Saturday, May 2, 2020

An F-35 Military Tribute

Story Time...

This is a Long Story...longer than the typical Facebook attention span. Therefore we urge you to Exit Now.  This story is going to go on  forever.

For those of you who are still here, we welcome you and say "Thanks!"  It's a good & worthy story that we are Very Proud to tell.

To tell this story properly we have to digress a few times before we get to the meat of the story.  That's why it's a story that far, FAR exceeds the Facebook Attention Span.  I mean like F-A-R!

First of all it begins with my Father.  For astute readers you know he was liberated from his last nazi prison camp 75 years ago on April 29, 1945.

As a result of his courageous WWII service and his forever high regard for guys in tanks knocking down prison camp fences, Dad had an affection for what he called "A Military Tribute."  To Dad, A Military Tribute had to include a list of obligatory elements and had to be pre-planned and had to be conducted "just so" in the Military Way.

This is what I grew up with. I've always felt I have a higher-than-normal awareness of and appreciation for "A Military Tribute."

OK, so let's rewind back to last year on May 10, 2019.  It was the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike and we were among the 30,000 people with tickets to attend the Promontory, Utah commemoration.  Oh, BOY!  It was totally over-the-top in far more ways than I will ever have words to describe.  The entire presentation took TWO full hours.  And there wasn't even a dull nano-second--it was THAT tight.

The ceremony ended around 1 PM and then they began shooting off all these fireworks. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!  BIG fireworks in broad daylight.

Well, being a fireworks fan I was confused. Fireworks in the daylight? What's going on here?

And that's when it happened. A Military Tribute for The Ages.  We heard them before we could see them.  Four F-35 jet fighters flew low and slow out of the smoke of the fireworks.  Their flaps were full down and they were throttled as far back as they could be and still fly.  The formation of the four fighters dropped low and slow down upon our heads and untold thousands of us stood up and cheered our lungs out.

It remains the finest example of A Military Tribute I've ever seen in my life. I couldn't even believe I saw it.

OK, let's rewind a few days back.  To get ready to leave Rimrock requires a whole lotta physical and mental work.  Even though I kept the computer on, I could only glance at and get snippets of stuff.

I caught a glimpse of something Tuesday in my peripheral vision but I didn't know what it was.  I had a vague feeling I should check it out but I didn't have time.

And time passed....

And today we learned "the rest of the story" and when I read it I just sobbed and sobbed.  It's The Finest Military Tribute I've ever seen in My Life and I honestly don't think it can ever be topped--at least in Utah!

My Dad would have been SO PROUD!

Basically, here's what happened.  Hill Air Force Base maintains what they call a "Demonstration Team" of crack F-35 pilots. Think of them as Blue Angle pilots...only different.  They were the team that flew through the fireworks smoke screen at Promontory May 10, 2019.

And so their team cooked up A Plan to Honor Utah First Responders.

And they executed their plan to perfection.  And they excited an entire state.  And they brought tears to the eyes of so many first responders all across Utah.

Can you possibly image a tight formation of four F-35's coming in low and slow with their flaps down right on top of your hospital?

The story was brought home to me realizing they flew Panguitch yesterday. The only way they could fly Panguitch was by coming in from the south after their St. George flyover. They had to have to glided in on the far south horizon and drift down over The Panguitch Hospital and the glide down The Sevier River to lift up over the Tushar Mountains.

I simply can't even imagine the power and glory of those precious moments. Piper Cubs don't even fly over Panguitch.  But FOUR F-35's????

The linked article shows their two hour flight path over Utah.  We will add comments about the story and from those who saw them.

All we can say is we saw them do their low, slow mode trick late May 10 and it was incredible.  Can you imagine being a first responder and seeing this Military Tribute???,

“It really made us feel like, sure, we (matter) as health care professionals,” said Gil Corona, medical assistant at Intermountain Medical Center’s transplant clinic. “It just showed that this is for us and we’re just glad to be a part of it, to be a part of the , just to help them out. This is awesome!”

Listen to Flight Leader BEO Wolfe thank her crews.

From St. George...

"Thank you so much for your service and for your flyby yesterday.  Down here in St George, at Bloomington Hills Elementary, we all went out on the playground to watch you.  Your gesture moved many of us to tears.  Personally, I felt you there and that made my heart happy.  I can't wait now to tell all of my students that the lead pilot was YOU.  You never know, that action may be the reason girls everywhere realize they can serve their country and possibly pilot a jet as well."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

January 23rd Whazzup Report

When I was a small child, January always seemed to be the longest month of the year.  IN fact, I often thought that January was The Definition of Eternity.  To me, if I survived January, I was fully good to go for the Whole Year.  Nothing compared to January.  Part of it was growing up in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, the most skyless, gray county in the Whole Known World in January. NOBODY beats Tippecanoe, not even all of North Dakota!  Not even Chicago and that's saying a LOT right there.

