October 15, 2019

Catching Red Rock Fever…by James Bishop, Jr.

Where schedules are forgotten and one becomes immersed in ancient rhythms, one begins to live.— Sigurd Olson When the moment arrives for a visitor to say farewell to Red Rock Country and its startling sunsets, timeless red rocks, and wild, undisturbed landscapes, the symptoms rarely vary – a moist eye, lump in the throat, perhaps a last look over the shoulder at shadows stealing over Bell Rock, and often a vow to return someday. To locals, this distressing condition is simply a case of Red Rock Fever with symptoms familiar to them since, for them, the fever comes and goes…

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Ravens . . . by James Bishop Jr.

If only we did not have to die, instead become ravens – Louise Erdrich Weary of Arabs killing our men and women; tired of Chinese cutting down Christian crosses; fed up with blowhard politicians and amoral philanderers? Hear rumblings about a bridge at Red Rock Crossing? Forget Canada, the lines are already too long. Instead, find the Valley of the Ravens if survival is one’s goal. Of late, there seem to be more of the noisy, ancient birds around. What are they up to? Long before Indians, cowboys, developers, and tourists took over our lands, ravens swooped, soared, and glided…

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Antidotes to Despair in the New Year…by James Bishop, Jr.

A surfeit of helicopters, out-of-town consultants, midnight gridlock, men with no names planning bridge at Red Rock Crossing more real estate agents than places to live, Javelinas threatening to dance in uptown. What to do? Don’t rent rooms to robots, they don’t pay well. Instead, fill your house with Vivaldi and bake fresh bread. Or go outside and listen to a Raven’s chatter. Do they have happy lives? Are they happier than we are? Look up at night, find the three sisters of Orion’s belt, and memorize them in Arabic! On a sunny day, learn to skateboard at Posse Grounds….

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Ravens and Helicopters: Competition in Sedona’s Skies…by James Bishop Jr.

From time to time, the skies above Sedona can be busy with ravens and helicopters. As the New Year looms, the truth must be faced: citizens likely know more about helicopters than they do about ravens even though ravens have been around as long as time itself and are much more interesting. Since prehistoric times even, back when there were Greek and Roman gods it was believed that ravens had divining powers. Nordic mythology, for example, places two ravens, one is thought and one is memory, on the shoulder of the god, Odin. At dawn, the birds flew off to…

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Bizarre Invasion Nears

Each day should pass as though it were our last.  –Publilius Syrus (ca. 50 B.C.) While citizens fret about the timid national press, dysfunctional politicians, high speed roads through once tranquil Sedona neighborhoods and alien landings in Cornville, what you are about to read may propel you, gentle reader, into the swelling ranks of the Nervous Nellies. It can be reported for the first time that a Special Excentric Task Force dedicated to guarding human health has discovered a potential threat. Reminiscent of a grade B horror film, even as you read this, countless creatures could be scrambling around looking…

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Making Sense of Reality

They say travel broadens the mind; but you must have the mind. –G.K. Chesterton Now that the War on Poverty has come and gone again and powerful political movements are splitting like oak logs under the axe, and tourists in the Swiss Alps have found lakes where glaciers once were, the time has come. Yes, gentle reader, the time really HAS come to examine a momentous development that’s thus far unreported by the effete snobs in control of the Elite Eastern Media Combine: The times really are changing. Friend Dylan, you see, was just a few decades early. My faithful…

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The Sedona 25 Revealed . . .

by Bishop, Special Excentric Socio-Anthropologist Something wicked this way comes. —W. Shakespeare Now it can be revealed amidst the numbing glare of quick-hit, social-mediated bits and bytes, clouds of tweets and rapid thumb texting: The Great Gatsby was NOT great. Actually, by calling his character “great,” F. Scott Fitzgerald was being sardonic, even sarcastic. Sound familiar? Indeed, great is the word many citizens toss around Tourist Town from Wrenwood to Rene’s, when they talk of Arizona’s great legislature, great Sedona City Council, great mayors and city managers in the Verde Valley. Ponder, for a moment, the flip side of the…

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Secret Consultant’s Report Revealed

First there was a visit to the Mazatzal Testicle Festival south of Payson to interview some of the more impressive visitors. Next came a tip that a group of rich, white Arizonans had been caught smuggling themselves into Mexico to pick melons. Then word reached a Special Excentric Task Force that someone had squirted Mary Guaraldi, Canyon Moon Theatre’s Producing Director, with of all things, a squirt gun. “Why?” is the burning question! And you, gentle readers, think that Excentric correspondents just sit around sipping Bombay gin martinis all day long? But those newsworthy items pale when compared to the…

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Pixie Seen on Judi’s Patio

Eat a live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. — Douglas Rigby That great rounder, Doug Rigby, offered these words and some others before he departed for the Wrenwood in the sky where the gin is free and clear, and where gimlet-eyed realtors and land raiders bulging from their four-button silk suits are unwanted. “The inescapable dramatic situation for us all is that we have no idea what our situation is,” he told a friend before departing our village forever, thirsty boots and all. Wait a minute….

