Chapter #368: Edward Abbey & Friends at UNM Ch. 1 - September 21, 2019

"Edward Abbey & Friends" topper sign from Back of Beyond Bookstore, Moab, Utah - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Edward Abbey & Friends, University of New Mexico (1954-1955) Ch. 1

“Long live literature and reading!” – Jimbo Forrest
“I’m not afraid to die!” – Ralph Newcomb
“Sure a lot of noise here!” – Edward Abbey

Author’s Note –
In October 2008, I attended Confluence, a Celebration of Reading and Writing in Moab, Utah. As mentors and teachers, Amy Irvine, Craig Childs and Jack Loeffler represented a triumvirate of writing expertise unparalleled in the Four Corners Region. Jack makes New Mexico his home. Amy hails from Utah. Craig has Arizona, and Colorado well covered. For three days, the famous authors shepherded a group of twenty-five budding or wannabe authors through classroom and field studies.

Plush Kokopelli hides out in the back of the Back of Beyond Bookstore with Seldom Seen Smith - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)The Bard of Moab, twentieth century author Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was not the supposed focus of the conference. Still, the mystique of “Cactus Ed” hung heavily in Moab’s radioactive air. Craig Child’s 2008 book, “House of Rain” has received favorable contrast to Abbey’s 1968 classic, “Desert Solitaire”. Amy Irvine’s 2008 debut book, “Trespass” was then fresh on the shelves at Moab’s Back of Beyond Book Store. In her 2018 long-form essay titled  “Desert Cabal” (Torrey House 2018), Irvine took on and wrestled with the “privileged white man” legacy of one Edward Abbey.

For his part, Jack Loeffler had been the longtime best friend and chronicler of Edward Abbey’s life. In 2003, fourteen years after Abbey’s death, Loeffler published  “adventures with ED, (a portrait of Abbey)” (UNM 2003). Like ghost stories around a desert campfire, Jack Loeffler’s Confluence stories seemed to rouse the restless spirit of Edward Abbey himself. For the next three days, someone or something kept bringing the subject of Edward Abbey and his writing to the fore. Looking back, Edward Abbey figures in seventeen of my own blog articles, beginning prior to the 2008 Confluence Conference.

Aural historian and author, Jack Loeffler enters the Moab Confluence Conference in 2008 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In October 2019, eleven years after the original Confluence Conference, I will make my annual trek to Moab, mainly to attend “Book Week”, as I now call it. On October 18, both Amy Irvine and Craig Childs will participate in a panel discussion at Star Hall. On October 22, Jack Loeffler will be signing his new book, “Headed Into the Wind: A Memoir” at the famed Back of Beyond Bookstore in Moab. In the spirit of their generous teaching and encouragement to write, I hope to put a copy of this brief saga in each of their hands.

Like most novice readers, I loved the “naturalist” passages in Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire” (1968). The classic book tells of Abbey’s two seasons spent in the mid-1950s as a ranger at then little-known Arches National Monument. In 2018, over 1.5 million people swarmed over the now Arches National Park. Despite his cranky, bigoted, anachronistic and anarchistic tendencies, Edward Abbey did get at least one thing right. He decried the nascent destruction of wilderness and the creeping industrialization of the Desert Southwest. Now, more than thirty years after his death, rapacious development, mineral extraction and illicit off-road vehicle use have more than made their mark. They have changed, and in many cases, destroyed much of the natural landscape Abbey vainly tried to protect.

Amy Irvine, author of 'Trespass' and 'Desert Cabal' at the 2008 Confluence Conference in Moab, Utah - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Later in life, Abbey denied that he was ever was, acted, thought or wrote like a “naturalist”. In fact, he decried the characterization. He did not deny being a naturist and an anarchist. In 2010, I read Abbey’s most famous novel, “The Monkey Wrench Gang”, for the first time. That was thirty-five years after its original publication. At that time, I accepted its “radical eco-manifesto vibe” as a reflection of the writer and the 20th century, in which he lived. According to my beliefs, consciousness is everlasting, but orneriness in all of its human manifestations is not. The Edward Abbey we knew in life or from his many books is not the beneficent spirit of Moab Abbey we might encounter today.

