Jun 29, 2010

Greater Lamont Metropolitan Area Voted "Tempest In A Teapot" Capitol Of The Entire Civilized World!

The lowly yet scrappy 2nd smallest town in the State (mainly the surrounding area at this point in time!) finally found its true calling when a fussy global cabal of mother-in-laws, busybodies, snoot-bags and prodigious drama-queens unanimously determined that their meager although enthusiastic efforts at mischief-making in their own hometowns did not hold a candle to even the modest, half-hearted endeavors of a rank second-string gossip in the Greater Lamont Metropolitan Area. The town, never accustomed to being first at anything, took the news with surprising nonchalance - like anyone needed to conduct some doggone study or poll or whatever to figure out something so patently obvious! It is almost like doing a study to determine if the Hawaiian Islands are surrounded by shark-infested waters, for crying out loud! "Well, I guess we can make a colossal deal out of even the smallest things' said Ichabod Snopes, an area farm/ranch patriarch who lives 14 miles outside of Lamont. "Very few regions devote the sheer man-hours to finding typos and imperfections and minor although inadvertent inconsistencies than the area that surrounds the town of Lamont! Oh, and that doesn't even cover reading every darn line of the weekly newspaper for errors that we can blame on the person being quoted and not the reporter or chalking it up to basic miscommunication or whatever, of course. But if we didn't have that level of personal unhappiness-driven nastiness focused on others, that would force us, by definition, to examine our own lives, such as they are, and then the Lamont region would either be the drinking and/or the suicide capitol of the whole doggone world! And everyone knows that drinking is a sin, don't they? Mere gossip and backbiting are much more biblically sound (and fun, apparently!) - at least the way me and mine like to worship!" said the tragically lost, biblically confused man. "I mean, what is the fun of living in or around a small town if you don't get to constantly pull the speck out of your neighbor's eye - regardless of the lumber yard in your own!" he stammered, continuing to dig a hole for himself in this world and the next!

"Well, I just don't see how that is a bad thing!" said Thelma Festoon, an area farm/ranch wife who has been known to flap her gums (quite literally!!) from time to time! "I view creating a hostile, petty, cliquish, 'Gotcha' oriented community atmosphere as a sacred mission, for crying out loud! If I spent all my time thinking about my good-for-nothing kids or failed to tune out all of those unfortunate noises my husband seems to make on a continual basis I would be a dadburn basket case in under a week! So, on some level this devotion to terrorizing my neighbors and undermining the very fabric of the town's culture itself is, in fact, a survival behavior - and since me and my unhappy friends are the only people who matter in the whole darn world, it just seems like the right thing to do. And it doesn't matter if I have to wait 20+ years to get even with people who by their very nature make me feel inadequate. I have plenty of time to spare - and as they say, revenge is a dish best served cold!" she said from the safe confines of her creepy psychological spider-hole! "Although I don't live within the town limits of Lamont, I just don't know if I would like to be associated with a town that I could not browbeat and run down for no good reason. That just ain't American, if you ask me!" said the poor, lost, bitter shrew of a woman.

(Editorial Note: For the record, this obnoxious historical gossiping, for a variety of reasons (mainly the guilty people moving to other towns or keeping to themselves because no one wants to associate with them now that their true colors are known!) is down by almost 90% in the last several years. (How sweet!) But as with anything that undergoes the principle of diffusion, this positive trend takes longer to work itself into the larger outlying area (Most of the 'outsiders' are good, solid, all-American types - so this does not apply to them, but the others more than take up the slack! What negative energy! What almost super-human focus and organization!) but we have faith that those troublesome laggards will get the message at some point, too - and this little town will naturally grow into the happy little place that it has all the potential to be. (We may be small, but we are cute!) But old habits die hard, especially in some self-righteous circles where self-entitlement and perceived superiority are the artificial 'body armor' employed against a seemingly hostile and threatening world that has 'done them dirty' or whatever and they feel that they need to get even with any and all (except their own!). But good always wins out against nastiness and evil in the long run, so this, too, will pass. But in the meantime, the town of Lamont proper is experiencing a dramatic renaissance of sorts, and is a down-right fun place to live - if you can stay away from certain sour outsiders (and a few insiders who are in the perverse orbit of the meddlesome interlopers, that is!)

Jun 26, 2010

Local Nerd Ostracized By Regional Geek Community Because Lamont Lack's High Speed Internet Access

As if the formative teen years are not hard enough, a rare area nerd has experienced discrimination (wasn't accepted to the chess club), faced taunts (being labeled 'Dial-up Boy) and has felt the sting of isolation (being passed over for Friday night 'Dungeons and Dragons' role playing sessions on the computer) all because the 2nd smallest town in the State is, technologically speaking, (and in almost every other way!!) still caught in the death-like grip of the Dark Ages and is forced to interface with the global community via a technology that was developed around the year 1960. (Ironically, Lamont still has the same dadburn hairstyles from that era, too!) This nerd, Preston Snopes, although from farmer/rancher stock and actually raised on a ranch by real-life ranchers, (Is there such a thing as a definitive 'real rancher'?) somehow ended up being good at math and science, enjoys learning and using the computer and even plans, although this is hard to believe, on attending college at a State university where even more of these cultural anomalies tend to congregate and feed off of each other. In spite of Preston's obvious differences and peculiarities from the typical "Local stock', he has unfortunately been unable to make a complete metamorphosis into full fledged 'Geek-dom' because his potential geek peers refuse to accept anyone who must communicate with them via a 56K modem - although in Lamont normal dial-up speeds seldom reach over 42K, doggone it. "Oh, my life stinks!" said the downtrodden Preston as he gazed out over his new laptop (with all its potential!) at his two brothers (And those 'less nerdy' brothers will eventually inherit the ranch! Oh, when will this decades-old pattern ever be broken and the dumb ones leave Lamont and the smart ones stay here? Just think how that would change things in the 'body politic'!!!) playing endless rounds of 'pull my finger' out by the tractor shed. "I just don't seem to fit in anywhere! On the one hand, I get ribbed at the dinner table because I don't spend all my time staring at the business end of a cow, practicing the lasso and I like to read and learn and all - and on the other hand, the kids that are most like me won't have anything to do with me because their preferred mode of communication is decades ahead of Lamont's paltry infrastructure! I just can't win...!! How can I be a geek in one world and a total hick in the other? Things like that can only happen in Lamont, doggone it!" he said sagely, pointing out only one of the many various dichotomies that Lamont presents to the world at large (Try being the doggone mayor!!! Oh, the Greater Lamont Metropolitan Area makes 'Alice in Wonderland' look like a boring reality show!) "Anyway, when I go to college next year I hope I can get into the 'Geek Dorm' where I can immerse myself in a more progressive social and technological setting and where I can hopefully catch up on all the years I spent in this backward although extremely well managed hole" he concluded, drawing a mental 'high five' from at least one elected official in the Town!

