Monday, December 15, 2014

Through the Trees: Author Nina C. Palmer and The poetic end to a toxic relationship

A poetic journey through the emotions we endure at the end of a toxic relationship, Through the Trees: The poetic end to a toxic relationship uses nature and metaphor to express each stage of grief.

I first met author Nina C.Palmer at a group signing run by the Idaho Authors Community. Immediately striking was her passion for poetry and a particular cohesiveness between her presence, our chat and her work.

NinaEach chapter of her book is a stage, each poem a part of a the journey taking you through denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. *** Written from personal experiences, it truly captures the occurrence of verbal and emotional abuse experienced in a toxic relationship. Whether your loss is a friend, husband or wife, a brother or sister, mother or father, these writings will hit home with all. A truly inspired collection of work, it relates with the heartache of the loss but also uplifts and inspires. This poetry acts as an emotional guide leading you through each stage and leaves you at the end with the courage and strength to move on.
I sat down with Nina last week at a coffee shop in Boise, to learn more about this  intriguing journey.

“Writing the book was part of the process, but publishing the book is the closure,” Nina said. “I needed it, because, being in a toxic relationship, there is a lot of shame and guilt … so by publishing, it really speaks out against it. So it’s a final way of being able to stand up and take that part of myself back.”

Nina’s childhood home was nestled in Matilija Canyon, a remote area outside of Ojai, CA. Her home was secluded which granted a unique and enchanting place to grow up. It is no wonder that her work is filled with its imagery. Her earliest writings of poetry began as early as elementary school. It is a realized talent that has remained throughout her life.

I asked Nina why she chose the art form of poetry as her outlet.

Growing up I had an undiagnosed, but definitely … either emotionally handicapped or mentally ill mother. I didn’t have a lot of privacy in my home, so I didn’t really have a way of expressing myself without any kind of persecution for it. So when I wrote poetry, it was like being able to talk about those feelings, almost like in code … because it didn’t pinpoint the exact circumstances that brought out that emotion, but it clearly represented the emotion. So it was a way of being able to speak about something without getting in trouble.
Nina is now currently working on her next collection of poetry, to be titled Reaching The Castle Wall a composition of heartache and love poems derived from the fairy tales we all grew up with. It is scheduled to be released for Valentine’s Day 2016. In the meantime, a series of children’s books are also underway.

trees“Palmer’s poems depict through natural imagery of rain, sunshine and forests what it is like to live within and then gradually to be able to leave a toxic love relationship. Palmer’s poems radiate wisdom that can guide others along similar routes out of suffering. The poems in Palmer’s [book] are at once immediately accessible and at the same time deeply enlightening. If you have been or are now involved with someone who has toxic impacts on you, and whether you think of yourself as someone who reads poetry or have never read a poem before, I highly recommend this book.” -Psychology Today
I asked Nina what she meant by the “persecution” in her home, and what would happen when she expressed herself.
I just wasn’t allowed to. would be the best way put it. Kids were supposed to be quiet, and in their rooms, and out of the way, and to do what their told. A lot of the things that happened to me when I was younger, wouldn’t make sense to even an adult, to treat a child that way.
Nina went on to talk about how her experiences were abusive, even though many things that happened could not fall onto the traditional chart when experts track and talk about abuse.
“I have been truly inspired to write this collection of poetry,” Nina said. “It is my hope that these works with inspire your heart to embrace every stage of grief and not only find peace, but the strength and courage to move on.”
Amazon Review:
So many of these poems hit home through the hurt and sorrow I’ve endured through my own relationships romantically and friendship wise. The empathetic passages really perked up my spirits knowing that this is normal to go through all these emotions. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone happy or going through a depressing time. One poem or many of them will pull you in and wanting to read more!
There is much of a hero’s journey sketched-out in these words. Nina’s electric collection massages the heart, and nourishes the mind and soul.

Friday, December 5, 2014

UPDATED: Idaho Government Website Links to Raul Labrador Donation Request

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID)
Campaigning on a government website, Raul?
UPDATE Dec. 5, 6:08 a.m. MST:  
The Associated Press has picked up this story. And here is elaboration from the Spokesman Review:
Daily Kos, a liberal political website, noted the link in an article Wednesday morning, suggesting the state was improperly using its website to drum up donations for Labrador. Less than an hour after Gov. Butch Otter’s office was alerted to the issue by a Spokesman-Review reporter, the link had been changed. According to the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine,” the mistaken link had been live for more than two years. “We made a mistake,” said Bill Farnsworth, manager of the Access Idaho contract for the state Department of Administration.”
 UPDATE Dec. 3, 11:14 a.m. MST: 
Betsy Russell of the Spokesman Review picked up this story Eye On Boise: Link to Labrador campaign donations page removed from Idaho’s state website
An article on the website Daily Kos today charges that Idaho’s official state website is being improperly used to drum up donations to GOP Rep. Raul Labrador. The article notes that a list of links to news for various government officials, including Idaho’s congressional delegation, links to their official page of press releases – except for Labrador’s, which links to his campaign site. The page that pops up has a prominent red button saying, “DONATE TODAY.”
UPDATE Dec. 3, 10:37 a.m. MST:  
Dan Popkey is on things. They just changed it. I saved two JPEGs of the original scourcecode. One appears below. And thank you Kevin Wilson for providing the archive.
The site was last archived by the Wayback Machine on June 25, 2014. At that time (and in previous archives) the link pointed to Here's a link to the archived copy of the page:
Idaho statutes prohibit use of government facilities, websites, etc. for campaign purposes. But if you go to the official site for the state of Idaho, and click on the link for press releases, a surprise ensues. Here is the link: and it shows: Press Releases State Elected Officials Governor, C.L. "Butch" Otter State Controller, Brandon Woolf Attorney General, Lawrence Wasden Treasurer, State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Luna Congressional Delegation Senator Mike Crapo Senator James E. Risch Representative Raúl Labrador Representative Mike Simpson
Image capture of the Sourcecode from 9:14 a.m.
... among other things. Try using the original link above, and click on Representative Raúl Labrador. The other officials have links to their press releases as officials and the related activites and news as they represent all citizens. But the link for Congressman Labrador goes to his campaign website: And one of the first things you see is a big, red DONATE NOW button. This is clearly a violation. I wonder how long this "mistake" has been there. Who is accountable? Idaho Governor Butch Otter should investigate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why I support Holli Woodings for Idaho Secretary of State: The Rational Choice

