a tune… a haiku… an infrared loop



Kiitella Project: Trophies ~ Deep Creek Run


Hefty little metal mountain trophies by Lisa Issenberg of Kiitella.

Mountain silhouettes in steel capture the rolling terrain of the Deep Creek Run in Telluride, Colorado, held this past weekend. The dark metal finish with polished edges and hand-stamping on the bases highlight Kiitella‘s handbuilt and unique essence.

Never-Before-Seen Essay by Jack Kerouac



The following essay is excerpted from The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished, and Newly Translated Writings. The Library of America-published collection, out today, includes previously unpublished work—two of which originally written in French—that give an early glimpse at the man who would go on to become one of America’s most iconic novelists, thinkers, and cultural heroes.
From a handwritten journal dated September 3–October 9, 1946, this essay, titled “America in World History,” echoes the theme of American national exceptionalism formulated by Ralph Waldo Emerson in such essays as “The American Scholar” (1837). Animated by the triumphalism of the immediate postwar period, Kerouac’s essay idealizes America as a virtuous alternative to European mores and traditions. At the center of “America in world history” is an enumerated list of singular American achievements, fueled by what Kerouac considers the “unconscious pulse of soul and destiny” propelling national life into the Cold War era. The discussion of jazz is especially notable in this regard, as the budding 24-year-old writer celebrates the jazz idiom for its dynamism and extemporaneous inventiveness—qualities that would guide some of his most impressive writing.



It would be much easier for me to assert that America is a separate culture-civilization from “West-Europe”—younger, with an unfulfilled destiny, not in the petrified decadent “late” civilization stage that Europe undoubtedly is in—because I myself do not feel “late” and “finished,” and because I feel young and unfulfilled. However, it would be infinitely harder NOT to separate America from West-European civilization because there happen to be innumerable facts that indicate there is actually a deep separation.

Therefore, I hereby separate American culture from West-Europe, I do it as an American, and it is not because this is the easier choice: I am impelled by facts, the deepest and most powerful of which is my feeling that I am young and unfulfilled, like 90 percent of my American brothers, and I believe that in this decision beats the unconscious pulse of soul and destiny.

This message will have most meaning to those who have felt what I write long before now, to many of those who, indeed, never read as a general rule. This message is directed to those Americans who feel the final culminating Alaska of American meanings beating in their blood.

But before anything of American destiny can be worked out and hinted—before that Goethean task, it is necessary for me, as an American versed in world history, as a thinker and novelist, as an intellectual conversant with the summaries of West-Europe (lodged comfortably in all large American cities, but in not one Alaskan town), it is necessary for me for the first time in America to formally and consciously disengage my nation from West-European civilization, announcing that it is a young and separate culture, with its own separate age and destiny, and marshaling these facts to prove it to all doubtful Americans.


Long Before Burning Man, Zozobra Brought Fire And Redemption To The Desert


Zozobra has become so popular that in Santa Fe, NM, a city of just over 80,000, almost 56,000 people have come out to see him this year.
Melinda Herrera/The Santa Fe Kiwanis Club


For those of us who grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., there are few figures that loom larger than Zozobra. I mean that literally, as much as figuratively: The 50-foot-tall marionette is as familiar as Santa Claus — only, instead of stealing away with cookies and milk, Zozobra ends its holiday each year by being ritualistically burned to death before a crowd of tens of thousands of screaming people.

Zozobra, which takes its name comes from the Spanish word for pain or despair, “represents all of the gloom of Santa Fe,” says Kenneth Garley. The self-diagnosed Zozobra fanatic is secretary of the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club, which builds the massive, scowling puppet and puts on the annual burn. “The burning of Zozobra is the burning of all the gloom.”

In the weeks leading up to the burn, thousands of people anonymously drop slips of paper containing their handwritten woes into the Gloom Deposit Boxes spread around town. Zozobra’s body — built mostly from wood, chicken wire, and papier mache by hundreds of volunteers — is then stuffed with all the gloom that’s fit to burn.

That means Garley, who was less than a year old when his parents brought him to his first burn, has seen a lot of gloom go up in smoke. In the 53 burns he has attended, he says he’s seen wedding dresses, mortgage papers, severance notices. Last year, when one of his fellow Zozobra builders passed away, he placed some of their ashes inside the puppet, “and that way she became a part of Zozobra forever.”

Elizabeth Harris, who has been attending Zozobra since shortly after she moved to Santa Fe 30 years ago, says her annual contributions these days are usually minor complaints. “But about 25 years ago, I was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer,” she says. “So, I took a copy of the pathology reports, and I stapled 10 pages of paper right onto the two-by-fours. So that was a pretty fabulous burn that year at Zozobra.”

