Beating the heat in Phoenix this week

PHOENIX – After a magazine publisher’s conference in Las Vegas this week, I decided to grab a flight to Phoenix for some R&R at the Royal Palms Resort & Spa for a few days — a favorite oasis — to extend the Endless Summer of 2019. After all, I was more than halfway there. Ha!

I landed just in time to experience record temperatures for Phoenix this time of year — 114 degrees. In the shade.

In fairness, 114 degrees in Phoenix is better than 90 degrees in some other more humid Sun Belt cities. Some examples: Fort Lauderdale, where I worked at the Sun Sentinel newspaper in the ’80s, or Houston, where my parents lived for a few years in the ’80s before retreating back to California.

The pool at the Royal Palms is an ideal spot to “beat the heat,” along with a bowl of gazpacho and a tall glass of iced tea. Opened in 1948, with its distinctive Spanish Colonial architecture, the hotel became a destination of choice for discriminating travelers, including celebrities such as Groucho Marx and Helena Rubenstein.

We first came here with our son for Major League Baseball Spring Training and had a wonderful time. We’ve been back numerous times, including at Easter break.

I’ve become a fan of Phoenix in my later adulthood, largely because of Spring Training, the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture (the Arizona Biltmore and Taliesen West) and restaurants such as Vincent on Camelback, and The Mission and Barrio Queen. We go in winter or spring normally.

Sheriff Joe, botched lip injections & disinformation mills

The Valley of the Sun also is fascinating to me from a cultural point of view. After all, it is home to characters such as “Sheriff Joe” (aka Joe Arpaio). “America’s toughest sheriff” became a flashpoint around Arizona’s anti-immigration law, largely struck down by the Supreme Court. Of course, Sheriff Joe also is known for investigating former President Obama’s birth certificate. You get the point.

Phoenix is a mash-mash of expansion in the middle of a desert with limited water supplies — an ongoing battle of Man vs. Nature. In an era of sustainability, that fascinates me too.

And the local news often screams outlandish. Here are two examples from this week alone:

This week the top story on the TV news was: “Valley women claim botched lip injections caused severe infection.” It continued: “We want to warn you – the photos you’re about to see are pretty graphic.” No kidding! You can see them here.

In another example, The New York Times also traveled to Phoenix for a special report that ran this week: It was about a Phoenix-area “online disinformation mill” that seeks to shape our political views on social media.

It reads: “The Western Journal rose on the forces that have remade — and warped — American politics, as activists, publishers and politicians harnessed social media’s power and reach to serve fine-tuned ideological content to an ever-agitated audience.” In this case, right-wing views and Trumpism.

To be sure, the Phoenix area is a microcosm of America in many ways. You know, the divided and sensational one. But I also like the dry heat, Spring Training, and history that includes American industrialists in the Golden Era and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

I have to admit that I liked the Royal Palms better before Hyatt bought it in 2016. (Hyatt was going to outsource valet and bellhop jobs to an outside vendor and laid off 15 workers. The hotel chain later reversed course on the cuts). But time marches on.

John Douglas Parent Obituary

Editor’s note: This obituary for longtime Nevada City resident John Parent was forwarded to me for publication. It is written by Elle Gianforte, owner at Blue Fig Creative, and it is a wonderful tribute.

Simply mention the name John Parent in this community and everyone within earshot will have a story to tell. Every. Single. Person.

John Douglas Parent had a larger-than-life personality that cannot fade even with his passing. He entered this world in Bishop, California, on April 27, 1942, and departed it from the loving comfort of his home in Nevada City on August 12, 2019, at 4:44 pm. For all of his 77 years, he left an indelible mark on the lives of the people whose paths he crossed. When he smiled, he warmed a room. When he laughed—a sound born deep in his belly—it was clear that he was amused, or entertained, or the keeper of a fabulously wicked secret.

John was an artist and a commercial interior designer. A lover of history and a collector of pottery and pressed glass. He was a fiercely loyal friend who adored dancing and made a mean martini. And when he loved, he loved big.

John fell head over heels for Nielsen Allan Locke, literally at first sight, when the two spotted each other at the Pine Inn in Carmel in 1973. They smiled, forged an instant connection, and fate took over from there. They were together for 46 years and married on October 23, 2013.

