Thursday, June 20, 2002


...Is going to be everything, thanks to my ordinance-happy colleagues in your Saratoga town government.

No, I’m not talking Minuteman, Cruise or MX missiles. I’m talking any bean, rock, pellet or squishy blob of paint that might come firing out of a “device to cast, throw, hurl or propel any missile or projectile within the corporate limits in the town of Saratoga.”

There’s one more reading on this steaming piece of ordinance-to-be (you know, ever since I became an elected official, “steaming” has become one of my most commonly used adjectives. Could that be just a coincidence? But that’s a matter to puzzle over on some other day) and I still plan to vote no on it, not because I’m not deeply concerned for your own personal health and safety and that of your windshields, windows and speed limit signs, but because everything bad that a person could do with a bow, crossbow, slingshot, pellet gun, BB gun, paint-ball gun or other device is already illegal!!. Break someone’s window? Guess what, that’s destruction of property! Hit a passerby in the head with a paintball? Some people might call that assault.

See where I’m going with this here?

But it could have been worse, because the original amendment our police chief submitted for our approval did not contain the following very crucial clarifications:

“It is unlawful...except within the confines of that person’s property, provided that the propelled object also stays within the confines of that person’s property.

He almost asked us to completely prohibit archery practice or paintball games or another very common practice (which I’ll touch on in a moment), but a few angry citizens pointed out to him how very unpopular that move would be. See? Sometimes citizen action is productive. Never think you don’t make a difference, folks!

So, since this is a redundant and unnecessary move, as banning things that have already been banned always is (what’s next, banning bananas because some little old lady might get hurt if somebody else chooses to whack her in the head with one? That’s the kind of reasoning that has gone into the drafting of this ordinance. Yes, I’m aware I’ve taken it to a ridiculous extreme, but that’s my right as an American and stuff, and I have to say something ridiculous every once in a while just to keep my non-political readers’ attention, don’t I? This is my little piece of the entertainment business, after all), I voted no on it in the second reading.

Unfortunately, everybody else voted yes, so I teetered on the brink of kenosis there.

BUT! There’s still one more reading to go, scheduled for our next regular council meeting on Tuesday, July 2 (6 p.m, Saratoga Town Hall, in case you’ve forgotten). That means there’s one more chance for the BB Militia (also known as my coffee boys) to make a show in support of maintaining their second amendment rights to keep and bear arms and use them to keep long-legged rats (known in other parts of the world as mule deer) (and white-tailed deer) (and mule/white-tailed hybrids) (but those don’t really exist, according to the Wyoming Game & Fish) (and we all know what happens to people who contradict the G&F, don’t we?) (no we don’t) (my point exactly!) out of their yards.

So here's a special message just to militia members (and you know who you are). I expect to see you all arranged in close order, armed to the teeth with your Red Ryder BB guns, your pellet guns, your pea-shooters, your slingshots, your drinking straws (just to make fun of the fact that our police chief forgot to include spitballs in the ordinance) and your paintball guns, outside town hall at precisely 5:45 p.m. on July 2. You have two weeks to work up some kind of drill. Go for it!

And while I’m on the subject of long-legged rats, who does more property damage in Saratoga: paint-ball enthusiasts or Odocoileus hemionus, hmm? I’ll give you a hint: I spent about $50 on flowers for my pretty container garden outside my front door, and I don’t think it is the toothmarks of paint-ballers on what’s left of the stems of what used to be pansies, dalhias, coleus and violas.

Now, many of the sages with whom I spend each weekday morning have long been suggesting that the solution to these odious Odocoilies is to declare a 48-hour amnesty on all dog at large problems and turn our beloved beasties loose to chase, maim, kill or at least moderately frighten those damnable deer out of town. With them gone, the argument goes, there will also be less of a barking dog problem at night as the number of teasing nocturnal visitations by these antler-bearing pests will decline dramatically.

There are several problems with this admittedly appealing idea, however. Getting everyone’s dog back where he, she or it belongs is only the most obvious, with things like body parts and corpses strewn about town being another.

BUT (there’s always a humungous “but” in my little political diatribes, isn’t there? And sometimes it’s even mine!), as usual, all this talk has given me an idea...

Since even if this dreadful ordinance passes it will still be okay to discharge pellet guns and other devices on our own property, and since paintball is lots of fun anyway, and since long-legged rats still do respond somewhat to a surprising, stinging whack on the ass... it’s time to bring about the birth of a new sport.


I think it could be as simple as it is entertaining. Gather a group of interested players, choose a paintball weapon (there is an astonishing variety of these on the market, ranging from compact little pistols to vicious machine guns, and while part of me is tempted to say “anything goes”, well, you’ll see why a certain amount of standardization might be desirable in a moment), and assign a different paint color to each player (Tad the Grocer [not his real name] has already declared that he wants to be brown. Always looking for the angles, is our Tad). Then, let ‘em rip. Every month, a census of the local urban herd is taken, and the colored splotches dotting their faces, sides, asses and haunches noted. Whichever player has tagged the most deer with his own color is the winner.

