As the low pressure system traveled east into the plains last night (southeast Colorado/northern New Mexico) it created chaos especially for travelers with high winds and blizzard conditions. There was a foot or more of snow, many closed roads and a few highway deaths. Portions of the San Juans saw light snow flurries that amounted to almost nothing. As the low moves east today we’ll see clearing skies and colder temperatures.
Late Wednesday and Thursday the next system forming in the Pacific NW will produce widespread snow as it moves into the western mountains of Colorado. The two cutoff lows split then open with the southern branch dropping into the 4-corners migrating east over the Colorado/New Mexico border late Thursday. The potential for good snow in the San Juans does not look great. Expect snow to end late Thursday with clearing skies and strong nocturnal radiation cooling for possibly the coldest night so far this season.
“Mexican people only have faith in the Virgin de Guadalupe and the national lottery.”
Colorado’s “Buzzard of the Backcountry”–Developer Tom Chapman’s Story on Colorado Public Radio–LISTEN
image: Outside Magazine
Tom Chapman’s approach to business makes a lot of people angry. It’s also made him very rich. Chapman buys stunning pieces of land in undeveloped mountain areas. And then he threatens to develop them. What often happens is that people are willing to pay him significant sums to buy the land and keep it pristine. Chapman’s been doing this for decades, most recently near Telluride. Kelley McMillan profiles him in her story, “Backcountry Monopoly” for Outside Magazine. She tells CPR’s Zachary Barr how Chapman got his start.
1. Jack Nance as Henry Spencer in David Lynch’s ‘‘Eraserhead’’ (1977). 2. Images of invisible men, including ‘‘The Invisible Man’’ (1933) and a photo of the Chinese artist Liu Bolin (in front of the taxi van). 3. The ventriloquist’s dummy Fats from ‘‘Magic’’ (1978). 4. Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in ‘‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’’ (1975). 5. Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in ‘‘Wall Street’’ (1987). 6. Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh in ‘‘Mutiny on the Bounty’’ (1935). 7. Dominique Sanda as Anna Quadri in Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘‘Conformist’’ (1970). 8. The silent film star Pina Menichelli. 9. Catherine Deneuve as Carole in Roman Polanski’s ‘‘Repulsion’’ (1965). 10. Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker in ‘‘Bonnie and Clyde’’ (1967). 11. Malcolm McDowell as Alex in ‘‘A Clockwork Orange’’ (1971). 12. A still from ‘‘Green Street Hooligans’’ (2005). 13. Lana Turner as Cora Smith in ‘‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’’ (1946).
BOULDER — The U.S. government is deploying Colorado scientists to lead a $5.4 million effort to gauge the impact of shrinking Himalayan glaciers on water supplies across Asia.
The question: Are rivers that sustain more than 2 billion people fed primarily by water from rainfall, by seasonal snowmelt or by the glaciers that are vulnerable to climate change?
A significant drop in water supply could lead to food shortages and, according to U.S. Agency for International Development officials, create new conflicts in already volatile areas.
The high-mountain glaciers, seen as water towers for Asia, have been shrinking at a rate of 0.5 percent a year — similar to glaciers in South America’s Andes and the European Alps. As Asia’s glaciers recede, Chinese and Indian governments are moving to control headwaters with at least 19 proposed dam projects, adding to eight or so existing major dams.
U.S. intelligence agencies were among those interested in enlisting University of Colorado senior research scientist Richard Armstrong and geography professor Mark Williams.
“If you cannot plan for effective use of water resources, you’re in trouble,” Armstrong said last week, after launching the project in Kazakhstan with Asian policymakers and scientists. “There are irrigation systems on these rivers. Hydroelectric plants. They need to understand where their water comes from in order to plan with respect to climate change.”
Katey M. Walter Anthony, a scientist, investigated a plume of methane, a greenhouse gas, at an Alaskan lake. Dr. Walter Anthony is a leading researcher in studying the escape of methane.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A bubble rose through a hole in the surface of a frozen lake. It popped, followed by another, and another, as if a pot were somehow boiling in the icy depths.
Every bursting bubble sent up a puff of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas generated beneath the lake from the decay of plant debris. These plants last saw the light of day 30,000 years ago and have been locked in a deep freeze — until now.
Experts have long known that northern lands were a storehouse of frozen carbon, locked up in the form of leaves, roots and other organic matter trapped in icy soil — a mix that, when thawed, can produce methane and carbon dioxide, gases that trap heat and warm the planet. But they have been stunned in recent years to realize just how much organic debris is there.