Jun 25, 2010

Entire Herd Laments Onset Of Summer "Cow Tipping' Season

With school now out and the rambunctious and wayward area youth currently unemployed to a man (or woman!), area experts predict a marked spike in an unfortunate tradition that pits the questionable courage of area teenagers against the rock-solid demands for a cow to get a full 8 hours of sleep if he/she is going to function effectively in the demanding social and political life of the herd. This tradition, if tradition it is, somehow involves the ingestion of various and sundry forms of alcohol somehow scrounged from the larger Lamont human ecosystem (mostly from Uncle Jethro Festoon!), the stealthy and ninja-like approach to the herd sometime after midnight, and the sudden onslaught that incorporates the 'laying on of hands' somewhere between the haunches and shoulder while the cow is in full slumber. This action, if orchestrated with sufficient force (and if done without busting out laughing!) oftentimes sends the peacefully dreaming cow into a state of alarming dis-equilibrium causing said cow to fall over on its side unharmed, thus drawing a corresponding response of highly predictable laughter and 'high-fives' from the gathered fledgling humanoids. The cows, well-known practical jokers in their own right, oftentimes fail to see the humor in this activity, however, given their quite real need for peaceful, uninterrupted sleep which has been largely secured by the almost complete and total eradication of large predators by their caring and thoughtful rancher owners. "Well, cows can get down right nasty if their sleep patterns are disrupted - regardless of its cause" said Dr. Winston Peabody, an area animal behavior specialist. "Whether it is that unfortunate 'cow tipping', low flying airplanes, uncontrolled wildfires or the occasional stampede of another herd - it doesn't matter much to them. Even the slightest interruption to their nocturnal routine can send the entire herd into a funk for days, thus reducing the natural levity and playful camaraderie that normally exists between the rancher and the herd. And this 'cow tipping' phenomenon is just one more unfortunate event that contributes to the diminishing of the quality of life of the herd itself. Its all very unnecessary in the larger scheme of things" he said gravely, grasping the end of his pointy nose in thoughtful repose.

Jun 24, 2010

Entire Town 'Pleasantly Gob-Smacked' After Awesome State Representative Susan Fagan Attends Lamont 100 Year Festival (Yes, its true!)

In the moral equivalent of some poor, illiterate, mud-covered foot soldier suffering from a self-inflicted wound being visited by the Queen of England on some forlorn, wreckage-strewn WWI battlefield, the small and celebrity-shy town of Lamont was darn near knocked to their knees when, before the Lamont 100 Year Festival even started, one of the rising stars in the State House of Representatives arrived in Lamont to say hello (This woman is a cut above, people!!) and to mingle before driving in our somewhat meager parade, for goodness sake! Rep. Fagan (R. Pullman), accompanied by some of the cutest grandkids anyone in Lamont ever remembers seeing, not only made it to Lamont, but stayed for hours and hours - although a person can pretty much see everything there is to see in under 3 minutes on a good day. (And don't forget all of the other events in District 9 that she could have spent that time at on that day! That was really special for us! Think about it!) "Whoa! When I walked into the Community Center and this pleasant, happy, genuine person came up to me and shook my hand and said 'Hello!! I am Susan Fagan', I darn near had a seizure right there on the spot!" said the pole-axed Mayor with that residual glow one gets after meeting a person of true stature and gravitas! (Can we still even use that word after John Kerry so muddied its meaning in the 2004 election?) "Anyway, of course I was running around, taking care of last minute details that I should have done days before so I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to spend with her, but just the fact that someone of her stature would come to our kooky little town gives me new hope in the future of this Republic!! If we have people like that in charge over there in Olympia, then all I can say is 'bring it on, cruel world!" he gushed! "I mean, this is Lamont, for crying out loud! We are still basking from that time in 1979 when Billy Carter's brother-in-law got a flat tire on Highway 23, for Pete's sake! (although he didn't, in fact, bring a trunk load of 'Billy Beer', the cheapskate!) We just aren't used to that level of star power! I mean, it was Susan Fagan! And she was so nice, too! Somehow we just felt so unworthy - thru no fault of hers, either!" he said humbly!!! "Oh, I just wish my mother was still alive to hear about this. She would be so tickled pink!" he concluded, wiping away a solitary tear!

(Editorial Note: We at the Lamont blog are pleased to be the first to endorse Rep. Fagan for Governor of the Great State of Washington!! Of course, we have no idea if she is interested at all and we would hate to lose her in District 9, but the need is there - and what the heck - if it works out right, the Lamont Blog (a private entity!) can finally say we were first at something, for Pete's sake! Go get 'em, Susan... We need you! And thank you for coming to see us in the 2nd smallest town in the State!)

(Editorial Note On Previous Editorial Note: Okay, being basically ignorant of things in general and political protocols in particular, we just hope we did not just 'kick the hornet's nest' by endorsing someone for a position that they would be great at but that they have expressed no interest in whatsoever. But desperate times require desperate measures, and the Lamont Blog is willing to go out on a limb and to take a bold, fearless, unflinching stand, at least until someone who knows how these things work 'none-too-gently' smacks us down and tells us how to do things the right way, for Pete's sake!! Thank you! But remember the name 'Gov. Susan Fagan'!! Or better yet! 'President Fagan!" A little town can dream, can't they? And anyway, any sane leader with the grit, determination and quite extensive pain threshold to willingly stay in Lamont for so many hours (What willpower! What perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity!) obviously has the 'right stuff' to stare down the godless global Commie hoards (especially in Washington DC! Whoa!) and tame the unruly excesses of the bomb throwing bed-wetters whose latest cultural temper-tantrum makes it so hard to get thru an airport! (How many of my pocket knives does Homeland Security have at this point, anyway? But I am glad they do if that means no one else has one!) And remember, you heard it all here first, or at least we hope you did!!!)

