Monday, November 03, 2003


Another of my famous "remote" posts. I'm sitting in the classroom/kitchen that houses the Home Economics program (wait, isn't that called "consumer science" now?) at the Encampment School. I'm pretty glad to be here after a scary, slushy drive down 130/70 to get here, first putt, putt, putting along after a schoolbus, then dodging snowplows. All good material for my NaNoWriMo novel, which among other things concerns the experiences of people enduring three straight years of winter (Fimbulvetr). I have a strong feeling that a certain Anglo-Saxon-syllable-intensive entry from this here blog (PLOP!) is going to mutate into a scene...

So yes, I'm a substitute teacher, for the first time in charge of junior high and high school kids, Bog help me. First period was quiet, two guys I last remember as goofy seventh grade football players (now juniors in high school!) making cookie dough. Now there's a little girl (ok, probably a sophomore, but you know) sewing together little pieces of paper with a sewing machine. I'm keeping my distance. Sewing machines and I, well, we have a long and ignominious history. I'm convinced they've all developed a taste for my blood.

One nice advantage to subbing in the Home Ec room: there is a coffee maker right here, and a freshly-opened can of Folgers. I have a whole pot of coffee to myself, in other words, and don't have to meander down the hall like so many sixth graders seeking soda every time I need a refill. Hooray!

All in all, not a bad way to earn a few bucks with which to maybe actually do some Christ-X shopping. Oy, I can't believe that's coming up already. One's Halloween Hangover is barely banished (okay, not mine personally, because I was just one day off my sickbed and stuck to club soda), the glitter from one's last-minute costume (I glammed it up and went as the "Anti-Kate" in a Stevie Nicks skirt, high heeled boots, gold lame tube top fashioned from a scarf, tons of makeup, and enormous hoop earrings. People all night kept telling me I looked "hot", leading me to wonder how I look the rest of the time. Am I really that frumpy?) still stubbornly clinging to one's face and cleavage despite one's best and soapiest ministrations, and suddenly everything is red and green and jolly and there's Christ-X music all over the place and the sixth period Foods class is going to be decorating Christ-X cookies this afternoon oh Bog!

Oh well, at least it's pretty much time to start skiing again. Rex?

Friday, October 31, 2003


As I've mentioned earlier this week, I have signed up once again to participate in National Novel Writing Month, which begins, as I type this, in 22.5 hours.

I will again be trying to write a complete start-to-finish novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. I pulled it off last year, after all, and last year I was the chamber chick!

But for my regular readers, this promise: I will try my best to continue to post other, non-NaNoWriMo content here at LIANT.

And furthermore, I will confine my NaNoWhining to a special 30-day diary which will be posted at

The novel in progress itself will appear at

Wish me luck, everybody!

Thursday, October 30, 2003


This is the verdict of a website called The Gender Genie, which applies an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology and described recently in the science journal Nature to analyze submitted text and determine whether or not the author of same is male or female.

I submitted one blog entry (my little do about the bullriding contest at the Whistle Pig), one book review (of Umberto Eco's Baudolino from January), one news article (about Encampment's revived sawmill), and one grant proposal (for CDBG funds to help us find a replacement for Saratoga's defunct sawmill).

The Gender Genie thought the author of each passage was male.

After making a quick anatomical scan to make sure I didn't experience surprise sex-change surgery during my recent convalescence, I clicked down on the button that said what the author's actual gender was for each, and a little button popped up, informing me that the site so far has been 80% accurate and the author of each passage is "one butch chick."

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Then to check it all out a little further, I submitted a piece from the Prairie Porn website. I know for a fact the author of same is female.

Well, she's one butch chick, too. The Genie thought she was male, also.

What's interesting is the way all of this seems to work. The site has apparently got a list of masculine and feminine keywords, and it makes its determination, by counting the occurrences of each. The more masculine keywords in the text, the more masculine the text and thus the more likely it is that the author is male, I guess.

What are these masculine and feminine keywords, pray?

See if you can guess which is which.

Set A: around, what, more, are, as, who, below, is (!), these, the (!), a (!!), at, it, many, said, above, to.

Set B: with, if, not, where, be, when, your, her, we, should, she, and, me, myself, hers, was.

Now, for a final bit of fun, I'm going to run this very text I've just written through the Gender Genie before I post it.

Hup! I'm still butch. It thought I was a man. Again.

Interesting stuff, but in the end, probably bullshit.


My first day off what I was again thinking might well have been my death bed (am I the wimpiest sick person in the world? Surely I'm a contender for the title. But at least I'm not a hypochondriac. I hate being sick. I'm using the word HATE here) and the sky stayed grey all day and I hung in the house listening to Cat Stevens (along with Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe and Ivan Neville, I categorize this as Tewksbury music; stuff I listened to for the first time my sophomore year at Beaudacious Bard College during dull sad downtimes in the giant-for-Bard cinderblock junk dorm called Tewksbury Hall) and wondered if it was going to snow.


Naturally this calls for a trip to Platte Valley Ranch Supply. The Collie of Folly was out of dog food and Erin-Go-Braless has no suitable winter coat. Or hat. Or mittens.

Braless has never been to PVRS, or, I suspect, to any feed store of any kind, though she has long loved the idea of living in a town where such an emporium is, in fact, Fashion Central.

Her awe when she stepped in to admire the boots, the animal feed, the veterinary supplies (that bottle says DMSO! Is it really DMSO? It's DMSO!), the jewelry, the pet toys, the brassieres, the leather, and, most importantly, the racks and racks of genuine Carhartt, was touching and completely understandable. While I lay recovering from the Stomach Flu From Hell, she'd been earning extra cash helping winterize folks' landscaping out in the cold, grey, almost-snowing pre-winter haze of these last few days.

Her buttt was cold. And she needed something to warm itt.

Nothing like a big ol' ranch coatt for thatt. You locals know what I'm talking aboutt.

And where, I thought as I watched her trying on various avatars of Carhartt, is the steamroller of citified style who breezed onto the porch at the Whistle Pig Saloon on the Fourth of July amidst the fireworks, resplindent with artful blond streaks in her hair and a wildly colorful poncho/tunic/cloak thing woven of spidersilk and butterfly breath?

She's buried under navy blue waterproofed canvas, a blah beige knitt hatt, a ratty-looking tan scarf and a shiver.

She looks like Nanook, sho'nuff.

I guess winter really is on the way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Like Mark Ames, much-maligned (mostly deservedly, but still) editor of that bitchy alternative paper I like in Russia, the eXile, my basic economic ratio is fame:work, i.e., how much fame can I squeeze out of how little work?

I would appear to have squeezed out a little more, though honestly, I don't know who is going to notice, apart from a lot of bureaucrats who are sick of hearing my name already.

But, the story on Wyoming bloggers (all seven of us, according to the Globe of Blogs) finally hit the newsstands this week. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle story can currently be read online at:

I am quoted toward the end of this rather fluffy little piece. I honestly don't recall saying that it was me who goes crazy if I don't post every day, because obviously I don't, but I didn't tape record my conversation with the reporter, so I dunno, maybe I did.

Meanwhile, the stomach bug from hell still hath its hold. Anyone want some food? I've got a kitchen full of it and can't even stand the thought, much less the sight of it, not even a little bit, not at all.

I mean, my system won't even do plain jasmine rice.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003


My health, since I left the chamber, has been outstanding, but I knew the day I got my license to be a substitute teacher that threats to same would soon be looming, so on the very first day it was possible (aside from the very first day it was available, on which day I was over hanging out with the 3rd/4th grade class at Elk Mountain Elementary) I went and got my flu shot.

The ordinary poke you in the shoulder kind, not the newfangled nasal spray kind because, well, my health insurance hasn't kicked in yet and also I'm just not quite sure I believe in anything good going up your nose.

That was last Monday.

Apparently, it was already too late.

This afternoon, Tuesday, at 17:35 MST, marks the first time in close to three days that I've been able to sit upright and type. I've been wracked with innumerable pains and indignities the likes of which I've never before experienced.

Stomach flu from hell.

I'm proud to still have the soup I ate an hour ago still inside me, put it that way. New league record.

So, as the title bar says, gee I'm glad I spent my $15 bucks to get that there shot.

Cause and effect?

Monday, October 20, 2003


OK, television is/was good for something after all.

Speaking from my vast experience of a whopping five days as a substitute teacher in good old Carbon County School District No. 2, I see one glaring deficit in the way this next generation of children is being raised.

OK, generation check here. Do you know the preamble of the United States Constitution by heart, but only if you're allowed to hum it first? Does your ass shake in the chair whenever you count by fives? Are the Louisiana Purchase and the phrase "elbow room" inextricably linked in your mind?

Have you been to Conjunction Junction, and do you know its function?

(Hookin' up words and phrases and clauses)

Sure, it's a deeply weird way of knowing things, but honestly, how much worse is it than when George Orwell was made to remember the phrase "A black negress was my aunt: there's her house behind the barn" as a mnemonic device for recalling, in chronological order, the names of all of the battles in the War of the Roses?

At least our way has rhythm.

And it's freakin' easy.

And if one has a modicum of self-control, our way can be employed fairly surreptitiously, a whisper, a hiss, a hum-along in the head... Who needs to know that through one's head is running Let's go up to the mountains/OR down to the sea/You should always say thank you/OR at least say pleeeeeease

So imagine my empathetic agony as I'm filling in for the (also, mysteriously, Gen X) guy who is trying to teach a small passel of fourth graders how to do long division, and these poor kids are actually struggling to remember what three times seven is without the benefit of bell-bottomed cartoon groovesters shuckin' and jivin' and saying "21"!

