New Year, No Fear

Another year blows by like so many snow pellets riding a ferocious east wind. In crossing the artificial dateline on Pope Gregory’s calendar, how do you tally progress versus the countervailing forces of fear and greed?

Snow-streaking

Sideways snow falling in the foothills of New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains, Dec. 30, 2014. Photo © William P. Diven.

On balance the human species survived 2014 without actually destroying the planet. That counts as a positive although one friend isn’t so sure. Would be fine with her if Homo sapiens somehow erased itself leaving earth and the animal kingdom to proceed without our interference.

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Will You Be Trekking for Justice When You’re 91 Like She Is?

Sally-Alice Thompson was young–only 63–when she walked across the United States protesting nuclear armament. Nearly 30 years later, she hit the road for Santa Fe to preserve the value of voting.

Sally-Alice Thompson on the march nearing Algodones, N.M. Photo © William P. Diven. (This photo also appeared in the Sandoval Signpost, Placitas, N.M.)

Sally-Alice Thompson on the march nearing Algodones, N.M. Photo © William P. Diven. (This photo also appeared in the Sandoval Signpost, Placitas, N.M.)

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Hang on Tight as Your Train Wiggles Through an Autumn Slide Show

Coal smoke, chill air and rampaging color. Can’t beat the high country as your train whistles and chugs above 10,000 feet and through the aspen groves on a splendid fall day.

Aspen-04-yellow-red

Each aspen stand is its own little family with their DNA determining the remaining color as photosynthesis ends and the green drains away until next year. Photo © William P. Diven.

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Openness cures ills unless government blocks the sunshine

Who loses when supposed leaders don’t get the big picture? We the people, of course.

So, how to explain denying our history, ignoring the First Amendment on public lands and cloaking yet another attempt to dam the free-flowing Gila River?

Gila River Lower Box in the dam project area. Photo © William P. Diven.

Gila River Lower Box in the dam project area. Photo © William P. Diven.

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We Beat Dick Nixon in 1972 When Nobody Else Could

Here’s a story of a forgotten 1960s youth movement, the Vietnam War and how 3,300 of my closest friends and I derailed Dick Nixon’s political machine.

1960 Nixon campaign pin. Author's collection.

1960 Nixon campaign pin. Author’s collection.

In it Team Nixon plans a pure victory and cheats in a failed attempt to get it. It’s also a reminder of why politics can be a great game, why votes count and why voters, especially younger ones, need to wake up and smell the excitement. Continue reading

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Singers, Fans Win As Railroad Takes On Rocky Mountains

The show must go on, even if a mountain rockslide stops your train carrying a Grammy and CMA winner and the entire audience.

That’s what happened on Saturday morning nearing 9,000 feet elevation in the Colorado Rockies where the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad curves into a crumbly cut through layered rock and dirt far from the highway and any quick help.

The rockslide. Photo © William P. Diven

The rockslide. Photo © William P. Diven

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Here’s What It’s Like To Discover You’re An Alien In Your Own Country

Let us marvel at what happens when a savvy citizen with strong views on the Constitution and border protection bumps head first into the reality of southern New Mexico.

Witness the tale of Tim Blomquist, insurance agency owner, former Army intelligence officer, and a stranger in this strange land.

Bordre Patrol K-9 Rudy sniffing out meds on I-10. © William P. Diven.

Border Patrol K-9 Rudy sniffing out meds on I-10. © William P. Diven. (Click to enlarge)

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Amtrak’s Southwest Chief Ripe For Mutiny

If you’ve been out West for enough years or enjoy Western novels, you know being snakebit may not mean a snake actually sank its fangs into you. Just ask Amtrak, snakebit from the get-go this travel season.

Train No. 4, the Southwest Chief, usually runs close to on time from Los Angeles to Chicago. And Amtrak tries hard to mimic the travel experience from the days when the Santa Fe Railway sped the Super Chief across the desert and plains on blazing schedules at speeds occasionally topping 100 mph.

But that was then, and this is now: Continue reading

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