January 2021 . Issue 10.1
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Contents Steamboat Sends Out an SOS By Laura Sankey
Happy New Year! For What It's Worth... Page 5 By Stuart Handloff
Moving Forward Page 6 By Joan Remy
Scientists Create Conspiracy Theorists
Red, Blue and Purple
The Big Change in NW Colorado
The Philosophy of Tomatoes
Avoid Parent Plus Student Loans
God Bless Brock Yates
By Ted Crook
By Brodie Farquhar
By Ellen & Paul Bonnifield By Fran Conlonl
Publisher/Art Director: Matt Scharf email@example.com Sales: VV Assistant:
firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Kemper email@example.com
By Scott L. Ford By Karen Vail
By Jim Barker
The Creep Page 16 By Aimee Kimmey
Valley Voice is published monthly and distributed on the last Wednesday of each month. Please address letters, questions, comments or concerns to: Valley Voice, LLC, P.O. Box 770743 or come by and see us at 1125 Lincoln Ave, Unit 2C, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477. Or contact Matt Scharf: 970-846-3801.
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The year 2020, good riddance… Being certified as an “old man” by someone older than you… The selfishness of the “no-maskers”… Inexperienced backcountry enthusiasts… Getting excited about a new summer hobby in the wintertime… To the guy who quit walking across Lincoln Avenue to prevent anyone from making a right turn… To the people who always try to sell you something new when the old works just fine...
Raves... The most important word for the year 2021; HOPE… To all the advertisers in the Valley Voice that kept it alive for the year 2020… Being the oldest skateboarder in the neighborhood... To that swollen shoulder from patting yourself on the back for making it through 2020… Witnessing an elk herd run through your property… Watching people for the first time trying to use a poma lift…
Say What?... “The last breath I take – I want it to be my own.” “Steamboat Springs was recently named the top destination for the ultra-elderly and pre-deceased by Active, Affluent Corpse Magazine.” “Now that it’s over, it’s my turn.” "Baby take your teeth out, it'll be fine" - Frank Zappa “Have you ever heard me laugh? Do you want to try?” “You didn't quit skateboarding because you got old; you got old because you quit skateboarding.” – Jay Adams
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Save Our Season Campaign
Steamboat Sends Out an SOS Community Rallies to Save Our Season
By Laura Sankey
changed their plans and made personal sacrifices to reduce COVID spread. Many people connected positively with the message about working together to Save Our Season. The SOS Campaign has been widely embraced as a beacon of hope for many facing the uncertainty of restrictions or shut down of business, or even the ski mountain. Several reached out to express their gratitude for this grassroots effort to effect change. “If the mountain closes or doesn’t even open this year, I will be out of work and with a two year old, I am terrified. Thank you for your efforts to save our season!” said Christine Callahan, a local resident. “I saw the first messages about SOS come out in early November and then it was everywhere. Thanks for what you are doing to save our season” LiftUp Employee As 2020 drew to a close, the group that started SOS – Save our Season, Stop our Spread – was cautiously optimistic. Routt County had just moved from Level Red to Level Orange+ of the State’s COVID dial, and COVID cases in Routt County were on the decline. “We’re really proud to have taken a leadership role in getting a different and more effective message across to our community to reverse the upward trend of COVID cases that we saw in the fall,” said Robin Craigen, a co-founder of SOS. “We want to thank everyone that made sacrifices over the holidays and embraced significant changes in social behavior to reduce community spread of the virus. By keeping our close contacts to a minimum and keeping our exposure circle to as small a group as possible, we know we can make it through the last 3 months of the ski season and ensure that jobs and businesses survive.” Steamboat’s economy is heavily dependent upon a full 4-month ski season, and businesses and local workers face significant challenges if the ski season is restricted or shut down. The SOS campaign asks community members to reduce social interactions to eliminate “close contacts” – defined by the CDC as a person who is within 6 feet of someone else for more than 15 minutes.
“We are all in this together! Let’s stop the spread and save our season” – Grant D. – SOS Facebook Follower Early media coverage was exceptional, with several TV news features, regional newspapers and outdoor publications all highlighting the SOS efforts. Word spread fast and leaders in other mountain communities facing the same dilemma reached out to see if they could join the SOS movement. What started as a Steamboat Springs message has now been adopted by over 7 regions in the Rocky Mountains, representing some of the largest destination ski resort areas including Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass, Winter Park, Loveland, A-Basin, Keystone, and Copper Mountain. “It’s been exciting to see other communities want to be part of the SOS movement,” said Lisa Fleming, the third cofounder of SOS and owner of Strategic Design + Advertising (SDA) – the marketing agency that developed the SOS name and all creative branding and marketing materials. “We’ve been able to create a turnkey tool kit for other resort communities that allows them to customize the campaign for their local market. This SOS campaign is the most impactful as a grassroots effort with local support and local programming.”
Sarah Bradford, another SOS founder, had an a-ha moment as she was thinking about the question that contract tracers were asking: Name all the people whom you have been within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes. “This really brought things into perspective for me. I realized that coffee with a friend, talking with a co-worker in my office, or walking with a neighbor were activities where I was in close proximity for more than 15 minutes,” commented Bradford. “If I built a list for a contract tracer, it would have been longer than I wanted it to be. Now my goal is to have 0 people on that list, other than my immediate household.”
To date, SOS has 1100 followers on Facebook and Instagram and over 1,600 people have taken the pledge to do their part to stop the spread. The campaign has been reaching Steamboat via print, radio and digital ads, as well as robust social media posts. “We wanted to add a little humor along with the messaging,” said Justin Hirsch, Creative Director at SDA. “Taking action to stop the spread of COVID is a serious topic, and we want to engage people in a more relatable way than endlessly repeating ‘wear a mask and wash your hands.’ “My favorite posts are ‘Spread the Word (Not The Virus)’ and ‘Stop the Spread (Save The Shred),’ because both messages are easy to remember.
The SOS movement started in November. The initial focus was on Thanksgiving with messaging designed to prevent a projected Thanksgiving surge. Locals took action,
There will be more creative messaging rolling out through the rest of the ski season. Look for your favorite posts and ads, and be sure to spread the word…not the virus.