It just so happens that Tippecanoe County is in a Native American Vortex and that's why the Storm Troopers of the Era attacked the Indians in The Battle of Tippecanoe and then burned down their vortex town.  It's all about vortexes long before Sedona, but we digress.

Anyway, even since I was a little kid January has loomed large on my personal calendar.  Generally speaking, I live in annual fear of January because of primal lingering fears that it might truly last forever and maroon me in a sea of gray for the rest of All Time, including my life, of course

And so it is with Great Joy I can tell you I have survived January Twenty Twenty up until almost the last and fourth week.  Trust me, when you get into the final home stretch of the fourth week of January, you feel like a thoroughbred stretching for the final wire in the Indiana Derby!  Wait, wait, I meant the Kentucky Derby.

Just to know the last day of this infamous month is barely more than a week away lifts my spirits and brings Joy to my Heart.  Oh, YEA!!!

It's been a tedious, eternally long month this January of Twenty Twenty.  We won't go into all the details but, trust me, all these past 23 days have constantly reminded me of my childhood January trials and tribulations.

After Susun returned from The 4th Annual Women's March in Sedona last Sunday we talked.  She said her brother, Roger, had invited us to Mesa.  Cue rejoicing and wild cheers from the Fans.  So, we didn't waste a moment and packed up and headed south mid-day Monday. Remember that song, "Monday, Monday?"

"Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be."

Oh, YEAH!  So, we saddled up and headed our horses to Mesa.  We spent three gloriously fun nights with Dear Nancy and Roger there in The Heart of Mesa, Arizona.  Mesa was settled way back before ESPN and eBay but that doesn't matter.  They do an OK job down there in Mesa, regardless of what's on their table.

We had so much fun on this trip, especially playing cribbage and especially since we won.  IN fact, we won so bad last light we got kicked out of town today with various "terms of endearment."  That's what four "10's" and a "5" will do to a guy.  Just kidding, of course, Roger!

We cruised back through Payson, a town named for an Illinois Senator who bribed rubes to name towns for him in exchange for a Post Office.  We had a lot of stops planned in Payson and actually made them all, including a visit with Dear Friend Gena.  Of course, our astute Friends already know we're on The Case (and cage) of The Flyin' Lion that fell to earth in Hellsgate in 1927.  We made a bunch of new Associates in Payson and then we proceeded on to Pine.

In Pine we studied pine...and juniper and mesquite and other woody stuff.  It was fun.  We got home to Second Chance Ranch at 5 PM and that's when it's scramble time.  You can look at the Western Horizon and well know how many minutes of tme you have to strut yer stuff before it fades (rapidly) to black.

Well, we did git 'er dun and now we're a tucked in here to our cozy straw bale house, just a plottin' and a plannin' how we can git ourselfs another four tens and a five!

THANKS, Nancy & Roger!  We LOVE YOU!

Signed, Yer Country Bumpkin, Cribbage Winnin' Cousins from Wimwok!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Susun reflects on David Rust

Fast back to October when we dashed up to our Idahome to retrieve Dear Lil' Mosey Inn #1.  Naturally, we took the SLO-ROAD back to Ol' Airy Zonie.  Out into Goat Roper Wyoming and down through the West End of The Uintas and sneaking through the back side of the SLC metroplex via Provo and Spanish Fork.  And then we beat feet for Price and points Southerly.

By and By we wound up in The Center of The Universe in Hanksville, Utah.  Anybody who's anybody, of course, totally knows it's the Center of The Universe mostly because it's self evident and also well labeled.  Labeling helps in the 21st Century.

So, we're sitting there in the Center of The Universe and I said to Clair, "Have you ever heard about David Rust?"

Well, no, she hadn't.  But she was curious.  And being curious is a real big asset if you know what I mean.  So we drove on down from The Center of The Universe in Hanksville toward more mundane destinations, including, of course, Hite Crossing.

And it took most of a coupla hours or maybe more...maybe three tell Clair about David Rust.  You see, David was a most admirable Man.  He was a True Man's Man but he was even more than that.  You can't sum up David Rust just with a few words.  Nope.  It takes a book.  A Big Book naturally called "David Rust."

Well, by and by, Clair got David Rust Religion there a comin' outta The Center of The Universe like we did and she said, "I gotta read that book as soon as I can get my hands on it."  And, by golly and by gee, she grabbed ahold of a librarian and got that book in her hands PRONTO!

Well, when Clair finished the book (after 3 renewals) she burst into tears and sobbed and sobbed.  It was everything I told her it would be.

