Fool Me Twice?

Arizona Riffs, click to see the full website  Fool Me Twice?     Remember NAFTA? It was suppose to be this great trade deal that was going to turn North America into an economic giant, something like the European Union, and keep America strong and prosperous and employed. It didn’t turn out that way. Twenty years later we can see that we’ve been hemorrhaging jobs ever since. It destroyed the traditional farming system of Mexico sending tens of thousands of landless peasants across the border looking for jobs that were already scarce and it destroyed the Unions. But it did make the multi-national corporations stronger and more prosperous. That’s because they, and their lobbyists wrote it. You thought they meant “you” when they said “America” didn’t you? Most of the congressmen who voted for it admitted they hadn’t even read the fast tracked bill when it came up. Most of us had never heard of it till it became law. Same is true for the WTO and KAFTA agreements. How many even know what they stand for? Or that these agreements over-ride all local laws and courts. That your national, state, local government and you can be sued by a foreign corporate “court” for lost profits even if you were defending your land and local economy? Well, that worked so well they’re trying to pull a “fast tracked” one again. This time it’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Again its being written 85% by multi-national corporations and their lobbyists, and again it’s all secret, no congressional debate or public review before it’s passed. Orin Hatch was on PBS...

Feeding The Fire

Arizona Riffs, click to see the full website  Feeding the Fire Its almost momma day, are you ready? One of the things momma taught me was tolerance and you know if I hadn’t been able to tolerate all the fools around here I’d probably be dead or in jail by now. Like these wackos down in Texas that think drawing offensive pictures of Mohammed is exercising their “God given?” right to free speech. I’m all for free speech (How else are we going to know who the assholes are?) unless it’s designed to cause harm or provoke violence. Don’t confuse these guys with Charlie Hebdo whose political cartoons usually critique Islamic jihadists’ intolerance and violence through images of Mohammed. This group’s aim, just like the Florida preacher who burned Korans, was to provoke, insult and hurt Muslims. It worked, although I was amazed that jihadists had to come halfway across the country to take the bait. That it was a trap is evidenced by the fact that despite having body armor and assault rifles they were the only ones killed. No loss, but we may not be so lucky in the future. Starting “fires” like this is like falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Hate groups like this are throwing fuel on the fire and innocent people are going to get hurt. If these jihadists had been smarter they would have stopped at that Walmart next door bought an American flag, made in China, some drawing paper, magic markers, and a easel. Then set up next to the Mohammed event and drawn insulting pictures of Jesus, the Virgin...

Growing Pains

Arizona Riffs, click to see the full website  Growing Pains The Valley is getting crowded. We used to joke about laying down on Old Town Main St. for a nap. Now I can’t even cross it without nearly getting run over. Peacocks used to stroll through town every morning. Haven’t seen one in years. They all got run over. Now they’re talking about putting in a bunch of roundabouts along Hwy 260 between Cottonwood and I-17. Traffic circles are much better than the stop and go of stop lights but I would have preferred the freeway they started way back when. I guess we can expect wall to wall development starting at the Camp Verde Town Limits and extra time getting to the freeway. Our little hidden valley has been discovered and is now on the map not just for weekenders escaping the Big Valley but by Snowbirds, for richer and poorer migrating north for the summer. All these people need to be accommodated and can put a strain on our hospitality especially when these people bring their troubles with them. Big city amenities bring big city problems and where are you going to find ’em? Why Walmart of coarse. Walmart, everyone knows, is everything to everybody and if you’re traveling it’s a “safe” monitored place to camp in the urban jungle. Or was, but no longer is in Cottonwood. The Gavers were the poorer variety of snowbird, down and out, eight people living in a broke down Suburban camping out, like others, in the Walmart parking lot. Maybe they overstayed their welcome but somehow they got in a...