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
A b t f m w a
B o s e t l
I c A r a m s z a i
I t e s f a t r e M s t f f s f e f
T w b p For more information and to take the pledge, please visit v saveourseason.org. To get materials for your business or e organization, please email firstname.lastname@example.org f
Happy New Year! For What It's Worth... By Stuart Handloff
As I write in 2020, you read in 2021. For those of you who believe that a few pages of a desk calendar can make all the difference, that a raging pandemic will disappear in the face of Big Pharma’s best and brightest, and that tens of millions of Americans will suddenly become disenthralled with the ravings of a petty dictator, I wish you the best and happiest of New Years. But what if the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the winter solstice - visible locally only because the skies miraculously cleared for a few hours on Monday evening - did suddenly readjust the workings of theatre in the New Millennium? What could the performing arts look like and sound like in the upcoming months? It’s certain that Broadway style theatres, those magnificent temples where we’ve gone to worship in Denver, Los Angeles, New York, and everywhere in between, will not be reopening anytime soon. Professional actors will not be allowed by the Actors Equity Union to enter into performance contracts until vaccinations against COVID are so widespread and accepted that infection rates are near zero. All this assuming the vaccine mutates little or not at all, succumbs to the pleading of science, and becomes an inconvenience we accept like traffic jams. It’s equally certain that there are stories that cry out to be told. Love and romance, tragedy and comedy, the ever changing and never changing human condition has spawned storytellers, even in the depths of human despair, for tens of thousands of years. We’ve become accustomed and have taken for granted a traditional model for storytelling during this time: “Let’s gather around the fire and roast a couple of slabs of meat, recount the dangers and excitement of the hunt, then get drunk and fool around.” My tutor in graduate school - Christian Penny - sounded so poetic when he described this moment as “the coming together to share air in the hope that something transforming will occur.” But often enough something transformative did occur and we left the fire pit or the theatre seeing the world in a different light; experiencing our lives from a different perspective, or - at the very least - highly entertained with a smile on our faces and really looking forward to fooling around.
sitting in a cramped theatre or even sharing the solemnity of Christmas Mass or listening to the intonations of Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur with other souls, cheek by jowl, must be experienced differently. How will it be possible to recreate this fundamental human desire to share and experience the magic of a story when we are unable to inhabit the same space? What’s it going to feel like in a house of worship - be it church, synagogue, temple, or theatre - amidst empty space and silent bodies with faces nearly completely covered? The early days of Steamboat theatre were occasionally like this when the heat failed in the Cameo Playhouse and only a few hardy audience members, scattered about with mufflers and scarves, showed up for an enthusiastically performed - if poorly written - Western melodrama “Slightly Northwest of Oak Crik.” It just wasn’t the same entertainment value for either audience or performer, only slightly better than pornography really. Performing artists have attempted Zoom and YouTube with some expensive and vigorous efforts applied to very skillfully written and performed material. But I think it all falls flat compared to real bodies in space. There’s just something so magical about watching dancers leaping about to an internal rhythm, grunting and sweating; singers and musicians whose powerful voices and instruments vibrate the very air against our skin; and actors whose looks can pierce our souls. How can we come close to replicating these experiences? I recently saw a low budget indie film “The Sound of Metal'' about a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. He spends the film searching for what was lost before accepting a calm stillness living with what he has. This is what performing artists can create in our lives: power in stillness, a moment when everything stops and we’re waiting and holding our breath to see and hear what happens next. When we enter a theatre or house of worship, we suspend our disbelief: the cheap red wine really is blood, the Ghost of Hamlet’s father can rise and speak. We also give in to a suspension of time and space, living and experiencing in the moment a story being told as if for the first time, even if it’s hundreds or thousands of years old. We’re learning a hard and painful lesson never, ever, to take these feelings for granted. As we cling to American Democracy by the last remnants of our hard-bitten fingernails, we must remember that really nothing can take the place of live performance by skillful storytellers using music or voice or movement (or all three for you triple threats in performing arts schools) to create those transformative moments that shape our lives. If the performing arts do anything, they open us to moments of vulnerability and shared humanity in real time. They give us the opportunity to experience empathy and catharsis through stories told in our faces through the most powerful of mediums: the human body in all its beauties and imperfections. Performing arts remind us that we are not broken. The memories, and moving shadows on a screen, are all that we will have for a while to remind us that we are not broken. “Remember me,” says the Ghost of Hamlet’s father. Hamlet replies, “Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat in this distracted globe. And thy commandment all alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain.”
The sharing of air is potentially deadly now and likely will be for the remainder of 2021. Not even the best and brightest scientists know for how long a vaccine will prevent infection, or if it will even prevent a successfully vaccinated person from unknowingly transmitting the disease to others. Masks and social distancing will be with us for a while, meaning that the gatherings around the fire or Keep the Happy 2020 but say.
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No amount of arm waving and pointing to the scientist’s new big telescope, spectrophotometer, or PCR machine will convince. Only understanding the numbers can do that. There are lots of conservatives and conspiracy nut-cakes who live in a grim world where masks are useless and scientists actually made the virus. Reading a blog on the internet isn’t the same as reading a real research paper, but nut-cakes...oh well. So this study, referenced on webmd, is definitive on the value of masks:
Ueki H, Furusawa Y, Iwatsuki-Horimoto K, Imai M, Kabata H, Nishimura H, Kawaoka Y. Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2. mSphere. 2020 Oct 21
Dance within your reality
The study has a flaw, however, which makes it more useful for wing nuts than for those of us wanting the straight answer.
Music on the green
People gathering close
Children laughing You can’t be controlled Nothing ever stays the same Within the illusions created
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
As presented in the paper, however, it looks as if even the best N95 is only about 50% effective: The scientists used logarithmic units of measurements, so the published graph makes it look like masks are almost useless. I was taken in at first until I noticed the units and made my own graph of the data. Many people, especially conspiracy theorists, never make it to a study of logarithms. Many who do study logarithms never understand them. I doubt one guitarist in a thousand knows that the famous Tube Screamer distortion pedal is simply an AC logarithmic amplifier. . . Please indulge me: I would like to ascend my soapbox for a minute and give a simple list of the math everyone should understand--ten things that cover eighty percent of all math ever needed: Rectangles, similar triangles, circles, linear formulas, square law formulas, successive approximation, mean, standard deviation, confidence interval, and correlation coefficient. The above ten things are all simple math--so simple even an alcoholic conspiracy theorist can understand them. I’ll spare you the simple derivations at this point, however. Notice the lack of logarithms. If all journalists were comfortable with this much math, truth in reporting could be almost universal. If scientists tried to use only such simple math to explain things, it would force them to be more clear--not for other scientists, but for the rest of us.
