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.

Nov 11, 2009

The Expression "You're Preaching To The Choir" Causes Area Pastor To Rethink Basic Priorities

In a bold stand against the shocking laxness in the modern use of language, an area pastor (not from any church in Lamont, thank goodness!) Simeon 'Skeeter' Potash III (of the somewhat notorious Potash clan), laid the full force of his ecclesiastical powers in opposition to a too-often used and sometimes confusing expression that has crept into almost every segment of modern society - often to the detriment of all!! "Well, I was commenting on the offensive shortcomings of the Seattle Seahawks 3rd down conversion strategy to a football buddy of mine (yes, it would seem that even pastors do indeed have friends like other people do) when out of the blue he just blurted out "You're preaching to the choir, Skeeter, you're preaching to the choir'" said the perturbed paragon of purported pastoral piety. "When I heard him say that, my first thought was "Hey, you are not even in the choir" (or maybe he had just joined and didn't tell me - but no, I have heard him sing, unfortunately!) and then it dawned on me that not only does he not even go to my church (which suddenly struck him as odd - come to think of it), but he has not darkened the door of a church since his daughter got married for the 3rd time to that used car salesman from Northern Idaho. (and then it was under protest!) And what am I doing spending Sunday afternoon (usually from 12:30-ish until the 'little woman' finally gets a late dinner on the table - sometime around 6:00 PM, bless her sweet domestic heart) watching football (or baseball, hockey, golf, etc - depending on the season) with my friends when there are widows and orphans to help and human beings crying in the wilderness? I just lost track of my priorities somehow. That whole 'choir thing' was kind of a real eye-opener for me, I guess" said the prodigious pulpit-pounder before finally settling himself back down on the sofa and diving into the remains of the corn chip bag (sadly, the jalapeno bean dip was long gone at this point!) since the Seahawks were only down by 4 points and were driving at the opponents 34 yard line with 1:22 left in the game (with all 3 time-outs left, too!) and - besides, these 'spiritual/relationship' considerations can be dealt with during the post-game show - assuming no other really good sporting events were on another channel, that is. But this will be the last Sunday for frivolous, 'Roman Circus-like' entertainment for awhile, he vowed.

Nov 8, 2009

Shellie Courneya, Lamont's Good Luck Charm, Becomes Newest And Coolest Town Councilperson While Town Gets New Planning Grant!

In what only the overly-skeptical and/or ill-informed would term a coincidence (or to use the local parlance "co-winky-dink') or random occurrence, the Town of Lamont received a major boost this week when Shellie Courneya, one of the smartest and most capable citizens (in a Town not universally renowned for such traits - contrary to our own self-perception) was 'sworn in' on the Council and was thus able to participate in the new 'Community Services Grant' acceptance procedure that the Town was finally able to conduct - after more than a dozen years of trying by various outside individuals and organizations - although the Town (with Century West Engineering doing most of the heavy lifting!!) was successful in the first cycle, not that we are bragging or nothing! HA! It is sweet, though! (we all recognize that all good gifts come from the Lord and He has been unusually generous with this little Town in the Palouse!)

"Well, let's just say that Shellie is a very welcome addition to the Town's governing team" said the visibly relieved and obviously jubilant Mayor with outrageous levels of understatement and verbal 'down-play'. "The key to any town's success is having a Council that can grab their rear-ends with both hands (shockingly, 72% of town Councils in WA fail this simple test, however! - and the failure rate in Idaho and Oregon is (tragically) well over 90%!) - and Lamont has been blessed and continues to be blessed in this regard." (With only 100 people, if you subtract the kids, the felons, the non-voters and the ones universally understood to be electable only after 'hell freezes over' - then Lamont is truly blessed to have such a robust talent pool on the Council!) "Anyway!!" (Yes, that was another shameless plug from the Lamont blog!)

"We have had our eye on Shellie for many years and were finally able to convince her to serve (thru a rare mixture of impassioned pleading; shameless, tear-filled begging; shockingly complex and nuanced guilt mechanisms; and stalwart, passionate calls laced with patriotic fervor not seen since the start of WWII!) and the Town is now set to thrive and survive a little while longer. (Side note: In fact, none of these largely embarrassing, Mayor-inspired, emotional gyrations had the least effect on her - she just has a generous heart and 'can-do' spirit and is just the sort of person to step up when her neighbors need her!) We are just so darned tickled pink, and how!" he gushed, mangling the English language in general and basic sentence structure in particular! "The very fact that fine citizens like Shellie will step up to serve a cause greater than themselves, just for the good of it, with no desire for personal enrichment or fame, says volumes about this great nation in general and the 2nd smallest Town in the State in particular. Things just might work out okay in the 'Good Old USA', after all! We have to start somewhere, don't we?' he sniffed, wiping away a tear of hope and relief before blowing his nose in a red, white and blue hanky given to him by Ronald Reagan's brother-in-law or something - thus making it one of the Town's most cherished patriotic relics along with a 'big stick' once carried by Teddy Roosevelt (it is still unknown if he was 'walking softly' at the time he carried it, however!)

Shellie, when she is not saving small towns from the greedy clutches of chaos and mayhem, is also a much loved "Jack-of-all-trades' at the well-above average Lamont Middle School where she applies her quite considerable talents to preparing regionally renowned school meals (the shameless gluttons, I mean eager-to-learn students, cannot get enough of her quite remarkable cooking and often lament moving to the area High School because her food is so darn good!) (on several occasions the Town has had to put down fermenting, advancement-related rebellions by rampaging students - although, ironically, there has never been a hint of a protest hunger strike at the Lamont Middle School - which says volumes about how smart our kids are!)

Nov 5, 2009

BIAS Accounting Software Wins Lamont's Coveted "Even The Mayor Can Use It' Award

In a testament to user friendliness and excellent, streamlined and intuitive design and functionality, the Town's official accounting software package, BIAS of Spokane, drew gasps of surprise and stunned, awe-inspired head-shakes from a seasoned cabal of grizzled, jaded, decidedly-worldly 'software development insiders' (who have been around the block a few times and have seen it all, let me tell you!) when word leaked out that even the Mayor of Lamont was able to logon and produce a report without a Clerk/Treasurer being within earshot. "Well, we knew our software was good, we just didn't realize how good, I guess" said an unnamed BIAS spokesperson. "Sure, our software is designed specifically for municipal-type governments and is tailored to the unique requirements of the great State of Washington, but all that is just the form and function of the thing. The really hard part that challenges software design teams is not only putting in the functionality needed by our users - but also designing the workflow processes in such a way that a wide range of skill levels can utilize these capabilities. So, when word leaked out thru the Association of Software Design Engineers, our national guild, that even the Mayor of Lamont was able to print a report, we knew right then that we had pretty much expanded its functional range enough to include the broadest possible set of users!!" he gushed!. (Editorial Note: This last part is basically code wording for "Holy Guacamole!!! If that Mayor can use our software successfully, then we must have indeed done something really extraordinary here, for Pete's sake!") In fact, although a gaggle of old, crotchety, near-blind chimps has a much higher statistical probability of successfully using any given software package, the very fact that this self professed 'technological laggard' and 'pen and pencil man' was able to even get past the initial 'logon screen' that requires a password and then climb the 'Mount Everest' of all new software challenges - finding the report and then hitting the print button, is testament enough to the excellence of the BIAS Software product offering.

"Well, it was touch and go there for a while" said the Mayor, exhibiting the early signs of PTSD (Post Traumatic Software Disorder). "When I so casually yet boldly sauntered up to the computer (in fact, he circled his nemesis wearily like an aging bullfighter on the shady side of a less than distinguished career - taking the measure of a youthful and unusually cantankerous and spirited bull) and began the process of gathering the much needed data (after several dramatic moments of deep and pious reflection - or was it indeed prayer?), while buckets of sweat were pouring off of me and those voices in my head had reached a shrieking, feverish crescendo! But this information was so important (and the report it was needed for was so late, doggone it!) that I had no choice but to just 'soldier on' bravely, stiff upper lip and all of that. And before I knew it, and after only one support call to the very helpful (and patient!) BIAS Support Desk, (They are worth every cent!) I had that sweet little water usage report in my hot little hand and I was doing the "Rump Shaker" all over the office. (Editorial Note: The so-called 'Rump Shaker' is what one might call 'a dance' (if one uses the term loosely!) that is too horrific and potentially life damaging to discuss, (let alone witness!!) so is thus not supported, sanctioned or encouraged in the pages of the folksy, family-oriented and shockingly modest Lamont Blog). So, after this stunning success, the Mayor, flushed and pink-cheeked from his quite unexpected victory, has every intention of attempting another seemingly impossible and 'devil-may-care' feat next week - faxing a document to an actual fax machine - assuming fax machines are still in use outside the 2nd smallest town in the State - given that Lamont tends to be several generations (at least!) behind the times in terms of technology, except when it comes to our choice of a 'world-class', cutting-edge, totally-easy-to-use accounting software package, that is.