Over the years, I have read many, but not all of Edward Abbey’s novels and essays. Reflective of his times, his characters often bear an overtly strong resemblance to the man, himself or to his few stalwart friends. By his own admission, Abbey rather “missed it” on the fictional part. This was especially true of the few female characters that he included. Ed may have incorporated them as homage or an apology for his real life interactions with the opposite sex.

In his later books, much of Abbey’s rhetoric stemmed from the fraught environmental politics of the 1970s. Repeatedly, Abbey assailed corporate greed and complicit government in their assault on the natural environment. As he predicted, that unholy alliance has only accelerated the destruction of public lands since his death. Often, Abbey’s polemics were thinly disguised appeals for active “monkey wrenching” of any machinery, infrastructure or development he disagreed with.

Author and environmentalist Craig Childs signing books in 2012 at Star Hall, Moab, Utah - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Edward Abbey hated reviewers, but always read his own reviews. If he is reading this review, it is from the “Far Side”, I hope he will forgive me my peccadilloes, as I forgive him for using almost every word in his vast vocabulary somewhere in his writing. To read Abbey thoroughly, one needs a dictionary and a thesaurus nearby.

OK. That is it for criticism. Now for the story…

Our Cast of Characters:
• Edward Abbey (1927-89), author, essayist, radical environmentalist.
• Jim “Jimbo” Forrest (1932-present), teacher, radio/TV announcer, photographer.
• Ralph W. Newcomb (1925-2011) cowboy, bronco rider, artist, sculptor.
• Malcolm Brown (1925-2003) artist, sculptor, architect, landscape artist.
• Amy Irvine (1953-present) author, feminist, iconoclast, environmentalist.
• Craig Childs (1967-present) author, naturalist, environmentalist.
• John “Jack” Loeffler Jr. (1936-present), aural historian, jazz musician, biographer.
• Kirk Douglas (1916-present) actor, filmmaker, author.
• Edward Lewis (1919-2019) film producer (Lonely are the Brave 1962).
• Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976), blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter (Lonely are the Brave 1962).
Jim McGillis (1948-present) teacher, writer, photographer (“Author” of this chronicle).

Author’s Note –
Jim (Jimbo) Forrest with his two sisters, Cheri and Martie and his 1929 Model-A Ford pictured in 1948 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Jim Forrest (now Jimbo to me), first met Edward Abbey in 1954, when Jimbo was twenty-two and Ed was a war (and peace) weary World War II veteran, twenty-seven years old. By fate alone, both men had enrolled as graduate students in philosophy at the University of New Mexico (UNM), in Albuquerque. In fact, they were the only two graduate students of philosophy attending UNM that year.

Edward Abbey has been gone from this Earth since March 1989. Jimbo Forrest is alive and well, now living in Southern California. Jimbo recently reconnected with Edward Abbey, the author. Via an internet search, he also discovered my internet ramblings about Edward Abbey, and thus connected with me. From here on out, this will be Jimbo and Ed’s story, with occasional help from their “crazy friend”, Ralph Newcomb. I am just the auto-didactic who types the words.

Jimbo Forrest -
In 1954, Jimbo Forrest traveled Old Route 66 from California to the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)“I am Jim Forrest. When I was sixteen, in 1948, I worked in a “malt shop” in LA, and got 50c/hour. I managed to get in 40-hours, by working on Saturdays. After working five weeks, I had $100, and bought a 1929 Model-A Ford. They told me that the car was older than I was. (So were my parents.) It was a good car. Let me pause here and see if I can find that photo.

I graduated from San Jose State College in June 1954. I spent the summer working at the American Can Company at night, taking a couple more courses, and then working at a used car lot during the day. In September of 1954, I drove my 1947 Plymouth (which I bought from the car lot where I worked) to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I found a cheap, old, small apartment on Edith Street, at the bottom of the hill leading up to the University of New Mexico. It was good exercise pedaling up the hill every morning on my bike, sometimes through the snow.

