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The Aspen Ideas Festival is going on NOW through July 11

It started on the fifth and I probably would have caught it if I had my own computer and were on line my regular 10-15 hours a day. However, you can still catch lots of this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival live on line (if you can’t afford to get out to Colorado this week) by going HERE.

Here’s some info on the Festival:

For 60 years the Aspen Institute has been the nation’s premier place for leaders from around the globe to explore timeless ideas and address the toughest challenges of the day. Since 1857, The Atlantic magazine has shaped national debate on the defining issues of our times. Together, we’re working to touch as many people as we can to create a “public commons” for the 21st century, where a diverse group of intellectually curious people can gather to talk, listen, debate, question, and learn what they can do to make our world — and our children’s world — a better place.

Divided into two overlapping four-day sessions, the Aspen Ideas Festival offers a substantial array of lectures, presentations, debates, and panel discussions by leading thinkers who span a vast range of critical topics, from the economy to the environment, from science to the arts, and from across ideological spectrums.

Who Will Be There?

From early in the morning until late at night, inspiring and provocative writers, public officials, artists, scientists, business executives, scholars, economists, foreign policy specialists, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all kinds — drawn from myriad fields, from across the country and from around the world — will gather to address audiences on the campus of the Aspen Institute and in the town of Aspen. Attendees will meet other concerned and curious participants on the footpath, over lunch, and at the coffee bar — civically engaged and intellectually charged individuals who share a common enthusiasm for engaging on the serious topics of the day as well as the inspiration that a new idea has sparked. This is a place to challenge one’s thinking and learn about the world and the ideas that are shaping it.

One of these years I want to be out there in person… but it won’t be while the economy is like this. I’m lucky if I can just get to Frederick, MD, to buy organic food once a week.

A few items here and there…

At a local Food CoOp meeting last night there was a pile of information revealed. First of all, there is in existence a Jefferson County (WV) Food CoOp, has been for around 25 years, but it has been shrinking and is all but invisible (down to a couple of dozen members). The Shepherdstown group looks like they are willing to buy into it (membership is $25.00 a year and they order food from a National CoOp supplier once a month).

Ruth Robertas got the Shepherdstown bunch together for meetings and is keeping minutes on the meeting, which are expected by e-mail.

At some point I hope to write an update on this venture… I’d give anything to have it turn into a real ongoing shopping area, like the Frederick Common Market which I go down to at least one Wednesday a month (on Wednesdays there is a 5% discount for folks over 60, which usually covers my gas and my lunch) and which sells the best organic and natural stuff and is especially full of products appealing to Vegans like us. That, however, is a long way away and would require a REAL organization.


Yesterday at the Farmer’s Market in Shepherdstown, I saw this good looking woman and her family shopping and she was covered in intricate tattoos. It made me stop and think about how many people you see these days that have turned their bodies into artworks…

While watching one of the Top Chef shows on Bravo I noticed that 2/3 of the contestant chefs, both male and female, were more than decorated with tattoos. They were never commented on or apparently even noticed by anyone (I mean, no one said “gee, what a great design” or anything like that), but were simply accepted as part of the current mode of expression.

And then, of course, I thought of Janeane Garafolo, who is even more tattooed every time she appears on television. Certainly this effects her ability to be cast in films. Or maybe not.

So I started thinking about what I would decorate myself with if I were to go for tattoos. My big problem is that I would tire of an image or a pattern relatively quickly and I don’t imagine removal is an easy thing (although I’ve heard of it being done.) The upshot is that I don’t want to find out how my skin would change as I got older. I don’t think I’ll ever get a tattoo.


The word on the BP oil leak this morning is that the cap that was put on the broken pipe is sucking in 11,000 barrels a day, but that may be only 10% or 20% of what is going directly into gulf waters.

At the government’s press update this morning they seemed to be trying to put an optimistic face on all this, but the bottom line was that there is no real solution until the relief wells are finished in August… and even then there is still a strong possibility that the problem could go on.

Somebody made the statement that there would be months of cleanup after the leak was stopped , but everyone knows that they are still cleaning up much less pollution from the Exxon Valdez spill 10 YEARS AGO!

BP’s cleanup price tag so far is 1.25 Billion Bucks and climbing.This doesn’t count any of the lawsuits which are being brought by destroyed businesses along the coastlines or by amounts that are being claimed by individual states who will lose tourist industry income. No one is questioning whether BP will survive, but if they go bankrupt, who will pay for all this. You and I both know the answer to that one (keep your hand on your wallet and wait for the tax increases.)