My friends and relatives out there in DVD-infested civilization tell me that all of Schoolhouse Rock is available on that most cherished of new entertainment formats, and even in my college days it was a rare afternoon indeed when one could pass by the ivy-covered dorms at Beaudacious Bard College without hearing the faint but compelling strains of "Hey Little Twelve-Toes" or "Interplanet Janet" or "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here" to say nothing of perhaps the one SR that everyone knows (thanks to the Simpsons) "I'm Just a Bill" blasting from some pothead's overpriced stereo system – the songs, minus the cartoons, have been available on good old cassette and CD since at least the late 1980s.

So there's really no excuse for the fact that my little niece-analog, who is a deeply and intuitively intelligent little girl, still has to use her fingers to figure out what the product of five times eight is.

I mean, she could at least be shaking her booty instead.

Really, you readers of mine out there with kids, or grandkids, or niece-analogues or whatever, do them a favor that will save us all a lot of agony down the road. Kiddie crap-buying season is nearly here (indeed, does it ever really leave us?). At least get the "Multiplication Rock" cassette for their walkmen or something, if you can't just invest in the whole DVD library of Schoolhouse Rock.

Oh, and good lord, how the hell are these kids ever going to read properly without Sesame Street and the Electric Company?

But that's maybe a topic for another column.

Friday, October 17, 2003


(That's a David Bowie reference for all you pop culture-impaired people)

OK, OK, I guess you folks do care that I've not been here in a few weeks. Sometimes, circumstances just force a break. And I'm not going to lie to you, dear readers (well, those of you who are left and haven't just deleted this URL from all recall in disgust): the break may not be completely over yet.

Change is good, and good for you, and keeps things from getting boring... but it also can be tough to cope with, even in small doses, and I've been getting whopping big doses of it lately.

The big one is that I'm technically no longer a hobo, having signed on full time with the Rocky Mountain Energy-Reporter. While this doesn't really change my daily M.O. - I still work mostly from home, mostly on the telephone, etc. - I'm no longer writing in my immediate area of expertise. It's kind of pathetic that I, who as an elected official/lobbyist type, spend so much time spending and arguing over spending so much money that comes straight out of the ground via minerals extraction, really at bottom know so little about the process and the politics by which that money actually comes out of the ground. Well, that's changing...

Of course, what this means right now is that for every story I work on, I have to do a LOT more background research and make a lot more cold calls to people I've never met before.

On the one hand, I dig the challenge, but on the other, there's a bit more stress involved.

Nor is the end to hobo-dom the only big change. I met someone kind of special and we're still in the early stages of seeing how we fit together. It's nice, but slow and frustrating because he lives in another county and we don't see each other all that often and, well, he's going through lots of changes, too.

Plus, I'm having to get my travel legs back. I've been on the road a lot lately and find I've completely lost all tolerance for hotel rooms and the weird, fleeting, transitory friendships that form and dissolve quickly in hotel bar/restaurants as we watch baseball on a big screen TV. A perfectly friendly conversation between a Red Sox fan (sigh) and a Yankee friend can quickly chill over when the pair discovers each other's odious allegiances. But what a lot of bullshit, really - what difference does it actually make? I'm SO not a baseball fan; it's just been nice to see the team I used to watch bumbling around of a Thursday evening at Fenway actually doing well. But then, I never was a real Bostonian.

And there's more, like my other new job, substitute teaching, made extra weird when done in my own former elementary school, packed now with the children of people with whom I attended that school, many of whom know me as "Auntie Kate" but are now expected to call me "Ms. Sherrod," a form of address until now only employed by the Sewer King when he sought to greet me or catch my attention. Strange, strange, strange. And annoying; I'm enough of a traditionalist to be more comfortable with "Miss," but I know I would be bucking an unbeatable trend and unnecessarily confusing my temporary students if I mentioned this. O'well.

So anyway, you see that I'm dealing with a whole lot of stuff and I don't yet have it all straight in my head yet, which, well, makes it hard to write (I'm not doing too hot on my articles right now, either, but I never do until just a few hours before they're due).

But I'm trying very hard to get back on the horse.


Saturday, September 13, 2003


Apologies to my male readers, but except for those of you who swing in interesting ways that drive the likes of Trent Lott NUTS, this post is basically going out to the WOMEN READERS OF LIANT.

Tonight marked the second foray for the Whistle Pig*'s "Bikini Bullriding Contest" in which, in theory, various and comely members of my own dear personal sex, that being the female, don bikinis and ride the mechanical bull installed earlier this summer at the Whistle Pig bar, which, in case you're wondering, is also the site of the Bug Women and Punk Martha Stewart Karaoke Extravaganza (tm).

Well, so, no femmes fatale (or otherwise) (and trust me, you don't really want to see Your Humble Blogger OR the Punk Martha Stewart in bikinis, garments which emphasize supposed flaws in the female anatomy which the pair of us have in plenty but we look really smashing in other states of habile and dishabile, just trust me, but anyway...) rode said mechanical bull in bikinis, but the riders who did ride inspired, in conjunction with an idea promulgated more or less originally by an inspired son of one of Carbon County's tribe of Esteemed Bug Women, an alternate and (not) Modest Proposal.

WHEREAS everybody knows that our wacky valley is populated by more DIRTY OLD WOMEN than DIRTY OLD MEN, and

WHEREAS everybody also knows that our wackey valley is populated by more EXHIBITIONIST YOUNG MEN than EXHIBITIONIST YOUNG WOMEN, and

WHEREAS everybody knows that DIRTY OLD WOMEN tend, in a given marriage or other domestic arrangement best left to the imagination (you dirty old people, you), to exercise MUCH MORE CONTROL over the purse strings than their domestic (aka male) partners,


The Whistle Pig Saloon would probably make a lot more money if, instead of pre-arranged and duly advertised "bikini bullriding nights", it instead instituted "BOXER AND BOOT BULLRIDING NIGHTS"**.

Duly agreed and inscribed this date by the female population of the Upper North Platte Valley of Wyoming, so help us Bog.

Watch media outlets near you for dates and times.

Punk Martha Stewart is committed to sing Garth Brooks and other tunes of the rider's choosing as musical accompaniment to said rides. As such.

*The bar just outside the Saratoga City Limits whereat I have, occasionally and gleefully, blasted opera (usually Wagner or Puccini) over the sound system with my good old speech teacher/coach who has, on occasion, moonlighted summers as a bartender.

**Defined as nights when (male) contestants in the bullriding contests held at least once a month at the Whistle Pig may ride the mechanical bull clad only in boxer shorts, boots, and (optional) cowboy hats.

Friday, September 12, 2003


Some mornings it just ain't worth checking the papers. The very first bit of information to penetrate my pre-coffee brain this morning was the news that Johnny Cash had died last night.

It should surprise no one who knows me or reads this blog regularly that I am not, and never have been, a fan of country & western music. I hate most of it.

But there have always been two shining exceptions (three if you consider bluegrass to be country – I own and frequently play all four discs of the Bill Munroe Boxed Set): Hank Williams, Sr. and Johnny Cash.

For me, Cash will always be closely associated with my father, as pretty much the only music that we can sincerely enjoy together. His tastes run to more Carpenters-y kind of stuff at which I still can't help rolling my eyeballs a little.

But Johnny Cash, you couldn't ignore him, couldn't call him corny, couldn't call him sappy. He was rough, he was sometimes funny, he was sincere, he was dark, he was gutsy, he connected with even prisoners and low-lifes. Nobody sounded like him, nobody wrote like him, and nobody else recorded albums in big famous prisons (I have both of them on CD, and listen to them often).

I got to see him live once, an experience I'll never forget. Oh, of course the show was brilliant – goes without saying, goes without saying. But what was wild was, I saw him at a Landsdowne Street club in Boston with a house full of little punk rock kids. Mohawks and piercings and torn leather as far as the eye could see, and up on stage, the Man in Black, up there by himself with an accoustic guitar, and everybody was just riveted.

(And this was something on the order of eight years before he recorded his version of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" - which I, alas, have yet to hear)

My dad had never gotten to see him live, so I jumped at the chance to remedy that a few years ago when Cash had set a tour date in Cheyenne, just a few days before my parents' wedding anniversary. Very excited, I jumped on the phone, hot little credit card in my hot little hand, and got tickets for them for their gift.

Alas, that was also right before Cash was first diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (I believe; some similar degenerative nervous disorder, anyway) and the tour date got canceled. I got my money back and just took my parents to dinner instead, but it wasn't the same.

I've been sort of grieving ever since. So, while today is a very, very sad day (and just one day after another, very, very, very sad day), it is not a surprising one.

Just a shitty one.

Sunday, September 07, 2003


That's right, the boys in purple won their second game, on the road in Shoshoni, beating out the Wildcats 28-8.

My Own Dear Personal Dad, their bus driver, said they all looked good and pretty much everyone got to play, even the tiny little 105-pound freshmen.

Looking good for this Friday, when they'll host the Wyoming Indian Wildcats at 4 p.m. to kick off the Saratoga High School Homecoming.

It will be glorious.

You heard it here first.

Friday, September 05, 2003


When our local Rabbit Sheriff calls me out of the blue and invites me for coffee, I know something is up.

I had naturally been expecting a lecture about how that couldn't possibly have been a wolf my Inventing Uncle encountered near Lincoln Park Wednesday, but I didn't get one. On the contrary; the RS said it was entirely possible, maybe even likely. There are wolves all about. This one probably wasn't from Yellowstone, more likely a formerly domesticated one from Colorado (leave it to the Greenies to try to keep wolves as pets) that either escaped or was turned loose by its keeper when it got too vicious (in which case, thanks a lot, jerkstore. I declare your backyard as Ground Zero for the Komodo Reintroduction Project). Yeah, I feel better, too.

