May 25, 2009

Entire Town In Therapy After Local Handyman Offers "Help Your Neighbors For Free" Day

Although only the 2nd smallest town in the State and usually immune to such unspeakable horrors, the Town of Lamont came face to face with a scourge that has rendered many communities across this great nation completely devoid of all hope and spirit - leaving a path of desolation everywhere that belts and suspenders are in short supply and general 'handyman' type tasks need to get done. "Well, I love this great nation and wanted to honor our brave soldiers who made our way of life our way of life" said the 'handyman' in a rather circular and confusing manner . "So, although I normally charge the princely sum of $9 per hour, I figured it was high time I gave a little bit back to this community that has done so much for me - like forgetting about that unfortunate perm I had in high school and the time I decided to breed wolves with dogs and caused such a fuss" said Flem Snopes - a part-time ranch hand and general "Mr. Fix-It". "So, I passed word around that I was willing to work for free on Memorial Day. Well, needless to say every cheapskate and freeloader in town suddenly developed a water leak or creaking hinge or something. Oddly, almost the whole dern town took me up on it. I was really shocked at the overwhelmingly positive response!" said Flem. "I never knew I was so well respected in town. They must really admire and value my work product and professionalism!"

"Oh, the humanity! Oh, that was just wrong" said Mabel Bodine - a local farm wife - while wringing her poor dish rag like it was the neck of an unusually burdensome chicken or something. There is nothing in the world I love more than getting something for free, especially if that puts me in a dominant position over another human being - so when he came by and said he would work for nothing, I agreed immediately, naturally" she said. "So, I made up some story about hearing a weird noise under the sink and mentioned some strange odors that were coming from that general direction - even when my husband was not in the room - so he agreed to check it out for me. How was I to know that I would be exposed to a scene so horrible and inhumane that it would even turn 'me' from the path of wanting something for nothing. Do you realize what a powerful motivator that must have been? she said. "That was just so wrong. There needs to be a law against that sort of thing" she said indignantly. "I mean, how hard is it to keep your pants all the way up, for Pete's sake? Some views of the human body are just not meant to be shared with others - even in the confines of a sanctified marriage - let alone having them forced on you by some local guy you suckered into doing free work!"

"Well, it is not unusual for entire town's to participate in the same psychological event, but this is the first time a whole community commandeered a school bus fleet and showed up at my office all at the same time!" said Dr. Jessup Macintosh - and area psychoanalyst. "I mean, I have treated numerous people from the same small town in the Palouse, but this is the first time an entire town arrived for some serious psychological intervention" he said. "When I finally managed to squeeze myself into the overburdened waiting room - at first I had no idea what the heck was going on. All I heard were the mingled cries of "Oh, that was horrible" and "Ahh, I am blind, I'm blind, I say!" and, of course, the ever popular "I wish my husband looked that good from that angle" - but once I managed to sort it all out, I was able to get to the root of the problem. We often think that small towns are immune from the routine horrors that face much larger towns and cities, but this is proof that the whole 'crack epidemic" is truly national in scope - and obviously psychologically devastating in nature - even in little towns like Lamont" said Dr. Macintosh.

May 19, 2009

Lamont's Oldest Citizen Gives Secrets To Unnatural Longevity

Lamont's oldest citizen, Wilber Festoon, age 97, a long-time rancher, is the oldest living citizen of the town and the oldest person anyone ever 'heard tale of' living within the town limits. "Well, Wilber's long life is truly a testament to the natural resilience of the man and certainly gives credence to the age old expression "only the good die young" said Mabel Festoon Bodine, age 95, a younger sister. "Never in all my life would I have expected to walk this earth for so long with that no-good 'so-and-so'! He was such a terrible child, mean as a snake to me and my other siblings, it is just a pure miracle one of us didn't sneak into his room and render him senseless with a piece of firewood all those years ago! I always thought it was caused by that time he was taunting our bull and got stomped flat, but now I just think he is just pure mean. That dern bull had the right idea, after all - but none of us were smart enough to see it!" she said philosophically. "We all expected him to grow out of it at some point, but once a personality is set there is just no changing it. That man was just mean from the time he popped out of my poor mother until the present day. The bible talks about the advantages of being long suffering, and my brother Wilber has done more to remind me of the good Lord's words than any single individual I have ever known. How that man ever married a woman is just beyond my estimation. I just can't talk about him no more. I'm sorry. I love him and all, but I am still traumatized about that time in the 3rd grade that he ran my underwear up the flagpole at school - with me in them, for Pete's sake!! Can you believe that? Oh, the humiliation! I did not live down the nickname "Nickers Festoon" until I was well into my 60's!" she sobbed while storming off in a huff.