Sweet summer days
In this graph, all masks help and the properly fitted N95 is greater than 90 percent effective..
Under snowy nights
In the case of an unmasked sender and masked reciever, here is my graph of roughly what they found:
Gods and aliens
By Joan Remy
Scientific papers are for other scientists. The results are usually digested for the masses in what I call “gee whiz” form with no math at all. The “gee whiz” results seem no more valid than opinions spewed by drunks and punk guitarists in a bar. The fact is there, but the why and how are gone.
It isn’t that scientists are as arrogant as the mathematically challenged, believe. They just aren’t salesmen.
In paper I read, the scientists are making the anti-mask conspiracy worse by a simple math mistake no math expert will recognize..
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An Old Coal Miner Looks at How Scientists Create Conspiracy Theorists By Ted Crook
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Red, Blue and Purple By Brodie Farquhar
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. – Charles Dickens,“A Tale of Two Cities” In 2020, Dickens might well have been referring to the fractious tribes of the United States – Red, Blue and Purple. Presently, we have the worst pandemic numbers in the world, adding 200,000 new cases a day and logging 3,000 deaths per day. We’ve roared past 300,000 deaths. Fortunately, COVID-19 vaccines are getting delivered to states, cities and towns and inoculations administered to terrified senior citizens, as well as exhausted doctors and nurses in the nation’s intensive care units. We’ve a long way to go before we enter a post-pandemic world sometime in 2021. Getting through winter depends not only on vaccines, but the behavior of citizens and whether they are willing to be inoculated or forego large Christmas gatherings in favor of hunkering down through the holidays, wearing masks in public, maintaining social distancing and washing hands. Because there is so much misinformation about, well, almost everything and anything, it is an open question how a divided public will respond to public health appeals. At the national political level, we have an incumbent president who will not admit he lost the election, and a president-elect busily nominating people for cabinet and agency leadership positions. The issue of power in the Senate waits for resolution to come in a Georgia special election for two Senate seats in early January. If the Democratic candidates win, then a 50-50 Senate will have Vice-President Kamala Harris as chairPresident of the Senate and breaking tie votes. In that case, Democratic President Joe Biden can pursue a more ambitious agenda. If the Republican incumbents win, then the Republicans will have a 52-48 advantage and can obstruct the Biden agenda at will. A potential Senate wild card could be Veep Harris. As Senate President, she could vie with Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for power in the Senate. She is free to recognize any senator who wishes to speak and call votes on any topic, bill or appointment. McConnell might win those votes, but it opens the door to amendments from any senator and creates opportunities for bipartisanship that McConnell would find difficult to squelch if Harris wielded the gavel. Here in Colorado, the Democratic Party holds the legislature and all but one state-wide seat, from the governor on down. The congressional delegation will have two Blue senators and a minority of Republicans – Buck, Lamborn and pistol-packing Boebert.
At the county level, Routt appears to be a Blue/Purple hue, with neighboring counties solidly Red. Steamboat’s winter season depends not only on how much snow falls, and when, but whether residents and visitors can cooperate with local authorities to keep the pandemic within workable bounds. Short of next summer or fall, it is doubtful whether there will be enough vaccine inoculations to crush the virus and allow a quick return to normalcy. Any approximation to “normal” will depend on local, county, state and national politics, as well as local behaviors. Whether Routt County enjoys an average or even above-average snowfall, it is unlikely to change the state’s drought status. The year 2020 was hot and dry, creating bone-dry soil conditions and a year for record-setting wildfires of immense size and intensity. Urban, rural, recreational and industrial interests will all be negatively impacted by tighter water supplies and wildfire threats. Which leads to climate change, an existential threat to the Colorado River basin, county, state, nation and world. How we respond to climate change, after decades of Republican denial, doubt and delay, has vast implications for employment, the economy and future for children and grandchildren. While the emerging Biden Administration’s climate change agenda is not as ambitious as the Green New Deal, it will promote vigorous changes in the fossil and renewable energy sectors, transportation infrastructure and electric vehicles. Coal mines and coal-burning power plants are phasing out, while solar panel installation should be a booming business and offer coal-based workers a ready transition to new employment. Mass transit for the Craig to Steamboat run may evolve on the rail system, as coal transportation ebbs. The growing market for electric refueling stations for electric vehicles will open the door to home and commercial solar power and battery storage. Home and commercial construction opportunities will need to emphasize energy conservation, safety from wildfires, solar power generation and new air handling systems that save energy and can protect people from airborne viruses. COVID-19 is here now, but it won’t be the last pandemic. More are coming as remote jungles are developed, or factory farms invade disrupted ecosystems. Dependable snowfall may become a thing of the past as climate change continues. Business models may need radical overhauls. The key is for all of us to remain alert (the world needs more ‘lerts’) to emerging trends and news. Familiar ideological blinders may be comforting in unsettling times, but they can also be profoundly misleading and inadequate to the scope of change that is bearing down on us, good and bad.
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Storm Peak Brewing
The Big Change in Northwest Colorado By Ellen and Paul Bonnifield
Wobblies demonstrating across the U.S.A.
John R. Lawson - 1871 - 1945
The International Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) was a radical labor organization hated and feared by government and business. In 1926, veteran organizer A. S. Embree, previously jailed, beaten, and abused in Arizona and Montana, began organizing Colorado’s coal mines. Responding to a reporter’s question: Why organize labor? Embree replied, “In the struggle itself lies the happiness of the fighter.”
John Lawson as vice president in charge of labor relations and a member of the board of directors. Earlier, Lawson was the head of the UMWA during the Great Strike of 1913-1914 and the Ludlow Massacre. After the strike he was framed and sent to prison for a time. Lawson’s appointment was a quantum transformation and he remained with the coal company for eleven years.
