Thursday, January 29, 2009
The program will be streamed live over the Internet.
Eric Hansen is on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin/Green Bay. He will perform with the UW-Green Bay music faculty on the weekly show, "Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen" (a museum in Madison, Wis.).
The program will be available from this Web page: http://www.wpr.org/webcasting/live.cfm. Click one of the streaming links under the "WPR's Classical Music Network" heading to start listening.
Val Geissler, a South Fork resident, put his poetry and acting skills on full display last Saturday night. Geissler recited Robert Service's classic, "The Cremation of Sam McGee" as a part of the Cowboy Poetry and Music Winter Camp at the Park County Fairgrounds.
With some help from his audience, he gave quite a retelling of Mr. McGee's tragic tale,
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
It seems that days so cold that there are ice crystals in the air are "dog days" too. Sun dogs -- scientifically known as parhelia -- are rainbow-colored spots of light formed when sunlight is refracted through large ice crystals in the air. The dogs appear about 22 degrees on either side of the sun, at the same elevation in the sky.
Since sun dogs show up best when the sun is low in the sky, they had faded by mid-morning, but not before they were photographed by people all over town. Many chose to share their photos with us, and we've printed several of them in Thursday's paper. I snapped this one in front of the grain elevator.
Editors's addendum: Here's another dog, spotted on the Powell blog, View from the Hills.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Let the photographic record show that Felix is also very good at posing.
Recycling Manager Mary Jo Decker said the cat wandered in one day and was immediately loved by all - even the macho dudes at the recycling center.
However, Felix's work is only part-time: he gets banished to the office whenever the heavy equipment is in operation.
Less frivolous information on recycling is in tomorrow's paper.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Early on in her successful congressional campaign, Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) questioned whether her Democratic opponent, Gary Trauner, had Wyoming's rural values fully integrated into his psyche and soul.
One has to wonder if Lummis has Wyoming fully integrated into her vocabulary.
On her congressional Web page, she offers various services for the citizens of her fair state - you know, us "Wyomians."
"Wyomians can request to receive a greeting from the President of the United States," reads her 'Services' page (screenshot).Three times the page uses the incorrect demonym for us Wyoming folk. As Senator Mike Enzi, Uncle Sam's style guide and most folks around these parts know, we Equality Staters are officially, "Wyomingites."
In fairness, it's more than likely that getting a perfect Web site up and running is simply low on the Washington newcomer's list of priorities.
After all, Rep. Lummis' front page reads, "Welcome to the Virtual Office of Wyoming," which, if you think about it, doesn't really make any sense.
But that's OK. In my book, better to have a dysfunctional Web site than a dysfunctional congresswoman.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Apparently, door-to-door Kirby Vacuum salesmen have been traveling through the Big Horn Basin over past months using a bizarre method to get their foot in the door.
They were apparently in Cody this past summer, in Cowley in November, and tried unsuccessfully to hit-up Powell last month. Two vacuum salesfellows were issued misdemeanor citations here, Dec. 14.
My step-brother-in-law, Hauns Schnackenberg of Cody, had a salesman try the routine this summer. He recently recounted the strange presentation.
Hauns recalls answering a knock at the door around 9 p.m. one night. A windowless van was parked in front of his house, and a young man was standing on the doorstep, holding a beat-up box of generic baking soda.
"You want some baking soda?" the guy asked.
Hauns was a bit confounded. "If I had been on my toes, I would have said, 'Yeah, I just ordered this,'" but instead, "I was like, 'I don't know. I guess? Whatever.'"
That was a mistake.
"I took the baking soda, and the next thing I know, he was sprinting to his van," Hauns recalls. "And he came back with a big box."
The entryway entrepreneur quickly began pulling parts from the box, rapidly assembling something as methodically as an Army Ranger putting together a rifle. Hauns asked what he was doing.
"Oh, just a minute, I'll have it put together - you'll see," said the assembling young man.
It quickly became apparent that the ware in question was a vacuum cleaner.
