Dec 31, 2009

Mayor's Economic Development Plan 'Shot Down In Flames' By Cantankerous And Dismissive Lamont Town Council

In what amounts to a cold, gloved slap on both turned cheeks (and a swift, booted kick to the other two!), the Lamont Town Council less-than politely said "No Thank Ye" when the Mayor presented his quite elaborate plan to revitalize Lamont's economy during these challenging financial times. The Mayor's plan, long in the works and chocked full of marketing gimmicks and "bells and whistles", took months to develop and its less than subtle rejection represents a major setback for the only guy dumb enough to run for Mayor in the 2nd smallest Town in the State.

"Well, I cannot and do not speak for the whole Council, and no one is more sensitive to the economic well-being of our beloved Town than I am, but I just don't see how turning the Town of Lamont into an actual leper colony can really help us long-term" said an unnamed Councilperson. "I mean, at some point this recession will be over and we are struggling to keep our population up as it is. It just doesn't make sense to put forth all that effort to bring in citizens with - well - you know - a potentially less than normal lifespan. Sure, some might feel that encouraging any group with a frighteningly contagious disease is a less-than solid idea, I just don't happen to share those same concerns, however. One never knows what modern medicine or a few good rabbis can accomplish these days, but I just so happen to feel that if we are going to make Lamont a tourist destination for some hideous disease or horrific plague or whatever, it just makes more sense to work in a more "tropical theme" - you know - maybe Beriberi or Amazonian Spotted Fever or one of those new strains of malaria or whatever - you know - a life crippling and sociologically devastating disease from someplace warm and festive to counteract Lamont's reputation for being a nightmarishly frigid winter hell for 5+ months of the year. If the Vikings could name that frozen chunk of waste ice between North America and Iceland "Greenland" and have people actually move there, then surely Lamont should be able to capitalize on a tropical theme for our humble quarantine colony, too!" he said sagely. "I mean, come on! The Vikings were mere barbarians - so if they could pull it off, certainly we should be able to, too! And there are just so many fun tropical diseases to choose from that require confinement in a restrictive colony setting. I just can't help but feel that leprosy is just not a very imaginative scourge - given the challenges we face economically" he concluded. "We could do better!"

"Well, that is representative democracy at work, I guess" said the downtrodden and emotionally devastated Mayor. "Being so small and not on a major highway and having basically no business infrastructure whatsoever puts Lamont at somewhat of a disadvantage to those bigger, disease-friendly towns - thus forcing me and my crack economic team (Bubba Bodine and Skeeter Snopes, for Pete's sake!) to "think outside the box". Although this very workable plan was rather-too-quickly slid onto the bottom of the Town's proverbial birdcage, if you will, we are already working on our 'Plan B' - a half-way house for the criminally insane! They have to be housed somewhere, don't they - and as my pappy used to say, 'No one ever went broke giving people a place to live!' But in order to get it past that doggone council, I am just wondering if the tropics and the equatorial region have a surplus of homicidal maniacs and crazed sociopaths on work release so we could get our economic boost while the council gets that whole 'tropical theme thing'. This is when small town negotiations can get a little Machiavellian. But we need to do something, don't we? If we don't, we could very easily become the 'SMALLEST' doggone town in the State - and no one wants that!" he shuddered. "Sitting on one's hands never got anything done either, now did it?!" he said annoyingly.

(Editorial Note: This article highlights the challenges faced by small towns that have limited resources to stimulate growth during hard economic times and any reference to unfortunate yet very real human diseases was purely for dramatic effect to show how limited those town-centered options really are and should not be taken in any other way. Our prayers go out to all individuals afflicted with tragic conditions outside of their control - and prayer seems to be the only logical choice now for this troubled, wayward world!)

Dec 30, 2009

Woefully Ignorant/Unenlightened Local Husband Fails To See Sparkling Clarity/Profound Wisdom Of Wife's Latest Hair-Brained Scheme

In a continuation of an age-old battle that has raged across this planet since that whole unfortunate "Apple Incident" in the Garden of Eden all those years ago, a local couple, Jethro and Mabel Bodine, both aged 62, have reached a conversational and relationship impasse after Jethro failed to grasp the obvious merits of mortgaging their ranch and investing those funds to create a chinchilla farm for fun and profit. "Well, I love my wife, but sometimes she just ain't right in the head!" said Jethro while taking aspirin with his coffee to help blunt the back pain caused by sleeping on the couch for the last week. "First off, no one with a lick of sense even knows what a chinchilla is - I mean is it like a mink or a ferret or what? Second, I know my wife, and there is no way she would ever agree to turn the unfortunate critters into coats or scarves or whatever once we got them here and poured our hard earned money into feeding the ungrateful wretches. So, we would end up with the world's most expensive petting zoo - and if my instincts are right, them chinchillas, in spite of that sweet sounding name, ain't the type of animal that wants a bunch of ill-mannered kids running up to them and rubbing chocolate encrusted fingers all over their fir or whatever. I just don't understand why she can't sell Amway!! It always has to be something with her. Chinchillas? (or to use their common, far more easily recognized Latin designation, 'Chinchilla Lanigera'!) I mean, come on! They don't even sound American!" he fumed.

"Well, let's just say that my husband has never been the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree!" said the determined and obviously resourceful Mabel from behind her locked bedroom door. "Men are all the same! Their brains are wired in such a way that they have to see everything as linear and logical and all of that. The sad part is, they miss such a huge part of the 'human experience' by not embracing outrageous emotionalism and by not partaking in ill-conceived whims of fancy that provide so much satisfaction in this otherwise drab and unsatisfying world" she said stoically. "Why does everything have to make sense? Why does every cause have to have a corresponding effect? What is wrong with rolling the 'Dice of Life' just for the heck of it, and letting the chips fall where they may? (Danger - cliche overload!) Does everything have to be so doggone predictable? I mean, I love him and all, but he tends to run to the unexciting and mundane, sometimes. I just wish he would let his hair down from time to time!" (Editorial Note: Oh, that was a low blow. As everyone knows, Jethro could be considered the 'poster boy' for 'patterned baldness' and is highly sensitive about his ever-expanding forehead! We at the Lamont Blog do not support gratuitous slams of any kind, especially those focused on middle-age related male hair loss!)

Sadly, this family conflict seems to have mushroomed across the Palouse and has galvanized all of the Bodine friends and acquaintances along starkly defined gender lines - with the respective husbands and wives drawing quite unnecessary 'lines in the sand' as the 'battle of the sexes' takes on even more ominous proportions in the 2nd smallest town in the State and beyond! For their part, the chinchillas, in order to bring peace and harmony to a potentially explosive situation, are offering a much-needed 'middle path' and are lobbying to be returned to the wild mountain recesses of the Andes of South America where they can nibble on seeds, roots, bark, bulbs and grasses (with the occasional insect thrown in!) and mind their own business and let those doggone humans pick some other animal to pester each other with.

Dec 28, 2009

Lamont Still Without Any Real Suspects After Spree of 'Dastardly Deeds' Grips State's 2nd Smallest Town

Although not unprecedented by any stretch, the entire Town of Lamont was thrown into confusion and befuddlement after an amazingly outlandish series of 'deeds most foul' were committed right under the very noses of a citizenry not renowned for minding their own business - at least as it pertains to the 'goings-on' with their neighbors. "Well, I don't know what the heck is going on!" (oh, like that is big news!) said the stunned and confused Mayor with mouth hanging agape! "That is the third damsel this week that we have found tied up and laid across the dadburn railroad tracks, for Pete's sake! And what about that big anvil that was poised right on the edge of that lonely mesa we have - just waiting to drop on someone's unsuspecting head? Or that 'Free Gold' sign with a big arrow pointing to that old, abandoned, highly dangerous mine with the rotten floor just outside the Town limits" (sadly, that goldmine ruse turned out to be shockingly effective! Well, the anvil one was very successful too! Dang it all! When will this madness stop?) mumbled the Mayor while giving everyone in the room the condemning eye of assumed guilt. "I mean, there are only 100 people in this town on a good day and, unfortunately, we are familiar with pretty much all of them - so we feel fairly certain that it has to be an outside job - otherwise we would surely have at least a suspect or two. I mean our criminals just ain't that smart - and we are obviously dealing with some sort of criminal mastermind or evil genius or whatever here! We are in a whole new ballpark with this one! I remember that time (back in the good old days when life was simpler!) when one of our under achieving and criminally-inclined citizens broke into the fire station (after planning it with his mother!) and made his heroic 'get-away' on the doggone town lawn mower! Sadly, all we had was a push mower at the time - and it wasn't even self-propelled! That just ain't too bright! But as it stands now, none of the 'usual suspects' seems to fit the 'criminal mastermind' profile - whatever the heck that is!" he said with that all too familiar look of profound bafflement and perplexity.

