Friday, January 29, 2010

Happiest Hour: James Bar

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 3:00 PM

To get you — and us — ready for the weekend, we'll post our new Happiest Hour column every Friday, a little before quitting time.

This week: James Bar

Claim to Fame: A decidedly hip, urban feel with several enlarged, vintage chic, black-and-white photos featuring, among others, Janis Joplin, Keith Richards and a very young Willie Nelson. The outside front of the bar sports a long quote from Hunter S. Thompson, and the back of the building includes this Jimmy Buffett quote: “We are the people our parents warned us about.” The décor also includes dark wood beams with black trim, chandeliers with candle-like lights, a gas fireplace and cozy booths. Cozy, but definitely not a dive bar.


What you’re drinking: Bartender Andrew Benson says the Lemonade James ($7) has summer flair, but patrons drink it all year round:

How to make it:
- One shot Effen Black Cherry Vodka
- Equal parts cranberry juice and lemonade
- A dash of Rose’s Lime Juice
- Sugar rim

What you’re eating: A full menu includes everything from sliders to fish and chips. But the hot item is something simple: tater tots with a side of ranch and ketchup.

Who you’re drinking with: Afternoons see younger regulars drinking, chatting at the bar or studying. When the lights dim in the evening, it’s couples night out. Large groups also congregate around the stump tables or in the sizeable plush booths. The crowd is usually swanked up a bit by Missoula standards. With easy access to neighbor Al’s & Vic’s—a single door separates the two establishments—you also notice a few more weathered patrons.

Happy hour: Wine happy hour—$5 glasses—runs 2 to 5 p.m. Reverse happy hour from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. features Pabst tallboys for $2.50 each.

How to find it: 127 W. Alder St. at the end of N. Higgins Avenue.

Happiest Hour is a new column that celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail

"Ax Max" kicks off in Missoula

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Margot Kidder, a Livingston resident best known for playing Lois Lane in 1978's Superman, visited Missoula Thursday night and rallied progressive Democrats to reclaim their misguided party from the likes of Sen. Max Baucus.

"We've got to get rid of Max Baucus, we've got to ax Max," she said in the large meeting room at the Missoula Public Library. "He's a disaster, and becoming a bit of an embarrassment sometimes."

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Pat Williams sees Obama's "bold new path"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Pat Williams served nine terms as a U.S. representative from Montana. After his retirement, he returned to Montana and is currently teaching at The University of Montana. He offered this column on President Obama's first State of the Union address:

It isn’t the American people who aren’t eager for change. It’s Barack Obama.

The President spent his first year in office either unwilling or unable to change his approach to the Congress. His virtually hands off, milk toast attitude toward providing legislative leadership has stymied the public’s demand for change. But it appears that the President may have stepped on a bold new path.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Arts desk: Exercise with a dentist

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 5:14 PM

The back cover of Fit at Fifty Something, an exercise book that landed on the arts desk this week, states: “One day you’re a spring chicken with lots of vigor and verve in your step, cruising around in you sporty little world with your entire carefree life ahead of you.” Then, basically, you're not.

Sacramento author Brian Bolstad, 52, who is a dentist, wrote the book after suffering chronic back pain. Half of the book features grainy photos of him doing squats, ankle lifts and crunches. The other half of it is split into chapters on stress, weight control, strength, and one called “Sex: Looking Good and Better Wood.”


It’s written in a casual way (sort of like a locker room pep talk) with lines like “When you eat a piece of fruit the best thing of all is YOU DID NOT EAT A DONUT!” and “Males are visual animals. I do not know why. But I know it is true. Men look at a female form of big tits, slim waist and a nice butt and are imbued with a visceral feeling of desire.” Philosophical musings on ladybug reproduction and wolf pack behavior also pop up as quasi-scientific support.

Mostly, I like the front cover because he's in his workout wear in an hourglass, pushing back the sands of time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Missoula airport puts privatization wheels in motion

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 5:00 PM

The Missoula County Airport Authority officially set the wheels in motion Tuesday to replace federal Transportation Security Administration screeners (TSA) at Missoula International Airport with a private security firm.

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology online, every Tuesday, two days before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Shakespeare got modest respect while he was alive, but his reputation as a brilliant bard didn’t gel right away. It wasn’t until almost 50 years after he died that anyone thought his life and work were notable enough to write about. By then, all his colleagues and compatriots were gone, unable to testify. He himself left little information to build a biography around. That’s why next to nothing is known about the person who made such a dramatic impact on the English language and literature. I suggest you take this as a metaphorical prod that will inspire you not to be blasé about the greatness that is in your vicinity. Don’t take superlative intelligence, talent, or love for granted. Recognize it, bless it, be influenced by it.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Scooterville Montana merges with Flanagan's

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Give Scooterville Montana a call in the next few days and you'll likely catch a voicemail message from co-owner Nancy McCourt: Starting Feb. 1, the store will be completely relocated to a quonset hut at Flanagan's Motors on Stephens Avenue.


McCourt says she and husband/business partner Gary Stein began discussing a merger with Flanagan's owner Shannon Flanagan in December, and officially moved nearly 30 scooters and mopeds to the automotive dealership this week. Scooterville will still offer a full-service repair shop through Flanagan's, McCourt says, but the shop's mechanic won't be coming back.

“Sales were not good in ’09, and it’s anybody’s guess where the economy is going from here," McCourt says. "So while we expect to sustain, especially with this new blending of our business into Flanagan’s, this is just part of being cautious.”

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UM President George Dennison announces retirement

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 3:26 PM

University of Montana President George Dennison announced today he'll be retiring effective Aug. 15, officially ending a 20-year stint in Main Hall. The announcement came during an afternoon address in the University Theatre regarding potential budget cuts at UM for the next fiscal year.

“I originally intended to announce this decision last September," Dennison said during the address, "but delayed it on request until after the successful conclusion of the search for a new president of Montana State University. I consider it a high honor and rare privilege to have served as president of a wonderful institution, made so by the people who constitute it."

UPDATE: Montana Commissioner for Higher Education Sheila Stearns told the Independent she had talked to Dennison about his retirement plans last summer, but had asked him to defer any announcement until early 2010 to give the state Board of Regents time to fill the position left vacant by former Montana State University President Geoffrey Gamble's retirement last year. She added that the regents will schedule a workshop in mid February to discuss the search process for Dennison's successor. Dennison said in his address that he will help in the process however he can, but prefers to "stay out of the way."

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 9:00 AM

In this weeks installment: Female-specific parking spaces at a Chinese shopping center and Canadian history magazine The Beaver gets with the times.

Curses, Foiled Again
After robbers used heavy metal drain covers to smash their way into a Welsh bank in Cardiff and make off with $171,156, police quickly identified the culprits because a witness remembered the personalized license plate—“J4MES”—on the sporty blue BMW used as the getaway vehicle. Police found James Snell, 27, and his brother Wayne, 34, holding more than $48,944 of the loot and rounded up the rest of the gang. “It was the distinctiveness of the car which contributed to the robbers’ undoing,” prosecutor Daniel Williams said. (The Daily Telegraph)

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Happiest Hour: The Forest Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 4:16 PM

To get you — and us — ready for the weekend, we'll post our new Happiest Hour column every Friday, a little before quitting time.

This week: The Forest Lounge

Claim to fame: An unapologetic alternative to Missoula’s more progressive, Suburu-driving, granola crowd. The parking lot is full of rusted Jeep Wagoneers and Chevy El Caminos. Blue-collar patrons wear grease-stained pants and dirt under their fingernails. And barflies aim to protect that heritage: a bumper sticker behind the bar reads, “Loggers, Miners, Ranchers and Farmers are the endangered species.”

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