Every once in a while, there is an election in Idaho that is so critical to the welfare of the state, that anyone concerned about our overall well-being must stand up and take notice.

"I’m running for Secretary of State because your freedom to vote should not be infringed by anyone’s agenda at any time. Voting should be easy, fair and open, period. That’s what I signed up for when I registered to vote for the first time and that’s what I want for my children and my grand children. Easy, fair and open voting for all." Holli Woodings

In all my interactions with this great candidate, she has been "spot on" about issues, concerns, and the needs of Idahoans.
Who is this stellar individual?

I am one of those fortunate souls who's life has been filled with great female leaders. That joy makes me think of this quote: “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures." said 
Jane Austen, in Persuasion.  "None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives."  

Holli Woodings is shaking the waters.

Woodings  grew up as the youngest of three sisters in a Southern Oregon logging family. Her mother, Julie, was a hairstylist and raised the girls in Eugene while her father, Chuck, was an auto parts salesman who settled in Boise. Spending holidays and summers with her father, Holli fell in love with Idaho and chose BSU after graduating from high school. She was the first in her family to graduate from college. 

After graduation, Holli went to work as a project manager in Idaho’s renewable energy industry. She had a knack for wearing multiple hats within the industry; working development, public relations and public policy issues before founding Woodings Group, an energy development consultancy. Active as an organizer for TechBoise and co-founder of Energy Drinks (a networking group for energy development professionals), Holli developed a passion for the economic development issues facing Idaho. Community involvement was an inevitable choice from that point on. 
Holli served three years as President of Boise’s oldest neighborhood association while starting a family with her husband, Ryan, founder and CEO of a local technology company. She helped grow the family business from 5 employees to 26 and win several “Idaho Best Places to Work” awards along the way. She helped pass the Yes! For Boise Schools supplemental levy and was elected to the State Legislature in 2012. In 2013, she was named an Idaho Business Review Woman of the Year. Holli serves on the State Affairs, Energy, Environment and Technology, and Commerce and Human Resources committees. 

Her work focuses on providing high-quality education, growing innovative businesses, preserving personal freedoms, and increasing accountability in government. She has served on the Idaho Council on Industry and helped found the Idaho Clean Energy Association. Holli lives in Boise with her husband and two children, Mary and Arthur. They enjoy hiking, camping and snowshoeing with friends and family.

Also, I love her positions on the issues. Here are just a few of them
Protecting the Freedom to Vote
We were very fortunate for many years to have strong non-partisan advocates—Democrat and Republican—as our Secretaries of State. They did a great job putting fairness and the interests of the people first because they recognized that voting is a fundamental freedom where partisan and special interest politics have no place. In their view, ensuring that our elections are easy, fair and open was a moral responsibility they were sworn to protect.

And that is exactly how she looks at it too. Woodings is running for Secretary of State because your freedom to vote should not be infringed by anyone’s agenda at any time. Voting should be easy, fair and open, period. That’s what she signed up for when she registered to vote for the first time and that’s what she wants for her children and  grand children. Easy, fair and open voting for all eligible voters. 

Investing in Education
There is no more important issue than education in Idaho. We rank dead last in the country in education spending per child. Only 35% of our children have access to pre-school or educational daycare when the national average is almost 50%. Only one in ten of our high school freshmen eventually graduates from college. Which also makes us dead last in college attendance too. This is not putting us on track to fill or attract the skilled jobs our modern economy needs right now. And every year Idaho falls a little further behind. That is nothing to be proud of. It’s an urgent problem that needs an even more urgent solution. The Secretary of State is one of five members of the Idaho Land Board, which has a constitutional obligation to administer state lands for the long-term public good. One of the specific beneficiaries is our public schools—which over the years have been starved of millions of dollars from the Land Board. All of us are looking for ways to make our schools better That’s why as Secretary of State, Woodings will push to use excess revenue from the Land Board to reinvest in our schools so that we can attract more businesses and good-paying jobs to Idaho.

Growing the Economy
Woodings is the rational choice
Woodings deeply believes that the greatest investment Idaho can make in economic competitiveness is through education. Yet there is also much we can do to make our state more business friendly. Simplified business licensing, easy-to-navigate online filings and state agencies with a commitment to can-do, problem-solving business assistance are a low-cost way to start. Seamless partnerships with the Idaho Tax Commission, the Department of Commerce and Bureau of Occupational Licenses (just to name a few) will help small businesses navigate the system and get down to the business of serving customers faster. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we need to help them in every way possible, every day. Less paperwork, more service. 

