The following was sent to U.S. Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina:
I just listened to your interview on NPR, and I was struck by how rude you were to the journalist interviewing you—noting how many times you interrupted her before she could even complete her question to you. I just sat there shaking my head in disbelief. Your interview seems especially cringe-worthy knowing you have a master’s degree in journalism and mass media. Obviously it must have been a “participation degree” instead of anything associated with earning the degree.
Further, you indicated how almost every problem in this country is on the current President’s lap. It was ridiculous and all I could think was, “Yeah, she must represent all those dumbed-down, knuckle-dragging racist of South Carolina. All you accomplished in the interview was throwing out the usual red meat like Donald Trump and the nightly Fox News line-up.
In short, you are what’s wrong with this country… full of yourself arrogance, disrespectful toward other professionals, self-centeredness, and unquestionable stupidity.
It was a typical coffee gathering for us “old/retired guys.” A nice Wyoming spring day outside with another semester and another school year coming to an end. It’s difficult not to feel optimistic about the world when the stars align like this every year in early May.
Yet, in this moment of everyday euphoria, it all came crashing down when a 30-some stranger (I’d never seen before) walked into the coffee shop with a gun strapped to his hip like he was walking out of a 1950s Hollywood Western movie set—I don’t doubt that’s how he saw himself too.
This has happened to me before when I was in a Rock Springs Loaf & Jug store; another time at a Walmart in Riverton. Each time, my reaction is the same—just leave. Whatever I’m doing at that moment, I’m not doing any longer, I am simply getting out of that setting as quickly as I can without causing others to panic.
It’s one thing if a police officer is in the same space as me knowing they are armed. Although there are no guarantees even with armed police officers, at least I know they are thoroughly vetted when it comes to their line of work and carrying a weapon. With “Joe Cowboy” walking into a public space with a gun, I have zero knowledge of the rationale behind his self-appointed armed status.
In such instances I’m not going to stick around to find out whether he’s simply some paranoid, insecure White dude who needs to announce to the world that he is carrying a gun and is here to save us all, or he is some insecure White dude with a chip on his shoulder and has intentions of using the gun indiscriminately in the form of a mass shooting. If all I have is one’s appearance to go on, I’ll always error to the latter.
Hanging around to discern the intentions of an armed stranger is just another version of Russian roulette in my book.
And unless you’re a fool or have had your head in the sand lately, my reaction shouldn’t seem too extreme giving the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S.
And, while I’m here… fuck the N.R.A. and fuck the 2nd Amendment, period.
It’s odd, funny, interesting, and even mysterious how certain obscure terms can become household terms overnight thanks to some controversy or news event that never seems to go away—think “viagra,” “ginormous,” or “janky.” And so, for the last couple of weeks, it has been “mifepristone.” Thanks to the Supreme Court, I think it’s here to stay.
Regarding the recent letter to the editor by Tina Purdy in the Powell Tribune on the dangers of wind and solar energy systems (elegantly titled “Solar and wind farms not good for man or beast”), I had to question the shady sources listed at the end of her piece. I think this type of cherry-picking and thus, gullible research illustrates the single-mindedness that appears to be running rampant in our community, our state, and our country.
Starting with her sources: Michael Shellenberger is at best a controversial figure who has constantly been in opposition to most environmental scientists and academics of environmental studies. His “bad science” positions and writings on climate and the environment have for the most part flown in the face of the true research and data collected by the experts in the environmental sciences for decades. His education/expertise—both undergraduate and graduate—are in the social sciences rather than the physical/environmental sciences. He’s certainly an eloquent writer, but no authority on any of the above.
And, Tucker Carlson… well, I’ll just leave it at Purdy’s simple mentioning. His credentials for anything are only that he is handsomely paid for spewing whatever red-meat material that boost the ratings for Fox News, period.
I would encourage any reader who finds Purdy’s letter convincing to do their own research and avoid the input of scoundrels and posers such as Shellenberger and Carlson for starters.
As of last weekend, my hometown of Powell, Wyoming now has three supermarkets stores. The newest one is Albertson’s—they had their grand opening last Saturday.
Powell has a population of a little over 6,418 people as of 2021. I don’t know what the recommended ratio should be for population and supermarkets, but it seems a bit precarious, which means something has to give.
Although I didn’t go near Albertson’s on the day they opened, I did have a look around the following day and walked out with a purchase an underwhelming purchase of just under $20.
