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Monday, February 27, 2012

New Verse News

Monday, February 27, 2012


by Captain Barefoot

Ain’t easy keeping the Elites from plotting
elimination. Accumulation. Spaghettification

Dense wealth stretches approaching nations
like noodles. Rolling pins it out of ‘em

like a hillbilly wrings a chicken’s neck
or a banker breaks a rancher’s back

Wall St.’s black hole, stringing us out on
 the meth of cheap mortgages. Cheap oil

Walmarts & mutually deterred nuclear voodoo
Thank competitive gravity. Market cabals

& Brahmin capital cliques. Wiping out whole
economies. On line. By drone. One shop

stupid cupid strategies of Empire, aggregated
in Alpha males. Corporate sales. The climate?

Just details … We live in an America inured
to mass Tell-a-Vision. Armed beyond reason

& our furthest shore. With a spook Pentagon
lock, load & pointed at the Planet’s head

Captain Barefoot identifies himself among the Union of Street Poets, Vincent St. John Local, Colorado Plateau, Aztlan Kuksu Brigade (Ret.), Cloud House, San Francisco, Shasta Nation, Pacific Rim.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 23feb25012

Teasing Out the Divine

ELLE METRICK … San Miguel County’s current Poet Laureate is coming out with a wonderful new collection of poems, from Stewart Warren’s Mercury Heartlink Press in Albuquerque. She read poems last night from her book as the featured reader at the monthly Talking Gourds reading series at the Livery in Norwood … A gift to yourself this spring. Highly recommended.

POLITICAL ANGELS?… Say, I’ve been invited by the Obamas to attend a White House Conference on Conservation: Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy on March 2nd in D.C. It sounds like a good opportunity to get at the front of the line in understanding federal initiatives and funding for tourist resort communities … But the county doesn’t have the $2500 it will cost in trip expenses. And neither do I … So I thought I’d ask if there’s a political angel out there who might be willing to finance my attendance at this conference. I’d promise to come back and report to the community at a public meeting in the Wilkinson what I’d learned. I know, it’s a long shot … But if this strikes a chord, call me today in Norwood 327-4767 or catch me at the Green Assembly at the County Meeting Room in the Miramonte Building from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight. The deadline to RSVP is midnight this evening.

CANNABIS INITIATIVE TWO … Michelle May is a Denver activist who is trying to get a different initiative on the ballot that would de facto legalize Cannabis use. In her proposal, judges would be legislatively prohibited from sentencing Cannabis users to jail in Colorado … If you’re interested, I have a petition that you can sign. Call me.

OPERA … Did you know the Norwood School music teacher Jeff Hemingson sings opera, and well? I didn’t. He performed for us a capella at the Livery in Norwood for the Norwood Travel Club’s delightful A Night in Italy. Jeff did a real fine basso profundo (F#) on his first piece, then ranged from Faust to La Boheme, and ended with the spiritual Old Man River, as he walked among the dinner tables … Very impressive.
Last year's Headwaters speaker Winona LaDuke

HEADWATERS … I’ve long been enamored of this annual autumn conference that Western State College in Gunnison hosts. At the end of its three days, we do a Talking Gourds Circle, and people in attendance get to speak from their hearts about what’s on their mind after listening to lots of learned talking heads. Last fall Kathryn Bernier spoke so eloquently, I asked her to share with us her words in the Gourds Circle from last fall. Here they are … “I challenge you to question your values, your beliefs, and most of all your culture. This culture that is a cult we (potentially) blindly follow. And if you settle upon the same set, I congratulate you. And if you find that your entire subset of reality is unfounded…well…I challenge you to start building a culture and a community that is founded in values, beliefs, even science. I challenge you to make difficult change, to be ostracized for going against the grain and the mainstream, to agree to disagree, and to make amends. I challenge you to embrace your strengths and hold your failures tighter to learn from them. I challenge you to not partake in things you don't believe. I challenge you, just as I challenge myself, to create your own reality, and build a new culture."

Gregory's Gulch in Black Hawk
WEEKLY QUOTA … Remember old guard Republicans who cared about hunger and peace, even if they didn’t always walk the talk? … "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."  -President Dwight D. Eisenhower (April 16, 1953)


Poetry Biz in 2012

Drive up to the mountains
On a February eve. Old mining town
Now refurbished with glittery casinos,
Cars, gamblers & buses. County
& its library named for a booster,
Some forgotten knucklehead
Named Gilpin. One of those
Know-it-alls who thought
"rain followed the plow."
No need to listen to John Wesley Powell.
Even then politicians bragged
About making their own reality.
So Powell got the same treatment
James Hanson got from W's White House.
But the library was homey
& I liked reading in front
Of ceramic masks. The host
Recited witty baseball poems.
No one bought a book but a woman
Handed me a very fine drawing
Of a white bearded man
Looking earnest & scholarly
& several said they enjoyed what I did.
Just an old poet trying to be
A public intellectual
In a country
Where most no longer read.

