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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 5jan25012

Visiting a New Mexico hippie haunt

Lama Foundation Winter 2006
LAMA … For many years in the Sixties those of us in San Francisco heard and read about the commune movement in northern New Mexico – places like the Hog Farm, New Buffalo and Morningstar East. While many of those places disappeared, Lama became a foundation and has continued as a communal haven of renown in the counter-cultural movement since its founding in 1967. Its prayer flag cottage industry has helped it survive economically, while the publication of Ram Dass’ Be Here Now also gave Lama a long-term financial grounding … This past weekend I got to make my first to the residential cluster of homes that surround the famous intentional community. It was a birthday party for an old friend, and in the process of celebrating I got to meet some incredible people … 
Morningstar East (1969)
 That included Rick Klein, the legendary musician and New Buffalo commune founder, and his wife Terry. Rick played some amazing music for us, and the two of us had some lovely talks about the hippie days … Annie Degen was a charming veteran of that same period, and lives in a beautiful adobe adjacent to Lama full of paintings and mementoes of her famous painter/poet partner, Bill Gersh, who was a legend in Taos throughout the Sixties and Seventies. I don’t think I’ve met an elder who more embodies the hippie spirit or keeps that flame alive than Annie … Musician and string instrument-maker Tony Sutherland was the wonderfully gracious host for the birthday bash. His song “Everything Is Everything”  can be found on YouTube … 
Wendelin Scott, Yoga Source, Santa Fe

Incredible yoga teacher, Wendelin Scott, was able to key into our group of newbies and experienced practitioners in a way that made the least experienced feel comfortable and at home in various asanas. She’s co-director of Yoga Source in Santa Fe and a devoted student of Advaita Vedanta. She holds a Masters in Eastern Classics and Sanskrit from St. John’s College … I’m hoping many of these folks will come up to join us for the Telluride Mushroom Festival this year.

SPEAKING OF SHROOMFEST … We’re offering a special discount price for a full weekend pass to the Telluride Mushroom Festival for locals (anyone reading the Watch) – good until the end of January. Just $125 -- $50 off the full price … For more info, call me at 327-4767.

ELECTRO MAGNETIC FIELDS… The issue of “smart meters” continues to confound many of us. I don’t appear to have any personal effects from all the invisible waves and rays piercing my home walls. And yet it’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore how strongly they affect certain sensitives. And information keeps coming in that they may have unknown long-term effects on many of us … 

Smart Meter demonstration in California
The recent article in Scientific American (January issue) on animal behavior, “The Compass Within” speaks at length about the magnetic sense in animals that scientists are just now zeroing in on, and how it works. As the article begins, “Franz Anton Mesmer’s 18th-century belief in ‘animal magnetism’ – the notion that breathing creatures harbor magnetic fluids in their bodies – had long been relegated to the annals of charlatanism.” But recent research has documented that dozens of species of animals exhibit a magnetic sense. Maybe even humans. But scientists aren’t exactly sure how it works … Magnetism is, as neurobiologist Steven M. Reppert suggests, “the one sense that we know the least about.” Various mechanisms have been suggested and tested, but results are still not conclusive … Thorsten Ritz, a biophysicist at the University of California at Irvine, does note that “radio waves induce electric fields that could disrupt biological processes in unpredictable ways.” While he was speaking to animal orientation in long migratory flights, the concept of EMFs affecting animals (and humans) in ways we don’t understand seems to be becoming more accepted. Clearly, we need more and better research to understand how our increasingly electrified world is affecting us, not just technologically but physiologically too.

A solar Glory

THE GLORY … My teacher, Dolores LaChapelle, was always fascinated by the solar phenomenon called a “glory” – a circular rainbow of light seen in alpine regions, often surrounding one’s shadow form on nearby clouds. First reported by a French scientific expedition to Ecuador in 1748, the exact mechanism of this rare but fantastical light show has been explained in many ways. But H. Moysés Nussenzveig’s article about it in the same issue of Scientific American is worth reading … Turns out, it’s not nearly as simple as has often been explained. Three effects are involved. However, geometric-optic axial back scattering has only a small part to play, edge rays aren’t all that big a contributor, but Mie resonances arising from the tunneling of light seem to be the main effectuator.



Seminary for me
was R.C. boot camp
Basic training

for church, not state
Our mission to tithe
& save, not tax

& kill. Now elected
to local office
I serve the people’s will

The statutes my bible
Compassion my skill

at the altar of balance

Up Bear Creek / 29dec25011

Heading into a world of uncertainties

CALENDARS … Great to welcome in a new year (who among those of us conceived in World War II and having survived Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. thought we’d still be here?). We’re a dozen years into millennium change, whether you keep count by the Christian calendar (2012) or by the Ancient North American calendar (25012) or Gary Snyder’s Cultural calendar (50012)… Will the purported end of the Mayan calendar bring great changes or merely another round in the cycle? What with elections and the world racing into a future both frightening and exhilarating, all we can do is hang on for the ride.