Tonight, it all came back around for her and she reconnected with the whole Hanksville Initiation Thing. (HIT).  Man, she LOVES David Rust and she LOVES everything she read in his book and it's so powerful and emotional for her.  Man, you can't even imagine.

Well, we're wrapping up TBT for this week and a lookin' forward to more fun stories a week from today.  But a word to the wise is this--if you wanna read something that's gonna knock yer socks clean off, get yer hands on "David Rust!"

Just ask Clair, she'll tell ya straight.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Mid-January Report

Healing Happens.  Two months ago on November 14, Susun tripped coming out of a travel trailer and broke a bone in her lower right leg.  It's a well known fact that bones take awhile to heal so we figured maybe two months would be a OK estimate.  Sure enough, she drove her little truck yesterday for the first time since the mishap.  Of course, there's more healing to go.  And a lot of caution and careful movement lie ahead.  But she's a model patient and has  been following Doctor's Orders really well.  We both fully expect here to be near tip top condition by the time her February 19th trip to Southern California comes around.

Once the mid-November incident took place, we were both pretty much "confined to quarters" here in Rimrock.  I served as caregiver and chauffeur while Susun recuperated and allowed the healing process to take place in its own natural time frame.  That meant I had a lot of time on my hands so that's when I began digging a lot deeper into some history stories I love.  And one thing led to another.  And I found even MORE history stories to love.  Before you know it, I began posting numerous history stories on various Facebook history groups in Flagstaff, Prescott, Grand Canyon, Verde Valley, Phoenix and Globe.  Over the past two months, such activity has turned into a "thing" and it's now an almost daily activity.  Meanwhile a Facebook page I created for the history stories is reaching around 15,000 people per week.

The whole "history thing" that has sprouted and grown as a result of Susun's mishap is a welcome addition to both of our lives.  I enjoy the digging and the telling and Susun enjoys the listening.  The endeavor continues to grow.  We're working on two stories that are larger than can be told via Facebook or even perhaps the ubiquitous blogs.  So that means we're having to finally delve into the arcane, inscrutable world of ebooks.  Even though we're a lifelong book lover, we've never taken a liking to ebooks themselves and have studiously avoided any confrontation with the ebook publication process.  I'm sure my life would be much better overall if I never had to even THINK about ebook publishing, let alone actually use it.  Ah, but times change and now we are engrossed in the sticky spider web of ebook publishing.  UGH!

The story we're trying to tell is about the Crash of the MGM Lion in September 1927.  The story itself is mesmerizing.  The method of trying to tell the story is anything but!  Probably the only way we're even going to get a break through is to use a blog to write each chapter and then transfer the narrative and photos to the convoluted altar of The Gods of ebooks.

Weather wise there hasn't been a whole lot to write home about lately and it sure doesn't look very promising for the near future either.  As usual, we all had high hopes of a "wet winter" when the first few gobsmackers gut punched Northern Arizona.  Alas, they seem to have been just a tease.  Or, as someone said, "Well, that was our winter--it's spring time now."  Meanwhile our Idahome is getting hit hard but that's another story.

Dear Friends Maria & Tim have been visiting Second Chance Ranch in their Gulf Stream Class A motorhome for the past few days.  The Wonderful Couple free ranges far and wide from sea to shining sea but they always seem to gravitate back here to Central Arizona.  We love their visits and eagerly look forward to their arrivals.  We're always sad to see them go but we know they are off on yet another thrilling, fun-filled adventure.  In a mere two days they will be tucked into the capital of Costa Rica to begin a two month stay in that country.  We're hoping we will see them in Idaho sometime this summer.

Speaking of summer, our planning continues.  As most folks know, we love taking one trip a year to Sawtooth Country.  Last year's trip was delayed into late July because a Dear Friend was going to be there then.  This year we're back to a more flexible schedule so we're already trying to squeeze into Sunny Gulch Campground outside Stanley and not far from Redfish Lake.  Wouldn't you know it, the few reservable sites at Sunny Gulch are already full.  Of course nobody up there right now is remotely thinking about camping.  They are all practically snowed in.  The Sawtooth back country generally has about five feet of snow right now.  It always seems so weird to be sitting down here in Arizona talking about Smoke Season and river runoff and such when Sawtooth Country is under a deep, deep blanket of snow.  Ah, the Life of Snow Birds!

We spent some fun days at Susun's brother's Mesa Place in December and we're looking forward to going back again this month for a short sojourn.  Roger and Nancy are lovely hosts and always roll out the red carpet for us.  Chances are pretty good we will head down that way next week.

