March 2005

Sit-ins in Norwood, change in the Capitol

By Art Goodtimes

BLESS ME, ULTIMA … Sit-ins in
Norwood? The Sixties return!… It was
wonderful how the shock of the
Norwood School administration’s original
actions faded after the brave response on
the part of the high-school student body,
and how that embarrassing situation was
turned around and has become a great
example of San Miguel County student
activism on behalf of free speech, due
process and democratic principles … I
was impressed by Superintendent Bob
Condor’s willingness to step back,
reassess, apologize for his hasty initial
actions, and offer to put a committee
process in place to review Anaya’s book
in the high-school curriculum (especially
his agreeing to have student representatives
on that committee) … Rudolfo
Anaya’s “Bless Me, Ultima” is one of the
great Southwestern novels of our generation.
And its esteem crosses all political
boundaries, Anaya having been awarded
the National Medal of Art from President
George W. Bush several years ago …
Proud of the actions of the Norwood
high-schoolers, a group has formed –
Citizens in Support of Norwood Students.
And it has decided to offer a Wright’s
Mesa Prize to 11 Norwood High School
students for the best reviews of Anaya’s
book. The first prize will be for $100, and
there will be 10 $25 runner-up prizes …
For more details, check my website
http://paleohippie.com

TERRY DICKEN … I got the sad news
on my dad’s birthday that my good friend
Terry had died in an Ultralight accident.
His is a tough loss. Probably one of the
most naturally good-natured persons I’d
ever met, Terry always had a good word
for folks, something nice to say about life,
and a trademark smile. Didn’t matter
what his own troubles were, and he’d
had his share, he was always ready to
help someone else with a problem, or try
to cheer them up … I’ll never forget the
time we canoed down the Colorado outside
of Moab, running a rapid with the
two ends of the aluminum boat uplifted
by one mound of water. We made it
through somehow without tipping over.
And laughed about it afterwards … There
were lots of favorite stories about Terry at
the service in Dove Creek Feb. 3, where
a huge crowd filled the old high-school
gym and heard testimonials from friends
and family … This world is a poorer
place without A. Terry Dicken sharing it
with us. But it was just like him. To spend
his last fearless minutes soaring with the
eagles … Condolences to Jan, the family
and his many friends.

DENVER CLUB 20 LEGI TRIP … I
can’t tell you how rewarding it was to
attend the Club 20 legislative tour at the
gold dome last month, and see the doors
that opened to me this time … Assistant
Majority Leader Sen. Jim Isgar took time
from his busy schedule to guide me
around the capitol, introducing me to
folks. Rep. Gary Lindstrom joked around,
invoking my name during his talk to the
group in the State Supreme Court chambers,
as did Rep. Josh Penry (Missed Rep.
Mark Larson, but he’s a friend regardless
of his political tag) … With the Democrats
in charge, liberals and enviros have a lot
better access to decision-makers than ever
before … As head of the Progressive
Caucus for Club 20, I’m excited about seeing
some good bills passed this year,
maybe even a finance-reform bill and
some surface-owner oil & gas development
protection, as well as a gaggle of
reasonable water bills … It’s a good time
not to be Republican in Denver.

OLD BUDDY … One of the great
things about visiting Denver was catching
up with Kit Hedman, an old friend from
San Francisco – in fact, a Noe Valley
neighbor of mine some 30 years ago …
Today, he’s living in the Park Hill neighborhood
of Denver, across from the
Natural History museum. … Kit is a master
photographer, doing portraits. He did
one of me, and it’s a beauty … Even
more interesting were his photos of the
Tarahumara, where’s he’s traveled extensively.
Shaman’s Drum published some of
them a couple years back. I’m hoping the
folks up at Telluride’s Mountainfilm might
weave him into their program …

WEEKLY QUOTA … “They make a
wasteland, and call it peace.” — Thanks
to Gary Snyder for this excerpt from
Tacitus, quoting a Scots warrior, regarding
the Romans in Britain, but speaking just
as clearly to the Bush army in Iraq.

ARDBEG … Back in me younger
days, when it came to Scotch, I swore by
LaPhroaig, but this year, with thanks to
the Thorneycroft clan of the San Miguel
Canyon, I’ve come to sip this peaty malt
whisky, ripened & mellowed as it’s aged,
and can honestly say there’s no finer single
malt on earth than Ardbeg from the
Isle of Islay.

Art Goodtimes is a county commissioner.

THE TALKING GOURD
Cosmetics
— for Jill Burkey & Stacy Malkan
From the Greek kosmetos meaning
“well-arranged”.
Well, maybe -- if applying toxic chemical
salves & paints
on one’s skin & nails ranks as beautifying
adornment
in your bible. But in mine phthalates
are poisons, not
sexual puissance, except in the twisted
argot of Western
Civ’s cinema. Except in the post-Beat
poetry of advertising.
Let’s make a spiritual practice of no
more makeup. Let’s
all start accepting the faces we have,
before we play at
putting on masks. Like Telluride could
have accepted the
physical limits of its mesa-top airfield,
instead of building
twelve story walls to add a couple
hundred feet for a fifty
million dollar runway. That’s exactly
what’s wrong with this
culture. Sure, everyone loves dress-up.
Putting on a new
face. Beaux Arts Balls. But not at the
expense of one’s health.
The very qualities that make us beautiful.
Let’s start enjoying
each wrinkle & laugh line for the tattoos
they are. Start
experiencing the immediacy of naked
skin on skin.
The musk of honest sweat instead of
deodorant.