Dust jacket photo of the Jack Loeffler book, 'adventures with ED, A Portrait of Abbey' - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)
Why am I writing this now? I met Ed Abbey in 1954. After 1956, I never read even one of his books until 2019. Recently, for reasons unknown, I ordered Jack Loeffler’s book, “adventures with ED, (a portrait of Abbey)”. Many things in those first pages reminded me of Ed. There were the classes we took, the people we knew, and the adventures we shared, I started wondering who the author, Jack Loeffler really was.

He describes so many things about Ed, including our mutual friends and the places we went. I do not remember ever hearing about Jack Loeffler, much less meeting him. Jack must have had a photographic memory, or maybe he took copious notes each time the two met. I doubt this, as Jack writes about the enormous amount of beer they both would consume during their many adventures.

In Loeffler’s book, there are several pages of photos of Ed, his family and his friends. There is a copy of a theater poster for the movie, “Lonely are the Brave”. When I first met Ed, he was beginning to write his 1956 novel, “The Brave Cowboy”, which later became that movie. When Ed and I first met in 1954, he had a manuscript with him, made up of the yellow 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper that we all used in our typewriters for its cheapness. I remember Ed, clutching that sheaf of paper telling me all about Ralph Newcomb and the Albuquerque Jail Episode”.

The inimitable and ineffable Ralph Newcomb, playing guitar at a UNM beer party in Albuquerque, New Mexico 1954 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)
Author’s Note –
According to legend, Edward Abbey, after being arrested in Albuquerque for an unknown offense, landed in the Bernalillo County Jail. There he met a somewhat frequent resident of the jail, Ralph Newcomb. Although neither man broke out of jail that night, Ralph became the inspiration for Jack Burns, the protagonist of Abbey’s 1956 novel, “The Brave Cowboy”. In the novel, protagonist Jack Burns commits a crime and lands in jail, with intentions of helping a friend already incarcerated there. Upon discovering that he faces a long prison sentence, Jack breaks out jail. From there, he saddles his trusty horse and goes on the lam, heading for potential freedom in Mexico.

Jimbo Forrest –
“Visions are going through my head (but not of sugar plum fairies or the like) of experiences in New Mexico from 1954 to 1963. I’m wondering where to start. In Jack Loeffler’s 2002 book, adventures with ED (a portrait of Abbey), there is a photo section. On the second page of pictures, there is a photo of three men standing under a leafless tree (Albuquerque can get very cold in the winter, as I discovered). From left to right, wearing jackets: Julian (Jerry) Palley, Prof. Alfredo Roggiano, and Ed Abbey.

From left to right, Julian Palley, Prof. Alfredo Roggiano and Edward Abbey in January 1955 at the University of New Mexico, taken by Jim Forrest - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In January 1955, I took that photograph. Then, I handed my camera to Jerry, and he took a similar photo, but with me on the left. Each of these three men helped me learn more about life than I was to learn in the philosophy classes I was taking. Jerry Palley was a graduate student and instructor in the language department. He later became a professor at the newly formed University of California at Irvine. Dr. Alfredo Roggiano, from Argentina, came to Albuquerque as a visiting professor of Spanish literature. On the right is Ed, later known worldwide as the author of many essays and novels.

I have no idea where Jack Loeffler got that picture. Maybe I gave Ed a copy after I had the film developed. As mentioned earlier, I handed my camera to Jerry, and he took the second picture. In the second photo, I’m the one on the left. Juxtaposing those photos brings back memories of the experiences, thoughts, and adventures I had concerning Ed during my years in The Land of Enchantment.

The above is an explanation of how I came to Albuquerque. I’d like to continue with a mention of our mutual philosophy instructor, Archie Bahm, and our relation to him, and to each other. After that, I will tell when, where and why Ed and I slept together.”

End Part One - To read Part Two, Click HERE.