A recent estimate suggests that the perennially frozen ground known as permafrost, which underlies nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, contains twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere.
Temperatures are warming across much of that region, primarily, scientists believe, because of the rapid human release of greenhouse gases. Permafrost is warming, too. Some has already thawed, and other signs are emerging that the frozen carbon may be becoming unstable.
If a substantial amount of the carbon should enter the atmosphere, it would intensify the planetary warming. An especially worrisome possibility is that a significant proportion will emerge not as carbon dioxide, the gas that usually forms when organic material breaks down, but as methane, produced when the breakdown occurs in lakes or wetlands. Methane is especially potent at trapping the sun’s heat, and the potential for large new methane emissions in the Arctic is one of the biggest wild cards in climate science.
Scientists have declared that understanding the problem is a major priority. The United States Department of Energy and the European Union recently committed to new projects aimed at doing so, and NASA is considering a similar plan. But researchers say the money and people devoted to the issue are still minimal compared with the risk.
For now, scientists have many more questions than answers. Preliminary computer analyses, made only recently, suggest that the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions could eventually become an annual source of carbon equal to 15 percent or so of today’s yearly emissions from human activities.
But those calculations were deliberately cautious. A recent survey drew on the expertise of 41 permafrost scientists to offer more informal projections. They estimated that if human fossil-fuel burning remained high and the planet warmed sharply, the gases from permafrost could eventually equal 35 percent of today’s annual human emissions.
Chet Atkins is no longer the household name he was in the 1960s, when he was all over TV and radio with his guitar. But every year, the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society packs a Nashville hotel. This year’s gathering was the 27th.
Even to this day, young devotees are embracing Atkins’ style. Ben Hall, a 22-year-old from Okolona, Miss., showcased at this year’s convention. Hall uses the tricky right-hand technique that Atkins adopted from Kentuckian Merle Travis and refined in the 1940s and ’50s.
“It revolves around a bass note,” Hall says. “The fingers … Merle used one, Chet thought Merle was using two. So he used two and three and sometimes a handful of fingers. They play the melody. And there’s famous stories of so many great guitar players along the way who play other styles listening to this and saying, ‘I had no idea that’s one instrument.’ “
Atkins made his first solo recordings in the mid-1940s, but it would take him until 1955 to land his first hit, “Mr. Sandman.” He was 31 by then, and more than a decade into his professional career. Born in the Appalachian town of Luttrell, Tenn., he’d acquired a hard-to-play Sears Silvertone acoustic guitar when he was about 10 years old.
Inspired by Travis and jazz guitarists George Barnes and Django Reinhardt, Atkins practiced obsessively in high school and then sought work. Carolyn Tate, chief curator of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibition, says it was a struggle at first.
“He knocked around on the radio circuit for a good long while,” Tate says. “Your radio popularity in those days was based on the number of cards and letters that you got in. And he was just so shy, nobody was writing in for him — and so when times got tough, they would get rid of Chet.”
Then, a connection with one of the seminal early country-music groups changed everything. Atkins began backing up The Carter Family (then known as The Carter Sisters) at the end of the 1940s. When the Carters were asked to join the Grand Ole Opry in 1950, Atkins came with them and quickly established himself in Nashville’s new recording scene. He backed Hank Williams in “Cold, Cold Heart” and Elvis in “Heartbreak Hotel.” And on records like Jazz from the Hills in 1952, Atkins and his fellow Music Row pickers breached the limits of country sessions and swung with the best of them.
“He’d launch into some kind of brand-new jazz style of playing or something that nobody had ever heard before, all because of all the things that had entered his head up to that point,” Hall says.
From Andy Warhol to David Hockney, artists of the 1960s flocked to Los Angeles and helped create a new, contemporary art scene that was an alternative to New York. Renee Montagne talks to Hunter Drohojowska-Philp about her book, Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s, which focuses on art in post-war Los Angeles.
He’s made his list and checked it twice: Critic Alan Cheuse recommends the best books to give as gifts in 2011. This year, it’s mostly fiction — books that will light up dark winter nights with warm stories, large characters and beautiful language.
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
This intensely visual coming-of-age novel is made up of scraps of another age — 1920s diary entries, mementos, notes and memories. This hybrid between a conventional novel and a graphic novel tells the story of a young New England woman who takes a daring solo trip to New York City, Paris and back again — and discovers her talent for writing.