Play to continue until the deer cry uncle. Which they can’t do, as they can’t talk. Woo!

See, I’m going to put this town on the map yet!

Let the PETA hate mail roll in....

Wednesday, June 19, 2002


Screwed up the link. Here you go: Prairie Porn!


...But I found this one strangely compelling. Call it the LIANT book club selection for the season. I'm expectng great things from this promising new site:

Monday, June 17, 2002


Ohhhhh is it ever hot in here right now. So hot I should probably be writing porn instead of a blog entry, but I don't, as yet, have people harrassing me to get off my sweaty can and get going if I blow off writing porn (yet!) so I'd better stick to what the people want.

If the temperatures stay high enough, though, maybe I'll start a porn blog, too. I hear that pays better, anyway.

Meanwhile, man is it ever hot. My laptop is hot and wants to slide off my sweaty lap. I'm glad indeed that my neighbors aren't home so they can't see my black bra showing right through my peasant blouse, which is clinging to me like a bad date. My dog has the right idea; she's lying naked on her back, legs up in the air shifting herself around to catch all of the breezes from the revolving fan.

Oh wait, I wasn't going to do that, was I?

Blame it on my new favorite website, FIFAWORLDCUP.COM, packed with news and photos and quotations from my favorite sweaty soccer stars in six languages (Batistuta! Beckham! Chilavert! Inamoto! Totti! Morientes! Donovan!) (Okay, Donovan makes of me a dirty old woman, but there you go.) (But really, I respect them as athletes! I do! The rest is just an added bonus! Honest! Really!)

Or blame it on my own dear personal mama, who was the first person ever to point out to me that smut is probably where the money is, and speculated that I would probably be kind of good at it. I wasn't sure what to make of her comments at the time, but I am grateful indeed to have a family who is willing to encourage me in developing my talents. Whatever they may be.

Or blame it on my computer's Mp3 player, now blasting out a song called "Blow the Roof Off." It almost sounds like a message.

Or blame it on the weird pop-up ads that have been plaguing me lately. I just got one now from something called "femore" with a little mock-foreign accent mark over the final "e". And you know what? I'm going to click on it, just to share with you, the reader, how "intimacy is no longer a lost cause."

Ooohhhhhh! It's a cream! An intimacy enhancing cream! Just what I turn to when I need more intimacy: the American dairy industry.

When the moon hits your eye...

(Actually, I think what really disturbs me about this is that the ad for Femore popped up at Pop Cap Games, a website devoted to completely innocent, free video games to play online. I surfed there to play Bejeweled a while and got hit with this. How many poor, innocent, trusting teenagers will get suckered into... oh, wait. Listen to me!)

Or blame my coffee buddies, who let me down this morning by confining their most impassioned remarks to the subject of a cartoon called (if I remember correctly) Spongebob Squarepants. These are men in their 40s, 50s and 60s discussing a TV show that I sat through exactly once with a bunch of giggling 20 year olds who turned out to be stoned out of their minds. So pardon me if my mind wandered a bit.

Had enough yet? There are many other things and people I could blame for this blog entry, but instead I'll just shut up here and go fix myself a margarita or something.

Maybe I should take up golf.

Sunday, June 16, 2002


Many years ago when I was young and idealistic and felt, like pretty much every other young, idealistic teenager in the world, that I had been unjustly singled out by the cruel and capricious gods to live in the Most Boring, Banal Town In The World, fate stepped in and sent me off for a few weeks to the University of Wyoming for something called the Summer High School Institute, which most of those who attended it quickly dubbed "nerd camp. We called it this despite the fact that UW had already been hosting a nerd camp – debate camp – for years; we were the second wave of a newer, sexier, nerdier nerd camp, a nerd camp infested not just with briefcase trundling C-X debaters who we were all pretty sure wore three-piece suits to eat pizza in their bedrooms, but with some nerds so maladjusted, so unfit for socializing and emergence from the AV locker at their respective schools that they feared trying to make friends even with the speech team!

While I had been to the highly structured and intensely supervised Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Seminar (HOBY) only a few months before, this was my first real experience of being amongst kindred fools in a dynamic that still plays it out at conferences like the WAM (Wyoming Association of Municipalities) convention from which I just returned. All hail such marvelous events of any stamp, but especially for the young and the geeky, as that first experience of knowing ahead of time that you have more in common than you can even imagine with the person to whom you are trying to work up the nerve to speak – including the fact that he is also trying to work up the nerve, but is also aware that the pair of you were pretty much made by destiny to be friends for life and beyond... that first experience is invaluable.

And once that barrier is at last overcome, it's gone forever, shattered by the pair of you cracking jokes about that wildass mathematics professor (the unendingly energetic and absurdly active Ira Rosenholtz, who taught a unit on "Contemplating the Infinite" - what I would surely have referred to as "crack for space nerds" had I known in 1986 what crack is), who, in demonstrating how Xeno's paradox doesn't really work in the real, physical world we live in, began walking toward the classroom wall, demarcating each point where he had crossed half the distance to that wall, until he crashed audibly into said wall and cracked his glasses.