Shroompa's New Mayan Calendar (illustrator: Aaron Cruz Garcia)

NICARAGUA … You might remember Paul Dix and Pam Fitzpatrick from a lecture they gave at the Wilkinson, back in 2008. Hastings Mesa recluse and world-renowned climber Jack Miller alerted me to their new book, Nicaragua: Surviving the Legacy of U.S.Policy. It’s a dazzling bilingual book of photographs and testimonies from 1985 to 2010 – tracing lives before and after Reagan’s shameful covert Contra War (how anyone could celebrate that dissembling president for his murderous legacy in our Central American neighbor to the south is beyond me – he, Col. North and the many less visible conspirators in that sordid affair should have been prosecuted as war criminals) … As Jack notes, “Paul and Pam explain what happened better than anything I’ve read” …Nicaragua was all the news back in the Reagan era, now you rarely hear about it. But the scars and wounds from our actions there, while healing, still exist. And this book gives you a clear insight to what happens when we let the military-industrial complex dictate our foreign policy -- using CIA spooks as our brain trust … It’s available at the Wilkinson and Ridgway libraries, as well as at Between the Covers Bookstore in Telluride and Cimarron Bookstore & Coffeehouse in Ridgway. Highly recommended.

SKI MAG … Telluride got another cover story in the December issue, once again relishing the spotlight in the industry’s premiere downhill magazine. Rob Story did the piece – part of a series on “Colorado’s Secret Stashes.” Alpino Vino get’s a hefty boost from Story who notes the European-Telluride connection with waitstaff lederhosen and a “stunning blonde in a St. Pauli Girl dirndl” … But he’s true to our place’s unique niche – “While Telluride has witnessed an infusion of luxury lodgings and day spas, it remains the odd, funky outpost…”

WI-FI BIRTH CONTROL … Argentine researchers are claiming that “electromagnetic radiation in wireless devices positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality,” according to a report in the Dec. 16th issue of The Week (my news organ of choice at the moment – thanks to Richard Arnold and Marshall Whiting) … “Electromagnetic radiation from a single wi-fi enabled laptop may be strong enough to cause cell damage in sperm” … With wireless radiation and electromagnetic fields increasing in intensity and numbers in our built environment, we seem to be conducting an unwitting experiment on our population whose end result is entirely unclear as to its long-term health impacts.

TWACS … That’s the two-way automatic communication system San Miguel Power is installing throughout its service territory to replace its old meter-reader-read system with something “smarter” and cheaper … Trouble is, a few people are raising serious questions about the technology (and let’s hope former Tellurider and EHS sufferer Jean McDonald is recovering after her collapse at a Ridgway meeting) ... Another former Tellurider Eric Doud sent me this hearsay comment from a friend of his in the energy business (I think anyone with questions about these “smart meters” ought to be talking to SMPA ‘s board and staff who have researched the issues and feels this technology is both safe and beneficial) … “My cousin (an oral surgeon and anesthesiologist) gave me a book on grounding that says that EMF creates a negatively charged atmosphere that can cause sleep disorders and other health problems that can be corrected by periodic contact with the ground. I think a lot more research is needed, but funding for this kind of research could be hard to come by because of the fallout that an identified health threat would cause.”

KUDOS … Nice to see Richard Betts elected vice-chair of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Board of Directors. He’s been a leader in our local community for many years – one I admire and whose advice I most value … It was heartening to see that in these partisan times, when state and national governments are not trusted by most of our citizens, local government won two-thirds approval ratings in Gallup’s annual fall Governance Poll. Maybe it’s because we balance our budgets, we’re accessible to the average joe and jane every day of the year, we aren’t swayed by big corporate lobbyists, and we see the job as one of balancing the people’s needs and assets – not a game of partisan warfare … Nice also to see SMPA’s General Manager Kevin Ritter giving a wrap-up commentary for the year regarding our local utility co-op. It’s especially important when controversies arise that the community hear first-hand what San Miguel Power Association is intending. As we are all learning, energy – what kind we use and how we employ it -- is a defining measure of our occupation of this place.



