Archive for James Bishop, Jr.

Is The Lone Ranger Returning?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

By James Bishop Jr.
(June 3, 2014)

photo_bishopGive me silence, water, hope
Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes
–Neruda

As buzzards circled through the smoke above City Hall, a tourist from Maine mumbled to a lady of the night, “so this is what the end of the world looks like!” “Not so,” reported Josh, an expert member of the legendary, mythical Monkey Wrench Gang, “It’s just Ed. He said he come back, someday. He said he would settle for the sedate career, serene and soaring, of the humble turkey buzzard, the only known philosophizing bird.” Read More→

Categories : James Bishop, Jr.

Boom in Birdy Valley

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

By James Bishop, Jr.
www.NewTerritoryArts.com
(April 16, 2014)

If I had to choose between airplanes or birds, I’d rather have birds
— Charles Lindbergh

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So do more and more people everywhere, especially in The Verde Valley where birding has passed golf and is catching up with gardening as top pastimes. Birders, once regarded by many business interests as tree-hugging dirt worshipers are now being joined on birding adventures by those very same business interests.  With the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival looming on April 24-27 the merging of economic interests and nature’s gifts is music to Chip Davis, Yavapai County Supervisor, who told me years ago that “If we can just understand that preserving what’s important in nature can be an economic engine. Hopefully disappearing are those two opposing groups who contend that resource conservation is the enemy of business and economic growth and visa versa.”  It is time to celebrate what birding has brought to the Verde Valley. Across the nation, business and political interests have conservation programs under the gun. Here, once odd bedfellows share the glories of nature together—both with advertisements and birding itself. Read More→

A Whiskey-Golden Time

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

By James Bishop, Jr.

As soon as I enter the door of a tavern, I experience oblivion of care, and a freedom from concern…there is nothing which has yet to be contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced by a good tavern.
photo_bishop— Samuel Johnson, London, 1777

Sedona AZ (March 3, 2014) – The news spread faster than a Tea Party Lie. In legendary London, and in villages nearby, 7000 pubs are being closed—forever leaving local quaffers and boozers to face a dreaded, dryer future: No local community gathering place to have a nip, hear the gossip and bet a bit on Cricket.

Longtime Sedonans know that feeling, those that remember the Wrenwood, the old Rainbow, or the Turtle. Then there was the Lemon Peel started by Dick and Peggy Olsen, a young couple from New York City located near where Biddle’s Nursery stands today; the smell of popcorn always filled the air and a mesquite fire crackled in the fireplace whatever the weather outside. Most nights around midnight, the Olsens grilled rib-eye steaks, and a local performer always closed the evening by singing “God Bless America.” One night a local celebrity was in his cups at the bar, quaffing away when a stranger wandered in and asked Dick whether he was the town drunk. “No,” he replied. “Sedona is too small to have a town drunk. So we all take turns.” Read More→

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WELCOME the CYPRESS Queen

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

By James Bishop, Jr.
(January 30, 2014) 

photo_bishopMan invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.
Lily Tomlin (1939 – )
 

Day dies into night wrote the great Tertullian “and is everywhere buried in darkness…and yet again it revives, with its own beauty, its own dowry, the same as before, whole and unimpaired.”

Is that a fair description of Sedona? Read More→

Categories : James Bishop, Jr.

Neighbors and Other Ironies

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

By James Bishop, Jr.
(January 2, 2014)

The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out alive.
— Robert Heinlein (1907-1988)

photo_bishopNow we know, with John Keats that there is no point in waiting for warm days, now comes a dose of reality as the New Year dawns. Don’t look now, gentle reader, but you, we, every Tom Dick and Harry are knee deep in irony otherwise called incongruities. Consider the principal threats to a healthy community, namely our own.

Some say it’s the tree huggers, others cite liberals or Tea party strategists, or ex- Stalinists or uninformed, vision-less mayors. Truth be known the threats are among us. They are to be seen at the post office, Judi’s and the Grape. No not tourists, not ADOT, no our neighbors; not all our neighbors, maybe less than ten who arrived here from Chicago and from Michigan where they could control the noises around them. Noises like music, chanting, school kids yelling and shouting. “Ironically we came here seeking tranquility—and we thought we’d killed the beast,” shared one former corporate panjandrum with a home near a public park known as the Posse Grounds. Now the city is still considering some sort of performance building up on the Posse Grounds. We are not going away.” Read More→

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Are Political Labels Extinct?

Monday, November 25th, 2013

By James Bishop, Jr.
www.NewTerritoryArts.com
(November 25, 2013)

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In politics absurdity is not a handicap
— Napoleon

In his cups, Doug Rigby, an author in Sedona’s early days, before all the experts in planning and parking arrived, loved to talk. In particular, he loved to tell visitors at the Rainbow Inn saloon that planet Earth, with all its wars, tyrants, dictators, half-wit politicians, crooks and gamblers, battle-hungry generals was here for the simple reason that the Gods needed something to amuse them, so easily bored they can be, from time to time.