-Phil Woods

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 16feb25012

San Miguel Greens hold local meets

COUNTY ASSEMBLIES … The two major parties have for years had a very effective and democratic system for involving local party members in their pre-primary nominating deliberations – caucuses and assemblies … Minor parties in Colorado haven’t used those techniques to gather input from rank and file members registered with them. But this year the San Miguel Greens want to change that … We’re planning to hold two assemblies in San Miguel County in order to give registered Greens a time to gather and endorse candidates; select delegates to the state Green Party Convention in Carbondale, March 31, as well as the year-round State On-line Council; elect facilitators; and discuss the future of the Green Party in local, state and national politics … In Norwood, the first Green Assembly in the county will be held tonight, Thurs., Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. in the Two Candles Restaurant & Lounge … In Telluride, the second Green Assembly will be held next week, Thurs. Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. at the County Meeting Room in the Miramonte Building … All registered Greens from San Miguel, Dolores, Ouray and West Montrose counties are invited to attend (or those interested in registering Green).
Greens have adopted a Sunflower as their "mascot," with a peace sign thrown in for those of us Peaceniks.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER … I suppose after four terms and 16 years as a local elected official, some would say that it’s time for me to step down. But I must confess – I like working for the people 

Explaining to the Grand Junction Sentinel why I was walking out on Club 20

For two years, back in the mid-Eighties, I was the lone citizen representative on the Idarado Negotiating Committee that Democrat Gov. Roy Romer set up (after Linda Miller gave him a good talking-to in the Opera House) to head off a truck removal tailings solution to the Newmont subsidiary Idarado Mining Company's Superfund eco-disaster east of Telluride. What the Federal Court ordered would have destroyed our resort economy, if the Governor hadn't intervened. I remember looking around that Idarado table and realizing everyone else there was drawing a salary – state and federal regulators, staffers, state and corporate lawyers, locally elected officials ... Most of us who stumbled into Telluride understand “third jobs" ... But usually you try and do them to get paid. As a journalist I'd done a 13-part series on the complex state Superfund case against Idarado in the weekly San Miguel Journal -- a competitor start-up to the weekly Telluride Times. So, back then, I was honored to be named as Romer's citizen representative. And I felt I was instrumental in ensuring strong water quality standards and the funding of a local oversight committee at the start of the cleanup’s implementation -- to be sure things got done right (which they did, mostly thanks to the state's health and environment overseer -- the amazing Camille Price, who stayed on with us and married mi hermano Lucas of La Cocina de Luz)

Tentacles of Red in a Blue Sea

Now I sit around similar tables (yes, basketweaving when I have to listen for a long time) locally, regionally and on the state and national levels. I get to represent the human and more-than-human world in political deliberations. Only these days I’m getting paid by citizens of this county to do it. I get to bring 30 years experience, living locally, to whatever issue is at hand  -- not as a trust-funder, but as a Rainbow back-to-the-lander who grows 50+ varieties of heirloom potatoes on my little acre spud patch in Norwood. 

Son Gorio helping his Dad in Cloud Acre's Spud Patch
In spite of my personal biases, my task is to treat everyone fairly – balancing the needs and majority opinions of the liberal, exurban tourism-based East End of San Miguel County with the needs and minority opinions of the conservative, frontier ag-based West End. That meant bringing Rep. John Salazar's San Juan Wilderness proposal to Norwood for a hearing on a move to include Naturita Canyon even before it became a bill, where Randall Thompson and a number of others effectively scotched the wilderness idea (which would have been a boon to some Norwood businesses as word about this new "wilderness" made it into the guidebooks). But, listening to what was heard at the hearing I held in Norwood with the Sheep Mountain Alliance, Salazar took it out of the proposal that became his bill.

Lone Cone Moon reflected in the Headwaters of Naturita Canyon
It also means not supporting the county taking a public stand against the West End Montrose uranium plant, although we've repeatedly expressed our concerns for the cumulative dust deposition impact from a uranium mining boom in this country -- that public stance is in spite of my own position as a Green and long-time anti-nuclear activist. I personally do not support nuclear. But my fight is with the Democrats, not with my West End neighbors. The Obama administration, like all those before it since World War II, supports nuclear, gives it subsidies, wants it mined within our borders. So, what right do we have as a Blue/Green county in telling a Red county not to follow the Blue President's policies in this Purple state we're in?

Having a job does help me support Mary and Sara Friedberg and our son Gorio. Plus, there are some important bennies besides a paycheck -- I get to work with a great staff throughout our county offices and shops in Telluride, Illium, Deep Creek, Wright's Mesa, Norwood, Dry Creek and Egnar, as well as complementing two of the best colleagues a county commissioner could wish for, Elaine Fischer and Joan May … In these hard times, the county is having to make difficult decisions about the size and scope of future services, as we watch our county’s balanced budget continue to shrink. Luckily, we’ve prepared well for a rainy day (bless you, Gordon Glockson). We have the cushion of a sizeable reserve, built up over the last 20 years, which we’ve begun to draw down to ease our local economy’s transition from the bull market boom of the Reagan-Clinton-Bush years to the reality of the current bear market bust … Really, I’m proud to serve in local government. On the local level I think government works. It’s government that you can talk to in the market or at the post office. A government that will return your phone calls … One of those who ran against me last time around suggested that county commissioner was meant to be a job, not a career. I respect that opinion. But I also feel that working for the people is more than just a job. It’s a way to give back to the community, to safeguard a shared vision of what society could be in this very special region, and to provide a resilient future for our children … So, I’m going to campaign again in San Miguel County’s District 3 for a fifth term. But it’s report card time in the ballot box. And it's going to be up to you, my fellow constituents, to decide whether I’m fit to serve again.