My first impressions of Albertson’s is that the place is tight with isles that are narrow and high. It must have been a real circus in there on the opening day given that their parking lot was full. In comparison, Blair’s (one of the other supermarkets) is much more spacious, but I think once the shoppers of Powell are over the novelty of Albertson’s it won’t feel as claustrophobic with the everyday shopping numbers.
The first thing I did was make a comparison between Albertson’s and the reigning champ of Powell, Blair’s. A loaf of Franz’s Cinnamon Swirl bread (a favorite of mine in the mornings) was on sale at both Blair’s and Albertson’s. Blair’s had it reduced down to $5.99 while Albertson’s brought it down fifty-more cents at $5.49.
The third store in town is Mr. D’s. It was once an IGA, but went through a change in ownership several years ago. Since that time, it hasn’t really kept pace with the offerings and prices at Blair’s. Probably the only attraction in shopping there is their liquor store which is larger, roomier, and seems to have more offerings than Blair’s. I can’t remember the last time I walked through Mr. D’s pushing a shopping cart.
I think Blair’s will remain as my supermarket default for two reasons: 1) they carry my favorite tortillas that are made in Billings (Trevino’s), and 2) because I typically ride my bike to the supermarket, Blair’s is closer. Albertson’s will be at least a half mile farther, and on a cold day or night, that’s a big difference on a bicycle. Further, although Blair’s has been around since 1980, their store is fairly modern—it certainly doesn’t feel antiquated in comparison to the new Albertson’s. I also like the fact that Blair’s offers paper bags which I prefer over plastic and they are better for transporting groceries in the front basket of my bicycle. My only notable complaint directed at Blair’s is the ugly typeface their logo incorporates—some generic stencil-esque, all-caps bullshit.
It was recently reported to me that Mr. D’s had an equipment failure that was responsible for all of their freezers going down and thus their contents was lost and discarded. Some would say that—combined with the arrival of Albertson’s—signals the beginning of the end for Mr. D’s.
A few other items worth noting are the following:
Albertson’s is not a fresh build. It was previously a Shopko store and before that was a Pamida store.
Blairs was once a smaller store located just a little north of where the current store is. They built the new and larger store in the late 1990s? Blair’s have been in business since 1980.
All three stores seem to be close to the same size.
Oh, and the new Albertson’s also has a Starbuck’s coffee shop and a pharmacy. That’s two other entities that are abundant is this town as well.
Like I said before, something has got to give.
Albertson’s Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Blair’s Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Mr. D’s Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Brittney Griner is finally free from her Russian captors. Although many Americans are happy about this, there appears to be just as many who are not—including some tool-turned-psuedo-journalist named Benny Johnson.
Benny and his ilk think Griner should still be in Russia instead of former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, who has been painted by Johnson as a patriotic Marine who loves his country.
If we look deeper into the character of Paul Whelan, we’ll find he’s not all that red-white-and-blue—certainly not a “John Rambo” as they’d like us to believe.
For one, Whelan is a citizen in three other countries—Canada (his birthplace), the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic. Secondly, although he did serve in the U.S. Marine Corp and was part of two tours in Iraq, he was ultimately discharged from the Marines for bad conduct on larceny—writing bad checks and stealing Social Security numbers.
He’s hardly a patriot, certainly not a hero by anyone’s definition. Yet, Benny Johnson and company will always choose a White dude over a Black woman, an obedient member of the military over an outspoken athlete, a straight guy over a lesbian—even if that straight, White, member of the military is a swindler.
Simply put, Whelan is another grifter who once wore a Marine uniform. Further, the other countries where he holds a passport aren’t making much noise over his Russian detention either. The truth is Griner is a much greater asset, an inspiration to all young women, an activist, and a great athlete.
Lastly, if Whelan is truly the patriot that Benny Johnson says he is, surely Whelan is good to know that Griner went home before him. That’s what military people sign up for—to serve, protect, and sacrifice if needed. Besides, trading Whelan for the Russian gun-runner Viktor Bout would truly have been a bad trade.
Lorie Smith of “303 Creative” somewhere in Colorado is a graphic artist/designer who specializes in websites, graphics, social media, and marketing. No doubt, she is one of several hundred businesses in Colorado who offer such services. So, to get herself more noticed, she has decided to take a different approach to promoting herself rather than the usual, good-old-fashioned hard work method.
