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Followed by a moon shadow

TRAVUS T. HIPP, 1937-2012

ADIÓS, COMPADRE — Our friend Travus, 75, passed away peacefully between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. PDT on 18 May 2012 at his home in Silver City, Nevada. The sun is in eclipse as I write this at 6:30 p.m. on May 20.

CHANGE OF VENUE (5-22-2012) — Adiós in Silver City, Nevada, Saturday, May 26, 2012 —> Updated 5-27-2012 — > The auld church where Travus lived and died proved too small for the expected multitude, so gathering, gnoshing and remembering commenced at the Silver City Community Center, 385 High Street, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. The graveside memorial service began at High Noon. Travus was buried next to his rock star companion Lynne Hughes, a short walk away. My remembrance of Lynne from the 3-21-1993 Daily Sparks Tribune has been linked to Travus' formal obituary at this website. All memories accepted for permanent posting hereat. Stay tuned for pictures and stories of the appropriately rainy day.

Thanks for all your kind words. Keep up the good work and the good fight.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

Barbano remembers the artist
Reno Gazette-Journal 5-25-2012

NEW — Travus' life story and obituary
Travus' last column in the 5-20 Daily Sparks Tribune
Debra K. Reid photo / Sparks Tribune Jan. 4, 2009

Travus T. Hipp leaves us laughing and forewarned
Expanded from the 5-27-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Updated 5-29 and 6-6-2012

     At bottom, he was an artist who used his voice to soar and slice, a tenor for the tenor of our times. Many of his mourning California listeners talk about the vocal spells he wove, how he soundly organized the noise of daily life into music that entertained, engaged, enlightened, educated, enthralled and occasionally enflamed. [From the saga of Travus T. Hipp and contributions by The Barbwire to the May 25 Reno Gazette-Journal and May 26, 2012, Daily Sparks Tribune.]

If my words did glow
with the gold of sunshine
and my tunes were played
on the harp upstrung,
would you hear my voice
come through the music?
Would you hold it near
as it were your own?

Lyrics I haltingly spoke on Travus' rainy day

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Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

The last performance of the Travus 'n' Andy show came in last Sunday's Tribune.

As the proud possessor of four decades of Hipp files, I have spent the entire past week as the Travus whisperer.

Two items I found rank among my most precious possessions. The first is a Gold Hill News rate card with my future wife's handwriting thereon: "Chandler Laughlin. Also does radio talent." The phone numbers from the 1970s still work.

The other treasure is a handwritten note: "Andy — IWW App. enclosed, $5.00 To join, $5 per month dues if you work more than $600 per month, $2.00 if you don't. Leave form and $20 for 1st 1/4 dues & I'll take them up to Bum 'Weasel' Allander & get your card, pin & songbook, Travus"

The venerable Industrial Workers of the World union, nicknamed The Wobblies, remain very active in these parts. Travus showed up for his share of labor demonstrations.

Reach out your hand
if your cup be empty.
If your cup is full,
may it be again.
Let it be known
there is a fountain
that was not made
by the hands of men.

Weasel led the 21-gun salute (with live ammo) at the memorial service. I told him I'd send him a copy of this piece via U.S. Postal Service. He isn't wired and USPS is union.

Without book-length space, there is no way to cover the entire crazy wonderful life of Chandler Atchison Laughlin, Jr. [Somewhere, the "Jr." got dropped and Laughlin III took root. His young descendants are adamant that "Jr." is correct, although about 100,000 websites will hereafter forever be wrong. Don't matter too much in the grand scheme of things, I guess.]

I boiled down his obituary to about 3,000 words at where your remembrances will always be welcome.

So how to send Travus out? How about with some of his greatest hits.

A young reporter asked me who were his heroes. I drew a blank. The next day, I sent him the name of Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman philosopher who wrote the landmark The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. (Harper & Row, 1951) [Search this website for the keyword "Hoffer."]

Travus recommended it many times. If you would understand how the world works, read Hoffer.

"Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life," Hoffer wrote.

"People who become like us do not necessarily love us," Hoffer noted in The Ordeal of Change. (Harper & Row, 1952)

"The impulse of the imitators is to overcome the model they imitate — to surpass it, leave it behind, or, better still, eliminate it completely...The paradox is then that rapid modernization requires a primitivization of the social structure," Hoffer observed.

He thus accurately foreshadowed the rise of Osama bin Laden. Travus was among the few who understood.

In this newspaper in 1982, Gold Hill News publisher David Toll termed Travus "a pig-tailed Paul Revere sounding the alarm."

He displayed a remarkable consistency. Travus knew who he was and that made him worthy of listening to. He had the stuff of leadership but shunned the role. He never got off that horse at the Old North Church.

There is a road,
no simple highway,
between the dawn
and the dark of night.
And if you go,
no one may follow.
That path is for
your steps alone.

"The only political office I want to hold is delegate to the second constitutional convention," he often said.

So let's give Travus a rowdy sendoff as he rides into the sunset.

Herewith, some of his greatest hits.

[] "If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it."
[] "If you don't vote, don't bitch."
[] "If you'll notice, the president only lies about things he has to talk about."
[] "Anybody who's been in Washington more than two semesters is either crooked or an honest man who wasn't honest enough to come back and tell us the rest of them are crooked, or too dumb to know the difference."
[] "Let political candidates say whatever they want. It's up to us to sort it out."
[] "Justice needs lawyers like true love needs a pimp."
[] "Social Security is just a federally mandated chain letter and we're on the end of the chain."
[] "Is it still rape if it only goes in a quarter-inch?" (Commenting on a bit of political "skulduggery of the highest dudgeon!")
[] "Insurance companies are pimps and thieves."
[] "People are too easily arrested for the crime of skulking with intent to lurk."
[] "Just because there are chairs rattling in the dungeon doesn't mean you can call the castle Disneyland." (Commenting on conditions at the Sparks Mental Health Institute.)
[] "Peace, love and spare change didn't work. There's no such thing as spare change, love ain't free and peace is something you're going to have to fight for."
[] "It's better to be a large frog." [From his Bullfrog Times-Picayune]
[] To a caller starting an Elvis fan club: "What do you do, get together every couple of weeks and take pills?"
[] "It's all true, friends, just some's truer than others."

One longtime reporter for a major metropolitan Nevada newspaper wrote that "he was one of the smartest people I have encountered, pothead or not. If he could have somehow gotten on a big time radio talk show network, I believe he would be nationally famed."

In 1968, he made $22,000, Reno Gazette-Journal writer Cory Farley reported in 1982. Adjusted for inflation, that becomes $145,456.03 in today's dollars. But he wouldn't cut his hair, wear a suit or just shut up and go corporate.

Alas, there's a price to pay for having a set of convictions that are not only rock hard but on display with neon lights around them.

"He lives humbly," my wife once wistfully said.

Such was the life of my very principled friend, Travus T. Hipp.

Ripple in still water,
when there is no pebble tossed
nor wind to blow.
You who choose
to lead must follow,
but if you fall,
you fall alone.
If you should stand,
then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way,
I would take you home.

On a Santa Cruz area blog, one Grady James wrote "I will continue to listen for your new signal."

Oh, won't we all.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988. Ripple lyrics copyright © 1974 Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia.
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Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

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ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
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By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

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Copyright © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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