PAT SWONGER … Can’t keep a good man down. It’s great to see that Pat didn’t let those behind-the-scenes Dem kingpins cut him out of the election process this year, on a technicality. He’s bounced back with a plan to forgo the party assembly process and petition directly onto the Dem primary ballot for a shot at the State House seat currently held by J. Paul Brown, a La Plata County Republican (the 59th, the district the Colorado Supreme Court pulled the Telluride Region out of) … Definitely a man of the people, I’ve worked with Pat on several key issues and have seen him do a fine job in Silverton on the town board there. He’s the kind of savvy rural politico we need in Denver -- representing all the citizens on the Western Slope, not just the ranchers and big money interests (like Brown does) … Right now he needs volunteers – particularly in Ridgway and Ouray -- to help him gather the 1000 petitions he needs to get on the Dem ballot. And consider sending a donation to Patrick Swonger for House District 59, POB 241, Silverton, CO 81433.


(photo by Bob Grossman)

Maverick Draw’s cumuli
lock horns over Lone Cone

The sky releases
little shouts of snow

Inside, first time ever
Cloud Acre's amaryllis

Photo by Gorio Osha'

two red strumpets
sassy as their golden tongues

Friday, February 17, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 9feb25012

Locals’ discount tickets for Mushroom Festival extended to end of the month

SHROOMFEST 2012 … It’s early to be thinking about a summer event, but thanks to a grant from CCAASE, the Telluride Institute is offering special local discount passes to the four-day event (Aug. 16-19) at cut-rate prices  … This year’s featured guests include the inimitable Gary Lincoff, mycologist/philosopher king; Kat Harrison, psychonaut, artist and entheogenic researcher; Professor of Mycology Tom Volk of the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse; myco-historian David Rose; raw foods guru of the San Juans, Katrina Blair; teenage mycological wunderkind Devon Enke; and dozens more … To buy local discount tickets, contact Scott Koch. For more info, check our website or visit our Facebook group, “Telluride MushroomFestival” … In addition to the Telluride Institute which runs the event and CCAASE, our sponsors include the Wilkinson Library, the Palm, the Nugget, the Telluride Watch and Alpine Lodging.

TELLU-ENVY … Durango was proud to have landed a spot on National Geographic Adventure’s “Top Ten Great Races in Amazing Places” with its Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, according to the Durango Telegraph (Feb. 2nd issue). But the Telegraph was disappointed that Durango didn’t make NGA’sBest AdventureTowns,” which included Telluride, Silverton and Pagosa Springs … “Telluride, our glitzier neighbor to the north … was praised for options from ‘schussing around Mountain Village’ to its bevy of summer festivals, all the while ‘Bridalveil waterfalls … thunder down in the distance’ … Curiously enough, the photo representing Telluride was shot on the Colorado Trail “in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride,’ a bit of a stretch, but then again so were the recommended $399/night accommodations.”
Isabel Allende (photo by Peter Morgan, AP)

ISABEL ALLENDE … Having read Bob Shacochis’s excellent journalistic account of the 1994 invasion of Haiti by the U.S., The Immaculate Invasion, it was telling listening to an audio-book reading of Allende’s Island Beneath the Sea about that half of the Antilles island the French called San Domingue. No better way to understand the legacy of slavery there than to read Allende’s dazzling novel – her characters like new friends and old enemies … Highly recommended.

MOUNTAIN LIVINGHigh and Dry is the name of the San Miguel Basin Cooperative Extension newsletter. It’s the second issue of the second volume, and it’s packed with solid information, like the opportunity to get free trees (if you’re a landowner with over two acres), or participate in a Master Gardener class, or get the latest 4-H happenings. There’s even a great clarifying chart showing the various kinds of community collaborations and what they can mean in practice … And if you’ve never met Mary Watson, then you have a treat – she’s celebrating her 30th year with Extension at the Glockson Building in Norwood, and remains as friendly and welcoming a county employee as you’ll ever meet … Get the newsletter on-line by calling Mary at 327-4393.

TEK … That’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs) calls for a partnership of neuroscience and TEK to find solutions facing the world today, in a lead article in The NoeticPost, a bulletin from the Institute of Noetic Sciences (V. 2, #2) … “Unlike typical Western sciences,” explains Four Arrows, “the data from Indigenous wisdom is generated from observations over long time periods in one location and is substantiated by applications to real-world living. Also, rather than attempt to be acultural and objective – a limiting if not impossible feat – Indigenous wisdom embraces a holistic subjectivity that honors authentic reflection on lived experience and relationships with others” … He cites as examples of this kind of thinking – “a non-anthropocentric worldview and realization of interconnectedness.” Four Arrows goes on to say, “…[I]n contrast to neuropsychological and anthropological inferences that human violence and competition are basic features of human nature, many Indigenous cultural histories have long revealed that healthy reciprocity and cooperation are more defining traits” … Four Arrows explores these ideas in depth in his book, recent with co-authors Jongmin Jongmin and Gregory Cajete (who attended the Headwaters conference in Gunnison several years back), Critical Neurophilosophy and Indigenous Wisdom (Sense Publ., 25009) … You can visit Four Arrows website, <> … Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell wrote as an endorsement of John Perkin’s book, Shapeshifting: Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation, “Only a handful of visionaries have recognized that Indigenous wisdom can aid the transition to a sustainable world.”