Spring Fever Blues

Arizona Riffs, click to see the full website  Spring Fever Blues A couple of things that the valley has plenty of is Archaeology and Pecans. You can get a healthy portion of both all weekend in Camp Verde and wash it all down with some local wine too @ Spring Heritage Pecan and Wine Festival and the Verde Valley Archaeology Fair and Film Festival. If you want The Naughty Bits! with that movie you’ll have to go to the brewery in Sedona. It’s that time of year you shouldn’t miss, cause this is as good as it gets. It’s nice out both day and night and barring an April Fool’s surprise, winter is over (was it ever really here at all). Yes I know we had that freakish snow storm, but it all seems like a Fellini dream now. Spring is here and it’s time for the 5TH ANNUAL OLD TOWN BLUES FEST @ Old Town Center for the Arts. The blues is like hayfever and everybody’s got ’em. Sir Harrison‘s got em @ The spirit Room, Mother Road Trio has em @ Kactus Kate’s, The Bottom Line Band is holed up with ’em @ Old Corral and Karl Jones has the Celtic variety R&B @ Mooneys Irish Pub. Everybody else is just playin’ that ‘ol Rock and Roll like Patrolled by Radar and Rewired @ Spirit Room or the Eleventh Hour Band @ 10-12 Lounge, Toucan Eddy @ My Dobro and Green Light @ Vino di Sedona. Some are jazzin’ up the juice like ~ Sandner-Martin Jazz Quartet “Jazz & Juice”@ Sound Bites Grille, for that spring Flavour...

Nothing But Blue Skies

Nothing But Blue Skies Don’t look now but it’s gorgeous outside. And it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future (ie my weather channel 10 day forecast). To make it even better it’s Art Walk Weekend with first Friday bashes at the Main Stage, all over Sedona and Down Town Flagstaff. So put on your best duds and mix with the Hoi Polloi, drink some local wine or brews and check out the local talent and each other. Some people are works of art all by them selves. Real works of art can be found at the Jerome 1st Saturday Art Walk at the Jerome Artists Coop Show where Janice Paul‘s piano jazz will accent the festivities then you can boogie on up to the Spirit Room cause if it’s Art Walk then Johnny’s playin’. Too artsy fartsy for ya? Well you can stay down in the ware house district and if you can find “That” Brewery they’ve got good beer (a different art form) and a garage band, The 27s rock-a-billy band. Main Stage has a couple girls known as .:Blue Arrows:. then Black Cat Bone Skadoosh to dance to. You can dance to The Skunky Ron Big Band featuring Ed Tortorello @ My Dobro and the 10-12 Lounge or to The Izzies again @ the 10-12 Lounge. The blues are @ The Marketplace Cafe with R.D. Olson Blues but jazz is @ Sound Bites Grille for “Jazz & Juice”~ Sandner-Martin Jazz Quartet. If you go out in the red rocks this weekend keep a lookout for mountain bikers cause its the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival...

Why Sedona Loves the Polar Vortex

Arizona Riffs, click to see the full website  Why Sedona Loves the Polar Vortex It might seem strange but this is my favorite time of year. Except for my allergies, the weather is perfect. I’m even thinking of putting my house plants back outside. Then I remember, It’s only February. Yeah, this is too good to last. There’s gonna be a blizzard in March or a late freeze on April Fool’s that will kill all my fruit. Seen this movie before. Speaking of Movies Its time for the Sedona Film Festival starting this weekend till the end of the month. Lots of movies you’ve never seen and will probably never have a chance to see again. Not to mention parties and special shows like the ones Ed Asner is putting on, “FDR” and “Oxymorons”, at SPAC this weekend and Larry Dunn’s Anthology of Earth Wind & Fire @ Sedona Performing Arts Center. I think the Sedona festival has caught on just like the Gem and Car shows. Where else do you want to be in February? Those poor bastards back in Boston can’t even celebrate winning the Superbowl for the snow. Maybe it’s divine punishment for all that cheating. Anyway while all those Patriots are condemned to digging out their cars every morning you can be rubbing shoulders, not noses, with Hollywood royalty at receptions in Enchantment, The Barking Frog, The Sedona Hilton and Sound Bites. I know what Boston should do with all that snow. They should pile it up Mountain high in one of their stadiums and build ski runs and bob sled runs on it cause...