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Carnes: Try to temper your enthusiasm

It was around this week in 1986, and I was still working at the old Westin Hotel in West Vail (I always thought they should call it Mid-west Vail) which became the Cascade Hotel which became Hotel Talisa which became the Grand Hyatt and … where was I?

Oh, yeah, something was about to happen in the sky that humans had not seen since April of 1910. Mark Twain famously said in 1909, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it.” 

Ever the honest gentleman, Mr. Twain stayed true to his word.



The Westin created a big promotional campaign to exploit the event, offering a special weekend package that included a private gondola trip up to the top of Lionshead late on a Saturday night where one would be enthralled with stories from an astrophysicist while gazing through telescopes and their very own gifted super binoculars.

That morning Murphy’s Law was in full effect as clouds rolled in, along with a few snow squalls, all doing their very best to ruin the expensive experience, but lo and behold once the gondola rose above 10,000 feet it broke through the offending clouds, offering a spectacular view of … well, a smudge of light in the southern sky.

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To say was underwhelming would be akin to questioning the success of the that same year.

Next Monday the sun and moon will perfectly align during the total solar eclipse, casting a narrow shadow of darkness along a swath of the Earth in the middle of the day, a surreal and exciting moment to be sure, but the sensationalistic hype surrounding it makes a political candidate hawking holy books for personal profit appear relevant (almost).

to prepare ourselves for a “dress rehearsal” from President Joe Biden’s government to declare martial law.

As usual, he neglects to say which particular deity the sign is from, but plenty of other religious nuts are claiming things such as there will be three days of darkness bringing about the end times and divine judgment through cataclysmic destruction, amongst other evidence-free, let’s-all-die-with-a-smile nonsense.

Some even go so far as to question how the power companies that depend on solar will survive for the duration. Given that the sun’s rays will diminish for an hour, and the totality will last around four minutes, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the answer is just like they do on cloudy days and each night.

And the marketing opportunities reminiscent of the Westin back in ’86 are prolific all along the path of totality. Hotels have been booked for months, watch parties at bars and restaurants capitalizing with “eclipse cocktails” and renamed-for-the-day food specials are everywhere. beer are all offering deals to take advantage of the day.


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, but as of now, next Monday has a good chance of clouds with snow or possible rain, so hey, it might get a little darker behind the clouds for a few minutes, but that’ll be it.

So this purely natural, 100% predictable, celestial event, while having all the hype of bringing Russell Wilson to the Broncos, will come and go with the same anticlimactic result.

Try to remain calm.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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