WEEKLY QUOTA … “I think all the squaws were killed because they refused to go further. We took one boy into the valley, and the infants were put out of their misery, and a girl ten years of age was killed for stubbornness.” –Deposition taken from The Majority and Minority Report of the Special Joint Committee on the Mendocino Wars, California, 1860.

DOLORES COUNTY … The Dove Creek Press recently announced that Republican Rodney Johnson will run for commissioner against incumbent Ernie Williams in District 2 and current Dolores County Chair Doug Stowe will try for a second term in District 3.

 VFTS102… That’s the fastest turning star in the universe (so far). A blue giant, out in the Large Magellanic Cloud, going over a million miles an hour … As reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters.


walking at two below
both questions and answers
come out as clouds

-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Monday, February 13, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 2feb25012

Fields of our own making, ill & well

Tom Shadyac at Mountainfilm Telluride 2010

I AM … It’s curious. I go to a county commissioner’s meeting to talk about the latest techno-whiz-bang smart meter for a smart grid that we’re forcing on all homes in the region, and then I go home to watch Tom Shadyac’s docu-polemic quest explaining how our hearts create EMF fields of quantum entanglement with all living things … It’s as if I’m Rumi trying to whirl in a bed of concrete sheets. Burdened with layer upon layer of ill-gotten goods … I’m not only sleeping with the enemy. I am the enemy. I'm the question. I'm the answer … For Dolores LaChapelle it was an avalanche that took her over the edge and broke her world apart. Then she had to figure out how to put it all back together … 

For Tom, it was up & over the Wilson Peak handlebars to bring his Hollywood dystopia crashing down to earth. To bring his Ace Ventura cleverness to its knees … And so he brings us tag-along on a cinematic semi-comic tour-de-force with various visionaries and elders. Gifting us with their wisdom. Handing us the simple rapture of our being alive. Pointing us towards love as the first bite of Tutu’s elephant. Trying, in the face of our learned swerve, to steer us away from America’s endless appetites … Stop, he says. Breathe, not the plutonium of accumulation, but the argon of interconnection … Vibrate laughter. Be free hugs. The field, not of force, but of fusion.

THE REAL ONE PERCENT … In 2007 that meant anyone in the U.S. earning over $424,000 a year – mostly doctors, it turns out. By 2009, thanks to Wall St.’s Great Recession, that statistic dropped to anyone making $344,000 a year … But apply that worldwide and you get quite a shock. Anyone making over $34,000 a year is part of the international One Percent … That applies to a good chunk of us Americans, who consider ourselves middle class. But according to Annalyn Censki of CNN Money, the world middle class earns a median income of just $1,225 a year. Is that who I am?  Imagine a world where all the military money spent to make just us safe were redirected to making us all well-fed and sheltered and friends?

NOT SO FREE PRESS … Once proud of its press freedoms, the U.S. has seen its worldwide ranking fall to 47th in the world in the wake of the national Occupy movement crackdowns, according to the latest report from Reporters Without Borders,. America fell 27 points, and now lags behind Comoros and Taiwan and is on a par with  Argentina and Romania.

BILL JANKLOW … The South Dakota perennial politico, whose fast-track career as Republican Governor and Congressperson was cut short in 2003 when he killed a 55-year-old farmer on a motorcycle. His speeding vehicle ran a stoplight … Janklow and I did a little dance of sorts. Somehow, while attending the American Indian Movement’s Survival Gathering near the Black Hills in 1980, I heard rumors about the Governor’s alleged rape of a Native American babysitter. Since Janklow had made his reputation prosecuting AIM protesters at the Custer County Courthouse in 1973, there was no love lost between him and the radical Indian movement … Somehow, South Dakota media learned of the rumors about the Janklow incident and connected them to me --. I forget exactly how these 30 years later. I do remember getting phone calls wanting to quote me. And I explained that I’d only heard the rumors second-hand. It was hearsay. But still some alternative paper printed the story as I told it … It wasn’t fair to Janklow, because I hadn’t been able to verify the rumors. But I also wasn’t happy with the unfair bills Janklow had been signing into law in South Dakota, heavily weighted against Native Americans, and so I wasn’t unhappy with the story either … I was young then. Much more committed to causes without taking the time to do my own research. And yet the lingering rumor of what more than one Native person swore to me was true, and which would never be believed in Rapid City, offends me still … Goodbye, Bill Janklow – your kind won’t be missed, as we begin to heal the wounds of America’s own indigenous genocide.