When asked about his lifestyle choices that allowed for such a long, rich life, (and after several rambling hours about the pitfalls of the 'no-good' Roosevelt administration and how the commies in the Democratic party lost China to 'them Reds'), the surprisingly spry and mentally active Wilber Festoon finally admitted the secret that prolonged his life. "Ketchup!" he stammered after pontificating on how Kennedy was too young to be president and how you can never trust a man with that much hair - and he is a catholic to boot - although that is okay in most cases! "I put ketchup on just about everything - and always have. I have put ketchup on my oatmeal every single day for the last 83 years. Plus, it is good on popcorn, donuts and I even mix it into my Ensure. When I have a sore throat, I take a teaspoon of ketchup. Skin rash (fungal or bacterial) - ketchup. Ingrown toenail - ketchup. Shin splints - ketchup. Sunburn - ketchup. Inflamed gallbladder - ketchup. It even works wonders on earaches!" he said, unfortunately painting an entirely unpleasant mental picture of the application process. "There, I told it - my secret is out - now everyone can live as long as me. Happy now?" he said while attempting to kick the shin of the interviewer under the table but stubbing his toe on the table leg instead. "I wish I would have had the sense to patent my discovery! Then I could have been rich and bought up all these here houses and evicted everyone out onto the street! That would show them" he said while painfully removing his shoe. "Hey, would you hand me that there bottle of ketchup - this dadburn toe is about the size of a turnip and is turning all blue and what-not" he said thru his few remaining gritted teeth - looking eerily like a Halloween pumpkin. "Ahhh. That's nice. (while slathering about 1/2 of the bottle on his ailing, ever-expanding toe) What a wonder drug! It works on whatever ails you!!!" he concluded while looking hopefully for another opportunity to get in another shin kick with his undamaged foot

May 16, 2009

Hollywood Weighs Options For Major Motion Picture Based On Lamont's "Mosquito Wars"

Hollywood, ever eager to capitalize on human suffering and anguish, is contemplating the production of a major epic saga - incorporating the basic themes of "Gone With The Wind", "Star Wars" and of course, that perennial classic "Deliverance". (what movie about Lamont would be complete without numerous allusions to that moving tale of cultural conflict and forgotten, dysfunctional subcultures lost in a modern world, anyway?) The movie, based loosely around Lamont's 100 year struggle against the common mosquito, will be part coming of age story and part horror flick that highlights the challenges faced by Lamont as it stares down the forces of nature while confronting its own personal shortcomings, shocking self-absorption, questionable motivations, aversion to modernity, general laziness, casualness about hygiene and the overwhelming desire to have a full blown town hootenanny at the drop of a hat, regardless of the day of the week, doggone it!

"Well, naturally, I assume I will be cast in the role of Rhett Butler or Luke Skywalker or whatever" said the Mayor who looks eerily like Danny DeVito - although considerably less handsome. "Although California is chocked full of aspiring actors with looks, talent, the ability to speak clearly so people can understand them and who possess a general screen presence that isn't all fidgety, I feel certain that the viewing audience is ready for some new, less polished talent to show them how it is done!!" he said, demonstrating once again his complete separation from any known reality that the rest of us participate in. "Sure, getting accustomed to that whole "Use the force, Luke! Use the force!" thing will be darn near impossible - since my name is not Luke, but I feel that it will all work out in the end. My nickname is "Gator" - so maybe I can get them to change all those 'Luke' references to "Gator" references. That will give it an air of authenticity!" said Danny DeVito, Jr. "Hey, I wonder if they will let me ride a horse? Horses scare me and easily manipulate me to their own evil ends, but all dashing heroes get to ride a horse! As long as I don't have to ride Nellie, the town mule. That mule hates me!" he said peevishly, although, in fact, Nellie does indeed hate him more than is right for any town mule to do. (See previous story on Nellie - the town mule - presented below)