Holding the Special Interests Accountable 

One of the key responsibilities of the Secretary of State is monitoring lobbying activities in our state. Woodings believes lobbying should be transparent, legal and ethical on every level, and she will fight to keep it that way. Safeguarding the openness of our political system, protecting your freedom to vote and ensuring that our lands are managed for the benefit of all will be my job description from Day 1.

On 10/5/14 The Idaho Statesman Endorsed Holli Woodings:
Our concerns about Denney revolve around past partisan dealings and future plans to tinker with voting. Denney's failure as speaker to take action against former Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, who stole state timber and refused to pay $600,000 in back state and federal taxes, has us questioning his impartiality.
His priority, if elected, "to work on measures to enhance the security of the election process, such as new technology that scans either signatures or fingerprints," is a solution in search of a problem. Denney seems too willing to spend money on phantom voter fraud and authorizing expensive second legal opinions that bolster the belief that Idaho has standing to take over federal lands through lawsuits.
Do not miss this election. Vote for Holli Woodings. Idaho's future depends on it.

I'm voting for Nels Mitchell. You should too. Now, you can vote early!

He is clearly the best candidate. - Michael

Skip the rush and vote early!
The Voter Resources section of our website is updated with new tools to assist with early voting. You can now search for an early voting location with the Polling Place Locator plugin! Information on voter registration status, absentee voting, and your polling place for Election Day is also available.
Remember to like Nels Mitchell for Idaho on Facebook and follow on Twitter!
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dear White People ... Justin Simien creates a film seeking a sincere dialogue about race

Issues of race, class and gender are never easy. And among them, the mere mention of race can inflame people's passions.

Dear White People.jpgDear White People, a film that started with a self-funded concept trailer for an immensely successful crowd-funding project, is getting a lot of talk these days, according to Web Pro News. The film is a work by a new and impressive director, Justin Simien. It follows characters on the fictional college campus of Winchester University as they interact in different racially charged situations. Dear White People centers around the character Samantha (Sam) White, played by Tessa Thompson, a provocative radio DJ who hosts a show called Dear White People.

Coming on like a fresh breeze amid the hot air that so often accompanies talk about race, "Dear White People" is both a conversation piece and a calling card, announcing writer-director Justin Simien, in his feature debut, as an invigorating voice, someone original from a new generation, according to the Los Angeles Times.

 From the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., to the media dust-up over an essay on television in the New York Times, the broad subject represents a minefield no matter the arena. The playfully incendiary satire of "Dear White People," set amid a racially charged college campus, takes it on, head-on, while diffusing tension with wit and humor.

 Cast of 'Dear White People' hopes the satire makes people think Cast of 'Dear White People' hopes the satire makes people think Saba Hamedy Opening Oct. 17 in limited release from distributor Roadside Attractions before a national rollout later this month, the film won prizes at the Sundance and San Francisco film festivals and was selected for the prestigious New Directors/New Films program in New York City. A companion book of essays written by Simien, with the lighthearted subtitle "A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in 'Post-Racial' America," will also be published this month. 

 Dear White People met with critical acclaim from critics upon its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 100% rating based on reviews from 9 critics, with an average score of 7.1/10. Justin Chang, in his review for Variety, said that the film "provokes admiration for having bothered to ask some of the hard questions without pretending to know any of the answers" and praising the cast said that "Williams, Thompson, Parris and Bell all make strong, distinctive impressions, with Thompson perhaps the standout as the film’s sharpest and most enigmatic figure." Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter praised the performances of cast, saying, "Thompson’s conflicted student activist, which she pulls off with practiced composure.

Williams manages to consistently dial up Lionel's nervousness and bewilderment throughout the film to a point of heightened tension that necessitates decisive resolution. As lovers, then rivals who must eventually seek mutual accommodation, Parris and Bell understand that for Coco and Troy, discovering humility is just the beginning of these characters' realigned journeys." He further added, "An edgy premise and memorable cast make for a potent first impression." Zeba Blay of Indiewire gave a positive review and said, "With its vividly drawn world and characters, the movie doesn’t presume to encompass the entirety of what it means to be black, but it does give one of the most entertaining and honest depictions of black life in a so-called “white” world in years."

Terence Johnson of gave a positive review to the film and said that "Dear White People is a perfect film for today’s generation".

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shirley Ringo is is running for Congress to be a voice for Idaho’s working families in Washington, D.C.

Shirley Ringo is a retired public school teacher now finishing her 14th year representing the people of Moscow in the Idaho House of Representatives. She is running for Congress to be a voice for Idaho’s working families in Washington, D.C., and to restore responsible leadership to the House of Representatives. 

Shirley is a teacher, an organizer, a public servant, and a proud Idahoan. Shirley's values are Idaho's values. Give everyone a shot at the American Dream. Reward hard work. Build an economy that's fair and lifts everyone up. Insist on accountability in government. And protect Idaho, the best place on earth, for future generations.

Shirley's a leader for all of Idaho. After 14 years in the Idaho House, her colleagues chose her to co-chair the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee -- even though she's a bright-blue Democrat in a deep-red state.

In my latest blog, Shirley takes the lead: Election 2014: Shirley Ringo Points Out Labrador's Severe Flaws.

There is also the glaring fact that Conngressman Labrador Agrees: Americans Don't Know What Republicans Stand For.

Therefore, Shirley Ringo will give Raul Labrador a Real Fight.

