A carpenter disappeared in the mountains here a few months ago. A talented craftsman, longtime local, a gentle soul with a caring wife, a daughter just turned 18, and many loving friends, he parked his truck at a trailhead and vanished. Nobody knows whether he had an accident, suffered a heart attack, was attacked by a cougar or took his own life. A massive search by friends and family found nothing except a lot of fresh bear sign. A psychic suggested he had fallen from a cliff and then been buried in a mudslide. Maybe an elk hunter will find his body. In the meantime, his family has held a service, memorable and moving, if haunted by the unknown.
In my experience, the problem with elk hunting is the elk. Trailing them through snowy woods, watching them flow down a steep hillside, their exhalations smoky in the cold, you come to admire them. After a few seasons, you might begin to like elk more than you like elk hunters, which constrains the take. Passing up shots, you begin to wonder why you still carry a rifle. (If you were really hungry, of course, it wouldn’t be hard to pull the trigger, but that kind of hunger is mostly a memory now.)
Snow is an instructive canvas. Seeing a dusty animal track on a summer trail, lacking the ability to follow it further, we forget that up ahead there’s an animal standing on those feet right now. In November, elk probably wish they could stop making tracks through the snow, but they can’t so they ditch you in icy terrain, where four feet offer an advantage.
We humans leave tracks, too, of course, but today our footprints are interrupted by jet contrails and automobile journeys. The lost carpenter – his name was Willie – probably traveled a million miles in his lifetime. Our incessant motion can’t change the fundamental reality – that we are all snowflakes, just here for a season. Is it that knowledge that makes us so restless? Makes us drive the distance to the Moon every 20 years? If so, is there any cure?
Many wolves and some bears in the Rockies now wear radio collars that emit one beeping signal when the animal is moving and another if it dies. If humans wore similar “mortality devices,” would it change our behavior? Would it slow us down or speed us up? We could call them the Apple iAm, link them directly to your Facebook page. Volunteers, anyone?
I asked the most peaceful woman I’ve met recently what explained her calm aura. She explained that she had spent the last two years living within a 100-mile radius of her home in western Colorado. She was taking an airplane sabbatical. All her flights had been grounded. An athlete, in the winter she coaches a nordic ski team, skating long distances across Grand Mesa, but she is no longer trying to outrun herself.
There are days in October when it seems a crime to be inside. On one of them I went walking up the rugged ridge behind where Willie presumably has been lost. I crossed Avalanche Creek on a log, then climbed game trails up a steep slope to the edge of an escarpment. From there I walked a long ridge above treeline, a tundra vagabond gazing into hanging basins on both sides. Blond grasses, crisp air, blue sky. I ate an apple at the pass, then dropped into Gift Creek to circle back around.
Lower down, some of the meadows were bordered by radiant aspen. In one, a group of hunters were gathered by wall tents. Their stocky buckskin horses were picketed nearby, pink flagging woven into their manes, to ward off incoming fire, presumably from errant Texans.
The sun had vanished behind the ridge, the air was cooling, and wildlife would soon be on the move, but these men were camped in the prettiest spot in Colorado and seemed in no rush to go hunting. We’re lucky to live in these mountains, I thought, and some of us to die here, too.
Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday (July 4) that the severe hail storm struck the town of Santa Rosa just after 6 p.m. MDT Wednesday, about 115 miles east of Albuquerque, with hail up to the size of golfballs, damaging multiple vehicles, homes and businesses.
By Will Oremus Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013, at 3:42 PM
Sales of one particular edition of George Orwell’s dystopian classic are up some 5,000 percent on Amazon.com in the past 24 hours, according to the site’s list of “movers and shakers.” The figure wasas high as 7,000 earlier today.
It would be gratifying to think that millions of Americans are spontaneously flocking to the book to help them make sense of the recent revelations about the NSA’s wide-ranging digital surveillance programs. No doubt a few are.
But before you conclude that this sales spike represents some sort of national intellectual awakening, keep in mind that we’re talking percentages here. This particular edition of the book might only sell a few copies in an average day, so a sudden appeal to a few thousand buyers could account for a drastic jump.