Jun 22, 2010

Entire Town Humiliated Upon Learning That 'Honey Bucket' Delivery Woman Never Heard Of Town Before (Sadly, this is indeed a true story!)

In what could be the final straw in a long series of snubs, insults, dispersions, backhanded slaps and generally dismissive comments (usually followed by giggles!) that are a constant reminder of the town of Lamont's status within the great State of Washington, the entire town was reduced to stunned self-loathing when word leaked out that the woman who delivered the "Porta-Potties" for the 100 Year Festival had not only never heard of Lamont before - but she could not even find it on the map that her company provides her when she makes deliveries all across this vast region. This individual, a surprisingly attractive and good-natured woman for such an 'unusual' profession (Editorial Note: The Lamont Blog abhors stereotyping of any kind and this comes close to crossing that line, for Pete's sake!! What in tarnation is she supposed to look like? Wait, don't answer that! Whoa!! Let's move on!) was genuinely pleasant and light-hearted when she dropped this latest unwelcome bombshell on the unsuspecting town as she casually offloaded the surprisingly light yet durable devices over by the Dale Windsor Fire Station. "Well, I saw some strange truck with some big, ominous-looking tank thing on it and several coffin looking things hanging off of the back - so of course I had to go investigate, for crying out loud" said the nosy mayor whose job description contains a secret clause that covers all things 'Porta-Potty' - although this was unknown to him when he got roped into taking the dern job in the first place! "Anyway, as I quite shrewdly ascertained her function and purpose during a brief but highly efficient reconnoiter, I immediately transitioned to my same old canned, lame, stale, shop-worn spiel on how we were having a festival and if she actually came and brought a few people we would slip her a few bucks under the table or whatever when out of the blue she told me that our humble metropolis is not only completely unknown in the portable waste disposal industry at large, but that her entire cadre of associates had never even heard of the town we know and love so much! Now, being the mayor and all, I would naturally assume that that industry above all others would not only know about our town, but would hold us up on some sort of doggone pedestal or something! You know, like we were informal kindred spirits or whatever - so when she told me we were basically unknown to her entire social set, I realized how far our town has fallen in the eyes of what should be, by all rights, a key demographic and psychographic support segment for our town, doggone it!" he rambled with rare and energetic passion tinged with bitter disappointment and underlying feelings of betrayal!

Jun 20, 2010

Now Largely Purposeless Town Enters Sad, Depressing, Melancholic "Post-Festival" Period

The 2nd smallest town in the State woke up on Sunday, June 20th, (now known forever in these parts as 'the day after!') desperately grappling for a municipal direction and focus now that their 100-year festival is behind them and the park is all cleaned up. The festival, an event that was by all accounts a huge success (although the parade was somewhat of a confused mess given that we could not manage to get an announcer to call out the 6-10 vehicles that we did have - although this was not the fault of the parade organizer - just the typical Lamont! How do you think we managed to become the 2nd smallest town in the State, anyway? It's not by chance, let me assure you!) - and factoring in that we had a quite large (for us!) and seemingly happy crowd, the food was very good and the band was in fact excellent - even with all of that, when you are a town so small that nothing ever really happens - it can be hard to wake up to yourself sometimes if there isn't some future goal to focus upon and devote one's energies towards. "Oh crud... What in tarnation do we do now?" said the spiritless mayor with his now seemingly permanent 'hound dog' expression. "I mean, for the last 6 months we had a goal, a dream, a focus - yes, even a reason for existence - but now what in the heck are we supposed to do? Sure, we have to build a library and all of that - oh yeah, and we always have sabotaging (or at least severely undermining) that doggone Long Beach to fall back upon, but somehow it just seems that the cattle manure scented wind has been removed from our sails and we are left adrift in a seemingly endless sea of our own insignificance!" he whined annoyingly.

(Editorial Note: Oh, you should have seen the outrageous 'birthday card' that that doggone Long Beach sent Lamont! Oh, it was so awesome... (it really was great! Gayle Borchard is worth her planning weight in GOLD! We need someone like her!) It was about 30 feet long (on butcher paper!) and filled with great drawings and expressions and was just something special. We hung (or is the proper term 'hanged'?) it in the Community Center for our estimated 200 guests to gawk at and enjoy. (and there were pictures for the ones who cannot read!) Long Beach - a vacation wonderland that sports the longest beach in the world (and a nice one, too!) I guess sends out the world's longest birthday cards - and it sure was nice. Sadly, when we get off of our lazy duffs and actually send a card, Lamont tends to get nasty notes from the US Postal Service because our cards are just slightly bigger than a good sized postage stamp, given that we are the 2nd smallest town in the state and all... (why put on airs, for Pete's sake?) I guess our pampered postal employees can't read our necessarily small print or whatever! Two words: magnifying glass!!!! Hello!!! Darn governmental types!!!) Anyway...

Well, Lamont was treated to a large group of those rascals from over there in Rockford (you know, those fancy-pants people with their own fairgrounds and all!) and Micki Harnois even belted out a few tunes with the band! What a voice! Sadly, when people realized a real mayor was in town everyone flocked to her for guidance, common sense, and basic justice - so our 'so-called' mayor had plenty of time to mingle with the locals who don't like him very much! (Yes, Darlene LaShaw, the renowned Rockford Clerk/Treasurer was in attendance, too - although she declined to work a couple of 'pro-bono' hours in the office for some darn reason! Oh yeah, and we got a really cool pin and a coffee cup from some very nice people from Selah and two of the nicest folks from Electric City (Jackie Perman, the Clerk/Treasurer, and her quite excellent and funny husband!) drove all the way down to Lamont just to see if it was really as forlorn, isolated and painfully backward as advertised!!! Fortunately for us, we didn't send them home disappointed! We even had horse droppings in the road from the parade - but just acted like that was an everyday thing! (And did you know that Electric City is actually a city and not a town? They are the City of Electric City! Lamont is barely a town - more like some ill-conceived hamlet or whatever and Electric City gets the designation 'City' in their name twice? Oh yeah, life is fair!! What show-offs! How unfair is that!!! Like one special kid that the parents actually love gets a double scoop of ice cream for dessert and the other 'dysfunctional, population-challenged, unloved kid' gets Brussels sprouts! Oh, like we as a town aren't used to that sort of thing by now!) So yes, it was the best birthday celebration Lamont ever had and we are thankful for everyone who came. Of course we are saddened by some people who could not come but wanted to - but that blow is softened by the thought of some people who could have easily come but didn't! (The Good Lord does indeed love and watch out for Lamont!!) So all in all, it was the best of all possible days - at least for us, that is. But don't ask me - ask someone who came to the dern thing like those fine folks from that fancy-pants Electric City! They seemed like straight shooting, honest folks!!! I wonder if there is any way to bribe them into moving to Lamont?? Oh, nicer people you will never find! We loved them!!!)