But the ritual isn’t just about the gloom. It’s also a way for parents to scare their children into obedience, a rite of passage for young teenagers, and the biggest party of the year for everyone else.

~~~  READ/LISTEN  ~~~


Dear Keep OURay Alpine Wild Supporter,

High Alpine Building Regulations BOCC Hearing on September 22 – Many citizen’s showed up to watch the BOCC deliberate on the proposed code for residential building on patented mining claims. The commissioners had some good, thoughtful discussion. They made several decisions that strengthened the proposed building code. They strengthened the definition of tundra ecosystem and left in the prohibition of buildings in this delicate ecosystem. However, one decision is puzzling. They removed the section on minimum parcel size completely choosing to go with a density regulation rather than a parcel size. They continued the hearing at about 8:00pm just before we found out what that means exactly.
The hearing was continued to Oct 6, place TBD and then there may be one last meeting after this to adopt the regulations.


Roze Evans for Keep OURay Alpine Wild

1st coat of paint in the San Juans

Cimarron Range



Sneffels Range


The Last Word: Jeff Bridges on Dylan, the Dude and Surviving Box-Office Duds ~ RollingStone ~


Jeff Bridges reveals his favorite Dylan songs, why he loves ‘Big Lebowski’ and how ‘Hell or High Water’ erases his bad movies in our ‘Last Word’ Q&A. Illustration by Mark Summers

  Other stuff on the Dude

In the six years since he reunited with the Coen Brothers for a brilliant remake of the classic John Wayne western True Grit, Jeff Bridges has struggled to connect with audiences in multiplexes, releasing little-seen flicks like R.I.P.D. and Seventh Son. But right now he’s starring in one of the most critically-acclaimed movies of the year, the neo-western Hell or High Water. He plays a U.S. marshal days away from retirement that tracks a pair of bank robbers (Chris Pine, Ben Foster) across Texas. We spoke to Bridges about recovering from a box office bomb, what he learned from his father and the never-ending legacy of the Dude.

You’ve worked steadily for 50 years, but you’ve never been a superstar. Do you think you’ve benefited from not having one huge period of success?
My father, Lloyd Bridges, had a big TV series in the late Fifties and early Sixties called Sea Hunt. He was so good at playing a skin diver that people thought he actually was that character. That’s as great a compliment as an actor can get, but it was also frustrating, because he kept getting offered skin-diving scripts. In my career, I really set out not to develop too strong a persona, so that you wouldn’t have a hard time imagining me in any given role. I wanted to pleasantly confuse the audience on who I was.

When you’re not making movies, you lead a band called the Abiders. What music still moves you the most?
Bob Dylan. I love all the different incarnations of his music.

What’s your favorite Dylan song?
The first thing that popped into my head is “The Man in Me,” because it was in The Big Lebowski. I do a version of that with the Abiders. We worked together on [the 2003 movie] Masked and Anonymous. He’d knock on my trailer door and go, “Hey, you wanna pick?” We would play the version of “You Belong to Me” that he did on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack.

Who is your hero?
[Architect and inventor] Bucky Fuller. He had an analogy about ocean tankers: They use tiny rudders, called trim tabs, to turn the big rudder, and the big rudder turns the ship. Bucky said, “That’s a metaphor for how the individual affects society. We’re all trim tabs, because we’re connected to so-called more powerful people, and those people can turn society in a particular direction.” As a matter of fact, that’s what Bucky has on his tombstone: “Call me trim tab.”

What’s the most indulgent purchase you’ve ever made?
About 25 years ago, my wife and I bought Kenny Loggins’ house in Santa Barbara. It was way out of our price range, but we said, “Screw it, let’s go for it.” We’ve raised our family there. We overextended ourselves at the perfect time in our lives, and it worked out for the best.

You’ve been married to your wife for nearly 40 years. That’s longer than basically any marriage in Hollywood. What’s your secret?
I’m just crazy about the girl. If you’re married, you gotta work on it. We’ve hit some bumps, but we didn’t deal with them in a cynical way. Those bumps are great opportunities to get to know each other better. It’s all about intimacy. That’s the main high in life.

Do you have a fitness regimen?
I could be kinder to my body. As an actor, a role can be a great excuse not to be in shape. I mean, you wouldn’t want to see the Dude with a six-pack, so you eat that Häagen-Dazs. My weight goes up and down. I’m curious about this cryo thing, where they take you down to 250 degrees below zero for three minutes. It’s supposed to help with inflammation.
If you star in a big-budget movie like R.I.P.D. and it bombs, do you take it personally?
Not really. When a movie comes out, I’m working on something else and my attention is there. Also, I’ve already been paid [laughs]. This new one, Hell or High Water, is such a cool movie. That doesn’t happen all the time, so when it does, you go, “Yee-haw!”

What advice do you wish you’d received at age 20?
I got the advice — I just didn’t take it! My dad would say, “It’s all about habit, Jeff. You gotta get into good habits.” And I said, “No, Dad, you gotta live each moment. Live it as the first one and be fresh.” And he says, “That’s a wonderful thought, but that’s not what we are. We are habitual creatures. It’s about developing these grooves.” As I age, I can see his point. What you practice, that’s what you become.

What did you learn as a young actor that helped your career?
We recently lost a wonderful director, Mike Cimino. When I was doing his first movie, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, I was in my early twenties and I was very insecure and anxious. I didn’t feel like the guy I was supposed to be playing; I just couldn’t relate to the character. The day before shooting started, I told Mike, “If you wanna fire me, I won’t blame you.” He looked at me and said, “You know the game of tag? 
Well, you’re it.” It ended up being a great vote of confidence. Now, whenever I’m in a situation I don’t think I’m up for, I think, “Tag, I’m it.” You’ve just gotta do the thing, man.

