Oct 28, 2008

The Great Worm Skedaddle – 10 Years Later

As with many natural and man-made disasters, it is only possible to gauge the full impact of the life-changing event with the benefit of time and a small measure of hindsight. As Lamont weighs the costs and, ironically, the benefits of one of the most memorable events to rock the Town since the Mount St. Helen’s volcano eruption - this stark reality comes into focus as we all ponder our precarious positions in regard to our relationships with our planet, our town and, indeed, with the animal kingdom itself. One decade ago, a Lamont councilman started a bait worm business in town and neglected (either thru malice, ignorance or a blatant disregard for the safety of others) to put bottoms on the worm pens and 1000’s of the shifty, snake-like critters made a mad dash for freedom and slithered unchecked into every corner of the town where they could sneak around, multiply and devour whatever it is that worms actually eat.

“Well, when the little rascals first made a run for it – my first emotions were anger and embarrassment at the loss of my investment – and my dream of becoming the “Worm King of the Palouse” was dashed on the rocks of life’s cruel sense of humor.” said the saddened yet wiser Councilman. “But then I realized what had happened – and all I could think was ‘Oh my goodness – WHAT HAVE I DONE? WHAT HELL HAVE I UNLEASHED ON THIS POOR TOWN??” he bellowed, still bearing the guilt a full decade later. “All I really wanted was to make a few dollars and get inside fishing info from the regional fisherman – but instead I unleashed an unseen horror on my unknowing neighbors. Oh, why did it have to be me?” he bellowed. “Why didn’t I buy another piece of plywood when I was at the lumber store? Oh, why did I have to be such a cheapskate?”

“Well, I have only lived here for 4 years, so I managed to miss a large portion of the actual and emotional trauma of the disaster, but from the moment I moved in you could sense an underlying feeling of fear and foreboding.” said a new and still somewhat sane resident. “People would never look you in the eye and they were always scanning the dirt around their shoes and mumbling some gibberish or incantations like they half expected some horrible monster to burst from the earth and drag them into some subterranean tunnel network where paybacks for centuries of fishing could be exacted inside some worm inspired torture chamber. But then I noticed the large number of obese birds in Town – and how easy it was to till my garden each spring – and I realized the glass could indeed be half full.” he said optimistically although still largely in denial of the real yet highly improbable nightmare scenarios posed by the subterranean trouble-makers.

Flashback: Lamont Leaders Plead For Calm As Unprecedented Hootenanny Spree Paralyzes Town

Council member and reputed banjo player Dave "Smokey Joe" (last name deleted to avoid litigation) was named a definate “person of interest" by the Lamont Mayor in the investigation of a series of apparently random and utterly irresistable hootenannies that nearly brought the entire town of Lamont to a virtual standstill over the last several weeks.

“I was on Highway 23 on my way to Kathy’s Grocery when I heard a high, woeful voice bellow 'Yeee Haaa!!!!'" said Martin Grassman, 57, a Whitman County rancher, who has lost numerous man-hours to Dave’s random acts of good-time finger pickin'. "When he started that old banjo to singing, my feet just started tapping. As I felt a yodel rise in my throat, all I could think was, not again, I have cows to feed." said Grassman. “Oh please, not again. I ain’t been home in a week.”

"These confounded hootenannies must stop," said the Mayor. "They're fine every once in a blue moon, like when the town gets a new road grant or that darn Council finally gives me a raise. But these washboard-totin’, straw-hat-wearin’ mobs causing a ruckus in the middle of the week is unbecomin' of Lamont and we won't stand for those darn fool shenanigans. More than half of ‘em ain’t even from Lamont!!! Doctors, lawyers, engineers, you name it. They just seem to materialize from every direction. It’s just plain creepy, if you ask me.”

"We think Dave fits the classic profile of a hootenanny mastermind and has the skills to pull off something even more outrageous," said the red-faced Mayor. "Shindigs, wingdings, hoedowns - we're sure he's capable of those outrages, too.” Dave, 49, is known across the Palouse for his pleasant personality, his down-home, rip-saw banjo style and his unbelievably slow driving - and he matches a description given by hundreds of straw-chewin’ eyewitnesses who were mesmerized by the twangy sound of banjo solos, washboard scrapings and the woeful whistles of discarded jugs of home-made corn whiskey. The Council is encouraging citizens to call the emergency “Hootenanny Hotline” before trouble begins anew. “We need to nip this in the bud before it turns into a full blown “pig-poke”, said the embattled Mayor. “Hootenannies are like wolves, once you grab them by the ears, you don’t dare let them go.”, he said. “That dad-burn Dave. Where did he go wrong? Ohhhh, where did he go wrong?”, muttered the Mayor.

Oct 20, 2008

Local Artist Brings Class, Culture, Sophistication To Recent Lamont BBQ

Using a variety of condiments, traditional BBQ utensils and even the food itself, a local artist and self-ordained “Picasso of the Palouse” unleashed her considerable creative talents on a dazed, bedazzled and eventually mutinous crowd at a BBQ held in Lamont last Saturday. “Well, in this beauty starved world, it only seemed logical to bring beauty to the starving, surly mob that was waiting for their burgers to finish cooking” said the artist. “Finding beauty in everyday things is what makes life tolerable, if you think about it. Sure, people got a little upset when they had to wait an additional 5-10 minutes as I created an individual masterpiece with every hamburger that came off the grill – given that art cannot be rushed and people like their food at least a little warm. In the end, however, I think the beauty that was added far outweighed the frantic wailing of hungry kids and the semi-delirium and catatonia of the suffering diabetics in the crowd” said the paramour of paint. “Nothing in this life is free, and suffering a little inconvenience for a more beautiful world seems like a small sacrifice indeed. How was I to know that mayonnaise goes bad if left in the sun for any amount of time” she said defensively. “I never eat the stuff – it goes right to my hips.”

Oct 15, 2008

Lamont Experiences Slump In “Verve” After Century West Engineering Wraps Up Road Project

Lamont, a bustling yet misunderstood town on the edge of the Palouse, has been rocked by a drastic decrease in an intangible variable universally recognized as being essential to any community that derives a large portion of its self-identity from working with or around cows and those unfortunate cow by-products. “Well, we never realized it until they showed up and began improving the place, but things can be a little dull and listless around here. Living in Lamont without that refreshing vitality that Century West brings to the table like so many nickels and dimes in a rich man’s trousers is like driving with no radio from here to Florida at 40 miles an hour with your embittered mother-in-law who always wanted her daughter to marry a doctor or a vegetarian or at least someone who doesn't cut their own hair. How much self-analysis and 'naval gazing' can one town do, for Pete’s sake?” pleaded the Mayor. “Needless to say, whenever the president of Century West shows up in our humble burg, it is like beaming the Batman signal on the clouds of our natural lethargy. And when other Century West employees like Bryan or David come visiting, the rejuvenating “spark” transferred to the beleaguered nervous system of Lamont is marginally less intense, although still vital and sustaining. But even the indirect effect of briefly talking on the phone to those smart, savvy, insightful, clever, solution-oriented, iconic, uber-professional phone goddesses like Erika is enough to give us hope and grit to keep slogging on” said the Mayor. “Oh, when will we get another grant so that we can once again bask in the efficiency of Century West as they work to revitalize our long neglected Town infrastructure?” he muttered despairingly while digging his toe in the newly budding and surprisingly healthy hydro-seed recently applied to the roadsides of Lamont by the ever-attentive Century West Engineers.

Lamont Movie Night Proves To Be Another Huge Success

Although only 40% of the viewing audience actually burst into tears at some point during a touching movie that had something to do with a horse; Lamont insiders still chocked up the night in the ‘huge success’ category given the large crowd, enthusiastic hotdog/popcorn consumption and the general fun had by all. In spite of the abnormally low “Tear-Jerk-O-Meter” ratings that the town leaders normally use to judge success and failure in any number of town-related events, another movie will be held on the second Saturday of next month (Nov 8th at 6:30 PM). “Well, with over 70 people attending, there is obviously a desire for this sort of thing – even though the movie failed to reduce over half the audience to blubbering, sobbing piles of human debris” said a local movie critic and sappy-movie fan. Ruth Simpson, who organizes these events with a huge amount of help from people all over the area, will be in charge of picking the next movie and has promised to tighten up on the gratuitous emotionalism that was so sorely lacking (according to some) in this last entertainment extravaganza. (And don’t forget the potluck on Nov 9th at 1:00 PM)

Local Rancher Wins Prestigious "Nobul Peace Prize" For Outreach To Embattled Coyote Community

In a move that has liberal, hand-wringing, bed-wetting peace activists like Al Gore scratching their heads in wonderment, the august and esteemed “Nobul Peace Prize Committee” shined a much-needed light into the lives and work of Palouse cattle ranchers by bestowing this over-hyped global prize designed to foster world peace and harmony on Festus Martin; 51, a local rancher and self described “free thinker” and “coyote rights activist”.

“Well, I was out in the barn working on that doohickey thing that keeps breaking on my tractor when all of a sudden a bunch of European types come traipsing up in fancy suits and dainty church shoes and tried to shove some shiny medal in my hand with some bearded guy on it while avoiding the little piles left by my cows after that mini-stampede the other day. I could not understand half of what them fellers said, given their funny accents and all that hand waving and shoe scraping – not to mention the fact that my dog Blue ain’t never bit some fancy-pants European before – and may never get another chance again, poor dog!!! It was quite lively there for a few minutes.” said the appreciative yet humbled cattle rancher. “Once I figured out that they were not a bunch of communists come out to collectivize my farm or make me wear funny clothes like berets or stove-pipe pants, tensions eased back a bit” said Martin. “Although they would not assist me in dipping those new cows from Ewan or help move that hay into the barn, they were all-right fellas - even if they come from one of those Satan-loving 'social democracies' where being a 'commie' is not even a crime!! Plus, that medal is just about the right thickness so that I can even up that leg on the kitchen table so the wife quits nagging me about it every time I try to eat, for Pete’s sake” said the far-sighted and resourceful rancher. (parody)

Oct 10, 2008

Local Man Learns Important Life Lesson After Inadvertently Petting Neighbor Cat’s Stomach

In a life changing lesson that highlights the importance of paying attention, respecting the boundaries of others and avoiding inter-species miscommunication, a local man was lucky to escape far more serious injury after his hand accidentally veered several times to the belly region of his friend’s cat while relaxing on the couch, late Tuesday. “Well, it was that sudden transition from warm, soft fur to outrageous, searing pain that really caught my attention and made me realize I had crossed some unmarked boundary in man/cat relations” said the dazed and remorseful man. “One moment I was mindlessly petting the little critter and trying to come up with another 6 letter word for “peanut” in the local crossword when all of a sudden it felt like a hammerhead shark was breaking a month-long fast and my arm was the only thing on the menu. It was in that rare moment of clarity that only intense, mind-numbing pain can bring that I realized the answer to the crossword question was “goober” – but I was too busy screaming like a school girl and trying to shake that irate, persistent bundle of fangs and claws from my arm to do more than just scribble the letters “G” and “O” before sprinting to the kitchen for safety. It was all so sudden and confusing” said the chastened yet wiser man. “In the future I need to remember my natural limitations and only focus on one thing at a time. Life is just simpler that way.” he said.

Oct 4, 2008

What An Honor! Thank You Naval Honor Guard!!

For those of you who attended the recent Lamont Official Flag Raising Ceremony in the park, words will provide a shallow representation of the real impact of that ceremony and cannot help but fail to capture the impressive nature of the young men and women who represented our Armed Forces on that important occasion. Lamont would like to thank Joseph Nechanicky, CS1, Naval Honor Guard Coordinator and his team as well as all of the very impressive “Sea Cadets” who were a key part of the whole extravaganza and who were all, as was said by more than one grandmother “so darn cute”. Although Lamont prefers to recognize their military attributes and impressive bearing and precision - grandmotherly views matter too! That is yet another reason to be thankful we live in the good old USA!!! Lamont would also like to thank Michele Beckmann and he husband (who are the proud parents to two of the Sea Cadets) for providing the pictures and for raising such fine kids! All members of the Military Honor Guard Ceremony are encouraged to come back to Lamont on October 12th (1:00 PM - Comm Center) for the next Town Potluck where we can meet them again in less formal circumstances and all of our grandmothers can have another chance at making an outrageous fuss over them!

Oct 2, 2008

Lamont Time Capsule - Area Sheep Farmer Goes On Shearing Rampage

Twelve sheep, two cats and an Idaho family just asking for directions were unceremoniously sheared late Monday when Palouse sheep farmer Wilber Smith, 41, wanted to try out his new cordless shearers to see if they were as good as the ones with the cord. "It was horrible. What a beast! Hair was flying everywhere." said a local postal employee who witnessed the frightening shearing spree while making her rounds. "Well, let’s just say it gives new meaning to the expression ‘seeing the fur fly." she said. “And those poor Idaho people. They all thought it was funny when a brother or sister was having their hair shorn, but when it was their turn it stopped being so funny.” she said.

Before deputies could arrive to bring matters in hand, however, the unfortunate spree ended abruptly when Smith turned the shears on himself. The sheep farmer then proceeded to paint the stunned victims with a 4 digit number in bright neon paint for easy visual ID when they are returned to the flock, herd, pack, gaggle, pod or whatever grouping it is those dang Idahoans belong to. Smith was later quoted as saying “Cordless is cool. It really allows the freedom of motion that a man like me needs - especially if one of them critters makes a run for it”.