"When I saw what it was, I was like, 'Aw, no!" Hauns said.
It took a concerted effort, but Hauns was eventually able to convince the salesman that he was not going to buy a vacuum. The seller headed for the exit, and, perhaps predictably, "on his way out, he takes the baking soda back," Hauns said.
The obvious question in the whole thing, is why anyone would use free baking soda as a way to get into someone's home. Kirby sellers elsewhere have used promises of complimentary carpet cleaning - using baking soda to demonstrate the device's suckiness (one example). But using the soda as the bait seems a bit off.
"I think the reason is it's so baffling to people," Hauns said. "It catches them off guard."
In December, in what appears to have been a similar presentation format, a pair of Casper vacuum pitchmen were cited by Powell Police for violating the city's Green River ordinance (yes, named after that Green River).
Basically, Powell's ordinance requires that door-to-door salesfolk - or "transient merchants" - get a $35 city permit approved by the Chief of Police before peddling their wares in town. Additionally, it's illegal to knock on someone's door for commercial purposes unless you've been invited to do so. You can read the the City Code here (PDF). The relevant section starts at 5.28.010.
The two Casper gents had been warned to stop the day before, but continued anyway, said Police Chief Tim Feathers. The offense carries up to a $750 fine. They were ultimately fined $60 in municipal court, Jan. 7.
Last spring, as part of a series on the U.S. and the West, Oxford Film and Television of London videoed the Powell area and a few locals (see May 13, 2008 Powell Tribune article).
The film, titled “The American Future,” will air Jan. 19 and 20 in two episodes each day.
Here's a synopsis of the documentary from the BBC site:
Shot against the backdrop of the recent US Presidential election, historian Simon Schama reveals how voters, anxious about a shaky prosperity and an on-going war, have become disillusioned with their government in numbers that haven’t been seen since Watergate.The film crew appeared to enjoy their experience here and passed their appreciation to Shoshone Irrigation District Manager Bryant Startin and company for their help.
Schama takes a look at four of the critical issues facing the country: war, religious or moral fervor, immigration, and the relationship between the expectations of prosperity and the reality of economic and environmental limits.
“We really can’t make these films without people giving us great stories and wonderful locations,” said Oxford Film and Television in a letter to the District.
Startin said he hopes the documentary will help people realize the importance of water and irrigation in the West.
BBC America is on Direct TV channel 264; Dish Network, channels 135 or 879; Bresnan, channel 162 and TCT West, channel 72.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This week, a gal from Cody rolled her Ford Explorer over a guardrail after sliding in slush. It was a bad wreck.
Fortunately, the driver was released from the hospital the same day.
Her car was wheels-up - like a turtle with a smashed shell kicking the sky. Rather than employing jacks or winch trucks to right the very-wronged rig, the boys simply flipped it over by hand.
The firefighters are an awesome bunch, responding to scenes of devastation and often saving the day.
I would encourage joining the fire department, but make sure you have a strong stomach and are cool under pressure. It is no job for namby-pambies. Often, their job is downright grim - not to mention stressful - at highway accidents.
If fighting fires or lending a hand at grisly car wrecks is not your cup of tea, try volunteering with civic groups or other meaningful community organizations.
Volunteering can be a pain in the posterior. It is often time-consuming and you don’t get paid a darned thing. The unparalleled bonus, however, is the warm feeling of serving your community and making it a better place to live for all.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
On Jan. 1, Christopher C. Sanders posted a YouTube video and web announcement warning everyone within a 200-mile radius of Yellowstone's volcanic caldera to evacuate, and used a USGS logo to do so. He was apparently spooked by the large number of small Yellowstone earthquakes in recent days.
The only problem? The USGS has seen no data suggesting a supervolcanic eruption is on the way and is/was not issuing any sort of warning.
(For those of you busting out Google Maps right now, Powell's definitely included in the 200-mile range.)
