Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Happiest Hour: A Ghoul-Aid Concoction

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 2:00 PM

  • photo by Derek Brouwer
What you’re drinking: An improvised cocktail by Plonk bartender Eric Simmons that incorporates a spooky kids' drink.

What’s that? Plonk, like a surprising number of Missoula bars, doesn’t mix special Halloween-themed drinks. But give Simmons a pouch of Scary Berry Kool-Aid, and he’s happy to whip up a drink fit for the holiday—and simple enough to make at your Halloween party.

What’s in it: The special ingredient in this bartender challenge is Kool-Aid’s Halloween juice pouch, known as a Ghoul-Aid Jammer (it’s similar to Capri Sun.) Simmons starts by poking the Kool-Aid straw out of its wrapper, stabbing it into the metallic pouch and pouring it into a highball glass. He sniffs the blue liquid as if it were whiskey, studying the color and flavor. Mellow, he says. A moment later, inspiration strikes.

How to make it: Simmons reaches for a bottle of cachaca, which he explains is a distilled Brazilian spirit made from sugarcane juice. The brand Plonk carries, Leblon, is available at local liquor stores. He blends an ounce of cachaca with 1.5 oz. of Ghoul-Aid, then adds a half-ounce of simple syrup and the juice from half of a lime. Simmons stirs the concoction, then serves it up. He smiles after his first sip.

What it’s called:
Simmons suggests garnishing the cocktail with a small plastic spider. But don’t ask him to name it—he’ll get spooked.

Where to find it: Simmons tends bar and invents cocktails at Plonk, 322 N. Higgins Ave. Pick up a 10-pack of Ghoul-Aid at local stores (Target sells them for $1.79).

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email

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John Hoyt's name removed from Wash-Griz Stadium

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 10:14 AM

The namesake of a late University of Montana athletics booster was quietly scrubbed from Washington-Grizzly Stadium over the summer in what a former athletic director calls a “breach of donor trust” that threatens to damage the university’s future fundraising ability.

Since 2001, the stadium playing surface has been named John Hoyt Field as part of an agreement with an anonymous donor whose $1 million gift enabled UM to first install artificial turf. At the time, it was the largest cash gift ever to UM athletics.

Hoyt himself was a major donor to UM athletics, having given $650,000 in 2000 to what is now the John C. Hoyt Athletic Complex. He died shortly before the turf gift was made in his honor.

Director of Athletics Kent Haslam says he ordered staff to remove the maroon Hoyt Field signage—bolted to concrete walls in each end zone—in conjunction with a turf replacement project completed in August. The occasion seemed appropriate, Haslam says, since the donor-funded turf no longer exists. He adds that the removal did not violate the terms of the 2001 donor agreement, which made no mention of the name remaining in perpetuity.

Former UM athletics directors, however, say the move isn’t in the spirit of the initial agreement, and one suggested the university is playing politics to appease another, larger donor.
UM officials removed signs honoring John Hoyt from Washington-Grizzly Stadium over the summer as crews installed new artificial turf. The playing surface has been named in Hoyt's honor since 2001 at the request of a then-anonymous donor. - PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER
  • Photo by Chad Harder
  • UM officials removed signs honoring John Hoyt from Washington-Grizzly Stadium over the summer as crews installed new artificial turf. The playing surface has been named in Hoyt's honor since 2001 at the request of a then-anonymous donor.

“Unless the UM Foundation can produce different paperwork from what was promised under the original agreement, I believe this is a breach of donor trust and will definitely damage the reputation of the UM Foundation, the University of Montana and UM Athletics,” Jim O’Day wrote in an email to Montana University System leaders earlier this month.

O’Day worked for the Grizzly Athletic Association and UM Foundation at the time of the 2001 turf gift. He later worked as athletics director from 2005 until 2012, when he was fired amid scrutiny of how the university handled sexual assault allegations involving athletes.

The AD who orchestrated the gift, Wayne Hogan, tells the Indy that he and the donor didn’t stipulate the duration of the naming rights because the agreement was implicit. “I just didn’t think it needed to be said, and I don’t think he felt the need for that commitment,” Hogan says.

Hogan identified the anonymous donor as Billings attorney Cliff Edwards. Edwards could not be reached for comment because he is out of the office until November.

O’Day, in his email to the regents, suggested that Hoyt’s name was removed as a condition of the Washington Foundation’s recent $7 million donation to fund construction of the Washington Grizzlies Champions Center. O’Day declined to comment on his allegation but acknowledges that he does not have direct knowledge of the Champions Center donor agreement.