And in fact, there is at least one concerted activist campaign asking people to buy the book and send it to their representatives in Washington. Other editions have seen more modest sales gains, on the order of 200 to 300 percent. None has yet cracked Amazon’s top 50, which remains the rarefied realm of titles like Glenn Beck’s The Eye of Moloch and Jorge Cruise’s timeless The 100: Count ONLY Sugar Calories and Lose Up to 18 Lbs. in 2 Weeks.
Tongue lashing: This unnamed employee was fired after this photograph was posted to the Taco Bell Facebook page and has now gone viral
Others claim it is just a joke and the shells were stale and headed for the bin rather than for public consumption.
Graffiti on a cactus last week in Saguaro National Park in Arizona. Many of the giant cactuses are 150 years old.
SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — When Steve Bolyard checked out a report of black paint on some of the park’s majestic saguaros — cactuses whose towering bodies and upraised arms are as emblematic of the American West as red-rock buttes and skittering tumbleweeds — he did not expect to see ganglike calligraphy covering more of them than he could easily count.
“It was too much,” said Mr. Bolyard, a park ranger. The same sort of symbols one might see on a subway train were scattered along the spiny forest last month. Rangers eventually found at least 45 graffiti tags in the park, including 16 on the slow-growing and fragile saguaro, the paint obscuring part of the green skins where the plants store the chlorophyll to draw nourishment from the sun.
It was the latest example of a trend that has been unnerving park officials from Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado to Arches in Utah and Joshua Tree in California. Just as drought and rapid development have caused a rise in encounters between humans and wild animals on the edges of many American cities, the wilder side of urban life — vandalism, graffiti and litter — has found its way into the wilderness.
The cause of this recent spike in graffiti on public lands is unclear, but some park personnel say there is reason to believe that it coincides with the rise of social media. “In the old days,” said Lorna Lange, the spokeswoman for Joshua Tree, “people would paint something on a rock — it wouldn’t be till someone else came along that someone would report it and anybody would know about it.”
She added, “with social media people take pictures of what they’ve done or what they’ve seen. It’s much more instantaneous.” And that instant gratification could stimulate the impulse to deface.
“You can lay down and fall asleep without a thought in your head. ”
In the Western stereotype, Buddhists are meditating pacifists who strive to keep their distance from worldly passions. But last month, more than 40 people were killed in fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in the central Burmese town of Meiktila. Witnesses say some Buddhist monks joined in the violence, while others tried to stop it.
One prominent monk in particular has been blamed for being behind it.
U Wirathu, 45, is head of the Masoeyein monastery in Myanmar’s second-largest city, Mandalay, just up the highway from Meiktila. Wirathu is considered a talented scholar of Buddhist scriptures in the ancient Pali language, which gives him authority among Buddhists.
On a recent day, he sat in the middle of a large hall, full of Buddhist imagery and pictures of other monks. Wirathu is a slight figure, clad in saffron-colored robes. He says he was in Meiktila during the violence, and was trying to stop it.
“We spoke to the crowds to try to control the situation,” he says in a steady voice. “We assured them of their safety. We told them we intended to protect their lives and homes and asked them to join us.”
Wirathu acknowledges he’s a Buddhist nationalist. But he says he’s just defending his nation and his religion against attacks by outsiders.
“The Burmese race has been insulted,” he argues. “The Buddhist religion has been attacked, and our country has been trespassed. These are the origins of our nationalism.”
When illustrator Ralph Steadman accepted an assignment with writer Hunter S. Thompson at the Kentucky Derby, he never imagined the weekend that would ensue. Here, Steadman depicts the race’s winner, a colt named Dust Commander.
In the spring of 1970, a British illustrator named Ralph Steadman had just moved to America, hoping to find some work. His first call came from a small literary journal called Scanlan’s. It was looking for a cartoonist to send to the Kentucky Derby. Steadman had heard of neither the race nor the writer he was to accompany, a fellow named Hunter S. Thompson.
Steadman hadn’t read any of Thompson’s work, and he certainly didn’t know that the writer had a bit of a drinking tendency, but he agreed to go.
One booze-riddled weekend later, Scanlan’s published the essay and launched Thompson into stardom. “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” so fascinated audiences that one Boston Globe writer deemed it “gonzo” — a term that would stick with Hunter S. Thompson for good.