The doublespeak being spewed by her opponent, Raul Labrador, is bad for Idaho.  In 2011, Congressman Labrador cosponsored legislation that would direct the Department of Defense to transfer at least 10% of eligible military equipment to state agencies including a drone called the MQ-9 Reaper.

And in September, Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson (GA) introduced legislation called the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act after the horrific violence witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri. Congressman Labrador is a cosponsor on the bill.

“In an act of political expediency, Congressman Labrador has demonstrated what he will do get elected. One year he cosponsors legislation to arm law enforcement agencies with tactical military equipment like missile firing drones, and this year he cosponsors legislation to limit access to tactical equipment,” Shirley said. “He either has truly changed his views or he is playing politics.”

“I must point out that the legislation was penned by a Democrat, who had the foresight to seek
bipartisan cooperation,” Shirley said. “The leadership shown by Congressman Johnson is what Idaho needs. I support the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, and I bring will high quality ideas to Washington D.C. and provide for bipartisan collaboration.”

Congressman Raúl Labrador is pursuing an extreme agenda, chasing the national media spotlight, instead of focusing on the challenges of Idaho's working families. Let's send Shirley to Congress, and send Raúl packing. The only way to do that is with an outpouring of grassroots support. It starts with you.

(Questions? Contact the Ringo campaign at 208-301-2272.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

BREAKING: Book Release Party for Story about Historic Redwood Grill in Baltimore on October 15!

How many of y'all remember the Redwood Grill, the downtown Baltimore restaurant and nightlife spot owned by three fun loving and ambitious brothers, Antonio Rod Womack, Cleveland Jarrett and Edwin Avent during the late 90's. If you're like many people, you had a good time and created lots of memories!

Now, Womack, has written a book about "The Grill" called "Redwood" that's sure to become a best seller. He's having a book release party on October 15, 2014 at the Frederick Douglas Isaac Myers Museum, 1417 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD 21231 from 6-9 pm.
"Come out and join us!" they say. "Lets reminisce and have a good time! But before you do that post your best Redwood Grill memory below and/or tell me who should play me in the movie...LOL! See you at the party!"

Redwood is a gripping true story of a once successful and popular Baltimore restaurant known for its great cuisine, vivacious musical entertainment, radiant atmosphere, and lavish celebrity events. So what happened to the Redwood Grill? What caused its demise? The book dives into the incredible story of three young entrepreneurs who bought the business and worked tirelessly to make this restaurant the pinnacle dining experience.

The story takes many twists and turns, leading the owners through a maze of surreal challenges along the way. The conflict intensifies when they discover that they've been employing a serial killer.
A. Rod Womack

The journey is riveted with humor, intrigue, mystery, conflict, relationship, drama, and many takeaways for future restaurateurs. Just as the dust seemed to settle the entrepreneurs were challenged again by a charming and charismatic con-artist.

A. Rod Womack is a talented writer whose motivation and passion for storytelling distinguishes him from many of his contemporaries. Redwood is his first book. A. Rod co-owned his first company at 18 years old. His entrepreneurial experience spans numerous industries including; restaurants, real estate development, construction, concert promotions, and more.

 In 2010 he left the private sector and worked as a Business Liaison for Baltimore City Schools and was later appointed Managing Director of Food and Nutrition for Baltimore City Schools. His many years of experience as an entrepreneur, combined with his fascinating life experiences, bring an uncommon thread of realism to his material. His writing style has been called “uniquely visceral”. Womack’s love of writing has led him to the development of his next intriguing book entitled “Central Office”; which he promises will leave his readers craving for more.

Womack holds a B.A. Degree in Philosophy from University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

BlueStreak will deliver the "high lonesome" sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony at The Panida Theater

By Michael Strickland 

 "Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any music in the world. You meet people at festivals and renew acquaintances year after year."-  Bill Monroe

Come on down to The Pearl Theater on Saturday, September 28 and enjoy a fabulous evening of live bluegrass music! The Pearl Theater is proud to bring you BlueStreak, a  five member bluegrass band featuring traditional bluegrass acoustic instrumentation with three part vocal harmonies.
BlueStreak represents one of the more veteran crews of the entire northwest bluegrass scene, with a unique sound anchored around the powerful vocals and guitar work of Doug Bond of Sandpoint, Idaho. Bob Asbury, (banjo) and Dave Hackwith on standup bass are experienced players from the long enduring northwest group, Custer’s Grass Band. Terry Ludiker, a household name in northwest acoustic music, plays fiddle and mandolin. Steve Bauer completes the circle with his unique arsenal of crisp mandolin chops. Steve began his playing career in the Fort Collins Colorado area, a hotbed of bluegrass in the seventies. Together the members of BlueStreak deliver the “high lonesome” sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony on a rock solid foundation of acoustic instrumentation.
- See more at:
Come on down to The Panida Theater  on Thursday, October 9 and enjoy a fabulous evening of live bluegrass music!

BlueStreak, a  five member bluegrass band featuring traditional bluegrass acoustic instrumentation with three part vocal harmonies,  represents one of the more veteran crews of the entire northwest bluegrass scene.

Their  unique sound is anchored around the powerful vocals and guitar work of Doug Bond of Sandpoint, Idaho. Bob Asbury, (banjo) and Dave Hackwith on standup bass are experienced players from the long enduring northwest group, Custer’s Grass Band. Terry Ludiker, a household name in northwest acoustic music, plays fiddle and mandolin. Steve Bauer completes the circle with his unique arsenal of crisp mandolin chops. Steve began his playing career in the Fort Collins Colorado area, a hotbed of bluegrass in the seventies. 

