~ lady friends from La Paz ~ Cholita Climbers of Bolivia Scale Mountains in Skirts

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“Cholitas” are Bolivian women with indigenous heritage known for their colorful attire, round top hats and ornate earrings. In the world’s highest capital city of La Paz, Bolivia, 11 Cholitas are on a mission to overcome sexism and discriminatory attitudes and climb mountains in their traditional garb. Led by Jimena Lidia Huaylas, the Cholita Climbers were once high-mountain cooks. But since December 2015, they’ve been ascending the country’s snowy peaks as mountain climbers. United by their love of mountains and a sense of defiance, the Cholita Climbers will stop at nothing to attain the feeling of freedom that comes from scaling great heights.

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Stephen Colbert Gives a Live Takedown After the State of the Union

“This was not a particularly good speech, but what it lacked in quality it made up for in length,” Stephen Colbert said. “This speech was like watching paint lie.”CreditCreditCBS

Stephen Colbert broadcast live on Tuesday, responding to President Trump’s State of the Union address with jokes written just moments before.

Trump’s delivery was, by the president’s standards, restrained and uneventful. But Colbert gave it no high marks.

“This was not a particularly good speech, but what it lacked in quality it made up for in length. This speech was like watching paint lie.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Credit Video by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Linda Ronstadt Talks Illness, ‘Trio’ Album in Candid ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ RollingStone Interview


Now retired from singing, legendary performer offers observations on several points of her remarkable career

In a touching, funny and inspirational conversation with CBS Sunday Morning’s Tracy Smith, Linda Ronstadt opened up about her battle with Parkinson’s, the disease that robbed fans of Ronstadt’s remarkable singing voice.

From the classic rock hits “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave” and “You’re No Good,” to the acoustic country of “Telling Me Lies” and “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” performed with her Trio partners Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, Ronstadt’s range as an interpreter and vocal powerhouse earned her membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

Now 72, with streaks of purple in her light brown hair, Ronstadt revealed that although she can no longer physically sing the songs for which she is well-known, she does have one way to hear herself perform them (it’s not on her million-selling records — she never listens to those).

“I can sing in my brain,” she says. “I sing in my brain all the time. It’s not quite the same as doing it physically. There’s a physical feeling in singing that’s just like skiing down a hill. Except better, because I’m not a very good skier.”

Although Ronstadt’s humor shines through in the interview, there’s also the poignant revelation that by 2009 she retired from singing because, by that time, what she heard herself doing mostly onstage was “yelling” as her voice faltered.

These days, Ronstadt spends much of her time at home reading, a pursuit that has deepened her interest in political affairs. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Ronstadt endorsed Michael Lewis’ bestseller The Fifth Risk. “It’s a great little civics lesson, to start with. It’s a real education in how the Cabinet works and what happens when it does its function, which it’s not doing now,” she said. “The ‘fifth risk’ is incompetence. For instance, the Secretary of Energy was a nuclear scientist, and Trump put in somebody who wasn’t even interested in the reports they prepared to hand over to the new administration. They didn’t even come in for a briefing. The Department of Energy, which I didn’t know before, takes care of all the nuclear weapons. Our nuclear arsenal is in the hands of the Department of Energy.”

Ronstadt’s first-ever live album, Live in Hollywood, taped for a 1980 HBO special, was issued last week. The LP collects 12 of the 20 songs performed in the special, many of which have been unreleased in any form until now.

Arizona Signs On To Colorado River Drought Plan ~ Colorado Public Radio

What was once a marina sits high and dry due to Lake Mead receding in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona, July 16, 2014.

John Locher/AP


Arizona delivered one of the final puzzle pieces for a Colorado River drought plan, agreeing Thursday to join six other states and Mexico in voluntarily taking less water from the constrained river.

The decision to join the drought plan, authorized by lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey, went right up to the edge of a federal deadline that threatened to blow up the agreement. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation director Brenda Burman said all parties must agree to cutbacks by Jan. 31 or she would begin the process to impose them.

Arizona was the only state that required legislation to join the agreement to protect the water that serves 40 million people in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.

“We inherited as human beings a pristine land with pristine water, and we messed it up as human beings ourselves,” said Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, a Democrat who represents the Navajo reservation in northeastern Arizona and voted to join the drought plan. “It is incumbent for us to safeguard, protect what we have left.”