‘The Real Beasts Perform’
Steadman and Thompson flew into Louisville separately and met at Churchill Downs to pick up their press credentials. As Thompson led Steadman around the racetrack, it quickly became clear that the two wouldn’t be watching much horse racing.
“We went into the inner field first to just look at the people,” he tells weekends on All Things Considered host Kelly McEvers. “We were really looking for odd faces. People that were kind of weird, you know? That seemed to become our real purpose.”
It was Thompson’s idea. They’d seek out the “whiskey gentry,” as the writer called them, and there they’d find that face: “a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams and a terminal identity crisis.”
That search became the central narrative of the essay. “We didn’t give a hoot in hell what was happening on the track,” Thompson wrote. “We’d come to watch the real beasts perform.”
A self-portrait of Steadman.
Cartoon Museum ……….READ/LISTEN TO THE STORY………
Wandering the streets of New Orleans.. music, food, city adventure
Read some earlier posts by going to Categories and picking your interest.
Please come back mid-April.
“How to Avoid Pleurisy:
Never make love to a girl named Candy on the tailgate of a half-ton Ford pickup during a chill rain in April out on Grandview Point in San Juan County, Utah.”
The auction of 4700-DN
“I have come for two reasons. To get drunk and buy a truck.” Gail told a news reporter as she walked into the upscale Metropolitan Restaurant in Salt Lake City Utah on the evening of August 18, 1998. The truck in question was a battered and rusty 1973 blue Ford F-100 with a bluebook value of $500. The reason Gail wanted it was that it once belonged to Edward Abbey, author of “Desert Solitaire”, anarchist defender of wilderness. Ed’s widow Clarke Cartwright Abbey had attached a red silk carnation boutonniere to the hood and then laid the rest of the bouquet inside the jockey box before she donated the truck to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) to be the main attraction in a silent auction to raise money for the protection of Ed’s beloved redrock desert.
I love the tactile experience of writing with truly obsolete technology. These days of scatterbrain thinking and an obsession with Control-V and Control-C, the typer gives equal parts freedom and discipline.
I found an old New Yorker under my bed this morning, along with a lot of dust. I’ve got to do some cleaning. Anyway, I kept this August, 2005 issue for a good reason. A very funny, in fact hilarious Kinky Friedman story/interview when he was running for Texas Governor… J.R.
Here are a few lessons from modern American music. First, he not busy being born is busy dying. Second, you can’t hang a man for killing a woman who is trying to steal your horse. And, third, you come to see what you want to see; you come to see, but you never come to know.
These are good lessons. Bob Dylan provided the first, Willie Nelson the second. The third belongs to Kinky Friedman, who, in the nineteen-seventies, travelled around the country with his country-and-Western band—Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys—annoying audiences with a series of goading, satirical songs with titles like “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore” and “Asshole from El Paso.” In the eighties, after the band broke up, Kinky reinvented himself as a mystery novelist. In the past twenty years, he has written seventeen mysteries starring a detective named Kinky Friedman—a Jewish cowboy from Texas who has quit a singing career for a life of sleuthing and one-liners in New York City. Today, Dylan and Nelson, whose onstage thrones in the great concert hall of musical divinity were installed decades ago, seem to intend to ride their tour buses forever. Kinky, who never learned to sit still much, has grown tired of his second career—this year, at the age of sixty, he announced that his most recent mystery will be his last—and has sought out a third. He intends to be the governor of Texas.
Which is more dangerous, dropping in or driving here on snowy roads? Turkey Chute, Grand Teton National Park.
A life filled with adventure tastes sweeter than one viewed from the couch. And as science tells us, sitting on the couch isn’t exactly the safest place to be, anyway.
The New York Times has just published a story entitled “Extreme Grief,” which purports to examine the hazards of adventurous sports like skiing, snowboarding, and backcountry skiing in particular. In fact, it is reporting at its worst, a random collection of anecdotes in support of a spurious assumption, with seemingly no real understanding of the true issues at hand. It tells the story of Rob Liberman, a heli-skiing guide in Haines, Alaska, who along with a client died in an avalanche almost exactly a year ago. Liberman’s parents have petitioned California’s senators, along with other congressional representatives (why California when the slide happened in Alaska isn’t explained), for “an independent investigation, improved safety conditions and standardized regulations for helicopter skiing in Alaska.” It also relies heavily on an interview with Ben Clark, a filmmaker who’s made a documentary about the accident called The Alaskan Way.