Here’s her plan: Smith doesn’t want to do wedding websites for same sex couples because according to her faith, she doesn’t believe in same-sex marriages and is afraid the State of Colorado will force her to do such. “I want to design for weddings that are consistent with my faith,” Smith said. So, before any same-sex couples even ask her to create a website for them, she is going to the Supreme Court and challenging this possible scenario before it ever materializes.
Yeah, right… Smith is just another individual to add to the growing list of pollyanna, look-at-me, attention-needy whores who believes that her hang-ups and her problems should belong to everyone else—think cake decorator, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop (also in Colorado), or the Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage license to same-sex couples because of her faith.
You know, I don’t want to do graphic design for asshole politicians like Donald Trump or any of his cronies because I want to do graphic design for projects that are consistent with my ethics, my morals, or my faith. Yet, I’m not going to the Supreme Court and asking them to excuse me from working for such people should they ever come calling. I don’t want to do family portraits for brainwashed, evangelical families who attend churches run by snake-oil salesmen like Joel Osteen or Kenneth Copeland because I want to do graphic design for projects that are consistent with my ethics, my morals, or my faith. Yet, I’m not going to the Supreme Court and asking them to excuse me from working for such people should they ever come calling.
Good God, Lorie Smith must think she’s the only web designer in all of Colorado—possibly the entire country or world. Talk about a needy and over-inflated ego.
There’s a simple solution to Smith’s problem that graphic designers, artists, printers and other businesses have been practicing for years when it comes to not taking on jobs that are of no interest to an “artist” like herself—and surely she knows it too (unless she really is that stupid).
You don’t want to do a job for a same-sex couple? OK, just tell them you’re really slammed with other work and you can’t take on any other jobs at this time. You don’t want to do work for a known White supremacy group, tell them you’re working on a huge project for the Southern Poverty Law Center (if you want to add a little spice to the conversation) and you’re not sure when you could get to their project.
Whether right or wrong, ethical or unethical, businesses have been turning down work for years—and for all kinds of reasons. Yet, Smith seems to insist that her business “ethics” be put out there for the entire country to know about. Lorie Smith is the epitome of a drama-queen, dime-store martyr.
Most business operations avoid being too political, too religious, too anything because they typically want as much business as they can get. But, there are those customers who are undesirable for whatever reason—some reasons more legit than others. Maybe they don’t pay their bills on time, maybe they aren’t pleasant to work with, maybe they own a bar or a strip joint, maybe they are a lawyer, or maybe there is simply something about them that you don’t like as soon as they walk into the room. The great thing about being in business, you don’t have to be bluntly truthful in turning down any client that seeks you out. You can simply decline a job because you’re busy, and (in making them feel good as they walk out the door) suggest someone else who might be a good alternative for their project.
Of course, those like Lorie Smith like to wear their values, their ethics, their religion, and whatever else you can think of on their sleeve for the whole world to see. Lorie Smith’s faith and morals are as sickening sweet as Masterpiece Cakeshop’s wedding cakes.
If only someone would set up another marketing/graphic design operation next door or across the street from Smith with a banner that says, “We Welcome Same-Sex Wedding Clients.”
I attended a student activities “Last Bash” on campus a little over a year ago, and although I didn’t notice it at first, at some point I remember making a note that the music playing over the crowd was classic rock… music from some 40 years ago! Of course, forty years ago that music wasn’t called “classic rock,” it was simply called rock and roll.
Later, when I was home, I started thinking about this more. I considered the same scenario when I was in college during the early 1980s, and considered how forty-year-old music (from the 1940s in case you don’t want to do the math) would have gone over at a “Last Bash” gathering at my alma mater—Arizona State. Surely, if such a thing actually did happen back then, it would only have been in the context of a specific theme—where everyone in attendance would have been in costume from that era. Yet, at this social outing I attended, no one was in a 1980s costume.
Later that summer during the Park County Fair, I noticed that classic rock music was also being played in the background by the carnival ride operators throughout the evening. I suspect no one gave it any thought or bothered to yell at the carnies, “Hey, why don’t you play some current music?”
With these recent observations in mind I thought, “How has “classic rock” maintained such staying power after all of these years? How has it become so ubiquitous and so accepted by today’s younger crowd when music of the same age never would have been tolerated in my youth?”