If the first sentence of your obituary refers to you as the Dude, would that bother you?
Oh, no. That would be great. I’m proud of that movie. God, it’s a wonderful film.
How many times a day are you asked about it?
Just a couple of minutes ago I signed a couple of bowling pins for some people. That’s a normal thing. Somebody will hand me something and say, “Draw a picture! Draw the Dude!” They’re probably selling them on eBay or something.


Screen Shot 2016-09-23 at 10.31.11 AM.png


Jeff Bridges’s new film, Hell or High Water, hit theaters in August to great acclaim. The 66-year-old Oscar-winning actor shares what he’s learned from a six-decade career that began when he was just a baby.

I kinda fell into this acting thing. I’m really a product of nepotism. I guess. I don’t know really what the hell I would have been if I didn’t do the acting.

My first role was at six months, in a film called The Company She Keeps in 1951. My parents, Dorothy and Lloyd Bridges, were visiting their friend, John Cromwell, on the set. Jane Greer was in a scene, and they needed a baby. My mom, I’m told, said, “Here, take my baby,” and gave me to Jean. I was supposed to be a crying baby in the scene, but I was a pretty happy baby in general, and they were having problems getting me to look upset. So my mom said to Jane, “Just go ahead and pinch him!” Jane gave me a pinch, and of course I started crying—that was my first acting role. Many years later—33 years later—I made a movie with Jane Greer called Against All Odds. We had a scene together, and I told her, “Jane, I’m having a little trouble emoting here. Can you just give me a little pinch to get me started?”


Unlike a lot of showbiz parents, my father really loved show business and encouraged my brother and me to get into it. He was in a popular show called Sea Hunt. There’d be a role in one of the episodes for an eight-year-old, and he’d say, “Come on, Jeff. Come do it, come on and play with Dad. You’ll get out of school, it’ll be fun.” And then he’d set me on his bed and go over the lines. He taught me all the basics of acting. How important it is to listen to the other guy. How to make it feel like it’s happening for the first time. How to do a line in many different ways. It was like being home schooled in acting.

My dad was so good in Sea Hunt, people thought he was a skin diver who took some acting lessons when in fact he studied Shakespeare. Not many people know it but he replaced Richard Tyler on Broadway in Man of La Mancha. He was a wonderful singer, great at comedy, drama, all sorts of things. But he played Sea Hunt so well, he got offered a lot of parts for skin divers. That got kind of old.

Later on, my dad went the full circle, and he was kind of typecast as a comedic actor. I did two films with my father as an adult: Tucker and Blown Away. When we were doing Blown Away, there was the part of my uncle in the movie, and I told the producers, “Have you thought about casting an actor who kinda looks like me—a wonderful actor named Lloyd Bridges?” And the producer laughed and said, “Oh yeah, your father’s a wonderful actor, but he’s really more of a comedian?” Like in Airplane and Izzy Mandelbaum on Seinfeld. And I said, “What the fuck are you talking about?” It’s amazing how people forget. They made him read for the part. My dad didn’t complain. He was the consummate professional. It was a life lesson about fame.

People come up to me all the time and tell me how they loved Sea Hunt. They tell me about strapping vacuum cleaners onto their backs and pretending they were aqualungs, or putting on their mother’s pantyhose and pretending it was a wetsuit. I meet scientists and oceanographers who come up and say, “Oh man, Sea Hunt got me started.”

When one of my movies comes on TV, and I’m surfing the channels and I land on it, I’ll usually watch one scene and then click—I turn to something else. But if it’s The Big Lebowski, I get sucked in. I can’t help it. Each scene is so great, and all the actors are terrific. Wherever I am, I’ll end up watching it till the end. The John Turturro stuff at the bowling alley. Oh, God! He’s amazing.


I was kinda surprised when Lebowski initially came out that it didn’t do better—it was mildly received, a lot of people didn’t like it at all. And then it happened to be a hit in Europe, and then splashed back on this side of the pond and became kind of a cult thing. Strange how that happens.

After Lebowski, I did have a little concern about developing baggage like my dad did with the Sea Hunt thing, being known going forward forever as The Dude. If the persona of any one character you portray is too strong, it’s hard for a viewer to project any other character on top of it—they keep unconsciously remembering his other roles. For that reason, I like to be able to mix it up. So I was happy that my next film after Lebowski was The Contender, in which I played the President of the United States. But gosh, The Dude is a wonderful character. I wouldn’t mind if I was mostly recognized for that guy. That doesn’t bother me at all.


Screen Shot 2016-09-23 at 10.55.17 AM.png

The 2016 summer movie season has been disappointing, especially if you discount some of the more solid animated family films. The spate of sequels and reboots certainly left a lot to be desired. Suicide Squad ended up as not much more than a two-hour exercise in excessive music licensing. Ghostbusters was decent but unable to rise above toxic pre-release criticisms and stalled out at the box office. For adults though, there were few bright spots. The Nice Guys and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping provided some R-rated laughs, but, again, raise your hand if you saw either. The Shallows is a tight thriller that’s likely to become a HBO staple. There’s a takeaway from the last few months of hype: Chris Pine was in a fantastic movie and it didn’t involve Starfleet. It’s called Hell or High Water, and you should make it your business to catch it if it’s playing at a theater near you.

Set in very dusty Texas (though shot, and shot incredibly well, in New Mexico), in a series of fewer-than-one horse towns, the film stars Pine and Ben Foster as outlaw brothers, Toby and Tanner Howard, racing the clock to knock over a few banks. Their motives, and the cleverness of their scheme, become clear fairly early on, but it never gets boring, especially when things start to go horribly wrong and the shots start firing.

