The Way To Heaven

Theo-Journ Item No. 3

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WOOD-FIRED open-air cremation is the way to go in Crestone, Colorado.  I distinctly remember four of these lawful funerals held in a circular sanctuary on a hill on the sandy side of the San Luis Valley, below the highest of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It always begins in the stillness before dawn. Two of […]

Spreading The Word

Theologico-Journalistica Treatise No. 2

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    THE MILLENNIUM  began at midnight in Australia with a blazing word on the Sydney harbor bridge: “Eternity” in a flowing script called copperplate. What was it supposed to mean? By then Aussies — but few of the global TV watchers —  knew the story behind it.  There was a writer — Arthur Stace […]

His Holiness In The Villa Of Holy Faith

Theologico-Journalistica Treatise No. 1

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In the golf comedy “Caddyshack” Bill Murray, playing the blundering groundskeeper, brags:  “I caddied for the Dalai Lama.”  Doug Preston, a Santa Fe writer, can say, “I rode a ski lift with the Dalai Lama.”  But it’s no laff line. It’s true.  His reminiscence in Slate releases a flood of links on Google if you […]

Recognizing The Gentleman From America

My Thoughts Induced by "Hemingway"

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I RECALL Professor Charles Nilon, teaching a class in modern novels at Boulder, identified Ernest Hemingway as “an American gentleman.” The memory surfaced as I watched the first episode of the Ken Burns documentary on PBS. Like a British noble, Hemingway toured the colonies, hunted trophy animals, behaved well in military combat, was a sportsman […]

How To Tell A Fake Human

Review of the new novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

“Klara And The Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro is a tale told by a robot living — if that is the right word — in an AI-governed dystopia  where automatons imitate humans and ambitious parents submit their children to “genetic editing” for success in the vicious meritocracy. She (Klara) is an “AF” (artificial friend) bought like […]

Getting Jabbed In The County Seat

Among Thoughts Of Confederacy

THE VACCINES are federal but the vaccinations are local. I was wondering how the two levels of government were meshing as I began to roll across the San Luis Valley to the community center in Saguache to get the first of my covid jabs, as the Brits call them. (We call them shots, but that […]

Excoriation Nation

Let me blog a minute. . .

Dr. Myra Ellen Jenkins would be happy she is not alive now. There is such a thing as living too long. I wrote in the 1980’s about her involvement as New Mexico state historian in the first controversy over the historic obelisk in the center of the Santa Fe Plaza. It was all about a […]

A Thick Description Of A Deep Time

¡JUSTICIA! By Federico Antonio Reade (Albuquerque, 309 pages)

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A UNM UNDERGRADUATE  named Federico Antonio Reade called me in Santa Fe in the fall of 1980 asking to record  my recollections of the Rio Arriba County Court House Raid — a northern New Mexico rebellion that already was fading beneath a wash of scholarly interpretation. I had been the only journalist (and the only […]

Not Everything Trump Says Is A Lie

A Philospher Made Some Classical Distinctions

IN PLACE of what print journalists refer to as President Trump’s lies, cable commenters have a less formal term. Trevor Noah of the Comedy Channel and Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo of CNN just say “bullshit.”  If that sums up Trump’s usual performances, then press briefings and most interviews are bull sessions, with consequences I […]

The Winning of the West and the Theft of Mt. Rushmore

How the Union army continued west after the Civil War. Reviews of "Lakota America" by Pekka Hamalainen and "West from Appomattox" by Heather Cox Richardson

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  Along T-shirt row in Deadwood, the gold-gulch town in South Dakota’s Black Hills, you can read silk-screened homages to bikers, gunfighters, gamblers, anti-immigrant soldiers (“If you are reading this in English, thank the U.S. military.”)  and the armed protection of private property. The town’s  history of lawless violence was the basic entertainment value of […]