SHROOMFEST … Welcome to the zaniest, wackiest, if also entirely serious 33rd (or maybe the 34th) Telluride Mushroom Festival (once upon a time Wild Mushrooms Telluride, an educational conference) … The Salzmans of Denver started it all back in 1981 with help from their friends, the Lincoffs, the Adams, the Gillmens (the perfect name for a fungophile), as well as Dr. Andrew Weil and the amazing Paul Stamets … The Telluride Institute rescued it some half-dozen or so years ago, as declining attendance threatened to end the show. This year the equally amazing Rebecca Fyffe of Chicago has taken on directing things, and we’re pulling in hundreds of people from all over the country who inhabit that unique mycophilic niche in American society – mushroom lovers … Check out the tent in Elk’s Park. Saunter down to the Palm (or take the free in-town shuttle). There’s workshops, chef tastings, ID tables, lectures, roundtable discussions, forays and, of course, the parade. Dress up as your favorite mushroom. Or make a sign to carry in the march (“Decompose Now!” or “I’m a Fun Guy”). Or line Telluride’s main street and watch a parade of freaks and hippies celebrating fungi … It’s Shroomfest and We Love Mushrooms!
WEEKLY QUOTA … “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.” – Physicist Richard Feynman
CANNABALL … A catchy name in Colorado, where a famous Republican cannibal ate half the Democrats in Lake County back in the day – Alferd [sic] Packer. But we’re actually talking about a Cannabis Ball at the Melrose Hotel in Grand Junction, Sept. 26. Although retail recreational cannabis is not available in Grand Junction, the Melrose allows cannabis smoking out on its outdoor patio … Organizer Sam Hall is requiring business casual attire for the fete, and hopes to “break the negative stereotype” surrounding cannabis by hosting a “professional” event. Masks will be available to those over 21 wishing to remain anonymous. Expect public speakers, cooking edibles demonstrations and workshops. But it’s a party, so come to dance too … It’s interesting how slowly some jurisdictions and private businesses move to take economic advantage of new circumstances. The decriminalization of cannabis has offered many of these opportunities. I’m kind of surprised no lodgings in Telluride or Ridgway have offered the kind of situation the Melrose Hotel has set up – banning smoking inside the hotel, but allowing cannabis consumption on their private enclosed patio. As progressive as our two mountain communities may be, our retailers appear to be slow to take advantage of an obvious market opportunity.
SPEAKING OF CANNABIS … Kudos to Sofia Sady of Alpine Wellness for her letter pointing out the unrecognized economic boost Telluride has experienced due to cannabis sales. While I agree with Mayor Stu that marketing numbers have improved under Michael Martelon, Sady’s also right to suggest cannabitourism has had a significant part to play beyond just its direct sales tax revenues … People are coming east from Norwood to Moab and up from the south (all the way down to Texas) because Telluride holds the closest legal dispensaries (which will change once Durango gets into the market). And those people are eating, shopping, and staying in Tride for a day or two.
PLANTS CAN HEAR … We gathered as much from Tompkins & Bird’s Secret Life of Plants (1973), which was heavily criticized for supposedly mixing science and pseudo-science. But Daniel Chamovitz’s What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses was one of Amazon’s Top Ten Science Books of 2012, and it concludes that plants are indeed sentient – they can see, smell and feel. They can mount a defense when attacked, and warn their neighbors of trouble. And they may even have memory … Now a recent study from the University of Missouri suggests that certain plants respond to the sound of caterpillars eating leaves by emitting repellant chemicals. The hypothesis is that the plants are incredibly finely tuned to vibrations and noises from predators, and don’t respond with repellent emissions for wind or atmospheric noises … Of course, for those of us deep ecologists, the animistic nature of all life on the planet is a very basic principle.
NEANDERTAL HOMINIDS … The recent find of 28 skeletons and 17 skulls of proto-Neandertal individuals from 480,000 years ago in a Spanish cave, Sima del los Huesos, has upended anthropological theories. The small brains of the proto-Neandertals suggest that human and Neandertal big brains developed independently. And Neandertals clearly evolved far earlier than Homo sapiens, who only appeared in the hominid record 200,000 years ago.
THE TALKING GOURD
from “Lost Coast”
…Here on the Pacific Rim
that’s anything but
Restless tides & rogue waves
Tokyo monster bubble buoys
Braided dragons of rope & rust
But this coast’s still
Hiking an orgy of
What we used to call