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By James McGillis at 02:46 PM | Personal Articles | Comments (0) | Link

Chapter #361: 2018 - Is The Future a Mirage? - January 20, 2018

1970 Deja Vu Album by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)

Once Upon A Time, We Had A Future To Believe In

I found myself humming the 1970 song by David Crosby, “Almost Cut My Hair”. The first half of the song goes like this:

“Almost cut my hair
Happened just the other day
It’s getting’ kind of long
I could’ve said it was in my way
But I didn’t and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
And I feel like I owe it, to someone, yeah
Must be because I had the flu this Christmas
And I’m not feeling up to par
And increases my paranoia
Like looking in my mirror and seeing a police car…”

Before the conclusion, Crosby elects to go south and enjoy some “sunny southern weather”. Birth, death, birth, death. In a succession of previous lives, we have all experienced that endless cycle. We raped, murdered, made war... and occasionally, made love. How many times did we burn at the stake? If you are forced to decide, always take drowning over death by fire. Neither is quick, but the human body takes to cooling more easily than burning.

Times have changed. If we choose, we are now more conscious of life and our place within it. Even in this lifetime, we have seen so much and come so far. Do you remember when personal computers displayed words, but no pictures? I remember first reading in the glossy pages of Time Magazine about the world-wide-web, now known as the internet. It was largely a free offering until July 5, 1994, when Jeff Bezos founded the now ubiquitous Amazon.com. Many complained that Bezos had ruined the free nature of the internet by charging money for books. In the early days of Amazon, Bezos picked, packed and shipped physical books from his home garage. I say “physical books” because in recent years, half of all adult books sold arrived in digital format. In 2017, according to Time.com, Jeff Bezos became the wealthiest person in the world. If you are into making money, Bezos accomplished that feat in only twenty-three years.

Mosaic Browser 1.0, was later to become the Netscape Navigator of early internet fame - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)Also in 1994, the Mosaic Netscape Navigator 1.0 appeared in a beta version, free to all non-commercial users. Before that, some school systems, universities and other non-profit entities had created their own text-only internet browsers. In those early days of internet access, most websites were textual documents created with raw Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). With the advent of the Netscape Navigator browser, web masters quickly created both text and graphical versions of their websites.

Displaying graphics on the personal computers of the day was problematic. For most users, “broadband” was a fantasy. Computer displays were mostly converted TV monitors. The most common method of connection was via a dial-up telephone modulate/demodulate (modem) device. Older users will remember a series of squeaks and squawks that coincided with an internet connection attempt on a telephone modem.

America Online logo, later to become AOL, and still later to slip into internet obscurity - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)Also around that time, America Online (later AOL) offered dial-up services to anyone with a modem. For $19.99 each month, you could use a proprietary browser to access exclusive content provided by that company. For years, America Online attempted to be a complete alternative to the internet, providing news and information across a broad spectrum of interests. Soon, however, other internet providers, such as EarthLink undercut America Online, while bundling the Netscape Navigator for equal or less money.

By the late 1990s, a few of us who lived within a mile or two of a telephone switching office began to access the web via a “digital subscriber line”, or DSL. Unlike dial-up, DSL utilized a carrier frequency on a standard phone line. In addition, its newer style modem allowed simultaneous use of both voice and data on the same telephone line. As such, it was “always on” and ready for connection via Netscape. Years later, cable TV companies figured out how to carry both a television signal and data on the same line. Again, a specialized modem was required.

After Bill Gates of Microsoft failed to collude with Netscape to divide up the internet between them, he released Internet Explorer, which later failed - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)With the burgeoning success of Netscape, Bill Gates of Microsoft realized that personal computers might access more than his Microsoft Office software applications. After failing to collude with Netscape to divide up the internet browser business, Gates initiated one of the boldest and most underhanded takeover attempts in history. At Gates' direction, Microsoft cobbled together their own Internet Explorer (IE) browser. By 1995, Microsoft began including IE as a free addition to its Windows operating system. Simultaneously, Microsoft initiated a viral “whisper campaign”, claiming that anyone who had signed up for Netscape Navigator would soon be charged a fee by Netscape for the use of its browser. As IE ascended, Netscape tanked, becoming a marginal player, and later failing altogether.