Two anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted of murder during a robbery gone bad. Evidence was inconclusive and the charge of framing the pair found many supporters. The IWW in 1927 called for a three-day national strike in support of Sacco and Vanzetti. Much to everyone’s surprise including Embree, Colorado coal miners responded in force. At Walsenburg, 1,100 miners walked out. Across the state, 6,340 of 12,900 coal miners left the pits. The strike kept growing until approximately 12,000 miners were out on strike. It soon became a full-grown labor action. Over 200 miners at the two mines nearest Oak Creek, Victor American and Moffat, began picketing. Shortly afterward all mines in the district were being picketed. District Attorney Monson declared the strike illegal and instructed Sheriff Kitchens to assemble a large posse to break the strike. Giving support, Governor Adams ordered Captain H. H. Richardson, Lt. R. C. Royal, and E. H. Arbrech to inspect Oak Creek mines and arrange for a force of State Rangers – marshal law through a back door. The head of Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I), Jesse Welborn, controlled the Southern Coalfield at Trinidad and Walsenburg. He wanted to destroy unions but the violence could not be associated with CF&I. He sent Captain Louis Scherf and a detachment of Rangers to the Rocky Mountain Fuel’s Columbine Mine in Weld County. During the Sacco-Vanzetti upheaval, John Roche died leaving his interest to his daughter. Josephine Roche was an uncommon woman. Although she belonged to Denver’s upper crust, she was among the first Denver policewomen working the streets to end exploitation of young girls. She also cooperated with Judge Ben Lindsey establishing Colorado leadership in juvenile justice. During the 1927 strike, in direct defiance of Welborn’s wishes, Josephine instructed the mine superintendent to allow pickets on the mine property and to avoid all violence.
Josephine Roche - 1886 - 1976 On November 21, 1927, 400 peaceful picketers approached the gate at Columbine Mine. Unbeknownst to strikers and their families, Captain Louis Scherf and a detachment of Rangers were at the mine drinking. Meanwhile, learning of Welborn/Scherf’s plan of murder, Josephine called Governor Adams and demanded the Rangers be removed before anyone was hurt. Adams ignored her. Soon after the strikers arrived at the gate, Scherf’s men opened fire killing six and wounding at least sixty. It is known as the Columbine Massacre. Scherf and his men quickly retreated to the Southern Coalfield and the protection of CF&I. Later, the gunmen claimed they acted in self-defense and walked away free. Jess Welborn soon learned the truth of the adage, “You can safely give a man the honey thumb, but don’t piss off the wrong woman.” Instead of submitting to him, Josephine borrowed money and purchased complete control of the coal company. She then negotiated a fair contract with the United Mine Workers (UMWA): recognizing the Union, raising miners’ pay, and eliminating many unfair practices. Some historians argue Miss Roche saved the UMWA from extinction. Putting salt in Welborn’s wound, she hired
For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
Josephine was not finished. With a nod from her friend Eleanor Roosevelt, on December 7, 1934, Miss Roche became assistant secretary of the Treasury. Among her friends was president of the UMWA John L Lewis, president of the AFL William Green, and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. Miss Roche was a powerful voice for labor reform, social security, child labor laws, industrial safety regulations, and prison reform. She played a leading role in passage of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. Within a decade of the Columbine Massacre, the old coal mining system that Welborn represented was dead. Coal miners could live where they chose, were paid in real money, and could shop at any store. Mine safety regulations were enforced, child labor was prohibited, and mine bosses were no longer “god almighty” over all men, women, and children. Mine guards could no longer shoot peaceful men and women. Organizing was safe for labor. Big changes began October 29, 1929, with the stock market crash followed by the Great Depression. Between 1929 and 1933, gross national product declined from $104 billion to $41 billion. Wages declined from $16 billion to $7.7 billion. The Colorado State Federation of Labor estimated 90 percent of the state’s labor force worked less than three days per week. Colorado Fuel & Iron went bankrupt and the federal government bailed out the Colorado National Bank. Routt and Moffat county teachers’ pay sharply declined and they were paid in script (counterfeit money) that merchants discounted. Northwestern Colorado banks were involved in a Ponzi game where each bank borrowed from the other in a circle. It worked if all balls stayed in the air. Following the stock market crash, banks failed and bankers became fugitives or went to prison. According to one source in 1932, Routt County had more delinquent farm taxes than any county in the U.S. County commissioners arbitrarily administered the Poor Fund.
The Philosophy of Tomatoes By Fran Conlon
I am outstanding on the vine, From small green pebble to red ripe sphere, I offer sustenance at the harvest time, Tastefully a gourmet's true dream here. The cognoscenti argue: am I fruit or veggie? Much hot talk to and fro, Not too relevant: this spiritual wedgie. Delays the meal and my delicious show. Franklin D. Rosevelt signing the New Deal in 1933. Commissioners gave one old man near Hahns Peak a box of 22 short bullets to shoot jack rabbits. A widow was removed from the fund because she purchased candy for her small children instead of oatmeal. A bedridden invalid at Hayden was placed in a woman’s care. As the cost of laundry was more than the county paid her, she requested more money. Commissioners instructed her to use old newspapers as linens. Leslie D. Eggleston stole several items from his employer, but did not attempt to escape. When Sheriff Frank Foster asked where he thought he was going, Eggleston responded, “Cañon City (prison).” Responding to Judge Herrick’s inquiry of why he committed to crime, Eggleston replied, “I was working 16 hours a day for board and I figured I could do that well in Cañon City.” Routt County Supervisor of the Poor, Josephine Chambers during winter 1933, called for secondhand clothing for poor children. She received nothing; everyone needed their old ragged clothes. In March 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became President of the United States and his New Deal completely changed America. That same year, Ed C Johnson from Craig was elected governor. Although a Democrat, he believed, “We cannot continue the dole for two reasons. First, because we have not the finances and even if we had, it is wrong to continue with a system which is undermining every standard of citizenship we hold dear in this great state.” He continued, “We’ll see violence and bloodshed. However, I am not afraid of what the citizens of Colorado will do when the time comes. They will meet the emergency without fear.” Under Johnson’s leadership the legislature refused matching funds for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and director Harry Hopkins stopped funding. January 3, 1934, hungry and destitute citizens marched on the state capital. The legislature fled as protestors took control of the chambers.
