A mountain town in France

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SMITHSONIAN … It’s easy – even as far away from the widening gyres of the Center as we are, on the Inner Basin West’s eastern fringe – to get caught up in the hyenas of the moment. Abortion. Judicial appointments. Immigration … To find ourselves worried about the changing sidewalk demographics of the neighborhood. New faces. Different language. Hard-labor job crews. Government wanting to build fences. Leaders spewing insults. … It’s easy to start scape-goating the Other … Of course, our Christian teachings are supposed to help us in this respect, but sometimes fundamentalists seem to turn every gray to black & white. … That’s why the story the Smithsonian tells of a mountain village in France that has a tradition of welcoming immigrants and settling refugees for over 400 years is so important. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in France’s south-central Haute-Loire region. It was here Protestants found 16th Century refuge from Catholic persecution, WWII Jews from German Nazis, fleeing Kosovos, Chechnyans, Congoleses … It’s not a huge thing. One town the size of Ouray. Adopting a few dozen families. Working across generations to make their home a more-inclusive place. But it is a huge thing. A very beautiful, Christian huge thing.

ROLLER-COASTER CURE … No, it’s not for headaches. Roller-coaster rides usually give me one. Nor for nausea, which it can easily induce. They appear to be a cure for passing kidney stones … According to two researchers from Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, using a surrogate 3-D printing of the stones on a backpack-sized plastic kidney replica, they found almost two-thirds of the 3-D stones passed though the replica’s urinary tract when the pair rode at the tail of the coaster. “It seems that shaking, twisting and diving from on high could help small stones dislodge themselves from the kidney’s inner maze of tubules,” said Science News.

WRONG AGAIN … How many times since the Reagan era have I had to listen to election politicos swearing tax cuts pay for themselves? But they don’t. We taxpayers are the ones who pay. The Republicans do it over and over, and citizens believe them … Take this latest tax cut the Republicans unleashed on us. Yes, the economy grew by almost 3 percent in 2018, but federal tax revenues fell by 2.7 percent. Yet once again, after a profligate Republican administration, our deficit is on track to break the $1 trillion mark.

WOODEN CHEST … It’s like our duly-elected pluto-bully who’s been leading the industry’s raid of the public treasury has overdosed on meth, and we’re having to figure out how to save him from himself before the whole nation goes into wooden chest.

NUMBERS … I read about science, micro and macro, so I’m always running into new mathematical terms. But this one had me stumped: “four inverse femtobarns of data” … It’s what CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland produced last year watching 400 trillion proton-proton collisions.

MORALITY TALE … I was a sucker for fairy tales and morality tales when I was a kiddo, learning everything I knew from books, pre-wikipedia. Puss & Boots. Three Little Pigs. Cinderella … Now, as a former Californian watching the missteps and retribution befalling Pacific Gas & Electric, one can’t help but shake one’s head. You could see it coming. Bad decisions. At-risk infrastructure. Huge corporate payouts. Having to go bankrupt after another fire season of catastrophic liability … But the real moral here is very targeted. It’s to Colorado’s own cooperative electric company: Tri-State Generation and Transmission. San Miguel County fought them over the under- grounding of powerlines though some of our most flammable forest mesas. Tri-State refused to even deign to consider the off-set savings in catastrophic liability from putting their generation lines into the ground. A savings that could prevent Tri-State from having to declare bankruptcy should an errant powerline of theirs cause a catastrophic fire in Colorado one day in the future.

RELATIONSHIPS … This era of social media friending has brought us face-to-face with the reality of how many relationships at a time can we reasonably maintain. As the September 2018 issue of Scientific American pointed out, “Study after study confirms that most people have about five intimate friends, 15 close friends, 50 general friends and 150 acquaintances” – a threshold imposed by brain size and chemistry … Except, of course, in my case – and my 5000 Facebook friends.

OP-ED COLUMNS … I’ve been writing personal columns in Telluride since January of 1981 … My first “Pandora’s Box” column appeared in the defunct Telluride Times in January of 1981. I’ve gone on to write columns for most of the papers that appeared in Telluride – the San Miguel Journal, Telluride Mountain Journal, Telluride Times-Journal, the Daily Planet and, of late, the Watch. Either as “Pandora’s Box” or “Up Bear Creek” … I had a column in the old Mountainfreak magazine (that San Miguel County Commissioner Hilary Cooper edited) called “Far Freakin’ Out” that came out of Telluride … And I have a longrunning monthly column in the Four Corners Free Press out of Cortez and a weekly online column in the Montrose Mirror … Not to mention lots of shorter- lived columns in regional papers and newsletters … For an English major – one of those college degrees that usually don’t get you very far in the job market – I’ve managed to turn my love of language into a successful journalism career … And I look forward to continuing it for as long as I can still put pen to paper, fingers to the keyboard … But not for the Telluride Watch anymore. After all the changes in Telluride they were still paying me less than I got 12 years ago, before the Downturn … People look to government to solve our housing crisis, but there’s another culprit that makes it near impossible – some members of our business community that pay predatory wages … So, no more Watch print columns for me. I’m moving out of town and into the region …. Find my weekly column at Montrose- Mirror.com and my monthly column here.

Art Goodtimes is a former county commissioner in San Miguel County, Colo.


THE TALKING GOURD

Still

In Rainbow old age
the newsome place a curious
toe finds itself

Seems the bellbottom
semelparity of the Sixties
hides its radioactive flair
in see-through pools

In an uptight overheated
millennium of
uncool

But I can’t stop
tasting the waters
testing for shark

Yes I will swallow fire
Kiss karma’s ruby lips

Still
McRedeye sez
I miss hip’s chill

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From art-goodtimes.