Together the members of BlueStreak deliver the “high lonesome” sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony on a rock solid foundation of acoustic instrumentation. 

More info:

Come on down to The Pearl Theater on Saturday, September 28 and enjoy a fabulous evening of live bluegrass music! The Pearl Theater is proud to bring you BlueStreak, a  five member bluegrass band featuring traditional bluegrass acoustic instrumentation with three part vocal harmonies.
BlueStreak represents one of the more veteran crews of the entire northwest bluegrass scene, with a unique sound anchored around the powerful vocals and guitar work of Doug Bond of Sandpoint, Idaho. Bob Asbury, (banjo) and Dave Hackwith on standup bass are experienced players from the long enduring northwest group, Custer’s Grass Band. Terry Ludiker, a household name in northwest acoustic music, plays fiddle and mandolin. Steve Bauer completes the circle with his unique arsenal of crisp mandolin chops. Steve began his playing career in the Fort Collins Colorado area, a hotbed of bluegrass in the seventies. Together the members of BlueStreak deliver the “high lonesome” sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony on a rock solid foundation of acoustic instrumentation.
- See more at:
Tickets are $16 General and $12 for POAC Members.  They ar  $10 for 18 and under.

Doors Open 30 minutes before show

The Panida Theater  300 North 1st Avenue, Sandpoint, ID 83864 United States
Phone: 208-255-7801

If you know someone who doesn’t know bluegrass—a young picker, maybe—do that person a favor and gift him or her tickets to this Bluestreak performance. It will not only open new ears to some first-rate picking and singing, but may prompt that person to circle back for more.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Andy Warhol – The Complete Picture

I have been fascinated with high-art demigod Andy Warhol since David Bowie sang about him. His art took people to new arenas, and i have always been fascinated by his ability to draw in a wide variety of audiences. Even people who have never been inside a museum know his name.

9780811857215_p0_v1_s260x420Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist.

Warhol’s art encompassed many forms of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music.

 He was also a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984, two years before his death. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.
Recommended Reading:
Andy Warhol’s Colors Board book – May 17, 2007 by Susan Goldman Rubin (Author) Learning about colors has never been so hip! In Andy Warhol’s imagination, horses are purple and golden monkeys wear pink baubles on their tails. Through Andy Warhol’s Colors, children willlearn their colors as they discover that in modern art, anything is possible.
Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame”. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$105 million for a 1963 canvas titled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)”. A 2009 article in The Economist described Warhol as the “bellwether of the art market”. Warhol’s works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

What I appreciate most about this icon is that he was one of the most most prolific and popular artists of his time, using both avant-garde and highly commercial sensibilities.

Who is Tim Wise? And thoughts on racism and bigotry in Idaho

Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Tim Wise is oneof the nation's great fighters against it.

Tim Wise.jpgTimothy Jacob "Tim" Wise (born October 4, 1968) is an American anti-racism activist and writer. Since 1995, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses across the U.S. He has trained teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.

In White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely. He explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges, and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so. Using anecdotes instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly, analytical and yet accessible.

In the spirit of anti-racism, below is my follow-up to a story from March 26, 2011.

Simply put, I was asked to leave a party in Boise, Idaho because I am Black. Some people claimed the incident never happened. Here are the details.

A columnist wrote:

About a month ago, a good friend of mine in Boise shared a disturbing and awkward incident he experienced. After being invited with five other friends to a private party, he was turned away after arriving, because he’s black. While there are worse things than being uninvited after arriving at a party, the incident was symptomatic of an underlying insecurity or animus based on race.

As my friend recounted the event, “The underpinnings of unfair discrimination are obvious.” Indeed they are obvious, and they speak volumes about the dearth of character and lack of humanity of the one who objected to his presence. My friend, Michael Strickland, who gave me permission to use his name and relate his experience, elaborated, “Racism is a cancer — it spreads.” Indeed it can, unless we proactively work to curtail it.

I genuinely hope everyone perusing this column is as repulsed by the insensitivity, abject stupidity and classless actions of one person against Michael as I am. I would further hope that each of you forward this column to anyone you know who may manifest similar tendencies to ostracize, diminish or exclude anyone based on something as superficial as physiological differences. Unlike some who harbor a somewhat fatalistic view of racists, presuming that they cannot be changed, I will forever be a believer in the fundamental goodness and teachability of mankind, regardless of socio-economic or cultural shortcomings that have stunted our growth regarding racist behavior.

A further discussion of racism is warranted here. Included below are some of my responses to my critics.

March 27, 2011 at 11:51 am 
The story of how I ended up in such a situation had to do with a highly unusual set of circumstances.
I was out with two friends. We went to another spot to meet one friend’s brother-in-law and his girlfriend. They were with a group of people. One member of the larger group invited “all of us” to a party at the house where he lived.

As it turns out, the inviter was a tenant who lived with relatives. One of those relatives was the one who asked all six of us to leave, and they made it clear why.

The inviter said something about a jail background for a couple of his relatives and he mentioned that they “do the white power thing.”

This incident occurred a couple of weeks in Boise. An Ada County Sherriff’s car was at the scene when we left, talking to one of the owners of the house. Police patrols know who is who and what is going on. Also, a call to their records department produced documentation of a noise compliant there, that night.