Today being January 15th marks the unofficial end of Rimrock's Annual Cold Spell.  According to The Book Of John & Susun, the Rimrock's Annual Cold Spell begins on December 15th and ends on January 15th.  Of course, it isn't always perfectly cut and dried but it's a danged good guess as to when the coldest of the winter's cold will be upon us.  So far this Arizona Season has been mild.  Our lowest temp was 16 degrees way back in early November.  Most of the daily lows have been in the low 20's with some dips into the upper teens.  Considering that we've seen it get down to 2 degrees here, such temps are definitely considered mild.

Well, that's all there is to write about home.  Thanks for reading.  Happy mid-January.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Two R's

Remember how early one room school houses were said to focus on teachin' them kids The Three R's?

Readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmatic."

Well, at this point in my life, I am focused on the Two R's.  I couldn't care less about that Third R.  So I spend my days in R&R, so to speak: Readin' and 'Ritin'.

We generally get up around 6 AM and go back to sleep around 8 PM every day.  For who knows how many days, my life has been occupied by studying the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery. It consumes hours and hours of The Two R's.  It might not technically be considered "R&R" in the traditional sense of "rest & relaxation" but it gets the job done.  It helps me pass what would otherwise be a tediously long day while being consumed by the arcane details of history surrounding that 1889 event and the saga that followed.

I know this might seem hard to imagine but I love it.  I get so immersed in the Two R's of the CDTR that it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to do what I want to do.  It's one of those projects that seemingly has no end and sometimes I can imagine going on forever and forever into eternity.  Yes, I know that's a tad bit of an exaggeration...but not too much.

Each night, the call of nature gets me out of bed right around 1:30 AM...almost like clockwork. When I come back to the covers it takes at least 30 minutes (and sometimes 60) to go back to sleep.  It's during that precious "wee hour window" that I get my most productive thinking done.  That's when I can think the clearest.  That's when I can see new avenues.  That's when the really GOOD ideas come to light---ironically in the pitch black dark of night.

Every night I think of things to do the next day which eat up mass quantities of hours.  Sure enough, I get up the next day and start off following the threads of the "wee hour window" ideas and, POOF, the day is danged done before I even know it got started.

That's just how fast it happens--almost in a blink of an eye.  And there isn't a day yet when I don't go to sleep lamenting more what I didn't get done than what I did.  I never know what gift of insight the "wee hour window" is going to give me but I always know it will be Good.  I now look forward to that time of day perhaps even more so that broad daylight....or maybe even morning coffee.  Nah, coffee wins that game.  But whatever.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Just in case yer curious what last night's "wee hour window" suggested, it's ALL about this horse hoof you see here on the famous Buckey Statue in the equally famous Prescott Plaza.  So, one of our many projects today was to produce a post on the "Celebrating Historic Prescott" Facebook group about this horse's leg.  Yeah, that's what the "wee hour window" will do to a him get a leg up!

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Winslow Yards

Back in March 1943 when Jack Delano rode a Santa Fe freight train through Flagstaff to Winslow, he could have never known there would be people studying his photographs nearly 77 years later.

Delano's informative and often poignant images reveal a slice of Northern Arizona Railroad Life heretofore unseen.  Delano's career would span many genres and localities but it is his Office of War Information photos of the rails across Northern Arizona that will live forever in the annals of Southwest history fans.
This is one of the most touching Delano photos I have found in his entire collection.
Most Delano photos of that era where not focused on an individual "looking at you."
The largely Navajo hired hand day laborers were relegated to shoveling cinders.
Delano was such a pro he stepped out into their world and recorded priceless photos!
Winslow in '43 had the only diesel roundhouse on the Santa Fe line.
When diesels were invented, Santa Fe picked them for the Southwest.
Why? Well, water was an issue for steam engines. Diesels didn't need water.
Delano was a creature of his culture.  White Men climbing aboard The Mighty Steed
are a special part of the Jack Delano Collection at the Library of Congress.
Ditto.  This photo is instructive because it shows a once vaunted steam steed
of the mighty Santa Fe line now relegated to switching duties in the Winslow yards.
Delano was granted unprecedented access to the diesel locomotive engineer's cab.
Here you can see the Winslow yard laid out in front of the arriving engine.
If you look closely, you can see the Indian laborers at left shoveling cinders.
Delano was hired by the Office of War Information to give them what they wanted.
This is yet another photo of the strong, smart white man in control of technology.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Is it possible?

On New Year's Day we once again said we would start blogging again.  But we haven't.  It's five days later and we have nothing to show for the relentless passage of time.  I makes us wonder if we really CAN blog again? Maybe we just don't have what it takes.  Maybe we're just another faceless Facebook friend...just another meaningless member of the social media mob.  We wonder.

What's it going to take for us to break out of Hotel Facebook and roam free range on a blog's blank palette?  We honestly don't know that answer and we're obviously struggling to make the transition.  With that in mind, we're going to swipe yet another Facebook post to create the remainder of this missive.