In 2000 Todd Wahoske entered their lives, bringing a gentleness, kindness, and brightness that balanced an already amazing relationship. Almost instantly, they became WeBee3—a profoundly precious trio to all who had the honor of knowing them.

John’s influence and involvement in Nevada City were boundless. He and Niel owned Parent and Locke Antiques, followed by a memorable stint as the proprietors of Java John’s. John was on the Nevada City Planning Commission for 12 years, serving as both chair and vice-chair. Refusing to retire, he mobilized his inner fashionista and worked part time at Maiden Lane and Novak’s on Broad Street. He was instrumental in the creation of Victorian Christmas, and also participated as James Buchanan in the Marching Presidents of Nevada City for several years.

Throughout his time in Nevada City, John mentored many young people, most of them employees at Java John’s. He and Niel took it upon themselves to teach the importance of values, manners, human kindness, and attention to detail. Over the years, countless former employees have shared with John how the guidance and direction he and Niel provided have enriched their lives.

John leaves behind a legacy that includes a wealth of friends and extended family who are the guardians of his stories. Their treasured memories will keep his spirit alive, spreading joy and comfort precisely the way he would want it.

A commemoration of life—John’s Big Broad Street Bash—is in the planning stages. It will begin at Java John’s, spill into Golden Era, and move down the hill to the Mine Shaft Saloon. Check John’s Facebook page or go to Java John’s in Nevada City for details.

Elle Gianforte

UNR offers first-ever Paiute language course

Editor’s note: This article is from UNR’s Nevada Today publication:

Ralph Burns takes on a number of titles, including Pyramid Lake Paiute elder, storyteller and native-language specialist. This fall, he will add University of Nevada, Reno lecturer to the list.Related Academic Programs

Christina Thomas is a recent University graduate in music and biology, mom, former Washoe County School District teacher, experienced server, performing artist and most notably, a self-titled ‘language warrior’. She began as a youth Paiute language instructor in 2015, replacing Burns as a language teacher at Reed High School in Sparks, and then later took an independent study course from Burns at the University.

Often singing and dancing at events together, their mentor/mentee relationship has deepened through the years, and this year, also together, they helped create and launch the first-ever Paiute language course to be taught at the University.

Thomas begins her master’s of arts program in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis this fall, with potential plans to return to the region and continue teaching and preserving the Paiute language and culture after graduate school. 

“This course continues the opportunities for language learning for students who take Paiute in high school and introduces people who might not be familiar with Nevada indigenous languages to the culture and history of the land on which the University stands,” Thomas said. “I am proud to be considered a ‘language warrior’ and hope, through this class, others will also become language warriors along the way.”

Burns currently teaches language courses at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and will embark on a new journey this fall, teaching college students on campus. A written form of Northern Paiute was developed by Burns and Cathrine Fowler, a linguist at the University, years prior. They also produced learning materials for Northern Paiute, which will be incorporated in the new Paiute language course.Related Links

The goal of the First Year Northern Paiute I course is to develop speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in the language, as well as to develop a deeper understanding of Numu cultural contexts. 

The course is scheduled for the Fall 2019 semester from 5:30-7:20 p.m., Monday and Wednesday evenings.

“We are excited to offer Northern Paiute for the first time,” World Languages and Literatures Chair Casilde Isabelli said. “Through the experiences and teaching from an elder of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, students will gain a better understanding and appreciation for the indigenous culture and history of our region.”

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the Northern Paiute orthography and write basic sentences.
  • Produce basic linguistic structures of Northern Paiute, including sentence structure, agreement, basic verb tenses, and basic prepositional phrases.
  • Identify and describe the local Northern Paiute culture and its connection to the language, including connections to place and the Great Basin, traditional activities, kinship, and foods.
  • Produce basic sentences in Northern Paiute, including introductions of self and others, describing their families and relationships.
  • Comprehend spoken language in Northern Paiute and respond appropriately.
  • Read and understand short traditional narratives.
  • Compare U.S. and Northern Paiute cultures in regards to daily life, traditions, kinship, and foods.

A video is here:

Preserving Paiute Language. from University of Nevada, Reno on Vimeo.