"But then again, the stupid railroad pulled out of Lamont back in the late 1970's (which caused the economic downturn and thus allowed the none-too-smart criminals (in bell bottoms and leisure suits!) to come pouring into Lamont like thirsty locusts to a melon patch!) so that does add credence to the idea that it was not an inside job - I mean, you would think that people from around here would know that sort of thing and would not leave a tied up damsel in distress completely out of harm's way on railroad tracks not used since Jimmy Carter darn near ruined this great nation with his pro-peanut agenda, wouldn't you? I ain't so sure, now that I think about it! Oh, what a mystery stalks the very foundation of our already battered and bruised collective souls!" he said with a level of melodrama and overacting not seen since the last Tom Cruise movie! "At this point, we can take nothing for granted! And by definition, if you are going to tie someone up, don't you have to be able to make a knot? And like I said, our criminals just ain't that sophisticated, thank goodness! I remember just last year that Snopes kid got caught siphoning gasoline out of his OWN car, for Pete's sake - and then pleaded guilty and threw himself on the mercy of the court, too!! But the doggone Town of Lamont was sure enough lacking in damsels in the first place and if they all get kidnapped and laid across non-functioning railroad tracks or people have anvils falling on their heads or they get tricked into some old, abandoned gold mine or whatever, pretty soon we WILL be the smallest town in the State! (Gasp!) And that is one thing that I just cannot stand for. No sir!" said the peeved public servant. "A man has to draw the line somewhere, and losing our hard won # 2 status in this State is just a bridge too far for me. You mess with that and you're gonna see a man get mean!" he fumed insanely! "I bet if that doggone Long Beach has any criminals (which is highly doubtful at this point, given their 'squeaky-clean', smarty-pants, too-good-by-half, oh-so civilized, tourist-friendly reputation!) - you can rest assured they ain't the dumb ones! Darn their eyes! Can't we be better than them at just one thing?" he sobbed! "But I can't worry about that now. We have a criminal mastermind on the loose and our list of damsels is getting mighty thin! I got to go catch me a scoundrel of no mean intelligence!" he said while wandering off aimlessly with no seeming pattern or direction whatsoever!

Dec 23, 2009

Amazing Anthropological Discovery: Ancient Lamont Town Building Was Indeed Supplied With Running Water, After All!

In a staggering discovery of profound historical and cultural import (but with surprisingly few real world ramifications), the official Town archeologists, after sifting thru the shockingly abundant accumulated strata of the ages, discovered that the Lamont Town Building, contrary to well-established legend and popular myth/lore, does indeed have a lone water spigot under the roof of the existing building that is being used by the Whitman County Fire District # 5. The recently discovered water source, nestled in a corner of what is believed to have once been 'the ambulance bay' and camouflaged inside some old water-tank-looking-thing or whatever, (and buried under numerous haphazardly strewn, as-yet-to-be-identified 'artifacts'!) did indeed, in spite of its antiquity, flow forth with the life enhancing liquid when what appears to be some primitive knob was turned in the proper direction. (yes, even primitive cultures used that whole 'clockwise - counter-clockwise' thing!) "Well, I'll be derned!" said the amazed Mayor upon witnessing the water-fountain-like demonstration from a bygone era. "I have been the Mayor for almost 4 years (thus bringing his sanity and judgment into question in a most profound way!) and ever since I was sworn in I have been told repeatedly by multiple 'town people in the know' that the building always lacked that essential life-giving element that covers over 60% of the planet. (Water is in fact 'a compound' and not 'an element', but basic scientific knowledge was never a prerequisite for the Mayor's position, or so it would seem!) I did find this more than a tad ironic given that the Fire District itself rents that space from us and they, by definition, need to use water; but this is Lamont so those sort of things are to be expected, I guess" he said. "It was only natural to assume that since the ancient building was not built with a bathroom (although rudimentary plumbing was rumored to exist at the time!) that our underachieving and less-than-far-sighted and/or technology challenged 'founding fathers' or 'town builders' or whoever they were failed to put in basic water infrastructure, too. Well, that assumption appears to be wrong; very, very wrong, (this does indeed change the very nature of our assumptions about the largely misunderstood civilization that formed the teetering foundation of the "Modern Lamont!) and I am afraid that all of those textbooks about prehistoric Lamont will now have to be rewritten based on this startling new discovery" he said gravely. "I just have to wonder about what other primary assumptions we have been incorrect on! Oh, it is just so easy to underestimate those shockingly primitive civilizations that came before us! How do we know for certain that an actual ancient bathroom does not in fact exist - maybe tucked behind one of those huge piles of 'bronze age' fire truck tires that seem to be randomly strewn about the place for whatever reason?" (ancient context-specific rituals are indeed often unfathomable, especially in archaic fire worshiping/fighting cultures!) he mused. "Although having a lone spigot in the fire station is in fact a good thing, I guess, I just can't seem to shake the feeling that even more startling discoveries regarding our distant, murky (don't forget disturbing!) past are just right around the corner if we dig deep enough in there. Finding a primitive bathroom would rank right up there with finding King Tut's tomb or the opening of Al Capone's vault or whatever. That would really put Lamont on the map in archeological circles once and for all!" he concluded wearily while inadvertently dislodging an old, rusty (and potentially significant!) sardine can with the toe of his surprisingly scuffed-up and obviously inexpensive/poorly-made shoe.

Dec 18, 2009

Mountain-Less Lamont's Name Considerably Less Accurate Than Highly-Descriptive Long Beach, WA

As if things could get any worse in the self-imposed nightmare that is Lamont's irrational competition with the surprisingly humble city of Long Beach, WA; one of the best managed and most beautifully located small communities in the State; the Town of Lamont was rocked back on their heels when some enterprising know-it-all (foreign language nerd!) pointed out the meaning of 'Lamont' in that highly suspect and 'commie-loving' language, French, (does anyone still speak that vanquished tongue?) while the City of Long Beach not only uses good old English but the town name they chose also perfectly describes their geographic peculiarities. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me!" stammered the language-challenged Mayor after looking in an English/French dictionary to be certain that no one was pulling his dadburn leg. "What were our Town Fathers thinking? We are dozens of miles from what might be even remotely called 'a mountain' - and those gently sloping dirt piles that border the Town certainly don't qualify as any self-respecting mountain anyone ever heard tale of! Oh, is every aspect of our historic existence somehow laced with fraud, falsehood and deception? Oh, I just hope that that doggone City of Long Beach doesn't hear about this! Of course that goodie-two-shoes civil incorporation does indeed sport the longest beach in the whole doggone world - darn their eyes! At least Lamont could have a Mount McKinley or maybe even a 'K-2' if they are going to go naming the whole dern town after a thing. Is nothing as it seems to be in the 2nd smallest Town in the State? What other base assumptions, taken for granted for 100 years, will come crashing down around our ears when we least expect it? Sure, naming any town "Gently Sloping Dirt Mound' is not very graceful and does not tend to roll off the tongue, but at least there is a whiff of honesty in that name. And why did they have to pick an attribute so easily disproved like the presence or absence of some huge geological (and thus geographical) manifestation made from solid rock that people can see at a glance from any number of miles away?" he sniveled. "At least when people go to visit that doggone Long Beach, they can look around and say 'Yep, that is a really, really long beach, now let's go get some fresh seafood at a really quaint restaurant' - but when they come to Lamont looking for alpine skiing, exhilarating hang gliding or that totally irrational mountain climbing, all they can do is just wander away feeling cheated and somehow abused and we don't even have a public restroom for their convenience! All I can say is 'darn their eyes' to both our verbally challenged (or down right shifty!) founding fathers and that overly precise, smarty-pants, too-good-by-half (yet appropriately named!) City of Long Beach! Maybe our picking a fight with them was not such a good idea, after all! What the heck was I thinking?" he mumbled while dispiritedly shuffling back to the Town Hall that doesn't even have a bathroom.

(Editorial Note: Any rumors to the effect that Lamont was actually named after the son from the hit TV show "Sanford and Son" are purely speculative and without any known historical merit and/or foundation - given that Lamont was incorporated in 1910 and one of the greatest, most hilarious (yet socially instructive!) TV shows of all time came any number of decades later. This supposed TV-related naming rationale is preferable, however, to the shockingly mind-boggling reality of naming a new town after a mountain that does not in fact exist!)

Dec 17, 2009

Local Rancher Scientists/Researchers Discover New Chemical Element - Cowpattium

In a long overdue addition to the annoyingly complicated 'Periodic Table' of chemical elements that form the foundation of the very universe itself, a crack team of local rancher scientists and researchers expanded the very fabric of the known world with their startling discovery of a new element long overlooked by more tradition-bound and 'ivory-towerish' researchers in those fancy research universities spread across the globe. "Well, of course we were as startled as anyone" said Flem Snopes, a local rancher and budding scientist and researcher. "That dern element has been sitting right under our noses this whole time!" he said without even a touch of irony. "I was out on the ranch tending to that doggone bull that somehow learned to jump the fence when I got my feet all tangled up in that dadburn rake that one of my no-good farm hands just left laying around and went face first right into a pile of the as-yet-undefined chemical element" he said. "Well, after brushing myself off and uttering a few less than flattering oaths related to the inherent qualities of farm hands in general, I decided to take the puzzling substance back to the 'lab' in my barn, call up all my rancher buddies and expose the mysterious mess to an exhausting scientific examination with a clinical rigor not seen in the Palouse since that whole 'marshmallow' investigation several decades back" said Snopes. "That is when I knew we had stumbled onto something not previously categorized by those smarty-pants know-it-alls with all them letters after their dern names. And the funny thing is, since our startling discovery, I can't hardly turn around without literally seeing piles of the stuff just laying around the ranch. Its everywhere! How could the whole scientific community have missed it for all those years?" he said. "It was right 'under foot' the whole dern time! Now, if we could just figure out how to harvest its inherent properties and put them to work for us, who knows what benefits it can add to mankind! My fellow ranchers and I are just now on the very cusp of exploring its potential as a new 'hair care' product and/or skin moisturizer/after shave - but we have to expand our basic understanding of and appreciation for its inherent characteristics first! And the only way to do that is to dive right in! But at least it has a distinctive aroma that we are used to (goodness knows their long-suffering wives are!). That sure is a bonus. And if that doggone Obama can win a Nobel Prize for doing almost nothing, surely I should win something for my contribution to the hard sciences. And if there is any reward money, I will have to take the little woman on that long-promised trip to Dollywood, I guess. At least that will get her off my dern back for a change! But I am drawing the line at her mother coming with us. A man can only take so much Cowpattium, for Pete's sake!"

Dec 16, 2009

Long Beach Versus Lamont - The Blood Feud Continues! You Decide:

As is so often the case, town rivalries can crop up and get out of hand even in peaceful, environmentally friendly, largely liberal states like the Great State of Washington. Oftentimes, small towns will pick out a bigger, more obviously gifted (geographically, managerially, demographically, etc!), tourist-friendly town to 'get even with' - like a 'little man' will pick out the biggest, most handsome guy in the bar to fight with in order to somehow 'right the scales of Justice' in a seemingly unfair and unfriendly world! Unfortunately, as in real life, more often than not, the little town gets its 'rear end' handed to them and they are expelled from the above referenced establishment with a big black eye and beer on their new shoes. But every so often the little scrapper can get in a lucky (or sneaky!) punch and can saunter off being the victor - only to wake up the next day and still be 5' 3" and 107 lbs soaking wet - but anyway!

In an effort at fairness (and to avoid potential conflict of any kind, given that we are shameless cowards!), the lowly Lamont Blog would like to spell out the various merits of the two (2) incorporated entities and let the obviously well-above average readers of this humble rag decide which of the two locations deserves the laurel wreath of victory in a competition that, on its very face, is just about as foolish and nonsensical as can be imagined (but not to Lamont where stubborn pride still reigns supreme, doggone it!) "Well, first off, we wish Lamont well and feel no need to compete with them at all. In Long Beach, we pride ourselves on that whole 'live and let live' concept. If Lamont wants to be better than Long Beach, that is fine by us - they can have it. There is room enough for both of us in this State. Let's move on as friends, shall we?" said an unnamed (and outrageously gracious!) Long Beach spokesperson with that calm assurance and natural dignity that is sure to send the Town of Lamont into a lathering rage not seen since the movie "Mommy Dearest"! "Oh, so they want to just give it to us, do they? The cheeky effrontery! The outrageous gall! What are they saying - that we can't win it on our own merits? Oh, this is war. WAR, I SAY!!" said the corresponding unnamed Lamont spokesperson from the Mayor's home phone. "Darn their eyes! They ain't giving us anything we can't win fair and square! Just because they have the beautiful ocean and eager tourists and an actual city-wide sewer system (versus septic!) and fancy restaurants and plush hotels and people want to come and visit them and the value of their average home is more than a good used car and they have more actual people than cows does not mean the judges won't choose Lamont!" he bellowed! (thank goodness there is no sobriety test before voting - that is Lamont's 'ace in the hole'!) "Let's let the doggone chips fall where they may!" concluded the Mayor/unnamed spokesperson, who foolishly yet indirectly referred to one of a number of unfortunate cow byproducts which might hurt the Town of Lamont in the eyes of the judges!

The Facts:
Long Beach is gracefully nestled on the largest ocean in the world (named Pacific or Peaceful!) while Lamont is wedged (some would say 'shoe-horned!) up against 'The Scablands' - a hellish wasteland of jagged rocks, alkaline ponds, quicksand bogs and blood-thirsty rattlesnakes.

Long Beach sports the 'Longest incorporated beach in the world' while Lamont has that guy with a ball of string that is almost as big as a basketball (it is very tightly wound, however!)

The Long Beach town logo has pretty kites and sea grass and Lamont's does not! (darn their eyes!)

Long Beach enjoys a year-round cornucopia of fresh seafood drawn right from the clear waters of the Pacific while Lamont is forced to resort to "Rocky Mountain Oysters' once a year - right around 'gelding time!' (okay, that one is not a plus!)

Long Beach has cool whale sightings and neat sea creatures that come washing up and occasionally those awesome Japanese glass floats will wash ashore while Lamont once had a crazed llama from an outlying farm run amok in town after it shamelessly chased the Mayor into a strategically located Porta-Potty! (thank goodness for road construction and Century West Engineering!) (Lingering Question: In a Porta-Potty, can anyone hear you scream?)

"Okay, okay!!! We give. We give, already!!!" whined the Lamont Mayor. "Darn their eyes, but I guess Long Beach is pretty darn cool, after all. Let's let bygones be bygones. No hard feelings, right?" he said while extending the supposed handshake of friendship while trying to get in close for a cheap kidney punch or something! (metaphorically speaking, of course!)

Dec 13, 2009

'Social Upstart' Town Of Lamont Embraces 'Latest' Modern Musical Phenomenon

In a bolstering testimony to the argument that social sophistication has no direct relation to population size (or lack thereof!), Lamont, WA, the 2nd smallest Town in the state, stunned the so-called 'cultural elite' by embracing a musical genre deemed to be 'way out of their league' by the fussy, snooty, supposedly refined people that decide those sort of things. Lamont, forever on the cutting edge of the American cultural roller-coaster, took only weeks to throw its full support behind and to fully embrace a way of life known simply as 'Polka'. "Well, when I learned about Lamont's rapid adoption of anything new - let alone a whole new type of music, needless to say, you could have knocked me over with a feather" said Her Ladyship Erma Louise Leadbottom, an area socialite, cultural gate-keeper, general busy-body and unrepentant pretentious snob of the first order. (yes, and she uses the word 'darling' all the time, too!) "Now, I could see Lamont embracing a primitive, hand-made drum or 'tom-tom' or maybe even some crude flute-like instrument made out of a reed or something (Lamont has plenty of those down by the mosquito swamp! See previous articles on Lamont's unique mosquito problem!) - but to have them embrace the richness and beauty of polka - and to do it so quickly does indeed tell me that maybe there is more to Lamont than meets the eye! That just gives me hope for other small towns as they attempt to make the jump to cultural excellence where me and all my friends have dwelt so smugly for years. Its nice to see that people can learn - and when they learn - they want to be more like the self-appointed sophisticated set - of which I am the Queen Bee" she said haughtily. "Sure, polka is just a first step - but it is an important one - and Lamont seems to have embraced it with genuine verve and gusto" she concluded while sipping tea with her pinky sticking out. (with chipped, pearl-colored nail polish hastily applied on the ragged, bitten nail!)

"Well, if ever a Town loved to 'boogie', it's the dadburn Town of Lamont!" said the still-gyrating Mayor while snapping his fingers completely out of rhythm with the music. "People think small towns like Lamont are behind the times socially and culturally, but just the very fact that we so eagerly adopted the latest global music/dance craze, Polka, in a timely fashion, should put this slanderous mischaracterization to rest once and for all!" he said proudly. "Sure, many of the local residents can directly trace their roots back to lowly peasant stock lost somewhere in the snowy wastes of Eastern Europe or Siberia or wherever, so maybe there is a genetic component to music appreciation after all, given that that is where this almost magical modern musical wonder originates from! Who knows! All I know is that I need to get back out there on the dance floor and 'bust another move'... That accordion just brings out the 'Patrick Swayze' in me!" said the lederhosen-clad public servant while shamelessly flexing his shockingly exposed calf muscles for the benefit of the skirt-clad, fluffy-sleeved, big-haired, brightly-colored (not to mention decidedly underwhelmed!) ladies in attendance. (only the unescorted ones, of course!)

(Editorial Note: Sadly, what the Mayor so casually calls "busting a move' is in fact an unsettling mixture of one part traditional ritualized polka dancing and one part indigenous "Rump Shaker" - a disturbing 'so called' dance move unique to the Palouse. Needless to say, this unsettling hybrid is not only disturbing on any number of levels but is also not sanctioned by either the National Polka Association (NPA) or the lowly Town of Lamont. Viewer discretion is advised!)

