Prepping for the Big One
by Art Goodtimes
May 13, 2009 | 807 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

SWINE FLU … This may only be a pandemic warm-up, but it gives us a chance to reflect on and prepare for the more that are coming. Not that pandemics are all that new. I’m reading Robert Strassler’s Landmark Thucydides (Simon & Schuster, 1996) and he mentions how a devastating “plague” struck Athens in the middle of the Peloponnesian War [430 BCE – before the Christian era] with oligarchical Sparta and its allies (the Axis). After the great war (World War) to defeat Persia (Germany) Athens had turned the Delian League (League of Nations) into a mercantilist empire of allies (NATO) and tribute city-states (NAFTA). And in the middle of it all, a plague strikes. The parallels seem uncanny … As for the pandemic, still best to learn all you can … Like how they think it started. And for that we go to Tony and Barclay Daranyi of Norwood’s Indian Ridge Farm in a recent online CSA alert, “We know the flu virus originated in Mexico. And yes, we know it was probably in the State of Vera Cruz, and most likely within the Pueblo of Perote, where the first case was diagnosed as far back as early April. But did you know that it appears that the virus manifested itself in a huge pig factory within the confines of the pueblo? How huge is this pig factory? Try 900,000 pigs. (For perspective, we raise 11 or 12 a year!) The owner of this factory is none other than the American corporation Smithfield Foods, whose global reach has now stretched to all corners of the world, even to this relatively remote part of Mexico … What makes the pig factory such an important component to this story is that it’s the atrocious living conditions of these pigs that may have contributed to the virus now circulating the globe. Characteristic of these Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) is that the animals are over-crowded, they’re living in dirty conditions, they don’t see or experience fresh air, and most importantly, they’re medicated with antibiotics and other medications to prevent diseases from spreading throughout the factory. At the same time, the most insidious aspects of these CAFOs are their total disregard for the air and water quality of the surrounding region. According to first-hand witness statements reported in the Mexican media, that was true of the Perote Smithfield operation. Moreover, CAFOs are most likely situated in poor communities (true here in the US, as well), where the workers are treated more like slaves than dignified employees.” … For more info, check out>; or read the book that got loaned me by a good buddy, James B. Lieber’s Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland The Supermarket to the World (Four Walls Eight Windows, NYC, 2000).

BURNING MAN … It’s a grand art happening on the playa of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, the same weekend as Film Festival, so it’s not easy for Telluriders to attend. But once you have, you’ll be hooked … Will Chase (aka Jack Rabbit Speaks) has an email listserve for Burners and announced the 2009 Honorarium Art Installation winners … A portion of every ticket goes to fund a couple dozen special art pieces on the playa (“collaborative, community-oriented, interactive”) especially geared to this year’s theme – evolution (¡Viva Darwin!). Artists compete from all over the country. Here’s a couple … Carbon Garden by False Profit Labs -- San Francisco <> … Carbon Garden is a garden of flowers made out of carbon fiber (the same stuff as the Stealth Bomber, Boeing's most advanced airplane wings, and possibly your bicycle fork -- if you're extra cool). Each flower will have a small flame that can change its size up to 30 times per second from a candle size to about 3 feet. Flowers react to people around them with ultrasonic range finders, and "talk" to each other in a language of fire … Holding Flame by Patrick Shearn, Cynthia Washburn – Los Angeles Holding Flame is a steel pergola covered in sheet steel latticework. The ceiling is plumbed with propane which, when burning, creates a roiling ceiling of fire. Contours created on the surface of the ceiling control the pattern and flow of the fire as it moves outward, trying to rise and searching for oxygen. The result, when seen from below, is mesmerizing and engaging … My Burner buddy Mark Burrows wants to hold a pre-Burning Man gathering at the Cornerhouse this May. Email him if you’re interested in attending and learning more about this epic week-long party in the Nevada

STRIPES … A happy face on Norwood Hill brightened up the rockfall curves the other day, but falling rocks are no joke, Jack, and CDOT still makes us creep too slow beneath fractured sandstone and sheer cut slopes. I asked for a speed study to see how fast locals actually drove that stretch of road – thinking 30 mph as the speed limit means riding your brakes downhill or lugging in third on the uphill. Them CDOT guys said they’d done it, but I was never shown the study. Somehow, after 30 years driving that hill, I can’t believe such a study would indicate keeping the speed limit as is, up or down, 30 mph. That’s WalMart speed in Montrose … But I do appreciate CDOT finally fixing the stripes on Keystone Hill so there isn’t a free-fire bump’em-car zone once you crest the top. Now, divided lanes continue for a little ways towards Telluride at the top of the hill.

IRIS IN ASIA … (Continued) … We happened to arrive in Bagan [Burma] the day before the full moon festival, which brings numerous Burmese visitors to Bagan to make a pilgrimage to the temples. Our first day we were quite surprised to see large camps of people sleeping outside the temples in makeshift tents. We didn't realize they were temporary, so at first the poverty seemed overwhelming, but the next day all the camps were gone. There was also a huge market outside of one of the most famous temples set up for the festival. It was crazy to see a temple lit up with a neon sign like a casino. One night we went to the market and rode on a very rickety ferris wheel, made from wood and without a motor, which we didn't realize until we were rocking fifty feet up from the ground! They made it turn by transferring the weight, one acrobatic man acting as the motor -- jumping around to make it turn. It was exhilarating, but probably one of the sketchiest things we've tried. We visited numerous temples while there, always removing our shoes, as is required at all religious sites in Burma … Something I found a bit disturbing about Buddhism in Burma was the inequality of women. Only men were allowed to climb up to the Buddha statues and pay respect by applying a gold leaf. When I tried, they told me women weren't allowed. But after seeing my disappointment they allowed me to apply a gold leaf to a smaller Buddha image, further from the center of the temple. This was a reoccurring theme. In other temples we visited, there were signs saying women weren't allowed to go up to the altar.


Spring Dust 2

the snowy wedge

below Ingram Falls

the only cream

in a landscape of

cappuccino & one

fresh whipped slide

above the mocha zig-

zags of Black Bear Road

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet