Author: Steve Skinner

Blowing hot air on an emergency

As I watch my health insurance melt away I wonder about how people can still be fighting over this. Do we want our friends, fathers, mothers, kids and others to be able to go to the doctor when they become ill? Accessible healthcare for all is the only solution. In a blaze of orange the opioid addiction crisis was just declared a national emergency. No funds have been allocated. I doubt that blowing hot air on a national emergency will change anything. The Affordable Care Act is far from good. I suffered under it for years as my premiums...

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What really happened to Elizabeth Anne Margaret Gardner?

Elizabeth liked her name. She liked all her names. Elizabeth Anne Margaret Gardener. Elizabeth was very strict. No one called her “Liz,” or “Ellie-Anne,” at least not more than once. Elizabeth was outwardly serious and even more grave on the inside. She was 11, independent and self-assured. Her looks were striking. She had black hair, light auburn eyes and skin so pale that she looked like she was covered in baby powder. She was waif-like and slender and always dressed in dark, draping sweaters and skirts that covered her from the sun and shielded her from the eyes of...

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Waiting on a Friend

I am a communications specialist and I can no longer communicate. The world has passed me by and I am now completely befuddled on how best to interact with anyone. Email is out. Texting no longer works. Traditional phone calls are out. Face to face is history. Pagers are done. Smoke signals are only mildly effective. Facebook Messenger seems to be the only way to call or text message about one-third of the people I know. I got a phone call over Facebook Messenger recently and it was choppy, latent and surreal. The new thing. I try to keep up but I cannot find half the people I want to communicate with any more. Totally ignoring my text, email or phone call is the new norm. No use getting upset because I have to assume that they do that to almost everyone. The age of connectivity is a hoax! An Internet search of “How to get people to return your text,” reveals a Buzzfeed article, “17 Perfect Responses For When Someone Doesn’t Text You Back,” which gives examples of sarcastic rejoinders and bitter, petty responses. One of the better, bitter responses: “Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship.” What is really strange is that most of us are lost in our devices, staring, stabbing and scrolling. We’re looking for love, looking for likes and looking for life while ignoring...

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What a Gift

With great assets come great responsibilities. In KFFR, the Fraser Valley has a rare and valuable community asset with the potential to lift our quality of life and bring us all together. I am talking about KFFR, of course. This spanking new community radio station is just sprouting up. Depending on what we do with it, KFFR could become a source of joy, inspiration, entertainment, empowerment and information for all of us. This local, non-profit public radio station was fostered by longtime part-time resident, Denis Moynihan. KFFR is Moynihan’s gift to the community that will keep on giving. In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a  public radio boom in Colorado. A lot of stations were springing up. Now you can motor into a town like Durango, Telluride, Crested Butte, Aspen or Paonia and tune in a local radio station and hear local announcers giving out local inside information and playing local music. Some of those stations are still nimble and fun and great to listen to. That’s the potential we have now at KFFR, 88.3 FM. It won’t be easy. Some say radio is dead, long buried under all those smart, smart phones and the Internet full of music services. They say that our shrinking attention spans are occupied with Facebook, Game of Thrones trailers and videos of cats on YouTube. Just after the public radio...

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Columnist: Steve Skinner

This place is alright if you like scenic splendor I was alarmed by the alarm honking in my left ear at 4:30 in the morning. I had to get to Rangely from old town Winter Park and needed to be there bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 9 a.m. I was headed to learn about working in “The TANK Center for Sonic Arts,” a massive steel water tower in Rangely. The sonic echo chamber was once used for the Rio Grande railroad and is now deployed as a performance space and recording studio. It’s amazing what you’ll do when you have nothing to do. Pulling onto I-40 on a summer morning before dawn is one of life’s sweet pleasures. The bosom of stillness, coolness and lingering dark hold the truck, the mountains and the valley in a cool embrace. I was gazing through the Tacoma windshield in a bit of a fog on the inside, not drunk but not at the top of my game, either. Watch for wildlife and maybe the police? I was feeling kind of in between while passing through Winter Park, Fraser and then Tabernash. There was cool air, fog, misty mountains and not much else on the road and in the fields. Like my dad would say, “This place is alright if you like scenic splendor.” On that moody morning, I was remembering the first time...

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Total Eclipse of the Brain

By Steve Skinner Everyone looks better in the dark. And the timing could not be better. A dark stripe just raced across the undergarment of the world … plunging us all into a state of perplexed equality and totality. We should turn out the lights more often. Spending time in total totality brings perspective. I guess the world doesn’t revolve around me after all. There is a universe out there (and maybe even more than one). How small we are. Even a big man disappears in totality. Totality is an opportunity to reset, to stop the war machine in mid-stride. On May 28, 585 B.C. A total eclipse stunned combatants in a pitched battle in the war between the Medes and the Lydians. The men in battle took the darkness as an omen and agreed to a truce. The war between stubborn kings had raged for six years with no end in sight. The sun and moon colluded to conclude the madness. Funny, one of those kings was the king of Media. King Alyattes of Lydia was at war with King Cyaxares of Media. Now our king is at war with media. When it comes to totality, what goes around comes around. Here on our continent it has been 99 years since the moon and sun have conspired for a cross-country dance. The fundamental Christians may be right this...

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