Dec 10, 2009

Enterprising Area Rancher To Shamelessly Offer Exciting New Line Of 'Holy Cow!' Beef Products

In a bold attempt to capture the very essence of the Judeo-Christian foundations of the now struggling American culture, an area rancher, Flem Snopes, 56, has 'bet the farm' on a new scheme to differentiate his herd from the rest of the cattle in the Palouse and hopefully, thru clever branding (the marketing kind - not the kind that uses a red hot iron!) get a few more cents per pound when his cattle go to market. "Well, it's the dadburnest thing! I got three bulls a few years back - all brothers, and I'll be a monkey's uncle if every one of the cotton-picking calves they produce don't have that cross-like mark on their dern foreheads!" said the enterprising yet somewhat superstitious Snopes. "When I first saw them things it kind of gave me the creeps, given my less than stellar church attendance for the last 50 odd years, but when 'Old Man Festoon' came by to try to sell me that 5 year old horse that is really 11 years old and saw them calves, he was so amazed and gob-smacked by the phenomenon that I thought to myself, 'hey, maybe I can make some money off of this thing!" said the innovative rancher not historically known for solid business sense. "So, I talked to my nephew - you know - the one in prison in Walla Walla - because he had a year or two of marketing classes in high school before going to 'The Big House' or 'The Slammer' or whatever they call it now-a-days, and for a carton of smokes I got him to write out a whole dern marketing plan for me! It's not like he doesn't have a lot of time on his hands, for Pete's sake - and idle hands are the devil's workshop - or so they say! If this thing works I'll be rich! Rich, I say! And then all them other ranchers won't be so quick to dismiss me when I see them on the street!" said the salivating Snopes while flagrantly breaking at least 3 of the 7 deadly sins! (being a family friendly blog, we dare not mention the other two!)

"Heck, if people will buy kosher salt, then sure enough they will buy my 'Holy Cow' beef products! (and associated 'Holy Handbags' leather goods line). How could I pass this up? I am just filling an already pre-existing religious need, ain't I? Won't people of faith feel obligated to buy my meat over just any old supposedly 'non-blessed' beef? I can advertise it as a religious duty - like Easter eggs and St. Valentine's Day cards for the wife!" said the borderline blasphemer. "Oh, what a heaven sent opportunity to line my own pockets based on misplaced religious obligation and guilt! And all for a good cause, too! Maybe I need to start going back to that cow church after all, just for appearances sake, if nothing else. I'd hate for anyone to say that I was a hypocrite or something" he managed to say without actually bursting into flames right on the spot!

(Special thanks goes to Erika for her investigative journalism on this somewhat troubling new 'get-rich-quick' scheme that, sadly, has more than an even chance of meeting with success!)

"Doggone 'Gift' Guppies Still 'Alive And Kicking' After 18 Months, For Pete's Sake!" Says Amazed Area Man

In a shocking display of unnatural longevity not seen since the early pages of the so-called Old Testament, an area man is still religiously feeding and caring for a pair of guppies that were given as a gift by those true paragons of the Palouse, the Art and Jill Swannack family of Lamont. (talk about a family success story on almost every imaginable level!) "Well, thru some strange set of circumstances too bizarre to outline here, I became the voice of the "Penguin Puppet" at the Vacation Bible School at the local church. So, after growing into the part (and after clumsily knocking down the puppet stage at one point and botching his quite simplistic lines over and over!) I guess those well-above average Swannack kids felt sorry for me and gave me a bag of guppies (6 in total!) - thus playing on that whole 'penguins eat fish' thing. It was all very cute!" stammered the now ferociously loyal fish owner.

"Well, not being well-versed in the inner workings of our aquatic finned friends, I really didn't know what to expect!" he said. "Sadly, a couple of the poor things made kamikaze-like leaps to the great beyond and I found them all dried up and shriveled on the floor close by. And at least one or two of the 'slow learners' liked to swim near the surface where my overly involved and obviously resourceful house cats like to keep a stern and constant vigil and became tasty snacks too soon forgotten by the ungrateful felines! But of the survivors (two at this point - both males!), some sort of primitive 'survival of the fittest' regime took over and they seem to be committed to the enterprise for the long haul. Heck, they are almost like a part of the family now, doggone it! The cats almost never drink out of their water bowl now, much preferring the somewhat malodorous and often quite murky 'fishbowl water', regardless of how often I change their water dish. I think they just like to 'act' like they are drinking in order to lull an unfortunate guppy into a false sense of security and routine so that one flashing paw can have even the remotest chance of snagging one of the largely self-possessed semi-tropical swimmers. Or maybe the cats just like stinky water - who knows!" he pondered. "But who would have thought that I would have grown so attached to the little critters? I just hope they can survive thru the winter. With it being so cold and all - and the ground being harder than concrete, the very thought of me having to drag myself out into the snowy wastes to dig them proper graves just seems a little taxing at this stage. But a man has to do what a man has to do, I guess. They are my loyal guppies, for Pete's sake! How can I turn my back on them now?" he concluded with the steadfast loyalty of a well-loved Golden Retriever.

Dec 9, 2009

Breaking News: Giant Squid Washes Up In Long Beach While Still Nothing Of Interest Happens In Lamont!

In yet another staggering blow to the already tattered and teetering self esteem of the 2nd smallest Town in the State, the Mayor was forced for the third time this month to lower the flag to half mast after he learned that a really cool aquatic sea-predator of enormous size washed up on the beach in the appropriately named "City of Long Beach, WA" like that was some sort of regular occurrence but during that same timeframe the only thing of interest that happened in Lamont was that Wilber Festoon opened a bottle of Pepsi and won $1.00 in some 'bottle cap' contest or another. "Darn their eyes! When will someone relieve me of that troublesome Long Beach!" bellowed the Mayor to no one in particular. "Talk about attention hogs! Isn't it enough that they live in a virtual paradise and people actually want to come and visit their town? What are they called? - tourists or something - heck, if we ever got a tourist I feel certain that the whole town would come boiling out just to give the unfortunate traveler one of those 'Stink Eyes' we reserve for 'foreign things that scare us!'". But no, Long Beach has to have really cool "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" creatures come 'a-callin', too! Oh, how can we ever compare to that?" he said while shaking his near-frost bitten fist at the sky.

Never one to be outdone, the Mayor immediately called the Town stalwart and friend "Century West Engineering" to begin emergency planning for a giant 'living' squid washing up in Lamont and shamelessly attacking the citizenry (proving once again that squid ain't all bad!!). "Well, I got that highly efficient Erika on the phone and tried to explain our imminent peril to her, but all she could say was that we were hundreds of miles from the ocean and our risk of a giant squid attack was negligible to the point of non-existence! Talk about naive!" he fumed. "Sure, being surrounded by cow pastures and wheat fields for miles around, by definition, shelters us somewhat from the ravages of mythical sea creatures hell-bent on our destruction, but if any town was to ever be attacked by some devil-inspired Leviathan or kraken or whatever, rest assured that it would be Lamont! Our town just seems to attract that sort of thing! But I could not get her to budge on the 'squid menace' although she did have some handy suggestions on a new 'emergency communication' system for the town. But how can we ever excel over Long Beach unless we are faced with the same scourges that they face? People would laugh at us if we were attacked by some huge cow or sheep that came washing up on some shore that we don't even have! So, once again, Long Beach out does us without even trying! 'Darn their eyes!' is all I have to say" said the Mayor before limping back inside in a vain attempt to ward off frostbite after spending almost 12 minutes out of doors.

Dec 8, 2009

Major Milestone: Town Holds First Council Meeting In 100 Years Without A Single 'Angry Moment'!

In what has the hardened and cynical Lamont insiders shaking their heads in awe and wonderment and for some bizarre reason that no sane person can figure out, the Town of Lamont was finally able to conduct a Town Council meeting without any of its citizens manifesting a single emotional outburst, unleashing a lone, withering, hate-filled glare (known locally as 'the stink-eye'); without even one Machiavellian-like intrigue/alliance being unmasked for its shocking duplicity (small town politics do indeed make strange bedfellows!) - and/or without a single, solitary malicious accusation or threat bordering on the legally actionable being offered. (not all of the citizens fall into this agitated group by any stretch - Lamont abides closely to the 80-20 rule as do many small towns). Lamont, a sleepy little farming town right in the middle of nowhere (which means we are right in the middle of everything!) has, for 100 years, been a town (as most small towns are) with deep and murky passions; strange, misplaced levels of self-entitlement; and the very stuff that made this country great before our national addiction to the irresistible baubles of the 'throw-away' society caused this great nation to place a premium on the frivolous at the expense of the All Mighty.

"Yes, that was a strange meeting. Strange indeed!" said the still stunned Mayor while waiting for the other shoe to drop or the ambush to finally be sprung. "One does not know whether we have finally turned the corner on the road to basic civility or if this is just the calm before some hideous storm ravages the very fabric of our already tattered souls!" he said wearily. "I mean, I never know what to expect when I go in there. There is usually some strange brew of long-simmering, mad-at-the-world temper tantrums just waiting to find vent onto the world; any number of long, seemingly random streams of consciousness pointing to no where waiting right under the surface; and those shockingly absurd ad hoc alliances between seemingly upstanding citizens (don't judge a book by its cover!) and the angry, narcissistic, destroy-not-build elements that exist in any small town in North America. Those alliances, so improbable on the surface, would make the 'Hitler/Stalin' pact seem like a common business handshake, for Pete's sake. But there they are!" he said regrettably. "But we had none of that last night. (then again, one of our fine Whitman County Sheriff's Deputies (Lamont loves the Whitman County Sheriff's Dept!) was on hand keeping the peace and observing American democracy at its most primary level!) Not a peep of discord was to be heard! Not a glimmer of backstabbing passive-aggressiveness. Not a single episode of self-righteous piety masking the cold beating black heart of the true Vandal-like barbarian longing to destroy the town stone by stone! It was actually very pleasant. I don't know whether to breathe a sigh of relief or batten down the hatches with an extra pair of under-shorts handy! It's all very disconcerting!" he said. "Now I know what they mean by the expression "fear of the unknown!"

Thankfully, the Town of Lamont holds Council Meetings once a month, normally on the first Monday of the month, so the collective citizenry will have at least 12 chances in 2010 to snap out of it and return to their natural selves and things can get back to normal in the 2nd smallest Town in the State - or then again, maybe not. What this portends for the future no man knows - so stay tuned as this exciting yet tragic saga unfolds before your very eyes. Just think of it as a really unusual "TV mini-series" that you don't even have to have cable to enjoy. (Viewer warning: Not for the faint of heart, the civic minded or children under the age of 17. Viewer discretion is advised) (Note: this article is a parody of small town governance and any similarities between it and the truly cool Town of Lamont or Lamont Town Meetings are purely coincidental)

Dec 7, 2009

Accusing Finger Of Blame Unfairly Points At Lamont For Mysterious Palouse Adjective Shortage

Once again, the lowly (and largely misunderstood!) Town of Lamont was forced to shoulder the blame for some societal anomaly or cultural conundrum largely outside of its control after local wordsmiths and self-described 'turners of a phrase' began to draw literary and conversational blanks as they tried in vain to inject linguistic color into the otherwise normally drab speech that seems to have the entire Palouse in its death-like grip. The Palouse, well known for being a 'region of few words', was even further hampered after it was learned that the Town of Lamont has not only commandeered a vast majority of the largely under-appreciated noun-modifiers but also tends to use them in such abundance that the 'average Joe" can't 'make hide-nor-hair out of the dern mess!", too.

"Well, I was dropping off a load a manure up Ewan way when I stopped by a little café for a piece of pie and I saw the sweetest little honey you ever heard tale of" said Festus Snopes, 56, an area farmer/rancher. "As she brought the week old berry concoction to my table, I decided to stun her with my marginally witty although largely stale and shopworn banter but all that came out of my slightly over-full mouth was "Ummmm. Good". How humiliating!!! She stared down at me like I was some sort of primitive caveman or guy from Idaho and just swished her way back to the kitchen - only to return once with the check. I didn't even get a coffee refill, for Pete's sake! That's when I knew that that dadburn Lamont had sucked up every available adjective in the whole tri-county area!" he fumed. "Sure, there are only so many polite ways to describe a week old piece of pie, but the task is made that much harder when every noun qualifier normally associated with unusual events or things outside the norm have all been hogged by a town nobody ever heard tale of! That's just so wrong! I have never been a standout with the ladies, but having soldiered thru the 11th grade, what I cannot win over with looks and brains and natural charm I can sometimes bamboozle with a few well-rehearsed one-liners gleaned from the earthy and largely conversationally utilitarian farm hands out on the ranch. That was before that no-good Lamont began to hoard every available qualifying word worth using, that is" he stammered bitterly. "There ain't a spare adverb, metaphor, simile or obscure (some would say arcane!) cultural reference to be had within 60 miles of northwest Whitman County, neither! That sort of thing just makes the whole 'courtship ritual' a tad more difficult for guys like me, that's all!"

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the lowly Lamont Blog just gave an indeterminate and decidedly inarticulate grunt and sidled distractedly from the room, thus giving rise to speculation that the above referenced adjective crisis (why doesn't anyone ever remember the lowly adverb?!), rather than being caused by a given party in particular, might indeed be an undiscriminating linguistic plague that doesn't show favoritism as its blandness-inducing spores fan out on the conversational winds to transform an important part of the Inland Northwest into a conversational graveyard not seen since that whole 'Tower of Babel' language confusion thing all those years ago.

Dec 5, 2009

Shock Confession: "Sheep terrify me!" Admits Tearful Area Farmer/Rancher

In a heartbreaking yet somehow stomach churning scene, a local man, Jed Snopes, 56, completely broke down as he admitted to his open-mouthed fellow ranchers that ever since he was a young boy and that old ram at the Festoon place chased him across the pasture and into that old, decrepit barn that he has had a paralyzing, bone-chilling, nearly incapacitating fear of all things 'sheep'. "Oh, man..! Do I really have to talk about this?" said Jed with that all-too familiar look of a cornered, terrified animal on his sweat-soaked face. "I don't know what it is! I don't! It's that creepy wool and those disgusting hooves and the fact that they drink water like a camel! I don't know! The whole darn animal just scares me to the very marrow of my bones! Oh, and that constant bleating and baying and the fact that when they are scared the whole darn flock just seems to move like one organism - as if the whole darn mess is being controlled by some vastly superior yet decidedly diabolical intelligence hell-bent on my personal destruction. Its all just so wrong and you can't make me like it. You can't!!! You can't!" he stammered hysterically while gulping huge drafts of air thru his now-bloodless lips.

"Oh, and as cruel fate would have it, all the really cool ranchers around these parts raise sheep so the wife is constantly nagging at me to sell those smelly cows and join the 'hip crowd' of sheep farmers" said the obviously broken man. "I have been married to that woman for 26 years (actually, it is 27!) and she doesn't know a thing about me! Every time she brings that up I have weeks of the night sweats and find myself curled up in the fetal position in odd places in the house - at all hours of the day or night. Can't she see what she is doing to me? Can we really be living such obviously separate lives? I would rather be naked in a pit full of cobras or be married to Hillary Clinton than to ever allow one of those cursed animals on my ranch! They would just sit there, taunting me with their goat-like eyes, biding their time with the patience of the devil himself, just waiting for a moment of weakness so they could all charge me and hold me down so that they could breathe that sweet-smelling yet poisonous 'sheep-breath' into my face until in my madness I willingly gave up my very soul!" said the surprisingly unstable and darn-near certifiable mental 'basket case'. "No sir, I am a cattle man, through and through! And this is one leopard that ain't changing his spots, let me tell you!" he said with a now rare display of calm and sane resolve.

(Note: Special thanks for this article goes to Gayle of Pacific County for her keen insights and valued research into the obviously complex and multi-dimensional man/sheep power-sharing relationship.)

Dec 3, 2009

Wicked Cold Snap Drives Town Of Lamont Into Shocking State Of All-Consuming "Beach Envy"

The Town of Lamont, nestled in well-managed and beautiful Whitman County, is well accustomed to temperature extremes that would make Afghanistan seem like Southern California in comparison. With temperatures consistently rising over 100 degrees in summer and sinking into the almost obscene -20 range in December and January, one would think that the local inhabitants would at some point in their long and dubious history come to grips with this almost 'punishment-like' weather and learn to deal with it - both physically and psychologically - but this appears to not be the case.

"Well, being landlocked, it is easy for a given town to look inward, I guess, but I was watching some TV show on the most beautiful places in Washington and up pops that doggone "Long Beach" with some big fancy commentary and sweeping panoramas of the ocean and deep, rich forests and that sort of picturesque thing. That just made me sick!" said the obviously agitated Mayor as he paced back in forth in his living room because it was too darn cold to step outside. "First off, why did they have to put some "size descriptor' in their name? Why couldn't it be "Quaint Beach" or "Sunny Beach" or just plain "Beach"? Being from the 2nd smallest town in the state, we are always sensitive to those 'show off' towns that flaunt their obviously superior geographic location, attractiveness and organization skills. Okay, we got it already!!! You are big and successful and we are small and almost without hope!" he stammered insanely. "And what is with that whole "Grand Coulee Dam" thing? Just think how that must make the poor town of "Modest Coulee Dam" feel? It is all so unnecessary!!"

