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Friday, April 20, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 19apr25012

What to do about energy 
& our carbon footprint?

URANIUM-235 … I got a very nice email from a friend who didn’t necessarily disagree with my assessment of the issues involved with nuclear power but wanted me to see the Bill Gates TED talk on our nuclear option, and youtubes of several other respectable thinkers who lean towards nuclear to solve the world’s growing demand for cheap energy in a carbon-constrained future … As a thinker myself, I think I understand the attraction of 20th Century magic – the ability to “harness” the mysterious atom, that is, make bombs & electricity. We have become the gods our ancestors dreamed of … But I also think Jerry Mander had it right with his books, In the Absence of theSacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations (1991) and Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1977) – some technology is bad. We have to make responsible choices – choices for which we agree to be responsible … Two catastrophic black swan events in less than a generation? Waste toxicity that continues emitting on-site killing rays for hundreds of thousands of years? All so we can support a hundred greedy Wall Streets around the world? … Brand me a conservative on this one, but nuclear power’s far too liberal for my blood. Risking our children’s lives on a technology we’re trying to keep out of all but a few hands and which not even Lloyd’s of London would fully ensure? … I’m a Green. I say lets build a resilient energy future in America based on renewables, efficiencies and reductions of use. Let’s downsize our risk & usage, and supersize our security & interdependence.
Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam

BRIE … Funny, I had my first taste of soft-ripened cheese at a German delicatessen out on Church Street in the upper Mission, between Noe Valley and Glen Park. It was the Sixties, and I was in my early-20s. I’d never heard of Brie, but I fell head-over-tongue in love … My Nippon-Brit-Hispanic mom had told us stories of Limburger, and we’d tried it (we three boys called it “stinky cheese”), but we preferred the Liederkranz my Italian dad bought (he shopped and she cooked) – an edible gold tan crust around a semisoft, pale interior with a mildly pungent flavor and distinct aroma that could become unpleasantly ammonia-like with age. But spread on Larraburu Sourdough French Bread, nothing could quite compare. Still, the aroma was strong, and it kept many a friend away from our family treat, which was kind of cool ... Of course, as I started to make the Bay Area gallery and opening party circuit, I looked forward to brie, on crackers, or just neat … Like single-malts, double and triple-cream cheese came even later to my palate. But as a health nut (of sorts – one who always buys organic, when it’s available) the thought of bad fat haunted me. Even as I relished the buttery delights of many an exotic French and Italian double-cream … And then along came Cowgirl Creamery of Pt. Reyes Station with their organic, hand-crafted Mt. Tam triple-cream. Just found some in the Whole Foods (“Whole Paycheck”) store in Boulder this past weekend. On “sale” for $26.95 a pound, but as close to heaven as any food I’ve ingested.

 A TISKET A TASKET … It’s my first big show of baskets – the first time I’ve gotten to hang the ones I’ve hung on to. Truth is, I’ve given most away over the last 16 years of weaving during meetings, conferences, lectures, workshops and public events. But I’ve kept a bunch too. And I think I’m ready to sell some. It’s like my tapestry artist friend Pam Smith of Cortez says – I’d rather see the baskets out and about than moldering in some dark attic … The Norwood opening was Monday the 16th at the Livery. The show will hang there for several weeks. If you’d like to see it, let me know, and we’ll set up a time to visit the collection. 327-4767

DOVE CREEK PRESS … I first started reading the DoveCreek Press back in the Eighties, when I was editor of the Telluride Times. In those days, editors exchanged subscriptions with regional papers, and we all read each others’ work (a journalism tradition in Colorado from the earliest day). It gave one a great overview of the region. Of course, things were a lot slower then, and smaller. So it was easier to keep in regional touch … Doug and Linda Funk were editors of the Press, and they covered stories in Egnar – the community furthest from Telluride but still in San Miguel County. So it was doubly important to read their paper ... Plus, they always had a brief summary section of headline news in papers from Cortez to Monticello. Sometimes they tossed in bemused and mildly disparaging comments about Telluride -- a favorite pastime in the region. And amazingly, years later, they’re still doing journalism just like they’ve always done… I get pleasure in reading down home community journalism -- using a running commentary to cover county meetings or school board decisions (like the recent inexplicable firing of the school’s decades-long sports icon in what was to be his last year, Coach Ken Soper – and only two wins shy of a state high school coaching record) … I admit to having a bias for blow-by-blow coverage – an older form of news reporting. Rather than focusing on the spotty “big issue” stories that miss all the little stuff … Doug even writes a weekly column, talking about all the little pains and pleasures of rural life. Nothing flashy. Just real life stuff. Phunque’s Desk … The Silverton Standard may be winning all the prizes hereabouts, but I got a real sweet spot for the paper of record in San Miguel County’s far west end.

Ken Salazar hosting a delegation of Colorado county commissioners at his Interior office
KEN SALAZAR … The Interior Secretary (and one of my favorite politicos) is catching heat from Utah’s (Tea Party) Governor Gary Herbert who railed against Ken’s “nonsensical, bass-ackwards, peek-a-boo policy” in reversing the Bush Administration’s decision to fast-track shale and tar sands development and support a stampede to strip-mine two million acres of Western public lands. Herbert called the move “political posturing” and suggested the decision was made with “no science and no data”, conveniently ignoring the Government Accountability Office report that stated quite clearly that the science and the data didn’t support the Bush leasing plan … In an administration of Dem disappointments, Ken’s been an Interior Secretary willing to make some tough calls and come down on the side of the environment.



When you carry
all your own water
into a house

letting it run free
even to wash hands
seems almost a sin

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