The Nation described it as the first Communist meeting... under the dome. Instead of bloodshed, the governor and legislature appropriated matching funds. Several historians have argued the success of the New Deal was found in the middle ground between extremes. Roosevelt met the Constitutional mandate of “promoting the general welfare” and offered relief to everyone. The AAA provided wide-ranging assistance to agriculture through price subsidies, twenty-one million hot lunches were served to school children, forest service trail systems were built by the CCC, and thousands of other projects. Low cost federally insured home and farm loans were part of the New Deal. The WPA cleared ski slopes at Aspen, Winter Park, and Steamboat. In Colorado, the WPA built 9,000 miles of highway. US 40 was paved and opened year round. Highways 131 and 134 were relocated and rebuilt. Twenty-one airports, 63 dams, and 26 sewage plants were constructed. Steamboat and Hayden were forced to stop dumping raw sewage into the river for Craig to drink. Child labor laws were passed and enforced. Unemployment insurance became available. Employment offices assisted the unemployed to find work. The Fair Labor Act of 1938 set minimum wages and high standards for safety. Social Security (1936) was a blessing to the elderly and infirm. Entertainers and artists found a place in the New Deal. The list goes on. Not everyone supported Roosevelt. Senator Ed C. Johnson, in 1944, labeled Roosevelt a communist and the New Deal communism. Many conservatives then and now agree. Others see the success. History of Colorado for the sixtyyear period 1880 to 1940 was the story of endless bloody labor wars, but from 1940 to 2000, peace reigned. The New Deal met the real needs of working America and the bloodshed stopped. The New Deal gave America a five-day work week with weekends off and money to spend. Why fight when you can have fun?
I go well with a sandwich spread, Chips are company: a salty taste. They can’t match my colorful red, A meal and snack not to waste. In politics, I sometimes get a toss, Not my true style, flying in the air, I move sedately, even with a loss, Romancing your taste is my affair. Sliced or diced, I'm here to please, I'm not an orange, so don't squeeze.
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Avoid the Pitfall of Parent Plus Student Loans By Scott L. Ford
Guilt is a powerful motivator. A number of parents are overcome with guilt when they realize they have not saved nearly enough for their child’s college education. Add to this guilt the thinking pitfall that occurs when the student and families set their hearts on a specific college and will do whatever it takes to make it work. What is the solution to this reality?
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Way too many parents will look to the federal Parents Plus Loan program as a way to smooth over the guilt and help their child’s dreams come true. But at what cost? Unfortunately, for some folks borrowing for their child’s education is an emotional decision and not a financial one. This is an emotional decision that has budget busting and long-term consequences specifically as it relates to the parents saving for retirement. Let us first begin by describing what the federal Parent Plus Loan is. Unlike a traditional student loan issued to the student, a Parents Plus Loan is issued to the parent(s) of an undergraduate student. This loan is essentially a line of credit to be used to offset the college’s cost of attendance less any financial aid (scholarships and loans) the student may receive. To be clear, a college’s cost of attendance and tuition and fees are two different things. Cost of Attendance (COA) includes tuition and fees but also estimates for books, room/board, and other expenses. I will use the University of Denver (DU) as an example. According to collegedata.com, for the school year 2020/21 tuition was $53,775. To that figure add room/board, books, fees, and other expenses of $18,154 which will bring the COA to $ 71,929 for the University of Denver. Let us assume that Billy Bob has been accepted to the school. The parents have saved no money for his college. Billy Bob received a financial aid package of $20,000 in the form of scholarships and student loans. The net COA is $51,929 ($71,929 - $20,000 = $51,929). In the situation just described, it would be possible to borrow the full amount using the federal Parents Plus Loan. The goofy thing associated with this type of student loan is that no consideration is given to whether the parents’ income can afford the loan. There is no income verification requirement. The only requirement to secure a Parents Plus Loan is the parents do not have an adverse credit history. An adverse credit history occurs when the borrower has a current delinquency of 90 or more days on more than $2,085 in total debt; or the borrower has more than $2,085 in total debt in collections or any chargedoff during the two years preceding the date of the credit report; or the borrower’s credit report has a derogatory event within the five years preceding the date of the credit report. Typical adverse events include: • Default determination • Bankruptcy discharge • Foreclosure (including a deed in lieu of foreclosure)
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• Repossession (including voluntary surrender to avoid repossession) • Tax lien (including county, state, and federal tax liens) • Wage garnishment It is so easy for parents to get in debt way over their head with the Parent Plus Loan because it has no cumulative loan limit. Going back to our Billy Bob example, his parents are ages 56 and 52 on the date of his graduation four years later from DU. They ended up borrowing $207,716 using a Parents Plus Loan for his education. The monthly payments are $2,234 for the next 10 years, or about $27,000 annually. Based on a typical married household with $88,154 of gross income, the $27,000 payment represents slightly over 30% of their disposable income assuming a 20% tax rate. They are in real trouble and there is extraordinarily little they can do about it. One option would be to extend the payments from 10 years to 20 or 30 years. Although the monthly payment would be lower, they could find themselves paying on this loan well into their 80s if they selected the 30-year option. Another would be to be to convert their Parent Plus Loan into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. This simple change will allow borrowers to qualify for Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) of no more than 20% of their discretionary income for up to 25 years. At the end of the 25-year period, if they have not missed a single payment, the remaining debt is discharged (forgiven). For student loan purposes, the U.S. Department of Education considers discretionary income to be disposable income minus 150% of the federal poverty guidelines for the family size. In the case of Billy Bob’s parents’ discretionary income, they would have a payment of $664 per month ($88,154 less 20% for taxes = $70,523 less $30,630 [150% of federal poverty level for their family size] = $39,893 X 20% = $7,977/12 mo. = $664). Without question, a payment of $664 per month is lower but not great since the terms of a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan are for 25 years. After 25 years (the parents are ages 81 and 77 respectively), any outstanding loan balance is discharged. The balance discharged is considered taxable income in the year it is discharged. Ouch! Parent Plus Loans are the worst student loans and should be avoided. The best way to avoid the nightmare of Parent Plus Loans is to be the adult in the relationship. Do this by simply saying to the child you cannot afford their dream college of choice and that you are not going to forfeit your future just so they can go to that incredibly special and expensive college.
Nature's Calendars By Karen Vail
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, ancient civilizations followed the motion of celestial bodies (sun, moon and stars) to determine the season, months and years. Ice-age hunters in Europe over 20,000 years ago followed the phases of the moon using lines scratched and gouged in sticks and bones. Stonehenge, built over 4,000 years ago in England, was apparently built to follow celestial events such as solstices, lunar eclipses, etc. And the earliest calendar in Egypt was based on the moon’s cycles. They realized the “Dog Star” in Canis Major (which we call Sirius) rose next to the sun every 365 days, about when the annual inundation of the Nile began. Using this knowledge, they created a 365 day calendar that seems to have begun around 3,100 BCE (Before the Common Era), and is purported to be one of the earliest “years” recorded in history. Notice how all of these observations hinged around the cycles of the natural world? Moon and sun phases, celestial changes, river flooding? That got the ol’ gray cells humming as I thought about the natural cycles in our valley and what natural events, we could use to create a Yampa Valley Nature Calendar. I got out my 40 plus years of journals and took note of notable consistencies from year to year. Below are some of my fun findings. A couple of notes: most of these entries were from the Yampa Valley unless noted, many entries had date ranges well over a month, so I tried to find a common thread through the dates. And, of course, the calendar can be followed up in elevation. As the glacier lilies are setting seed here in the valley, they are just emerging from the high mountain snowpack. • Late February to early March Red wing blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) return to the valley, announcing their arrival with their vociferous “conk-a-reeee”.
