Archive for August 3rd, 2008

by jhwygirl

Nobel Prize winning Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn passed this afternoon, at his home in Russia.

Solzhenitsyn was somewhat of an enigma – imprisoned for speaking against Stalin, he later wrote a book about his experiences in a Russian camp (A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) which was actually published in Russia. Later, he was exiled from his home and eventually moved to Vermont, where he lived for nearly two decades. There he wrote The Gulag Archipelago, a painfully detailed and depressing encyclopedia on Russia’s gulag system. Always wanting to return home, he went back to Russia in 1994.

Russian writers are fabulous for their brutal logic and simplistic honesty, all influenced by a political system designed to keep people from daring to dream.

From his Nobel Prize for Literature lecture, 1970:

So also we, holding Art in our hands, confidently consider ourselves to be its masters; boldly we direct it, we renew, reform and manifest it; we sell it for money, use it to please those in power; turn to it at one moment for amusement – right down to popular songs and night-clubs, and at another – grabbing the nearest weapon, cork or cudgel – for the passing needs of politics and for narrow-minded social ends. But art is not defiled by our efforts, neither does it thereby depart from its true nature, but on each occasion and in each application it gives to us a part of its secret inner light.

But shall we ever grasp the whole of that light? Who will dare to say that he has DEFINED Art, enumerated all its facets? Perhaps once upon a time someone understood and told us, but we could not remain satisfied with that for long; we listened, and neglected, and threw it out there and then, hurrying as always to exchange even the very best – if only for something new! And when we are told again the old truth, we shall not even remember that we once possessed it.

One artist sees himself as the creator of an independent spiritual world; he hoists onto his shoulders the task of creating this world, of peopling it and of bearing the all-embracing responsibility for it; but he crumples beneath it, for a mortal genius is not capable of bearing such a burden. Just as man in general, having declared himself the centre of existence, has not succeeded in creating a balanced spiritual system. And if misfortune overtakes him, he casts the blame upon the age-long disharmony of the world, upon the complexity of today’s ruptured soul, or upon the stupidity of the public.

Another artist, recognizing a higher power above, gladly works as a humble apprentice beneath God’s heaven; then, however, his responsibility for everything that is written or drawn, for the souls which perceive his work, is more exacting than ever. But, in return, it is not he who has created this world, not he who directs it, there is no doubt as to its foundations; the artist has merely to be more keenly aware than others of the harmony of the world, of the beauty and ugliness of the human contribution to it, and to communicate this acutely to his fellow-men. And in misfortune, and even at the depths of existence – in destitution, in prison, in sickness – his sense of stable harmony never deserts him.

But all the irrationality of art, its dazzling turns, its unpredictable discoveries, its shattering influence on human beings – they are too full of magic to be exhausted by this artist’s vision of the world, by his artistic conception or by the work of his unworthy fingers.

by jhwygirl

Correction: Doug, of The Montana Misanthrope, notes in a post of his own that both Tester and Baucus also signed the letter referred to in the post below. I don’t know where he got that letter but it doesn’t change my view. As I said in the comments – until someone wants to cut me a check to subsidize my primary residence (at the very least), I say “No” to subsidizing second homes for anyone, irregardless of their income.

Representative Dennis Rehberg thinks that it is unfair for holders of cabin lessees on federal lands to have to pay rental fees based on fair appraised values of their cabin sites.

Now, why would an anti-tax guy like Rehberg feel that 2nd home owners on federal lands should be given a discounted subsidized-by-the-taxpayers free ride on federal lands? Seriously?

The Cabin User Fee Fairness Act of 2000, to which Rehberg refers in his letter to USFS undersecretary Mark Rey, was passed by the House on June 16, 2000 with an overwhelmingly nonpartisan vote. Even his predecessor Rick Hill voted for it. Both of Montana’s Senators – Burns and Baucus – voted for it too. The Cabin User Fee Fairness Act was part of the 2000 Department of the Interior appropriations bill.

The feds charge a rental fee based on the value of the lands – and the local forest offices have been gradually bringing these rental fees – for all types of uses – up to par with the going market prices on similarly situated property values. Are cabin lessees going to see increases in prices? In places where property values are going up, you bet. Should they? Why not? Why should vacation home owners – no matter how humble their abodes – get a free ride? A subsidized ride on the back of all federal taxpayers?

The USFS has to maintain the roads to these places – and they have to provide fire protection. Tyvek wrap isn’t cheap, nor are those retardant drops. There’s inspections and staffing and paperwork. That stuff isn’t cheap either. Then there’s the increased fire danger merely by having these things around. While many of these are off the grid, a whole bunch of them have electricity wired to them – older wooden structures with even older utility poles carrying electricity through miles of national forest. Lovely.

Apparently Rehberg and some others feel that the intent of the legislation is different from the printed word. They have a problem, it seems with “a fair appraisal process,” which is part of the legislation.

At a time when the USFS is strapped for operating monies, why would Denny call on the USFS to be reducing rental fees on vacation homes located in public national forests?

I mean, how many votes is that gonna get him? Does he really need to pander that far down the pole?

We probably don’t have to worry about Mark Rey caving on this one, though – cabin lessees, I doubt, reach the influence level of large corporations.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Yesterday, on my way home from picking up a large order of sour pie cherries at Bowman Orchards south of Bigfork, I passed by one of those sights that make me wish I would remember to bring my camera with me more often: a dozen members of the Hells Angels’ Connecticut chapter parked at one of the small cherry stands along the east shore of Flathead Lake, buying (and eating from) bags of luscious Rainiers, Lamberts and Bings.

Perhaps the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers should look into getting some endorsements from the club.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Guess who’s a VIP now? Check it:

That's right, suckers!

Oh, you’re right. I guess that postcard could be for anyone. Well, here’s further proof. My name’s on the invite.

I can't believe it either.

If you’ve ever read The Thread That Would Not Die, you know that Steve Edgar, the owner of our new Hooters, has kindly invited me and a guest to the grand opening next Saturday night. Just think about it: all it took to become a VIP was writing a throwaway post several months ago.

You guys should really get your own blogs; the magic could happen to you, too.

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