"As we studiously study The Canyon Diablo Train Robbery (CDTR) Story, we are stuck by many inconsistencies, incongruities, and downright inscrutabilities.

This Journey Deep Back Down Memory Lane is a fabulous & fantastic experience. We had NO idea how much we didn't know. We "thought" we knew the story. HAHAHA! Oh, how we have been proven wrong time after time in the past few days...and fully expect to be proven wrong over and over again.

That's what is SO FUN about History. The History you "thought" you learned in grade and high school is as inevitably wrong as wrong can get.

It's only by questioning our own assumptions and peering deeply into our so-called "personal mythology" that we can begin to come to grips with what "might" have been so-called Real History.

The Canyon Diablo Train Robbery Story is a trip back down Memory Lane for me in so many ways. Technically my Purdue degree was in "journalism & history". It's only with age & wise eyes that we can look at what we once thought to be facts. HAHAHA!

The so-called "facts" of yesteryear are like last fall's crisp leaves kicked and crinkled under feet.

We've livin' and lovin' our retro revisit to The CDTR!

The Story Continues..."

Thank goodness we have the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery Story to give us some focus and purpose!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Canyon Diablo Train Robbery

Our latest and most current project is all about the March 1889 Canyon Diablo Train Robbery.  It's quite a famous story and an Arizona Legend in its own right.  It has been written about extensively.
We intend to compile and edit the various versions of the story.  Our goal is to help interested readers understand what may have actually happened.  There are so many permutations and combinations of the retelling of the story that it's very hard for people to separate fact from fiction.  Frankly, it's probably impossible to determine what truly happened with many aspects of the story.  Certain parts are well ground in verifiable facts.  Other parts...not so much.  We fully expect the project to take at least a year to get into a book format.  Chances are we will publish an ebook in conjunction with "print on demand" so that a hard copy can be available, too.  Most of our work is going to a blog located here:

Ten Years Ago

We started this blog about ten years ago, plus or minus. So, we MUST post something here on New Year's Day of 2020!

We stealing two of our Facebook posts from New Year's Eve to create this post and perpetuate the fun day we had on New Year's Eve.

Well, the 1st half of the Sun Bowl is history. Here's our takeaways:

We called it slap stick football and Herm Edwards was a little more kind and just called it sloppy football. Frankly, we've never seen such sloppy football before unless it was in a Three Stooges movie...or something. Just when you thought it couldn't get did. In fact, if two high school teams played this badly, they probably would have all been expelled. At times during the first half it was hard to imagine this was actually a post season bowl game. A bunch of guys playing football on the back lot of The Project Housing could have played better and more entertaining football than what we saw during the first half. Frankly, it was a very sorry sight to see. It's only redeeming value was that it made watching Three Stooges Play Football a viable alternative.

Somehow, in spite of all odds and indications to the contrary, Arizona State accidentally stumbled into 9 points and the Sorry Seminoles are scoreless. But don't let the score fool you. The first half was a fiasco and is undoubtedly the laughing stock of Twitter feeds during halftime. If there was something good to say about this first half, I surely don't know what that would be.

Perhaps the only entertaining aspect of the first half was watching Tony The Tiger ads. Those ads were actually quite well done and the Mission Tiger campaign has some real merit. We'd suspect no one is watching this game except us since it's such a beautiful day outside.

Maybe the second half will be more entertaining...or not.

Our Brightest Spot of The Game was watching it with Dear Clair. She suddenly and unexpectedly sprouted and spouted some seriously correct football lingo and she swilled some beer and ate chips like a real football fan. Man, I was IMPRESSED! I don't know where the heck she got all that Right Stuff but it was a sight to see. YOU GO, Clair GIRL!!!

Cue Wild Cheering! Cue High Fives! Cue it ALL at 4 PM--in the middle of broad daylight! In Rimrock! Yes, that's what happened on New Year's Eve here. The Sun Devils Won The Sun Bowl! They shoulda lost. Heck, they shoulda never been there in the first place. But they WON!

Despite the fact it was a Three Stooges Bowl from start to finish, it was decidedly fun to watch because of the fact they won when, frankly, they shoulda lost. But that's the fickle finger of football.

My high school coach Paul La Rocca was a football purist. He always said that the fickle football could go any which way. And, of course, history has proven him correct so many more times than not.

ASU's team is all about the improbable. As The El Paso Times said after the game:

"The most probable result of the 86th Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl is that it would produce an improbable hero. In a strange and entertaining 20-14 Arizona State victory against Florida State in front of 42,412 fans, freshman safety Willie Harts, making his fourth start of the year, and his Sun Devil defensive teammates filled that role."