"And another thing, I could just tell at a glance that Long Beach is one of those towns (darn their eyes!) that actually has a planning department - and a good one, too!" he said dejectedly. "All I had to do was casually glance at an aerial photo to see that, unlike Lamont, someone really cares about future growth patterns and has a keen eye for blending both form and function to help foster a happy, healthy community both now and in the future. Talk about showboating!!! Just because Lamont only has one part-time employee and the fact that we have neglected planning of any kind for over 100 years does not mean that they are somehow better than us!" he lied. "Oh, I guess I just wish that Lamont had some big, beautiful ocean to gaze out upon. I mean cows are okay and all, but they ain't an ocean!. And what would Lamont be without those endless hours of fun playing 'Cow Patty Bingo" in the park during the summer, but a beach would sure be nice. If we had a beach, maybe our town would look as nicely planned and organized as that stupid Long Beach! Then again, this is Lamont - so maybe not" he sniffed. "Hey, maybe if we had an ocean we could change our name to "Cow Beach"! That way none of the other small towns would feel envious and the very name itself would cause ranchers and their herds to come flocking here in the summer when things got a little too monotonous on the ranch!" (assuming there is ever a dull moment on an active cattle ranch, that is! Talk about a giggle a minute!) said the feverishly competitive public servant with more than a pinch of madness in his furtive and shifty yet somehow sad and pitiful (you forgot beady!) eyes.

Dec 1, 2009

Entire Town of Lamont In 'Security Lockdown' After Insidious "Man-Perm" Epidemic Sweeps Thru Palouse

Early last week, the ever vigilant and patriotic Town Of Lamont was forced to go to "Condition Red" - the highest response protocol on the Threat Analysis Scale - after it was determined that the entire region was being infiltrated by mysterious men with really curly hair who were posing as local citizens although everyone knows that they had "straight hair just the other day, doggone it!". Emergency calls came pouring in from wives, neighbors and mortified citizens just walking down the street after being exposed to "some weird hairdo that looked like 'Mr. Brady' in the last year of the Brady Bunch hit TV show". "Well, I am just thankful that we caught this un-American travesty in time, for Pete's sake!" said the obviously relieved and exhausted Mayor from Dick Cheney's secret undisclosed location (more like cowering behind his desk in the office, the coward!!). "You would expect this sort of thing in larger metropolitan areas that have more direct access to TV re-runs from the 1970's, but this tragic and unsettling episode indeed points to the fact that we, as a nation, are truly in this heroic fight together!" he said wearily while gazing lovingly at "Old Glory" that hangs in the office where it can just barely be seen as he shamelessly crouches behind his desk! "The forces that oppose us obviously don't care if you are a big city or one of the best managed small, rural communities in North America. But the very fact that they would unleash the outrageous and civilization-destroying 'man-perm' on us just shows how ruthless and diabolical they truly are! That's just evil! Will they stop at nothing?" he shuddered. "Thankfully we have the subjects quarantined and the authorities in Washington are currently airlifting in a crack team of military barbers with several 55 gallon drums of 'hair straightener'. I just hope we caught it in time before it morphed into the even more horrifying "leisure suit, bell-bottom and big gold medallion' (with open shirt and hairy chest!) phase. Once it gets to that stage, the battle is all but lost" he said dispiritedly. "Oh, I just hope we were able to contain it in time! Just having come out of that whole 'Urban Cowboy' pandemic a few short months ago, I am not sure the town could endure another one of those fashion disasters. I just don't know if we could take it!" he mumbled melodramatically.

Nov 28, 2009

Experts Predict Little To No Population Decrease For Lamont In Upcoming Rapture

In a bold prediction that is welcome news for the cash challenged, underachieving, 2nd smallest Town in the state, an impressive body of biblical scholars, clergy, sociologists and criminal justice professionals unanimously predicted that current growth trends for Lamont will continue their modest upward pattern or will hold steady even if apocalyptic catastrophe and end-of-the-world-like calamities decimate the planet as a whole. The rapture, a relatively new (popularity-wise) theological concept, postulates that the 'pious faithful' will be whisked from the Earth in the early stages of the anti-Christ's (aka 'The beast") reign in the final stages of a global power struggle between the victorious forces of Light and those annoying, pesky, obviously highly resourceful and never-say-die 'forces of darkness' from the very Pit itself.

"Well, Lamont is Lamont, but we are just glad that there can be a certain degree of stability in the population variables that are so vital to long term resource planning" said the obviously relieved and thankful Mayor. "Sure, we are so small and disorganized that we don't now do any long-term strategic planning, but if we did so, that whole 'sudden, traumatic population decrease thing' would really throw our numbers into Purgatory itself" he said humbly, never one to pass up on being thankful for an obvious blessing from above. "I know that well over half of the Town runs around 'self-congratulating' themselves and sticking a thumb in the eye of their neighbors because they will be the 'chosen elect' and will thus miss that whole 'fire from Heaven', 'terrible plague' and 'water to blood' phase of end time prophesy - but our water was so bad before Century West came in and did what they do best to get us a new water system, I am hard pressed to think of any town in the USA more psychologically suited to soldier on through the ravages of a hideous global catastrophe of biblical proportions" he said proudly.

"Lamont is living proof of the old adage 'What does not kill us makes us stronger'. Plus, that news will come as quite a shock to some and will be a source of glee for the rest - but that is what the smug self-selected get, I guess - and I am sure certain individuals will come up with some new mechanism or fad so that they can feel superior to their neighbors and have someone to feel sorry for and thus look down upon. It happens all the time" he stammered, wearily walking back to the office (that doesn't even have a bathroom! Talk about hell - especially after a couple cups of coffee!) where he has every intention of continuing to not do any long term resource planning whatsoever. Why mess up a good thing? Plus, what do the experts know, anyway? On a happy note, this lack-of-rapture-related population stability is Lamont's best chance to move from the highly embarrassing "2nd smallest Town in the State" category to at least number 3 or maybe even number 4 or 5. (Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's population!) "I just hope those other small towns that are in striking distance are a lot more pious and faithful than we are. That would be so awesome to be able to crow that we are now the 3rd smallest Town in the State! Then no one could carp about what a bad Mayor I am! HA!" he said dreamily, gazing starry-eyed off into the murky, unseen mysteries of any number of potential future outcomes!

Nov 25, 2009

Inevitable Parrot Backlash Sweeps Town After 'Parrot Proponents' Go 'A Bit Too Far'

In a classic example of the fickle 'ebb and flow' of public opinion, the unusual amount of positive parrot press that has inundated the airways of the Town of Lamont (sadly, the normally fair-minded yet modest Lamont Blog must shoulder some of this well-deserved criticism!) is producing the very opposite desired effect - driving even seemingly relatively positive parrot people and those inevitable 'parrot fence sitters' into feeling that maybe parrots 'ain't all that'! "Well, I like pirate stories a lot, and have since I was a kid - and who can imagine real, manly, swashbuckling pirates without some meddlesome, rapscallion-like parrot making hilarious, insightful quips all the time from the peg-leg's shoulder as they are making some poor innocent damsel walk the plank to the waiting sharks below or keelhauling some scruffy scallywag for drinking the last of the grog, for Pete's sake?" said Gomer Festoon, 57, an area farmer/rancher and purported pirate enthusiast. "So, of course, I would have naturally fallen into the 'early adopter' demographic category when this whole 'parrot craze' swept through the town like a wildfire - but after hearing their virtues extolled hour after hour, day after day, I just began to think to myself - something ain't right here! It reminded me of how the mainstream media treated Obama during the election - although I did truly enjoy it when they really stuck it to Hillary! But then I got to thinking that in their all too frequent 'screech modes' both Hillary and the average parrot sound almost identical - so I was forced to rethink what I had gotten myself into, doggone it! But then I had to come to grips with the idea of pirates without parrots - but that does indeed leave this world a sadder, less colorful place. I almost resent even having to make this choice! I never thought I would say this, but there might be such a thing as "too much parrot!!" said the obviously saddened and visibly shaken man.

"Well, this is the very pinnacle of 'parrotism' and 'parrot-o-phobia' that does nothing but divide this great nation and serves to pit one animal group against another" said Thurston Oglethorpe, III, a National Association of Parrots (NAP) spokesperson. "So, no one ever decries all of the dog and cat stories that surround us from dawn to dusk because those animals are 'establishment' and 'mainstream' (not to mention having the right number of legs!) and are referenced any number of times in the bible, but as soon as some exotic, tropical, outrageously colorful animal comes squawking on the scene, people tend to clam up and just politely turn away. I thought our nation was past this sort of bigotry! Didn't our Founding Fathers so clearly lay down the rights of all living things? Well, what starts with the largely misunderstood parrot will end when all animal choice freedoms are denied us. Sure, I can understand discriminating against a disgusting, foul-smelling iguana or the nightmarishly horrifying 'Madagascar Jumping Spider' (the size of a dinner plate and as agile as a bat!) - those things are really quite unsettling - but a good old, all-American parrot is something to embrace. They are the very symbol of diversity in this color-starved world, for Pete's sake! Plus, if you save all those loose feathers they seem to always be shedding you can make your own pillows!" (after about 15 years!) said Oglethorpe unconvincingly.

