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.