ASU football is now poised for greatness. The whole world can see that freshmen can and DO make a defining difference for The Sun Devils. Talented high schoolers are going to beat feet for Tempe! Jayden Daniels forged the way and Willie Harts just kicked down the door!

Let The Good Times Roll!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Highway Angel

Angel Delgadillo was recently featured in The Arizona Republic.  Route 66 News picked up his story
You can read the Route 66 News discussion and allocades for Angel here:

We first met Angel in October 1980 when we visited his brother Juan's legendary Snow Cap Drive-In. Juan's been gone since 2004 but Angel lives on as fresh and smiling as ever. We got to know Angel very well from August through early November 1986 when we ran in our first election for the Arizona Legislature. Angel's Barber Shop was like a refuge for me there in Seligman. The electoral district included Kingman so I'd stop often in Angel's Place and he would always ask for my help in getting Route 66 designated as a historic route. Believe it or not, that was not a popular idea back then. I always promised I would help, win or lose in the election. Well, not long afterwards, I got my chance to pay back Angel's Friendship during the election. The topic of designating Route 66 as a historic road came up in early 1987 at an advisory committee meeting. As most of you know, the top of the highway food chain only takes action on things that have been green-lighted by various and sundry advisory committees. I will never forget that meeting. There was outright negativity to the idea from one blow hard oversize male on the committee. He was the type of blow hard who made people cower with his loud, obnoxious, grating voice. He had a "Back East" accent and waved his arms a lot and really tried to dominate the meeting with his ridiculous ideas about how Route 66 was just a washed up piece of asphalt rotting under the desert sun. Angel was (and I presume he still is) a very polite, soft spoken gentleman who undoubtedly was born with a perpetual smile that lights up the Seligman World. Angel was no match for this reprehensible nattering naboob of negativity. But that blow hard met his match when I stood up to speak. Running in that election had really supercharged my public speaking confidence. By then I had logged several months as a registered lobbyist; had sheparded a successful bill bill to the Governor's desk and had been appointed to the Arizona Outdoor Recreation Coordinating Commission, a group with considerably more clout than this piss ant advisory committee. Plus, I had promised Angel I would come through for him. So it was time to "Stand & Deliver" and I really let 'er rip. I gave one of my best all time speeches. I'd give anything to have a transcript of that speech but, alas, public testimony wasn't being recorded at state advisory committees back then. Man, I paced back in forth in front of that committee; I pointed a finger at each of them; I made expansive gestures and I really, really conjured up the essence of what Route 66 would eventually become. I talked about untold numbers of people from around the world who would flock to Route 66 and, yes, I even invoked the concept of Highway Pilgrims going to the altar of the cathedral of The Mother Highway there in Seligman and beyond. Oh, my, my, it was the kind of speech you simply didn't hear in those days and rarely hear even today. I blew right through my three minute time limit and nobody except the blowhard seemed to care. No matter how he frowned at the chairwoman, she didn't shut me down. She let me go to my inevitable Cross Of Gold finale. As I finished I looked over at Angel and his eyes were welled with tears but he was smiling Big Time. The committee voted 6-1 to approve the nomination for historic status. Only the blowhard voted "no". The big bag of hot air didn't have anything to say during the rest of the meeting. He pouted in his seat and left in a huff. Angel and I hugged each and held our handshake much longer than normal. I will be forever proud of that day. I haven't seen Angel in many years but it is so gratifying to read about him this morning. Angel never faltered in his devotion to The Mother Road. He never gave up. He never gave in. He stood tall when he was the only one standing. Today he stands tall as a Patron Angel of Route 66, a man among men who made a difference. VIVA & BRAVO, Angel! May Your Spirit Soar Strong Forever!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Ground Hog Perpectives