• Late April to early May. Yummy, sweet anise leaves (Osmorhiza occidentalis), newly sprouted from the earth! • May 1. Yes, the date is very specific as this bird, the broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) seems to arriving within a week of this day. • Mid May. The days are getting ever longer and the bats have returned flitting through the night skies. • Mid to late May. The fairies visit! If you know where to find them fairy slipper orchids (Calypso bulbosa var. americana) are such a wonderful find! • End of May. The sagebrush habitat, something most of us drive by without a second look, is in full blazing bloom. Incredible!! • End of May to beginning of June. Our very special and protected Trillium (Trillium ovatum) blooms. Look, enjoy, but please do not pick.
Sagebrush in a riot of Spring Bloom/ Photo by Karen Vail Happy New Year everyone! Wowzer, how ready are you to head into something “new”? Here is a question to ponder; why do we begin the “New Year” on January 1st? Why don’t we begin a year on the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice, then follow the year through the natural cycles? Of course, before calendars we did use the cycles of nature to track the passage of time.
• Late April to early May. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var melanocarpa) leaves emerge in beautiful red hues.
• First of March. Northern flickers (Colaptes auratus) insist on waking everyone up at 5:00 AM as they pound away on metal stove pipes, siding on houses and telephone poles. Sheesh! • Early to mid March. The cheery songs of White-crown sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) greet the dawn around riparian areas in the valley. • Mid to late March. Crust walks and skis! How fun is this to be able to go anywhere?! • Mid March to mid April. The very first sign of plant life! Salt and Pepper (Orogenia linearifolia), a very unassuming little white flowering plant, pops up around town.
• Mid to late June. The debutante of the party arrives. Our Colorado state flower, columbine (Aquilegia coerulea), dances into aspen groves and rich meadows. • Mid July. Another debutante graces the meadows as the Sego lilies (Calochortus gunnisonii) open wide to a surprise inside! • Mid to late July. Notice those fiery spires of fuchsia pink around the wild parts of the valley? The fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) is beginning its month-long bloom. • Mid to late July. Such a delicate plant is the yampa (Perideridia gairdneri), but what a big impact on our valley! • Late July to August. Berries!!! Need I say more??
• Late March to mid April. Sagebrush buttercups (Ranunculus glabberimus) are the first spot of sunny color in the brown and white landscape. • Late March to first of April. Chorus frogs fill the spring air with song from ponds around the valley. • Late March to first of April. Fluffy aspen catkins burst forth.
• Late July to late August. It’s the blues time. The myriad gentians grace meadows and wetlands. • Late August. Mushrooms!! Need I say more??
• April. Here comes the sunny face of glacier lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum)…only to be covered by snow yet again.
• Late August. The Flat Tops offers one of the last precious blooms of the year, the Arctic gentian (Gentiana algida). This is a beauty!
• Mid April to first of May. The chartreuse green of spring aspen leaves dazzle the eye on Emerald Mountain.
• Mid September to first of October. The peak of our stunning fall colors. Are we on another planet?
• Mid April to first of May. Look up! Here come the swallows swooping through the sky! • Late April to first of May. The royal blues enter the seasons with Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum) often covering meadows.
How about a Nature Calendar of your home? Have you tracked changes through the season? How about starting to write down your observations, or, even better, adding them to an ever-growing data set of phenological data (https://www.budburst.org, https://www.usanpn.org are just a couple of data collecting sites).
• Late April to early May. Look closely or you will miss the fuzzy pale lavender Pasque flowers (Pulsatilla patens ssp. multifida).
Head into the new year with a passion for observing all the stories our changing seasons have to offer. I will be observing out on the trails! Happy and healthy 2021 to all!
• Mid to late August. Is that a hummingbird flitting around my flowers. Nope, the sphinx moths (Hyles lineata) are out in abundance.
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One More for the Season
God Bless Brock Yates By Jim Barker
A few months ago, your typical Rocky Mountain Spring day. Since sunrise not very warm, often times looking like snow showers on Mount Werner but mostly dry and mostly cold around the house. Spend the day carry wood, split water or atoms then in a split decision when Jillian decides it's time to watch Homeland, I get dressed to ride. It's now 1815h, plenty of daylight left though now the 360 degree horizon has the clouds down on the hills bringing precipitation that's probably lacking degrees to be rain. But the moment must be seized because I have a plan. We (Baby Blue and I) roll down the driveway, she in her fine twenty year-old paint job and me in those Pearl Izumi tights that Jill gave me that still have a hint of chamois left and a couple layers under my Molteni jersey and super versatile Lazer winter cap. Breezy as we pick our way down the gravel driveway and then north we go on 131 with a noticeable tailwind. Thus the plan: time a clockwise Oak Creek Loop so that the storm that's obviously not far away only creates some mild headwind battering on RCR14 but then gets serious just as we hit Oak Creek and then enjoy a significant tailwind through the canyon and home. There are a couple of incidents that inspired this early evening escapade. Over the winter I read "The Emerald Mile," an incredible story of three wild boatmen who decide to set the record for the fastest time through the Grand Canyon by putting in below Lake Powell in their wooden dory during a Spring of record run-off when the water is so high that the river is pouring over Glen Canyon Dam and conditions are so dangerous that no one is even allowed in the canyon. Secondly, this year, one car with several gentlemen aboard, along with auxiliary fuel tanks, left New York and arrived in Redondo Beach some 26 hours later, taking advantage of minimal traffic due to pandemic and setting a new record for the Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an event that Dad and I used to read about in his "Car and Driver" magazine when I was in high school. My plan; quite simple really. Combining aspects of both events, i.e. favorable meteorological conditions and no cars, I hoped to set a personal record for the pedal from downtown Oak Creek to home.