The problem with this story is that by casting vague concerns and institutional handwringing toward a disparate group of incidents, with no real understanding of the fundamental equation of risk, sport, and adventure, it suggests that pursuits like backcountry skiing simply aren’t worth the danger. It’s an unpacked snowball thrown in a random direction, but it calls into question the very essence of an adventurous life. That’s cowardly. And coming from a publication as big as the New York Times, it’s dangerous.
Look, it’s important to analyze risk and to study accidents forensically. As I’ve written before, if I die in an avalanche, the odds are that I made a mistake, and by all means, tear it apart, get to the heart of it, and learn from what I did wrong in hopes that others don’t repeat the mistake. Whatever happened that led to Liberman and Dodov dying, the facts should be made public — the decision making, the snowpack, the heli operation protocol. That’s how we learn. But a reactionary, emotional response that seeks to tighten pursuits that are by their very nature liberating, well, that needs its energies redirected elsewhere.
A clip from the movie Cool Hand Luke. In this scene, the new inmates are introduced to the rules and told that breaking any rule leads to a ‘night in the box.’
Billionaire Bill Koch is building a replica of an old western town on land he owns near Paonia, but some residents aren’t happy.
…………..LISTEN TO THE STORY…………
Dr. Peter Hackett in 1982, administering O2 to a climber at the clinic in Pheriche on the road to Everest.
President Obama’s description this morning of an idealized budget negotiation with Republicans was bizarrely quaint and decorous. “There’s a pretty straightforward way of doing this, and that is to set the debt ceiling aside, we pay our bills and then we have a vigorous debate about how we’re going to do further deficit reduction in a balanced way,” he said at the final news conference of his first term, devoted largely to the coming debt-ceiling crisis.
But the debate that Washington has been having has been anything but straightforward, and demanding that it be otherwise won’t make it change. The hard-right Republicans in the House aren’t interested in sitting at a long table with pencils and budget books; they want to set that table on fire, and burn to ashes all the compromises that long defined the two-party system.
Republican have made it clear they are fully prepared to shut down the government, block payments to retirees and soldiers, default on the credit of the United States, and cause a global panic by the end of next month, all of which will result from failing to raise the debt ceiling. Politico quoted several Republican lawmakers and aides today who said that party members are demanding that Speaker John Boehner consider default and a shutdown as a serious governing option.
Mr. Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” one leading Republican adviser said in the article. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”
The use of chaos as a legislative strategy — and to “manage” raucous members — is a new and explosive element in American politics, one that Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge. Though he has no reason to believe this, he expressed hope this morning that common sense would prevail once the American people realize Congress is balking at paying its own debts. By refusing to let Republicans use the ceiling as a negotiating level, he said, he will eventually persuade the party to do the right thing.
“This is the United States of America,” he said. “What, we can’t manage our affairs in such a way that we pay our bills and we provide some certainty in terms of how we pay our bills? Look, I don’t think anybody would consider my position unreasonable here.”
But of course an entire political party does. The president’s position as the rational man in the room may help shift public blame toward the Republicans, but it’s far from clear that will be a useful tool. Many House Republicans, from districts as small and rigid as they are, don’t care about blame and consequences. Even members of the House leadership are talking openly about the uses of extortion.
Unfortunately Mr. Obama has refused to halt the crisis with any of the “simpler solutions,” as he put it today, ruling out the minting of a coin or, more realistically, the use of a clause in the 14th Amendment. (That clause prohibits any questioning of the public debt, and some lawyers have said it could be used to permanently eliminate the debt ceiling.) So even if he gets through February with the usual last-minute deal that infuriates the hard right despite excessive spending cuts, they will be back with the same club, again and again, until someone with resolve puts a permanent end to it.
Nick is selling out to focus more on his ranches and horses.
He is a BMW dealer in Los Angeles and has been actively working on this
collection for nearly 12 years.
A friend said that Nick has let this collection become a
secondary focus and wants to “move on.” Sad but true!