An early version of the Google logo, before it began its inevitable slip into internet obscurity - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)Ironically, when Google released its now ubiquitous Chrome browser in 2008, its software core derived from Firefox, which in turn derived from the 1998 public release of the Netscape Navigator source code. Today, Chrome is a complete operating system rivaling Microsoft Windows. Ironically, Internet Explorer is now a discontinued product, surviving like a zombie in older Microsoft Windows computers. Google has since degenerated to the point where in 2015 it strayed into autonomously driving vehicles, including the Google Pop Car, a prototype railroad safety vehicle. Google is now seen largely as a service name, owned by Alphabet. This brings me around to my thesis, which is “Nothing is permanent. Like electronic devices and computer applications, we all are born and die, often within a brief time period”.

From the return of Steve Jobs to Apple, Inc. in 1997, through the Mac G4 Cube era and on to the last of its breed, a small form-factor slice one-tenth the size of the original in 2013 (background), the whole world appeared to get smaller - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)At last count, I own almost 200 internet Universal Resource Locator (URLs). After ten years of collecting, curating and publishing blog articles and websites, I ask myself if there will be enough time to write and publish them all. If I died tomorrow, or if the person who operates my internet servers died tomorrow, the deprecation of my online data would begin. Within a year or two, all the contracts would end and most all of my internet presence would disappear. All of my internet personas, including Moab Jim, Durango Jim, Taos Jim, Yuma Jim, Reno Jim, Marina Jim, Kauai Jim and Fiji Jim would reenter the public domain, destined for recycling.

As hard as it might be for a current day teenager to believe, until 2007 there was no iPhone or any other “smart phone”. Even in 2009, the iPhone 3G internet browser was slower than a dial-up modem circa 1994. Now, you can buy the “all new” Amazon Alexa personal home spy for $79.99. If you do, Alexa will sit quietly in your domicile and listen to your questions, comments and mad rants all day long. Already, you can buy supplies (ex. toilet paper) based on how often you have ordered in the past. “Oh”, I remarked recently, “The toilet paper arrived just before I had to utilize my corn cob collection”. How nice. I then imagined saying, As with the Christmas Tsunami of 2005 and the Fukushima Tsunami of 2011, will a new wave sweep clean the use of personal spying devices like Amazon's Alexa? - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)“Oh, it arrived two weeks after I died and every month thereafter, until my PayPal account was drained”. How many of your dearly departed friends or family remain as friends on Facebook or LinkedIn?

The clash of the titans in our world is not on a cinematic screen in a theater near you. The real clash is between Old Energy power mongers and us, the lovers of freedom. Over twenty years after the advent of the popular internet, Old Energy federal agencies continue to remove scientific data from every federal government website. In a blow to "net neutrality", the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to allow corporate internet providers to throttle-down competitors’ websites. Old Energy politicians use computer analytics to gerrymander congressional seats for a permanent “conservative” majority.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos, pictured here in 1999, portrays Amazon as a New Energy company, when in fact it is an Old Energy juggernaut running roughshod over consumers, competitors and employees alike - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)In short, Old Energy uses computer power to find every loophole and rig every system they can. At any time, the United States federal government could declare a state of emergency and censor or cut public access to internet data, as Iran recently did. When the pressure on the current regime became too great, all internet access in Iran disappeared for approximately thirty minutes. Who is to say a similar outage could not happen anywhere?

For $52 billion, the Walt Disney Company will soon buy the majority of 21st Century Fox assets. I remember when they were “20th Century Fox”. As usual, press releases from both companies tell us that the transaction is "good for consumers". Prior to the 2016 presidential campaign, Comcast NBCUniversal promoted a New York Real Estate developer as a celebrity television star. In keeping with their “Universal” moniker, that failed land developer soon attained almost “universal” name recognition.

Another in a long line of now-forgotten shows premiered on the Fox TV network in September 1998 - (https://jamesmcgillis.com)The NBC television network broadcast that developer’s first twenty-five presidential campaign rallies live, uncut and uninterrupted by commercials. After helping to elect him as president, the same corporation realized that the man was attacking NBC and other mainstream media outlets as purveyors of “fake news”. Realizing that their own corporate power could erode or disappear, they quickly dedicated their MSNBC cable network and their NBC Saturday Night Live (SNL) television broadcast to un-electing the same man in 2020. In the name of Old Energy and profits, "Hollywood" had turned against the very man who they had shamelessly promoted during the campaign.