UM officials would not comment on O’Day’s claim, and the UM Foundation rejected the Indy's request for a copy of the Champions Center donor agreement. A Montana University System spokesperson says Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian was briefed on the naming rights situation and believes the university is managing it appropriately. The spokesperson adds that O’Day is the only person to raise concerns about the issue to state officials.

Erasing Hoyt’s name from the field could give UM athletics another option as it looks for new fundraising opportunities. Haslam says that while the original gift was a “game changer” for the program, the most sustainable funding stream would be an endowment whose proceeds could be used to replace the turf as needed.

Haslam says he contacted the donors before the signs were taken down and that UM is now looking for a permanent way to honor the 2001 gift.

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I invite you to fantasize about what your four great-grandmothers and four great-grandfathers may have been doing on November 1, 1930. What? You have no idea how to begin? You don’t even know their names? If that’s the case, I hope you’ll remedy your ignorance. Your ability to create the future you want requires you to learn more about where and whom you came from. Halloween costume suggestion: your most interesting ancestor.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): At any one time, over two million frozen human embryos are stored in tissue banks throughout Europe and North America. When the time is right, their owners retrieve them and bring them to term. That’s the first scenario I invite you to use as a metaphor for your life in the coming weeks. Here’s a second scenario: Scotch whisky is a potent mind-altering substance. Any particular batch must mature for at least three years, and may be distilled numerous times. There are currently 20 million barrels of the stuff mellowing in Scottish warehouses. And what do these two scenarios have to do with you? It’s time to tap into resources that you’ve been saving in reserve—that haven’t been ripe or ready until now. Halloween costume suggestions: a woman who’s nine months pregnant, a blooming rose or sunflower, ripe fruit.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): To create a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, a winemaker needs about 700 grapes. Compare this process with rain-making. When water vapor that’s high in the sky becomes dense enough, it condenses into tiny pearls of liquid called cloud droplets. If the humidity rises even further, a million of these babies might band together to form a single raindrop that falls to earth. And what does this have to do with your life? I suspect that in the coming weeks, you will have both an affinity and a skill for processes that resemble wine-making and rain-making. You’ll need a lot of raw material and energetic effort to produce a relatively small marvel—but that’s exactly as it should be. Halloween costume suggestion: a raindrop or bottle of wine.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Some Brazilians eat the heads of piranhas in the belief they’re aphrodisiacs. In Zimbabwe, women may make strategic use of baboon urine to enhance their allure. The scientific name for Colombia’s leaf-cutter ant is hormiga culona, translated as “fat-assed ant.” Ingesting the roasted bodies of these critters is thought to boost sexual desire. Since you’re in a phase when tapping into your deepest erotic longings will be healthy and educational, you may want to adopt elements of the aforementioned love drugs to create your Halloween costume. Here are other exotic aphrodisiacs from around the world that you might be inspired by: asparagus, green M&Ms, raw oysters, wild orchids, horny goat weed.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Do you know how to repair a broken zipper or patch a hole in your bicycle tire? Are you familiar with the art of caulking a bathtub or creating a successful budget? Can you compose a graceful thank-you note, cook a hearty soup from scratch or overcome your pride so as to reconcile with an ally after an argument? These are the kinds of tasks I trust you will focus on in the coming weeks. It’s time to be very practical and concrete. Halloween costume suggestion: Mr. or Ms. Fix-It.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In the film Terminator 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger played a benevolent android who traveled here from the future. As a strong, silent action hero, he didn’t need to say much. In fact, he earned $30,000 for every word he uttered. I’m hoping your speech will pack a comparable punch in the coming days. My reading of the astrological omens suggests that your persuasiveness should be at a peak. You’ll have an exceptional ability to say what you mean and mean what you say. Use this superpower with flair and precision! Halloween costume suggestion: ancient Greek orator Demosthenes, Martin Luther King Jr., Virginia Woolf, Sojourner Truth, rapper MC Lyte, Winston Churchill.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It’s the prosperity-building phase of your cycle. Let’s celebrate! Let’s brainstorm! Are there rituals you can create to stimulate the financial lobes of your imagination, thereby expediting your cash flow? Here are a few ideas: 1. Glue a photo of yourself on a $20 bill. 2. Make a wealth shrine in your home. Stock it with symbols of specific thrills you can buy for yourself when you have more money. 3. Halloween costume suggestions: a giant bar of gold, a banker carrying a briefcase full of big bills, Tony Stark, Lady Mary Crawley, Jay Gatsby, Lara Croft, the Yoruban wealth goddess Ajé.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): During this Halloween season, you have cosmic permission to be a bigger, bolder and extra beguiling version of yourself. I trust you will express your deep beauty with precise brilliance and imagine your future with superb panache and wander wherever the hell you feel like wandering. It’s time to be stronger than your fears and wilder than your trivial sins. Halloween costume suggestion: the superhero version of yourself.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I won’t offer you the cliché “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Instead, I’ll provide alternatives. How about this, from the video game “Portal 2”: “When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! Say, ‘I don’t want your damn lemons!’” Or you could try this version, from my friend Barney: “When life gives you lemons, draw faces on them like Tom Hanks did on his volleyball in the movie Cast Away and engage them in sexy philosophical conversation.” Or consider this Brazilian proverb: “When life gives you lemons, make caipirinhas.” (Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail.) Suggestion: Play around with these themes to create your Halloween costume.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): All of us are creators and destroyers. It’s fun and healthy to add fresh elements to our lives, but it’s also crucial to dispose of things that hurt and distort us. Even your body is a hotbed of both activities, constantly killing off old cells and generating new ones. But in my understanding, you are now in a phase when there’s far more creation than destruction. Enjoy the exalted buzz! Halloween costume suggestions: a creator god or goddess, like the Greeks’ Gaia or Prometheus; Rainbow-Snake from the Australian Aborigines; Unkulunkulu from the Zulus; or Coyote, Raven, or Spider Grandmother from indigenous North American tribes.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In 1938, a chef named Ruth Wakefield dreamed up a brilliant invention: chocolate chip cookies. She sold her recipe to the Nestlé company in return for one dollar and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Maybe she was happy with that arrangement, but I think she cheated herself. And so I offer her action as an example of what you should NOT do. During the next ten months, I expect you will come up with many useful innovations and intriguing departures from the way things have always been done. Make sure you get full value in return for your gifts! Halloween costume ideas: Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Hedy Lamarr, Leonardo da Vinci, Temple Grandin, George Washington Carver, Mark Zuckerberg.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Speaking on behalf of the cosmic powers, I authorize you to escape dull realities and go rambling through the frontier. Feel free to fantasize twice as hard and wild as you normally do. Avoid literalists and realists who think you should be more like them. This is not a time to fuss over exacting details, but rather to soar above the sober nonsense and see as far as you can. You have permission to exult in the joys of wise innocence. Halloween costume suggestions: bohemian poet, mad scientist, carefree genius, brazen explorer.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Court upholds France's ban on smiling in passport photos (and more News of the Weird)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Pot for Pets
As nine states next month ask voters to approve some form of legalization of marijuana, a “new customer base” for the product—pets—was highlighted in an October New York Times report. Dogs and cats are struck with maladies similar to those that humans report in cannabis success stories: seizures, inflammation, anxiety, arthritis and other pain and subsequent social withdrawals. The “high”-producing THC element cannot be used because it is notoriously toxic to dogs, but other elements in the drug seem to work well not only for dogs and cats but, by anecdotal evidence, pigs, horses and domesticated wild animals.