-for Rio

Shape the tongue to the song
Stick it out Lick it on

It’s hard to see luck
in the world’s bitters

So let fire rub off
like resin in bowls

Sing hot Sing old
Sing what singes our souls

Friday, January 6, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 22dec25011

Occupy sign Oakland Port Bart Station, 2011 (Goodtimes)
Questioning the country’s underlying structural values

FAMILY OF SECRETS … As award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker says of his own book, “…[I]t’s explosive, and it questions some of the underlying structural values of our country” … I’d missed this Bloomsbury Press blockbuster when it came out two years ago, and then my friend Reed Balzer loaned me a copy the other day. I can’t put it down … All the things I thought I learned in concept in Peter Dale Scott’s Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, 1993), now appear documented in fact and footnote. Carl Oglesby’s secret Yankee/Cowboy power structure analysis gets fleshed out into real names, verifiable dates, specific places. And new light is shed on the whole painful reach of my understanding of our nation’s political history over the last 50 years … 
Russ Baker, author of Family of Secrets
Yes, it’s about the Bushes. But also about the whole oil-dominated era of assassinations, obscene consolidated wealth and foreign military actions that make up America the Empire (a mirror few take to our “imperfect union,” as Pres. Obama likes to call it) ... Gore Vidal calls this one of the most important books of the decade. And I don’t disagree. You can’t read it and not be changed in how you view this nation of ours … And it makes one mindful of how important it is to create resilient local communities in the face of such power madness … Highly recommended.

THRIVE … Then along comes a new video to question all one’s assumptions. A “documentary” of mainstream-eroding social, scientific and political anomalies that we’ve long avoided facing, haven’t quite believed, or have been told are mere conspiracy theories … Unfortunately, debunkers have already ripped many of its outré claims to shreds. Indeed, many of the film’s “facts” seem dubious. Plus, Foster Gamble’s narrated script is clunky at best … But as a spacey, crazy speculative imagining, it’s fun. The graphics are trippy. Whatever the physics behind the torus and vector equilibrium, they make good candidates for unifying principles. Plus, many wonderful and respected experts make fine pronouncements, and tell clear truths. It sure appears that the world banking elites are maneuvering us towards a new world order of some kind and that global domination may very well be the goal of the small eye of the dollar’s pyramid. And Thive’s eventual solutions proposed are things that it wouldn’t hurt doing … So, there you have a questioning that seems mired in its own inconsistencies, while pushing the limits of our imaginings of what might be … Curious, mind-bending but a bit loose at the reins.

OAKLAND … I never had a lot of respect for that city across the Bay from San Francisco, my first home. But thanks to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, the whole region is more a Bay Area metro area than individual cities. Not unlike Denver – where the other metro cities are really just extensions and outliers of the Mile High City … 

Staying at the Convention Center downtown adjacent to Oakland’s Chinatown, we got in on their Friday Farmer’s Market. Booths overflowing with dishes, products, produce, meat, mushrooms, and mounds of fruit – especially persimmons, one of those remarkable delicacies that rarely make it out to Colorado … Prices were super low. Competition was stiff. The crowds were mostly Chinese, with a sprinkling of Anglos. Organic was a big presence. And musicians included a wonderful Anglo blind woman on guitar at one end of the four block market, and an elderly Chinese gentleman playing a bowed zither at the other … Thanks to friends, we found a Vietnamese lunch spot frequented mostly by Asians, with only four or five tables, but a long line of customers because the food was delicious and unbelievably inexpensive … There’s two of the principle allures of the city for me, embedded as I am in the middle class – delicious food at inexpensive prices.

HIT ‘N’ RUN … In between sessions of MAPS’s Cartographie Psychedelica, our Shroomfest crew hiked from the snazzy Marriott Hotel downtown out to the Oakland Port, searching for the Occupy folks, who had scheduled a port shutdown on the 12th. But we arrived too late for the morning action and too early for the evening protest. We saw little of cops or protestors until we circled back to the 19th Street Station and saw a small welcoming crew of three protestors and a couple signs planted in a median … Tactics in the movement had changed from encampments to protests. The port shutdown was “successful” – commerce ground to a halt as thousands marched. Photos and headlines dominated the local papers … But the day after many of the 99% who got caught in the demo (mostly truckers) grumbled that they’d lost pay, and the 1% hadn’t been inconvenienced at all.

Phil Woods

Prayer for the Holidays

Wake up and make green tea
For a sore throat.
Order a pretty pink tee shirt
With humming birds on it
For the young woman I care for.
It’s her Christmas present.
Listen to Joan Baez
--a voice of an angel
For over half a century
Read Peter Matthiessen
Describing his travels
In Indian country.
So many sad tales
& resigned anger.
What would it take
For this troubled land
To heal?
All my relations...