Anyway, that's not what he wanted to talk about at all.

It was even better.

Seems about two weeks ago, a local woman contacted him about a very sick deer that was hanging out in her backyard. The RS reported to the scene, already suspicious of what was making the deer so sick.

He found out Wednesday that indeed, this doe tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

CWD has been around for 50 years or so, but it's still rather poorly understood. It's a spongiform encephalitis like scrapie or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or BSE (aka Mad Cow Disease), caused by weird little spiral-shaped infectious proteins (prions) that burrow into the brains and spinal cords of infected animals, and it's usually fatal. It is not known exactly how CWD is transmitted between deer (elk can get it, too), but a recent Associated Press Story (you can read it HERE) based on a study that appeared in Nature indicates that it spreads a lot faster than previously thought.

The Rabbit Sheriff told me that usually where there is one infected deer there is a cluster of them, which means that for the time being our little town is going to be regarded as a prime site for monitoring for the disease.

Which means that our local Rabbit Sheriff will shortly commence taking down about 20 deer from in and around Saratoga for study. Since no live test currently exists, this means he'll have to take road kill and shoot some animals.

At least Wyoming Game & Fish doesn't take the view that, say, Wisconsin's does – killing off hundreds and hundreds of animals to just try to eradicate the disease from the affected area. Not for the time being, anyway.

Now, this is of limited concern for us who live here. There is absolutely no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans or livestock. I repeat: none.

But, you are likely to hear some gunfire in town while the RS completes his work. And you'll see him driving his pickup, likely with deer bits in the bed.

He had other news for me as well that I didn't much care for, though in retrospect it probably oughtn't to have been news to me at all. I've just not been thinking that much along these lines.

It is very, very probable that quite a lot of the grouse and sage chickens around these parts are infected with the West Nile Virus. And this is transmissible to humans, and not just by mosquitos. If you're dressing a bird you've shot and scratch or cut yourself while doing so, you're probably going to contract WNV yourself if any of the bird's blood gets into your cut.

So for Bog's sake, watch yourself when you're handling game birds this season, folks.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news today, but sometimes that's the only news there is.

Just be careful out there, and cooperate with the Rabbit Sheriff if he asks you for the head of your harvested deer or for the bodies of any birds you don't plan to eat.

Thursday, September 04, 2003


I have often, in these pixels, observed that one of the most useless phrases in the English language is "supposed to," i.e., any time someone uses it in a sentence, that person is pretty much just whining about something that isn't going to change.

"Well, that check was supposed to have been mailed to you yesterday."

"There aren't supposed to be any maggots in this soup."

"You were supposed to bring the blue paint, not the red."


Well, if two big selling books in the popular press are any indication of the way things are going these days, I'm predicting that pretty soon "grown up" or any other indication of "maturity" or "adulthood" will have to join that phrase on my list of adynata.

On the one hand we have Treason by Anne Coulter, in which she fusses and fumes over how everyone politically to her left hates America and is a traitor, and apparently (I haven't read this thing, nor am I likely to unless some paper somewhere offers me a truly princely sum to publish a book review of same) throws in a sad little paen to po' misunderstood Joe McCarthy in the process. Lots of foaming in the mouth on both the left and the right about this, as many of Coulter's colleagues are now pretty embarrassed to be associated with her. Still, it's selling very, very well.

And on the other, we have Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Another tome I shan't touch without serious renumeration, but just look at that title.

So we're all back in the sandbox, hurling insults at each other and pouting.

And people ask why I'm a member of neither party.

So, raise your hands if you find it merely coincidental that yet another one of my blog chickens has come home to roost in an alarming way?

Actually, it is quite unpardonably silly to open this entry with a metaphor treating of a prey animal, but it's 3:35 a.m. and I've spent the better part of five days cranking out story after story for the two statewide publications that pay what passes for my salary these days. The assignments, gratifyingly, seem to have found a nice, seedy little motel room somewhere, thereat to be fruitful and multiply. I may yet be able to buy Christ-X presents for my nearest and dearest this year.

But I digress.

So, just days after I foamed at the mouth and went off on this very computer screen about the hideous inappropriateness and ultimate wickedness of the promulgation of a revisionist Peter and the Wolf, along comes a real life encounter with one of these nasty creatures and one of my nearest and dearest.

See, My Own Dear Personal Dad and my Inventing Uncle (holds a patent on a machine that allows one man to do two-man CPR!) are up in the hills hunting grouse and sage chickens and, I'm told having a fine time indeed, shooting at birdies (I've got a skillet ready, boys!), playing cards, sampling scary discount whiskey MODPD got on sale in Laramie, etc.

My IU just had surgery recently, poor duck, and is still kind of getting reacquainted with the way his body is supposed to work, so he has apparently been taking brisk, enjoyable early morning constitutionals before the Shocking Sherrod Shooting Show commences.

This very morning, as he strolled blithely along, appreciating the crepuscular beauty of his surroundings, he found in his vicinity a most suprising spectator eyeing him like so many pounds of USDA Prime.

He describes it as having looked rather like a large grey-brown dog, and dog he thought it was at first, until he got a load of its eyes. And heard it growling at him. Most un-doggielike, that growl. No mistaking it for, say, the Collie of Folly feeling unusually impetuous.

He sensibly rolled his jacket around the arm he would proffer if necessary, and ran to beat all hell back to camp. After a bit, the animal declined to pursue him.

Which suits me just fine. I'm fond of the guy. He lets me stay at his house when I'm on assignment in Green River, and he makes a pretty swell uncle, too.

Anyway, we're pretty sure it was a wolf. In our Snowy Range. Sightings have been reported recently on a ranch or two that borders our forest.

Gotta check in with the Rabbit Sheriff to see if we can verify this, but regardless, we all knew it was inevitable.

And so, to all you assholes out there who pushed for wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone, make a sentence out of these three words: Dung, Iguana, Eat.

Speaking of iguanas, I have a great follow-up reintroduction project for you.

As any half-educated half-wit who managed to stay awake through seventh grade earth science class knows, once upon a time, long before we terrible, horrible, ecosystem wrecking humans came on the scene, dry land on planet Earth was all one continent, called Pangea. It later broke up into two continents, Gondwanaland and Laurasia (pardon spelling errors, I'm dredging this up from memory), which in turn later drifted around and crashed into each other until eventually we had the good old familiar conglomeration of continents we see on both Mercator's and Fuller's projections of the good old globe.

It is still unclear to what extent our own dear personal species is culpable in all of this. I'll leave that to wiser minds than I, say, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance's, to settle that persnickety question. It's not really all that relevant to my point, after all.

So anyway, given that this all used to be one landmass until something interfered with the Natural Order of Things, we can therefore safely assume that Wyoming was once the natural habitat of many more wondrous, majestic and amazing big predators than just the wolf.

Some of them, indeed, make the wolf look like just the cuddly, pretty, noble creature certain demented types imagine it to be.

Like, for instance, the Komodo Dragon, whose natural habitat has shrunken down to just one measly island in Indonesia.

Fans of Schopenhauer (eXholes, take note! et al probably already know where I'm going with this.

Know how a Komodo Dragon gets his dinner?

He sneaks up on his prey - usually a hapless livestock animal like a goat or maybe a pig, but a human will do in a pinch. They taste like pork, I'm told. – and takes, with his huge, powerful jaws and sharp, nasty pointy teeth, a huge bite out of the prey animal's ass.

No, that's not his meal. That's just his death blow.

Cuz see, a Komodo Dragon's mouth is a festering maw of endless varieties of decay organisms. World class rotters of flesh. Disease. Teeming colonies of death, crawlin' around on his teeth.

The prey animal has just been given a huge flesh wound and a nice dose of all of these organisms, and usually limps off somewhere in pain and terror.

The Dragon doesn't even bother to follow it. It's not going to go far with half its ass missing, after all. And really, nothing much need be done.

The Dragon's nasty, smelly, stinky, foetid little micro-allies will have the critter dead within a day or two.

Once the animal has obligingly died of, well, basically, some form or another of gangrene, the Dragon tracks it down by the hideous, rotting smell, and chows down.

So, now that your work is done with bringing back the Noble Wolf, how about setting free the Konfined Komodo Dragon. Restore it to its ancient habitats. Let it roam free and proud. It, too, is a beautiful animal, an astonishing work of god, or something.

Then see who limps the fastest.

Oops! In my recent slapdash account of the very exciting Saratoga Panthers football opener on Friday, I committed a gaffe unforgivable, and at least one of my faithful (and decidedly not imaginary) readers called me on it.

They're the Lyman Eagles. Eagles, not Wildcats.

Whatever. We plucked 'em like chickens and sent 'em home sobbing to their eyries.

Many thanks to My Own Dear Mortified Sister (hey, she was the jock and played against the "Lady Eagles". I was on the speech team, an entity Lyman really never fielded, as such. At least not in my day) and to My Own Dear Personal Mom, who softened the tone of MODMS' original screed somewhat before communicating to me my error.

Everybody send your psychic cheers the Panthers' way this Friday when they pile into a bus (driven by My Own Dear Personal Dad! We are so the ultimate online Panther family) and head for Shoshone to take on the Somethingorothers.


Friday, August 29, 2003


I had almost forgotten!

Just a scant hour ago at Fort Sherrod, My Own Dear Personal Dad and I were pinching ourselves, asking in wonder when was the last time we left Saratoga's Robert Hileman field after a Saratoga High School football game with actual by-god smiles on our actual by-god faces.

We concluded that at the very least it was back when Robert Hileman was coaching, which means, back when I could reckon my age on two hands, no recourse to toes or hairs on my head, etc.

Not only did our Panthers win, but they won gloriously, honorably, by playing four full quarters of tough, smart football. After years and years of watching our boys completely fall apart in the second half, no matter how commanding a lead they might occasionally have run up in the first, this is truly refreshing.

Starting QB Joe Pederson's arm has developed nicely since our days of slightly wincing as we watched him overestimate his throwing distance in middle school; he made at least one truly gorgeous pass to Dallas Fields that would have made any highlight reel.

Speaking of Joe and Dallas, both had fantastic interceptions today, with Joe's coming just at the tail end of the fourth quarter for a fabulous finish to the season opener against Lyman.

Even the tackling was good, MODPD, a former volunteer defensive line coach, agreed. And he hasn't complimented the tackling since, well, either Hileman's or the late Wally Walker's days.

I've been watching this particular band of kids playing football together for five years now, having started out as the reporter/photographer on the sidelines with them at what was for most of them their very first game (personal acquaintances of mine know that as the day one youngster who will remain nameless came running off the field after his first down ever bellowing to the coach, his teammates, his reporter, and, alas, his mortified mother, that "That guy was humping my leg!!!). They were undefeated for two straight seasons in middle school, largely because then coach Vance Peterson worked their tails off in practice and they simply outlasted even the giant bull moose fielded by Laramie and Rawlins.

And new head coach Lee Wisroth and his two assistants seem to have torn a page from Vance's book with them in high school. Bravo!

It's a long, long bus ride back to Lyman for the Wildcats tonight, shut out 13-0 for their first game.

Usually that's the story we've told about the Panthers.

Change is good.

Bill Clinton is narrating a "wolf-friendly" version of PETER AND THE WOLF

From the article (for those of you too lazy to click on the link):

Prokofiev's version ends with Peter capturing the wolf and leading a triumphant procession to the zoo, paining music-loving environmentalists with romantic visions of wolves in the wild.

In the new version, narrated by former U.S. president Clinton and called Wolf Tracks, Peter again captures the wolf, but this time repents of his act and releases the animal, who howls a grateful goodbye.

"Forgetting his triumph, Peter thought instead of fallen trees, parched meadows, choked streams, and of each and every wolf struggling for survival," Clinton narrates.

"The time has come to leave wolves in peace," he adds.

Do you folks realize how damaging this is? Questions of faithfulness to the artist's original visions aside, this idiotic reworking of a classic (that is admittedly near and dear to my heart; my very first performing arts event, which I attended at the age of three and where I met my childhood sweetheart for the very first time, was a ballet of PATW) has profoundly annoying and disturbing implications.

First of all, it further distorts the already distorted image that modern man has of what wolves are really like. We're already choked with paintings and drawings of "beautiful, majestic wolves" done by Rousseauist romantic rubes who always seem to manage to make these vicious predators look like big grey versions of the family dog... which leads to lots of visitors to wild places believing that's what they are and running the risk of getting hurt... and also to a lot of idiots on the coasts and in big heartland cities siding with "those poor, pretty wolves" against humans defending themselves, their livestock and their pets.

Wolves are so often the bad guys in fairy tales and it's just not fair to them, these softheaded idiots already maintain. As though there are some wolves somewhere whose feelings are hurt every time a daddy scares a kid with "I'll huff and I'll puff..."? By the way, who gives a shit about being "fair" to them, even if their feelings are hurt? Do you think they care about our feelings? No, they act according to their natures. They are predatory pack animals, who prey on the weak and the sick and the small, and do it in nasty, bloody ways, not sporting at all. They'll wound an already ailing animal and then follow it for miles as it staggers until it collapses, then they gang up and chow down. It's what they do.

Look, wolves are not the bad guys in stories because some mean old storyteller of yore was picking on them. They were bad guys in real life first, and so inspired these stories.

But I am, I know, fighting a losing battle here. I might as well sit back, munch some popcorn, and wait around for the new "Devil-friendly" version of Gounod's Faust, in which Mephistopholes jovially presides over Faust's marriage to Marguerite.

(oh, and by the way – even changing the ending of PATW's text is never really going to work to "improve" the Wolf's image in the piece unless something is done about those powerful, menacing horns – which, if anyone ever does that, I guaran-damn-tee that I and the rest of my ex-trombone-playing posse also known as the Propeller Beanie Tenor Section will pack up and bring the perpetrator down in a way that would be the only way to actually make a wolf look merciful, noble and beautiful)

Hey, I didn't think it was possible, either.

Well, that's not entirely true. I've never thought about it at all, really. And I bet none of you have, either.

Unless you're far stranger than I, I bet you've never, ever asked yourself, your dog, or your Indian Companion, hey, do you think it's possible to get jet lag without actually leaving home?

Uh huh, I thought not.

I am, however, here to tell you that in fact, it is.

To achieve it, you just need to become a freelance writer in the Mountain Time Zone, a few of whose sources are here, yes, but most of them are actually over in Central, with a scattering of those in Eastern and Pacific. No one in Newfie yet, but there's always next month.

So, for instance, right where I am sitting now, it is 11:50 a.m., MDT, and I am waiting for several sources, for several different articles (adding to the fun) for several different publications (adding more to the fun), to either call me back or just freakin' well be there when I call them back.

OK, I have to think for a minute now. The guys at Anadarko Petroleum's headquarters in Oklahoma are still away at lunch, right? But the guys at Williams Companies, also in Oklahoma, are in (but busy) right now because they lunch at 1 p.m. instead of noon. I'm also waiting to talk to a few people right here in the valley, but I can no longer remember or judge from the hurried notes I left myself when exactly I'm supposed to call.

I don't whether person A is lunching at noon or 1 p.m., whether I promised person B's secretary I'd call at 11 my time or his time.

Of course, none of this would be necessary if people behaved properly and anticipated exactly when I, more or less a complete stranger, am going to call them with impertinent questions and were at their desks at the (not) appointed hour. But no. Time and time again, I find myself entangled in about twelve games of phone tag a day.

Eventually, thank bog, it all sorts itself out, usually just in time for me to sit down and bash out the article(s) within a half hour of deadline. But still, a girl can dream.

On the other hand, as My Own Dear Personal Dad says of so many things, it beats working for a living.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


Oh, and it was great fun sitting next to Ambassador Tom Strook and quietly heckling the EOR panel as we waited for their standard issue crappy Dell laptop to finally get itself sorted, boot up (giggle, snort) Windows ME and interface with the overhead projector. Strook and I pointed out, for instance, that had the boys not been so very committed to being high tech and had just brought in a good old flip chart and pen, they could have done their presentation twice in the time it took for their Dell to boot up.

And Pete Illoway made lots of jokes about said laptop having the SoBig virus.

And Rep. Tom Walsh, who has exquisite taste in computer hardware, and knows that Sobig and other crap can't touch a Mac, kept pointing at the sticker on My Own Dear Personal Laptop* and giving it the thumbs up and pointing it out to his colleagues.

It's not every day I get to be a Luddite and a techsnob at the exact same moment in time.

*Which proclaims, emphatically and succinctly "My Macintosh Rules"

Saw this over on Reason magazine's website.

Q: How many bloggers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two -- one to change it while the other apologizes for the recent lack of illumination and explains that they've been really busy lately.

Not that I feel any real need to apologize, since I've known for years now that there's no one to whom to apologize. I know you're all just figments of my sick, egotistical, narcissistic imagination.

But even if you were real, O you imaginary readers, still I would feel no need to apologize. I really have been busy.

So busy I haven't even made it to coffee this week!

No, really!

Take today. No, take last night. Last night was when it got interesting. My editor at the Rocky Mountain Energy Reporter asked me pretty please, with sugar on top and a mileage check and a little something for my time plus my usual freelance fee(s), to go to the quarterly meeting of the Wyoming State Legislature's Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee today.

First segment relevant to my assignment would start at 8:05 a.m., sharp.

My own personal immediate economic outlook being what it was, I said, hell yeah. Might even be fun.

And it sort of was.

(Here's where my extra special imaginary friends, the Sewer King and the Rock Star, start yelling "Jesus, Kate, you really do need to get a life" at their imaginary computer screens)

First on the menu was a report from the committee making recommendations on streamlining/fixing the permitting process for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Lots of sob stories about how one heroic DEQ man has to monitor 10,000 coal bed natural gas wells and 4000 outfalls in the Powder River Basin, with an antequated and tiny lab in which to do is analytical work and gee, it's only going to get worse, because there are going to be ever so many more wells soon and maybe oughtn't we add a few staffers and buy some new testing equipment so the permit holders get the results from their compliance visit back sometime before the election returns for the first superevolved hyperintelligent pan-dimensional galaxy spanning slime mold President of the United States of America, Mars and Pluto come in?

Oh, I think I forgot to mention that, true to form, I completely failed to sleep last night because I had a road trip in the offing. Does that happen to anyone else, imaginary or real? You have to get up a few hours before your usual rise'n'shine time and you get obsessed with it, what if your alarm doesn't go off, what if you sleep through it, what if you accidentally bumped it in the night and switched the AM to PM oh hell, there goes another night's sleep worrying and oops, there's the sun, time to shower, warpaintify, gas up the car and get on the road.

Sleep deprivation. Cheaper even than wine.

But anyway, I'm digressing, because the real important thing is, the real important thing is...

Looks like the Committee members are pretty ticked at dear ol' GovDave. And I cannot, in all honesty, pretend that I don't see why that's so.

See, Dave made good this spring on some warnings he had issued regarding a little "administrative layer" created by his predecessor called the Wyoming Energy Commission. He'd been complaining about this organization ever since he announced his candidacy for governor last year. It was a waste of taxpayer money (especially the big salaries reportedly paid to commissioners). It duplicated the functions of the Wyoming Business Council's energy committee. Energy policy should actually be the governor's responsibility to set. Oh, and he wasn't sure how legal it was that it had six sitting legislators on it.

So, he basically got rid of it. It's not officially disbanded or discontinued, but since GovDave is the chair, all he has to do to more or less permanently idle it is not call any more meetings until its statutory sunset date of 2005.

That was April, or so.

Today, after a full day of plodding through the aforementioned NPDES stuff, a report on wage disparities that you heard about on Wyoming Public Radio, a report on how subsidizing ticket prices from ten Wyoming airports might induce more people to take commercial flights that originate here instead of driving to hubs like Denver or Salt Lake (but really, even if the ticket's cheap, I for one probably still would make the drive. Connections from Wyoming-originating puddle jumpers to the big carriers in real airports never, ever work, no matter how great a spinter you are. Trust me on this one. Oh wait, I forgot. You're not real)(coincidentally, that's usually what I say to the slappably patient desk ladies in Denver when I've missed a connection again because the flight outta Laramie was an hour late. I say it over and over again in the hopes that it might turn out to be true. So far, not much of a track record on this) that ran into the lunch hour, stopped momentarily, then reassembled just on the other side of lunch hour like a horror movie creature from the atomic age (Aeromoeba!), one of those nauseating reports by a state agency that shall remain nameless that consisted entirely of agency bureaucrats telling the Committee how great other agency bureaucrats are to work with and how lucky the whole damn state is that said bureaucrats have graced us with their greatness, and the Shortest Electrical Transmission Planning Briefing Maybe Ever (tm)... came...

Wait for it...

Enhanced Oil Recovery, which, like so much in energy development, is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds and, if Ambassador Strook and his crew don't lie, a potential financial bonanza for the state of Wyoming for the next ten years if we play it right.

I'm not going to load you down with details on what EOR is, exactly. Read my article next month in the Energy-Reporter. Playing it right is going to be tricky, let's just say.

Which brings us back, after a fashion, to the late, great, Wyoming Energy Commission.

After a fashion.

In my years as a redheaded stepchild of the fourth estate, I've seen legislators do a lot of things. Yawn. Roll their eyes. Fillibuster. Make origami voodoo dolls of members of the Woody family to burn later.

After GovDave's energy policy advisor, Steve Waddington, announced one of Dave's ideas for pouncing on this EOR thing, though, I braced myself for a new sight, the greatest of all, but alas one that only presented in my mind's eye.

Namely, all 13 of the Committee members present slapping their foreheads in unison.

Cuz the bit Waddington brought up that kept them all muttering, stuttering, and coming up with inventive new ways to get digs in at the mercifully absent governor sounded, well, a lot like the old Wyoming Energy Commission.

It even had two legislators, one from each house.

Difference was, it was only going to be about EOR.

Oh, no it wasn't.

Oh, yes it was.

Oh, no it wasn't.

Rep. Pete Illoway pointed out that Dave's the governor, and energy policy belongs with the governor, so he doesn't need Committee approval or participation to create his EOR glee club.

OK, Pete didn't call it a glee club. But he might have done, if he had thought of it instead of me.

Jayne Mockler and Hank Coe (Coe was on the Commission, at one point, as were Committee members Pat Childers and Dave Miller) snorted at the notion of this task force/sewing circle/cabal having legislators on it (Coe eventually made the motion to go ahead and start some kind of commission/board/cell group with the stipulation that it not include any legislators - and the motion passed unanimously).

Dave Miller said something along the lines of, hell, he's the chairman of the Energy Commission and it's mostly the same set of people we got right here, why doesn't he just reassemble that committee and get to work?

But the QOTD (Quote of the Day) award goes to Childers, the Republican House member from Cody, who said, as this came up: "If he [GovDave] is ready to bring a knife and a fork to the table, I'll feed him some crow."


I don't think our governor – who, let me be perfectly clear, I still totally support, and I agree with him completely on the WEC thing, incidentally – is going to live this down for a while.

Let's all hope they kiss and make up soon.

Monday, August 25, 2003


Regardless of the ultimate fate of the newest/oldest business venture in Encampment, I have to publicly express my gratitude to the guys making it go.

I just toddled down to 44 Lumber & Timber, formerly the Hammer Sawmill, down there to take pictures and gather quotable quotes for an article I'm doing, and had to stop several times on my way down there to gawk and marvel at how...

...It's absolutely wonderful to come over the crest of that last hill on 230 and see a huge plume of smoke... and not worry that it's a forest fire...

...Loud and mechanical noises, while no longer a part of my own dear personal nighttime soundscape the way they were before this January, are actually deeply comforting...

...Sawdust and woodsmoke are two of the nices smells one can suck into her nose. Why don't any companies that make scented candles ever take a stab at synthesizing these somehow? Oh yeah, they're all Yankee/Boulder types. Wouldn't be very PC....

It was also a lot of fun to be around some people who have been told all over the place that they have pretty much zero chance of succeeding and are determined to pull it off anyway. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, but I admire their will to try their best.

They've pulled it off so far.

And Encampment smells like home again.

Too bad home doesn't.

Sunday, August 24, 2003


I'm wondering if maybe a disproportionate number of my readers out there have not been keeping up with their antivirus software?

I just checked my yahoo email address to which this page links where it says "Email me, dammit!" and there were over 200 messages that were obviously versions of the SoBig virus, at least judging from the subject lines, which included all of the classics... Wicked Screensaver, That movie, Thank You... all with attachments, of course.

So to all of you out there in LIANTland who found themselves infected, my condolences.

Just another reason to make the switch to Macs.

No one writes viruses for Macintosh.


Tuesday, August 19, 2003


Coffee narratives the last few days have been kind of overwhelmingly icky, even for us.

I was fully expecting a small share of animal mishap/scatology/gross injury/whatever narratives from our Fat Cat Republican Banker, newly returned from several weeks' chasing his children's 4-H beasties around the county and then the state fairs...

But we've had hardly a word about those.

Instead, the FCRB has been regaling us with something truly nasty.

Saratoga has long been host to a particularly colorful husband and wife (?) team of "predator control" specialists, who have moonlighted as everything from motel managers to ministerial moochers, and have left truly bizarre and rather disgusting souvenirs of their tenures at each all over their wake. Thus when they ran a small local motel, one room was used, apparently, for butchering coyotes and left appropriately furry, bloody, smelly, etc. for enough time to where I believe their former employer won some sort of judgment against them after he finally dismissed them from his service.

To make a long story short, the FCRB is deeply, up to his elbows and eyeballs and poor, assaulted nostrils, involved in repossession proceedings against them, and is currently sorting through the contents of their rental storage shed, which happens to be owned by yet another of our coffee crew, the Lord Macklebrains (who is still at a loss as to how he's going to clean/disinfect/destroy the facility after FCRB has emptied it).

(Of course, slightly mollifying the LM: the shed is so completely crammed that the FCRB has found it necessary to rent an additional shed in which to sort through it all. Money helps, money helps...)

But that ain't the problem.

The FCRB is a tall and rather dapper man (when he can be talked out of wearing certain excreble, elementary school teacher-caliber ties, anyway), urbane in a redneck-y sort of way, takes a joke well, can laugh at himself... in other words, pretty much the last guy on whom I would ever wish the following:

The material with which the shed is crammed is, with the exception of a large and possibly valuable collection of like new animal traps, entirely of a highly perishable and/or flavorfully biological nature. A few furs, yes, but mostly claws, guts, buckets of bait, sealed containers of rancid coyote urine.

He and his young colleague (whom he hired to replace the individual who originally approved extending credit to the PCP [predator control pair]) have been sorting through this for at least the last few days, doggedly determined to fetch what prices they can for this in the hopes of recouping at least something for the bank – gagging and retching and googling (in the pre-internet sense) all the way.

And from the sound of it they're a long way from being finished.

And yes, they're pretty grossed out.

And yes, they feel better if they share.

I suspect I can file this, too, under things that don't happen in Chicago...

Friday, August 15, 2003


I've decided that whoever it was who created Scooby Doo must have really had a dog who acted like that.

It used to seem impossible to me, this proposition, but then I took Molly the Collie of Folly on her first extended camping trip.

We just returned from same this afternoon and she made a rapid, furniture disarranging, blurry black beeline from the front door to her little hidey hole in the closet, and hasn't even come out for a Milk Bone Marrow Snack, to give you an idea.

We've been together a little over a year now, this intrepid border collie and I, and so I was well aware of her fear of thunderstorms – many dogs are afraid of thunder, I'm always told – and I had noticed she's not too fond of gunfire, either, after one fall day last year during our morning constitutional around Saratoga Lake when a few folks sighting in their rifles at the nearby gun club reduced her to a mass of quivering, skulking jelly.

And while she manifests the usual dog's delight and eagerness at the sight of other dogs, one whiff, two at the most, of the other's tail, and she cowers and cries.

That's all stuff I've gotten used to.

This week, though, she also manifested as frightened of: four-wheelers, hummingbirds, dragonflies and, at one point, seed pods bouncing around at the ends of tall blades of grass.

