November 2008

Southwest Greens sponsor forum at MCHS

By Art Goodtimes

YOUTH VOTE … For the past seven years the Southwest Colorado chapter of the Green Party in Montezuma County has been sponsoring a candidate forum at the Montezuma-Cortez High School. This year they asked me to moderate, which meant guiding students through a morning civics class in American democracy … I did an intro, and got to do a short summation on the importance and responsibility of voting at the end. But most of the twohour special program for civics-class students from MCHS, Dolores High School and Southwest Open School got taken up with a roundtable giveand- take directly among students and candidates. Each candidate took a seat at one of eight tables, and the 100 or so kids were parceled out in small clusters of a dozen or so. Candidates included 58th Colo. House District hopefuls Noelle Hagan of Montrose and hometown favorite Scott Tipton of Cortez; Montezuma County Commissioner candidates Fred Blackburn and Alfred Hughes (incumbent Larrie Rule called in sick and candidate Paul Young was a noshow); 22nd District Attorney candidates, incumbent James Wilson and challenger Mac Myers; and members of the League of Women Voters talking about the many bond issues. Students spent a half-hour with one candidate, and then moved to a second table for the second half-hour … Since I know Commissioner Rule and have attended meetings with him, I took his table, and tried to explain his political philosophy, as best I could, although he is a conservative Republican. That was an interesting exercise, but soon the kids were more interested in getting my reactions to their questions --- “Do you believe in gun control?”, “Should schools be run democratically?” and a long discussion led by one young woman about Amendment 48 and how making zygotes persons could lead to far more teen pregnancies … It was gritty stuff. Good stuff to be discussed. And I spoke at the end of how democracy only works if we get involved, informed. How voting was a responsibility of a citizen, and how important and precious it was to be able to make our choices known, and to have our choices be honored to represent us … The more I reflected on the afternoon, the more sense it made to offer this kind of program for our young people. And the prouder I was of the Southwest Colorado chapter of the Colorado Green Party. What better way to further the key value of grassroots democracy than by hosting a forum for youth about to be given the franchise of voting?

NORWOODSTOCK … Okay, the tshirt logo may have been over the top, but the Norwood Arts & Music Festival last month was one helluva party, with kickass bands and wild women & wild men, dancing & partying. Plus, there were great booths, private parties and the kind of mingling that you don’t see up in Telluride as much anymore – Rastafarians & bikers right up alongside ranchers & framers … ‘Course, my fav performance was hearing the illustrious Joan McKinney tinkling the ivories in the old Log Cabin. What a gifted pianist, and she doesn’t read music, does it all from ear. She had many of us, old and young (a category that’s becoming increasingly fuzzy for this paleohippie), entranced or moved to sing along … The first NAMF put Norwood on the map as heavy on the happening and short on the once-familiar snores. It was a rock-em sock-em Saturday night along the Gurley Ditch and out back beside the fire station … Huge kudos to everyone connected to this marvelous first-timer, but I want to single out Jim and Steve Dabal, Margie Huebner, Pirate Rob, Anatasia Turner and Kristina Stellhorn for all the work they did in getting the event off the ground … It was nice to have the entire Lower Basin community involved – Nucla to Norwood Hill. There may be imaginary county boundaries separating the San Miguel Basin, but it’s all one watershed on the ground … Two Candles and the Livery are GREAT venues, and the Log Cabin is about as historical as it gets beyond Telluride’s mining camp Victorians … Let’s do that again!

THE TALKING GOURD

Written
on the occasion of
John & Michi Babus’
wedding reception,
May 18, 2008

It’s obvious to see in birds
that one alone is admirable
in flight & color & pose.

But two are more than just one
twice, their paired moves,
the slightly different songs together,

the variation in plumage are
a choir of two. When they
migrate apart & then join again

for even a short distance, it’s aching
to endure. But when the distance
is so great like the Artic Tern

from near the North Pole
to near Antarctica, it’s
a fable come true of two.

Peter Berg
San Francisco

WEEKLY QUOTA … "Republicans believe in socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.” – John Kenneth Galbraith … You know, as a political progressive, passionately interested in social justice since I left the Catholic seminary 40 years ago, it’s embarrassingly ironic to watch a Republican administration propose a bailout, which is really a buy-out, which is really the state taking control of private financial institutions. A textbook case of socialist policy – nationalizing the means of production … It’s hard for me to understand how anyone in the Republicans could claim to be a conservative (no matter how much lipstick you put on the pig) when their highest elected official has chosen socialism (not the free market) to deal with our current financial crisis … No wonder I’m a Green.

AGAINST THE DAY … Thomas Pynchon is a brilliant writer, no question. I just finished this 1085-page tome (Jonathan Cape, London, 2006), and I want to start reading it all over again … Pynchon’s attention to specific and arcane detail defies imagination, let along anything approaching the quotidian. It’s an early 19th Century roller-coaster ride as you flash backwards and forwards in time, trying to connect threads in this picaresque novel of blood vengeance, scifi physics and anti-capitalist heroics, opening and closing most unbelievably with the Chums of Chance and their fantastical aeronautics … Telluride plays a big part in the book’s leaping landscape, as this excerpt about the original Cosmo bar demonstrates, “A silence abruptly fell, leaving for the moment only the electricity’s hum. A group of men in enormous brand-new beaver sombreros had just entered the Cosmopolitan, chirping and singing in some foreign tongue. Each carried a pocket Kodak with its shutter ingeniously connected to a small magnesium flashlight, so as to synchronize the two. Shot-glasses halted halfway to mouths, the Negro shoeshine boy quit popping his rag, the Hieronymus wheel stopped short, and the ball took a bounce and then hung there in midair, just as if everything in the scene were trying its best to accommodate a photograph or two … Slowly the disorder had begun to abate. Broken glass, splintered wood, and the contents of overturned cuspidors presented inconvenience everywhere as cardplayers crawled through the debris trying to reassemble full decks. Favoring their injuries, wiping their eyes, and blowing their noses on their sleeves, drinkers and gamblers went lurching out the doors and into the street, where rented horses had already been skillfully unhitching themselves and proceeding back to the corral, sighing now and then. Sportive ladies up from riverside cribs and parlor houses alike stood in twos and threes observing the scene, clucking like church wives. The Japanese visitors had vanished, and inside the Cosmopolitan, Dieter was back on duty behind the bar as if none of this had happened.”

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County commissioner.