Fun at our Fair — in a digital era, no less

Millennials are different than their parents and grandparents, thanks to the digital era. This generation has grown up with broadband internet, home computers, video games, social media and smartphones at their disposal.

Our son and his friends are included in the mix — fans of their smartphones (our son’s is a Google Pixel XL), Snapchat, Minecraft and so on. Some of them are world travelers too.

But their summer fun also includes a visit to the Nevada County Fair: a wonderful small-town experience. This year’s theme was “farms, food and fun.”

Last night, our son and two of his friends at Ghidotti High (Michael and Anna) went to the fair, ate dinner on Treat Street and enjoyed the entertainment — for nearly the last time before heading off to college in fall 2020.

I texted our son around 9:30 p.m., nudging him for an ETA to be home. “Dad, I’m about to get on a ride!” he responded. Well, OK then.

Our son and his friends had a great time, as in the past — “old-fashioned fun,” to be sure. We all have enjoyed the opening ceremonies at the Fair, complete with breakfast, music, speeches, and a flag raising.

I know this is going to be a memorable experience as our son grows older, and I’m glad for that — in our digital era, no less.

Our son is getting a bit too old to go to the Fair with mom and dad, but that has been fun in the past (see the photo of him and mom on a fair ride in grade school). In grade school, he received free admission as an “honor roll student,” a thoughtful perk for our local children.

Thanks to our Fair organizers, staff and board members for all the work that goes into the Fair. We are grateful.

“Saga,” on our magazine’s cover, wins “People’s Choice” award at Tahoe Concours d’Elegance

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

“Saga,” the 1930, 38-foot Chris Craft commuter featured on the cover of our summer issue, won the People’s Choice award at the 47th annual Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance this weekend.

Saga is owned by Ed and Deborah Scott. The Scotts named their classic wooden boat after the book “The Saga of Lake Tahoe,” written by Ed’s father, E.B. Scott, as our summer issue notes. 

Our cover photograph is by photojournalist Steven Lapkin, known for his award-winning photographs of wooden boats and America’s Cup yachts.

Steven writes in our magazine: “Through 40-plus years of experience, I have learned that the essence of providing an unforgettable image is both complex and remarkably simple. ‘Be at the right place at the right time.’”

Our Sierra FoodWineArt magazine circulates throughout the Sierra Foothills, Tahoe/Truckee, Reno and outlying Sacramento region in a full-color print format.

Our magazine also has a companion website, a digital edition, and a custom edition for smartphones. In addition, we just launched an audio edition (click on the audio icon) with our summer issue.

(Credit: Steven Lapkin and Concours d’Elegance)

Our magazine now has an audio edition — along with print and digital

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

We’re pleased to announce we’ve teamed up with our digital publishing partner to offer an audio version of Sierra FoodWineArt’s summer issue, now circulating throughout the region. 

Every story from our print magazine is recreated as an audio story. When a reader opens our digital edition on their smartphone, they can choose the audio icon on the story to begin listening.

Whether you’re cooking dinner, going for a walk, or on your commute, hit play and listen to your selected article from our summer issue read out loud. 

We plan to roll this out as a permanent feature with future issues. It is free, just like our print and digital versions.

Offering our magazine in an audio format is part of our ongoing effort to explore cutting-edge features to expand readership — or in this case “listenership.”

Other examples include our scrollable, digital version for smartphones; our digital “flip book” with embedded video and audio links; and republishing our stories on the Medium platform.

Digital audiobooks and audio articles are now the fastest-growing content format as tech and titles improve. 

Millennial audio consumption is booming, with the demographic listening to audio of more types, at more times, and in more places than any other generation. According to an Ipsos-iHeartRadio study, Americans of all ages listen to an average of 17.2 hours of audio per week, with millennials topping the list at 18.8 hours per week. Baby boomers come in at 15 hours per week.

Our digital publisher Blue Toad is using new voice technology offered through Amazon’s Polly service – one in the style of a traditional newscaster. Amazon Polly is a service that turns text into lifelike speech, allowing you to create applications that talk, and build entirely new categories of speech-enabled products.

(Photo: Juja Han on Unsplash)