Pine is revelatory as Toby, and it’s great to see him leave the brash type role he’s done well in three Star Treks to Foster (one of his generation’s best character actors and arguably the most talented member to emerge from the Disney Channel pipeline) and give his interpretation of the criminal-with-a-soft-side trope while at the same time playing a rake who’s responsible for everything that goes wrong. Pine’s Toby is a man of purpose and principal, but he’s also a ball of rage as witnessed by an unspoken threat to a loan officer or an outburst at a gas station that’s played for the whoa-shit-factor and then for laughs when Foster reacts. The two have an easy, lived-in chemistry, and despite not resembling each other all too much, they’re perfectly matched as brothers. There’s an underlying sadness to their interactions and mission as a whole (an excellent family melodrama exists in a different edit), but both actors acquit themselves well, helped by great writing.


The performance most likely to stick with you, however, is Jeff Bridges as the grizzled Texas Ranger in hot pursuit of the Howard boys. Marcus Hamilton is an instantly iconic Jeff Bridges character—half True Grit’s Rooster Cogburn, half Crazy Heart’s Bad Blake—and he hasn’t been this good in years. It’s a gregarious, soulful performance, a veteran actor playing a veteran lawman and you believe every part of it—even the clichés go down as smoothly as a Shiner Bock. If you squint, the character could be Jeff Lebowski if he never tried pot and went straight back in the ’70s.


It’s a Wild, but Peaceful, World for the Former Cat Stevens


Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, at the Beacon Theater. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

NYT Review


Nostalgia, invocations of peace and love, and diplomatic positioning were all part of “A Cat’s Attic,” a gentle retrospective concert by Yusuf, the former Cat Stevens. Two shows at the Beacon Theater were his first full New York concerts since 1976, the year before he converted to Islam, changed his full name to Yusuf Islam and spent nearly three decades away from secular music.

Before that, Cat Stevens, born Steven Demetre Georgiou in London, had been known as a voice of kindly introspection, picking an acoustic guitar and singing about affection and a search for peace. Even his hit breakup song, “Wild World,” strove for compassion: “Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there.” His voice was reedy, grainy and prematurely grizzled; decades later, his tone hasn’t changed. Slender, soft-spoken and gray-haired at 68, Yusuf reminisced on Tuesday night about his unlikely life story and sang what had been staples of early-1970s FM radio: songs like “Peace Train,” “How Can I Tell You” and “Father and Son,” which, he revealed onstage, was initially supposed to be part of a musical about the Russian Revolution.

Longtime fans reverently sang along, ready to let Yusuf’s most controversial moment — his 1989 endorsement of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against the author Salman Rushdie — recede behind his later, more peaceable sentiments. He has claimed he was misinterpreted; on Tuesday, his second set included the Animals’ hit “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”

Yusuf, who switched to piano for songs like “Sad Lisa,” was accompanied by Eric Appapoulay on guitar and Kwame Yeboah on bass, percussion and keyboards, playing subdued versions of his old arrangements. The stage backdrop was an attic room recalling the “bedsit” where he wrote many of his early hits; on one wall, it had a tour poster of Cat Stevens in 1976, black-haired and bearded. “Welcome to my little house,” he said.

The biography that Yusuf told onstage — his “journey” — hinged on setbacks leading to epiphanies. In the 1960s, he was a striving hitmaker in England, reaching the charts with songs like “Matthew and Son” — a peppy tune about exploited labor — and “Here Comes My Baby,” which he slyly updated on Tuesday with a mention of texting.

But after a pop-star phase, he developed tuberculosis, and when he returned to songwriting he was transformed: quieter, more thoughtful, more spiritually curious. A musical trademark in many of his songs is a skipped beat, or a bar of 3/4 time in a 4/4 song, which gives the tune a subtle jolt. Songs from his 1968 album, “Mona Bone Jakon” — “Trouble,” “Katmandu” — were among the concert’s understated gems. Years before his conversion, he was already singing about quests for answers in songs like “I Wish, I Wish,” “Miles from Nowhere” and “On the Road to Find Out,” which were all part of his first set.

His second set drew on the 1970s, with songs like the folky “The Boy With a Moon and Star on His Head” — a fable that he carefully announced “never happened,” presumably because it revolves around extramarital sex — and “Angelsea,” with its heaving riff. In 1976, Cat Stevens was swimming off Malibu, Calif., he said, when he nearly drowned and desperately prayed to God, who rescued him by sending a wave. His conversion followed in 1977; though he didn’t use the word “Islam” onstage, he said, “I took my message, and I walked away” and that he also faced “aggressive aversion to what I had chosen.”

The songs he played from the 2000s, after he returned to a pop career, were friendly and nondenominational but resolute: “To be what you must, you must give up what you are,” he sang in one from 2009. He meshed his tentatively utopian “Maybe There’s a World” with the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love,” itself a skipped-beat song. And after he played some hits, he concluded with “Morning Has Broken”: originally a Christian hymn and still tenderly devout.

At White House, A Golden Moment For America’s Great Artists And Patrons ~ including Sandra Cisneros, Santiago Jiménez Jr.,Rudolfo Anaya, Mel Brooks and many more …


Mel Brooks receives the National Medal of Arts during an East Room ceremony at the White House on Thursday.
Alex Wong/Getty Images


Say one thing for certain: The lists don’t lack for leading lights.

When President Obama doled out the 2015 National Medals of Arts and National Humanities Medals on Thursday, plenty of the artists and arts patrons he draped with awards had familiar names — including Mel Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, Terry Gross and nearly two dozen others.