So for doubters, we can open up official channels (and the five friends who were asked to leave with me) for verification, if that will be helpful.

And again — ironically — whether anyone believes that this incident happened has absolutley no impact on the message ... There are numerous documented incidents that I am aware of, in the last year alone, that could have been used to write the exact same column.
More info on those is forthcoming.

Thanks to all who are speaking up.

I am glad that police believed the victim who said he was beaten by white supremacists at an Idaho Walmart:
Sept 1, 2010:
BOISE — A federal court has rejected an appeal from an Idaho man who was convicted of a hate crime for beating a black man outside a Nampa Wal-Mart.

And see this from -
“As the defendants left the store, prosecutors said, they discussed beating the man and made preparations for and attack. Investigators allege that when the man left the store, the suspects threatened him and called him racial slurs, and Bullard asked him what country he thought he was in.”

Celebrities often experience racism:

See: Racism Rears its Ugly head as An Indian-American Woman Wins The Miss America Pageant


    Jennifer Love Hewitt
    Elizabeth Smart
    Demi Moore
    Teresa Giudice
    Amanda Bynes
    Isla Fisher
    Kendra Wilkinson
    Cell phone plans
    Kris Jenner
    Katherine Heigl

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

JIM BRICKMAN Celebrates 20 Years In Boise With "Love Around The Piano" For One Night Only

“The pianokeys are black and white
but they sound like a million colors in your mind”
- Author Maria Cristina Mena

I love great piano. That is why it is so exciting that we can experience the sounds of award-winning hit-maker, pianist and recording artist Jim Brickman as he rings in the New Year celebrating his 20-year musical journey in the entertainment industry.

Nominated for two Grammy's, four certified gold albums and over 7 million albums sold world-wide, Brickman brings one of the most entertaining and romantic concert events of the year to Boise.

Performing live, Jim Brickman Love Around the Piano arrives in Boise at the Morrison Center on Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm. Ticket prices are $49.00, $39.00 and $29.00 and available by calling 208-426-1110, or online For event details, theater location and more details, visit

Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:30 PM 

Tickets available at:
Morrison Center Box Office, online at 

or call (208) 426-1110.

Brickman's engaging stage presence seamlessly blends mood and music to touch the heart in a special way, letting fan's imaginations take them wherever they want to go. With dazzling solo piano and star-studded vocal collaborations, Brickman will wow audience members with his hits including "Valentine," "If You Believe," "Love of My Life" and more. Jim Brickman Love Around the Piano strikes the perfect balance between musical intimacy, compelling storytelling and audience interaction.

"It's hard to believe 20 years have passed since I first stepped into the music industry with my first album recording. So many things have changed in that time, yet so many things have remained the same," says Jim. "Having created milestones through all my albums has helped me to watch myself grow as a person and a musician. Love for music has always been a constant in my life, and being able to share this journey with fans from all over the world when I perform is what I enjoy most!"

Jim Brickman has revolutionized the sound of solo piano with his pop-style instrumentals and star-studded vocal collaborations. With four certified gold albums he's sold more than 7 million CDs. Since the release of his debut album No Words in 1994, Brickman has released 40 albums and has the most appearances (30) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart.  Brickman also has the most No. 1s (19) in the 25-year history of the New Age Albums chart.  Brickman received top honors with two Grammy Award nominations, two SESAC "Songwriter of the Year" awards, the Canadian Country Music Award and the Dove Award presented by the Gospel Music Association.

Brickman's best-known compositions include the chart-toppers "Valentine," "The Gift," "Love of My Life," "Simple Things" and "Peace." He has established a reputation for his collaborations with many musical artists including Kenny Rogers, Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Johnny Mathis, Michael W. Smith, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, Collin Raye, Michael Bolton, Donny Osmond, Wayne Brady, Olivia Newton-John, John Oates and Herb Alpert.

Brickman is the host of a weekly syndicated radio show, Your Weekend with Jim Brickman, airing on 80+ stations across North America. He authored two best-selling books, Simple Things and Love Notes.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Brickman began playing piano at the age of five, studying at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music where he was honored with a scholarship in his name in 2012.

Brickman champions many charitable foundations including The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Autism Speaks. He is a strong supporter of PBS, filming four TV specials for the network - An Evening with Jim Brickman (2000), Love Songs and Lullabies (2002), Live from Disney's Magic Kingdom (2005), and Beautiful World (2009). Most recently, Brickman brought together the stars of the 70's for Celebration of the 70's.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Premier World Pageant brings an exciting and "premier" experience to delegates and their families!

Premier World Pageant brings an exciting and "premier" experience to delegates and their families! 

"Come join us as our delegates compete in the areas of fitness, theme wear, gown, interview and onstage question," says  Kristen Jones Rossow. "These talented and amazing delegates will entertain you as they reach for the goal of the crown!"

Various levels of competition will be shown, divisions of all ages and boys as well as girls will compete for trophies and the titles of royalty. Come support your favorite delegate and join in the excitement of discovering "Who's Next??!!!"

Premier US Pageants encompasses pageant divisions for infants to adult women across the United States as well as supports an Ambassador Association that promotes personal development and leadership through community service.