On 131, two miles south of town, the crosswind is noticeable. Precipitation increases, the highway is wet but not saturated. When I climb out of the saddle, water droplets sway back and forth on my cap visor, like beads on an abacus. I am warm and comfortable, not feeling wet, there is still daylight and I am thinking the math might just work out. I absolutely fly through downtown OC as the air becomes more favorable, and the rain stops and becomes strictly snow. But minimal. No cars. Road's not dry but no standing puddles. Into the canyon, full-on tailwind now. Every descent I am in my biggest gear. I allow myself a chuckle. I hear a vehicle approaching from the rear. Doesn't immediately pass. I did have the presence of mind to attach a flashing red light to the seat post because now though it's not dark it's not exactly light. Car behind slows as we approach RCR179 and I glance back to see a Sheriff pulling onto the shoulder behind me. Hmmm. Whatever. Now I am gunning it up the last hill, rolling over in an enormous gear and I notice that the road is dry. It's not snowing. It's not raining. And that magical moment occurs where the air and the bicycle are moving together in unison and there's no sound except the purr of engagement and release of chain on cogs and bladed spokes slicing the night air and I find myself in my very own 70kph quarantine, headed for home.
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As I rode past Moose's and got the initial hit of headwind and a good look at the ominous skyline to the west, I had the thought of turning around. But really what's the worst that can happen? It's too windy, I go too slow and it takes me til dark to get to Oak Creek and it starts to rain? Call Jillian for a rescue? Not a bad back-up plan except to save weight and prevent drowning I left my phone at home. So I continue past Allen's and head up Yellow Jacket Pass, convincing myself that after this climb it's mostly rolling and sort of protected and if I can make it to 131 without being soaked I'll be in the catbird seat, whatever that means. Lucky enough, wind is mild as I cruise past the reservoir, letting the idea of abandoning the attempt and just ride up to Hayslip's or Meyer's place go away with the breeze, and with only a few raindrops/snowflakes to contend with I make it to the highway. At this point I have seen three cars.
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Tales from the Front Desk
The Creep By Aimee Kimmey
counter. His eyes rolled slowly across her body making her flesh crawl. He smiled approvingly, as if she was the perfect cut of steak to grill up for dinner. Swallowing her revulsion, the clerk forced a smile, "Hi, can I help you?" "Oh yeah, you can help me... I need a room..." He smirked. Ignoring his creepy innuendo, she nodded, "Sure, I just need your credit card and ID." "Okay." But instead of reaching for his wallet, he leaned on the counter, "You been here long? Town I mean. This place is a real crap hole..." "Uh, yeah...?"
The story you are about to read is true... More or less. Saturday. Front desk. 11:48 pm. The clerk liked the late night shift, usually it was quite peaceful. Most of the hotel was tucked quietly into their rooms by now, and not many people checked in this late. She had plenty of time to work on what ever she needed to catch up on. Tonight it was New Year's resolutions. Sure she was a couple of days past the start of the New Year, but who's counting? A new year, a fresh start, a blank slate ripe for a cosmic re-set. The clerk considered this past year, what had she learned? How could she improve? The chime of the door broke her out of her reflections. A gaunt, greasy, man leered at her as he slinked toward the zirkel-valleyvoice-ad-120519.pdf
"...You know, I could put my hand down my pants right now, I bet you'd like that huh?" And there it is, the clerk thought as she flipped off the sounds on her phone, the official sign to get this creep out of the lobby. As he blathered on about his pants, and other unsavory things, she pushed the numbers: 9, 1, 1, then slid her phone just a little closer to him... She watched the screen until she saw a response on the other end. Then she piped up, "Gee, I'm really sorry you're having such a terrible time here, at this hotel, that you want to blow it up..." "Oh, I'm gonna' blow up this whole town!" The guy practically shouted. "You just watch me honey..."
The guy settled in, words spewing out of him like a burst dam. "This place is pretty up into itself isn't it? I don't see what's so great about it..."
He bragged passionately, nearly screaming at times. The clerk watched her phone, the line was still open, she focused on that. Someone was listening, they would send help...
The clerk suppressed her groan, so much for a peaceful night of reflection and resolutions! She pulled back as far behind the counter as she could, and focused in on the computer as he ranted on.
When the door finally chimed, it never sounded so good! As the officers walked into the lobby, relief rolled over her like a wave. The creep bristled immediately at the sight of them.
At first she tossed out a few non-committal sounds, just to be polite. But after a few very long minutes, the clerk stopped responding all together. He rambled on as if she were hanging on his every word, never noticing the pained expression on her face.
"Hey there, Ken," One officer said in a friendly tone. "How we doing tonight?"
"... I could blow this whole place up you know? I know exactly how to do it, and they'd never catch me..."
The officers positioned themselves quietly between the clerk and the creep. They moved with calm, quiet authority, never threatening, just gently encouraging him toward the door.
She had been fading in and out of his diatribe, but that bit caught her attention. He wasn't serious was he? He seemed serious enough as he laid it out in perfect detail how he'd make bombs and exactly where he'd put them to do the most damage. The unpleasant tingle in the pit of her stomach moved several notches up creepy scale. Pulling her phone closer, the clerk began to wonder at what point she should call the police.
"What's it to you?" The creep almost sounded tough, except for his voice cracking.
"It's pretty late Ken, I'm sure this nice lady has things to do. It's time for you to move on home..." It took them a few minutes to usher the creep out, but eventually he disappeared back into the night. "He's a bit of a local character, he's usually harmless." The officer explained after he was gone. "But he can be a little aggressive if you push him. That was very clever, turning the sounds off on your phone and calling 911."
"Thanks." The clerk nodded, feeling proud of herself. The officer was right, she had kept her cool, and used her head, and come through an uncomfortable situation with grace.
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It was a while longer before officers left and the clerk found herself alone with her New Year's reflections again. "This year has been a creep," She wrote, "But it's gone now; it's time to move forward. What I have learned from this year is that no matter how unpleasant a situation is, if you approach it thoughtfully and with kindness, you will persevere... And ALWAYS keep your phone charged!"
