Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 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 fictional world of the wizard Harry Potter, muggles are people who have no magical powers. Because of their deficiency, certain sights may be literally invisible to them, and certain places inaccessible. I’m going to boldly predict that you Aries people will lose at least some of your muggleness in the coming year. A part of your life where you’ve been inept or clueless will begin to wake up. In ways that may feel surprisingly easy, you’ll be able to fill a gap in your skill set or knowledge base.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

America's best hotel is in Darby

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Travel + Leisure magazine's December issue features a list of America's top hotels, and the Bitterroot's Triple Creek Ranch topped it. Triple Creek takes the crown for its "23 plush log cabins, each outfitted with cozy touches like wood-burning fireplaces, hot tubs, and locally woven woolens." Readers also appreciated the "full roster of activities":

Itineraries are tailored to guests’ interests and can include dinners at the chef’s table, wine tastings, helicopter tours, cattle drives, and skiing at nearby Lost Trail Powder Mountain.

In case it's not obvious, this is a pretty high-style list. Triple Creek, for instance, is an "adults-only" property and the "Cedar Cabins" start at $750/night.

The second-ranked hotel is situated on its own private island off the Florida coast.

Sure makes you reconsider booking that La Quinta for your holiday travels, eh?

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Rare last-second gift for a Griz fan

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Montana's football season may be over, and the program may have a cloud hanging over it with an ongoing sexual assault investigation, but there are still plenty of Griz fans out there just waiting to receive the perfect holiday gift.

Look no further than parts of a torn-down goal post. They're for sale on Craigslist.

Doug Olson, a sculptor who specializes in working with metal, salvaged the parts in hopes of using them in a Griz-themed piece. They didn't look right, so now he's hoping some fan may be interested in a little part of UM history.

"I think they'd make cool horns on one of those RVs that are all painted in Griz colors," Olson says.

He's looking for $500 for "the two elbow parts of the goal posts." He says they're from the 1996 season and he's pretty sure the other parts of the goal post, which was carried downtown by rowdy fans after an unspecified victory, are on display at a local bar. The Griz finished 1996 with a loss to Marshall in the championship game.

Learn more — or just make the purchase — by checking Olson's Craigslist ad.

Then again, if goalposts aren't your thing, the Indy gift guide did have a few other, smaller options for Griz fans. For instance, the logo garter belt would look good under the tree—and may also make a nice accoutrement for a loved one's Griz-themed motor home.

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The Rockies Today, Dec. 20

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Montanans find good pay, long hours in North Dakota's oil fields
Unable to find work in Northwest Montana, people of all ages are working in the oil fields of North Dakota, where they're expected to work 80 hours a week, and although the pay is good, living expenses are high, and for truck drivers, much of their day is spent fighting traffic. Part of a series from the Daily InterLake on working in the Bakken oil fields.
Kalispell Daily Inter Lake; Dec. 20

Wildlife Conservation Society report follows migration routes in the West
In its new report, "Spectacular Migrations in the Western U.S.," (pdf) the Wildlife Conservation Society reports on the importance of maintaining ecologically intact corridors for migration.
New York Times; Dec. 20

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Monday, December 19, 2011

2012 could mark historically close Senate races

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The 2012 campaign for U.S. Senate, including Montana's Epic 2012 Senate Battle Royale, is shaping up to be one of the nation's most competitive in history. The Washington Post continues to rank Jon Tester v. Denny Rehberg among its top 10 races in the country, moving it from fifth to sixth on the list, while putting the overall picture into context:

The nature of the map and the high number of quality candidates who have stepped forward in the first year of the 2012 election cycle could put upwards of half of the 33 Senate seats in play.

Already, the Cook Political Report lists 10 Senate races as toss-ups — more than at this point in the 2010, 2008 or 2006 elections. Cook also rates 21 races as being at least somewhat competitive at this point, which is at least five more than any of the three preceding elections.

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National Geographic on the Hi-Line

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Part-time Missoula resident and award-winning photographer William Albert Allard teamed up with acclaimed Bozeman-based writer David Quammen to produce a piece on the Hi-Line for the latest issue of National Geographic magazine.

You can view Allard's photo gallery from the story here. I heard he was disappointed a shot from one of the Hi-Line's famous watering holes didn't make the final cut. Perhaps it'll make Allard's next book.