Jun 19, 2010

Town's First Clandestine Operation In 2nd Half of 2010 Ends In Dismal, Crushing Failure

The Town of Lamont, rarely known for success of any kind - regardless of how remote and/or insignificant, upheld this proud yet dubious tradition by completely and totally botching a well crafted and elaborate plan to somehow photographically capture our town engineer getting 'pecks on the cheek' from several 'grandmother types' that for some doggone reason Lamont seems to have in a statistically improbable abundance. This secret op, code named 'Operation Granny Smooch', involved the mayor lulling our engineer, let's just use a fake name like Bryan, into a false sense of security with the promise of a free food plate while the mayor chatted him up in the festival food line. As Bryan became more bored and annoyed with the mayor's seemingly endless drivel (aren't we all??), and just as he was ready to bolt for the door, even at the cost of giving up free food (very 'un-dude-like' and desperate behavior, one might add) - the mayor would make some prearranged hand gesture and several stately, powder-covered, lilac-smelling, somewhat physically possessing, moo-moo wearing octogenarians would converge from either side and simultaneously plant a big smooch on both cheeks of the man we will call 'Bryan' for this article, although that is not 'necessarily' his 'real name'. Needless to say, all the while the town would be capturing this on film for posterity's sake. (and to share with others at Century West Engineering, of course!)

"Oh, I have always said Lamont could goof up a soup sandwich and this just proves it once and for all!" bellowed the mayor who was at least 96% responsible for the unraveling of a seemingly airtight and 'idiot-proof' plan. "There we were, about 6 people back from the surprisingly delicious 'Sloppy Joe' counter when I noticed his eyes begin to glaze over as I told him about this big crab I once caught in Anacortes when, out of the blue, I just happened to glance around me and realized that any number of the town's 'mayor-hater' contingent (more like a plurality!) were strategically placed around me, and in a moment of panic I realized I had been bested at my own game! You know how crafty those engineer-types are! That is all I need, Bubba Festoon and his sister Festus Festoon giving me a smooch right there in the community center! Oh, the horror! Anyway, after losing my nerve (and squeaking like a school girl!) I fled from the stifling and claustrophobic confines of that chamber of horrors and bolted out into the park - only to realize that I was surrounded by mayor-haters out there, too! (sadly, this situation would, by definition, apply to almost any spot the mayor stood at in Whitman County, for crying out loud!). "The next thing I knew, there was the guy we will call Bryan happily munching on one of those delicious 'Sloppy Joes' and waving at me from across the park with a knowing (some would say malicious!!) smirk on his smug, self-satisfied face! Darn his eyes! I knew I never should have matched wits with someone who is not afraid of a scientific calculator! What in the heck was I thinking? Anyway, now the 'moo-moo brigade' (Editorial Note: And given that this is cattle country - when we say 'moo moo', we mean 'moo moo'!) is mad at me because it isn't every day that they get a chance to kiss someone with more than a high school education (and who wasn't wearing manure covered cowboy boots!!) - and somehow they blame me and not the cruel finger of Fate that seems to govern almost every aspect of life in the 2nd smallest town in the State! Oh yeah. Life is fair! Like that was all my fault or something!" he sniveled unconvincingly!

Jun 16, 2010

Area Mayor Somehow Thinks That Latin Expression "Pro Bono" Is Somehow Related To The Now Defunct "Sonny And Cher" TV Show

In yet another staggering blow to the already battered US education system, an area mayor just naturally assumed that a fairly common Latin expression was tied to a cheesy, tiresome, formula-driven yet glitter-filled cultural classic from this nation's somewhat embarrassing past. This said mayor - a man who basically quit learning from the culture at large sometime around the year 1977, failed to grasp the intent of the speaker when this expression was used to describe how services were to be provided to the town. "Well, what in tarnation does the 'Sonny and Cher Show' have to do with how we are going to get a dadburn website, for crying out loud?" stammered the mayor who was close to having a cerebral spasm trying to connect the two unrelated concepts. "Sure, that was a good TV show and all - and what normal person doesn't sing "I've got you, babe" at least three times a week (thankfully, the mayor does it when he is alone!) - but I fail to see what one of the best musical and acting talents ever produced by this great country has to do with our stinking web page! Of course I am pro-Bono!!! Who isn't?? Especially when he is teamed up with that paragon of American womanhood and all around dreamboat Cher! Oh, I don't mind if our home page has a huge picture of that adorable couple and all, in fact I demand it, but I need to get an idea about how much the darn thing is going to cost. Lord knows that the very mention of Sonny Bono had me sold on the spot - but I cannot take this man, although he was in my opinion the entertainer of the century, to the council for approval. They want facts! They want dollars and cents! Sure, that is annoying and all, but that is the way they are!" he fumed. "Oh, if I was the king and not some duly elected official who is constantly being hamstrung by those doggone rules related to a representative democracy I would make the decision right now - but unfortunately I have to take this proposal to a bunch of people who don't appreciate the 1970's as much as I do. Oh, the lot of a small town mayor is never easy!" he sniveled!

Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning "for the public good". The term is generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service.

Jun 15, 2010

Town Property Values Soar After Doggone Mayor Finally Mows His Dadburn Grass!

In a rare insight into the ever illusive concept of 'perceived value' as it relates to the very foundation of Western Capitalism itself, the often misunderstood yet decidedly demanding elemental force of 'Supply and Demand' was awakened from a long slumber in Lamont when the entire town became instantly richer (on paper, anyway!) when word leaked out at the Exchanges in Chicago and New York that the Mayor finally got off of his dead rear end and mowed his doggone yard, for crying out loud. The Mayor's yard, unfortunately situated across the street from the town's only park, (Thank goodness that we don't have a fancy fairgrounds like that doggone Rockford!) is thus an integral part of the town's overall ambiance and when left untended, as seems to be the case this year, the entire town takes on an even more run down and 'ill-kept' appearance, thus dragging the whole darn place even closer to a net value of zero. (can a town ever be worth less than zero?) The Mayor's neighbors (2 of them, anyway) keep surprisingly neat and well tended yards and have been dropping ever less subtle hints on the sad state of the Mayor's devotion to yard maintenance. "Well, I finally just had to ask him if he was raising tigers in there or something!" said an unnamed neighbor who unfortunately lives right next door. "And it is not like his yard is that big, either. I had to go ask him a question after a brief rain, and by the time I made it from my house to his I was soaked from the waist down and my new boots showed signs of being gnawed on by predators, for crying out loud. I mean, how hard is it to push a lawnmower from time to time" he fumed! "Oh, no wonder little towns like Lamont have such a hard time attracting new people and businesses! (Businesses? What are those???) If the doggone Mayor cannot set even the most basic of examples, how is anyone else supposed to follow - regardless of how half-heartedly!" said the smarty-pants! "I would have offered to mow it for him but I am afraid to go in there, for crying out loud!" said the big, lazy sissy!

Iconic Lamont Town Sign Goes Missing! Mayor Hot On Trail Of Sticky Fingered Miscreants! (Sadly, this is indeed based on yet another true story!)

The humble and unassuming town of Lamont, a struggling yet annoyingly hopeful metropolis with a population somewhere on the shady side of 100 souls, realized 4 days before their 100 year festival that someone made the actual effort to dig up the post that the Lamont sign was attached to, secret the sign away (with the post!) to parts unknown - but most disturbing of all for those familiar with the case, they even filled up the hole that the post was planted in - leading community leaders to suspect 'outsiders' - given that everyone knows that the usual Lamont petty thieves are too darn lazy to clean up after themselves. The sign, made at some point in Lamont's distant, murky past, has stood unmolested (for the most part) for years - although the "Nuclear Free Zone' mini-sign attached below has 'disappeared then reappeared' several times over that same interval. "Good gravy, man! That just proves that Lamont is on the right track!" bellowed the beaming Mayor with hardly concealed pride! "In the olden days, we couldn't have paid people to steal our signs! Now we darn near have to bolt the dern things down and chain up a Rottweiler to the cotton pickin' things to keep them from just walking off! This is a big day for us! We have finally arrived! Oh, who in their right mind would want to steal a sign from a town that is dead on its feet and destined for the municipal junk heap! Whew hoo! People want to steal from us at last!" he rambled jubilantly! "I just wish my poor mother was alive to see this glorious day!" he gushed!

Although the list of potential suspects, both foreign and domestic, is indeed quite long, initial speculation was, of course, cast on the most likely culprits - the Smithsonian Institution and the Guggenheim Museum - both collectors of global cultural icons (plus, the fact that the hole was filled in does indicate a level of professionalism and savvy that is outside the norm for these parts.) The next likely group of suspects includes any number of local types who hate to see the Town improve and saw the sign in the paper and are lashing out for those bygone days where junk collecting was a civic pastime and the most noted citizens were those with the biggest piles of scrap metal in their yards. (don't forget the packs of biting dogs!) Finally, the last suspect group includes visitors from another planet who want to bring back a prized and ultimately priceless trophy from all the worlds they visit - and the previous Lamont sign, although weathered and battered, certainly filled this bill and then some! (What alien emperor in his right mind would not what that Lamont sign hanging in his creepy imperial hall on some dark, forbidding planet with twice our gravity or adorning the bridge of his sinister battle cruiser or whatever as he floated around destroying innocent worlds just for the fun of it! I mean, come on!)

The town of Lamont, for their part, is already working on a new, improved sign and, knowing them and their work ethic, they should have it hanging up sometime before the next 100 year festival in the year 2110. (Editorial Note: Another possibility, however remote, is that some caring citizen removed the sign and is refurbishing it so that it looks great for the 100 year festival on June 19th! That is a distinct possibility, too, however remote!! No one bothered to tell the Town, however - although that is not unusual around here!)

Heroic (Although limited capacity!) Area Bladder Saves Town From Unnecessarily Large Monthly Water Bill

In a rare show of gallantry and civic-mindedness seldom seen from one of those unfortunate body parts that we would all just prefer not to think about in the first place, an area bladder was able to motivate its owner, Jethro Bodine, age 56, an area rancher, out of the deep confines of sleep for the 4th time in as many hours and somehow draw his attention to the fact that someone had left the sprinklers on in the park, although rain showers are indeed expected on Wednesday. "Well, there I was, dreaming that I had stumbled across a "Gunsmoke" lost episode marathon when I felt this all too familiar nagging sensation and had to get up and shuffle into the bathroom for about the millionth time that night" said the frustrated Jethro while gulping down coffee to remain even partially awake. "I mean, it is a plum miracle that I just don't collapse right here, for goodness sake - that is how long it has been since I got a good night's sleep! Oh, I have threatened that doggone thing about 100 times with those chilling words - 'what is good for the appendix can indeed be good for the bladder' (Jethro's unfortunate appendix was unceremoniously removed when he was only a 'wee lad' of 12 - although reasons for this bodily banishment are not in fact known. Blatant insubordination cannot be ruled out, however!), but I guess that is one internal organ that is not easily swayed by mere threats and intimidation, doggone it!" he said indignantly. "Anyway, as I tried to find that perfect balance between speed and a lack of jostling and sloshing on my now routine trip to the "Gents', I got a little carried away on the speed part and had to make a dramatic halt right in front of the window that looks out over the park. That is when I saw that those doggone sprinklers were left on again, pouring our tax dollars down the drain, for crying out loud. And I cannot help but feel that my bladder, in spite of all the abuse that I heap upon it (largely deserved, or so it would seem!), somehow orchestrated the whole darn thing out of some sort of misplaced sense of civic duty or environmental zeal or whatever! It kind of gave me the creeps, once I thought about it. Whoa, who is in charge here - me or some doggone internal organ that I can't even spell? I mean, come on! Anyway, although it was 3:30 in the morning, I quite naturally called that doggone Mayor and informed him of this little municipal oversight - although I left out the part about certain underachieving parts of my anatomy that have every chance of being possessed by the devil and/or that environmental 'do-gooder' Al Gore or whatever! So, I made that little sprinkler problem his problem - and that is how it should be!" he said smugly.

For his part, the Mayor was, at that exact instant, dreaming about re-instituting the death penalty at the municipal level (ironically, the parallels between the Mayor's dream and the doggone Spanish Inquisition were striking indeed! Whoa!) and was able, after turning off the water, to climb back into bed and fall back asleep within seconds, with no intervening trips to the restroom whatsoever, although he was directly exposed to that unsettling sound of running water and had to endure those rhythmic sprinkler noises that often send lesser men hopping on one leg to the nearest 'facilities' when exposed to those powerful late night stimuli to any degree.

Jun 12, 2010

Area Wife More Than A Little Outraged After Tipsy Area Rancher Enrolls Entire Herd In 'Saltlick Of The Month' Club

Yet another hapless victim was snared by one of those fast yet smooth talking English types who seem to fill the American airways during the 'wee hours' of the night - hawking largely unnecessary products to a meaning-starved America while dramatically setting car paint jobs on fire and cleaning away years of built up kitchen grease with just the gentlest of half-hearted swipes. A luckless area rancher, Bubba Festoon, age 42, became easy prey to these modern hucksters after deciding to open one beer too many just as the short in stature, slightly unpolished, machine-gun cadenced salesman from the British Isles came on the air with a glint in his eye and a warehouse full of exotic saltlicks from around the world - saltlicks that every cow in America now views as a bare minimum in accommodation on the modern American ranch. (Oh, have we all become that spoiled?) "My husband did what?!? Oh, just wait until I get my hands on that man!! But what about the kid's braces? (Oh please, don't skimp on those! Good gravy!) And what about my bi-weekly perm? How can we afford them all now?" bellowed Ethel Festoon, age 37, upon finding the largely illegible order confirmation number underneath a bag of decidedly diminished pork rinds (BBQ flavor, of course!) and the war wreckage of beer cans that seemed to stretch out like tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery on the now 'fly-paper sticky' coffee table that was a gift from her mother, of all people! "Oh, like mood music in the mating pens and those pedicure thingies (Hooficures?) for the less-confident heifers to make them feel more alluring to our decidedly worthless and underachieving bulls was not enough - but now this? Has the whole world gone mad?" she screeched, shattering glass several miles away at the Snopes' place. "What ever happened to us just turning the darn cows out in the pasture, watching endless re-runs of Gunsmoke when Oprah is not on and letting nature just take its course? But now those darn cows aren't happy unless they are partaking in kosher salt from Israel, Margarita salt from down Mexico way and even that cod-flavored salt from Nova Scotia or wherever it is that those darn people salt cod! Oh, this has gone too far now! This is the last straw, I say!! If I allow my husband to remain alive, and the issue is very much in doubt at this point, things are going to change around here!" she bellowed, having taken more than a little baby step into the parallel universe of insanity itself.

"Okay, okay! I had a beer or two, but that had nothing to do with my decision to give our herd a little variety in their otherwise mundane and largely event-less lives!" said the cringing Bubba Festoon while attempting to keep the kitchen table between himself and his highly motivated wife. "It is not like I bought those matching hats that go with each doggone saltlick - like those cute little cow sombreros from Mexico or those adorable yarmulkes from the Holy Land for kosher days! I saved us a fortune, and let me tell you, those cows are going to be darn disappointed when they find out! Every other rancher in the whole dern Palouse ordered those little cow hats - and our herd is going to feel so cheated! Its like buying a kid a bike that doesn't have any tires! We have a sacred responsibility to give our cattle the most meaningful lives we can possibly afford - at least until we quite brusquely load them into cramped cattle trucks and ship them down to that meat processing plant in Oregon! (Oh, and they are told they are going 'economy class' to Cow Disneyland! How cruel is that? Just think of their disappointment!) "My wife was always the excitable type. Believe me, she will forget about this in no time - especially if I offer (once again!) to take her to Dollywood (every rancher's dream vacation!) for that long overdue honeymoon that we never got around to 20+ years ago. Women are suckers for a promise of a delayed honeymoon! It works every time!" he chuckled confidently before being bludgeoned senseless by a woman less than half his size.

Jun 10, 2010

Entire Town Agrees On Something For First Time In 100 Years! (Except maybe the chickens!)

In a rare moment of unity and integrated decision-making not seen since they were just a gleam in the State Legislature's eye, the struggling yet decidedly scrappy Town of Lamont unanimously agreed on the most effective advertising format for their upcoming '100 Year Festival' being held on June 19th. This communication mechanism integrates several resources that the Town has in some abundance - the common chicken (known locally as a 'yard bird'!) and that decidedly modern and new-fangled invention - the Post-It-Note. "Well, although there were, as usual, any number of lame-brained communication ideas and outrageous boondoggles that just seem to spring up from this Town like mushrooms in an over-grazed cattle pasture after an unusually heavy spring rain, yet the entire Town seemed to genuinely (pronounced 'Gen-U-wine-ly') rally around the only sane and workable advertising proposal that makes the most sense in the 2nd smallest Town in the State - given who we are and all. Attaching those ultra-modern 'Post-It Notes' to the Town's chickens just seems to make good sense given our desired festival attendance demographic and when factoring in the overall town context and all, I guess" said the largely incoherent and potentially intoxicated Elmer Festoon, age 56, an area farmer/rancher. "I mean, mankind spends so much of its time trying to control every dern thing - making sure there is all that 'return-on-investment' nonsense and all of that. Come on, what a waste! Whatever happened to enjoying the very randomness of life, anyway? And if you think about it, do we really want anyone at our doggone festival who won't take the time to read a dadburn note of importance off the back of a fast moving, frantically scurrying, loudly squawking, decidedly panicked chicken? We have to have some standards around here, don't we?" he said with that classic Lamont bravado and panache that all of northwest Whitman County has so grown to love. Let all them 'big city' people come up with their 'big city' methodologies of communicating (pronounced 'comm-UU-nicat'n), but just know that in Lamont we enjoy the old ways - the ways that made this country great!" (and that don't require that much work!) he rambled with more than a glint of madness in his wildly furtive eyes.

"Well, I was sick that day so I didn't get to put in my two cents, but after it was explained to me and all I have to admit that I can see the wisdom of the whole concept, especially if we have several really windy days between now and the festival which can increase chicken dispersion by almost 50%" said the previously skeptical Mayor with the unwavering fanaticism of a recent convert. "Sure, there is a certain segment of the American population that is too high and mighty to communicate via chickens - the ones who much prefer Blackberries and cell phones and all of those other unrepentant tools of the devil, but before Lamont was finally forced by the doggone 'Big Brother' State of Washington to accept that doggone fancy-pants telephone system in 1976, (they had an actual 'party line' until well into the 1990's!) we communicated just fine via those largely under appreciated yet hard working chickens. They have many advantages over that overly hyped and thus largely suspect 'carrier pigeon' craze that was so popular for a while. I mean, have you ever tried to serve the preacher 'fried pigeon' on Sunday afternoon after church? It just ain't done! Why have anything around that you can't eat in a pinch, I say!" he stammered indignantly. "And if a person views themselves as being above chasing down a terrified member of the poultry family in order to keep abreast of the 'goings on' in the Town, then maybe they ain't worth talking to in the first place. Did you ever think of that?" he asked indignantly, assuming that now all too familiar look of madness that seems to be more the norm rather than the exception in Lamont these days.

Jun 8, 2010

Century West Engineering Still Effectively Helping Lamont In Spite Of Lamont

The largely scatological and decidedly annoying Town of Lamont breathed a collective sigh of relief after realizing, once again, that Century West Engineering, the Town's outrageously awesome engineering firm, is still 'in the trenches' on behalf of the Town, in spite of the fact that they have years of actual experience under their belt in working directly with the 2nd smallest Town in the State. Century West, based out of Spokane, demonstrates an almost super-human 'pain tolerance' and just continues to slog away, regardless of whatever tomfoolery and/or nonsensical conundrums the Town gets itself into. "Good gravy, man! What staying power! What gumption! What sheer grit in the face of overwhelming backwardness and indecision!" shouted the jubilant Mayor with his arms stretched towards the Heavens. "Oh, regardless of whatever inadvertent craziness and lack of resolve we throw their way, they are still there - logical, solid, staid and effective, for crying out loud! I mean, Lamont is the sort of Town that could goof up a soup sandwich, but in spite of all that history Century West has not washed their hands of us and/or challenged us to some sort of medieval duel to reclaim their lost honor or whatever - but instead they cheerfully answer our calls, (and return them!), seem incredibly friendly and helpful, and just continue to work for the betterment of the Town, in spite of every informal rule of social justice and fair play ever known!! Its all very confusing, if you ask me!" he gushed.

The Town of Lamont, somehow still barely clutching onto the mantel of a "representative democracy' (with white knuckles!) in spite of their lack of size and a complete and total lack of demonstrated municipal management talent, does, by its very nature, run counter to the efficient, orderly, concise and results oriented cultural ethos of engineering firms in general and Century West in particular, thus drawing a stark contextual delineation between the two organizations that could not, in fact, be more dramatic, if you think about it. "Oh, all one has to do is look at our library project. I mean, we have been all over the map with them, seemingly coming up with a new idea every day! But do you think that they have turned their back on us or even attempted to run us down with their car? NOOO! They just continue to glue the broken cookie jar back together over and over. I just don't know how they do it!" he said philosophically. "Why every town in the whole dern country doesn't hire them I will never know - but that may be a good thing. That leaves more of their obviously abundant understanding and patience for us, I guess" he said humbly - demonstrating his annoying habit for shameless self-serving that seems to be a hallmark of the Palouse, or so it would seem!

Jun 5, 2010

Town Recoils In Stunned Disbelief Upon Learning That Mayor Is Not, In Fact, An Only Child

The humble yet decidedly high-strung Town of Lamont suffered yet another blow to its already battered municipal psyche when word leaked out that their doggone Mayor was not, in fact, the last (or preferably the only!) one of his decidedly questionable bloodline and/or the product of some shady and largely ill-conceived adoption where his lineage was not traceable and thus hopefully beyond identification. This unsettling news became widely known after the town's penultimate busybody and renowned 'nose bag', Erma Snopes, age 63, found the Mayor's front door open and decided to explore his temporarily unoccupied abode and found an incriminating family picture in his printer tray, insiders report. "Well, there I was, minding my own business when the next thing I knew I was rifling thru the Mayor's sock drawer and rummaging thru his clothes closet, just to make sure that he was okay and all" said the ever-present Erma while attempting to eavesdrop on a muted phone conversation coming from next door. "Anyway, after spending several minutes in a frantic dash to explore as many places as possible before the Mayor came home and immediately called the ever-efficient Sheriff, I inadvertently ended up in his computer room and that is when my eyes naturally gravitated to his printer tray. Oh, I could not believe my eyes! We just always assumed that he was an only child since - well - it just wouldn't be natural otherwise. Nature normally don't allow those sort of things, if you know what I mean! (Yes, hope does spring eternal, but it is often wrong!!) Will we as a nation ever be free of that clan and their insidious, big city ways?" she stammered while clutching her tattered apron to her largely bloodless lips. "One of them people is certainly enough - but a whole doggone brood! And they are all ages, too! (Sadly, Hilary, a niece, was tasked with taking the picture since she is the only one in the clan/brood with half a lick of sense as far as technology goes - thus rendering the photographic depiction more unsettling than would have indeed been the case were she included!) How much is one town expected to take? What previous sins are we paying for now?" she bellowed with genuine guilt and vexation. "Oh, how can this country be expected to survive with those people spread out across this great land, sowing discord and confusion wherever they go? Who would have guessed that this was not a local but a national dilemma?" she moaned resignedly.