Go West, Young Bard! By Sean Derning
Residents on the west side of Steamboat have been hoping for more business development on the west end of town, as the current drive across town and back to go shopping for groceries, medical care and finding suitable restaurants and the like has been an increasing nightmare with traffic delays, construction and such. Now it appears that a developer has come to town with a plan for an expanded strip mall, with restaurants, small businesses and suppliers all eager to serve the demands of the west side of town, as well as others traveling to the airport or to Hayden and Craig. Located just outside of town on Hwy. 40, west of D&D, the mall is set to break ground this spring and most of the 100,000 square feet of retail space already has tenants waiting to open up shop. The new developer is Balthazar Shakespeare, great-greatgreat grandson of the famous bard William Shakespeare. I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Shakespeare at his construction trailer office last week and he showed me the proposed drawing of the mall, tastefully done in Tudor style architecture. Called Willy’s World, the mall will change the face of retail in the Yampa Valley. “One of the needs of the western Steamboat community has been quality restaurants and taverns,” he said. “People here love to go out to eat and we have several concept restaurants specializing in farm to table from local suppliers. We’ve got a little something for everyone. We’ve got a nice little breakfast café called Eggs and Hamlet. Vegan lunch diners will like the new Much Ado About Ruffage salad bar.”
replied, “My great-great-great grandfather’s works are timeless. Steamboat is full of avid readers, has numerous libraries and literary lectures and festivals, and this seems like a solid fit.” He went on to expand, “But we’re not putting all our eggs in one basket with the restaurants. We have several other businesses the area is in need of. There’s Romeow and Juliet pet supplies. Ot-hello cell phones. The Merchant of Tennis sporting goods. To Bee or Not To Bee locally made gourmet honey products. Out Damned Spot carpet cleaning. The daytime traffic should be steady.” The proposal sounds good on paper, but what about after the sun goes down? “Yes! This is where the mall really takes off, and we want tourism to come to the forefront.” said Shakespeare. “We envision families coming out to As You Like It public house for the buffet. And then after dinner, there are a myriad of choices. Take the family to try the frozen treats at the locally churned Midsummer Nights Cream, or take in a show at the Jest and Jape comedy theater. Adults can grab a drink at the Antony and CleoPatron tequila bar. And for those a little more daring, there’s the MacBet video gaming parlor or the King Leer gentleman’s club.” “Bottom line is this is about class. Not social hierarchy, but refined entertainment,” said Shakespeare. “It’s good for the local economy, tax base and in marketing the Yampa Valley. Critics may say the concept is short sighted, but over 400 years of classic literature can’t be all wrong.”
When questioned why the businesses have been named after Shakespeare plays and characters, Shakespeare
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Poetry in Clauses - Howl Briefly Revisited By Sandy Conlon
It started with a clause, fairly brief then another clause came to be his poem now ‘looser’ the professor said in quiet tones nearly whispering as if adoring something thought holy yet unborn then there emerged a third clause clawing itself into existence near the dark alley where joy & hope like broken toys lay tattered and torn a doll’s glass eyes hangs down like sea-green tears weeping for the lost soul of goodness, beauty, and truth and the clauses expanded exponentially, as there was much more to say, so each clause shouted the louder protesting a corrupt society liars, crooks, slayers, and thieves like jonah, elijah, jeremiah of old the poet ginsburg built his case with clauses but some say he was a raving lunatic his own creative life held hostage by drugs, booze, the crudest of words breaking into conventional thought, warning against, mind control, soulessness, he was left howling around the room cursing the darkness railing over the fetid corpse of innocence denied and society gone mad
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like a priest in some ancient rite celebrating human kindness seeking detachment now overwhelmed by hypocrisy and greed all in all ginsburg’s poetry of the clause when piled sky high causes considerable consternation and in its depth . . . extreme shortness of breath.
Your Monthly Message By Chelsea Yepello Aries
March 21 - April 19
A friend of a friend will invite you to a candlelight vigil in the park. They will stress that it is important to stick together in these uncertain times and unite as equals. They want to gather everyone together as a reminder to cherish the important things and acknowledge the things that cannot be replaced. You decide to go to the vigil and stand with others as they mourn the end of Pumpkin Spice season.
April 20 - May 20
You begin to wonder if those cheesy mother fuc**ers that cleverly joke “See you next year!”on December 31st, inferring that they will see you tomorrow, have been making people chuckle awkwardly throughout history, or if this is a recent monstrosity of modern society.
May 20 - June 20
You’re disappointed that major cities are not collapsing into giant sink holes, demon birds aren’t pecking out people’s hearts, there are no fire balls falling from the sky or aliens enslaving humans. No, the apocalypse is turning out to be a slow, annoying series of events that continue to be classified as the “new normal” and something you just get used to. It turns out it’s more of an anticlimactic and unsatisfying inconvenience than the Armageddon you were promised.
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June 21 - July 22
It’s time to stop yelling “That’s my jam!” every time you agree with something. You made it more than obvious whose jam it is and don’t need to repeatedly remind the whole world. Besides, you’ve always been more of a jelly or marmalade person and everyone knows it.
July 23 - August 23
You always thought that there was an everburning fire inside of you, but after a series of unfortunate events, you will discover that the inside of you is mostly dark and gooey.
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For those who live here and for those who wish they did.
August 23 - September 22
September 23 - October 23
Despite your compelling attempts to establish a truce with your cat, you are still convinced that it is secretly plotting your murder. The bad news is, you can never make a truce with a cat, because they are vindictive and cannot be trusted. The good news is, if it wanted to murder you, you’d already be dead. It apparently still needs you around for now. It’s important to respect your elders; they are a connection to the past. An old, wrinkly, Ben Gay scented, slightly racist and homophobic connection to the past.
October 24 - November 21
Soon, you will quit your job and dedicate your life savings and waking hours to your new Etsy store. You’re hoping that even though faux animal head taxidermy, made from milk jugs and pipe cleaners, isn’t in vogue yet, you know the wave is coming and you will be prepared when it is.
November 22 - December 21
No one understands you as much as your spouse does, but you want to test that theory with your new YouTube channel which streams every moment of your life. Turns out, lots of other people understand you, but no one else thinks your interesting.
December 22 - January 19
Even though you don’t hesitate admitting that you used to watch “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” it does bother you that people refer to you as “the type of person that watches Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
January 20 - February 18
Having a birthday in January is hard, everyone has spent their money and vacation days on the holidays, it’s the coldest time of the year, your friends haven’t given up on their resolutions to become non-smoking, sober vegans and the pandemic is still keeping everyone distant and unsociable. Despite all these hurdles, doctors have discovered that people who have a birthday every year live longer than those who don’t, so you might as well enjoy it.
February 19 - March 20
According to the stars, it is an excellent time to find romance at your workplace. This will become challenging and a little awkward, as you have been working remotely for the past six months.
By Matt Scharf
When Breakfast Gets Sour
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