Alex Lukens sketch of Art Goodtimes at Word Sharks reading in Cortez
DEWAYNE FINDLAY … According to the Dove Creek Press, the former Montezuma County Commissioner is running for office again. I liked working with DeWayne – a logger, who found a lot of areas of agreement with enviros on sustainable forest practices, and together we set up the first Tri-County South meetings with Montezuma, Dolores and San Miguel counties.

WORD SHARKS… If you’d been down in Cortez Thursday evening, Feb. 2nd, you might have seen 
David Feela and the Goodtimes scaring up poetry's word tuna, 
winter cupidity & stray groundhogs around up in Montezuma County 
at the Spruce-tree Coffeehouse.
Photo by Carl Marcus


Out for a walk in the woods
An acorn falls
Inside a poem

-Carl Marcus
Wilson Mesa

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 26jan25012

U.S. (or its allies) stoop to terrorism
demonstration in Persia/Iran for Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan

KILLING SCIENTISTS … Our moral compass as a nation seems to be swinging wildly in circles. We have the spectacle of politicians loudly proclaiming themselves pro-life, while at the same time applauding the black op assassination of the fifth Iranian nuclear scientist in recent years. The story of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, 32, made the media rounds this past week. Blown up by assassins on an Iranian street ... Roshan was a civilian, a husband and father, a scientist. His crime – working on the creation of a nuclear bomb for a country that does not have one yet. And therefore a nation vulnerable to its enemies, who do … Countries that have a nuclear capability get treated differently in the world, than those who don’t. Everyone knows that. The world isn’t democratic. It’s not one nation one vote. It’s a United Nations where the nuclear powers rule through a Security Council where one big-power veto stops any international act in its tracks … But if one of those nations who doesn’t have nukes started assassinating nuclear scientists in countries that do, imagine the outrage. Such acts would be condemned as terrorism, pure and simple … It used to be Christians upheld Christian values, and Muslims Muslim values, and Jews Jewish values. But in the race to control the world’s dwindling oil and resources, any means – regardless of whatever religious scruples one has left – justifies the end. And that end is keeping us safe, the One Percent rich and the balance of power teetering on the brink of the unthinkable.

SWIRL … Kris Holstrom’s great re-branding of her long-time visionary Tomten Farms non-profit translates as the Southwest Institute for Resilience. Although it’s been around at least since this past summer, SWIRL had a great coming out party of sorts at the Steaming Bean last weekend – a scrumptious Bee’s Knees benefit banquet with speeches and entertainment. I was delighted to meet my Norwood neighbors who run Laid Back Beef, and catch up with old CSA friends Tony and Barclay Daranyi of Indian Ridge Bakery and Farm … For more info SWIRL, contact Daniel Aragon at 970-519-1265 or <>

CONFESSIONS OF AN ENERGY PIG … Over the years, I realized I had a problem. My Cloud Acre bungalow had multiple heating issues, in spite of the insulation I’d put into the roof when I bought the place in the Eighties … There was a wood stove in the living room, which could heat most of the house, except for the distant kitchen pantry. But wood stoves are a lot of work to keep fired and fueled. And with the advent of kids, I’d migrated my office and studio out to a separated garage, and started heating it with electricity alone … And then there was the detached well house that couldn’t freeze -- not only for pumps and pipes, but because of my wine cellar and winter hoard of home-grown heirloom potatoes. Plus, Mary’s electric hot tub sat juicing in the yard … For Sept. of 2008 (25008 ANAC) we’d racked up 1,719 Kilowatt hours (kWh), using SMPA to heat three buildings, with just an occasional fire in the main house when convenient … January of 25009 our winter usage peaked at 3,004 kWh … Mary made a life change decision and found her own place that summer (when our bill ran $35 to $50, and I started living on my own, with weekend and summer visits from my youngest son) … By January of 25010, I’d worked to reduce the energy use at Cloud Acre to 1,822 kWh (a little less than half from the previous year). Nevertheless, February 25010 peaked at 2,278 kWh. I was seeing declining totals, but my coldest month peak usage was still way high … By October 25010 it was down from 1,719 kWh for the month from the year before to a mere 230 kWh. By October 25011 it had climbed slightly to 324 kWh – but was still a fraction of usage two years earlier … Good News: From back in August of 25009 when my monthly average usage had been 1,343 kWh and my yearly total was 16,118 kWh, my last bill of 25011 showed a monthly average of 954 kWh and a yearly total of 11,452 kWh. Through various energy-saving measures and increased use of my wood stove, I’ve been able to save almost 5,000 kWh a year … Okay, maybe I’m not such an energy pig after all, given the drafty, barely insulated, ramshackle home I live in. But I’d like to see my SMPA bill keep dropping, if I can keep conserving energy.

RESOLVE TO BE READY … Preparedness is reasonably assessing future risk, and taking reasonable present precautions. Never hurts to have a little food in the pantry for emergencies … Jenn Dinsmore of the Sheriff’s Office is working to get people ready as we move into difficult times, whatever calendar you subscribe to. The chances of a major disaster seem to be increasing as tensions with Iran heat up and the earth’s tightly-knit biosystems start to unravel. We’re heading into the political season, and government on multiple levels could see big changes as well … If you have questions about emergency preparedness in these changing times, call Jenn at 970-728-9546 or visit <> or <>



Jean burst an aorta
trying to warn us
of its effects on our organs

But as Steen himself said
“If I didn’t have it,
I’d be on the other side”

He’d think like some do
sensitives were faking it, or
indulging their imaginations

McRedeye sez
“Did you hear the latest
scientific news?”