Sanders, who claims to be a natural gas operator based in California, dubbed himself a geologist, put the USGS logo on a Web page, and told folks to pack their bags under the header "Yellowstone National Park - State of Emergency."
On Wednesday, the USGS issued a news release denouncing the warning, and said they were taking legal action to have the logo and evacuation notice removed.
I was blown away by the audacity of the whole thing, so I had sent out an email to Sanders last Friday, and got this response early Saturday morning (Jan. 3). I was saving the comments for a column-in-progress about the whole situation, but with Internet buzz now focusing on the guy and him being apparently unreachable now, it seems appropriate to share his email in its entirety.
My only edits to his reply were some formatting tweaks to make it easier to read. Typos are his. My questions are in bold.
1. Is your evacuation warning serious, or are you just pulling off a prank?
C.J. Baker - I am serious. I think it safe to stay away while the earthquakes are showing movement. I have been right predict many disasters over the last decade in California.
2. Why a 200 mile radius as opposed to the 600 mile radius scientists have predicted would be devastated?
based on seismology and the results I have given a radius of 200 - 300 miles. I am looking at the data.
3. Why should folks believe your advice over that of government officials and more established geologists?
- Government officials will listen when they know that one of their BLM officials is speaking out. My wells produce 17% percent of the nations natural gas in the Barnett shale in Texas, New Mexico, and the Bakken Shale in Montana.
I am a federal operator with the BLM / bureau of land management and am the S&P's highest paid consultant for natural gas in the United States. No one is more established than I am underground. I feel as though I am the most established geologist as my drilling record speaks for itself and who else is paying attention to the movement? People should know the facts and get moving and aware. Its also good advice for news and media in the area to monitor all movement for the sake of what is real news.
For to die in a volcano cloud like Mt. Saint Helen's - did you see what that did? Well we have the same exact signs here. Only this is a bigger volcano.
4. Why brand your web page with a USGS logo? Couldn't that mislead people into thinking you're an official USGS scientist? Is that the intent?
I am a scientist. The web page is posting direct facts about what is happening under the ground. I am showing where it is coming from. I want people to know where these facts that are coming from our own government - that is the point.
I produce Oil & Gas on BLM lands - I operate federal leases and I have for the last three administrations. I also will be continuing me services for the BLM with Obama. Who else should tell the people? Why is anyone else not telling the people? Perhaps Christmas and the New Year has taken everyone's attention away from the earth and mosy people do not live in your area.
Why is it not news? Why is hurricane Ike not news? We only have about 5 cities devastated around Galveston Texas leaving over 500,000 people without homes - that is not news either. No our banking industry and what we are doing with that money has taken the limelight versus our own safety.
This is official information in everyway. I would rather be wrong than have the death of countless people on my conscious. If I am right everyone in the area could die - If I am wrong - I am only wrong for an amount of time. I am merely suggesting to pay attention and to leave the area while we have underground activity. - and yes to the USGS.gov and to my site for updates.
The email was signed:
The Gas Company
7510 Sunset Blvd. Suite #1073
Los Angeles, CA 90046
NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION
PLANT A TREE TODAY!
WORLD WIDE WATER PLAN
We'll have more on this as things develop.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
You may recall that in Tuesday's Tribune, we ran a photo of the two commissioners getting sworn-in on Dec. 30. Here it is (from l-r: Judge Steven Cranfill, Hall, and Burke):Turns out, it didn't count.
Back on Nov. 4, in addition to electing Burke and Hall to the commission seats, voters also approved Amendment A, which shortened and modernized the oath of office taken by elected officials. Last week, Burke and Hall were mistakenly asked to recite the old pledge.
The situation was rectified yesterday over lunch break in District Court Judge Steven Cranfill's chambers. Both commissioners swore to the new oath and signed off, making things officially official, even though their dress was bit less formal.Burke and Hall had already conducted a morning's-worth of business, but Judge Cranfill said he didn't believe there were any legal issues. He quipped that the commissioners were now "doubly sworn in."