"And anyway, what is that whole "force" thing about, after all? I mean, come on! Lamont relied heavily on Tekoa to get this whole mosquito thing under control - so why don't they just change that whole "Use the force, Luke. Use the force" nonsense to the much more accurate and realistic "Use Tekoa, Gator. Use Tekoa!"? Oh, I can just see the tear filled audiences standing all over this great nation, applauding our valor until their hands are numb and the movie theater management has to turn the hoses on them to get them to leave the theater. I just have a feeling this will be a smashing success!!!" he concluded with unbelievable levels of self-delusion. "And that is just going to creep me out if at the end of the movie those dang mosquitoes, in a deep, resonating voice say "I am your father, Gator. I am your father". That would just be wrong! I never liked that part in the original movie" he said to no one in particular.

May 13, 2009

Citizens Bestow Title of "Caesar" On Mayor After His Crushing Victory Over Ancient, Bloodthirsty Foe

Amidst the scattered chants of "Caesar, Caesar" and the mumbled murmurs of "what's all that dadburn racket at this unholy hour?", the Lamont mayor rode triumphantly thru the heart of town after returning a conquering hero from the blood-strewn battlefield over by the railroad tracks where an enemy older than the town itself lay gasping in defeat, late Friday. As was the custom in ancient Rome, when a commander returned after subduing a particularly nasty foe, oftentimes the citizens would rise up in gratitude and thanksgiving and bestow their highest honor on the brave warrior who saved them from the clutches of a bloodthirsty nemesis. Such was the case after news swept the town of the outrageous success of the mosquito spraying that was done under the watchful eye of the Mayor - ah, I mean Caesar - as the mosquitoes were routed and sent back to the stinking swamps that spawned them (although John Sypher did all the actual work and Kynda Browning from Tekoa was the brains behind the operation).

"Dang, is that another parade? Haven't we had enough parades this year? What are we celebrating this time? What, is the Mayor's bald spot growing at a less alarming rate than previously observed??" said a local farm wife who needs to be fed to the lions or banished to the salt mines or something. "And what is the Mayor doing on that contraption, anyway? That just looks stupid!!" she said while clutching her tattered bathrobe tightly to her throat. "I moved to Lamont for the peace and quiet - I had no idea this place was going to turn into the parade capitol of the doggone world. I need my beauty sleep, dang it!" she said with outrageous levels of understatement, drawing enthusiastic nods of approval from all those within earshot.

"Hey, that picture ain't of our Mayor. That guy in the picture looks all regal and warlike and our mayor is the spitting image of Danny DeVito - only not so handsome" said a town retiree taking time out from his garden where he pretends to be out of earshot from his wife's incessant nagging. "Heck, our mayor could barely see over the edge of that thing, which would appropriately put him right at eye level with the business end of them horses!" he chuckled. "Heck, I'd gladly elect him Caesar just to see that. I am not sure I could tell the difference between the two!" he mused before being cast into irons to spend the rest of his days chained to an oar on an imperial war galley. "And ain't it just like him to go celebrating himself when other people did all the work? I could see them Tekoa people getting a fancy parade or whatever the heck this is supposed to be - but not that glory grabber!" he said while turning his bad ear towards his house where his wife was hollering at him to take out the trash before having him rub lotion on her corns. "Quick, act like we are in the middle of an important and interesting conversation!!" pleaded the desperate man. "I just can't go in there to rub lotion on her feet no more. A man has to have some dignity, for Pete's sake!" he said despairingly. "Wow, this here parade is pretty interesting after all. We should make the Mayor a Caesar every day - at least until them corns go away " he said hopefully.

May 12, 2009

Deep Thoughts On Small Town Management

Sitting around talking about pumpkins doesn't make them grow any faster, especially if no one put the dadburn seeds in the ground when the idea first came up!

People who have bad dogs usually have misbehaving kids so why not buy the whole town a dog-training book and save the sheriff the hassle later on?

No good town deed ever goes unpunished and all public service is compared against what a given citizen thinks someone else is getting, regardless of his or her own needs.

Irrespective of what good thing happens, there are always dozens of people who somehow take all the credit. All bad things are blamed on the current Mayor even if he lived in another state at the time.

The people who are the most opinionated usually do the least amount of actual work.

Every dog in town is bad but one's own, regardless of how many people it bites or front doors it pees on. Thus, all dog fines are a personal vendetta from that no-good Mayor and are not based on what the dog actually did - given that he/she is just a little angel - at least around the house.

People in town who don't even eat eggs will want chickens in their yard if someone else has them.

For people with junky yards, the time spent complaining about other people's yards versus cleaning up their own is about 40-to-1 - although they promise to clean up their own yard when that other no-good 'so-and-so' does - thus creating some sort of junky 'vicious cycle' of inactivity.

Far too many citizens prefer for the town to fail at something because saying "I told them so" is so much more personally satisfying than saying "that's really nice". (Heaven forbid that anyone say "hey, that's great, let me help next time!)

More often than not, the people who are visited by the sheriff the most never seem to have fertility issues - and this genetic trait extends from generation to generation - as do the sheriff visits.

There is an inverse relationship between talking to kids at the dinner table and shouting at the top of one's lungs in the front yard (shouting of any kind, except in an emergency, is a surrogate for calm, thoughtful communication - plus, everyone within ear-shot will know that the shouter is a 'hands on' individual and not a neglectful parent like all those other people).

For many, nothing the Town can ever do is right, and when the town does something right it was never soon enough or they just did it out of spite to prove that they can do something right just to make them look bad.

Citizens who don't obey traffic laws cannot be trusted to keep their word when working with the town to do things like clean up their yards, control their dogs or mind their kids - but ironically seem to make the most promises in regard to changing behavior.

No one hates town improvement more and works harder against it than the people who can't manage to keep their own houses and yards in order - because all disorder is relative, after all. The general axiom is 'No place is truly junky as long as there is someplace worse.'

And finally - few opportunities in life provide a venue where more good can be done for more people with the least amount of effort than when done in a small town government setting, even if no one notices but those doing it or people who haven't been in town for a while.

May 11, 2009

Great Moments In American History

As we all know, our collective history is replete with wonderful moments that fill our hearts with joy and bring tears to our eyes. From the moment we threw off the shackles of a bunch of English guys with white wigs (to say nothing of those snooty accents), it seemed like our cultural trajectory was ever onward and upward. Well, as of late, America's fortunes have appeared to be a little frayed around the edges and our luster has been dimmed somewhat. So, being a patriotic lot, the Town of Lamont has stepped up in order to reverse this downward national slide into the natural order of decline and decay on the Roman model. Let us all hope that this great nation will draw strength from Lamont's mosquito control example and that we will pull ourselves up by our collective national bootstraps, get off our lazy posteriors and plunge right into a bright and vibrant future. Sure, it may be on Lamont's shoulders to lead this fine nation back to a 'can-do' spirit now, but although it appears inconceivable at this point, there may be a time in the future that Lamont will not be in a position to so forcefully lead this nation, and thus the world. So, if and when that sad day should appear, may this proud land remember Lamont's contribution to our nation's collective psychological recovery (and all those mosquitoes we killed!) and lend a hand to us, too. Plus, we can have guests in our town now that they will not have to get a blood transfusion upon leaving the Town limits. Oh, these are heady days, indeed! Hey, don't forget the "Music in the Park" program in Lamont starting at Noon on May 31st. Come on down and hear some local musicians share their God given talents! (thankfully, the Mayor has received numerous bribes (almost exclusively in the form of food!) to not sing as is his custom, so it should be an enjoyable day all the way around!) And unlike in previous years, you won't have to bring mosquito spray (at least not the type/strength they had to use in Vietnam!) Sadly, there will be no open mic, but you can sing along with the actual performers, however! (bring your own lunch - there will be plenty of picnic space in the shade!)

May 9, 2009

The Sun Also Rises On Lamont

What an apt literary reference (from Hemingway fame) for a town that was pretty much written off for dead by not only a vast majority of the citizenry, but also pretty much anyone who knew anything about the town. Lamont is a textbook case of a few caring individuals making a difference, pooling their talents and resources and saying "hell no" to the powerful and stubborn forces of decay, neglect, apathy and disorder. Lamont is blessed by being located in Whitman County and having a fine County Commissioner like Greg Partch, by having strategic partnerships with first rate organizations like Century West Engineering (Dennis Fuller, their head man, has done more to instill a sense of hope and purpose in the future than just about anyone) - and finally, as anyone who has dealings with small towns knows, the key to any multi-faceted recovery hinges on having a good Town Council - and Lamont has one of the best. We have had some turn-over in that regard, but for every one that left a new, vibrant individual stepped up to grab the bull by the horns (Ruth, Michael, etc). With caring leadership and a core team of devoted citizens, (of which Lamont has more than its fair share) literal mountains can be moved. The Lord has shined His blessing on this little town in the Palouse, because a few people were foresighted enough to ask Him and He never withholds His blessings for work done in His name. As it is often said "You can judge a tree by its fruit" and as of late the Lamont fruit has been good indeed - not because of a surplus of money or management talent or some hidden program - but thru sheer persistence and positive momentum. It has been said that victory has 1000 fathers but defeat is an orphan, and in the Lamont case this is true. Many people have put their hearts (and backs) into the effort, and future harvests look promising indeed. There are many people to thank and many hands to shake, and you all know who you are - so keep up the good work! This is not the beginning of the end - but the end of the beginning (okay, I stole that one from Winston Churchill) so let's keep moving onward and upward! Thanks everybody. There is a lot more to do (but it gets easier from here on out)!

Even The Sunsets Are Better After Lamont Treatment Program Causes Millions Of Mosquitoes To Die!!!

The picture above is of a now typical sunset as enjoyed in the town of Lamont after we, with the help of Kynda and John Sypher and all the fine folks at Tekoa, began treating the town for mosquitoes on a weekly basis. We are not sure how or why, but even the sunsets have been between 65-90% more colorful and enjoyable since the blood-sucking hoards of winged insects began to drop from the sky like so many leaves from the devil's favorite tree in hell. Oh yea, victory is sweet - especially when you have the blood left to enjoy it! The question is: were sunsets always this wonderful and we just couldn't enjoy them due to blurred vision caused by inadequate circulation to the brain - or are the sunsets (and sunrises) actually better now - like the world is rewarding us for finally getting off our duffs and killing the darn mosquitoes? Somehow, we may never know - but we don't really care at this point. But, it will be something to ponder next winter when there are 3 foot snow drifts and the wind howls like a scorned banshee and everyone feverishly awaits the warm embrace of Spring once again (and complains about all the snow and the state of the roads and why the Town doesn't shovel their property to their exact specifications although they are physically capable of doing so! Oh, the joys of Spring!!)

May 6, 2009

Town of Lamont Officially In Love With Tekoa: Tekoa, Wisely, Is Keeping All Options Open

The Town of Lamont is officially head over heels in love with a neighbor city, Tekoa, after all the wonderful help that city has given the town in dealing with one of the most hideous mosquito problems in the lower 48 states - although Tekoa is not likely to reciprocate, given the obvious social differences between the two incorporated entities. "Well, actually it is quite common for small, struggling towns to get a crush on larger, more organized towns" said Wilber Jenkins III, an area sociologist and city planner. "If you just use the human example of the poor kid on the wrong side of the tracks pining for the beautiful rich girl who lives in the big, fancy house (and whose dad is the banker) and who is loved and adored by all of the people of class and standing, that pretty much paints the proper picture. On some level it is only natural, although it often leads to rejection and heartbreak that can be painful for the smaller, less organized town" said Jenkins III regrettably.