In answering the question of “Why is classic rock so widely accepted and therefore so ubiquitous,” I suspect there is no one answer that clearly explains it—at least no one can agree on it. So, it’s probably safe to assume that there are several factors that have resulted in the continued acceptance of “classic rock.”
When I queried a few students about this, one simply answered, “I guess it just aged better.”
Perhaps, but I believe it goes a little deeper than that. My theory has to do with the fact that classic rock was the last genre played on the radio when radio was widely listened to. I think country-western could be included in that too. Further, the name “classic rock” has basically been hijacked and condensed. A more accurate name for it should be “classic rock hits.”
Today however, there are many more sources for one to discover music, and most of those sources are beyond and have probably surpassed the influence of radio. As a result, radio’s popularity has really diminished—in the home, in their car, in the workplace, etc.
I’ve heard many of my generation swear that rock and roll music—specifically from the 60s, 70s and 80s—was the best music ever made. I don’t find that to be necessarily true. It was truly revolutionary, but in my mind that doesn’t translate to trumping other genres of music. My argument is this: for every good song you can name in any music category, someone can surely counter with a really bad song from the same genre.
For example, take this 1979 classic rock hit by Bad Company, Rock and Roll Fantasy. I was never a Bad Company fan and this song probably justifies it.
Here comes the jesters, one, two three, It’s all part of my fantasy I love the music and I love to see the crowd dancin’ in the aisles and singin’ out loud Here comes the dancers one bye one Your mama’s callin’ but you’re havin’ fun You find you’re dancin’ on a number nine cloud Put your hands together now and sing it out loud
Its all part of my rock ‘n roll fantasy Its all part of my rock ‘n roll dream Its all part of my rock ‘n roll fantasy Its all part of my rock ‘n roll dream
Put up the spotlights one and all and let the feelin’ get down to your soul. The music’s so loud you can hear the sound reachin’ for the sky and churning up the ground
Its all part of my rock ‘n roll fantasy Its all part of my rock ‘n roll dream Its all part of my rock ‘n roll fantasy Its all part of my rock ‘n roll dream
And, for the record, that song peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 hits back then.
And then there are the plethora of robotic “classic rock” radio stations that just play the same hits over and over indefinitely—the same hits that mainstream radio stations played over and over for only weeks on end when they first came out.
Earlier today, I sat down for one hour to listen and take note of the classic rock songs played on the local classic rock station—KCGL, The Eagle 104.1 here in Powell, Wyoming. KCGL is a member of the Big Horn Radio Network based in nearby Cody that includes eight other radio stations in the area. In their defense, they do claim that their format is “classic hits,” so it’s probably safe to assume we’ll never hear them play The Tubes’ classic rock song White Punks on Dope or Alex Harvey’s Midnight Moses.
For the record, this is what was played during my one-hour listening session:
You’re Still The One / by Orleans All She Wants To Do Is Dance / by Don Henley Night Moves / by Bob Seger Games People Play / by The Alan Parsons Project Goodbye Stranger / by Supertramp Mony, Mony / by Billy Idol Swingtown / by The Steve Miller Band You’re In My Heart / by Rod Stewart Here She Comes / by The Cars Your Love / by The Outfield The Best Of Times / by Styx Margaritaville / by Jimmy Buffett Baby Hold On / by Eddie Money Heart And Soul / by Huey Lewis and the News
After hearing these 14 hit singles, I did a little math. In averaging out the release years for each song, I came up with 1979.5—I would have just completed my freshman year at Arizona State. In averaging out where the songs peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 hits, this grouping came in at 20.2. All where easily in the top 20 with the exception of Here She Comes which only peaked at #35 on the chart, so that really brought the average down.
Although KCGL is one of many radio stations employing this format, in the end, it is simply lazy, unimaginative, and easy radio programming. When will a radio station emerge that plays the non-hits of classic rock as well? Everyone knows Dire Straits Walk of Life or Money for Nothing, but who (beyond their fans) has ever heard their song Heavy Fuel? What if they were to play Springsteen’s album Nebraska in its entirety, or all of the music from the thousands of other bands that were just as good, but never had the right backing to push them out to the radio stations back then? That’s the classic rock radio station I want to tune in and actually listen. But, to create such a radio station, you’d need those who really know and appreciate rock and roll, those who have done the research—not some fat, lethargic mama’s boy who has an associate’s degree in mass media or radio broadcasting.