Researchers have manipulated
the tiniest electromagnetic

on the body of a minnow
to create, god-like
eyes anywhere

or forehead

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Iris Willow in Peru

Hola amigos y familia,
Feliz ano Nuevo! I figured it was about time for another little update from me in South America. A few things have changed since my last update. Three weeks ago, Bert's six month StartUp Chile program ended and we left Santiago to spend three weeks in Peru. We had a great time in Santiago, but were really ready to travel and it was perfect timing since many of my English students are on summer vacation from med December until March. So headed off to Peru.
We had a fabulous time in Peru. We were a little worried about heading to Peru in January, as it is the rainy season there and they've been know to have flash floods requiring tourist evacuations in past years, but we got lucky. It was actually kind of nice to travel in off-season, although the weather was chilly, a big change from the hot weather we left behind in Chile. We had a bit of a rough start to the trip when we arrived 12 hours late for our flight out of Santiago (thanks military time!) and thus had to forfeit the entire roundtrip ticket and purchase a pricey last minute one-way ticket there (and return to Santiago by 30 hour bus). But we finally made it to Cusco, the takeoff point for treks to Machu Picchu where we spent a couple days adjusting to the super high mountain altitude (10,900ft). Cusco has an interesting mix of Inca and Colonial architecture, but is pretty touristy, so you are constantly bombarded by people wanting to sell you everything from Alpaca sweaters, ponchos and massages. It can get pretty overwhelming, so we took a day trip outside Cusco to the luscious Sacred Valley where we visited two Inca ruins full of grassy terraces and impressive stonework.
Bert Fan & Iris Willow -- Christmas in Santiago

After adjusting to the altitude, we left Cusco for a four day Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu which was action packed and tons of fun. On the first day they drove us up to the top of a mountain that was over 15,000ft high and we coasted down on mountain bikes. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate with us and we got absolutely drenched as we biked down the twisty turny fog-filled and sometimes flooded mountain roads, but it was a blast! Then after lunch we went rafting on some super wild class 3-4 rapids in the Wilkamayu (Sacred) River. Since it was the rainy season, the river was moving super quickly, which was exciting and a little terrifying at the same time. About five minutes into the trip, we flipped and all fell out which was quite the rush, but luckily our experienced guide was able to pull us all back in to continue bouncing down the river. The next day was spent hiking on one of the Inca trails along the side of a mountain, which was really beautiful. We ended the day at a hot springs beside the river - the perfect way to ease our aching knees. The third day we ziplined between two mountains and over the Wilkamayu river, before walking to Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu. The next morning we got up early to get to the gate of Machu Picchu just before it opened. When we arrived, it was fog covered and rainy, so you would see a part of the ruins and the next minute they were out of sight, but slowly the fog lifted and we were surrounded by the magical Inca city hidden away in the mountains. It was fun exploring the ruins, but we really enjoyed the view from Huayna Picchu, one of the mountains guarding over ancient Inca city. It was neat to see the city as a whole from afar.

Next, we headed to visit the Amazon Jungle outside Puerto Maldonado. We did a three-day jungle tour with an amazing local guide and since it was the slow season, we had the tour completely to ourselves! The first day we canoed around a jungle lake where we saw bats, birds and monkeys. The next day we traveled three ours up the Tambopata river to stay at their remote jungle lodge where we went on jungle walks and night boat rides to see caymen. The highlight was a visit to a huge clay lick where colorful wild parrots and mecaws frequent to lick the minerals out of the earth. We saw so many beautiful colorful birds. We spent our last night at a jungle lodge in Puerto Maldonado that was home to several mischievous monkeys that we made friends with.

After the jungle, we headed to Lake Titicaca. We spent one night on small island called Isla Traquile, which as it name suggests, was amazingly tranquil. We hiked around the island, which was filled with locals who wore beautiful colorful hand-woven hats, belts and pouches. We also stumbled upon a beautiful little beach, where we spent some time relaxing looking out at the lovely blue lake.
Our last stop was in Arequipa, Peru's second largest city were we took an overnight trip to the amazing Colca Canyon, which is the second deepest canyon in the world - over twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and is a morning hangout spot for Condors. It was lovely to watch these giant birds swoop and circle through the canyon, we were lucky that is wasn't raining and we were able to see many of them!

Now, we're back in Santiago for a few days to show Bert's parents around our home for the past six months. On Sunday, we head off on an amazing cruise around the southern portion of South America with them, starting in Valparaiso, Chile and ending in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I'll be sure to send an update after that trip and hopefully will get some pics up from Peru soon! Drop me a line and let me know what you're up too.

ciao ciao,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valerie Haugen poem


Up Bear Creek / 19jan25012

Green Party prez candidate Jill Stein gives People’s State of the Union talk

GREEN HOUSE PARTY … It’s an exciting time to be co-chair of the Colorado Green Party. The Occupy movement has shown that a large percentage of our citizens are fed up with the military-industrial complex’s corporate hijacking of the national agenda … The Republicans have nearly bankrupted our treasury fighting foreign wars for oil (an energy source that global climate change demands we transition away from), and we’ve watched as corrupt Wall St. bankers are rewarded with bailouts and outrageous salaries, while unions and working citizens stand by helplessly as industries migrate overseas, their salaries diminish, and their jobs disappear … The Democrats promised us change, and yet have produced little but more of the same. Guantanamo’s still open. We’re still at war in Afghanistan. This current administration has offered subsidy incentives to stimulate the uranium industry – leading to a Canadian-owned mill proposal in our backyard. Pres. Obama (our great Black hope) has just signed a bill allowing the indefinite detention of American citizens by the military. And the universal health care coverage we were promised turns out to be a mandate that benefits most the health insurance companies … Yes, we know the American political system is skewed to favor the oil elites, Wall St. and the two major political parties. But it’s time for real change in the Republic. And Green Party presidential hopeful Jill Stein is proposing just that … Never heard of her? It’s not surprising. Few politicians surface in the media unless they’ve been vetted by millionaire party brokers (Dem and Repub). So, let me invite you to join us in Norwood for a Green House Party to hear Jill Stein give a People’s State of the Union address (and maybe in Telluride as well). Hear yourself what the Green Party stands for – and it’s a lot more than environmental protection, although that has to be one of our strongest platform planks … I’ve represented local citizens for going on 14 years as a Green county commissioner, and I’m very proud of what our county’s done – not just balancing our budget but building up a strong reserve that’s helping us through this Great Recession, so that we haven’t had to fire any employees – not one! As a board, we’ve fought for wilderness, tourism improvements, open space, local public transportation, clean water, clean air, energy reductions. The Greens may be a minor party in Colorado, but we’re clearly deep in the mainstream when it comes to smart, progressive governance … Jill Stein could bring us that same savvy on the national level. But don’t believe me. Come hear for yourself on Thursday, Jan. 26th at 6:30 p.m. at the Hollinbeck residence in Norwood. Call me at 327-4767 for directions … There’s a strong chance the Wilkinson Library also will make Stein’s speech available on the 26th, possibly at noon. Stay tuned … And if you want, watch it live yourself on line, Thursday, Jan. 25th at 6:30 p.m. MST. For more info, visit <>

NFL FOOTBALL … Although I’m probably as counter-cultural a dude as you’ll find in this region, I was born in the Forties, and I carry a lot of cultural baggage from our patriarchal past – including a love of football. When I was young, in spite of my small stature, I played pickup games and various adapted-to-our-circumstances versions of America’s true national pastime. I still have some City of Mountain View summer flag football awards from the early Fifties. At 13 I was the quarterback, and my brother Greg (12) was the star halfback … Growing up, watching the San Francisco 49ers on TV with our dad, was one of our strongest family rituals. Vince would drink cans of super cheap, SF-based Burgermeister beer, which we three sons were allowed to open and get the first sip of – a practice that has continued to make one beer tasty and the second unappealing in my world of alcohol. Not a bad learning, really … This has been a wildly surprising season for the Niners (and for the Broncos, until they succumbed to the Patriots). Watching New Orleans struggle to overcome the Niners this past weekend at the Llama – my fav spot to watch football in Telluride -- my Niner fan buddy Lee Taylor and I enjoyed one of the most thrilling games of the season. It was the sterling Niner defense against the amazing Drew Brees and company offense, and yet in the end – after four lead changes in the final five minutes – it was quarterback Alex Smith and the Niner offense that won the game … This brings the Niners back into the NFC championship game for the first time since 1997, and this for a team with a first-year coach (Jim Harbaugh has done wonders with last year’s lackluster team) and a much-maligned quarterback on a one-year contract … Whatever happens next, it’s a great year to be a Niner fan.

RASTA STEVIE … made the front page of the Durango Herald Monday talking about employees at his Animas Herbal Wellness Center. There are nine dispensaries in Durango employing 60 people in total.



Her sparkle
fingers twinkling
like Christmas bulbs

as we dosey-doe
around a Fall Creek

in the canyon of
St. Michael
the Archangel

greeting each other
in the flicker of
an instant

both of us
going at it
50 miles an hour

Up Bear Creek / 12jan25012

Salute to Bear Creek’s Elder of the Year

JOHN MICETIC … John was one of the earliest people I ran into, when I came back to Telluride, after my disastrous Placerville fire. Back when I re-invented myself from arts council director to freelance writer to cub reporter at the old Telluride Times (Scott and Karen Brown era). Covering Mayor Micetic I always felt -- as a member of the Third Estate -- I could ask any question that popped into my radical hippie head (those were the days when I was moonlighting as Earth First! poetry editor). And John always fairly called on me in turn, and usually let me get some sort of public answer for my story … Three decades later, his resignation Dec. 31st as the County’s representative to the Telluride Airport Board, deserves some kind of fireworks recognition in this community … Whether you agree with the decision to build an airport in this high glacial park or not, there’s no hiding the fact that the Telluride’s financial health (aka the real estate boom) of the last couple decades depended in no small part on the airport’s creation – as much for its private jet access as its federally subsidized locally guaranteed commercial deplanements … And, into the future, for getting at least a foot in the door of the international luxury resort market (although I’m not yet convinced the airport has to remain commercial to do this, if it can’t compete in an unsubsidized marketplace) … John has been tireless in his support, defense and good operation of the airport, which has been an essential element of our financial well-being in San Miguel County. I suggest we all toast our jolly good John for 28 years of protecting the economic engine that allows the 99% to make a good living in these mountains.

