Friday, June 13, 2008

In Praise of Local Voices

Thanks to Gene Kinsey and his wife Nancy McCarroll for hosting myself and Mike Saccone for a small but entertaining gathering of local bloggers at Kannah Creek Brewery this evening. Linn Armstrong also stopped by for a bit. It was very interesting and enjoyable.

It never ceases to amaze me how just an informal gathering of a few people can result in such a diverse marketplace of ideas, experiences, and travels. One attendee has been to Israel, another is very fond of South Africa, and another will be headed to Australia later this year. I haven't left this country in 20 years, but have made enough trips across this continent in the last 5 years to rival any single jaunt across one particular pond or another.

In any case, over the last few days I've read some really great stuff from some of the inhabitants of the blogosphere who happen to make the Grand Valley their terrestrial home. In the spirit of reasonable discourse across political, social, and cultural boundaries, I thought I would share some excerpts of these writings with you.

Gene Kinsey, writing on ADHD research:
"Maybe it’s not a disease. Maybe it is a genetic characteristic essential to the survival of groups. In a natural environment someone has to be on guard for predators. Any movement, even a brief corner-of-the-eye movement must be noticed. Meanwhile, herd animals must be monitored, kids must be checked, and it is a good idea to keep an eye out for food."
Marjorie Asturias-Lochlaer, writing on immigration in the Free Press:
"Think for a moment about the impact on the Grand Valley of the collapse of the oil-shale industry back in the early 1980s. An economy so dependent on one industry — and a labor-intensive one at that — imploded when the jobs literally disappeared overnight. Fast forward 25 years and we’re still largely pumping out manual-labor jobs and encouraging our youth to pursue six-figure incomes instead of college degrees. We’re turning out field workers rather than engineers, truck drivers rather than managers. It’s not that we have no need for field workers or truck drivers, but these aren't the only options available to the young minds in our midst. Where once the United States exported many of its low-wage service jobs — customer service call centers, assembly and manufacturing — now we’re finding ourselves in a situation where those service jobs that can’t be moved offshore will be all we have left while the rest of the world improves its knowledge infrastructure and exports THEIR low-skilled jobs to US."
Ralph D'Andrea on the future of energy development locally:
"The argument that energy companies can't survive and be responsible at the same time--and will leave here if anyone tries to get them to be responsible--is, of course, patent bullshit. I'm an exploration geologist for an energy company. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that my company is going to be wherever the resources are. To do otherwise would be totally irresponsible to our shareholders. When you're hunting elephants, you need to be in elephant country. There's no gain in being anywhere else. The energy companies are going to be in Western Colorado, because that's where the resources are. Period."
Jim Spehar, writing about the contentious COGCC hearing in the Free Press:
"No one disputes that the energy industry is an important piece of Colorado’s economy. The issue is not if energy development continues. It’s how and what sort of balance will protect the other 70 percent of our economy here on the Western Slope and elsewhere in Colorado. Those other important economic segments include agriculture, recreation and tourism. All have the potential to be impacted by energy development if appropriate rules are not enforced."
And finally, Dick Maynard in the Sentinel, on boycotting all things Boston:
"Since Boston insists on hogging the sports limelight a boycott is in order. We’ll start slowly by no longer reading the works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson or Nathaniel Hawthorne. Realizing avoiding the writings of long ago New Englanders is much like giving up okra for Lent, we have to start somewhere. Should the Celtics have featured players with names like Oliver and Waldo rather than all time meanie “Jungle” Jim Loscutoff, the hoopsters in green would have won a lot less and I’d feel a lot better about the commonwealth of Massachusetts. "
Sorry Dick, but your column is wicked wrong. There are several quotes from Emerson that have helped to frame my life in many ways, and I'm sorry, but I just can't do without them:
Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Go Celtics, and may Red Sox Nation continue to flourish.
Later, Evan and I went Downtown to the first Farmer's Market of the summer, which was well attended and fun despite the lack of fresh produce for sale (it is kind of early for that, I guess).
The Mennonites moved their roasted chile wraps and cinnamon almonds (mmmmmm) to the other end of Main Street, but there was a long line nonetheless, and well worth it.

The number of local businesses and non-profits showcased at this week's festival is also an indicator of how vibrant and diverse we are in this valley. Some examples are:

Decadence Cheesecakes. Continued excellence in the critical area of local foods that will make me gain weight.

KAFM Radio. Hey, it's time to buy your raffle tickets again.

Western Equality. Promoting diversity and acceptance of differences.

It looks like a lively weekend is approaching. See you out at the Relay for Life, and maybe the Glade Park movie if there's time. Good night.

1 comment:

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

You are one interesting, entertaining, nice guy. Look forward to more good talks on our patio.