During Tuesday night's moderately satisfying rainstorm, which had only a little thunder, the poor creature nearly tore down my tent trying to get inside to hide – while she had made under the motorhome her preferred haunt overall, I suppose same magnified the booming noises. She stayed in there all night, cowering in a corner, having managed to smoosh herself in under my cot (only about 7" off the ground, mind you) and into the smallest possible space – and forcing me to throw my bedding on the ground, as I wasn't about to smoosh me on top of her.

And even the next morning, when the sun beating down on the tent finally made its presence known (about 9 a.m. – no dummy, me, I put the tent up in the shade) by raising the interior temperature to that required to nicely burn a Tombstone pizza, as I unzipped the tent flap fully expecting her to bound out and head for the creek for her morning dip... she continued to cower.

Finally My Own Dear Personal Mom and I managed to coax her out, but she stuck very close by me for several hours in the morning sun, obviously dying to dip in the creek, but afraid to stray at all until finally I escorted her the forty paces or so to the water and went in with her.

Then all was well. Whooppie, mom, where in the great outdoors! Watch me run and bound and sniff and snuffle and roll in the burrs and drag long pieces of raspberry cane out of thickets for you to gingerly pluck out of my fur! I am Camping Dog, watch me go!

Oh crap, there's another hummingbird. Ah! Ah! Mommy, don't let it hurt me, whimper whimper whimper, and dive back under that motorhome that is the only shelter except oh, ah, it's moving why is it moving (MODPD performing the abbreviated camping version of morning ablutions, is all, but try explaining that to a terrified border collie)? Aaaaahhhh! Make for the tent, burrow under it if necessary, eeeeeeeeek! All that was left for her to do was, say, jump up into my arms like her cartoon avatar... but she'd been overindulging in camping leftovers for a few days and so was not doing too well in the jumping department...

Then MODPD emerged, said, simply "Hi, Molly" the way he always does and all was well. Tail wag, play position, romp around, shakin' her whole butt with joy...

(The irony here is that when I first adopted this silly black beast, she would not come out from under the couch at the chamber office to meet him when he stopped by. He went home and grumbled to my mom "That dog and me are never going to be friends." Within a month, of course, he was her favorite thing on two legs. Only one other person gets that special butt-shakin' greeting, and that's the Sewer King, who takes us cross country skiing).

So, while this is of course Steinley Cup Weekend, it's also going to be a weekend of intensive and emotional therapy for the C of F, as we're due to head back up the mountain on Monday.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 10, 2003


I had originally thought that this summer would be all about me and the Rock Star (she who takes the most unique rocks known to man and makes of them the most elegant jewelry known to woman) givin' the boys hell at coffee, but since she is wholly occupied in helping out Saratoga's own dear personal fashionista instead, what it's actually all about is pretty well summed up by a 2NU song called "The Submarine."

One night I found a bunch of empty beer cans in my backyard
And decided to build a submarine.


I'd need a periscope
One change of party clothes
And my own mysterious little language.

"Every explorer needs a quest... mine was to find the coolest place in the world..." the song continues...

Well, the fact is, I have of course found the coolest place in the world and it is, in fact, the backyard at Kate's Landing, home of the Summer of Cheap Beer and Chess, so designated by Your Humble Blogger and the Punk Martha Stewart herself because, well, that's what we do whilst ducking the attentions of brown myotis bats and watching the kestrels fly and yes, drinking cheap beer and yes, playing chess.

Very, very badly.

Chess occupies rather a unique niche in my lack of nostalgia for my childhood. I learnt the game at the age of around seven, and was, for a seven year old, frighteningly good at it, to a degree to which I quickly ran out of opponents here in Saratoga. Not a lot of folks enjoy losing to a preternaturally obnoxious and arrogant second grader, and as such it was difficult to encourage same to try for a rematch, even against my obvious and craven tactics (largely dependent on sending a rook early into the enemy's back ranks to wreak wholly predictable havoc on said ranks until the king is in check and my rook goes where the woodbine twineth). Soon I was forced to give up the game altogether, and by age eight I was already referring somewhat nostalgically to my good old chess playing days.

My only association with the game since then has been an overwhelming fascination with the Broadway musical devoted to the game and composed and written by those wacky two boys from ABBA, Benny Anderssson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. I particularly like the part of the semi-dangerous Russian official in same, with the deep, deep voice and the hilariously overdone accent, which part I know by heart and can sing with (in PMS' opinion) uncanny accuracy... but of course I digress...

Cut to this summer of 2003, when PMS' and my good friend Juan Ponce-de-Leon shows up at Kate's Landing with a chessboard in one hand and a plea for cheap beer in the other.

By the light of citronella torches and a single dim citronella candle, I soon got my ass handed to me on a shitty tin plate.

I still play like an eight-year-old.

And not being able to see the black pieces in the blackness doesn't help, either.

But I am now resolved to make sure this and subsequent other humiliating experiences are not experienced in vain.

This is the summer of Cheap Beer and Chess. Keystone Light by the 30-pack, and chess until we drop.

So far, PMS and I are 2-0, largely because I posess a smidgeon greater talent at completely committing third-grade caliber carnage on her rooks and bishops from across the board, and then taking out her queen in a hideously craven move that would only work against someone whose body is exactly as aslosh in Keystone Light as I am.

Sad but true: our first game for tonight, for instance, ended with me having not one but TWO queens and her having... a king... and we finally just decided to knock it off because it was getting boring, my chasing her around the board and all.

A proper chess player could have wiped her up without ceremony or prejudice with two queens to her one king.

I am not a proper chess player.

Perhaps I should build a submarine instead.

Saturday, August 09, 2003


...With the idea of completely messing with the ads that appear in the bar section of this here web page because YHB, complete hobo that she is, is too cheap to actually pay for hosting for this here page.

So, I'm open to suggestions for the best way to screw with the system that one day has COIN DEALERS sponsoring my page and the next day feeder systems based on vocabulary words that appear in the text of my posts.

I'm wondering what kind of ads would appear if I stopped writing about anything but Paracelsus.

Ideas? E-mail me using the handy dandy "Email me, dammit" link on this here page.

Friday, August 08, 2003


The Unabomber wants his stuff back.

Actually, this particular archive, brought to us by The Smoking Gun, is damned interesting. And a little spooky, personally, for Your Humble Blogger. Among the documents you can access from that main link are an eight-page list of his books that were seized. Our libraries are similar, to the point where we have 32 volumes directly in common (meaning the same book in and of itself, outside of "collected works" or other kinds of overlap. If, for instance, we match up my Collected Works of Shakespeare with his individual copies of a few plays, the correlation gets much closer), including some pretty obscure books that I'd always wondered if anyone else in the world had ever heard of like Why Lenin? Why Stalin?.

What sets us apart is that, well, I don't have any bomb-making materials in my shack (unless you count the contents of my sink if I've let the dishwashing go for a few days) (I had to say that before MODPM did), and, well, I do have a computer. And electricity. And, new this summer, a phone line.

But really... we're both fans of Juvenal, of Thomas Hardy, of Joseph Conrad, of Tacitus and Plutarch and Livy, of foreign languages...

Too bad no one ever handed this guy some volumes of Philip K. Dick so that he could see the logical conclusion of his weird paranoias lived out in fiction instead of real life.

Or just let him watch the ducks and the caddisflies and the brown myotis flying free of a midsummer evening.

Or elected him to public office.


Thursday, August 07, 2003


On the same day that I wound up pulling an all-nighter trying to rescue my beloved iBook from oblivion (it completely lost the operating system), and only finally succeeded at about 9:30 a.m. after having finally resigned myself to losing the text of all three of the novels I've been working on, all my digital music files, etc. (in other words, all my data as I restored from the restore disks) I finally tried the last ditch effort of just using the upgrade disk that upgrades the OS from 9.1 to 9.2 and it worked! Everything worked, no data lost, etc, but my day completely ruined by no sleep and periodic panic attacks...

I learned the following.

Al Gore is now on Apple's Board of Directors..

Follow the link if you don't believe me.

This explains everything.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003


That dumb things happen all over the place, and not just here.

A clerk at a comic books store in Dallas has been fined $4000 and sentenced to a term on probation for selling an adult comic to an adult "undercover agent" (what exactly was he trying to uncover?) from the adult section of a big comic book store.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the man's appeal (effort funded by the wholly laudable Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, so he's stuck.

Full story here.

Because everyone knows that all comic books are actually intended for kids.

Yeah, right. Maus, in which a Holocaust survivor tells his gruesome story to his grandson, was certainly meant for little kids, as was, say, Safe Area Gorazde which details Joe Sacco's real life adventures in the middle of all of the ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.


Monday, August 04, 2003


Here are the results from last month's little poll on what to do about the deer problem.

A total of 56 unique Saratoga residents* signed at least one of the four forms; not all indicated an opinion on all four, however, so the numbers which follow reflect only those registering opinions on each issue.

HOUSE WATCH - 39 total signatures; 8 YES, 31 NO

TALLER FENCES - 49 total signatures; 39 YES, 10 NO

FEEDING BAN - 47 total signatures, 38 YES, 9 NO

TRAPPING/REMOVAL - 42 total signatures, 14 YES, 28 NO

Pretty much what I was expecting, except I am moderately surprised at how many people seem to want to have little misfired darts full of poisonous tranquilizer flying about the village.

And of course, not a single one of the town's known deer feeders bothered to come down to town hall and register an opinion, though I see the brother, nephew, niece-in-law, step-great-niece, and sister-in-law of one feeder all did come out against the feeding ban.

Tomorrow night we may discuss these results at the council meeting. It's on the agenda anyway. 6 p.m., Saratoga Town Hall. Be there or shuddapuhboutit.