Tickets Now Available!!! We have made them super affordable so you can pack the house with all your adoring and cheering fans! - Kristen Jones Rossow

Community Events
Premier World Pageant
Civic Center Auditorium
Event Times:
Saturday, October 11, 2014   05:00PM
Ticket Prices:
General Admission:  $5.00

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jersey Shore's Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Indicted For Tax Fraud

Source: Wikipedia
A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Jersey Shore alum Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and his brother/manager Marc, alleging they did not pay taxes on $8.9 million in income, according to Yahoo News.
"According to the indictment, Michael and Marc Sorrentino filed false tax returns that incorrectly reported millions made from promotions and appearances," U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement. "The brothers allegedly also claimed costly clothes and cars as business expenses and funneled company money into personal accounts. The law is absolutely clear: telling the truth to the IRS is not optional."
Michael Paul Sorrentino (born July 4, 1981) known by his nickname The Situation, is an American television personality. He appeared on the MTV reality show Jersey Shore in all six seasons from December 2009 through its final episode in 2012.

The former star of the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" and his brother filed bogus tax returns on nearly $9 million and claimed millions in business expenses — including luxury vehicles and clothing — that were actually for personal use, according to the indictment.

The brothers pleaded not guilty through their attorneys during a brief initial appearance in U.S. District Court.

Christopher Adams, an attorney for Marc Sorrentino, said that the government's case has enormous holes:

"He has spent the better part of a year trying to show them flaws in their theory, and it is unfortunate that the government has chosen to rely on the word of a disgraced accountant who is a proven liar," Adams told The Associated Press in an email.

Richard Sapinski, an attorney representing Mike Sorrentino, didn't comment after the hearing and didn't return media messages seeking comment.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bestelling Author Aspen Morrow Offers Nutritional Building Blocks That Help Stabilize BiPolar

Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder (and originally called manic-depressive illness), is a mental disorder characterized by periods of elevated mood and periods of depression.

The primary goal of Aspen Morrow's groundbreaking Med Free Bipolar: Thrive Naturally with the Med Free Method(TM) is to show that treating bipolar effectively through natural means is not only possible, but highly likely. The Med Free Method™ is designed as a fourth treatment option over being medicated, "unmedicated," or "self-medicated," written by a peer who has been through it and backed by scientifically-proven, field-tested methods.

Read more about this groundbreaking book.

"When diagnosed we are usually given 2 options: Medicate, or go UNmedicated, which then we choose ourselves: to SELFmedicate," writes Morrow.

The Med Free option, using the Med Free Method, is none of the above. It helps heal and treat naturally so that there are few lingering symptoms of the disorder. We who utilize the Med Free Method of treatment are THRIVING Naturally. Our primary goal with the Med Free Method™ is to nutrate deficiencies, increase digestive and enzyme functions, fix sleep, detox, fine-tune through diet and exercising, and then address any lingering symptoms with natural supplemental alternatives or complimentary/integrative medicine.

With BiPolar, the elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania depending on the severity or whether there is psychosis. During mania an individual feels or acts abnormally happy, energetic, or irritable. They often make poorly thought out decisions with little regard to the consequences. The need for sleep is usually reduced. During periods of depression there may be crying, poor eye contact with others, and a negative outlook on life. The risk of suicide among those with the disorder is high at greater than 6% over 20 years, while self harm occurs in 30–40%. Other mental health issues such as anxiety disorder and drug misuse are commonly associated. The cause is not clearly understood, but both genetic and environmental factors play a role.

Morrow was born and named after the aspen trees in Idaho. Traveling the world as an intern, English teacher and photo-journalist, she put herself through college waiting tables and winning track and essay scholarships. After majoring in Public Relations with a minor in creative writing and Asian studies, she found herself unable to work due to a debilitating neurobiological disorder. Motivated to heal herself, she went on to recover naturally, become a business woman of the year in 2011 and a 2013 Woman of Inspiration. She is an author, dynamic speaker, artist, lover of life and serial entrepreneur. She now resides in Idaho with her husband and three children. Her favorite place to write is alongside the creek in her backyard surrounded by her chickens and the laughter of her children playing. She has plans to publish dozens of books in the genres of health, personal development and historical fiction. She is currently working as an author publicist.

 Med Free Bipolar: Thrive Naturally with the Med Free Method(TM) hit Amazon #1 top seller in two categories within its fist 48 hours. It is the first book in the Med Free Method Book Series. Upcoming books include the Med Free Method Diet & Cookbook, Med Free Child, and Med Free Heart, among others.

Her favorite quote is: "The meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit." --Nelson Henderson

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heisman Watch: BYU's Versatile Quarterback Taysom Hill

Pocatello, Idaho is known as the Smile Capital of the United States. And one of their homegrown products has given a lot of people a reason to keep on a happy face.

For example, the Texas Longhorns are ecstatic about the end of their series with Taysom Hill-led BYU, writes Paul Myerberg, of USA Today:
Hill did it again to the Longhorns, following up last season's breakthrough with 270 yards of total offense and three scores, one a made-for-the-Heisman hurdle job over a hapless UT defender. Leading his team into Austin and notching a 34-point win is just the start: Hill and the Cougars might be eyeballing an undefeated regular season.

Legendary BYU quarterback Steve Young said: "Hill could be a jackhammer one play and then play a violin the next." 

Hill attended Highland High School, where he earned the All-Idaho Player of the Year, Gatorade High School Player of the Year, First Team All-State selection and earned All-Region and All-Conference Player of the Year accolades in his senior season of 2008. Hill also lettered in basketball and track and field while at Highland.

Experts are starting to ask if Hill is the best player in the country.

 This season, his junior year with the Cougars, Hill has been:

He is a new breed of BYU quarterback, an athletic one built on the run as well as the pass.