He was One of Us, an us we were just realizing existed. And so in no time, by twos and threes, we united in praise of Ira, of Piers Anthony, of the Dead Kennedys and the Repo Man soundtrack that was then brand new, of the music store across the street from the dorms (a true novelty to most of us for whom the music store was also the gas station and mostly featured dusty cassettes of the Oak Ridge Boys), of Vedauwoo (yes, it's okay for nerds to climb rocks!). And once the "what you like" questions became "what you are like answers, the twos and threes swelled into twelves and 20s, to include even the two or three "scholar athletes" who somehow got trapped in with the nerds and meant that in the future the solitary nerd at home in Saratoga or Pine Bluffs or Worland or Thermopolis might have a dear and bosom friend to hug on the visiting team at home basketball games.

We danced together to music that nobody else at home liked! We argued about Kurt Vonnegut with people our own age! We ran midnight raids through the halls on each other's floors (segregated by sex, alas, as a sop to parental concerns... except for my floor, half girls and half boys just like a real UW dorm [scant preparation for my own future living in dorms co-ed not by floor, not by corridor, but by room at the Ultimate Nerd Camp of Beaudacious Bard College] and separated only by an imaginary Line of Death at the elevator) so we could hang out and gossip and, in some cases, kiss (HSI fast becoming second only to speech as a source for out-of-town prom dates; many of us fell in love for real for the first time there).

And we traipsed around town on absurd adventures. Engraved forever on my own memory (and apparently on that of all the other participants) is one wild outing that started out as a mere stroll for ice cream. Baskin Robbins was closed; Taco Bell was not. We bought cokes and began to meander back.

Halfway back, one miscreant, whose name must be withheld because he is now a trial lawyer of some repute in an Eastern state, stopped us. A budding pyromaniac with advanced anarchist cookbook knowledge, he had snagged a bulging pocketload of non-dairy creamer. And some matches.

The thing to do was open a packet of powdery creamer, light a match, then sprinkle the stuff over the match, producing a tiny but intense explosion of cascading fire! We had long known about the pyrotechnic possibilities of hairspray, of WD-40, some of us even knew about gasoline and soap flakes as a homemade napalm recipe, but this was a revelation, and a feat often repeated at dances, at dinner, in the bathrooms, for the rest of the Institute.

(Interestingly enough, many of us have attempted to repeat this experiment over the years. Either the chemical composition of powdered "NDC" has changed or we were delusional, but this trick no longer works. Of course, the last time *I* tried it was in western Massachusetts several years ago, trying to entertain my fellow entomology lab assistants there, and the last time the originator of the fun tried it he, too, was on the east coast... it occurs to me now that it might be a matter of humidity. Hmm. Not terribly humid here this summer, is it?)

None of these experiences ever really left me, but they came into sharper focus this week when, out of the blue, a long lost institute buddy Googled me and found this web page. She was part of the original HSI exodus – half of us did go gladly to UW's Honors Program as was the intent of HSI, an early student retention program, while the other half rode flaming rockets of scholarship money to tony, froo-froo places like Harvard, Yale, and Duke, unheard-of and specialized places like Carleton and Mankato State, and just plain weird places like Reed and Bard. The letters flew thick and fast through our freshman years of college and came sporadically thereafter (this was still when only hardcore computer geek students who were unafraid of UNIX had internet accounts, and while that description did fit most of us, communicating with old high school friends was not considered a worthy use of this important new technology – so we still poured out our hearts to one another on dead trees). I tracked many through college, a few into graduate school or marriage (attending the wedding of one HSI-er to another along the way – they are now a happy skiing yuppie couple in Las Vegas with a ridiculously cute child) and then as the rushes and roars of our individual lives all over this country engulfed us, lost them.

It's delightful to have found a few again – no one will ever be truly unreachable or out of touch again, for as long as the internet lasts, I suspect – and amusing to see what has become of them, and what they think of what I'm doing ("Kate, what in the hell are you doing back in Saratoga?" they ask, until they get further along in reading this blog). The Googler has a bewildering multitude of jobs and responsibilities in Minnesota, the long-lost NDC burner, too, has been found, and others are sure to follow. There's the crazed U2 fan and true anarchist who still somehow disappeared into the navy after college; how hard can he be to track down? One instituter took my old job at the Saratoga Sun right here in town. Another is coaching the Rock Springs speech team. And the old bonds are all still there; the spark flies across the old connection instantly. I am anxious somehow to see them in person once again, my far flung friends. I have invited them to the Steinley Cup, one might rendezvous with me in Naperville when I go to my best friend's wedding next month, but I am greedy now to see them all again, though my actual need for them is long outgrown. I'm a sentimental slob, what can I say?

Thank the gods for Google...