Indeed, with all the cutting and running nowadays in Washington where Nixon, a conservative, is now being as a attacked as a left wing liberal for having signed environmental laws; where the U.S. Congress is on the verge of cutting food stamps to the poor, while at the same time handing more benefits to corporate farmers for them not to plant—and calling themselves conservatives. Read More→

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On To Fiddler’s Green

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

By James Bishop

Sedona AZ (November 10, 2013) – In this land the Spanish called the Northern Mystery, rumors  are fast becoming facts: climate change is a myth, a creature of the left-wing press, the proposed National scenic area would threaten small children and private homes while there’s plenty of water and clean air if KSB would just leave town.

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Welcome to the new wisdom. It a far, far better thing to know nothing than to know how things truly are in National Forest land in and Sedona. At bottom, it doesn’t take another dance of the seven veils to unveil the ineluctable truth: Nowhere enough people love this special place enough and whatever love they do feel is often offset by dislike of one another. Read More→

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Butterflies Rivers Beauty and Books

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

By James Bishop Jr.
(August 11, 2013)

photo_bishopBeauty is everlasting and dust is for a time
—Marianne Moore

Depending upon who discusses butterflies as this astounding summer winds down either they have disappeared or they are seen everywhere in Camp Verde. Next, either the Verde River is safe from developers and deranged politicians, or it may soon run dry. Finally, either beauty has become a mere commodity separate from commercial hustle and bustle or deliberations about arts and culture remain dominant in political and public discourse.

Well, not just bees are in danger butterflies are too. Take Monarch butterflies those beautiful and storied creatures that migrate south for the winter and north for the summer, just as do many humans. Shockingly, this year the number of Monarchs that took up their habitual winter quarters at a forest in Mexico fell to a two-decade low. Imagine the chagrin of Mexican wildlife authorities and tourism officials who count on the vast clouds of butterflies as a big draw. Experts blame the drought and heat of climate change, as well as farming practices that have wiped out much of the milkweed that nourishes the butterflies during their commute. Read More→

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The Sedona 25 Revealed

Friday, June 28th, 2013

By James Bishop, Jr.
(June 28, 2013) 

photo_bishopSomething 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 texting: The Great Gatsby was NOT great. Actually, by calling his character “great,” 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. Read More→

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Asleep at The Switch

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

By James Bishop, Jr.
(June 3, 2013)

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When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, circa 1890.

Sometimes it feels as though we as a people have entered into the twilight zone where what is an illusion is real and what is real is an illusion. Readers of the Los Angeles Times likely felt way not long ago, I am told, when a research study reported that rapidly melting ice sheets and warming oceans associated with climate change will raise sea levels by six feet or higher on the West Coast—by 2030.

Say what? Read More→

Categories : James Bishop, Jr.

Who Needs Earth Day?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

photo_bishopBy James Bishop Jr.

It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it. —Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire

“The sedge is withered from the lake, and no birds sing,” —John Keats

Pesticides kill bees sorely needed to pollinate flowers and vegetables. Honeybee populations are declining, air pollution fouls the air above cities from Phoenix to Beijing, Monarch butterflies are changing migration routes and West Virginia mountaintops are being destroyed by coal shovels.

Wait a minute?

What year is this?

It is now. Read More→

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Is Journalism on the Wane?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

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By James Bishop Jr.
(February 13, 2013) 

“It’s been the ride of a lifetime” –Steve Ayers

The esteemed Tom Jefferson himself might feel a modicum of gratitude were he to return today to observe the collapse of print newspapers across America, indeed around the world. As he wrote in the 1800s, “I do not take a single newspaper, or read one a month and I feel myself infinitely happier for it.” Read More→

Whither Sedona Recycles and the Verde River

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

photo_bishopBy James Bishop Jr.
(January 29, 2013)

“Beautiful weather isn’t?” said the postman standing in the rain. Indeed, mismatches between the expected and the actual result are seemingly everywhere. Think of the state politicians blaming teachers for allowing classes to be too large while lobbying at the same time to have more teachers laid off. Think of the professor who never answers questions and never explains the key concepts of the course; however he expects students to read the assignment, and be prepared to answer the professor’s questions. Then there is the issue of Mad Magazine showing Alfred E. Neumann face down in the desert crushed to death by a parachuted crate of first aid supplies. How ironic, a classic mismatch between the expected and the actual result. Sometimes you hear people say “that’s ironic,” when it is not. For example, rain on a wedding day is not ironic, just bad luck. However, if the weatherman predicts sunshine, and it rains cats and dogs, well that’s ironic. Read More→

Media Reporting: Asleep at the Switch?