The changes in media and entertainment over the past two decades are too myriad to chronicle here. A few of the highlights not previously mention include the rise and fall of Google, the introduction of “fair and balanced news” on Fox Television and the rise of Netflix and Amazon as media and entertainment giants. As late as 2007, MySpace.com had eight-times as many users as Facebook. Does anyone remember Yahoo, which positioned itself as the “web portal” of choice for young people, entrepreneurs and sports fans? Now for some good news. In separate press releases, Netflix and Amazon announced plans to create over 100 feature-length movies each year, much of it streaming exclusively on their respective “web platforms”.

In 2007, MySpace had eight times as many users as the fledgling Facebook - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)While at home today, I checked the screen on my Samsung Galaxy 8 "smart" phone. When I touched the YouTube icon, it immediately connected to my 65", curved-screen Samsung “smart” TV. Somewhat enamored of seeing YouTube on the large screen, I watched a video of an old locomotive crash, staged for the movies around 1930. I went on to watch the 2011 tsunami hitting beach houses in Japan. To me, the scene looked similar to Malibu, or perhaps Montecito, California. When the waves hit, they splashed three or four times the height of the two-story houses. Then the video cut off, just before the houses disappeared into the rubble. “Is that real?” I asked.

Bus-wrap advertisements like this one of 'Nurse Jackie' soon gave way to full building wrap-ads, as envisioned by Ridley Scott for the original Blade Runner movie of 1982 - Click for larger image (https://jamesmcgillis.com)For the original Blade Runner movie in 1982, Ridley Scott (of Thelma & Louise fame) created print advertisements that supposedly covered entire buildings. His building wrap-ads were part of a future that no one expected to materialize. By 1993, Pepsi Co. deployed the first transit bus wrap. Soon thereafter, someone developed the full building wrap-ad.

Even today, we can discern the fakery from reality... most of the time. If we so choose, we are both conscious and free. As Pete Townsend wrote for the Who in their song, “Going Mobile”:

“I don’t care about pollution
I’m an air-conditioned gypsy
That’s my solution
Watch the police and the taxman miss me!
I’m mobile!”

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By James McGillis at 03:42 PM | Personal Articles | Comments (0) | Link

Chapter #328: The One, the Only - Plush Kokopelli - July 4, 2015

Multicolored (Rainbow?) Plush Kokopelli and his brother by another mother, Black Kokopelli at Arches National Park, Moab, Utah - Click for a larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Plush Kokopelli - The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

In September 2007, for the first time, Spokesmodel Carrie McCoy and I visited Moab, Utah together. While flying back to Casa Carrie in Simi Valley, California, Carrie stopped at Phoenix International Airport. There, in a cavernous airline terminal she saw a retail cart that was selling Arizona souvenirs. Among the various items there, she found a multicolored beanbag toy small enough to fit into her carry-on luggage.

In fall 2013, Plush Kokopelli and Coney the Traffic Cone open up Arches National Park after the ill-timed federal government shutdown - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)A week later, when I arrived home, Carrie presented “Plush Kokopelli” to me, as a gift. From that moment on, nothing was the same. Standing only twelve inches tall, in his plush stocking feet, I never expected that little character to change my life, but he has.

Later in our mutual story, Plush Kokopelli would meet Coney the Traffic Cone, Moabbey the Coyote and Silver Girl. Together they would form a band of superheroes that would change history, as we know it. Perhaps they only changed history as I know it, but that is good enough for me. Later, Plush Kokopelli and Coney would found their own credit union, in Moab, Utah

The Cozy Cone Motel, AKA Wigwam Village in Holbrook, Arizona - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)As a character in my online novel, “Walking through Time”, Plush Kokopelli has enjoyed many adventures. First, he met Coney and Moabbey, but soon thereafter, he and his friends welcomed Silver Girl to their troupe. Before they set out on their quest, Plush Kokopelli and the other superheroes first went on vacation to the Cozy Cone Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. Soon, they were to take the High Southwest and even the Low Southwest (Arizona) by storm. Righting wrongs and protecting the desert environment, the superheroes began their long and winding road to recognition and respectability.