Compelling Explanations

In September, Charles Lawrence III, 60, was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted sexual assault despite his claim that it was just bad eyesight that caused the problem. He had arrived at a house in Fairfield, Connecticut, to have sex with a male he had met online, but the event turned out to be a “To Catch a Predator” sting. Lawrence, an accountant, claimed that, in text messages with the “boy,” he had seen “18” as his age, when, according to police evidence, the text read “13.” (Bonus: Lawrence knew “Predator” newsman Chris Hansen socially and commuted daily on the train with him, according to Lawrence’s lawyer.)

A 23-year-old woman on a bus in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked by Abdullah Cakiroglu, 35, in September because, as he told police, he had become “aroused” by her wearing shorts. (Initially, he was not arrested, but after a protest on social media, police came to get him—though for “inciting,” not assault.) He told police, “I lost myself” because the woman had “disregarded the values of our country,” and “my spiritual side took over, and I kicked her in the face.”

Government in Action
Kevin and Tammy Jones opened their guns-and-coffee store in an old bank building in Hamilton, Virginia, in August, but despite the controversies about the ease of gun acquisition in America, their Bullets and Beans shop has had a harder time pleasing government regulators over the coffee than over the firearms. Kevin told Washingtonian magazine that there were no problems in getting gun-shop and firearms-instruction permits from state and federal agencies, but several local-government roadblocks delayed the coffee-sales permit: the property being zoned for “retail” but not food or drinks; permission to open certain businesses near residences; and a coffee shop’s need to have “parking.”

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Rockies Today, October 21

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 1:20 PM

Mountain West News is a service of the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West — a regional studies and public education program at the University of Montana. The Center’s purpose is to serve as an important and credible resource for people in the state and region in understanding the region’s past, present, and future. For more, visit

BLM rejects Utah activists’ oil and gas lease purchase

Ever since environmental writer and activist Terry Tempest Williams, in February, handed her credit card to the BLM to pay for two oil and gas leases—1,120 acres north of Arches National Park—the agency has “sweated” over whether to issue the leases. This week, the BLM decided to withhold the leases and refund Williams because it claims the company she and her husband, Brooke, created “has no intention of developing the two leases.”