"Oh, that is all we need - more of 'them people'!" said Festus Festoon, 63, a local farmer/rancher. "I mean, this is a big world and all so one has to expect a certain variety of people to pop up from time to time, but we always just assumed that we were singled out for 'special consideration' when the whole dern Town was too lazy and apathetic to apply for the open Mayor position and that interloper came trotting in with all of his big city ways and his fancy airs and all of that! Oh, I know we deserve to be punished for our past transgressions and all - but somehow it was more comforting to think that this was just a local scourge and not an affliction with national and potentially international implications!" he stammered. "I mean, ain't one of them enough? And what are the chances of more than one of them successfully making it out of the cradle alive, anyway? (well, that is indeed a statistical improbability, come to think of it! Maybe he has a point!) Somehow the whole thing is more than a little disconcerting, for crying out loud! And to top it all off, between the whole dern mess of 'em they don't even own a single cow! That's just unnatural, if you ask me!" said the broken, dispirited man. "I guess I have no choice but to barricade myself in my house, batten down the hatches and just drink myself into insensibility" he said gravely, falling back on the one tried and true 'coping mechanism' that he successfully employs for just about any situation that life throws his way.

Jun 4, 2010

Shock Study: 76% Of Area Ranchers Are Deathly Afraid Of Iconic Yet Culturally Bizarre 'Rodeo Clowns'

In a shocking parallel to the number of normal (non-rancher) citizens that are deathly afraid of normal (non-rodeo) clowns, a recent study unearthed some uncomfortable truths about the rancher community in the Palouse - namely, that nothing is more frightening to them than the somewhat whimsical and amazingly fleet-footed 'rodeo clowns' that make up such a large portion of the fantasy life of young, future, wannabe ranchers during their fragile formative years. "Oh, I would much rather be caught stark naked in a stampede of boiling rattlesnakes than come face to face with a dern rodeo clown in the dead of night!" said Buster 'Bronco' Bodine, age 32, an area rancher who sports a mustache as large as a dadburn woodchuck! "Just the thought of those little guys with their beady little eyes and tiny little feet scurrying under my bed before hiding behind that large, colorful rodeo barrel I have in my room to set stuff on really gives me the shivers! Oh, and that high-pitched cackling! The very thought overwhelms me!" he shuddered. "Why in the heck do you think I don't drink fluids after 6:00 PM, for crying out loud? The last thing I ever want to happen is to have to get out of bed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and have one of those horrid abominations grab hold of my 'Little Joe' pajamas as I scurry into the bathroom! Are you nuts! I would rather hold it until the end of time rather than expose myself to the worst nightmare ever created by man! And I ain't alone, neither! Everyone I know who has cattle has a healthy fear bordering on raving lunacy for those gnome-like monstrosities that look like cowboys but are in fact something much more sinister and macabre! Why do you think everyone at a rodeo has their eyes shut when the colorful little beasts come running out trying to distract the bull from goring some hapless, prone cowboy! We are praying that the bull, for once, finally succeeds in running down the horrid little nightmares with their brightly painted faces and their little, continually churning legs!! (Don't forget the brightly colored cowboy hats! Now that is just wrong!) Oh, why are bulls so slow and stupid?" he rambled insanely. "Those little clowns have the luck of the devil, that is all there is to it!" he concluded before ducking back under the covers for another restless night. (Yes, and his bedspread has a life-sized picture of Marshall Dillon of 'Gunsmoke' fame on it, too! And, come to think of it, his wife is indeed called 'Miss Kitty - although that may be a coincidence! It would have to be. One would hope. Wait.. Aren't his dogs named 'Festus' and 'Hoss'? Anyway, let's move on! Some things are better left unexplored! This stupid story is about rodeo clowns, for Pete's sake!)

Jun 3, 2010

Mayor's Cat Steals Show At Lamont's Big Chance For Largely Undeserved Regional Recognition (Sadly, this is indeed a true story!)

The lowly yet largely misunderstood Town of Lamont, well known across all of far Northwest Whitman County as "that Town without a store', had a rare opportunity for recognition and publicity that had nothing to do with the newspaper's 'Police Blotter' when an amazingly sharp team of reporter/photographer types somehow managed to stumble across the Town in order to do a story on Lamont's 100 Year Festival on June 19th - a festival that highlights the Great State of Washington's extreme tolerance and understanding when it comes to allowing outrageously small and disorganized towns to remain duly incorporated entities sanctioned by the State - in spite of their own better judgment and decades of actual experience, for crying out loud! (Oh, thank goodness for their generosity and patience!) The cat, quite appropriately named 'Hellcat 2000', never the brightest one in the litter, somehow managed to climb an enormous tree but was too doggone stupid to climb back down and was officially reported missing for almost 48 hours, insiders report. "That stupid cat!" bellowed the Mayor while rethinking that whole "I am not a dog person!" thing. "The one chance Lamont has to make the quite excellent "Spokesman Review" and that doggone cat has to become some outrageous attention hog, meowing until the entire dern neighborhood became aware of the whole sordid saga! Of course, I was so relieved and giddy that the underachieving feline had not become a snack for some marauding and/or wily predator that it almost blunted my natural frustration at having our long awaited media interview overshadowed by a clumsy and 'painful to watch' yet ultimately successful rescue attempt!" he fumed with no small measure of genuine relief. "Oh, that's just great! I just know that my big butt is going to be splashed all over the paper as I quite shakily climbed that doggone ladder that seemed to reach to the very Heavens themselves! (What a wimp! Talk about a 'fraidy-cat' when it comes to heights! Oh, that was so embarrassing for the whole dern Town!) But on a happy note, at least the readers will be able to see the side of me that the citizenry has become so familiar with, for Pete's sake!" he mused. (Sadly, that is indeed his better side!)

The cat, although largely dismissive and seemingly ungrateful for the death defying and decidedly haphazard rescue, expressed his barely recognizable pleasure at his new-found freedom by just sauntering into the Mayor's front yard, digging a small hole, and relieving himself for what seemed like 45 minutes before gingerly entering the house to grab a quick snack. The Mayor, for his part, was reduced to a quivering mass of human jelly after his quite unnatural fear of heights kicked in several minutes after the somewhat graceless rescue attempt was achieved and retired to his room with an ice pack on his forehead. The Town, never a beehive of activity at the best of times, has largely returned to its sleepy, well-ordered repose after the most exciting 45 minutes in the last 25 years recedes into that 'Hall of Memories' that any small town reserves for such momentous occasions.