Queen of America by Luis Alberto Urrea
Queen of America is the sequel to the fiery story Urrea began in his 2005 novel, The Hummingbird’s Daughter. It’s about an ancestor of his — Teresita Urrea, a miracle-working Yaqui Indian woman from northern Mexico who changes the political course of her home country and then emigrates to the U.S.
The Complete Record Cover Collection by R. Crumb
Artist R. Crumb’s collection of album covers — his jazzy and bluesy interpretations of the music of an era — is a neat gift for anyone who remembers the ’60s.
This collection of album cover artwork from a founder of the underground comix movement features his cover illustrations including Janice Joplin’s 1968 album Cheap Thrills and classic old-time music collections Truckin’ My Blues Away and Harmonica Blues.
In the daytime, I’m once in a while diverted by people who stop to visit. The old man who takes care of the shrine or the men from the village come and tell me about the wild boar who’s been eating the rice plants, the rabbits that are getting at the bean patches, tales of farm matters that are all quite new to me. And when the sun has begun to sink behind the rim of the hills, I sit quietly in the evening waiting for the moon so I may have my shadow for company, or light a lamp and discuss right and wrong with my silhouette.
But when all has been said, I’m not really the kind who is so completely enamored of solitude that he must hide every trace of himself away in the mountains and wilds. It’s just that, troubled by frequent illness and weary of dealing with people, I’ve come to dislike society. Again and again I think of the mistakes I’ve made in my clumsiness over the course of the years. There was a time when I envied those who had government offices or impressive domains and on another occasion I considered entering the precincts of the Buddha and teaching rooms of the patriarchs. Instead, I’ve worn out my body in journey’s that are as aimless as the winds and clouds and expend my feelings on flowers and birds. But somehow I’ve been able to make a living this way and so in the end, unskilled and talentless as I am, I give myself wholly to this one concern, poetry. Po Chu-i worked so hard at it that he almost ruined his five vital organs and Tu Fu grew lean and emaciated because of it. As far as intelligence or the quality of our writings go, I can never compare to such men. An yet we all in the end live, do we not, in a phantom dwelling? But enough, I’m off to bed.
The closed low has opened into a broad trough that will continue to produce snow today on the west and north side of the range but skies will begin clearing from the west to the east later in the day along with backing winds from the west/northwest.
Weak high pressure will build tonight, but won’t last because another storm system brewing in the Pacific NW will move into the southern mountains this weekend. The system will split dramatically with a portion affecting the northern rockies as the southern branch drops southward near Las Vegas to form a closed low and will continue towards SW Arizona. It will probably have little affect on the forecast area except the most southern portions of the San Juans on Sunday. The beginning of the week a NW shortwave trough and another closed low to the south will arrive with little storm potential for the southern mountains.
Skies are breaking in most areas. Still seeing occasional light snow on RMP and flurries in the Gorge.
HN24/H20 2 DAY TOTAL-HN/H20 .
Monument 4″/0.25″ 10” /0.6”
RMP 5.5″/0.35″ 17” /1.15”
Molas 6″/0.4″ 10.5” /0.8”
Coal Bank 6”/0.55″ 15.5” /1.65”
U.S. Safety Board Urges Cellphone Ban for Drivers –A federal traffic safety agency is recommending that states prohibit all drivers from using cellphones, for talking or texting.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday that it had voted to recommend the ban on the use of mobile devices by drivers, citing what it said were the risks of distracted driving.
The recommended ban applies to hands-free devices, a recommendation that goes further than any state law to date. The agency said it is recommending that drivers be allowed to use their phones for emergency purposes.
“No call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” said Deborah A. P. Hersman, chairman of the N.T.S.B., an independent federal agency that is responsible for promoting traffic safety and investigating accidents and their causes. It will be up to the states to decide whether they want to follow the agency’s recommendation.
She said the decision was a hard one because such a ban would be unpopular among some people. But she said its time had come, given what she said were growing distractions in the car and the spread of increasingly powerful mobile devices.
“This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time,” she said.
Currently a “dry slot” is over the San Juans as the closed upper level low off the southern California coast moves northeast into Arizona. By mid-day the entrained Baja moisture will spread into the 4-corners and move into the southern San Juans bringing another round of snow. The storm will intensify this afternoon/tonight spreading into the northern portion of the range as the cutoff low opens into a trough producing up to 12-16″ of snow.