LYNN PADGETT … Sorry to see incumbent Montrose County Commissioner David White feel the need to attack a fellow commissioner publicly in announcing his own re-election bid, as quoted in a past issue of the Watch … Ouray County’s Lynn Padgett has done an exemplary job of representing her constituents in state and regional forums (as demonstrated by her award two months ago as Colorado Counties’ Commissioner of the Year). And she’s been the hardest-working researcher on local, regional and even some national issues that I’ve met in my 15 years in local office … Of course, I don’t always agree with Lynn. Conflicting views are intrinsic to politics. But she’s always been willing to listen and compromise, if she can, without violating the trust of her constituents – who come first for her in controversies, as they should … If only as a gentleman, if not as a partisan politician, I think Mr. White ought to publicly apologize to Ms. Padgett for his unsubstantiated slur.

FOREST SERVICE … I think USFS got the message when a lot of us on both sides of the political aisle protested the federal agency’s not extending the timeline for comments on their new nation-wide Planning Rule last year … Our own Uncompahgre National Forest (part of the joint Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forest -- headquartered in Delta but with a Ranger District office in Norwood) has tried three separate times to update its forest-wide planning rule – only to have it tossed out or pulled back for some reason. So, there’s no question a new rule is needed – both on the national level (thanks to a court ruling in favor of an environmental group) and on the local forest level (where they need the certainty of a new rule to finalize their own local planning). But not giving this big national change the opportunity for more comprehensive public comment from collaborative groups (as I was trying to form with enviro and timber interests) seemed unfortunate and politically driven. Bad public policy for good strategic politics was not a trade-off that I appreciated from folks I considered progressive allies. So, I kind of tossed in the national towel, and decided to focus on local issues for a while … But I just learned that Obama’s Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proposed the creation of a national Planning Rule Resource Advisory Council to help implement the new Planning Rule that the USFS has officially adopted. As a long-time advocate of resource advisory councils (RACs) for the USFS (particularly as former Chair of the National Association of Counties’ Gateway Communities Subcommittee), I’m heartened to see the USFS embracing this important community feedback tool that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has used so effectively in Colorado, and all around the country.

25 THOUSAND 12 … Not the year of our Lord or King or Emperor-Pope, but of the first Beringian to set foot on North America … It was an earlier Pleistocene warming trend (similar to our current Holocene anthropogenic catastrophe called Climate Change) that pulled back the Laurentian Ice Sheets and allowed humans a northern passage across today’s Bering Straits. In fact, a recent Scientific American piece pinpoints that possible land passage at some 17,000 years ago. And it goes on, if there were a sea passage, guesstimating first humans as far back as 25,000 years ago. So there’s my working calendar’s “birth” date. The birth of humans in the New World. I want to mark my brief passage on Turtle Island from that moment to this moment. To now.... No question, it’s past time for a new calendar in my life … I began as a very Christian young man. Even studied deeply in that tradition – philosophy, poetry, rhetoric, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, the Bible ... But the Psychedelic Sixties forced me to challenge all traditions. Everything I thought I knew. Everything I believed in. It all got thrown tossed salad up for grabs. I left college for a stint as Volunteer In Service To America on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation. Where I found a deeper spirituality. Not mine, but one of many beautiful and powerful indigenous traditions … And then I came back to San Francisco in the Summer of Love. And have attended Rainbow Gatherings ever since. My spirituality has grown and shrunk and morphed many times. But the way I mark the days of my life have been stuck in (for me) an old paradigm … Time for a change, I’m thinking (if not at 66, then when?) … So I’ve taken to creating an Ancient North American Calendar (ANAC). Replacing our Julian/Gregorian system of keeping track of time from out the hands of one religion, and into the hands of science’s best guess … Not 2012 [TwentyTwelve] but 25012 [Twentyfive Thousand Twelve].

WILD HORSES … Community blessings on the Serengeti Foundation for purchasing several large Hughes Ranch properties adjacent to San Miguel County’s Spring Creek wild horse herd … I have a feeling our wild horses – probably direct descendants of the thousands of horses the Tabeguache Utes left behind that terrible summer of 1881 (23881 ANAC) when the U.S. Army forcibly evicted Ouray’s band from the San Miguel and Uncompahgre watersheds – have a much more promising future in store … And thank you to all our local and regional wild horse advocates for making this a political issue.



You will
understand me,

I will
understand you.

Love starts there.
-Jack Mueller
Log Hill Village