Yet even amid the hoopla, meant to laud both artistic achievement and support of the humanities in the U.S., it’s striking that Thursday’s ceremony also celebrated something a little more subtle: the humble ampersand. Nearly all of the names below have played so many roles — from producing music to speaking with musicians, from dancing on stage to flambéing behind kitchen doors — we’d be hard-pressed to speak of them were it not for that little word “and” tying all their undertakings together.

And behind it all is the pursuit and cultivation of meaning, says Gross. The longtime host of Fresh Air has interviewed about half of her fellow honorees over the years.

“I find a lot of meaning in my work. I think meaning is something that one has to find in life,” Gross tells NPR’s Robert Siegel. “Life doesn’t come with inherent meaning — I mean, all life is meaningful, but you, as somebody living your life, you have to find the meaning.”




Just as Donald Trump does now, Joseph McCarthy benefitted from bombast and fearmongering—and from an often symbiotic relationship with the press.


One definition of judgment is the ability to distinguish outliers from outright liars, given that they tend to tell similar kinds of stories. Occasionally, an individual, by producing a great volume of mendacity, manages to occupy both categories. Donald Trump—fabulist, demagogue, and Presidential nominee—has raised unique challenges not only to the political system but to those tasked with writing about it. Earlier this week, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the Times, commented to Quartz that the paper would point out Trump’s lies and label them as such sans euphemism. A few weeks ago, this publication began a series inspired by the candidate’s hostile relationship with facts, titled “Trump and the Truth.” (As David Remnick noted in an introduction to that series, “No one here is suggesting that Trump is the only politician ever to unleash a whopper. In fact, Hillary Clinton has had her bald-faced moments—moments that are too kindly described as ‘lawyerly.’ “ But Trump is in a category of his own.) Early on, the incendiary candidacy of the Republican nominee drew warranted comparisons to the brand of racist populism that George Wallace deployed in his 1968 campaign, and to Barry Goldwater’s 1964 electoral insurgency. Yet there is a growing contentiousness over Trump’s relationship with the media. It suggests another forebear whose life and career are a virtual template for the paranoid demagogy that has defined the 2016 election: Donald Trump is the second coming of Joseph McCarthy.

Trump and McCarthy share not only the kindred traits of demagogues—bombast and the manipulation of public fear in the service of their own ends—but a curiously close, almost familial resemblance. McCarthy’s hallucinatory anti-Communism was facilitated in part by a kind of swaggering masculinity that he deployed to differentiate himself from his patrician G.O.P. colleagues. He distorted his record of military service to portray himself as a fearless fighter against unambiguous evil. As with Trump’s, McCarthy’s world view was defined by a hypertensive, conspiratorial outlook. A conspiracy theory typically rests upon the extrapolation of a single shred of suggestion into a skein of unverifiable assertions—as with McCarthy’s 1950 claim that two hundred and five Communists had infiltrated the State Department. An internal government document had noted a number of employees whose background checks had revealed unspecified but troubling information, but there was no indication that these individuals were Communist moles. Trump’s Presidential campaign has been a miasma of conspiracy theories, virtually from the outset. Yet those parallels—disturbing as they may be—are surpassed by the similarities between Trump and McCarthy’s relationships with the press.

McCarthy’s demagogy was essentially enabled by a symbiotic press corps that was both frustrated by the senator’s pervasive dishonesty and beholden to him as a source of public interest and, therefore, newspaper sales. As David Oshinsky points out in “A Conspiracy So Immense,” his biography of McCarthy, the version of “objective” journalism in which the media simply reports the statements made by public figures, irrespective of their veracity, is uniquely vulnerable to manipulation by demagogues and serial liars. As Oshinsky writes,

Quite often, then, the reporter becomes a conveyor belt for material he knows to be false. He is helpless because the system inhibits him from imparting his version of the truth. In McCarthy’s case this objective approach was particularly frustrating. “My own impression was that Joe was a demagogue,” a newsman remarked. “But what could I do? I had to report—and quote—McCarthy. How do you say in the middle of your story ‘This is a lie’? The press is supposedly neutral.”

Strip away the default male pronouns, and this is similar to the situation that confronts the media covering Donald Trump in 2016—and precisely the kind of enabling that Chris Wallace’s refusal to fact-check during the Presidential debate he will moderate might resurrect. One McCarthy-era Kansas newspaper took to printing parenthetical corrections next to false statements by the senator—an approach that has found favor again in the Trump era. At the same time, the sheer volume of untruth McCarthy generated and the challenges of fact checking in the analog era of news reporting insured that a significant number of his lies made their way into print and were accepted as valid by a portion of the public susceptible to his manipulation. McCarthy struck back at journalists—in one instance literally, slapping and kicking Drew Pearson, a syndicated columnist—who did challenge his feverish distortions, labelling them dupes or knowing participants in Communist conspiracies. It should also be remembered that McCarthy’s disastrous feud with Edward R. Murrow was prefaced by an attempt to intimidate the CBS anchor away from critical coverage of McCarthy’s anti-Communist broadsides. Instead, the effort prompted Murrow to create a television segment pulling together McCarthy’s most transparently demagogic and embarrassing moments, which was rapturously received by the public.