A quirky romantic comedy and a gimmicky sci-fi premise, “Groundhog Day” managed to tap into universal, spiritual, larger than life questions. What kind of person do I want to be? What would I do with eternity? Do I have the capacity to change?
But the creators of the classic film, released a quarter century ago, say that the Bill  Murray comedy’s deeper themes and success feel almost accidental.
“I was not trying to write a spiritual piece, but I was trying to write a story about a human life,” screenwriter Danny Rubin told TheWrap. “You sort of go through these periods of time where it’s not quite right, and you feel like you want to move on, and you feel like you’ve tried everything and it’s just not changing. Yeah, of course. I think that’s a very common, human experience. I don’t know many people who haven’t experienced something like that.”
If you were immortal and could live long enough, would you change? That was the question Rubin started with in imagining “Groundhog Day.” Suddenly he had an idea about something more than a man caught repeating the same day.
“For some of these arrested development types, maybe one lifetime isn’t long enough,” Rubin said. “Now it seemed really promising, because it wasn’t just a comedy premise. It was the story of a human life, a very long human life. I thought of it like Siddhartha, a man’s journey through life all on the same day.”
When Rubin first met with director and co-screenwriter Harold Ramis, Ramis was fascinated by the film’s references to reincarnation and resurrection. It all came as a surprise to Rubin, and he looked to Ramis to help the script’s final draft find the warmth and humanistic qualities that have made it a classic.
“Groundhog Day” producer Trevor Albert recalled getting a call from a Buddhist leader applauding them for making a film that embodied ideologies of regeneration. Some time later, he got a call from a Jewish organization that had embraced it as a perfect depiction of “mitzvah.” And these were hardly the only theories that have followed the film in the last 25 years.
“Why is it 5:59 and then 6:01? Is that because how old Moses was when the flood happened? Oh…might be,” Rubin joked. “Did you know that Nietzsche was trying to figure out how to dramatize his theory of eternal recurrence? Is that what you were trying to do? Yes? Because I thought that’s just what Hollywood needed!”
“Wouldn’t it be great if we had that kind of experience and learn something from it? We go through life and are not always conscious of it,” Murray’s co-star Andie MacDowell told TheWrap. “Whatever religion you want to base yourself in, that’s ultimately why we’re here.”
MacDowell said for a movie about kindness, it was Ramis’ spirit that influenced “Groundhog Day’s” charm. She described him as “the nicest man” she’s ever worked with, always in a good mood and never grumpy. And she hopes that kindness rubs off on anyone who watches “Groundhog Day,” even 25 years later.
“Hopefully we do become more conscious of how we treat others and the affect we have every day, down to the point do we let the car go in, do we let a car pass us in Los Angeles, do we pick a fight, do we help an old lady cross the street? Are we conscious enough to make those decisions,” Macdowell said.
“It is about imbuing and hoping that irredeemable people can be redeemed. That’s the great human aspiration,” Albert said. “I’d like Donald Trump to watch the movie and see if it affects his behavior a little bit. You want people whose views you don’t agree with or who are unkind and selfish to be better human beings, or at least I do.”
MacDowell’s character Rita has a line as Phil has spent the day trying to woo her off her feet. “It’s perfect. You couldn’t have planned a day like this.” “Groundhog Day” too feels equally effortless in its charm and the spiritual legacy it has left on so many. “Well, you could,” Phil says. “It just takes a lot of work.”

If you absolutely MUST read the bove story in its ridiculously ad-infested context, here is the link:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Prophet Not Lost

The most defining chapter of my childhood is The Battle of Tippecanoe and most especially The Prophet.  Someday I hope to be able to write about the "who, what, where, when, why and how" the Battle and The Prophet helped shape my entire life.  However, for the purposes of this short story today, simply accept the above at face value and let's move on.
The 1830 painting  of  Tenskwatawa (AKA: The Prophet) above by famed legend George Catlin has long been an image burned into my young synapses and carried forward on the wings of my imagination forever. 
Some of my first memories with my Dad were going to the battlefield and then to see the view above from Prophet's Rock where Tenskwatawa chanted encouragement to the warriors. We combed the field between Prophet's Rock and the battlefield (in the trees on horizon) looking for arrowheads.  One day I actually found one and continue to treasure it to this very day.
I went to Prophet's Rock from roughly 1951 or 1952 until January of 2012.
This place was a Life Touchstone for me in ways I will never be able to describe in words. As the years  and decades passed, I often wondered whatever happened to The Prophet. How did he spend his life after Tippecanoe? Where did he go? When did he die?   Where was he buried?  So, how ironic it was today to reconnect with The Prophet through a bridge over wondrous waters.
Indeed, you know we recently posted an article about Navajo Bridge over The Colorado River.
The dedication of that bridge was a cause for much celebration.
On January 8, 2018, as chance would have it, Patti Allen posted up a photo on the Arizona History Facebook Group of the steel workers who built the bridge in the late 1920's.  Her great grand dad Thomas "Rusty" McCurnin is standing at far left.  All of these men worked for the Kansas City Structural Steel Company. So, naturally, I became very curious about the KCSS Company and looked up whatever I could find.
Lo and behold, I found this: 

"The great "Shawnee Prophet" lived with a group of still loyal followers in the last Prophets Town at the mouth of the Whitefeather Spring. This is on the property of Mr. Jack Beemont at 3818 Ruby and the site was recently placed on the National Historic Sites Register.

Another Shawnee Indiana of major importance was Charles Bluejacket, a Shawnee Chief and ordained Methodist Minister. He attended the Prophet's funeral and had lived in this area until 1870. In 1897, he returned from the Oklahoma Reservation and located the Prophet's grave."

