’s that time of year again when those amazing black spiders we never see brazenly migrate across our roads.
Velvety black mannequin
making Equinox display
in the middle of the highway.
I circle back
to shepherd it away from traffic.