Friday, August 01, 2003


SO I just discovered the Internet Anagram Server and confirmed that my name (my actual given name, Kathleen Sherrod, not the nickname of Kate) is an anagram of NOR A THRESHED ELK as well as LETS HONK A HERDER, HE'D HORN A KESTREL, A HELD THORN REEKS and much, much more.

Using my common, ordinary, YHB name, I get (among others): A HORDE TREKS, A HERD STROKER, ADHERE STORK, HEAD STROKER (!), HE'S ROT RAKED (Scooby Doospeak for "he's wearing clothes"), DARKEST HERO (hey, I really like that one!), OH DEAR TREKS, HE'S OK RETARD, TREAD KOSHER (!)... the list goes on and on and on, and I've just picked the ones I think are funny.

So, when a horde treks a herd stroker, tread kosher.


So, wow. About an hour and a half ago, I sold a cowboy hat to Robert Heinlein's cousin.

Who'da thunk it?

Some moderately entertaining questions this week, so what the hey.

1. What time do you wake up on weekday mornings?

Whenever the birds do. As I've discussed elsewhere on this blog, the birds are what wake me up, and they're in tune with the sun, so it all depends on the time of year.

For the last week or so, it's been about 5:45 a.m. or so.

The more interesting question would be when I get up. I have a ridiculously comfortable bed (an Aerobed, actually) that I am usually loath to abandon, so sometimes I like there semi-snoozing, thinking about articles I'm working on, and listening to the birdies for as much as an hour!

2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?

See above.

Of course, my "weekends" are a little different from other folks. The closest thing I have to what most of you folks would call a job takes place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at present, so I actually am expected somewhere.

On what most of you would consider my days off (hah!), however, I generally do go to coffee at the Crazy Liver Cantina, meaning I never stay in bed past about 9:30 a.m.

3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning?


4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?

About 15 minutes. 20 if I get a wild hair to put on some war paint.

5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?

A campsite with my parents, on a day when my father decides to wield his waffle iron. Cowboy coffee, bacon grilled over a campfire, and gourmet-quality waffles with marionberry syrup.

Crap, I'm hungry now.

So I guess my silly post about American change and how it confuses EuroTouros had an unintended side effect.

I've noticed for the last few days that the Blogspot ads you see in the banner above this here page because I'm too much of a hobo to pay for webhosting have all been about coin collectors and coin dealers.

I wonder what will come up next?

Wednesday, July 30, 2003


A number of family members and coffee buddies of mine have expressed some puzzlement over the last few days about why Wyoming's sole member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the prescription drug re-importation bill, since none of us can find a single Wyoming resident (whom Ms. Cubin ostensibly represents) who is not delighted by the idea.

I will not go so far as to say there is a simple reason, but I did find something very interesting over at, a website that tracks correlations between campaign funding sources and key political decisions at the state and federal levels (and one that I have so far found accurate; I have yet to hear anyone say otherwise, and so until I do, I trust it, and recommend it to others).

Since 1989, Ms. Cubin has received approximately $43,000 in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, with $14,500 of that having come just in the 2002-03 fiscal year that just ended. She's right square in the middle of the averages for Republicans who voted against the bill:

"Republicans who voted against the bill raised an average of $38,901 from the drug industry between 1989 and 2002 ($15,347 in the 2002 cycle alone), compared to the $19,051 ($6,662 in the 2002 cycle alone) raised by Republicans who supported it."

But, lest anyone accuse me,, or the CapitalEye website from which OS drew its data, of picking on Babs in particular or the Republicans in general, well, the Democrats seem to have pandered even worse:

"The disparity is greater among Democrats than Republicans. Democrats who voted "no" raised an average of $42,671 from drug companies between 1989 and 2002, nearly four times more than the average raised by Democrats who voted "yes" ($11,125). In the 2002 cycle alone, Democrats who voted "no" raised an average of five times more from drug firms ($13,740) than those who voted "yes" ($2,623)."

Yeah, I know, I know, it's not news that Congresspeople are more interested in pleasing their donors than us saps who elect them, but I can't help but expect a little more from our Congresspeople, who sit with us at UW games, shop with us at RiteAid (the last time I chatted with Sen. Craig Thomas was at the RiteAid in Laramie, for example), and know along with the rest of us where the good fishing holes are, i.e. they're real Wyoming people and not like certain New York Senators who probably can't even name a member of the Yankee pitching staff.

I was just reading a hand-wringing article in Salon about the DLC and the Democratic party's presidential hopefuls, and I totally misread Joe Lieberman's last name as "Liberace," i.e. for a moment there I had John McCain's running mate – er, partner in a global warming bill that serious lefties view as the ultimate litmus test for your Senator and his or her commitment to the environment – conflated in my head with the late piano-playing, candelabra-loving, besequined cabaret bonfire.

Now that would be a candidacy I could back whole-heartedly. But then again, what am I saying? I'm the one who writes in the late Frank Zappa whenever I'm not happy with any of the candidates on the ballot (so far I've written him in for president twice, Wyoming's seat in the House of Representatives three times [once on the same ballot!], Carbon County School District No. 2's Board of Trustees once, and my old House district in Boston twice).

So, who's with me? Zappa-Liberace in '04!!!!


Aw, come on. Where's your sense of humor?

Monday, July 28, 2003


Amidst all the (lack of) fun this last weekend, I was subjected to variations on the following lecture not once, not twice, but thrice.

Your Humble Blogger: Ok, with the tax that comes to $34.78 (or some such number)

Random European Tourist hands me two $20 bills, stands tapping his or her foot as I count back his or her change.

Then RET contemplates the assortment of filthy greenish paper and assorted coins in his or her palm.

RET: Wait, did you give me the right change?

YHB patiently counts back again.

RET: Yoo are a fool! And you cannot count! Mon dieu! (if French) or Cor! That doesn't make any sense a'tall, does it? (if Limey)

YHB patiently counts back again.

At issue, of course, is the fact that our ten-cent piece is considerably smaller than our five-cent piece, with the one-cent piece splitting the difference between the two and being a different color.

Look, I agree right along with these poor tourii that it's completely illogical, but it is the way it is, and certainly I, municipal elected goddess though I am (not that they know that, of course, unless one of the other cheeky monkey clerks at one of the other stores has told them so. No. For all they know, I am just another subhuman cash register jockey. And that's fine with me. No better opportunity to study human behavior than from below, from the prospective of one so lowly as to be beneath their contempt), have nothing at all to do with it.

Unless, of course, they want me to count back their change in order of size.

I say, there might be a way to squeeze out a little profit in that.

Proper change for, say, $5.22 would be a fiver, two dimes and two pennies... but by size, say it's two nickels, a dime and a penny? OK, very little profit - one cent (though one extra cent per transaction... could add up a bit over a month or so). We could of course, try two nickels and two pennies, and make a dime...

Oh, and of course, there is also the persistent confusion about our paper money because it's all the same color (or "colour")... So what about a single, two nickels and two pennies? Then I'd be netting $4.10 in pure unvarnished profit for Dustcatcher Central! Oh, the glory!

Of course, the accounting would be nightmarish at the end of the day. We'd have to create a whole separate line-item for the "bilked European change" income and that... might not go over too well with the IRS.

Oh, bugger all. It's a good thing I'm honest.

And patient.

Saturday, July 26, 2003


Everybody go look out your window right now. I'm typing this at 20:33, MDT. The sky out of all of my windows, east, west, north and south is a shade I can only call hot rose as the sun goes down and the clouds of a kickass thunderstorm hover. The lightning makes the entire sky – and my entire house – glow eerily as it flashes from very close by. The willow trees that flourish on the riverbank have never looked so dramatic, outlined against that garish Mimi's-blusher sky. Don't miss it. What are you doing reading these pixels. Get out there and gawk!

Friday, July 25, 2003


So, I violated my grocery shopping restrictions today – hobo rations include meat, milk, club soda and tinned soup – and bought a can of Pringles. It's been a long, long time since I've had at these things in any quantity, so I was only dimly aware that they came in the variety I brought home – reduced fat – so perhaps I may be forgiven my lateish-night astonishment at the following:

My Pringles speak Spanish!

It says right there on the can, en un bande verde, "Con Grasa Reducida" - 1/3 menos de Grasa* que Las Pringles Regulares.

Oh, dios mios. From now on, I will only and ever be able to refer to these snacks by pronouncing the name to rhyme with "green glaze."

It's more fun that way, anyway!

(See what happens when Your Humble Blogger has spent too much time hawking dustcatchers and having the exact same conversation with every benighted tourist who darkens the doorway at Dustcatcher Central and trying, really trying, with all of her might, not to lose her temper and begin casting about for a ball peen hammer with which to beat said tourists' brains out when they start raving about those adorable Nazi resin bears** that are imported from China for like ten cents each but sold as "finials" to screw onto the top of your lamp for like $20? See? See? Now I'm writing about potato chips! HEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLP!)

*I'm not sure why "Grasa" is capitalized - I thought it was merely German that capitalized every noun – but maybe it's sloganeering.

**It's maybe not so charitable to call them NRBs, but there really does appear to be something deeply archetypal and creepy about the way charming rustic woodcarving designers (who presumably develop original carvings for the Chinese to copy ad infinitem, ad nauseam, in advanced wood-like polymers that probably do even more environmental damage than the wood harvesting and carving on that scale would do) anthropomorphize bears. Said artists appear to love render the bears as standing upright and giving the viewer a friendly wave... but the arm extended always, without exception, no difference from manufacturer to manufacturer, makes the bear look like it is saluting its Fuhrer. Especially when said bear is lined up with its fellows in row after row, awaiting price tagging. They confront one like a little resin army... and of course they're dressed in brown. Coincidence? Hmm? Hmm? Did they really escape to Brazil? Or was it to China?