And so, for whatever wild reason, my lifelong interest in The Prophet came full circle today compliments and courtesy of Navajo Bridge vis-s-vis the US 89 Team project. The Prophet's last resting place is quite likely on the very grounds of the Kansas City Structural Steel Company that built Navajo Bridge.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Still Standing Tall

Saving Watereton's  Prince Of Wales Hotel...

Friday, October 6, 2017


Hoodwinked...! A Life's Myth exposed...!

After well over 60 years of knowing about, playing and honoring the legendary Game of Monopoly, I learn today everything I thought I knew is lies, lies and damned lies!

Charles Darrow did not invent Monopoly. He stole it from Lizzie Magie. And then to add insult to injury, he changed the soul of the game! I have to tell yam Life's Myths die hard and learning all of this today has been a genuine revelation. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The whole story is after all SO monopolistic!
 This is the original patent for what would become known as Monopoly. It all started with thisTweet from the US National Archives for #ArchivesGameNight
Here is Lizzie Magie's signature on the patent paper. This NPS story brought my whole Monopoly Myth crashing down around my Get Out Of Jail Free cards:
The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man's lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game's questionable origins. Most think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvanian who sold his game to Parker Brothers during the Great Depression in 1935 and lived happily--and richly--ever after. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game decades later, unearthed the real story, which traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie who invented her nearly identical Landlord's Game more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly. Her game--underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today--was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt's famed Brain Trust. A fascinating social history of corporate greed that illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century, The Monopolists reads like the best detective fiction, told through Monopoly's real-life winners and losers.

It is available on Amazon here:
Ah, well, maybe it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.
After all, Monopoly has a Life of its own these days.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Face reality...

The camp site we stayed at in Waterton is just a few feet out of view on the right hand side of this photo.

Sooner or later, ya gotta face reality...

"The long-term impacts on the guest experience and visitation in Waterton are going to be horrific, no question about it. The backcountry is burned to a crisp.

It will be about two decades before the trees in Waterton are taller than people walking through the forest. It could take a century for trees to be full-size again."

It really hurts to look at Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park photos. It makes me nauseous. But sooner or later, ya gotta face reality and deal with it: the incredibly beautiful area around the Waterton Townsite has been destroyed and will never look the same again in my lifetime. We are so grateful that we went there this August before it was destroyed. Oh, how we would be kicking ourselves if we had let fire smoke deter us. Yes, it was a little smokey (well, a LOT smokey) but at least the innate beauty of the area shined through everywhere we looked. We had one final chance to see the place before it flashed to black. The Waterton Townsite itself was saved from the fire but everything around the Township was burned either by the advancing fire front or by the back burns set to save the village. It's hard to imagine, hard to swallow and hard to face reality. But it's true. Source for quoted narrative above: Source of the photos:

 We visited this exact spot during our stay in Waterton.
Will try to find the photo we took of those two iconic chairs.
We drove up this once lush Valley to visit a pristine glacial lake.

The team started work Monday morning at 8 a.m. MT and continued hard for the next 31 hours. From 9 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. the next morning, there wasn't time to take a break as the fired rolled up within about a hundred metres of the hotel.  "The embers were rolling up on the porch of the hotel," Primrose said. "We did get showered with embers, right up to the hotel." With flames encroaching, a rain of embers came all the way to the doorstep of the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.  "It was the most intense fire I've ever been involved with, and I was never at that point where I thought we would lose it," said Calgary fire district Chief Jeff Primrose on Thursday. "Not even for a second." A team of about 50 Calgary firefighters, in rotating groups, was sent to the national park to protect structural assets in the hamlet of Waterton as the wildfire approached. Crews from a number of other municipalities including Lethbridge and Taber were also called upon.  Calgary's team returned home Wednesday as the risk to the town site declined. Calgary fire Chief Steve Dongworth said local firefighters in Waterton, tasked with protecting the venerable Prince of Wales Hotel and other buildings, endured a hectic night facing down the massive blaze as it surged into the townsite. “To me, watching the fire coming down the valley at pace would have been very intimidating, and when the fire did arrive, it was very close,” he said, noting the crew worked in excess of 24 hours. “The building is unscathed to the best of my knowledge.” RELATED LIVE: Stay tuned here for real-time updates on the fire and evacuations Dongworth said crews in Waterton had been dousing the 90-year-old hotel with water and fire retardant foam in advance of the blaze. The hotel’s location, surrounded by grassland instead of forest, also helped keep it safe, said the chief. Calgary crews were able to quickly snuff flying embers from the wildfire, some the size of baseballs, which posed the greatest danger to the structure, Dongworth said. “We had a solid plan in place and we told them although the structures are valuable, none of them are more valuable than the lives of any of our people,” he said.