And SBNation reminds us that:

Taysom’s numbers have been tremendous so far and the Cougars have earned some good results through the first two weeks of the season. Those result have been enough for BYU to gain entry into the AP Top 25, which most BYU fans thought would only happen after the game against UCF. The Cougars must continue to win games (maybe 11, but probably 12 if he wants a serious chance at winning the Heisman). His touchdown stats so far have really helped his candidacy, but he will probably need more passing TDs to balance out his statistics as the season progresses. One huge factor is that the Cougars have four more chances to play on ESPN and all of them are on Thursday or Friday evenings. This will give curious voters a chance to watch the Cougars without being distracted by a bunch of other games being played simultaneously. It starts this Thursday at home against Houston. Look for Hill to have another big game and for BYU to earn another big win to take Taysom’s Heisman run to the next level.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cirque Dreams Holidaze returns to the Morrison Center to light up the 2014 holiday season in Boise

I have always loved the circus. My parents used to bring me to Ringling Bros. and Barnamum Bailey at Madison Square Garden when we were growing up. Warm, lasting memories fill my heart when I reminisce about such performances.

Now Boise receives one of the best shows, in its 5th year of touring multiple simultaneous productions, Cirque Dreams Holidaze. It is a separate group from the well known Cirque Du Soleil. Nonetheless, this production is elaborate the story lines intricate, and the music ... dynamic. And as with Cirque Du Soleil, there are no animals being used in this show.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze is “so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil” according to the New York Daily News and “stuffed with so much holiday cheer and audacious acts, Scrooge would exit with a big ol’ smile on his face” proclaims the Erie Times News about this “Broadway-worthy spectacle”.

Wednesday, November 19th
7:30 PM

10% Discount
General public on sale:
Monday, September 8th at 10:00 AM

This show sold out here in 2012, and it returns to the Morrison Center to light up the 2014 holiday season with a bigger, newer and more exciting, detailed production. THIS IS A SHOW NOT TO BE's a cirque show...Broadway spectacular...and family show all in one.

Broadway director Neil Goldberg re-imagines the holiday season with over 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries showcasing an endless variety of imaginative, heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats you have to see to believe. Experience gingerbread men flipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief. The show celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, choreography and exciting production numbers. Performers twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites brought to life within a stage setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering trees & soldiers creating a wonderland of amazement.

The NY Daily News stated that "There have only been a handful of shows that have generated an exclamation point as assertive as the ones created and directed by Neil Goldberg. This show boasts "a delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleigh load."

I can't wait to bring my family to see it.

Kellen Moore is a Superbowl Quarterback

What other team has their third string quarterback getting so many major headlines?

Lions backup quarterback Kellen Moore hands the ball off.jpg

They said that he is too slow.

They said  he has no arm.

They said  he is too small.

But his strengths are intelligence and pinpoint accuracy.

They said similar things about Phil Simms and Joe Montanna.

Simms was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Super Bowl XXI. He set the record for highest completion percentage in a Super Bowl, going 22 for 25 (88%). Montanna powered the 49ers to victories in four Super Bowls during the 1980s, including consecutive wins in 1989 and 1990.

As KTVB reported, Moore is too good for the Detroit Lions to ignore, having made their 53-man roster last week.

As with Simms and Montanna, Moore had tremendous college production. This tremendous athlete finished his career with Boise State University in 2011, having walked away 50–3 (.943) -- the unofficial all-time record for wins by a starting quarterback in NCAA Division I FBS. 

As a junior, he finished fourth in the balloting for the 2010 Heisman Trophy.

But the road for this underdog has been peppered with criticism. For example, take a look at these tweets from January 2012:

And ...

But similar criticisms were said of Moore before his remarkable and legendary run at Boise State.

Fast-forward to August of 2013: Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters that Moore was "a very improved player ... He has played well when given the opportunities and has improved a lot from over the course of the season last year, but then particularly in our offseason program and training camp. In all facets his understanding of our offense, his understanding of what defenses do, and also physically, he's improved."

And he has only become better. According to KTVB:

In the first preseason game, Moore kept his new competition on the sidelines. With Detroit trailing Cleveland 12-6 and just 2:14 left in the fourth quarter, Moore led the Lions on a four-play, 50-yard scoring drive in 1:09. Boise State's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns threw a 21-yard strike down the left sideline to wide receiver Corey Fuller with just 1:05 remaining in regulation.
The Lions won, 13-12. ... Moore shined again in fourth and final tune-up contest prior to the regular season. Moore took almost every snap over the last three quarters of a 23-0 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 28. Add it all up and Moore completed 68.6-percent for 361 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in four relief appearances. His 108.4 quarterback rating was the fourth best in the NFL for passers with at least 50 attempts.

At the 2014 NFL combine, it emerged that Moore is a strong leader who has great poise in the pocket. Moore has a quick pass set that is balanced and under control. He gets rid of the ball quickly and picks his spots effectively. A very accurate thrower both short and long, Moore understands route progressions and is steady under pressure. He knows how to put touch on the ball. Just like he often did at Boise State, this unique QB scans the field with laser-like perfection to locate his second and third options.

With an eerie similarity to Simms and Montanna, he has all the intangibles and is a quarterback that is under control.

Kellen Moore will prove his critics wrong once again.

Boise State University, Detroit Lions, Michael Strickland, Michael Strickland Idaho, Michael Strickland Bois,