We have made clear to the BLM that we would consider developing our leases when science supports a sustainable use of the oil and gas at an increased value given the costs of climate change to future generations.

Meet Idaho’s first Syrian refugees

The story of Asmaa Albukaie, whose husband and two young boys were kidnapped, never saw her husband again, got her boys back, left for Jordan, then Egypt, where she applied for refugee status through the United Nations, went through two years of interviews and background checks, got a ticket to the United States—to “Boise”—which she had to Google.

“I noticed that women in movies, American women, decide whatever they want to decide. This is not acceptable in Syria. So I made my own decision to learn and study, but I hid in the bathroom because my husband didn’t allow me to study,” said Albukaie, laughing about that now.
Albukaie told me her story in a coffee shop in downtown Boise, where we spoke for about 90 minutes. The city of Boise, Idaho, is taking in a lot of Syrian refugees: 122 so far this year. That’s more than twice as many as Los Angeles, Boston and New York combined.
Albukaie and her two teenage sons — who arrived in November 2014 — were the first Syrian refugees in Idaho.
Boise has been resettling a lot of refugees, from many nations, because of the affordable housing and need for workers in sparsely populated Idaho.

Albukaie recently gave a TED Talk in Moscow, Idaho.

Could idle wells become geothermal heat sources?

Mitchell Pomphrey, an Edmonton-based entrepreneur, has an idea to fix Alberta’s idle-well problem. The manager of a group called the Living Energy Project says it can retrofit older, unproductive wells into geothermal heat sources. “We’re trying to reuse things that would otherwise be wasted,” he says.

The most recent count from the Alberta Energy Regulator shows there were 84,100 inactive wells in the province in September, which is up from 77,600 in March. Meanwhile, the number of orphaned wells in the province — wells for which there is no financially responsible company — has almost doubled during the same time period, rising to 1,285 from 698.
The provincial government is concerned taxpayer money may be needed to clean up after the energy industry if the number of idle wells continues to grow.

Orange refinery emissions safe, Colorado says

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the public need not worry about the yellow-orange smoke that billowed last week from a Commerce City refinery.

A power failure at the refinery caused an emergency shut down and sent sulfur dioxide into the air as part of the shut down procedure. The billowing smoke led emergency officials to warn nearby residents to stay indoors and to lockdown a school and close roads for a few hours.
The plant resumed operations on Sunday. 
Trudeau’s shift from talking to acting on climate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants a national carbon price, in part to discourage firms from migrating to provinces, like Saskatchewan, with no carbon price, or with very low ones.

Provinces will be free to choose the system that best suits local industry. Those that opt for cap-and-trade schemes will have to meet or exceed Canada’s target of cutting emissions by 30%. Provinces will be allowed to keep the money they raise.
That will not mollify them. Energy-producing provinces, such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador, worry about the effect of carbon prices on the oil industry and on export-dependent livelihoods, such as lentil farming. They are in the second year of a recession caused by a slump in oil prices. Citizens in those provinces are hostile, although 63% of Canadians support Mr Trudeau’s climate policy, according to a new poll.

Western states rank poorly on women’s issues

24/7 Wall St., a financial news and opinion website, posted a list of the 10 worst states for women. Wyoming ranks second worst, Idaho third, Utah fourth, and Montana eighth.

In 1869, Wyoming became the first state in the country to grant women’s suffrage, roughly five decades before Congress passed the 19th Amendment. Despite being a leader in this important milestone, conditions in Wyoming today are some of the least favorable for women.
No state, for example, has a wider gender pay gap than Wyoming. The typical female worker earns $36,064, or just 64.4% of the $55,965 male median earnings in the state.

On marijuana, Montana polls tell different stories

Will Montana voters approve a ballot measure to expand the state’s highly restricted medical marijuana law?

A Lee Newspapers poll of more than 1,000 registered voters, conducted Oct. 10–12, found that 51 percent of people responding said they they would vote no on the ballot initiative.

Those in the I-182 campaign say that the majority of voters remain on their side. The campaign’s own poll, conducted by Colorado-based Harstad Strategic Research, had 59 percent in favor of the measure, with 32 percent against and 9 percent undecided.

Idaho’s largest solar farm goes online

The 80-megawatt Grand View solar project is more than twice as big as the farm built in Kuna several months ago and will provide clean energy to some 17,000 homes.

Colorado mountain bike trail sabotaged

Mountain bikers have found spiked boards buried on the Dirt Surfer trail above Eagle, Colorado, prompting an investigation involving the BLM and local law enforcement agencies.

“We are definitely taking the threat of potential harm very seriously,” Eagle County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Amber Barrett said. “We don’t want anyone retaliating over this. We want everyone to get along on the trails. It’s hunting season and we’ve got trail joggers who have issues with mountain bikers who have issues with hunters and horseback riders. But setting a malicious trap like this, we are not going to take lightly.”

The Colorado River ‘pulse flow,’ two years later

An interim report finds that birds, plants, and groundwater continue to benefit from the pilot effort to revive the Colorado River delta.

The interim report, released on Wednesday, documents the effects of the environmental flows in the delta from the initial pulse in March 2014 plus subsequent supplemental deliveries of water through December 2015.
“Some of the cottonwoods that germinated during the initial pulse flow are now more than 10 feet tall,” Karl W. Flessa, UA professor of geosciences and co-chief scientist of the team that’s monitoring the impact of the pulse, said in a statement.
Migratory waterbirds, nesting waterbirds, and nesting riparian birds have all increased in abundance, the report says. The monitoring team found that the abundance of 19 bird species of conservation concern, including vermillion flycatchers, hooded orioles, and yellow-breasted chats, was 43 percent higher at the restoration sites than at other sites in the floodplain.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Happiest Hour: Teddy Roosevelt American Badass

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 12:05 PM


What you’re drinking:
An imperial wheat IPA, aged in oak. It’s brewed by Meadowlark Brewing, based on the eastern edge of the state, in Sidney.

Why you’re drinking it: I mean, do we really have to answer this? Look at that label. Just … look at it. Savor it. Blink. Then look again. Your eyes do not deceive you—that is, in fact, Teddy in an Evel Knievel outfit, sword outstretched, standing in the back of an El Camino being driven by a bear. Don’t sleep on the small details, either. For instance, the car’s No. 27 represents Richland County’s state license plate number.

How it tastes: Strong, as you’d expect from an imperial with 7.9 percent alcohol-by-volume (and from anything boasting such bold packaging), but also exceptionally smooth. Meadowlark founder Travis Peterson credits the oak for “mellowing out some of the bite” while also adding “a little complexity to the flavor.”

How it came about: Meadowlark produces a Flights of Fancy series, which basically gives the brewery an excuse to experiment. “It’s a chance for [brewmaster] Tim [Schnars] and I to have more fun than usual,” Peterson says. “We have a lot of fun anyway—I mean, we brew beer for a living—but this allows us to try something different.”

They came up with the idea for the imperial wheat IPA and were impressed with how well it turned out, but the name was harder to settle on. A running list of proposed titles included Teddy Roosevelt American Badass “kind of as a joke,” Peterson recalls, but it ended up sticking. “It’s a badass beer and there’s nothing quite like it,” he says. “We decided a fun beer deserves a fun name.”

And about that logo: Credit Jason Heuser for the artwork. The California illustrator’s personal website includes similarly sensational images of George W. Bush blasting six-shooters while riding an airborne great white shark and Ronald Reagan firing an assault rifle while sitting atop a flag-holding Tyrannosaurus Rex. Oh, and there’s also one of Nixon wrestling a sabertooth tiger.

How you know Meadowlark: Thanks to a Bozeman-based mobile canning operation, Meadowlark’s brews have become common on shelves statewide. The Badlands Extra Pale Ale and Ole Gus Scotch-Style Ale are available in standard six-packs of 12-ounce cans. The Teddy Roosevelt American Badass comes in a single 16-ounce can and proves a little tougher to find. We scored ours on sale for $3.99 at Good Food Store.

Peterson says Teddy will remain on shelves as long as supplies last, but it will continue to be “somewhat limited availability.”

“It takes time to brew,” he says. “Wood-aging isn’t something you can just speed up.”

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email

Casting Bruiser: chihuahua auditions for part in UM musical

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Each chihuahua came dressed for the part. Pip was wearing a tutu, while Teeto—whose half-Yorkie genes gave him long, flowing fur—sported a shirt that read, “The cool dog just showed up.”

Then there was Kung Pao. White-haired, 2 years old, and weighing in just under 4 pounds, she wore a pink sweater with a crown printed on it. Kung Pao was not to be messed with. While mingling in the foyer, Kung Pao hustled over to Teeto and barked in his face.

“Sorry, she’s feisty,” owner Karla Colwill said.

The three dogs had arrived at the University of Montana PAR/TV building to audition for any chihuahua’s most coveted role: Bruiser, the famed sidekick in Legally Blonde. UM’s School of Theatre & Dance, along with the School of Music, will perform the musical version of the cult classic in November. A month before opening night, director Teresa Waldorf had one part left to cast.

“Everyone knows Bruiser, so we knew we couldn’t just pop any small dog onstage,” she says. “We knew it had to be someone who would meet the expectations—which are high.”

For Kung Pao, it was an unlikely chance for a big break. None of the dogs there to audition had acting experience, but Kung Pao’s journey to the stage was particularly long. Her life began in a meth house in South Carolina, Colwill explains, where she was rescued by a friend before the meth dealers were busted and their animals seized. Kung Pao was five weeks old at the time.
Kung Pao, a 2-year-old rescue chihuahua, auditioned for the role of Bruiser in UM's upcoming production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, which opens Nov. 22. - PHOTO BY DEREK BROUWER
  • Photo by Derek Brouwer
  • Kung Pao, a 2-year-old rescue chihuahua, auditioned for the role of Bruiser in UM's upcoming production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, which opens Nov. 22.
Colwill, a UM employee who says she is “not a small dog person,” agreed to take in the chihuahua nonetheless. She learned about the Bruiser casting call through a friend involved with the production and decided to give Kung Pao a shot.

“Oh, it’s new for her,” Colwill says. “It’s a new experience.”

Waldorf outlined expectations before the auditions in the Masquer Theatre began. Bruiser’s role in the musical is modest, she said, just a few scenes in the first act. The dog must be able to run to center stage, sit or stay, walk on a leash, and hop into a bag or kennel. There’s a speaking line as well, but Waldorf has a backup plan in case the dog can’t bark on command, a more advanced skill.

“We plan for every contingency,” she says.

When the auditions began, Kung Pao’s name was called first. Her nails clacked along the stage as she ran around on the leash held by junior acting major Whitney Miller, who is cast for the lead role of Elle. Kung Pao refused to sit on the hard surface but impressed the production crew by jumping into her kennel on command. She gazed toward the audience while held in Miller’s arms—“cheating out,” in theater terminology.

The act wasn’t flawless, and Miller describes the competition as “stiff” (a fourth dog not at the Oct. 16 audition, named Machete, was ultimately cast, Waldorf says). Regardless, Kung Pao’s owner was upbeat.

“We’re going to do some obedience classes, donate her time to hospice,” Colwill told the director afterwards. “Because she’s pretty good, for a chihuahua.”

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the 1980s, two performance artists did a project entitled “A Year Tied Together at the Waist.” For 12 months, Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh were never farther than eight feet away from each other, bound by a rope. Hsieh said he tried this experiment because he felt very comfortable doing solo work, but wanted to upgrade his abilities as a collaborator. Montano testified that the piece “dislodged a deep hiddenness” in her. It sharpened her intuition and gave her a “heightened passion for living and relating.” If you were ever going to engage in a comparable effort to deepen your intimacy skills, Aries, the coming weeks would be a favorable time to attempt it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the coming weeks would you prefer that we refer to you as “voracious?” Or do you like the word “ravenous” better? I have a feeling, based on the astrological omens, that you will be extra super eager to consume vast quantities of just about everything: food, information, beauty, sensory stimulation, novelty, pleasure and who knows what else. But please keep this in mind: Your hunger could be a torment or it could be a gift. Which way it goes may depend on your determination to actually enjoy what you devour. In other words, don’t get so enchanted by the hypnotic power of your longing that you neglect to exult in the gratification when your longing is satisfied.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When the wind blows at ten miles per hour, a windmill generates eight times more power than when the breeze is five miles per hour. Judging from the astrological omens, I suspect there will be a similar principle at work in your life during the coming weeks. A modest increase in effort and intensity will make a huge difference in the results you produce. Are you willing to push yourself a bit beyond your comfort level in order to harvest a wave of abundance?

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cuthbert Collingwood (1748-1810) had a distinguished career as an admiral in the British navy, leading the sailors under his command to numerous wartime victories. He was also a good-natured softie whose men regarded him as generous and kind. Between battles, while enjoying his downtime, he hiked through the English countryside carrying acorns, which he planted here and there so the “Navy would never want for oaks to build the fighting ships upon which the country’s safety depended.” (Quoted in Life in Nelson’s Navy, by Dudley Pope.) I propose that we make him your role model for the coming weeks. May his example inspire you to be both an effective warrior and a tender soul who takes practical actions to plan for the future.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Eighteenth-century musician Giuseppe Tartini has been called “the godfather of modern violin playing.” He was also an innovative composer who specialized in poignant and poetic melodies. One of his most famous works is the Sonata in G Minor, also known as the Devil’s Trill. Tartini said it was inspired by a dream in which he made a pact with the Devil to provide him with new material. The Infernal One picked up a violin and played the amazing piece that Tartini transcribed when he woke up. Here’s the lesson for you: He didn’t actually sell his soul to the Devil. Simply engaging in this rebellious, taboo act in the realm of fantasy had the alchemical effect of unleashing a burst of creative energy. Try it!

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The planets have aligned in a curious pattern. I interpret it as meaning that you have cosmic permission to indulge in more self-interest and self-seeking than usual. So it won’t be taboo for you to unabashedly say, “What exactly is in it for me?” or “Prove your love, my dear” or “Gimmeee gimmeee gimmee what I want.” If someone makes a big promise, you shouldn’t be shy about saying, “Will you put that in writing?” If you get a sudden urge to snag the biggest piece of the pie, obey that urge.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Rockies Today, October 17

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Mountain West News is a service of the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West — a regional studies and public education program at the University of Montana. The Center’s purpose is to serve as an important and credible resource for people in the state and region in understanding the region’s past, present, and future. For more, visit

As drought intensifies, Yakima accord offers model

Climate change has forced Washington State’s Yakima Basin to rethink how it manages water—and its plan could “point the way for an American West where long-standing water challenges are only growing more urgent and fractious.”

The pressure to solve decades-old disputes is rising. Water is already one of the West’s most contentious issues, with an infinite number of colliding interests — urban residents, farmers, environmentalists, native Americans, agribusiness owners, hydroelectric operators — all dipping their hoses into receding rivers and reservoirs. The only thing they all seem to have in common is their impulse to hire a lawyer.
Now, amid growing urbanization and the effects of climate change, the tensions are becoming even more fraught.
Yet the Yakima accord has given some people optimism that there’s a way out of this Gordian knot. They hope the example here — the deal as well as the years of squabbling and millions of dollars spent in courtrooms — will convince other regions to broker similar accords rather than perpetuate the debilitating era of water wars.

The tribal push for a Bears Ears monument in Utah

While the proposed Bears Ears National Monument doesn’t include any tribal lands, it would give a coalition of tribes “the freedom to be stewards of their homeland, and to have some say over how that land is administered, protected and interpreted to the public.”

…the Bears Ears battle at its core comes down to one type of local control versus another, of the Sagebrush Rebellion against an Indigenous uprising to gain sovereignty over ancestral homelands.
“It’s been far too long that us Natives have not been at the table,” says Malcolm Lehi, a Ute Mountain Ute council representative from the White Mesa community in San Juan County, at the Bluff hearing. “Here we are today inviting ourselves to the table. We’re making history.”

Wyoming industry may owe schools $4.5 million

A federal report (PDF) finds that since 2009 the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been unable to collect in excess of $4.5 million in unpaid penalties for health and safety violations, money that’s passed on to school districts.

In response to the unpaid fines, Wyoming had enlisted a collections agency to better collect on delinquent companies, John Ysebaert, Wyoming’s workforce standards and compliance administrator, wrote in [a response to some of the federal report’s findings in a July 29 letter].

Tough questions about small-town agriculture

In this episode of West Obsessed, the writers and editors of High Country News discuss some of the most interesting challenges — and solutions — to rural food supply.

How to buck the BLM’s wild horse problem?

The BLM’s wild horse program pays $49 million a year in rent for private ranches, corrals and feedlots where it stores the 46,000 wild horses it has removed from the West’s public lands. The cost is a symptom of a broader problem: too many wild horses roaming the West—about 77,000, some 27,000 more than the agency says the land can support.

Trying to make that rent has pushed the wild horse program into crisis. The expense eats up 66 percent of the federal budget for managing wild horses, and it is expected to total more than $1 billion over the life of the herds. The program cannot afford to continue old management practices that created the problem in the first place, or afford to come up with solutions that might fix it.
In short, the agency cannot break its cycle of storing horses because it is too busy storing horses.
“We’re in a real pickle,” Mr. Bolstad said. “We have huge challenges ahead of us, and we don’t have the resources to respond.”

Nations agree to phase out planet-warming HFCs

Negotiators from more than 170 countries reached a legally binding accord to counter climate change by cutting the use of hydrofluorocarbons—“a sort of supercharged greenhouse gas, with 1,000 times the heat-trapping potency of carbon dioxide.” The pact could have an equal or even greater impact than the Paris agreement.

Over all, the deal is expected to lead to the reduction of the equivalent of 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — about two times the carbon pollution produced annually by the entire world.
The Kigali accord is “much, much, much stronger than Paris,” said Durwood Zaelke, the president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, a research organization. “This is a mandatory treaty. Governments are obligated to comply.”
The deal is an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the landmark 1987 pact designed to close the hole in the ozone layer by banning ozone-depleting coolants called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. That means the Kigali amendment maintains the legal force of a treaty, even if that treaty was ratified by the Senate during the Reagan administration.
Chemical companies responded to the 1987 agreement by developing HFCs, which do not harm the ozone layer but do trap heat in the atmosphere.

Shifting winds in Wyoming

There are few places in the country with more wind energy potential than Wyoming, but the state has seen almost no new wind turbines built in six years. That’s about to change.

In total, more than $12 billion dollars worth of wind projects are proposed in Wyoming. The tabling of the tax hike was good news for those projects, but political support alone isn’t enough for Wyoming’s wind industry to boom — there are technical challenges as well.
Most of the wind built in Wyoming would be sold to customers out of state, but there aren’t enough power lines to carry it. Half a dozen proposals for new lines have been stuck in the permitting process for years. But now, several of those are close to being approved, and that could open the floodgates.

Montana solar projects stall

Cypress Creek Renewables cites vague engineering delays for why at least five of the California company’s permitted solar farms in Montana are currently stalled. All were approved before the state Public Service Commission in June suspended the requirement that NorthWestern Energy pay small-scale solar energy producers $66 per megawatt hour.

The nightlife of a Durango black bear

There’s a new class of city bears that researchers find to be highly adapted to urban terrain and evade detection by foraging at night.

“It is amazing to me that, given all the time she spends in town — she is a big bear — she’s never gotten into significant trouble that has resulted in efforts to trap and remove her,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife researcher Heather Johnson, who tracks [a 225-pound bear known as] B27 as part of an unprecedented five-year project driven by rising bear-human conflicts.

Solar sidewalk unveiled in Sandpoint, Idaho

Solar Roadways is the only business receiving federal highway research money in pursuit of solar road panels, part of the Federal Highway Administration’s efforts to fight climate change.

[Scott Brusaw’s] business, Solar Roadways, recently unveiled its first public installation, in a downtown plaza in this northern Idaho resort town. It’s 150 square feet of hexagon-shaped solar panels that people can walk and bicycle on.
The company is working on proof that the panels, for which it has a patent, are strong enough and have enough traction to handle motor vehicles, including semitrailers.

Bigamy's matchmaking answer to Tinder (and more News of the Weird)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Extreme Hobbies
John Weigel and Olaf Danielson are engaged in a frenzied battle of “extreme birdwatching,” each hoping to close out 2016 as the new North American champ of the American Birding Association, and a September Smithsonian piece had Weigel ahead, 763 to 759. Danielson is perhaps better known for doing much of his birding in the nude (and is the author of the provocatively titled volume, “Boobies, Peckers and Tits”—all common names of popular birds). The old one-year record was 749, and the association attributes the larger numbers this year to El Nino, which has disrupted food supplies and driven birds into different locations.

Fine Points of the Law

Compelling Explanation: Senate bill 1342, passed in the Idaho legislature earlier in 2016, authorizes schools to use the Bible as a reference in classrooms (despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s having specifically condemned a previous version of the bill ever since 1964). The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sage Dixon, said he thought his law was nonetheless constitutional because, “The little Supreme Court in my head says this is OK.” (Even so, Gov. C.L. Otter vetoed the bill.)

Nebraska voters in November will be asked whether to keep the state’s longstanding death penalty for murder—even though retaining it will require them to vote “repeal.” The legislature replaced death row last year with mandatory life sentences, and the referendum is to “repeal” or “retain” that legislation. Hence, to abolish the death penalty, voters must select “retain.” The state attorney general, and election officials, declined to challenge the confusing arrangement, instead suggesting that Nebraskans are smart enough to figure the whole thing out.

The Arizona legislature passed a child-molestation law recently that made any adult contact with children’s genitals a criminal act, but unlike in other states’ similar laws, neglected to include a requirement that the outlawed contact be for “sexual” purposes. Consequently, in principle, parents may be criminally liable, for example, for bathing a baby or changing its diaper. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in September that it is up to the legislature to change the law, but some lawmakers professed indifference, confident that district attorneys will use good judgment about whom to prosecute.

Fun With Pennies
Robert Napolitan, 34, was arrested in Taylor, Pennsylvania, in September and charged with theft of a drum containing 300,000 pennies from his employer, Pyne Freight Lines. That steel drum weighs several tons and, of course, netted Napolitan only $3,000. (By contrast, in New York City’s Diamond District in September, a brazen thief made off with a 5-gallon drum containing 86 pounds of something else—gold flakes, valued at more than $1 million—and is still at large.)

For some reason, according to a High Point, North Carolina, TV report, Larry Hall of Randolph County took seven-plus weeks out of his life recently and glued pennies to cover (except for windows and chrome) his 2000 Chevrolet Blazer (a total of 51,300 coins).

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