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SIGNED → Gov. @dougducey adds his signature to Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan ✍️

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The so-called drought contingency plan is an effort to keep the Colorado River’s major reservoirs from reaching catastrophically low levels.

The nightmare scenario for Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico — which draw from Lake Mead — is a phenomenon called “dead pool,” in which the level of the lake’s surface falls below the gates that let water out. To avoid it, the agreement calls for an escalating array of cutbacks as the lake level drops.

Arizona has junior rights to river water and would be hit first and hardest if Lake Mead on its border with Nevada drops to shortage levels. Most residents will not see an impact from cutbacks, which will primarily hit farmers in Pinal County — between Phoenix and Tucson — who have the lowest-priority access to Colorado River water and stand to lose the most.

The Arizona legislation is the product of months of negotiations between major water users in the state, who agreed to reduce their take in exchange for cash or access to groundwater in the future. The farmers, who reluctantly supported the agreement, said it would require them to fallow as much as 40 percent of the county’s farmland.

“We know nothing is perfect, but this is pretty darn good,” said Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican from Prescott.

Arizona water officials say joining the agreement is critical to the state’s water future.

“The drought is real, and there’s less water in the river,” Dennis Patch, chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, told lawmakers this week. “We can see it. We must all take a realistic view of this river and realize it does not have as much water as it used to.”

Opposition came from a handful of Democrats who said the deal didn’t do enough to rein in the state’s water consumption. Sen. Juan Mendez characterized the deal as a giveaway to interest groups that promotes unsustainable water policy, ignores climate change and doesn’t address the fact that Arizona will have less water in the future.

If Arizona were serious about the drought, Mendez said, “we would be entertaining an honest assessment of whether we can continue to base our state’s economy on continuous growth and on welfare for water intensive uses.” Mendez, a Tempe Democrat, was one of only a handful of lawmakers to vote against the measures.

Arizona lawmakers backed two measures. One allows Arizona to join the multi-state agreement. The other includes a variety of measures to help Pinal County farmers. Those include $9 million for the farmers to drill wells, dig ditches and build other infrastructure needed for them to change from the river to groundwater.

Tucson would get more groundwater credits for treated wastewater, allowing the city to pump more in the future in exchange for providing water to Pinal farmers.

The drought plan requires Arizona to find a way to reduce its use of Colorado River water by up to 700,000 acre-feet — more than twice Nevada’s yearly allocation under the drought plan. An acre-foot is enough for one to two households a year.

Still, the agreement is only the beginning of discussions about conserving Colorado River water. It lasts through 2026, after which point even steeper cuts are widely expected. Ducey created a commission Thursday to study ways the state can conserve water.

“There’s a lot more work to be done to ensure that Arizona is prepared for a drier water future,” Ducey said.

The Keeper Of Southern Folk Is Up For 2 Grammy Awards ~ NPR


Folklore archivist William Ferris is among the nominees for next week’s Grammy Awards for his album: Voices of Mississippi — a collection of rural church gospel hymns, Delta blues and work songs.



Deluxe box set with a 120-page hardcover book edited by William Ferris. The set features essays by Scott Barretta, David Evans and Tom Rankin; Two CDs of Blues and Gospel recordings (1966-1978); One CD of Interviews and Storytelling (1968-1994); One DVD of Documentary Films (1972-1980). Also included are transcriptions for each track and a download/streaming code. Nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Historical Album and Best Liner Notes.


Voices of Mississippi taps into the rich world of southern musicians, storytellers, and writers. Their beautiful voices touched my heart. Bill Ferris is a profound historian. I am his biggest fan! –Quincy Jones

The combination of William Ferris and Dust-to-Digital is so important in preserving the cornerstone of our musical American history, and this collection is extraordinary. While listening to the amazing sounds of these tracks and paging through the brilliantly done book, it s clear that a lot of care and love went into the making of this project. –Lucinda Williams

Going from farm to front porch across the American south in the 1960s, William Ferris recorded everything from praying pigs to haunting blues a political act, he says, at a time when black voices were being silenced. –Rebecca Bengal, The Guardian

The Dude Abides

Big Lebowski character meets up with Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw in this Super Bowl commercial for Stella Artois

A week after a tantalizing snippet of Jeff Bridges back in his Dude garb hit the internet and raised wildly-unrealistic hopes that a Big Lebowski sequel was in the works, the full video has been released that shows it’s merely a Super Bowl commercial for Stella Artois. And it’s not even a Dude-centric Super Bowl commercial, but rather one that focuses on Sarah Jessica Parker — reprising her Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw — stunning everyone at a fancy restaurant by ordering a Stella Artois as opposed to her standard cosmopolitan. Near the end, the Dude walks in wearing his signature jelly sandals and cardigan sweater. He also shocks the place by forgoing a White Russian in favor of a Stella Artois.