In conclusion, classic rock (i.e., classic rock hits) has simply become the “elevator music” of the 21st Century.
As long as we’re talking music, thanks to the continued popularity of classic rock, today’s younger generation knows much more about the music from my youth than I knew about the music from my parent’s youthful days. That is, several of my students know many of the rock groups from my youth such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, The Beatles, etc. Yet, I couldn’t have told you much about the music my parents listened to when I was in my 20s like Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Duke Ellington. So, I suppose classic rock does have an upside.
Lastly, here’s a couple of philosophical questions: If there’s a genre of “classic rock,” is there a “modern rock” too? What is the cut-off period between the two? And, at what age will today’s modern rock get lumped in with yesterday’s classic rock?
Most people would consider my hometown of Powell, Wyoming—whether they live here or are visiting—a pretty remote place in this world of eight billion humans. Certainly there are other places more remote, but in terms of averages in the United States, we’re pretty much in the boondocks, the sticks, the hinterlands… the middle of nowhere. Some locals call this part of Wyoming, “The Big Empty.”
Typical of remote locations, there is often a lack of diversity in the populations occupying them. And, Powell, Wyoming is no different. With the exception of a small body of international students at the local college, Powell is pretty much a “white-bread” community.
Yet, nearly every clear day I’m reminded that perhaps we aren’t that remote and maybe we’re a little more diverse than I think.
Thanks to a little app on my phone called Plane Finder, I can learn about the planes that fly overhead on any given day which are relatively many given we are in the middle of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we are near a major airport, but I’m astounded in how many planes I see flying overhead on any given day—even if they are typically 25,000 feet or higher. And, thanks to Plane Finder, I know about any given plane’s origins, its destination, how high above me it is flying, how fast it is traveling, how long it has been in the air and how much more time remaining in its flight, its manufacturer and model, its flight number, and which airline it represents.
Beyond the knowledge of these airplanes overhead, flying from all over the country (and world), it’s fun to think about the diversity of the passengers onboard those aircraft that are only about thirty-some thousand feet away as they transit the typical blue skies over Powell. They may look down and see an arid and sparsely populated land mass below—that is anything but inspirational—but I look up and think about the places where they are going to and coming from, and the variety of cultures on board, and suddenly my outlook on the day gets a little brighter.
For example, just today I looked up to see a plane heading almost due south. It was flying from Calgary/YYC to Dallas-Fort Worth/DFW. Not long after, another plane flying due east from Portland/PDX to Chicago/ORD. Other days, I’ve looked up to discover a plane coming from Frankfurt/FRA and heading to Los Angeles/LAX or Las Vegas/LAS.
Visiting with one of my students today—who happens to be an international student from Timor-Leste—I said to her, “You must see all kinds of planes flying over your home town.” Strangely enough, she said airplanes are pretty rare. I was in disbelief, so we looked at the current air traffic over Timor-Leste via Plane Finder, and oddly enough, she was right. There’s all kinds of air traffic in that part of the world, but the routes seem to circumvent her island nation for whatever reason.
I was telling a couple of my colleagues in the art department about this and wondering how we could do some kind of collaborative art project about this local, overhead anomaly. (If something comes to mind as you’re reading this, feel free to leave a comment, or just run with this idea and do something about the planes that fly over your community—wherever it is. I’d love to hear about it too.)
In case you are wondering, yes Powell/POY does have an airport, but no major carriers service our lone landing strip where (mostly) single-engine puddle jumpers land and take-off. If you want to get on a major carrier airplane while in Powell, you’ll have to find your way to nearby Cody/COD or Billings, Montana/BIL about 90-miles away.
Of course, now that I know more about these planes that fly quietly overhead, more questions have found their way to me, leading to more rabbit holes to go down on the internet. For example, I noted that FedEx flies their planes over Powell on a regular basis from Memphis/MEM to Portland/PDX or Seattle/SEA and back.
That got me thinking, “What’s so significant about Memphis/MEM to Portland/PDX or Memphis/MEM to Seattle/SEA? It turns out that Memphis/MEM is the main hub and the location of their headquarters. Everything that is FedEx seems to pass through Memphis/MEM. And, how did that come to be, I wondered? Because during FedEx’s infancy, they purposely chose Memphis/MEM because Memphis International Airport/MEM is near the mean population center of the country and inclement weather is relatively infrequent compared to other centrally located international airports.