It’s almost impossible not to see McCarthy in Trump’s genealogy when he announces his desire to change libel laws in order to rein in newspapers, when he denies news organizations credentials to his events, when he threatens to sue the Times and conducts a social-media feud with the “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. These dynamics would be concerning enough were there not an implicit way in which the media benefits from Trump’s presence. Like the members of the G.O.P. élite whose craven self-interest and calculation have prevented them from challenging a candidate who is a credible danger to the republic, many of the outlets that are covering Trump, and the orchestra of contempt he is conducting, are dealing with a conflict of interest. Jimmy Fallon’s tousling of Trump’s hair might well be dismissed as a reflection of a media committed to the rote rituals of election-year coverage—the standard playful exchanges with the Democratic and Republican nominees designed to allow the public to see their human side—were it not such an apt metaphor for the broader tendencies in Trump coverage. At best, it betrayed an inability to recognize that Trump is not a standard candidate but rather the kind of polarizing, knowledge-proof opportunist whom the Founders worried might one day come to power in their fledgling nation. At worst, there is also opportunism in the coverage of a dangerous man who has a flair for generating ratings.

It’s worth recalling that McCarthy’s demise came about not as a result of his disingenuous use of anti-Communism as a cudgel against his Democratic opponents but because he continued lobbing those grenades once the Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected. There is an operative lesson here for both Republicans and the media. Demagogues are incapable of maintaining an allegiance to interests other than their own. And those who are most responsible for showing the public exactly who they are might well be those who’ve previously benefitted from their presence.

Keep OURay Alpine Wild

Dear Keep OURay Alpine Wild Supporter,

Reminder: Today, Thursday, September 22 at 5:00pm in the 4-H Center, the BOCC will make the final decision on high density residential building in the fragile alpine zone. We will, hopefully, see the outcome of all of our hard work. We are cautiously optimistic that the BOCC will vote to protect the high alpine zone and tundra ecosystem from high density residential building.

It is very important that everyone attend this deliberative phase of the hearing where the final decision will be made. Public testimony is closed but our presence will remind the County Commissioners of the passion that our community has for this issue.

Hope to see you tonight.

Roze Evans for Keep OURay Alpine WildK

Mountaineer Schmitz killed in car accident ~ Friends remember climber as a ‘kind and loving soul.’


Kim Schmitz, California, 1968 ~ Edgar Boyles



Former Exum Mountain Guide and longtime Jackson resident Kim Schmitz was killed in a single-vehicle car accident Monday. Jackson Hole News&Guide

By Melissa Cassutt


Kim Schmitz spent the final days of his life paddling down the Salmon River in Idaho, meditating in the sunshine and soaking up the wilderness he had longed to be in for months.

Schmitz died Monday night in a single-vehicle car crash. He was 70.

The mountains were a place that was hard for Schmitz to get to anymore, a place he had been sequestered from for too long. For most of the summer, he was cooped up at St. John’s Living Center, battling a MRSA infection that left his right leg swollen and throbbing. He spent his days reading and meditating, his afternoons in physical therapy, learning to walk again.

The battle was just the latest on a long list of ailments and traumas the iconic, legendary mountaineer battled during his prolific climbing career.

“He really couldn’t walk anymore,” said Dr. Bruce Hayse. “It was basically the only way we could get into the mountains, into the wilderness, was on river trips.

“He just loved going on those river trips,” Hayse said quietly.

Hayse was his doctor and landlord. For the past several years Schmitz had rented a room in Hayse’s home. But more importantly he was “a very good friend” who was with him on the river trip this past weekend, he said.

The group pulled off the river Monday evening, and Schmitz took off on a solo road trip toward Spokane, Washington.

“We pulled off the river at sunset, packed up the boats and gave a round of hugs in celebration of a perfect day,” Brian Whitlock, who was also on the trip, wrote on his

Facebook page. “It was the last time we would ever see him.”

His friends were later notified Schmitz was killed in a car accident. His vehicle ran off the road and smashed into a boulder, according to Lemhi, Idaho, County Coroner Mike Ernest.
In his Facebook post, Whitlock recalled Schmitz being at peace on the river.

“When it rained, Kim raised his face to the drops,” Whitlock wrote, “when the sun shines, he raised his face to the rays. On Kim’s final Sunday, he was in a sacred place.

“It was kind of a beautiful last weekend of his life,” Whitlock said in an interview with the News&Guide. “In retrospect you realize it was almost like he was saying goodbye.”

Mark Newcomb, who met Schmitz as a teen when he was on his first ascent of the Grand Teton, called his passing “such a big loss.”

“He’s a towering figure in mountaineering and, for a considerable amount of time, set the standard for high mountain alpine climbing,” Newcomb said. “He also had an intense drive and a really kind heart.”

Schmitz was the first to scale some of the biggest walls in Yosemite, where he also set a few speed records. He was the first to ascend the Great Trango Tower in 1977 and Uli Biaho two years later, both located in Asia’s massive Karakoram mountains. He spent nearly 50 days traversing the same range on skis, a 300-mile trek. He logged climbs in Asia, South America, Canada and throughout the western United States, exploring the mountains with other climbing giants such as Jim Bridwell and Yvon Chouinard.

But his passion for scaling some of the highest and most difficult terrain in the world almost killed him — twice.

While on a 1980 expedition up Mount Gongga in China, an avalanche pulled Schmitz from the mountain, dropping him 1,500 feet and breaking his back. One of his climbing partners was killed.

Three years later, while guiding a trip up Symmetry Spire in Grand Teton National Park, he fell again, this time dropping 80 feet and breaking both his wrists and legs. He was put back together, but was never quite the same.

He battled addiction through his recoveries, finally choosing pain over taking pills.
“It was a constant struggle,” Hayse said. “He was in pain all the time and he couldn’t take pain medicine because he knew what it did to him. It was a very tough situation for him. We did a lot of meditating. He was very spiritual.”

Despite his suffering, friends say his spirit always shined.

“Kim was a real power of nature in many ways, an indomitable strength,” said Wesley Bunch, who met Schmitz in the early ’90s when they were Exum mountain guides. “He lived through so many hardships during his time. Despite all the hardships he went through — extensive surgeries, health issues — he always had an upbeat and Buddhist mentality. And a smile.”

Jim Williams, founder of Exploradus and one of Schmitz’s closest friends, echoed the sentiment.

“He has one of the most positive attitudes of anybody I’ve ever known,” Williams said.
Williams met Schmitz nearly 50 years ago, when he took a Royal Robbins climbing class. Schmitz was one of the instructors.

The two stayed in touch after the course, and eventually met back up when Williams became a guide at Exum. Eventually they became family, sharing nearly every Sunday dinner together for the past five years, Williams said.

“He was a kind and loving soul who had room for everybody in his life,” Williams said.

“I’m proud to have been part of it.

“He will be missed,” he said.

It’s Leonard Cohen’s Birthday. The Present Is Dark ~ September 21, 2016

For the past 25 years I’ve had this notion that on every successive Leonard Cohen record his voice would get deeper and deeper until one day he’d put out an album so subsonic that you’d just feel it, not hear it. Well, we’re close. On this day, Leonard Cohen’s 82nd birthday, he’s given us a gift: It’s dark, it’s beautiful and it’s deep. “You Want It Darker” is the title track to his soon-to-be-released album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. The album of nine songs, out Oct. 21, is produced by his son, musician Adam Cohen. As I hear it, the song speaks of a world without hope.

“A million candles burning
for the love that never came.
You want it darker
we kill the flame.”

Despite the depth of his voice and the strength and wisdom of his writing, I discern a frailness. What I hear are multiple takes on just this one track and a few edits within a verse. Listen at 2:06 — you can hear an edit right in mid-breath just after the line “middle-class and tame.” And shortly after, Cohen says, “I’m ready my Lord,” and the choir sullenly and eerily keeps the tone dark.


Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker
Courtesy of Columbia Records

It’s sad and difficult, but as good as this is, I can imagine this forthcoming album as Cohen’s last statement, especially thinking of the losses on our recent calendar. It’s hard not to think of the moment early this year when a much younger hero of mine, David Bowie, gave us Blackstar on the day of his 69th birthday. He knew it was his last work, even if, at the time, we didn’t.

We’ve been fortunate to have gotten so much from Leonard in the recent past. The elder statesman of poetry and prudence, whose music has touched me since I was a kid in the ’60s, has done what no one from those days has done: been active, creative and stronger in many ways with age. In a year when we’ve lost so many it feels good and comforting to have this old soul with us, lending us his voice, each day a blessing.


Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 9.13.45 AM.png

Leonard Cohen celebrated his 82nd birthday Wednesday with the announcement that his upcoming LP, You Want It Darker, will arrive on October 21st. The veteran musician released the mesmerizing title track, which, according to a press release, “delves into an unflinching exploration of the religious mind.”

Leonard Cohen Pens Letter to ‘So Long, Marianne’ Muse Before Her Death
“Well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon,” poet writes
Cohen’s sparse, spoken-word delivery is paired with Montreal’s Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir with chilling effect. “They’re lining up the prisoners and the guards are taking aim,” Cohen says. “I struggled with some demons/They were middle class and tame/I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim/You want it darker/I’m ready my lord.”
It’s unclear if You Want It Darker – produced by Cohen’s 44-year-old son Adam Cohen – will be supported with a tour. After a two-decade absence from the stage, Cohen played over 370 shows between 2008 and 2013. He hasn’t performed in public since a show at Auckland, New Zealand’s Vector Arena on December 21st, 2013 and didn’t support 2014’s Popular Problems with any live work.
He’s rarely seen in public these days, though his farewell letter to muse Marianne Ihlen did become public last month. “We are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon,” he wrote. “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”
A press release announcing the release date of You Want It Darker provides a description of each song on the album.

1. “You Want It Darker”
Hypnotic groove. The surprise of a great synagogue choir. An unflinching exploration of the religious mind.
“Didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim.”
2. “Treaty”
One of Cohen’s signature melodies. A confession of the selfishness of love and the hope of a correction.
“Only one of us was real—and that was me.”
3. “On the Level”
An old man’s take on desire.
“I was fighting with temptation, but I didn’t want to win”
4. “Leaving the Table”
A slow, relentless, and somehow joyous ballad of letting it all go by. A guitar solo you will remember.
“I’m leaving the table, I’m out of the game.”
5. “If I Didn’t Have Your Love”
A classic Cohen love song: the deep gratitude felt by one heart opening to another.
“That’s how broken it would be,
what the world would seem to me,
if I didn’t have your love to make it real.”
6. “Traveling Light”
A seeker hits the road and finds the joys of solitude.
“I’m traveling light
It’s au revoir
My once so bright
My fallen star”
7. “It Seemed the Better Way”
The feeling of a prayer that’s been there forever, but the spiritual comforts of the past no longer available.
“Lift this glass of blood, try to say the grace.”
8. “Steer Your Way”
A song of courage as the heart moves into the darkness.
“Steer your heart past the pain that is far more real than you.”
9. String Reprise/Treaty
A brilliant reimagining of “Treaty” as a string quartet; a truly glorious moment ending with a few words from Leonard himself.
“I wish there was a treaty we could sign.”

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 9.13.04 AM.png