"Well, of course we are flattered and all, who wouldn't be, but I just feel that a long-term union between our two towns is simply out of the question" said an unnamed Tekoa spokesperson. "I mean, aside from the obvious difference in population and the glaring socio-economic disparities, Lamont doesn't even have a Parks and Recreation department and/or a golf course and can't even organize their own garbage pickup, for Pete's sake!. I just don't see how this could ever work - plus we kind of have our eyes on larger, more organized cities like Cheney or maybe even Spokane Valley who (unlike Lamont) have median property values that are above those of a good used car. I just don't see how we could go back to where we were as a town 100 years ago - to say nothing of all those mosquitoes Lamont would bring with them every time they came 'a-callin'" said the remorseful yet firm Tekoa spokesperson. "Lamont would be better to focus their obviously abundant affections on some town that died and is on the verge of being re-incorporated or something. That just makes more sense, really. That would just be the best for everyone" she said gently.

"Well, that really hurts, but we understand, I guess" said the downcast Mayor while adjusting his black armband after lowering the town flag to half mast. We were all so excited by the wonderful help they gave us on the mosquito thing, I guess we just confused inter-town cooperation and good neighborliness with the hope for something more. It just gets so lonely out here on the edge of the scablands" he sniffed. "Although this is embarrassing, rejection never is easy, (thankfully, few towns in North America - let alone the world - are more well-versed and well-seasoned in the entire range of potential forms of worldly rejection - so Lamont is well placed to spring back nicely, all things considered) but I am just thankful that our mosquitoes will be dying by the millions, and I hope our misplaced emotions and outrageous social climbing won't impact our friendship in any way" said the Mayor, putting a brave face on an otherwise humiliating situation.

May 5, 2009

Lamont Mayor Receives 200% Raise: "He's Worth Every Cent", Says Councilperson

In what is deemed by some an unnecessary extravagance and by others (a very few) a long overdue recompense for a job well done, the Town of Lamont increased the Mayor's salary by a significant percentage, late Monday. "Oh, I just don't know what to say" said the beaming yet contrite Mayor with outrageous levels of false modesty. "To be honored in such a dramatic fashion by a Council that I want to beat the 'living crap' out of half the time is enough to give me pause and remember that government service at the lowest level of our fledgling democracy is truly a noble, honorable and worthy endeavor - and that all that name calling, vicious slander and late night knocks at my door by people of questionable sobriety is indeed worth it, after all" he gushed. "I just hope I can serve the Town with the vim and vigor that is commensurate with this generous statement of trust and confidence that has been so graciously laid on my table" he droned on annoyingly with entirely too much arm/hand gesturing. (several in attendance assumed he was attempting to land a small plane or something and kept nervously glancing up at the sky in order to calculate which way to run)

"Well, we had to do something" said an unnamed Councilperson. "I am not sure I could sit thru one more meeting and listen to that seemingly endless stream of pathetic whining, self-serving breast-beating and the occasional emotional collapse into a fit of over-burdened self-pity. So we all agreed to give him a healthy percentage increase in the hopes that he would just shut the heck up already and do his job, for Pete's sake!!" he said pleadingly. "I mean, we are the second smallest town in the State, how hard can the Mayor job actually be? Sure, it was an empty, vacuous, totally symbolic gesture, given that he currently draws no salary at all - but by the time he actually figures that one out - with any luck - he will have moved on to something new to bellyache about and we can hopefully put this whole sorry episode behind us once and for all" he stammered hopefully. "I was actually for giving him a 300% raise, but the other Council Members are more frugal than myself and opted for a more reasonable increase. Who cares, as long as we no longer have to listen to that incessant whining? Oh, I am at the end of my tether with all that whining!" he said despairingly.