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

By James Bishop, Jr.
(December 13, 2012)

photo_bishopOur doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt 
- From Measure for Measure

Sunlight is the best disinfectant
- Mr. Dooley

As time goes by, life is becoming so complicated that even Fourth Estate reporters shun delving into challenging conundrums. Consider our energy and our food distribution systems which often cause veteran reporters to stumble all over themselves trying to understand how the global economy actually works. Such is the case with the nation’s educational dilemmas asserts prize-winning Arizona teacher, Elaine Watkins: “In my opinion, the media does a surface job with education. It may be that they can’t understand it.” Read More→

Art Meets Recycling

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

By James Bishop, Jr.

Sedona AZ (October 30, 2012) – Sedona Recycles is proud to launch its latest program “Art In Public Spaces” with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to feature the first recycle bin to be adorned with a copy of an original painting by a local artist. Longtime local artist Jack Proctor painted a beautiful Sedona landscape in a Plein air style, which was photographed and turned into a high-definition image to fit a recycle bin. Sedona Recycles’ Art in Public Spaces is in keeping with Sedona’s signature theme, “A city animated by the arts.”

Future bins dressed with art will make the streets of Sedona even more picturesque when viewed against Sedona’s magnificent backdrop. Mayor, Rob Adams and Chamber of Commerce President, Jennifer Wesselhoff will be invited to the ribbon cutting on Saddle Rock Drive at 3 PM on November 8th, 2o12.  Read More→

Creeping Socialism: Is fracking headed our way?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

By James Bishop, Jr.
October 16, 2012 

There was a time when politicians spread tales of women receiving huge taxpayer funds for their allegedly lurid lifestyles which included their refusal to do more with their time each day then wait for the next welfare check. “Welfare Queens,” as they were dubbed in the 1980’s, were leading America down the road to socialism. These days, amidst a nasty election campaign, cries of socialism ring out again about the new healthcare system, even though the new law creates a bonanza for private sector insurance companies.

Now we are hearing about big oil companies which may soon be threatening some of the most melodramatic natural treasures and favorites of many Sedona hikers and campers —- the Canyonlands National Park and even the Arches National Park in Southern Utah. Read More→

By James Bishop, Jr.
September 25, 2012 

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell
—Edward Abbey

In “Postcards from Ed,” a welcome volume of Mr. Abbey’s thoughts and dreams, hopes and fulminations, the distinguished Terry Tempest Williams writes “I miss you. We all do.” She is not alone. Charles Bowden, Abbey’s friend and fellow author observes that “Ed taught us to see the Southwest as something else besides real estate to butcher. And now we have to see it without him.”

Twenty three years have passed since the twentieth-century polemicist and desert anarchist, whose often sardonic, always lyrical words delighted or infuriated his readers, died of an incurable disease and was buried secretly in the desert he loved. “I love it so much that I find it hard to talk about,” he wrote. “Nothing but desert, nothing but the silent world…both agonized and deeply still. Like death? Perhaps.” Read More→

The death of a poet

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

By James Bishop, Jr.
Sedona AZ (September 5, 2012)  

Weary of dreary jobs and basement beds from Texas to Chicago, and seized with hope for sobriety and a passion to write, a young street poet wandered into Arizona’s red rock rim country before thirty years of his life had passed. For thousands of years human beings had lived there because of water, clear running creeks, blessed life-giving tongues rimmed with Cottonwood trees; because of pine-dotted mountains still wild with lions, deer, and bear. Sacred land said the Indians, a Mecca for the drifting lost penned a British writer; a place where newcomers might have a chance to stop escaping from their own lives or oblivion’s wall. His name was Christopher Michael Lane. Read More→

By James Bishop, Jr.

Technology will tie a tiny fine wire around your soul
–Adlai Stevenson

From coast to coast, and from Tucson to Dewey, questions are rebounding off the walls of living rooms, city halls, appearing in Op-Ed pages and where teachers gather: Are Americans now focusing far too much on how to use the tools of communication than on ways to better communicate? As a result, are we becoming computer/online gurus who can’t write and think creatively? What’s more, has technology set us back in the field of thinking because we trust gadgets to do our thinking instead of using them to enhance our lives? Answers to those questions—some yes, some no– will be found in Adele Seronde’s latest book, “Looming Breakthrough for the Muse: Occupation Days Ahead.” Read More→

Welcome to the Other Sedona

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

By James Bishop, Jr.

Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat
—Cicero

Sedona AZ (August 7, 2012) – Observing the mind-numbing presidential campaign and U.S. government inaction on the ailing economy isn’t time for citizens everywhere to actually think locally, act locally? On that score, greater Sedona is way ahead of the game. Known around the world as a Shangri-la for artists, tourists, and New Age high jinks what’s rarely celebrated is the fact that Sedona citizens “step up to the plate when asked,” asserts swarthy Vince Monaci. “This is a powerful community. I hear people say what do mean? Sedona people need a food bank, I don’t believe it. Believe it not, they do.” Read More→