Brewing In The Desert: Sake Finds An Unlikely Home In Arizona ~ NPR

Holbrook, Ariz., wasn’t the ideal place for Atsuo Sakurai to set up a sake brewery. The town of 5,000 is like a snapshot of a bygone era; kitschy diners, vintage motels and mostly mom-and-pop shops line the main drag. It has zero Japanese restaurants.

Arizona is the “last place” Sakurai says he thought he’d live.

But four years ago, Sakurai came here from Japan with his wife, a Holbrook native, to be closer to her family. That’s when Sakurai established his company, Arizona Sake. His brewing space is tiny – about the size of an office cubicle – sealed off behind a door, in his two-car garage.

“Smell[s] like apple, and pear and melon. Like very fruity. This is the original sake flavor,” says Sakurai. “So, I try to save this flavor in my premium sake.”

Sakurai learned to make the rice-based alcohol in his home country of Japan. He spent a decade working at factories there, learning the ancient brewing methods. He passed a rigorous Japanese government exam and earned the highest title of first-grade sake brewer. When he ended up in Holbrook, he found brewing in the desert was a blessing in disguise.

“When I did a test batch, I figured out, ‘Oh, the Arizona condition is really good to make sake,'” says Sakurai.

That’s because the dry air provides less chance for mold to form during fermentation, a common problem in Japan’s humid climate. Plus, the Holbrook tap water Sakurai uses comes from one of the best sources of groundwater in Arizona.

International recognition

“The sake tasted like clear and pure and fantastic,” says Sakurai.

So good, he thought, Sakurai submitted a bottle to last year’s international Sake Competition in Tokyo. He won first place in the overseas category. Kenya Hashimoto was one of the judges.

“Arizona Sake was well harmonized and excellently balanced with the aroma and taste,” says Hashimoto. “I thought the sake was made using high skills.”

Atsuo Sakurai stirs a fresh batch of Arizona Sake at his home brewery.

Heather Sakurai/Courtesy of Heather Sakurai


Sakurai says after he won the competition, orders started to pour in. He sells his sake to about 50 liquor stores and restaurants around Arizona, including Karma Sushi in Flagstaff. Rebekah Kaufman just ordered a cup during happy hour. One sip, and her palate goes wild.

“I’m getting almost like a little bit of pear, but it’s really smooth,” says Kaufman. “It’s definitely not overly sweet. It’s perfect.”

Sakurai says he hopes one day people in all 50 states will enjoy Arizona Sake. And, he insists it’s not all about making money.

“My business is to get friendship, or you know, love or peace,” says Sakurai.

Sakurai knows he’ll need to move out of his garage to grow, and he plans to do so. He just broke ground on a new commercial property a few blocks away.

North Face Will Help Open A Rare Women-Only Rock Guiding Course In Boulder ~ Colorado Public Radio

Hey …  here’s another great story/interview with old saddle pal Angela Hawse who was also a former Prescott College student of mine from a long time ago. 




Audio: North Face Helps Open A Rare Women-Only Rock Guiding Course

American Mountain Guides Association president Angela Hawse in action.

Courtesy of Angela Hawse

Like a lot of careers in the outdoors, the world of rock guiding can be a very “bro/bra” culture.

Angela Hawse, the president of the American Mountain Guides Association, is familiar with that. Only eight percent of the organization’s certified guides are women, Hawse said.

But now, they’re trying to change that.

With the help of The North Face, the American Mountain Guides Association is launching its first-ever women-only rock guiding course in Boulder this September. Hawse will be one of the course instructors.

Hawse talked to Colorado Matters about how women haven’t had enough role models in the rock guide community.

“When I started guiding over 30 years ago, I had very few role models that I could look up to as women that were successful and had carved out a career and had longevity with that,” she said.

Through the course, Hawse and her team are trying to encourage more inclusivity and eliminate as much unconscious bias as possible