Montana

Elk, Yellostone National Park

While Yellowstone is posting record numbers of visitors this year, National Parks as a whole have seen attendance slide in recent years.

In hopes of reversing the trend and re-introducing folks to our wonderful public lands heritage, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced back in June that the Department would waive entrance fees nationwide to all parks on three prime summer weekends. This is no small offer as park entrance fees have really climbed in past years. Nearby Yellowstone sits at $25 for entrance (that does give in and out privileges for 7 days).

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If we have learned anything from the past year, we should have learned that we are plagued by a kind of dark age, an age of ignorance, an age of economic illiteracy…

We rely on the priests and the prophets who have unmediated access to the gods of commerce. They translate the dense, opaque, confusing world to the rest of us. And they wield enormous power. They are often referred to in otherworldly, nearly priestly terms. Warren Buffet is interchangeably the “Sage of Omaha” and the “Oracle of Omaha.”

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Science has a way of creeping up on you. It’s sneaky—like classical music can be sneaky. One day you’re thrashing to the Ramones and Nine Inch Nails and the next you find yourself in tears in the middle of your living room because you just heard Lazlo Varga play a cello in ways you never thought possible and the strings’ vibrations reached out and bent you into a kind of fetal position of perverse ecstasy.

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When we were kids growing up in the Bible Belt, my mother used to threaten to wash our mouths out with soap if we told dirty jokes. Like a lot of kids in that era, in that place, my older brother and I used to try and juke her out by using off-color biblical references that involved the hint of slightly naughty words.

my brother: “Hey punk, who was the the most flexible man in the Bible?”

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Two Rivers Detention Facility, Hardin MT (photo courtesy city of Hardin)

Al-Jazeera? Yes, that network. The local news gave it all the shock-value of an invasion of the Taliban. In reality, the crew was two white dudes — one from D.C., one from Canada. It looked more like the invasion of the Nordic News Network. Not since Dick Cheney and his fishing guide swooped down in a Blackhawk helicopter to fish the nearby Bighorn have two white dudes garnered so much attention in Hardin.

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Congressman Denny Rehberg (Montana’s sole Representative) is making much of his “cutting-edge” social networking props, including Twitter and Facebook. How is this man supposed to be in any kind of realistic command of our state’s representation while he is still mired this deeply in his own infancy?

Is he so lost in his own navel-gazing delusions that he believes snarky and petulant comments pass as leadership?

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He wasn’t very large by bull moose standards, with a fairly small set of antlers. He didn’t look healthy in fact. He was standing ankle-deep in the river, watching us, not moving, almost unsteady on his legs. Something about the way he was standing didn’t seem “right.” Of all the animals I do not want to tangle with, a bull moose, particularly a sick one, ranks near the top.

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