By early Wed. morning trough passage will cause a wind shift from SW to WNW that could bring more snow to the north side of the San Juans and the northern/central mountains. By evening the storm flow should shut off with high pressure building to the west.
The future looks complicated with another large cutoff low forming over northern Baja and northwest flow over the northern Rockies this weekend. This could be another storm entering from the 4-corners later on Sunday. With models in disagreement it’s hard to say with a high degree of uncertainty, but a series of storms or at least unsettled weather looks probable. Stay tuned.
VICTORY The Norwegian party pitched a tent as near to the actual pole as they could calculate
One hundred years ago, on Dec. 14, 1911, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen and four companions trudged through fog, bitter cold and lacerating wind to stand at the absolute bottom of the world, the South Pole. Nowhere was there a trace of their British rival, Robert Falcon Scott. No Union Jack mocked them, no ice cairn bespoke precedence. The Norwegians had won the race.
Amundsen and Scott were commanding forces driving early exploration of Antarctica, the ice-covered continent almost half again the size of the United States and unlike any other place on Earth. Both were driven by ambition to win fame by grabbing one of the few remaining unclaimed geographic prizes. Each was different, though, in temperament and approach to exploration, which may have been decisive in the success of one and the undoing of the other.
Earnest and methodical, Amundsen had previously wintered over with an expedition in Antarctica and succeeded in the first navigation of the Northwest Passage, north of Canada, as he learned well how to prepare for work on the planet’s coldest, most unforgiving continent.
A dust storm in Phoenix in July. Scientists say it is hard to gauge the cleanliness of Western air.
DENVER — Oh say, can you see across the Grand Canyon? Not as well as you used to on some days.
The question of how clean the air is in the American West has never been an easy one to answer, strange to say. And now scientists say it is getting harder, with implications that ripple out in surprising ways, from the kitchen faucets of Los Angeles to public health clinics in canyon-land Utah to the economics of tourism.
It is at least partly about dust, something that has been entwined with Western life for a long time, and now appears to be getting worse.
But now a new and even more complicated chapter appears to be unfolding, researchers in many different fields say. From off-road vehicle use, which has in some places replaced the clumping trod of the old cattle herds, to drought’s impact on plants with their soil-anchoring roots, more dust appears to be up and moving.
And scientists say they are also understanding for the first time the deep connections between the dust’s main source — a vast high-desert region called the Colorado Plateau, which stretches through four states and is home to national parks like the Grand Canyon and Arches — and the economic, environmental and demographic life in cities and suburbs far removed.
In the last few years, winter dust storms on the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado have sharply increased in number, affecting the rate of melting snows into the Colorado River, a main source of water for agriculture and for the drinking supply for more than 20 million people. Of 65 so-called dust-on-snow events since 2003, when tracking began, 32 have struck in just the last three years, according to the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies, a nonprofit research group based in Silverton, Colo. Dust can accelerate how fast snow melts because it absorbs heat.
“It’s not a mysterious process,” said Chris Landry, the organization’s executive director. “Anybody who has thrown coal dust on their driveway or sidewalk to melt it down knows the theory.”
This silver Navajo bolo tie features coral, jade, shell and other stones. It is on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix as part of the bolo tie exhibit.
December 9, 2011
Arizona celebrates its centennial next year, and to help get folks spruced up for the occasion, the Heard Museum in Phoenix recently opened an exhibition featuring the state’s official neckwear — the bolo tie.
The roots of the bolo tie aren’t known for sure. But the story goes like this: Back in the 1930s and ’40s, when Western swing was in full swing, a cowboy and silversmith in Wickenburg, Ariz., named Vic Cedarstaff was out riding his horse. The wind picked up, and to keep his silver hatband safe, Cedarstaff looped it around his neck.
“And a friend looked up and said, ‘Nice tie you got there, Vic,’ ” says Norman Sandfield, one of the world’s foremost bolo tie collectors. According to Sandfield, the Cedarstaff story may be true, but no one really knows if it was the first bolo tie.
Boyd Lee Dunlop was discovered in a Buffalo nursing home, wrestling music from a dilapidated piano. His debut album is called Boyd’s Blues.
Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked.
He also taught his little brother Frank to play the drums while they were growing up. Frankie Dunlop went on to record with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, among other jazz greats. Boyd Lee Dunlop went to work in the steel mills and rail yards of Buffalo, occasionally playing piano at local clubs.