Before they knew it, the superheroes were involved in an international art mystery, seeking the identity of the mid-twentieth century artist, C.Proietto. With aplomb, Plush Kokopelli, Silver Girl and Coney solved the art mystery. During a European tour, they discovered that the artist was none other than Costantino Proietto (1910 – 1979). Originally, from Randazzo, Sicily, Tino Proietto became the “Master of Impasto” and later lived as artist in residence in Stuttgart, Germany.

In 2012, then Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona arrested Plush Kokopelli on suspicion of being an illegal alien - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In 2012, then Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona arrested Plush Kokopelli on suspicion of being an illegal alien. Incarcerated in Maricopa County Jail, Sheriff Joe personally dressed Plush Kokopelli in pink jail clothing. With his multicolored coat hidden beneath the pink jail garb, Plush Kokopelli lost all of his magical powers. Soon, it was the shy and retiring Coney the Traffic Cone’s turn to save the day and to save Plush Kokopelli too.

After Coney freed Plush Kokopelli from jail in Phoenix, Arizona, the little flute playing character hopped a jet to Moab, Utah. There, he was seen around town and was photographed on the wing of the jet airplane on which he had arrived. Neither Sheriff Joe nor Governor Jan Brewer had the power to extradite the multidimensional, fugitive plush-toy back to Arizona.

Cotton Candy drives Plush Kokopelli to Burning Man in 2012, so that the little guy can commune with his giant counterpart there - Click for larger (much larger) image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Once free from incarceration, Plush Kokopelli headed directly to Burning Man at Black Rock, in the Nevada desert. There, he communed with a giant Kokopelli, which was soon to burn during the 2012 festival. By then, Plush Kokopelli was gaining traction in various social circles. Just before the company went bankrupt, Hostess Twinkies offered Plush Kokopelli a spokesmodel gig. Soon after making his first TV commercial for Twinkies, Hostess ceased doing business and stiffed him on his royalty check.

Undeterred, Plush Kokopelli went to the Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nevada and won big on the slot machines and at the blackjack tables. Not that he needed the money; but his winnings meant that Plush Kokopelli instantly became the ninth richest plush toy in the world. Still, he knew that there was more to his fifth dimensional life than money alone.

After the Colorado River ran dry, Plush Kokopelli waited at Moab Ranch for years, hoping to take one last shower - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Although he is mute, Plush Kokopelli has an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. Recently, when the Colorado River ran dry, he was there with the other superheroes to help orchestrate a spectacular, yet environmentally sensitive demise for the coal-fired power plant known as the Navajo Generating Station. In the end, the destruction at Navajo was just part of a movie script. Still, Plush Kokopelli played a pivotal role in getting that script pitched to the executives at Atlantis Pictures in Hollywood, California.

When Atlantis Pictures refused to green light the superheroes’ disaster movie script, Plush Kokopelli and the other superheroes turned their attention to another mystery. This time it was the “Great Burro Crane Mystery”. In 2014, the Moab Burro disappeared from Seven Mile, near Moab, Utah. Fearing that nuclear waste from the Train of Pain had contaminated the Moab Burro, Coney the Traffic Cone and Plush Kokopelli set out to find and save the errant Burro Crane. To read the full story, please go to MoabBurro.com.

Denny's Wigwam & Trading Post in Kanab, Utah, where Plush Kokopelli spawned twenty full sized versions of himself - Click to see final results (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Since Plush Kokopelli operates in five dimensions, rather than our mundane three-dimensional time-space reality (3DTSR), it is easy for him to play inter-dimensional tricks on those around him. One day, Plush Kokopelli spontaneously grew to twenty-six inches tall and reproduced his body twenty times. All of this, he did in secret at Denny’s Wigwam & Trading Post in Kanab, Utah.
In the spring of 2015, when I visited the trading post,  Plush Kokopelli was planning a quantum leap in energy. At the time, he planned to multiply himself like a plague of locust in the Great American Desert.