Speaking of Allard, as part of the Hi-Line package, National Geographic included a special look at his work in the West. You can read an essay written by Allard, and view an additional gallery of his images over the last 48 years.

And if you haven't already, check out Allard's recent book, Five Decades, which was published last year.

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The Rockies Today, Dec. 19

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation withdraws support for Idaho land swap
The proposed land swap in Northern Idaho that would trade 18,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands in three forests in Idaho for 40,000 acres owned by Western Pacific Timber in the upper Lochsa River basin had the early support of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, but the organization withdrew that support last week and cited concern of members and the expansion of the deal into elk habitat in Idaho County.
Idaho Statesman (Lewiston Tribune); Dec. 19

Bakken oil boom boosts business in Montana city
The 350 or so businesses at work pulling oil out of the Bakken oil play in eastern Montana and western North Dakota are courting dozens of businesses in Billings, seeking workers, pipes and other materials needed in the oilfields.
Billings Gazette; Dec. 19

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment, we learn that, if you're going to get a butt augmentation, you should check your doctor's credentials. Otherwise, you might get pumped full of Fix-a-Flat.

Curses, Foiled Again
John K. Rosenbaum, 22, drove from Jacksonville, Fla., to Kingsland, Ga., to illegally purchase a black mamba snake. During the transaction, the venomous snake bit him, he later told Georgia wildlife officials. He was hospitalized and released but faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. (Jacksonville’s The Florida Times-Union)

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Happiest Hour: Big Dipper eggnog shake

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 4:01 PM

In this week's Happiest Hour, it's time to shake up eggnog.


’Tis the season: My editor insisted that I write this column about eggnog, with Christmas days away. I rolled my eyes. Who drinks eggnog anymore? Seems a passing tradition. These days kids are more into peppermint martinis and such. But then I noticed that the Big Dipper is making eggnog ice cream, and a brilliant idea came to me.

The eggnog shake: I love milkshakes. Rum’s pretty good too. So I swung by the Big Dipper to grab a pint of its eggnog ice cream and pulled my Captain Morgan and blender from the cabinet. I dropped four scoops of ice cream, two shots of rum and a couple of dashes of half-and-half into the blender, and whipped my shake until it was good and frothy.

A new favorite: The ice cream’s good on its own, but the rum in the shake really pulls out the nutmeg and cinnamon flavors. It’s damn tasty, and (warning!) goes down way too easy, like any other milkshake. Homemade eggnog purists may scoff at such a crude concoction, but it’s about time eggnog got freshened up a bit. Enjoy!

Where to find it: Big Dipper, 631 S. Higgins Ave. They can make you a shake, but you’re on your own with the liquor.

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

Christopher Hitchens, Noam Chomsky and drunks (plus other alternative news links)

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Every so often we pull together some recommended stories from other alternative news media. Here are 10 for your weekend reading pleasure.

Hitch, RIP
Writer Christopher Hitchens died yesterday after a battle with cancer. The Village Voice, where Hitch once wrote, published one of his more recent stories for the paper, titled "Soft Gore," about Al Gore's 2000 presidential run.

Hitchins also spoke at the Association of Alternative Newspapers annual convention in 1998 and apparently drank during the entire speech. You can watch the speech in its entirety (thanks, CSPAN), read the behind the scenes story of that speech, and learn what Hitchens thought of "Free Will Astrology," which the Indy publishes every week.

Sheriff Joe
Phoenix New Times has a long-standing feud with clownish Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Department of Justice recently gave the paper more ammunition by declaring Arpaio "oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history, a DOJ expert concluded."

Noam Chomsky
The "father of modern linguistics" gave a speech at a Massachusetts middle school during which he suggested the Occupy Movement move on to its next tactic. The Boston Phoenix reports Chomsky applauded the Occupy efforts so far as "brilliant," and suggested it consider "political organizing in the neighborhoods."

O, Christmas tree
Willamette Week discovers that Oregon's vast Christmas tree harvest relies on helicopters—and Mexico.

Salt Lake City Weekly has a cover story about one man's drug-fueled journey through the Mormon film business. It starts with the comedian naked in an Orem field at 4 a.m.

Football, Inc.
If you're not already outraged at college football headlines, Miami New Times looks into how insiders use the college bowl system to manipulate colleges and universities.

San Antonio Current put together a list of cinema's best drinking moments. It includes the This is Spinal Tap line: ""You can't really dust for vomit."


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