"Oh, it is just so dadburn funny when those crazy parrots repeat things that the pirate says at exactly the wrong time! That just cracks me up!" chimed in Gomer again (who just can't seem to leave the interview for some reason - despite several less than subtle cues!) while doing his now-famous 'hey look, I have a fake wooden leg' imitation while holding his snuff can up as a makeshift eye patch. "Come to think of it, parrots are just about the only thing that helps humanize those bloodthirsty, murderous, sociopathic, totally amoral pirates, doggone it. Maybe we need to keep the parrots around after all. I mean, who wants to be seen supporting the 'Ted Bundy' of the high seas? That would just be kind of wrong!" he concluded introspectively before following the now slightly annoyed correspondent back to his car while singing that "Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum" song a little more than slightly out of key. (and with more than a glint of madness in his red-rimmed, beady little eyes!)

Nov 22, 2009

Paper Towel Roll Saves Area Woman After Peeved Parrot Goes On Rampage Over Last Remaining Peanut (based on a true story!)

A mysterious and as yet unnamed area woman (whose demographic profile is shockingly similar to Erika of Century West Engineering fame!) was actually threatened with attack and literally chased into a corner of her spacious, semi-tropical, Spokane-area abode by a surly Moluccan Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) early Saturday, after basic parrot protocols were not observed and the lone remaining peanut (still in the shell) was offered to another parrot with less social standing and prestige within the flock or gaggle or herd or whatever it is that parrots are called when they group together. Tensions, having simmered throughout the day, reached near boiling point several times, most notably after the unfortunate 'parrot patron' served the cranky cockatoo a combined dish of diced fruits and vegetables while every civilized person with 'half a lick of sense' knows that that discerning breed of bird prefers to be served those delicacies separately (on separate plates!) fruit first, if you please. "Well, when this all started brewing, I had become annoyed with him following me around, nipping at my heels and making one heck of a racket for no apparent reason!" said Erika - Ah, I mean 'the unnamed parrot owner'. (parrots, like elephants, are known to hold a grudge - and have very, very long memories - especially on matters of pride and social standing - and yes, ironically - both have a thing for peanuts)

"Sure, although I work with engineers all day long and should have built up a seemingly limitless tolerance by now, even my Herculean patience can come to an end at some point, so it was high time for him to go to his cage for a little 'time-out!' So away we went and up the door he climbed. (somewhat reluctantly, it must be noted!) Well, it was at this point that I made the unspeakable blunder and leaned over to give another parrot in the same cage the last peanut in the house. (Where is PETA when you need them! How awful!) Upon seeing this, the crazed cockatoo leaped off his door and attached himself firmly to my upper torso, wings flapping to beat all I ever saw! Well, after a spontaneous (and shockingly robust!) stream of decidedly salty words spewed forth from my somewhat reluctant and largely unaccustomed lips (being a family friendly blog, we dare not repeat them here - although rumor has it that every navy in the world stood up and took notice of this shockingly admirable display of 'oath-oriented' wordsmithery - the likes of which has not been seen since Blackbeard sailed the Seven Seas!), I gently smacked him on his little bird tushy (with the handy, above-referenced (and padded!) 'paper towel roll'!) and he promptly although somewhat reluctantly disengaged from the general area of my jugular and dropped gracefully to the floor, bellowing (in true mother-in-law-like fashion!) with righteous outrage and indignation" said the paramour of Parrotdom! "Well, being granted this seemingly Heaven-sent reprieve, I allowed my guard to drop for the briefest of instances - only to have the winged hellion leap up at me with eyes blazing and wings spread in order to herd me cowering into the corner of the room where he could hopefully finish me off! Thankfully, I was still feebly clutching at what was left of the roll of paper towels (always kept handy for cleaning up 'certain messes' - you know how those parrots are - no sense of aim or direction! Almost as bad as the average husband!) to defend my person with. I am not sure I ever felt so alone and vulnerable! I have always been loyal to Bounty Paper Towels, although, in moments of weakness, I have been known to buy an off-brand from time to time!" she admitted disjointedly, somehow losing the gist of the subject entirely!! (at least the interesting parts!)

So, after a brief self-examination to make sure that the hapless human victim of peanut-rage was still 'corpus-intactus' and disingenuously threatening the little devil with another 'half-hearted spanking' with the now-bent roll of paper towels, and croaking out any number of hoarse, feeble-sounding 'NO, NO, NO's!!', the "Maid-Marion-Like Damsel-in-Distress' was able to reassert her somewhat shaken (most would say decidedly tarnished!) 'alpha status' and was able to get the angry aviary back into his cage. (much to the horrified chagrin of the poor, innocent, minding-his-own-business parrot in the same cage that got handed the last, cursed peanut only several startling seconds before!) "Well, it was only after I got the brooding beast back in his cage that I then noticed his untouched food and realized why the berserk buzzard was so upset with me!" she said with genuine regret and guilt while wiping away a tear! "I mean, how could I try to give him veggies and fruits all mixed together? How did I forget that he likes his fruit and veggies separate and not just dumped 'any old way' in his pellet dish? (Editorial Note: I mean come on, what a rookie mistake! Even the average Lamont dog owner never known for their animal insights knows that much about the mercurial dietary preferences of the Moluccan Cockatoo!!) So, once I fixed the little food presentation problem all was well in Parrot-Land again and peace reigned in the house (for about 15 minutes, given that more than a dozen parrots reside there - and rumors about the 'last peanut incident' spread quickly amongst the shameless, feathered gossips!!) - although the unfortunate parrot who received (and eagerly ate!) the last peanut in the house had to endure the 'stink-eye' from the crazy and still brooding cockatoo, and was forced to walk on eggshells for several hours after the woman/bird altercation concluded! Thankfully for everyone involved, no further disturbances were reported at that address until right about dinnertime, that is - since no one bothered to drive in the snow to pick up more peanuts from Pets-Mart, for goodness sake! The lowly Lamont Blog once again proves that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction! (especially if there is a parrot in the mix, doggone it!) (Note: Any reference to 'salty language' or 'pirate-like parlance' was for dramatic literary effect and color only and is not necessarily representative of actual events! Plus, one has to be careful what one says around a parrot, for Pete's sake! The little monsters just love to repeat things, don't they just?)

Nov 18, 2009

Lamont Time Capsule: Remembering The Town Water System Before Century West Engineering

As we all know, change is hard for some people, and this is particularly true in small town America where the cherished traditions from our past are looked upon with the reverence and comfort that only the ages can convey. The old Lamont water system, built by a vanished cabal of enterprising 'go-getters' in our murky, distant past (any date before 1950!), was recently replaced by the taxpayers of this great nation (USDA-RD, CDBG, Dept of Commerce, etc!) under the stern and exacting eye of a new breed of enlightened and enterprising builders - an advanced breed of men and women known as "Century West Engineering" from the far-flung distant land of Spokane Valley. (Spokane and Spokane Valley - the Lamont equivalent of Babylon or whatever - is where myths and rumors abound regarding giants and wizards and highly efficient women who raise/rescue parrots and all of that and where people have never even raised a cow from a calf (yes, they do exist!) - although the stately Lamont Blog as a media outlet prefers to stick to the cold, hard facts and shies away from mindless superstition and primitive 'mumbo-jumbo', however, thank you very much - although we do tend to spit 3 times and throw salt over our shoulder anytime we get a nasty hate mail letter!) (which, sadly, is not that rare of an occurrence these days, especially from the locals!)

The old water system, built with stone tools out of the very bedrock of the earth itself, used gravity to funnel the fickle liquid from some far-off mountain redoubt where it could water the lawns and gardens of the 2nd smallest Town in the State. In contrast, the new water system relies on space age materials like 'metal' and 'PVC' and, although basically a gravity-fed system, incorporates the almost magical and somewhat suspect properties of a new-fangled invention (electricity!) to bring the water out of the very ground itself. (yes, that is hard to believe but true!) "Well, I don't understand any of it, that goes without saying, its all some strange 'voodoo' to me, but I am just thankful that we no longer have to declare war on Adams County (not to mention Sprague!) every couple of years in order to capture prisoners so that we can employ their somewhat forced labor to maintain the miles and miles of aqueduct just so I can get a sip of water, doggone it!" said the perplexed yet relieved Mayor to no one in particular. "Lamont is largely a peace loving town, so mindless conquest and martial prowess run counter to our peaceful (and lazy!) natures, as you know!"

"Sure, now we have to learn to read 'gauges' and 'read-outs' and all of that Star Trek sort of thing, but at least I no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn and drive my chariot to some far-off locale (fake plastic bullwhip in hand - wearing a fetching toga, of course!) to make sure those 'prisoners-of-war' are maintaining the doggone thing" he stammered. "I ain't sure how they did it, but let me tell you, Century West Engineering knows how to make a Mayor happy! Now if they could just help us figure out that whole "Solar calendar thing" so we could calculate the time and the date, then we could bring a whole new level of order and prosperity to Lamont. (And so that we could plant our wheat at the right time of the year, every year - and not just whenever the fancy strikes us!) (Note: The Bodine Clan prefers to plant in mid-winter when the soil is harder than concrete - yet the Snopes Clan only plant in mid-summer when it is over 100 degrees and won't rain until well into the Autumn! Somehow there has to be a happy medium if we could only figure it out, for Pete's sake!!) But one thing at a time. We don't like to rush into things here, as you know - and our current use of the somewhat clunky lunar calendar ain't that bad, really! I just wish 29.53 days divided evenly into 365.24 days, that's all!"