Another chance encounter with a busted piano has now led Boyd Lee Dunlop to record and release his first album, at the age of 85. Brendon Bannon, a documentary photographer by trade, is the album’s producer.
“We met when I went into the nursing home where Boyd’s living, in Buffalo, to talk to the doctors there about doing a photo project. Boyd was sitting down in the waiting area also, and we struck up a conversation really quickly,” Bannon says. “He told me about his piano playing and invited me down to the cafeteria to listen to him play. I looked at the piano, and there were keys broken off of it … It didn’t look well. But Boyd was wrestling some beautiful sounds out of it.”
Here, Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon speaks with Bannon and Dunlop about Dunlop’s debut album, Boyd’s Blues.
Vincent VAN GOGH tends to be remembered as an art saint whose radiant paintings of sunflowers and starry skies seem somehow imbued with moral valor. He identified with the poor and marginalized, and looked upon art as a humanitarian calling. He died unknown, at age 37, and you suspect he will always be a shining hero not only to people who worship art but to those who feel their own talents remain insufficiently acknowledged by their peers — meaning, most everyone.
On the other hand, is it possible that we have him entirely wrong, that he was just a creep and selfish user who felt that a life in art basically meant never having to say “Thank you”? Such is the portrait that emerges from Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith’s energetic, hulking and negatively skewed “Van Gogh: The Life.” The artist, as they see him, was bitter and manipulative, more of a perpetrator than a victim. The eldest child of a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, he grew up in a rural corner of Holland and was not exactly an easy son. For part of his adulthood, we are told, in “a campaign that seemed intended to mortify and embarrass his parents,” he moved into their parsonage in Nuenen and shocked the congregation by swearing, smoking a pipe, drinking Cognac from a flask, dismissing the locals as “clodhoppers” and loudly proclaiming his atheism.
“If you aren’t nervous you’re not paying attention.”
Russell’s albums in the 21st century have been heavily influenced by his current home city, El Paso. Albums such as Borderland feature a strong Tex-Mex influence and feature songs of life on both sides of the border.
In 2005 Russell released Hotwalker, the second part of his Americana trilogy (the first part being “The Man From God Knows Where”). It was another conceptual work largely inspired by his correspondence with author Charles Bukowski. Subtitled “A Ballad for Gone America”, the album features songs and spoken word pieces, many of the latter delivered by another friend of Bukowski, circus midget Little Jack Horton. The sampled voices of Lenny Bruce and Edward Abbey are also heard on an album which takes the form of a musical collage lamenting the passing of the America of Russell’s childhood and the Beat generation.
Tom Russell’s Hotwalker CD is a portrait of a segment of American culture in a time gone by. Through original songs, narration, and the actual voices of literary and historical figures, Tom constructs a recollection of the outsider voices of American popular culture, literature and art of the 1960′s. It is Tom Russell’s second foray into photographing a piece of America’s past, the first being the critically acclaimed The Man From God Knows Where CD. included on the album.
In 2006, Russell released Love and Fear, a collection of original songs that were inspired by the highs and lows of his relationships with women. This was followed in 2007 by “Wounded Heart of America”, a tribute album of Tom Russell songs covered by other artists, including Joe Ely, Suzy Bogguss, Dave Alvin, Jerry Jeff Walker, and beat poet legend Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Two new songs, “Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall” and “The Death of Jimmy Martin”, are Veteran troubadour Tom Russell’s most conceptually ambitious (and audacious) release to date is less a collection of songs than an intensely personal travelogue through a bohemian America that no longer exists. It’s like a postmodern spin on an old-time supernatural radio series, conjuring ghosts from thin air. With Russell as tour guide and circus midget Little Jack Horner riding shotgun, the narrative channels the voices of Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, and Lenny Bruce, while connecting the cultural dots between the Greenwich Village of folk legend Dave Van Ronk, the Bakersfield of Buck Owens, the American southwest of environmentalist Edward Abbey, and the border cantinas of Tijuana. Russell subtitles the album A Ballad for Gone America, and it’s plain he means “gone” as both the highest hipster’s praise (“real gone,” “outtasight”) and a celebration of a wild strain of outsider artistry that has disappeared. By reminding the culture how much it has lost–how safe and homogenized it has become–Russell enriches the creative spirit with these echoes from the underground. –Don McLeese