Luckily, Plush Kokopelli was only able to multiply himself twenty times before I found him at the trading post. I then purchased all twenty 26” RGU Group Plush Kokopelli caught in the act of regenerating himself into twenty new multicolored Plush Kokopelli (available for sale at MoabJim.com) - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)“Zoona” Plush Kokopelli still in original condition. Showing great attention to detail, Plush Kokopelli had even produced his original descriptive tags, which remain intact. Only these twenty remaining original 26” Plush Kokopelli feature authentic, multicolored (rainbow?) plush coats.

Now, upon his unspoken request, Plush Kokopelli would like the last twenty of his reincarnated selves to go to good homes… and at a good price. Plush Kokopelli is now available at MoabJim.com for only $99.00, plus shipping & handling. But wait, if you buy two 26” original RGU Group Plush Kokopelli, they are only $79.00 each. Just pay separate shipping and handling.

Recently, former president Bill Clinton praised Plush Kokopelli for all that he has done to help create a workable fifth-dimensional reality. After all, Bill is already there - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Plush Kokopelli as about the size of a small dog or a two-year-old child. He never barks, bites, cries or wets himself. In fact, he is mute. As such, Plush Kokopelli makes a perfect traveling companion. His beanbag bottom helps him sit up straight on an automobile seat.

If you search long enough, you may find a 12”, 16” or even a tired old 26” RGU Group Plush Kokopelli on eBay or some other auction website. Only when purchasing from MoabJim.com will you receive new, never-been-hugged, 26” Plush Kokopelli bean bag soft toys. With his tie-dyed, multicolored (rainbow?) plush fabric discontinued and out of production, when this final batch of Plush Kokopelli are gone, there will be no more.

On a hot summer day, Plush Kokopelli greets two fans at the Visitors Center of Arches National Park, Moab, Utah. What a thrill for all concerned - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Picture yourself meeting Plush Kokopelli at the Visitors Center at Arches National Park. That could be the thrill of a lifetime. Maybe you and Plush Kokopelli could drive along the highways and the byways of the High Southwest. Lean back, slow down and enjoy the scenery while Plush Kokopelli "rides shotgun" in your car or truck. He is a great photographic model and is now famous among the cognoscenti. If you want to commune with among the last of the original Plush Kokopelli, now is the time to act.

By James McGillis at 12:17 AM | Personal Articles | Comments (0) | Link

Chapter #264: A New Message From AAMikael - December 14, 2012

In the Costantino Proietto original oil painting, Archangel Michael stands atop Castel Sant'Angelo, in Rome Italy - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Not For Us, But For Our Children and Grandchildren...

Message from a friend - “The shooter in Conn. killed at least 27, 20 were children. Unbelievable! Makes me want to go and hug all the grand-kids.

I am hopeful this type of action will start changing minds, as there has to be an answer to these terrible crimes. It certainly
leaves people vulnerable to crimes, even when they do their best to stay away from crime.”

Spokesmodel Carrie McCoy with her granddaughter, Loralai - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) AAMikael’s Response - “How many parents in America were against gun control until this morning?

It is time for a change in this country. Yet, so many are hidebound against resale-control, bullet & magazine control, not to mention assault weapon control… let alone ‘gun control’ itself, whatever that is.

It is the ‘gun tragedy of the day’. Sadly, only such shocking violence, conducted against children has a prayer-of-a-chance of changing enough minds to make a difference.

Atop the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, a statue of Archangel Michael contacts the infinite with his flaming sword. Detail from the C.Proietto "Glory of Rome" original oil painting - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)As Neil Young wrote and sang so many years ago, ‘What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?’

On this day, twenty-seven angels departed Earth. As it is above, so it is below. After the tears, all will be well.

In love, Light and life,


By James McGillis at 02:01 PM | Personal Articles | Comments (0) | Link

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