Or was it to the Green Glaze Potato Chip Factory?

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Readers of Cadillac Desert and/or of Sam Western's book will not be surprised to learn that I think this is stupid:

Officials weigh intrastate water transfer

According to the Wyoming Water Development Commission, the Green River basin has a surplus, and because it has a surplus and the North Platte River Basin (that would be us, here in the Good Times Valley, among others) chronically has shortages, it's time to consider moving water from the Green to the Platte via pipeline.

Oy, dios mios!

This is the part that really sent me around the bend:

"[WWDC Office Director] Besson said Wyoming's remaining and unused Upper Colorado River Compact entitlement is estimated to range from 250,000 to 300,000 acre-feet of water annually."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this ultimately the same Colorado River that already doesn't make it to the ocean because it's already overappropriated? Isn't Mexico already pretty pissed off about this?

Nebraska v. Wyoming would be nothing in comparison.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


A few years ago at about this time, I wrote a newspaper column about a dumb pseudo-science experiment.

My Teenaged Lackey and I, having noted that the Rawlins National Bank's digital thermometer did indeed read 100 degrees (and having gathered suitable photographic evidence of same) decided to verify, once and for all, whether or not it was possible to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

We wound up making a big eggy mess in front of the Lazy River Cantina, which, as I recall, our editor's girlfriend's dog wound up cleaning up for us.

Not long afterwards, maybe a week or so, it cooled off again and we were able to resume our normal lives and routines.

Is that what it's going to take this time, too? I saw that magic number on the bank clock again today, and I'm seriously physically and emotionally challenged to even sit here as I am, at my kitchen table, just a foot away from the air conditioner, wearing nothing but a sarong (get your mind out of the gutter - there are many ways to tie a sarong).

Momma, why's it so hot out there?

In other news, I contacted the guy at the University of Delaware who found a way to make a good plastic out of chicken feathers – a good plastic that could replace silicon in computer parts – to see if he could come up with a practical, value-added, economy-saving use for sagebrush.

Amazingly, he didn't not immediately stick my e-mail in the crackpot file, but rather wrote me right back this morning with specific questions to consider as we begin.

So, does anybody out there in LIANTland know how much biomass of sagebrush there is, or anything about the plant's special properties?

Oh, also, anyone with whom I can hitch a ride to Delaware anytime soon?

OK, time for more blender drinks...

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


Retired people and people like me have many wonderful things in common... a tendency to spend the middle of the day napping, time for multiple coffee klatches, formidable penny-pinching skills, intimate knowledge of the per-pill cost of our allergy medicines...

And we also have one other advantage over the conventionally employed: We get to go camping in the middle of the week!

Which is what My Own Dear Personal Parents and I, along with our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Timber Beast, have been doing a lot of lately.

Though of course, despite the utter emptiness of our favorite campground, we shun same in favor of a meadow just beyond it. Yes, we're a few miles away from the outhouses, but the latest addition to the Sherrod family, The Bus, is more than adequately equipped (though alas, the door makes a bit of noise at dawn when Your Humble Blogger urgently emerges from her tent [the low woman on the totem pole, she hath not Bus sleeping privileges] to rid herself of the previous night's excess Paisano. Sorry, mom, sorry, dad).

We've been camping in that meadow for – I'm not exaggerating here – my entire life. It was there our campsite was invaded by a few hundred sheep when I was five and we camped in a tiny Red Dale trailer that would at best make a midday snack for The Bus, there where My Own Dear Personal Sister and I spent countless hours trying to push each other out of the high bunk in the eight-track-tape-playing Prowler with which we followed the Red Dale... there where we floated toy boats in the streamflow of Brush creek and tried, always, to dam it up so we'd have a bigger pond (we laugh now to hear our father muse the same musings, to create a better fishing hole)...

But now the sister is in Portland and it is only the Collie of Folly who wets her silky locks in the rushing waters... and wets... and wets... and wets... I don't think that dog spent a dry hour the whole trip, and yes, she did in fact share my tent at night. Sigh.

The best part of all, though, was the Hummingbird Wars; Mr. and Mrs. Timber Beast and My Own Dear Personal Parents had each set up hummingbird feeders in camp (making it necessary for me to keep a hat on my head at all times; my hair is just bright enough to make a favorite target for dive-bombing otherwise), giving occasion for a thoroughgoing and painstaking sociological study of what circumstances are necessary before two hummingbirds will consent to share the feeder (like signs of frost in Hades). We should have laid bets to make it more interesting, though we quickly learned that the Rufous males won every time, even if they weren't hungry.

Alas, no hot Rufous-on-Rufous action to be seen, but we saw Rufous on Black-Chinned, Black-Chinned on Broad-Tailed, etc.

And so passed a pretty stupid but highly agreeable few days at Camp Sherrod, background bickering between MODPD and TB over who was going to saw down the big dead tree right next to the fire pit notwithstanding. The debate there was so heated, so loaded with contumely and neologisms and just plain surreality, that I didn't even miss my coffee group!

Especially since the "cowboy" coffee, made over the course of hours in a sturdy iron pot shoved right down in the coals of the campfire, is the best coffee in the world.

We're all counting the hours until we can go back. Probably on Monday.

About the same time most of you are getting ready for work.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


I just came back from a quick visit to the Saratoga Town Hall, where I had a gander at the polling sheets I placed there on Monday. Opinion expressed thereon is, so far, divided, as I expected, with one exception.

So far everyone who has bothered to register a preference has said "yes" to the proposal to ban deer feeding in Saratoga.

Of course, not a one of the known deer feeders has bothered to squeak out anything yet, with the exception of the Troll (not his real name, but a self-proclaimed one, i.e. I did not bestow this name), who muttered his displeasure to me in a bar one night.

Sorry, but that doesn't count.

So anyway, folks, now's your chance. If you enjoy feeding deer or know someone who does, git your hineys down to town hall and tell us so.

I figure we'll leave those out until the first town council meeting in August, and maybe put a discussion of what to do on that meeting's agenda, if the mayor agrees to do so.

But guys, I really don't want this to be another junk car ordinance-style debacle, where the people who don't like this idea keep silent until it's too late or almost too late and then raise an unholy ruckus. That's why I bothered with the meeting and the poll sheets.

But if you deer feeders can't be bothered to stand up for yourselves this month, don't even try coming to me for sympathy if your little pastime is rendered illegal.

But god, I hope it doesn't come to that. I'm trying to imagine how a ban like that would be enforced without creating a whole new slew of civil liberties issues, like yard inspection. Ugh!

The ball, though, is in your court at the moment, fellow Togies.

Sunday, July 06, 2003


Dateline Saratoga, 4 p.m., July 4. The telephone rang, still a surprising sound in the Unabomber Cabin, one that sends the Collie of Folly into the closet.

On the other line was none other than Erin-Go-Braless, a.k.a. the Punk Martha Stewart, who "just wanted me to know she was thinking of me on the holiday" and was I doing the usual that evening? The usual being, of course, drinking on the porch of the Whistle Pig with my family and watching Old Baldy Club's fireworks display. I grunted some kind of affirmative and rang off, being late for dinner at Fort Sherrod.

A few hours later, My Own Dear Personal Mom, Dad, and Sister and I are on said porch, watching said fireworks, and lo and behold, EGB/PMS doth turn up on same!

She's only here for a few days.

Blogging may be sporadic.

Longtime readers will understand what a hilarious, fun, disruptive influence EGB truly is. Apologies in advance.

On the plus side, those of you who occasionally encounter Your Humble Blogger in the flesh may note an aesthetic improvement, because the Kate's Landing Plein Aire Hair Salon will of course be open for business later this evening.

OK, I guess it's summer now.

Friday, July 04, 2003


I don't know how people in places that are actually hot deal with it.

I'm now gratefully sitting right in front of the air conditioner in the Unabomber Cabin and I feel like one of those collapsible containers for campers after all of the water is gone. I sag in my chair, my eyes half-closed, and it's taking a real effort of will to type this.

It's already been quite a Fourth of July and it's only 2:30 p.m.

But I really need a nap before I can even contemplate constructing a narrative of same.

For now...

Rode in 1958 black Buick with mayor and two mayoral nieces (aged seven) and one mayoral nephew (aged eight) who seemed to be trying out for a Three Stooges revival (who knew clocking oneself in the head repeatedly with one's own fist or a tootsie roll could be so hilarious?). Threw candy, waved, got one arm sunburnt.

Watched shoot-out play in the street, grateful not to be in period dress this year. Joked with former teachers and long-lost friends about how I tried not to read too much into the fact that when I'm in this show, my character is always the first to die and I am thus on the hot asphalt "playing dead" for 20 minutes or more.

Rode bike the long way up the hill to my parents' house. Sat on deck. Spilled diet coke on myself. It felt good. Almost as good as when a neighborhood munchkin tagged me with a super soaker.

Winced at sunburn.

Rode bike back to Kate's Landing. Temporarily converted same into rugged, all-terrain croquet lawn for slow, tortuous game of Extreme Croquet with My Own Dear Personal Mom and My Own Dear Personal Sister. My Own Dear Personal Dad napped in a lawn chair. Molly the Collie of Folly swam in the river, rolled in the grass, swam some more, rolled some more. I got an ass-whoopin' in croquet match. Should have made them play "cocktail croquet."

They're all napping now.

My turn.

Fireworks to be watched, people to be greeted, beer to be consumed in a few hours.

Before that, must eat dead cow with parents.

Very rough being me.

But I really do think it's horribly, horribly hot today.