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Apologies

“Never apologize and never explain.” –John Wayne Despite rumors to the contrary, the Duke’s words that were spoken during the John Ford film “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” live beyond the grave. Like cheap gasoline, truthful politicians, and well-mannered people, those rarest of words, “I’m sorry. Please accept my apology,” are fading into memory’s mists. Some may think it is too soon to acknowledge their passing. Not so, gentle reader, not so. Even a crack Special Excentric Task Force was tardy in uncovering this megatrend. Never again will it rent space in Fort Sedona at the “Y”; it was too…

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Beware the Neonicotinoids

This is the real world, muchachos, and you are in it. –B. Traven Everyone knows by now that to survive in a certain small town, one needs either five homes or five jobs, they know that Mercury is always in retrograde and they realize that pollen production is such that citizens are seen dashing into their homes seeking heavy medication. Paradoxically and ironically, the cause of it all—the juniper—like most local politicians, has no redeeming value: it is poor firewood; it is a poor landscape plant; it is a poor source of food for native animals; and it is poor…

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The Great “What If?”

“The first and great commandment is: Don’t let them scare you.” —Elmer Davis First, the good news: In the year 2036, there will be no income tax due, that’s right, no April 15th deadline, no audits, no needle-nosed accountants charging more per hour than ladies of the night in Las Vegas. Why? According to highly-placed, deeply-knowledgeable scientific sources, there’ll be no taxes due on that April day because an asteroid is due to hit planet Earth. The odds being quoted are 1 in 45,000, that cities, perhaps entire regions, perhaps even the town of Bumble Bee, Arizona, will become mere…

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The Mystery of Traveling Food

Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs. –Sam Clemens Way down deep, the blame likely lies with author Barbara Kingsolver, and a confrontational penman named McKibben. At least that’s the one explanation to explain a recent incident regarding the status of “food miles” at Judi’s notable café in West Sedona. The incident in question unfolded when an itinerant guru—once he’d sampled a bite or two— stopped the redoubtable senior staffer, Deb, in her tracks by asking how many “food miles” his TBLT had traveled. “You’re kidding, right?” she half-smiled. “Not,” reflected the itinerant, free lance guru. “You should label your…

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Budgetary Fears Overblown

Money is like an arm or leg. Use it or lose it. —Henry Ford To hear city leaders tell it, Sedona is in for some rough financial weather what with perpetually tatterdemalion road construction, high-ceilinged gasoline prices that could scare away Tourons, not to mention store closures due to scandalously high rents and national and international chains gobbling up local shops and stores. What’s clearly needed is a major endeavor to support and sustain local businesses—for openers; meantime, we need fewer people who contend that what’s needed is thinking out of the box. What box? What if the box is…

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The Truth About Howard Hughes and Me–No Hoax

Theatres from Portland, Maine to Walla Walla, Washington brim with film-goers salivating for the truth about Howard Hughes. Did he really walk around with his feet in Kleenex boxes? Is it true that the Japanese stole a secret design from Hughes and manufactured the deadly Zero? Did he really have eight wives and never sleep with any of them because he was fearful of germs? Furthermore, what about the tale that he escaped from his corporate captors in Las Vegas, and fled into the desert? After he crashed his Harley way out there in the dry, dusty desert in the…

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Flat Earth Society Gains Members

“The missing link between animal and civilized man is us.” –Konrad Lorenz Welcome mats are not out for FES members, but membership is increasing. The paradoxical dilemma: Where to hold the next annual meeting? It won’t be Boston, waters are rising. It clearly won’t be Quebec, either; weather has been so warm that all hotel ice rinks won’t freeze and skiing is out because snow is melting in wintertime; thus, corporate facilities have been cancelled. What about the new Hilton in the Marshall Islands in the far Pacific? Oops! Those low-lying islands are already being inundated by sea water. Wells are filling…

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Believe This or Not!

“Beware the Jabberwock…the frumious Bandersnatch!” –Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass For many Sedonans down through the diaphanous years, blaming the planet Mercury in times of stress became a major way to pass the day–and better than actual work, for sure. Forget the mortgage payment, the rent, food for the javelinas, the hair appointment, whatever–Mercury is in retrograde. And when Mercury is in retrograde, Sedonans are flat-out not responsible for memory lapses or bizarre behavior. It has always been easy to mock certain things–tawdry films, fatuous local elected officials–but always with a pen dipped in vinegar, nothing more potent. For two…

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Robots–Don’t Look Now . . .

By Bishop, Special Excentric Winter Scribe A room without books is like a body without soul. Cicero To Sedona’s most articulate author and war-time hero, Alan Graham Collier, “the purpose of education is to make people think for themselves.” Over coffee at a coffee house in Flagstaff, he was shaken to discover that this maxim isn’t always appreciated, celebrated or understood. It had been some time since he’d been to this celebrated place for coffee and gossip but his memory was clear enough to remember that most everybody was reading a book. Not this time, no sir. This time everyone had laptops, no one had a book, at all…

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Long Live the Occult

Where no hope is left, is left no fear — J. Milton Riding the technological bandwagon, life is changing seemingly faster than time itself. Truth be told, the rush to the Internet has created casualties in our daily lives. Harken to the words from The Stone, a philosophical volume of small circulation but enormous power. Indeed, as we learn new skills from Tweeting to Texting to preferring the virtual to real action, other proficiencies are going by the wayside: the art of conversation, the art of being present, the art of looking at people, and that’s just for openers. Nonetheless,…

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The Way It Used to Be

Easy is getting harder every day. –Iris Dement Shopping frenzy like some great storm is blowing across the land, generating time-consuming lines of ill-behaved citizens, lords and ladies, poets and divines pawing the fresh black asphalt in front of mammoth box stores; vast resource-sucking monoliths peddling products that didn’t exist a few decades ago and likely will end up in refuse cans before the spring melt or hopefully at Sedona Recycles. “It’s not like the good old days,” a grizzled actor murmured into his Jack on the rocks once upon a time in a notorious Hollywood saloon. “And they never…

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