~~~  WATCH  ~~~

The Success of the Voter Fraud Myth




How does a lie come to be widely taken as the truth?

The answer is disturbingly simple: Repeat it over and over again. When faced with facts that contradict the lie, repeat it louder.

This, in a nutshell, is the story of claims of voting fraud in America — and particularly of voter impersonation fraud, the only kind that voter ID laws can possibly prevent.

Last week, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that nearly half of registered American voters believe that voter fraud occurs “somewhat” or “very” often. That astonishing number includes two-thirds of people who say they’re voting for Donald Trump and a little more than one-quarter of Hillary Clinton supporters. Another 26 percent of American voters said that fraud “rarely” occurs, but even that characterization is off the mark. Just 1 percent of respondents gave the answer that comes closest to reflecting reality: “Never.”

As study after study has shown, there is virtually no voter fraud anywhere in the country. The most comprehensive investigation to date found that out of one billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 possible cases of impersonation fraud. Other violations — like absentee ballot fraud, multiple voting and registration fraud — are also exceedingly rare. So why do so many people continue to believe this falsehood?

Credit for this mass deception goes to Republican lawmakers, who have for years pushed a fake story about voter fraud, and thus the necessity of voter ID laws, in an effort to reduce voting among specific groups of Democratic-leaning voters. Those groups — mainly minorities, the poor and students — are less likely to have the required forms of identification.

Behind closed doors, some Republicans freely admit that stoking false fears of electoral fraud is part of their political strategy. In a recently disclosed email from 2011, a Republican lobbyist in Wisconsin wrote to colleagues about a very close election for a seat on the State Supreme Court. “Do we need to start messaging ‘widespread reports of election fraud’ so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number?” he wrote. “I obviously think we should.”

Sometimes they acknowledge it publicly. In 2012, a former Florida Republican Party chairman, Jim Greer, told The Palm Beach Post that voter ID laws and cutbacks in early voting are “done for one reason and one reason only” — to suppress Democratic turnout. Consultants, Mr. Greer said, “never came in to see me and tell me we had a fraud issue. It’s all a marketing ploy.”

The ploy works. During the 2012 election, voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee reduced turnout by about 2 percent, or about 122,000 votes, according to a 2014 analysis by the Government Accountability Office. Turnout fell the most among young people, African-Americans and newly registered voters. Another study analyzing elections from 2006 through 2014 found that voting by eligible minority citizens decreased significantly in states with voter ID laws and “that the racial turnout gap doubles or triples in states” with those laws.

There are plenty of shortcomings in the American voting system, but most are a result of outdated machines, insufficient resources or human error — not intentional fraud. All of these are made only worse by shutting down polling places or eliminating early voting hours, measures frequently supported by Republican legislators.

Those efforts are especially galling in a nation where, on a good day, only 60 percent of eligible voters show up to the polls. The truth is that those who created the specter of voter fraud don’t care about the integrity of the voting system; they want to undermine the rights of legitimate voters because that helps them win elections.

The scary thing is how many Americans have bought into this charade. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Republican Party’s standard-bearer, Donald Trump, has elevated the lie about voting fraud and “rigged elections” to a centerpiece of his campaign.


The Brit with his one month old sons