Nov 17, 2009

Town Streetlight Out For Over 2 Years But No One Bothered To Tell The Mayor

In a darkness-related metaphor that is shocking in its comprehensiveness, a critical streetlight at a key intersection in the Town has been 'non-operational' for over two years, yet no one bothered to tell the one individual who can get those sort of things repaired, doggone it! A majority of the townsfolk, obviously disconnected on almost every level from the bustling metropolis where they reside and own property, apparently feel that some 'all-knowing and all-seeing eye' exists to make their lives function smoothly and feel no compunction whatsoever to participate in the civic/infrastructure life of Lamont - even at the most rudimentary of levels. "Well, the offending streetlight is in a part of town that, thru form and practice, I just never get around to after nightfall, for some reason" said the puzzled Mayor who admits to a certain level of 'nyctophobia' - or 'fear of the dark'. (we won't even mention his crushing levels of bovine-o-phobia or the troubling and as yet unnamed fear of big burly women who once served in the Navy!) "So, when I heard that a certain stretch of road was 'particularly dark and scary", I ventured down there (in broad daylight, of course, the coward!) and realized that: A) It was potentially dark and scary. B) There was indeed an actual streetlight present. Given that this was during the day, I made a mental note to see if the light came on and to determine if this was indeed a real crisis or just some manufactured 'situation' that the citizens come up with from time to time to have someplace to hang their 'town-hating' hats on" he said wearily. "But in this case we did indeed have a problem so I threw the full weight and prestige of the "Office of Mayor" into getting the problem resolved - with all due dispatch, needless to say" he said.

"After contacting the proper authorities about the troublesome illumination device, and with my curiosity now being peaked, I made any number of discrete and clandestine neighborhood inquiries, of course - and much to my horror, a vast majority of the interviewees had never noticed that the Town even had a streetlight there - and the ones that did in fact know that a big, shiny, 30-foot-tall aluminum pole with an over-sized light protruding at right angles from the top of it (standing all by itself right by the sidewalk, plain as day, for goodness sake!) was situated at that intersection - these observant and eagle-eyed souls reported that it had been out for what consensus agreed was "several years, at least!" said the amazed and saddened public servant. (there was even a 'Lost Cat' flyer on the pole itself - placed there by one of the families that "didn't know the streetlight was even there"!) When asked why they did not report this outage, the universal responses (from the observant minority!) were to the effect of 'I thought someone else would call' or 'doesn't the Town have someone who checks that sort of thing?' (Lamont has one salaried part-time employee, for Pete's sake!) So, the Mayor, being at a loss as to how to get citizens involved in the basic functioning of the Town - at least as it pertains to their own personal safety and comfort, has vowed to make 'commando type' sorties under the cover of darkness (if some intrepid soul agrees to go with him! Preferably someone beefy and slow-of-foot yet manifestly skilled in the martial arts!) to see if there is indeed light shining into the darkness of the 2nd smallest (and one of the best lit - when our streetlights work!) towns in the Great State of Washington.

Nov 15, 2009

Town Of Lamont Hits 'The Big Time' After A Brief Yet Memorable "Wiener-Mobile" Visit

In what is a fulfillment of every small town's seemingly impossible dream, the Town of Lamont is bursting with pride after a 'mobile delivery vehicle' (MDV) for a famous hotdog manufacturer developed a flat tire and was forced to spend almost 27 minutes in the 2nd smallest town in the State, late Tuesday. The so-called 'wiener mobile', manned with a daring crew of 2 (one a 'Vehicle Operations Technician' and the other a "Hotdog Delivery Engineer") immediately piled out of the space-age-like vehicle and hurried to change the tire that had somehow run over a piece of barbed wire or something. "Well, when I looked out the window and saw that dern thing, I immediately assumed that those pesky aliens had invaded the earth again and I hollered to my husband Bert to run and get his squirrel gun so he could defend my honor as a fine example of one alluring 'Earth woman' at the peak of her charms" said Thelma Festoon, 62, a less-than-charming area farm wife and outrageous gossip/troublemaker. "By the time my good-for-nothing husband was finally able to drag his largely-worthless (and overly large!) carcass off the couch in order to face those space aliens 'mano-a-mano" or whatever that expression is when you are fighting a cantankerous space invader hellbent on global destruction - a rabble of citizens (including Flem Snopes, Festus Bodine, Prentiss Festoon, Rebecca Blat and Jeb Jarvish) had gathered around the 'other worldly craft' and were grunting and making feeble hand gestures at the dumb-founded 'astronauts' or whatever they were - like it was just an everyday thing! (that highly efficient Erika of Century West Engineering fame with that infernal, too-smart-by-half, know-it-all African Grey Parrot on her shoulder was also 'on scene' trying vainly to wrest order out of the chaos, but eventually just wandered away, despairing over cultural disunity in general - regardless of its worldly origins!) It was all very bizarre and kind of disappointing, really. I ain't seem my husband (whose nickname is 'Killer'!) in a good scrap since we were in high school - and even then he got his rear-end whooped but good - and by a girl, no-less!" she said gleefully and with only a tinge of residual shame.

After greeting the local lifeforms wearily (and enduring what to them had to seem like that 'bar scene' from the 1st Star Wars movie!) and quickly changing the tire (with no assistance from the 'work-shy' townsfolk whatsoever, needless to say) the 'visitors' made a brief yet doomed attempt to sell a few of the obviously enticing sausage-like delicacies from beyond the solar system, but given that Lamont is one of the cheapest towns in North America (and there was no small amount of confusion over currency conversion rates with a foreign world - given that that involves the use of math!) not a single hotdog was sold and the weary yet relieved travelers cheerfully drove off down the road to "destinations unknown' (no doubt mumbling numerous prayers to whatever pagan deities they worship in their far-flung galaxy!) and vowed to have the remaining tires checked after returning to their "Mother Ship" so that frightening and 'other-worldly' incidents like this do not occur again anytime soon - given that this 'hotdog gig' is just a temporary job to help pay for college, for Pete's sake, and is not worth this kind of culture shock! (Editorial Note: That so-called 'wiener mobile' was quite impressive looking on Lamont's new roads - courtesy of the TIB and Century West Engineering! Much better in fact than those flatbed pickup trucks that seem to be all the rage now - for whatever reason.)

Nov 13, 2009

Local Mayor Regrets Offering Surplus 'Hubba-Bubba" To Council Meeting Spectators

In an all too telling example of bad manners bearing a bitter harvest, a local Mayor was taught any number of valuable lessons (that he should have learned in the 3rd grade!!) about the importance of sharing and the inevitable pitfalls of having something that others do not have and about being thoughtless in one's own personal habits as they relate to those around us in an august, staid, and solemn setting like a classroom or a Lamont Town Council meeting. "Well, as I came sauntering into the Town Hall a few minutes before the meeting start time, I guess my mind was on the weighty burdens of leadership and the stark realities of our somewhat tattered democratic institutions so I must have forgotten to spit my gum out before sitting down to call the meeting to order" said the deeply moved and contrite Mayor. "Well, as luck would have it, in the audience was one of our overly 'school marmish' citizens who, I am sure, was a terror to young school children for any number of decades (at least 6 or 7!), and when she saw me so demurely smacking my gum, she immediately piped up with a "Well, Mr. Mayor. If it is okay for you to chew gum, then I presume that you have brought enough for the rest of the class!" (darn her beady little eyes!).

"So, feeling my oats (and sporting a new 30 pack of my favorite bubble gum), I immediately whipped it out of my pocket with a flourish (after a brief dramatic pause that had the audience panting with anticipation!) and said "Why yes, madam, indeed I did!" and proceeded to distribute the precious cargo amongst a segment of the obviously ravenous rabble that so often frequent our monthly Town meetings" he said smugly. (sadly, the Town meetings are the only 'blood sport' in Lamont - and the blood thirsty miscreants, of which Lamont is not lacking in number, flock to it in droves like it was a bare-knuckles prize fight or a cage match or something). "And before I could even get to the 'Mayor's Report' the whole room was filled with the festive aroma of that special 'Hubba-Bubba' watermelon flavor (at least that was somewhat of an improvement!) and my senses were being overloaded with the loud din of smacking and popping and my eyes were drawn to an endless sea of bubbles rising and falling with no identifiable pattern. It was all very disconcerting!" he whined despairingly. "So, I guess I learned my lesson, after all. In the future I will have to somehow misinform the school-marmish biddy on the date and time of future council meetings! (or try to get the battle ax interested in the school board or something!). Sure, this will take time and effort on my part, but come on, being a Mayor has to have some prerogatives, doggone it!!! he bellowed with somewhat overblown self-righteous indignation before sauntering off to stuff the last of the water meters for winter and to pick up any loose trash (including gum wrappers!) blowing around in the park.